9 Questions that no one is dying to ask

  1.  Why is it that “informed opinions” are so often misinformed?
  2.  Why are Small Groups usually led by an overweight man with a Southern Accent and a 3 pound study Bible?
  3.  Why do we call them Small Groups if we want them to grow?
  4.  If people don’t know you are witnessing to them does it still count?
  5.  Does giving someone a piece of your mind have any redemptive purpose?
  6.  Is it possible to die from a paper cut?
  7.  If your cell phone battery dies during Church are you allowed to plug it in to an outlet on stage?
  8.  Is it still a fanny pack if you wear it on your hip?
  9.  If we didn’t comment on an event on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr or Twitter, did it really happen?
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Convictions and Culture

I made a conscious decision several years ago to not address certain topics through Facebook, Twitter or my WordPress blog.

I have strong convictions about what I believe. Those convictions come from a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

But I am very uncomfortable with demonizing and demeaning those who respectfully disagree with my convictions.

As Christ-followers, if we want to be heard by those who disagree with our positions, we have to first be willing to listen to what they have to say.

As Christ-followers, we sometimes forget that the individual we disagree with, were created in God’s image also. 

As Christ-followers, we don’t have to use every conversation as an attempt at conversion either.

As Christ-followers, we need to learn that being disagreeable and judgmental is not a sign of spiritual maturity.

As Christ-followers, we need to learn to dissent respectfully and lovingly  engage others as Christ would.

A personal confession

Most of us do not need anyone to tell us that we are a sinner. Somehow we seem to know this without any help from anyone else.

As a single man I was very much aware of this.

When I married I became acutely aware of it. My relationship with my wife constantly revealed my selfishness, my vanity, and my bullheadedness.

Then we had children and I became painfully aware that my failings were being copied by my children.

An intelligent response would have been to be transparent with my children and share with them my struggle with sin. To share with them how to experience grace and forgiveness.

Instead I taught them how to live with shame and guilt.

Although I spoke of the unconditional love of Christ, I acted as if his acceptance of me was tied to my performance.

By inference, this is how my children believed I loved them.

It has taken me years to undo the damage that this caused to their self esteem and our relationship.

I am grateful for their forgiveness.

I am hopeful that someone will read this as a cautionary tale and take corrective action today.

Changing Culture

In the midst of a changing culture we have been given a wonderful gift,  the opportunity to redefine what Christianity is and isn’t.

Christianity is not about keeping a set of rules, but about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Christianity is not about shaming people for their failures, but allowing them to experience the freeing power of God’s grace.

As Christians, we have allowed the world to define us by our opposition to a changing culture. 

As Christ-followers,  we have always been a people who found our guidance and inspiration from the Bible. We will continue to do so.

What we believe,  as followers of Christ,  has not changed. But our attitude to the culture should change.  

We are not here to legislate morality. Or to convince people of their sinfulness and shortcomings.

We are here to show them Christ’s unconditional love – especially when we disagree. 

May God give us the grace to be loving, vulnerable, and authentic with a changing culture. Afterall,  this is the culture he died for. 

 

Dad’s favorite sayings

It was 26 years ago today that my Dad passed from this life to the presence of our heavenly father. I often find myself quoting things that Dad said. He’d probably be surprised how well I really listened.

Here are 26 things my Dad said to me.

1. It’s not just what you say that is important. How and when you say it can be just as important.

2. This is going to hurt me more than you. (Before I got a whuppin.)

3. If a man would have friends he must, first of all, be friendly.

4. There is only one perfect FATHER and I am not Him.

5. There are no small tasks in God’s service, only small men.

6. Someday,  when you have children you’ll understand.

7. Little becomes much in the Father’s hands.

8.  You’re not doing God any favors when you are obedient. You’re bringing health and healing to your own life.

9. If you ever doubt that God has a sense of humor just look in the mirror. Your doubts will be instantly eliminated.

10.  A little humility would do you a lot of good.(He was right!)

11. If you bring flowers home for no reason, you’ll never have to bring home flowers for a reason. (Dad actually never said this, but modeled the behavior.)

12. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

13. There’s nothing like your momma’s cooking

14. God doesn’t need you to judge others or to defend His reputation. He’s got it covered.

15. Don’t look back or the bear might catch you.

16. Don’t eat worms.Don’t run with scissors. Don’t stick your fingers in electrical sockets.

17. Concentrate on the main thing -Jesus.

18. Cherish God’s word, for in it you will find life and rest for your soul.

19. Character is who you are when people aren’t looking.

20. Behind every good man is a better woman.

21. Adam blamed Eve. Eve blamed the serpent. And the serpent didn’t have a leg to stand on.

22. If you don’t run with the dogs you won’t get fleas

23. Prayer changes things.

24. A gentle answer turns away wrath.

25. Your mom is always right, even when she is wrong.

26. No matter what you’ve done, you will always be my child. I will never stop loving you.

I think about numbers 1 and 3 constantly. They impact every interaction I have with others.

I am so thankful for the wisdom my Dad shared with me.

Tomorrow

Tomorrow I’ll finally lose that 30 extra pounds.

Tomorrow I’ll hug and smile at everyone I meet.

Tomorrow I’ll be on time for work.

Tomorrow I’ll take time to thank the people who have invested in my success.

Tomorrow I’ll finish the great American novel.

Tomorrow I’ll go to bed ontime.

Tomorrow I’ll say an encouraging word to a young child who needs it.

Tomorrow I’ll go back and finish my Master’s degree.

Tomorrow I’ll finally write my to list down and then someday I will actually start to work it.

Tomorrow I’ll buy school supplies for a child who can’t afford it.

Tomorrow I’ll sit and listen to the person everyone tries to avoid.

Tomorrow I’ll reach out to family and friends I’ve hurt or been hurt by.

Tomorrow is going to really full. Maybe I should start working on this list today.