Month: September 2016

Is The Prosperity Gospel Really Gospel Truth?

Working for a college ministry, I come into contact with all sorts of students with many different beliefs. When I take a closer look at those who identify themselves as “Christian,” I begin to see many differing views about God, the Bible, and Christianity itself. One of the more alarming views I see in many Christians on the college campus is what some have coined as the Prosperity Gospel. The Prosperity Gospel essentially says that God saved Christians so that they could have abundant lives. Believers of the Prosperity Gospel often quote Jesus from John 10:10 when he said, “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” On those statements alone, this belief sounds like sound theology.  But the reality is, this belief is an inaccurate view of the Gospel and shallow on multiple fronts. I could spend all day discussing this, but for the sake of this post, let’s focus on two main issues. 1. The Prosperity Gospel puts all the focus on the Christian and …

Poverty of The Heart

I don’t believe that one has to look very far to see what is missing. The evidence is everywhere and it is clear. No matter where you go in this world, there is one common missing element among humanity: the need to be loved. I was keenly aware of it during my first trip to Mexico in the summer of 2001. We were working in Matamoras, a city labeled as the most polluted city in the world in the late 90’s by National Geographic. You could smell the stench of human waste at every turn. We had traveled to the outskirts of Matamoras to feed children; it was a Thursday afternoon and it was hot. The dirt streets were cluttered with large gaping trenches made by semi’s that had driven through in the rain. It was this day each week that these children would get what they considered a gourmet meal; not the usual rice and beans, but burritos and enchiladas. I believe that the children looked forward to Thursdays, kind of like when we were young and we …

Responding to The Call to Love Orphans

I look at my children and I can’t help but feel an amazing kind of love.  Look at these faces: Before they go to bed I always make sure to tell them “You’re my favorite Jack,” and “You’re my favorite Sam.” I’m their father.  I love to say that.  I’m amazed and truly humbled that God has let me be their father.  I look at them every day and thank God for the opportunity to love them more.  I don’t know how to put into words what I feel when I look at them.  Everything I write just seems trite and incomplete. This past Sunday we heard about being good neighbors, specifically to the tremendous amount of children in our own city that don’t have families to love them, whether that be biological, foster care, or families made through adoption.  Even writing those words, my eyes start to tear up (I almost feel like Shannon!).  My heart aches to think of children with no one that can or will love them. God says in Psalms 68:5-6 that He is Father …

(The Rest of) This Week for Sunday

We live in a world and a media that is constantly trying to distance and separate the rich from the poor. And the more the distance grows between rich and poor, the harder it becomes to relate, and the harder it becomes to relate, the harder it becomes to love, and the harder it becomes to love, the harder it becomes to build relationships. And pretty soon it’s easy to judge and dismiss and, dare I say, think that we’re better. – songwriter Tim Hughes It is easy to think that we’re better than the homeless guy pushing his shopping cart of stuff down the alley.  But in 1 Samuel 16:7, the Lord said to Samuel, “The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  Jesus teaches in Matthew 7:1-2, “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be …

Reflecting on Who We Are in Christ

Words that mean a lot to me may have very little impact on you. The name “Linda Lovelady” brings a smile to my face (and makes my blood run hot). Those words may not resonate with you, but she is my wife; the one woman I chose to spend my life with. But if I say, “Nine eleven,” many of you will lean back in your chair and take pause as you reflect on an event that changed our world. We were glued to the TV, horrified at the pictures. Hours. Days. Weeks. Many of us can still see the gruesome carnage as if it happened yesterday.  We still bow our heavy hearts and heads in memory of those who lost their lives in the towers, the Pentagon, and the crashing planes. They had no choice. Work, circumstances, perhaps tourism caused them to be at the wrong place at the wrong time without any suspicion of the sinister forces that would snuff out their lives. But there were others. Firefighters, law enforcement, emergency medical personnel—all kinds …

Challenge: Look for Opportunities to Lavishly Love the Lonely

Jesus is known to be one of the most influential leaders the world has ever seen, yet He took the time to lavishly love the lonely. He spent time with sinners, ate with tax collectors, and spoke with those who were overlooked by society. Jesus was often criticized by the religious leaders for attending parties, talking with beggars, and was known to be friends with immoral people. Do you find yourself looking like Jesus or more like the Pharisees who questioned Jesus for hanging out with sinners? Here are 5 practical steps to help you look for opportunities to lavishly love the lonely. 1. Start your day prepared.  Zig Ziglar eloquently said, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” As you start your day, ask God to direct your steps. Request Him to put you in contact with folks who need to experience His grace. Petition Him to give you eyes to see the opportunities He places before you and ask Him to give you the words that the people need to hear. 2. Get …

This Week for Sunday

We’ve been having a hard time getting Levi to go to bed at night. He does everything he can to keep us in his room. It gets to the point where he’s screaming so loud that I’m waiting for a DFCS swat team to drop out my ceiling and lock us all up. August 23 was no different. Kelli and I put the boys in bed and Kelli stayed to get Levi to calm down while I started to work on a Bible study. Despite her efforts, he became more and more emotional. My patience ran out, I stomped into the room, and told Kelli to leave.  I throw my dominance and power around, I raised my voice, spanked him, and left him there to scream his heart out. I walked out of the room to hear my virtuous wife say, “He feeds off your impatience and frustration.” Then I said, “Well, nothing else is working.” I walked away frustrated at her, too. I went back to my Bible study and turned to Proverbs 16:32: Better to be patient than powerful; …

Make The Hike: Where Are You Going?

Two weeks ago we kicked of the 2016/17 Fusion school year with a simple, yet, massive challenge: “Make The Hike.” We desire for all our students to make some kind of movement forward toward God this school year. We want them to move and we thought the imagery of a hike illustrated this well. Before I start a hiking trip, I have to choose my destination. We asked our students, at the end of this school year, where do you want to be? What is the destination?  It could have been a “small step” or something huge that put them “miles” down the road.  The important thing wasn’t the destination, but that they had a goal in their minds, something to strive for. What about you? Where do you want to be in May of 2017? Do you want to start leading your family spiritually, start a Bible study at the office, serve within the local church or start a community outreach? Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ …