My Jesus I Love Thee

My Jesus I Love Thee

Stephen LaVine -- My Jesus I Love Thee

I am constantly amazed at how breathing new life into something old can make it take on new life.  Think about your life prior to Jesus, aren't you glad God breathed that breath of redemptive grace in you through the Holy Spirit?  Aren't you glad for that transformation?  Often worship leaders, like my good friend and fellow Catching Creation team member, Stephen LaVine will take something old and make it new.  In this case, Stephen took the 19th century hymn "My Jesus I Love Thee" and put his own original acoustic spin on it.

Stephen's heart for worship and giftedness in both musicianship and vocal ability have constantly left my jaw on the floor.  "That boy can saaaang" as my country brethren from Stephen's neck of the woods would say.  I am honored and blessed to get to work with Stephen on Catching Creation videos as well as the occasional tag team for a ministry event but most of all I'm humbled to have this talented guy as one of my closest friends.  We will be featuring some of his music on the weekly Catching Creation episodes once we roll out the new format later this year.

Check out his amazing rendition of "My Jesus I Love Thee" below, share it with a friend, and subscribe to his youtube channel because you're not going to want to miss all that he has in store this upcoming fall!

Are You On The Right Path?

 Are You On The Right Path?

 

Have you ever heard the statement “all paths lead to God?”  I was recently hiking at a place I had not previously hiked before and realized I didn’t know which path actually led to the place I wanted to go.  If I used the logic that all paths would lead me to the goal I set out to find, I can only imagine where I would end up.  The problem with that statement is that all paths eventually do lead to God, but all paths don’t allow you to stay in his presence.  We will all be judged for the actions and choices we make in this life and we will all eventually meet the creator of the universe, so in that regard I can agree that all paths lead to God.  The problem is, however, if we don’t accept Jesus and are cleansed of our sins by his blood, God’s justice requires that we will be eternally separated from His presence.  It's not God's wish that any of us spend eternity in Hell but we are already condemned if we don't accept the free gift of salvation He sent by way of his crucified son.

Jesus says in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” God has given us a way out, a way to the right path, through His son Jesus Christ.  We have the opportunity in this life to be forgiven and placed back in right standing with God if we accept the sacrifice of His son.  If you’re seeking to find the right path and don’t want to just be lost in the woods, I encourage you to look to Jesus.  He is the way, the only way!  Are you on the right path?

If you liked this devotional be sure to pick up a copy of "Whispers In The Woods" to have a collection of 52 similar devotionals for your spiritual growth and encouragement.  Click HERE to order a copy!

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Snake Handling Preacher

One of the funniest questions that I often hear in regards to my ministry is "you aren't one of those snake handling preachers are you?" How do I even answer that one? The answer is obviously yes I am a snake handling preacher but not like that, well sort of like that, ok exactly like that but not the same. You see I do handle snakes in my ministry, I often find myself handling venomous snakes when I am preaching and I have probably preached more times with reptiles than without, but it's not exactly what you think. The long and the short of it is that I don't bring venomous snakes into churches when I preach but I do often find myself amazed by their beauty and purpose when I am in the field doing the documentary side of my ministry. I believe that ALL things God created are not only good but VERY good and snakes aren't to be excluded from the list of things created that are VERY Good. 

We all have a purpose and God has a plan for each one of us. Did you know that the venom from certain snake species like the Southern Copperhead are actually being used to save lives. Wow! Isn't that amazing! It's not the snakes that are bad, or even their venom, it's simply the context in which the venom is received. Its the same principle with Christians. It's not the Christian that is bad or even the words that are spoken from them that are wrong, it usually is simply the context in which it is received. Venom in the wrong context, delivered in anger and hostility, is received not as life giving but as life taking. That seems to also relate to our presentation of the Gospel sometimes. If it is delivered in the wrong context, out of a place of pride, anger or hostility it will be received as something other than life giving. I'm not saying that we have to water the Gospel down nor am I saying that we sugar coat anything when presenting our case for Christ. I am saying that we should check our motives and understand why we are presenting the Gospel. If we are using scripture to Lord over other people that happen to sin differently than we do, then maybe our context is wrong. If we are putting ourselves on a pedestal and talking down to unbelievers, are we doing it in the spirit of Christ or does that fall somewhere in the selfish ambition category?

I absolutely believe that Jesus loves you, yes you! I believe he wants to come to know you and I believe Jesus wants Christians to imitate and be ambassadors for Christ. I believe that our actions speak a million times louder than our words and that a kind word of encouragement will go a long way further with someone than pointing out the flaws they know they have. My prayer is that the church will stop pointing out the faults of the world, remove the planks from our own eyes, and encourage people to get to know the Jesus of the Bible and not the Jesus created by Christian culture. As a good friend of mine will often say, "we need to stop reading our Bibles as Americans and start reading it as Christians." I believe if we really loved Jesus like we say we do, then we would learn to love others the way Jesus loves us. Thank you Jesus for the grace you offered me as a lost sinner and I pray I can offer the same grace to others and patiently walk with them while they figure out this thing we call the Gospel.