Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Set Goals to Set Success

The New Year is right around the corner and resolutions will be thought of until January 1st roles around.  The difference in a goal and a resolution though is that a goal will more likely be seen through.  Why?  A resolution is simply a good idea that you think would be beneficial in your life.  Things like losing weight and reading the Bible more are a few popular resolutions.  Though these are good ideas, unless they have some definition, they will be thrown by the wayside before Valentine's Day.

Zig Ziglar, one of the greatest motivational speakers of all time talks about goal setting.  A couple of the things he says resonates with me.  The goal must be specific, measurable, have a plan of action, and contain a time frame.  This kind of goal would include how much weight you would like to lose (20 lbs.), when you want to have it lost (20 weeks), and how you will go about losing it (cardiovascular workout for 30 minutes everyday and count calories).  If you put these things into action, your New Year's resolution turns into a goal bound for success.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Barbie House For Christmas

Every family should have some good 'ole Christmas traditions.  My parents required us to be in bed early so we didn't keep Santa waiting.  After tossing and turning for what seemed like hours, the sand man came and the slumber which would soon be interrupted with Christmas morning excitement came to an end.  We all piled into my parents' room and jumped on the bed before we were allowed to go in the living room and bust out our stuffed stockings and rip open the presents surrounding the tree.  My Dad was the first to go into the living room to scout it out before we could enter.  Every year, without fail, he yelled to us from the living room, "Santa must have come to the wrong house...there's nothing but barbies and barbie doll houses in here!  I was so nervous that Santa did indeed get our house crossed with a bunch of girls, but my dad was pulling our legs.  That didn't stop the shadow of doubt from entering year after year:)  What traditions did/do your family have?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Holy Spirit Dwell In Me

One CANNOT be a Christian without the Holy Spirit!  When Peter told the people on the day of Pentecost what was required of them, the gift of the Holy Spirit was part of that deal (Acts 2:38).  If you deny the Spirit dwells in you, know that you are not a Christian without it.  Paul is abundantly clear about this, "You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you.  Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him" (Romans 8:9 ESV).  It does not get anymore cut and dry than that.  The Holy Spirit dwells within each Christian.  It is by this Spirit that Christians are led (v. 14).

So what is people's problem with the Holy Spirit dwelling in them?  I have no idea because it is a comforting thought to me that the Lord left us the ultimate Comforter (John 16:7 KJV).  Paul teaches Christians "...your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God..." (1 Corinthians 6:19).  Paul is speaking to the individual Christian in this context with references to sexual immorality and sin against one's own body.  His point to the Corinthians is to take care of the Spirit's dwelling, our body. 

When someone becomes a Christian, they are "sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it..." (Ephesians 1:13-14).  Sometimes I think people want to dismiss the idea of the Holy Spirit having any part in our lives because they do not fully understand it.  I would dare say, if we waited to except anything until we completely understood it then Christianity would be a dead religion.  There are debates about differing ways to interpret various passages because there is not complete understanding.  So, just because we might not understand something completely does not mean we should dismiss it all together!  "And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption" (Ephesians 4:30).  Let us not shun the Holy Spirit, but embrace its indwelling that convicts Christians concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8).  I am thankful the Holy Spirit dwells in me.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I Hate Sin

"Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made" (Genesis 3:1 ESV).  He has been at it since the beginning of time.  He knows the loopholes and the tricks to make sin attractive and seem right.  He even makes us desire the very evil of sin...what are we to do?

God tells us to be holy as He is holy.  We can only do this with the blood of Christ.   When Christ's blood makes us holy by taking part in his death, burial, and resurrection, then we have to continue to walk in the light so His blood continues to wash over our sins.  Sin has some weird characteristics though.  Even though I know it is wrong to carry out certain temptations that would lead to sin, I find myself desiring that sin.  I know it's wrong, but I crave it all the more.  It is comforting that Paul dealt with this struggle as well which he records in Romans 7.  How can Christians go about hating something they want to do?

It seems like an oxymoron to hate something you want.  Generally when you hate something, you don't want anything to do with it.  Likewise, when you want something usually you actually like it.  Sin is not this way though.  Satan works today the same way the serpent did in the garden.  He is "crafty."  He makes the oxymoron a reality.  Sin, which Christians hate, is the very thing we desire to do every day.  I think the only way to come to hate sin though is to remove it from our life.  Jesus prescribed this along with Paul and others.  We must remove ourselves from the temptation or remove the temptation from ourselves.  Some temptations we cannot help being around as we live in the world around us, but you control the television in your living room.  You control the radio you listen to, the magazines you read, the people you spend time with, the websites you visit, and your career path.  Let us cut-out the temptation we can actually control exposure to and I believe hate for those sins will dramatically increase along with love for righteousness.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Everybody Has a Religion...which one is right?

It blows the mind to think of all the world religions that exist.  It goes to show that each human is unique and thinks very differently from one another.  Some religions claim there is many ways to reach the place most wanted.  Other religions claim there is only one path to the destination desired.  Christians for example, believe there is only one way to spend an eternity with God the Father.  That singular way is through His son, Jesus Christ.  Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6, ESV).  This is a very limited view that Jesus set forth for those who follow Him.  In fact, it is because of statements such as this that some have labeled Jesus as narrow minded.

In societies where tolerance is pushed, anyone who makes a narrow minded claim is frowned upon.  It is because of this that Christianity is in grave danger in the midst of this post-modern age.  If "everybody is right and anyway you want to go is okay," then that eliminates the need for God, the Bible, and His church.  So which way is the right way?  If everything is relative and there is no absolute truth then why even bother with religion?

The interesting thing about religion is that everybody has one.  A religion is simply, "a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe," (  Even if you do not believe in a divine being who created the universe, you believe science holds the answer to the origins of the universe.  Whether an atheist, deist, or theist, you have a religion.  The question remains, which religion is right?  Is the religion right that says everybody's way is okay and all is relative because there is no absolute truth; or is the one correct that says there is only one way and if you don't follow that way you cannot find that final everlasting peace?  Which one would you rather follow: a definite claim or an elusive reality?  As for me, I will take the confident claim in there being one way and strive my best to find it.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

No Fears in Heaven

            Try and imagine living in a land where you were not free to worship who you wanted, when you wanted, or how you wanted.  Imagine living in constant fear that you would be beaten to death if you were found worshipping in a manner not authorized by the authorities of that city, state, or nation.  Envision having to go into the back room of someone’s business or in the basement of your house so you would not be seen or heard in order to worship.  What if you were caught with a Bible in your belongings and you were arrested or killed on the spot?  Talk about a life of fear.  Sadly, there are Christians around the world that live in this kind of terror. 

            Christians that stand firm in their faith no matter what the circumstance are admirable.  They remind me of Daniel who continued to worship God even when the decree had been signed to throw anyone into the lions’ den petitioning any god or man other than the king (Daniel 6:10).  Stephen, in Acts 6-7, spoke the truth among a hostile crowd who stoned him.  These men and others like them did and surely can find comfort in the wise man’s words, Do not be afraid of sudden terror or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes, for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught (Proverbs 3:25–26, ESV).  Some versions render, “Have no fear…”  This is certainly easier said than done.

Can we really have no fear when our lives are in danger?  There may not be a verse in the Bible that will keep your heart from skipping a beat when an oppressor sticks a gun in your face for worshipping God.  This is not Solomon’s intent, but rather to give hope.  We can have assurance in whatever circumstance we are put in as Christians because we have the Lord on our side.  When God is on one’s side, there is great reason to have no fear of our eternal destination.  Our lives may be cut short on account of our faith like was threatened to Daniel and carried out with Stephen, but those men did what they did because they had the confidence of the God on their side.  They said what needed to be said and did what needed to be done and God rewarded them both:  Daniel an escape from the lions and Stephen saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God.  What a great thought to have no tears or fears in Heaven!

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Depths of Wisdom

            Some things in life are difficult to understand.  The eternal nature of God boggles my mind.  The concept that God always was, is, and will be keeps my head turning.  Theology in omnipotence/omnipresence and trying to understand how God knows everything and is everywhere is welcoming, yet confusing all at once.  The story of Jesus’ birth and how he was miraculously conceived puts me in awe as well.  Maybe one of the most difficult things to understand is the creation.  I am certainly not the handiest of men.  I can easily spend hours putting together an entertainment center.  God created the entire universe out of nothing!  The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens; by his knowledge the deeps broke open, and the clouds drop down the dew” (Proverbs 3:19–20, ESV).  What depths of wisdom that God used at the beginning of time.  If only I had some of that with the entertainment center!

            It is easy to lose sight of some important things in life.  Sometimes, these important matters get swept under the rug and different things make their way into our lives disguised as “important,” such as careers, retirement, programs, books, TV, radio, clothes, vehicles, internet, and on the list can go.  These things are not bad, but when they take the place of the real important things, they become idols.  “My son, do not lose sight of these—keep sound wisdom and discretion, and they will be life for your soul and adornment for your neck.  Then you will walk on your way securely, and your foot will not stumble.  If you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet” (Proverbs 3:21-24). 

            Kids seem to get distracted very easily (some adults too for that matter).  We can be told to do something and get distracted very easily by the noise that is all around us in this world.  Like parents tell kids to clean their room and three minutes later they are playing with the toys they were supposed to be putting away, we get easily distracted from God.  Solomon pleads for us to dive into the depths of wisdom and not lose sight of the wonders that God will bring into our lives.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Worth of Wisdom

Something I never understood as a child was the comments made to me after a spanking, “We are doing this because we love you,” said my parents.  I remember thinking, “If you love me then why do you spank me?”  The LORD says this to his children as well, “My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights” (Proverbs 3:11-12).  Though it is hard to think of discipline as love when you are in the midst of it, that is exactly what it is.
Lynn Deshazo wrote the words and music to “More Precious than Silver” in 1982 which say, “Lord, You are more precious than silver; Lord, You are more costly than gold; Lord, You are more beautiful than diamonds; And nothing I desire compares with You.”  These words sound much like what Solomon wrote about wisdom, “Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold.  She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her” (Proverbs 3:13-15).  Even though the song is singing about the Lord and the Proverb is discussing wisdom, the two seem to go hand-in-hand.
Wisdom is not limited to a select few in society.  Wisdom is not biased towards who can obtain it.  Wisdom has so much to offer those who care to have her.  Solomon wrote, “Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor.  Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.  She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called blessed” (Proverbs 3:16-18).  The Christian life can be enjoyable and peaceful when we have this wonderful gift that our Lord offers freely.  We will never be in want with wisdom, but all our necessities can be found. 
You may know someone whom you consider to be wise.  Do not neglect to spend time with and talk to that person about their life.  The adage says, “You are what you eat.”  Well, you will reflect whom you spend time with.  Are you spending time with the prudent or the foolish?  What is wisdom worth to you?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Live Long & Wealthy If You Trust in the LORD

            How quickly is the class topic or sermon subject forgotten after Sunday or Wednesday?  As the closing prayer of worship is led and we ask God to “help us apply the lesson to our lives,” has it already been forgotten?  “My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you” (Proverbs 3:1-2).  What an encouraging idea for those who trust in God.  This sounds like one of the Ten Commandments, “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12).  Good health, eating right, and exercise are crammed down the modern culture’s throat in order to live longer.  When was the last time you heard to keep God’s commandments in order to have longer life?  

