Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Perfect Gift

The Perfect Gift
This time of year, people drive themselves crazy looking for the perfect gift. It must be the “perfect” color, size and cost. There are those who will wake-up early, shop furiously and expend all their energy, just to find the “perfect” gift. There is a great delight in giving such a gift and at times it seems cruel to make the receiver wait for “the day” in order to open this “perfect” gift.
When “the day” finally comes, there is a nervous anticipation in the air. Will they like it? How will they react? Will they set it aside? What will they do?
I remember when my wife received one of those “perfect gifts”, a microwave; you could hear the squeal of joy all over the house. She grabbed it and held on to it for most of the day, and the smile on her face glowed. It was just “perfect.”
God has a perfect gift ready for you. It is just your size. It covers all your sins. It is just your color, red with the blood of Jesus and white with your pure forgiveness. The cost was great, but you are worth it.
What are you going to do with “the perfect” gift? Are you going to set it aside and put it with all those other gifts or are you going to delight in it? Are you going to squeal for joy and hold on to it? Will others see your delight on your face and in your words?
What will you do with Gods’ perfect gift?
Rom 6:23 “… But God's gift is real life, eternal life, delivered by Jesus, our Master. “
In Him
J. Tom Washburn

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hidden Truths

I loved trying to find the hidden pictures when I was a kid (I still like finding the hidden pictures). There are still hidden pictures for us to find today. How often do we see the hand of God hidden in a kind act? How often do we see one of Gods’ great truths hidden in the love of a family? How often can others see the heart of God hidden in the way we live?
The Palmist says in Ps 19:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. “ I want you to know that the child of God also declares the glory of God.
Allow God to use you this week for His glory.
In Him
J. Tom Washburn

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

It matters how you live.

You have heard me say these words over and over again, it matters how you live. Our lives are the manifestation of what we believe. If you truly believe in helping others, your life shows it. If you truly believe in loyalty, your life shows it. If you truly believe, your life shows it.
God says we are to (Eph 5:8) “Live as children of light”. God says we are to (Eph 4:1) “live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” God says we are to (1 Peter 2:12) “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”
You cannot do any of those things unless you believe. As Children of God we need to live from the inside out. Our hands need to proclaim our faith; our mouths need to speak His words, and our feet need to take us where His heart leads.
Spend some time this week and intentionally feed your faith, spend some time with God in prayer and in The Word. God will transform you.
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. (NIV)
In Him
J. Tom Washburn

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Second Fiddle

Some sections of scripture have become so familiar to us that we cease hearing them. In his translation “The Message” Peterson translates Romans 12:9-21 in a way that challenges me. Take a little bit of time and read these verses in your Bible and then read how “The Message” translates this section and see if you are challenged.
Rom 12:9-21
9 Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. 10 Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.
11 Don't burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, 12 cheerfully expectant. Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder. 13 Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.
14 Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. 15 Laugh with your happy friends when they're happy; share tears when they're down. 16 Get along with each other; don't be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don't be the great somebody.
17 Don't hit back; discover beauty in everyone. 18 If you've got it in you, get along with everybody. 19 Don't insist on getting even; that's not for you to do. "I'll do the judging," says God. "I'll take care of it."
20 Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he's thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. 21 Don't let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.

In Him
J. Tom Washburn

Thursday, June 24, 2010


There are sins Satan loves to remind us of, times we have lied, times we have stolen, people we hurt with our words, people we hurt with our hands. Satan loves to remind the children of God of their guilt. It is true we are all sinners in need of a savior, it is also true that those who have been forgiven through the cross are forgiven through and through.
John 8:36
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
So many people are trapped in their prison of sin. There seems to be no escape.
For the child of God, Christ has opened those bars and set us free. Satan wants us to stay in the cell, Christ invites us to leave.
I think it breaks Christs' heart when He sees us remaining in and returning to that prison He destroyed. We are free. We are free from that guilt because He paid the price.
God give me the courage to walk away from my cell and live in your freedom.
In Him
J. Tom Washburn

