Don’t Sit in the Fire

Do you have a fire-retardant blanket in your home? A house fire isn’t something any of us ever want to happen, but there are tools we can have on hand to protect ourselves in case it does. A fire-retardant blanket is one of those tools, and it is designed to cover you as you move through the flames so that you can get to safety.

You wouldn’t get the blanket and just sit down on the floor, would you? No, you’d want to use it to get out of the fire as fast as you could! But so many of us treat God’s grace in the same way. We think of it just as a blanket that covers our sin, when really it is so much more. The grace of God, His unmerited favor upon our lives, isn’t permission to sit in your sin, in the flames, and never change. Grace is an empowering agent that God lavishes upon our lives; it’s a tool that covers you on the way out.

Titus 2:11-14 says, “For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.”

Stop just covering up with grace. If you use it as it’s designed to be used, you will get out of your current condition and be free to live life again. Flames will come at you, but God has given you what you need to make it through. His grace sets us free and enables us to be what God has created us to be. Let the unmerited favor of God flow in your life so that His love can flow in and through your life.

Watch my full teaching called “Turn Up Love” for more.

Why You Should Be Baptized

2 Timothy 1:7—For God has not given us a spirit of fear or timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

Baptism is a picture of the transformation that takes place in a person’s life once they come to know Jesus. And it is an amazing way to show that because of the work Jesus has done in your life, you have a spirit of power instead of one of fear or timidity.

Some people think that what they wear to their baptism, or the water they are baptized in, is the biggest part of it. But baptism isn’t the end goal—instead, it’s only the beginning! It’s one of the most important steps a follower of Christ can take, because it is an announcement to the rest of the world that their life is under new management. Sin and death don’t have the same power over them anymore. Instead, they have the same power that rose Jesus from the dead at work in their life.

Baptism is a reminder for you of the decision you made to come to Jesus and of the change He made in your life, and for others of the reason you have new or different disciplines in your life now. Baptism is a snapshot for the world to see that now, your identity is in Christ. No matter what you were like in your past, He has made you a new creation. When you go under the water, it’s symbolizing your old self dying just as Jesus died—you are burying your old nature, and the Holy Spirit is taking over. When you come up out of the water, it’s symbolizing Jesus’ resurrection and the new life and new direction He has given you. When people ask you why you were baptized, you get the opportunity to share His story with them, and the change He has made in you.

And, by being baptized, you are joining in a special bond with other Christ followers. There are Christians all over the world; we come in different skin colors and nationalities and sometimes we speak different languages. We are male, female, young, and old. We have different occupations, backgrounds, and talents.

But one thing that all Christ followers have in common is Jesus. Ephesians 4:4-6 says, “For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all.” We are here to help one another on this journey. In a world where we are called to stand out, God has given us a group of people, His Church, to be there to encourage us and cheer us on. Baptism expresses to this group that we are all in, fully committed, to them.

Have you announced to the world your commitment to and identity in Jesus through baptism? If you haven’t, it’s time to put the past behind you and show the world the spirit of power, love, and self-discipline God has given to you.

Watch my full teaching on baptism.

Unshakable Hope

Have you ever been in the middle of a troubling circumstance and prayed to God to ask Him for a miracle? It’s normal for us to ask for a miracle for something we want to happen. But often, our view of God’s miracles and His view of His miracles are very different.

People who are going to climb mountains make sure that they are prepared. They’ll make sure they have a good rope to safely repel off the sides of cliffs. Their rope is like our faith in God.

But what good is the rope without something strong to anchor it to? A mountain climber wouldn’t repel with a rope that’s just connected to a tiny, two-pound rock; a rock like that isn’t going to do them much good. Instead, they’d choose an unmovable rock, one that can easily hold their weight.

God wants to give us a solid hope to anchor our faith to. Our faith isn’t meant to be like an aimless rope the moment something bad happens to us; it should be tied off to a hope that is unshakable.

