O Lord, melt the heart of stone


Jonah 4:1-3


Some years ago Christ spoke to me in a very personal way when I was facing some challenges in my life and family. We were facing the prospect after the 9/11 terror of attacks being mobilized to Iraq. “Nathan, do not despise that which I have ordained”.

Jonah was between a rock and a hard place. His feelings (or lack of) for the people of Nineveh and his heart toward God were in conflict. Jonah wanted to obey God, yet he also knew that God would do as He promised. Nineveh would be spared and thus the people would be saved.

Amazing Grace flowed that day from God toward Nineveh and also to Jonah. Yet Jonah’s heart was increasing becoming hardened. Why? He was looking at the circumstances and not the God who controls the circumstances. Maybe Alfred Lord Tennyson states the softened heart of the call to share Christ with the world the best “ Ours is not to reason why Ours is but to do and die”.

Westminster Shorter Catechism States that the Chief End of Man is to Glorify God and Enjoy Him Forever.  Because God transforms you and me by Grace we can say God is most Glorified in Me when I am most satisfied in Him. Christ calls us to action. The results belong to Him. However my joy is dependent on my action and no matter the results I will not despise that which God has ordained.


Think on this: every child of God is either headed into a hard time, presently in a hard time, or currently coming out of a hard time. Relationships, health, finances and ministry all belong to Christ. Maybe like Jonah you are saying I don’t want to go through what you are asking, Lord. Look to God who gave Nineveh and Jonah mercy and grace, because he has the same waiting on the other side of you trial for you.



Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether preaches, let us preach according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teaches, on teaching; Or he that exhorts, on exhortation: he that gives, let him do it with simplicity; he that rules, with diligence; he that shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

(Rom 12:6-8)


I love the way Paul states verse 6. (my paraphrase) “As Christ divinely works in our lives by Grace thru faith we are to let Christ through for the whole world to see!  Jesus tells us  (Mat 5:14-15)

(sermon on the mount) Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

Our focus this week is on the movie Frozen which Queen Elsa fears the power with in and attempts to conceal  who she truly is.  I look back on my life and how many times I have in advertently quenched the Spirit of God and attempted to hide the works of the Holy Spirit. Paul reveals to us this today that Christ works through many manifestations in our lives: preaching, teaching, serving, exhorting, giving, leadership, and mercy.  LET IT GO! Cast of the fear of rejection. We all need each other to share the works of Christ in our lives.

Imagine next Sunday what Cypress would look like if we all let the Grace of God flow through us in this list of wonderful works. Imagine the impact we would see in a single week.

RESPOND        Let Go! Let God!

Paul list a number of actions the Holy Spirit uses in out lives. Choose three from the list that you would say “that motivates me!”

  1. Now pray for the Holy Spirit to draw someone into your life to minister to. All but two are one-on-one encounters with another person. Preaching and leadership are group ministry. Pray for wisdom in all these wonderful works. Then give thanks for the great things He has done!

We are people of purpose

One of the greatest tragedies in this world occurs when an ageing generation believes that the only way something can be done is what they know and disengage the current world affairs believing they have been abandoned and washed up. Assisted living facilities have become a grave yard of great ideas and potential leadership. Change is every generation’s nemesis or to some the greatest opportunities yet to be discovered.

My desire is that we can reclaim the Hope once lost, embrace the change we cannot stop and rise to a new level of maturity. I believe that each generation exist for a purpose even as each individual exist for a purpose. There are no has been people in the Kingdom of God. There are only people of purpose.

20 seconds of insane courage

READ: Romans 10:13-15 NIV
“For, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How, then, can the call on the one they have not believed in? And How can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’”

Romans 10: 13-15 gives us a picture of a person on official business. Companies send representatives to prospective clients to demonstrate the latest and newest ideas, philosophies, science, or technologies for the purpose of change and advancement. The conversation usually goes like this: “This will revolutionize the way you do business”. They offer a solution to a problem, a new challenge or new and improved way to advance the clients’ success. The representative is an ambassador or emissary of sorts from the manufacturer to the client. They carry good news. They are sent.
Are we any different? Not at all. We all fit into this picture. Someone was sent. Someone told us about Jesus. Someone represented Jesus demonstrating the Love of God for the purpose of change and advancement. Now we are that person who has the good news and we are sent.

“I think sometimes if we knew… if we could see what God had planned for people… what they could be… what God had prepared for them… what they would accomplish through them… that would give us the confidence to go be a bridge builder” –Pastor Ken
Someone demonstrated courage to see us not as we are rather as God sees us “a person in need of a savior.”
When you look back on your life, the trials and tribulations, the challenges and opportunities, you’ll probably recognize the critical circumstances hung delicately balanced on the razors edge of uncertainty. On one side is the deep hole of some inexpressible failure, and the other, some apparently enormous achievement. What keeps us from diving into the deep water or what causes us to take the plunge?

“You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.” ― Benjamin Mee, We Bought a Zoo
Maybe 20 seconds of “insane courage or embarrassing bravery” is what we all need.
5 seconds: “Do you have plans for next Friday/Saturday/Sunday?”
5 seconds: “May I ask you a question that is very important to me?”
5 seconds: “Would you be my guest/join me for church next Friday/Saturday/Sunday?”
5 seconds: “I can drop by and pick you up or you can follow me”

1. Romans 10:13-15 tells us the messengers have Good news. What is the Good news in these verses?
2. Read Matthew 28:18-20. What promises do we have in these verses when we share the good news? Where does our courage come from?
3. Do you believe that Jesus can and will use you to be a messenger to someone in your neighborhood, at work, or family member? Why?
4. Recall the person who shared Jesus with you. What did they do or say? How can you muster the same courage they did to share with someone else?
5. Read John 14:15-27. Where does the source of our courage come from? Who is the Holy Spirit and how does God use him in our lives?

“Lord Jesus, give me the courage that was given to the person who shared you with me. I want to share your love with ___________. “

Why do bad things happen?

Why do bad things happen?
John 9:1-3 (whole chapter if you have time)

I have never been satisfied with the common answer that bad things happen because we live in a world of sin. Though consequences both good and bad are results of decisions made I have always struggled with the idea that bad things happen for some unknown reason. I believe that scripture has the answer to this question and Christ intends for us to live in a world that is fallen with out fear of bad things and with hope that He has full control of “all things”.

John chapter 9 tells a marvelous story of design purpose and extended mercy in a world fallen to sin. A blind man from birth sits along a road side begging for money and food. We meet this man through a conversation the disciples of Jesus has pertaining to the man’s bad circumstances. They debate that this man is blind due to his sin or the sin of his parents. However Jesus steps in with words of compassion and encouragement. This man was chosen before the foundation of the world to be blind and to sit on this road in order to meet The Son of God. This meeting would show that the children of God are purposed and circumstances were designed to display the power and authority of God to the whole world. We are not accidents and the events in our lives are not accidents. Yes we live in a world that is destructive and corrupt. However Christ has power over the world and its circumstances. The momentary sufferings in this life are not to be compared to the Glory, mercy, and Grace of Christ now or forever.


What are your circumstances that are weighing you down? Could it be that Christ is using these things to grow your faith and use your experience to help a brother or sister through their circumstances?

Dig deeper
I don’t know about you. I would rather know that the bad things in this life are under control than to believe that they are out of control and destruction waits at my door to devour me and my family at anytime. Romans 8 gives us courage that all things good and bad work for our best interest at all times. Read Romans 7, 8, 9. You will find Paul struggles just as we do with life and sin. His life story gives us encouragement to meet another day no matter the circumstances.

For the Praise of the Glory of Grace