The Letter Kills, but…the Spirit Gives Life!

“who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” ( 2 Cor 3:6)

One of the main purposes of the law/letter was to be our tutor to Christ…that through the law we would come to know God & enter into a relationship with Him – a relationship free from rules, laws, and living out of our own self-efforts.

It’s sad to say, but all too often I meet with what seems like depressed Christians or uptight ones, not joyful ones…what the heck! Christians should be the most joyful people on the planet, as we have been given the greatest gift in being in a relationship with Jesus Christ.

In my opinion, I think a lot of the frustration, difficulty, and lack of joy that some followers of Christ experience is directly related to mixing the old covenant and the new covenant. It has come from trying to live for Jesus, instead of enjoying a relationship with Jesus…’thou shalt not’ kind of living (man-initiated), instead of ‘thou will’ kind of living (God-initiated) – Ex. 20 & Heb. 8. It’s freedom to be united with the living God & experience His life being lived through our life.

When I read the Word, I never sense from Paul, John, or any other New Covenant writers that the Christian life was this great struggle and burden to live, rather I see them laying hold of what Jesus said, “my yoke is easy & my burden is light.”

I don’t believe that anyone can join in with the apostle John and say that His commandments are not burdensome (1 Jn 5:3) unless one experiences living by grace and not by the law…living by the law as a believer will kill us, but living by grace in a relationship with God will give us life.

Jesus’ goal for our lives was life & life abundantly…I believe a day is coming soon in the body of Christ where believers will live confidently in their relationship with God as a saint not a sinner, as righteous not unrighteous, as a son not an orphan, as a friend not a slave, and as a lover not a worker.

I was only planning on writing a quote I just read, but forget the quote you just got a rant from me.

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Life

This picture is of Holly giving a home-school lesson to the kids about trees, specially why we can’t just push them over…the kids love this stuff and learning about nature and how it works.


This picture just brings me so much joy! I love the simplicity of life that kids have, not to mention the raw excitement about the waves coming at them!

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Family Pictures

These are a few shots my little sister took of us in Big Bear…so thankful to be a husband & a father of these munckins!







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God was in our midst…

The last week of the UCSB school year was a week of radical encounters by God…it felt like the grand finale fireworks in the spiritual realm to conclude an amazing year in IV. God showed up this week powerfully blessing peoples socks off both in the church and out of the church…I randomly came across this the other day, its a blog post from a missionary couple that stopped by our house that week on their way to San Diego:

We just had a radical divine appointment in Santa Barbara on the way down the coast as we were coming back home from a ministry trip further north. To see it come to pass, however, we had to be willing to be very flexible.

A friend who happened to be staying in Santa Barbara called us late at night right near 11:00pm while we were driving home through that area and asked us to come visit her and some friends in Isla Vista at the last moment. We felt God’s hand was upon this even though it was late and we were tired and culturally it was very akward to show up at someone’s home so late and unplanned like this. We went over and ended up actually spending the night and miraculously wound up in an all-day outpouring of the Spirit the next day.

This group of mostly college students near UCSB were all interested in hearing about Lonnie Frisbee and how God worked through him back in the Jesus People Revival and Vineyard Outpouring. Having had the blessing to travel and experience firsthand God’s work through Lonnie, we were stoked to share some stories. We also had a short video to play. Right in the middle of watching this video, God sovereignly started moving on people in power which sparked a Holy Ghost outpouring where we began praying for people and powerful manifestations began to take place. Other students and friends kept showing up and coming in to this spontaneous prayer meeting as God kept pouring out His Spirit all day long; this unplanned meeting which started in the morning continued on until around three in the afternoon with lots of powerful moves, fillings, and empowerings of many lives.

I finally realized we hadn’t eaten, drank, or consumed anything or taken a break the whole day—this is the kind of fasting that is worthwhile though—when God is in the midst of it versus that other forced dead kind which Jesus criticized the Pharisees for doing out of dead ritual.

It was an awesome time and just when I thought I’d keel over from all the focus and intensity of praying for others all day long without any sustenance, I was offered some sardines to remind us of our Euro mission trips and a few laughs.

I was just thinking it would be good to take a break and get a surf in before it was too late when one of the many surfers there offered to take us out for a surf break too.

We scored some fun, sunny, 2 to 3’ clean and peaky, zipper-like waves right straight out at Campus Point. I queried how often it broke this time of year like this since I can’t ever remember seeing these kinds of waves like this in this area of Santa Barbara in the summer since the Channel Islands block most summer swells. The answer was never, “it never breaks this time of year.”

Another blessing, and a quite refreshing one on that day, of the willingness to be flexible and let the winds of the Spirit lead the way. We would have missed that outpouring God wanted to bring and the fun out of season unique surf session if we had just done the culturally acceptable and easier thing on our weary bodies and had just headed home rather than showing up at someone’s house we didn’t know near midnight to end up sleeping on the floor after sleeping in others’ homes for the past few weeks already. There was unplanned blessing awaiting we knew not of but we had to pay attention to the leading of the Spirit to tap into it.

Jesus words about letting the winds of the Spirit lead the way are not just some far off idea for another Bible study but something to be applied to our lives as we learn to do what Jesus told the early disciples to do: “Follow Me.”

“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” John 3:8

For the full post click here: http://reflectionsftroad.blogspot.com/2010/06/blessed-are-flexible.html

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Big Bear

This last weekend we had our annual Big Bear trip as an extended family – parents, sisters, their husbands, older sister’s kids, and a cousin.

It was such a blast…super fun, refreshing, and a great time of being together! We were so thankful for being able to spend a little time with my family in the mountains, the weather was epic too.

I am amazed at the work of redemption that God has done in our family, it’s evidence of the His power to change and transform lives by faith in Christ…glory to you God!

Here are a few pictures from the weekend:






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Love Wins!

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Corinthians 13

This last Sunday I read off about 10 verses concerning love…reminding the fellowship that without it we have nothing, rather we have become a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. Love trumps all things, which is why God chose to describe Himself as Love. (1 Jn 4:8)

A few verses on love:

“God so loved the world that He gave Jesus…” (Jn 3:16)

“Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Rom 13:10)

“The fruit of the Spirit is love…(Gal 5:22)

“The goal of our instruction is love…” (1 Tim 1:5)

“We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” (1 Jn 3:16)

The love of God used in these verses is not the same love that we use when we say “I love In & Out” (which hopefully everyone does, but we will save that for another blog post). The love of God, living in us by the Spirit of God, is a self-sacrificial love, it’s a love that considers others as more important than self, and does what is best for others, regardless of whether or not they deserve it.

It’s the kind of love demonstrated by Jesus in going and dying on the cross so that everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of all their sins & eternal life! This is a radical, sacrificial, and selfless love.

I like this picture, it is such a good description of the love we are called to have for one another…according to the Word, our love for God is in direct proportion to our love for one another.


“We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” (1 Jn 4:19-21)

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