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“5 Levels of Communication” IDNW #18

Hey Gang, 

Great morning last Sunday! Not sure what got into y’all but it was wide open…and a whole lot of fun!  The following Levels of Communication are ALL important!  Take a look again and keep working towards Level #5… You will be glad you did. 

Hope this is helpful,

Hixon and Margie


Phil 1:6 He who began a good work in you, will be faithful to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.

“A couple needs to learn how to communicate with each other” – says every counselor, teacher, preacher worth their salt. We all know it to be true. But what exactly does that

effective-communicationmean? I communicate like a man (through small words and guttural sounds). My wife communicates like a woman (lot of words and details) So How are we supposed to communicate with each other?  I’m Glad you asked…


1. “PLEASANTRIES” – “Thank you!”, “Please”,  “Have a great day”, “Be safe” etc….  Usually these words come out of our mouths with little or no thought when we are dating. But after time many couples forget to treat their spouse, dare I say it, courteously. While we are kind to the barista, the clerk and the person we pass in the hallway at work, we often overlook the need to extend that same kindness to our spouse.

Kindness and being pleasant can “grease the wheels of your marriage”. It isn’t difficult, there is no risk involved and we don’t really have to feel anything. Just say it.

Margie and I, like many couples, tell each other “love ya” after most phone conversations and when we leave for the day. In fact, it is so common we usually don’t think before we say it. I once told my boss “love ya” as I hung up the phone…after a conversation and could only cringing after I hung up. I have been more careful since then. 🙂

Years ago I explained this principle to a group of newly married couples when a hand in the back shot up to express her disapproval. “Saying I love you should be heartfelt and important! Aren’t you cheapening it by saying it with no feeling behind it.” she said bringing her four months of marital experience to bear on the subject.

While I would never roll my eyes at someone (at least where they could see me) I explained that we cheapen the word love every day. I love french fries, I love that song, I love Star Wars, I love my house, I love my new dog, I love my new dress, I love that tile, I love my car, I love America, I love this and that and everything else…and by the way I love you too!

My point is not that I am cheapening my love for my wife…I am reinforcing it with kindness and a simply reminder that I am still “in this with you” and not going anywhere.

Pleasantries must be the backdrop if you are going to make a pleasant environment because every conversation can’t be deep and meaningful….

2. REPORTER TALK – “Just the Facts Ma’am”.
All of the moving parts to your life, at leas the vast majority of them, need to be communicated to your spouse. “The life you share has to be shared.” The facts.  T

“I’ll pickup Katy from school if you can take Johnny to practice”
“Game is at 4 but we have to be there early”
“I’m going to be late for dinner”
“Your mom called”
“Dog ran off but neighbor found it”

Sometimes the success of marriage and parenting hinges on just the facts of life.


3. INTELLECTUAL TALK – “Do you know what I think?”

We are sharing opinions, judgements and interpretations about whatever the subject happens to be. We are letting our spouse in on how we process the information we receive.
Conversations in this LEVEL usually start with “ITHINK…” and it involves some risk. When you share your opinion there is a chance that your spouse will disagree with you. That in itself isn’t a problem, in fact it is to be welcomed. But not every marriage handles disagreement very well….this THE RISK.

I think we should buy a boat with our tax refund…
I think the church should give more to missions…
I think you mother isn’t doing well…
I think If Throckmorton doesn’t get his grades up he does go camping..
I think
I think
I think

Usually people watch the response of their spouse. If it is positive they continue of it is negative they may quickly bring the conversation to a close and retreat to a safer subject.
Some couples don’t spend tons of time on level 3 bc they dolt ike their ideas questioned or challenged

4. EMOTIONAL TALK _ “Let me Tell you How I Feel
Getting a little more risky. If their is one thing men and women clash over it is the emotional impact of different things in our lives.  While men and woman have the same emotions they are expressed differently and applied to different situations.
Men get mad, happy, glad, angry, nostalgic, protective, wounded etc…. just like women.

Example: They may agree they should join a certain church. But they have different feelings about it based upon their history, personality and background.
He wants to join but has mixed feelings about it bc his uncle is a pastor in a different denomination.  She loves the children’s programs but hasn’t found a place yet for them as a couple to connect. So she joins for her kids… Same Event…different emotional attachments.

Many couple rarely communicate on this level because they fear their emotions won’t be accepted. They said something early on in marriage and she hasn’t recovered from if. She set limits on what could be discussed because of poor self esteem, insecurity of or just plain old stubbornness. He shuts down when it gets emotional cuz he cant keep up with her…and the list goes on.

YOU HAVE TO ACCEPT THE FACT: I will feel differently than my spouse….and it is OK!



