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Showing posts from February, 2014

5 Parting Shots From James 5

1. The words you use to respond to suffering or success are a reflection of your heart. Is your heart full of yourself? Do these experiences cause you to turn to God? 2. You can always choose to speak positively. 3. Setting ourselves apart for God's service is extremely difficult but extraordinarily important. 4. If you want to know what God's plan is for you, pay attention to how He answers your prayer. 5. Confession without repentance is like a Twinkie without the cream filling. It looks good on the surface but it's really just sticky and hollow.

5 Reasons You Should Be More Generous

You can always give without loving, but you can never love without giving.  ~Amy Carmichael 1. God’s creation was GENEROUS. Instead of just creating a functional, mechanical world; He gave us an amazingly creative, colorful, complex yet simple world. The variety and beauty of creation is a constant reminder of God’s GENEROSITY. 2. The most beloved characters in the history of the world are those who were viewed as GENEROUS by their contemporaries. 3. The hero of every story is the one who GIVES AWAY for the good of others. 4. The best meal is one that is prepared by a GENEROUS chef (delicious is important, but useless if you only get two bites) 5. The single greatest act of all time was the GENEROUS gift of life, given to us by God through His Son, Jesus. Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his deed.  - Proverbs 19:17

5 Guidelines for Healthy Disagreement

Have you ever found yourself in a discussion with someone who refuses to listen or have a civil conversation? It doesn't matter if they are right or wrong, they don't convince anyone because of the manner in which they debate. Sometimes we need to disagree with people. When those moments arrive, consider these 5 Guidelines for Healthy Disagreement: 1. Be Gentle, not harsh. 2. Listen well before you formulate your answer. 3. Weigh your answer, don’t immediately gush. 4. Give answers that reflect Scripture. 5. Don’t endlessly debate with a fool. These guidelines came as the result of studying this topic in Proverbs. Below are some of the verses that helped inform these thoughts: Proverbs 1:28 - “Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me. Proverbs 15:1 - A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:28 - The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked

9 Character Traits of God Worth Remembering

On Sunday, we talked about James' statement that God is "compassionate" and "merciful". Of course, He is also much more than that! Check out these thoughts from a prayer in Nehemiah 9 which remind us of several more of God's character traits. While you patiently wait for God to act on your behalf, use these to remind yourself that He is indeed compassionate, merciful and much more! \ God is sovereign -- "You alone are the LORD" God is faithful -- "You have kept your promise because you are righteous" God is a savior -- "You divided the sea before them, so that they passed through it on dry ground, but you hurled their pursuers into the depths, like a stone into mighty waters." God is a provider -- "In their hunger, you gave them bread from heaven, and in their thirst you brought them water from the rock" God is forgiving -- "But they, our forefathers, became arrogant and stiff-necked, and did not

10 Pieces of Advice for Every Young Person (and old person!)

I came across these tonight. They are from my study of 2 Timothy a few years ago when I was preparing for a Family Camp at Barakel.  They seem to be fairly relevant for today… Don’t ever be ashamed of doing the right thing. Don’t ever be ashamed of doing the thing God gifted you to do. Don’t ever grow tired of doing the thing God gifted you to do. Be very ashamed of following the wrong pursuits. Be very ashamed of following the wrong people. Finish the race. When you are absolutely positive about who you are, it is no longer embarrassing to act like yourself. If you are not content to let people think you are wrong, you will embarrass yourself by pursuing silly arguments. Embarrassment for Christ’s sake is far better than popularity for my own sake. A Christ-centered life will never bring me shame.

Just Sit Down and Let Jesus Do His Thing!

"Have the people sit down " (John 10:6) This was Jesus' response to the disciples doubts about Christ's ability to feed the crowd. Jesus had told his disciples to find enough food for more than 5,000 people who had come to hear Him teach. Andrew had found a small amount of food, but wasn't sure it would do much. The disciple's were stressed that they could never find enough food to feed everyone. Jesus' simple response to have everyone sit down was all that was necessary. Sometimes, we're so busy running around that we don't allow Jesus to do his thing. We are, like the disciples, doing everything we can do to "make things happen", but we don't realize that things will happen when HE MAKES THEM HAPPEN! This command is a good reminder to us that it is good sometimes to simply sit and be patient. Take some time to just sit down and allow God to do His work in you.

Learning Patience from Aaron Rodgers

Patience is a big theme in the Bible. We touched on it last Sunday, and we'll focus more on it this week. I wrote this nearly six years ago. Brett Favre was still a Packer. Turns out things worked out okay for that "discount double check" guy... My advice for Aaron Rodgers? Poison Brett Favre's food. Just kidding. I feel for Aaron. I really do. It would appear that the Green Bay Packer organization has made a decision that it is time for Rodgers to step up and replace Brett Favre. He's been waiting for this day patiently since he was drafted several years ago. After being a highly touted college QB, he's quietly taken the back-seat, watching, learning, waiting until it was his turn to shine. The coach and team executives have made it clear that the future rests in his hands, but it's been a long time coming. Finally this year, Favre retired and Aaron prepared to take the reigns. Now it looks like he may have to wait again... and even if he does

The Walking Dead is the Story of Us All

The Walking Dead is back! For nearly four seasons the show about animated corpses who pursue only their most basic needs has ruled the cable airways. This show is not for children. It is also not for those with a weak composition... But there is something in the Walking Dead that is worth considering... We are all walking dead. Romans tells us that every person is dead in their sins, unable to pursue righteousness, slaves to our most base passions and desires. We are, in a sense spiritual zombies. We live and walk and talk, but we are most certainly dead. But God, who is rich in mercy, has made us alive. Just as He breathed life into Adam and named Him "man", He has breathed life into us and named us "new man". No longer are we spiritual corpses, we have been clothed in righteousness and made heirs to the kingdom. We have been given the Spirit and the ability to desire and pursue that which is wholesome and right. How does this happen? How are the dea

Killing Jesus - Should Christian's Read It?

Bill O'Reilly is not the first person I would turn to for a theological exposition on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. However, his recent book, Killing Jesus , has soared to the top of the charts (#4 on New York Time's list as I am writing); so I felt it was probably worth a read. Since I've spent a great deal of time on the road recently, I purchased the audible audio version and listened to the book (narrated by Mr. O'Reilly himself!). Perhaps the greatest compliment I can pay the book is to say that my son Liam enjoyed listening to it. As we loaded the car for an hours drive home, he asked if we were going to listen to more of the Jesus book. "It's pretty interesting" he said. If a freshman boy finds your writing "interesting", you've at least accomplished something. I have a firm policy that I don't finish books which I'm not enjoying or which are not beneficial. I would rather start a new book that has potential

Was Jesus God?

The Son of God movie will open in theaters February 28. Producer Roma Downey says this about the movie, “We hope audiences leave theaters feeling they know Jesus more and also that they are reminded of how deeply he loved us,” she said. “This is a big, epic sweeping film — an exciting movie and sometimes a tense movie with intense drama and real danger.” Beginning in March, my teaching series will correspond to this movie as I'll be addressing "The Truth About the Son of God." I'm looking forward to this series in which I'll discuss the reliability of the Gospels, the significance of Jesus' teachings and why the resurrection matters. For now, I'll be occasionally posting some tidbits which introduce the topic... Did the men who wrote the Bible believe that Jesus was actually God? In the decades immediately following Jesus' ascension, it was a foregone conclusion among his followers that He was God. However, just as we don't randomly insert th

13 Books Every Christian Should Read

Every so often people ask me to recommend books to them. I know you haven't asked, but since you're here; I have a recommendation... Here are 13 books I think every Christian should read. They cover a wide variety of topics with a little added emphasis on the church, because, hey... you can't be a follower of Christ without the church! 1. The Bible . I know, that's a "duh", but you have to start somewhere. 2. Foundations of the Christian Faith by James M. Boice . This as good a theology book as is out there. It's readable, solid, and doesn't need to be ingested at once. You can break it up a little. It also won't be the last time Boice makes this list. 3. The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz . Not a Christian author and not a Christian book. But every Christian needs to come to grips with the type of individualism and materialism that is KILLING their souls. This book facilitates that! 4. The Radical Reformission by Mark Driscoll . This

The Two Questions Bill Nye and Ken Ham Need to Answer Tomorrow Night

Tomorrow night, Bill Nye the Science Guy will debate Ken Ham (Abraham Lincoln look-a-like) on the merits of Creationism as a scientific pursuit. "Is creation a viable model of origins?" will be the primary proposition of the debate. Tickets to see this event live sold out within an hour, but you can watch the debate live at debatelive.org . The debate is scheduled to begin at 7pm (EST) and I believe MSNBC.com and NBCNews.com will also be carrying the debate live. I am fascinated by the scientific community's response to this event. I would have assumed most scientists would relish an opportunity like this. I thought that people who believe they have the facts on their side would be excited to expose the alleged foolishness of Ken Ham's young earth creationism. I was wrong. Generally speaking, the scientific community is opposed to this debate and believes it to be a terrible idea. Over the weekend, I have read article after article in which respected scienti

Starbucks and The Wisdom of James

"You can learn a lot more from listening than you can from talking. Find someone with whom you don't agree in the slightest and ask them to explain themselves at length. Then take a seat, shut your mouth, and don't argue back. It's physically impossible to listen with your mouth open." -- John Moe, Radio host and author of Conservatize Me, From Starbucks cup #280 "My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry..." -- James, Brother of Jesus and pastor in Jerusalem, From James 1:19

Life is Better When You Live it One Step at a Time