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

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

  • We LOVE THEM
  • WE LOVE EACH OTHER
  • THEY HAVE A SAFE PLACE AT HOME
  • WE LOVE JESUS
  • WE EXPECT THEM TO WORK HARD
  • WE RESPECT AUTHORITY
  • WE LOOK FOR THE ONE WHO IS “LEFT OUT” AND INCLUDE THEM
  • WE PROTECT EACH OTHER, EMOTIONALLY, PHYSICALLY and SPIRITUALLY
  • 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.
 
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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.

 
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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

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

FRIDAY’S “BEST OF”: Followership

Everyone on the planet is writing books about Leadership! Casually walk through any major bookstore and you will see all kinds of books on the subject. These books promise you can: “Lead Like Jesus”, Lead from the “Second Chair”, Lead with a “Limp”, Lead in a Circle (360 Degrees), become the “Leader You Were Meant to Be” (scary) and of course “Release the Leader In You!”.

While most of us aspire to be leaders (and probably will lead others)  the fact is that the vast majority of our lives will be spent following someone else’s cause, direction or mandate. (Even when we have made it our own).

Ok, Here is the point: Most of us are terrible followers. We bristle when told we must do something that we don’t want to do…..And for the Christian, their faith will mean nothing to a lost and dying world if they cannot follow well. 

A Few Problems with Following:

  1. WE ARE AMERICANS!  Nobody tells us what to do! Our whole country was established based on the principle: Don’ t tell me what I can or cannot do!”
  2. LITTLE LAWYERS rise up inside of us whenever we are told we have to do something (Parent, boss, cop, organizational leader etc…) We question their authority, their direction and even their lineage!
  3. ABUSIVE LEADERS ABOUND! We have all had to submit to the authority of someone who abused their authority either by decree or neglect.
  4. WE HAVE REBELLIOUS HEARTS. (Jeremiah 17:9)

CONSIDER:

  1. God expects you to follow an unbelieving, unfair, mean….. boss, teacher, cop, parent, president, chairman and “grand poobah”! For it is God who established the authority in your life. (1 Peter 2)
  2. Authority in your life represents ORDER and not VALUE. In other words, someone’s authority has nothing to do with their value. (Contratary to Secular Humanism, scripture actually encourage followers of Christ to become less and less in their submission to both Christ and “every authority instituted among men” (John 3:30/1 Peter 2:13)
  3. Following a boss well gives you a unique platform to share what is really important, faith in Jesus Christ? You stand out “like a sore thumb”! How can you ever be a “light in a dark world” if your own bosses (and others) question your integrity or work ethic or loyalty?
  4. If we are unable to follow the authority that we can see, how can we follow the authority we cannot see? (John 4:20, interp)
  5. God uses an unfair authority figure to make us better….. (James 1:3)
  6. Scripture says rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft…. in other words not good at all.  (1 Sam 15:23)

While we are all busy learning how to be better leaders…we may want to pay a little more attention to following whomever God has placed in authority over us.

 

“HOW TO MAKE A WIFE” WEEK: “PURSUE HER” Devo 5-12-11

This next principle is easy to teach and difficult to actually doThe truth is that most of us stop “pursuing our wives” right after the first really big fight or when we discover that she has her “own” opinions. We tend to think that since we married her there is no need to pursue her…after all you don’t pursue something that you already caught…right?  Then when we allow work, raising a family, paying bills and busy schedules rob us of any

extra time and energy, we easily forget that our wives need to feel like we would choose them over, and over ,

and over again….. nothing wrong with that. (we are the same way…it just looks different)

PRINCIPLE #7 of “HOW TO MAKE A WIFE” is:

7. PURSUE HER. Every woman wants to be pursued. Every woman wants to be “won”!  When we were dating, (or newly weds) and men were trying to act like women (talk, be romantic, share details, listen) and women are trying to act like men, both parties were doing their best to “win the other one”.  Here is how we did it:

  • We were considerate – We got her door, we put the phone away, we did not watch TV and grunt when she spoke, we checked her car for safety, we made sure she got home, we followed her into the next room when she was upset…
  • We were self-sacrificing – we were willing to give up what we wanted for what she wanted. Everything from where you ate together to what movie you saw was determined by HER desires and not your own.
  • We were protective – we made sure she arrived to her destination, glared at other guys for even looking at her, gave her the helmet while we rode without one, held her close when going through a tough part of town etc…
  • We were thoughtful – we left notes, text messages, dropped by, phoned home, picked up our underwear, wiped the seat etc..

QUESTIONS: I Peter 3:7  Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. 

  1. When was the last time you stopped and tried to figure out something that would win her heart? (when you were NOT already in trouble!)
  2. What would happen if you started to try and “win your wife’s heart” again?
  3. How would she respond? 
  4. What would you have to change in order to “pursue her” like you did before you “caught her”? 

SADLY, Our culture guarantees that someone else is pursuing your wife. In other words, there is another man she knows who would love to be in your shoes and he is probably working on it right now. It is the world we live in.  (Song of Solomon)

Don’t stop PURSUING HER just because you married her!  

 
 

The BIBLE and the Death of Osama bin Laden… guest post by Dr. Bruce Frank

I have watched the “Facebook/Twitter” debate about the “appropriate” response a Christian should have at the news of Osama bin Laden’s demise. Some of the posts have seemed almost “rednecked” in their enthusiasm that “we finally got the sorry ….. um…. turkey!”. While others have come off as “hyper-stoic”, as though we should be more spiritual than to be elated that the “murderer is dead”.

No one has articulated the conflicting emotions many American Christians have (and I believe should have) more succinctly than Dr Bruce Frank, Sr. Pastor at Biltmore Baptist Church in Asheville, North Carolina. He posted the following on his blog…..  (great blog that you can check out by following the “Bruce Frank” link in the right-hand column of this page)     

“Obviously the news has been full of the details concerning the death of the terror mastermind, Osama bin Laden. When President Obama said:”Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children” – it set off a huge reaction here in the states and around the globe.

While most here in the States joyfully celebrated and rightfully gave thanks to our military personnel, some others, as expected ,said such reaction was ‘barbaric, etc…’ The question came up to me numerous times yesterday, “How should we react?” In other words, ‘how should we feel when we see a guilty person (admittedly and beyond reasonable doubt) brought to justice at the hand of civil government?’

While not exhaustive by any means, here are a couple of Biblical principles for a Christ-follower to consider:

1. Romans 13:1-5 clearly says that the government is a “minister of God for good”. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.” The killing of bin Laden was fully justified by the demands of just war theory, the historic Christian means of moral reasoning that measures the justification for acts of lethal force. Bin Laden was the one human being most responsible for a series of terrorist attacks that left thousands of civilians dead. He claimed responsibility and pledged future attacks.

2. Proverbs 24:17-18 says, “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; or the Lord will see it and be displeased, and turn His anger away from him.” The word for rejoice means “be arrogant, mocking”. However, Proverbs 21:15 tells us “the exercise of justice is joy for the righteous, but is terror to the workers of iniquity.”

So, on one hand we are told not to rejoice and on the other hand to also rejoice. So what we have is somewhat of a mixed emotion. I have a deep sense of joy, patriotism, and thanksgiving that our military had the means and will to remove this threat. There is a sense of satisfaction that a person who has harmed so many has been brought to justice. There is also a sense of sadness that a human being, made in the image of God, would be so given over to evil that he would callously murder many innocent people.”

There is a sadness when any person dies without Christ and suffers eternal punishment.

I guess the phrase I heard Al Mohler use sums up my feelings:

SOBER SATISFACTION.

 
 

MINISTRY WEEK: “3 QUESTIONS WE GOTTA ANSWER RIGHT” Devo 5-4-11

THERE ARE DOZENS OF DIFFERENT WAYS TO “DO” CHURCH! I know what I believe but could argue for and against a lot of things. Elder leadership, deacons, “simple church” model, “attractional” models, “missional” models, Purpose Driven models, mission strategies, big buildings, no buildings, alter calls, LIFE Groups, home groups, worship styles, creativity….etc, etc…and blah, blah, blah! Don’t get me started on the different theological points that we could debate…..

But here is the deal…I also know where my church stands on all of those issues…I stand with my church! Not in violation of my conscience and certainly not in violation of Scripture…. but in support of the leadership, plan and direction my pastor (leadership of the church) has determined we should go. It is freeing to have convictions that differ from my church (insignificant issues) and a conviction to uphold and support the local body that I serve. THE TRUTH IS: You will never serve a church that you are in 100% agreement with every little thing that is done…ever! So enjoy where God has planted you for this season.

ANSWERING THE “BIGGER” QUESTIONS RIGHT:

1. CAN I STILL REACH PEOPLE WITH THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST AND REMAIN AT MY CHURCH? If you can answer this question “YES” then the rest fades away nicely. Just focus on that and you may be suprised at how your frustration will vanish.

2. DOES WHAT WE DO AS A CHURCH VIOLATE SCRIPTURE? (not my opinion, convictions or preferences BUT SCRIPTURE). If the answer is “NO” then you might be struggling with simply “wanting what you want”. I know of folks who leave a church based on the “fact” that the church violates Scripture BUT really the church is just violates their PREFERENCES.

3. CAN I SUPPORT MY PASTOR? (Leadership) If “NO” then you may have a legitimate reason to leave OR you may have a real problem with authority. The reasons that 1 Peter 2: 13-17 was written is because we all wrestle with being told what to do… referees, teachers, cops, bosses…all represent authority that most folks “rub against”. The testimony of someone who can come under authority is honoring to God… 13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. 17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.