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Father"s Day

As a father, you would think, father’s day should be one of those days I have circled on my calendar. I’m not crazy, I do like gifts, who wouldn’t want another tie or another pair of socks, but those are not the gifts I cherish most. As a father, the gifts I cherish most are those times when I see the men my boys are becoming. The gifts they give me are gifts that are stored up in my heart. I swell with pride when they go to church because it is what they want to do. I well up with tears when I hear of them teaching a friend. You cannot wipe the grin from my face when I learn of them standing up for what is right. Those are the gifts I cherish, gifts of character and faith.
Don’t misunderstand, there have been times when I have just stood and shook my head at what they have done, but those things are rubbish compared to the gifts.
If I feel this way about my boys, how do you think God feels about us? I know God doesn’t need our gifts of ties or socks, He doesn’t even need our gold or silver. What God wants from His children is their lives, lived for His glory. He takes great pride in that. I love how Zephaniah describes God in Zeph. 3:17 when it says:
“The Lord your God is with you,
He is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
He will quiet you with his love,
He will rejoice over you with singing."
Since this is who God is, shouldn’t we listen to Paul when he urges us to (Eph 4:1-3)
“… live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
This Sunday is “Fathers Day” and I pray that your life honors your Heavenly Father.
In Him
J. Tom Washburn

Friday, June 4, 2010


Preaching is an odd thing. When I was growing up I never imagined that a preacher would ever be less than perfect. Now that I am a preacher I know that preachers are anything but perfect. The real struggle in preaching is being real while not loosing credibility with those you talk to. If you come across as somebody who never sins, no one can relate to you and they soon stop listening. If you come across as a reprobate, there is no reason to listen to you.
Trying to share Christ with a world that is lost is hard work. I think the big challenge is to share Christ and let Him transform the life. Too often I want to transform the life and then share Christ or make sharing Christ contingent of showing me the transformation. I just need to trust Christ. He will do what He said He will do.
So many hurting people, so many people carrying around guilt long forgiven.
The body of Christ was never designed to inflict guilt or pain, we were meant to point people to Christ. We were made to share a message of hope and life and forgiveness. It isn't wrong to point out sin, but we need to also point towards the promise of forgiveness.
The friends of the paralytic didn't just tell their friend about a place of healing, they carried him to the healer and lowered him at the feet of Jesus. Lets learn that lesson.
Just some thoughts I was having today
In Him
J. Tom Washburn

Thursday, June 3, 2010

When you Share what Is real To you.

Last night (Wednesday Night) I shared in class a little of my true heart. It is a scary thing to share what is real and precious to you because it means that if they don't like or approve of that, they don't approve of you, at least that is how it feels.
Last night I shared that we need to reach out beyond our circle. I shared that at times the church can believe itself to be warm and welcoming while they are really just polite. I shared that if we are really going to be a people that believe the Bible is enough we shouldn't be afraid of just giving Bibles to people without making sure we teach them all of our stuff. I shared that it matters how we live and how we present ourselves and our church to the world. I shared that it may even matter where we sit, because visitors make judgments about us according to their points of reference.
And so today I sit and wounder if they understood what was said and I wounder if they will reject me.
I did share one other thing, I am interested in converting people to Jesus Christ, not to the church. People are added to the church but they are saved by Christ alone.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Moving is one of those four letter words (that has six letters) in our home. Nobody likes to move. Moving is a lot of work. There is all of that boxing up, lifting and toting and then there is the unloading and unpacking. Nobody likes to move.
Recently I have discovered some benefits in moving. Moving has given me the opportunity to throw away some things in my life that were broken and useless (who really needs an old inner tube from a bike they no longer own?). As I get rid of the broken and unusable “stuff” my load gets lighter and lighter. As I get rid of the broken and unusable “stuff” I feel freer and freer.
I have also discovered that every time I rearrange my garage or shed or even my room, I discover new stuff I don’t need, and as I discard those items I discover more and more freedom.
I think in my life, God wants me to move. God does not want me to stay where I am; He calls me to come to Him and in order to do that I need to move. This move requires me to get rid of some “stuff”. The secret about getting rid of that stuff is this, the more of the stuff I let go of the greater the freedom.
The Hebrew author says this
Heb 12:1
“…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.”
What is the stuff you need to throw off in order to move closer to God?
In Him
J. Tom Washburn

