1 Thing – Finding Beauty

Bags are about packed and last minute details finalized for the trip to Africa. On Thursday the almost yearlong plans will be set into motion. Students from Parker Lutheran in Colorado and from Holland Christian in Michigan will both be traveling to the little country of Lesotho. All the dreaming and planning will be more than worth it once our feet hit the African soil. It truly is a privilege to experience God’s glory in His beautiful people and through the Divine Appointments He has waiting!

The 26 hours of flying plus the six hours of driving on a bus will take its toil on my rapidly aging body, yet the blessings far out way the temporary stiffness. Truth is the trip brings about a glorious ruin in our hearts as the presence and beauty of God is revealed via abandoned babies being loved, retreats for orphan high school students held, worship with the Besotho people being experienced, and service projects attempted and hopefully completed. Most everyone who goes on these trips leave forever transformed by what is encountered and any discomfort along the way cannot compare to the lasting impact.

The same is true for those willing to take the 1 Thing Journey in Psalm 27:4….

One Thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.”

The journey to the transforming power of the beauty of the LORD starts with “ask.” Something in your spirit moved by the Holy Spirit begins to cry out to the Father to take you home, you want to see His Face (vs. 8). As that prayer becomes your 1 Thing He begins to help you pack for the trip. The packing is not always easy as he asks us to unpack the baggage of sin and our self -centered lives so we can travel light. This demands we walk in faith right through the Cross of Christ, leaving everything else behind so that we can be clothed with His perfect love and power.

The cross readies us for the journey to see the Face of our Abba Father. We begin to seek Him by following after His Son Jesus. This too is not always easy as we seek to keep in step with where He is leading us. This demands time reading, studying, listening, and finally following Him on what may be a long hard journey. Yet, Jesus makes the incredible promise that the “askers and seekers” who continue on the journey will be finders of His Spirit (Luke 11:11-13). His transforming beauty will forever ruin those who find the Father and dwell in His House. Those who see His face through His Son Jesus Christ will testify that even though the trip is filled with pitfalls, pain, and a high price, it is worth it all to be forever ruined by His inexpressible love that comes from His Spirit.

My two greatest obsessions in life are to be gloriously ruined by the beautiful face of my Father’s love for me and to encourage others to take the same journey and gaze on His beautiful face. So whether you are traveling to Africa, vacationing with your family or going about your day to activities may you seek the beautiful face of God and find the treasure of 1 Thing.

1 Thing – Looking Through Your Goliath

On a bookshelf in my basement office five small stones are displayed, well in truth these stones were “smuggled” out of the Valley of Elah in the hills of Judah. While in Israel a while back our group was walking through the dry riverbed where David gathered his stones and I just couldn’t resist. Scholars agree that this is the likely location where David chose his stones before bravely heading to thump the giant Goliath on the forehead, which resulted in this feared enemy falling to his death.

These five stones often speak to me and remind me of my giant-slaying God, a God who saw David’s inexplicable faith when others missed it. Despite all the men in Saul’s army, there was no one who had David’s eyes; eyes that could see right through the nine-foot tall ferocious Philistine warrior. This enemy had dared to publicly defy the people of Israel and their God for forty days!

One day this teenager sent by his dad to deliver bread to his brothers and the troops could not hold back the passion in his heart. When he heard such taunts and he yelled out in response, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (I Samuel 17:26). This shepherd boy was obviously upset, but so was his older brother Eliab, addressing David Eliab says, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the desert? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is…” (Vs. 28). Ouch, most of seem to forget this part of this familiar story. I think after hearing such words I would run away and hide, how about you?

But that is far from the truth; rather David’s revelation of God trumped the cutting tongue of condemnation. This beloved story continues with young David picking up those small rocks, carefully placing one into his leather sling and sprinting fearlessly to face an impossible foe. Why? Because he saw through the obstacle, instead he saw the face of His Almighty God. His eyes of faith caused him to shout out to His enemies:

“You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty…this day the LORD will hand you over to me and I’ll strike you down…the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel…for the battle is the LORD’s..” (1 Samuel 17:45-47).

All I can say is “WOW!” And ask myself do I have that kind of faith? Am I like David? Or more like David’s brothers or the rest of the Israelite army who retreated daily in fear of the giant before them? How often have I trembled and run away from the goliath of my fears, demonic attacks from the father of lies, afraid of my own inadequacies, and the impossible situations placed right in front of me.

Those five smooth stones found in that dry streambed call to me to seek the face of David’s God and to be consumed with 1 Thing. My five stones reprimand and call me to repentance and turn to look through my goliaths to see the ONE who David saw, the Lion and the Lamb of the tribe of Judah the Giant Slayer (Rev. 5).

Join me in praying this prayer echoing David’s words from Psalm 27:4

Oh Father, 1 Thing I ask, this is what my heart longs for; to live daily in your house and to see your loving face through your Son Jesus Christ, to be consumed by the Your Holy Majestic Presence so that all my goliaths fall under the power of your great name! And when you reveal this may this your glory displayed. Amen!


