Thursday, January 31, 2013

If you love me.....

"If you love me, show it by doing what I've told you. I will talk to the Father, and he'll provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. This Friend is the Spirit of Truth. The godless world can't take him in because it doesn't have eyes to see him, doesn't know what to look for. But you know him already because he has been staying with you, and will even be in you! (John 14:15-17 MSG)

How do you show someone you love them? You listen to them,you take their advice, you do nice things for them, and you look for nothing in return.

I love my wife and family. I don't treat them as good as I should, but I do treat them better than those I just know. There should be a difference between how you treat someone you love and someone you don't love. It shouldn't be a burden to love someone. God is the same way. If you love him, it will show. You should listen to him, take his advice, be nice, do things for him, and ask for no payment.

Thank you Lord for your friendship through the Holy Spirit and the grace you share everyday. Amen.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

CMA - it's a calling!

But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God's instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted. (1 Peter 2:9, 10 MSG)

The Christian Motorcyclist Association has been a big part of my life for the past 4 years. I can't think of a ministry that's more inline with Christ's teaching than CMA. I love my church, but it is more of a place for the FOUND, than the LOST. I don't mean this in a bad way. Most people find Jesus, at least hear his calling, then go to church. CMA takes the church to the people. We go into the heart of those who have rejected GOD and build relationships. Our hope is to be there when the lost need us. Along the way, we get to share the love of Christ with GRACE and unconditional love.

This ministry is not for the faint of heart. I have seen some of the most blatant rejection of God and lives that revel in sin. Yet, where would Jesus go. In my heart I know he would be right with us in the trenches, loving on some burly biker with a love only he can give. This is a calling, a high calling for priestly work. We are Gods instruments. We speak out for him and share exactly what a difference he has made in our lives. He has taken us from nothing to something. Rejection to acceptance by the king. CMA has done all that for me through the love of Jesus Christ. I thank God every day for this powerful organization.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Teach with life!

So, my son, throw yourself into this work for Christ. Pass on what you heard from me—the whole congregation saying Amen!— to reliable leaders who are competent to teach others. (2 Timothy 2:2 MSG)

My whole purpose in life is to teach. Not just Mathematics in a classroom, or basketball on the court. I'm also not talking about teaching a bible study. These are all valuable teaching experiences. The most valuable of all lessons I teach? Those that are taught with my life. My words are weak if my actions don't match. My life is a living sacrifice for my Lord. My life is my lesson. May I never forget the value of what I do for the kingdom. May I never forget the eyes that are watching me and the influence I have.

It is so easy for a teacher to get wrapped up in the lesson of the day. Most teachers love and highly value their content. But, the true lessons come from the relationships, love, and the compassion for our students. Math means nothing if I don't connect it to life. My faith means nothing if its not directly connected to how I live.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

No Excuses! The dog did not eat your homework!

I've heard some amazing excuses in my years as a teacher and athletic director. Yes, I have heard the famous, "No really, Mr. Rhoades, my dog ate my homework!" I took care of that excuse for good, I don't assign homework! And tough for a dog to eat a computer. Although not impossible, highly unlikely.

I've also heard many excuses from great Christians. "Sorry God, I can't serve today, I'm too busy." Why can't you stop sinning? What excuses are you making? Like the son, are you saying YES to God on one hand and no on the other? God knows your heart, you might as well be honest. He'll know anyway.

Stop avoiding God. Stop making excuses about your Christian life. Go, for him, serve, love, and cherish his appointed plan for your life.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

We need workers!

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. (Matthew 20:1 NIV)

One of my passions is the Christian Motorcyclist Association. I love this ministry and the people touched by it. I am a member for 4 years now  and was just recently elected President. Our chapter is full of some great people, but we need more. I'm sure nearly every ministry could use more workers. They are in short supply. Please pray we get new members who have a heart for the lost and to want to take the time to build relationships with bikers who don't know Christ.

We need more workers!

