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Entries for the ‘Christianity’ Category

Don’t DUCK the Controversy

I just read a short piece stating that the icon has spoken.

Charlie Sheen takes on Phil Robertson by dropping down to basement talk and slinging ‘you’re a dumb redneck idiot’ talk on Twitter. Really! Charlie Sheen the poster boy for stupidity calling anyone else stupid and being taken seriously?

We are seeing 1 Cor 1: 27, “for God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise….’ come to life right before our eyes.

My take on that principle is exactly what we are seeing. The ‘wise’ in their own eyes will not accept true wisdom, but rather rant and rail based on their mind games they set up to help them feel ok in spite of overwhelming evidence they are really headed downhill on a runaway humanistic created theology headed for a cliff.

The evidence is everywhere. Today’s paper has an editorial from the editor of the editorial page about how the current pope doesn’t care about politics and closes with let religion stay where it belongs, ‘in church on Sunday.’

Well my Bible says just the opposite. My religion belongs on the street everyplace I go. It is part and parcel to WHO I am. It cannot be removed from daily life.

Phil is getting hammered for quite simply believing this very concept. Live according to Biblical principles because you truly believe them. He called sin a sin. This is simple yet profound, and not something the world wants to hear. Charlie Sheen says this is unforgivable. Really. It is just the opposite. This is the core of true love! It is calling white black and believing you just redefined colors.

Jesus came and said, “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand.”

He provided me a way to solve my main problem, living under the power of sin in my life. Sin that creates failure at all levels of life and even leading to death. Failure in every relationship, in every enterprise, and in basic functioning in a joyful satisfied way.

Jesus’ solution is not available until I understand sin and call it what it is; wrong, and my fault.

Once I get the great Ah Ha, sin is my problem and the source of all my problems; I now have a resolution to all these problems. Repentance!

But until the Ah Ha I was lost, foolish, darkened in understanding. I was smart, got good grades, lived a moderately successful life, but was inwardly miserable. I was doomed to ultimate failure over and over and over again. But unaware of my pitiful stupidity.

So is the way of the world.

Railing at something as simple as – here is a list of things God says are wrong. I love you and have a way for you to solve your issue. But I am God, not you. And you must solve your problem that you created, my way. Through Jesus’ payment of the penalty for doing wrong things. You must turn your desire to be a god over to the one true God. Accept the payment and you will be changed to a new creation, with a new life and eternal safety.

So the world rails at Phil.

It will rail at me.

It will rail at you.

But in taking our ‘religion’ and turning it into our witness of God’s love to us then taking it to the streets, we begin to change the world we come into contact with.

The world can argue theology, religion, church, and the right wing. But it can’t argue about the greatest message of all time, the changed life Jesus gave me and you.

We will be a force for change as we prepare the way of the Lord for His return. We will be a force for good and transformation of lives. We will be an occupation force on all streets, every place we go.

But we will also be railed against by those who don’t like the sound of ‘you are doing something God says is wrong.’

But we must say this because this is the core definition of LOVE.


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2 Religions

Here is my latest businessman theology.

In my view of the world there are really only 2 religions. ‘Code of Honor’ and ‘Agape’.

In Code of Honor religion, there is a list of things to do or follow. Depending on the Name of the CofH Religion, the list is different. If you fail the list, then the result is Shame. All CofH religions are ME based. How do I improve or live better, or get ahead? If I fail, I am subject to discipline that can procede even to death. But surely I will undergo shame from my peers.

In Agape the focus is outward; sacrifice, service, giving are terms used. Agape is true Christianity. Led by Jesus. I become part of Agape when I make a positive choice to follow Him. When I fail Agape, the result is not shame it is a restoration process centered around repentance, and on the foundation of Agape for one another.

There is a ‘Christianity’ that stays on the CofH side. Its terms and sound is a lot like Agape, but it is still a list filled with shame and me oriented. To move to Agape, I must do more than just affirm or acknowlwdge Jesus, I must truly Absorb Him through Faith as both Savior and Leader. I will see myself changed and starting to think and do things on the Agape foundation.

Now under Agape, I am changed into a new person. I am filled with the Holy Spirit and can hear and follow the voice of Jesus. The Holy Spirit will make the Bible come alive and lead me in daily choices. All things have become new.


