Life is messy so I will Raise a Hallelujah

Here are the slides from Wednesday > manschool 2019 1

Another post will be coming speaking to “Dirt” and we’ll get back in the mud next Wednesday.

But for now, when life smacks you down, when the pain comes, when the enemy jumps upon a wound only seeking to wound the wound even more … what should you do?

When there seems to be no hope?  When the lost loved one can never come back, what can you do? 

When the enemy heaps shame and condemnation on you over your failures, what weapon do you have to swing back?

Your voice.  You can sing.  You can shout the anthem songs that speak of God’s truth.

One of the better weapons I’ve personally experienced is captured in this song …

nothing wasted (2)

We gave a devotional out to the band, Mark Vogtlin for making the coffee for us every week and to Fred Remick for coordinating the biscuits/bananas to thank them for their selfless service to the Tribe.  The devotional, New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp is excellent.  I’ve been using it for about three months and have been blown away by how God uses it to really challenge me.  It isn’t “light”.  It’s deep, weighty and thought provoking.  I’ve woven material from it in the messages this Spring and it has really helped.

If you’d like to buy a copy, you can get one here >

Here are the few slides from this morning –> nothing wasted

In nature, there is nothing wasted.  Earth is a unique system.  Humans are the only species that pollutes.  Everything else in nature feeds on itself to create balance.

Maybe you’ve thought … “Is my life wasted?”

God has an amazing way, no matter what you’ve been through, that nothing is wasted in Him.

Moses was educated in all the ways of the Egyptians.  Was it a waste for him to know how the Egyptians thought and operated?   How you start doesn’t dictate how you’ll finish.  He was not an Egyptian and not a Hebrew.  He didn’t fit anywhere.  And we feel like we’re too broken to be useful to God.

There is nothing in your life God can’t use to make you better for the future.

We look back and say, “I am damaged goods”.  Pain.  Suffering.  Disappointment.  Stories of failure.  Those are not a “waste of a life” because with God, nothing is wasted.  God takes all those wounds, scars, pain, suffering and disappointment and He shapes you to become the person the world desperately needs you to become.

If you will be honest about yourself and your pain, wounds, failures and fears, you can understand everyone in the world.  If you’re dishonest with yourself, you’ll become estranged from everyone else.

“Why did I waste my life studying philosophy?”  Why was Moses trained up as an Egyptian?  It’s not an accident.  God sends you to school, so you can make a difference in the world.  Learn from many sources.  Your life lessons prepare you.

So many of us feel like our lives are wasted – broken, wounded, full of pain.  The only way you’re going to get past the pain of the past is to forgive.  Don’t carry the bitterness going forward.  God has been preparing you, schooling you, educating you, putting in you what you’re going to need for the future.

With God, nothing is wasted.  Even your failures.  Every time you fail, there is this instinct that says, “I’ve just wasted my life”.  Moses killed a man and ran for his life and “wasted” the next 40 years in the wilderness being something he’s not intended to be.  Or did he?

Have you ever felt like you’ve made a choice that has cost you your future?  Have you made a decision where you knew the consequences so significant so that you find yourself saying, “God, I don’t know if I can carry the weight of this one more day”?

It’s really frustrating when you can’t blame anyone else

Sometimes, we make decisions and we let them cripple us and steal from us our future rather than realizing there is no wasting with God.  Maybe you failed in your past and really messed up.  You sinned against God and other people.  You’ve messed it up and there is no one to blame.

Leave your past in the past and let God create your future

God sees that every time I fail, when I think it is waste for me, He sees it as fertilizer.  Yes, you’ve made some really bad decisions and you need to own it.  There are always going to be people that will try to define you by the worst moments in your life.  You cannot let other people keep you in your worst past or allow them to define who you are or who you will become.

That future belongs to God, but you’ve got a choice to make.  Who will you listen to?

If you will allow Him – in every failure, God will use it to make you stronger, make you honest, make you more authentic, He’ll use it to make you a person who is trustworthy, He’ll use the failures to make you a success.

