The Petersen Page


The Same Foolish Love That Knew No Limits
February 21, 2008, 6:16 am
Filed under: My Devotionals

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Hey everyone-


Im in a hotel in Dallas, and have been reading from 1 Corinthians 11 tonight about “Communion/the Lord’s Supper”.  In this season of Lent i think its important to take the time to stop and reflect on not only the story of what happened to Jesus, but how this single act of selflessness can be imitated in each of our lives daily………as we are on the road, meeting new people, forming new relationships, in the studio, in the writing process, taking care of our families, or in the busyness of our day to day.

Here is a prayer I found that I am going to start praying and thinking on each day as the march towards Easter continues.

I LOVE this line in the prayer…

Let me place my death in Yours 

and my weakness in Your abandonment,Take hold of me with Your love,that same foolish love that knew no limits,and let me offer myself to the Father with You so that I may rise with You to eternal life.”


How lucky we are to be held by a foolish love that knows no limits. 

Amen


Catholic Prayers

A Lenten Prayer called the Passion

Dear Lord Jesus, by Your Passion and ResurrectionYou brought life to the world.But the glory of the Resurrectioncame only after the sufferings of the Passion.You laid down Your life willinglyand gave up everything for us.Your body was broken and fastened to a Cross,Your clothing became the prize of soldiers,your blood ebbed slowly but surely away,and Your Mother was entrusted to the beloved disciple.Stretched out on the Cross,deprived of all earthly possessions and human aid, You cried out to Your Father that the end had come.You had accomplished the work given You, and You committed into His hands, as a perfect gift, the little life that remained to You.Lord, teach me to accept all afflictionsafter the example You have given.Let me place my death in Yours and my weakness in Your abandonment,Take hold of me with Your love,that same foolish love that knew no limits,and let me offer myself to the Father with You so that I may rise with You to eternal life.

 

 

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Catholic Mass Alone In A Pew
December 25, 2007, 6:56 am
Filed under: My Devotionals

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I went to church twice tonight.  Once with my entire family, and once by myself.  The first Christmas eve service was great.  Almost every member of my family came to church together, to celebrate the night that Jesus came to Earth to save us from ourselves.  The second service was a Catholic Midnight Mass.  I have never gone to Midnight Mass before, because I am not Catholic, so I was nervous but still wanted to see how peaceful it could be.  It was all I hoped and more.  Now i must state that I do not believe in all the aspects of the Catholic church, but tonight it got me to a place where I encountered Christ.  I needed to hear the story again.  The story i have heard hundreds of times.  I needed it to sink into my heart and head again.   As i sat silently in the pew alone, I found Jesus beside me.  In the choir, message, Scripture readings, hymns, and communion.  The line that got me, that always gets me is when the priest said this about Jesus, “Behold I Come To Take Away The Sins Of The World.”  Think about that for a second today……….God the Father really sent His only Son to come to Earth and be punished and eventually murdered in our place.  

The story of Christmas is one of celebration of life, but also one of celebration that one day He would die on our behalf……in our place.

So before i go to bed, I encourage you to reread this passage…….even if you have already heard or read it recently…….

Josh

Luke 1: 8-19

8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ[a] the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

    13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,     14“Glory to God in the highest,       and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

    15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

    16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.



To Be Alive Is To Be Broken
November 4, 2007, 6:49 am
Filed under: My Devotionals

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“I come into this place
Burning to receive your peace
I come with my own chains
From wars I’ve fought for my own selfish gain

You’re my God and my Father
I’ve accepted your Son
But my soul feels so empty now
What have I become?

