“A dispute arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. And He (Jesus) said to them…”Let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as the one who serves. For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as one who serves.”- Luke 22:24, 26-27

They had just taken the Lord’s Supper for the first time. Jesus was explaining to His disciples the new covenant, the covenant of His blood that would be poured out shortly thereafter. Jesus had just mentioned that one would betray Him- and conversational chaos erupted. The argument over who was the greatest among them began.

As outsiders looking in, this conversation can come as a shock to us. The disciples were always doing things in an untimely, ironic manner it seems. Really? Talking about who is the best human in a moment like this? Fighting over favor and rights when something so sacred and transformative was about to occur? It seems shocking, unless we fast forward to today and look at some of our own situations and interactions. And- let us not forget- the disciples were like family. We all know the closer we get to other imperfect human beings, the more likely we are to find disagreement and dispute. The truth is, relationships are messy. It’s why so many avoid commitment. They love the beginning of a friendship or romantic endeavor- it is safe, fun, light-hearted. Yet, when baggage begins coming out and wounds begin to form, running seems much easier than working. Fleeing looks like a better option than figuring out. And, we can be confident of something in the midst: the Enemy of our souls loves it.

God is a God of reconciliation. It’s what He does. He did it once and for all on the cross, and He loves to walk us through reconciliation in relationship with others as well. God wants togetherness, Satan wants division. God desires peace, Satan seeks destruction and confusion. God purposes wholeness, Satan thrives on others’ brokenness.

If Satan had it in him to love anything- I would venture to say he loves the current state of our world.

Beyond the state of the general society, the relationships between God’s children is totally up the Enemy’s alley, too. We have formulated so much division between differing political and theological views that we have forgotten what we stand for- namely, the Hope found in Jesus Christ. We find small pockets of people, both on social media and in our “real” lives, that agree with our stance, and we cling to these people. They are easier. They remind us more of ourselves, and we find comfort in that. We mock the other side, either in our head or out loud, and while there are some of us who do not voice that mockery to others because “it wouldn’t be loving”; our hearts are fixated on where they simply have it all wrong. Meanwhile, the opportunity to be the hands, feet, and heart of Jesus in a literal dying world is all around us- yet we are too busy arguing with other Christ followers to notice.

Are we that different than the Disciples as they sat and took that first communion?

This week, my conversations and lessons learned through our girls have taken a back seat. It’s not because I don’t think they are important to God; and it’s certainly not because there aren’t things going on. The seizures and seizure meds are still taking a toil on all of us; and I currently have a cough that I fear would put the girls in a compromised state if they catch it. I can protect them from the outside germs to a certain extent, but there is only so much physical protection I can offer them when their main caregiver is ill. So, we simply pray. And trust no matter what happens. However, I am so unbelievably connected and concerned with the Body of Christ right now; so much so that it absolutely has to come first in both prayer, conversation, and exhortation. We have an unbelievably opportunity to display the love of God to a watching world right now. I really believe with all my heart that the way we love one another as Christian brothers and sisters could be transformative to those around us. Yet, loving is hard. Relationships are messy. People are imperfect; and so, we find it easier to give money or discuss the orphan and widow than we do to attempt to reconcile, commune, and love. Sometimes, living in community is more challenging than giving to those in need. Often, talking about those hurting across the world comes more naturally than reaching out to the person across the table from you.

“Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are…that they will all be one, just as you and I are one…may they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.”- John 17:11, 21-23

