All posts filed under: Personal Growth

Are You Ready for Something New?

-written by Betsie Richards Here’s the deal… when I go to the nail salon, the decision of which color to choose seems like national security, level 9, life or death. I will stand there like a goober and ponder for a good ten minutes over which color to chose, talking out loud to myself about if this color will match this outfit or if it will last longer than another color. Heavens to Betsie (pun intended)… does this really matter?? I’m just going to pick the same red color that I pick 9 our of 10 times anyway. Why do we have a tendency to return to the same old thing? The same nail color, the same meal, the same sin? Is it comfort? Fear of change? Fear of being ridiculed by our friends and family? Sometimes, I think it’s because we truly don’t understand there is something better out there, something new. 1 Corinthians 2:9 says, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those …

Giving Grace To The Undeserving Spouse

He did it again. His wife is growing bitter as empty promises fill the room for the third time. “I won’t mess up again.” “I’ll do better.” “I’ll get help.” All words she’s heard before. Broken. Alone. Betrayed. Devastated. She begins to contemplate divorce. Reverse the roles and you end up with the same disappointment, the same hurt. I don’t think any other person has the power to hurt us the way our spouse can. As much potential as our spouse has to hurt us, it is also true that no other person on the planet can love us the way our spouse can. This has certainly been true for myself and my wife, Kyndel. We have both caused each other immense pain. However, the mountain tops are higher than any I’ve ever experienced. Matt Chandler, a pastor in Dallas, Texas, has said, “Love says: ‘I’ve seen the ugly parts of you, and I’m staying.’” What a powerful way to live out the gospel! Shannon hit the nail on the head on Sunday when he …

Exposed Disobedience, Timely Parenting, and Authentic Repentance

Parenting isn’t easy. Countless times,  I have found myself frustrated when the boys disobey. Let’s be honest, with a 5-year-old son and almost 4-year-old son, disobedience is a common occurrence.  Often it seems as though there is a streak of disobedience. No matter how many times we tell the boys not to do something, they do it anyway. It’s really a pain (sometimes I wonder if the troublesome thorn in Paul’s flesh was a secret kid he didn’t tell us about… maybe his son’s name was Thorn). However, there are times God uses my own mouth when speaking to my boys about obedience to speak directly to my heart. A few weeks ago, I had to discipline Liam for disobeying. It was one of those times when speaking softly didn’t work so well so I pulled out the stern, from the chest, oh-junk-I-better-listen-cuz-daddy-ain’t-playin’ kind of voice. Now I had his attention. I don’t remember what it was about, but after I said what I had to say, Liam said, “But I love you, daddy.” “I love …

Are You Rediscovering the Person You Married?

And being apart ain’t easy on this love affair Two strangers learn to fall in love again I get the joy Of rediscovering you Oh girl, you stand by me I’m forever yours, faithfully Hopefully, this song needs no introduction, and if you’re a child of the 80’s and 90’s you have no excuse. Let’s be real, we all transform into our own individual tribute-band when Journey comes up on our playlist. In the many times you may have listened to this song, have you ever caught the story? It’s the words of a husband to his wife in the midst of distance and unmet expectations. The lyrics go on to tell a story of renewed devotion, while not forgetting where they’ve been. The standout line for me has always been “I get the joy of rediscovering you.” Consider it great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. …

Stop Messing Up Something New In You

God wants to do something new in me. And I want Him to! The jungle is all-too-ready to overgrow and bury me during my careless times. I desperately need a pathway through the wilderness. I have built too many cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water (see Jeremiah 2:13). I know what a dried-up heart is like. I need some rivers of living water to flow through the dry wasteland. And the good news is God has already begun draining the deadness out of me and pumping new life into my parched soul (see Isaiah 43:19). Why would He do that for me? When I am haunted by this question, God, in His grace, firmly but gently drives me back to His love demonstrated on the cross. Milton Vincent, the author of A Gospel Primer, writes: God loved me so much that He was willing to suffer the loss of His Son (see John 3:16; Romans 8:32), and even more amazingly, He was willing to allow His Son to suffer the loss of Him …

Useful Advice From One Non-Parent to Another

Have you ever wanted to say something to a parent, but questioned how to go about it? Shannon recently reminded us that we belong to each other and have a responsibility to speak into each other’s lives (see Romans 12:4-5). It’s wise to accept biblical advice, but offering it to a parent can be tricky as a non-parent. So I asked a parent how I can give advice and it be received well. Here are 3 useful tips for us non-parents when it comes to talking to parents about parenting their kids. 1. First and foremost, offer support and often. Support can look like providing a meal or doing their laundry so they can focus on playing with their kids. Support is giving them a gift card to an activity they can do as a family. Support is watching the kids for an hour so the parents can have a break. Support is using your words to encourage and pray for them. How can you offer support to the parents in your life? So encourage each …

Are You Choosing to be Wise?

We have been studying 2 Timothy on Sundays for the last 4 weeks. As a pastor, I love Paul’s writings to Timothy. Paul gives him, a younger pastor, clear direction on what to do in his role. At the same time, he is giving us clear direction on how to live out the role of every believer. If you haven’t, I’d encourage you to read through 2 Timothy on your own. As we close this series, I’d like to focus on two verses: All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.  God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. – 2 Timothy 3:16-17 Paul understood that wisdom comes from one place: God. God has left us His wisdom in Scripture, written out for us to read, learn from, and live out. We know it is truth, and not just something that …

Are You Prepared to Take Immediate Action?

Paul finishes his second letter to Timothy with one last challenge: I solemnly urge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who will someday judge the living and the dead when he comes to set up his Kingdom: Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching. For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths. But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you. – 2 Timothy 4:1-5 Be prepared! Recently, I have been spending time at the police station with Carrollton’s finest. A common phrase I hear come over their radio is, “Stand by.” In a …

3 Helpful Questions To Improve Your Workday

Of the 31,102 verses found in the Bible, which verse comes to your mind more than any other? For some people, it might be John 3:16 as a reminder that God loves us and has a plan. For others, it might be Psalm 23 as they look to God as their shepherd and provider. Or maybe it’s Philippians 4:13 as you lean into God as your strength. For me, Colossians 3:23 seems to be a constant reminder that I live and work for God: Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. This verse impacts not only my workweek but also reminds me to offer the little daily tasks up to the Lord. A similar is found in 2 Timothy 2:15-16 where Paul writes Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth. Avoid worthless, foolish talk that only leads to more godless …

The Underserved, Reckless Love of God

On Sunday, Keith did a tremendous job of telling us about the story of David returning the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. I encourage you to read 1 Chronicles 13-15 in its entirety for a complete understanding. At the end, we find David celebrating who God is and what God has done for him and Israel. King David was “skipping about and laughing with joy.” (1 Chronicles 15:29) I’m reminded of the worship song Reckless Love.  The chorus says: Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found Leaves the ninety-nine I couldn’t earn it I don’t deserve it Still You give yourself away Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God I think this must have been some of what David was thinking as he celebrated the return of the Ark to Jerusalem. It had been staying at the house of Obed-edom because when they tried to move it before, they had disobeyed God and His anger burst out against them. But while it stayed …