Thursday, September 30, 2010

Church Quitters!

Hebrews 10 (The Message)

 32-39It won't be long now, he's on the way; he'll show up most any minute. But anyone who is right with me thrives on loyal trust; if he cuts and runs, I won't be very happy. But we're not quitters who lose out. Oh, no! We'll stay with it and survive, trusting all the way.

About 2.2 million kids play little league baseball. Their are only 130,000 High School Senior Baseball players. That means for some reason over 2 million kids give up on playing baseball by the time they get to High School. You wonder how many of those players, if they stuck with it, would have been All-State baseball players. The story is true for sports across the country. Even from the freshman year of High School to graduation, we see a lot of athletes who quit sports. You can't label all of these kids as "quitters".  However, I have seen MANY student-athletes give up on a sport for poor reasons. Some say it's too hard. Some quit because they don't want to commit the time needed to get better. When a talented athlete quits a sport, I always have a talk with them. My conversation is always the same. In my final plea, I always tell them they will regret not following through. In my experience, these students ALWAYS live to regret quitting. I also see that once you quit for the first time, it's easy to quit the next time. It's like running a marathon. Once you convince yourself it's ok to walk, you're done. You'll be walking off and on for the rest of the race. You also have a greater chance that you will drop out altogether. When you get done with the race you feel cheated. You feel let down.

Attending Church is just like this. I find that I really NEED to attend Church. When I miss church, I have a hard time staying focused on living as I should throughout the week. Church is more than worship. Church is a time of renewal. Church is a time to top-off the tank. Church is a time to praise God for all the blessings. It is also a place to become aware of those blessings. Church is a time to look inward and to be critical of what type of Christian we are. Church is a place to learn about our own weaknesses and to find help in getting better. Church is a place to find sinners just like us who are trying to find others that are going through the same troubled times they are.

It is easy to get out of the habit of going to church. Once you take off that one week, it becomes easier to not go back. It becomes easier to skip the next time. Once you get out of the habit. You might never go back. I have heard so many people say they don't need church. They say they can worship God from home and he will love them the same. Yes, I can't find anywhere in the Bible where God makes attending Church a commandment. God will love you no matter what you do. Is that a good enough excuse to not attend? Or, I have heard people say the church is full of hypocrites and "fake" people. All churches are made up of sinful people. We are all sinners. Some of us try to hide that. Ye who have not sinned can cast the first stone. Church is specifically designed for the sinners of this world who want to live more like Christ. Some people are further along than others.  Maybe the people who attend your local church need you more than you need them. If your relationship with Christ is great without attending Church. Great! I wish I were you! If you have that type of relationship with Christ, YOU need to be sharing that with others. If you're like me, you need all the help you can get in living Christian life. If you're like me you need someone holding you accountable for your thoughts, actions, or words.

Don't quit on attending church. If you have already given up on Church and you don't attend anymore, try it again. Make it a habit. Search for a church that suits your style of worship. Pray for God's guidance. Pray for motivation. Don't be a quitter. If you do, you might lose out on some fantastic blessings! Make a commitment THIS SUNDAY!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tent Camping with God!

Hebrews 9 (The Message)

 6-10After this was set up, the priests went about their duties in the large tent. Only the high priest entered the smaller, inside tent, and then only once a year, offering a blood sacrifice for his own sins and the people's accumulated sins. This was the Holy Spirit's way of showing with a visible parable that as long as the large tent stands, people can't just walk in on God. Under this system, the gifts and sacrifices can't really get to the heart of the matter, can't assuage the conscience of the people, but are limited to matters of ritual and behavior. It's essentially a temporary arrangement until a complete overhaul could be made.11-15But when the Messiah arrived, high priest of the superior things of this new covenant, he bypassed the old tent and its trappings in this created world and went straight into heaven's "tent"—the true Holy Place—once and for all. 

I love tent camping. Steph tolerates it. We spent much of this summer vacation in a tent. For some reason I sleep so much better in the outdoors of a tent. Even though the elements can create problems, I just never get the same sound sleep at home. It might be the tent. It might be that I'm on vacation and don't have a care in the world. Whatever it is, I love it. It sounds kind of crazy, but I feel a closeness with God when I'm tent camping. But, I can't say that I can vision worshiping in a tent. But, in the old testament, the special tent of God was everything. This tent was THE place of God. it was where he lived. Not just anyone could enter the holy place. If they did, they would die. The only difference between this special tent and the tents used to live in, was it's purpose. It was set apart by God as the place where he chose to dwell among his people. 

Just before Jesus' arrival, the tent had long been replaced by the temple. But, really there wasn't much difference between the temple and the tent. Both were places set apart by God. It wasn't the fabric of the tent or the walls of the temple that made it special. It was who occupied the tent and who occupied the temple walls. It's not that I love camping in a tent.  I love Vacation! I love being able to relax and I know that God provides that gift!
The Holy Tent and the Holy Temple of the old covenant really got in the way of worshipping God. The Israelites got so bogged down with sacrifices, gifts, rituals, and behaviors, they forgot who they were worshipping. They were more concerned about the tent than the resident of the tent. When Jesus arrived he cut out all that fluff and got to the heart of the matter. He really took away the importance of the temple and concentrated on the importance of our heart. He loved us and wanted us to be with him. He didn't need a special tent, he didn't need a special building. All he needed was our hearts. Instead of dwelling in those "Man made" places he decided to dwell within us. Even now, he comes down to meet us where we live. He meets us face to face. He sets up his new tent in our hearts. Their is not middle man, their is not a priest to intervene. Jesus has given us access to God the Father. He is our Priest. Isn't that amazing. What a wonderful plan. What a wonderful God we serve!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

God 101

Hebrews 8 (The Message)

6-13This new plan I'm making with Israel isn't going to be written on paper, isn't going to be chiseled in stone; This time I'm writing out the plan in them, carving it on the lining of their hearts. I'll be their God, they'll be my people. They won't go to school to learn about me, or buy a book called God in Five Easy Lessons. They'll all get to know me firsthand, the little and the big, the small and the great. They'll get to know me by being kindly forgiven, with the slate of their sins forever wiped clean.

When I graduated from High School, I attended High Point College in High Point, NC. I had to take a religion class. I hated it. I never knew for sure, but I always thought my Professor was an Atheist.  If he wasn't he sure gave that impression. I didn't learn anything from this guy. All I learned was how narrow minded some people are. I grew up in the church. I learned about God from the first breath of my life. I'm still learning. I have attended Sunday School classes, Church Camp, Youth Groups, Confirmation, Adult Sunday School classes, countless Church services, and  bible studies. I have read many books, seen films, listened to sermons, and lived with a preacher as a Dad and a preacher Grandfather.  All of these were great learning experiences. But, the best learning experience I've ever had is just spending time with God. I'm not saying all of the things I listed weren't important, but getting to know God "firsthand" was truly the best. Think about trying to get to know your spouse by a book or attending a college class. Or what about your best friend? You get to know them best by spending time with them.

