God is Good.

Can I just start off this post by stating an obvious and simple, yet jam-packed phrase?

God is good. Like, really really good.

I typed “good” into the Google machine looking for some synonyms and got the following.

Excellent. Exceptional. Favorable. Great. Marvelous. Satisfying. Wonderful. Superior. Ace. Boss. (Those last two make me chuckle, but they are still so true.)

The point is, God is so good, so amazing, and so incredibly other-worldly that all of these words, both, perfectly describe Him, and at the same time fall incredibly short.

The depth of God’s goodness has absolutely no end. He is wholly perfect and perfectly holy.

So, you might be wondering what happened? Why am I spending all this time praising God for His goodness? What big news do I have? What awesome thing happened to me lately that I am responding to and writing in such a way?

Nothing…and Everything.

Nothing- in the sense of what most people might think warrants praise and adoration. My life looks pretty much the same as it did last week. I don’t have any awesome or exciting news. I have often heard people say (and I am sure I have said it before as well) something along the line of, “God is so good…here is what happened.” It is almost as if “God is good” is the introduction to some bigger and better news that we have. Now, it’s necessary and appropriate to give God the glory for the things He has done in our life.

But in reality, “God is good” is the best and most important thing that we say. That phrase shouldn’t only be an introduction of good news to come, it is the good news.

God is good. Period. It doesn’t matter if we have good news to share or not. It doesn’t matter if we are in the midst of a good situation or bad. God is good regardless of our perspective.

So, in that line of thinking, no, nothing extraordinary happened to me. God just simply being God is more than enough for me to exclaim, “God is good!”

But, at the same time…everything has happened. I woke up this morning. As I write I am enjoying the comfort of one of God’s many gifts to mankind-coffee. I have an awesome, beautiful, adventurous, and brings-happy-tears-to-my-eyes-when-I-think-about-her wife. I have a wonderful church family. I have a wonderful family. I have the coolest job ever. And I have hope for eternity.

So, yeah. God has given me every reason to stand up and shout, “God is good!”

But, once again, God’s goodness isn’t dependent on my situation. Even if all those things I listed above were, in one moment, taken away from me…God would still be good. He would still be worthy to be praised. Because His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. His ways and thoughts are so much higher and more incredible than ours. (Paraphrasing Isaiah 55:8-9)

Psalm 34:1-3 says, “I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together!”

Did you catch that? “at all times.” God deserves to be praised because He is good. Time, situation, and feelings shouldn’t get in the way of that.

What about you? Can you shout out loud that God is good? Today, will you, regardless of what the rest of the day looks like, recognize that there is a great, big, awesome, and good God who is worthy of being praised, and will you praise Him?

Today, even though it’s just another average day, I have every reason to say, “God is good!”

Spring Snow

I don’t care what the weather says…it is spring.

The calendar doesn’t lie, Tuesday, March 20th, 2018 was the official first day of Spring.

For many people across the country that is very welcomed news. However, those same people might be having a hard time believing that Spring has indeed sprung. I recently heard someone say in passing, “the weather didn’t get the memo.”

It’s hard to think about the things that define Spring; baseball, tulips, and grass that is actually green when there is still snow falling from the sky. Now, let’s be fair…this kinda happens every year, at least in the Midwest. So, with that in mind, we really shouldn’t be surprised. In fact, shame on us for expecting anything different.

Personally, I am in no hurry to usher in allergy season. However, I can still understand and sympathize with those who look longingly towards the warmer weather.

It can be an extremely frustrating thing when, even though you can see the start of the next season, you just can’t quite grasp it yet. And yes, I’m still talking about the weather, but I’m also kind of not.

You see, looking forward to the future and the sunny days that it brings can be a very healthy and helpful thing to do. The problem, however, is when that is the only thing we do.

When we only look forward to what is to come, we actually might miss some of the extraordinary things happening right in front of us. Like the strangely beautiful juxtaposition of fresh snowfall on newly budded flowers. Or a well-used snow shovel propped up against a lawn chair. Or even the fearless bit of green that pokes up from the frost covered dirt.

We cannot forget to be faithful to the present as we look forward to the future.

