Morning Brew: Saturday, Nov 14

Bible Reading: Ezekiel 7-8, 2 Corinthians 5-6

This will be the last Morning Brew for the foreseeable future. I’ve enjoyed writing it, but it hasn’t gotten the traction I was hoping for. Thanks everyone!

Do you live by faith or by sight? I know that seems easy to answer as a Christian, we should all live by faith, right? But let’s dig a little deeper. In 2 Corinthians 5, Paul gives us the famous statement to live by faith, not by sight. But the context is slightly different than what you might expect. Paul gives us this incredible statement in the midst of a longing to be in heaven:

6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

Living by faith isn’t just a mere belief in God. Many people (including non-Christians) have that. The thrust behind living by faith is to be overwhelmed with a longing to be reunited with our Savior in heaven. It’s keeping the hope and the promise of heaven so tangible in the forefront of our mind that everything else in life is filtered through that.

So perhaps the better question is: how often do you long for heaven? Do the things of this world hold more appeal than the longing of life eternal with Jesus? Which excites you more? That will help you discern whether you’re truly living by faith (longing for heaven) or by sight (longing for this world).

Prayer: God, open my eyes to behold your beauty, and may everything else fade against that backdrop. Help me to live by faith, not by sight.

Give Me All Your Unwanted Babies Please

Share this please. Spread the word. Make this go viral. I’m serious. If you’re a mother in a desperate moment, and if you’re considering doing harm to your child because you can’t take it anymore, please don’t. Contact me. My wife and I will raise your child in a loving, warm, healthy Christian family.

Over the last two days I’ve read two horrific accounts of child neglect and abuse. The first was of an 8-year-old charged with manslaughter in the death of a 1-year-old. I have an 8-year-old. What could ever happen to allow such a thing to take place? Two mothers went out for a night of partying and didn’t want to take responsibility for their children. The 8-year-old was left in charge of 6 kids. The 1-year-old wouldn’t stop crying. The 8-year-old beat the 1-year-old to death.

The second story was of a Georgia toddler, found bound and gagged in a locked car, screaming helplessly for hours while the mother sat by a lake to ‘think about things.’ Where the father was, I don’t know. What drove the mother to the point where she seriously contemplated murdering her own child, I don’t know. Stories like that happen all too often, and they literally make me sick to my stomach. Even knowing the responsibilities involved in offering something like this, I can’t sit back and do nothing. These children are innocent. They deserve so much better than this. So I’m doing something. I’m offering a way out to mothers who may feel like they have no way out.

As a parent of four children, I know how incredibly difficult parenting can be. I have a loving, supportive and heroic wife who does the bulk of child-rearing in our family, and I still get personally overwhelmed at times. If you’re a single mother, I can’t even imagine the stress that you go through at times.

But no matter what happens, don’t take it out on the child. If you have nowhere to turn, if you don’t have family or a church or a pastor that you can turn to, and if you’re seriously contemplating doing harm to your child to simply escape, don’t. Contact me. My wife and I will raise your child in a loving, warm, healthy Christian family.


Shepherd six years ago

We’ve got four kids, the first two adopted. This is a picture of our second son Shepherd six years ago when he was a few days old. We took him home from the hospital, a mother contacting us because she didn’t feel though she could raise him. We made him ours. Shepherd is an incredible child, caring, sweet, with a genuine laugh and love of life. And he’s also an incredible athlete, probably the most naturally gifted athlete of all of our kids. Last night Shepherd scored like a million goals at his soccer game and ran circles around the opposing team. This kid is going places. He has a hope and a future. He has a chance at life. He’s going to make a huge difference in the world, because his birth mother gave him that chance. I thank God every day that she did.


Shepherd today

We took Shepherd in because we want to be faithful to open our home to children in need. If you’re in dire straights, if your contemplating harming your child, if you have no family, no help, no pastor, no church, don’t lose hope. Contact me. My family lives in central Mississippi. I pastor an incredible church that is a tremendous support to our family and children. Don’t harm your child.

Email me at: My name is Josh Daffern and my incredible wife is Robin. We have four children already. Our house is full, but if it’s a matter of life and death, our house will always be open to more. Authorities don’t have to get involved. We can pursue normal adoption channels. I won’t think any less of you. My priority is to protect, nurture and raise the children that God has entrusted me with, however many that might be. Don’t harm your child. My wife and I will raise that precious gift to reach his or her full potential in life. Give me all your unwanted babies, please. They are precious. They deserve life.

Morning Brew: Friday, Nov 13

Bible Reading: Ezekiel 5-6, 2 Corinthians 3-4

Are you being a living picture of God’s word to the world? Ezekiel was a weird guy, let’s be honest. Read his book of prophecy, and God asked him to do some cuh-razy stuff. Ezekiel’s prophetic ministry is different than most in that he’s prophesying to the people of Judah exiled in Babylon. In Ezekiel’s day, judgement is in motion with the destruction of Jerusalem, but God is still speaking to his people. In Ezekiel 5, God gives Ezekiel another odd assignment:

1 “Now, son of man, take a sharp sword and use it as a barber’s razor to shave your head and your beard. Then take a set of scales and divide up the hair. When the days of your siege come to an end, burn a third of the hair inside the city. Take a third and strike it with the sword all around the city. And scatter a third to the wind. For I will pursue them with drawn sword. But take a few hairs and tuck them away in the folds of your garment.  4 Again, take a few of these and throw them into the fire and burn them up. A fire will spread from there to all Israel. Ezekiel 5:1-4

So, Ezekiel is to shave is head and scatter the hair around a siege mock-up of Jerusalem he had built. That’s. just. weird. Why would God ask Ezekiel to do something that odd? Let me answer that question with another question: how far will God go to get the attention of the people he’s trying to speak to? God relentlessly pursues Israel, and Ezekiel is a living picture of God to his people.

Is God wanting you to be a living picture of his word to his people? When people look at your lifestyle, your actions, how you treat your family, how you conduct yourself at work, how you serve others at church, how you treat God’s money that he entrusted to you, do people see God through you? Are you being a living picture of God’s word to the world?

Prayer: Father, give me the faithfulness and fearlessness of Ezekiel to be a living picture of your word to the world.

Morning Brew: Thursday, Nov 12

Scripture Reading: Ezekiel 3-4, 2 Corinthians 1-2

Who can you comfort today? Did you know that this is a task and privilege for all Christians? Look at how Paul describes this glorious responsibility to the early believers in Corinth:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Compassion and comfort are central to who God is. He created empathy. He is the definition of compassion. He sets the standard for comfort. At the core, our God is love, love displayed to us in compassion and comfort. He hurts when we hurt. He cries when we cry. Just as a heart of a parent breaks when your child is hurting, so God’s heart breaks when we hurt. He is the God of all comfort and the Father of compassion.

Since we are created in the image of our compassionate Father, we have the divine spark of compassion within us. We are created to love, to care, to nurture, to comfort. When we refuse to help those around us, when we withhold empathy from those in need, when we withdraw our hand when others seek to hold it, we are denying the divine spark of compassion God placed within us.

That’s why Paul tells the believers in Corinth that just as God is compassionate, so are we to “comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” So who can you comfort today? Who is hurting around you? Is it a child (maybe not even yours) that needs an encouraging word? A neighbor or coworker walking through a difficult sickness that you can bring comfort to? Perhaps an aging parent that simply needs someone to sit with them? How can you leverage the divine spark of compassion within you to give comfort to someone else today?

Prayer: God, please bring to my mind and show me who I can show compassion and comfort to today.

Morning Brew: Wednesday, November 11

Bible Reading: Ezekiel 1-2, 1 Corinthians 15-16

Is our belief in the resurrection of Jesus just a religious myth? If you’re reading this then you’re probably already predisposed to believe in the resurrection of Jesus as an unquestioned truth, but looking from the eyes of a skeptic one can easily see the audacity of our claim. A homeless Jewish carpenter rose from the dead? That ancient figure really was God? Our eternal destiny depends on our belief that Jesus rose from the dead 2000 years ago? From a cynical viewpoint our belief in the resurrection can come off as a myth or fable rather than a historical fact.

But historical fact it is. Our religion is not based on myth or fable, but on an event that happened early in the first century: the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Here’s how Paul writes about it, and here’s the evidence he gives for our belief in the resurrection:

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 1 Corinthians 15:3-6

Jesus died. History agrees on that. Jesus was buried. History agrees on that. History also agrees that many of Jesus’ followers claim to have seen Jesus after his death. The truth of their claims is up to you, but consider this: 500 believers claimed to see him at once. People can have hallucinations, and a group of people can hallucinate at the same time, but a mass hallucination never happens where everyone sees the same thing. That just doesn’t happen.

These 500 people truly believed they saw Jesus, and they were willing to lose their life over it (and many of them did). Paul, writing this letter decades after the event, references that many of these believers were still alive, and he invited the Corinthians to check with them and get their first-hand experience.

Our belief in the resurrection is so much more than myth or fable. It’s based on an event that happened in human history, corroborated by hundreds of eye witnesses. In today’s court of law, that would convince a jury.

Prayer: God, I thank you that my faith is based on more than just myth or fairytale. Thank you for raising Jesus from the dead.

Morning Brew: Tuesday, Nov 10

Bible Reading: Lamentations 3-5, 1 Corinthians 13-14

Do you choose to hope in the midst of despair? Hope is a choice, never forget that. Life may have you on the ropes, and even those closest to you may advise you to throw in the towel, but hope remains forever (1 Corinthians 13:13).

In the midst of Jeremiah’s overwhelming despair at the destruction of not just his city of Jerusalem but of the lives tragically consumed by the horrors of war, Jeremiah still chooses to hope.

19 I remember my affliction and my wandering,
    the bitterness and the gall.
20 I well remember them,
    and my soul is downcast within me.
21 Yet this I call to mind
    and therefore I have hope:

22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:19-23

Jeremiah doesn’t deny his circumstances. He doesn’t wish them away. He simply chooses to shift his gaze from the brokenness around him to the beauty of his God, from the despair threatening to drown him to the divine power behind the universe, from the circumstances beyond his control to the Creator who is firmly in control. Jeremiah chose hope.

What do you choose? Where do you cast your eyes? Do your eyes blur at the mess of your life, or do you raise your gaze to the One who holds the world in his hands? What about your thoughts? Do you allow self-doubt, bitterness, rage, jealousy, and despair free reign in your mind, or do you turn your mind into a battlefield, taking every thought captive to Christ?

Hope and despair are not dependent upon the circumstances around us, no matter how dire they might seem. Both hope and despair are choices. You must choose how you live. Choose hope.

Prayer: God, may I cling to hope in the midst of despair. I choose to hope in you today. Amen.

Morning Brew: Monday, Nov 9

Bible Reading: Lamentations 1-2, 1 Corinthians 11-12

Have you had a good cry lately? Crying is incredibly under appreciated today. Seen in society as a sign of weakness and fragility, we tell our kids that “boys don’t cry” and “big girls don’t cry.” While I’m not advocating a life of misery, a good cry every once in awhile can be incredibly therapeutic and even healing.

11 My eyes fail from weeping,
    I am in torment within;
my heart is poured out on the ground
    because my people are destroyed,
because children and infants faint
    in the streets of the city. Lamentations 2:11

In the book of Lamentations, the prophet Jeremiah laments (hence the name) the fall of Jerusalem. That’s it. That’s the book. It’s a man weeping over the destruction and loss of the city he’s known his whole life. Why did Lamentations make the Bible as a book?

Because emotions matter. Your emotions matter. Life isn’t always rainbows and roses. Sometimes life just sucks. Sometimes things don’t work out. Sometimes we lose our loved ones way too soon. Sometimes we can’t see the silver lining. Sometimes there’s no explanation given, and we’re left with the crushing weight of circumstances beyond our ability to bear.

That’s life in a sinful, broken, messed up world. And so we cry, and crying is okay. Crying actually releases toxins, lightens your mood, and relieves stress. God designed us to cry. The other option is to bottle everything up, get mad, let that anger ferment into bitterness, and watch that bitterness to eat away at us like a cancer.

Crying can be good and necessary, so lighten up on yourself. Be a man, cry. Be a big girl, cry. Jeremiah did it, we can too. Have you had a good cry lately?

Prayer: God, hear my cries and catch my tears as I call out to you.

Morning Brew: Sunday, Nov 8

Bible Reading: Jeremiah 51-52, 1 Corinthians 9-10

What ‘rights’ are you willing to give up to win others to Jesus? We fight for our rights. We enshrine them in our Constitution. We protest when our rights are infringed upon. We deserve our rights. We demand our rights. We protect our rights.

The Apostle Paul, on the other hand, saw things very differently:

19 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 1 Corinthians 9:19

To Paul, rights and freedoms aren’t unimportant, they’re just secondary to the advancement of the gospel. What did this look like to Paul? He continues:

20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. 1 Corinthians 9:20-23

So here’s the question for you today: what are you willing to sacrifice to win others to Jesus?

  • It could be something as simple as a hobby, the way you spend your time, or breaking the selfishness that has controlled your life for far too long.
  • It could be changing jobs where the pay is less but your opportunity to make a difference will increase exponentially.
  • It could be sacrificing control and allowing God to start calling the shots, giving up the mythical idea of an easy, leisure-filled life and wading into the messiness of life all around you.
  • It could be giving up your privacy and allowing others into your life.
  • It could be some (or all) of those hard earned resources that aren’t to be used to make your life more comfortable but to advance the gospel.

Paul was willing to give up almost anything to win others to Jesus. How about you (dear Christian)? What is God calling you to give up?

Prayer: God, give the discernment to hear your voice and the courage to sacrifice what I need to so that others may hear of your name.

Morning Brew: Saturday, Nov 7

Bible Reading: Jeremiah 49-50, 1 Corinthians 7-8

Are you caring for those entrusted to you or leading them astray? We all have someone following us. It may be simple to point them out, like children in our home. It may be the direct report you supervise at the office, the friend who always seems to do whatever you ask her to do, or the neighbor down the street or the friend at school that comes to you for advice.

Somewhere, somehow, God has entrusted you with leadership and influence over another human being (or many). The question is, how are you stewarding your influence? Are you intentionally caring for and nurturing those around you, or are you leading them astray?

Of the many condemnations God had against Judah, one stands out this morning, specifically against the leadership:

My people have been lost sheep;
    their shepherds have led them astray
    and caused them to roam on the mountains.
They wandered over mountain and hill
    and forgot their own resting place. Jeremiah 50:6

The leadership of Judah was entrusted with the care of her people. But instead of leveraging their influence for the protection and betterment of the people, either through intentional actions or gross negligence, they led their people astray.

What about the people that look to you for inspiration, guidance, protection and provision? If someone made the charge that “you have led those you lead astray,” would that charge stick?

  • What intentionally are you doing to be an example for Christ to them?
  • How are you ‘making disciples’ of those entrusted to your care?
  • Do you think about how to better those around you, or do your thoughts center around how others can better your life?
  • If your children lived your life 20 years from now, would that make you proud or ashamed?

Everyone is a leader. Everyone has influence. How are you leveraging your influence to care for others? It’s Saturday. You’ve got the day off. What intentionally can you do today?

Prayer: God, may I intentionally care for, protect and disciple those you have entrusted to my care. Amen.

Morning Brew: Friday, Nov 6

Bible Reading: Jeremiah 47-48, 1 Corinthians 5-6

Are you spending more time judging those inside or outside the church? This brew is probably going to hurt, for the simple fact that our priorities are mixed up. We’re great at judging those outside the church (think “liberals,” “the gay agenda,” “activist judges,” etc.). We’ve perfected the art of condemning non-Christians for acting like non-Christians. It’s simpler, it’s clinical, it’s much less awkward than looking to our own house.

But when the Apostle Paul dealt with a case of incest in the church, he speaks an incredible truth to all Christians:

12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. 1 Corinthians 5:12-13

Chew on that for little bit. Let it brew within you. Paul’s focus was not on judging those outside the church for acting like people outside the church. His focus was on holding believers accountable to the lifestyle established by Christ.

How would this transform our churches, our communities, our nations, if we lived this out? What if preachers quit using their sermons as bully pulpits to condemn a lost world for acting exactly how they’re supposed to — lost, and used that energy to clear out the sin within the church?

What if we attacked the sinfulness of lust, greed and obesity in our churches with the same vigor that we attack the “liberal gay agenda?” What if we quit holding outsiders accountable to a standard of living they never agreed to and started holding our own (who have agreed) to it?

Come on now, how would that change how our churches interacted with our society? I think we both now it could change everything. Let the Holy Spirit work on you with this today.

Who (outside the church) do you need to stop judging? Who (inside the church) do you need to start holding accountable?

Prayer: Father, I trust in your ability to judge those outside the church. May I direct my passion to holding my church family accountable to the lifestyle established by Christ. Amen.