 These people won't be gracing your church doorsteps. You have to go find them, but if you don't go,,,,,,, who will go.if you don't go who will tell them of the transforming power of the savior of the world!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My Climbing Days are Over

But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first. (Matthew 19:30 NIV)

For most of my childhood I was fascinated with climbing, mostly trees. That was one of the highlights of a trip to my Grandpa and Grandma Rhoades home. They had some perfect climbing trees. I outgrew that type of climbing. I replaced it with climbing the "Corporate Ladder". That was true when I was in the Cable television industry and in my years as an educator.

I'm not a climber any more.

Since stepping back into the classroom I'm more focused on serving than leading. Somehow during all this transition back to the classroom I realized I enjoy serving much more than leading. It certainly is more satisfying. I am not looking for the spotlight. I'm not looking for the next best Power position. All I want to do is serve my school how ever it wants me. I want nothing more than serving my students or my fellow teachers. I can't even begin to explain how freeing that is.

God wants us to lead from Behind. He wants us to lead by serving. He wants us to "wash the feet" of those we know and meet. He wants us to be last and first at the same time. He wants us to be more like him. He was the ultimate servant, so should we.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Forgiving the Long Way!

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”    Jesus answered,  “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. (Matthew 18:21, 22 NIV)

Can you imagine forgiving someone seventy-seven times? How long would the time frame be to forgive that many times? Lets play with that! How much time could elapse from the original sin is committed against me to the seventy-seventh forgiveness event.

Here are my assumptions: If someone sins against you, you probably won't find out about it for awhile, let's say about two weeks. In that time, you find out who did it and then confront them. It probably will take a shorter amount of time for the second sin event. Let's say it gets down to around a week after the first event. Obviously, if this person is sinning against you 77times you probably aren't best friends and you don't spend a lot of time with them. So lets say you average 9 days between finding out for all 77 events. That works out to 483 days or so, from the first sin to the 77th forgiveness. That's nearly a year and a half forgiving the same person.

Forgiveness can take time!

My guess is by the time you get to the 483rd day, you will understand what Jesus is trying to say. There is really no end on the number of times. You forgive someone. Is there an end to Gods forgiveness? ABSOLUTELY NOT! We are to do the same, no end to forgiveness for the ones who sin against you. Forgiveness is not to be withheld. Simple as that!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I found the finest PEARL! Then I married her!

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls.       When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it. (Matthew 13:45, 46 NIV)

I bought Stephanie a small cross necklace for Christmas. It wasn't anything real special but Stephanie loved it. She cried when she got it! I didn't see that coming. This great lady of mine is just like the "Fine Pearl" of this parable. A lot of men and women go out and search for that perfect mate. They date lots of people before they find their pearl. Sometimes it takes years and extreme amounts of patience. Not me, Stephanie was my first REAL love. We met in High School and decided early on that we were going to spend the rest of our lives together. To this day I am completely amazed how God brought us together. For 34 years I have never found a finer PEARL. Most of the blessings I have received from God are through Stephanie. All the greatest parts of my life are through her. My daughters, my grandkids, and the sheer joy of living are because of her.

Don't get the wrong idea, I don't worship Stephanie above my Lord. The only reason I have Stephanie is because of him. Jesus has blessed me with Stephanie. I consider it his finest gift after sacrificing himself on a cross for me. I owe Stephanie a lot more than just a necklace for the gift of her love and friendship. I could never begin to repay her for the joy I have because of her. Just like I have no way of repaying Jesus for his love and grace. He doesn't even expect repayment. But, just like Stephanie, when I do take the time to show him he is number one in my life, a tear comes to his eye.

Let God Know you love him. Let him know how crazy you are about him. Praise him for his mercy and the boundless blessings he gives. Praise him and worship him for the ultimate sacrifice he made for you and me! If you truly love him you will constantly look to show it. Show him by loving others, serving, and spending time with him. It will mean more than you could imagine.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:50 NIV)

There is nothing more important than my family. Why is that true? Is it just because we have spent so much time together? Is it because of our common upbringing and our environment? Is it genetic? I'm sure all these factors contribute to why we love our family. I think the real reason is our common faith. Yes, some families don't have any faith at all. Some families are split in their beliefs. The families I know that have no common faith, are weak and dysfunctional. A family that shares a common faith is unshakeable. I am so lucky to have a family that puts their faith inChrist as their number one priority. They have grown spiritually, personally, and they have made it a priority for their spouses and kids. My family is a perfect example how you can endure anything if you all share Christ. We pray for each other. We worship with each other. We share a bond that goes beyond blood and familiarity. Our bond can not be broken.