1 Thing – A Vulnerable Heart

One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek, that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.” Psalm 27:4

Why do you think David made the presence of God his number 1 Thing? 

Here’s what I think! I believe his heart had been made vulnerable. If you read the story of how God called David to be a shepherd king over His people you will quickly notice that the qualifications were upside down compared to our world’s standards. Even the seasoned prophet Samuel was searching for someone tall, dark, and handsome, who had experience and wisdom to lead God’s people over the cruel enemies attacking them. God reminded Samuel that the His credentials are different.

“Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart,” (1 Samuel 16:7).

Crazy thing is Jesse, David’s dad, had his 7 other sons come before Samuel and God kept shaking His head no. God wanted the one with the right heart as greatest of qualification. Finally as an after thought Jesse said there was one more, “he can’t be the one you want, he is the runt of the family, just taking care of stupid sheep!” Ouch!

Right there you see how David’s heart was formed for 1 Thing. In the crucible of a lonely childhood, the youngest of eight brothers, feeling discarded by his father David took his wounded heart and became vulnerable before a Heavenly Father. As an insecure teenager David sought security on a higher heavenly mountain than the hills of Bethlehem. He learned in this season of pain to pick up his harp and express his heart to God in song. He sang of his pain and heaven heard and would turn the pain into praise as God’s presence drew near. You can almost imagine how God gathered the angels around David and pointed out the shepherd boy from Bethlehem giving a concert to the sheep saying, “this is the one I want to lead my people, look at his beautiful vulnerable heart crying out from the depth of his soul for MY presence to help him.”

This story reminds me of a young person who recently got very vulnerable with me and shared struggles and sins that came out of childhood pain. Yet how God used the ache in their heart to drive them to the Cross of Jesus and claim the blood that washed their sin and guilt away. Such love experienced awakened a passionate desire to live the rest of their days in the Father’s presence, in His house.

1 Thing people are those whose hearts have been made vulnerable by sin, struggles, and the pain in life. They have learned to lament and cry out for the presence of one who will forgive and surround them with arms of love forever. 1 Thing people have learned the Father’s house is their true home and are willing to forsake all to live in the identity of being sons and daughters of the King.









Reflecting on 40 Day Prayer Challenge with Brandie Muncaster

I had the blessing of interviewing Brandie Muncaster for this podcast. Brandie shares about her faith journey and how God used the “40 Day Prayer Challenge” to impact her and a group of other ladies in North Carolina.

1 Thing – “After My Own Heart!”

What is greatest compliment you have ever received? You’re a wonderful mom, or you are a good father, an excellent student, excel in athletics, successful at work, a loving and kind person, a true follower of Christ?

I believe the greatest compliment ever given is: “I have found David, son of Jesse a man after my own heart” (Acts 13:22). God the Father declares a shepherd boy to have a heart similar to His, a heart that filled the Father with joy and pride. In essence it was like a proud father saying, “that’s my boy!”

Why would God give such a compliment to David? If this boy David, who later became King of Israel, had been living today I would be visiting him in prison, as he would be serving a life sentence for murder and deception. And there are a whole lot of others things on his rap sheet that seem to disqualify him from such an honor.

This June I have the privilege of taking a group of teenagers from Parker Lutheran and Regis high schools to Lesotho Africa. As part of their preparation I’m challenging them to memorize a verse from a song David wrote:

“ONE THING I ask of the LORD this is what I seek that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple,” (Psalm 27:4)

Why this verse? Because this is why David was called “a man after God’s own heart.” Yes, David sinned and messed up royally at times, yet he would continue to return to his greatest passion 1 THING” which was seeking the presence of the Lord with all his heart. God’s greatest desire for His children is a relationship with Him. More than going on mission trip, more than doing good works and even more than being a King of a country…..He wants our hearts to be all about 1 THING!”

Anything we do for His Kingdom must be birthed out of living a life of “1 Thing,” having hearts that go hard after His glorious presence. In a world saturated by scores of distraction the Spirit is crying out for a new David generation that will be about 1 Thing.”

So I thought I would put out the same challenge to you as I have given to the team going to Africa, put Psalm 27:4 to memory and ask the Holy Spirit to stir in your heart to become a person of 1 Thing! There is no greater compliment than to hear that you are man or woman “after God’s own heart!” To hear your Abba Father say, “That’s my boy, that’s my girl! They love me with all their heart, and live for 1 Thing!”

The Father was so honored by David’s “1 Thing” heart that he would birth His only Son Jesus from the seed of David, the True King who would open up Heaven’s door for us to live in the glorious presence of God as His sons and daughters now and forever. What would the Father birth out of our lives if we returned to being a people of 1 Thing?

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Jeremiah 29:13