My attempt to make this shorter than usual has already been unsuccessful, but I want to briefly discuss the verses above in order to spur us on to much bigger and better things than Facebook rhetoric. This was a personal communion of prayer of Jesus and His Father while Jesus was still on earth. I think we have much to learn from what He asks and desires for God’s children. Initially, Jesus asks for protection. Not as a safety precaution; but a protection from the evil one SO THAT they will be united. I think Jesus knew at a deeper level than I will comprehend on this side of heaven how tempted we would be to divide and isolate. God’s goal for Christ followers is that we would unite as one. That we would authentically live life together. This does not happen just by putting on a happy face and your most modest outfit, sitting down at a pew on Sunday, listening to a sermon, smiling at the people around you, and then heading back to “your own life”. No. This happens when we invest all- yes, I said all- of our moments with the family of God. It occurs when you feel the freedom to come to the table broken, bruised, confused, fearful, and hurt- without any fear of being judged. It begins when the needs of the church become equally important to us than the needs of our own families and circles. Oh, that we would not make our children or spouses an idol above the call to serve. Community begins with the foundational truth that you are loved not because of who you are, but because of who God is. When you are able to truly hold fast to this, you are able to love others in their own personal brokenness as well. You see, no matter what our differences- racial, economical status, family size, personal sin struggles- what connects us as believers trumps it all- that we are great sinners and that God is a great God. What we believe- that Jesus Christ took on the weight of all of our sin so that we could be free to love Him and loves others- makes any other differences minor. And, as we unite together on the basis of Christ and Christ alone, lives are changed. Both ours and the world around us, for we begin to look much, much different than this world. It’s not that we are not still broken and messy; in fact, it’s that we are still broken and messy and we are loving one another anyway! This is what dispels the evil around us- a love that knows no boundaries. This is the love of God that passes all understanding.

The last part of the verses above must be mentioned as well. Jesus says, “May they experience such perfect unity…that you love them as much as you love me”. Jesus knew He was loved. His mission on earth was to die a horrendous death on the cross so that we can all experience eternal life with Him- and in the midst of this calling- He knew He was loved. He did not think He was loved in spite of the suffering; He knew His Father’s love for Him allowed the suffering for purposes bigger than the human mind could fathom. Friends, may we take on this heart attitude as well! May we know we are loved in the midst of the trial, the suffering, the pain, the hurting. May we begin to live in true community with those around us who have the Spirit of God in them- not just those who share the same opinions as us; but every Christ follower on our computer screen or in our church or on the street, simply because what connects us is eternally bigger than what disconnects us. The way we love one another truly plays a role on how the world around us sees Jesus. It will not matter how well we are serving those outside the church if we cannot serve our own brothers and sisters with the same fervor. Beloved, let’s walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which we have been called. May we bear with one another in love, and may we be eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:1-3). The time is now.

“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Jesus had.”- Romans 15:5


A Call to Wake-Up.


He wanted to talk to the “psychiatrist” as they had coined me. I was fresh out of graduate school in the middle of Southeast Asia in a village. My experience in mental health was minimal, but my heart for the profession was big. Throughout the past few weeks, in the different medical clinics we had set up in various villages, many had been sent to me with “problems in the head” as they called it. Most of them were suffering from some sort of depression, some of them were having visions that certainly presented like spiritual warfare, but him- none of the government officials had asked to see me throughout the month. The government had sent officials to keep watch over us as we ministered to the people. These officials had cameras and guns at times, and did their best to give off a, “we mean business” vibe. Our translators, all believers, helped us to share the Gospel by translating our words quietly. We would sometimes pray for our patients with our eyes wide open, so as not to look suspicious.


When one of the officials asked to speak to me alone, our team leader informed him that he would be meeting with us as well, for safety purposes. The official began a story of a dream that he continued to have. He said that he was terrified of dying; that it consumed him. He kept dreaming that he died and he was stuck in this fear. He told me that I had no option other than to help him overcome this problem.


Jesus was the only answer.

Without knowing it, he was asking me to share Jesus with him. Was this a trap? The smug look on the official’s face made me think maybe so. Yet, how could someone who had never heard the full Gospel come up with a trap as strategic as that? I glanced over at our team leader, and the look on his face told me what was going to happen next. Tears brimmed in my eyes.

The leader told him that, unfortunately, the very thing that he had prohibited us from saying was the only cure we had for him. I wept.

A year later, I saw the team leader at a wedding and he pulled me aside. He said he had been haunted by the fact that we did not share the Good News with this man. He apologized for leading me in that direction. I explained to him that while maybe he was a leader of the trip, my responsibility as a Christian was separate from that and that I, too, had cowered back. The truth is, we don’t know what would have happened if we had shared. We could have come up with all excuses for why it was wise to not- more time in the country, more citizens to share with, our families, blah.blah.blah. However, we are not called to personalize God’s commands with our own versions of appropriate. We are called to not be ashamed of the Gospel no matter the cost; and acting in fear and logic instead of obedience is in fact, in its own way, being ashamed.


Now, in 2015, we sit in a time in which we have been asked to open “our” land to the needy. We have been called to put aside fear and move forward in love, trusting God with His plans. Christ-follower: it may or may not be the end times; that is not for us to know. It is the time, however, to step up and be different from the world. To show a watching world that we believe in a God who overcame sin and death, therefore we have nothing to fear in it. Time to be a people who, unlike my friend who did not know the truth of the Gospel in Southeast Asia, do not fear anything but God Himself. It is time to display this love that knows no boundaries and shows no partiality- a love that is not the God of America but the God of the nations. We read the stories in Scriptures and hear about brothers and sisters across the world risking their lives for the sake of the Gospel- we find motivation and encouragement from this- and then- we go on to our personal agendas that might include visiting a soup kitchen or getting coffee with a friend and talking about Jesus, and we feel good about ourselves and our safe, comfortable little lives. We want to give to the cause, yet we don’t want to put ourselves or families in a place of risk for the cause. Simply put, we are putting comfort and fear above love. When you look at God’s Word, we are never told to fear anything, except for having a holy reverent fear of God. We are told that He is light and our salvation in Psalm 27. Psalm 111:10 says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; yet we masquerade protecting ourselves as being wise. God’s Word says that if we love anything more than Him-including our families- we sin (Matthew 10:37). It reminds us that He is with us in all things. It exhort us to not fear the one that can kill the body but not kill the soul (Matthew 10:26-33). We even see our brother in Christ, Paul ,writing from prison, telling us that we do not have a spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7). He goes on to remind us that we are called to share in Christ’s sufferings, for the sake of the Gospel, by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is God’s Holy calling for His children. The Word says it plain and clear. There are way too many verses about serving the poor and needy than there is room on this post, but here are a few to keep in mind:

James 2:13- mercy triumphs over judgment, always. This is a place in which we are commanded to not show partiality to anyone.

Proverbs 31:8-9 tells us that we are called to open our mouths for the poor and mute and destitute; to defend the rights of the poor.

Proverbs 24:10-12 exhorts us to hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter aka those who do not know the truth of Christ.

James 1:27 reminds us to visit (not go see- care for, meet them in their need) the orphans and widows.

Matthew 28:19, Mark 13:10, and 1 Timothy 3:16 assure us that our neighbor includes all nations and that God’s truths are for all people to hear.

Should we be doing this to our American neighbors as well? Of course. So many have said that there are many in America- both veterans and others- who are homeless and hurting and need our help. I could not agree more!

Does this fact negate the opportunity to love on our Syrian brothers and sisters who are hurting? Nope.

If your best friend’s family was suffering in the ways that the refugees are, it would be on the fore-front of your brain at all times to help in any way possible.

If these were your children, would you want someone to say they couldn’t help out of fear of the evil that could potentially come from it as well?

Are we not called to trust God to be our refuge and simply move forward, choosing to love regardless of the cost? How can they know that God is their refuge if we are not seeking to be a tangible example of this as His children?

Are people going to see Christ in the way we are treating their afflictions?

Matthew 19:30 says this,

“Many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

I want to leave us with one simple question: Are we living our lives in a way that shows we believe we are called to put others first and ourselves last or are we spending our days attempting to look out for ourselves and our own as number one? It is clear that we should look different than the world and that the ways of the Lord are very counter-cultural. Does your life look drastically different? What we believe will always have an effect on how we live. I think the enemy loves watching us struggle and fixate on our own personal sin record and circumstances, because when we do that, we are not focusing on the things that matter most to God. Christ came to take care of sin once and for all. Yes, it is true that we should seek to make the outside of the cup reflect the inside. We should follow His commands in our actions. But, are we spending more time talking about how many alcoholic beverages are acceptable as a Christian, what outfit is most appropriate, what movies are okay to see, and what words are best to say; and, in turn, missing the greater truth that Christ died for all of our junk SO THAT we could spend our time loving instead of all our energy focusing on the things He died for? When we understand what God did for us on the cross, there should be so much overflow of gratitude and love and desire to share that same love with others that we don’t have room in our brains or in our schedules to talk about the color of coffee cups.




