Do You Immediately Follow Jesus?



In a culture full of “me”, “mine”, and “right now” we seem to make priorities of everything but Jesus. Our phones fill every millisecond of our lives (guilty as charged) and we often complain about not “having enough time” for anything meaningful. This is a lie.

Something in Mark 1 struck me. My morning devotion has consisted of a 5x5x5 reading plan through the new testament. It starts in Mark and slowly works its way through the other gospels.

In Mark 1:17-18, Jesus calls the disciples, and the response is humbling:

 And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him.

Did you catch it? The word I want to zero-in on is “immediately”.

It seems that when we hear a notification, a phone ringing, or our favorite show is on, we are completely riveted. Nothing can shake our focus save for another digital activity that may draw us in deeper. Jesus calls us to drop everything and follow Him. Immediately.

You may say that it was the disciple who “decided” to follow with much haste. Maybe Jesus does not care how soon we follow? Another passage addresses this – Luke 9:59-60:

To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

This time, Jesus is the one who responds. The man wants to first live out his life, career, and inheritance before pursuing Jesus. Our Lord responds in typical blunt fashion, letting Him know that He must follow now. No plan B. No other way.

How many times have I lived like this? Begging God to let me achieve what I want in life before proclaiming His kingdom?

I long for the day when my first reaction is to proclaim God’s kingdom. When I read scripture, after I immediately DO it. What if pursuing God and pursuing the greatest pleasure possible in this life is the SAME journey? And what if our phones and our digital lifestyles can never satisfy the way Jesus can?

Maybe once I realize that Jesus is the greatest joy and pleasure in this life the “things of this world will grow strangely dim in the light of His Glory and Grace.” I pray the Holy Spirit would apply these truths to my heart.

He commands many things in scripture. But do we ever get farther than “love the Lord your God with all your heart…“? Our hearts immediately pursue other things. We must pray and ask Him to change our hearts to love Him alone.

Materialism and Jesus

I woke up this morning to a small dusting of snow on the roads. My wife went to work, and I cleaned the house. The best way to clean is listening to podcasts, in my opinion. My podcast of choice was Timothy Keller: Treasure vs. Money.  His analysis of our materialistic inclinations as Americans was quite astounding. Definitely worth a listen.

FHN Blog Quotes.png

My life is at a weird point. I am in a job I enjoy for the most part (auto technician) an I am heading up the shop’s social media as well. It is a cool job description, but still not what my end goal is.


I am also dabbling in helping other people grow their business brand. I do not have a whole lot of experience other than my business podcasts and building a small landscaping company that turned a decent profit over the summer. I am essentially learning as I go and seeing what works. Currently I am helping friends and family.

These thoughts brought a lot of insecurity to my soul. Questions ran through my head, wondering if i would be “stuck” at one job, or that I would regret not doing this or that.

It is no coincidence that as I was stressed and frustrated over my lack of “direction” in life, Tim Keller’s voice rang through the house as I was putting away the dishes. His challenge in his message was to reconsider all of your ideas of materialism. Most Americans do not consider themselves materialistic.

This thought challenged me, because I do not consider myself materialistic. But as He spoke and revealed Jesus’ words about money, The Holy Spirit revealed to me my indwelling materialism. What were my end goals for my business? For my job? For my life? Subconsciously it is to make money. Not to glorify God, not to make God look great, but rather to make money so I will not have to work as much. This is materialism.

The thing is, making money and aspiring to make a good living (by american standards) is not a bad thing. If my goal was to make more and work less so that I could serve the Lord in more sacrificial ways, then that is a good God-glorifying goal. But all my heart has been set on is that savings number we are shooting for.

As God checks my heart, it is so freeing to know that God is greater than all these things, and that the Holy Spirit can break down all materialism in our souls. This is so encouraging to me.

Tim Keller – Treasure Vs. Money

Instagram – Daily Inspirations

Facebook – Daily Biblical Inspiration

We Must Be a Broken People

Lighthousefellowship (1).jpg

Our Church has been finishing up a five-part series. The last of which was on the “perseverance of the saints”. This biblical idea basically means that though our salvation is secure, we as Christians will persevere in our faith until the end. We won’t throw our love for Christ aside, we won’t give Him up. Ultimately though, we recognize that God is the one at work within us, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

Contemplating this concept is difficult for me. God clearly calls us to turn from our sins and always be repenting and turning back to Christ. This being the fruit and proof of salvation. And then there’s the other side: it’s ultimately God who’s doing the perseverance in and through us. It’s crazy to think about!

