All posts tagged: repentance

Do What is Right, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly!

-written by Jean Daniel Do you have any scars? I have quite a few. I remember the first one I ever had was from a smallpox vaccination. As a child, those of us who had been vaccinated proudly displayed our “bad of courage.” As a teen, I was in an accident in a Volkswagen Beetle which, due to driver error (I was not the driver), slid onto its side and then flipped three times. Every time I look in the mirror, I still notice the faded facial scars that are a reminder of the wreck. They may not be noticeable to others, but I still see them. As I aged, there were several surgeries which left larger scars. Over time, all wounds have healed, but some left faded remnants. Likewise, emotional wounds require time to heal and some scars never fade. During my first marriage, which ended in divorce, I protected my teenage daughter from the painful facts of the marital problems, even though she was somewhat aware of them. When the marriage ended, she …

Are You Standing in a Flood, Mopping Floors?

I doubt this is true, but it sure struck a note with me when I read it. The story goes that years ago a certain mental institution devised a test to determine if a patient was ready to be discharged from its care. The patient under consideration was put into a room with a mop and bucket, and was instructed to mop up the floor. If he turned off the faucet filling an overflowing sink before he started mopping, he was considered sane enough to return to the mainstream of life. Over the last 50 years of ministry I’ve helped a lot of people mop up messes. Those who turned off the faucet first usually got their “rooms” cleaned up and livable again. But what’s really hard is not turning off the faucet (I’ve done that a thousand times). What’s hard is keeping the faucet turned off. I’m a lot like the Israelites of old. They would forsake the Lord; the Lord would discipline them by raising up foreign oppressors; the people would end up …

What Are You Trying to Hide From God?

My dog’s name is Roam. Roam is almost a year old Australian Shepherd. Australian Shepherds are actually one of the smartest breeds of dogs, making Roam too smart for his own good. One of Roam’s favorite things to do is to sneak socks and hide them under our coffee table. We usually catch him pretty early because we can hear him chewing on something other than his toy. When we look underneath the coffee table, we see Roam with a sock right next to his head and him on his back. He knows he is in trouble. He rolls on his back because he doesn’t want to face the punishment of his disobedience. Roam knows what he is doing is disobedient, he knows he is in trouble, but still he continues to sneak off with socks and chew them. He then has to face his punishment as we send him to “his room.” I think a lot of times as people, we act the same way with sin. We talk a lot about the grace …

Is Your Love The Enduring Kind?

We recently started our third round of our in house Biblical counseling training called Equipped to Counsel. It is really exciting to spend nearly a year with people looking at how God’s truth changes people. I know His truth has changed me and I’m sure you can speak of how it has changed you, too. One of the things that we try to get across to our trainees is the idea of sacrificial love, or agape love. We’ve been looking at 1 Corinthians 13:7 as part of our sermon series. One of the parts of that verse says, “Love endures all things” (ESV). The NLT says, “endures through every circumstance.” To be honest, I think this is one of the truths hard for people to believe in counseling. On the surface we believe it. “I can endure anything,” we tell ourselves. “I’ve been through childbirth,” or “I survived (fill in the blank).” But real, sacrificial, agape love endures every situation, no matter how hard, or what the consequences may be. When someone comes for counsel …

The Gospel has the Power to Drive Out Shame

Sin is ugly. Rarely does sin have only one consequence. More often, sin has a web of consequences. In John 4, we can see a few of those consequences playing out in the life of the Samaritan woman. First, the Samaritan woman came to draw water at the sixth hour, that is, about noon (v6-7). Why would anyone come to draw water at noon? The context seems to point to the fact that no one else was there during that time, except for Jesus. It’s speculated that the Samaritan woman came to the well at this time intentionally. She wasn’t coming to the well because she knew Jesus would be there, but likely to avoid shame she would feel in the presence of other people. There’s one consequence of sin—shame. Perhaps the shame she already feels is what led her to the well—all alone—at this hour. Sin also tends to separate us from other people. Whether we withdraw from community, or the community withdraws from us, sin can be found at the heart of this division. …

Are You Tailoring the Message of Jesus to the World?

To the angel of the church of Southern Hills write…. What would Jesus’ next words be to us as a church? I have been challenged by this thought in recent months after reading the book of Revelation. For a book so often thought of for its complexity and shrouded prophecy, I believe we Christ followers may fail to realize the blunt clarity of the first three chapters. We seem to read through them, looking forward to the drama of the later chapters and do not pause to truly consider these chapters which contain the personal letters sent, from Jesus Himself, to seven different churches. What would Jesus write to us specifically at Southern Hills (or fill in any church name)?   In these letters we call the Book of Revelation, Jesus describes Himself differently at each letter’s beginning and the reaction He intends to invoke from each church.  Read for yourself and observe the uniqueness of each letter, but in each one, His intent is crystal clear: the message matters to Christ, and we are …

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 …

Distracted by Spiritual Fat and a Host of Parasites

Florence Chadwick, according to Leadership Journal, was a brave and strong young lady. She waded into the cold waters of the Pacific Ocean on a July morning in 1952, to do something no woman had ever done—swim the twenty-six mile stretch of water between Catalina Island and the California coast. She was a veteran of long-distance swimming, but that July swim in the Pacific presented come terrific challenges: sharks were trailing her and had to be driven off several times. A fog then settled on the channel. Florence swam for fifteen hours before taking her last stroke. She was tired, cold, and discouraged. And she couldn’t see the shoreline. Shortly after being dragged into the boat it was discovered that Florence was less than a mile from the shoreline. Florence failed her challenge because she lost sight of the goal. As followers of Jesus, we have a goal set before us—being made into the likeness of Jesus (see Romans 8:29, 2 Corinthians 3:18). All-too-often, I get distracted and lose sight of the goal. God knows this tendency is …

Is Your Faith Authentic in a Season of Masks?

-written by Kyndel Pirkle For the past couple of weeks at school, we have been dressing up. From cowboys to crazy Hawaiian shirts; my personal favorite was pajama day. Halloween will be no different. I love dressing up and seeing all the different creative costumes and the face make-up that creeps me out, but can’t take my eyes away from it. Kids and adults alike will take this holiday as an opportunity to dress up as that one thing they resonate with. Halloween is fun because we get to look like someone else for the night. We get to wear clothes that would normally have people staring holes through us and make-up that distorts our faces. We put on masks that hide who we really are. This is often what we do when we put on our happy “I’m blessed” Christian face, even though we are the same sinful human on the inside. Our human nature is obsessed with covering up flaws and correcting bad behavior, but as we have read and heard, Christ is in the …

Are You Ashamed of Your Fear?

-written by Joe Bradley Recently I talked with my boss about the culture around most workplaces.  She brought up the fact that many times people operate out of shame and fear.  When a mistake happens the first reaction is to cover it up rather than trying to fix what caused it in the first place.  People are ashamed that they made a mistake and out of that shame grows fear that someone will find out about it.  One of her biggest desires for our workplace is to cultivate an atmosphere where people aren’t afraid to own up to their mistakes and help to make the process better for everyone. This conversation made me take a step back and think about, not just my life at work, but my life in general.  I’m honestly afraid of my shame.  It’s something that is very hard for me to think about, much less write about.  I don’t like being wrong.  I don’t like messing up.  But more than that, I don’t like for other people to know about it. So when I …