A Little Bit About Me...

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I have many hats that I wear. I am a husband and father. I am pastor/teacher at my church. I am part of a team working on a large project at work. I am a friend. I am a budding visionary. I am a writer, an actor, and a director. I am an artist. I am a student of the Bible. I have a brain that comes up with some pretty crazy and interesting ideas, and I have a personality to match. I try to treat all people how I would like to be treated. I strive to be steadfast, immovable in my faith. I seek after the TRUTH, and I believe that it can be found, not just 'from my perspective', but for all people.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Vision in 2010

Here we are at the end of one year, and the beginning of a new year. People begin to reflect on the things that they have done… areas where they succeeded, and in many cases, areas where they have failed. Some people try to come up with some thing that they can resolve to do (or not do) in the coming year. Most people fail pretty quickly.

My thought on the cusp of the New Year is found in Proverbs 29:18. It says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keeps the law, happy is he.” If you look at some of the other translations of the Bible, you get the sense that this vision is more of a God-guided thing. The NLT says, “divine guidance”. The ESV uses, “prophetic vision”. Basically, it there is no guidance from God, no goal that is lead by Him, then people get distracted and lose focus on the goals that He has for them.

So as you start out this New Year, I suggest two things… Choose to get your life right with God. (Check out this link)

And then come up with some goals for the year. God has given each of you some talents and abilities that you are to use for Him. When you look into planning in the corporate world, companies come up with a statement, or sometimes a slogan that focuses them on a specific goal. I did a little digging. Here are a few examples.

This is from Microsoft:
“As a company, and as individuals, we value integrity, honesty, openness, personal excellence, constructive self-criticism, continual self-improvement, and mutual respect. We are committed to our customers and partners and have a passion for technology. We take on big challenges, and pride ourselves on seeing them through. We hold ourselves accountable to our customers, shareholders, partners, and employees by honoring our commitments, providing results, and striving for the highest quality. Your Potential. Our Passion.”

This is from IBM:
“ Dedication to every client’s success. Innovation that matters – for our company and for the world. Trust and personal responsibility in all relationships.”

This is from Build a Bear:
“At Build-A-Bear Workshop®, our mission is to bring the Teddy Bear to life. An American icon, the Teddy Bear brings to mind warm thoughts about our childhood, about friendship, about trust and comfort, and also about love. Build-A-Bear Workshop embodies those thoughts in how we run our business everyday.”

This one is from Teen Mania:
“To provoke a young generation to passionately pursue Jesus Christ and to take His life-giving message to the ends of the earth!”

They also listed core values:
“Faith -- We receive direction, provision, and motivation directly from God and His Word to take the Gospel to the World.

Integrity -- We are who we say we are; and we always do the right thing, regardless of expediency.

Relationships -- We have servants’ attitudes, and we go to heroic lengths to meet the needs of others.

Vision -- We dare to dream as big as God dreams and believe that with God on our side, we can achieve the impossible.

Excellence -- We demand of ourselves uncompromising quality and strive to be people who demonstrate excellence in everything we do.”

This is from Ravi Zacharias International Ministries:
“Ravi Zacharias International Ministries seeks to reach and challenge those who shape the ideas of a culture with the credibility and the beauty of the gospel of Jesus Christ. With a team of individuals based in six countries, RZIM is committed to reaching this generation around the world - in the university, the arts, politics, business, and the church. Through open forums, community outreach, and various media, we seek to remove the barriers to the cross for the skeptic and we prepare Christians to give a reason for the hope within us.”

This is from Ray Comfort/Living Waters:
“Inspiring and equipping Christians in fulfilling the Great Commission. In our passion to glorify God, magnify His grace, and exalt His Son, Jesus Christ, it is our mission to serve the local church by assisting in globally educating God's people in the principles of biblical evangelism; Exhorting them to fulfill the Great Commission; and equipping them with every necessary resource along the way. We do this primarily through the teaching and preaching of God's Word, strategic conferences, academic and practical training opportunities, networking platforms, and the production and dissemination of various printed and audio/visual media.”

And this is from Infuzion:
“Downloading Jesus Christ to this generation so they can stir up the gifts and talents within themselves, and Holy Spirit can challenge, inspire and empower them to reach the dreams, visions and plans God has for them. Experiencing an INFUZION of power from God to bring out creativity, encouragement and a desire for righteousness. Walking IN FUZION in the direction the Holy Spirit leads so that seeing the supernatural becomes natural.”

