6 Ways You May be Raising Your Kids With an Oversimplified Faith (Re-blogged)

Important!

Every once in a while I lay aside my own thoughts and substitute them with the thoughts of those more brillianter than me, such as Natasha Crain at ChristianMomThoughts.com.

This morning I had planned to write about the new atheist churches (Sunday gatherings) popping up around the country. I was going to share some observations meant to encourage you to go to a real church, especially if you are a believer (if atheists believe gathering together in “community” is important to combat the effects of loneliness, why do Christians think they can “forsake the assembling” of themselves?).

But instead of writing a post about what was on my mind, I am going to share a post that  – well, the idea has been on my mind for a while, but this beautifully sums it up. This is a VERY IMPORTANT post!

Please, especially if you are a parent, pastor, or youth leader, READ THIS! (click on the picture)

oversimplifiedfaith

 

Now, after reading what Natasha Crain wrote, what are we going to do about it?

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Filed under Apologetics, blogging, Culture Wars, Faith, Parenting, Relationships and Family, Theology, World View

Pricey Tongue, Worthless Heart

The following is derived from a post I wrote for my other blog, Proverbial Thought. It can also be found in Proverbial Thought: Your Daily Word of Wisdom from Proverbs (Parson’s Porch, 2014).

A Proverbial Thought

Let’s take a look at the following verse from the tenth chapter of Proverbs.

The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth. – Proverbs 10:20

Contrast

When we look at this verse, it is important for us to remember that there is a comparison/contrast being made. An “opposite parallelism” is being used to make a point that one thing is valuable, while another is worthless.

In this case, it is easy to notice that Solomon is contrasting “the tongue of the just” with “the heart of the wicked.” The tongue of the just person (the words that he speaks) is something beautiful and of great value, while the wicked man’s heart is just the opposite. But if we were to look a little deeper, there is more than meets the eye, or first impressions.

The Heart

What is really being contrasted are the hearts of both the wicked and the just. You see, what comes out of a person’s mouth is directly related to what’s in his heart. Proverbs 16:23 says, “The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips.” In the book of James (3:11) we read, “Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?”

Essentially, you can tell what is in a person’s heart by what comes out of his mouth. Jesus said, “It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.” – Matthew 15:11 (NLT)

Do you like to tell dirty jokes? Then there must be lust in your heart. Do you always talk hateful? Then there is hatred (and maybe murder – see Matthew 5:21-22) in your heart. Do you ever talk about God? About Jesus? About your love for Him? If not, maybe He’s not in there.

On Display

Do your realize that your heart is on display? No, I don’t mean that your chest cavity is transparent, nor do I mean that everyone can see your bloody, beating heart muscle. That’s sick!

What I do mean to say is that there is no hiding what is in your heart; because your words, the words from your mouth, tell the whole story.

Maybe we should listen to ourselves. Maybe we should ask others to tell us what they hear. Maybe we should be like King David and pray this prayer…

“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.”- Psalm 19:14

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Saying “Bye-Bye” to “The Ride”

The Ride

Several years ago I had the opportunity to regain my masculinity. No, I did not undergo an operation or get an injection of any kind. No, I didn’t go out into the woods and kill Bambi just to prove I knew how to fire a rifle or shoot an arrow. I regained my manhood by getting something else to drive besides a minivan…

I got a black Cadillac.

"The Ride"

“The Ride”

I was so proud of The Ride, as I so fondly named it. It was an old ’92 Sedan DeVille that had been sitting for a year or two and needed some work. All the owner wanted for it was $1,000, so I bought it. With a little cleaning, a little buffing, and a few new parts, I was getting looks from the bruthas and burning a little front-wheel-drive rubber.

Oh, it was the perfect “preacher car.”

Riding Into the Sunset

Unfortunately, old Cadillacs aren’t the most reliable forms of transportation. After a while, things start breaking down faster than one can fix them – and NOTHING is an inexpensive fix.

On top of the fixes that cost so much, The Ride only got around 12 mpg. That would have been bad enough, but the gas-guzzling V-8 also required premium gasoline. It was just too expensive and unreliable to be a daily driver.

So, today was the day I had to say “goodbye.” Believe me, it was difficult to see the old piece of junk go. It was MY car, not my wife’s. It was a car with an American V-8, not a hyper Japanese four-banger. It was big, unsafe, and FUN!

 

Getting pulled by a winch onto a truck.

Getting pulled by a winch onto a truck.

Loaded and ready to leave.

Loaded and ready to leave.

Saying "goodbye" is hard to do.

Saying “goodbye” is hard to do.

Back to a shared minivan. Oh well.

Note: If any of you have a car that a preacher can drive without looking like a wimp, while at the same time not having to take a loan out to drive across town, let me know. 

