Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Do I Really Believe This Book?

2 Timothy 3:16 says, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness..." We used this verse as a reminder last weekend in Quest that we can trust the Bible as being true because God guided the writing of His Scripture. But something else hit me with this passage. I'm sure that "something" was the Holy Spirit wanting to get my attention. As I understand that the Bible is indeed the Word of God given to us, and it is all true, do I live like I believe it?

There are many times I do, but unfortunately there are many times I do not. This living like I don't believe the Bible usually cannot be seen; it’s in the attitude of the heart. It's being selfish with my time. It's the negative thoughts. It's the critical thoughts. It's the pity-parties I feel entitled to. In short, it's sin that easily creeps into my life and pulls me away from God.

I can't help but think that if I had really lived like I believed the Bible was God's message to me; my children would have been affected in a much more positive way for God than they were. Don't get me wrong, I'm blessed to have the daughters I have. They are Godly women who guide their children to Christ. I'm saying, the times I lived like the Bible was just another book had a spiritual impact on my family.

I am thankful I serve a loving God who is full of grace and mercy; who forgives, corrects, and builds up. Where I fell short as a father and husband, I'm sure He jumped in. Where are you? Do you say without a doubt that the Bible is God's true Word to us? If you say it, have you asked yourself lately, "Do I really believe this book?" Do I live like I believe all it has to say? What a journey. God help me live each day like I believe every word that was spoken by you.

Friday, March 9, 2012

It All Goes Back In The Box

Tuesday was Election Day. My wife and I have been working at the polling place for over a year. It is a great way to serve the community and meet some really neat people. This past Tuesday the turnout was not very large, so I had the opportunity to get into a paper book. I say paper book because like many of you, I read electronic books. That was more information than you needed. The book is by John Ortberg and the Title is, When The Game Is Over It All Goes Back In The Box.

At this point I am half way through the book, but have been reminded about a very important need in many of our lives, especially if you have children still in the house. We are a culture of stuff, work, and business. Many of us thrive on these things at the expense of our families. But here is the thing, we can be busy, climb the financial and social ladder, and be a success in the eyes of the culture, but one day it will all end. One day it will all go back in the box. All the missed time with family will not mean much when someone else has your job, your wealth, your positions.

I experienced this in my life from two points of view. If I was going to spend time with my dad when I was a child, I knew it was going to be on the golf course. Now I love the game, but that is not why I started playing. I started playing to be with my dad. There have been times my family suffered an absent dad as well. I enjoy work. It can be like a hobby to me. I enjoy the people I work with and what I do. But there were times, especially when my children were small, that I put in too many hours at church and not enough time at home. Now, no one would argue that doing things at church, for the church are bad things, but when they came before my family I don't know that God was pleased. I finally corrected this as I had a loving wife who continued to guide me to spend more time with the girls. I am so glad I did. I think we are the friends we are today because God used Debi to help me see what was really important.

Too often in America we live like this life will go on forever. It won't. It is a good reminder to all of us that when it is all said and done, what our children want from us is time, and they want this over stuff, activities, money, and job titles. They want you. What game are you playing? What will go back in the box when your life is over, the stuff of our culture or memories that will never be put away in the minds of your family? "When The Game Is Over It All Goes Back In The Box."

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Punish or Redeem?

In First Timothy 1:20, Paul in writing to Timothy says that he has given, "Hymenaeus and Alexander over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme." On the face this can seem as a harsh move by Paul, however he had redemption in mind. It was Paul's desire that these men be
in such a position that they would once again seek God and return to their faith.
This verse leads me to ask two questions of myself. First, why is it always easier to punish than redeem? Unfortunately, at our core, punishment makes us feel good. It seems to satisfy the feeling that we have of being put upon by another. Punishment doesn't often make a person better, just more careful. Redemption on the other hand is hard. It takes forgiveness. It takes putting ourselves last behind the best interest of another. It means we may not experience the perceived justice we think we are due. But the result may mean that a person becomes closer to God and useful to the Kingdom and others. Second, what is God's nature? Though God has punished evil people throughout history, His nature is redemption. That is what the cross is all about. That is why we have the opportunity to have a relationship with God. God's nature is that all of us are redeemed to His Kingdom.
When I am tempted to punish, I need to be reminded of this passage in First Timothy. I need to remember that since God's nature is redemption, that must be my nature as well.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Paul’s greeting to Timothy in 1st Timothy 1:1 says, “Paul, and apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope.”

I don’t know about you, but there are times when I am in such a hurry to read what comes after the greeting I miss what it contains. When I studied this greeting with the help of Barclay, Paul reminds us of a few important things.

“Paul and apostle.” Paul saw himself as an ambassador or envoy of Jesus. We are familiar with ambassadors. Their job is to represent a person or country in the best possible way.

“By the command of God.” Paul thought of himself as holding a king’s commission. He was not only given a job to do, but had the authority to accomplish it.

“Christ Jesus our hope.” Jesus is only the hope we have; hope of moral victory, hope over circumstances, and hope of victory over death. Jesus is our hope.

I then need to ask myself a few questions. How am I doing as God’s ambassador? Am I representing Him well? Am I fulfilling the King’s commission? God created me for a purpose, and has gifted me to accomplish that purpose. How is my hope? Is my hope in Jesus alone, or do I hope in things other than Him?

Short greeting; powerful lessons.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Spinning an Egg

How can you tell an egg in hard-boiled or raw? Spin it. A raw egg will not spin very well. A hard-boiled egg will spin like a ball. That way, you tell what’s inside. That’s what I was able to talk about with a group of kids last night. We know what’s inside of a lot of things because we have experience with them. Some examples are a jack in the box, a jelly-filled donut, and even an inflated balloon.

If we are Christians, can people know what’s inside of us based on what they see on the outside? James 1:22 reminds us that to hear God’s Word and not do what it says is useless. When this is our approach to God’s Word, we are deceiving ourselves about what’s in us. James says we need to not only hear God’s Word, but do it as well.

I reminded the kids that God wants hearers and doers, not just doers. When people look at us, can they tell God lives in us? Do we treat others in a way that would be pleasing to God? Our actions are like spinning an egg; it will show what’s in us. Hearing and doing; easy to understand, harder to accomplish.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Desert; Really?

At the end of the book of Numbers, prior to the Israelites entering the promised land, Moses is recounting their journey. They moved from place to place, many of which I have a hard time pronouncing, until they get to a point of decision; go with God and take the land, or, "let's go back to Egypt where we had it so well." You know what happened next, rebellion and forty years walking in the wilderness. Why is it that we are so willing to wander than follow God's direction? Is it really so much better in Egypt?
This is the message of Christmas. God sent Jesus to us so we would not have to wander in the wilderness of life, moving from problem to problem without guidance or direction; without the peace and the joy implicit in walking with God. During December in Kids Quest we have been looking at Joy - finding a way to be happy, even when things don't go your way. We have discovered that joy is a choice, and that we find true joy in the greatest gift ever given; Jesus.
I hope your Christmas is filled with joy. I hope your life is filled with the direction of God, not wandering in the wilderness. Yes, we face giants from time to time, but as we were reminded in Kids Quest, we serve a God that is bigger than all things. This is a truth for all of us. May you have a Merry Christmas with this reminder from the book of Numbers.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Something From Nothing

This past Sunday, I was reminded in a sermon about one good way to help people understand that there must be God. We all have stuff. Most of us have too much stuff, but stuff we have and it all came from somewhere. Everything we have, had, or will have had a beginning. In fact, we cannot think of a thing in our existence that did not have a beginning; that is unless we include God. Even the most ardent Big Bang Universe people have to come to the conclusion that all the stuff that went "Bang" had to come from somewhere. I am not saying I am a proponent of this theory, but if one is, the stuff that went "Bang" had to start somewhere. That leads us to the Creator, God. Genesis 1:1 reminds us that in the beginning was God, and that is all that was. He spoke and the universe as we know it happened. All that ever was and will be came from His creative genius. This is a great reminder for kids as they are told many things in school that may not line up with a creator. There is a simple answer; it all had to start by someone, and that someone is God.