Most of us don’t continue to repeat the same self-destructive patterns, we just settle for less because we’ve chosen to believe what others said about us.  You didn’t believe God could create a better you.

You’ve settle for less, but God has created you for “more”

40 years later, God called Moses.  40 years.  Not wasted.  That failure you had, that “wasted” season, God’s been holding onto it and will send you back to it to show you He’s ready to do something new in your life.

This is the same Moses (Acts 7:37) … the very same Moses … that was thrown into the river to face crocodiles and drowning, that was raised by Egyptians, who never knew who he was, who killed the Egyptian and ran for his life – that same Moses God took to set His people free!

You thought it was wasted time, but God has been turning it into fertilizer – taking all your brokenness, failures, all the moments you thought were wasted and could never get back – with God there is nothing wasted.  You are not stuck in your worst decisions.

Moses ran and spent 40 years living in the wilderness.  Then God took him to Egypt, to the people he once knew and used Moses to free His people.  And then, Moses led them for 40 years in … the wilderness.

God can turn the mess of your life into a Miracle

God looks at you, even in your worst moments, and says, “Ah no, you can’t even see what I can.  If you could just see what I want to do with your life, it would blow your mind!”

No one is too broken for God.  The “waste” of your life is fertilizer for the rich soil of the future.

Only question is, will you believe it?


nothing wasted…

Join us on Wednesday morning as we wrap up this Goliath Must Fall series and break for the summer with a message that will uplift and encourage you.

There is nothing wasted with God.

Maybe you have failed.  Sometimes, we make decisions and we let them cripple us and allow them to steal from us our future.

But there is no “wasting” with God.

The only way to leave your past in the past is to let God create a new future for you.  You see it as “waste”, He sees it as fertilizer to plant a new harvest.

You thought it was wasted – all your brokenness, failures, all the moments you thought were wasted and could never get back – but with God, nothing is wasted.

No matter your past, God sees an amazing future.  Will you step into it?

Forgiveness (2)

here are the slides from this morning > Forgiveness 2

Odds are, you have some unforgiveness in your life.  Odds are, someone has hurt you deeply, offended you, abandoned you, humiliated you, abused you, shunned you … and you are still carrying that offense around.  Unforgiveness is like a hot coal.  If you hang onto it, it’ll burn you up.

And you might say, “Not me.  Nope.  I’m not holding onto any unforgiveness” and you can test that by seeing if you have any of these running around inside your heart … I have or want to take revenge on someone.  I am bitter towards someone.  I slander them, gossip about them.  I call them names either out loud or to myself i.e. “jerk”, “idiot”, etc.  I reject that person.  I avoid a person so as to punish them.  I intentionally don’t do something I know they want me to do so I can get even with them.  I’m a bigot.  I judge them or label them based on their race.  I judge her because she is a woman.  Internally, I wish for bad things to happen to them i.e. that “they get what they deserve”.

If you are saying/doing/feeling any of these towards another person, you’ve probably got the disease of unforgiveness in your system and like cancer, it’ll do great damage to you if left untreated.

We talk a lot about wounds and they are real.  Father wounds, mother wounds, brother wounds, spousal wounds, etc.  We don’t seek to minimize the pain you’ve experienced.  It is real, profound and destructive.  Some of you come from abusive homes.  Many of you had fathers who cheated on the family and left home.  Many had fathers or mothers who said you’d never amount to anything or that you were a disappointment to them.  These are real.  But when we take those wounds in and carry them, they can do great harm to us.  “If my Mom told me I was worthless, that must be my diagnosis for life.  It must be true.”  Not so.  It may just be painful words from a deeply troubled woman.  But it is not truth.  You are a child of God, beloved and adored.

The key is what do we do with these wounds?  Carry them?  Believe them?  Allow them to become Goliath’s that can always taunt us and knock us down?  Or, can we release them and take down Goliath by forgiving that person and releasing them.

Forgiving them doesn’t make them right, it just makes you free.