So now you have seen some ideas for a vision, or a mission statement. What about writing one for your life? You know the talents that God has given you. You may be afraid to step into them, but you know they are there. What about your relationships? With your family? With your friends? With those that may rub you the wrong way? What about your work? Your school? Your personal study with God? Your worship? Your attitude? Your feelings? Your areas of struggle? Begin to write something that defines who God has called you to be. It may need to be changed as you learn more over time, but start with something. It is easier to turn a moving car.

Now think of three things that you can set your mind to do for God. Keep your focus on sharing your faith with others. Make them maybe behaviours that you have to change in yourself. Maybe some project that you can accomplish over the course of the year. Dig out those old skills and talents that maybe people don’t know you have. Nurture them. They are there for a reason.

Why should you do this? It's a good way to focus yourself on certain things, and then you can measure when something doesn't move you towards your goal. With so many things trying to get our time, sometimes we just need to focus on what is our priority. As one preacher put it, "It is easy to tell someone who you are, but sometimes you need to be able to tell them who you are not."

Above all, be loving to all people during the coming year. Choose to love them where they are, and be there when the need help. Find a need. Fill a need.

I wish you all the best in the coming year. May this one be the best you have ever experienced. If you are a follower of Christ, may it be filled with success. If you are not, may the hounds of heaven be on your tail. :)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Changes in Leadership…

At work we have a tracking system for people to note behavioural skills that they have mastered. One of the lesser noticed ones is Change in Leadership. Although the system is not fool proof, I think it does help people learn what skills they will need to successfully advance in their career. I have heard a few people looking at the list and understand competencies like Effective Interactive Communication, or Teamwork and Cooperation, but they get to Change in Leadership and you can tell they either don’t get it, or don’t get how big this one can really be.

In my life in the church I have seen several changes in leadership. Sometimes it has been due to a bad situation. Sometimes a good situation. Maybe someone had to lead something else. Maybe they had to go across the country. It’s tough. In the best circumstances there is a time like in a relay race where one person runs, then both people run together, the baton is handed off, and the second person runs. From my experience though, most times it is just that one stops and the other runs in their own direction. Sometimes the hand off is not a long enough period. Sometimes the second person has to pick up the baton from the ground.

I think a big problem with the change in leadership, for those that are already in a job, and are the ones being lead, is that often they are pouring their hearts into it. The new leader can come in and change the way things are done… Sometimes with good reason…. Sometimes just because… In Hebrews 13:17, it says, “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.” As things change over, it is best to just try to do what they need, and to talk with them about how they would make changes. In the end, arguing and bickering is not productive, and that just makes things hard for the new leader. They are watching over your soul, and that carries a great weight with it. Help them to do the best job that they can.

I’ve been through so many of these changes in my life that you would think that it would be easier, but it takes effort to make the change in my heart and in my mind every time. Here are a few things that I have learned:

With each leadership change there is a period of time where the leader has to earn the respect of their team. Respect seems earned, and not just handed over like a Metro news paper at Greenboro station. If you are the new leader, spend the time with your team getting to know them, getting to know how they do what they do. Find out where their passions lie, and what makes their eyes sparkle and their mouth water. If you are the one that has had a leader change, do your best to make the transition as easy as possible.

As a leader, I find that I found that I had to sit back and learn about all of what made my team successful prior to my being there. There are always things that work well and there are always things that could be better, and there are things that just don’t work. It takes some time to figure that out. The last thing I wanted to do was try to swoop in like Superman and save the day when the day was going pretty good already. Can you imagine how uneventful the Action Comics would have been if Superman did that? But it didn’t work that way, he really came in and helped people when they earth needed it. The police were still there to do their job too.

In Exodus 18:13-26, Jethro, Moses’ father in law comes to visit Moses, and he observes something that he thinks he can help Moses to solve. “The next day Moses took his seat to serve as judge for the people, and they stood around him from morning till evening. When his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, "What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?"

Moses answered him, "Because the people come to me to seek God's will. Whenever they have a dispute, it is brought to me, and I decide between the parties and inform them of God's decrees and laws."

Moses' father-in-law replied, "What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people's representative before God and bring their disputes to him. Teach them the decrees and laws, and show them the way to live and the duties they are to perform. But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you. If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied."

Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said. He chose capable men from all Israel and made them leaders of the people, officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. They served as judges for the people at all times. The difficult cases they brought to Moses, but the simple ones they decided themselves.”