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Summer is full of stuff; baseball, softball, swimming, gymnastics, soccer, skiing, tubing, fishing, camping, vacations, gardening, mowing, watering, painting, traveling, hiking, grilling, resting, shopping, cooking, driving, golfing, movies, hanging out, playing, going to the lake and more.
It is so easy for us to fill our life with stuff that we don’t have any room left for the important things like God and family.
As you plan your summer this year, start with the important things, put them on your schedule first, and then fill the other time with stuff.
Heb 10:24-25
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
In Him
J. Tom Washburn

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

“Are You His Child?”

In his book, “Who You Are (When No One’s Looking)”, Bill Hybels reminds the reader that we are called to live a consistent life of character, even when it doesn’t seem to matter.
I have come to believe that the truth of a person’s faith is not found only in the big things but it is mostly found in the little things. When you see a stranger drop a five dollar bill, do you wait until they leave before you retrieve it for yourself or do you instantly give it back? When nobody is looking, do you take a little thing that will not be noticed or do you leave it in its place? Do you lie or cheat? These things show us more about our true faith than any bible bowl test ever could.
Do not misunderstand; we need to know the book but it is more important that we live according to what we know. Jesus said in John 15:14
“You are my friends if you do what I command.” NIV
One of my favorite passages is 1 Peter 2:12
“Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” NIV
I want to challenge you to take a look at your life this week and ask this question “Who am I when nobody is looking?” Am I His child or am I just pretending?
In Him
J. Tom Washburn

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What are you listening to?

I was reminded of a story I heard many years ago when I was putting together my lesson for this Sunday. I could not find the author of the story but I still wanted to share it with you.
James 1:22-23
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

A Navajo Indian and his friend were in downtown New York City, walking near Times Square in Manhattan. It was during the noon lunch hour and the streets were filled with people. Cars were honking their horns, taxicabs were squealing around corners, sirens were wailing. The sounds of the city were almost deafening. Suddenly the Navajo said, "I hear a cricket." His friend said, "What? You must be crazy. You couldn't possibly hear a cricket in all of this noise!" "No, I'm sure of it," the Navajo said, "I heard a cricket." "That's crazy," said the friend. The Native American listened carefully for a moment, and then walked across the street to a big cement planter where some shrubs were growing. He looked into the bushes, beneath the branches, and sure enough, he located a small cricket.

His friend was utterly amazed. "That's incredible," said his friend. “You must have super-human ears!" "No." said the Navajo, "My ears are no different from yours. It all depends on what you're listening for.” “But that can't be!" said the friend. “I could never hear a cricket in this noise." Yes, it's true," came the reply. “It depends on what is really important to you. Here, let me show you. " He reached into his pocket, pulled out a few coins, and discreetly dropped them on the sidewalk. Then, with the noise of the crowded street still blaring in their ears, they noticed every head within twenty feet turn and look to see if the money that tinkled onto the pavement was theirs. "See what I mean?" asked the Navajo. "It all depends on what's important to you."

What is important to you? What do you listen for?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I thoroughly enjoy watching the Olympics. I enjoyed watching the opening ceremony, I enjoy watching the competition, and I enjoy watching the joy of the awards ceremony.
As I watch the Olympics, my attention is almost always on the athletes, but I know there is a coach that has guided that athlete to the point of victory. The relationship between coach and athlete is much like our relationship with God. The coach knows the right way for the athlete to train and eat, and if that athlete is going to succeed, the athlete must be willing to accept the authority of the coach.
Why? Because the athlete believes the coach knows better than he does what makes a winner. When you truly believe in a person of authority, you follow that person in complete obedience.
God knows how we should live. God knows how to lead us to victory. Are you willing to follow Him completely?
James 1:22
“ Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

