Month: February 2016

This Week For Sunday

From an earthly perspective, many say I’m a good father to my boys. While that does flatter me and make me feel good, in comparison to our heavenly Father I fall way short. There’s many times that I lose my patience with my boys. I’ve been quick to anger. I’ve lied to them. I’ve broken promises. I’ve taken my frustrations out on them. And there’s been several times that I’ve retreated because I wanted some peace and quiet. Our Father is always patient. He is very slow to anger. He never breaks His promises and He is always there for us. He never fails as a father. These are just a couple reasons why I love the song “Good Good Father.” Throughout the song I am reminded of His fatherhood to us and that all His ways are perfect. If you are a father, be encouraged knowing that you aren’t a perfect father but that you have one to model yourself after. If your father was slack and lacking, know that you have a perfect father …

Hungry? Feast on Bread from Heaven

For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” – John 6:33-35, ESV By design, our hearts have appetites; giant appetites. Our hearts will eat and drink of whatever they desire. When we wake up every morning, whether we know it or not, our hearts are hungry. So, what are you going to eat today? I wish I could say that I always eat of the bread of life. Some days, in the sinful nature of my flesh, my wicked heart craves filth. Before I know it, I look up and realize that I am eating from a trash can, spiritually speaking. And I know that rummaging through the dumpster is going to leave my heart hungry. Remember the Israelites in the wilderness? God gave them manna to eat. He described this …

We Believe in One God

While the Trinity is not mentioned as such in the New Testament, Paul certainly embraces it in 2 Corinthians 13:14 when he writes, “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” I’m sure Paul understood the intricacies of this doctrine; I don’t. But I do have some personal experience with the reality of this “God in Three Persons.” Let me explain by using a phrase that Paul used to color the Corinthian church: you are “acting like mere humans” (1 Corinthians 3:3 NIV); “ordinary men” (RSV); “people of the world” (NLT). Paul expected Christ-followers to behave differently from those who claim no allegiance to Jesus. I tried that for decades—to behave differently. It’s a good trick if you can do it. I couldn’t. And the result was a mixed bag of success, failure, highs, lows, pride over victories, shame over defeats, fits of passion for Jesus, fits of fatigue. Most of us don’t plan out our ordinariness. Most of us want to …

This Week For Sunday

Yesterday Shannon talked about how God is great and near.  This upcoming Sunday, we’re talking about why we believe the Bible is the inspired word of God. The Bible has a lot to say about who God is.  We see that God is merciful to us and faithful to His promises (Deut 4:31).  Our God is near and will never abandon us (Joshua 1:8-9, Matthew 28:19-20).  God fights for us (Joshua 23:3).  He can do the impossible (Luke 18:27).  He is our help in times of trouble and gives us strength (Psalm 46:1-2, Psalm 54:4).  He is peace and love (1 Corinthians 14:33, 1 John 4:16). But who do you say God is?  What do you believe about God? What we believe about God changes the way we live. Do you believe God is faithful to His promises? Do you believe God is near?  Do you believe and live like God can do the impossible? As you go about your week, consider if you believe what you know about God and how that changes your life on a daily …

Why Do I Do What I Do?

Have you ever asked yourself, “Why in the world did I just do that?” For many years, I would have told you that God cares about my heart-the intent behind my behavior. However, my functional theology didn’t line up. I spent time perfecting my skill of “image maintenance.” I worked hard to modify my behavior, all the while, neglecting to examine my motives. Jesus teaches, “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.”(Luke 6:45) While sitting at the Biblical Counseling Training Conference (BCTC) in 2014, I heard the words, “You DO what you DO because you WANT what you WANT!” When the speaker began to unpack that statement, I vividly remember the conviction I felt. “So, you mean I can’t blame my unholy behavior on my circumstances, my children, my ‘whatever else I can think of besides myself?’ But my image is being marred!” God’s word …

Parenting For the Good

Recently I noticed a shirt advertised on social media emblazoned with the quote “Mommin’ Ain’t Easy.” The first time I saw it I laughed out loud, because I can totally relate. Being a mom is not easy for a million different reasons. Some of those reasons are funny and others are much more serious. The underlying commonality behind those reasons is that they all must be endured. When you’re a parent, quitting isn’t exactly an option. A few months ago I ran my first half-marathon. It required a lot of mental and physical endurance. I had to endure heat, fatigue, and physical pain. It was hard! However, one of the things that helped the most was to focus on the end. I was going to finish one way or another even though at times it seemed like I may not ever see that finish line. Isn’t parenting like that? We know there’s a goal… a finish line so to speak. But oh my goodness, when you’re trying to convince your toddler that his burrito is not “too …

This Week For Sunday

Throughout our “Love Does” series we’ve hammered home the truth that love is a action. While emotions and feelings are certainly involved in love, it doesn’t end there. You know why love is ‘more than a feelin’ (Could you hear me singing that Boston classic? You should have.) Because our feelings lie to us. We don’t always feel like loving. We don’t always feel loved. But the truth is, we are. We are loved by Jesus. Regardless of whether you feel it. You are. I’m loving Jesus Culture’s new song “Fierce.” The chorus paints such an awesome picture of how God’s love moves into and surrounds us.   Like a tidal wave Crashing over me Rushing in to meet me here Your love is fierce Like a hurricane That I can’t escape Tearing through the atmosphere Your love is fierce God’s love is strong and overpowering. We cannot control His love.  We can’t outrun it, overcome it, escape it, or live without it. The same God who controls the winds and the waves loves you. Loves me! Sometimes …

Hope in all Seasons

Google defines hope as a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen, a person or thing that may hope or save someone, grounds for believing that something good may happen, or a feeling of trust. When I read the definition, every bit of what I love and believe about God tells me that He epitomizes this definition, and I’ll go as far as to say that it points to Him as the author. Paul writes in Romans 5:3-5: We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. I could write a book just on these three verses as they are packed full of wisdom and a deep love for the follower of Christ. I have had …

This Week For Sunday

When have you been totally overwhelmed with the love of Christ? Not His love for the church, the poor, the broken, or the lost.  When have you felt God’s love for you? Late one evening at band camp, I escaped to the practice field with my walkman.  God met me there in a way I didn’t expect and under the stars with Jennifer Knapp’s “Faithful to Me” on repeat, I felt His love for me. One week of summer church camp, I was with a group of students sitting on a hillside in Kentucky. On the other side of the valley we could see a lightening storm.  The sky was deep purple and through the clouds, you could see countless thunderbolts.  Yet where we sat, it was warm, peaceful, and still.  I was amazed at how good our God really is and felt His deep love for me. There have been countless times, standing in the back of our auditorium, that my eyes are brought to tears at the weight of His love and what that love cost my …

Changing the Perception of the Church

When the unchurched hear the word “church” these words generally come to mind: Hypocritical, Judgmental, Negative, Narrow-minded, and Intolerant. What if we could change that? What if this next generation instead thinks engaging, relevant, fun, and caring? In 2007 we began a partnership with Sharp Creek Elementary school hoping to make a difference in this community. Over the years, we have shifted our efforts to reach different needs expressed by the administration and then in September of 2013 we began teaching character education. Each month the students are excited to learn the new value and through creative, high energy skits we make learning entertaining. These kids are learning values such as compassion, self-control, hope, and contentment.  Now that we have been leading the kids through character education for a couple years, there are over 500 families represented that are more trusting of the church. These families know that we are for them and that we want their kids to succeed. When they go through a valley or are in need of help, they know that there is …