Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Fight for your marriage

I read this today and wanted to share it with my friends who are in difficult relationships. May God give you the courage to fight for your marriage.

How to Rekindle Lost Love
by Rick Warren
“You have left the love you had in the beginning. So remember where you were before you fell. Change your hearts and do what you did at first.” (Revelation 2:4-5 NCV)
At first glance you may not think the book of Revelation — with its images of beasts, lambs, and angels — has anything to do with romance and the kind of affection needed to sustain a growing marriage.
But it does.
In Revelation 2:4-5, Jesus uses an analogy from romantic love to describe the relationship of a church that had gone astray. Jesus said to the church of Laodicea: “You have left the love you had in the beginning. So remember where you were before you fell. Change your hearts and do what you did at first” (NCV).
He tells us to do four things that are important when recapturing our marriage: remember, return, repent, and repeat.
  1. Remember. Think about what you did in your first days together that made you fall in love in the first place. Think about the happy days. Stop thinking about all the problems you have now, and remember how your love began.
  2. Return. Return your focus to God. Your focus is likely on everything but God. It’s likely on your problems, your pressures, your stresses, and your career. But if you want to return to your first love, you need to turn your attention back to God.
  3. Repent. Choose to change how you think and act. Love isn’t a feeling, but it creates feelings — sometimes enormous feelings. But love is a choice. It’s a commitment to put someone else’s best interest over your own. Anything other than that isn’t love. God couldn’t command it if it were a feeling. Yet God commands us over and over in his Word to choose to love others (including our spouses). When you make a choice to love your spouse as Jesus would when you haven’t been doing so, that’s called repentance.
  4. Do what you did at first. Do what you did when you first fell in love. Feelings always follow actions. It’s easier to act your way into a feeling than to feel your way into an action. If you wait to feel affectionate and romantic, the devil will make sure you never feel it. So you choose to act in a loving way, and the feelings will come back.
The kind of affection that leads to a lasting relationship tends to seep out of marriages. It’s almost inevitable at some point. But how will you deal with it when it does?
The practice of “remember, return, repent, and repeat” should be continual in any marriage.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The best parenting book ever

Attention all parents:

This is the best parenting book I have ever read. 

I promise I am not exagerating. It really is the best parenting book I've ever read. 

If I won the lottery I would buy this book for every parent I know. That's how much I want you to read it. But I haven't won the lottery yet, so that means you need to buy your own copy. It's well worth the $10. 

So don't waste any more time reading my blog post. Head on over to Amazon and order you a copy right now.

Friday, August 01, 2014

A great post: The Problem with 50 Shades of Grey

As most of you know, I'm not a woman. I don't really get the whole 50 Shades of Grey thing. And in full disclosure, I haven't and won't read the books. But I found a great post, written by a woman, to women that you need to read. Liz and I both agree that this post a must read for Christian woman (and I think Christian men should read it too). Enjoy.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Ten To-Dos For Young People

I think these should be memorized.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I'm so much cooler online

Part of my summer schedule involves working at our neighborhood pool while the boys swim off some energy. I sit under the covered porch and use the free wi-fi. It's not a bad place to work, actually. 

Yesterday, while trying to focus on some sermon prep, I overheard two women have a conversation about Facebook and specifically, why they were quitting Facebook.

Basically, they described three reasons for their Facebook abandonment: Everyone seems/looks perfect (perfect body, perfect family, perfect life) online; too much drama (emotions); too much controversy.

And you know what? They really are right about so much of what's posted online.

It reminded me of something I've been thinking about lately. I think those of us who are Christians need to come up with some kind of standard of social media use that contains some form of the following question:

Would someone be able to tell I'm a follower of Jesus, and in-turn want to become a follower of Jesus, by reading my posts online?


That's a convicting question.

I love social media. It helps me stay connected with people. I feel like I know what's going on in people's lives. I've been able to find out what's happening with folks that I haven't seen in years.

But as a follower of Jesus, I want my online life to bring glory to God just like I want my off-line life to bring glory to God.