Friends, I know these words are strong. And if you are saying, ‘Morgan, what about you? What are you doing?’ I am right there with you. I am quite literally preaching to the choir. I cannot change my heart yesterday. But today, I believe we have the opportunity in front of us to be the hands, feet, and heart of Christ like our generation has never had; and this cannot be done as we sit in our living rooms with coffee in hand and Bibles open. Yes, this is where it starts– yet may we use these times to be moved to action to be Jesus in this broken world. May we, like many before us, trust in the God who says that He will be our strength and that He is mighty to save. The time is now. It may look and feel differently than we thought, but may we not be counted among those that the Lord says, “For a time will come when people will not endure sound teaching but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions” (2 Timothy 4:3); or, “Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me” (Matthew 25:45). Friends, may we wake up to the plans that He has for us, and may we believe that He is a good God who will power us with His Spirit to do that which He has called. May we not waste our lives fighting for the temporary and instead, may we hold fast to the God of the universe and the things that are eternal.

“Safe? Said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course He isn’t safe. But He’s good. He’s the King I tell you.” – C.S. Lewis, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia)

The Cup that Matters.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside may also be clean.”- Matthew 23:25-26

I am sick of reading blogs and comments about the Starbucks cup, but I can’t seem to stop. It’s like the other most recent hot topics. The first couple things you read about it are entertaining, and then… then they all start to run together and it begins to feel like one big online debate that spins in circles.

But here I am, writing a blog about it yet again.

I always try to not be the person who posts what has already been said a million times (unless it’s the Gospel and in that case, I will post it until I have no more breath to breathe). Yet, I have some heavy thoughts floating around my head that have nothing to do with the so-called Christians that were offended by the Starbucks cup (which, by the way, I have read one post from an offended person and about a million posts from those who are offended that they are offended. Are we positive that the first group even exists?)

As I was thinking through the whole thing yesterday afternoon, the above verses from Matthew came to mind. I even commented on a status with something along these lines,

“Amen. It all kind of reminds me of a conversation Jesus had with the Pharisees about cleaning the inside of the cup instead of worrying about the outside.”


Got em’.

Except the more I thought about it, the more sick and twisted the entire thing became. Me- a sinner- focusing on others’ sins? Now that sounds like a Pharisee if I have ever heard of one.

I began to get uncomfortable in my own skin as I started challenging my own thoughts on the matter.

The truth is this: we are not called to focus on anyone’s sins; we are called to focus on the Savior of all.

This is the cup that we have been given the privilege of fixating on- the one in which Jesus said,

“My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”- Matthew 26:39

The new covenant of blood spoken of in 1 Corinthians 11:25- that cup is the cup that changes everything.

The truth is this: we are all messed up. We can spend time bashing other supposed brothers and sisters who “got it wrong” yet again, or we can spend our time praising the God above all our twisted and distorted human junk.

I think sometimes, as Christ followers, we see others doing something in the name of Christ and it embarrasses us, and so we forget that we are called to love them even still.

Even when their humanity seeps out from under the rug- or in the case, overflows from their cup.

Beloved- we are called to love everyone. At all times. No matter what. Yes, we call sin what it is but can we open our eyes a little bit more to see that when we are mocking the sin of anyone we are forgetting the blood of Jesus that covered all our sins. And-

“Are you able to drink the cup I am about to drink?” (Jesus’s statement).- Matthew 20:22


We are not able.

Thanks be to God that in Jesus, we can spend time focusing on what is good, and lovely, and true, and right- not on some ridiculous, will be in the trash in twenty minutes, cup.

You see, the problem with saying that there is poverty, and orphans, and widows that we need to be looking toward instead is that this still misses the point.

You don’t have to be a Christ follower to love your neighbor, or feed the poor, or adopt a child.

Yet, the good news of the Gospel spurs us on to love selflessly just as He has loved us infinitely selflessly. So, when we keep our eyes on Him, the overflow of His cup within causes us to want to love those around us with unabandoned love. Just as He did.

“If You kept a record of sin, O Lord, who could stand…but with You, there is forgiveness.”- Psalm 130:3-4

Friends, this is the point. This is our focus. Today, may we not busy ourselves with bashing others’ silly mistakes or futile decisions, and instead, may we busy ourselves with kingdom matters.

Might we focus on the cup of salvation instead of the cup of caffeine. The inside instead of the outside.

And- let us not forget- fixating on the story itself, from whatever angle, is losing sight of the whole point.

Thanks be to God that in Jesus, we can love each other in the midst of all of our sin.

Whether our struggle is legalism or licentiousness, grace stands.

Love wins everytime.

Let’s drink THAT cup to overflow today and every day.