“Lord, come with your fire,
Burn my desires; refine me
Lord, my will has deceived me
Please come and free me
Refine me” “Refine Me”-Jennifer Knapp

To Be Alive Is To Be Broken
Tonight is a peaceful night. I am laying in my cabin and its 2am here in Winthrop, Washington. I am in the middle of the Cascades and life has been hectic but hopeful this week. Outside of my window you can hear the coyotes crying if you listen intently, and the rush of the river behind me lulls me to sleep at night. This must be God’s country.
I am figuring out each day it seems that I am wreck. Not only am I physically a wreck but emotionally, spiritually, and mentally….i am not the person that God created me to be.
This week we have faced a ton of trials here in the mountains. Accidents, drunk drivers, crashes, hardships, heartache, loneliness, and uncertainty. I used to be afraid of all of these things, and I still am to a certain degree….but that is all changing.
I have been a Christian since I was 5 and prayed for Jesus to come into my life on the way home from school. Thursday school I think they called it. But I have misunderstood what a Christian is all about. The older I get, I understand that it is about realizing that we are all broken and in need of refinement. We are all a little nuts.
My best friend is struggling with so many things, and in the midst of it all sometimes can not see how God has a hold of their life. Can not see how He is mighty, and His burden is light. Sometimes I cover myself up…like a mask…..hiding the real life that is going on. From the outside…to my church, work, friends, and family….I am put together and whole….but inside my heart I am a mess. And God rejoices with this, because it allows Him room to sculpt our hearts and minds.
“To be alive is to be broken. And to be broken is to stand in need of grace. Honesty keeps us in touch with our neediness and the truth that we are saved sinners. There is a beautiful transparency to honest disciples who never wear a false face and do not pretend to be anything but who they are.”
-Brennan Manning-The Ragamuffin Gospel
Uncertainty is a scary place. But faith is trusting in what we CAN NOT see. I wish I had more faith…..but I guess I am like Thomas. I want to put my finger in Jesus’s hand to prove to myself that He is real and telling me the truth sometimes.
I love the fact also that God brings people into our lives to challenge us in times of trial. To stretch us and mold us and push us closer to the Cross. He brings people to comfort us, and weep with us and guide us to the feet of our Maker.
Being broken means that God can FIX us. What a concept?
That the Maker of the Universe cares enough about us to put us back together…..even the messy parts and the areas of our lives that remain rebellious and pessimistic.
Tonight I challenge you to accept the fact that no one has it together. There is great relief in knowing that everyone struggle and goes through the valley…but those who put their trust in Jesus will never have to walk it alone.
Psalms 147:3 says,
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
I heard this story a couple weeks ago.
Sheep are very stupid animals, slow-witted and prone to following nearly anything that they perceive as leading them. Sometimes, in order to teach sheep a lesson or to take them to a certain place that they are too dull to go to themselves, the Shepard must break the legs of the sheep. It sounds like a cruel and unusual thing to do, but the sheep cannot learn otherwise.
The Shepard then takes the sheep and carries it on His back. He feeds the sheep from His pocket. He gives the sheep water from His flask. He speaks to the sheep and cares for it. He patiently and lovingly nutures the sheep back to health so that, when the sheep is healed again, it has completely forgotten that this same Shepard broke its legs earlier.
As the sheep is healed, the Shepard teaches. The dull sheep hears its master speaking all day long and all through the night. The sheep, though dull and slow-witted, gradually understands; gradually learns the lessons that the Shepard saw fit to teach in the first place. The dull sheep learns and grows and strengthens so that when it is recovered and set back on its feet again it knows more than all of the other sheep.
The sheep can now lead the flock, it can now teach the flock what it has learn. It can help grow the flock and demonstrate love, compassion, and impart wisdom to its fellow sheep.
The Shepard never broke the legs of His sheep merely to put Him back where He was before. The Shepard broke His sheep’s legs so that He could keep him near to teach him and guide him. To impart knowledge and to love and to grow the spirit of His sheep. The sheep isn’t put back where he was before. Instead, the sheep now runs ahead of the flock, guides the flock right next to the Shepard, and is endlessly blessed.

I am so proud to be a broken follower of Jesus.

