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Monthly Archives: March 2012

Is Faith Shared or Inherited?

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                   In common culture today when a loved one passes away, the friends and family are left to cope with the loss, but also the daunting task of sorting through their loved ones belongings. They must decide who is to receive what items, and what is to be done with all of the things that belonged to their loved one.

            Something that is of assistance to the friends and family during this time of loss is if the person has left behind a “Will.” This is where the deceased has written out what they wish to have done with their belongings when they are no longer with the ones that they love. They leave things that they believe will mean a great deal to those they leave behind.

            The deceased might leave behind something such as a hunting rifle to a grandson, so that the grandson will always remember his grandfather when hunting with this gun. Or it might be, all of grandmas “secret recipes” that are handed down to the younger generation so that not only her cooking, but her love, hard work, and her constant dedication to serving her family will always be remembered.

            As we think about these things, I want us to consider this. How are we passing along our faith? Our faith in God is the greatest thing that we can pass along to those we leave behind (especially our own children.) How are they to receive this faith? It is my belief that we are beginning to fall into a spiritually deadly trap today when it comes to passing along our faith to children.

            Parents, sometimes fall into the way of thinking that because they know what they believe, they know why they believe what they believe, and they have a deep love for God, that that automatically means that their child will “inherit” this way of life as well. The overwhelming mentality today sadly is something like this, “I don’t know why my son is no longer faithful, we brought him to church when he was younger.” Or maybe you have heard this statement before “We have a good Christian family, we go to church every week.” 

            It is very sobering to look at the empty pews where all of our children in the Lord’s Church “used to be.” We look at the sad faces of Mom and Dad as they say to themselves “I don’t understand, we were good parents. We taught them what was right and wrong. We made sure that we were aware of what they were doing most of the time, we made sure that we took them to church almost every time the doors were open. I just don’t know why they have chosen to leave God.”

            Brothers and sisters, if I may be so bold to say, I believe one of the major issues that is currently chipping away at the foundation of our congregations today is the mentality that we see from too many adults within each of our congregations, and if we are all honest with ourselves we can see Satan trying to slip it into our minds as well with the idea that we are “Taking our kids to church” rather than “Raising them IN the Church.”

            It is my goal to both encourage, and to challenge you to take an honest look at yourself and ask the question, “How am I ensuring that my children will develop a personal faith that will last?”

      Deuteronomy chapter 6:6-9 carries a bold message from our Creator about how children are to be taught about the scriptures.

       “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”  I challenge you as you read these words to be asking yourself, am I doing this for my children?

A great fear of mine is this; parents (generally speaking) are becoming far too dependent upon the youth ministers and the Bible class teachers that they forget it is still their own personal responsibility, to train their children in the ways of the Lord.

            We all have heard the excuses, “I’m far too busy to get into Biblical studies/ discussions with my children on a regular basis.” Or maybe “You don’t understand my situation, my job is just so demanding of my time, that when I am home I am so exhausted from the day it is hard to stay focused on anything, let alone studying the Bible.” We have all heard these “reasons” being stated as to why parents can’t spend the time with their children in God’s Word. To those statements I would simply reply with scripture. Such as the promise that we have in Phil 4:13- “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”, there is absolutely nothing that we cannot do (in accordance with scripture) if we have placed our faith in the right source! It simply comes down to priorities. One of the things that we miss far too often  is that we need to realize that we cannot teach what we do not know. We cannot lead where we do not go. If we want our children to become spiritual champions, not just in the war, but winning the war, we need to model in our own lives each and everyday how to serve the Lord. We must model how to study the Word of God, and just as important, if not more important, how to apply it to our lives!

            As we take a deeper look at the text in Deuteronomy, let me ask you as a parent, if your youth minister or your children’s Bible class teacher takes the time to write the commands of God on their doorposts and on their gates, tell me how is that going to influence the spiritual outcome of your children who are living in your house? We must keep in mind that this is a message from God to parents. In these verses we do not see a message from God stating, “Parents, hire a youth minister to train your children.” What we see is a message from God to parents that says “teach them diligently to YOUR children!

            Think for just a minute with me about sports. Some sports are simple, while others remain complicated. If you have ever been in sports yourself or have children who are, you know the amount of time that is required for that child to be able to play on game day. They must take the time to learn how the game is played. Then they must take the time to work on their own skill set. Then they move on to learning how to play together with their teammates. These things take a lot of time to master. So they have practices that they must attend in order to learn these things and be able to play at a high level. We understand this very simple concept when it comes to sports. Now let us dwell on the question “have sports become more important in my family than God?” As we continue to dig into this particular passage of scripture in Deuteronomy we can further see why God is giving this command to parents, and not to youth ministers. “And shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” It requires a tremendous amount of time (and sacrifice) to instill a faith that is going to last in the life of your child. As we examine this portion of scripture we can see there are only four times parents are required to teach their children about God. Is there any time that you are not supposed to be teaching your children about God? Not according to the Creator himself. Christianity, unlike sports has no off season.

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Posted by on March 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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“Lessons From Jacy”

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When I was 16, I was not the typical teenager. I never believed that I had all of the answers to life. I only believed that I had most of them. Then I went to college, And I thought I had a little more answers to the issues of life. Then I started full time ministry, and somewhere along the way, I lost a few of the answers that I had previously gained. Then I got married. I lost a few more answers. Then we had children, and now the question has become, “Do I know anything?”

Being a Father has been one tremendous blessing/ teaching tool from God. I have learned a lot of things I did not know before. I won’t go into all the details (you parents already know them anyways.) But It never ceased to amaze me =, the lessons that I can learn from my Daughter (now 20 months old.)

I have learned what pure joy is as I look on her smiling face. I have learned what unwavering faith is as I watch her be care free while soaring in the air (because she knows her daddy won’t let her fall) I have learned what it means to be un-biased in who I show love to, as I watch her smile, wave, and talk to any and everyone.  Regardless of their age, build, or color. But the other day, I learned another lesson from Jacy.

Our nightly routine has been that following her bath time, she drinks a healthy amount of milk, then we go off to her room. I tell her “it’s time to pray” and watch her as she folds her little hands together. We bow our heads and say a quick prayer of thanksgiving, then we tell each other good-night. (She knows we are to be quiet while we pray, sometimes she will even look at mommy or daddy(while praying) and say “shhh!”)

This has been our routine for some time now.

The other day, Jacy needed a nap. It was about 5:00 P.M. I went to go lay her in her crib, but she wouldn’t let me. She began to cling to my shirt, so, I pulled her back up. It was then that the lesson was taught. She folded her hands together, and said “dada pway”.

I honored her request, then began to think on what just happened. Jacy reminded me of a very valuable truth. We don’t JUST pray during the traditional times. Our prayer life is a constant relationship with our Father.  

How Often Do We Pray?

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18- Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

 

We know the verse. “Pray without ceasing” sure makes for a nice saying to hang on the wall, or a neat devotional thought. But, are we really continually in a prayerful attitude/relationship with the Father? When we receive good news is our first reaction to praise God, or exalt self? When we receive bad news is our response to first ask for God’s will and guidance, or run to the self-help section at the local bookstore? We have a Father in Heaven who desperately wants to hear from his children.  

 

How Often Do We Recite Our Prayers?

Matthew 6:7- “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.

Many of you know exactly what I mean here. All too often what we call “prayers” in a public service (or at the dinner table) are nothing more than a slap in the face to the communication that God wants from us.

“Guide, guard, direct”   “Next appointed time”  “Help this offering to further your kingdom”  “Go with us to our place of stay”

And many, many other sayings that have slipped in and just become the norm.. It almost seems wrong to dismiss a service without the “next appointed time” prayer, right? My concern is simply this, I’m afraid we have lost the meaning of prayer.

Prayer is to be our open communication with God. Not, just saying the right words in the right order so that we can receive God’s blessings. I’m reminded of Charles Hodge’s book Prayer The Voice Of Faith: His opening statement “ I do not believe in prayer. I believe in God, therefore I pray” too often we are more concerned about the words we use, than we are on focusing on our heavenly Father.

How Often Do We Doubt In Our Prayers?

James 1:6-  But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.

When we pray that God will heal someone who is sick, do we believe He can? When we pray that  He show us His will, do we look for it, or just continue on ourselves? When we pray that God will open a door for us, do we believe He can?

Prayer has often times been referred to as a tool that God has provided. I do not disagree with that. I do think that it is more than just a tool. It is a deep, meaningful relationship, that our Father so desperately wants with us, His children.

I do not have all the answers. I do not even know half of the questions. But one thing I know, I am so thankful for the precious family that God has blessed me with, and for my daughter, for reminding me, that we need to pray more often, than just at bed time.  

 
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Posted by on March 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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“How Would You Describe Yourself”

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Most of us have a social networking account. Accounts such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and all the others can serve a great purpose for us if they are used correctly. Those of us who have one are familiar with the process of setting up the accounts. You begin to fill in all of the information and answering the questions that are asked. Then, out of nowhere, you see it. It’s the one section that you weren’t really prepared to answer. There is a box that is simply labeled “about me” or something to that effect.

When asked to describe yourself what words would you use? Maybe it has something to do with your looks, hobbies, occupation, family, religion, or your background. I want to ask you a more important question. If your friends were given one sentence to describe your life what would they say? What would they see that is most important to you? Allow me to ask you an even more important question, If God was given just one sentence to describe your life, what would He say?

We have an example in the old testament where God does this for one man. This man’s name is Job. Job doesn’t have a Facebook, MySpace, or twitter. But yet, we are fortunate enough to be able to read his “About me” section.

Job 1:1- There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil

Wow! What a sentence! In this one sentence we learn where Job lived, but we went so much deeper. He was blameless and upright, he feared God, and he turned away from evil.

Consider with me for a moment, how your life compares to that of Job?

Are you honest? Are you blameless? Do you have a healthy fear of the Lord? Do you turn away from evil? Or, do we turn into temptation, flee from God, and live in deceit?

As Christians we must ask, am I representing Christ in everything that I say, and all that I do? The best possible news, is that we have a forgiving God! We have a merciful God! We have a loving God! We have a God who wants our best! Are we giving it to Him?

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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