For all you list makers out there: why the list must go.

I am a list maker.

I love everything about the list.

I love crossing things off and seeing the list shrink.

I love the organization of the list and the visual management of my life on paper.

I really love the list with all of my heart.

And when it comes to the list, I've been programmed for decades with a certain criteria for my list.

It's a non negotiable. I'm sure you'er familiar with it.

It's the idea that Jesus is at the top of my list.

This idea has given me a false sense of comfort and peace. It's driven me to strive harder to please him. It's held me by the noose and worn me out.

And I'm finally beginning to understand why the list must go.

I bet you know what I'm talking about. Here, let me illustrate my point to you.

If I were to ask you to list the top 5 priorities in your life right now, what would you say?

Ya. See what I mean? You would make a list that might look a lot like mine: God, family, friends, church, work, play.

I used to commend myself for having God at the top of my list.

I used to revel in the fact that God was numero uno in my life.

I started my day with God religiously, and gave him my best self exhaustingly.  I even felt guilty when other things crept in on occasion to bump God.

But I started noticing a problem that was eating up my soul.

I noticed that once I gave God his morning time, I would sort of forget about him until the next day. I mean, unless I had to prepare a Bible study. Then I might think about him again. But once my feet hit the ER? Forget about it. I was too busy to even look at my list.

But even worse was that I started really missing God. I mean, I missed Jesus deeply. And for the life of me, I couldn't figure out why I didn't feel this sense of closeness and intimacy with him.

For a while I did what most list makers might do. I gave God a bigger chunk of time on my list.

I even doubled him up on occasion.

But eventually even that didn't work.

See, despite what you and I have made Matthew 6:33 to be, God never intended to be the top of our list.

God is not satisfied to simply occupy first place in your life.

Somehow, in my effort to make a God honoring "list" I'd missed the heart of what it means to be a Christian.

Maybe you're there now. You believe that God is the most important person in your life, but for the life of you, you can't figure out why you can't keep him at the forefront of your mind.

You miss God.

You don't feel connected to him.

I have the answer for you today and it's easier than you might think.

You know that list that you've been holding on to?

Do me a favor and get it out. Then rip it up. Shred it to pieces. Burn it up completely.

The list must go.

The list is over.

The list is destroying you.

Today, you move from life by the list to God at the core.

Jesus at the center of it all.

So that whether you're eating today, or drinking, or running, or writing, or painting, or doctoring, or mowing your grass, you're not working on your list anymore.

You're simply letting Jesus be the center of it all.

The minute you gave your life to Jesus, he moved into your heart. Christ in you became your hope of glory. You have been crucified with Christ, you no longer live on your own. He lives in you.

He is in you. He is never leaving you. He is with you.

I don't know when I forgot the secret to the Christian life - or maybe it's a point of maturity.

But these days, you'll catch me without a list in hand.

These days, you'll catch me listening more, watching more, yielding more, and on occasion, you'll see my lips move.

I haven't lost my mind.

But I have lost my list, and I have no intention of ever bringing it back.

These days, I'm reveling in the abiding presence of Jesus in my life.

I'm waking up to what's real and loving every minute of it.

Won't you get rid of your list too? Won't you start living this life God has dreamed for you? 


What will awaken the American Church?

Nothing will awaken us to the state of the American Church like spending a week with Christians on the other side of the world.

I met a Lebanese man named Adel last week. I'd met him before and he hadn't made much of an impression on me.

He seemed uneducated but kind.

He had brought me coffee in the afternoons on previous trips to the Middle East, but he'd never been much of a conversationalist.

But last week, he became our designated driver. I ended up seeing a whole lot more of him than I'd ever planned on.

He still seemed rough around the edges and not so young in age, his wife about 20 years younger and full of energy. I inevitably heard snippets of his story. He'd lost his first wife to illness, then at 55 he met a woman who introduced him to Jesus. He ended up marrying her.

It didn't take long for her to figure out that he didn't know how to read.

Desperate to read the Bible, he asked her to teach him how to read and she did. 

In the last 10 years the Bible has become the only book Adel reads.

He doesn't read bestsellers and doesn't have a favorite Christian author.

He doesn't follow Twitter or Instagram.

He doesn't have a blog or a website.

But he reads God's word every moment that he can.

On the way to the airpot, I learned another little secret that my friend Adel had kept.

In the last 10 years since learning to read, Adel has committed not just verses and chapters of the Bible to memory, but entire books - like James, and the Peters, and Mark and Job, and Hebrews and on and on.

I asked him why.  I asked him how.

He was baffled by my questions. "I can't get enough of it," he said. "I fall asleep listening to it, and wake up thinking about it. It is my life. It is my joy. It is everything."

You will likely never meet Adel on this side of heaven. You will never read anything he's written, and you might never even notice him.

Yet on an average day in Lebanon, a 65 year old man who couldn't read until he was 55 is striving towards holiness, seeking after God, and has found intimacy and peace such as many of us here in the western world will never know.

While we in western Christianity argue about homosexuality in the Church and whether females should blog and teach the Bible, our brothers and sisters in Christ overseas are actually living the Christian life.

They have forsaken all and are following hard after Jesus.

They have counted the cost and have jumped all in.

Instead of worshipping their pastors, they respect their pastors and worship the Lord.

Instead of striving for riches, they give away what they have for the glory of God.

Instead of ranking their favorite Christian authors, they make lists of passages in the Bible they still long to memorize.

In a country where you might expect opposition and resistance to the gospel, the very opposite is happening. 

We went to the ice cream store for dessert and ended up leading the owner of the store to Jesus.

My friend Tamar took a cab ride home after a week of serving the refugees and ended up leading the cab driver to Jesus.

We took care of people displaced from their homes having lost everything and saw in their eyes a hunger for Jesus.

In a world where material comfort is wanting and rare, and where pain abounds and personal loss rules the day, people have awakened to their true need.

They are searching for Jesus.

Yet here we are in our comfortable American houses striving after more - more money, more fame, more followers, more success, more book deals. More of everything.

We argue the merits of a new health care plan forgetting that we serve a God who heals. If only we spent as much time praying for healing as we do complaining about healers.

We argue the rights of illegal immigrants all the while neglecting to point them to the true source of freedom and riches in this life.

We argue with each other about everything while the watching world smirks at us underwhelmed by this message of love we claim has saved us.

We justify our sins instead of forsaking them.

We defend our rights instead of yielding them.

We fight, fight, fight, never satisfied, always striving for more.

Yet in a world where islam has ruled the day, an awakening is happening, a movement of God's spirit turning people's hearts to Jesus.

They're doing it not because of someone's book or tweet, but because in quiet desperation people have quit talking about God and started talking to God.

Help us, they've prayed.

Show us, they've begged.

And He has. He most powerfully has.

What if we too stopped for a minute and did the same?

What if we quit chasing after our own comfort and our own version of an American dream and started running after Jesus?

What if we asked the Spirit of God to move our hearts deeply towards him, changing us, reviving us, uniting us?

What if we made it our life goal to know God and His word like my friend Adel has?

I'm learning that nothing will awaken us to our desperate need for God like our pain.

Help us, we can pray.

Show us, we can ask.

Awaken us, we can plead.

And He will. He most powerfully will.


How the resurrection changes everything

A few months ago I was in the ER when we got a call about a 5 year old girl who was found face down in a pond of water.

As the story unfolded, we learned that this autistic girl was playing on her iPad and strolled out of the house, not paying attention, and eventually walked into a freezing pond where she was eventually found face down.

We tried desperately to resuscitate her. It soon became evident that she wasn't going to make it.

Her family had shown up by now, and it was a bad scene all around.

Despite the loud groaning it didn't take long for me to pick up on the fact that the family was praying.

In the chaos around me I was reminded that I was a Christian too.

I believed in miracles.

I believed in prayer.

I put my hand on the child and prayed as sincerely as I could: "God, please raise this child from the dead. Restore her life where it seems gone."

Nothing happened.

The child's heart had stopped.

A few seconds later, I called the code.

Time of death, 3:36pm.

Two years ago my father died after a tough battle with kidney failure.

His death wasn't a surprise but it was just as unwelcome.

Suppose you had run into me the week after his death and I told you that I had just seen him and had dinner with him.

You'd have thought that I was crazy or deluded with grief.

Then if ten other people told you the same story  you'd have thought us all crazy.

And rightly so.

As hard as it is to swallow, death is so final. 

Except for the one time that it wasn't.

Two thousand years ago, a man named Jesus was crucified on a cross.

Because he had claimed to be the Savior of the world and promised to rise again from the dead, the Roman government made sure his tomb was sealed and guards kept watch at the place of his burial.

Yet three days later, His body went missing.

Pretty soon a handful of people claimed that they had seen this man who had been crucified.

They claimed he had risen from the dead.


One might think so  except that pretty soon a few hundred more people were saying the same thing.

Most of us today would call this a cult.  A bunch of loonies. Hashtag wacky.

Today we call it Christianity. 

And because of this resurrection a family burdened with grief thinks to pray to a God who might heal their dead.

And because of this resurrection I can stand by my father's grave hopeful that this is not the end.

Yeah, the resurrection changes everything.

It is the cornerstone of Christianity and without it we have nothing.

The apostle Paul used to murder Christians before he too saw the resurrected Christ and eventually penned these words in 1 Corinthians 15.17-20:

"And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.  If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep."

But in fact.

Because of the resurrection anything is possible.

Because of the resurrection hope is alive.

Prayers can be answered.

Change is possible.

Are you holding a sick child, wondering what might happen to him?

Are you sitting at the bedside of your ailing parent afraid of the future?

Are you burdened by the cares of your own life? Are you stuck in a cycle of hopelessness?

Turn your eyes to the cross.

Follow the blood stained road.

Look inside the tomb.

You'll find it empty.

Jesus is alive.

Anything is possible.

And here's a featured video from Simply Jesus Gathering: Hope With Jesus. 

[vimeo 141123616 w=640 h=360]

For Those Who are Weary in Waiting

Weariness creeps up on us unawares - sort of like the flu.

One minute we're fine, the next we feel like death swarmed over us.

I finished speaking at a singles event last week when a woman with kind eyes came up to me. "I loved your message", she said, "I'm still waiting on the Lord", then her eyes filled with tears as she continued, "But I'm weary in the waiting."

Weary in the waiting.

I knew exactly what she meant.

Lately it feels like the waiting just won't stop. No matter how hard I pray, I'm still waiting. No matter how smoothly I try to negotiate my situation with God, it's like He's not listening.

I get weary in the waiting. I don't start off weary, but somewhere along the line the weariness creeps in. And it won't leave me alone, no matter how many psychological techniques I try. Every step feels like a ton of bricks. Every prayer feels unanswered. God's presence feels far.

You know the gig.

We're not alone in our weariness. A few of the greats felt it too.

Abraham was weary in the waiting - and took matters into his own hands. The result was strife in his home.

Moses was weary in the waiting and ended up spending 40 years in the wilderness for it.

Saul was weary in the waiting and his impulsiveness lost him the kingdom.

The list is long. I bet you could make your own.

Weariness in the waiting is common but not fatal if treated rightly.

Consider David.

At first, he looked unstoppable. After killing a lion and a bear with his bear hands, he went up against Goliath and won. A total Gonzaga if you ask me.

The guy just couldn't lose for the life of him - until he started losing.

And just like the flu, one day he looked like God's favored child, the next he was hiding in caves on the edge of despair: he'd come down with a case of the waiting.

And all his dreams looked unfulfilled.

And all his hopes were deferred.

All God's favor seemed lost.

But it wasn't.

David's dreams did get fulfilled. God's favor was still alive and active in David's life. David's future was secure.

Are you weary in the waiting?  Do what David did. In 1 Samuel 30:6, David strengthened himself in the Lord.

If you're weary in the waiting, strengthen yourself in the Lord.

You do that by spending time with the Lord, not running from him.

You do that by letting go, not trying harder.

You do that by resting in the Lord, not just wrestling with Him.

Are you weary in the waiting?

Open up the Psalms and read them. Think how weary David was as he wrote the words to the Psalms.

Are you weary in the waiting?

Use your words to sing praise to God. Most of what we say when we're weary we don't even really believe. Focus your energy simply on praise.

Are you weary in the waiting?

Ask God to help you endure.

I've come to the conclusion that I am utterly unable to rev up enough hope on my own to overcome my weariness in the waiting.

I am totally and completely dependent on God to renew my strength in the waiting.

All I can do is humbly come to him and ask.

Are you weary in the waiting?

Run to your Father of mercies, this God of all comfort who will comfort you in your affliction. Share in Christ's suffering. Remember our God who raises the dead. Stand fast in hope that's unshaken.

God will deliver you yet again.

Are you weary in the waiting?

You're not alone.

The great revivalist R A Torrey once said "I must pray, pray, pray. I must put all my energy and all my heart into prayer. Whatever else I do, I must pray."

Are you weary in the waiting?

Pray. Pray. Pray.

And just like the flu, one day you feel like death has swarmed over you, and then the next, just like that, it's gone. 

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life" Proverbs 13:12

Featured Resource
Faith when stuck_Podcast

Are You Looking for a Safe and Comfortable Life?

I was invited to go on Moody Radio last week to participate in Share 2017.

Frankly, I was dreading it.

See, this year, I'd decided that I wouldn't give. I even wrote it down in my journal. And nothing was going to change that.

It's not that I have anything against giving. I'm all about giving - especially when it's in favor of my stuff.  But this year, "my stuff" had been suffering.

This year I'd noticed a huge drop in the giving towards my own ministry and medical work with Syrian refugees. What I'm really trying to say but am almost embarrassed to confess is that since January 2017 I'd seen less than $500 come into our entire donation fund.

And I was hating it.

Why had God allowed our well to go so dry?

I'd done more than my share to raise awareness of our work and non profit status: social media blasts, an awesome video summary of our work in Lebanon, prayer, faith, hope. I'd done it all and still...nothing.

Why would God hold back from me in a work that seemed to be so Him?

After hashing it out with God, I'd resolved to stop giving towards "other" ministries and start giving towards my own stuff. I would just re-allocate resources away from one thing towards my thing. If God wouldn't raise up a village to help support my thing, I concluded, I might as well start building my village myself.

My decision felt safe and I was 100% behind it.

When I got to Moody I was ready. I took my seat across from Karl and June and I started talking.

I talked about how God honors those who give.

I talked about the joy of giving.

I talked about how to overcome the fear of giving and how giving is our tangible expression to tell God how much we love him.

True story. 

And the more I talked the worst I felt.

I was a hypocrite - and beneath my veneer of religiosity was a raging spiritual battle.

Did I believe God and His word, or did I trust me more?

Was I willing to come to God on His terms, even if those terms were far different than mine? Or was I trying to manipulate God into my own terms?

Did I really worship God, or had I simply reverted to using God to make my things happen?

Here I was on air with a choice to make: would I succumb to my fears or would I dive into the waiting arms of Jesus?

By God's grace I did the only thing I could do.

I jumped.

To the average listener tuning in that morning the spontaneous challenge I gave to match every $1000 with a thousand of my own might have sounded like the whim of a rich doctor with extra money to throw around because I had it.

The average listener would have been dead wrong.

To the Holy Spirit of God the truth was a bit more obvious. I had looked at my own despicable heart and dismal circumstances and chosen to believe - even at great risk for myself and my dreams.

In Luke 9:24 Jesus says "For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it."

The stunning truth of Christ's words is this: that the greatest antidote to protecting ourselves from danger is not in increasing our safety and comfort. The greatest antidote to protecting ourselves from danger is to give it all to Jesus.

Even when it doesn't make sense.

Even when you don't see the answer right away.

Ironically, in the last week since my radio challenge, I haven't received any big checks in the mail. In fact, God has seen fit to  invite me to join him on a couple more of His unexpected endeavors. It ain't cheap to follow Jesus! 

But I've noticed that each time I say yes it gets easier.

And each time I say yes His presence gets sweeter. 

I think a part of us secretly hopes that if we give God everything that He'll somehow see the great sacrifice we've made and will show his appreciation to us with a small return - preferably financial but other forms of blessings will do too.

As if.

The truth is far better.

The truth is that the only way to safety is through surrender. Let it go - your expectations, your discontent, your fear. The cure to your aching heart is not in building higher walls of self protection but in giving everything to Jesus.

Are you struggling with your fear? Are you holding on to your unmet expectations? Are you wondering where God is?

Are you looking for a safe and comfortable life?

Perhaps it's time to surrender.

