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Showing posts from March, 2012

Body of Christ

The church sometimes gets a bad rap these days.  People complaining about hypocrites, always asking for money, blah, blah, blah. 

But I would like those complainers to have been present over the last week in Hesston, KS.  I am proud to be on staff at Hesston MB as our church body has stepped up in a big way during the recent tragedy that took the life of Garrett Spencer.  I have seen God use people to comfort, pray for, provide food, set up the church, put away tables and chairs, send cards/emails, make phone calls, provide music, do dishes, vacuum, clean windows--to name a few.  What a good testimony to what Pastor Brad has been preaching over this past month regarding transparent relationships. 

I know you don't want to take credit for it, but thank you!  To God Be the Glory!

Happy Birthday Mackenzie & Ed

This is a re-post from a year ago.

I didn't have time to write a post yesterday in honor of my beautiful daughter, Mackenzie. So, I am writing it a day late. While I am wishing "Happy Birthday" I will also say it to my college roommate, Ed, whose birthday is today. Happy Birthday to you both!

As I reflect on Mackenzie's birthday, I am reminded of God's faithfulness. I wrote a post two years ago describing Mackenzie's first days out of the womb. She was born at 35 weeks and spent 2 weeks in the hospital. As we looked at pictures, it is a reminder of the great care she received, but more importantly of God bringing her through a difficult time. Bethany and I are continually amazed at how God gave us peace despite Mackenzie's health situation.

I am so excited to see how God uses Mackenzie in the future. She is a true servant. She loves to help others and always considers others. She will go along with things to avoid conflict in the …

Flowers

Image
This is a picture of our new flowers blooming.  I love the colors and the different ways that God has created each of these flowers to grow.  Have I mentioned that I love Spring?

The one disappointment though is that in a few weeks all of these flowers will be gone.  Maybe some new ones will bloom, but these particular ones will be dead.  It reminds me of a verse from Isaiah 40:8 which says, "The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever."  We can trust that even though the grass and flowers wither and fade, God's Word will stick around forever.

Why not pick up the Bible today and see what God has to say to you today?

Everything Now, and More Coming

This is the title of Chapter 9 in Tchividjian's book, Jesus + Nothing = Everything.  He shares some important truths for us to understand here as well as for the future.  I hope this post is an encouragement of what is yours now.
"That's because the gospel isn't the first step in a stairway of truths but more like the hub in a wheel of truth.""The daily reality of the gospel is the reason we can enjoy and revel in the fact that "all the promises of God find their Yes in him"-in Christ. (2 Corin. 1:20)""It's all there for us--in his promises! Everything we need for life and godliness is there.""The gospel liberatingly declares that in Christ "we already are." If you're a Christian, here's the good news: who you really are has nothing to do with you--how much you can accomplish, who you can become, your behavior (good or bad), your strengths, your weaknesses, your sordid past, your family background, your educ…

Leave A Legacy

On Sunday, my message was entitled, "Leave A Legacy" based on Psalm 78:1-8. 

Here are a few notes from the message:
Legacy is defined as "something handed down from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past.  I started the message by asking what the legacy is of the following people: Bill Gates, Martha Stewart, Steve Jobs, Michael Jordan, Hesston MB & you.Community
Give ear or listen to the teaching (Hebrew word, Torah) passed down from previous generations.  Asaph, the author of Psalm 78, writes about the importance of passing down teaching to the generations to come.  I challenged us to not just sit and consume more and more and more knowledge without sharing it with others.  The point of Psalm 78. Brian Haynes writes, "As you learn to Pray-Teach others to Pray.  As you learn Scripture-Teach others Scripture. As you live Authentic Faith-Teach others to live Authentic Faith. As you Obediently Follow-Teach other to walk as Obediently Followers. As you Make Disc…

More Thoughts on the gospel

On Thursday, I was reading Chapter 8 from Jesus + Nothing = Everything by Tullian Tchividjian.  I highly recommend this book to everyone.  It would be good for Christians and non-Christians.