A few years back I bought each of my girls a wood plaque that simply states, Joshua 24:15"As for me and my house, we will serve The Lord." We all need a reminder how important it is to worship as a family. The outright survival of our family depends on our faith in Christ. We can not be divided on this. We can not endure without the cement of Christ to hold us together.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Burn Out!

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28 NIV)

Have you ever felt "Burnt Out"? You hear about it all the time. Athletes, business leaders, politicians, educators, volunteers, coaches and a host of others experience burn out.

I have always thought of this verse when I'm physically tired and it has always brought me rest. I have found my devotional time helps fight fatigue. Attending Sunday morning worship does the same. It's like a trip to Florida on spring break. It's refreshing. God does not want us to burn out. I think this is particularly true of ANY ministry. I've only been a member of CMA (Christian Motorcyclists Association) for 4 years and already I've seen people step back from leadership due to burn out. Ministry can be physically and mentally draining. It is worse if we try to do it all on our own. I see two extremes. One, is the Christian who sits in church on Sunday and doesn't do anything through the week. The other, is the opposite. They are involved in everything and quickly grow weary.
          As Christian Soldiers, Jesus has given us marching orders to GO throughout the world and spread the gospel. He expects us to be in ministry forever. That doesn't mean he wants us to grow tired and eventually have to step away. He wants us to seek his guidance, his direction, and his wisdom in all our ministries. If we are in Gods will, we will not Burn Out. We will not need to get out of the game. We will stay fresh, energetic and vibrant for him.

We need to go to Christ for his rest. He will keep us from getting tired. He will renew our strength and we will mount wings like eagles for his glory and his honor.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Student evals!

“The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master.       It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household! (Matthew 10:24, 25 NIV)

I just put the finishing touches on a student course evaluation survey for me high school students. We are nearing the end of my Algebra 1class and the halfway point of my Geometry class. I value the opinion of my students. It is so important for me to seek out their input. Some will give it every day and others will never share. In reality, I don't need to know their opinion about the MATH. I am more interested if I am getting to them. Are they better today than they were yesterday? Do they feel I am treating them fairly? Am I consistent, do I rush, what do I need to work on, what are my strengths? Good or bad I want to know.

Maybe this is how God feels about us. He really doesn't need us to pray to him. He will survive just like he has for eternity if we don't talk to him. But, he wants us to spend time with him. He wants to hear our frustration. He wants to hear our anger and pain.  He wants our evaluations of how things are going. I certainly don't put the students opinion above what I know is right , but I still want that sharing. God will always know best even when we think WE do. He still sits patiently, listens, and empathizes with us. He moves on our behalf because of our pleas and prayers.  He is the great teacher and I the student. I love sitting in his class! I love being in the presence of his wisdom and love. I want to be like him, I want to love like him. In order to do that I need to spend time with him.

Friday, January 11, 2013

I'm not confident in my confidence!

He replied,  “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?”  Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. (Matthew 8:26 NIV)

Do you have confidence? I'm helping coach girls basketball this year, as an assistant. We are playing in a tournament championship tomorrow. The team we are playing is our conference rival. We always have tough battles when we meet. Last year we lost all three meetings. They were all close games won at the end. We have played them once this year and defeated them by 10 points. So I am confident we can beat them tomorrow. I'm not afraid to face them. I'm sure they're not afraid of us either. However, I'm guessing they are not as confident this year as last year. During the game tomorrow I'm sure their will be ups and downs. My confidence will vary with those ups and downs. So how much confidence do I really have?

What kind of faith do I show in God? I have to be one of the most blessed people on this planet. God has provided abundantly and has watched over me for 52 years. So why would my faith be like a roller coaster? That may be the greatest question of all time. My faith should be like a rock. I'm sad to say its not always that way. I feel its getting better, but I have a long way to go.