When Jesus came to Earth, He performed many miracles for the people of that day. But the purpose of those miracles wasn’t just to fix physical problems. All of Jesus’ miracles point us to the promises of God, to give us a hope to firmly anchor our faith to. He wants us to know that in the end, everything will be okay. No matter what happens in this life, we have an amazing future with God to look forward to. He is going to make all things new, even Earth. His miracles are like snapshots, giving us just a taste of the future, and reminding us that the best is still yet to come.

Watch my full teaching, “Miracles to Manifest”.

Eternal Eyes

Not long ago I spent a long day with something irritating my eyes. I couldn’t figure out what in the world was bothering them! At about 4am that night God woke me up and I went to the mirror to get a close-up look at my eyes. Now, I wear the type of contacts that I have to change out daily, and I thought I’d done that the previous morning. But it turns out, I had put a new contact in with the old one rolled up in the bottom of my eye.

Contacts are supposed to help you see better, but wearing two of them only made my eyesight worse. God spoke to my heart as I look in my mirror—trying to look through two lenses doesn’t work. I’d been trying to view life through the old and the new at the same time, but that only caused irritation, frustration, and blurriness.

What you envision is what you become. If you have placed your faith and trust in Jesus, He has salvaged you. You are redeemed—restored—and been made new through Him. Your old life has gone and the new has come—but maybe you’re still trying to look at life through the old lens.

All of us are born with a sin nature. To sin means to miss the bullseye of God’s glorious standard—none of us are perfect, and that’s why we need Jesus. When you become a Christ follower, He starts teaching you how to live with the new nature He’s given you. But our hearts and minds are still trained for our old way of life. It’s easy for us to want to keep that old contact in and try to live life looking through the lenses of both our old and new natures.

With Jesus, we have the opportunity to look at life through an eternal lens. Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” God gave us His Word so that we can begin to learn how to see from His vantage point. It is the lens that helps give us eternal focus. When all we can see is the problems in our life, it’s time to get rid of that old lens and swap in the eternal lens that comes from faith and hope in God and His love for us.

Watch the full teaching of “Eternal Eyes”.

Heart for the House

This past weekend, we had a special weekend called Heart for the House weekend. During these services I and my wife Kim explained the history of Barefoot Church and the heart, vision, and mission behind everything that we do. For a more in-depth look at this, watch the Heart for the House message.

For now, I just want to talk about our logo. The logo of Barefoot Church isn’t just some cool-looking symbol, but actually has deep meaning attached to every line. The top of the logo is an L to represent our life, and bottom of the logo is a C, representing Christ as the foundation of our life. If a building has a weak foundation, it won’t be able to withstand storms. We want Christ to be the cornerstone, the foundation, of everything that we do. Storms will come, but with His strength we will be able to make it through them.

The edges of the logo symbolize that we want to bring everything about our lives into alignment with God and what He has planned for our lives. God has a plan for your life, and by aligning your life with Him, you will be able to fulfill that mission. And the point at the top of the logo are the crest, showing that when we do bring ourselves into alignment with what God has laid out for us to do, He elevates us so that we can reach our full God-potential. Through Him, we can all do more than we ever thought we could do. It only takes trusting Him enough.

If you don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus yet, then you may not understand what I’m talking about here. If that is something you believe you want to do, read what Romans 10:9 says: “If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Jesus came to the earth because sin—our misses in life, those things we do or don’t do that miss the bullseye of God’s glorious standard—left a gap between God and humanity. According to God, the penalty or wages of sin is death.

But, Jesus came, lived a perfect life free of sin, and died a brutal death on the cross. Since He was perfect, He covers the penalty of all our sin—past, present, and future. He demonstrated His unlimited power by resurrecting from the grave, showing that even death can’t hold Him back. And when we put our faith in who Jesus is and what He has done, He salvages us from the wreckage of our sin and makes us a new creation. We can have security in knowing that we belong to God for eternity, and nothing can take us away from Him.

No matter who you are, know that God has a place for you among His people, the Church. If you’re local to the North Myrtle Beach area, we would love to connect with you in person. If not, I invite you to watch our services at our online campus, find a community of believers in your city to do life with, or both. God didn’t create us to do life alone, so don’t keep yourself from finding people who will support and encourage you on this journey called life.

Watch the teaching my wife, Kim, and I shared during Heart for the House Weekend.

The Wheelbarrow

Charles Blondin was an acrobat from the 1800s. One day, he had a cable stretched across Niagara Falls, and a crowd gathered around to watch him walk across this tightrope. The first time, he tied a blindfold around his eyes and asked the crowd if they thought he could do it. They cheered their agreement, and he started to walk across. When he made it to the other side safely, the crowd applauded.

Then, Blondin grabbed a wheelbarrow, and asked the audience if they trusted that he had the ability to make it across the tightrope, blindfolded and pushing a wheelbarrow. Everyone cheered, excited to watch him do this dangerous trick.

So, he put the blindfold on, got up to the tightrope, and asked the crowd one more question: “How much do you trust me? Who wants to get in the wheelbarrow?”

You can bet that there weren’t as many cheers from the crowd when faced with that question. They had all cheered their encouragement for Blondin to attempt the feat, but when asked if they believed in him enough to put their own lives in his hands, they were more hesitant.

Jesus wants that level of trust from us. If you’re a believer in Him, do you trust that you’re a part of the Church? That you’re a part of a group of people whose purpose is to change the world? Would you get in the wheelbarrow?

If you’re going to fulfill your purpose, your heart has to be open to the will of God. And a willing heart has trust as its foundation. It builds on what supports it. So what is your stance? What are you standing on? Everything in the world is competing for our attention, so we need to make sure that we are standing on something strong, something worth putting our complete trust into.

Getting in the wheelbarrow is the first step to fulfilling your God destiny. Stand on who God is, who He says you are, and what He has called you to do with your life.

For the full context surrounding today’s illustration, watch “Heart Guard” now.

Back to the Heart

At Barefoot Church on October 28 and 29, we are going to have a special weekend called Heart for the House Weekend. At each of our services that week, I’ll be sharing the heart and vision behind why Barefoot exists, and why we do everything that we do.

The reason we’re having Heart for the House Weekend is that sometimes we get so busy doing things that we forget the reason we started in the first place. Before my family and I started Barefoot fourteen years ago, God put a vision in my heart of a church with thousands of people all worshiping God together every single weekend. And that is still the vision we have all these years later.

But life gets messy sometimes, doesn’t it? It doesn’t always go the way we planned. People come and people go, things don’t happen as fast as we want them to happen. It can cause us to become stagnant. Trust me, I understand—I’ve been there recently. When we don’t see how God’s plan is working, our faith might begin to grow weak in what God showed us when we first started out on this journey with Him. Have you ever experienced anything like that?

So what are we supposed to do when we want a harvest but no fruit is growing? It takes victorious faith. The reality is that when we belong to Jesus and are citizens of God’s Kingdom, we live in between two worlds. We’re living in physical bodies in a physical world, but we know a spiritual world. So when all we do is feed what we see physically and ignore our spiritual health, our faith grows weaker and weaker.

Sometimes the Enemy will try to remind us of who we were before the day, and we begin to default back to that. But remember: the past is in the past, and the future is ahead. God made you anew and has called you to a holy calling. We have to stay true to our God-given purpose no matter what happens in this physical world.

We have to come back to the beginning when we first came to Jesus. When was the day He invaded your life to change your forever? When was the day your faith connected with Jesus’ amazing grace? Focus on why you started on this journey with Him, and never let yourself lose sight of the vision.

Watch the full teaching for “Back to the Heart”.

Forgiven to Flow

I believe that in our culture, we’ve made Christianity casual. We hear that we can listen and obey God if we want to but you know, we don’t have to; just pray a prayer and we’ll go to heaven when we die, and between now and then everything will be just fine.

