Month: March 2017

Inconceivable! What Poison is Living in Your Heart?

Ah, the battle of wits between Westley and Vizzini.  If you don’t know what this is, stop reading and go watch “The Princess Bride” right now. At this point in the movie, the hero, Westley, challenges Vizzini to a battle of wits.  He presents Vizzini with some iocane powder which is supposed to be an odorless, tasteless, and extremely deadly poison.  Vizzini tries to figure out which goblet has the poison; would Westley put the poison in the glass next to him or the one in front of Vizzini?  After Vizzini makes his choice and picks one with poison in it, Westley reveals to Buttercup that Vizzini would have died either way because he put poison in both cups.  Westley had successfully built up immunity by slowly drinking a little poison at a time over several years. Now, from a medical perspective… that don’t work.  You can’t build up immunity to poison.  If he had really been taking small doses of poison for years he would have either already died or he would be frail and …

Don’t Avoid Your Fear, Jump Into The River of Doubt

Every summer I go with a group of friends to this place called High Rock. Our first trip there I had no idea what to expect. I thought maybe we were going rock climbing or maybe hiking up a small mountain, but that’s not what my friends had in mind. After driving down some rough back country roads, we reached High Rock. We parked the trucks and walked out onto a rock that overlooks a basin of water thirty feet below. I started to panic. I wondered what we were doing there until I saw one of my friends run full speed off the rock and disappear into the water below. My panic level was at an all-time high, but none of the guys knew it. I didn’t want to tell them I was scared of heights. I doubted the water was deep enough to slow my momentum and prevent me from smashing my legs into the ground beneath. I was full of fear and I refused to jump until I saw everyone else jump and knew it was safe. I …

This Week For Sunday

About a month ago I was made aware of an opportunity that I had been waiting for since Shona and I relocated here 2 ½ years ago.  We came here because Shona was recruited by Southwire for a position that was very exciting and one she absolutely loves!  I left a position that I loved and miss very much.  God was faithful and supplied a job here for me, but my eyes and ears were open for an opportunity to resume the career I had left and was passionate about.  And…here it was!!!! It was perfect; the desired qualifications were a spot-on match for my experience.  In fact, it read like they had written it based on my resume.  I just knew this was what God had for me and I couldn’t wait!  Except one small detail: it didn’t happen.  A “perfect” resume, glowing letters of recommendation, and the kind efforts of local VIPs on my behalf, and I didn’t even get an interview.  “What’s up with that, God?” I have been referred to by friends as …

You Were Made to Reflect God, to be His Image-bearer

Why do we exist? What is the meaning of life? Questions like these have sparked many conversations throughout human history. Ideologies that spring from such questions are rampant. I imagine that even members of the same family may have different answers regarding human purpose. I believe that our answer to these questions will determine the trajectory of our lives. According to the Westminster Catechism, the chief end of man is, “to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.” The catechism goes on to say that God directs us toward this path by the Scriptures. Glorifying God is not a cold, God-distant act. It involves the outpouring of our hearts to God, for God, and because of God. After all, the greatest commandment is to love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, and mind. We should not think about glorifying God simply as following a list of do’s and don’ts. In Jeremiah 32, the LORD starts to give Jeremiah some insight into the New Covenant, the covenant He was going to make with us, …

Parenting with the Heart in Mind

If you missed this past Sunday at SoHills, click here to catch up.  And I urge you to listen if you missed it, especially Shannon’s talk on parenting. He should write a book! When it comes to parenting children, what needs attention first, the heart or their behavior? I believe we would always lean toward the heart of a child being the most important, but their behavior seems to attract the most attention, especially when it comes to a parent’s reaction. We want to respond to behavior immediately before we really even consider what is going on in our child’s heart. Let’s be honest, it is much easier to react to behavior than to go after the heart. Attacking the behavior is an immediate fix. By all appearances, the situation has been resolved, control has been maintained, consequences have been distributed, and we believe “it’s handled.” But we often times miss something that is much deeper. Now, we can’t ignore the behavior.  Sinful behavior requires consequences, but when the consequences are a means to an end, we …

