Monthly Archives: December 2016


I have always, at least as far back as I can remember, had an “allergic reaction” to RELIGION.   (That is, my attempted to impress God with my behavior or gain his affections based on my own “holiness”.) That may seem strange coming from a Baptist Minister.  The pomp, the ritual, the stiffness intended to be reverential was off-putting compared to what Jesus saved me from as a teenager. When Jesus changed my life, it was real, intimate and messy. There was no hiding or ceremony. I did not look good and couldn’t fake my way through it.  It was raw and revealing. It was so utterly profound that afterwards I felt no pressure to look good in front of others, to feign piety or prove myself to skeptics. I just really loved Jesus and wanted to please Him.

At church I discovered other people who loved Jesus too. They taught me the basics of the Bible, how to pray and grow in my faith and gave me opportunities to serve others etc… I also learned something I’d like to forget…I learned how to keep score, rank myself and fit inI learned how to be religious. Well meaning people effectively gave me lists of stuff that Christians do and say. I found out where Christians don’t go and who Christians don’t go with. To be sure, they gave me some great principles to have an effective life. But these principles became not the means to an end but the end itself. I learned how to be a “good Christian”.

Eventually I became really good at all of it! But the better I became at “acting like a Christian” the less I depended upon God for direction and peace… The less I needed to pray about things. And the less I pursued Jesus. After all, I had a rule or precedent for almost any eventuality…so who needs intimacy with God? I had allowed my religious pursuits to rob me of my authentic relationship with a loving Savior. And it was my own fault and it has been a fight ever since those days some 35 years ago. 

So as 2016 winds down and the promise of a new year just ahead I remind myself of the following….

Jesus is more concerned with my heart being close to His (John 15:4), my worship being heartfelt and truthful (John 4:24), and my faith being rooted in a dynamic relationship with a living Savior (James 4:8) that I know and talk to … a lot (Matt 6), that I forgive others because I am forgiven (Mark 11:25), that I act justly, love mercy and am humble (Micah 6:8)  rather than a dry, duty-filled obedience (Psalm 51) to a list of rules and regulations almost completely designed to impress other religious people (Mark 7:7). (In fact I would argue that “religion” has, for centuries, impeded Christianity…but that is an argument for another post.)

Most people in the United States don’t hate Jesus (while not here, that day I believe is coming) Many, however, loathe His followers. John 15 paints the picture of the world hating Christians because the world hated Jesus.  Here, where persecution, limited though it may be, does indeed exist, our problem isn’t primarily with people hating us because they hated Jesus. It is that they hate us because the way we represent Jesus.

The things we say that are often steeped in anything but love for those who are far from God. We  demand a lost world act saved before we ever engage them. We boycott this, tweet venom about that, and post nasty portrayals of people with whom we disagree. We are better at pointing the finger than extending our arms we turn on our own (ask Russell Moore, John Piper or Steven Furtick).  Our Enemy has us tearing each there to shreds and thinking all the while we are standing for our faith.  

I have done it all… to my shame.  

When did we, as Christians, get permission to be vengeful and angry towards those with whom we disagree? When did Jesus say “Hate your enemies and call them names?”


The world is dying for Christians that live the love of Jesus…towards those on our  team, and those not on our team. With those with whom we agree and those with whom we don’t. We are even asked to love those who hate us! (Romans 12:14) It always honors God to love those who hate us… always. It never honors God to hate those who hate us..ever.  It may be politically expedient, it may be soothing for our wounded feelings but it does not honor God. We may get taken advantage of, we may lose, we may even pay a high price…but God is always honored…and isn’t that the point?

Christian: Know any drug addicts? Know any prostitutes or anti-Christian professors? How about transgender people or people who self identify as gender fluid?  Atheists? Alcoholics? Ex-cons?  LGBTQ? Muslims? Shouldn’t we know them?

Jesus loves drug addicts, strippers and the LGBTQ community. He loves Muslims, atheists, prostitutes, elitists, republicans and democrats. You cannot name someone whom Jesus does not love. He looked at “crowds with compassion as sheep without a shepherd”(Mark 6:34) Shouldn’t we? 

Do they know you love them? Do they know I love them? Do they know that Jesus loves them because they have seen His love for them in us?

Maybe 2017 will be the year that the world sees how much Jesus loves them, because they see how much His followers love them! Because they see how much I love them…





1 Comment

Posted by on December 30, 2016 in Uncategorized


“6 Reasons Our Prayer are UNANSWERED” IDNW (wk #14)


Great time last Sunday morning! Y’all are the best! This was particularly important week as we talked about the single most life changing (and marriage changing) discipline….PRAYER.  