Here are a few quotes:

"Therefore, focusing on rules and regulations means missing Jesus altogether.""The gospel, on the other hand, always addresses the root of the problem. And the root of the problem is not bad behavior.""We tend to think of the gospel as God's program to make bad people good, not dead people alive. The fact is, Jesus came first to effect a mortal resurrection, not a moral reformation, as his own death and resurrection demonstrate.""Moral renovation, in other words, is to refocus our eyes away from ourselves to that Man's obedience, to that Man's cross, to that Man's blood-to that Man's death and resurrection!""if the focus is on what you must do instead of what Jesus had already done, it's anti-gospel." &…

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

For those of us in the Wichita area, I am seeing many comments on Twitter & Facebook about the need for the rain to stop.  It seems like it has been raining forever.  What adds to the frustration is that for many it is Spring Break and we want to get outside.  As I was drinking coffee & reading books this morning, God brought to mind a verse that might help brighten our day.  

"I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth." (Genesis 9:13)As we complain about the rain, let us remember God's promise to us via the rainbow.  Not only that He would not flood the whole earth again, but all of the promises of God.  Here are a few of them: He will never leave us or forsake us, He is with us always, He loves  us, He protects & provides for us, He has forgiven us, redeemed us, empowered us by the Holy Spirit. 

Hopefully these promises can brighten your day despite the rain outside.

Thunder Vs. Trailblazers

On Sunday, I had the privilege to take Mitchell to OKC to a Thunder game for a present from Christmas.  He loves NBA and the Thunder.  I looked forward to time with him, but I am not much of a NBA fan.  However, I must say I really enjoyed the game.  From the minute, we walked in the doors, it was an energetic and fun environment.  Then the rest of the activities going on throughout the game were entertaining and fun as well.  And the game was good too.  I usually critique the NBA because of lack of passion & defense.  I have to say I was impressed with the defense of the Thunder and how even their offensive threats still worked hard on defense.  I would definitely go again.  It was probably the most exciting professional sport's event I have attended behind football.

It was also a good opportunity to spend father and son time.  The 6th graders had just recently heard the "puberty & how babies are made" talk at school.  I had already taken Mitchell in October of …

Tchividjian's book is stretching me

As you know, I am reading Jesus + Nothing = Everything by Tullian Tchividjian.  It is a great book on the gospel.  For those of you struggling with sin (that's all of us, right?) and legalism, I encourage you to buy the book.  Ponder these quotes from Chapter 7 entitled, "Fully Exposed":
"In Christless Christianity, Michael Horton identifies "the regular diet in many churches across America today: Do more, try harder . . . The focus still seems to be on us and our activity rather than on God and his work in Jesus Christ.""In the Gospel -Driven Life, Michael Horton helps open our eyes to all that "in Christ" means: Paul does not say, "Be like Jesus." He says, You are like Jesus" . . .  It's easy for us to rely on the gospel for forgiveness and justification but then look elsewhere for our renewal and sanctification. However, Paul says that it's all there: "in Christ."Only after saying this does Paul then issue …

Working in the Yard

Today has been a great day so far.  It all started with all of the kids sleeping in.  That just doesn't happen that often.  It was good to get caught up on sleep too.  I actually feel I am caught up on sleep after the time change.

With the beautiful weather (minus the wind), I decided it was time to get some outdoor projects done.  So, I started by clipping down old growth from last year.  Realizing it would take forever by myself, I called in my very capable children.  They kept clipping and bagging stuff to take to the dump while I mowed the yard.  They were actually great workers and didn't complain!

After a few visits to the dump, we then started working on a corner of our patio that was sinking.  Mackenzie, Megan & Bethany did a great job and I think it will hold up for several years to come.  I was more of the muscle to carry the sand and dump when instructed.  We ended our outside work by planting some new flowers from Glenna. 

I love Spring!

Check back in the next …

Blessing Others

Whether you are a parent or grandparent or not, all of us can see the benefit of a blessing from someone.  I bless my kids every night at bedtime.  Why?  Because I love them and I want to remind them who God is and who they are.  For my oldest kids, I use words from Ephesians 1 about their identity in Christ.  For Molly, I use the familiar blessing from Numbers 6:24-26.  There are many great passages of Scripture you can use to bless your children, grandchildren, or others you come in contact with throughout the day. 