Free Falling PNG-2GET MY

This 40 DAY DEVOTIONAL will encourage you to free fall over the edge of safe living into the welcoming arms of Jesus Christ.

What you can do about the Syrian refugee crisis

Does your brain ever go numb because of the size of the problem you're facing?

Mine does.

And when it does, I'm tempted to mentally check out - to catch up on my ever growing Netflix queue instead since that is a massive problem I know I can manage.

Right now on the other side of the world is the ongoing and mind numbing problem of the Syrian refugee crisis.

And the more I think about it, the dumber I feel.

A few days ago I found myself at a gathering of leaders and pastors from the Middle East. These are some of the key players doing the work of evangelist/relief worker/discipler and all that goes along with finding yourself as the recipient of an unexpected humanitarian crisis of mammoth proportion without any advance notice. How dare they just show up unannounced?

What's even more astounding is this:

While Lebanon has welcomed over 1 million refugee, it is home to only about 100 evangelical churches. Yeah, I said one hundred. As in 100.

And while Jordan has close to 2 million refugees, it boasts just 55 evangelical churches. Yes. Fifty five.

Then there's Turkey. A quick google search on Turkey shows that only 0.008% of people in Turkey are considered evangelical while close to 3 million refugees now call Turkey home.

While evangelicals are certainly not the only people helping refugees, I want to focus on evangelicals here because I am one.

And when it comes to helping people in need, evangelical Bible believing Christ followers ought to have the market on this.

Helping people in need and pointing them to Jesus is our calling - every single one of us.

And pastors and leaders in the Middle East recognize it. They have set aside politics for the sake of love. They have refused to settle for other priorities. They have allowed God to interrupt their agendas for the sake of His kingdom.

As a result, they are seeing God do mammoth things in their communities. They are seeing people who have never heard of Jesus come to know and love Him. They are seeing miracles beyond my capacity to describe. They are living first hand stories that they can't even talk about for safety purposes. In fact, many of them are doing this work in secret for safety reasons, risking their lives daily.

Yet they have refused to settle for fear.

What's more amazing is that these church leaders have been at it for over 5 years. They are swimming upstream at a pace so fast it's a surprise they're still going strong.

I believe they need our help. 

I'm not talking about American politics here or partisan practices and what the US should do in the face of the refugee crisis here.

I'm talking about the Church.

I'm talking about you.

I'm talking about us seeing with fresh eyes.

I'm talking about us awakening to the biggest opportunity of our lifetime:

Muslims are coming to Jesus in droves. They are running to him. They are begging us to tell them about Jesus. God's kingdom is advancing at a mind boggling pace and most of us are missing it for American Idol.

There are 150 evangelical churches in the 3 countries with the most Syrian refugees. If I had to guess I'd say there are at least 150 evangelical churches in my city of Chicago if not 150 satellite campuses of one single megachurch in my town.

If you are a follower of Jesus and care about the lost, this isn't just an issue du jour. This is the opportunity of our lifetime.

If you have prayed to be used by God in any shape or form, if you long to see God do miracles such as He did back in the days of the early church, if you wonder where God is and why you don't see him anymore, you might just be looking in the wrong places. And it might be time to reframe your question.

Instead of asking what you want God to do in your life, you might want to start asking God what He wants you to do with yours.

A few days ago I met Ken, a retired Home Depot employee now working with a Christian ministry in Jordan and travels back and forth regularly from New Hampshire to do this.

Then there's Annie, the 22 year old college grad who moved to Lebanon to live with a Kurdish family and help disciple them.

And Anna, my friend Carl's daughter who moved to Beirut to make movies about the refugees. On her own. Just because.

The list goes on.

Many are heeding the call of the Spirit of God and saying yes, Lord, I'll do it. I'll go where you want me to go. I'll do what you want me to do.

They're choosing to put themselves smack dab in the middle of God's amazing story and they're loving every minute of it.

Look, this isn't meant to be a guilt trip.

I mean, I totally get it. You might not be able to pick up and move right now. I know I'm not ready yet. But have we stopped long enough to think about it?

Maybe it's time we pause and ask God what He wants us to do about the Syrian refugee crisis.

Maybe it's time we act.

We can start by fighting the temptation to switch the channel simply because we're overwhelmed.

We can start by refusing to go numb.

Of course here's a quick and easy way for you to act: become a monthly partner with us. Support our medical and dental work with Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Our next medical mission trip to the Middle East will take place April 28-May 6. Find out more about it all by clicking here.
Or you can just click here to Donate and as a 'thank you,'  you'll get my Free Falling Devotional - A 40 Day Journey Of Faith 
(oh, and feel free to share this article!).

Medical-Dental Trip (Jan 2017) from lina abujamra on Vimeo.

How to Influence People Deeply

There is something awesome that happens in my soul when someone prays for me.

My friend Bob calls to invite me to something.

He stops himself early in the conversation and asks what I should expect him to ask by now: "How can I pray for you, Lina?"

And then He does. He prays out loud for me.  He speaks to the God of the universe, the God who spoke this world into existence, the God who is able to move mountains on my behalf. Bob speaks to Him as a man speaks to his friend.

He prays for me and my soul is moved.

My friend Heidi texts me to remind me: "I'm praying for you right now."

Later in the week, she calls me, typically a day or so before my speaking engagements, and she prays for me. She prays that God would humble me, use me, and do whatever it takes to glorify His name. She prays for me in the waiting, she prays for me to become more like Jesus, she prays that I keep away from sin.

She prays for me and my soul is moved.

I run into Joy at church. This woman is a gift in God's family. With tears in her eyes she tells me she is praying for me. She chokes up when she says it, and I know she means it. She prays for my ministry. She prays for anointing. She prays for endurance.

She prays for me and I can feel the heavens move on my behalf.

She prays for me and my soul is stirred.

I can't comprehend this gift that God has given us. 

I'm not just talking about prayer.

I mean, we all get that prayer works. We don't need to be convinced of the importance of prayer. We understand it intellectually. We've felt God's peace and seen his answers when we finally settle down enough to pray. And most of us, if we're being honest would admit that prayer is the first thing to go in our over committed busy lives.

That we can pray is a gift underused and underestimated.

But I'm talking about an even bigger gift.

I'm talking about the gift of praying in community.

Jesus once said in Matthew 18:19-20 "if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them."

Are you lacking anything today?

Are you facing a mountain you can't overcome?

Are you worried, afraid, tired, weary, overcommitted or pressed down?

Or do you know someone who is?

You don't need a crowd.

You don't need a quorum.

You just need a friend, a moment, and the willingness to humbly step out in faith and ask.

Will you do it?

Will you call someone today and pray for them?

When you do that, I guarantee you, something awesome will happen deep in their souls. And perhaps even in yours.

Can't think of anyone to pray with? Shoot me an email with your phone number. I'd be honored to be that one. ([email protected])

Featured Resource

A Letter to my Christian Friends in the West

My dear fellow western Christian - 

We are finally coming of age.

After hundreds of years of relative comfort, after generations of being well thought of and feeling culturally accepted and looked favorably upon, we are finally, finally coming into our own.

We are finally no longer the in the majority.

We are finally no longer the dominant ones.

We are finally feeling the stain of dislike.

We are finally experiencing what Jesus meant when He called us to be aliens in a world that would not understand us.

Some of us are angry about it, miffed that our rights are being threatened.

Many of us are struggling to grapple with it.

A few of us are insisting on yelling about it one Facebook update at a time.

We used to look at the rest of the world and feel sorry for them.

We used to take pride in living in the land of the free.

We used to consider ourselves blessed. God's favor was on us and our great nation and lucky was anyone who was granted the privilege of participating in our comfort seeking security loving approval hungry ways.

What we didn't notice was that we were wrong.

While we were working so hard to fit into the world, our brothers and sisters around the world were learning to stand strong.

While we were striving to make it, our persecuted siblings were striving to praise him.

While we were running hard after our next vacation and promotion, Christians all over the world were running hard after Jesus.

They grew stronger while we became weak.

They grew lean while we became soft.

And now - now we are finally coming of age.

We are finally waking up to our destiny.

In a world that prefers the dark, we've been exposed as different.

We've been outed as strangers in our land.

We've been recognized for the misfits we were always meant to be.

It's time we grow up.

It's time we decide.

The choices we make today will reveal who we really are.

Our choices will reveal who we love.

Some of us will turn back, unwilling to bear the cost.

Some of us will try to hide, preferring the safety of anonymity.

But many of us will rise.

We are awakening to our destiny.

We are coming of age.

We've been given a gift.

We've been set free from our own wants and our desires.

We've been given a second chance.

Will you take it?

Will you prove to be faithful?


Christians and politics


Some love it.

Some love to hate it.

What would you do if I told you Jesus modeled an approach to politics that we need to embrace?

This week has been a crazy week in politics. No matter what your opinions are on what's happening in our great country, you might want to listen to this podcast I recorded on Christians and politics.


Got an opinion on this podcast? I would love to hear it. Leave a comment or send me an email at [email protected].

Oh, and I almost forgot: I'm in Lebanon this week. You can follow my medical mission trip to the Syrian refugees via Instagram and Facebook.

What do you want the most in your life?

There's this guy I have a massive crush on.

We're Facebook friends and, yeah, I stalk him from time to time.

Let's say, theoretically speaking, that he came to Chicago and asked me out on a date.

And let's say, theoretically speaking, that I checked my schedule and was busy that day.

Do you think I would:

a. apologize and ask him to try again next time?


b. get the heck out of my other commitment and buy a new dress?

You don't have to be a genius to figure this one out.


It's not that complicated when you think about it.

Last week I asked you for your help and thought 2 of you would answer.

But you floored me! Not only did a TON of you respond, but you really shared your heart with me. And you wrecked me with your answers.

Several themes popped up. One of the most common ideas mentioned sounded a little bit like this:

I wish I spent more time with Jesus.

You long for intimacy with Jesus.

You know who He is.

And you want more of Him in your life.

Desperately more.

Yet you struggle with making the time for Him.

You don't know how to make Him a priority.

You're too busy with family.

You're too overwhelmed with your physical needs.

You're simply exhausted.

But it's not that complicated when we think about it.

We make time for the things we love.

We re-arrange our schedule for our Facebook crushes.

We re-order our lives for the commitments that mean more.

We say no after saying yes because we recognize that a better yes is staring us in the face.

We do whatever we need to do to make time for the things we love.

Even if it costs us something along the way.

I got out of a medical mission trip once at the very last minute because I accepted a job at a church instead. My friendship with the organizer of the trip suffered because of it.

I broke off an engagement two weeks before the wedding once because I realized I was in love with someone else.

And on and on it goes.

We make time and space for the things we love.

People ask me all the time how I manage my life. How do I make time for Jesus as an ER doctor/author/speaker/global medical missionary?

It's simple: I've found out I can't live without Jesus.

I mean it literally. I cannot live without Him.

I need him daily.

I need him deeply.

I need him desperately.

I need him because my life is too complicated.

I need him because my people are too complicated.

I need him because I'm too complicated.

I have dreams that I can't accomplish on my own.

I have disappointments I can't reconcile without Him.

I have temptations that suck the life out of my soul.

In a world where everything is competing for my attention, I've found that I have to say no to some things in order to say yes to the more important things.

So I sleep a little bit less.

I socialize a little bit less.

I exercise a little bit less.

Because I love Jesus more.

What about you?

What are you choosing over Jesus?

Is it the gym? Your job? Your rest?

Is it your friends? Your small group? Your church?

In a world where everything is competing for your attention, it's time to say no to some things in order to say yes to the more important things.

It's time to say yes to Jesus.

I'm talking to you.

What are you going to scratch off your list to make time for Jesus?

I know you're really pressed - I mean, who isn't? We have Facebook, and Instagram and snap chat to keep up with these days.

But let's make 2017 the year we chase after the things that matter most.

I want to tell you about an app I've started using for my quiet time.

It's called

Wanna try it with me? We can do this together.

Let's run hard after Jesus because we simply can't do it without him. 

My verse for 2017 is Exodus 33:15 where Moses says this to God: "If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here".

Would you pray this verse with me for 2017?

One last thing, you sort of spoiled me with all the emails last week. I've come to expect you to actually talk to me. So will you do it again? Will you leave a comment with your verse or word for 2017? I'd love to hear from you.

Here's a teaching that I think will help you as you focus your thoughts on the one thing that matters most in 2017: