God is great; I’m not.
(Dawn and the kids put up with a lot.)
• competent in some • expert in none • average over-all • growing content • no great talent • no great achievement • no glamorous success • no notorious failure • dull biography • undeserving of grace • amazed
• born on Kyushu, Japan • military father • computer programmer mother • third of three sons • raised in Massachusetts • decent musician • lousy athlete • somewhat introverted • very task-oriented • do-it-yourselfer • fixer • builder • maker • Gordon-Conwell Seminary graduate • former pastor • former pentecostal • current web designer • sometime christian education/discipleship writer • people helper • regular exerciser • improving runner • pleasure gardener • hiker • camper • love Jesus since ‘79 • love Dawn since ’84 • love reformed theology since ‘89 • free to again love 70’s-80’s pop/rock since ’04 • dislike over-simplification • half-truths • prosperity/faith teaching • noisy crowds • admire Paul • Luther • Calvin • Edwards • Wesley & Whitefield • Spurgeon • Taylor • Packer • Elliott • Piper • Keller
The life God gives you now may not be what you dreamed, but it will fulfill your greatest needs if you embrace it, and the next life He promises will be far better than you can dream.
Here are a few of my favorite posts:
- Why WWJD Isn’t WJWD
- Treating Prayer Like Magic
- Awesome, Arrogant, Insecure, Average
- Following Jesus is Easy…or Hard…or Something Like That…
If you’re interested, you can learn more about Dawn.
29 thoughts on “About Lon”
Me and My Husband do not Tithe,but we would give Offerings at a church if we coild find one..we live in the State of Maine..Out of all the churches we have been to want both Tithing and Offreing..One Pastor said to us if God does not have our Wallets does he have Us….We are trying to find a Church that only has Offering Plates only….I am born again bap[tized by the Holy Spirit ..Speak in Tongues gift from the Holy Spirit and i thank him for that gift…My Husband is Born again Christian..But as for Tithing we will not do…We love helping people..and would help a church if we can find one..If you find any Pastor at all that is in Maine can you let us know….I pray we find one they are hard to find….We live in Waterville Maine God Bless you and may he Bless this Website In Jesus Christ Holy Name Amen
Hello and thanks for your comment. I wrote the response below to someone else who faced a similar issue…
Hello Claudio, and thank you for reading and liking. Actually I have written 4 posts on tithing that I hope are helpful to believers who want to give generously and joyfully, in any percentage (less than, or more than 10%), without reference to the prescribed fund-raising program of the Old Testament sacrificial system (aka: the tithe).
Claudio, I do not like to give advice about situations I don’t fully understand. Also, church unity is precious to Christ and to me. So, I can’t advise you on this. Instead, I would encourage you to prayerfully consider a few questions.
1. Is my church’s teaching and doctrinal positions generally aligned with what I believe the Bible teaches? (be very careful and humble here).
2. Would my church welcome my fellowship and membership if I, in good conscience, and without creating controversy, elected to give in a way other than what the church taught?
3. Can my Pastor provide a biblical explanation of why he believes not tithing is a sin that I should seriously consider?
4. Is my Pastor open to hearing my perspective?
5. Is my Pastor’s insistence on tithing indicative of a larger, works-oriented approach to the Christian life, or is this an anomaly in his theology?
I hope this will help you, Claudio. In the end, we all attend churches we don’t fully agree with. But, keeping in step with the Spirit of Christ, we labor to have the humble mind of Christ and keep the unity of the Spirit.
Lon, I have just read one of your articles on tithing and was looking for a way of contacting you so I can learn how I can send you a PDF file of about 10 pages containing a study I did on the old covenant and how it has been replaced by the new covenant in Jesus’ blood. As is written in Hebrews “when there is a change in the priesthood there must also be a change of the law.” We also see that Paul say’s, firmly, that if anyone trusts in observing the law then he has abandoned the grace of God.
Please let me know how I can send this document to you.
Sure Lionel. I appreciate your offer. Thanks. firstname.lastname@example.org
I really enjoy your blog, ever since I found it by googling something about tithing awhile back. Your theology posts are great, and you shoot a mean Nikon!
I was just thinking about the movie script I wrote a few years ago. I usually link to it whenever I comment on anybody’s blog. I bet you are probably a pretty busy guy, but I think the script was only about 80 or so pages in Microsoft Word, if I remember correctly. The movie is mainly about salvation, but there are lots of spiritual battles portrayed as physical fights. I’m not a Pastor, and have not been to seminary, but I did my best trying to nail down some solid theology, so that any non-believer who read it might find salvation, or at least pick up a Bible to see if what I said is in there. If you ever get an a hour or so to read it, I would love to hear your thoughts on it.
I would also really like to get Steve Rowe (lead singer and bass player for Mortification) to read it, but so far I have not been able to get it to his attention.
Thanks for reading and following Average Us. I am busy enough that 80 pages made me think, “hmmmm… where am I going to find 2-3 hours?” (I’m a super slow reader). But I will commit to you that if you send me a link, I will set a reminder to myself to at least skim it through during a holiday break (Thanksgiving or Christmas) and send you a bulleted list of thoughts. If this sounds good to you, just send me a link. Grace to you, Lon
Cool. That’d be great. I deleted my facebook account about half a year ago, because I was checking it too often, and it was flooding me with bad news and I just got sick of all that negativity. I hope that I can just post the link to my movie script here. (I broke it down into scenes and put it into blog format for easier clicking and reading.) Here’s the link: http://ruggedwitness.wordpress.com/
I just read your post on God’s will and your big, stupid mistakes. I feel exactly like you did! I recently quit my job to move to Thailand to teach English. It was something I had often thought about doing and finally took the leap! I’ve lived in Kansas my entire life and knew there had to be something else…something more. Also, there is something about Thai culture that I knew I needed to learn from. The entire society is full of patience and selflessness. If only a bit of the virtue would rub off.
Anyways, I was working a REALLY good corporate job in project management but I was bored, unfulfilled and unhappy. So I made a change. And I told my parents….and they were less than thrilled…to say it lightly. My mom told me that it’s God’s will I stay in Kansas. She is close with God and hears his voice often. For instance- she woke up and received in prayer that our realitor would die. He died that night. I can’t seem to get it out of my mind. I am a devout Christian trying to follow God’s will but right now the path seems muddled. I’m glad I made the choice I did. I really am. But at times I wonder…wonder it? My current job in Thailand is stable and I’m living with two great Christian girls but for some reason my mind won’t let this thought go! What are your thoughts? I really value your thoughts.
Thank you for the article though. It literally brought tears to my eyes.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I suspect from reading that post you already know what I would say about trusting God in your “right-here-right-now”: Walk with God humbly. Trust in Christ for today and eternity. Remember that His will is accomplished through our choices. It’s a mystery how, but it is true.
In addition, I’d say that I have learned to distrust personal prophecy no matter how godly the person. Everyone is flawed. We can all be motivated by bad theology and human desires (such as the appropriate desire to keep a beloved daughter near, or the manipulative desire to control a daughter’s life). No one knows God’s will for your life except God. Next in line is you. People around you will always have their perspective on your decisions, but you alone are responsible to God for your choices and He alone has promised to redeem for all eternity your messy, human life. Trust Him for this. And learn wisdom for your future choices: fear God, entrust your choices to Him, trust Him for the outcomes.
Grace to you,
Amen to we know God’s will for our lives. All prophetic words that are from God, confirm what He’s already put in our hearts. Or they come to pass without our making them come to pass. You writings are refreshing Brother Lon. So thankful for your wisdom and insight and humility. Blessings.
Allow me to give you my two cents, Maria. You said you were glad you made the choice, so what is the problem? Sounds like you are doing alright – job is stable, Christian roommates. Aren’t those God’s provision? It sounds so amazing to me that you could even find Christian roommates in Thailand, where Christians are minority! You said you were unhappy and unfulfilled with your old job, and so it seems like God did put it in your heart a desire for something else, to serve Him in Thailand. Besides, doesn’t the Holy Spirit live in us? He guides us from within. If your move to Thailand was a mistake, you wouldn’t be able to say that you made the right choice. I’m a living example. I made a big move leaving my church, my friends, and a relationship behind for a job, and from day one, I already knew I had made a mistake. A huge one. It has ruined almost my sanity and I’m still trying to get out of this vicious cycle of regret and depression. I cannot say that I’m glad I made the decision. I wish I could re-do it. So, if you are glad that you made the move, why are you doubting again?
Hi Lon, a couple people asked me to start a blog again, so I am doing it. I have only done one post so far (and it’s pretty short), but if you have time to read it that’d be nice. I tried to link to Average Us on there but I’m not sure if I did it right. It used to be that people displayed “blogrolls,” but I don’t know if things have changed. Anyway, here is a link to my new blog: https://twocentsofthough.wordpress.com/
I would find hope in all you say, I imagine, if it weren’t for the fact that I can look back and see how God gave little nudges and opened doors repeatedly, and I let people scare me or believed it wasn’t for me, when in fact it was. That I heard God sometimes, but these other times I ignored or felt I was taking care of myself, when in fact, following those nudges would have been the route. I’m left with only regret. I could start my life over now, but for a couple of days where fear got louder in the voice of my husband and ignoring my needs got louder in the voice of my daughter, over much time, to where God’s voice was doubted as His. I became so filled with anxiety and became so ill, I lost the ability to think right, second-guessed my right thoughts because of my abusive, controlling husband and now am permanently facially damaged because of an accident that is irreparable. So I live every day with abnormality on one side of my lip and face and cannot come to terms with how it happened, forced on me by my husband and the nurse in the emergency room, told they have no records, I have no recourse, it can’t be fixed, and was unlawful what was done. I am the biggest loser. Too many times, God was trying to rescue me and I didn’t see it. Now my health is gone, my hope is gone, I am stuck in depression, the Bible condemns me, anxiety is constant. Meds don’t help, nor herbs, etc. I feel/see constant condemnation in a drastically shortened, scar tissue bumped lip and facial skin that goes the wrong way and makes me look years older on one side only as my punishment or condemnation for life.
If I left my abusive husband now, my daughter grown and abusive in her own right from seeing no respect given me, I still don’t know how I would ever make it. I tell God I trust Him, but life beats me back down. I tell Him I want His will, but I see no ability to even absorb the Bible, like my hope inside has shut down that it doesn’t apply to me anymore.
Since I see no one with my problem, or so many regrets, and feeling I just didn’t have enough pushes to get the support I needed, and plenty of controlling abuse to fear and not get it, I just want death to relieve me of the rest of my life.
I know I sound like a pity party. I just feel so judged and condemned not only by myself but others, that I must deserve the shame that I wear, that I cannot get past it. Everyone is even slightly better than me and I am just plain stupid, too stupid for repairs. If my whole life were stupid but I didn’t have an outward manifestation on my face, I would deal. I have picked up the pieces before. I plunged on and did too much and ignored my needs, listening to others’ advice that they didn’t even take themselves. Even in getting help, I am made to feel it is my fault for what happened, though I was in such a state of anxiety, I did not know up from down. I was mentally out of it.
I’m sure you’ll tell me God has not given up on me and still has a plan, but I don’t know how He’s going to rectify a situation where no one else sees any hope of that changing outwardly. I know there are people with worse problems. I am stuck because people stupidly say the wrong thing. I am stuck because I wonder how I could have done things differently. Now, I am too weak for any resource to help me recover to have a normal life, not that it was before, but now I am destroyed.
Talking about this to others only heightens my guilt and anxiety and depression. I feel it is over. I fear I will end up in a nursing home or clinic. My family still treats me badly and I have no escape.
