I Never Counted On A Flat Tire

Tuesday’s are normally my half days. Now that the weather is starting to warm up, I’m going to try(I said try) and ride my bike in the afternoon. I tried running, but my heart just wasn’t in it. I enjoy bike riding though and if you ride long enough, it is good exercise. I was unable to take my half day Tuesday, so I took it today. I got home a little before 4 p.m. and decided to still go ahead and bike for about an hour. These are the items I had with me:

Helmet … water … house key … iphone … ear buds … sleeve for my iphone to attach around my arm … driver’s license in case I ever get hit and they need to know where I love(I know … OCD … what can I say)

I had ridden bout a 1/3 of my trip and was about 5 miles from home when … yep … you guessed it … I heard an unusual sound from the back of my bike. I looked back and it was flat as a pancake …

 

Image

 

Hand tire pump? … nope

Money to get to the closest gas station and use their air pump? … nope

Debit card to get to the closest gas station and use their pump? … nope

Repair Kit? … nope

My only option? Call my wife and have her come get me. Unfortunately for me, she was 30 minutes away at an appt. So … I started the long trek of walking my bike back towards our home. Needless to say, I had a long time to think on my walk back … don’t worry, my wife made it after her appt. I was only walking with my bike for about 45 minutes.

As I was walking my bike back towards our home, I made the decision that from now on, I will have some cash or a debit card with me; I will buy a hand pump that attaches to my bike. Next time that happens to me; I will be better prepared.

It’s kind of that way in our Christian life. We go through life and depend on everything else for our success. As long as we have a nice house; two cars; in-ground pool; good paying jobs; the right social connections and the “perfect family” then we don’t really need God, right? That is what we count on … that is what we trust in … until some(or all) of that changes. Then when things happen and our life goes “flat” we realize then that the things that are most important; that the things that we need close to us to help us endure life’s struggles aren’t immediately at our disposal.  Then we call out to God to come deliver us. He does … and things are great again.

I couldn’t help but think of Ephesians 6:10-17

The Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist,with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

1. Be strong in the Lord … Rest in Him … Trust in Him

2. Recognize that we aren’t to attack people when things don’t go our way … Let God fight for us

3. Trust in God’s truth … If we aren’t studying His Word; attending a good Bible teaching church; we won’t know the truth

4. Live a life of “rightness” before God. The closer we are to God, the better life we’ll live

5. Be ready to serve wherever/whenever God requests you to serve

6. Live a life of peace before God … When we walk close to God, we’ll be at peace during the struggles

7. Shield of faith … Trust in God … that’s really the key through all of this(and why it’s mentioned so many times throughout scripture); we must have complete trust in God

8. Know the Word of God … without it, we will have no tools to overcome temptation and sin

So, as you walk through your Christian life, keep in mind that we can’t keep our faith, trust and hope in material possessions, social status, etc. Those will fail us when our life goes “flat.” We must keep our faith, trust and hope in Christ alone and we must keep a close walk with Him. We can’t live this life without Him. “I Need Thee Every Hour.”

By the way … I’m glad our phones didn’t die … my % was at 13% and hers died just as I sent her my location …

Image

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I Hate Church Shopping

So, from the beginning, let me get a couple disclaimers out there:

#1 – I didn’t say I hate church. I said I hate “Church Shopping”. Both of those things are completely different. I love Church! I need Church. I don’t understand those who say they don’t need church; that they can live their lives without attending a church; that they can have a close relationship with God without attending a church. If I don’t stay involved in a church; if I don’t get plugged into a life group; then my Christian walk suffers.

#2 – I don’t mean to be sacrilegious by comparing finding a church with the retail world I work in daily. If that offends you, then I’m sorry. However, you have to admit that shopping for something at the store has comparisions to finding a church home. You look for a certain “checklist of items” you expect to be there; you hope to see friendly faces; you hope things are just as you like them and “just your size.”

I had the great blessing of attending Geyer Springs First Baptist Church in Little Rock, AR over the last 5 years. I can honestly say it is the best church I have ever attended. Largely because that is the church where I finally quit fighting God and accepted Him as my Saviour. It’s also the place where I met my amazing wife, Arlyn.

However, it is more than that. GSFBC was filled with friendly, caring, non-judging people. God blessed us so much by allowing us to be involved with a class full of couples that struggled with the same things we struggle with. A class of men and women that we could call friends no matter what; that we could call on in a moment when we needed prayer; counseling; etc. There was so much love in that class, it would always overwhelm me(and still does) when I would think of the strength of God in that class.

But, it’s even more than that. God has blessed that church with a man of God who humbly proclaims God’s Word without apology. Bro. Jeff Williams is a Pastor who is transparent with his flock; he doesn’t back down from what the Word says and what the Word requires. However, he is also very quick to show and preach love and grace. I have never been around a Pastor of whom I had so much love and respect.

Then God moved us to NWA. There was no doubt(and still isn’t) that this move was of God. It still humbles me when I think of the many ways he has blessed me and blessed us. But, when we moved here, we had to find a place to serve God. As I said before, I must be involved in a church to keep my relationship with Christ strong.

Over the past 4 months, we visited 5 different churches. We looked at another 5 or more online listening to some of their Pastor’s sermons, reading about “what they had to offer”(real spiritual I know), etc. I can’t tell begin to tell you the frustration we experienced.

If you know me at all, you know that I have a pride problem and I have a judgmental spirit at times. Those two combined make it difficult for me(and especially my wife having to live with me) when it comes to finding a church. We go to one church and the people aren’t friendly and the Pastor seems arrogant(funny coming from me, right?) We go to another church and the people in the service are extremely friendly in the main service. The sermon is okay; but the 2 different life groups we attend, there is no attempt to reach out and connect with us.

Now, part of that responsibility lies on me to be someone who is “reachable”(still working on that pride problem again); but it is also nice to have someone walk up to you, introduce themselves and find out a little bit about you. We go to another church and fill out a card requesting how to join; never hear back; there is no mention at invitation time on what to do to join the church. We continue to go and a few weeks later ask someone how to join. They don’t know but they get our phone number and tell us someone will call us this week to tell us what we need to do to join their church. We never hear back. We finally determine that must mean God doesn’t want us there.

So, we continue to look for where God has a place for us. We joined a church this morning. The people are extremely friendly; the Pastor preaches the Word without apology and seems to have a close walk with God.

So, what’s the point of this blog? I really have no idea. I guess to tell you that I still struggle with Pride and having judgmental attitudes. It could be to tell you what an amazing blessing GSFBC has been and continues to be to me and Arlyn. It could also be to tell you what an amazing blessing Bro. Jeff was to us. I’m so thankful we can listen to his podcasts. And it could also be to help remind you(and especially remind me) how important it is that we reach out to those around us that visit our churches; that visit our life groups; that live next door to us; that work right beside us; that God brings into our lives; etc. As the very familiar phrase goes, “we may be the only Jesus some will ever see.”

No pictures this time … no scripture passages … no impactful testimony …

Just to let you know that God has led us to a church home. Now, we have to find where God would have us serve in this church. Plus, I need to heed all of my words listed above and make sure that each AND every time, we have a visitor or God leads someone into my path that I reach out and show them God’s love.

My WALK TALKS a whole lot louder than my TALK TALKS ..

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Things I Learned from #guyswknd

20131103-081405.jpg

A little over a year ago, I attended a Men’s Conference at Geyer Springs First Baptist Church(my church). After the conference, I was part of a Men’s Bible Study that was to last 6 wks. We have now been meeting every Saturday at 6:30 a.m. for the past 14 months. About 8 months ago, Paul suggested we do a guys wknd get away. It would involve Sports, Food and a little Bible thrown in. Yep … I’m in! You mention Sports and Food and I’m there! Seven of us agreed to get together of this weekend.

This was/is the wknd Paul picked. Needless to say, since it has involved Sports and food, we have had a great time! However, there are several things I have learned this weekend:

*If there is a a wreck on I-40 between Little Rock and Conway Friday evening at 6:30, you will have no where to go, so you better be full of food, not need to go to the bathroom and have a full tank of gas. What was supposed to be a 90 minute drive at the most ended up being a 210 minute journey. When we finally reached an exit to get some dinner(most important thing), there was a long line of people at KFC/Taco Bell doing the same thing. A 10 minute in and out meal turned into a 30 minute dinner.

*Paul is good at any sport he plays. He beat us in Ping Pong, Pool, Golf, Cards, Tennis, etc. You name it … he embarrassed us. He is no longer allowed to do anything like this again. He either doesn’t come or doesn’t participate. We lost a little bit of Ego this weekend thanks to Paul.

*I’m extremely rusty at Ping Pong. It’s been 2 yrs since I played at all and that time was with Arlyn for about 30 minutes. Other than that, it has been about 10 yrs since I’ve played. I don’t see Ping Pong playing competitively in my future any time soon.

*I’m even worse at golf. I haven’t played in 15 yrs and it showed in a big way! Of course, I was never any good, but it was even worse yesterday.

*What you like/don’t like is all about perspective. We ate lunch halfway through 18 holes yesterday and the water was horrible. It tasted like dirty dishwater. When I asked the waitress to bring me some unsweet tea instead, she told me that their water was delicicious! Said it’s local water everyone loves. Her perspective was limited to her experience.

*I hope you didn’t start reading this looking for some type of wisdom. It won’t be in this blog … sorry …

*I learned that I want a large 4 door, Red Pick up truck, with large knobby tires and a loud engine. Please Alan, let me drive it for a week. That’s all I ask …

*I learned that guys from any background can get along. Brant mentioned this last night. He stated that it dawned on him while golfing that each of us came from different backgrounds and we were all having a great time. Each one of us was raised differently and have different life experiences. However, we have several things in common. We love God and try daily to serve Him. We love our wives and try daily to be a good husband. We love our children and try daily to be a good father. We always are drawn to hang around people we have everything in common with. Maybe we would learn more if we just connect with the people God brings into our lives and not worry about whether our income level, clothing styles, sports teams, attitudes, etc. match with our approval.

*I learned that guys can talk … non stop … for 3 days … There was never a quiet moment in our house. Until it was time for bed. Guys are way more “chatty” than we care to admit …

*I learned that I can’t do the life of a Christian on my own. For the longest time, I have been extremely independent. I don’t allow people in my “bubble”. I keep my life private. I don’t need friends. Acquaintances are good, but friends are unnecessary. The past year of my life has been completely different than any other year I have had. I have men that I can call true friends. I can text/call/email/etc about a prayer request, praise, etc and they will pray with me; rejoice with me; etc. They share with me wisdom, experiences, etc. that have helped me in so many ways.

*I learned that in order to have Godly men in your life, you have to take a chance and be vulnerable. We spent over 2 hrs discussing our backgrounds, experiences, struggles, etc. last night. It was such a blessing to know that God has used every one of them in an amazing way. It was also a blessing to know that we all have different backgrounds but the same struggles. We always think a man who shares his heart is a weak man and is throwing away his man card when he opens up. Maybe it’s time we realized our families would benefit more if we admitted our weaknesses and showed them our vulnerabilities.

*I learned that God has blessed me far more than I deserve. I got choked up last night thinking of how much God has given me when I deserve so little. I’m so thankful that He loves me unconditionally. I’m so thankful He doesn’t hold grudges. I’m so thankful He forgives AND forgets and NEVER gives up. I’m so thankful for the amazing wife He has given me. I’m so thankful for the circle of men He has placed in my life that I can call FRIENDS.

So, Paul, Brant, Jason B., Matt, Eric, Alan, Jason H., Bryan, and Luke … thank you for praying for me; praying with me; challenging me; listening to me; and being willing to be used by God … and to Paul, Brant, Jason B., Eric, Matt & Alan, thank you for a fun weekend that started out being sports, food and a little bit of spiritual and ended up being a lot about God and a little about sports and food. Each of you are a blessing to me and a help to my walk in Christ. I love each of you as Christian brothers …

If you’re doing life alone … DON’T … men need men in their lives … women need women in their lives

It means you have to be vulnerable some and trust God a lot! When you do that, you might be surprised what God does in your life!

I found this “compiled Proverb” last night online under Proverbs 32 Man … it was a blessing to me:

PROVERBS 32
Portrait of the man of integrity
32 Who can find a man of integrity? The just [man] walketh in his integrity: his children [are] blessed after him. (20:7 )
2 He is wise and will hear and will increase learning; and as a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels. (1:5)
3 He walks in the way of good [men], and keeps the paths of the righteous. (2:20)
4 Therefore, he finds favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man. (3:4)
5 His children hear his instruction and attend to know understanding. (4:1)
6 He avoids the strange woman (5:8) and rejoices with the wife of his youth. (5:18)
7 For he keeps the commandment of his father and forsakes not the law of his mother: (6:20)
8 Blessed is he for he heareth me[wisdom], watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. (8:34)
9 He receives [instruction] and becomes yet wiser: Because he is a righteous man, he will receive teaching and increase in learning. (9:9)
10 As a wise son; he gathereth in summer.(10:5)
11 His strength enables him to obtain riches. (11:16)
12 And his worthy wife is a crown to his life. (12:4)
13 For he even shows tender mercies to the life of his beast. (12:10)
14 Because he tilleth his land, he has stored up plenty of bread. (12:11)
15 Because he is diligent, his hand bears rule. (12:24)
16 Because he walks with wise men, he is wise. Fools are not his companions. (13:20)
17 He is good and leaves an inheritance to his children’s children. (13:22)
18 For he hath so loved his son; that he hath chasteneth him. (13:24)
19 And his ways please Jehovah, so that the Lord maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him. (16:7)
20 Slow to anger , he ruleth his spirit as a victorious commander. (16:32)
21 In old age his children’s children are a crown to him; and the glory of his children are his glory. (17:6)
22 His words are [as] deep waters; a wellspring of wisdom like a flowing brook. (18:4)
23 He knoweth his wife is a good thing because the Lord has favored him to have found her, a prudent wife. (18:22, 19:14)
24 Because he shows himself friendly, he has
friends, for he is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. (18:24)
25 Diligent in his business, he stands before kings and not before mean men. (22:29)
26 He holds not correction from his child; (23:13)
27 Neither is he found among winebibbers, nor gluttonous eaters of flesh. (23:20)
28 Yet, he hearkens unto his father that begat him despising not his mother when she is old. (23:22)
29 As iron sharpeneth iron; so he sharpeneth the countenance of his friend. (27:17)
30 Because he hideth not his eyes from the poor, he does not lack. (28:27)
31 As a husband, he is known in the gates, where he sitteth among the elders of the land. (31:23)