Lord forgive me for my weak faith. Fill me with your spirit and the strength to stand in confidence through the storms of life. Help me to live life in COMPLETE confidence in you and your plan for my life. Thank you for your patience with me and the grace that surpasses all understanding. Amen.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

You need motorcycle eyes.

“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy,  your whole body will be full of light. (Matthew 6:22 NIV)

One of the important rules if the road for a motorcyclist is: where your eyes are you motorcycle will follow. It's so easy to get focused on a ditch or the side of the road. When you do, you're in for trouble. In my less than scientific survey, the majority of motorcycle accidents occur because of misjudging the safe speed to take a turn. I've ridden some pretty amazing roads on "Harley" and if I keep my eyes focused on where I want him to go, he will go there. Seems simple. The more I practice that the Safer I will be. Riding a motorcycle can increase your visual awareness. You always have to focus and be completely aware of your surroundings. I've even noticed it helps to have "motorcycle eyes" when driving a car.

My life is much the same way. I don't know who said it but, "where the eye of your heart is focused, your lips and feet will quickly follow." Just like riding, I have a tendency to lose sight where I'm going. It takes every bit of concentration for me to keep my eyes focused on Jesus. I have to spend time in prayer. I have to spend time studying his word. I have to focus my thoughts on him throughout the entire day. When I look away, bad things are going to happen. The more I focus on him, the easier it gets and the easier it gets to focus on the important things in my daily life.

Lord , help me stay focused on your plan for my life. Help me to not drift off your road. Help me to keep from being blinded by sin and my own selfish ambition.Amen.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

If you're happy and you know it...........

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,  for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3 NIV)

Today, I had a chance to check up on a friend who's been going through a tough time. I'm a little embarrassed because I haven't asked how he's doing for quite a while. His wife has been very ill, she is home bound, more or less. She is frustrated about not being able to do things, she is depressed and angry. She takes it out on him. Everything in their life is a struggle. Going out is nearly impossible. He is weary of the battle. What can I say? I know God is with him. God is with his wife as well. He cares so much that he would give the kingdom of Heaven to them.

To all who are fighting this type of battle, you have hope. You have hope through Jesus. You have hope in the ultimate victory of life eternal. You have Gods comfort even now.

This man does not have happiness by the worlds standard. But he is a blessed n
Man. His spirit will be renew and he will be happy. As Christians we look at happiness, not as measured by things, power or influence. We look at happiness through the eyes of our creator. His eyes see long term and a final happiness which can be denied by no one. Gods love will find a way.

Monday, January 7, 2013

74 days to Spring Break!

the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” (Matthew 4:16 NIV)

Today was a great sunny day here in Garrett, Indiana. This time of year in Indiana that is rare. Although its not nearly as bad as Alaska, winter is a time of darkness. I leave for work in darkness and return home in darkness after practice. Cold temperatures, darkness, and snow really bring me down. I long for Spring Break and the warmth of a sunny beach in Florida or the joy of a motorcycle ride. Spring Break is still 74 days away.

Living without Jesus is the same as living an eternal winter. Praise God we have seen his great light. It's great to be alive when we live for Christ even in the cold and darkness of winter. We can survive all struggles. We can overcome all pain and suffering. We can see joy in all things. We can find peace and rest. I am so thankful for the life I have been given. I am so blessed with a great family, great CMA friends, wonderful coworkers, and a life full of light.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Good Job!

And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17 NIV)

Everyone loves to be praised. I'm no different. I work hard ar school, teaching, coaching, and as curriculum coach. I put great thought into my CMA ministry. I want to do a good job and I feel great when I am told how great a job im doing. I think all people want that same thing. My students might not admit it, but when I recognize them for a job well done, I can see they really love it. When I brag about my daughters and their families, when I tell them how proud I am, and go out of the way to recognize them, they love it. You can see it in their eyes, people love to hear genuine praise.

Just the simple act of thanking someone can lift their spirits.  But, in our self-centered society, it doesn't happen enough. We should all take the time to thank our families, to praise them for a job well done. We should recognize our coworkers, our friends and our family. Tell them how pleased you are to be a part of their lives. Tell them how blessed you are by their company. Tell them how much you value their work ethic, skill, or kindness.