Follow these principles and you will not be disappointed, “So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man” (Proverbs 3:4).  When we trust in the Lord with all our heart, do not rely on our own logic, and acknowledge him in everything, “he will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).  Solomon even has some medicinal advice, “Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones” (Proverbs 3:7-8).  Some people discuss how to get rich in the stock market, investing in mutual funds, buying real estate and owning businesses.  One of the richest kings in history wrote, “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine” (Proverbs 3:9-10).  What a paradox, give and you will prosper.

An important concept to understand in the Proverbs is that these are wise principles to live by, not promise equations.  If someone dies at an early age, it does not always mean they were disobedient to God.  Likewise, if someone lives to be old, that is not necessarily a mark of a faithful life to God.  By following these principles though, we can be assured that we are in the favor of God.  Things may not always go your way, but always trust in God giving him your firstfruits and you will be satisfied.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

“If” Statements Leading to God

            “If” statements imply some sort of condition.  If you do this then that will happen.  I came to understand the significance of these statements very early in life.  “If you try your best then I will be proud of you,” my Dad said.  “If you do your chores then you will get paid,” said my Mom even though we really did not have a choice in doing the chores!  Probably the most impacting “if” statement of my childhood was, “If you do not do what we say then you will be punished,” my parents said.  We tried our best not to push the envelope because we knew from experience they were certainly not bluffing on the promise of punishment. 

When we see “if” statements in the Bible, we can know that whatever condition is set before us is reliable.  Proverbs 2 is such a chapter that lays out some conditions about our relationship with God.  “My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God” (vss. 1-5).  The three “ifs” found in these verses are part of the condition of understanding the fear and knowledge of the LORD God.  He promises that if we receive his words, call out to Him, and seek Him then He will give us wisdom, be a shield for us, we will understand righteousness, we will be delivered from evil and can avoid corrupt men (vss. 6-15).

With fornication running rampant in the American society and ungodly sexuality being pushed by all forms of media, these “ifs” in Proverbs 2 also give a way for escape from the “adulteress” (vss. 16-19).  When Paul wrote, “…walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh,” (Galatians 5:16), surely he had these three “ifs” from Proverbs in mind.  Hope is found in Proverbs 2:20-22, “So you will walk in the way of the good and keep to the paths of the righteous.  For the upright will inhabit the land, and those with integrity will remain in it, but the wicked will be cut off from the land, and the treacherous will be rooted out of it.”  Do not be rooted out, but plant your faith in God.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Destructiveness of Decadent Thought--Prezi

Check out my Prezi and listen to the Podcast.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Do You Hear Wisdom’s Cry?

Proverbs 1:20-33

Wisdom is all around begging for someone to listen.  It cries aloud in the street, in the markets, at the head of the noisy streets, and at entrance of the city gates (v. 20-21).  Solomon’s point is that wisdom can be found if we will simply open our eyes and ears.  If we truly want wisdom, we will stop loving to be “simple” and stop delighting in scoffing because “fools hate knowledge” (v. 22).
            It is comforting to know that God reveals himself to those who seek him.  God does not hide out in a dark corner as seekers pass by, but Solomon assures us that he “makes his words known” to us, he calls us, and he stretches out his hand for us (v. 23-24).  We do not have to worry about missing God.  He makes himself known to those who pay attention, but “laughs at your calamity” if you ignore him and “mocks when terror strikes you” (v. 25-27).  
            Why is it that people who do not have a relationship with God seem to go to him when things get bad?  They either go to him for comfort or they point to him in blame.  If there was no prior relationship or seeking of God’s wisdom prior to a tragedy, “Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently but will not find me.  Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD, would have none of my counsel and despised all my reproof, therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way, and have their fill of their own devices” (v. 28-31).  God is very blunt about our timing in seeking him.  If our relationship with God was lacking before disaster, what reason do we have to hope for help in disaster?
            Words of encouragement are written for those who hear wisdom’s cry.  Justice and mercy are for those on both sides of this discussion, “For the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacency of fools destroys them; but whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster” (v. 32-33).  Let us seek the wisdom of God and seek a relationship with him constantly in good times and bad.  God does not ration out wisdom, but “gives generously to all without reproach,” (James 1:5).  Wisdom is crying aloud.  If you have not heard it, open your ears and do not ignore it.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Peace in Purity

Here is my Prezi for the accompanying sermon in the PodOmatic player in the right hand column.  Don't forget you can subscribe to the podcast through iTunes.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