That's probably one of the biggest barriers that people face in growing as a Christian. Our relationship with God will take time. In our society, we "don't have enough time". But, you can't short cut the process. One of the greatest lessons you learn when spending time with God is FORGIVENESS. When you realize what you deserve and the amazing forgiveness you receive, you really take a big step in really learning about God! Spend time with God. Get to know him! Don't just rely on books or classes. Don't just listen to what others have to say about the creator of the universe. Get to know him firsthand. You will be amazed at what you learn.

Dear Lord, You are the great teacher. Your knowledge of us is endless. You know us better than we know ourselves. Teach us your ways. Guide us along the path of wisdom. Thank You for giving us access to you. Thank you for being a loving and personal God. I want to know you more. Teach Me! Amen!

Monday, September 27, 2010

New just for You!

Hebrews 7 (The Message)

 20-22The old priesthood of Aaron perpetuated itself automatically, father to son, without explicit confirmation by God. But then God intervened and called this new, permanent priesthood into being with an added promise:
      God gave his word;
      he won't take it back:
   "You're the permanent priest."
This makes Jesus the guarantee of a far better way between us and God—one that really works! A new covenant.

From the beginning of time, God wants us to be with him. He set us up in a perfect place. We provided everything for us. We messed it up! He provided guidelines and laws for us. We messed it up! He provided us with rulers and judges. We messed it up! He sent his son to die for our sins. A far better way between us and God - one that really works! A new covenant!
Isn't it amazing that God is so patient with us. He continues to give us every opportunity to come back to him. He has tried to make it as fool proof as he can. We continue to mess up. We continue to ignore him. He still never gives up.

He loves us so much that he will not give up. He intervened with a new permanent priesthood with his son as the only Priest we need. He won't look back he continues to look for our love. He's always there. He never leaves our side. We can hate, ignor, redicule, despise, reject, and laugh-off the Love of God. Yet, he will not leave us. He will not walk away on the slight chance that we might turn to him. He sacrificed everything for us,, up to and including his very own son. That's Love! Why don't you just decide to accept it. Tell him you Love him, you're sorry for ignoring him and acting on your own. Ask him to forgive you for being an "independent sinner". Accept his sacrifice for you and enter into his love forever.

Dear Lord, Thank you for pursuing us and not giving up. Thank you for your perfect plan and the perfect sacrifice. Forgive me for ignoring you. Thank You for loving me! Amen!

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Hebrews 6 (The Message)

 1-3So come on, let's leave the preschool fingerpainting exercises on Christ and get on with the grand work of art. Grow up in Christ. The basic foundational truths are in place: turning your back on "salvation by self-help" and turning in trust toward God; baptismal instructions; laying on of hands; resurrection of the dead; eternal judgment. God helping us, we'll stay true to all that. But there's so much more. Let's get on with it!

When are you going to grow up? Eventually you have to graduate and get out into the real world. Some people I know will never grow up. The best way to grow up is in Christ. Sometimes as a Christian we never get past the "New Christian" stage of our lives. We need to mature in our faith. Faith is like a work of art. My art is basic. No matter how hard I try, I CAN'T graduate from art school. My "Masterpiece" will always be stick figures or fingerpainting. I will never produce a Grand Work of Art. As a Christian I am also doomed to be stuck as a novice. I can't change or ad anything to the kingdom. I just don't have the skill. The difference is I know the Great Artist. He can teach me every stroke I need. He can take my unskilled hand and create a magnificent masterpiece. I can't do anything for the kingdom on my own. But, I can absolutely do all things through Christ. I can mature and I can ad to the kingdom. When I search for God and when I pursue his wisdom for my life, he guides me along that path. When I trust him he will make my life an amazing piece of Grand Art. Sure I might start out using crayons. But when i rely on Christ I will grow. I can't guarantee how fast, but I will grow. I will mature at the pace he wants. His judgement is perfect. All I have to do is grab the paintbrush and extend my hand. God will grab my hand and he will do the rest of the work. Just extend your hand! Trust him to do a great work in you! Then stand back and be amazed!

Lord you are amazing. I can see the works of your hand all around me. I can see it in nature and in my life. Please Lord take my hand and help me produce a masterpiece for you. Take me from immaturity to maturity in you. I can't do it on my own. But, I can do all things through you. Amen!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Baby Food!

Hebrews 5 (The Message)

 11-14I have a lot more to say about this, but it is hard to get it across to you since you've picked up this bad habit of not listening. By this time you ought to be teachers yourselves, yet here I find you need someone to sit down with you and go over the basics on God again, starting from square one—baby's milk, when you should have been on solid food long ago! Milk is for beginners, inexperienced in God's ways; solid food is for the mature, who have some practice in telling right from wrong.

Baby food can be gross. It's been awhile since I have tasted Baby Food. My favorite was Apples and Bananas.  How do I know? When your a Dad or Grandpa feeding a baby, the best way to convince the baby to eat is by example! (You know I'm right!) SO, you take a bite, then feed the baby. You take a bite, then feed the baby. Of course, you never used this theory when you were feeding the baby peas and carrots! I think feeding a baby strained carrots or any other smashed and obliterated vegetable ought to be outlawed. Babies can't talk, but they can communicate. Not too many babies express extreme interest in veggies. No wonder we all grow up hating vegetables.  Although, sometimes gross, feeding baby food to a child with no teeth is practical. They certainly can't eat a real carrot or chew up a piece of meat. 

When we are new at being a christian, we need to be cautious what we "eat". We need to spend all of our time in the basics. We need to be totally committed to learning who God is. We need to read the bible, memorize scripture, and pray without ceasing. When we have the basics embedded in our heart, God will lead us to bigger and better things. We have to start with baby food before we can eat T-bone steak.  We never really get to know the basics enough that we can stop learning them. We always have to stay connected with them. So while we eventually are able to study deeper and get involved with more and more evangelism, we still need to stay grounded in the basics. Before we travel to preach in some 3rd world country, we need to have matured in our faith. We are just like babies, we can't handle it all right away.

Sometimes I am impatient about what God is doing with me. I need to realize that God knows what he's doing. He has a plan. Part of that plan is to prepare me. Part of that plan is to get me to mature as a christian before he stretches me. He knows the right time and the right place. He's the parent and knows exactly what to feed me. Sometimes I need Baby food. Eventually I will get the real deal!

Thank You Lord for being patient with me. Thank You for taking me from strained carrots to a full course meal. You are wisdom. Yo are love. You know what is perfect for me and have a divine plan for my life. Thanks for that plan. In your great and holy name I pray. Amen!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

No Rest for the Weary!

Hebrews 4 (The Message)

 1-3For as long, then, as that promise of resting in him pulls us on to God's goal for us, we need to be careful that we're not disqualified. We received the same promises as those people in the wilderness, but the promises didn't do them a bit of good because they didn't receive the promises with faith. If we believe, though, we'll experience that state of resting. But not if we don't have faith. Remember that God said,

   Exasperated, I vowed,
      "They'll never get where they're going,
      never be able to sit down and rest."