Josh



It Takes A Crash To Need A Rescue
November 4, 2007, 6:37 am
Filed under: My Devotionals

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“I will wait for You there.
Down on my knees where I met You.
Give you all of my cares
Find the grace to hold on to now
I’m calling for You.”-“I Will Wait For You”-Phil Wickham

It Take A Crash To Need A Rescue

I am in a small juice bar/coffee shop a block up from Pikes Market in downtown Seattle today. I’m partaking in an orange, pineapple, apple juice smoothie. It’s good and makes my throat feel cold. The bustle of the busy Seattle streets are background music today for me. There is an energy and spark in people’s steps here. Rock and Roll haircuts, cowboy boots with spandex pants, and Fedora hats are the rage here, because everyone has one it seems. Everyone also has an Ipod in their ears….tuning out the world around them I guess.

Sometimes I wish I could tune the world around me out. Drown the sadness and chaos of daily life. But then that is what being a Christian is all about. Living life with hurting people, in hopes that they will see Jesus through our words, and more importantly how we treat them.

It feels like I am never home anymore. Always flying somewhere distant for a variety of purposes and challenges. Sometimes life just slams right into me and I find myself looking around for a protector………someone to relieve my burdens.

There is freedom in falling to the foot of the Cross. Crashing to the feet of Jesus, who is ready and able to take our burdens and make them His own.

Kate York sang it best when she said, “It takes a CRASH to need a RESCUE”.

In a world ready to abuse and punish us for every wrong choice or turn, there is security and stability in the “Old Rugged Cross” still.

The Cross is a very compelling and dynamic symbol in the Christian faith.

Some look at it as a place of suffering, and some look at it as a place where our relationship really took its roots. Both are true.

Today I have been thinking about how the Cross is a place where the broken can go to get redemption and find shelter. We all need a protector, provider, and someone who can firm our foundation.

Colossians 2: 13-15 says:
“He forgave us all our sins….He took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”

There is forgiveness in the Cross. Jesus nailed our burdens, afflictions, and most importantly our SIN to the cross. He was our atoning sacrifice. Our spotless lamb. He took the bullet…..for the whole world to see.

Isaiah wrote in Isaiah 53:5
“He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.”

Unbelievable.

It’s almost like a fairy-tale….but yet is complete reality. Jesus is our defender, but instead of riding in on a white horse and slaying our enemies with His sword. He was pierced. Sacrificed. Intentionally He came to our rescue and took our daily burdens and allowed them to be nailed to the Cross.

The Cross is a place of unloading. Unloading our trouble, hardships, broken promises, unfulfilled dreams, destroyed virtues, uncompleted projects, and heartache. It is a quiet place. In the shadow of our Savior, who does not look down with judging intent, but with unconditional love. The kind of love that we wish we possessed and that others would give us.

Other people have promised shelter….but only One can be our rest.
Other people have promised advice and wisdom…but only One can tenderly rebuild us.
Other people have promised love……but only One proved it.

Jesus is waiting for you to come to Him, and lay your head in his lap, and shed your cares on Him. He is a gentleman and will never shout….only listen.

Today is a perfect day for going to the Cross. Going to the place where our relationship with Jesus began. It is the best day to confess our sin and suffering and allow God to start the healing process in our chest.

Life will still beat you up. There will be more “crashes”.
But there will also be more “rescues”.

And to be rescued is worth the wait.

Josh



Love Is Not A Feeling In Your Chest
November 4, 2007, 6:32 am
Filed under: My Devotionals

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“Love is not a feeling in your chest.
It’s bending down to wash another’s feet.
It is faithful when the sun is in the West.
And in the East” ~”For the love of God”-Andrew Peterson

LOVE IS NOT A FEELING IN YOUR CHEST

I’m sitting on my steps this morning. The sun is warm on my back and the breeze is rolling over my shoulders. I have been thinking a lot this morning about friendships and relationships.

