Tuesday, May 27, 2008

End of school/Start of school

Sorry it has been a couple of weeks. We just ended our school year and that is a very busy time. Graduation was Saturday morning. I have meetings to attend this week yet. I started a new graduate class. This one is called Leadership Principles and Ethics. So far - nothing too exciting. My "baby" graduated from middle school and is now studying to get her Driver's Permit. That's enough to scare me and make me feel old.

I guess what I want to share today is how fast time flies. Be sure to spend time with the ones you love while you can. My child is becoming an adult so quickly. I wish I could have back some of the time I wasted when she was young. I would definitely have spent more "fun" time with her.

Psalm 144:4 "Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow."

Friday, May 9, 2008

Music Effects Me

Music has a profound effect on my life. There are lots of times I get a tune stuck in my head and I find myself going over and over it all day.

Today was a rough day. I had one of those "terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days." No matter which way I turned, I ran into someone who wanted me to do something else, fix something, or change something.

As I tried not to focus on the events of the day, but on God, He brought a song to my mind. "Word of God, Speak" by Mercy Me began to go through my mind, over and over again.

To be still and know
That You're in this place
Please let me stay and rest
In Your holiness
Word of God speak

What I realized was God was ministering to me as my mind focused on Him. The trick is you have to feed your mind these things so that when you need it, you can have it "pop" into your head and lift you up.

We have to train our minds by choosing to input truth into it. Listening to Christian music may help. Being in the Word of God daily will make a difference in your life. The Word of God needs to be in your mind and heart so that when tough times come, you react out of faith and trust in Christ - not out of your own flesh.

2 Corinthians 10:5 "We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ”

Romans 12:2 "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will."

Philippians 4:8 "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. "

Thursday, May 8, 2008


Today is my birthday. It really wasn't any different than any other day. I had to go to work early so my daughter could go to her chorus practice and I had to stay late so she could work with the stage crew to prepare for tomorrow night's Variety Show. I worked hard all day and I'm exhausted. I'm ready to go home and "crash". I was able to put the Braves game on the radio in the office this afternoon after school and they won. That was the bright point of my entire day.

I am happy to have another birthday because the only other option is death. You either age or you die; that would be the only choices.

I'm not feeling or thinking too deeply today. Sometimes I just get tired. I'm getting ready to start a new term at Liberty. My class starts on Monday. I'm taking "Leadership Principles and Ethics". I'm looking forward to another class but it is a lot of work.

I'm sure I will write a lot about what I am learning about Christian Leadership. The main thing I can think of today is that your walk better match your talk. No one will care about what you say if what you do doesn't match up. I don't know where I first heard this quote but "More is caught, than taught." Start with making your walk with Christ strong. Let others see what you believe in your actions. The idea from James that faith without works is dead.

I know this was kind of rambling today. I'll try to put something a little more coherent together for the next post. For today, I'm going to go celebrate my birthday!

Friday, May 2, 2008

The ball is in your court ......

Continuing with my thoughts from yesterday .....

I wrote about people not just making decisions for Christ but becoming disciples of Christ. This involves real repentance. Repentance is more than being sorry for your sin. Most sinners are sorry for their sins. I’ve done a lot of things that I was sorry about but being sorry never got me out of the problem. Repentance is more than being sorry. It involves changing the way we think about God and the way we think about sin. We have to choose to hate sin and love God. We need to see the pain and destruction our sin has brought to God, to other people, and to ourselves.

Repentance is a change of living, feeling, and willing. We choose to turn our backs to sin and choose to obey God. Repentance is seeing our sin for what it is – an abomination to God. Because of our sin, Jesus had to die. We helped to cause him all that pain. It is only when we see that our sin cost Jesus his life that we can turn away from ourselves and willingly serve God. Repentance has to come from the heart and has to produce a changed life.

Repentance has to be a work of the Holy Spirit in your life. We are blinded by our sin and the Holy Spirit gives us eyes to see areas that we need to work on. Only God can see into the very crevices of our heart. He knows what we really think and feel. He wants us to see ourselves as who we really are – selfish, angry, jealous, etc…

Peace comes when we get honest with ourselves about our sin and ask God for forgiveness. The Holy Spirit wants to convict us so we can repent and be restored. Don’t make excuses for sin or try to cover them up. The Holy Spirit sees all the crud in our lives and He brings conviction. He does anything he can to get our attention. Don’t ignore Him. Take responsibility for your sins and confess them. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9) If we truly repent and make a decision to live differently, He will forgive us and help us move forward. The ball is in your court …. and mine.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Happy vs Holy

I read a statistic lately that said that ¼ of the people who come to the Lord through a given ministry go on to develop their walk with God. We, in this current age, consider that to be a success. Why does this happen? Why do 75% of people who make a profession to Christ today not go on to grow in their faith? Why do people give up on their relationship with Christ? Why do they settle for so much less in their spiritual life --- less power, less love, less fruit…?

I think one reason is that we make the salvation message too easy. We have neglected to talk about repentance. It has become an option not a requirement for salvation. This is simply not Biblical. Jesus said in Luke 3, “I tell you … unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Peter spoke on Pentecost, “Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.” (Acts 2:38)

A lot of preachers today sound a lot different than this. Their sermons sound more like, “Do you want to be free of all your worries? Do you want to have joy? Do you want to get rid of all your problems? Then come on and receive Jesus. He’ll take care of everything.” For the sinner who is listening, he thinks, “Yeah, I want all of that. I want to “win” the trip – to heaven. All I have to do is say yes. It’s the deal of the century.”

So people answer alter calls. Someone leads them in a sinner’s prayer, they are handed a Bible, and they get a pat on the back. Congratulations. You are now a Christian. Did they ever once hear about repentance? Are we more interested in decisions for Christ than we are disciples for Christ? Have we made sure that the person understands the conditions for receiving forgiveness?

What happens to these people? They go home feeling great. For a day or so, they are happy. They may even read the Bible we gave them. Then things start coming apart. They have a fight with a co-worker. Their child gets hurt. Their dog dies. Their 401K drops in value. Pretty soon they are back where they started. They wonder where the joy is they were promised. Where are the blessings? God isn’t real. They may even turn their backs and walk away because they didn’t find that easy, happy life they were looking for. Why? It’s our fault. We didn’t tell them that the ultimate goal of accepting Christ has nothing to do with being happy every day. The Bible isn’t filled with stories of God making people happy. It is filled with stories of God making people holy. Holiness is a process. It takes time and it sometimes isn’t fun. We have to be patient and trust God. If we are, we will reap the benefits of His working in our lives. We may not always be happy but we will experience His love and peace.

This is a lot to think on. I want to give it some more thought before I go on. More on repentance tomorrow…….