Saturday, January 31, 2015

If Nobody Knows, Is it Okay?

It is hilarious to watch children when they think they cannot be seen. Wyatt will walk down the pews trying to hide thinking that he cannot be seen because he cannot see you. Little does he know, the top of his head has gotten taller than the back of the pew giving him away. Michelle Heroux enlightened me why babies enjoy peek-a-boo so much. It is what she called "object displacement" and how the babies are amused at how you can vanish and reappear all of a sudden. I love seeing the smiles on Rylan's face as we play this timeless game with him. I realize that the older people get, they do not move too far away from the confusion of object displacement.

How many times have we sinned because we consciously, or unconsciously, thought that nobody would ever know? The wise man wrote, "A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight. When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom. The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them. Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death" (Proverbs 11:1-4). People in ancient times, like today, tipped the scales to cause an unfair balance. We tip the scales every time we sin. Whoever has sinned with the consciousness of God's awareness of their activities has some serious spiritual misunderstanding about the consequences of sin.

Paul wrote in Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Because of tipping the scales, each person is worthy of death. It is only in righteousness that there is life. There is no amount of righteous acts a person can do to earn this life though. Paul described it as "the free gift." Because this is free, yet you have to be righteous and there is nothing you can do, your righteousness is completely dependent upon Christ. There is only one way to be made righteous and not sin, be born of God and have his seed abide in you (1 John 3:4-10). Even if nobody knows you are tipping the scales, it is never okay to sin. Do not let Satan cover your eyes to God's presence.

Friday, December 14, 2012

3 Considerations in the Battle of Good vs. Evil

"Whoever is steadfast in righteousness will live, but he who pursues evil will die" (Proverbs 11:19). If you have been searching for the key to life, look no further than God's word. It gives us the answer to everything we need. The secret to life has fascinated mankind since the beginning. Adam and Eve did not have to contemplate the brevity of life till they were booted out of the garden and given the death sentence because of their sin. Since the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), and all have sinned (3:23), nobody can live forever since sin entered the world through Adam. With that said, everyone can expect one of two things in the battle of good vs. evil, life or death. What path are you traveling?

The second consideration in the battle is this, "Those of crooked heart are an abomination to the Lord, but those of blameless ways are his delight" (Proverbs 11:20). What a terrible class to be placed in if you are an abomination to the Lord. Anyone who sins is an abomination. The wise man did not talk of levels of sin, but simply noted crooked hearts. Where is your heart? That is where your treasure is (Matthew 6:21). Set your heart on Christ's kingdom and be God's delight.

A third consideration, "Be assured, an evil person will not go unpunished, but the offspring of the righteous will be delivered" (Proverbs 11:21). Do not let Satan deceive you as he did Adam and Eve. Part of his deception was that no punishment would come upon them. Satan still uses that lie today. One would think after thousands of years people would catch on to his tricks and he would have to come up with something new. This same deception works today though. Satan is whispering to you, "No one will ever know." Resist his lies and James tells us he will flee from us (James 4:7).

Why should humans be concerned about death when we are told how to avoid it? We have a choice in everything we do. With those choices come certain consequences. These will end up in life or death. What changes do you need to make?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Violent Men Get Riches

Don't let your actions be reactions. Some people have the mentality that the best thing to do is wait to see what happens. This is often a necessary and wise philosophy, but this ought not be the mindset for our attitudes. For example, when someone mistreats you or lies to you the reaction is often one of defense. In this defense you may end up lying back and/or mistreating that person in return. If this is the case, you may be letting your actions simply be reactions. You can change this by aligning your principles beforehand so your actions will be proactive rather than reactive.

The wise man wrote, "A gracious woman gets honor, and violent men get riches. A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself. The wicked earns deceptive wages, but one who sows righteousness gets a sure reward" (Proverbs 11:16-18). If you wait for grace to be given in order to give, you may never get around to it. The wise man encourages a proactive grace. When you wait to be honored without being yourself gracious, do not hold your breath. In a sense, the common saying holds true to this proverb, what goes around comes around. The wise man went on to describe violent men who may obtain riches, but true honor is not due them. Same goes for those who are kind, kindness will be returned. Likewise, if you are a jerk, don't be surprised when others are jerks to you. Be proactive in graciousness and kindness before others interact with you.

Are you interested in riches? It's intriguing that the scriptures never talk negatively about money itself, but does give fierce warning to how riches are obtained and to the ones obtaining them. Do not let your wages be deceptive. My high school history teacher, Mrs. Osborne, used to tell us, "Don't back up to the pay window." In other words, work hard, be honest, and treat others with integrity. These actions need to be proactive. When they are then honor, grace, and kindness will be due you, if not here, then in eternity.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Co-signing Is Stupid

Some instruction in the Bible is just plain hard to swallow. Verses discuss the need for self-control, don't be a glutton, gossip is sinful, etc. I just don't want to hear about it. God did not intend for his people to pick and choose which parts of his word fits their lives best and just lean on them. We are to keep all of his commands if we love him. Sometimes, people go against wise counsel and instruction, not out of rebellion, but what they're confusing as a generous heart. Instruction is given so that in times of weakness and confusion there are established principles to live by.

There are many opportunities to do something we think is helpful, but in reality it is only harmful. When a worm goes into its cocoon and starts to break out, if you tear the cocoon for it in an effort to help its struggle then you have essentially paralyzed it and it will die. The reason being that it did not have the opportunity to build the strength in its wings to fly from the struggle of breaking through the cocoon. People treat their struggling friends and family the exact same way. Solomon wrote, "Whoever puts up security for a stranger will surely suffer harm, but he who hates striking hands in pledge is secure" (Proverb11:15). You might be thinking, this is for a stranger though, if I co-sign for a friend or family that's different. Proverbs 17:18 carries the same principle, but in regards to a "neighbor."

When we start to justify actions that go against the advice of God's word we get into deep mud. If that struggling family member could just get ahead they would be alright. That may be the case, but it is not justification for doing something stupid. If you have the money and want to give it to them to help along the way, that is one thing. As long as you're not enabling their poor choices, it can be helpful. If you don't have the money, but could co-sign a loan with them, the wise man says that is harmful. If you think you are helping, believe God, you're not.

Monday, November 19, 2012

2 Philisophical Approaches of the Harding University President Selection

It has been said that "change is always a great thing."  At least that's how Fred Armisen quoted it in a recent Today Show interview concerning his role with NBC's Saturday Night Live.  There is also the saying that seems to contradict this philosophy, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."  So which philosophy is best?

Harding's New President: Dr. Bruce McLarty
He will take office in June 2013 after a 26 year long presidency of Dr. David Burks.  In the decision making process of who would be the next president for the university, many differing opinions were given.  These differing opinions, for the most part, could be categorized under one of the two philosophies mentioned.  Now that the decision is final, some have classified the decision to go with Dr. McLarty as, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."  Some have spoken out about how they think Harding should move forward in their thinking and be more open to new ideas and groups of people that have been banned from campus in the past.  These people claim that the decision to go with Dr. McLarty will not promote this path.  They say that with the last several years of record enrollment, Harding decided to go with the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach and this is the wrong move.

McLarty is Not the "Don't Fix It" Candidate
I don't think anyone would agree that Harding is not broken.  By broken I mean like any other institution or human.  It's broken, in need of Christ.  So the mentality of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" simply doesn't fly with this presidential decision.  Harding needs fixing.  I need fixing.  Harding needs change just as I need change.  Dr. McLarty brings just that to the table.  A fresh perspective on the much needed fixing and change.  He's certainly not the one bringing the fix or the change as none of the other candidates would, only Christ does that.

The Board's Recognition that "Change is Always a Good Thing"
You have to be careful when using absolutes.  When it comes to keeping certain people/groups off campus that say/do things contrary to the Bible, this does not need to change.  Jesus and the apostle talk about the importance of resisting false teachers.  Harding does need to change in how they can better resist this encroachment because again, she is not perfect.  I believe the Board of Trustee's decision had in mind that Dr. McLarty is the needed change for the university.  This doesn't suggest I think past leadership was terrible, just imperfect, like me.  Change is always a good thing because we can always be better.  We will never be perfect, which means there will always be room for improvement.  Improvement requires change.  I am excited about that improvement with HU's new president.  I am excited about how Harding will change, hopefully for the good, in the future.

We all need to improve.  What changes are necessary for that to happen?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sermon Updates

Several sermons have been added to iTunes for your free download.  Get convicted today and subscribe at

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Multiple Offers Return as Buyers are Back

This article by Steve Cook makes an interesting case for a great time to list your house for sale.  Do not let the fear that the news pumps out dictate your life and decisions.  Get educated!  This article found at

RISMEDIA, Monday, July 09, 2012— Record tight inventories are making it increasingly difficult for growing numbers of buyers, who are creating multiple-bid environments in markets that haven’t seen buyers battle over homes in six years.

Buyers are back but sellers aren’t, especially in Western markets recovering from large volumes of foreclosures. The result is that inventories are still tightening as the spring buying season ends. Buyers are fighting over what’s available, often to the benefit of those sellers who took a risk in this year’s evolving marketplace.

