Look for the Open Door

locked-doors-2And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia.

~ Acts 16:6


It happens in every horror movie ever created, someone or a group of people are being chased by the villain and somehow they manage to find a locked door; now everyone watching it screams for them to run, while they sit there and knock and kick and try to force open the door (this always ends badly). And its a movie, we know its going to happen, we can even predict it, continuing to run and seeking an open door just makes sense to us watching in the comfort of a movie theater or on our couch. But what do we do in life when God shows us a locked door? Do we sit there and bang on it, kick it, try to force it open; or do we move on and walk through the doors He has opened in our lives?

There are times in our lives when God may currently have a door in our lives closed, the desire may not necessarily be a bad thing, just that at that time the Lord has other doors open.

Why spend all our time fighting a closed-door? 

In this passage in Acts Paul desires to go to Asia to spread the Gospel, this is a good and right desire, but at the time the Spirit says no. Paul, one of the greatest missionaries to ever live doesn’t try to fight it, he doesn’t go to Asia anyways (perhaps he learned from reading Jonah to be obedient); he continues his journey until the Lord gives him a vision of a man in Macedonia, urging him to come. He is obedient and goes, and the church of the Philippians is born. Again we see in Romans 15, that Paul has had a great desire to travel to Rome but up until this time had not been able to come because the Lord continued to open up doors for him to preach the Gospel in places where it had never been preached before.

Simply looking at Paul’s life we see a life of obedience, a life that faithfully walked through the open the doors the Lord laid out for him, this is why at the end of his life he could boldly proclaim, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith (2 Timothy 4:7).” Why? He had lived a life of obedience and faithfulness.

I see this playing out in my life and in those around me over and over, sometimes it’s so easy to focus on the locked door that we miss out on the open ones. I recently was discussing this with a friend who was asking me about my singleness, and how I was handling it. The truth is, yes there is a desire to be married and a desire for a family one day, but at this time it is a door the Lord currently has closed in my life, but in His graciousness He has opened many others (ministry opportunities, home group, speaking opportunities, volunteering with student ministry, etc.).

More than marriage, I want to be found faithful and obedient! 

The ultimate goal for man (men and women) is not to have a good marriage and family, but to glorify God in our lives and to make much of Him, and that means in our singleness and in our marriages. We seek marriage not to “complete” us, but because it is a good desire and to have a marriage that honors and glorifies the Lord as a living example of Christ and His Bride, the Church.

My concern is I see so many people who have gifts and talents for the Body, the Church, yet they aren’t using them because they are so focused on that one locked door the Lord has for them in this season. Look up and see all the doors the Lord currently has open for you. Be obedient! Be faithful! He’s a good Father, trust Him.

Do I look for that open door to marriage and a family? Yes! But when I find it locked, I want to focus on the open doors and not the locked ones.

Fellas – We should be looking for Godly women to form Godly friendships with in hopes that they will blossom into something more. But only Christ will satisfy, don’t stop your pursuit of Him fighting locked doors. Be obedient and faithfully walk through the open doors the Lord has in your life.

Ladies – I know, you are waiting for that guy to man up and ask you out (sometimes guys are slow) but don’t stare at the locked door wondering when it will open. Be obedient, and faithfully walk through the open doors the Lord has in your life.

And when the door of marriage opens, faithfully walk through it as you have all the other open doors the Lord has opened in your life.

‘Well done, good and faithful servant.”

~ Jesus

Related Posts: 

Behold and Tell



“He said to them, “Come and you will see.”

~ John 1:39(a) 



Two weeks ago like many of you I began a new Bible reading plan for 2016, this year I am following JR Vassar and Church at the Cross’s reading plan (here) and I’m loving it. As this year started I have found myself in the Gospel of John and been reminded of the simple doings of the Christian life because this little phrase, “come and see,” keeps popping up in the first few chapters.

Originally with the early disciples:

John 1:39 – He said to them, Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.

     – Jesus to early Disciples, when asked where He was staying.

John 1:45-46 – Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” (Context: John 1)

     – Phillip encounters Christ and runs to Nathanael to find tell him.

Then with the Woman at the Well:

John 4:29 – “Comesee a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” (Context: John 4)

     – Woman encounters Christ and goes and tells her whole town.

In reading through these passages, I was reminded of this truth:

The Christian life is one of beholding and telling. 

Beholding Christ for who He is, and telling those around us.

“The ultimate aim of the gospel is the display of God’s glory and the removal of every obstacle to our seeing it and savoring it as our highest treasure. “Behold Your God!” is the most gracious command and the best gift of the gospel. If we do not see Him and savor Him as our greatest fortune, we have not obeyed or believed the gospel.” 

~ John Piper 


2015, Production of Hope

FullSizeRenderNot only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,  and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

~ Romans 5:3-5

2015, what a ride. To say that it was a roller coaster would be an understatement; this year had many highs and many lows, and an ever-present constant:

The Lord is Faithful. Loving. Present.

2105 was one of the hardest years of my life and yet because of the Lord’s faithfulness, one which I grew the most and thus it became one of my best years of my life. This year was one which brought suffering, that turned into endurance, that ultimately produced hope, and the Lord was at work in every aspect of it, even lovingly working before hand to prepare me when I had no idea what was coming.

Last December, I was privileged to preach at a church back in my hometown, and the main passage of the message was Hebrews 11:8-16; looking at how Abraham and Sarah never returned to where the Lord called them from because their eyes were focused on where the Lord was calling them to. Application being the truth that we too have been called to a promise land, that this is not our home and there is coming a day when we as believers will be with the Lord for all eternity. So whether 2105 is the best or worst year of your life, there is coming a day when it will be better and we will be with Him.

Little did I know, but the Lord was driving that deep into my heart as I studied and as I preached, lovingly preparing me for 2015. Three weeks after delivering this message, I was let go from my job, and it was stressful but honestly I thought I would find a job quickly. You see, I have a good resume, I have good work experience, and a good education while living in Dallas that has thousands of job openings all over DFW (all would prove to be misplaced hopes). But the Lord had other plans, for five and half months I applied and applied and applied all over the metroplex. For jobs I was qualified for, for jobs I was over qualified for, and jobs I was under qualified for, with no results. For five and a half months I wondered what the Lord was doing, wondered where He was.

He was there lovingly performing surgery. In His love He was removing all misplaced hopes in my life with the only Hope that will never fail us, Himself. For five and a half months He provided over and over for me. For five and half months He reminded me that He had called me to Dallas, and that yes life was currently hard but I was right where He wanted me.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.

~ Lamentations 3:22-23

2015 brought many lows:

  • Unemployed for five and a half months
  • Lost two Grandparents
  • Sickness hit the family

And many highs:

  • Saw a sister whom we have prayed and prayed for come to know the Lord as her Savior.
  • Saw the Lord prove faithful over and over
  • The Lord blessed me with many ministry opportunities to be used by Him.

And He has given me Hope, hope that doesn’t put us to shame, because hope in Him never fails. We misplace a lot of our hopes:

  • in a spouse
  • in health
  • in a job
  • a new home, car, etc.

But only hope in Christ can sustain us when the world is crashing down around us. All misplaced hopes can fail us, but there is one hope that never will, and that hope is Christ.

The hope of the righteous brings joy,

~ Proverbs 10:28

In 2015, the Lord lovingly brought me to a place when I could lay face down on the floor and honestly proclaim, “Lord I don’t know what You are doing, but I trust You.” And that is so freeing, and a gift that makes 2015 a great year.


Forgetfulness of Comparison


But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor.

~ Galatians 6:4


Theodore Roosevelt said that “Comparison is the thief of joy,” a statement that I see play its self out time and time again in our lives. I believe that comparison also tends to lead to forgetfulness. Forgetfulness of where we have come from, the progress we have made, and the special gifts and talents that we have.

I see this played out again and again at my gym almost weekly where, someone will be discouraged with score for the workout (I do Crossfit so each workout is judged by a time or number of reps our rounds, etc.). Someone will be upset because they got beat or that they are still unable to hit a certain movement like someone else can (without thinking maybe that other person has been at it longer, or that they put in extra hours of work to be able to efficiently hit that movement). When this arises, the first question I always want to ask is, “Six months ago or a year ago how would you of done in this workout?” Typically the answer is, “Oh I wouldn’t have got anywhere near the score I got today.” Ah, the reassurance of remembrance.