Question of the Day! -- How many of you are tired? It seems like I never get enough rest and really, I don't know anyone who says they do. We take vacations. We have weekends off of work. We get 2 hour delays for Fog! We enjoy all sorts of leisure activities. Yet, we very rarely rest. I have, just about, given up on rest. We are on such a merry-go-round of life. Maybe it's more like a roller coaster! It's like a roller coaster that never, ever stops. Even if I want to get off, I can't. I have a choice. Either to stay on the crazy, wild, fast, roller coaster or jump off.  Neither option is that great. But, in Christ we have good news. We may not know how to get off this roller coaster and get rest, but we do know that their is an end. The end is promised with faith. We can look forward to that perfect "sit-down and rest" with God. God's goal for us is to enjoy that perfect rest for all eternity. We have to accept that gift. If we don't choose to follow Christ, we will be exasperated. We will never know where we're going. We will never be able to sit down and rest.  Just think about it. Think about never getting to sit down and rest. Think about spending all of eternity never being able to rest. If that doesn't get you to make the right choice nothing ever will. We may not be able to get rest while we are here on this earth. But, my lord and my savior is preparing a place for me. That place will be a place of perfect rest! Wow, I can't wait! Until then, I better go to bed and get the rest I can!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I'm not Deaf! Really!

Hebrews 3 (The Message)

 12-14 .....These words keep ringing in our ears: Today, please listen; don't turn a deaf ear as in the bitter uprising. 15-19For who were the people who turned a deaf ear? Weren't they the very ones Moses led out of Egypt? And who was God provoked with for forty years? Wasn't it those who turned a deaf ear and ended up corpses in the wilderness? And when he swore that they'd never get where they were going, wasn't he talking to the ones who turned a deaf ear? They never got there because they never listened, never believed.

I haven't had a hearing test for over a year. But, I remember the last one proved I was not deaf. I am often accused of being deaf.  My wife and daughters are sure I am. I do like to have the TV turned up loud so I can enjoy the vibration of my surround sound speakers. I have also been accused of having "selective listening skills". This is harder to disprove. I can admit that I don't always pay attention to what's going on around me. I also have to admit that when Stephanie and the girls get talking I don't ALWAYS pay attention to what's being said. I would like to say I'm just being polite by not eaves dropping in a conversation I'm not included. However, It also seems that these "selective listening" episodes always coincide with me watching a ball game or some other program I AM interested in. That might affect my ability to listen!  When you raised 3 girls and sit in the same room with these grown-up women, my head spins. Therefore my ears seem to shut down for safety reasons!

How many times do we turn a deaf ear to God? Many times we have "selective listening" when it comes to God. We love to hear from God when he is blessing us. We love to hear about God's love for us.  We want to hear about God's plan........unless it doesn't match our own plans.  We love to pray for guidance.........unless we don't get the answer we want. We want to pray for God's will, but he shouldn't ask us to step out in faith or be uncomfortable. Should he? It is truly amazing how stubborn we are and how I think I know more than God. My attitude and my sinfulness get in the way of my ears and heart listening to the voice of God.

We really aren't much different than the Israelites. God delivered them fom Pharoah, he opened the Red Sea, he fed them mana, he provided water out of a rock. He delivered them over and over again. Yet, they still chose to worship and build idols. They did not listen to God. Their weakness and their lack of faith is a mirror of our own weakness and lack of faith. We say we trust God. Do we? Do we only trust him when it is convenient for us? We don't listen. We turn a deaf ear to the creator of the universe. Yet, he still loves us. Don't just talk to God....................Listen for his powerful voice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dear Lord, forgive us for our unbelief. Forgive us for turning a deaf ear to you and your perfect wisdom. Open our hearts to your plan for our lives. Help us to embrace that plan and to live our lives for you. Help us to truly listen to you. Amen.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Afraid to die?

Hebrews 2 (The Message)

 14-15Since the children are made of flesh and blood, it's logical that the Savior took on flesh and blood in order to rescue them by his death. By embracing death, taking it into himself, he destroyed the Devil's hold on death and freed all who cower through life, scared to death of death.16-18It's obvious, of course, that he didn't go to all this trouble for angels. It was for people like us, children of Abraham.

I ride a 1999 Harley Davidson Road King motorcycle. It was a police bike and I had it repainted and have tinkered with it as a great hobby. I love motorcycles. I love riding them. I love working on them. I love touring on motorcycle. I love just about anything to do with motorcycles. I think I'm obsessed. My mom doesn't like me riding a motorcycle. My brother Tom was in a motorcycle accident many, many years ago. During the riding season, you hear so much about motorcycle accidents. Many times these accidents end in the death of the rider. Most motorcycle accidents are the fault of the rider. Most of the time the accidents are due to excessive speed for the conditions. That could be misjudging the speed of a turn, or riding out of control.  The next cause for motorcycle accidents is not being seen by "cagers". When I ride, I really pay attention. I am always trying to predict what other drivers are going to do and try to find a way to escape if things go wrong. But, there are so many things that are out of my control.

My mom doesn't like to hear me say it, but God will choose the time and the place of my death. It may very well be in a motorcycle accident. I try to protect myself. I wear a helmet. I have proper boots and wear proper clothing. But, I can't prevent all possibilities.

People say motorcycle riders are crazy. They say we have a death wish. Well, I don't consider myself crazy.  I certainly am not looking to die. But, I am ready. I'm not willing to "Cower through Life".  I'm not scared to death of death. I live life as I think God would have me live. I'm not perfect. I make mistakes. But, I know one thing for sure. When I die, I will be in paradise. Christ paved the way for me and he paved the way for you to not fear death. We are to live life and live it abundantly. God has blessed me so much and I think he has blessed me with a love of motorcycles. Jesus Christ conquered death and promised those who follow him, life eternal. He promised that we would  conquer death. What's scary about that?

Dear Lord, Thank you for the gift of your son. Thank you that he died for us that he might pave the way for us to conquer death and to live life eternally with him. Lord we know that you love us. We know that you are in control of our life. As followers of you, we also know that you are in control of our life on earth. We trust you and know that you will choose the time of our death here on earth. We look forward to eternity with you. We do not fear death! Amen!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Angels watching over me!

Hebrews 1 (The Message)

 14Isn't it obvious that all angels are sent to help out with those lined up to receive salvation?

Ok I know we're a long way from Christmas but I love the Christmas show "It's a Wonderful Life" I can't believe that this show would need to be explained. I can't imagine that anyone has not seen it. Clarence is an angel and comes to rescue George Bailey.  Clarence helps George by showing him what it would be like if he was never born. In the End George is saved and Clarence earns his wings.

Do you believe in Angels?  You should.  It's very biblical.  Although the bible never mentions anything about Angel wings, it does mention alot about Angels. This whole chapter in Hebrews talks about angels and this one verse gives us an idea why angels exist.  Angels are sent to help us. I love hearing stories about encounters people have with angels. I would guess that many of us have encountered angels but don't even know it.  It's rare to really know for certain you have encountered an angel.