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

From Grand Canyon to Branson

I get two weeks of vacation each year.  One week we usually do a “staycation.”  Then one week we do a “travel vacation.”   We try and do the “travel vacation” in the Fall when it is cooler and an easier drive in the car.  Last week was our “travel vacation.”  Here was the plan:

Dallas Cowboys v. Denver Broncos game

Drive to the Grand Canyon for 3 days

Yep … you know where this Blog is headed

We received word that the Govt would be shutting down the Parks a few days before we were to leave for Dallas.  We waited as long as we could hoping things would change and we could still go.  Finally, when we could wait no longer, we canceled the trip.  Thankfully all of our reservations were refunded.  The next dilemma was to find somewhere else to go on such short notice.  We discussed going to one of the Beaches in Florida, Georgia, or the Carolinas.  However, there was a potential hurricane coming close to the beaches during that time frame plus there was a heavy chance of rain at all of the beaches even if the hurricane didn’t come to shore.  

We looked at several different options and there was always a roadblock that kept us from going to those locations.   So, we ended up just going to Branson, MO.  Both of us have been to Branson before(first dating day trip).  We drove from Dallas Monday and spent the night at the Fleshman Hotel.   Tuesday morning we slept in(first time in a long time I can remember sleeping in) and drove to Branson.  We had a great dinner at the Keeter Center located on the campus of the College of the Ozarks.   If you have a child approaching college age, I would suggest you look into the College of the Ozarks.  Very unique and intriguing program.  

Wednesday we visited the Shepherd of the Hills Center.  I went down a zipline off of Inspiration Point(tried to convince Arlyn to go with me to no avail).  We also drove go carts on a 4 level track and played putt-putt.  Thursday we spent the day at Silver Dollar City. While there we went down into Marvel Cave, rode some rides, attended some shows and visited the craft booths.   Friday we spent the morning shopping at the Outlet Mall and then headed to NWA to spend the afternoon and evening with my parents.  We got up Saturday morning and came back home.  

 

Image

 

I have to tell you that we thoroughly enjoyed the week of vacation we had.  I forgot all about being disappointed in not going to the Grand Canyon.  I was extrememly frustrated the day I cancelled our reservations.  However, by the end of that day, God had convicted me of my bad attitude.  How dare I get upset because my vacation plans had to change.  We had friends who had been furloughed by the Govt and wouldn’t be receiving a paycheck for an indefinite period of time.  Our little “vacation plans” having to be canceled just didn’t seem as important as other real trials that people were going through.  

At the end of the day, we were glad for how it turned out.  We drove less miles, got more sleep and had a lot of fun.  Interesting how that worked out ….

I say interesting because isn’t that how we behave in life?

We have our own plans for our life … we make the arrangements … we dictate it out … we tell everyone what we’re going to do … we manipulate people and situations to complete the plan we have for ourselves…

Then God comes along and completely “rocks our boat” …

He changes our plan … leads us down a different path … takes away a promotion or a job … takes away “a chance of a lifetime” … purchases of items fall through … etc.

Then, when all is said and done and we look back on what God took us through we see how we grew … we see how we were a testimony to Him and to others … we see the positive impact on our friends and our families … we see that God’s plan was the right plan and much better than our plan.

Of course, that doesn’t happen until all is said and done.  I couldn’t see halfway through our vacation that I was getting more sleep and having a great time.  I didn’t realize it until we got home Saturday and realized just how thankful I was that we didn’t go to the Grand Canyon.  Was Branson as beautiful as the Grand Canyon?  Absolutely not!  Was it as awe inspiring?  Not even close!  However, the Grand Canyon isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.  There will be other opportunities for us to go visit there.  For this time in our life, Branson was where we needed to spend our vacation.   

The next time God changes your plans … remember … He knows what you need … let Him take you through it … and after all is said and done, you will see how God used you and how He brought you through.  Then you will be able to say like Paul, “I have run the race, I have stayed the course, I have finished the job” …

Stay faithful in your Branson even though you want the Grand Canyon …

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I Hate Running

image I hate running.   There is no way around it.   I just don’t like it.  I would much rather bike ride.  However, I ran for the first time in about 10 months this past Sunday morning.  Why you ask?  For a couple of reasons.  First of all, my church hosts a 5K every year in August.  Not sure why we choose the hottest time of the year to host this 5K, but that’s when it is.  I have ran it 2 years in a row. So, I started something I have to continue(if you are a OCD person or know someone who is OCD you know what I mean) on an annual basis.  Plus, I find myself gaining back some of the weight I fought hard to get off.  In order to help ensure I keep that weight off, I thought running would help.

Sunday morning was the first morning I started training for the Run With The Son 5K at GSFBC.  I started out doing real well.  I convinced myself I would go the entire 3.1 miles without stopping.  I was DETERMINED.  After the first mile, I was proud of myself.  So, I went into justification mode.  Since I was doing so well, I could walk for a minute and then pick it back up again.  That wasn’t smart.  Over the next 25 minutes, I justified walking a couple of times.

As I started back up to our house, I saw Arlyn walking.  She walked while I ran.  So of course, I caught up with her; walked with her for a minute and then went back to jogging so I could impress her with my great shape.  As I was running I couldn’t help but think about the correlations to the Christian walk.  It’s no wonder Paul used running as an example.

image

  Do you ever think of yourself as a runner as you go through the Christian life?  We start out at the beginning of our Christian walk on fire for Him.  We’re excited …. we want to tell people how He saved us … we attend church on a regular basis … we ask a lot of questions of other Christians … it’s new, exciting, fresh and fun.  Or, think of our life right after a major blessing or answer to pray from God.  We experience the same  emotions …. excitement, confidence, determination, etc. But then, we get tired.  When we get tired, we justify being “lazy for God” with all kinds of reasons.   The road is too steep …. I’m tired of being the only one …. surely, God understands and doesn’t want me to go to the extremes … insert your excuse here …

I didn’t pass out from my run Sunday morning.  I’m a little stiff … a little sore … but I can still function and still get around.  I’ll continue to train over the coming weeks and as time progresses, I’ll get in better shape; the runs will get a LITTLE easier and I’ll survive the 5K Run with the Son in August.  Then, I’ll look back at the time period and be glad I participated in the event.  I’ll see the good it did for me and I’ll be satisfied.