Comparison not only steals our joy, it causes us to forget. This is clearly seen in the gym, perhaps in the work place or even in home life. But it also plays itself out in our churches. Much like the discouraged man in the gym, we look around at the “holiness and sanctification” of others and we forget.

Comparison to others causes us to forget:

  • The Work God has done in us.
  • All that the Lord has rescued us from.
  • The Uniqueness that God created us with.
  • The special talents that the Lord has graciously given us.
  • That we may not be what we long to be, but we are no longer what we once were.
  • That He who began a work in us will complete it (Philippians 1:6).

When the temptation to compare ourselves with other brothers and sisters arises, let us not forget but fight to remember. Remember who He is, and all that He has been doing and is currently doing in our lives. May we seek to be faithful and obedient in all that He ask of us with our eyes on Him and not others, for His Glory and our joy.

It’s Not You, It’s Him


The Westminster Catechism, written in 1646, begins:

Q – What is the chief end of man? 

A – Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. 

Simple, straight to the point, and such a good reminder for us today. And if this is true (and I would argue it is, Psalm 86; Psalm 16:5-11) then this should affect everything about our lives. Including the way we walk through singleness and dating.

Singles, singleness is hard, I know. Couples dating, dating is hard, its messy. And they are both even harder when we make ourselves or our partner the focal point of our pursuit, of our thoughts, of our longings. Can I simply remind us, there is One who is the focal point of all of history, from eternity past to eternity future and it is not you, nor is it the one whom you are dating or hoping to date.

Our chief end isn’t to get the date we really want, it isn’t to marry the person of our dreams, it is to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever. Your singleness isn’t about you, it’s about Him. Your season of dating isn’t about you or them, it’s about Him. Your marriage isn’t about you and your family it’s about Him. Francis and Lisa Chan paint this picture beautifully in their latest book, You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity. Where they remind us that marriage is great but it’s not forever, you see in eternity we won’t be married. Yes, right now, singleness or a rough season of dating can seem like a huge obstacle, but in light of eternity it is simply a small spec.

There is a greater story going on all around us, and we aren’t the main character, from the beginning of time and that is of the Father drawing peoples to Himself and we have been invited into this. Let us not forget that our chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. For all eternity we will do this (see Revelation 21-22) and we have been invited into this story now, don’t delay. It is possible to walk through singleness and dating in a way that both glorifies God and enjoys Him, but He must be our focal point. We can’t enjoy Him when we are, to steal a quote from Chandler, “navel-gazing”. When our focus is on ourself and our circumstances we will never enjoy Him, and if we aren’t enjoying Him we will never glorify Him, they go hand in hand.

What does this look like? How do we glorify Him and enjoy Him, while walking through singleness and dating seasons? Some random thoughts:

  • Singles: I recently heard a sermon from Ben Stuart in which he said, “Singleness is for devotion” (1 Corinthians 7:32-35). Your season of singleness is a gift for you to devote yourself to the Lord. He has gifted us and equipped us as believers for the betterment of the Church, don’t waste this season not using your gifting and chasing your calling because you are so focused on yourself. Pour yourself our for the sake of Church and the Gospel. Live your life in your singleness in a way that glorifies God and shows the watching world that your joy is found in Him.
  • Fellas: If there is a lady friend you are interested in, pursue her in righteousness. Seek to honor the Lord in your pursuit, in the way you talk to her, and in the way you think about her. Be clear with what your intentions are and don’t play games. All the while still running after the Lord and pursuing Him with all you got. Seek to run after the Lord hard and if you find someone running just as hard pursue, but don’t slow down to look. That is not glorifying God nor enjoying Him.
  • Ladies: Don’t sit around waiting for someone to ask you out or to pursue you. Run after the Lord, pursue Him, pour yourself out for Him, His Name, and His Church. You do this and maybe some of the guys around you won’t ask you out, because they are intimidated by your pursuit, and this is good; it will cause them to grow up.  Ladies, the Church and our cities need you, don’t neglect your gifting and calling sitting around waiting for the phone to ring, please I beg you. Use your season of singleness for devotion, seek to know the perfect Father, and to be used by Him for His Glory and your Joy.
  • Dating Couples: Remember you don’t complete each other. In that same sermon Ben stated, “Dating is for evaluation,” his point being evaluating each other to see if marriage is a possibility. But while you are dating, don’t neglect your devotion to the Lord. Date in such a way that honors Him, and shows the watching world around you that your ultimate hope isn’t in each other but in Him. Date in such a way that glorifies Him and enjoys Him. Continue to run your races hard together, serve and pursue the Lord together. The Church and our cities need you.

Finally, remember this life isn’t about us, it is about so much more. It is all about Him.

Longing for someone to date, someone to marry is a good longing. But it can’t take place of what is to be our ultimate calling, to Glorify Him and to enjoy Him forever. There is coming a day when we will do this, lets not wait to begin.

Anything I put before my God is an idol
Anything I want with all my heart is an idol
Anything I can’t stop thinking of is an idol
Anything that I give all my love is an idol

~ Jimmy Needham, Clear The Stage

  • Westminster Shorter Catechism: http://www.reformed.org/documents/wsc/index.html?_top=http://www.reformed.org/documents/WSC.html
  • Related Post: “Singleness and Serving

Come to Me


Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. ~ Matthew 11:28-29



Lately it seems like everyone that I talk to is going through a season of weariness, we are a tired people. Perhaps its work that is going crazy, maybe life is just happening and its a hard season, we can’t sleep, we can’t find time to sit still and rest. The truth is many of us at different seasons in life find ourselves drained both physically and spiritually, and it is here that Christ Jesus declares, “Come to Me.”

Tired? Beat down? Stressed? Cant Sleep? “Come to Me!”

The request is there, far too many times in my life when going through a season of weariness, my initial thought is this will pass I just need to fight through this on my own, I can survive this. When all the while He is there saying, “Come to Me!”

When we are physically beat down and when we find ourselves spiritually drained, rest is found in Him. Look at Matthew 11:28-29, Jesus tells the listener, come to me for rest and I will also give you rest for your soul. Complete Rest! Physical rest for you (v.28), and spiritual rest for our souls (v.29).

Today, if you fins yourself in a season of weariness remember who He is:

Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
    his understanding is unsearchable.

Remember what He has done and does:

He gives power to the faint,
    and to him who has no might he increases strength.

Remember who we are:

Even youths shall faint and be weary,
    and young men shall fall exhausted;

And, remember where are strength is found:

but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
    they shall walk and not faint.

~ Isaiah 40:28-31

“Here’s the hope for every weary traveler whose feet are tired of the slippery instability of mud of a fallen world. Your weariness is a signpost. It’s meant to cause you to cry out for help. It’s meant to cause you to quit looking for your stability horizontally and begin to cry out for it vertically. It’s meant to put an end to your belief that situations, people, locations, possessions, positions, or answers will satisfy the longing of your heart. Your weariness is meant to drive you to God. He’s the Rock for which you’re longing. He’s the one who alone is able to give to you the sense that all is well. And as you abandon your hope in the mirage rocks of this fallen world, and begin to hunger for the True Rock, he’ll reach out and place you on solid ground.” ~ Paul Tripp

  • Tripp quote from: http://m.christianity.com/blogs/paul-tripp/on-christ-the-solid-rock.html

You Don’t Have to Be Strong

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. ~ Ephesians 6:10

Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.. ~ Ephesians 6:18a



We haven’t simply been given a uniform to wear, but been given the Power of the Lord to live and to fight in this life. Recently as I was reading the very familiar passage in Ephesians 6, I had this thought.

You see many of us have read and know the passages, let us put on the whole Armor of God, so that we can stand firm (v.13), however recently I have been dwelling on the book ends of this passage, it begins with, “Finally be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might;” and closes with, “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.”

Therefore how are we to put on the whole Armor of God to be able to stand firm? In and through His power, in and through Him, this is really comforting to me. I have my part, I must put on the whole Armor of God, I seek to put on:


  • Belt of Truth
  • Breastplate of Righteousness
  • Gospel of Peace (as shoes)
  • Shield of Faith
  • Helmet of Salvation
  • Sword of the Spirit (Word of God)

Then once dressed we move forward, not in confidence of the of our own strength because we have on the right uniform, but we move forward in the One who indwells the uniform. In His Strength and in His Power, praying at all times.

The bookends of standing firm in the midst of this world are found in His Strength and in Prayer to Him for that Strength. We do not have to be strong on our own, and this is a very good thing.

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 

~ 1 Corinthians 15:57