As a young husband, father, and youth pastor, I hit a major bump in the road. After Pam and I had spent six years working with students at a Denver church, the leadership decided to make a change. They implemented a six-month review and eventually decided to replace the youth staff.

One of the lessons that God has been driving home in my life lately is about joy. Where do you try to find joy? Like many people, I can tend to initially look for joy in the context of the circumstances of my life.

Did 2014 turn out to be all you’d hoped it would be? New Year’s is a time when people review the past year and look forward to the days ahead. Pam and I usually take some time on New Year’s Day to pray through our journals. We consider what God has said and what He has done, listening for His voice of guidance.

The Sermon on the Mount, an introduction to life as a disciple, connects our life as Christ-followers to the reign and rule of God, that is, His kingdom. Today I’ll focus on the first and eighth Beatitudes which are unique in that they promise present tense blessings: “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

The Beatitudes of Matthew are some of the most often quoted teachings of Jesus by both believers in Jesus and those who see him as just another teacher. The Beatitudes, and the section that follows them, form the “introduction” to Jesus’ sermon—His manual—on being a disciple/follower/learner.

Dear friends,
 
You may have heard news lately of the fires in Colorado. Last year, the Colorado Springs community was shaken by the Waldo Canyon fire. We couldn’t have imagined that just shy of one year later, multiple fires would be raging across Colorado— some of them in our own backyard. As I write, several other wildfires have popped up across the state. Some are contained and almost extinguished; others are just beginning their devastation.

Over the months, a common theme here has been the soul-lifting idea of our God-given destiny. We are adopted children of the King of the universe and heirs of all that is at His disposal. And yet...

The builder of our post-fire new home is SaddleTree homes, whose President, Lee, is a wonderful businessman who finds great hope in Jesus. One day he told me the story behind the name of his company.

As you may know, “trials of many kinds” took on a new meaning for Pam and I this summer when the Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado Springs came over the ridge west of the city and cascaded down into our neighborhood. We continue to rebuild and restore with God’s help.
Here’s a pic of the mountainside near our home, covered with snow and accenting the burned trunks of trees that remain on that hillside. It’s a constant reminder that God is not done with the restoration process – on that hill OR in our lives.

Here’s a picture of the new foundation of our own personal “restoration project!” We're so excited to see our house begin to take shape. Seeing how carefully the builders laid the foundation reminded me of how the Bible uses the image of foundations. If our lives are “built” to be used to give God glory—to “make Him famous—then the topic of foundations is an important one.