There are a few keys here. Moses couldn’t do everything himself. He needed to teach people, and know that those that he was working with were of good character, and let them handle the everyday stuff, and then he could deal with the tough stuff. If you are new to a position, it is even greater when you have people that know their job already, so they can do what they have been doing. Once you know things better, then you can lead them towards the goal.

I remember in one of my jobs, a new manager came in with limited experience at the level she was now working at. A decision had to be made and she really made the wrong one. She consulted her team leaders. They all told her it was the wrong way to go based on their experience, but she told them to do it anyway. Let’s just say that a lot of work had to be done to catch up on work that was abandoned. People with experience have a lot to say.

I watched every episode of Star Trek The Next Generation. Captain Picard often asked his senior staff for options and Guidance. When he had gathered the information, he made a decision and they followed what he said. He had earned their respect. In this one two-part episode, Captain Picard was on a mission and another captain was put in command of the Enterprise. It was tough to watch the crew as they adjusted to the new captain’s style of leadership. I found myself saying, “But Captain Picard wouldn’t have done it that way, “ I was right. But Picard wasn’t the leader at that point either.

As Christians, I think we have it even tougher. Most of the time our work in church is with volunteers. People from all walks of life, come together to serve in the church, but people volunteer only when they feel plugged in. If something causes them to feel put off for long enough, some run, some leave, some press through. I guess that is why the diamond analogy works so well. Huge amounts of pressure in the ground makes the diamond form, but it also takes skilled people to find it, refine it and make it shine.

If you’re one stepping into a new leadership position, take the time to lead people and bring them along with you in the direction that you want to go. If you find out what they want to do for God and you help them reach that goal, they will bend over backwards to help you reach yours too. It is all about love, and pouring into people. I use these principles in my job as well. It works.

If you’re the one with a new leader, let your speech always be grace seasoned with salt. Give them time. Love them. Help them learn. Be patient. God isn’t finished with them yet.
If you are the leader or the lead, spend the time really talking things out. Share ideas. Pray for each other. Pray with each other. And in all cases remember that we are all trying to build a Kingdom, and not just our own castle. We need to impact the world for Jesus. That must be our focus.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Teeth.... and Discipleship.

They help us chew our food, which in turn allows our body to gain strength, build muscle, harden and strengthen bones, be healthy.

If we care for our teeth, we brush them, floss them, be careful not to eat too much junk, our teeth will last. But even if we do all of these things, there can still be problems. That’s where the dentist comes in.

A while back I had a piece of my tooth fall out. For a while I just tried to make it work. I ate on one side. I kept it clean. As time went on it began to hurt. I ignored it for a couple of days. I began to hurt more. I worked up the courage and went to see a dentist. I SO did not want to see a dentist. I SO did not want to see the dentist. Dentists do things that hurt. I was afraid. No wait… I was terrified.

He was good. He went in, froze the tooth, did some cleaning and put in a temporary filling. That was uncomfortable. He said we would wait and see what would happen. If there was pain, I was to go back in and they would do a root canal… There they were…. A heart-stopping couple of words…. Root Canal. He emphasized … “It’s expensive.” I was gripped with fear. I was sure I was going to have to endure the procedure.

Once the temp filling was in, I noticed every twinge of pain. I was sure that it was going to be the root canal. I found myself able to tolerate a little pain to avoid going back. Besides, how was I going to pay for the procedure? As a way of paying came up, I called and asked the price. $1000. Good thing I have dental coverage.

I booked the appointment and braced for the worst. I was convinced that I had a root canal on the way. I was telling everyone that. When I sat in the chair the endontist did some spelunking around in my tooth and said that he was just going to fill it. Phew! Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t easy. The dentist was good though. Very gentle. Consoling. Sympathetic. I had one of those epiphany moments.

I was in the chair because of how I had neglected my teeth over the years where my dental coverage was sporadic. It was sort of how some people live their Christian life. They coast. They went to the altar once when they were young, but never allowed it to change how they lived their life in a moral and spiritual sense. Often those are the kids of “Christians” that drift away for a while and indulge in stuff that they know is wrong. Some people even end up in a very dark place because of their choices. Sometimes it takes God going in like a dentist and fixing the damage. We have to make the appointment, and it may still hurt, but in the end God allows it to make us stronger. We may have to give some things up that caused the damage. We may have to get ourselves back into a cycle of maintenance of our faith. That is why the Bible says to examine yourself daily to see if you are in the faith. It says to be faithful with the little things. It says to think of the things that are excellent or praiseworthy.