Here is an angel story from Chuck Swindoll, July 31,2010, "Thankful for Angels" --Several years ago some high school fellas from the church I pastored in Southern California went on a mountain-climbing excursion, along with their youth leader. While taking in the breathtaking sights, however, the leader realized he had lost the trail. A heavy snowfall had completely covered the path, and he didn't have a clue where they were or how they could get back to the main camp. Sundown was not far away, and they were not equipped to spend the night on the craggy, windblown slopes where the temperature would soon drop even lower.
While trudging through the snow, entertaining thoughts just this side of panic, they suddenly heard someone on the slopes above them yell down: "Hey—the trail is up here!" They glanced up and to their relief saw another climber in the distance. Without hesitation, they began to make their way up to the large boulder where the man was sitting. The climb was exhausting, but their relief in finding the way gave their adrenaline a rush.
Finally, they arrived . . . but to their surprise the man who had yelled at them was nowhere to be found. Furthermore, there were no traces in the snow that anyone had been sitting on the boulder, nor were there footprints around the rock. The trail, however, stretched out before them, leading them to safety. The boys not only learned a valuable lesson about the wilderness but also firmed up their belief in encountering "angels without knowing it."
Angels are just another example of the Love God has for us. Isn't it amazing that God created these beings to watch over us and to help us in our need. I really can't think of a time I encountered an angel. But, I do know that God has watched over me for all of my 50 years. I have faith to believe that he cares and loves me enough to send an angel if I need one. That is such a comforting feeling. 

Dear Lord, Thank you for your Love. I am constantly amazed at your deep love for me. You are amazing. Please Lord, continue to watch over me. Protect me from evil.  Protect me from myself! Thank You for sending your angels to watch over me. Amen!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Do a favor for Christ!

Philemon 1 (The Message)

 17-20......Do me this big favor, friend. You'll be doing it for Christ, but it will also do my heart good.21-22I know you well enough to know you will. You'll probably go far beyond what I've written. 

The past two weekends (Saturdays) I have had to ask a couple of co-workers to do me a favor. Last weekend we had the Christian Motorcycle Association State Rally and I had a Soccer game that needed to be covered. This past weekend I was asked to help out at a Ride for Recovery event and had another soccer game.  Because they were willing to take time out of their schedule, I was able to work for a couple of great organizations in Christian Service. They may not know it, but they were doing a favor for Christ.
I have such a great group of people to work with. I can't remember a time when asked, a fellow coach or co-worker didn't help out where they could.  More often than not, they go way beyond what was asked. It really does my heart good to know that people in this world still care.  When someone does a favor for you, how do you react? Doesn't it make you feel like you need to do something nice for them? That's exactly how it makes me feel. Wouldn't this be a wonderful place to live if we all started doing favors for each other. Serving each other, "Loving your neighbor", is one of the great commandments. Loving your neighbor starts with selfless sacrifice.  It starts with doing a simple favor. It might be just watering the flowers while they are on vacation. It may be taking meals when they are sick or in the hospital. It may be working for them so they can serve at church. If we all put our neighbors and friends first in our lives, If we are willing to give a helping hand, this world would be a much better place. It would do our heart good and Christ would love it! Do someone a favor this week! Commit some act of selfless sacrifice for a co-worker! Love your Neighbor! You'll be doing it for them, but you'll also be doing it for Christ!

Thanks Bob and Bob for helping me these past two weekends. I appreciate it and so does Christ!

Dear Lord, Thank you for great friends and co-workers. Thank you for people who still care enough they are willing to sacrifice to help. Open our hearts and our minds to serving others.  Help us to not just say we love our neighbor, but to act on that Love! Amen!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

We need a good bath!

Titus 3 (The Message)

 1-2Remind the people to respect the government and be law-abiding, always ready to lend a helping hand. No insults, no fights. God's people should be bighearted and courteous.

Oh boy! This is not fair. In the good ole' US of A we have lost complete touch with this.  Our society is all about division, insults and fights.  I am not sure we could run a political campaign without trashing the opposition.  We don't have any concept of compromise or give and take. I am not sure we even know what being bighearted and courteous is. Do we respect our government?  How many of US do everything we can to beat the system.  We believe in getting a helping hand and not giving a helping hand. Our politicians and leaders care more about image than truth, honesty, openness, respect, service, and courtesy. 

I think I'm preaching!

The key is trying to find out how we change the system. How can little ol' me have such an impact that people will begin to change? Well, I don't have a great answer. As far as I am concerned, it seems hopeless. But if we read the next few verses in Titus, we get an idea how it's going to change:

3-8It wasn't so long ago that we ourselves were stupid and stubborn, dupes of sin, ordered every which way by our glands, going around with a chip on our shoulder, hated and hating back. But when God, our kind and loving Savior God, stepped in, he saved us from all that. It was all his doing; we had nothing to do with it. He gave us a good bath, and we came out of it new people, washed inside and out by the Holy Spirit. Our Savior Jesus poured out new life so generously. God's gift has restored our relationship with him and given us back our lives. And there's more life to come—an eternity of life! You can count on this.

We need a good bath! We need to get as many people we know to change from being stupid and stubborn, dupes of sin, hated and hating back.  The only true answer, the only way to change this society from it's present path is Jesus Christ. We need to be washed in the spirit. We need to be restored and changed from within! We need the new life that only he can provide. We need to restore relationships and we need to get our lives back from our sinfullness. Only God can do that.  We can't. We don't have the strength or the power or the will to change.  We need the help only he can provide!

Lord, we know that our country needs you.  We need revival, restoration, and cleansing, that only you can provide. We don't want to be hated or to hate. We can't change on our own. Bless us with your spirit and with your power. Give us the strength to change and to bear witness to your saving grace. Lord save us! Amen!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Discipline your kids!

Titus 2 (The Message)

 1-6.... guide the young men to live disciplined lives.

One of the most important lessons we teach at school is discipline. I did not say the most important thing we do is discipline our students. There is a difference. We teach discipline in nearly every activity. We try to teach our athletes to be disciplined in nearly every sport. In football an athlete needs to be disciplined enough to concentrate on his own responsibilities and trust the others to do theirs. A basketball player needs to be disciplined to pass the ball around to find the best shot instead of "chucking" up the first shot they get. A Cross Country runner needs to be disciplined enough to pace themselves in order to get the best performance. In academics, students must be disciplined enough to work on projects and assignments as they are issued and not procrastinate. Students need to be disciplined enough to follow the rules in the best interest of orderliness.  Just like adults, some of our students are more disciplined than others. Depending how students are "raised" tells how they react to rules and regulations at school. Being disciplined is not natural. Discipline is something learned. That is why we are given instructions to teach the young men to live disciplined lives. As we mature and grow in experience, discipline becomes easier and easier. The best teaching experience is by example. A coach that tries to teach self control to his/her athletes, must be disciplined themselves. Teachers who spend time preparing an effective lesson are a great example for the students they teach.