However mind-boggling God’s sovereignty is, He is teaching us much through our Wednesday night home-groups through our church. We talk in a group of 12-18 and discuss the sermon from Sunday. We read through selected scriptures and open the floor for discussion. We eventually got on the topic of “how to recognize those who are persevering and those who are not”. Because, what sets good-works-salvation-bob apart from by-grace-through-faith-alone-Nolan? We externally do the same things, don’t we?

God led me back to a verse in Luke 18:10-14.


“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

This account is always a humbling reminder of what a broken heart before God looks like. It’s not flashy, it’s not proud or arrogant. It’s not perfect, It’s just broken.

We look at the pharisee and think he looks pretty good, by cultural standards. And the tax collector is pretty much the scum of the earth. At face value we could make a judgement call and say the Pharisee is “persevering”, but is he?

Jesus is getting deep here. The pharisee is pompous and arrogant before God, flaunting his spiritual “goodness” (aka filthy rags). He thanks God he’s not like other people. He thanks God He’s not like “those” people. He’s literally placing his good works on a false scale. This made up scale places the Pharisee as creator, the “other people” as the measured standard, and rigs it to go in his favor. He tries to “trick” God into thinking he’s good.

The contrast is this lowly tax collector. By societal standards, a thief, a swindler. The scum of the earth. But his prayer sounds much different. “be merciful to me, a sinner!” He recognized his sinfulness before God. He realized that he deserved nothing other than condemnation. And he physically expressed it by beating his chest is anguish over his separation from God. Naturally from the outside you’d think “this guys screwed up!” and he certainly was. But there’s a difference between these two screw-ups.

One was broken. One was not.

We have this idea in the Church that if we show our brokenness we will be shunned. And this should never be the case. This ‘scum of the earth’ Jesus was referring to was not scum to Him. But rather this man was the one who was saved in the end. Not the one who “looked good”.

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” – Psalm 51:17

An arrogant, thinks-they’re-put-together-person is not persevering in Christ. They are persevering by themselves.

A broken, contrite heart recognizes their own flaws. They turn to Christ for forgiveness and reveal themselves to be the truly persevering. And what does the latter example have that the former doesn’t? The Holy Spirit himself.

As a Church we must be a broken people. We must. Without brokenness and vulnerability what do we have? White-washed tombs and people not getting the spiritual nourishment they desperately need. We must be broken before we can be healed.

A Radical Response To the Gospel

As I was studying to teach the 7th and 8th grade lesson on Acts 19, I was struck with the Ephesian people’s response to a horrifying discovery: Their pagan magicians could not contend with the power of Jesus.

The sons of Sceva (the pagan magicians) were meddling in places they shouldn’t have been meddling. They saw all the wonders that Paul was saying and doing in Ephesus, and thought that all they needed to do was invoke the name of Jesus, and maybe they too would be able to command demons and heal the sick.

In verse 13 they try to command a demon, but what happened to them would horrify anyone who found their hope in pagan worship. The demon literally said “Jesus I know, Paul I recognize, but who are you?” and proceeded to beat them and strip them and send them running.

So now the high and mighty sons of sceva were brought low by the power of satan. And all the people finally understood – these men do NOT have the answers.

Though i’m taking some liberty, i can imagine the people were comparing the two people – Paul and the disciples vs. the sons of Sceva. The two don’t even compare! One can command demons and heal the sick in Jesus’ name, and the other? Well, they get beat to a pulp for even trying. Based on the response of the Ephesians, I can imagine they listened to what Paul was preaching and many of them believed.

The power of the gospel is greater than we realize. The transformative power in the hearts of people as a result of the gospel is apparent in this passage. They ended up burning 50,000 pieces of silver’s worth of pagan books! That’s right around $5,000,000 worth of idolatry.

That’s the equivalent to:

  • 185 Ford 2018 F-150 Trucks
  • 12,500 GoPro Hero 5 Blacks
  • or, 6,501 iPhone 7 Plus’s

As Christ said, “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”. I think the Ephesian people who believed the Gospel were beginning an act of repentance in burning this paganism out of their lives.

This echoed in the ears of the silversmiths, who crafted the idols. They would lose their livelihood, so what did they do? Well, they were going to lose their pride and money, so they rioted and chanted godless things. Sound familiar?

All this to say, a radical gospel changes people radically. You can’t have one foot in the world and one foot in holiness. You’re either being swept away in sin’s current, or your swimming against it in the Spirit’s power.

Do I have that ‘crazy’, ‘foolish’, ‘radicalized’ faith that the world looks down upon? Am i friends with the world? Or have i renounced my pagan practices (or maybe, addiction to money, entertainment, etc.) and allowed God to burn them out of my life?

The Bible makes clear that true disciples of Jesus make disciples, and look radically different from the world. Is this true of us?