Prices are reported to be on the uptrend with 62 percent of REALTORS® reporting constant or increasing prices compared to the same time a year ago, according to the National Association of REALTORS’® (NAR) REALTOR® Confidence Index for May29 -June 8, 2012 that was released recently.

Buyer demand is reported to be growing faster than supply, and many REALTORS® are reporting multiple offers. However, buyer foot traffic slowed in May compared to last year, perhaps as buyers grew discouraged by slim pickings.

However, buyer traffic is still well above the moderate level, but seller traffic is flat, according to the NAR survey. First-time homebuyers accounted for 34 percent of total buyers. Normally first-time buyers are in the neighborhood of 40 percent of total residential sales, according to NAR’s Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.

A majority of the 145 markets monitored by NAR Research experienced slower foot traffic in May of this year relative to the same time in 2011. The data, provided by SentriLock, LLC., is based on the total number of visits to properties as recorded on electronic clock boxes. Foot traffic was lower over the 12 months ending in May in 60 percent of the markets, while 35 percent expanded and 5 percent were unchanged. This moderating pattern suggests a broad based decline in the late spring following an equally broad-based expansion in the late spring/summer of 2011 and early spring of this year.

Multiple bids are changing the playing field in a number of markets this spring and summer. Many agents new to the business who have little experience with them are dealing with a sudden and unexpected competition for homes brought about by inventors more than 20 percent below those of a year ago.

“Remember the “Roaring ’90s?” Those days when you could list your house on Friday and on Saturday people would be parked in your driveway writing offers and good faith checks on the hood of their cars? Multiple offers were the norm and offered sellers a generous selection of offers from which to choose. Believe it or not. we are experiencing a trend toward multiple offers even in this still difficult market and there is evidence that this trend will continue as buyers compete in a market with limited inventory,” reported REALTOR® Noel Crider of Auburn, Calif.

“The Phoenix Metro Area Housing Market faces multiple offers even in the higher end and luxury market as buyers try to snag homes before the market rises further. We have seen multiple offers for quite some time in the lower price ranges, but now as the market is returning, and returning strong, we are seeing multiple offers in the higher price ranges. We are now seeing multiple offers on homes in the move-up and luxury home market. We are seeing offers that are $50,000 over asking that are not the winning bid. This is causing quite a bit of frustration as buyers are trying to get into a home before the market prices go up further,” reported Brenda & Ron Cunningham, real estate professionals in Arizona.

In Seattle, multiple offers on beginner houses in Seattle are common again reports Phil Leng of Kirkland, Wash. and in Austin, broker Gwynn Teal Carpenter reports, “It’s happened again! We are in one of those real estate markets where we are seeing homes with multiple offers. In Austin Texas, the market is so sizzling hot that it isn’t unusual to have more than 2 offers on a fantastic priced and conditioned home.”

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Unintentional Pregnancy

It seems very counter intuitive to talk about an unintentional pregnancy with one exception, rape victims.  If a female is raped and gets pregnant as a result, obviously that is an unintentional pregnancy.  All other pregnancies cannot be intelligently described as "unintentional."  Here is a basic lesson that pro-choice advocates have seemed to overlook, pregnancy occurs by sex between a man and a woman.  If people have sex knowing that pregnancy is the natural outcome, they cannot really say that a resulting pregnancy was unintentional.  Call me old fashioned, but if you are not prepared for the possibility of having a child, then you should not be having sex. 
With the one exception mentioned above, all other "unintentional pregnancies" come down to irresponsibility.  Because of this irresponsibility, our nation decides to make it legal to have abortions in order to make up for those irresponsible actions.  I was taught growing up to take responsibility for my actions and abortion is just the opposite of that.  Abortion is literally killing the responsibility that is yours based on the decision you made.  Do not talk to me about unintentional pregnancies when you know good and well the natural outcome of sex.  Sex is a good thing and children are a blessing.  Let us keep these in perspective and take responsibility for our actions.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Realtor Interview Questions

Here are some things to ask when looking for a Realtor:

1. How Long Have You Been in the Business?

2. What is Your Average List-Price-to-Sales-Price Ratio?

3. What is Your Best Marketing Plan or Strategy for My Needs?

4. Will You Please Provide References?

5. What Are the Top Three Things That Separate You From Your Competition?

6. May I Review Documents Beforehand That I Will Be Asked to Sign?

7. How Will You Help Me Find Other Professionals?

8. How Much Do You Charge?

9. What Kind of Guarantee Do You Offer?

10. What Haven't I Asked You That I Need to Know?