Parents and adults who spend time studying scripture, attending worship, sharing their faith, and giving of themselves in service, will raise children who will shadow those disciplines. When the Bible says train up your children in the way they should go, it means teach them to be disciplined in all they do.  The school isn't the only place to teach discipline. We teach discipline to our children by holding them to our family rules and when they break those rules, facing the consequences. We teach them manners and how to treat people by how we act and treat others.  It is quite the reward when your kids finally grow up and you see the fruits of your efforts. It is even more powerful when you see your grandkids grow up and share that same level of discipline.  When you realize you have affected a generation in that way, you will be filled with great joy.  The training and discipline is not easy but are well worth the effort. Don't give up.  BE disciplined about teaching discipline to your kids.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Titus 1 (The Message)

 10-16   .....They say they know God, but their actions speak louder than their words. They're real creeps, disobedient good-for-nothings.

When my athletic department was working the Labor Day Auction in Auburn, I get to spend some time with our athletes.  They always teach me something new anytime I'm with them.  This year was no different. Thousands of people come to the auction and we get to see all of them.  Just like our society, they are a great mix of people.  Most of the people are gracious and thank us for what we do.  However, sometimes we run across some pretty strange people.  Our girl athletes told me these people were "Creepers". I think we used to actually call them Creeps! Now I guess they are known as "Creepers". Like I said I learn something new when I spend time with teenagers.  
In my definition, Creepers would be people who act like disobedient good-for-nothings. 

There is nothing I dislike more than people who profess to be followers of Christ but their actions speak louder than their words. It makes Christians look so bad when these people take the spotlight. It seems like these people always find ways to make the news and capture the headlines. I am not trying to imply that Christians need to be perfect. They can't be perfect. But, when we say we love people and then treat them just the opposite, we are "creepers".  Someone who would use his position as a pastor to create more of divide between Christians and Muslims, I would classify as a creeper. (Sorry for that editorial comment!) We (Christians) are being looked at closely every single day. If we even have the appearance of being hypocritical, we could keep someone from taking the step to turn their life to Christ. We can't be perfect, but we need to be aware of our actions and how they affect others. If we have any control over how we are perceived, we should do our best to make sure those perceptions are in line with Christ's teachings.  Our actions need to match our words. We need to be obedient and willing to do good for those we meet.  When we do good, we set the best example for nonbelievers. Service to others is the best way to witness.  Let our Actions speak loudly!

Dear Lord, Help us to serve others.  Help us to show our love and yours by our actions. Direct us in service. Help our actions to match your purposes. Help us to serve others as we would have others serve us.  May our actions speak louder than our words in only positive ways. Amen!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Spiritual Junk Food

2 Timothy 4 (The Message)

 3-5You're going to find that there will be times when people will have no stomach for solid teaching, but will fill up on spiritual junk food—catchy opinions that tickle their fancy. They'll turn their backs on truth and chase mirages. But you—keep your eye on what you're doing; accept the hard times along with the good; keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God's servant.

I have a confession to make. I am a fast food junky. Really, that is not good for a diabetic.  I am not addicted because of the taste necessarily, but because it's fast. I have no time to wait on quality, healthy meals.  Steph is a great cook and I love it when she cooks for us, but we rarely have time for it. Our schedule, like everyone else in our country, is fast paced and never ending.
I think that's the same reason we can't stomach solid teaching and true study of God's word.  Our society is so in to fast food, regardless how unhealthy it is. The number one reason is it's convenience. It is certainly not convenient to delve into scripture or to spend time in prayer or to spend time in fellowship with other christians. It takes time to develop any relationships, that includes a relationship with God. In our fast paced society we are looking for cute quaint phrases to "strengthen our faith". We are looking for entertainment in our teaching. We want to feel good about our religion. We want spiritual junk food.

God does not want a superficial, junk food type relationship with us. He wants our heart, he wants our mind, he wants our spirit and he wants our body.  He doesn't want to be a fast food God. He wants to be a leisure, healthy, home cooked meal that can be enjoyed around the table with family and friends. He wants quality time with us.  He wants a meaningful search for truth. He wants us to participate in genuine acts of service and love. He wants genuine conversation with us. He wants to be the most important thing in our lives.

Dear Lord, Please forgive us for treating you like a fast food meal. Help us to slow down and learn of your plan for us. Help us to delve into your scriptures, help us to take the time in true christian service. Help us to take time to love others as you love us. Help us to talk with you and to treat you as the creator and savior you are. Thank you lord for  your patience. Thank you for your love. Amen!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Allergic to God?

2 Timothy 3 (The Message)

 1-5Don't be naive. There are difficult times ahead. As the end approaches, people are going to be self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God. 

Such an interesting choice of words. My older brother has severe allergies. I know of some people who literally can't function during certain times of the year because of allergies. By definition an allergy is an exaggerated immune response or reaction to substances that are generally not harmful. When someone has an allergy, the immune system does not function properly and reacts to things that healthy people don't. Something is truly wrong with a person if they are allergic to God. It's not a damaged immune system that causes this allergy, but a damaged Heart. People who are self absorbed have a damaged heart, money hungry people have a damaged heart, self promoting, stuck up, profane people have a damaged heart.  I think you get the point. God is loving and kind.  Not only does he not want to harm us, he wants nothing but the best for us. But because of the damage to the heart, many people are allergic to God. People who are allergic to God avoid him at all costs. Instead of facing the truth of Gods love, they isolate themselves from him. They will suffer unbearable pain. They will die a painful sure death. 
The best cure is to repair the damaged heart. Come to Jesus, he is the great physician, he will cure the heart.  He is the prescription that will work.  When he heals, all the symptoms will disappear. 

Dear Lord, Heal our damaged hearts.  We are miserable without you.  We suffer and suffer without your prescription for health. We pray for so many people who suffer needlessly without you.  Thank you for your love. Amen!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Repeat after me: Simple, Simple, Simple!

2 Timothy 2 (The Message)

 8-13......... This is a sure thing:

   If we die with him, we'll live with him;
   If we stick it out with him, we'll rule with him;
   If we turn our backs on him, he'll turn his back on us;
   If we give up on him, he does not give up—
      for there's no way he can be false to himself.

 14-18Repeat these basic essentials over and over to God's people.

As they say, there are few things that are certain.  Death and Taxes?!  Don't believe it, Death is not a sure thing! I'm going to beat Death! How? I've been promised eternal life as a follower of Christ. I will defeat death with the power of Jesus Christ who already defeated death. You can't simplify life any better than this: "If we die with him, we'll live with him; If we stick it out with him, we'll rule with him; If we turn our backs on him, he'll turn his back on us; If we give up on him, he does not give up— for there's no way he can be false to himself."

God has the perfect plan.  We are a part of that plan. But, we have two choices, wait on the fullness of this plan in God's time or give up on this plan and go it alone!  He gives us that choice. "Choose Wisely!" If we give up on him, he never gives up. He wants nothing more than for everyone to be with him in eternity.  He will pursue us, He will pursue us, He will pursue us. "If we die with him, we'll live with him; If we stick it out with him, we'll rule with him; If we turn our backs on him, he'll turn his back on us; If we give up on him, he does not give up— for there's no way he can be false to himself." 