Pursuing Fulfillment

            The book of Proverbs contains 31 chapters that would be great to accompany your daily study of God’s word.  Take the chapter that accompanies the calendar day of the month and you will be able to read through one of God’s most practical manuals for living 12 times throughout the year. 
            The pursuit of knowledge has been a quest of mankind since the beginning of time.  Adam and Eve sought wisdom when they ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 3:6).  Man’s desire for knowledge seems insatiable still today, especially in the U.S.  It is expected for kids to go to kindergarten, graduate high school, go to college, and possibly graduate school.  There is a myth that you have to have a college education to do something important with your life.  We could fill this article with names of people who either dropped out of college or did not go at all and yet did something extraordinary with their lives.  Have we gotten so caught up in the myth that a scholastic education is necessary that we have neglected some weightier matters?
            Solomon recognized education was important, “To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight, to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity; to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth—Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance, to understand a proverb and a saying, the words of the wise and their riddles” (Proverbs 1:2-6).  Something we will read several times throughout Proverbs is the acquiring of wisdom and knowledge comes through reading and listening.  It is easy to get busy talking and never take the opportunity to be quiet and listen. 
            There is a kind of wisdom and knowledge we should pursue and its beginning is “the fear of the LORD…fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7).  With this in mind, do not neglect what Solomon observed from his pursuit, “For in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow” (Ecclesiastes 1:18).  In our pursuit of fulfillment, let us seek knowledge, wisdom, and learning of our righteous and loving creator, the LORD God and make him our focus.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Peek at Proverbs

The authorship of Proverbs in our Old Testament wisdom literature is attributed to Solomon, son of David, king of Israel (Proverbs 1:1).  Solomon had much to write about concerning wisdom.  When God said to Solomon, “Ask what I shall give you,” Solomon said, “Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil…’” (1 Kings 3:5, 9).  Because of Solomon’s humble request, God gave him wisdom, a discerning mind like none before him and none after him, riches, and honor beyond his imagination (1 Kings 3:12-13).  One cannot get a better reference letter and credentials than that which is directly from God!        
Though “the Preacher” mentioned throughout the book of Ecclesiastes is never referenced by name, it has traditionally been recognized as Solomon.  The Preacher was the son of David, king in Jerusalem (Ecclesiastes 1:1) and pursues wisdom, riches, work, and pleasure only to find out that, “All is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 1:2b).  Though Solomon was blessed with wisdom and riches by the LORD, he set out to find fulfillment and meaning in these things.  So if having wisdom bestowed on him by the LORD God is not enough to impress, he had the experience to go along with these blessings from the Lord.  Solomon was truly a wise man who “spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005” (1 Kings 4:32).  Let us not neglect to mention the wisdom he had in love and relationships as witnessed in Solomon’s Song of Songs.  700 wives and 300 concubines must qualify as decent credentials of how to treat a spouse!  Though these women turned Solomon’s heart away from the LORD in his old age (1 Kings 11:3-4), we can learn from the wisdom he gained through those experiences as well as what the LORD blessed him with.
Having Solomon’s life written out is an enormous blessing because we can learn from his victories as well as his falls.  Solomon, as the King of Israel, played a significant role in the history of God’s people and recorded much of that wisdom and insight he gained directly from the LORD.  Let us consider these things as we delve into the grandeur of wisdom that has been left for us by King Solomon and inspired by the LORD our God.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Talk, but Don't Tell -- Prezi

Follow along in the Prezi as you listen to the sermon in the podcast player on the right.  You can also click on the bottom of the player to take you to the podomatic website where you can subscribe to the Four Mile Hill church of Christ podcast with iTunes and be updated as soon as a new episode is posted.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

An e-Book Just for You!

I published my first e-book! The title is The School Bus Driving Preacher.  It is available FOR FREE!  Just follow the link in this post or at the top of this website to download your own copy today.  Once you download it you can perform keyword searches and Scripture references to utilize in your own Bible study and devotional preparation.  It will also be available soon on Kindle.  Please let me know what you think.

Catch More Than One

We had chores growing up that required plenty of work outside. During our labors, that seemed it would take all day to get finished using our amateur skills, my dad always told us, “Don’t work harder, work smarter.” I appreciate his wisdom to this day. He made us think outside the obvious to come up with a much simpler way of doing things well and efficiently. James wrote, “…confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (5:16). The illustration is not to downplay the labor of Christianity, but maybe we can look at “smarter” ways to walk daily with Christ and bring others to him.

One fishing trip my dad took us on, before our teenage years, he let me use his rod and reel for a little while. His rod and reel was like another son to him. It was the smoothest reel to him even if it was the roughest someone else had ever handled. As I was casting, that rod flew out of my hand into the pond! I thought my dad was going to kill me. I sat in the truck as tears of shame rolled down my cheeks. A little while later, my dad’s line got hooked with one of my brother’s lines and they pulled up three fish…one on each of their hooks and the third on the hook I threw into the pond along with the reel! I am sure that is not what my dad had in mind when he said, “Don’t work harder, work smarter,” but one rod was thrown in and three fish came out.

So how can we “work smarter” in Christianity? James went on to write, “My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins” (5:19-20). We can stop a lot of sinning if we can bring the lost sheep home to God. We can bring even more people to Christ if we stack the work force. Just imagine if every Christian led one person to Christ, and each of those new converts brought one person to Christ and so on and so forth. Think of the implications of bringing just one person to Christ. In so doing, you may have helped in leading hundreds to Christ through that one. That is how you can work smarter. That is how you can catch more than one.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Are You Going to Eat That?

Here is the Prezi I used Sunday and the audio can be heard from the player on the right-hand tool bar.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Did You Pray for That?

How often do we pray and truly expect God to do what we ask? When there is someone terminally sick, would we be surprised if they recovered back to their previous health? If we cannot pray to God boldly and bring our petitions before him with confidence, then why even pray? Why do we have a “prayer list” with the sick and military on it if we do not ask God for specific blessings on them? James wrote, “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray…Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up” (5:13-15).

