Saturday, June 27, 2009

How can I miss you if you won’t go away?

Jesus said “follow me” it sounds easy, but it may be the hardest command ever given. Following also involves leaving and leaving is hard. Most of us have created a world where we are comfortable. (Jesus never promised us comfort on the journey.) Their may be parts of our lives we are unhappy with, but we are not so unhappy that we have changed anything. Jesus says “follow me” and that means some things, everything, will change. For us to become what Jesus has in store for us, we must be willing to follow Him and be willing to leave behind those things that so easily entangle us.
There are times Jesus calls us, and He wants us to pick up everything and move to a new location. Everything we have become familiar with is gone and we start all over again. We feel alone, afraid and vulnerable. All of our old friends and support are gone and we feel afraid.
Jesus said “follow me” but He never leaves us alone or unprotected. He also never takes us to a place He has not prepared us for.

Heb 13:5-6
5 …, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."
6 So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?"
As Julie and I trust God on our new adventure, we also look back to dear friends and watch with great anticipation for want God has in store for them.

In Him
J. Tom Washburn

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I Thank My God

There are many people who believe that their spiritual walk is private. These people don’t see the value of church or the value of sharing their faith. They believe their personal and private relationship with God should be kept private.
Recently I was reminded of just how important The Body of Christ is. You can not give true encouragement to yourself. You can not lift yourself up when you fall. You can not hold yourself when you need comforting. You can not accompany yourself when you need a companion.
I am blessed to know, that I have partners in the faith who cheer for me. I am blessed to know that I have faithful friends who will stand with me. I am blessed to know that I am a part of a greater body, and Christ is the head. I am blessed to know that I have friends.
Like Paul I can say “I thank my God every time I remember you.” Phil 1:3
And like Paul I can say “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world.” Rom 1:8
May God be glorified as all of us share our lives and faith with everyone who has an ear to hear.
In Him
J. Tom Washburn

Friday, June 19, 2009


Wikipedia defines burl as - "A burl (British bur or burr) is a tree growth in which the grain has grown in a deformed manner. A burl results from a tree undergoing some form of stress."
Burl is a new term to me. I was introduced to the term when some dear friends gave my wife and me a vase that had been carved from maple burl. The twisted grain of the wood made the vase unique and beautiful.
As I studied the vase, and as my friend explained to me what a burl is and how it only comes about through stress, I began to understand how God sees His children. Those parts of our lives that have been so twisted by stress are the parts, and are ugly to us, God can mold into the beautiful image of grace.
The trick is this, we must be willing to let God have our burl. We must be willing to let Him cut away the bark and gently cut away all those parts that are hiding His glory. It is only after God has done His work that others will be truly able to see His glory shining through you.
Eph 3:20-21 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.(NIV)

In Him
J. Tom Washburn

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Finding Home

Looking for a new home is harder than you think. When you drive by a house you never know what it is like on the inside. Julie and I have looked at a lot of houses lately and it is true that you can not judge anything by the outside. Julie and I have seen some homes that looked great on the outside, but on the inside the floor plan was all messed up. We have seen some homes that looked great on the outside, but their foundations were cracked and needed a lot of work. We have seen some homes that looked great on the outside, but when you went inside, the only thing that came to mind was "What were they thinking?".
Looking for a good place to live is hard work.
The same thing is true in our lives, looking for a good place to live can be hard work, if you don't have the right guide.
There are people who look like they have it all together on the outside, but inside they are all messed up, the way they have arranged their life is all out of order. Some folks look great on the outside but inside they have all kinds of foundation trouble and they need a lot of work.
I want you to know something, there is a master carpenter who has built a special place just for you. It feels like home the very first time you see it. There are no foundation troubles, no paint scheme nightmares, and no rooms out of order.
Jesus wants you to have that home, and He wants to start preparing you for that home today.
He wants to start changing your life so you will be at home with Him forever. Will you let Him?
2 Cor. 3:18
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is The Spirit.

In Him
J. Tom Washburn

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Think On Those Things

Phil 4:8-9
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-- think about such things.9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-- put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.(NIV)
As I sit in my empty office, I can not help but notice how empty the walls appear. Walls are meant to have memories stored on them, pictures of family, remembrances of places visited, and accomplishments proudly displayed. It is empty in my office now and somehow that place that I once went to think and study seems lonely.
I have often wondered why God wants me to think on things that are lovely and the like, I think I understand it better now. God wants me to look at the pictures He has hung all around me and in me. Pictures of His creation, and pictures of His people. Those things give me comfort and those people give me encouragement in the journey of this life.
So think on those things.

In Him
J. Tom Washburn

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Have you ever noticed how much junk we all have? Julie and I are boxing things up for a move, and I find myself looking at some things and asking "Why are we moving that?". The only thing junk does is weigh down the load.
In my life I know there is some junk that needs to be thrown away. I don't need to be weighed down any longer by the old life. I need to be free to follow God at a moments notice.

Heb 12:11
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.(NIV)

There are only a few things I really need in this life, and most of them will fit in my heart.

In Him
J. Tom Washburn

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


This past Sunday we let the church at North Garland know we will be moving after 9 1/2 years of working with them. Moving is never easy, and the longer you stay at one place the harder the moving is. We have friends here who have stood with us and held us up through some hard times. We have friends who have laughed with us and rejoiced with us in great times of transition and victory. Moving is never easy.
On the other side of moving there is arriving. Arriving is exciting. There are friends waiting to be met and hills waiting to be climbed. There are blessings just waiting to be discovered. Arriving is exciting.
Moving is never easy, not even spiritually, but when I am willing to leave the old way of life and start following The Light, there are blessing just waiting to be discovered.
Col 3:12-17
12 Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.(NIV)
In Him
J. Tom Washburn

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Story of God (Final Edition)

Most stories begin “Once upon a time” but our story begins with “There is a God”, and He lives in Heaven, where He watches over you and where He loves you with an everlasting love. When you look in the book, the early words say, “In the beginning God”, some of the faint words say, “For God so loved, He planned to give”. The first chapter in the book we have says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, and God made man in His own image, and He placed them in the Garden”. God gave them one law, and one penalty, and the penalty was Death. In time man broke that law. Now you would think that God would destroy any creature that broke His law, but not God. God knew who would pay the price, and He made man anyway, and God began to whisper The Word. You couldn’t understand it at first, but He said it with such tenderness that you knew it represented His very heart.Men continued to sin and God sent a flood; and men continued to sin and God whispered the Word a little louder to Abraham, and set the plan in motion to send The Word to men.God continued to whisper The Word and He used men like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God used men like Joseph and Moses, and all the while He whispered The Word. He used Joshua, Gideon and Samuel. He whispered The Word through David, Solomon, Elijah and the prophets, and, while sin remained, the voice of God was getting louder as He just kept saying The Word.Then one night the voice broke through and The Word became flesh and the angels proclaimed, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests. Today a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord”.It was through the life of Jesus Christ that God chose to reveal His heart. It was His name that was whispered throughout the ages, and it was His life that would be sacrificed for the sin of man. God showed man who He was through the life of Christ, and He showed man His heart. The God of the beginning is not capricious, but caring. God does not want to strike man down; He longs to lift him up. The God of the beginning is not far away in a distant place, but He is near, and He cares about you.He showed us how He cares when The Word walked among us. God showed that He cares about our hurts when a father came to Jesus because his daughter was dying. And at the time of the father’s greatest hurt when he heard his daughter had died, Jesus showed us the heart of God when he said, “Don’t be afraid, just believe”. Jesus gave that little girl life and He gave that father his little girl back. You see, God cares about those grievous hurts in the life of man. When the lepers came, Jesus touched them and they were healed. When those tortured by demons came, Jesus released them. The blind could see and the lame could walk, with just a word or a touch from the hand of The Word of God. But He didn’t just heal the body; Jesus also healed the inside of man. When the man was lowered through the roof, Jesus forgave his sin, and when the woman was caught in adultery Jesus forgave her sin. Jesus showed us that the touch of God can not only heal the body, it can heal the man. Every time Jesus touched a life you could hear God whisper The Name, and each time it grew just a little louder.God cares for man; with an abiding love God cares for man, and He is not willing to leave man without hope. God knew that the time was coming near for the price to be paid for the sin of man, man that He loved. God watched as Jesus was laid on the cross and as the nails pierced His hands. He saw the agony of Christ as He hung suspended between Heaven and earth. And He heard the cries of The Word. And when He heard Him say, “It is finished” and saw Him die, God whispered The Word one more time with such agony that the earth shook and the great veil in the Temple was ripped apart.The price had now been paid for the sin of man, but was the price too high?The silence in Heaven was deafening.How could God still care for man, when the cost was so great?Did God still care about the hurts of man?Did God still care about the sin of man?Did God still care for man?For three days not a noise was heard.But then…from the center of Heaven itself, God didn’t whisper. God proclaimed The Name clearly for all to hear. He said it so loudly that the earth shook, the stone that sealed the tomb was rolled away and the Son of God came forth alive. The angels proclaimed “He is not here…He has risen!”God has not stopped caring for man, in our hurts, in our victories and in our sin. He has not ceased whispering The Name, and there is coming a day when God will no longer whisper The Name; He will proclaim it one last time to this earth. With the trumpet blast, God will proclaim to the world one more time that Jesus Christ is Lord.Then every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that “Jesus Christ is Lord!”
By J. Tom Washburn