What struck me so profoundly in preparing this session was just how easily I have forgotten what Jesus did for me.  You see, I have become quick to judge.  Quick to determine “he is a jerk” and thereby rationalize why I will have nothing to do with him any longer.  There is a man that I have been crossed up with 3-4 times in completely different circumstances.  We’ve almost come to blows.  It has seemed that he has just been looking for a reason to hate me.  To my knowledge, I’ve never done anything to him but, for whatever reason, he just doesn’t like me.  Through that, I’ve been quick to judge him, label him and even slander him.

As Jimmy Evans says in the video when he relates a similar story in his life, God has convicted me of my judgment of this man.  I don’t know much of his story other than he is a believer (how do two believers allow this to happen?) and that he came from a very tough home and has a somewhat fractured relationship with his father.  God says to me what He said to Jimmy Evans – “You see that man for what he did to you, I (God) see him for what was done wrong to him as a child”.

I have no right to judge him.  He just may not like me.  That’s OK.  But I should not judge him.  The danger in all this is, that as long time believers, it is very easy for us to slip into the place of thinking we are God’s favored son, we’ve done nothing wrong, in fact – we’re right (!), we’re “preferred” … and the danger is in all of this, we have completely forgotten our salvation, the Cross and our sin.  We think we “deserve” God because we are so “good”.  We’ve forgotten our responsibility for putting Jesus on that Cross.  It was my sin that put him there, not this other man that I am so quick to call a jerk.

I have no place to judge and I have no right to refuse forgiveness.  All my sin was washed away on that cross but I have allowed myself to start judging others and carrying around a lot of unforgiveness towards others.  It’s dangerous and it’ll eat you alive.

Pay attention.  See what Father is saying to you in this regard.

Flip through the slides.  Watch the talk by Jimmy Evans and pray that the good Lord will cleanse you of your “self-righteousness” because, my friend, you have NONE other than through Jesus and His blood.  To Him be all Glory!

forgiveness (1)

here are the slides from this morning – forgiveness

We’re going to spend 3 weeks talking about two inter-connected things – loving people and forgiving people.

I believe that a part of the collateral damage of my sin and the Goliath’s in my life, I have developed a spirit that is judgmental and unforgiving.  And I also believe this spirit limits how much of God I can receive.  Oh, God can do anything and knock down any wall but on my part, I believe this spirit is limiting what I am capable of receiving from God.

It is time for this giant to fall.  It is time for me to be broken in my judgment and unforgiveness towards others.  And then…just watch what God can do.

It is my “sin”.  We don’t talk about sin much any more in the church.  Sin is such a politically incorrect word.  In society, when a man sexually harasses women, he is rushed off to rehab and we talk about his brokenness or we shift it to a “societal problem”.  And yes, it is brokenness and it is a societal problem … but … it is ALSO that man’s sin.

In my sin, I have hardened my heart towards other people.  I’ve become a quick judge of others and to the people that have caused me pain, I carry a ton of unforgiveness.  Think about it, how quick are you to just dismiss a person as a jerk, an idiot, or not being worthy of your time?  It is so easy to dismiss others, too easy to look down on them and to fail to see them with eyes of compassion and hearts of mercy…

But, “I love Jesus”…

“If anyone says, ‘I love God’, and hates his brother, he is a liar”.  1 John 4:20

You just got punched in the mouth.  I did.

If because of my sin and my thinking I have every right to judge them, I am missing the single greatest call of Jesus on my life – – that I would love other people.

Do you love others?  Do you love Jesus?  What is the evidence of that?  Where is the fruit?  My life tends to look a lot like this …

forgiveness 1

What’s love got to do with it?  Even though I have been a believer for 30+ years, this is me.  It’s not pretty.  And God has shown me here in the past few weeks that I have naively ignored my sin.  As a result, I’m too settled into “my way” of doing life which, if left up to my innate self, can turn inwardly very quickly and become “all about me”.