Here are a few great resources to help you better understand blessing others:
A Father's Guide to Blessing His Children by David Michael.  Available from Children Desiring God resources.The Family Blessing by Rolf GarborgThe Blessing by John TrentBedtime Blessings Set by John TrentSo, receive this blessing from me to you today:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Romans 15:13…

Let's Talk About Sex . . . with your kids

I have officially decided that starting next school year, I will be hosting a parenting class on how to talk about purity, puberty, sex, and dating at Hesston MB.  It will be for parents of 5th/6th graders.  It was prompted as I read through Passport2Purity by Dennis & Barbara Rainey.  It is a great resource and the class will walk through good resources to use to facilitate this discussion.  I don't know any topic that creates as much anxiety and fear as having "the talk" with your kids.  Hopefully, through this class, parents will become more at ease and not feel ill equipped to have an open conversation. 

So, what questions would you like me to answer in this class?
What resources would you recommend?

Meditations on the Cross

This past weekend, in my Sunday School class, we were looking at how Jesus came, died, and rose again.  We discussed how Jesus went against the culture's view of power, strength, & victory.  He chose to come and serve and die and rise again.  All of these are still difficult for us to understand.

Why did Jesus leave the comfort of heaven to come to earth?
Does Jesus really love me so much that He endured pain and death on the cross for me?
Did Jesus really want us to serve others rather than "looking out for number one?"
Can my weakness really be a strength?
What did Jesus' death on the cross achieve?

All good questions to ponder during this time of preparation for Easter.  I thought I would share a few Scripture passages and books to consider reading as you meditate on the cross during Lent.  Some of these I have read completely and others have only been read in part. 

Here are a few suggestions:
Matthew 26-28Mark 14-16Luke 22-24 John 18-20  1 Corinthians 1550 …

What's Your Motivation?

Right now, I am reading several books on the gospel.  It is interesting how each one is helping me better grasp the truth of the gospel.  Each comes from a different perspective, but have many overlaps as well. 

These books are:
The Gospel of Peace by James RichardsWhen Sinners Say I Do by Dave HarveyJesus + Nothing = Everything by Tullian TchividjianGood & Beautiful God by James Bryan SmithI think what all of them agree on is the need to understand who God is and who we are in Christ.  This truth is so important because that will then impact what we say and do.  Rather than participate in the "pendulum swing", they give a balanced view of love & holiness.  Both are important and when we respond to an extreme in either one, we do not have a Biblical understanding of God.

They also speak to our motivations.  Why are we serving in the church?  Why are we loving others?  What is our response when we sin?  All of these authors would agree that a heart change is essential…

Dealing with bitterness or unforgiveness?

Bitterness.  Unforgiveness.  Simple words, but hard to change.  Are you struggling with bitterness?  Do you need to forgive someone?  As I was reading The Resolution for Men by the Kendrick brothers this week, they shared some helpful thoughts and quotes.  I will share some of them below.
"Bitterness can hold any good man down.  Guilt can turn the mightiest men into cowards. Both of these spiritual burdens result from failing to respond wisely to failure--bitterness from not forgiving those who have wronged you, and guilt from sinning against God and others...without making it right.""Bitterness does more damage in the life where it is stored than the one on whom it is poured.""Forgiveness is pardoning a legitimate debt that is owed. Your forgiveness will not release them from the consequences of their sin. But it will release you from the burden, weight, and pain of having to worry about holding them accountable yourself for their sins.""Forgiveness …

Windy Day in Kansas

So, if you are not from Kansas, you might have missed out on the joys of the wind the last few days.  People have asked me if Hesston is windier than other cities in Kansas.  I don't know for sure, but I know that where we live (South Meadows), there are no trees to block the wind.  It seems to be be windier than other places I have lived. It was amazing to see what the wind did in our neighborhood--shingles gone, planters moved into the street (not plastic), trash cans blown down the street, etc. 

All of the wind got me to thinking about a truth of God's Word.  In John 3:8 it says,
"The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.  So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."This passage is a teaching about the Holy Spirit.  As I thought about the power of the wind over the last few days, I was reminded of our Sunday School class when we discussed the Holy Spirit as we read through Forgotten God�…