My heart grieves for the pain and loss you have endured. Abuse is never ok, and never deserved. I strongly suggest you find a NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) group. Here is the link http://www.nami.org It is an organization that helps people who live with anxiety and depression. They are very supportive and would also be able to help you find a counselor, and probably a way out of your abusive situation.
I know what it feels like to be so sunk in depression you lose hope and feel God has abandoned you. But, Jesus never leaves those who have given their lives to Him; it is against His character. In my darkest hours, I read a book that pointed me to Jesus and gave me hope. It is, “When God Weeps; Why Our Suffering Matters to the Almighty”. It is written by Joni Earickson Tada and Steve Estes (her pastor). Joni is a woman who became a quadrupalegic as a result of a diving accident in her early twenties. She is now in her late 50’s/early 60’s and has suffered from a broken pelvis. She also now has breast cancer. This lady understands suffering.
Hearing the Word of God preached on a weekly basis will also help to restore hope. Find a Presbyterian Church (PCA,not PCAUSA), where God’s Word is honored and truthfully preached. I’m sure you can Google it and find one near you.
I have prayed for you.
I hope you don’t mind but I’m going to pray for you today at church and maybe often, as often as God lays you on my heart. My heart breaks for you but I know this, I serve a mighty God that nothing is too difficult for Him. I’m praying for God to blow through the black clouds and away the black clouds of darkness and despair and find entrance into your soul with His light and joy. This is one of those times when we are to bear one another’s burdens. God’s calvary has arrived. Thank you for being open and honest.
Thanks for your prayers. They, and you, are so appreciated. Lon
Is there really hope for someone like me? How long before God starts to “fix” my stupid mistakes. I am praying for redemption of the dumbest move I ever made. I don’t know what to do. Need God’s wisdom and hope./ Need God’s guidance.
Kelly, if you are a follower of Jesus, you can rejoice in the hope he promised: freedom from and forgiveness for sin, eternal life, adoption as a child of the Father. Forever. Focus your hope in what he has promised; learn to follow (obey) him; and learn contentment with the life He gives now. Over time you will find your life changing. Wisdom is found (slowly) in fearing God, trusting His Son, reading His word, and worshipping with his Church.
Hi Lon I’m leaving this message for you I’m not 100% sure you will get it or not.
I have an issue with a Penticostal “re-born ” and it terrifies me I was just wondering if you know any way shape or form that I could talk to her with out being so scared she acts as if she is in a cult . If your could email me that would be amazing thank you so much in advance .
I’m sorry. I don’t understand what you’re asking.
Sorry I know it’s odd , there is a Pentecostal re born that’s is actually taking it to far and I would like to be able to talk to her .
The truth is it is my boyfriend of a yr , it is his mother .
He has 2 children from another woman and I have 3 from another . I have done absolutely nothing to disgruntle her but she honestly scares me and starts talking odd and threatening me that she is going to force me to repent and is just I don’t know how to discribe it , her Pentecostal assembly isn’t even in a church it’s in a house . How I was raised is to not judge . I’m a firm believer of ” he who has never sined May cast the first stone “. This being said I have not done anything wrong not committing adultery nor any other all I do is love her grand children like I do my own .
So my question is how do I deal with her ? How do I let her see this cause her mind set is cault like with this Penticostal religion . I have researched everything on it to have some kind of common ground so I found you lol
I’m sorry. I’m afraid there is too much going on here that I can’t know to offer anything helpful. I suggest you seek advise locally from a wise counselor or pastor. I’m sorry I couldn’t be of more support. Lon.