This is the Apex of communication. Allows you to speak the truth in Love…It allows you to be fully known and ideally, fully loved.  It is honest but not condemning, Open but not demanding

So much is wrapped it this level  including:

  • childrenSeek to understand our spouses thoughts, desires, emotions etc…
  • Look for ways to grow together inspire of our differences.
  • MUST ACCEPT your spouse….must accept their past….
  • Must accept their personality
  • Must accept their wounds

ALL of these levels of communication are important. You should flow freely between the different levels. It takes some work, but is is awesome when you and your spouse flow freely !

Hope this is helpful,

Hixon and Margie 

5 Levels of Communication concept from “Covenant Marriage” by Gary Chapman. B/H 1992



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Posted by on January 20, 2017 in Uncategorized


“6 Roadblocks to Connecting with your Spouse” IDNW#17


We had a great time with you last Sunday! Remember that God has chosen to reveal Himself to us in relational terms. Father to son, children etc… Even husband and wife (Ephesians 5) It makes sense that the very things that hinder our communication with God would also hinder our communication with our spouse.

Can’t wait to see y’all this Sunday and as always, we hope this helps!

Hixon and Margie


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.
In your relationship with your spouse, unconfessed sin or more often “un-acknowledged” sin, will cause wounds that are hard to see sometimes and last longer than you think. It will break emotional and often physical intimacy. So figure out ways to confess any sin you have committed against your spouse TO your spouse. You may find it opens up an entire new level of intimacy in your marriage. And that is good!

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?
Simply put, idolatry is anything we place before God. It can be even be good things like church but it still damages our relationship with God. Likewise, when we place things or people ahead of our spouses the relationship suffers. Again, even good things can wound your relationship. If we place our own parents, boss, friends ahead of our spouse at some point wounds overtake their understanding. SO, elevate the status of your spouse. Seriously examine how important they are to you and if they are not at the top of the earthy relationship list, you’re doing marriage wrong…. and that is “no bueno!”

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.
When we stop listening to our spouse…or we listen with no intention of acting on what is said…we dig ourselves a hole that relationally can only be crawled from by actively listening then acting upon what is shared. How many times have we listened to our spouse only to get to the end of the complaint. Never really intending to change but only to endure. Your spouse knows…they really do…and they withdraw because of it. SO, actively listen to your spouse. Stop what you are watching, texting or looking up. Drop the paper, thematic etc… and focus on them. You might find out that they are pretty special indeed. And that is good!

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 outcast etc…
Your spouse deserves your compassion. Without identifying with or participating in their lives in a compassionate way you are essentially saying you don’t care… and that is “no bueno!”

5. MARITAL INSENSITIVITY   1 Peter 3:7 -live with your wife in an understanding way…so that your prayers are not hindered. Thats about all we need to say there…

6. UNFORGIVENESS  Mark 11: Whenever you stand praying…forgive so that God will forgive you.
The greatest danger to a marriage is lack of thorough forgiveness, where the husband or wife refuses to forgive the other. It may be for simple insensitivity or it may be for something a whole lot more serious. Either way forgiveness is a lifestyle of grace to your spouse. We could go all day on this subject but without the grace that comes from forgiving your spouse..a marriage can deteriorate in to a lifeless, bitter partnership. SO, if you are a Christian you can remember how much you have been forgiven and use that truth to help you forgive your spouse. And that is “Fantastic!”


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Posted by on January 12, 2017 in Uncategorized



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…





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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



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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!





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Posted by on December 3, 2016 in Uncategorized


“I Do Now What?” (Week #9)

Hey Folks!  We love you and want more than anything for you to grow and thrive in your marriages as you grow and thrive in your faith!  By the way…we all have more chairs and more air conditioning this week.  Thanks for being “hot and sweaty” AND “snuggling-up” a bit last Sunday! 

Here are some notes from the class and a short peal at this coming Sunday! 

We covered four types of tendencies that a woman must fight.

1. THE “MOTHER” WIFE (Dominant) – Prov. 21:9
2. THE “FEARFUL” WIFE (Enabler)– 1 Kings 21
3. THE “BUSY” WIFE (Destracted) 1 Peter 3:7
4. THE “MANIC” WIFE (Emotion -Motivated) Prov 12:4

Proverbs 31:1-12   A wife of noble character, who can find? She is worth far more than Rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.

  1. “Marrying Mom” – Some women marry weak men and expect to play the role of mom in their lives. While it may “work” for a while, it is incredibly debilitating to the development of a man to still “live with his mom” as an adult.
  2. An Enabler simply gives approval (tacit or open) to things that are destructive. When a wife becomes an enabler to her husbands destructive behavior…it never ends well. “Loving your husband well”, sometimes means you will not allow him to continue in his destructive ways. Even if you know it will be a hard road ahead.
  3. “She is Sooooo Busy” – Sometimes our wives have a problem saying “no”. Sometimes they don’t want to say no because they can lead a very separate life from the man they once enjoyed being with”
  4. Emotional are great things. Love , Compassion, Passion etc…  They make great cabooses but are terrible engines”. Marriage need to be based upon “speaking the truth in love” with emotions taken into account…not speaking emotions with the truth taken in to account”


See ya in the morning!