This is a good litmus test to see where you are in this … what’s going to make you happy today?  As you start the day and look at what all will happen today, what is it that is going to make it a “great day” for you?  Tonight, when you look back, what will determine if it was a good day?  Likewise, there are going to be things that make you mad and upset today and that will make it a “bad day”.  What are those things?  What is the scale that you use to determine if it’ll be a good day or a bad one?

At the intersection of those two things, the true love of your heart is exposed…

forgiveness 2

Let me ask you this … how much of your joy, grief, celebration or anger that you will take on today … how much of it has anything whatsoever to do with the Kingdom of God?

You see, if you are like me, sin can very quickly turn your life inside/out and you can find yourself defining what will make you happy or mad solely based on you.  Not God.  Not His Kingdom.  Not sacrifices you can make, resources you can share, time you can give to others but instead, a good day will only be determined by how much money you make, what compliments you get, how noticed you are, if your wife meets your needs or just how entertained you are.  My man in mirror sees that it has become “me, me … it’s all about me.”

Absolutely NONE of this message is enjoyable.  My flesh hates being confronted with His Truth.  But it is Truth.

What does any of this have to do with forgiveness?  Perhaps a ton.  We are wounded, hurt, disappointed people.  Painful things have happened to all of us.  Goliath’s are present in all of our lives.  Too many of us have harbored resentment towards those that have hurt us and we’ve gone to bed in our anger and given the enemy a wide open door to whisper lies to us.  Sin turns us inward and we live “incurvatus”.  We harbor.  We dam up unforgiveness.  Revenge, abuse, hatred, bitter, we slander people, gossip, name calling, we reject others, we avoid intentionally so as to punish, we withhold love, bigotry, racism, sexism, we internally wish bad things to happen to others or when bad things do happen we jump to “they had it coming”.

If this is you … in any way … then, I suspect you have some unforgiveness in your heart.  It is your Dad or Mom, your brother, your former business partner, ex-wife, girlfriend from way back, a coach, a boss — there is someone in your past that hurt you deeply and you haven’t forgiven them and released them.  And … it is eating you up, robbing the joy in your life and limiting what God can do through you.

More to come…

finish strong

ManSchool will wrap up on Wednesday, May 23rd.  We have three weeks to go!  It’s been a great Spring for our Tribe.

We want to finish strong.  We’re going to go right at a very tough topic over these next three weeks that ties right in with the Goliath’s in our lives.

The one thing about ManSchool is that we are authentic and don’t shy away from tough talks.  It’s better to go right after these issues in our lives vs. stuffing them away hoping they don’t resurface.  If we don’t face them down and let God deal with them, they will resurface with a vengeance.

These next three weeks will be about gaining freedom.  If you’ve never come to ManSchool and feel out of the loop, you’re not.  You are welcome and encouraged to give it a try.  Come see for yourself.

in the presence of my enemies…

HE prepares a table before me …

In facing down these Goliaths in our lives that taunt us – the addictions, lust, greed, porn, drugs, booze, our need for approval, the need for control, our fear, anger, rejection – we must realize the enemy is prowling around like a lion seeking someone to devour.  These Goliaths are open doors for the enemy to enter in to wreak havoc in our lives.

When we start hearing – “You’re never going to make it” – or – “You aren’t good enough” – or – “Everybody is against you” – then we know those voices aren’t from the Good Shepherd. That’s the voice of your enemy whispering lies to you.  And when you start engaging him, having conversations with him, believing these lies,  making agreements with the lies … then you have given the enemy a seat at your table.

Oh, your enemies are indeed all around you.  But God has prepared a table for you in the midst of your enemies.  His provision is all you need but you have to invite God to take a seat at your table and you cannot allow the enemy to have a seat.

in fact, it is time we make a bold declaration to our enemy – “You don’t have a seat at my table any longer”.  It’s time to kick him to the curb and to stop believing the lies and to start listening to the Truth of the Father.


here is the piece I read at the start about grace … Scan0129

here are the slides from this morning … Goliath 17 – Addiction (final) 2

and here is Glorious Day …

Keep this song on your list.  Look at the passion in the kids.  Listen to the words.  See the rejoicing.  “You called me out of the grave!!”   Amen!  Too many of us are walking around beaten and weighed down by this world and our mistakes.  Read the grace piece attached at the top of this post.  See those kids dancing and smiling and praising God.  “I’ve made so many mistakes”.  Yep, me too.  But Christ has called you out of that grave of mistakes into forgiveness and freedom and restoration.  Act like it.  Smile like it.  Engage people today like you own the most wonderful gift of all … because YOU do!