It is easy to pray generally instead of specifically. We hear prayers to help families deal with the coming loss of their terminal loved one. If we pray that way, we are putting the wisdom of man above the wisdom of God and that is foolish (1 Cor. 1:25). Why not pray that the terminal loved one be healed? Do we not think that God can heal the cancer? If not, then stop mocking God by asking for him to guide the one who is suffering into “peace.” If you are not going to pray with faith, then do not pray at all! “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit” (James 5:17-18).

Do we try to protect God in our prayers? If we ask God to “do what is best for the situation” instead of “heal the sick,” we can protect God if the person does not heal. Do not pray “thy will be done” instead of “take the cancer away,” so you can protect God if the cancer remains. Realizing it is God’s will and not ours when we pray is essential (Matt. 26:39), but stop praying generally in order to protect God. Instead, pray boldly, “And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up” (James 1:15a). Here is a tough question: If the sick do not heal, did God have something else in mind or did we not bring “the prayer of faith” before him? I know and believe that “…it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment…” (Heb. 9:27), but do not use that as an excuse for a lack of faith.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"Don't Wash Your Hands" Prezi from Sunday

Here's the Prezi I used Sunday to accompany my sermon. You can listen to my sermon through the player in the right hand tool bar and follow along in this Prezi.

Monday, September 20, 2010

You Swear?

The age old question of trust seems to start at an early age. You can imagine the child jumping into the pool for the first time after they graduate from their water wings and are terrified they will sink like a rock. Some kids have this fear even wearing the water wings. As they inch up to the edge of that pool, you can see the fear in their face. They ask the question any sensible human would to their parent, “Do you promise to catch me?” The parent can say simply “Yes,” but that is not really enough for that terrified child. They need to have the promise they will be caught. It is fun to laugh at the child’s unbelief because you know it will be okay, but do we not show the same doubt in God sometimes in our life? When God says he will do something, why do we doubt?

James wrote, “But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your ‘yes’ be yes and your ‘no’ be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation” (5:12). Where does doubt come from? Doubt is the spawn of fear. The child is scared because they know if the parent does not catch them they could drown in the water. We hesitate sometimes in our lives for the sake of Christ because we are scared of sacrifice. Sacrifice means giving something up. Satan has fooled us once again to think we are barely making it so we do not have any wiggle room to sacrifice for God. Are you scared the sacrifices Christianity calls you to make will not be worth it? Maybe you are scared because you fell for Satan’s deception that you do not have room for sacrifice so you are afraid. Paul wrote, “…for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Tim. 1:7). Fear is from Satan.

James echoed his brother Jesus Christ when he wrote about swearing, “Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No;’ anything more than this comes from evil” (Matt. 5:34). If Christians are not the kind of people that others can believe their word, what does that say about the founder of our faith, Jesus Christ? Next time someone asks you to go beyond your “Yes” or “No” and promise, ask yourself if this is based on their own fear or your track record of keeping your word. Let us live lives that people believe us when we simply say “Yes” or “No.”

Monday, September 13, 2010

Hurry Up and Wait

The country group Alabama released their “American Pride” album in 2000 which included the song I’m In A Hurry (And Don’t Know Why).  This song is the epitome of the American way of life.  The modern house often is not designed with a front porch because people rush home from work to sit in front of their televisions or go out to work on something else.  Time to just be still is vanishing rapidly.  James wrote, “Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord.  See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains.  You also, be patient.  Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand” (5:7-8).  Have you gotten in such a hurry you forgot what you are even doing here on earth?  Let us refocus.

When there is so many things that need to get done, it is hard to be patient while the checklist still has empty boxes.  Have you ever been working on something and could not rest until it was complete?  During the Christian walk, we can get anxious waiting through hard times which James called suffering (5:10).  Anything good is worth waiting for though.  “Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast.  You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful” (James 5:11).  Patience is personified in Job.

Suffering often brings on bickering.  James recognized this and wrote, “Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door” (5:9).  Suffering will come in the Christian walk, but how we respond to that suffering will depend on how patient we are.  It is easy to get in a hurry in life, rushing around to try and numb the pain that suffering brings.  As far as the coming of the Lord is concerned, all we can do as Christians is hurry up and wait.  We do not know when the Lord is coming back, so all we can do is wait patiently, without grumbling to one another, and live righteously.  Do you have the patience to hurry up and wait?  God shows us patience everyday, let us do the same for him as we eagerly wait for our Savior’s return.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Got Conviction?

Here's my "prezintation" from tonight...

Money, Money, Money, Money…Money!

Why do we put so much value in the $1 bill which only lasts for 18 months before it is taken out of circulation according to A $5 bill on the other hand lasts two years, $10 bills last three years, $20 bills last four years, and $50 & $100 bills last a whopping nine years. These are just limits though. If a bill is “worn out from everyday use” it is taken out of circulation possibly before it was designated to be. Are you surprised? It is just paper people! What did you expect?

That paper we use as a source of exchange can have so much power in someone’s life that they lose focus of its finiteness. The cash money that you use today will literally be out of circulation in a matter of months. James wrote concerning rich people, “Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days” (5:2-3). James wants to put eternity into perspective for those who lay up treasures for themselves here on earth and in the process neglect to lay up treasures for themselves in heaven. Jesus taught we can know where our treasure is by knowing where our heart is (Matt. 6:21).

