Thursday, July 22, 2010


I saw this on Trey Morgan's blog. Funny and a little scary because it's so true. We may fool each other. But our kids see right through us.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Five Things a Dad Should Do Everyday

1. HUG your child. Show them with hugs just how much you love them.

2. Tell your child that you LOVE them unconditionally. Explain to them what unconditional love means to you.

3. PRAY with your child. Take time to show them that your relationship with God is the only thing that is more important to you than them or their Mom.

4. PLAY with your child. Spend time with them doing something that they enjoy.

5. Let your child see you LOVE on your wife. Show them what a healthy marriage looks like.

Moms, encourage and support your husband to do these things and be the spiritual example and leader that God calls him to be.

Love, Trust & Obey

I believe in my heart that most people want to do good. I'll be more specific. I believe with all my heart that most Christians want to love and honor God with their lives. I think I fit in that boat. I know I try. Although I must admit that I often lack the execution part.

Two of the foremost driving motivators in ministry is winning souls to Christ and making a difference in the lives of the Christians that you serve. The first is measurable. The second, hardly at all. Not knowing if you're making a difference can quickly lead to frustration, burn out, callousness and in some cases giving up. Thankfully, God reminded me of this recently. I'm not saying that I am going to stop worrying about whether or not I'm making an impact. But I'm glad that I was reminded that I shouldn't put that at the top of my worry list.

Instead, I'm going to put my energy into LOVING God, TRUSTING God and OBEYING God.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Kingdom of God

Ben Witherington is a great evangelical Bible scholar. He offers a good explanation of the Kingdom of God.


Should we define our faithfulness to God in terms of our attendance to worship? That's often how we speak in terms of our faith and especially other peoples' faith - "do they go to church?" Is that the point? When we stand before God, is He going to ask us about our batting average on worship attendance? We see from the scriptures that there is so much more to it than that. Notice these two scriptures.

Matthew 7:21-22
 21"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?'

Matthew 25:34-36
34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' 

When we place our focus on attending worship service we redefine faith and send a bad message, or the wrong the message. Is that what is truly most important to you? There's other possible criteria. What about how often you pray? What about the depth of your prayers? What about how often you read your Bible? Those questions can also be used as matrices to gauge faithfulness.What if you we gauged ourselves on how often we read the Bible? Where would you be? Because it is blatant, obvious and not-intrusive we have, over the course of time, slanted or moved ourselves towards the understanding that our corporate worship is the center piece of our faith. It's extremely important - vital even. But it's not the center piece. Some groups have placed other things at the center, like discipleship. 

But the only true center piece is Jesus Christ. He's both the cause and affect. He's the reason for our faith and what we get because of our faith. Because of His choice, we have a choice. And because of our choice we get to have Him stand up for us in front of God, because we can't possibly stand alone. Perhaps we need to change the question we ask from "Is he faithfully attending worship," to "Is he faithful living for Jesus?" The answer to that question will include worship and Bible study and prayer and discipleship and giving and  . . .

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Wake-Up Call?

We've sent men to the moon. We have people living in space. We've got nuclear bombs. But we can't stop an oil spill? All politics aside, there's a huge lesson for us there.

Our society promotes a narsissistic and cavalier attitude that essentially mitigates any need for God in our lives. Simply put, we think we have all the answers, can do all things and completely control our world. That is simply not true. And the fact that we're now on DAY 80 of the worst ecological disaster ever, clearly demonstrates that we're at the mercy of something that is infinite where we are finite.

I wonder if God is trying to get our attention? Perhaps not. But, just maybe some of us will start to understand that even though we are created with the ability to produce greatness, we weren't created to live without a need for our Creator.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Pecking Order of Baptism

I've been thinking lately about the place of baptism in our salvation. In Romans chapter 6, Paul illustrates why it is essential for salvation; and not just an after-the-fact demonstration of our obedience. The theology in that chapter is thick, and it's not really my point. I've never once had a second thought about the necessity of baptism, nor do I know. Instead, I think at some point some may have mistakenly placed baptism as the goal, intead of a part of the process of reaching the goal.