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Filed under current events, General Observations, self-worth

4 Rules for the Race of Life

ironmanIRONMAN

Have you ever heard of the Ironman triathlon? This past weekend my town hosted the 11th U.S. Ironman race of the year. The following, from the official Ironman website, is a description of what the competitors would encounter…

“IRONMAN Chattanooga will begin with a point to point, 2.4-mile swim in the Tennessee River with ample spectator vantage points alongside the city’s famous Riverwalk. Athletes can look forward to a fast, down-current swim. The bike will be two loops of a 56-mile course (112 miles) with scenic farmland and mountain views. The two-and-a-half loop, 26.2-mile run course will showcase beautiful downtown Chattanooga, the South Side, Riverview and the North Shore. Overall, expect a fast, rolling course.”

Originally from: http://www.ironman.com/triathlon/events/americas/ironman/chattanooga.aspx#ixzz3EojqNC6x

The race was a wonderful opportunity for Chattanooga to welcome athletes from all over and to spotlight our city’s beauty and hospitality.

But even more, this Ironman race was a great source of illustrations for the message I preached Sunday morning! Ha!

4 Rules of Training

In a piece by Roman Mica (for Active.com), I found the “4 Rules of Ironman Training.” They were so simple and enlightening that I determined to use them in my next Sunday sermon dealing with the different races of life.

See if you don’t see a strong correlation between training for a grueling triathlon and the life of a Christian.

Rule 1 – Train Every Day

According to the author, it takes a minimum of 13 hours a week of training to compete in an Ironman. Most of the competitors, already seasoned athletes, will train every day of the week for at least 6 months, if not a year, for just this one race!

How much training do we do for the race of life? How much time do we take to prepare for the up-hill climbs, the varying terrain, and the lonely stretches when few are there to urge us on to victory? Every day we should be working out the truths of God’s Word; swimming in the pool of God’s grace; and strengthening our endurance with the breath of God’s Spirit.

Rule 2 – Don’t Fake It

“There are few things more miserable in life than spending 17 hours on an Ironman course hating every painful swim stroke, bike pedal and running step. Sure, there are amateur athletes who’ve finished without putting in the hard work, but they just spent over $500 on the entry for a day of self-inflicted pain.” – Roman Mica

There are few things more miserable than a Christian trying to be a Christian in his own strength. Don’t fake it! Be real! Let God work through you, give you the grace and strength you need, and help you to enjoy the life you’ve been given.

Rule 3 – Be Disciplined with Nutrition

Roman Mica made it clear that the human body not only needs the proper nutrition to compete at such a high level of performance, but the also the right amounts to be able to withstand prolonged stress.

Sometimes in the Christian walk/run/race of life, there are times when we are forced to run without stopping for a break. It is only through regular, disciplined intake before a trial that we will have the internal resources from which to draw strength. In other words, there will be long stretches when Bible study and prayer will be hard to come by. Store up the nutrition while you can.

Rule 4 – Avoid Injury

One of the sad realities of training for a big race like the Ironman is that injuries do occur. Yes, even before the trials of the river, the bike ride, and the run, athletes get hurt trying to prepare for the competition.

Sadly, while training in what would be considered a safe atmosphere, church people get hurt and wounded all the time. We do it to ourselves and to each other. My advice is to love, live a life of forgiveness and grace, and keep training – the prize it worth it.

 

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Filed under Christian Living, Christian Maturity, current events, fitness, Life Lessons, Preaching, Struggles and Trials

Revival? What Is It?

Sore Throat

This morning my throat is on fire. Well, it may not be that bad, but it feels rather raw and painful. The reason for the pain is what I did yesterday – preach.

I don’t normally get behind the pulpit and become another Billy Sunday; I’m not that athletic. However, I do believe it’s a shame for a preacher to deliver the good news of God’s love and mercy, the message of the life-changing Gospel, in a dull, mono-tone voice. When one is truly excited about sharing something important, his mannerisms should reflect it. So, I do get excited when I preach, but not quite to the extent of what Abraham Lincoln preferred: a preacher who looked like he was swatting at a swarm of bees! I’m calmer than that, but I do flap around a little.

Anyway, I have had a cold for the last few days. The preaching I did yesterday has left my throat in need of recovery. But it was worth it.

The Message

Yesterday I preached a sermon dealing with what is needed before we have revival. But here is my question to you, dear reader: what is “revival”?

If you would like to take the time, there are various sources from which you can learn of the great revivals of the past. Some were call “awakenings.” But one of the general themes of revival is that the people of God, the Church, becomes revived, awakened, having their intimacy with and their vision of God renewed. This is what I want for myself, my congregation, my town, state, and country.