My Trophies

Ever gone to that conference and got a ton of free books? Or perhaps your friends have some fantastic new titles that you really want to read. 20160430_120023.jpgI can relate to both. A couple of years ago my wife (then girlfriend) and I went to a counseling conference in Lafayette Indiana (read about here!). Of course I purchased many great books that are still sitting on my shelf collecting dust (besides one I’m currently reading).

I don’t know if it’s because I’m a slow reader, or perhaps I just don’t take the time to read each day, but I walked into my apartment and realized I’d only read about 10% of them. I had turned my Christian books into trophies, not tools. They had become pseudo status symbols of my walk with Christ, hoping people would assume that I’m an avid reader who devours great Christian authors.

God really convicted me on this and I’ve begun to be more diligent to read more. Self-discipline is something I need more of. Whether it be to stop watching Netflix and read, or take my work break to open the scriptures, I’m trying to commit to use my time in a more profitable way.

And I’m not saying owning books you don’t read is bad, I’m just saying for me, I found that I had become lazy and just bought them for a sub-conscience (now conscious) want to feel more spiritual or godly. But God’s shown me (quite obviously) that the only way they can help me grow in godliness is if I actually sit down and open the pages.



Where Am I Called?

The question of calling is something i wrestle with on a daily basis. Though I’m still quite young, I find myself stressing over where and what God is calling me to. For instance, am I called to where I am now, or am I called to somewhere else?  Or should I ditch that line of thinking entirely and just do something, hoping something will come out of it? Either way, this deep uncertainty is something that’s been heavy upon my soul.roadway-1081736.jpg

The first two things I know God has for us is to pay off debt and serve our Church (the latter will be a never-ending calling according to scripture!). What happens after gets a little foggier. For instance I’m considering doing online schooling for ministry training, but my only reservation is I don’t know in what capacity of ministry I would be best to serve in. All I know is I want to faithfully serve a local Church until the day I die, whether vocationally or layperson.

Along with uncertainties about my lifelong vocation, I’m uncertain about where that will be fleshed out. Will it be where I am now? Somewhere else? I do feel a certain pull towards somewhere in this moment, but discerning whether it’s the “right” way is the difficult part.

Amidst uncertainties, my greatest comfort is God’s perfect sovereignty. He does have me right where I am for a reason, I may never know that reason, but according to Romans 8, there is one. Whether I make the “right” or “wrong” decision, God will be working in it for my good and His Glory.


Reading Scripture Feels Like Life

I wish i could say I’m always exceedingly excited each morning to read my Bible. But I’m not. I’m excited that God will somehow use it, but sometimes I don’t see God’s purpose behind it. Reading the Bible doesn’t always feel as clear and personal as it should.

When David didn’t understand what he was going through, He literally had to tell himself to hope in God. Trust in God. Rely on God. He didn’t see God in his suffering in Psalm 43:5 and in turn lost his hope. He had to cry out to his own soul to hope in God, for he would praise him again. But in that moment, he felt distant and without hope. bible-1021657_1920.jpgHe didn’t see what God was doing.

In the same way there are seasons in each of our lives where we may be reading through a book that we particularly resonate with, for me it’s Romans. Many other times we may be reading elsewhere and it becomes more difficult (though not impossible) to see God’s purpose and how it relates to ourselves as a believers. In my chronological trek through scripture I just read near the end of Genesis 19 where some pretty terrible things occurred. How can God have a purpose through such terrible things?

As i reflected on this it made me think of our lives as a whole.
There are ups and downs, mountains and valleys, times where we have a clear purpose and times where we feel that we’re getting nowhere. It’s a lot like our daily time with God. We’re building a relationship.

Relationships require work, and for example as a husband, I do genuinely want to love and cherish my wife. But many times it doesn’t come easily, so I have to remind myself of my commitment and devotion and pray for guidance and a
new-found desire to serve her.

In the same way when we spend time with God in his word we have to remind ourselves during those valley moments that God is at work in even the most obscure and seemingly unclear passages. We need to be praying that the Holy Spirit ignite a desire for His word even through those more boring or difficult moments.

Sometimes it’s a self-inflicted season of discouragement. We may be giving in to a particular sin and the Holy Spirit is grieved and as such we don’t get as much clarity and depth as we usually do in our devotions. I’ve personally seen this manifested in many ways.

2nd Timothy 3:16 reminds us that all scripture is God-breathed. Literally directly from God. All of it is useful for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness. God has a purpose for every word in scripture. So when we read something that doesn’t seem very meaningful, we must remind ourselves that God is at work in this text. So take heart, If God can work through an unclear verse, He can work in your life’s seemingly “meaningless” moments too!