I am in a very self inventory stage in my life right now for some reason. Trying to figure out how to be a stronger man of God, trying to figure out how to be a better friend, better son, better brother, better roommate, and better everything.

What makes a person complete? What makes a person whole? And what does the Bible say about these kind of things?

Proverbs really speaks the most into the true meaning of friendship. Here are some examples of what is said about it:

Friendship:

-Friends can sharpen one’s thinking with good counsel (Prov 27:17; 28:23)
-A good friend will sing one’s praises to others (Prov 27:1-2)
-A good neighbor or friend is willing to share in one’s troubles (Prov 17:17; 18:24; 27:10)
-A true friend forgives, and then lets the issue go. He does not keep bringing up past mistakes (Prov 17:9, 14)
-A true friend is one who makes honest commitments and acknowledges quickly when those promises cannot be fulfilled (Prov 3:28-29; 6:1-5)

We are called to bear one another’s burdens and to sharpen one another. This means that I can take hope because i dont have to walk in this dark world alone.

This life is a constant barrage of choices. Each step we take each day is a choice. The company we keep is so important.

A few years ago I sat down with our youth group at church and were talking about this very topic.

In the bible it speaks about one main choice that we face each day. Do we draw closer to God or further away?

Our friends and relationships are based on this principle as well.

A friend is someone who battles with you for your marriage, prays with you when you are sick, comforts you in crises, and defends you when the world waits to pounce on you.

A friend takes you to the Cross. Daily. Constantly. Consistently.

Do the friends in people you spend time with in life really care about you, or are they generally out for themselves?

Do they invest in your life? Do they draw you closer to the One who made you?

Does your job, lifestyle, daily interactions, and relationships draw you closer to Jesus?

I have been so thankful over the past few weeks for a few people that I would love to publicly mention:

Toby-Toby is a new friend of mine with a softer heart then almost anyone i know. His attention, compassion, grace, attentiveness, availability, and friendship has been open, honest, and pure. He is man that God is proud of, and has drove straight into caring about me and for me. Toby you are the man!

Jason-Jason has been a constant prayer partner, tender hearted listener, and loyal friend. Even though he stutters a lot, which is awesome, his example of how to be open, and broken has meant the world to me.

Taya-I should have put Taya before Jason because she is his wife, and gives tremendous support. She has constantly and consistently made my burdens her own.

BJ-BJ is my cousin. He has been out of character lately and has really taken an investment in my life. His patience and reliability knows no end.

Pat and Lacey-There are friends who will weep with you. There are friends who will laugh with you. These two friends of mine have been amazing friends praying over me and constantly checking up on me. They have washed over my life prayer, and intercession for me. They have been my encouragement and safety.

Lauren-Kind, soft, and gentle. There are those who speak wisdom, and those who display wisdom. Lauren is the best friend a person can have. Giving, loving, and will sit with you and just smile.

Vince-Probably one of my greatest friends in my whole life. Which is awesome that a man that is my dad’s age could be so interested and committed to a hot headed 27 year old like me. Vince’s guidance and wisdom can really not be measured.

John and James-Weekend phone calls, and over the phone prayers are what these men do best. Men of true INTEGRITY and honesty!

Steve, Marc, and Brian-Rock solid men. Always there for an embrace or just to listen. Solid.

My family-The best. Under-appreciated in the past by me, but God has given me a new beginning with them. They have been there for prayer. My sister just laid with me and cried one night. AMAZING. My shelter.

I encourage each of you to strengthen your friendships with those who draw you closer to Jesus. With those who have something that is foreign word these days it seems……Integrity.

Find people who will invest in your life, and bring you to the foot of the Cross, the only place where you will be satisfied and your needs will be met.

It is ok to be weak. It is ok to be broken.

But the journey does not end there.

Our relationship with God is about COMMUNITY. About living life with people who push you, and challenge you to be a stronger man or woman for God. Sold out for the Kingdom.

I am done with “Hang out friends”. I am done with people who do not truly care for me and love me, because I am loved by Jesus.

I want friends who will pray over me when i am not around. Who will weep with me and just sit with me when the shadows creep up.

Frank Sinatra was quoted by saying, “A friend is NEVER an imposition”. This has been the theme of my life for a long time…..ever since High School I think.

If your friend cant call you up at 4 am and ask for everything you have……they are not really your friend.

Pray more for people.
Challenge your relationships and spur them on towards Christ in love.
Fall in love with people who have a heart for your life. Not just when things are good, or your good characteristics. But find people who love YOU for YOU. With the mistakes, with the distractions and heartaches. Find people who love you for you. The ups and downs. The frustrating times and the moments for celebration. The mundane times when its just the daily journey.

God is moving in hearts today.

The challenge is to take a self inventory today. Are your relationships and friendships leading you to the Cross?

Josh



A Start To Something Beautiful
November 4, 2007, 6:30 am
Filed under: My Devotionals

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“Each crack of that whip was for my mistakes, oh blood is on my hands,
each stumble up that hill was my step to take, oh blood is on my hands”~Todd Agnew

John 21: 15-17 A Start To Something Beautiful

I am sitting by a trash can in the airport and the stink of garbage is over my right shoulder. Its the only place i could find an outlet to plug my computer, phone, and Ipod into.

This has been a crazy week. It has brought tears, sadness, heartache, confusion, restoration to friends, reconciliation with roommates, fear, loneliness, and solitude. David wrote it down well when he said, “Though I walk through the valley”. This week is the valley. And i am stuck in it.

I often question my heart. I often question forgiveness and mercy. I am truly unworthy of forgiveness and grace and question how God can lavish it on me in huge heaps. I knowingly deny Jesus with my words, actions, confusion, apathy, ignorance, selfishness, and ability to do what i am told.

He knows i fail. He knows i will fail again. And fail until i can fail no more.

I have been thinking a lot this week about Peter. In John 21:15-17 I can only imagine what Peter was going through. Here he was following Jesus his whole life, a great close relationship……a true follower. But then when it counted Peter bails on Christ. He not only denies Him, but he does it at the worst time ever…..when Jesus needed a friend, a protector…….Peter was out. He after all was a man. And men save their own skin….except One man that I know.

Now, everyone there new Peter was guilty…..they knew he was with Jesus, which makes it all the more embarrassing. Peter was busted, even by people that didnt follow Jesus. He was called out.

So Jesus is taken away, beaten, spit on, punched out, and nailed to a splinted filled cross.

I can only imagine at this time what Peter is going through in his mind and spirit. Here he is guilty, ashamed, broken, lonely. He has lost his best friend. He has lost all that he holds dear, and he was one that could have spoke up.

But then Jesus does the remarkable. FORGIVENESS, and equally as important…..RESTORATION.

In John 21:15-17 Peter sees Jesus on the shore, after he has risen from the dead. Peter flips out, tears his cloths off (so he can swim faster), and jumps off the boat he was fishing on. He jumped out of the boat! Into the sea. Without fear of looking foolish. Without fear of being swallowed up by the sea, Peter abandons himself for Christ. He saw Jesus, and he HAD to get to him.

Racing to shore, I can only dream of what he is going through in his mind. Should i just fall and beg forgiveness? Should I weep? Should i give him a kiss and hug? What if he is angry with me? What if he doesn’t accept me back? Was this sin too great even for Jesus to forgive?

But Jesus in His holiness does the unthinkable, like only Jesus could do.

He brings restoration to their relationship.

Peter has denied Christ 3 times, so Jesus gives him 3 opportunities to look Him in the eye, and take it back.

I believe it as if Jesus is looking at Peter in the eyes, which i assume that are welling up with tears at this point saying, Peter lets make this right.

Jesus asks, “Do you love me?” Man what a question. The creator of the universe is basically telling Peter….I know you didn’t mean it Peter. I know you have followed me, and been by my side. Look me in the eye and tell me you didn’t mean it and that you love me.

It is not a question of forgiveness. Jesus did that on the Cross a few days earlier. It was for Peter. This was a dialogue so that Peter would feel and experience restoration with His savior, and best friend.

Wow.

In the struggle, turmoil there is grace, hope, and peace. Not only are they on good terms again, but now Peter is entrusted with starting the church. Jesus has not only straightened out the mess but now is showing Peter his amazing favor, love, and confidence in his unfaithful follower and friend.

I am like Peter. I muff up. I hurt others. I fall short. But there is hope in Christ.

This week is a great week for restoration. Whether it is with a friend, roommate, love relationship, parent, or Jesus. I am grieving my own selfishness and inability this week. I am weak, and bruised, and can only rely on God’s remarkable strength as i walk through the valley.

My prayer for you is that you embrace this Jesus. Find the time to come back to the thrown of mercy. It won’t take the hurt away, but it will bring you back to the feet of the One who made you.

Embrace old friends. Renew friendships. Call your parents to tell them you care about them and need them.

Take the time to repent, look people back in the eyes and say I love you.

Phil.4:6-7
Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will gaurd your heart and your minds as you live in Christ Jesus.



Pittsburgh
October 4, 2007, 2:51 am
Filed under: My Devotionals

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“Yesterday we drove all night to Pittsburgh”-Andrew Peterson

This lyric serves me well tonight in my hotel room here in Pittsburgh, PA.

Andrew Peterson’s music is coming out of my computer speakers and is keeping me company on the road tonight, since i cant be with my friends or family.

It is weird how God took a kid who grew up loving and listening to Christian music, to actually giving me the opportunity to serve the music and the musicians.

I am with one of my new artists tonight named Daniel Kirkley who will be singing on some tv thing tomorrow.

I just was thinking tonight for some reason of music is a vehicle God uses for hope. Lyrics have always been a sharp sword in my heart, bruising and shaping the way i interact with Jesus. I dont say this as a fan, a colleague , or friend, but as a young man struggling down life’s path.

It is funny how a song still grabs me. This has been a crazy week so far and its only tuesday night. So far i have been dealing with hurting people, broken hearts, critically ill friends, family far away, loneliness, and confusion. Its been quite a week. Its one of those weeks that can make someone stumble into complacency I guess.

But then a song.

A word. A lyric. A melody. And I find myself filled with hope and peace.

“It’s one more night at the Hampton Inn
It’s breakfast on the house again
Well, it isn’t home, but it’ll do just fine
Still, it isn’t home

We’ve got planes to catch, bills to pay
We won’t make it home today
We’ve got shows from Boston clear to Venus
But if America is listening, as long as I’ve got songs to sing
We can always make a home right here between us
Well, your mama’s got her eyes on you
And mine are on the road
And Gabe’s are staring off at Kansas City
We’d all swear that it’s a precious view
That’s seen by such a precious few
And it’ll change you just as sure as it is pretty
But that ain’t a bad thing”~Andrew Peterson

There is power in the Gospel. There is authority in the words to change our hearts, blind our ambitions, mend our selfishness, and rescue us from a lonely place of solitude. Their is power in the life of Jesus and the message that He pours through musicians, tv preachers (even those whom i question), popes, pastors, authors, and those who serve the ones God have chosen for these jobs.

Serving the servants.

So tonight the challenge is to be more like Romans 12:12 commands us to be when Paul wrote,
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

For i am a stubborn sinner who has been saved by a risen Savior.

There is and will always be tension and pain on this Earth, but God gives us pieces of Himself every day to carry us through to the other side.

So look around. Maybe its lyric, or a melody. Maybe its a passage from an 18th Century Theologians book. Maybe its a sermon from Billy Graham. Maybe its just that quite moment to reflect on the things God has given us already.

God reveals Himself to us in small things, and mighty things. The key is to listen and pay attention.

I’m listening.