Similar to many others I stumbled upon your article “God’s Will and Your Big, Stupid Mistakes—4 Things to Remember” after Googling keywords “fix my destiny god’s will.” I cried like a baby as I was reading it, in a good way. I can totally relate to what you must have gone through two decades ago. I have recently moved from (also) Massachusetts to Wisconsin for a job, and I’ve been more than convinced that I’ve made a huge mistake that might have changed the whole course of my life. I could have taken a good job offer that would allow me to stay in MA with surrounded with my church family and to continue a relationship with a non-Christian boyfriend whom I love so much. But, in panic last August, I decided to take a seemingly better job offer in WI and I’ve been dealing with severe anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts ever since as a result of losing all of my support system and break-up with my boyfriend. The enemy was so hard on me that I was filled with unbearable regret every day. By God grace, I’ve survived thus far. God has been my sole comforter and consolation. Yet, everyday I question, “How have I gotten out of God’s will? Will He ever fix my life? Can I ever return to that path that I could have gone?” And even worse, “Have I forfeited his greater blessing? Have I missed out what He had prepared for me in Massachusetts? What should I do now?” I’ve been so miserable. Although after trying and trying to go back to MA to no avail, I’ve come to accept slowly that this might be where I should be for now, which brings me to a question for you.
You mentioned in your initial sharing in the post that even when you made the relocation mistake you were “in the bulls-eye center of God’s will for your life at the same time.” How did you realize this in the end? Could you share what happened following your move that you originally thought was a mistake and what made you realize that you were actually in the center of God’s will all along? I was hoping that you would end your article with that (your story). Do you mind sharing with your audience? I think it would be an encouraging testimony for those who are still in the stage of thinking that they have made a huge mistake like when you first moved to Minnesota.
Nevertheless, I thank you for reminding me that I just have to trust God and his sovereignty, and that Jesus has done it all on the cross for us. I only need to look away from my problems, and look upon Him, the author and perfecter of faith itself. Reading your post really encouraged and strengthened me in my current journey of getting over my regrets. I am learning again from zero. God bless you and your family.
Thank you for your note. I’ll reply with an answer soon. The Lord bless and keep you.
I’m sorry. I hope it’s okay to add something.
Another reason why I ask how your big mistake outcome was is because I notice a sad tone in your articles (maybe it’s just me) and I just wonder if that perhaps was because you never recovered from the big relocation mistake that you made. Are still you wondering about what life would have been like had you stayed in Massachusetts? Or, have you, like Joseph or Ruth in the Bible, seen over the years that the “big mistake” was actually not a mistake at all but God’s set up for blessings? These are my burning questions for you. Thank you for your time. God bless.
Just a note .found your blog while looking for answers about doubt..since I was a child growing up in a religious background I was always taught doubt = little faith..I’ve always struggled with this as I watched an over the top Christian father cause many to leave the faith including my now athiest brother. I remember watching him discuss Christianity with a “just saved” boy my sister brought home. Long story short. He walked out of the house denouncing his new found faith.. Hence my long journey with doubt. Fearing any doubt = unsaved and faithless..Thankfully God has been gracious and mercifully guided me to a new understanding of his true nature. Cheers to you from Arizona. .BTW lived in Kennesaw Ga for 14 prior to moving out west..can say I miss the food terribly. :-)
Thanks so much for your note, Amy. I’m sorry you grew up with that issue. I know it’s tough. Dawn and I often discuss how our lives, attitudes, believes, behaviors, etc may influence our kids. We all, in our sinful brokenness, tend to break the next generation. However, we must trust God’s grace in our lives and theirs. Glad you’re finding hope and comfort in the gospel of Jesus.
I read your article on Pentecostalism and I agree with your points about error in this branch of the faith. However, I wanted to send you a quick note of encouragement. Just because there is great legalism and error in this branch of the faith, there is also legalism and doctrinal error in pretty much every branch unfortunately. Even Jesus and Paul recognized this and admonished the Pharisees and Sadducees multiple times of this tendency to prioritize rules, laws and ritual over relationship. It’s not the faith itself that is tainted, it’s the hearts of the people.
So, I say all that to say, please don’t let your negative experiences thwart your growth in God and in the spiritual gifts, my brother. He would desire for us all the have the gifts as Paul so eloquently states. Jesus gave authority to the disciples to lay hands, and cast out demons long before the day of Pentecost, long before his death. I pray that the dreamer and the warrior in you would be reawakened in Jesus name.
God bless you brother. Continued grace and peace to you and your family,
Thanks for your kind encouragement!