We should follow the example of our Heavenly Father and let the whole world know how blessed we are. And oh yes, don't forget to praise the one who blesses us the most. God doesn't need the praise, but he loves it the same as we do. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Follow that star!

and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:2 NIV)

We really have no idea how many wisemen came to worship Jesus. We know he wasn't a baby, he was a toddler. We know they bore three gifts. We know they followed a star looking for Jesus. Otherwise, we don't know where they came from or what happened to them afterward. It's curious that more people did not follow the star. The answer is probably as simple as , they were the only ones looking. That's even true for today. God's presence in my life is obvious. He has worked amazing miracles and is alive and active. How can I see his presence in my life and others not? I'm nothing special. Just like the wisemen, you have to be looking for it!  Most people are aware of who God is, yet they do not know of his presence.

God is active everywhere yet not even all Christians are aware of his key role in their lives. Change that, today! Be aware of his presence. Seek him, look for him, and you will see him. Follow that star and move toward eternal life!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

You never know it all!

 A local school superintendents wife fainted at a basketball game during the Holidays. They thought it was the flu. She was taken to the hospital. She found out she has an inoperable brain tumor and is not expected to survive.

The children and teachers of Sandy Hook Elementary left for school, on that fateful day, just like they had every other school day.

Tragedy happens in the blink of an eye. We nee to prepare. The best preparation is done through God.

Sometimes I think I'm pretty smart. Most of us feel pretty good about what we know. We don't know as much as we thought. We don't always get the right answers. We misjudge people. We make poor decisions, and suffer the consequences. In the end, I'm not very smart and I don't need to be smart. Why? Because God is already there. His wisdom is prefect.

If we are followers of Christ, we should know, no one knows like Jesus. God is not obligated to tell us his plans or explain himself. We do not deserve to know the whys of life. The only thing we need to know is God is with us, he loves us,   He will help us through our darkest night. He is always with us, not to just love me, but to help me get through life in the best way possible.

You never know what will happen, but trust in The Lord. He may not take away the hardship, he is certainly NOT the cause. He would not bring harm.  He will ALWAYS be with you and he will never  have you suffer alone.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Revel in Life!

Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you're on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute! (Philippians 4:4, 5 MSG)

I'm not sure I've ever used the word REVEL before. But, Eugene Peterson's Message uses it in these verses and I might not use this word, but I should live it. One definition is to celebrate in a loud and boisterous way. I need to remember this word and live life as a boisterous celebration.

I am looking forward to getting back to school tomorrow. This stretch from now until Spring Break can be rough on students and staff. Winter will drag on as it usually does and we will all long for the fresh outdoors of spring. It will be a struggle to not let school get to be monotonous and as dreary as the weather. That will be the time for me to re-read this verse. I need to revel in my life with Christ. I need to boil over with the celebration for what Christ has done for me. I will need to remind my students and colleagues, I am there specifically for them. I am for them just as God is for me!

How can we be so down knowing we have eternal life ahead of us. How can we let a simple thing as the weather get us down. We need to make it as clear as we can,, to ALL we meet, we revel in the life God has given us. We celebrate every day as we are a step closer to being home. Praise God for his love and grace.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

One goal, ONLY one!

I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it.
          So let's keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you'll see it yet! Now that we're on the right track, let's stay on it. (Philippians 3:10, 11, 15, 16 MSG)

Today starts a new year. Today we forget about 2012 and move into 2013. Many have marked this day with resolve to change themselves in one way or another. The only goal I have is the one from Philippians 3, I will keep focused on the Goal God has set before me, complete and total commitment to him. I will do everything possible to get to know him more, personally. I will be his close partner even through suffering or death. I have given my all to him. I will worship him, share with the lost, pray for family, friend, and foe. I will spend time searching his guidance, his wisdom, and his strength. Lord I know you are always near and I will comitt to not leave you just like you will never leave me. Thank you for the year ahead. Thank you for the challenges and the blessings. Thank you for your love and your son. You are amazing!