This Week For Sunday

Doubt is defined as uncertainty. When used as a verb, doubt is defined as fear. Satan uses this fear against us to try to make us believe that what we believe to be true is actually false; that Jesus isn’t who He says He is or He can’t really change our lives.  If you continue to allow your mind to wallow in these doubts, they will start to sound like the truth. However, scripture teaches us how to combat these fears by telling us what the truth actually is. Scripture teaches us that community is vitally important in the fight against doubt. If we isolate ourselves, the most obvious of lies will start to sound like the truth. On the other hand, if we open up to others and tell them about our doubts, they can help us find the truth. Scripture also teaches us the truth about Jesus. When doubt starts to take over our mind, it is easy to start to believe that our hope and strength is found deep in ourselves. However, …

This Marriage of Mine

Mine! Me have it! Me like it.  I really do like it! We hear these phrases a lot in our house.  Our sweet little girl that we are fostering has a unique way of asking if she can have something.  She doesn’t understand the proper way of asking for something is to say “Can I have this?”  or “I would like to play with this.”  She has a much more direct way of stating exactly what her heart desires.  She doesn’t want the potential to acquire these things, she wants these things to be her’s and that reality comes out in her words. I go through life believing that I have a much more sensible way of living.  I delude myself into thinking that because I use better grammar and a larger vocabulary I strip away that selfish desire of me. I got married because I love my wife. My marriage is between me and my wife. Mine! I want my wife to respect and love me. I want everyone to know I love my …

Godly Principles Are Powerless Apart From God

The critical question for our generation- and for every generation- is this: if you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ were not there? – John Piper Sunday, Shannon taught on Ephesians 4:17-5:20.  As Shannon said, we cannot read these verses without first remembering what Paul already said in the first three chapters. That is, if we try in our own power to keep the commandments listed here in chapters 4 and 5 but fail to love the Lord with all of our hearts, we will have gained nothing.  If my heart’s single greatest affection is not Jesus Christ, I must repent. Before I can do what God says, I must love what God loves and desire Him. In Ephesians 1 we …

This Week For Sunday

Two weeks ago we introduced a new song called “Worthy of Your Name.”  The second verse says: No ear had heard, no eye had seen The image of the Father Until heaven came to live with me A rescue like no other In the beginning, God walked with man in the garden.  Adam knew God’s voice and was so familiar with God, he knew what God sounded like when God moved in the garden (see Genesis 3).  But because of man’s sin, God had to separate Himself from man.  For thousands of years, while God was still involved, He was distant and at times completely silent. Then the Father sent the Son and suddenly God was near.  Man could touch Him, laugh with Him, and cry with Him.  Man knew the sound of God’s voice again and even the color of His eyes.  Christ was God in the flesh.  The Creator became the created in order to execute the greatest rescue mission ever told. Sometimes it’s easy to think about the followers of Christ and become jealous, …

Are You a Bruised Reed or Smoldering Candle?

The Apostle Paul reveled in the length and width and height and depth of Christ’s love—a love that embraced his highs and lows, his past and his future. That is the beauty of the Gospel—its ability to deal with all of life, from the cradle to the grave. Is it any wonder that Paul tagged it a “love that surpasses knowledge”? (Ephesians 3:18-19) That’s a beautiful thought, but I have a hard time accepting it. Maybe you do, too. I’m growing, but I still have relapses of loading up the truck with if only’s, what ifs, and now whats—regrets. The fruit of stupid decisions. The fruit of repeated mistakes. Truckloads of regrets that I wish I could unload and then just drive away. But, that just doesn’t seem right. And then I was shown a description written by the prophet Isaiah over twenty-seven hundred years ago. It is a portrait of the Messiah. Seven hundred years later Matthew found that portrait, brushed it off, and gave it to the world. He will not crush the …