Monday, August 31, 2020

Judges 1 Small Group Questions

Our church is doing a twelve-week sermon series through the book of Judges called: "Flawed Heroes." We are studying the Old Testament book for a couple reasons. One is that Judges is a book of flawed heroes and none of us are perfect. The book reminds us that God is the divine hero of the story. Judges is a period of transition for Israel, a transition from God as their leader to a monarchy. For this series I volunteered to write the small group questions that go along with each sermon. It seemed like a waste to leave them in a file on my computer and not share them with everyone.

Small Group Questions ::: Take the Land ::: Judges 1

The book of Judges is thought to have been written by Samuel the prophet. It is an account of the Israelites settling in the Promised Land. They settled in two different ways. First, they began to live in the land flowing with milk and honey that God promised to them. Secondly, the settled by not driving out the inhabitants of the land. We will see that the occupants of the land will prove to be a snare to them and lead them to worshipping false gods. Chapter one serves as an introduction to the entire book. We must look back to see that Joshua led the people after Moses brought to the edge of the Promised land. One theme will arise in the book: God wants Lordship over all areas of our lives, not just some areas

1) Neal started the sermon with the story of the conquistador Hernando Cort├ęs and his fascinating leadership decision to burn their ships. Share about a time when you made a brave move that required 100% commitment. 

2) The book of Judges begins with the life of Joshua. Joshua and Caleb were the only two men born in Egypt that entered the Promised Land. Read Numbers 13 and discuss their faith. Discuss how they viewed things versus the other ten spies. 

3) Read Judges 1:1-3. Israel wanted to hear the voice of the Lord. Read 1 Samuel 3:1-12 and Psalm 46:10. How do you go about learning to hear God’s voice?

4) Read Judges 1:12-18. We read about Aksah and her brave faith. The Bible is filled with stories of brave faith. Read Matthew 14:22-36. We see Peter express his trust in Jesus with action. Where is God asking you to be brave in your faith today?  

5) In the sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches us about asking God for our needs (read Matthew 7:7-12). Share a story about a time when you asked God for something and He came through with meeting your needs. Now share something you are currently asking God for with bold faith. 

6) Look at Judges 1:19-36. Much of the final half of this chapter is an example of Israel having faithless faith. That is not the entirety of the Old Testament. Look at Hebrews 11, as a small group, and talk about the examples of faith we read in Scripture. 

7) The failure of Israel to fully take the land reminds us of the times we experience heart-hearted discipleship. Neal encouraged us to not stop short of what the Lord wants to give you. What one thing can you do this week to grow in your faith? 

Close your time in prayer. Talk about who you will invite to Coastline Online? 

Miss the worship gathering? Check it out here

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Thoughts on the current state of our country

It’s no secret that I dropped out of high school. I don’t know a ton about US history or politics. I’ve voted for people and regretted it later (maybe you have too). Some years I totally forgot to vote because I was so tired from changing diapers the night before. But this is a big year for our nation and I don’t have any diapers to change.

As we move into the election I want to share some thoughts that are swirling in my head:

1. The Constitution. 

Right on top of the document it says: “We the People.” We means it speaks to more than one political party. The is a descriptive word. People is us. People who surf. People who hike. People who play tennis. People who watch baseball and people who don’t. People who BBQ and Vegans. The constitution was written by the people and for the people. 

2. It’s a voting year.

You might not like the way I vote but it doesn’t mean we have to hate each other. Your neighbor might have a sticker on their car that upsets you, but you can still talk to them. As adults we can have civilized conversation. We can actually disagree on things and still be friends. 

We had a guy leave our church one day and we got a coffee to chat. He pulled a list out of his pocket and shared a couple things he didn’t like about my leadership. He shared how my teaching was surface and I tell too many stories. I kindly listened. At the end of the conversation I said: “You know, we have more in common than you think.” I could see a change in his eyes. The couple things that bothered him were a drop in the bucket in the big picture. 

3. Christ followers. 

Let me speak to those who follow Jesus. I need you to act like a Christian. You might want to blast someone on social media. You might want to comment on something because your fingers are itching for the keyboard strokes. You might want to speak up in a situation. I’m not saying don’t. I just don’t know any one who ever came to Jesus because someone blasted their political view. We are called to love others (John 13:34-35). We are called to be selfless (Philippians 2:3). We are called to the be the light of the world (Matthew 5:14).

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Unboxing my first Carin Box

My first box!

Just got my first box from Carin! Super stoked to open it with you. You get to see my first glimpse at the box and what is inside.

Let me tell you, I am satisfied with this box! I think they say that items will be worth $30-$50. I’d say we are in that range for this box (package).

I got this box with Cairn, a subscription service that delivers curated outdoor gear once a month based on my subscription. I think you'd really enjoy it as well, so here's a referral code to get $10 off your first Collection.
Referral Link:

Here’s a link to the humangear FlexiBowl Convertible Silicone Eating Bowl (24oz), Blue

Here’s a link to the humangear GoBites Quattro Parent

I did get a FREE CotoPaxi backpack for signing up!

You can get this pack on Amazon right now:

Remember, they are ONE OF A KIND! Each Del Dia product is made proudly in the Philippines by an employee who has total creative control over the pack's colorway. No two are the same!

Filmed on my GoPro Hero 8

Monday, August 17, 2020

The value of children

In the gospel of Mark we read about this encounter that Jesus has with some children (read Mark 10:13-16). Put yourself in the scene with me today; use your imagination. Children are swarming to be around Jesus, they long to be in His presence. This was completely unexpected and contrary to cultural norms. A Rabi wouldn’t allow children to touch Him, but Jesus had them sit on His lap and blessed them. In the ancient world children were considered to be of lesser value than livestock. Many children weren’t given a name until the age of 5. The child mortality rate, at this point in history, was about 50%. At a time when children had such little value, we see Jesus place such a high value on them.

In the middle of the gospel we read that Jesus was with the children. Jesus showed them value. I like to think of Jesus playing duck duck goose with the kids. Maybe a kid brought out a jump role and they are laughing while jumping rope. What if Jesus did the old pull a quarter from your ear trick on one of the little kids? The unspoken blessing here was invaluable for these children who might have felt unwanted. For Jesus to show these children this much attention would have been a cultural norm breaker. It was one of those things that sticks out in your mind because it is so unordinary.

You might be wondering why I’m talking about Jesus spending time with children in a sermon about abortion. I need us to see how much Jesus valued kids. Of everything that Jesus did, Mark thought it was important enough to write this in his gospel account of the life of Jesus. Of all the miracles, the healings, the teachings, the feeding of thousands of people, Jesus spent time with children. It was important for Jesus to invest His time into them.

Before I trusted Jesus I thought abortions were fine. In my mind, they were a solution to a problem for careless behavior. Most of the friends I knew who had an abortion was because they were careless in their sexual activity. Abortion was another form of birth control to solve a mistake. When I look to my past and see my old way of thinking I’m convicted on how I viewed life. I didn’t view life through the eyes of Jesus. Through the eyes of Jesus there is value in all people. Jesus sees the world from a better perspective than I see it.

Early in our marriage, Charity worked at a crisis pregnancy center. I’m not sure if this is still what they are called, but it was a place for women to learn about their pregnancy before making a life or death decision. It was a group of people who loved the Lord and wanted women to know they weren’t alone in their pregnancy. It was a resource to ladies of all ages who might have been confused about their pregnancy and what to do. Conversations about ultrasounds and abortion became the norm at our kitchen table. I learned about the developmental stages of a baby inside the womb. I learned that some women feel ill-prepared to be a mother. Some women who have an abortion are pressured. A study shows that 88% of women were encouraged to get an abortion and others never wanted a child. Many fear the financial cost is too much and think abortion is the only choice.

What if God is asking us to be like Jesus and show how valuable children are? Is God asking you to come alongside a pregnant woman and help her through the rollercoaster of emotions of an unwanted pregnancy? Maybe your small group would throw a woman a baby shower? We have a ministry here that does this. It’s called My Baby’s First Teacher and people from Coastline walk alongside mothers during their pregnancy. The class ends with a baby shower. If this is something you want to be apart of, reach out to the church office and we will get your connected. In my mind it’s one of the best things we do as a church body.

Monday, August 10, 2020

The cost of substance abuse

It was a sunny Sunday afternoon in January 1961. A father and his oldest daughter were driving home. Imagine the conversation as a dad listens to his chatty fifteen year old daughter. She might have told him about the dress she wants to wear to prom next year. Maybe she shared about what she was learning in school that semester. She might have been looking at the floor board, with red cheeks, as she told her dad about the boy she had a crush on. They playfully laughed the entire drive and cherished the moments they were able to spend together.

In an instant the laughter ceased. The car was t-boned by a driver who didn’t see them coming. The glass shattered, the metal twisted, and headlights broke. It was the father’s worst nightmare. When the horror of the accident ceased it was evident that that at-fault driver had been drinking. Alcohol evaporated off of his breath; he slurred his words. The ambulance came and transported his little princess to the nearest hospital. The drunk driver was just fine but heart-broken at his actions. Rosemary lay in a hospital bed. For days her family prayed for a miracle. Her mother called the priest. Her little sister begged God to heal her.

But it didn’t work, Rosemary died on January 21, 1961 at the age of 15.

How many of you have been impacted by someone who has a drug or alcohol problem?

Studies show us that one in every eight Americans have an alcohol problem.
That is 12% of the US adult population.
Each year, an estimated 88,000 people—62,000 men and 26,000 women—die from alcohol-related causes. This makes alcohol abuse the third leading preventable cause of death in the U.S. Every day, 29 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This is one death every 50 minutes.

Rosemary was my mom’s sister. Technically she is my aunt. My aunt who I never met because he life was taken. The man who killed her was driving drunk after a day of skiing. His actions led to such a deep pain in my grandparents lives. His actions took away my mom’s only sibling. I never my aunt. I’m not trying to guilt or shame anyone right now, I’m trying to show the true effects of what can happen. If you are struggling with a substance abuse problem today you are not alone. Reach out to someone. Place your trust in Jesus and find hope!  

Monday, August 03, 2020


For the last couple months I’ve felt emotions that I don’t always feel.
I’m generally the eternal optimist. I think that pretty much everything will work out for the best. Then March hit… Things seemed dark and confusing. Our kids stopped in-person school. Our church stopped gathering in-person. My favorite restaurants weren’t open. Laws changed. Social distancing was a new word. Zoom fatigue became a real thing. I could keep going, but you get the picture.

While on vacation this word came to mind over and over again: Lament.

I thought about the loss and grief that I’ve experienced over the last couple months (we’ve all experienced loss). Here are some things that I’m lamenting or have lamented over the last couple months:

+ Hanging out with people I love

+ Going to summer camp

+ Taking my wife on a date every week

+ Going out to Slurpee’s with my kids

+ Canceled camping trips

+ Missing our church family

+ Canceled weddings

+ Doing premarital counseling only on Zoom

+ Seeing people walk away from the church

+ Reading about increased depression and suicide rates

+ Not being able to go to the Dominican Republic to start a new partnership with Coastline

What have you lamented or are currently lamenting?