All posts tagged: truth

Dive In! The Water Is Great!

This past summer, I went to this place called Foster Falls, which is an eighty-foot water fall pouring into a swimming hole. When we arrived, there were a couple of guys at the top of the water fall ready to jump into the pool below. The first couple of guys jumped without hesitation, but there was this one guy who wouldn’t budge. You could tell he was scared! The guys who jumped were hyping up the guy. They were shouting encouragements, affirmations of the water’s depth, telling him it wouldn’t hurt, you name it. After a few minutes the guy at the top took the plunge, and when he resurfaced, he screamed with excitement. All the guys cheered hysterically! I believe this is what the church is supposed to look like. A lot of people aren’t too sure about this whole Jesus thing. They have seen people jump off the cliff through baptism, serving, or giving, but still they don’t trust the water. Is it true? Is there really freedom and forgiveness? Is it possible …

Are You Keeping An Eye on the Harvest?

My in-laws own a strawberry farm. They live in Gallatin, TN, so if you are ever passing through in the month of May, you should stop. There really is nothing better than popping a juicy, fresh picked strawberry into your mouth. It’s sweet and flavorful and you’ll never buy from a store again once you’ve had field fresh strawberries. Every year when the season comes around, late April to early June depending on the weather, we head up several times to help and enjoy the harvest. My girls love this time of year. They help at the selling hut and walk the rows with their cousins, showing people how to pick the best berries. The plants are always loaded with berries, but not all the berries are ready to pick. Each day new berries become the deep red, juicy goodness you are looking for and the girls are experts at picking the best ones. Sometimes people pick berries that aren’t ready and they have a sour experience. (Fun fact: a strawberry never ripens after you …

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 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 …

What Do You Know? Let’s Do Something!

A fine quotation is a diamond in the hand of a man of wit and a pebble in the hand of a fool. -Joseph Roux Growing up, G.I. Joe was one of my favorite shows. Partly it was because my name is Joe and I thought somehow I would be able to become one just based on my name.  And, sadly, I’m still waiting for the call. But I do remember watching the cartoons and watching all the Joes fight against Cobra Commander.  After they inevitably won every episode it would always end with the tag “and knowing is half the battle!” Growing up, knowing was the priority for me. I needed to understand why something was important before it became important to me. Knowing was the first step and once I understood, then I would act. I still like to extensively study something and know every possible piece of information about it before I act. I usually live my life by two poignant statements: “Life is hard; it’s harder if you’re stupid.” – George V. Higgins …

The Truth Will Set You Free

My family’s favorite holiday is Christmas. We enjoy the giving and receiving of gifts, but for us, it is much more than that. We love the experience: the music, movies, food, cooking, hot chocolate… Out of all these things, music has the greatest impact. We even have an unwritten rule about Christmas music: between January 1 and July 1, no one is to play more than a few Christmas songs in a row. After July 1, it is fair game. By Halloween, more often than not, Christmas music is in full swing. My boys have developed their own taste in Christmas music. One of their favorite songs is “Christmas with a capital C” by Go Fish with comedian Brad Stein. Stein talks about how we have watered down the Christmas season to avoid offending people. Listening to this song each year makes me think about the way we as people try to weaken truth. We try to make truth a concept that can be taken piecemeal. Take the phrase absolute truth. Isn’t it a redundant …

Valuable Life Lessons from Mom: Yes Be Yes

Did your mom say short repeatable statements that have stuck with you through the years? Maybe they were just silly little phrases like, “Someday your face will freeze like that,” or  “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” Growing up my mom quoted either the Bible or Benjamin Franklin. She would quote Franklin saying, “A penny saved is a penny earned,” “A place for everything, everything in its place,” “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” And she would quote the Bible saying, “Do to others as you would have them do to you,” “Trust in the Lord with all your heart,” “Let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’” These were simple phrases, but over time they shaped my character. James 5:12 says, “But most of all, my brothers and sisters, never take an oath, by heaven or earth or anything else. Just say a simple yes or no, so that you will not sin and be condemned.” This verse teaches the value of our …

Have The Wisdom to Trust And Follow

Wisdom… where does it come from? I had just graduated from the Fire Academy after months of rigorous and sometimes overly repetitive training. We learned to do the same simple task in the dark, in the heat, in a smoke-filled room, and under stress, over and over and over. But the one bit of information that was tattooed into our brains was, “Watch your Captain and do what he does and what he tells you without hesitation because he has the experience and the wisdom.” One of my first responses after training was a “possible gas leak” at a residence. As we got off the truck I began to follow my Captain to the back of the residence to investigate the issue, although there appeared to be no apparent emergency. He was several steps in front of me and as I turned the corner of the house I saw him running towards me. He was yelling something that I could not hear, but my Fire Academy training kicked in and I began to run also. …

Speaking the Truth Within Community

Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. – Ephesians 4:14-16, emphasis added One common issue our counselees express in Biblical counseling is the feeling of being stuck spiritually. These believers usually read their Bibles at least occasionally outside of Sunday morning and spend time in prayer, but still feel as if they are not growing. I have been in that place, and so have many of my friends and family members. Often times, the underlying problem is a lack of biblical …

Can You Hear Me Now? Listening with Intentionality

“Are you listening?” “Listen to me.” “Just stop talking and listen.” I feel like I will never stop telling my children to listen to me. And if they would take the time to listen, I wouldn’t have to continually tell them to close the door when they come inside, to put their shoes in the shoe bin instead of leaving them on the floor, and to not complain but speak kind words about other people. I know my kids hear me, but they aren’t fully listening to me all the time.  Listening isn’t just hearing what is said to you.  Listening is even more than hearing and understanding. Listening is hearing it, understanding it, and acting on it.   If I tell my daughter to brush her teeth every night before bed, she isn’t listening if she doesn’t actually do it.  When understood, listening should create in her a need to brush her teeth every night. James 1:22-25 makes this point clear for us as Christ followers: But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must …