Thankful

One day I asked my son, “Justice, what are you thankful for?” When I asked him that he started to name who he is thankful for. He didn’t name things, he named people. He reminded me what really matters. People matter. You matter, I am thankful for you. I am thankful that you stopped by my blog for a quick read. I hope it encourages you. This blog is not about me, it’s for you. I am thankful for the relationships God has allowed me to have. The scriptures teach us that we enter into God’s presence with thanksgiving. The scriptures teach us to live with an attitude of gratitude. We are taught that it’s God’s will that we are always thankful. When we are thankful we live with the correct perspective, we live from God’s presence toward our circumstances.

Jesus was teaching the multitudes for several days. They were hungry and so the disciples wanted to send them away. Jesus commanded the disciples to feed the multitudes. What he commanded them to do was impossible in the natural. They found a boys lunch. The lunch was brought to Jesus, he lifted it to heaven, thanked God for it, blessed it and gave it to his disciples to pass out to the multitudes. There were 5,000 men in attendance not counting women and children. Thankfulness is what opened the door to the impossible and through the obedience of faith the miraculous was manifested. When we are thankful we are inviting God to invade our circumstances with his power and provision. I am thankful that God will finish the work that he began in us. You can be thankful to Jesus and confident in his work in you. What he has began he will complete so don’t quit.

Getting Unstuck 

God is not in control 

The Pressure Relief Valve of Prayer

Perspective is Everything 

Our perspective is what we perceive about reality. The cold hard truth about that is either we are correct or we are deceived. Our perspective is where we operate from. Our perspective determines how we relate to others, ourselves and our circumstances.

Jesus of Nazareth, according to the scriptures, was the rightful heir to the throne of King David. Although Jesus was not a citizen of Rome he did pay taxes. Even though he paid taxes he did not receive a fair trial. The Roman guards came to get Jesus at night when he was out of the sight of the masses. There was nothing just about his trial or his sentence. Not only was he the rightful heir to the throne of David, he was completely innocent. While he was hanging on a cross one of the men hanging next to him looked at Jesus and said, “Lord remember me in your kingdom.” (Luke 23:42). The perspective of that man was correct. Although Jesus was in the same circumstances as him, he knew that he was guilty and that Jesus was innocent. He looked at a naked Nazarene and saw a king. This same man knew that he deserved to be on the cross. He assumed responsibility for his actions. He acknowledged Jesus as Lord and that acknowledgement gave him access to paradise.

The other thief did not have the right perspective. He said to Jesus, “If you are the Christ save yourself and us.” (Luke 23:39). This thief looked at Jesus and did not see a savior or a king. This thief failed to understand that he was not a victim of Rome, he failed to take responsibility for his actions, and he failed to see who Jesus really was. Perspective is everything. If we want to see reality correctly we must first assume responsibility for our actions. Second, we must acknowledge our need for Jesus. Third, we must ask him, in prayer, to have mercy on us and remember us in his Kingdom.

Overcoming Emotionalism

Choices are more powerful than feelings.

Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it — lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’? Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple. (Luke 14:25-33 NKJV) 

My emphasis will be on the words that are bold. Here Jesus is talking about the cost of discipleship. If you read the gospels carefully you will find that Jesus never looked for half hearted followers. He was always looking for the totally committed, those who would be fully given. Often people make decisions based out of emotions. Which means they make commitments they don’t intend to keep. We have all done this at one time or another. It is crucial to know that we can overcome our feelings with faith that is rooted in the truth.

Jesus uses two illustrations that make his point clear.

  1. You don’t build a tower that you don’t have enough money to finish. That is not faith its presumption. Presumption is usually rooted in selfish ambition. We should not make decisions based out of ambition because the decisions will always be unrealistic. The emotion of ambition will not lead you into a decision, it will lead you into a disaster. The fruit of that disaster will be shame. Don’t let ambition decide your trajectory, let faith decide your capacity and let integrity chart your course.
  2. You don’t start a fight you can’t win. Anger causes people to start fights they can’t win. We need to check ourselves before we make a decision from a place of anger. Anger will cause you to get into things you may not walk away from.

To make it clear we need to count the cost of our commitments before we make them. It is critical that we don’t make decisions or commitments based out of emotions when we haven’t counted the cost. Ambition and Anger can cause us to commit to building something we can’t finish or fight a battle we can’t win. Counting the cost is actually what helps us prepare to pay the price. Similar to stretching before you exercise. When we prepare ourselves we are actually positioning ourselves to succeed.