So, is having money evil? Paul wrote, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs” (1 Tim. 6:10). Money is amoral. In other words, it is neither good nor bad. The same money that was used to feed a hungry family could have been used for an illegal drug transaction. The money is not the problem; it is the user of the money that causes issues. When we put our love and faith in money, this is where evil enters into the equation. Having money is never condemned, but ample warning is given to those who possess it, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:23)! It is possible for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God because “all things are possible with God” (Mark 10:27). James finished out his warning to the rich by advising them to be fair with people and keep a constant check on their righteousness (5:4-6). Where is your treasure?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Guess What I’m Doing Tomorrow!

I remember growing up one of my favorite days in school was when my class went on a field trip. It did not really matter where our destination was, it just mattered that we got to do something new and get out of the classroom for the day. One of my most memorable field trips was in the first grade and we got to go for a train ride. After the train ride we went to what I remember as the biggest and best play ground ever and had a picnic. I was so excited about this field trip that I wanted everybody to know what I was getting to do. Oh what a presumptuous little boy I was. James wrote, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’ – yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring” (4:13-14a).

How often do we get caught up in the “big plans” we have for the weekend or summer vacation? Sometimes we get so excited about those big plans that we neglect the bigger plans God may have in store for us. James went on to write, “What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (4:14b). James really puts us in our place. Let us remember that our big plans are mere specks on the mural God is painting. “Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that’” (James 4:15). Is it wrong then to be excited about those plans you made for the weekend, the summer vacation, or the train ride in 1st Grade? Absolutely not! James just wants to keep our lives in perspective to the will of God, not the will of man, “As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil” (4:16).

Now that you know the right thing to do, are you going to do it or are you going to continue in your arrogant boasting about the things going on or about to happen in your life? James sums it up by writing, “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin” (4:17). It does not get anymore plain than that. This can apply to more than just boasting about tomorrow. This addresses the passive Christian lifestyle as a whole. We cannot just sit back and do nothing as Christians when we know what we ought to be doing. So get up and go do it. What will you do tomorrow…if the Lord wills?

Friday, August 27, 2010

How Will You Be Found? -- Prezi

Was Jesus Crazy -- Prezi

Is Jesus Marveled?

Who Are You to Judge?

It is so easy to look at others and point a condemning finger at the wrong in their lives.  One of the reasons humans are so quick to do this is because it takes the spotlight off them.  Some people like the lime light until that light exposes wrong in their lives.  Nobody can honestly say they like having their sin exposed.  Some people appreciate having Christians to whom they can be accountable hopefully decreasing sin’s frequency in their life, but knowing you need something and actually wanting it are two completely different emotions.  I know I should eat right if I am going to remain in good health, but that certainly does not mean I want to eat right; I would much rather be a glutton.  I know I need sin exposed in my life to eliminate it, but I would much rather keep it hidden and covered.  So, how should we deal with sin?

James wrote, “Do not speak evil against one another, brothers.  The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law.  But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge” (4:11).  When we point our fingers at others’ sin, speak evil about them and judge them we completely go against what the inspired James wrote.  It is very tempting to “play God” about other people’s sin if you are trying to divert attention away from the sin that is in your own life.  When we “play God,” we again go against what James wrote next, “There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy.  But who are you to judge your neighbor?” (4:12).  What a rhetorical slap in the face!

Let us not go without remembering what James’ brother, Jesus Christ, said, “Judge not, that you be not judged” (Matt. 7:1).  This certainly does not mean Christians should go without correcting sin because Jesus went on to say, “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matt. 7:5).  Nowhere in this sermon did Jesus call for “righteous judgment.”  He only calls for Christians helping others remove the sin in there life only after Christians have dealt with the sin in there own lives.  So, who are you to judge?  Nobody, there is only one judge, so let’s leave it to him and concentrate on helping the sinner.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Who's Your Friend?

One of the biggest struggles within the Christian walk can be dealt with by determining who your friend is.  There is no gray area with this issue.  You are either friends with the world or you are friends with God.  You cannot be both, though many try.  James said clearly that this is the reason there are quarrels and fights among us, because our “passions are at war” within us (4:1).  When our desires are not met because we are trying to be friends with both sides we end up losing the battle to the world, thus sin.  “You do not have because you do not ask” (James 4:2c).

James begs the question, “How is your spiritual life?”  Just because someone prays does not mean their spiritual life is healthy.  “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions” (4:3).  You can pray all day long and yet still be a friend to the world which in turn makes you an enemy of the very one to whom you pray!  How ironic.  God is a jealous God, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us” (James 4:5b).  How then can we deny the world and turn to God?  James breaks it down to humility.  “God gives grace to the humble” (4:6).

What does humility entail?  Ask the elementary boy how he felt when he wet his pants at school what humiliation means.  It literally means “to cause someone to lose prestige or status; to become humble in attitude” (BDAG 990).  If we can get off our high horse as humans and lose our prestige we can begin to deny the world and turn to God.  James wrote, “Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you” (4:7-8).  If we can be spiritually strong enough to lose our prestige and realize our sin, we will “be wretched and mourn and weep” (James 4:9).  Only when we give up our friendship with the world can we truly sing, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.”  It is hard to tell someone you no longer want to be friends.  It takes courage and a lot of humiliation to have a conversation such as that.  James promised though, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you” (4:10).  Giving up friendship with the world will humiliate you, but the Lord will renew your prestige.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Prezi and Podcast

I have embedded my Prezi presentation to this blog along with the Four Mile Hill church of Christ Podcast player. If you're interested, you could listen to my sermon entitled "Was Jesus Crazy?" and follow along in the Prezi player. Don't forget you can also subscribe to the podcast through iTunes as well.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

What Does Wisdom Look Like?

Have you ever had trouble matching a name to a face? Some people have a memory that can recall the face of someone they met several years ago. Others can recall names so easily because they paint a creative image of the person and associate it with something unique in their name. A common image in people’s mind for my name was and is Ole’ McDonald’s Farm. In fact, when I joined a club in college I had to sing “Ole’ McDonald had a Farm” and come up with a new animal each day of the week as a pledge name. This was so people could learn and remember my name. Incidentally, I did grow up on a small farm.

Could you put a face to a name like “wisdom;” how about “purity?” James asked, “Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom” (3:13). James wrote about two kinds of wisdom: that which “comes down from above” and that which is “earthly, unspiritual, and demonic” (3:15). The face that is matched with earthly wisdom involves “bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts” (James 3:14). James warned us that where these characteristics exist, “there will be disorder and every vile practice” (3:16). It seems like a pretty serious consequence for allowing earthly wisdom to dwell around you. James’ message is clear: if you discover bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart or the hearts of those around you, get out fast! If you remain, you will find yourself in a huge mess that may drive your soul straight to Hell.

Let us strive to match wisdom’s face to our lives. “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere” (James 3:17). When you examine the lives of those around you the most, do these qualities surface? More importantly, can you see these characteristics in your own heart? A promise is made for us, “And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (James 3:18). The only way we can have the hope of heaven is to be righteous. This righteousness will come when we have the blood of the lamb washing our sins by a burial in baptism and obtain the wisdom from above by asking God (James 1:5).

Friday, August 6, 2010

What Goes Up Must Come Down

A law of nature that mankind has been bound by since the beginning of time is gravity. Sure, man has gone into space and experienced weightlessness, but the rule remains that what goes up must come down. This principle can be applied to what goes into our minds as well. In other words, what goes in must come out. Jesus said something similar to this, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:21). If we fill our mind with things of this world, soon our actions will show our heart is not set on things above. Paul wrote, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Col. 3:1-2).

As Christ followers, we must be cautious of what we allow to enter our minds. If we are constantly around negative people, they will soon rub off on us and our minds will be transformed into negative thinking. Paul wrote, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom. 12:2). Paul understood that we can be conformed to the world by the things we watch, listen to, read, participate in, and people we associate with.

When James wrote about taming the tongue, he described it as “a fire” (3:6). He even recognized, “…no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison” (3:8). Where does this fire get its fuel? Our speech strongly reflects the things we put into our minds. You are more likely to allow bad language to ooze into your vocabulary if you permit it into your mind. It may be a gradual progression we do not realize has happened. It may get to a point that, “With it we bless our Lord and Father; and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so” (James 3:9-10). Do not fool yourself into thinking you can keep spending time with that foul mouth co-worker, television show/movie, music artist, comedian, etc. and be able to tame your own tongue. What goes up must come down and what goes in must come out.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Would You Kiss Your Mother With That Mouth?

When I was a boy, my brothers and I sometimes talked mean and said bad words we picked up at school. My parents let us know in a hurry that was not the way we should talk. They let us know in two specific ways that this manner of speaking was not prohibited. Sometimes, both of these methods were implemented because of a single offense if they deemed it necessary! The two means of course correction were the traditional spanking and the always classic washing the mouth out with soap. There are still debates today on which is worse! Both methods are still reminders to this day of how we ought to speak.

James knew that the tongue is a difficult beast to tame. Because of this, he warns us, “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man…” (3:1-2). When we visited the Smokey Mountains, my brother-in-law, Chris, pondered as we were riding horses what it would have been like to be the first person to tame a horse. The animal is so large it could trample a person to death if it wanted to. James described by putting a bit into its mouth, a tamed horse can be rode wherever the rider so desires. He also wrote about large ships being maneuvered by a small rudder wherever the pilot desires (3:3-4). “So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire” (James 3:5).

James’ point is that what we say has a huge impact on people’s perception of not just us, but Christ. To those self-righteous people who do not care what others think of them and the way they talk, James gives a whole new perspective. To become a Christian means to become a priest (1 Peter 2:9). When you become a priest, you are a teacher. Whether or not your profession is teaching, as Christians, we are teachers by default. As Christian teachers, we have to tame the tongue, the most difficult beast to break. If we do not learn to tame our tongue, our world may be “set ablaze by such a small fire.” So, would you kiss your mother with that mouth?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Finding Time For the Bible

A few months ago in the House-to-House bimonthly publication that Four Mile Hill sends out to the surrounding community, brother Allen Webster put a list of ways that we could read the Bible throughout the day. The list included:
--Put a Bible under your pillow to read each night before you go to sleep.
--Wake up ten minutes earlier each morning.
--Turn off the TV at 8:00 p.m. each night and read to your children.
--Read a few verses at mealtime when the family is together.
--Talk less to have a few more minutes to read.
--Keep a Bible in the kitchen, to read while waiting for food to cook or for water to boil, or near the phone, to read while on hold.
--Carry a Bible in your purse or pocket, to read while waiting in line for doctors or when arriving early.
--Take a Bible on trips and read on a plane or in a hotel.
“Don’t just own a Bible—read it!”