We can’t see the end result of living for God faithfully.  We can’t see the plans He has for us and how our lives will play out.  But, at the end of a trial or at the end of a struggle, we can always look back and see that God made us better and stronger because of what He took us through.  Then we can be glad He took us through the way He did because it made us stronger Christians; gave us stronger testimonies, and drew us closer to God. Plus, when we walk through this life living close to God, we lead our families for Him and leave a legacy for our children.  It helped me run better when I saw my wife and knew I had to impress her.  If we remember the legacy we are leaving our families, it will help us walk through difficulties.  We make them stronger and more apt to follow God when we serve Him faithfully.

Next time life gets difficult, remember, you are in a race.  God is on your side and He will carry you through.  Plus, He will use you to grow His Gospel.

Stay in the race …

I Corinthians 9:24-27

Hebrews 12:1

Philippians 3:13-14

Isaiah 40:31

I still think we need a Bike for the Son instead of a Run with the Son …

Anybody … Anybody???

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“I Go A Fishing”

Image

 

For some reason, I’ve had this saying in my head the past couple of days.  Probably because of the time of year.  Tomorrow is SUNDAY!  EASTER SUNDAY!  The day we celebrate the resurrection and ascension of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Simon Peter and ALL of the Disciples “forsook Him and fled” when the chips were laid out on the table.  When things didn’t go as planned, they ran.  They assumed Jesus would set up His Kingdom then and there.  They assumed Jesus would make them rulers in His new Kingdom then and there.  They had a different agenda than Jesus did.  When things didn’t go as planned, they ran.  

Just as Jesus promised, He ROSE AGAIN!  However, to the disciples confusion, He still didn’t set up His Kingdom.  He still didn’t nominate them as rulers in His new Kingdom.  Confused and frustrated Simon Peter says “I go a fishing”.  You can read about it in John 21.  I love the King James Version of that phrase.  You can just hear the frustration in his voice.  He’s tired of not being the first to know what’s going on.  He’s tired of not being included in the plan of Christ.  He expected to be ruling by now.  Well, that apparently is not going to happen.  So he goes back to the only thing he knows … fishing.  He’s done living for Jesus.  He’s going back to his lifestyle before he found Christ.

He goes out fishing and unfortunately, he has no luck.  He is a skilled fisherman and he can’t catch a single fish.  All the human experience; all the human strength; all the human knowledge; and yet, nothing helps him in this moment to catch fish.

Jesus shows up while they are fishing.  A very familiar scene to Peter begins to unfold.  He has a “deja vu” moment.  Jesus tells them to fish on the other side.  This time, instead of arguing with Jesus, Peter does what Jesus says.  You know the result.  The nets become full, overflowing and begin to break.  Peter doesn’t waste anytime.  He jumps in the water and heads to the shore.  

There Jesus and Peter have a very intimate conversation about where Peter is in his walk.  Jesus shares with him that His love and compassion for Him are still real.  Peter sees himself as Jesus sees him.  Peter sees his plan isn’t important.  Peter sees all that matters is Christ.

It is so awesome to see how Peter is used of Christ throughout the Book of Acts.  Peter becomes all Christ wants him to be.  Peter is responsible for thousands upon thousands coming to know Christ as their Savior   Peter is responsible for a young man named Saul eventually becoming the one who leads thousands of Gentiles to Christ.  

All this happened because Peter finally realized that although he didn’t understand the plan of Christ; although the plan didn’t follow the same time frame he preferred; although the plan didn’t provide all the human glory he expected; God still used him in a powerful way to spread the Gospel.  I wonder if he knew that 2,000 yrs later we would still be using him as an example of how God can use a man to lead others to Christ.  He is an amazing example of a proud man who became a humble servant for Christ.

There are so many things in our life that frustrate us.  There are so many things in our life that don’t go as planned.  There are so many of us that get angry when we don’t get the honor, glory and recognition we feel deserve.  There are so many times that our plan doesn’t match God’s plan.  There are so many times we just want to “quit on God” and go back to living how we used to live before we found Christ.

Can I just encourage you that God has a plan?  Can I tell you that He will use you if you allow it? Can I tell you that you can be “successful” in the Christian life?  It just takes us recognizing that God is in control; that God has a plan; that God’s plan is all that matters; and that God’s direction is the only one I should follow.

He is Risen!

He is Risen!

Image

He is Risen Indeed!

Happy Easter!

Image

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Put Out the Fire

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to go to Oklahoma City for work.  Arlyn and I spent the weekend there.  We arrived at a restaurant Saturday evening(Zio’s Italian(delicious by the way)). When we got out of the car to enter the restaurant we noticed a fire in a dumpster across the street by a business.  

Image

Like all good citizens, we went to get as close as we could.  It was a large fire.  As we got closer, we could hear the sirens of the firefighters arriving to put out the blaze.  We stood there and watched them work together to put it out.  Several other people arrived to watch with us.  Several cars stopped in the parking lot as well.  Then as you can see from the video, one of the engines finally blocked our view.  Since the show was over for us, we went inside to eat.

In the last several months, a lot of things have happened to cause us to ask the question why:

Shooting in a Theater in Aurora, CO

Shooting at a school in Newtown, CT

Superstorm Sandy wreaks havoc on East Coast

NYC Nanny stabs a 1 yr old and a 6 yr old 

Benghazi attack

37 Hostages killed in Alegeria

The list could go on and on.  In 2012, I found myself asking “why?” more than any other time.  Why has our country and our world gone so far off the deep end?  How did we get this far gone? I can only come up with one answer.  Because we as Christians have chosen to run from and water down the truth.  We have lowered our principles until there is no difference between the way we live and the way the unsaved world lives.  This past weekend, we ate lunch with some friends of ours.  The wife is volunteering to work with teenage girls who are pregnant and in difficult home situations.  She said most of them are raised in family situations where “abortion is the norm.”  She said it’s hard to teach them about abortion when their whole life, they’ve been taught something entirely different.  They don’t see abortion as taking a life.  They see it as what you do when you get pregnant.  We as Christians have tolerated sin and hid our heads in the sand for entirely way too long.  Now, the world we live in is crumbling around us morally and spiritually.  Sin is on a rampage like the fire in this dumpster.  

ImageThe only way this fire was put out was because a lot of firefighters from all over the city arrived on the scene and worked together as a team to put it out.  Plus, when it became a spectacle, they hid the fire from view so the team could continue to work together.  They didn’t allow “gawking, gossip”, etc.  

The only way we can see this world come to know Christ as their Savior is if we as Christians work together to be a witness to all those around us.  Instead of asking why this world is crumbling, I need to be asking, “Why aren’t I doing more?; Why aren’t I being a better witness?; Why aren’t I serving God to the best of my ability? and Why aren’t I avoiding gossip and slander and focusing on witnessing for Him?”

Who can you be a witness to this week?  Start praying for them today.  Start asking the Holy Spirit to open the door for you to witness.  When He opens the door; walk through.  It’s the only way this world will change.  When we decide to focus on God and God Alone.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

From Nothing To Everything

Image

Being raised in church, I have read the Creation Story hundreds of times.  However, about a week and a half ago, it was part of our SS lesson, so it was time to read it again:

The Beginning

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty,darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.”And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

Image

And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. God calledthe vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.