What defines you?

You are not what you have. You are not what you don’t have. You are not where you live. You are not what you drive. You are not what you feel. You are not what happened to you. You are not what didn’t happen for you. You are not what others have said about you. You are created in the image and likeness of God. Out of the world’s 7.4 billion people no two people have the same fingerprints. You are unique. You are valuable. You were created for a purpose that God himself planned for you to do before the world began. The value of something is determined by what someone will pay for it. You are priceless. God gave his very best (Jesus) for you. You matter. You can define yourself by your assets or your debts. You can define yourself by your circumstances or choices. Or you can value yourself and interpret your circumstances in light of who you are to Jesus.


“For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles.” (Ephesians 3:1 NKJV)
Paul the Apostle wrote this while he was in prison in Rome. Paul did not call himself a prisoner of Rome although he was in a Roman prison. Paul identified himself as a prisoner of Christ. He defined himself in light of his most valuable relationship. He identified himself in light of who he was to Jesus and who Jesus was to him. He refused to be a victim. Because he had the right perspective of his circumstances he was able to receive revelation in his circumstances. His place of limitation became his place of revelation. Later, in his letter to the Ephesians as Paul looked at a Roman soldier, what he saw was actually the Armor of the Lord. He was free enough to receive revelation from those who were holding him captive. Paul refused to have a chip on his shoulder in the midst of the injustice that he was experiencing. In Rome people didn’t serve long prison sentences. They were beaten, killed or let go. He was actually in prison waiting to be sentenced. He was guilty until proven innocent. Instead of feeling sorry for himself he chose to show concern for others and so he wrote Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians. What if your place of limitation was actually your place of revelation? What if the pain that you have been through could help someone enter into the purpose of God for his or her life? Remember this: When you have been victimized and refuse to be a victim you enter into a place of victory. The victory that you have experienced you can help others experience.

Friend or Foe?

On Christmas Eve December 24th, 2015 We See Jesus Ministries went to deliver Sawyer clean water filters to Canaan, Haiti. Canaan became a city after the earthquake that shook Haiti on January 12, 2010. Now more than 150 families have access to clean drinking water. Toward the end of our time on Christmas Eve the crowd got frustrated and restless. There was abit of screaming as well. As we were getting ready to leave the man in the picture hit Luckner’s arm and grabbed about 8-10 buckets and started walking off with them. Also someone else grabbed about 5 buckets and started to walk off with them as well. Then Brandon Thomas and I ran after the two men and we both ripped the buckets out of their hands. I am glad Brandon was ride or die. It was only by the mercy and grace of God that this situation didn’t get really ugly. We told the people we will come back tomorrow and give more filters out then. Later I spoke to my Dad about what happened. Before he was a Christian he was from the street. He said something to me I will never forget. He said, “buddy, if you would have gotten robbed you couldn’t go back to that neighborhood because if they rob you once they will rob you every time.” It was a very tiring and frustrating time. I learned that I must never allow their desperation to become my frustration. So we prayed and forgave the people who tried to steal from us. But we were determinded to give to them, not to be robbed by them. 

On Christmas Day December 25th, 2015 we returned back to Canaan, Haiti. The man in the picture who tried to steal from us the day before apologized to us the next day. He went from stealing from us to being our security guard. As we were walking through the neighborhood he said, “don’t worry you are in my neighborhood, nothing will happen to you.” He went from being a perpetrator to a protector. That really was a crazy day. As we returned back to the church to get more water filters to pass out, our Haitian team members told us that the crowd was throwing rocks at the church. Then we called the police and they drove around the corner to come help calm the crowd down. So the police, the young man in the picture and a few of his friends helped us complete the Canaan, Haiti clean water project. I didn’t anticipate the crowd getting that wild, but I was reminded again why we are working in Haiti. Poverty leads to desperation and desperation can easily become violent. I am thankful that God protected my family and our team. It could have got really ugly fast. The power of the gospel is manifested when you love your enemies. The transforming work of gospel is manifested when love looks fear in the face and says no. Remember this, you can’t love people you are afraid of. Perfect love casts out all fear.

Poverty & Injustice 

On December 23, 2015 We See Jesus Ministries and our Haitian partners visited the children’s prison in Delmas, Haiti. Delmas is a suburb of Port Au Prince, Haiti. Port Au Prince, Haiti is the 18th most dangerous city in the whole world. Our team was going to this prison for the third time. We were going to deliver dessert and soap so the young men would be able to clean their clothes. When we arrived there was a police pick up truck that had just arrived also with new mattresses for the kids. That was very encouraging. In spite of a great deal of poverty and injustice progress is happening in the poorest country in this hemisphere. As we were getting ready to see the kids there was a small problem. The kids were playing soccer and were dirty and smelly and they had no water at the prison for the boys and young men to shower. So at first they didn’t want us to see the kids in that dirty/smelly condition. So we ordered for (70 USD) a truck full of water so they could shower after we would leave. So we went into their cell block preached the gospel and passed out crackers, soda and soap to clean their clothes with. All of the young men received what we were delivering, some of the young men received Christ. It was also encouraging to see how well the police were treating the kids.

There was a young man in prison who was out helping everything go smoothly. His name was Makson. His story was very moving. I am not writing to say whether he is innocent or guilty. I am writing just to show you another reality. The reality of those who are poor and have no voice. Makson has been in prison for three years so far. He was accused of raping a young girl and getting her pregnant. In three years he has not seen a judge once. There was no DNA test proving him to be guilty. So when poverty is your reality you are actually guilty until proven innocent, unlike when you have money you are innocent until proven guilty. The deeper your pockets are the louder your voice is. If your pockets are empty you have no voice. He is not a victim of racism, he is afflicted by poverty and injustice is his reality. If he gets a just trial with a DNA test and is proven to be guilty then he needs to serve his due sentence. But what if he is not guilty? Then what? Precious years of his life may have been stolen simply because he is poor and the system, even where there is not racism, is corrupt. It is the government’s job to punish him and the church’s job to love and visit him. It is important that we don’t confuse these different but God ordained roles. All authority comes from God, but that does not mean all people use the authority God gave them correctly. To administer the authority God gave you correctly is called Justice. The more poverty there is, the more injustice there will be. The more poverty there is, the less police there will be. Remember police are just like you and I they don’t work for free because they to have mouthes to feed. As I write this I am sitting on a deck on an island off of Haiti watching my son play in the sand with his Haitian friends. The question I am asking myself is my son, Justice, has justice but what about Makson? What about the poor who have no representation? What about the Fatherless who have no defender on earth? What I am saying is that it is important that we leverage our voice, influence, relationships and resources for the poor

Bar Outreach  

After church on December 20th, 2015 at about 8:25 pm Rescue Church did an outreach to the bar across the street from the church. It is an El Salvadorian bar with bars on the windows. The music was loud, the lights were low, there was a man there drooling on himself. The owner was friendly, we were able to literally pray and give her prophetic words while she was bartending. We told her that God had a purpose for her life that was greater than passing out drinks. She allowed 6 of us to walk into her bar and hand out Dunkin’ Donuts gift cards to the people who were there. It was a pretty unique experience. Other people were prayed for, one guy gave my friend Joseph a hug and thanked him for the gift card. A few other guys were honest about saying they had already received a gift card when I went to give them one. A few others were prayed for. Some people didn’t want prayer, and a few didn’t want the gift card. All in all the people were pretty receptive considering how loud it was in the bar. Kindness is the seed that fertilizes the soil of men’s hearts. People respond to the gospel more when we extend a hand instead of pointing a finger. For a long time good hearted and well meaning people have pointed a finger at the world instead of extending a hand. It is important to remember that condemnation has never saved anyone. People are saved by grace through faith when we (the church) give them (the world) a reason to believe in Jesus. It is not us against them, it is us for them the same way that Jesus was for us.

When Jesus came to earth through the womb of a virgin, Israel was under Roman oppression. Israel was an occupied nation, their land was taken, they were heavily taxed and extorted, their women were raped. There was a genocide going on of the Hebrews boys. In that climate heaven responded in the opposite spirit. At the birth of Christ the heavenly host of angels declared “peace on earth and goodwill toward men.” The gospel that we preach and the life that we live needs to communicate and demonstrate “peace on earth and goodwill toward men.” The clearest expression of love and goodwill is generosity. Generosity gives prosperity a purpose. Your act of goodwill may just help someone find God’s will for their life.