Why make it more complicated than it needs to be.  The Bible is filled with wonderful wisdom from God.  It is THE roadmap for life. But, it's not complicated,  This message from Paul proves it. The message is clear, simple, and pure: "If we die with him, we'll live with him; If we stick it out with him, we'll rule with him; If we turn our backs on him, he'll turn his back on us; If we give up on him, he does not give up— for there's no way he can be false to himself."

We have to repeat these lines to ourselves. We need to repeat these lines to our friends, We need to repeat these lines to our families.We need to live these lines with our lives!

Dear Lord, Thank you for such a simple message, wisdom for eternal life. Help us to remember this message.  We want to live with you in paradise. Help us to share this message.  Help us to live our lives for you. We Love you Lord and are humbled by your love for us. Amen!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

I'm Shy?

2 Timothy 1 (The Message)

 5-7.... God doesn't want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible. 8-10So don't be embarrassed to speak up for our Master or for me, his prisoner. Take your share of suffering for the Message along with the rest of us. We can only keep on going, after all, by the power of God, who first saved us and then called us to this holy work. 

I am certainly not a shy person.  I have a tendency to speak my mind when maybe I should be a little more reserved. I know some kids at school who don't speak two words at one time.  I really can't relate.  It is kind of funny watching them and it is really interesting to watch them grow up and mature.
But, I'm a little embarrassed to say sometimes I'm very shy about sharing my faith. I try to be bold but my sinful human nature gets in the way.  I have been in the middle of a conversation and have stopped dead in my tracks when it comes to talking about my faith or standing up for that faith. I'm as much embarrassed about the hesitation as I am about speaking up. I can't help but think about how people will view me.  You might be surprised about that. After all,  I right about my faith on a blog for everyone to see.  Somehow it's safer doing this than speaking about it face to face. It shouldn't be.
If I stop to think about it, it could paralyze me. My weakness could keep me from acting at all. I need the strength and the power of my God to be able to move on. It is only through his power that I can take even the tiniest step of faith.  I can't rely on my own power, I would be frozen like a statue. I need to be more bold, loving, and sensible! Help me Lord!

Dear Lord, Please forgive me for being shy about you and about the work you have assigned me.  I am weak! Provide me your strength, your boldness, and your wisdom as I take every step of faith.  You are an awesome, powerful, and patient God.  Thank you for your love for me! Amen!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Don't slack off!

1 Timothy 6 (The Message)

 13-16I'm charging you before the life-giving God and before Christ, who took his stand before Pontius Pilate and didn't give an inch: Keep this command to the letter, and don't slack off. Our Master, Jesus Christ, is on his way. He'll show up right on time, his arrival guaranteed by the Blessed and Undisputed Ruler, High King, High God. He's the only one death can't touch, his light so bright no one can get close. He's never been seen by human eyes—human eyes can't take him in! Honor to him, and eternal rule! Oh, yes.

I have mentioned before and will always emphasize "I Love Prayer."  I love prayer because it offers a perfect chance to sit back and watch the Spirit work. One of the things I love to pray for is salvation for individuals.  I know quite a few people who do not know and have not committed themselves to Christ.  I love to include them in my DAILY prayer list. Very rarely do I see the Spirit move quickly in answering these prayers. I'm always so impatient. The Lord moves at his own pace. It is so joyous when that person we have been praying for takes the final step.  It is amazing to witness.  The spirit is constantly at work. He is relentless in his determination to soften the heart of those people we pray for without ceasing.

When we don't see results, we need to stand firm.  We need to be relentless in our own prayer.  We can't slack off.  We need to know that we are not alone in our pursuit of this person. We have reinforcements and the Army of God behind us.  The Lord will arrive, just on time.  Just when we need him, he will appear.  He will appear in a light so bright no one can get close to him.  The ruler of life eternal is there in all his strength and power. Never give up on praying for these people.  Never give an inch! Be relentless, be confident, be focused like their life depends on it. It does!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Be patient with me, I'm Old!

1 Timothy 5 (The Message)

 1-2Don't be harsh or impatient with an older man. Talk to him as you would your own father, and to the younger men as your brothers. Reverently honor an older woman as you would your mother, and the younger women as sisters.

These verses are for my daughters! Now that I'm 50, I think I can classify myself as an older man. I want to key on one phrase. "Don't be harsh or impatient with an older man." Please take it easy on me, I'm old! You know I love you and I can't ever think of a time you've been impatient with me and certainly you have never been harsh with me. 

They say the older you get the more likely the role of parent and child gets reversed.  My daughters always tease that they want Stephanie to outlive me, because they don't think they could take care of me or put up with me like she does. I have to admit.  I am treated pretty well by my wife. Frankly, I don't know what I would do with out her. 

There are so many families that have to take care of their older parents. I don't want to be mean, but I hope I don't become a burden to my kids. Like taking care of a handicapped child, taking care of an older invalid parent can be such a drain on a family.  I see families that have to deal with parents who have Alzheimer's, dementia, or any number of diseases or illnesses.  Not only is it a drain physically and mentally, but it can be a drain financially as well. When my Dad had his stroke it definitely took it's toll on my mom, but it also took it's toll on the family. It wasn't easy but we saw past the changes the stroke had with his body and mind. We needed to be more patient and more loving.

God built us the way we are.  He designed us to AGE and sometimes not so gracefully. Even though taking care of an older adult can be burdensome, it can also be great example of christian service.  Helping out in a nursing home or taking care of your older parents in  a loving and Christ like manor is like Jesus washing the feet of his disciples.  It's not a service with great rewards and can be humbling. God provides these opportunities for us to serve to teach us the real meaning of love.  I know I have a great family that loves God.  I know they will take care of me when i can no longer do it on my own.  Just in case I'm not able to thank you then, I want to thank you now.  I want you to know how much I really love you! Thanks for loving me! Thanks for being patient and loving with me!

Dear Lord, I love growing old because I know I am one day closer to being with home with you. Yet, I know that as I age I can be a burden to my family.  Please Lord give them the strength and the wisdom to make the correct decisions for me.  Help them to develop a servants heart not just for me, but for everyone they meet. Amen!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Liar! Liar!

1 Timothy 4 (The Message)

 1-5The Spirit makes it clear that as time goes on, some are going to give up on the faith and chase after demonic illusions put forth by professional liars. These liars have lied so well and for so long that they've lost their capacity for truth.

I have a strange sense of humor.  I love the recent Geico commercial with Abe Lincoln.  He is so honest that he can't even tell a little white lie to Mary about how she looks in a dress.  I think I'm weird because I can't get enough of this commercial.  I just bust out laughing. (It's apparently not that funny because Stephanie never laughs and she always looks at me strange.)

On the other hand, do you know any professional liars? I have met a few. I am amazed at their capacity to believe their own lies.  I have had students who have lied to me too. I had one situation where I even had video evidence.  This particular student stuck with their lie even though the evidence was overwhelming.

