Football practice.

Football practice. That’s what you might say if you just drove by. But it’s more than that. It’s life lessons being taught and learned. It’s coach to player and player to player mentoring. It’s iron sharpening iron. It’s building a bond and brotherhood. It’s hard work that’ll payoff down the road. It’s putting god-given talent and ability to use in a myriad of ways. It’s finding out what you’re made of and what you can do when you’re pushed. It’s also realizing what you can’t do without the contribution of others. It’s serious business. But it’s also smiles, laughing, inside jokes, cutting up and enjoying being around each other. It’s a team of friends that become a family. Football practice.

Love…

“Love is a commitment that will be tested in the most vulnerable areas of spirituality, a commitment that will force you to make some very difficult choices. It is a commitment that demands that you deal with your lust, your greed, your pride, your power, your desire to control, your temper, your patience, and every area of temptation that the Bible clearly talks about. It demands the quality of commitment that Jesus demonstrates in His relationship to us.” – Ravi Zacharias

We love because he first loved us. – 1 John 4:19

Loving One Another Amid Our Differences

Six Biblical Guidelines For Loving One Another Amid Our Differences: (HT/adapted from John Piper)

  1. Avoid gossiping.
  2. Identify evidences of God’s gifts in each other and speak them to each other and about each other.
  3. Speak criticism directly to each other if we feel the need to speak to others about it.
  4. Look for, and assume, the best motive in the other’s viewpoint, especially when we disagree.
  5. Think often of the magnificent things we hold in common.
  6. Be more amazed that we are forgiven than that we are right. And in that way, let’s shape our relationships by the gospel.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” -Jesus, John 13:34-35

Strongholds

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. – 2 Corinthians 10:3-4

My way or His way

A couple of different ways to live:

Frank Sinatra sang…

For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself then he has naught
To say the things he truly feels
And not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows
And did it my way
Yes, it was my way

The Apostle Paul said…

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. – Gal 2:20

The world, our flesh, and the devil says live for yourself. Do it your way.

Jesus says deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me. (Matthew 16:24)

#choices

🎶Oh these times are hard

🎶Oh these times are hard
Yeah they’re making us crazy
Don’t give up on me baby🎶
-For The First Time, The Script

Anyone remember these lyrics from way back in 2010? They popped in my head unexpectedly this morning. Most remember, 2008-10 were tough years. We didn’t hear “uncertain times” but we did hear “in this economy” — A LOT. Lots of folks were without work, many developments halted, lots of houses popping up empty because they’d been repossessed. At the time I had a friend who worked for a company that cleaned out repo’d houses. He said it was absolutely heartbreaking. People just had to walk away from their homes because they couldn’t afford them.

I read that the song ‘For The First Time’ was written during and about the hard times of 2008-2010. I remember hearing it back then and thinking how parts of it expressed what so many were feeling.

🎶we don’t know how we got into this mess it’s a gods test
Someone help us ’cause we’re doing our best
Trying to make it work but man these times are hard🎶

But the overall message of the song is a joyful one! It tells the story of a couple who faced extremely difficult circumstances but through that, they rediscovered who they are, and renewed their love for one another. It was like they were meeting again 🎶for the first time🎶

Here’s the chorus:

🎶Trying to make it work but man these times are hard
But we’re gonna start by drinking old cheap bottles of wine
Sit talking up all night
Doing things we haven’t for a while, a while yeah
Smiling but we’re close to tears
Even after all these years
We just now got the feeling that we’re meeting
For the first time🎶

Now, I don’t even drink 😂 And there’s a version of this song that replaces the word “sit” with another “s word” that KLAK FM didn’t air 😆 Don’t judge me! Haha. Here’s my thought—There’s a lot of crazy stuff going on. Pain, ugliness and evil just keep showing up. These times are hard. But amid prayers for all of that, I’m also praying that the people close to us, the ones we came into this mess with, that we’ll come out on the other side of it, even closer to them. That we’re finding out who we are, renewing our trust in God and our love for each other. I’m talking about stronger marriages, stronger friendships, stronger families, and stronger faith.

Maybe today just take a moment and tell somebody something like “Hey I love you. And I wouldn’t wanna go through these uncertain times with anyone else. We’re gonna get through this, together.”

Agriculture and spiritual growth

A time to plant and a time to harvest. Ecclesiastes 3:2

Pretty isn’t it? Ready for harvest! If you drive around where we live right now you can find lots of fields like this along a lot of backroads.

Reminds me of how the Bible uses agricultural imagery to teach us about God and our relationship with Him. Farming is like the process of becoming more like Jesus Christ in at least a couple ways:

  1. You can’t do it without God. Ask any farmer and they’ll tell you they pray for rain. It’s all dependent upon the sovereignty of God. Same with spiritual growth. Jesus said “apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15)
  2. You have to do something for it to be productive. Again, a farmer will tell you farming takes hard work to be successful. By God’s grace, we have role in our Christian growth as well. The Apostle Paul said “discipline yourself for godliness” (1Timothy 4). The old saying “don’t lean on a shovel and pray for a hole” applies to farming AND spiritual growth.

It’s truly amazing if you think about it. God has uniquely arranged farming and Christian growth so that He gets all the thanks and glory, but man is included and made an important part of the process.

OutHere #LookUp

The Sinfulness of Man

Our Tuesday morning study was over the sinfulness of man. Fun stuff for 6am 😅
We discussed how we fail to see how valuable Jesus Christ is, and how good the news of forgiveness and salvation is, partly because we fail to see how sinful we actually are.
Years ago I read a powerful little book titled ‘What Is the Gospel?’ Here’s a quote on the sinfulness of man from that book:
“The Bible’s picture of human nature…is not so pretty. According to Scripture, the sphere of human nature is not pristine at all, and the mud is not just smeared on the outside. On the contrary, we are shot through with sin. The cracks, mud, filth, and corruption go all the way to the center. We are, as Paul said, “by nature children of wrath” (Eph 2:3). We are included in Adam’s guilt and corruption (Romans 5). Jesus taught this too: “out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander” (Matthew 15:19). The sinful words you speak and sinful actions you do are not just isolated incidents. They rise out of the evil of your own heart.
Every part of our human existence is corrupted by sin and under its power. Our understanding, our personality, our feelings and emotions, and even our will are enslaved us in. So Paul says in Romans 8:7, “the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God‘s law, indeed, it cannot.“ What a shocking and frightening statement! So thorough is sin’s rule over us — our minds, understanding, and will—that we see God‘s glory and goodness, and we inevitably turn away from it in disgust.
It’s not enough to say that Jesus came to save us from sin, if what we mean by that is that he came to save us from our isolated mistakes. It’s only when we realize that our very nature is sinful—that we are indeed “dead in our trespasses and sins” as Paul says (Ephesians 2:1, 5)—that we see just how good the news is that there is a way to be saved.”

He Prunes

Every branch…that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. – John 15:2

“he prunes” — God removes things that hinder fruit-bearing. It’s not a punishment. It’s actually a reward. Through the pruning process we’re being given the ability to be even more spiritually fruitful. God cuts away hinderances that drain our spiritual life, like a gardener removes anything from branches that would keep them from bearing maximum fruit.
I wonder how often we’ve mistakenly thought something was being taken away from us when it was actually God freeing us up, and giving us the ability to fulfill our ultimate purpose in being more fruitful toward Him.

#LiveForMore #LookUp

By The Word of His Power

The Bible says that Jesus “upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Heb 1:3)

Think about that. Our planet, the sun, the moon, the stars, he’s holding it all together “by the word of his power.” 🤔😮🤯

The same one who loves you enough to die for you, is in charge of the entire universe. What a comfort and encouragement!!! ✝️ 🙂 🙏🏼

#LookUp

Christian, Husband, Dad, Pastor