Discipleship takes discipline. Work at your faith daily.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

9/11 and the Truth...

With 9/11 having come and gone for another year, I have been watching a lot of the specials on TV where people sit and debate as to what actually happened on the day. Most of us just seem to think that it was just as we saw. A group of terrorists hijacked some planes and ran them into the Twin Towers in New York City. Another plane crashed into the Pentagon and a fourth crashed just outside of Virginia. All the evidence and witnesses seem to point in this direction as well. Several higher institutions have done examinations of the events with the blueprints of the buildings and specs of the panes involved, and what happened as we saw it on that day (and in my humble opinion) seems to be very plausible.

Most of what the “truthers” (I don’t get to see why they get to have truth attached to their name) seem to do is argue from lack of evidence. They tend to be George W. Bush haters. They use all kinds of argumentative fallacies. Just in general, they are really disrespectful of the fact that people lost loved ones in the attacks of 9/11. There are always groups of them yelling and harassing people at the memorial ceremonies.

The best of the theories that just had me stunned that they actually considered this was that all of the three planes that hit the buildings were replaced by empty planes at some point during the flight, while the real planes landed at a secret airbase. All of the people that were on those flights were put on Flight 93 which was eventually shot down by the US government. An NO ONE HAS SAID ANYTHING IN ALL OF THIS TIME.

Piece by piece, these people had demonstrations and explanations of the science and all the data was shown to them and each time it was like the covered their eyes and said, “I just don’t see how that could have happened.”

Arguing from lack of evidence… They say something like, “There was no video taped record of such and such, and so it must have not happened the way we think it did.” They set themselves up a false dichotomy. They try to make it seem like there are only two possible explanations for the way something happened. When often there are several, and some of them are even plausible.

I have seen these people argue a slippery slope as well. They go from pointing out a small detail to the position that the whole government is corrupt and obviously out to get us in the blink of an eye. I guess it just reveals their real intent. They hate George W. He could have made the whole world be at peace, and all wars stop and they would still hate him.

Ok, so now, why all of this? I thought about how these people seemed to want to hear nothing that could discredit their view of what they believe happened on 9/11. Is that how I am with my faith? I believe some things that many people find strange. Is what I believe based on the evidence? Or is it based on my emotions? Or is it based on some hatred? These were tough questions for me to look at. I really had to examine myself. I have spent many years looking into the reliability of the Bible. I do not want to believe something that is not true. Even though there is still a lot of evidence, there is still an aspect of faith. As one preacher puts it, “Even if we were there, we would have to take Mary’s word at the virgin birth.” There seems to be a strong amount of evidence to support what the Bible teaches.

I guess the biggest difference for me is that I do let my faith get tested. I have held up what I believe against ideas that oppose the Bible. I let the Bible filter it through and see what is left on the other side. If the Bible is not true, then there will be nothing left. If it is true, it will stand in the end. That is one of the claims from within its pages. People have scrutinized the Bible for centuries and the people have come and gone. The Bible has lasted. People’s lives have been changed. Even when people try to rewrite it (ie: The DaVinci Code, The Last Temptation of Christ), the Bible stands. When people claim that God is dead, and they die, the Bible still stands.

My one concern is that I always test everything that is being said to me. The Bible has stood in my life to this point.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Employed by the Church

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Matthew 6:19-21

Sometimes there is a bit of a line that is blurred between work where you get paid now, and work where you will be paid in heaven. There is also a difference between volunteer work and ministry. There is a difference between Sunday School and babysitting as well. In that last one, it is usually a choice.

Think about this for a second. Most people go to work , and they know what is required of them. They have a start time and an end time. There are times where they need to be at their post, and allotted times for breaks and lunch. If you’re not where you’re supposed to be, usually there will be a managerial type that mentions it. If you keep ignoring your guidelines, there may be some sort of disciplinary action.

At work, if I just don’t show up, I’ll lose my job. If I can’t be there for some reason, I am required to call and let my manager know. If I no longer want my job, I try to give a customary grace period to allow someone to come in and replace me.

Recently at work, the dress code policy was reiterated. It outlined what clothing was appropriate to wear in the workplace: nothing that was worn out or torn, nothing that is revealing or immodest, and nothing that is unsafe or too casual for my position. I am representing my division. If I worked in certain areas of my building I would have to wear appropriate protective footwear or a hardhat.