I also know a large number of people who are so gullible.  They would believe anything and often do.  They are so susceptible to the lies of the enemy. Paul says it is inevitable that some will fall away for their faith because of the lies of satan.  The lies seem so convincing.  They seem so real.  There are so many different religions today and so many people who fall for those religions as being the TRUTH.  There is only one truth.  That truth is Jesus, who was God in flesh came to Earth, walked among us, healed many, and loved us.  He loved us so much that he took it upon himself to suffer death on a cross so we could be saved.  He rose 3 days later and has gone to prepare a magnificent place for those who believe.  He will come again and all other religions and beliefs will be exposed as lies.  The followers of those lies will not survive.  Believers will live forever in eternity. Praise God!  Don't lose our capacity for truth.  Examine your heart and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free!

Dear Father in Heaven, protect me from the deceptions of this world.  Reveal to me the real truth. Help me to stay focused on THE TRUTH.  Help me to accept the truth of the Love of your son and the forgiveness of my sins! Amen.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Are you a leader?

1 Timothy 3 (The Message)

 1-7If anyone wants to provide leadership in the church, good! But there are preconditions: A leader must be well-thought-of, committed to his wife, cool and collected, accessible, and hospitable. He must know what he's talking about, not be overfond of wine, not pushy but gentle, not thin-skinned, not money-hungry. He must handle his own affairs well, attentive to his own children and having their respect. For if someone is unable to handle his own affairs, how can he take care of God's church? He must not be a new believer, lest the position go to his head and the Devil trip him up. Outsiders must think well of him, or else the Devil will figure out a way to lure him into his trap.

Churches have such a hard time finding good qualified leaders.  Our society is so busy and volunteering for leadership roles at church is not always a priority.  The same is true for finding qualified pastors for churches or qualified youth leaders, or qualified worship leaders. This is definitely true in small churches where they can't pay a lot of money and only offer part time employment. Largest churches have a similar problem.  They get a large number of candidates, but very few qualified candidates.( So many people want to skip the development of their skills as a leader and jump right to the "Big" church. Developing skills as a church leader doesn't mean developing some list of resume fodder.  What it means is developing the character traits listed in these verses.  We can all look at this list and use it as a guide to how we measure up.  None of us are perfect.  We all have weaknesses.  I think I have more than most. But, in order to develop as a leader I need to reduce those weaknesses.  I need to constantly evaluate my character and pray for the wisdom and discipline to change.
Maybe it should be tough to fit the mold of a real church leader.  Take a look at the list.  Do you fit the mold?  I don't.  Even if you don't meet all the requirements right now, could you?  I know I don't meet all the preconditions.  I want to. I know my weaknesses and I need to improve in those areas. 

Dear Lord, Help me look into my life and make the changes so I can be the leader you want me to be.  Help me to take my weakness and make them my strengths. Mold me into the shape you want me.  Thank you for your patience.  Thank You for your undeserved love. Amen!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


1 Timothy 2 (The Message)

 1-3The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live......... 8-10Since prayer is at the bottom of all this, what I want mostly is for men to pray—not shaking angry fists at enemies but raising holy hands to God.

I love prayer. I can't imagine a day going by without speaking several times a day to my creator.  I remember starting off as a kid praying those standard prayers at dinner and bedtime.  "Now I lay be down to sleep......", "God is grateful God is good.  Let us thank him for our food....." .  As I grew up,  I prayed the prayers of desperation. "Dearly Lord if you will help me get out of this mess I will...........". I have asked for every conceivable material item you could think of. I have prayed for jobs, raises, and every selfish request on this earth. I have prayed for my family continuously.  I have prayed for guidance at work and wisdom (which I am always lacking!) My prayer life has changed and really grown over the years.  I am not a perfect example of a prayer warrior, but I am growing every day.  I have come a long way from my standard selfish prayer to today.  i still have my selfish streak, but I find myself more and more focusing on others.  I don't just include those close to me.  I get prayer requests from my CMA family, from church, from facebook, and many other places.  Most of these people I don't even know.  But as Paul said "Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know." I pray for every politician I know, not just the ones I agree with.  I pray especially for those I don't agree with.  i pray a lot for the pastors of our community and the churches they serve.  i pray that they will be effective reaching the people of Garrett.  I pray for the staff at our school.  My bosses and the coaches I work with. i still pray for wisdom but not as much for material gain, but that I might be used for Christ.

I again don't want anyone to  think I am better than I am.  I am certainly a sinner saved by grace.  No matter what the purpose, I love to spend time in prayer with my savior and my friend.  He speaks to me and I listen for that perfect voice.

Dear Lord, Thank you so much for listening to me.  I love spending time with you.  I can't imagine being able to speak to the God of the universe.  But it is more amazing that you speak to me.  Lead me, guide me, direct my life for your purposes. Amen!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Show Off!

1 Timothy 1 (The Message)

 15-19Here's a word you can take to heart and depend on: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. I'm proof—Public Sinner Number One—of someone who could never have made it apart from sheer mercy. And now he shows me off—evidence of his endless patience—to those who are right on the edge of trusting him forever. 

I love these verses.  With Paul's history, he was pretty tough on himself as "Public Sinner Number One". Maybe we should all be that hard on ourselves.  I don't know anyone who has persecuted christians like Paul. But, we're all sinners and none of us deserve the great mercy we've been given. At first glance, the next sentence really bothered me.  Could I ever think of myself as worthy of being the type of person that God could "show off"? I can't even imagine it.  But if you look at what is being said, it makes more sense.  God can use me and my bent toward sinfulness.  He can show me off to say that I am not anywhere close to being worthy of his love. Yet, he still loves me and blesses me beyond my wildest dreams.  He is infinitely patient with me.  He know my weakness and yet he also knows my heart.  I truly desire to please him.  I am woefully poor at doing it! Even though I can never live up to the blessings, God doesn't care.  He just wants to me.
When I am sharing my faith, it's important for me to be open and honest about who I really am.  I need to be real and let those who are on the edge of trusting Christ know my weakness and my sinfulness. When you look at Paul, or the Disciples, or Moses, or Noah, or Abraham, or David, or many of the greats from the Bible, it's easy to say I can never live up to that. Yet, they were all weak.  God used them to say, "My grace is sufficient. My mercy is exceptional.  If I can grant that grace and mercy to these weak and sinful people, I can provide it for you." What a great way to show off his love for us!

Dear Lord,  Thank You for the grace and mercy you grant me and my family.  I know I truly don't deserve your love.  Thank You Lord.  Thank You for my life. May I use it to bring others closer to you. Amen!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Back to basics!

Ok, I haven't backed up since I began writing this blog.  However, my wonderful Aunt Rachel (Gonzalez) pointed out a key point from my last blog that I want to also comment on. I don't think she would mind me reposting her comments:

I read today's blog and don't think Non-believing believers is a correct term. You either are or are't. There are no honest thiefs, truthful liars, siinning Christians. etc. We aren't to listen to them. They are like reeds blowing in the wind, clanging cymbals. Why give them the power? There is  too much of the love of God around us to have our energy taking up these people. Keep your eyes on Jesus.

