Sunday, February 27, 2011


Psalm 68:35-  You, God, are awesome in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people.  Praise be to God!

As we continue to prepare our hearts for the season of Lent (which begins on Ash Wednesday, March 9) we remember the awesomeness of the LORD.  The Christ's trip to the cross did not begin in courts of Jerusalem or in the manger of Bethlehem.  The trip to Calvary began in the Garden of Eden.  Original sin caused humans to be separated from God, and God's plan from that moment on was to find a way to redeem this lost tribe.  During our 40 Day Adventure this year, we will seek to come before God in His sanctuary.  We will worship Him.  We will praise Him.  And we will find some new ways to remember the amazing life, death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ.  It's going to be a remarkable journey.  I hope you will plan to join me beginning Sunday, March 3rd.

He is Risen!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Psalm 98

Two weeks from today I will begin my online pre-Easter devotional series called The 40 Day Adventure: Sanctuary.  I am so excited to share the Lenten journey with you, and I know that God will bless our efforts to draw nearer to Him as we travel together down the road to Calvary and the resurrection.  As we continue to prepare our hearts for worship, today I share with Psalm 98 from The Message.  Have a blessed day!

Sing to God a brand-new song. He's made a world of wonders!

He rolled up his sleeves,
He set things right.
God made history with salvation,
He showed the world what he could do.
He remembered to love us, a bonus
To his dear family, Israel—indefatigable love.
The whole earth comes to attention.
Look—God's work of salvation!
Shout your praises to God, everybody!
Let loose and sing! Strike up the band!
Round up an orchestra to play for God,
Add on a hundred-voice choir.
Feature trumpets and big trombones,
Fill the air with praises to King God.
Let the sea and its fish give a round of applause,
With everything living on earth joining in.
Let ocean breakers call out, "Encore!"
And mountains harmonize the finale—
A tribute to God when he comes,
When he comes to set the earth right.
He'll straighten out the whole world,
He'll put the world right, and everyone in it.

He is Risen!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

You Mean There's More?

Matthew 3:13-17 (The Message)

Jesus then appeared, arriving at the Jordan River from Galilee. He wanted John to baptize him. John objected, "I'm the one who needs to be baptized, not you!"  But Jesus insisted. "Do it. God's work, putting things right all these centuries, is coming together right now in this baptism." So John did it.

The moment Jesus came up out of the baptismal waters, the skies opened up and he saw God's Spirit—it looked like a dove—descending and landing on him. And along with the Spirit, a voice: "This is my Son, chosen and marked by my love, delight of my life."

I love this scripture for a lot of reasons, but primarily because it gives us such a clear picture of the Holy Trinity.  Jesus (the Son) is in the water; the Holy Spirit descends like a a dove and lands on Him; and God the Father speaks to Him.  It is a miraculous and beautiful scene.

Theologians have struggled for centuries to explain the essence of the Holy Trinity.  Hundreds of books have been written and countless sermons preached on the subject, and yet there is still confusion.  You know what?  Good!  The nature of God, the supreme being and creator of the universe and everything in it, should not be easy to figure out.  I don't really want to put my faith and hope in a deity that I can fully understand.  The classic U2 song, I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, is often misinterpreted.  Bono already knew Jesus was the answer, but just like the Apostle Paul he knew there was more to the journey.  The question posed by that song is not, "Is Jesus the answer?"  The question is instead, "You mean there's more?"  And the answer to that is a resounding YES!  Always!  The revelations of God did not end when the scriptures were compiled.  He reveals truth to us every day in new and exciting ways- if we choose to seek and listen.  There will be mysteries right up until we draw our final breath. I plan to seek the joy in the journey, through all of the trials and coufusion, so that some day I will hear the voice of God the Father say to me, "This is my son, in whom I am well pleased."  Stay blessed.

He is Risen,

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Jesus the Storyteller

Who was Jesus?

He was a storyteller.  He told stories.  He was the world's greatest storyteller.  Ask him a question; he'd answer with a story.  Give him a crowd of people listening intently; he told them stories.  Give him an argument; he'd give you a story.  Give him a real tricky, catchy question; he'd give you a real tricky, catchy story.

Have you ever watched a 7-year-old listening- inhaling- a story?  Eyes wide, mouth slung open, mind churning, he lives, accepts and believes.  He is totally absorbed.

This man-God Jesus.  He was a good storyteller.  He knew what he was doing...

Lois Cheney, from her 1969 book God Is No Fool   Abingdon Press

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Countdown Begins

One month from today is Ash Wednesday- the day I will kick-off my pre-Easter devotional series, The 40 Day Adventure: Sanctuary.  For those of you who were not with me for last year's event, this is not your normal set of devotionals.  Each week has its' own unique style.  We will fast- but not just from food.  We will study scripture. We will "soak" in song lyrics.  We will pray.  We will walk together up the hill to Calvary to see Jesus give His life so that we may live.  We will gather at the tomb on the third day to remember the resurrection.  And we will do it together.

Over the next month I will continue to offer "teasers" of what to expect on the adventure.  We will prepare our hearts and minds for the adventure.  We will celebrate Fat Tuesday together.  For now, know this:  Sanctuary, as it applies to our time together, is not a building or a room.  It is an experience of being safe in the arms of God.  And where else would you rather be?  Until next time, be blessed!

He is Risen!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Grace Spot

In my 28 years as a youth pastor I remember countless times when I wished I knew someone who was totally disconnected from my church whom I could talk to about the issues and challenges of ministry.  Someone who could listen without prejudice.  Someone whom I could really vent to- maybe even yell at a bit.  Someone who would pray for me, my ministry, my family, my programs and my events on a daily basis.  Someone who could offer me encouragement when I was faced with tough times and difficult decisions.  I far too often didn't have that person in my life.  And that's not a good thing...

God has laid it on my heart to make myself available to be that person in the lives of some of the "friends in faith" I have been making on Twitter.  If my experience and encouragement can be of a support to you, then please feel free to call on me.  If there are things that I can pray about on your behalf, just let me know. I want to be here to serve you in the name of Jesus.  There will be no condemnation or judgement.  This is The Grace Spot- a place where all are welcome to come for mercy, love and forgiveness.  Feel free to e-mail me, Carl Jones, at or to contact me through Twitter.  I look forward to enabling you to serve God more effectively by being an Encouragement Agent for your soul.  God bless!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Coming Attractions

I've let this particular blog sit idle for far too long- but no more! Beginning on Ash Wednesday (March 9) this site will once again host my pre-Easter/Lenten (depending on just how liturgical you are) devotional series, The 40 Day Adventure.  Once again I am borrowing a theme from an old Youth Specialties convention.  Last year our theme was WIDE OPEN.  This year it will be Sanctuary.  I hope you will plan to join us as we use a number of different methods- prayer, scripture lessons, fasting, music and more- to seek to find our way to the cross of Christ, and more importantly, the day of resurrection.  I look forward to our journey together!

He is Risen!