Also, at work, there are things that people can talk about, and that are appropriate to talk about. People are supposed to keep focused on their job and save personal talk for their breaks.

Now, let’s step back for a minute. What if people treated their work that they do in the church the way someone with a strong work ethic does? What if people showed up on time and were prepared for their job? What if they stayed focused on their work while they were on duty in the church? What if people just showed up to do the job that they had agreed to do? If for some reason they could not be there, what if they called to let someone know that they could not be there, and they took responsibility for their work… no, for their ministry. And what if they took a few moments to think about dressing for the job that they were going to be doing? And what if they kept their personal issues away from those around them, until the time is appropriate (ie: you are not on duty)? What about coming in with a positive attitude and a prayerful focus for the time serving in the church? Can you imagine how differently the church would run? Can you see how well it would run?

That’s the difference. In a church, it’s not just volunteer work. It is MINISTRY…. No matter where you are serving. It is worship. It is about serving God and others.

If you’re in nursery, you pray for the babies, and you serve the parents by allowing them to be fed. You give the kids a place to be loved. You may not see what they live in at home.

What if you are doing cleaning? You serve the pastor. You serve your brothers and sisters. You help keep people safe and healthy. You have the opportunity spend some time praying in the church.

Ministry also helps you grow in your faith. Challenging times…. Times that test your faith and your resolve do not happen when you are focused on God or in prayer or worship. What about the times where a kid tries your patience? What about the other sacrifices you make to serve? Have you ever been challenged when you are not expecting to be tested? Too many people shy away from ministry opportunities because of people or situations that they find hard. That is the time to focus on why you are there, and dig in and love God and love people. More of God. Less of you.

Imagine a church like that?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Who gets the message?

I was listening to a podcast this morning by one of my favourite apologists, Ravi Zacharias. His message was called “Mind Games in a World of Images”. He was talking today about some people in the film industry and how they make films and won’t let their kids go and see them. Dr. Zacharias asks why it was ok for these people to make the films and then let someone else’s kids go see them.

I love the media, but it can be a friend and a foe. I love what you can do with it. I love how messages are transmitted. I love the creativity of messages and how they are structured, BUT I am also cautious about the messages that I indulge in. As a person with some degree of maturity, I approach all messages with a reasoning mind. Many people do not. They just take into their mind whatever they hear.

Think about how dangerous that can be with the messages that are being sent all over… Music… TV… Web…. Movies… News… Comedy… School…. YouTube… Video Games… and the list goes on. Each message we encounter comes from a specific perspective…. The worldview of the author.

As a Christian, I see two issues. Whatever message I cover, or send out, I have to be very responsible for how I present my perspective. Secondly, I have to be that I keep my filters on. I filter everything through the Bible. There are some tough topics that people discuss, yes, but I have to make sure that whatever message I transmit is true.

There is great responsibility when you use the various forms of media, and especially easy since most things can be done from your PC.

Matthew 12:35-37 says, “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.”

Whatever the message I send, I want it to be something that builds up and encourages… not matter the media… from my mouth or from my computer.

Monday, July 13, 2009

I have new hero!

Yesterday at church we had a guest speaker, Mrs. Elsie Black. She is one of the pillars of the church at 88 years old. She sat on a chair on the platform and read some notes about some times in her life. Some were good and some were tough, but through it all her family trusted God and that got them through. We got to see a side of her that not many see. She was charming, articulate and had a great sense of humour. When she was finished she lead us all in some classic Christian songs.

Pastor Syd stood at the end and told us that just heard an excerpt from a book Mrs. Black was writing. I just sat and thought WOW! I have heard of too many people that as they get older, they try to start winding down when God still can use them so much. She, on the other hand, was taking something that she could do, and using the talents that God gave her, and she was trying to reach others.

The same spirit that God filled her with is the same spirit that lives in me as well. There is no kids spirit, no teens spirit, no senior citizen spirit. There is just God's Holy Spirit.

Remember that the most valuable piece of land in any city is the graveyard. It is tragic that there lies books that were never written, films that were never made, banquets that were never thrown, talents that died having never been used. Even approaching 90, Mrs. Black was using the talents that God gave her. I think we should all follow that kind of example.

Friday, July 10, 2009


I woke up a few nights ago at about 2:30 am from a nightmare. It was really disturbing and grotesque. I dozed back to sleep and went back into the same dream. It was like I picked up where I left off in the story. I woke up again from the nightmare, this time from seeing something even more grotesque and graphic. My heart was pounding. I started praying against what I thought might be a spiritual attack. I was afraid to go back to sleep. I watched the clock. The longer I laid there, the more the fear gripped me, and the more I was motivated to pray for God’s comforting peace.

Sometimes the church is called the sleeping giant. Too often the church as a whole becomes complacent and comfortable with what it does. There is no sense of urgency within it. If we take a moment to look into our culture that we are living in, and see the nightmare it is, we would wake up in a panic and with urgency. We would be motivated by what we saw, and cry out to God and take action.

1 Peter 5:8 "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a raoring lion, seeking whome he may devour."

Sunday Blurb,

On Father’s Day, I was given the chance to speak co-operatively with my father, to our church.

I have to say that I found it a bit intimidating. I looked out on those in attendance and there were these men sitting there that had raised children that were strong in the faith. I was looking out to see other fathers that seemed to be off to a good start with young kids. Those fathers were there. They are plugged into the church, and into their kids lives.

The thing that disturbed me about Father’s Day was thinking about how many young people are growing up without a father. You see it more and more, either as a teenager, a young woman gets pregnant and has her baby. The boy sticks around for a bit and then leaves. Sometimes after a few years of marriage a couple breaks up and the kids are usually left with the mother. This really is a fatherless generation.

My point during my talk was that men need to step up and set an example both to young women who will be out trying to find a husband, and to young men as models of Godly fatherhood, husbands and just what it means to be a man.

Fathers have to lead by example.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I don't know about you, but in my neighbourhood, at least once (if not more) in any given two week period, we encounter them.... The energy peddling agents. They knock at your door as if they are the first person to ever present you with the idea of signing on with an energy company. No matter what you say, it seems that they will not go away. I guess that is the life of a door to door sales person, "Don't take no for an answer." I have tried polite, and I have tried being rude. Recently, one knocked at my door. If the front door is closed we just ignore it, but this day the door was open. He knew someone was home. I saw him, I saw the tell-tale clip board and the ID badge hanging from his jacket. Of course, he was all smiles. He began his speech and I cut him off. I told him that I had already signed on with an energy company. He kept going in the usual script about wanting to see my bill. I cut him off again. I said, "Look, since I moved to this house, I have been harrassed by what seems like 15,000 people asking me to do this. When I say that I am done, then I'm done." I was angry. I can't stand this confrontation. You'd think that I would be better at it by now. I finished, "...I'm done", and there was Logan right there saying, "Yeah, I'm done too." Ouch. This was one of those moments where you freeze in time for a moment, and realize what just happened. What was I teaching my son? What did he just see me do to a stranger? What kind of example did I set for him? I left the door because the seller was gone. I stopped and prayed, "God, please give me wisdom to know how to handle these people in the future, and help me to be a better example to my son." One thing that I have noticed in being a parent, is that I have to watch what I say. I have a little sponge that repeats everything he hears. If I say things in anger, or that are rude, there is a good chance I will hear those same things shot back at me sometime soon. Thank you God for my little mirror of words.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What messages are you getting?

Anyone that really knows me knows that I am a person that believes in the Bible, and specifically in the account of creation. My purpose today is not to get into that debate. If you really want to get into issues about whether the creationist view is plausible, check out somewhere like Answers in Genesis.

What I want to do is start to play a bit of a game with those of you that read this blog. Everytime you catch a reference to the theory of evolution in the TV or movie or commercial or whatever media you are using, note it and send it to me. I'm not looking for the obvious ones (Eg: a dinosaur show on Discovery Channel), I'm looking for the subtle ones like the dinosaur bone found in Bob the Builder where they say it was from millions of years ago.

See what you can come up with.... Let's all play spot the evolution, but then take a minute to think about the implications of what message is being taught, especially in shows for kids or young people.

You can post them here on my blog or send them to me via email. See who can find some things the fastest.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Review of the movie Fireproof...

Some have noted that in my last commentary about Fireproof, I said that I had not seen the film, but had commented on it. This is true, but now I have seen the film, and have a few comments that I would like to share.

Let me start by saying that there has been a whole lot of improvement when it comes to Christian film in the last few years. I would think that this has to do with the greater access to technology in film and because there is a growing demand and market in the area.

The production team that made Fireproof was also the same company that made Facing the Giants which was the first of this church's movies to catch my eye. Basically, this is a Baptist church down in the states that has a few people that know how to make movies, and a whole bunch of people that volunteer to help them. The results have been quite successful.

With Fireproof they have added star power in Kirk Cameron. Most people will remember him as Mike Seaver on the 80's sit-com Growing Pains. He has made a bold statement about his faith in recent years being involved with The Way of the Master, and his own ministry Camp Firefly. He is also known as Buck Williams from the Left Behind films.

Basically, this film brings us into the middle of a marriage that is in struggle. It shows how if both people want to work at it, and if they will submit to the biblical model for marriage, they can fix their relationship and move forward. It plays on an excellent symbol with Caleb being a fire fighter. It's not that there won't be fires, but that when the fires come you can get through them. With Caleb, he learns that in his job and in his marriage, during the fires, you don't leavve your partner behind.

One issue that this film deals with head on is internet pornography. With the internet, pornography has become something that is far too easily accessible. Too often it finds its way into even Christian marriages. Huge hurt and trauma has come to marriages where a husband's secret is exposed. (http://xxxchurch.com/)

I really enjoyed this film. I think it is something that all who are either married, or getting ready to get married, or even those young people that want to learn about how to find the right person can learn from. Also keep in mind that the producers published the Love Dare so it can be followed by couples.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Defining Generations

Much of what goes on in the current generation has to do with young people doubting the validity of the the Bible. They have been let down by so many, and in many cases the people they should be able to most trust... parents... pastors... etc.

This is an article from Jim Carattini from RZIM.org that I wanted to share with you. Take a look:

Many years ago I was involved in a conversation with a young mother whose son had recently been caught at school with drugs. Within her lament was the repeated declaration of embarrassment, “How could he do this to me?” “Why won’t kids today just take our word for it?” she cried. Her fiery questions masked a genuinely pained heart.

As she spoke the emptiness was unmistakable. Drugs and promiscuity once captivated her own life, stealing her youth, while forcing guilt and heartache into the crevices of her existence. She described the plaguing questions that led her down destructive pathways, the longings she tried to answer unsuccessfully. Sadly, it became more apparent that the deepest lament in her heart was that she had still not found the answer. She had learned in her years things that were not the answer, but the restlessness in her heart remained. Now she watched as her own son walked down the same empty roads, searching for answers himself, yet refusing to take her word for it.

No doubt, she too, had been pointed in different directions, each offering the tempting promise of better life, a better hope. But we live in a distrusting age. The generation of young people before us is much less trusting of the words and promises of others than previous generations have been.

A recent survey asked people of all ages to describe the single most defining attribute of their entire generation. As you can imagine, factors of war, economic depression, and political unrest were common answers for older generations. But the youngest group interviewed had a response that I still find unsettling, even as I believe it to be true. The group collectively responded that their generation was most defined by “broken promises.” The cynical spirit felt on today’s university campuses affirms the validity of such a response.

When the disciples rushed to tell Thomas the news of Christ’s resurrection, Thomas scoffed at his own friends. “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe” (John 20:25). It was undoubtedly a harsh response in wake of their life-changing news. Yet, the gospel accounts note that Thomas continued to gather with these disciples, all of whom undoubtedly remained ecstatic about seeing Jesus alive just days before. Like all of us, intrigued by the hope of a promise, Thomas wanted to believe Jesus was alive. He just needed personal affirmation.

The good news of the gospel for a cynical generation is that Christ does not ask you simply to take someone’s word for it. The gospel accounts depict a truth that confronts us personally, the Christ who demands to know, “Who do you say that I am?” When Pilate stood before Jesus asking if he was the King of the Jews, Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” (John 18:34). Jesus wants more than a simple nod in his direction; he asks you to take his life and find life in his name. He asks that you find him personally. It is a call that has defined countless generations.

To the doubt-ridden disciple, Jesus drew near. “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe” (John 20:27). “My Lord and my God!” Thomas cried. Might our own encounters with the risen Christ be equally defining.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

What?!? Really?!? Wouldn't want to watch that!

Fireproof.... The movie... I haven't seen it yet, but the content and the promos suggest to me that I am going to enjoy it. My wife has also read the book, and she has been pretty impressed... But two things:

First, I just heard a story about a pastor in this city that went to go rent the film at the local video store and the clerk stopped him at the cash warning him that there was a very religious theme to the film.

So what you mean to tell me is that you can go out to the video store and rent a film with adultery, abuse, swearing, brutal/graphic violence, sexuality, fornication, rape, murder, torture, the occult, witchcraft, sorcery, lying, cheating, manipulation, greed, jealousy or any other of a list of other things and no one will say anything. I have rented several movies in my life and never has anyone stopped me and tried to warn me about the content. How odd? Is that what it means to be a Chistian? You go to rent a film that shows your faith, and it is assumed that you don't want to see that? You must be warned that there is "religious content"? Not sure how you see this one, but I would have called the manager over, and asked if this is standard policy for his store, and pursued the matter until they saw the point. Sheesh!

Second, I heard about a review of the film from an obvious non-believer, where he rated the film as too long, too religious, and not worth seeing. It promoted the idea that marriages could be fixed by believing in God. Sort of a misnomer though. Belief in God does not make a marriage. I guess also as evidence the reporter can point at the church and say, look! The divorce rate in the church is the same as the divorce rate in those that are unchurched. And I guess he would have a point there. But I suggest that this just shows that belief in God does not make a marriage. There is a big difference between believing in God and surrendering your life to what He has for you.

A healthy marriage is based on God, the standard set in the Bible, mutual submission to each other, and submission to God. It is "until death do us part". It takes work. It cannot survive on the warm-fuzzy feelings. There are days where you don't even think about warm fuzzy feelings. It has to be based on the Bible's definition of love. Love is something you choose to do, not something you fall into. It takes work. It is selfless. In a world where we tend to focus on what we want for ourselves out of life, it takes real love to choose to get married. That means that you try to put the other person's needs first.

When it comes to this film, from what L-A tells me, there will be some toes stepped on. There will be some people that will not be up for the challenge. There will be those that will be offended.

Should you be warned about this film? Yes, if you have the guts to face some things, and to take a look at yourself and how you perceive others, then watch the film.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Take a look at that....

I keep hearing those words. I don't know why they have stood out to me, but they just have. Everywhere I turn, there they are. I hear them. What does it really mean though? There is not just looking involved with those words. There is looking, analyzing, critiqueing, filtering, sorting, resolving, assimilating, accepting, endorsing, rejecting, subverting and taking action (not necessarily in that order). So many things go on with just that little idea, but really it is a big deal. Just going to take a look at that.

What do you just take a look at? What do you analyze, critique, filter, sort in your mind, resolve, assimilate, accept, endorse, reject, subvert and take action on? What kind of person do those things make you? Do they bring good through the windows to your soul, your eyes? Do they help you make your mind match the mind of God? The eyes are the lamp of the body. Do they bring in light? Or do they bring in darkness? Everything we just "take a look at" affects us.

Ever hear someone say, "I'm going to take in a movie"? Well, they are doing just that, taking in all of the ideas and thoughts portrayed on the screen. Does the person watching agree with what is on screen? Should they? Are they able to truly disregard it?

Just something I have been thinking about lately....

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Still, after all of this time....

I have heard about it all of my life... There is a battle going on inside each of us between our flesh and our spirit. Today I watched something happen inside me that should have been a no-brainer. We were out at Wal-mart. We had a few things to pick up. We went through the line, paid for our stuff, rewrapped the kids, and went out to the car. We loaded everything in, and as I picked up Logan, I noticed some buttons that L-A had wanted sitting on the bottom of the cart. My first thought was that they had just fallen out of one of the bags, but when I thought about it for another minute, I realized that it had probably been missed.

Then it happened, my flesh jumped me. I thought, if I don't check the receipt, then I won't know if they got it, then i won't have to go back in. Then I checked the receipt. It wasn't there. They had missed it. I thought to myself that it was only something small, I'm not going to worry about it. I talked to L-A about it, and was thinking that I hate the line-ups at Wally and didn't want to go back in. As if I was thinking all of this. Should have been a simple solution.

I looked over at my sons. That was the thing that tipped me back into reality. What do I want them to see their father do? Should they see him do the right thing, or the wrong thing?

I went back into Wally and faced the line. I was in and out before you know it though. This was the first time in all of my years dealing with Walmart that there was not a huge line-up!

I guess I write this to draw attention to something that I observe among fathers. Many times they want their kids to grow up and be good Christians, but they are not willing to lead by example or do anything to guide them. It is like they want the kid to just stumble upon the truth.

How long will it be before a father that does not attend church runs into the kid that doesn't want to go to church to be like dad? My Dad did that. He stayed home from church when we were little. I wanted to stay home and watch Star Trek on Sunday Morning with Daddy.

Dads have to lead by example.....