In Him
J. Tom Washburn

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Giving You Receive

As I was preparing a class, I came across this little article that I found very profound. In his sermon "Overcoming Discouragement," John Yates says:
Dr. Karl Menninger, the famous psychiatrist, once gave a lecture on mental health and was answering questions from the audience. Someone said, "What would you advise a person to do if that person felt a nervous breakdown coming on?"
Most people thought he would say, "Go see a psychiatrist immediately," but he didn't. To their astonishment, Dr. Menninger replied, "Lock up your house, go across the railroad tracks, find somebody in need, and help that person."
To overcome discouragement, "Don't forcus on yourself," concluded Yates. "Get involved in the lives of other people."
Heb 13:16
And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

In Him
J. Tom Washburn

Friday, February 5, 2010

Seeing God

Rom 1:20
“For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. “
The glory of God and the beauty of His creation can be seen all around us.
This week, share how you saw the glory of God in your world.
In Him
J. Tom Washburn

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Giving Thanks

1 Tim 2:1
“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone”
God has placed several people in our lives who encourage us and help us grow. Too often we go through life and never take the time to thank God for the people He has placed in our path.
This week as you sit down together, each person in the family should share the name of a person who they are thankful for and why that person is a blessing to their life.
In Him
J. Tom Washburn

Thursday, January 28, 2010

If you are free, walk out of the cell

The other day I was riding my bike past the prison, and I began to think about freedom. Freedom in Christ is a phrase I heard long before I began to understand what it meant (and I don't claim to understand all that it means now). As I rode past the prison, I knew there were men inside who would love to have the freedom to just be free, but they are confined by locks, doors and bars.
In the spiritual world, when we are in sin we are in prison. We are trapped behind locks, doors and bars that we are powerless to open. While we long to be free, we are powerless to escape, but Christ has opened the door for us. The blood of Jesus Christ has destroyed everything that keeps us captive, but we still need to chose to leave the cell.
So many people are comfortable in their little cell of guilt and shame and they are denying themselves the freedom of forgiveness and grace.
When you find yourself trapped by sin, when you find yourself imprisoned by guilt, walk out of the cell - Christ has already opened the door, He has already made a way.
John 8:36
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Bride

There is nothing like a wedding to remind you of the need for purity.
I love that moment, in the wedding, when the doors at the back of the auditorium open, and there before you stands the bride. She is all dressed in white and in her countenance you can see radiance. I love looking at the groom as he watches his bride come down the aisle, knowing that the next time she goes down the aisle, she will be his wife.
I am reminded, as I sit in a wedding, that this is a picture of Christ and His church.
Brides guard their wedding dresses, they keep them in bags until it is time, they don’t let anyone drink or eat around their dress until after the ceremony and heaven forbid a grimy handed child should come near the wedding dress. It is important to the bride that her gown be white.
As the bride of Christ, we should also care about our purity. I know that our purity comes from Him, but I also know that we are to take off the old dirty clothes of this world and cover ourselves with the new clothes given to us by God.
Colossians 3:12-14
12Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
In Him
J. Tom Washburn

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Recently I went to a hockey game and I found myself thinking about how God works in my life. I know what you are thinking, “how could anyone see how God works while watching hockey?” As much as I like hockey, hockey is not about big men on skates running into each other while holding a stick (club), hockey is about putting the puck in the right place so that “maybe” somebody might have the opportunity of putting the puck into the goal.
I would like to think that life is like a computer (a working computer), if I push this button, input the right data and hit that key, then I will get the result I want. Life doesn’t always work that way. My job, in life, is to press on, put myself in the right place, time and time, again so that God can use me. In hockey, control is relative. In my life control is relative, there is always an enemy that wants to take my life away, but my job is to put myself in right place so that God can use me and ultimately take me to the goal.
Philippians 3:14 “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
So when it feels like you are being pushed around in every direction, press on towards the goal, put yourself under Gods’ control and know that He will take you to the goal.

In Him
J. Tom Washburn