She is awesome! Yes, I agree with her comments and wanted to make sure the comments were posted. My thoughts about Non-believing believers was simply people who have deceived themselves and think they are believers.  They truly are not believers.  You can't be "luke warm" (Revelations 3:14-16) in your faith. As I have mentioned before "The Message" does have some limitations and the comparison of these verses points to what I am saying. Here is a comparison of the NIV translation and the Message for these verses:

2 Thessalonians 3 (New International Version) 1Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you. 2And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith. 

 2 Thessalonians 3 (The Message)1-3One more thing, friends: Pray for us. Pray that the Master's Word will simply take off and race through the country to a ground-swell of response, just as it did among you. And pray that we'll be rescued from these scoundrels who are trying to do us in. I'm finding that not all "believers" are believers. 

Most of the translations I looked at agree with the NIV translation.  Eugene Peterson takes some liberties with his "version".  I have always thought of "The Message" as less of a translation and more of an interpretation.  I still love the colorful / natural language, but it does have it's shortfalls and this is an example.
I think you should always keep that in mind when you read this.  I would also recommend you keep other translations at your fingertips, just incase you  question something.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Unbelieving Believers!

22 Thessalonians 3 (The Message)

2 Thessalonians 3

Those Who Are Lazy
 1-3 ...........And pray that we'll be rescued from these scoundrels who are trying to do us in. I'm finding that not all "believers" are believers. But the Master never lets us down. He'll stick by you and protect you from evil.
Do you get the feeling that the first two statements are about the same group of people?  Paul mentions being rescued from Scoundrels and then inserts a statement about not all believers are really believers.  Sometimes the most difficult people and the most unbelieving people are believers.  They are the ones who want to maintain tradition at the expense  of  God's word.  They are the ones who let you down the most.  We already talked about how a minority of church membership do the majority of the work. Well this is the same group of people. The non-believing believers do not model Christ and do not contribute to furthering the kingdom of God.

The good news is.  God really doesn't need them anyway.  For that matter, he doesn't need us either. With that in mind, God never let's us down.  God protects us through all situations and will never leave us hung out to dry. He is our joy and salvation.  We need to realize we have his support! That is an amazing God.  He knows our beliefs are on the fringe and he props us up like we are the perfect saint.

Dear Lord, Open our eyes to the real world.  Help us to see the good in all people even the unbelieving believers.  We need to be less judgmental and more loving regardless what we see in others.  Thank you for your Love and how you overlook our lack of belief. Amen!

Friday, September 3, 2010

"I got nothing"

2  Thessalonians 2 (The Message)

 15-17So, friends, take a firm stand, feet on the ground and head high. Keep a tight grip on what you were taught, whether in personal conversation or by our letter. May Jesus himself and God our Father, who reached out in love and surprised you with gifts of unending help and confidence, put a fresh heart in you, invigorate your work, enliven your speech.

I'm exhausted tonight from a really long day. So, my tired mind and body are getting in the way of posting anything meaningful.  All i can think of is I need a fresh heart and I need my work invigorated,  I need some more help and I'm afraid my speech is not very lively.  I will try again tomorrow!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

An Extraordinary Day!

2 Thessalonians 1 (The Message)

 11-12Because we know that this extraordinary day is just ahead, we pray for you all the time—pray that our God will make you fit for what he's called you to be, pray that he'll fill your good ideas and acts of faith with his own energy so that it all amounts to something. If your life honors the name of Jesus, he will honor you. Grace is behind and through all of this, our God giving himself freely, the Master, Jesus Christ, giving himself freely.

How many days have you had in your life that you could say were "Extraordinary days".  I can think of a few.  
I remember receiving Christ when I was at Junior High Church Camp (Camp Adventure).  It was a great night.  I can remember it clearly.  I remember the smells of camp, the routine, the thoughts I had coming back home.

I remember the day I was married and all of the joy that was on that day. The great celebration by all my friends and the great journey it started me on.  32 years ago seems like yesterday.

I remember the birth of each of my daughters and all of the excitement and anticipation. Mckenzie being the first child on either side of the family.  The whole family was their to witness this birth.  Lindsae with her false labor and not really knowing if this was the time.  Kelley and all of the drama of birth, surgery, and recovery.  What a crazy exciting time in my life.  They were all extraordinary days.

I know their will be at least one more extraordinary day in my life. I might even get lucky to have more than one.  It will be THE Extraordinary Day.  Everything God is doing in my life is preparing me for that special day.  Every single day Jesus is taking my good ideas, my will to do good, and my thoughts and making them amount to something. He is taking me and molding me so that I fit into my extraordinary day. Without him my days are just plain old days. My ideas are just ideas. My thoughts are pointless thoughts. With him all of these things mean something special.  With him my life has true meaning. With God, we can look forward to the most Extraordinary day that ever could be.  The day when we are at the feet of Jesus. The day with endless joy, no more sorrow, no more pain. That will be THE EXTRAORDINARY DAY of all days.  When we all get to heaven, what a day, what a glorious day that will be.

Thank You Lord for the preparing a place for me and a Day that will be the most extraordinary day of my life.  Thank you for making my life on this earth mean something.  Thank you for the molding you do in my life to make me "fit" into your kingdom.  Thank You Lord! Amen!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

10% of the people = 90% of the work!

1 Thessalonians 5 (The Message)

 13-15Get along among yourselves, each of you doing your part. Our counsel is that you warn the freeloaders to get a move on. Gently encourage the stragglers, and reach out for the exhausted, pulling them to their feet. Be patient with each person, attentive to individual needs. 

Schools are no different than churches. 10% of the people do 90% of the work. I guess we can call the rest "freeloaders".  Our school athletic department is in the middle of our largest fundraiser of the year.  We have to staff over 2500 hours of workers for parking cars at our local Labor Day Auto Auction.  I have so many people who would do anything to help out.  I even have some that take vacation to work Thursday and Friday.  They volunteer their time, stand out in the hot sun all day, and get yelled at by a bunch of rich people.  The job doesn't include a lot of rewards.  Yet, they are always the ones to work all 5 days, multiple shifts, and never complain. Some people never work one second of the five days. By the end of the weekend all the "workers" are exhausted.  I am SO thankful for the people who contribute their time. I try to do whatever I can to help them survive the weekend.  If their out in the hot sun, so am I.  I work every shift, not because it's required, but because a lot of people are giving up a lot more than me to work.

Like I said, churches are the same way.  It is always a small minority that will do a majority of the work.  I appreciate these people. We should all appreciate them. Sometimes we can't do much to reward them.  But, at the very least, we can praise them and make sure they are aware of our appreciation. They don't get much reward.  Whatever we can do for them, we should. They too, get exhausted. We need to pull them to their feet! When they get exhausted, they need a break.  We need to make sure we aren't one of the freeloaders and we are doing whatever we can for those "Church Giants" , helping them wherever we can.  We need to love them, appreciate them, and reward them.

Dear Lord, Thank you for sending tireless workers to spread your message.  Give them special strength to complete your plan.  Provide relief when they need it and rewards beyond what this Earth can provide. In you great and holy name, we pray.  Amen!