1 Corinthians 10:31 says, So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

Whatever you do includes what you post on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Maybe, if we did this, God might just use something as silly as social media to let the world see, experience and come to know Jesus.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Posture of Humility

There's a video floating around the Internet of a gentleman taking some Mormon missionary kids to task for what they believe. I thought about posting it to give this context, but I'm so disturbed by it that I don't want to give it more airtime than it's already getting. But here's a synopsis:

Basically some Mormon missionaries approach a man in a parking lot hoping to have a conversation where they tell him all about Mormonism and get him to convert. It's what they do. You've seen them riding around our community on their bikes. Well, much to their dismay, this guy is a Christian who knows the Bible, and simply put, he reams them out, leaving them feeling humiliated and looking stupid, while he himself feels awesome for rebuking their false teaching.

What sickened me about the video is the amount of pride, arrogance, hubris and disrespect this gentleman showed in speaking with, and really at, these pour Mormon college kids.

It got me pondering something that I've been thinking about for a while. I think we, and by we I mean Christians in America, have a pride problem. 

So often, by so many people who are the very people we are trying to reach, we are perceived as arrogant. And we all know that even though it shouldn't be this way, perception is reality. When people think of Christians they think we're arrogant.

What leads people to perceive us as arrogant is our tone when talking to people. It's our need to let everyone know that our way is the right way. It's our lack of respect towards people who think and act and believe differently from us. It's how we communicate the truth by shoving it down people's throats or forcing it on them uninvited.

Pride and arrogance are everywhere.

Here's a crazy thought: You can be right but you don't have to tell everyone. Jesus was right, but he didn't go around telling everyone that he was right and they were wrong. He never did that. But we (Christians in America) do. And that's pride. That's arrogance.

And I am convinced that if our posture of arrogance doesn't change to a posture of humility that there is absolutely no hope for the church in America. And the reason I know this is not just speculation, but fact is because both Peter and James tell us that God opposes the proud. 

But God gives grace to the humble.

Think about it: Who would you rather hang out with, someone who is proud or arrogant, or someone who is humble? All of us would choose the humble person. 

Since those are the kind of people we want to hang out with doesn't it make sense that we become that kind of person? 

Here's another thought: I believe that a posture of humility is a more powerful witness than a life of purity. Now don't hear what I'm not saying. I think we should live a life of purity. All of Scripture makes that clear. But what makes us approachable and likable isn't our purity. It's our humility. In other words, approachability and likability cannot be separated from a posture of humility.

Sometimes we use boldness and courage as excuses for pride and arrogance. But we all know that we can be bold and speak with courage and do it with humility. We can even stand for truth and speak the truth in a posture of humility. 

The scary thought is that I know I'm just as guilty of pride and arrogance as the rest of my brothers and sisters. But I don't want to be that way. I want to have a posture of humility.

There is so much more we could say on this topic, but I'll end with a question: What's your posture? God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. May we have the posture of humility.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

10 Indications a Church is Making Disciples

I came across a good article today and wanted to pass it along. It's by Ron Edmondson. His writing is very practical. Here you go:

I’ve often heard people say you can’t measure discipleship. I don’t know if that’s true.
It is true that you can’t necessarily put a number or percentage on discipleship growth, but you can tell — over time — if it has happened or is happening.

Here are 10 indications a church is making disciples:

Those who have been in the church the longest complain the least. - Do everything without complaining or arguing. Philippians 2:14
The leaders of the church are most likely to give up “their” seats, park further from the building, or do whatever is necessary to help the Body. – The greatest among you must be a servant.Matthew 23:11
The church celebrates most when those far from faith come to faith. In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away! Luke 15:7
Members care that others needs are met more than their own. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. Philippians 2:4
The church is willing to make sacrifices to attract the lost – And so my judgment is that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Acts 15:19
There is joy even during suffering – Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds. James 1:2
The teaching is a balance of truth and grace. Jesus came full of grace and truth. John 1:17
The financial needs of the church are funded, with people willingly sacrificing. No one begs for money. Each person should do as he has decided in his heart–not reluctantly or out of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7
There are no petty disputes and grudges among the people of the church. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
The church takes care of each other well. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. Acts 4:34
Let’s keep this going. These are a few that come to my mind. There are others. Prayer. Forgiveness. I’d love to post again — maybe “21 Indications a Church is Making Disciples”. Add one of your own in the comments. (And, give your Bible reference.) I may choose yours for my next post.