Hope this helps,

Hixon and Margie


If we are honest, prayer can be a tough discipline. It is that part of our faith that has a funny way of “crawling off the altar”.  We looked last Sunday at reasons we don’t pray but we wanted to look at the things that will actually hinder or completely block the prayers we do pray!

images-2Believe it or not, the Bible teaches that all prayers are not equal. The way we pray matters! Our moves matter. Our focus matters. and much more….  Here are 6 hindrances to prayer.

1. UNCONFESSED SIN – Isaiah 59:1 – “Your sins have separated you from God.” Prayer is the process of becoming spiritually fit and receiving from God what he is already willing to do.- James McDonald

Overcome this by: praying to God that He would…“Search me…” Ps 139:23.  Write down what he brings to your heart. Invite the Holy Spirit to convict you of any blindspots. Confess and turn from your sin. You have never felt as clean as you have when you are clean before God.

2. IDOLATRY – Ezekiel 14:3 “Son of man, these men have taken their idols into their hearts, and set the stumbling block of their iniquity before their faces. Should I indeed let myself be consulted by them?

Idolatry: to ascribe worth to something and place it higher in your affections that God. It might even be something as worthwhile as your marriage but as soon as your marriage, kids, reputation, etc… becomes more valuable to you that God, it becomes idolatry.

Interestestingly: We have approximately 46,000 Storage facilities in the United States with 2.6 Billion square feet of storage space…. to hold the stuff … that hold us…our idols.

Overcome this by: consider those things that are more important to you than God. Even good things can be idols. Put them in their right place.

3. REFUSALS TO HEAR GOD’S WORD.Proverbs 28:9 – If one turns his ear away from hearing the Law, even his prayer is an abomination.

If we sit in church week after week with no intention of actually doing what we hear … then even our prayers are an abomination. (The word abomination appears 71 times in Bible, and means “vomit inducing”) My prayers? Vomit inducing? But….

Overcome this by: During any Bible teaching, ask the question, How does this apply to me? What do I need to change to be in line with what the Bible teaches?

4. LACK OF COMPASSION: Prov. 21:13 – whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself cry out and not be answered. God cares about the poor, the down, the police, the black community, Republicans, Democrats, thieves, etc… God wants us to care about it all. God is not a respecter of person.

Overcome this my: Pray that you can see people as God sees them. Every person has a name, a story, and a journey that they are on… just like you.

5. MARITAL STRIFE  – 1 Peter 3:7 -live with your wife in an understanding way…so that your prayers are not hindered. Are you hardhearted…cold… aloof…untouchable….vindictive… Massive hinderance to your prayers. Prayers “hitting the ceiling and bouncing back?”  You might want to examine and evaluate your relationship wth your spouse.

Overcome this by: Get genuinely “right” with your spouse. Do you need to confess?…then confess. Do you need to ask forgiveness?…then do it.

6. UNFORGIVENESSMark 11: Whenever you stand praying…forgive so that God will forgive you.  Man-o-man that is not easy! Immediate, unilateral, total – forgiveness? Impossible right?  Well, have you even tried? If you are like most of us we rehearse the wounds in our mind and justify why we have every right to nurse our anger and hurt.  Right now, just you, complete forgiveness. Forgiveness is saying “you don’t owe me anything anymore”.

Overcome this by: try for 30 seconds to release the offending person from your wrath. Pray that you will see God as just and righteous.



H & M



Leave a comment

Posted by on December 13, 2016 in Uncategorized



Thank you for your willingness to forgo the “churchy” answers and open the “gritty book” (Bible) and “be authentic”.  We have covered a lot of ground and gotten “off script”… and we LOVE IT!!!

This Sunday Danny Bivens will be filling in for us as I am in northern Washington County Kansas (next to Nebraska)  with my son trying to help him get his first buck!  I prayed for each of you by name this morning…in 16 degree weather… in the deer blind… in the dark! (might should have prayed for a buck cuz we are empty-handed heading into day three). 🙂 

Hope this helps,

Hixon and Margie

old-couple1 Corinthians 13
4 Love is patient, love is KIND. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  8 Love never fails  13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Maybe you have only heard the following passage at weddings and on greeting cards etc…. Maybe it is so familiar to you that you don’t hear it anymore. (Like our spouses. We can be so familiar that we stop hearing their cries for help, their need for time with you, their preferences, their voids etc….)