And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.

11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.

14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made two great lights—the greater lightto govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.

Image

20 And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” 23 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.

24 And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

27 So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.

31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

——————————————————————————————————————–

This time as I read it, something jumped out of me.  Did you catch it?  What did the earth start with before God was involved?  NOTHING  What did the earth end up with once God was done with His involvement?  EVERYTHING  

That got me to thinking … What was I before Christ came into my life?  NOTHING  What did I have going for me before Christ came into my life?  NOTHING  What direction was I heading before Christ came into my life?  NOTHING  Get the idea?  I lived for 42 years as a human being; lived for 37 yrs trying to convince myself and everyone else around me I was a Christian and yet;  I was NOTHING

When Christ saved me though, things changed.  My life that meant NOTHING now means EVERYTHING.  My direction that was going NOWHERE now POINTS TO CHRIST(that’s my goal anyway).  My life that had NOTHING going for me now has EVERYTHING going for me because Christ is in control.

I’m so thankful that I serve a God who never gave up.  I’m so thankful that I serve a God who gives me EVERYTHING when I had NOTHING.  What an amazing picture of salvation we see in the Creation Story.  Christ gives us EVERYTHING we need.  God rescued us from a life of NOTHING and saved us to a life of EVERYTHING.

Thank you God for saving me …

Image

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Is Having A Quiet Time Really Necessary?

About 6 months ago, I decided I was tired of having a tire around my waist.  So, I started using the “myfitnesspal.com” app as a tool to help me lose weight.  It worked.  I ate smaller portions(notice I didn’t say healthier) and started exercising on a regular basis.  Over time I was able to lose 21 pounds.  For the most part I’ve been able to keep the weight off.  Every now and then I’ll gain a pound or two and then lose it again a day later.  

Image

I did well until about two weeks ago.  Around that time, I quit entering all the stuff I ate on my app.  I started eating dessert for EVERY evening meal.  I also quit exercising as regularly as I had been.  Needless to say, I gained some of that weight back.  Just a couple of pounds, but for the first time since I lost the weight, I didn’t lose it the day after.  I started noticing when I got dressed on a daily basis that the clothes were tighter than they were a few months ago.  It caught me off guard.  I hadn’t really noticed the effect being lazy had on the progress I had achieved.

Over the last several weeks, work has been real busy.  Church has kept me real busy.  Sunday School; Worship Service; Sunday Night; Saturday Morning Bible Study; etc.  

Over the past several weeks, the routine of having a personal quiet time with God each morning; a personal prayer time on Sunday mornings; devotions with my wife several times a week was “explained away” with legitimate reasons.  Tired; busy; need to study; no time; etc. were all reasons I knew God “understood” not taking the time to spend with Him.  As long as I was “busy” doing some work for Him, that was all I needed.  You would think by now, I would have learned this lesson.  Apparently not.

Image

I found myself with a shorter temper with my wife; a shorter temper at work; constant exhaustion; less time preparing for SS; less time preparing for Men’s Bible Study and becoming an all around backsliding Christian.  I woke up one day and realized that I had become lazy in time spent with Him.  I realized I wasn’t living a life pleasing to Christ.  This didn’t happen overnight.  It happened because over time I began to be undisciplined.  I began to “gain weight” and live an unhealthy spiritual lifestyle.  

I realized I can’t control my attitude; temper;  etc. with my own strength.   I have to have God’s direction.  I have to follow His leadership.  I have to make Him first in ALL areas of my life.  That means I HAVE to spend time with Him.  I need a quiet time; I need a time of prayer; I need a time of devotions with my wife.  

Is having a quiet time really necessary for you?  I can’t answer that for you.  I would challenge you to ask God and see what He says.  For me?  It most definitely is necessary!  I can’t live this life on my own.  I need His strength; guidance; wisdom and love.  I only find that when I seek Him on a regular basis.

So, I’m back on the Spiritual Exercise Trail.  And on the Physical Exercise Trail.  After all; “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”  

I Timothy 4:8

Image

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Why Don’t We Witness

Tonight I went to dinner with my wife.  We went to Dixie Cafe.  Yes, give me a hard time.  What can I say.  We had a coupon and we love home cooked food.  The food was pretty good.  Too much food, but pretty good.  The “light dish” is still too much.

Image

But, that’s not the topic tonight.  If you know me, you know I’m a people watcher.  You can learn a lot from watching people.  Some things you are sorry you saw and sorry you learned, but not tonight.  There was 3 couples sitting across the room from us.  They caught my attention because one of the men had that kind of voice that carries across the room.  He was making jokes and everyone was laughing.  You could tell they were just enjoying themselves.  The waitress was enjoying talking to them as well.

Image

When the waitress brought them their check, the man handed her a small booklet, and asked her to read it when she got the chance.  He asked her if she had ever seen the end zone of a football game when someone raises a sign with “John 3:16” on the sign.  She stated she had.  He then told her that John 3:16 was a verse about someone’s love for us and she could read it in the booklet he had just given her.  She told him she knew about the verse, and that she was a Christian.  They had another two minute conversation that I couldn’t hear, and she kept the booklet and told him she’d read it.  

During this time, a man in military uniform came in with his daughter to sit down.  As the man who had witnessed was leaving, his wife handed a booklet to the young man cleaning their table and asked him to read it when he got the chance.  The man went over to the serviceman; patted him on the back and then thanked him for his service.  Then as the group was leaving, the man went to the waitress and asked her if the serviceman had ordered yet.  The waitress stated “no”.  The man waited until he had ordered and then told the waitress to give him the check.  The waitress rang the meal up.  The man didn’t tell the serviceman.

Image

As Arlyn and I were leaving, I walked up to the man and thanked him for being a challenge to me and witnessing to the waitress and the guy cleaning their table and for being a blessing to someone serving our country.  He introduced himself as George Anderson.  

As I watched this whole scene unfold before us, I was convicted.  Why don’t I do that?  Why aren’t I a better witness?  Why do we sit idly by and not share the gospel?  Why aren’t we willing to bless someone anonymously.  Aren’t all those things pleasing to God?  Isn’t that what God requires of us?  Aren’t we supposed to be Ambassadors for Christ?

Sometimes we’re too scared; sometimes we’re too busy; sometimes we don’t care; sometimes we don’t know what to say; sometimes we’re lazy; sometimes we’re afraid of offending; etc.  The list could continue.  You could add to the list of why you or others don’t witness. 

So, thank you George Anderson, for reminding me to do a better job of being a witness to those around me.  I wonder if the waitress at IHOP that we have had 3 weeks in a row now for Men’s Bible Study knows Christ?  Maybe it’s time I asked her and invited her to church.   Maybe it’s time for me to be a blessing to someone in uniform or just someone who needs a blessing.   It shouldn’t be about making a statement; or making sure someone knows what I did.  It’s just about being Christlike and being an Ambassador for Him.

I know I rambled a lot ; but ask yourself this question:

Why don’t you witness?  Consider starting … it’s what a Christian should do …

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

You Only Have To Be Nice To Christians

Image

Last night on the way home, I needed to stop by Mardel or Lifeway to get “Humility” by CJ Mahoney for our Men’s Bible Study.  Mardel was closer so I whipped into there.   The guy was very friendly(Mardel and Lifeway always are) and asked if he could help me.  I told him the book I was looking for and he called someone to the “Book Table” to help me. As I walked away from the front of the store to the “Book Table” I saw a lady with a shopping cart FULL of mdse headed to the cash register.  You can see the writing on the wall can’t you?  I should have left right then and there.

However, I walked back to the “Book Table” in spite of my misgivings.  The guy in the Book Section was also very friendly and helpful.  He looked up my book.  They only had one left.  Thank goodness it was on the shelf.  By this time I had forgotten about Shopping Cart Lady.  Once I got up to the Cash Register though; THERE SHE WAS.  The salesperson was PAINSTAKINGLY ringing item by item up for her.  Of course, they were all clearance items so he had to press extra keys to price override each individual little piece.  

Throughout the transaction, he kept making mistakes; ringing the wrong price; counting wrong the qty of each item; etc.  At one time he rang something for $400 which they both got a laugh out of and it took some time for him to correct the mistake.  Then at the end the total was $112.49.  The customer automatically doubted that was correct.  Surely not.  He agreed.  So they went over item by item on the receipt and sure enough … it was correct!  It’s just amazing I guess when you buy so many little things, that it still adds up … ha ha ha ….

You know me so you know what I’m thinking the whole time.  I work in retail.  You don’t do this to your clients.  You apologize to the people that are waiting on you; you are polite but you hurry with the current customer you have; you call someone to help you!  What a concept … Call Someone To Help Take Care Of The Other Customers!  As my frustration mounts a variety of emotions/thoughts run through my head:  “Put the book down and leave”  “Ask the guy to call someone else”  “Tell the guy to call someone else”  “Go find someone else to ring me up”  “Ask for the mgr”

Just about the time I get ready to do any of those I just listed, this nagging thought comes into play:  You’re at a Christian Book Store; the lady in front of you is probably a Christian and the guy ringing her up is a Christian.  You don’t want to make a scene in front of a bunch of Christians.  You’re a Christian … just be patient.  So, I stay there and seethe the whole time because I’m around Christians.

Image

It got me to thinking.  We’re always like that.  We always act our best around Christians.  We never let anyone see us lose our temper; we’re always politically correct(Christian Style); we don’t yell at someone; etc.  If a Christian is in the car with us; we don’t yell at the man who just cut us off; we just smile and say: “don’t you love Arkansas Drivers?”

Yet, when it comes to being around Non-Christians, we act however we want; whenever we want; we say what we want; etc.  We don’t have to put up a front for them.  They don’t know we’re Christians, so we can say; do; think; act however we want.  

Don’t we have it backwards?  Shouldn’t I be more concerned about the impression I leave with the unsaved instead of just the saved?  Doesn’t God have me here to be a witness to the unsaved world around me?  How can I be a witness to them if all I ever do is act like them; sound like them; etc?  Shouldn’t I stand out from them?  Shouldn’t they “take note that I’ve been with Jesus?”

So, the next time I get frustrated with someone at the store; gas station; work; neighborhood; etc, and I get frustrated a lot … remember … I work in retail.  I need to remember I represent Christ.  I am His Ambassador.  I need to act like His Ambassador.  Leave the petty stuff out of my life.  There’s no need for it and no room for it; if I let Christ fill my life and my heart.

Be Nice To More Than Just Christians …

Image

 

P.S.  When I told my wife this story, she said it’s ironic that I was buying a book on Humility at the time …

Irony, huh?  Whatever …

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Why Are You Here?

This past Sunday I was sitting in my normal section(like a good Baptist) waiting for the service to begin.  As I sat there waiting, Kristie Hawkins entered along with their two sons Caleb and Will.  They all said hi to me and took there seats.  After a few minutes Will turned around and started with this question:  “Why are you here?”  I looked at him, smiled and said:  “Well, I’m here to sing and worship God and listen to God’s message from Bro. Jeff.”  Then I asked him: “Why are you here?”  He thought for a moment and then said:  “the same.”  With that he turned around.

That thought permeated my mind that morning and has continued ever since.  Why do we go to church?  Here are some reasons I have thought of the past several days in no particular order:

-We’re desperate and looking for answers

-We’re supposed to

-We always have

-Our parents go

-Our friends go

-To find a spouse

-To find a girlfriend/boyfriend

-To find answers

-To find out the latest gossip

-To tell the latest gossip

-To sing in front of others

-To teach/preach in front of others

-So our children get good teaching and will turn out ok, because it’s too late for us

-To keep friends/family from breathing down our neck about being in church

-To worship God

-To get things right with God

-To learn about God

-To gain a better understanding of God’s will for my life and draw closer to Him

These are just a few of the reasons I thought of the past several days.  It is by no means an exhaustive list.  If we were to take a poll in churches across America about why they are in church, we would get a massive amount of different answers.  I wonder how many of those answers would be pleasing to God?

I can’t help but remember the song “Heart of Worship”.    I wonder if every Sunday, God’s Angels don’t gather around the throne excited about seeing God’s people come to God’s House and worship, glorify and honor Him along with them.  Only to be disappointed when they see how many of us sit in church and go through routine after routine of worshipping, singing, praying, taking notes, etc.

I don’t want to be the Christian that comes to church out of routine.  I don’t want to be the Christian that worships out of routine.  I don’t want to be the Christian who sings out of routine.  I want to be the Christian who meets with God every single time he walks into the House of God.  I want to have a heart that hungers for a close relationship with Him.  I want to be in church to Know Him more.

The next time you are in church, ask yourself:  “Why Am I Here?”  And be honest with your answer …

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Where Is God?

This past week, I’ve had to be at the airport a little earlier than normal.  This has allowed me the opportunity to see some beautiful sunrises.  God is such an amazing Artist!  To see the beauty He creates in sunsets and sunrises; in animals; in plants; in trees; etc, sometimes just overwhelms me.

Image

 

In our Sunday School class, we have started a series called The Gospel Project.  The first 2 weeks, we have discussed how God can be seen in every aspect of creation.  His presence can be seen; His power can be seen; His Love for mankind can be seen.  Everything about the universe we live in Screams THERE IS A GOD!

However, the world doesn’t really seem to believe God exists.  They may have some “idea” of who He is.  They may think He makes a great story; was a great man; is just like any other god or that He is a fairy tale.  Either way; the view of God is almost non-existent today.  The world wants God pulled out of the government completely.  The world wants any mention of God completely erased.  The world doesn’t want anyone educated about the things of God.  The world would just as soon ignore His existence.  The world defies us to show proof God exists.  

When tragedies happen like 9/11; or like what is going on in the U.S. Embassy’s around the world; or just daily heartaches people go through; the existence of God comes into question.  The world asks; “why would a loving God allow that to happen?”  It’s a valid question.  They don’t know God, so they have yet to learn of His love as David explains in Psalm 19:

Psalm 19

For the choir director: A psalm of David.

The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
    The skies display his craftsmanship.
Day after day they continue to speak;
    night after night they make him known.
They speak without a sound or word;
    their voice is never heard.[a]
Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,
    and their words to all the world.

God has made a home in the heavens for the sun.
It bursts forth like a radiant bridegroom after his wedding.
    It rejoices like a great athlete eager to run the race.
The sun rises at one end of the heavens
    and follows its course to the other end.
    Nothing can hide from its heat.

The instructions of the Lord are perfect,
    reviving the soul.
The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy,
    making wise the simple.
The commandments of the Lord are right,
    bringing joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are clear,
    giving insight for living.
Reverence for the Lord is pure,
    lasting forever.
The laws of the Lord are true;
    each one is fair.
10 They are more desirable than gold,
    even the finest gold.
They are sweeter than honey,
    even honey dripping from the comb.
11 They are a warning to your servant,
    a great reward for those who obey them.

12 How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart?
    Cleanse me from these hidden faults.
13 Keep your servant from deliberate sins!
    Don’t let them control me.
Then I will be free of guilt
    and innocent of great sin.

14 May the words of my mouth
    and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you,
    O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

I think the real question is not “Where is God?’ but “Where are we as Christians?”  We know God exists.  Not only do we see Him in creation around us; but we have a personal relationship with Him.  He walks with us and talks with us.  He tells us we are His own.  Yet, we choose to go through life without being a witness; without speaking of the things of Him; without living a life to His glory; without honoring Him in ALL we do.  We may attend church occasionally just for appearances sake, but we don’t really “take up our cross and follow Him.”  

While it is true the world can see God in all aspects of creation; it is also true that we still have a responsibility to live our lives for God both publicly and privately.  The world won’t question the existence of a God as much if they see Christ living in us.  When they see God manifested through us; they will believe.

Don’t ask: “Where is God?”

Ask yourself: “Where Am I?”

Image

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How Clean Is Your House?

We had 2 couples from SS over last night for Dutch Blitz and UNO.  The whole point of having someone over who has never played Dutch Blitz is to win.  Unfortunately for us, we got thrashed to the ground by a former “Blitzer” who picked right back up where she left off several yrs ago.  But, that’s not what this blog is about.  

Sunday afternoon what do you think we did in preparation for our company?  Yes, that’s right … we cleaned the house.  No, our house isn’t dirty and yes, my wife knows I’m writing about this(I asked permission).  However, it doesn’t matter how clean you keep a house, when you’re having guests over, you have to go back over and clean everything again.  It’s just a “rule”.  You want your friends to see your house at its’ best.  

I chose the bathrooms.  Yes, you heard right, I “chose.”  I’ll clean bathrooms and vacuum & mop floors all day long.  I just HATE to dust.  Dusting is useless in my opinion.   You dust and then 15 minutes later, dust in the air has settled down on top of the furniture again.  Thankfully for me, my wife loves to dust.  What a blessing!  So, she dusts and cleans the kitchen.  While I do the bathrooms and vacuum.

When you’re vacuuming and cleaning bathrooms, you have plenty of time to think.  The process we were going through reminded me of our Christian life.  We put our Christian walk on “cruise control” during the week and then Sunday morning(some are diligent enough to start Saturday night) we start “cleaning out our heart” in preparation for the time of worship; the sermon and the time of Sunday School.  We make sure we have devotions Sunday morning.  We have the “spirit channel”(Direct TV channel 826) playing the whole time.  Some of us have Charles Stanley preaching to us while we get ready.  We get all of our “sin forgiven” for the past week and do our best to focus on what God has for us that day.  Maybe the struggles are still going on in the car on the way to church(arguments over where to eat for lunch).  But as soon as we park the car and get out, the “Christian Face” is placed on and everything is going well for us until back in the car and on the way home again.  

Once Sunday is over, and we start the work week; school week; etc. the cleanliness of our heart isn’t a priority.  It’s not imperative that we have a quiet time.  It’s not important that we honor God in all aspects of our work.  It’s not relevant that we be a witness to those around us. Why isn’t it important?  Because we won’t be worshiping God until next Sunday.  As long as we aren’t going to invite Him to speak to us until then, we can keep our Heart “dusty.”  

Maybe we should quit worrying about “cleaning our heart” for Sunday worship.  Maybe we should focus on having that “clean heart relationship” with God on a daily basis.  I wonder what would happen if we kept our Heart clean?  I wonder what would happen if we had a daily quiet time continually?  I wonder what would happen if we honored Him in ALL aspects of work?  I wonder what would happen if we were a witness to everyone God brought into our path?  I can’t answer that question, because I haven’t got that far yet.  I’m still worried about focusing on Sunday cleaning.

How clean is your heart?

Image

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Men Don’t Need Bible Studies

Several weeks ago at a Men’s Conference, Steve Farrar challenged us as Men to meet together with a small group of guys on a weekly basis for the next 6 weeks.  I don’t know how many of the almost 1,000 men in attendance signed up for one, but I know that being the “good Christian man” I did my duty and signed up(Hopefully you noticed the sarcasm).  

Our very first one was held at Chick Fil A on a Saturday afternoon.  Look, if you want men to meet, you have to have food around or we’ll lose interest.  As we prayed over our meal and began to eat, a couple turned around and engaged us in conversation.  The wife asked if we were Christians and we stated yes.  Then the husband asked if we were having a Men’s Bible Study.  We again stated yes.  Come to find out, they are starting a church in Hot Springs, AR.  He stated to us:  “You don’t find many men who meet together.  Women have Bible Studies all the time.  However, men very rarely meet for any length of time.”  I know he’s right, but I didn’t think much about his comment at the time.

That was 3 wks ago.  So far, we have met three Saturday’s in a row.  I’m so thankful to Paul, Brant, Eric and Matt for the friendships we are building; the things we are learning; and the accountability we are creating.   I find myself studying more so I am prepared to discuss the Word with them.   As men, we don’t like to come in last in ANYTHING … even Bible Study comments.  I send and receive texts/emails from them on a weekly basis with words of encouragement or prayer requests, or more importantly, comments regarding football.

Why don’t we as men meet more?  Why don’t we have Bible Studies?  When they are available, why don’t we attend?  If we had a weekly meeting discussing OU football we would have no problem filling a house no matter what the time.  Okay, I know I’m one of very few OU fans in Little Rock.  However, if we had a meeting discussing Arkansas football or Bama football, or SEC football in general, all kinds of men would appear.  But for us to attend Bible Studies?  That would imply we need help.  That would imply we are not sure the next step to take.  That would imply we need God to direct us.  That would imply we can’t be in charge.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again … I struggle with God being in charge.  I like to make the decisions; have the plans laid out; point to the direction I’m heading and then ask God to bless it all.  It’s hard for me to step back, listen to God and follow Him.  But, I’m learning that if I want to accomplish anything for God, I have to let Him lead me and I have to follow.  Only then, can He get the glory.  Only then, can He get the honor.  

So, yes, I need a Bible Study.  I need a group of men as friends to hold me accountable.  I don’t know what the plan is after this 6 week Bible Study.  But, I’m so thankful for the impact it and the men have already had.  

And in honor of it being the first day of College Football:

Boomer Sooner!

Image

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Lessons from Southwest Airlines …

I traveled commercial the past couple of weeks(yes, I know I’m spoiled).  Have you ever flown Southwest Airlines?  You check in, but don’t get a seat assignment.  You get a lane assignment and a number.  I was fortunate all but 1 time to be in the “A” group.  Then you have a number from 1-60.  That is the order in which you line up.  Once you get onto the plane, the window and aisle seats are taken first.  Then the fun begins.

I’m a people watcher.  Have you ever watched people load the plane on a Southwest Flight?  The ladies(young and old alike) all look for other ladies to sit next to or older men.  They know that they’ll be “safe” that way.  The young guys all look for the lady that is attractive to them.  The older guys could care less.  They just sit anywhere. They’ll start-up a conversation with anyone.  It’s funny to watch the people’s faces as they go down the aisle looking around; knowing the aisle and window seats are gone; looking for that friendly face or the face that will ignore them.  They make quick judgements based on a look; a wardrobe; a culture; and yes a race of who they sit next to.

Last night, we got on the plane only to have to de-plane(don’t ever fly commercial with me).  When it was time to re-board, we were on the “honor system.”  So, we lined up again and boarded again.  This time several people switched seats.  Again, the looks people gave of relief; apprehension; nervousness; trying to find a seat was entertaining.

But, as I watched the scene unfold before me, I couldn’t help but think of witnessing to those around us.  You have young people who are freshly saved and excited about Christ.  They don’t care what you think.  They’re going to share the Gospel with you.  They actually think it’s cool if you look at them weird.  Older people don’t care, because they’ll talk to everyone.   They have the security of a long life under their belts.  They don’t care what you think.  They’ll just tell you about their life and about their God.

My generation, however, still has misgivings about witnessing.  We don’t want to offend people.  We don’t want to anger people.  We don’t want people to dislike us.  We also make judgements.  Just like people boarding a plane make quick judgements about why not to sit next to that person or why to sit next to that person.  We determine by age; race; culture; dress; etc. who we will witness to and who we will ignore.  Or, we determine it isn’t “politically correct” to be a witness.

How about this?  What if we lived each day to the best of our ability to please God?  What if we asked Him for an opportunity to share “His Story” with someone?  What if we just asked for the strength to include God in ALL areas of our conversation each day?  Then when/if God brought the opportunity to be a witness, we stepped in and was the “Ambassador” Christ called us to be.  Somehow I believe as we did this, it would get easier and more comfortable talking of the things of Christ.  Then we would be like the older guy who doesn’t care who he sits next to.  His Saviour died for him; loves him and he wants to tell everyone.

I’m not there yet … but that’s where I desire to be …

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

My Biggest Weakness Is Pride

We all have weaknesses.  I have a lot of weaknesses.  Do you have that one weakness that seems to reappear over and over and over again?  I do.  That weakness is Pride.  Just when I seem to “have it all under control” it arises again.  I would love to blame it on the Devil.  However, the truth is my sin nature enjoys being prideful.

Just yesterday, my wife told me that 2 of the wives in our SS class were going to be helping teach in the Children’s ministry and wouldn’t be in our class anymore.  I am genuinely happy and excited for them.  However, pride reared its’ head and I said to myself:  “We have a small class as it is.  Can’t God call someone else to serve?”  Then I felt guilty and moved on.

Then this morning at church, another couple told me(full of excitement) that they were also going to be helping in the Children’s ministry.  I told them I was very excited for them and would be praying for them in their new venture for Christ.  Those same prideful thoughts came back again.  “Seriously, God?  We just started this class; started making connections; started building relationships and you want to take away everything that has been accomplished?”

During prayer requests one of our members got up and shared how much this class has meant to him.  He told us that this class has met a need for him and his wife and filled a gap in their lives.  He told us attending church had always been difficult but that this class meant everything to them.

Yep … that shut me up.  I’m sorry God.  God reminded me it doesn’t matter the size of our class; who attends and who doesn’t; who is involved somewhere else and who isn’t.  What matters is that we build connections and relationships with those God brings into the class.  What matters is that we pray for one another and help each other in any way we can.

I don’t know if you struggle with pride.  If you do, just remember that God is in control and has a plan.  He doesn’t have to reveal the plan to us.  He will do it according to His time frame.  Our responsibility is to be available when God needs us to build a relationship and establish a connection.  Numbers don’t matter to Him.  Hearts are all that matter.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Big Decision

This is my first attempt at any type of Blog.  Therefore I don’t promise any cool stories; great knowledge; or powerful life changing testimonies.  I just promise to say what I’m thinking.

About 4 wks ago, I purchased my “ticket” to the Men’s Conference with Steve Farrar at Geyer Springs First Baptist Church.  I was told to wear this to get in to the conference.  I was also asked to wear it until the conference was over.

I don’t have time to put everything down that God taught me last night and again this morning. I can tell you that I heard from God.  No, He didn’t sit down beside me.  He didn’t ride in my car with me.  No I didn’t see Him visibly.  But He spoke to me.

He reminded me that He is in control of this universe.  That He places His choice in leadership positions.  That no matter how much this world worsens, I am to TRUST Him because He Is In Control.  I like to be in control.  I like to make the decisions.  If I’m going to “let” God be in control, He needs to give me a “heads up” on what His plans are for me and my family.  That kind of attitude has gotten me nowhere fast.  So, last night, I told Him; You are in control; Not Me; I trust You and I’ll follow you.

Today, He reminded me that my past doesn’t matter to Him.  Sure, there are continual consequences.  But, the mistakes I’ve made, He’s forgiven me.  I can’t dwell on them anymore.  I need to focus on living my life for Him.  I need to focus on being the right kind of husband to the Amazing Wife He has given me.  I need to be a Man for Him.

So, today, after the conference, I put my bracelet on my dresser.  This evening, my wife and I went out to eat dinner and see a movie.  For the first time in 3-4 wks, I didn’t know if I should wear my bracelet.  I have gotten used to having it on.  So, that was the decision in front of me.  

I put it on.  For how long, I don’t know.  But it’s a reminder to me of my promises to God last night and again this morning.  It’s a reminder that He is in control.  That I need to Trust Him.  That I need to focus ALL of my energy on being a Man of God and a leader of my family.  I have agreed to be a part of a Men’s Bible Study for the next 6 wks.  That will also help me be accountable.  

But, for tomorrow and next week; the bracelet stays on.  Thank You God, for using Steve Farrar to re-adjust my focus ….

Now, it’s up to me to “continue in the things I’ve learned” …

Image

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments