Showing posts from October, 2009

Spiritual Getaways

Do you like to get away from home? Do you enjoy times when you can leave the kids with someone else and get away with your spouse? Do you love vacations? I know I love getting away from the routine of life every once in a while. So, do we also need a spiritual getaway? I would say the answer is yes. I am talking about a retreat with just you and God.

Today, I had the privilege of getting away for the day to Stutzman Cabin. I have been here three other times and I am blessed each time. You may ask, "Why are you blessed? Because I spend the whole day with our awesome God. No phone calls, email, books, or projects to be finished. It is just me and God.

What do I do for a whole day? Here is what works for me. It may not work for you, but you will never know unless you try. I start the day in praise and adoration. I read Scripture and sing my heart out to God. Today, I took by iPod and sang worship songs along with it. I have found it is very important to start my ret…

The Battle For . . .Finances

Let me begin by saying this is an area that I have a lot to learn. No, I don't need help balancing a checkbook or making a budget. I can do all of those things well. I understand money and numbers pretty well, after all, I was an accounting and business administration major at Sterling College. But I am talking about giving generously and being a good steward. I am talking about sacrificing stuff so I can have a balanced budget. Yes, I do have credit cards and no, I have not used them wisely at all times. Debt has controlled us at times. However, one decision that I will never regret was having Bethany stay home with the kids resulting in lower income. This decision has created some financial hardships for us, but they were worth it so she could be home with the kids. Finances are one of the areas many couples cite as one of the main reasons for their divorce. Money is at the center of many conflicts and disagreements in marriage.

Here are the lies we tell ourselves or S…

The Battle For . . .Evangelism/Service

Let me begin by saying that evangelism is not my spiritual gift. I know a dear friend who obviously has this gift. She shares Christ with people easily and without reservation. I am thankful for examples like her. However, even though, it is not my spiritual gift, I am still called to make disciples of all nations. So, know that as I write this I am writing it for myself as much as for you. We need to tell the world about Jesus (which could be overseas, but also more than likely across the street or in your workplace)! I also know that it is not just our words, but also our actions. Some people need to know they are loved before their hearts are opened to the gospel which is where acts of service come in. And even though I have them separate in the title of my post, I really believe they closely intertwined.

Here are the lies we tell ourselves or Satan yells at us about evangelism/service:
I wouldn't know what to say.Someone else will do it.They might ask me a question which…

The Battle For . . . Purity

One does not have to watch more than 5 minutes of TV to know that our culture has a flawed view of purity and sex. I cannot believe that I have to have a remote in my hand at all times during 7 p.m. programming on all networks mostly because of the commercials. We are very careful what we watch in our home and limit our TV, internet, and movie exposure. However, as a parent, we cannot ignore this topic, but must talk about it honestly and from a Biblical perspective with our kids at a young age. If we don't talk to them, someone or something will. It can be an awkward conversation, but who do you want teaching your kids about purity?

Here are the lies we tell ourselves or Satan whispers to us about purity:

At least I don't watch ______________________. (We compare ourselves to others and let that be our guideline.)
It only has a little nudity, swearing, etc. in it. It won't hurt me.
Flirting with my co-worker is innocent.
Looking at pornography as a couple will spice up our lov…

Quote to ponder

I just recently finished reading "Unfashionable" by Tullian Tchividjian. This is a good book with the following subtitle, "making a difference in the world by being different." It is all about the church not working so hard to be "cool" and instead be unfashionable. Here is a quote that Tchividjian ends the book with taken from "God in the Wasteland" by David Wells:

I want the evangelical church to be the church. I want it to embody a vibrant spirituality. I want the church to be an alternative to post-modern culture, not a mere echo of it. I want a church that is bold to be different and unafraid to be faithful, . . . a church that reflects an integral and undiminshed confidence in the power of God's Word, a church that can find in the midst of our present cultural breakdown the opportunity to be God's people in a world that has abandoned God. To be the church this way, it is also going to have to find in the coming generation, lea…

Family Worship focused on missionaries

We have decided that we are going to focus on a different missionary that we support or our church supports during our family worship over the next few months. As we share about how they minister in their country or in the United States, we are going to make cards to send to them for birthdays, Thanksgiving, or Christmas. For our teaching time, we are going to look at a particular character trait that we see in that missionary and talk about how it is important in our lives as well. I am excited about this focus and look forward to sharing how it goes. We have already talked about sacrifice and I plan to talk about being content on Tuesday night. Thank you to those who serve God as missionaries!

The Battle For . . .The Church

Obviously, I am an advocate for the church. I work for one and have been involved in one through most of my life. The longer I am in the church, the more I realize both the wonderful ways God is using the church in our world and unfortunately also the ways the church has failed. Let me begin by saying just because you go to church does not make you a Christian. Your salvation is not determined by church activity or attendance. However, the church is Jesus plan for reaching the world.

Here are some lies that Satan tells us in regards to the church as well as lies we tell ourselves:
You don't have to go to church, you can can worship at home.The church is full of hypocrites so I should not go.
I am a Christian because I go to church.If someone hurts your feelings, just find another church.I must have my life together to go to church.I can pick and choose what I like about several churches and get what I need from them (i.e. children's, youth, adult, prayer, men's/women's mi…

Book Review For Shift

I recently had the privilege to read the book, "Shift" by Brian Haynes published by Group Publishing. I picked up the book while attending the D6 Conference in September. It was one of the first books I had to start reading. I highly recommend the book to those who minister to children, youth or families. Brian Haynes offers a practical and helpful strategy for equipping parents.

As someone who graduated from Denver Seminary with a degree in Youth and Family Ministry, I have always known the importance of involving parents in youth ministry. I have a heart and passion for helping parents pass on their faith to their children. I have tried many things over the years to help in this area, but many have not been long term. This is why Shift is an excellent resource. Shift talks about 7 Milestones that people naturally progress through over time. Each of these milestones are things most churches already celebrate so it is not just adding more things to an already busy church cale…

Family Worship on the Beatitudes

We have recently just finished learning about the Beatitudes with the kids during family worship. I thought I would share a few things that we did. This is probably more for my information so that I can go back at a later date and see what we have done. Some of the words were hard for the kids to understand as well as the concepts. However, I hope our attempts at making them more understandable will impact their hearts and attitudes.

We introduced the topic by heading to Mt. Hesston (a hill used for sledding in our town) one evening. You can see a previous blog post about some of the details from the night. However, Bethany reminded me that I forgot to post how Molly did not hesitate to go up the hill "for worship" instead of playing on the playground. We sat together on the hill and I read Matthew 5:1-12. We talked about how the Beatitudes are attitudes that we should show in our lives.

For those new to my blog, here is what we do for family worship: one of the kids will star…

The Battle For . . . God's Word

Have you read the Bible today? I love starting my day off reading God's Word. However, I don't always get it done. To me, it is not just checking something off my list to be more spiritual, but instead how I stay connected to God. As the Holy Spirit guides me, verses jump off the page to encourage and convict me. I don't understand how people can say that the Bible is not relevant to their life. I am blessed as I read through the pages of Scripture.

Here are some lies that we say to ourselves or Satan puts in our minds:

It's too hard to understand.It's boring.It has nothing to say to me about my current situation: singleness, marriage, parenting, purity, sex, etc.It was written thousands of years ago and is not relevant to the 21st century.It is not really God's Word.It is a bunch of great stories, but does not include absolute truth.It is full of errors.The authors of Scripture had their own bias and agenda.The Bible contradicts itself.I don't have the time …

The Battle For . . . Prayer

This post is one that is very important and personal to me. I have been blessed and powerfully changed by prayer. Prayer is conversation with God-both speaking and listening. When spending time with God, we are impacted and changed. I have grown a lot in this area over the years. I love spending time in prayer. I love praying with and for others. Prayer is powerful! Prayer changes things! Then why don't we pray more?

Here are the lies that Satan tell us and what our flesh says in regards to prayer:
Your sleep is more important than prayer.It really doesn't make any difference. God is in control and He has already decided what is going to happen-so why bother praying?Others are more gifted or experienced in prayer so I will let them focus on prayer.I don't have the time.I don't know what to say.I am unworthy and could never approach God in prayer.I love taking my lists to God. (Prayer is not just about us-it also includes adoration of God, confession, thanksgivi…

The Battle For . . . Parenting

Parenting is hard work. I am so thankful for my wife who I get to parent alongside of. Single parents have a difficult task doing it alone. No matter our situation, God has called each of us parents to this noble calling and task. Parents, today look at your kids and let them know how much you love them and appreciate them.

What lies do we tell ourselves or does Satan whisper to us about parenting?
For Dads, as long as we are supporting our families financially, we can leave the nurture to mom.Our goal in parenting should be happy, successful, intelligent kids.Spending time with my kids is not that important; they are resilient and will be fine.How I treat my spouse does not affect my parenting.It's about about behavior modification.Disrespect to those in public (teachers, coaches, etc.) is worse than disrespect at home.I need to have a well rounded kid so I get them involved in several sports, music, drama, etc.It's not important that I am there for meals and bed times.Mom &…

Highs for the Week

I haven't posted my highs for the week lately so here I go:

Sunday Night Prayer MeetingDebriefing from D6 ConferenceLeading Children's Church last weekD6 Dads on Tuesday and WednesdayWednesday afternoon off and staying home with Mitchell so Bethany could go to WichitaReading at the PerkGetting trained to mentor at the elementary schoolLunch with my wife on TuesdayPhase 10 with kids while Bethany was at a meetingFamily Movie Night on FridayGame of Sequence with the kids and Bethany on SaturdayEveryone healthy againSpending time with my small group studying Visionary ParentingQuiet Times when I didn't hit the snoozeMy new blog series

The Battle For . . .Marriage

I hope you are enjoying the previous posts in this series called The Battle For . . . Today, I want to look at the battle for marriage. No, I am not talking about constitutional amendments. I am talking about husband and wife staying committed to each other. For those who have gone through a divorce, please don't mistake my comments as judging you in any way. I don't know your situation.

However, what I do know is that over 50% of marriages are ending in divorce. That is way too many! This percentage is not that different between those who attend church and those who do not. As a family pastor, I want to be there for couples who are struggling in areas of their marriage. It saddens me to see people turn to everyone except the church when they are going through marital problems. I am praying right now that we as a church would be a resource and help to those facing struggles.

Here are the lies that we tell ourselves or that Satan whispers to us about marriage:
He/She doesn't r…

The Battle For . . .Quiet Times

So, anyone who knows me well knows I am not a morning person. I do not like getting out of bed. I always use the excuse that I am one of those people who needs a lot of sleep. However, I also know that my day gets off to a much better start if I wake up at 5:45 or 6:00 and spend time reading the Bible and praying. I know that I need to spend time alone with God to grow in my relationship with Him. We all know that for a relationship to grow whether it be parent/child, boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife, friend/friend, etc.--we must spend time on that relationship. The same is true with God. So, why is it so hard?

I thought I would share some of the lies that I tell myself or that Satan whispers when it is time to get up and spend time with God:

You had a long day yesterday, just hit the snooze one more time, you really need your sleep or you won't function well today.I am so warm right now. I will freeze if I get out of bed right now.Just hit the snooze one more time, you will have …

The Battle For . . .Series

I was thinking about what to blog about today. Then an idea popped into my head. Was it God or just me? I guess I will let you determine that as you read the series of posts I am going to begin today. As I was hitting my snooze button this morning, I was reminded about how sometimes I "battle" to get up and spend time alone with God. Why is that? Stay tuned. I plan to write about that battle in an upcoming post. Then I began to think about other areas in my life where there is a "battle". Sometimes it is spiritual warfare and other times it just me and my flesh.

The following verses also came to mind as I thought through some of these areas.

John 10:10 says, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy." Satan wants to destroy us and steal our joy. Satan will do whatever he can if it will destroy our walk with God, our relationship with others at the church, and keep us from sharing Jesus with others.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 says, "For …

Prayer Meeting

I wanted to write how much I am blessed each time I gather for prayer with others. I know many people think, "Why do I need to go to a prayer meeting at church? I can just pray at home." And I agree you can pray at home, but God does amazing things in His people as we gather for prayer.

As I was reflecting on our prayer time at Hesston MB this past Sunday evening, I was just blessed. Why? Hearing others pray always is a blessing to me. I learn from others as they pray out loud. I hear people's hearts and passions as they pray for specific things. I see people with very different backgrounds and personalities united in prayer for others and for God's kingdom to be advanced.

I obviously work for a church and should say how important prayer is. However, I can sincerlely say that it is through my personal times of prayer as well as prayer with others where God has worked the most in my life. It is amazing how taking what I heard in a sermon on Sunday or a conferen…

Super Saturday

Well, I haven't posted much about my family lately so I decided to write about my great day today. The day started early, but included a good breakfast at the Senior Center. After getting things set up for Coming Home Weekend on Main Street, I headed to my kids' soccer games. I was so proud of Mitchell as he scored his first goal for this year. He was so excited! The girls had a great time playing too.

It was also good spending time with my parents and a little time with Bethany's parents. Mitchell, my dad, and I went to the football game last night. It was a boy's night. Mitchell ditched us pretty quick and we finally found a seat in the stands by the 2nd quarter. It was good to talk with the family at Applebee's before heading to the game. It was also great to see Steve and Shirley. It was too short of a time with both sets of parents this time.

Back to Super Saturday-I enjoyed being on Main Street and watching the kids have fun on the inflatables and ot…

New Song That I Really Like

As I contemplate what to write today, I keep singing the words to a song that I learned at the D6 Conference. The conference as I have written before was great teaching, but it also included really great worship. The song is called, Here in Your Presence. I hope the words are a blessing to you today. If you want to hear the song, check it out on You Tube.

Found in Your hands, fullness of joy
Every fear suddenly wiped away here in Your presence
All of my gains now fade away
Every crown no longer on display, here in Your presence
Heaven is trembling in awe of Your wonders
the kings and their kingdom are standing amazed

Here in Your presence, we are undone
Here in Your presence, Heaven and Earth become one
Here in Your presence, all things are new
Here in Your presence, everything bows before You

Wonderful, beautiful, glorious, matchless in every way
Wonderful, beautiful, glorious, matchless in every way
Wonderful, beautiful, glorious, matchless in every way

My First Family Night at Hesston MB

Last night, a dream of mine (and many others from Hesston MB) came true. We had our first Family Night at Hesston MB. The purpose was for the family to come together for a meal, fun, and learning together. Our regular ministries to children and 5th/6th graders were canceled and replaced by Family Night. Thanks to Edna Decker and her wonderful team of ladies for the great food! Thanks also to Tony for setting up and for Josh getting me sound at the last minute.

I was very pleased with how the evening went. As families arrived they prayed and ate together. After everyone had finished eating, I led them in a song to get them moving. I used Go by Seeds Family Worship. Then I used a resource called "Family Friendly Ideas Your Church Can Do" published by Group and we used the one titled, "As For Me and My House". During this time, families made a baton for their family. All of the details are in the book. After each family had made a baton, we had some relay r…