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Christmas Letter 2011

To: Kathryn, Krisiti, Kimberly, Joshua, Matthew; Dennis, Rebecca, Grace, Emily; Zach, Taylor, Autumn, Emory, Mya; Marrisa, Byron, Jaelyn, Paxton;  Amanda; David, Jana, Nathan, Caleb, Sophie; Brian, Holly, Kaelyn; Nathan, Michel, Caelyn; Nathan, Kim, Kathleen, Nate, Josh, Adam, Carissa, Jenna; Kristy, Ray, Rayme, Joshie; Ed, Karen, Brian, Lisa, Tim, David; Matt

Dear Ones,

Adding me, this makes my 50 person prayer of Jabez daily prayer list. (sorry for any spelling issues, in my head I don’t have to remember the spelling). It started about 30 years ago when Kathryn and I heard Bruce Wilkinson teach on it, years before he wrote the book. It has been an almost daily staple since:
     

  ‘Bless each of us indeed, enlarge our borders, put Your hand upon us, and keep us from evil that it would not hurt us’


Over the years, as God talks to me, I add other pieces- sometimes the Lord’s prayer (as an actual request, not just a way to pray:)) – sometimes asking for His favor – sometimes adding others for a short season (like Matt Myatt while he is living with us, or boyfriends or girlfriends, or just my friends from work or church, etc.)

With this list I also have a list of daily attributes of God that I use to remember His glory (these I have written down since they can change each day- about 50 or so of them), and recently I am trying to remember people from the day before to start my day being thankful for them and my relationship to them.

All this to lead into; why am I writing a Christmas letter again after a few years taken off?

It’s Joshua’s fault. He said he talked to Kimberly and she was missing the letters (assume this is so, however there was that year when we got Missy on a Christmas eve waiting for pizza and he said Mom said she wanted a new kitty;-)

I stopped writing the letters when I realized I no longer had intimate knowledge of what was going on in each of your daily lives. They really were to help you remember your personal walk with God and Christian heritage. Kind of a personal old and new testament.

Then I saw Josh taking time out to write and print his letters this year, so I am blessed to see this tradition being carried forward. Not that it needs to be, but that each of your families have their own traditions to lay the memory foundation for each new generation.

This year’s letter starts a new tradition for me- I am going to try to share with you not so much what I see God doing in your lives, but what I see him doing in mine – to show you this spiritual journey we each individually start has no end………………………………

This year God took me to a whole new level of hearing His voice. Yes, I am hearing him speak to me cleared than ever before.

John 10 starts out talking about the good shepherd and His relationship to the sheep. It tells us he knows us by name and we not only hear His voice, we know His Voice.

Earlier this year Kathryn and I spent a few days watching our Nielsen grand kids. One day, I decided to take them for a walk. It was the opposite way from the day before. They were on bikes. Their previous day training of stopping at each street to be walked across was still intact. Good start at street one. Then as they took off in front of me and I was able to take my full time attention off Mya, I looked up and noticed (to my horror), not residential, but commercial driveways. A whole new level of danger for the young ones on bikes! So I sped up and started shouting. “Stop, Stop!” It was the end of the block before I caught up with them and by this time Autumn was crying. I had yelled at her. So I assured her I was not upset with her, just concerned for her safely. And whenever Papa used his Big Voice, that is all it is—concern for her safely, not being upset with her. It took about a half block for her to settle down and the rest of the trip went great, especially after stopping for some treats.

When we got back I was in a men’s bible study, when I heard the Holy Spirit at a specific point in the study say, “tell them about the Big Voice.” So after just a bit of inner argument, I did. Then He said to tell them, “That’s how I communicate with you. Sometimes I use my Big Voice, because I am concerned with your safety. Many times My Big Voice is circumstances to get your attention.”

For the last few years, I have been hearing God’s Big Voice. It started with difficulties in business/ job/ start ups/etc. and it included change in church, new relationships, and a new start up business; economics and finances not where I expected them to be at this stage in my life. But as my physical hearing has degenerated, my spiritual hearing has improved. As our personal finances have deteriorated, my abundant living has improved. As my ties to this world have been loosened, my expectations for His return are heightened.

Not sure if any of you are hearing His Big Voice or not, but I am also knowing his voice better as He opens up His word to me when I take time to meditate on it and ask Him what He means for me and those I love when I read it. Verses I memorized years ago are taking on new life. The Holy Spirit’s small still voice is getting a bit clearer. My believing friends are more willing to share with me. I can see Him in circumstances. All in all, I know His voice better.

And I know Jesus is coming back. And I know we each have a role in hastening this return, and it may be a bigger role than we can even now imagine.

And I know you can hear His voice and learn to follow it.

I am looking forward to 2012 with a lot of anticipation to see what God will be doing in all our lives.

Love you all

Merry Christmas—- And a VERY BLESSED New Year!!


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Missional Renaissaance by Reggie McNeal

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The Holy Spirit is moving on hearts around the world and it is exciting to see how the same vision is being expressed through individual lenses in slightly different ways. This is a wave coming on shore that will herald the coming of Jesus as He returns for His millennial reign. This wave is a radical reforming of what it means to walk with Jesus as a 24/7 marketplace Christian intent on personal and community transformation for God’s glory.

McNeal lays out a missional movement in which the church shifts:

1) from an internal to an external focus,

2) from running programs and ministries to developing people as its core activity, and

3) from church based leadership to community-engaging  kingdom leadership.

He states, “The movement founded by Jesus was largely a marketplace phenomenon, an organic connection among people who were experiencing a way of life together.”  This was not characterized by a set of religious activities layered on top of other interests but rather an invasion of all areas of life.

This will be a movement away from institutional church activities to incarnational living where we are continually being led by the Spirit of God.

Missional followers of Jesus do not belong to a church but rather are the church.

This is an great discussion of another face of marketplace Christianity where the very nature of “Church” as we know it will dramatically change.


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Radical by David Platt

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*****

Reading Radical by David Platt made me weak in my knees. This book  is both challenging and insightful. This is a quick read that gave me several ah ha’s.

A pastor of a large southern church, David discusses his personal journey in trying to match what he saw in his church and other US churches to the church he reads about in the New Testament. His conclusion is that the church in the US and American Christianity needs a wake up call; and this book is it.

I agree with his premis that the “American Dream” build on self reliance and bootstrapping oneself to success has clouded the vision of the Western Church and Christians. We have centered on Gods Grace without balancing it with God’s Glory.

One ah ha for me was the concept that God created us in His image, blessed us and then gave us a command to take His image which He placed in us and spread His glory around the world.  Applying this to my life, I need to be God’s image wherever I go and spread His glory everyplace my foot steps.

Platt sees the needs of the world around us as a target for us to address and bring Glory to God.

After eight compelling chapters, Radical concludes with The Radical Experiment, a call to a movement starting with each of us as individuals; “One year to a life lived upside down,” in which the reader is urged to commit to:

Pray for the entire world
Read through the entire Word
Sacrifice your money for a specific purpose
Spend your time in another context
Commit your life to multiplying community

This is a great way to launch us from this very practical and challenging book.


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Do Your Books Balance?

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 If your books don’t balance you can’t blame it on anyone else!

I was sitting at a local restaurant trying to read a book in preparation for a meeting and a guy at the next table kept talking to me. He was an old guy talking about this watch he found and trying to return it to get a few dollars, which he obviously needed, then went on to his Dad etc etc. He really didn’t care if I was paying full attention but I couldn’t help hearing him out of the corner of my attention.

Then out of the clear blue he said, “If your books don’t balance, you can’t blame it on anyone else!”

All of a sudden all my attention went to that statement. I’m not sure why, but it seemed so out of place and as I considered the statement, I realized how profound it was.

“If your books don’t balance you can’t blame it on anyone else!”

Of course this is true at face value, but as I meditated on the wisdom of this simple principle, I realized it can apply to a lot of areas of our lives.

How often do I blame circumstances, how others have treated me, or just plain bad luck when things are not going my way; instead of taking personal responsibility for choices and decisions that I have made that put me in the situation? A lot!

I am going to purpose to live more by this principle of personal responsibility so that I can take control over my circumstances, make better choices and actually have a positive effect on the future.

So just remember, when life is throwing you a curve….

If your books don’t balance you can’t blame it on anyone else!


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Everyone wants “something—-” but….

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Key Life Principle!

Everyone wants something, put whatever something is in this space, but no one wants to change.

There is a very basic law of life that is true for business, personal issues, spiritual life, everything.  What is it?

We have a God given power over unlimited opportunities to change and determine our future, from now as far forward as we can imagine… Its the Power of a Choice!

But… The consequences of choices are set – unchangeable – like laws of nature.

However , our problem often is we keep doing the same things, making the same choices and try to change the consequences. This is very important, so let me repeat…

We try to change our circumstances by trying to change the consequences of our choices instead of changing our choices! This does not work.

Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I think a lot of us operate in our daily lives on the edge of insanity.

So here is our takeaway..

We need to change our choices if we want to change our realities of life.

1) Be careful who you listen to. Don’t listen to fools/failures or you buy into their lifestyles.

2) If you have a goal or vision you want to achieve, pick someone who is successful at that thing and make the same choices they make, do what they do.


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The Power of a Positive Choice

While a little stressful to do something in front of people that you normally don’t do, my Father’s Day Message at our church proved to be a blessing.

I’ll boil the whole thing down into my central point:

We have an awesome power at our fingertips:

Our choices determine the outcomes in our lives, now and into eternity, either positive or negative.

(Sure some things happen to us we have no choice or control over,  but overwhelmingly the outcomes in our lives are based on our choices!)

We learned that God lets us be involved and choose what happens in our lives; blessings or curses.

Who in their right minds would choose curses?

We all do it every day by not using the Power of a Positive Choice in our lives.

God wants a personal relationship with us as our Heaavenly Father and the same is true for us Dads.

Making a Positive Choice requires right priorities.

God wants us to Choose His Presence (person) over His Presents (things).

The video attached is an example of my daughter’s family making this kind of positive choice. When I see something like this as DAD, it feels the same to me as the first time any of my children came running to me yelling Daddy, Daddy, Daddy. It warms my heart and delights my soul (the same way God feels when we go to Him!)

Then…

I shared one small example from my own life. My dad was much older when I was born. He was a product of his generation; the great depression and both World Wars. He never had any kind of emotional relationship with me and actually called me, “Big Dummy.” In 4 years of college I never got a letter, visit or even a phone call from either of my parents. This left scars I carried around for many years (maybe still do).

But when I was in my forties (my Dad died when I was about 30) my older sister said, “Do you realize how proud Dad was of you? He talked about you all the time!”

No, I didn’t realize that! And in fact felt just the opposite.

But my feelings were wrong! And I chose a curse instead of a blessing by not making a Positive Choice to believe in how God makes a Fathers heart toward their children instead of just listening to words and filtering circumstances through my own imperfect and self centered view.

Last week I had two different people share their life stories with me. One was abandoned at birth by their Dad and another a young lady told by her Dad at 15 he wanted nothing to do with her. In both cases The Power of a Positive Choice by these two people, resulted in blessings in their lives!

As a Dad myself, I now know better the heart of a Dad toward their children and how we may fail and even some of us may fail really bad. But I choose now to believe my own Dad loved me and really wanted what was best for me. What a blessing!

So we concluded with a time for all of us to make a Positive Choice and not ascribe wrong motives to our own Dads and if necessary to forgive our Dads for the things they did to harm and scar us.

And then Choose their Presence (person) over their Presents (things).

That is where the Power of a Positive Choice intersects with Blessings!

(I’ll make the message available online when I get a copy of it.)


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Fathers Day- Preview Daddy, Daddy, Daddy – The Power of a Positive Choice

God has given us an amazing power to make choices and to reap blessings as a result of those choices!

This is my closing video for my Father’s Day message next week at our church, New Hope Christian Fellowship (click on name for map). And my main point.

However, there is a lot More.  God has given me a very special message to fill in all the cracks that may be in our relationships with our Dads and with our Heavenly Father.

I will have the message recorded for those who can’t be there in person.

May God’s blessings flow out of your positive choices!


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My Utmost For HIs Highest by Oswald Chambers

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*****

This classic daily devotional has delighted Christians for a hundred plus years! And its revelations and wisdom never gets old.

Now technology helps me keep up on my daily reading, even when I am too rushed to read it during my morning quiet time.

You can get it delivered directly to your email each day and can therefore read it whenever you have a spare few minutes.

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\  /  MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST    —     http://www.heartlight.org/
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God somehow in his Sovereignty knows just want I need each day to use in my circumstances and seems to be just what I needed for that day!

Here is what one review on Amazon says:

“these profound thoughts were given by Oswald Chambers while at the Bible Training College in England, during the years of 1911 through 1914, and after his death in 1917 (while serving in Egypt during World War I) were edited by his wife, and later updated into modern English by James Reimann, who says in his introduction that the book is the “culmination of approximately 1800 hours of research and editing”, and the end result are words that flow and feed and sometimes pierce the soul with remarkable accuracy, to remind one of the way Jesus intended us to live.”

If you read this in combination with your Bible- you will find its a real change agent in your life.


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