This was really highlighted for me during my time at Bible camp a few weeks ago. It seems like there is an artificial pressure that we put on ourselves to get as many kids converted as possible during that week. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Actually, I think there would be a lot more Christians walking around if we lived our lives with that self-afflicted pressure all year. But partly because of that pressure I think we have mistakenly placed baptism as the end goal. Baptism isn't the end goal. Faithful followers of Christ is the end goal. Baptism is part of the process that gets to the end goal.

Sometimes I think we get in such a rush to get someone wet, that in the end, all we do is get someone wet. There is no true repentence, there is no true understanding of following Christ, there is no conversion. Think about all the conversion stories in Acts. Luke never once talks about the preaching or teaching being about baptism. It's always about sin, responsibility, Jesus' death and other similar topics. But in the end of the narrative, the person always ends up being baptized. Not because that was preached to them, but because that's the answer to the question, "what do I do now," or something like it.

This problem is especially prevalent with our kids. We push for them to get baptized. Maybe we'd be better off to push for them to be followers of Christ?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Valleys that are too Deep and too Wide

You've most likely had some tough struggles in your faith. If you have kids, they have most likely have had some tough struggles in their faith. If they haven't, it's because they are still young - they will. Challenges and struggles are an inevitable part of living a Christian life. James said to be joyful when (not if) you face trials (Jas 1:2). So, we shouldn't be terribly alarmed when tough times show up. We just have to be ready for them and help each other through them.

But lately, I have seen a lot of extended and deepened tough times. In other words, the valleys were deeper and wider than normal. They don't seem to be the ones that James was talking about. Why is that? It seems to be most common with teens and young(er) adults. But older folks are definitely not immune. I wonder why that is? I see people of all ages that are going through the motions of being a Christian; with their hearts hardened and flames long since extinguished. It saddens me to see people stop worshipping their Creator and fellowshipping with their Christian family. It concerns me to see Christians come to worship out of a false sense of obligation and duty; instead of desiring to come into the presence of the God that words can't describe. It frustrates me to see disrespectful attitudes and behaviors during our times together.

But let's stop there for a moment. I have got to be honest with myself. We have got to be honest with ourselves. And we must hold ourselves accountable for whatever circumstances and situation exists. See, it's easy to throw rocks at people who seem to be less holy than we are. But we have got to start asking honest tough questions - even though the answers that may come out are scary and hurtful. So let's be honest when we answer the question: WHY? Why are the valley's deeper and wider than they ought to be. For what it's worth, here's my answer: the people in the valley were never up on the mountain in the first place.

If we're all going to have our own personal valleys, isn't it possible that those people whose valley is deeper didn't actually fall further than anyone else, they just started off lower up the mountain (if they were ever on the mountain at all)? I'll get straight to my point. If the top of the mountain is a powerful, engaging Relationship with God through Jesus Christ, then many people were never up there. Here's why. For far too long (probably three generations) we have not been teaching people to passionately love God and desparately fight to follow Jesus Christ. Instead, in my estimation we have spent our time teaching the following three things:

1. Faithful religion means you come to every scheduled worship 'service' and bible study. If the Elders say that we're going to meet then you should be there.

2. Follow Church doctrine. Because if you don't then you'll be called names. Let's be honest with ourselves. Has the Church doctrine always been Bible doctrine? Before you say yes, can you name a scripture for everything you have been held accountable for or condmened others on?

3. Live a good, moral life.

When I think back to my childhood and teenage years, and when I look at titles of old sermons, I see that everything fits into one of these three categories. So when I look around now and see folks who have deserted their faith or are not living out Christ-like faith, I have to point a few fingers back at myself. Because here's the bottom line, people are doing what they have been taught to do. And they are doing it for as long as they can. But here's the problem with that bottom line: if those three teachings define your faith, then your faith is built on a weak foundation that will eventually crumble.

The only foundation that will never crumble is Jesus Christ. If we preach and teach Jesus Christ crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2), then we'll give our kids, our community and ourselves a foundation that will stand up to the trials that James said will come.