Brother Webster is certainly on to something big concerning the Christian lifestyle. How many Bibles do you have in your homes that are just dust collectors? You may even have one set-up on a pedestal in the entrance to your home open to a favorite verse and looks are its only purpose. Looks can be deceiving though. Are you neglecting the “pure spiritual milk” that Peter tells us to “long for like newborn infants?” He wrote, “…that by it you may grow up into salvation” (1 Peter 2:2).

How can you long for something if you go without tasting it? In order to long for it we must consume it. Every Valentine’s Day my wife, Kayla, buys me a bag of delicious Cherry Cordial Cream Hershey Kisses. It seems the more I have the more I want. Once the bag is gone, I have withdrawals for a while and soon lose the craving and near forget about them until she surprises me with them the next year. If we go without the pure milk of the Bible, we too will soon lose the craving for it. Peter wrote, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith,” (1 Peter 5:8-9a). If we do not find time for the Bible, Satan will devour us. Where will you find time for the Bible this week?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Be a Show-Off

As a kid, whenever I received something new to me, I wanted to show it off to everyone. One of my most memorable Christmas presents was a miniature John Deer tractor with pedals on it that I could ride around. I hooked a wagon on the back of it and off I went loading up sticks, straw, dirt, pinecones, brothers’ G.I. Joes, and whatever else I could find. I was proud of that tractor and wanted everybody to see it.

James was concerned about Christians not showing off with good works the gift of salvation that had been given to them. He wrote, “But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works” (2:18). Some Christians were under the deception that faith only was sufficient for salvation. James course corrected, “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?” (2:19-20).

James gives two examples of people who showed their faith by their works and did not even conceive that their faith alone was sufficient. The first example is when Abraham offered his son Isaac on the altar. Abraham believed in God and he showed that belief with an active faith through his works. “You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works,” (James 2:22). The second example is Rahab. She heard of the mighty works that God did for Israel and she believed and feared (Joshua 2:8-11). Rahab was justified not simply because of her belief in God, but because of her works in helping the Jewish spies escape sure destruction by the king.

As Abraham and Rahab were justified by works, we must also have more than just faith in God. Our faith must be active producing good works which play a role in justification. If you are thankful for the gift of grace that has been offered to you through Jesus Christ, why not be a show-off? How can you show-off this gift that has given you hope in the midst of despair? Paul wrote, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…” (Romans 1:16). Are you ashamed? Be a show-off for the gospel today.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Why Would James Contradict Paul?

“So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:17). It cannot be much clearer of a statement for those who advocate faith alone is what saves us. Is one of these proponents the apostle Paul himself? He wrote, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:8-10). It appears that James and Paul hold two opposing viewpoints. Should we listen to Paul and count on grace through faith alone to save us, or do we adhere to James and accompany our faith with works?

If we are to read Ephesians 2:8-9, we cannot leave out verse 10. Paul describes two different kinds of “works.” Christianity derived from Judaism where certain “works” were required in order to keep the covenant with God such as circumcision and dietary regulations. When the New Covenant was established, those old works of the law were useless to be in right standing with God. Paul also wrote, “Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified” (Gal. 2:16). Paul never once suggests giving up good works, only works of the law, “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Gal. 6:10).

When James wrote that “faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead,” he did not contradict Paul, but agreed with him. James would never contradict Paul as no writer in the Bible would contradict another because it is God’s word (2 Tim. 3:16). There is no amount of works of the law that could justify us from sin; this is where grace through faith comes in hand. We make our faith alive by the good works we do. Paul did write that we were “created in Christ Jesus for good works…” (Eph. 2:10). Have you neglected to show someone the love of Christ through your good works? If not, you may need to grab a shovel to bury your dead faith.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

You Let Me Fall!

I grew up on a dirt road for most of my childhood before the county paved it. Each house in our area was required to have at least an acre of land to avoid crowding and becoming like a subdivision neighborhood. Our road dead ended into our neighbors’ driveway, so there was not much traffic down this road. We could get out and play cork ball or wiffle ball without fear of many cars. That little stretch of dirt road carries some fond memories. Sometimes, my brothers and I would have to get out and push my dad’s truck up and down the road so he could pop the clutch to get it started. Those were the good old days.

One of my favorite memories on that road was learning to ride a bike. Maybe it is one of my favorites because once you learn the skill it is yours for life. Like any beginner on a bicycle, we started of with tricycles at a very early age then moved up to the bike with training wheels. There comes a time though when the training wheels have to come off. There comes a point in everybody’s life when something that was helping you is now a hindrance to making you better. When a baby gets old and big enough, you have to remove the crib and allow him/her to sleep in a bed or else the poor thing will soon be jammed in there head to toe and sleep will be hindered. When sleep is hindered in children’s lives, growth will be stunted and you have literally retarded the natural growth process that God put in place. Keeping the training wheels of life on your child will not help, in fact, it will destroy.

As I learned to ride around on that bike and got very comfortable doing so, I wanted those training wheels to come off. When they did come off, mom or dad held on to the back of the seat and a handle bar to get me started. At some point though, they let go. I cannot remember how far down that old road they let go of my seat, but I did not realize it until it was time to turn around at the dead end. I did not know how to stop! I do remember thinking or yelling, “You let me go?!” I crashed. Oddly enough, I do not remember my parents ever having to help with the bike again. They got me to where I needed to be and had the love to let go. Thank you Mom and Dad and happy Father’s Day.

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Tribute to Mark Adams

When I saw this picture I immediately thought of Mark and the "Friday Smiles" he posts on his blog.  I hope this is worthy Mark!