As a believer in Jesus Christ, this is something that I must continually remind myself of. Jesus said in the Bible that He would, one day, return to gather His church, home to Heaven with Him. Jesus told His disciples, “don’t be troubled… I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself.” (John 14:1-3)

In the book of Acts when Jesus ascended into heaven angels spoke to the disciples and said, “why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11)

And Jesus, Himself, told His disciples, and subsequently, all who follow Him after, that they are to be His witnesses. And in Matthew 28 He commanded, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”

Jesus promises eternity in Heaven for all who believe in Him. The wonder and magnitude of that alone is incomprehensible. And yet, we are still here…on earth. Why? Because there is still work to be done. There are still people who need to know about the love and life that Jesus gives.

And so, we need to be faithful while we wait.

I would encourage you to have this same approach to the seasons in your life, those that are weather-related and those that are not. Faithfulness in the present, alongside expectations of the future, are two things that can actually coexist. But we must be diligent not to only focus on one over the other. If we only focus on the snow on the ground, then we can easily miss the greenery underneath. But if we only focus on the coming greenery then we forget our responsibilities in the present-like shoveling snow and putting the grill cover on.

So, once again, let us be faithful while we wait and trust in God’s timing. …Besides, it’ll probably snow again in May anyway.

Life and Basketball

Basketball is fun and exciting. But basketball in the month of March is…really really fun and really really exciting!

The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is one of the most dramatic events in all of sports. Each year, without fail, the Tourney is filled with nail-biting finishes, dominant performances, and feel-good underdog stories.

Just a few days ago I was watching the last few minutes of a game, right as my wife and I were getting ready to leave for dinner. I had never watched either of the two teams before (and my bracket was busted) so I didn’t care who won or who lost. But let me tell you, those last two minutes were so incredibly entertaining. Every other play was met with my audible response. I stopped getting ready and stood, just a few feet from the T.V., with my eyes wide.

“Honey look at this replay!” I exclaimed at one point.

I was so enthralled with the game that I was undeterred by my wife’s apathetic response.

The game ended, I finished tying my shoes, and I walked out of the house with an adrenaline rush. Basketball in March is awesome.

Each team, whether they are an underdog or powerhouse, they all have one final goal. To win. To cut down the nets and be declared the best. To be champions. To leave a legacy. To have that “one shining moment.”

But “one shining moments” only last for a moment. Unforgettable plays eventually become forgotten. Champions are replaced, and last year’s records don’t count for anything the next season.

As I watch this year’s tournament I can’t help but think about the brevity of our lives. I know, I admit that is a strange thing to think about during an exciting game, but it’s true. Life is short. It occurred to me the other day that this year, and actually for a few years now, I am older than everyone playing in the tournament.

Just like that, in the blink of an eye, I’m an old man. Ok, that’s a tad bit dramatic, although my wife does keep finding grey hairs on my head. But the truth is still true, life is a lot shorter than we give it credit for.

With that being said, here are a couple of verses and thoughts that come to mind.

Isaiah 40:8 says that the grass withers and the flowers fade. You know what else withers and fades? Hearing and eyesight. But the verse doesn’t stop there. It continues with, “but the Word of our God will stand forever.” I can’t think of many more comforting words than that. God’s Word is full of promises and encouragements for those who put their trust in Him. If his Word endures forever, then that means that His promises to us endure forever as well.

Hebrews 9:27 says, “it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.” Each and every one of us will have to give an account for what we do here in this short brief lifetime. Even those who trust Jesus will have to give an account for their actions or inactions. What we do in this life, even though it is short, really does matter.

Ephesians 5:16-17 says that we should be, “making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” We can’t afford to let opportunities slip away from us. Each and every moment is important. As John Piper would say, “Don’t waste your life!”

What we do in this temporary life impacts our eternity. Yes, life is short, but Jesus came to earth to ensure that all who put their trust in Him don’t need to worry about perishing, but instead He offers eternal life. Real and lasting life can only be found in Jesus. He gave us a “one shining moment” on the cross that will last forever.

Soon the Sweet 16 will become the Elite 8. Then the bracket will be whittled down to the Final Four. After that, there will be a champion (*cough* Kansas…erhm what) and just like that, the tournament will be over.

Soon you will get older, and sooner than you realize, it will be your time to exit the tournament. What kind of effort will you give? What kind of legacy will you leave? Will you be a champion?

“Only one life,’ twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

-C.T. Studd