Wednesday Wisdom

Wednesday Wisdom:

Whoever meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a passing dog by the ears. – Proverbs 26:17

Lots of us today are just looking for something to be mad about. Getting in the middle of conflict that’s not even ours to try and fuel the ugly fire. Griping, complaining, slandering, attacking. It’s an exhausting, frustrating way to live. And it’ll come back to bite us like a mean stray dog. 😳


Everybody’s Hiring, The Best Reason To Work

Everybody’s hiring 😅 Ok, maybe not everyone but I’ve traveled 2K + miles this summer and seen a TON of help wanted signs. Seems my whole life I’ve heard concerns about the potential for job shortages but I don’t remember hearing about labor shortages, not like this. Lots of factors got us here, but how do we get people working? What makes people WANT to go to work? There’s lots of incentives. Dignity, feelings of accomplishment and satisfaction, contributing to society, financial security and ability to provide for yourself, others and acquire things you want. These reasons and others are all good, but none of them are the best. What’s the best incentive to work? GOD! Hear me out—I was blessed to have the necessity and value of hard work emphasized to me as a kid, but I about fell out of my chair the first time I heard a man say the MAIN person he worked for was God. He was a roofer, and he talked about driving every nail for the Lord. He gave me a whole new perspective and motivation for work.
Work is a gift from God. Adam and Eve worked in the garden BEFORE sin entered the world. Every time we work, we’re getting a little (imperfect) throwback to the Garden of Eden. God loves work! God created, looked at what he made and saw that it was good. Then on the 7th day he rested. There’s a pattern for us to follow in God himself. God talks a lot about work in His Word.

Here’s 6 Bible references on the subject of work:

•Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, – Colossians 3:23

•If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. – 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12

•Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest. – Proverbs 6:6-8

•But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. – 1 Timothy 5:8

•The desire of the sluggard kills him, for his hands refuse to labor. – Proverbs 21:25

•A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man. – Proverbs 6:10-11

Don’t be mistaken. We don’t work for our salvation. Jesus did that for us, and it’s by his Grace that we are saved. But a person saved by Grace should have a desire to work to reflect God and live in joyful obedience to Him!

Van Ride Resources

On our van ride back from New Mexico some of the girls were asking me about good books to read and some resources that might be helpful to them for growth in Christ. They asked me to compile a short list so I did. I thought it might be helpful to other students and parents. 

Obviously this list is not exhaustive. Some of these books came up because of specific things we were talking about. And some just because I always recommend them to students. 

If I had to start somewhere I’d have them do the recommended reading of the gospel of John and Proverbs. And for books, I’d have them read ‘Don’t Waste Your Life’ and ‘Crazy Love’ first, or maybe Basic Christianity by John Stott. 

See below. Hope this helps some folks! 

•Don’t Waste Your Life, John Piper

•Crazy Love, Francis Chan

•Basic Christianity, John Stott

•A Life Well Lived (Ecclesiastes), Tom Nelson

•Contentment: Seeing God’s Goodness (31-Day Devotionals for Life) Megan Hill

•New Mercies, Paul Tripp (daily devotional)

•Passion and Purity, Elibabeth Elliot

•Taking God at His Word, Kevin Deyoung

•The Meaning of Marriage, Tim and Kathy Keller 

•The Reason For God, Tim Keller

•What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality? Kevin DeYoung

•Cross-Cultural Servanthood by Duane Elmer

Where do I start reading the Bible?

Start with the gospel of John. Read it slow and as you do, look for, note, and ponder all the I AM statements. Also, note the miracles and encounters with Jesus. They’re not just events. They teach us about him and how we relate to God.

Some of my favs ch’s are 3, 4, 8, 9, 10, 12, 15. I love the whole book

Also, here’s a simple study guide on John

Also, Proverbs is FULL of wisdom for wise godly living. The book has 31 ch’s. Make it a goal to read 1 ch a day for the entire month. 

A sermon everyone should hear about the sovereignty of God, but especially young people who are worried about messing up their life 😅

Growing Up On The Rez

Cool side by side from Navajo Rez VBS. Left is Trinity at age 10 getting VBS crafts ready. Right is her helping lead VBS crafts this year at age 20. She’s standing within just a few feet of the exact same spot. Trinity was 4 and Q was 6 the first time we took a summer VBS trip to the Rez. Phoebe and Norah don’t remember a summer without the Rez and Luka made his first trip last week. Between those summer trips, November trips, and other visits, my kids have done a lot of growing up on the Rez. And in a way, we have too. Like so many things, several years ago we set out to teach but ended up mostly learning. If there’s anything we’ve definitely learned in the last 16 years or so, it’s that we still have A LOT to learn! But here are just a few of the lessons our Navajo brothers and sisters have taught us over the years.

  1. Jesus speaks powerfully through every language
  2. Church is the people not the building (or the revival tent)
  3. Laughter is a universal language
  4. It’s easier to share the gospel when you’re also sharing life
  5. Our creator is way more creative than we give Him credit for
  6. Skin color and cultural differences are no match for Jesus Christ
  7. A different way of doing things isn’t a wrong way
  8. Quiet waters run deep
  9. Simply traveling a long ways is a good way to let someone know you care
  10. Listening, learning, and understanding are an absolute must for all involved in sustainable cross cultural partnerships

Like I said, these are just a few of the many lessons, growth is a glorious part of a journey that I’m so glad we’re still on!

The God Who Sings

The LORD your God…he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. – Zephaniah 3:17

I’ve got a high spirited, temperamental 1 year old little boy. Sometimes he gets so worked up over some hurt he’s feeling and there’s no way he can sooth himself. When that happens about the only way I can calm him is to hold him. And if holding him doesn’t work, I sing to him. Right into his little ear. It’s like he feels love through the singing. It calms him like nothing else can.

When the Bible says that God quiets us by his love with loud singing, I imagine it’s something like what I’m doing with my little man. We’re a temperamental people. Full of hurts and frustrations. We can’t sooth ourselves. By faith in Christ I have access to a singing Father, who picks me up and quiets my anxious heart and mind with his love.

Keep lookin’ up, friends. And rest well. We have a loving God who sings.

Children, obey your parents…

Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. – Colossians 3:20
Summertime for many parents means extended time with our kids. Most of us give thought to how to make the most of it. Camps, family vacation, day trips, church trips, time with friends, sports, sports, and more sports 😅. All of those things are great, but it’s imperative that we give thought to the formidable relationship that exists between parents and children, especially in regards to children’s obedience to parents.
Colossians 3:20 teaches that children should obey parents and then immediately gives the reason for keeping the command “this pleases the Lord.” Likewise in Exodus 20:12 when we’re given the 5th Command to “Honor your father and your mother” it’s immediately followed by the reasoning for the command “that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.” The biblical basis for the command for children to obey wasn’t a threat of punishment but great benefit for their life to come! If we combine the very similar teachings of Col 3:20 and Ex 20:12 we get something like: “Children, honor and obey your parents. This pleases God and will be great for your future!” Is there anything you want more for your kids than to please God and have a bright future??? 
So how can we as parents apply this? In one sense we can’t 😆 Col 3:20 and Ex 20:12speak directly to children. The Bible assumes enough maturity in a child that they can hear God’s Word and strive to be faithful to it. But while we can’t keep commandments for them, we definitely have a role in cultivating maturity and helping them obey.
Here’s a few ways parents can help kids become more obedient and reap the benefits of pleasing God and having a bright future:
•Share the command from Scripture — the Word of God never returns void! Many times just letting a child hear it or read it for themselves from Bible can help. Make these verses a time of family devotional. Share your own personal experience with them and how you’ve seen this command prove true in your own life and others. Pray with them about it. **don’t go running for your Bible when your upset with them** 😬 Share it in a calm, loving way. 
•Give them opportunities — spend time with kids in environments where they can obey. If we’re spending all our time with our kids watching through a fence on a ball field or from the bleachers in a gym, then going from there to their favorite entertainment venue, then out for frozen yogurt, then they drift off to sleep watching Netflix, we’re not giving them much opportunity for God-pleasing, future-preparing, obedience to parents 😅. Chill out. Go home. Don’t over program. Give them some responsibility. Have dinner at your table. Talk about life. Set some expectations and give them some opportunities to obey. 
•Model obedience — kids are like Doppler radars for hypocrisy. If they witness us not respecting authority and breaking rules, they’ll likely do it to. Obey the laws. Be a model employee. Keep your word. Don’t (ever) go behind the back of your wife or husband and do things that would undermine your relationship and hurt them. Kids see us! They do a lot of what we do! 🥴
•Don’t abuse the command — The command for children to obey is not a license for us to abuse or misuse power. Col 3:21 tells dads not to provoke children to anger, probably because we have a sinful tendency to do that. Resist that. Remember the benefits God gave associated with children obeying — pleasing God and a bright future, not for an easy life for parents.
One more quick thing—Parents none of us are perfect at this. And our kids aren’t either. If everyone did all this naturally there wouldn’t be a command for it! Please don’t be embarrassed when your kids don’t obey or judge others when their kids mess up. Showmanship is especially ugly in parenting. Let’s be in this together. Most of us can agree that we want our kids to please God and have a bright future, so let’s be there for each other and  pray for each other and our kids on this front! 
✊🏼🙏🏼 📖 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 ✝️

His love and the cross

I took this picture out the car window earlier today. The image reminded me that God’s love can be hard to see at times, but the Cross is always there, standing as a constant reminder.
Father in Heaven, please keep us in your love. Help us to be forever reminded, Lord. Thank you for the Cross. In Jesus name, amen.

The Church At War…

The Church of Christ is continually represented under the figure of an army; yet its Captain is the Prince of Peace; its object is the establishment of peace, and its soldiers are men of peaceful disposition. The spirit of war is at the extremely opposite point to the spirit of the gospel. 

Yet nevertheless, the church on earth has, and until the second advent must be, the church militant, the church armed, the church warring, the church conquering. And how is this?

It is in the very order of things that so it must be. Truth could not be truth in this world if it were not a warring thing, and we should at once suspect that it were not true if error were friends with it. The spotless purity of truth must always be at war with the blackness of heresy and lies. 

-C.H. Spurgeon 

Wolves in sheep’s clothing…

Successfully creeped out the church family with this picture this morning 😅 And it should creep us out! Jesus gave us a strong and sobering warning when he said: 

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” Matthew 7:15

Among other things, false prophets are known by being:

•Teach unsound doctrine (out of step with God’s Word and void of the Gospel)

For additional reading check out 2Peter 2:2-3, 2Tim 4:3-5, and 1John 4:1-3.

We have to be vigilant in this, church! And the best way for us know a phony is to know the REAL DEAL — to be so familiar with Word and the gospel Good News of Jesus Christ when a counterfeit comes along, we recognize it. We have to seek God and wisdom above all else. And friends, please don’t be afraid to warn a brother and sister about unsound doctrine. Love them enough to point them to the truth, in love.