Hixon and Margie




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Posted by on November 12, 2016 in Uncategorized



 The Following is from Tim Keller

RELIGION: I obey-therefore I’m accepted.
THE GOSPEL: I’m accepted-therefore I obey.

RELIGION: Motivation is based on fear and insecurity.
THE GOSPEL: Motivation is based on grateful joy.

RELIGION: I obey God in order to get things from God.
THE GOSPEL: I obey God to get to God-to delight and resemble Him.

RELIGION: When circumstances in my life go wrong, I am angry at God or my self, since I believe, like Job’s friends that anyone who is good deserves a comfortable life.
THE GOSPEL: When circumstances in my life go wrong, I struggle but I know all my punishment fell on Jesus and that while he may allow this for my training, he will exercise his Fatherly love within my trial.

RELIGION: When I am criticized I am furious or devastated because it is critical that I think of myself as a ‘good person’. Threats to that self-image must be destroyed at all costs.
THE GOSPEL: When I am criticized I struggle, but it is not critical for me to think of myself as a ‘good person.’ My identity is not built on my record or my performance but on God’s love for me in Christ. I can take criticism.

RELIGION: My prayer life consists largely of petition and it only heats up when I am in a time of need. My main purpose in prayer is control of the environment.
THE GOSPEL: My prayer life consists of generous stretches of praise and adoration. My main purpose is fellowship with Him.

RELIGION: My self-view swings between two poles. If and when I am living up to my standards, I feel confident, but then I am prone to be proud and unsympathetic to failing people. If and when I am not living up to standards, I feel insecure and inadequate. I’m not confident. I feel like a failure.
THE GOSPEL: My self-view is not based on a view of my self as a moral achiever. In Christ I am “simul iustus et peccator”—simultaneously sinful and yet accepted in Christ. I am so bad he had to die for me and I am so loved he was glad to die for me. This leads me to deeper and deeper humility and confidence at the same time. Neither swaggering nor sniveling.

RELIGION: My identity and self-worth are based mainly on how hard I work. Or how moral I am, and so I must look down on those I perceive as lazy or immoral. I disdain and feel superior to ‘the other.’
THE GOSPEL: My identity and self-worth are centered on the one who died for His enemies, who was excluded from the city for me. I am saved by sheer grace. So I can’t look down on those who believe or practice something different from me. Only by grace I am what I am. I’ve no inner need to win arguments.

RELIGION: Since I look to my own pedigree or performance for my spiritual acceptability, my heart manufactures idols. It may be my talents, my moral record, my personal discipline, my social status, etc. I absolutely have to have them so they serve as my main hope, meaning, happiness, security, and significance, whatever I may say I believe about God.
THE GOSPEL: I have many good things in my life—family, work, spiritual disciplines, etc. But none of these good things are ultimate things to me. None of them are things I absolutely have to have, so there is a limit to how much anxiety, bitterness, and despondency they can inflict on me when they are threatened and lost.

– Tim Keller


3 WEEK: “Three RANDOM Things I Want My Kids To Know!”

Margie and I have been pretty systematic in teaching “our gang” things like:

  • ETC…
Every good parent does these things! They have been written about 100’s of time and are central to kids growing up in a healthy environment. But here are a few other random things that are very practical and that they need to catch…..
  1. YOUR NAME IS IMPORTANT. My Kids represent two things. They represent our family. And they represent Jesus. (Each has embraced Him as their Lord and Master). 1 Timothy 3:7 He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap. “Remember who you are!
  2. SIN FLOURISHES IN DARKNESS, BUT WITHERS IN THE LIGHT. Secrecy, unaccounted for time, no accountability….these things will eventually destroy your life. The reality is that we cannot withstand the constant pressures to be unfaithful, immoral, lazy, deceitful etc…if we live a life in secret. Practical stuff: share your passwords with your spouse (facebook, ATM, accounts of any kind). Don’t travel alone. Make sure someone knows where you are at all times (they don’t have to be with you to know where you are) Be sensitive to “white lies”, don’t dismiss your spouse’s questions. (Psalm 90:8) Psalm 90:8
    You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.
  3. IT’S MARRIAGE……….THEN SEX. This is “NOT ME FINGER POINTING”! I am aware that bring this up will “tick off” about 50% of the folks who read this blog. But I have been amazed at the number of folks who think nothing of living together before they are married. While I am no prude, it is patently obvious that when people share a bed they share a whole lot more than the TV remote. There is physical, emotional and spiritual bonding that is irrevocable. Scripture tells us (and experience validates) that sex is intended to “glue” people together for life. There is nothing else more intimate that two people can do. THAT is why in a fully committed relationship in the bonds of marriage SEX IS AWESOME and SAFE. Outside of that SEX IS INCREDIBLY DESTRUCTIVE! (I matters little how much you have seared you conscious or hardened your heart, sex outside of marriage will destroy your soul.) As my kids grow up in a world that scream “Have SEX”….I will join in with the world and say the same thing….Just do it with in the confines of marriage so that you will be “bound” to your spouse.

Posted by on May 19, 2011 in Uncategorized


“3 WEEK”: 3 Ways to Respond When the Critics Come!

We love to tear people down…really. (Well, maybe not you and me … but “they” love to do it!) From the new kid in Junior High to the celebrity that got a little too popular. (Beiber Fever anyone? Why would anyone hate this kid?)  There is a tendency for us to criticize anyone who seems to be further along than we are.  It is just usually how it is.

For “the believer” it can be particularly difficult because most of the critique comes from within the walls of the church. The Pastor might bow to his critics, the believer might temper his enthusiasm for his new faith, the evangelist who is chastised for his boldness might mute his efforts to avoid CRITICISM. And it is no wonder…CRITICISM HURTS!  BUT it can be devastating if we don’t have a way to handle it.

So here are three things to remember WHEN THE CRITICS COME:

1. KNOW WHO YOU ARE – If you don’t know…then you will let other people (typically your critics) define you. I would ask you to consider who Scripture says you are. You are “Chosen” –  Eph 1:4-5, “purchased” 1 Cor 6:20, “Loved” John 3:16, “Redeemed” Matt 1:21, etc…. it is all in there! THAT is who you are.

2. KNOW WHOSE YOU ARE – Know what team you are on, what colors you wear, who you play for…etc! If you claim Christ then live accordingly. John 10:27 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

3. KNOW WHO “THEY” ARE – We all have people in our lives who are just “critical”. These folks are often angry, have few friends and seem to struggle with accurately representing the truth. Just understand that they too are in process and need us to extend GRACE to them…even if they don’t extend it to us.


Posted by on May 18, 2011 in Uncategorized


“3 WEEK”: 3 Things to Understand About Our “PRETTY SIN”

West Texas, like a lot of places, is full of quaint small towns that have become little “time-warps”. From the “Enjoy Coke” signs on the lone cafe’ in town to the small church set way off the main road, entering these towns is like stepping back in time 40-50 years! Margie and I have spent a lot of time in towns like this primarily looking for antiques.  I remember on one short stop in Memphis, Texas I found an old Zenith Radio. (love old electronics). It was made in 1938 and was priced fairly.

As I considered the radio, I noticed a display in the next booth. It was a series of well dressed,  piles of ….er……well….. “poop”.  All were dressed as different historical figures. First was an Abe Lincoln “poop” – complete with beard and top hat. Next was the George Washington “poop” – (I think they came as a pair). Marilyn Monroe “poop”,  Laurel and Hardy “poop” and, if I remember correctly, there was a Princess Di “poop” (next to a miniature black Mercedes-Benz with severe damage, not funny.)

The point: Even dressed as famous people the little brown piles were still POOP! Well-dressed, stinky, nasty, dirty…. POOP!

Some Things to Consider….

  • GOSSIP dressed up as prayer requests and shared with concern…is still GOSSIP (2 Cor. 12:20)
  • WORRY that looks like Godly piety… is still WORRY (Luke 12:22)
  • LUST kept secret….. is still LUST (Matt 5:28, Col.3:5)
  • ARROGANCE wrapped in “leadership principles” …is still ARROGANCE (Mark 7:22)
  • SELFISH AMBITION hidden in selfish networking… is still SELFISH AMBITION (Gal. 5:20)
  • SLANDERING an “acceptable enemy”… is still SLANDER (Rom. 1:30)
  • BITTERNESS…..well…. you get the idea

We all have a way of trying to make our sin look better than it really is…we dress it up in spiritual language, compensate ourselves that our motives are pure or hide behind “plausible deniability” but the reality remains…….. OUR SIN IS STILL SIN.  Nasty, dirty, stinky….. SIN!  (Romans 6:6)

  1. Sin must be dealt with honestly before the Lord.
  2. There is no freedom in simply disguising our sin.
  3. We will find neither joy nor strength in our faith if we refuse to deal with the “sin that so easily entangles us” (Hebrews 12:1)

excerpt from The Bible Study Series, “Things They Did Not Tell Me About My Faith” – Hixon Frank 2007


Posted by on May 17, 2011 in Uncategorized