So, what is revival, and what do you think is necessary for it to take place? I am interested in your thoughts. Let’s discuss it.

If you’d like to listen to the actual service I preached, click on the link below.

“What We Need Before Revival”

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A Witness to War and Grace

Meeting a Vet

There are not many men left who actually saw combat in WWII, especially those who participated in some of the more well-known battles. Many were transported to the beaches by an LST, much like the one which is visiting for a few days in Chattanooga (it leaves 9/18).

LST 325When I went down to the river to take a picture of LST 325, the last of its kind, it wasn’t hard to spot the older veterans. If they weren’t walking slowly, supported by a walking stick, they were riding in wheelchairs, or holding on to a younger loved one’s arm. Each of them, no matter what age, exhibited a nostalgic look, one that hinted at a smile, yet betrayed a sense of loss and pain.

One elementary teacher I talked to said after touring the ship, “You know, after going through that thing, I don’t know how any of them survived to make it back.”

Well, yesterday, after attending an executive board meeting with our local Baptist association, I got to meet an extraordinary veteran who actually rode one of those LST’s to the beaches of Iwo Jima to fight the Japanese, Mr. Paul George.

Mr. George, like so many others, risked his life not only to preserve our freedoms, but to liberate others. Fortunately, he survived; many others did not. To all of them we owe an incalculable debt.

Waiting for His Time

Paul GeorgeBut here’s the thing: odds are none of us are going to make it out of this life alive. And as a matter of fact, some of our loved ones have already gone on home and are now waiting for our tour of duty to end. I believe that’s what Mr. George was sorta getting at when he wrote the following note to be sent to his friends and loved ones, those who were concerned about him after his wife’s departure.

Just a note to let you know that I am doing quite well even though Martha left me June 17, 2013 (eight days short of our 70th anniversary) to be with Jesus. I do miss her but I know she is much better off and is waiting for me. 

My life now is like it was when I was in the Pacific during WWII. Her picture is ever before me and now I wait for life to be over as I was waiting for the war to be over and we would be together again. The difference is that I am not in a hurry for our reunion as I was before, I want The Lord to use me as a witness of His Grace. The Lord’s timing is Right and I will wait.” – Paul George

They call men like Mr. George “the greatest generation.” This is just one more reason why.

God bless you, dear brother, for your desire has been granted: you certainly are a witness of God’s grace.

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Filed under America, Christian Maturity, Future, Life Lessons, Struggles and Trials, Witnessing

Depressing Speech

Another Computer

Last night my wife broke one of her big toes (ouch!). Aside from turning me into the sandwich-making, cool-aide making, laundry-carrying, dog-walking, and anything-that’s-downstairs-that-needs-to-be gotten-and-brought-back-upstairs getter, I am now the official chauffeur for my daughter, Haley.

It’s been a while since I’ve had to spend all day driving my little girl to different classes and co-ops (we homeschool, but we don’t lock our children in closets). At this moment I happen to be sitting in the waiting/free-coffee area of one of the stops. So, after doing some reading, after attempting to do some additional writing for my next book, I decided to write a post for this blog based on pictures in the hard drive of this old computer.

You see, I have used this computer many times in the past, but more recently my writing has been done at home on my desktop. From that computer I pull photos for posts after I download them from my phone. This computer, however, has nothing recent, only photos I’ve used in posts over 2 years ago, if not longer. Yet, after glancing over the files, I found a good one – one that could make a good post.

Tongue Depressors

depressorsThe picture to your right was taken by me a several years ago while sitting in a doctor’s office. I edited the photo with an app on my iPhone and then published to i4Daily (an old photo blog of mine). For some reason, maybe because being sick was depressing, I found the idea of depressing tongues a little humorous.

But sitting here, thinking about all that is going on in the world, especially with all of the attempts to silence free speech, especially the Christian type, I refuse to have my tongue “depressed.”

I hate it when a nurse or doctor inserts one of those nasty-tasting wooden sticks in mouth! They do it to hold my tongue out of the way, just enough to glance at my throat before I gag. But there are a lot of non-medical professionals out there who want to immobilize the tongues of any who would speak their mind, and the tools they use aren’t always wooden sticks. As a matter of fact, all they have to do is convince us that things are hopeless, that there’s no use in speaking out or speaking up, and the result is “depressed” tongues.

Don’t let anything depress your voice. If you feel you have something to say, say it. I don’t expect every one to agree with what I have to say, nor do I expect them to listen. However, I have to open my mouth and let my tongue fly to find out. In this case, my fingers are my tongue and I am talking as fast as I can type.

I am not mad…but speak forth the words of truth and soberness (Acts 26:25).

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