As soon as I feel vulnerable and weak and unable, I cover up and mask what is really true about me.  Saul covered up David’s vulnerabilities with armor.  Adam & Eve covered up.

It’s exactly what we do.  We can’t possibly go out into the world just as we are.  We feel vulnerable in our true self, so we cover up.  “I don’t want people to see me.  I am afraid of what they’ll think if they see me, so I’m going to hide me.  I don’t want to be vulnerable, so I cover up.  I don’t want people to know I’m afraid now, craving attention now, how insecure I am in this moment, how angry I am.  If I can have a drink before I go, I can cover up my insecurity.”

I mask the fact that I have vulnerabilities in my heart.

Before the fall, Adam & Eve had intimacy with God, peace with God and a place with God.  Sin entered, and they were isolated from God and they had no peace.  They had a place with men and hostility with men.

If we step out of peace and intimacy with God, we’ll instantly find what they found – comparison and compulsion.  And that’s where all of us in this room are, to some degree, today – a life driven by comparison and compulsion.  We all have the tendencies toward compulsive behavior.

Vulnerability isn’t all bad.  David took off his armor and went into battle vulnerable but in intimacy with God.  He may have been exposed but he was not alone.  He didn’t try to hide his vulnerability but, instead, he leaned into the ability of God.

When I am vulnerable, what do I do?  If I feel angry, tired, weak, that I am less than everyone thinks I am, unsure, tired from being overconfident all the time – what do you do?

We have to find God in the unmasked middle.

When I feel vulnerable, I have two choices …

Option 1 – cover up and get some drug to help me cope.

Option 2 – run to Jesus.  “I’m not going to cover or cope, I’m running to Jesus”


There is great freedom in vulnerability, great freedom of letting go of being in control, posing as a man who has it all figured out, pretending you’ve got all the answers.  There is beauty in saying, “I don’t know” or “I don’t understand” or “this situation scares me” or especially, “I need help”.  We raise our hands in worship (some of us do!) but how about simply raising one hand the next time you are lost and saying, “I need some help”.

You won’t make in this life doing it alone.  You need tribe/community.  You need Father.  It is beautiful and, in fact, strong to admit you need help.  “In my weakness, I am strong”.

When we drop the pose and fall to our knees for the Father, we are admitting we are vulnerable and in that, we find great joy that Jesus embraces us just as we are.  Through that settled peace, we feel His acceptance and we are infused with His life.  And then, we can live out the Gospel exchanging out weakness for His strength.

Only when I am willing to be vulnerable can I truly see that He is ABLE!


what is underneath the addictions?

slides from today > Goliath 16 – Addiction (final)

Jesus’ desire is that you would have life to the full.  If there is any voice saying you’re not going to do it, you can’t accomplish it, things are never going to change – that voice, is not Jesus.  Be certain of that.

It is not God’s plan for you to live with a giant in your life demoralizing you and robbing God’s glory in your life.

Your freedom and God’s glory are intertwined.  These giants must go down.

Addictions – the big ones are there but all of us have some.  Alcohol.  Drugs.  Weed – illegal or not is not the question – is it something I must have to function?  Addicted to money – can’t get enough.  Sex/porn – and that voice that says, “you’re never going to be free of this.”  Stuff/toys – just go and buy something.  It takes my mind off what I don’t want to think about… “retail therapy”.  Accomplishments/awards/promotions – quickly we look to what accomplishment comes next.  Adrenaline – some of us are addicted to the rush.  Pain – some of us seek pain on purpose.  Other people – we’re addicted to hearing from them.

We are the most over-stimulated people in the history of mankind and bored at the same time.  We’re addicted to all manner of things.  We were created dependent on God for God.  We all have a dependent tendency.

The #1 addiction of all (I think) is the Approval of Others.  It really matters what other people think.  Instagram has a “like” box.  Post a picture and wait.  And wait.  You wait to see how many approvals you get.

If Instagram is where you’re getting your approval and it is your addiction … it will kill you.

What is it masking underneath that I don’t want to deal with?

Under the alcohol, drugs, materialism, money, accomplishments, sex, porn and approval of others there is usually something else.  And usually it is a person.  Someone in our world made us feel rejected, inflicted pain on us emotionally, psychologically, physically or relationally and made us feel inadequate, belittled, betrayed or abandoned.

Underneath all these drugs is a fear of failure – “I just can’t cope, and I need something to help me.”  Loneliness is under many of these addictions.  Focusing on why I am addicted to porn or to success or to the need for approval isn’t going to open the doors to break the addiction.  These addictions are symptoms of a deeper problem.  What you are running from is the deeper question.  Go to that root source.  The addictions you run to are medication for a deeper wound.  Healing comes when you face down the deeper wound and deal with it.

Unless I’m willing to look underneath the addictions and figure out what it is in my heart and face up to whatever it is, the giant of addiction is not going to fall in my life.


McManus“Consider it pure joy, my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance” James 1:2-4

You will face as many trials as there are colors in the spectrum.  It’d be boring to face the same issue over and over but many of you are.  You just keep repeating the same thing over and over.  You may not have figured this out yet, but you can’t escape a gauntlet you have to go through.  You cannot escape a trial you must go through.  If you keep running from it, you will just keep running back to it.

how much am I willing to give up?

“This is what the Lord says, ‘On the day that I cleanse you from your sins, I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and waste places to be rebuilt.  The desolate land will be cultivated instead of being a desolation in the sight of everyone who passes by…”

Observation – when your life is apart from God and the addictions have control, those that “pass by” will clearly see the desolation.  A man that is addicted to booze or addicted to self or addicted to finding pleasure … all those around him … know it…

But God will cause those waste places to be rebuilt … “They (those that pass by) will say, ‘This desolate land has become like the garden of Eden; and the waste, desolate, ruined places are now fortified and inhabited.”

Observation – when a man truly changes, when he hits the bottom and realizes consuming life for his own gratification is destroying him and those around him, when surrenders control of his life totally to God, he will flourish like the garden of Eden.  From a smoldering pile of ruin that no one wants to be around to a lush, fragrant garden that others are drawn to…

“Then those around you will know that I, the Lord, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted that which was desolate; I, the Lord, have spoken it and will do it.”  Ezekiel 36:33-36

Observation – a man that surrenders authority of his life to the Lord and walks it out daily in utter dependence on God for his needs and not the things of this world, that man will amaze.  That man will shock those that had previously observed him.  That man will transform from a mess to a miracle and all those around him will see it and know that only God could have done this.  That man … will become a hugely powerful testimony of, “just look at what God has in my life.”

So maybe you’ve screwed your life up.  Maybe, it is a complete, royal mess.  Maybe you’ll never get back those that you lost.  But don’t you believe for a minute that God is done with you and that your life can never have meaning.  The bigger the mess, the bigger the miracle.  God can do a miraculous work in your life starting right now, right this very instant.

All you have to do is let go.  Let go of “me”.  Let go of getting my way, controlling my outcomes, managing my reputation, making all the money I possibly can, going day to day looking for the next hit of self-indulgence, letting go of the need for approval from others, letting go of getting even or proving I am right.

All you have to do is surrender your life – all of it, every nook and cranny – to God.  Initial salvation, sure, I’m talking about that but I sense this goes way beyond that.  I’m talking to the man that has “always” been a Christian – the going to church, being good, never cheat on my wife kind of man.  I’m saying there is more.  More to give up to God.  More closed doors open to him, more territory to give him.

I loved you enough to give it all for you.  How much will you give for me?  How much of your life are you willing to give up to Me?