LOVE IS KIND: I sat working on what eventually became this blog post, when I noticed a couple in their late 50’s or 60’s come into the warm coffee shop from the chilly snowy Saturday morning.  They looked like every other couple in their late 50’s or 60’s. Both were trim for their age and dressed in the male and female versions of the same outfit.  Jeans, winter boots, thick 1/4 zips, hooded coats, and hats.  He wore a K-State purple baseball hat and she a beret… a rather stylish one in fact. As they entered, he took her beret, scarf and heavy winter jacket, and casually helped her sit comfortably in the booth next to my table. Then going straight for the counter he ordered drinks, paid, waited a moment then returned to their table, drinks in hand. After settling in he realized he’d not gotten napkins, spoons or anything else to go with their drinks. Rising to go back to the counter, she stopped him and insisted on being the one to get what they needed. She did and returned moments later. Now I was fully engaged while trying not to stare.  They laughed and then seemed to be in a serious discussion. He was fully engaged and so was she. Their words had gentleness to them, familiarity and effort.

As a pastor and a guy interested in helping marriage “survive and thrive” I thought that “this is how it is done”…….  and then it started. My bent towards critical thinking (hopefully a critical mind and not a critical heart) told me that there must be some reason they acting like they are on their first or second date….is he in trouble? Is this an affair? are they newly wed after both spouses died? Why so much deference? so much…well reverence for each other?

So when I started a conversation with them (their booth was only a few feet from my table) and the details of their relationship began to unfold, I was pleasantly surprised. They met in 1975 in High School though they did not marry till years later. (late 1981) He went to the local Community College (Cloud County Community College, Home of the “Fighting T-Birds” by the way) where he stayed and became assistant professor then finally a professor in his own right. After 20 years he started two business that failed, until he was able to make a business flourish in this Northern Kansas agricultural town of 6,000. (crop insurance I think). She moved away after High School and came back home after 7 years living a “nomad’s life”. Not sure if that means “hippie”, gypsy” or just moved a lot. (It was the 70’s so could be anything)

They asked what I did and I obliged talking mostly about marriage, the family and the importance of a marriage that honors Jesus. Both perked up and explained that before they married both came from rough homes where abuse and alcoholism was rampant. Didn’t give many details but then she did something amazing. She started bragging on her husband of 35 years! She said that “He (husband) saved her from all that”. When I pressed for details she explain as he sat a little uncomfortably. She said that he told her in the Summer of 1981 that “if we were to get married, then I do not want a marriage like my parents or your parents have. I want a marriage that is comfortable and KIND.” He actually use the word KIND.  When I told her that word is used to describe love in the Bible he chimed in and said enthusiastically, “Thats where I got it!”.  He proceeded to take off his wedding ring and show me the engraving on the inside of the band.  “1 Cor 13 …Love is kind…”. Everyone knows you are supposed to be kind but they actually were kind to each other.

They went on to tell more … both are believers … their kids are grown (one in Manhattan, Kansas,  and one in Kansas City. Neither married though both are “close”) … both are involved in a local church…his dad passed recently… “life hasn’t always been easy but we have always tried to be kind to each other and it has made all the difference in the world”

Folks, Everyone is kind while dating and a few months into a marriage but …. 35 years of marriage and still KIND?  Thats how I want my marriage to be…so I better commit to being kind to my spouse. 


  1. AVOID SARCASM … even if you think it is funny (because sometimes it is) The reason SARCASM is so destructive is that there is always an element of truth to it. It allows the person who is sarcastic to say what they want to say without being held accountable for it. In fact, try to confront someone about their sarcasm and you will be called “too sensitive” or “touchy”. You will be made to feel (not that anyone can make you feel anything without your permission) like you shouldn’t mind. Nothing could be further from the truth. 
  2. FULLY ENGAGE “so many distractions…so little time”. Cell phones, the game, work, exhaustion. So much tears at our time together.  At some point you have to be completely focused on your spouse. What are her needs?  What does he wrestle with? How can you comfort and encourage your spouse? Sometimes it is as easy as making eye-contact and putting your smart phone away. As they say “When you are here…be here!”
  3. LITTLE THINGS – “I got these for you on the way home” (flowers, coffee, etc) “You stay here I’ll take care of the baby this time”. “I made the bed for ya so you can relax”. “We are doing takeout tonight so don’t worry about dinner.”. “I took care of it for you”.  ALL of these are little things that add up big in a marriage.

Additional thoughts: Sometimes kindness is:

  1. … keeping your word to your spouse at a cost to you or your ego.
  2. … cancelling something that means a lot to you to be with your spouse.
  3. … making hard calls for the good of your spouse
  4. … speaking truth with grace and gentleness
  5. … bragging to others about your spouse
  6. … telling your spouse before you tell anyone else
  7. … defending your spouse to his/her family
  8. … making your home safe for your spouse to relax
  9. … being flexible to accommodate your spouse
  10. … making hard decisions win a gentle way.

Most of the time it is just doing the things you would do if you were dating and you had to “win” him/her. Because you do! 

Like the couple in the story….commit to being KIND to ONE ANOTHER. It is the difference between surviving your marriage and THRIVING!





Leave a comment

Posted by on December 3, 2016 in Uncategorized