But God created us to do more than just live—He wants us to flow. When God created humans, He made us in His image to be reflections of Him to the rest of the earth. At our beginning, humans were in perfect unity with God. But then, sin entered the picture. When we sin, it means we miss the mark of God’s glorious standard. And that sin, those misses in our lives, separate us from God.

Imagine that God is a pipe with water flowing through it. We were created to continue that flow of water. But our sin cuts us off from the rest of the pipe; God is still flowing, but we’re just a piece of pipe with no connection to the water source. So how are we supposed to flow if we aren’t connected to God?

John 7:37-39—On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)

Jesus is the connector that glues us back to God. He is the well of living water that will never run dry. Ask yourself: is God flowing through me? Have I made the connection? When our lives are flowing, we do more than just live–we can fulfill the purpose that God set in place for us long ago.

You can’t duct tape your way to God with things like attending church, doing good deeds, taking communion, or giving money. Those are all good things, but they don’t fix the real problem in our lives—our sin. But when we put our faith in Jesus, He forgives us of our sin. By giving our lives over to Him, we’re teaming up with Him to allow the fresh, living water of God to flow through us.

Watch the full teaching for Forgiven to Flow.

Real Love

John 15:9-12—I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.

What comes to your mind when you think of love? We typically love in the same way that love has been expressed to us. If we’ve only ever seen examples of human love, the kind of love that sometimes fails, then our image of love has faltered.

But when we have experienced the love that God gives us, we understand what love is really supposed to be. You’ve probably heard of John 3:16, even if you don’t know what it is. Look at what it says: “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” God sent Jesus to Earth to provide us with eternal life. Jesus lived a perfect human life before dying a painful death on the cross. He loves us enough that it was worth it.

Jesus expressed this powerful love because of who He is, regardless of where we are. God doesn’t decide to love us based on what we’re doing right now—He already loves you where you are, no matter what you did yesterday, last week, or twenty years ago. But, He also loves us enough to want to help us grow and mature, so that we can become all He created us to be and do all He has planned for us to do.

When you place your faith in Jesus, you are given the responsibility to produce. All of us have an important role to play in the Church, and no matter what your role is, your ultimate purpose is to point people to God. That’s the main thing. When you’ve experienced the supernatural love of God, you understand how far true love will go. It gives its best and overtakes the world. Nothing will outlast His love. God is looking for His people to step up and permeate Earth with His glory, His heart, and His amazing love.

This post was inspired by my latest weekend message called “Re:Main”. Watch the full teaching here.

There Is Hope

Sometimes, it can feel like the world is falling apart because of all the bad news. In just the past few weeks, we’ve seen hurricanes and earthquakes devastate parts of our nation and others. Have you ever wanted to provide aid, but felt so overwhelmed by what feels like an endless amount of people needing help that you ended up doing nothing?

There are so many people affected by destruction of all kinds that it can be difficult to decide who we should help. And often when bad events happen, people turn to the Church. What is the Church going to do? How is the Church going to respond?

But if you’re asking that question and you’re already a follower of Jesus, you should be looking into a mirror. Every one of us is a part of the Church—you don’t have to be employed in ministry full-time in order to be a minister. None of us have the resources to help everybody, but when devastation strikes, talk to God. And when He gives you a clear vision, act on it!

Imagine what would happen if every Christian on the planet fulfilled their God-given purpose to the best of their ability. All kinds of things will try to distract us from the call that God has on our lives, so if we try to do it with our own power, the discouragement and devastation will destroy. Us. But through the supernatural power of God in us, we can be more determined than ever to stand up and show God’s glory to the hearts of people.

We are all called to ministry to help people discover who God is and who they can be in Him. What God wants the Church—all of His people—to do in difficult, destructive, or devastating times is to press through the challenges and get people’s attention, not because we’re great, but because He is.

Watch the full teaching for There Is Hope.