God

The pastor can’t do it alone

Any of you older than 50 probably remember growing up in a church with a pastor who was expected to run the show pretty much by himself. Oh he had his faithful secretary who was older than Methuselah, everyone called her Misses M. She knew every members by name and every kid’s name.

But the pastor preached every Sunday, maybe Sunday night too and Wednesday night. He officiated every wedding and funeral. He visited all the folks in the hospital, the shut-ins, new members and the members who hadn’t been to church in awhile. He was available for premarital counseling as well as family counseling and married couples counseling. Then on top of all his ministry work we paid him for he was expected to provide for his family, be a great husband and fatherly to his preachers kids, wear a smile and be kind to everyone he meets.

Say goodbye to that preacher and his antiquated church model. Jesus is in the church planting business today with the model he started with his 12 disciples in the Upper Room on that Sunday of his resurrection. And it’s transforming peoples hearts every day.

There’s a Savior in town. He’s cultivating a church model he planted 2,000 years ago in the Upper Room with his 12 disciples on the Sunday night after his resurrection. It is an exciting and vibrant church. It doesn’t have just one pastor. in fact every member of the church is in ministry. The job of the pastor and his leadership team is to equip the membership to do the ministry and to serve each other and those with real needs.

We’ll be discovering how this Jesus model church works in at least two future posts on FHG called Spiritual Gifts and Every Member in Ministry.

You don’t want to miss these and other posts here on FHG on this transformational church Jesus is growing.1

1The inspiration for this blog post came from Chip Ingram’s book, Yes! You Really Can Change Moody Publishing, Chicago   ©2003, 2021

God

Looking at life through God’s glasses

LOOKING AT LIFE THRU GOD’S GLASSES: NEGATIVE CIRCUMSTANCES OR POSITIVE RESPONSES – PART 10

What we see in life depends on the glasses through which we are looking. When we look through human glasses, we can only see negative circumstances. When we see things through God’s glasses, we can see positive responses. Which glasses we look through is a choice we make.

When I was working on a graduate degree at Princeton, I read Viktor E. Frankl’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning. It had a huge impact on my life.

Frankl, an Austrian-born psychiatrist, wrote the book from a Nazi concentration camp where most of his family was murdered. When he was rescued, he started a new kind of therapy based on the fact that it is not the circumstances that determine a person’s outcome, but a person’s attitude towards those circumstances.

The Nazis thought they took everything he had. Frankl said, “The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what happens to me. I choose my attitude in any given circumstance.”

In life, we all have to face some extremely tough and unexplainable situations. Many of them are unfair and unjust. It’s easy to have a negative response to tough circumstances. That only causes us to spiral downward mentally, physically, and spiritually.

We can choose to respond to circumstances in a different way. God has given us His promise that He will be with us. He will strengthen us and sustain us. He will reveal positive possibilities.

Throughout my ministry, I have seen people face similar difficult circumstances – such as a death, a loss of a job, a bad health report, etc. What I’ve noticed is that some people are devastated and become very negative about people and life. Negativity has a way of multiplying, and the deeper the hole one digs, the tougher it is to get out of it.

I’ve seen other people face the same situation, yet ask God how to respond in that situation. They place their trust in Him. You are not in charge of circumstances. You are in charge of how you respond to circumstances.

Twelve spies went in to check out the Promised Land. Ten of them came back and reported that the circumstances were impossible to overcome. The place was occupied by giants, and they would be stepped on like grasshoppers.

But a minority report came back from two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb. They responded by acknowledging the circumstances, but they were not going to let the circumstances dictate the outcome for the people of Israel. They were going to trust God for that. They said that the place was occupied by giants, but their God was greater than the giants. And they must take the land. (Numbers 13:25-30)

My God is greater than anything that I will ever face. I have a choice. I’m going to choose to see life from the perspective that God is in control of things, and not just negative circumstances. Satan will take away a lot of things from me, but he can never take away my choice of how I will respond to circumstances.

It’s your choice – negative circumstances or positive responses!

God

Small groups

When Jesus walked the Earth ministering, healing teaching and showing God’s love for man, he did it in small groups.

He began his earthly ministry by choosing 12 of the most ordinary rag tag, uneducated, unskilled commoners to be his disciples in his first small group. All he did was beckon each of them simply to follow Him. And they all did immediately and stayed with Jesus at his side his entire ministry.

Jesus started another small group of his dearest most intimate disciples–Peter, James and John. Jesus took this small group of disciples with him when he went to the Mount of Transformation and the Garden of Gethsemane on his last night before his crucifixion.

Christ took these three disciples, Peter, James, and John, up on a mountain, where Moses and Elijah appeared and Jesus was transfigured, his face and clothes becoming dazzlingly bright (Mark 9:2–13; Then God spoke to them, “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased.

Jesus took all three of his small group with him to pray with him in the Garden of Gathsemene on the night before Jesus was betrayed by Judas and crucified on a cross for all our sins.

If small groups were so important l to Jesus and his ministry shouldn’t they be as important to our life in Christ and our community of faith? Our spiritual growth most always happens in community, in small groups with rarely any exception.

Are you in a small group? Why not? You’ve got a bunch of lame excuses to beg off. Here’s just a few–

  1. I don’t have time.
  2. I’m not comfortable around strangers.
  3. I’m not comfortable praying aloud.
  4. I don’t understand the terms other Christians already know.
  5. My husband won’t go with me.
  6. They’re going to want me to talk about myself and I’m not comfortable doing that.
  7. I don’t know the Bible well enough.

Which excuse sounds like the easiest one for you to use? Small groups will become an integral part of the new church model for every member in ministry Jesus is creating. The new church model is diametrically opposed to the modern Christ-centered church model Christ is developing.

Will you be in or out?

God

Willpower Christianity

In his best-selling book, Yes, you really can change, Chip Ingram discusses willpower Christianity, a frustrating condition many well-meaning Christians often find themselves slipping into. Have you ever been there? Are you there now?

This is what willpower Christianity looks like–

You’re going to try hard to be more patient, especially with the kids; you’re going to watch how you talk and stop swearing so much; you’re going to stop stretching the truth; you’re going to be kinder to your wife/husband. You will stop smoking.

Instead of focusing all your energy and willpower trying to do things you’re incapable of why not focus on God and the promises He makes in his Word addressing your issues you’re trying to solve with all your willpower.

Willpower Christianity leads to frustration and discouragement because we just don’t have enough power in our will to get the job done. Only God and his power inside us working his will can change us.

God

The pastor can’t do it alone

The pastor can’t do it alone

Posted on  by Steve Sawyer in God

Any of you older than 50 probably remember growing up in a church with a pastor who was expected to run the show pretty much by himself. Oh he had his faithful secretary who was older than Methuselah, everyone called her Misses M. She knew every members by name and every kid’s name.

But the pastor preached every Sunday, maybe Sunday night too and Wednesday night. He officiated every wedding and funeral. He visited all the folks in the hospital, the shut-ins, new members and the members who hadn’t been to church in awhile. He was available for premarital counseling as well as family counseling and married couples counseling. Then on top of all his ministry work we paid him for he was expected to provide for his family, be a great husband and fatherly to his preachers kids, wear a smile and be kind to everyone he meets.

Say goodbye to that preacher and his antiquated church model. Jesus is in the church planting business today with the model he started with his 12 disciples in the Upper Room on that Sunday of his resurrection. And it’s transforming peoples hearts every day.

There’s a Savior in town. He’s cultivating a church model he planted 2,000 years ago in the Upper Room with his 12 disciples on the Sunday night after his resurrection. It is an exciting and vibrant church. It doesn’t have just one pastor. in fact every member of the church is in ministry. The job of the pastor and his leadership team is to equip the membership to do the ministry and to serve each other and those with real needs.

We’ll be discovering how this Jesus model church works in at least two future posts on FHG called Spiritual Gifts and Every Member in Ministry.

You don’t want to miss these and other posts here on FHG on this transformational church Jesus is growing.1

1The inspiration for this blog post came from Chip Ingram’s book, Yes! You Really Can Change Moody Publishing, Chicago   ©2003, 2021

God

Living the Christian life

Are you living the Christian life God has called all his children to live? In my opinion many folks who call themselves Christians vascilate back and forth between the life God has called us to live and what Paul calls the “old” man.

Oh, we may really want to live that vibrant, new life God has called us to live, because it sounds so good. And maybe sometimes we can, for a time, enjoy the fruits of that new life we try so hard to live. Sometimes it even seems to us that we’re finally living it. And it feels pretty good. And we feel good about ourselves. We think to ourselves, “God must be pretty accepting of me right about now.” But the truth is God already accepted us totally, warts and all, the moment we accepted Jesus as our Savior. We’re already fully accepted.

I think lots of Christians try hard to be good Christians. They do. They’re saved, they know they’re going to heaven. They pray. They go to church, read the Bible. They provide for their families. But after awhile their Christian living falls into a predictable pattern.

They try hard…do good… try harder… do better… try even harder…then fail.

And finally. . .try even harder. . .fake it

Sound familiar? Have you ever been there? I have. Are you there now?

There are two very good reasons some Christians fail and fall into this frustrating dilemma in their Christian walk:

  1. You can NOT live the Christian life. Billy Graham can’t live the Christian life. The Pope can’t live the Christian life. No one can. We were never created to live it.
  2. We are all prone to revert to our old way of life Paul calls our “old” man and our worldly self-centered lifestyle.  to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires. Ephesians 4:22

God

Right Fighters

Some of the most annoying people on the planet are “right-fighters” Folks who believe they have to be right all the time and believe they always have to have the last word. The “right-fighter” desperately believes (unconsciously) that others must agree with him/her to feel ok about themselves. Being a right-fighter causes one to depend upon others for their self-esteem and worth.

Right-fighters have poor self-concepts, little confidence, and are often self-loathing. Right-fighting is a direct reflection of low self-esteem.

Right-fighters desperately believe (sub-consciously) that others must agree with them, otherwise they cannot feel good about themselves.

A right fighter’s favorite word is “Yeah but” many times used for what the right fighter attempts to be the last word or his rebuttal in an argument.

How not to be a right fighter.

  • Acknowledging your habit of right-fighting, and then become aware of when you are engaging in this no-win habit, is the first, most important step in leading a more successful and happy life. You can not acknowledge what you don’t have
  • Accept that this way of relating to others simply doesn’t work, as it will never give you what yo so deeply long for (value, lovability, and worth). In fact, in reality, it will give you one of the things you fear most—rejection.

It’s never pleasant or advantageous to anyone to engage in conversation with someone who believes (unconsciously) that their way is always the right way or the best way.


God

Everything is broken

I have a question for everyone. What is working today in this dysfunctional, anything goes, anti-God, if-it-feels-good-do-it, amoral, me-first, society we call America?

If you know anything that’s working today please let me know. The way I see it today, Everything is broken.

The government certainly doesn’t work. Congress just wants to run up the national debt.

And those Senators and Congressmen we send to Washington (on our dime by the way) can’t agree on anything or fix anything.Today there are more divorces than marriages. And the couples that do decide to try marriages, even among Christians more than 50% of them wind up in divorce.

Every night on the local news they report shootings and murders. Thugs are taking over our streets and our neighborhood. I’m not talking ghetto slum projects here.

I’m talking main street America. The local 7-11 stores and quiet residential neighborhoods where folks move there because they’re supposed to be safe (not any more). Neighborhood gas stations have become targets for murders. It’s gotten so bad some women are afraid to get gas.

People just don’t want to get along anymore. Have you seen the news clips of passengers fighting on airplanes?

Many churches are no longer soft places to fall. There’s more bickering and snobbery in church congregations today than I’ve seen in my lifetime.

Neighborhood gas stations have even become targets for gun violence.

The good thing about all this hate and discord and polarization is no matter how disgusting and violent our society even if we all crash and burn, God is still in control.

Stop and praise Him today and thank Him that you’re still alive. His plan is still working for our good and His glory.

God

Looking at life through God’s glasses

Oftentimes in life, we are confronted with situations that are hard to understand. Through human glasses, we see a sad situation. Through God’s glasses, we can see a simple solution.
It was June 6, 2021, in Centerpoint, AL. Tim Harrison didn’t have enough money to get a cap and gown, so he could not attend his high school graduation from Woodlawn High School. He also did not have a ride to get to the ceremony across town. It’s natural to see that as a very sad situation.
But Tim didn’t sit down and have a pity party for himself. He worked at Waffle House, so at 7 a.m., he went in for his shift. When he walked into Waffle House, his boss, Cedric Hampton, wondered why he was reporting to work because he knew it was graduation day. Timothy explained why he came to work. Seeing a sad situation sometimes leads to being satisfied with allowing the situation to remain like it is.
But Cedric Hampton was not going to let that happen. Neither was his co-worker, Shantana Blevins. They began to look at things through God’s glasses, and they saw that there was a simple solution. Timothy needed their help, and they could do it.
Tim had only been working at the Waffle House for a month, but he had already become greatly appreciated. The staff at the Waffle House and some customers  took up some money to buy him a suit, shirt, and tie. He said that it was the first new suit that he had ever owned. Shantana offered to drive him the 20 miles across town for graduation. They got there just in time.
When we see a tough situation, oftentimes we are just content to see if we can overlook it. We make some excuse about not having time, or resources, or we don’t want to get involved.
Jesus told a story (Luke 10:30-37) about a man who was robbed and beaten and left on the side of the road. That’s a sad situation. Two very religious officials were walking along the road and saw the sad situation. They probably felt badly about it, but they found some excuse to keep on walking and leave the man there. The religious folks were looking at the man through human glasses of being in a sad situation.
Then a Samaritan man comes along and sees not a sad situation, but a simple solution. The man needed help. He goes to the man, picks him up, puts him on his donkey, and carries him to the hospital. He said that he would come back later to pay the bill. Now that’s offering a solution.
Guess what? When people heard Tim’s story, the leadership at Lawson State Community College offered Tim a full scholarship, including books, to attend college there! Tim accepted it! Tim never dreamed that he could afford to go to college.
Acting on what we see through God’s glasses can lead to great results. That Waffle House served up a real “All-Star Special” that day! His co-worker who drove him to the graduation said, “You never know who you can touch or who you can influence with one simple gesture.” Sad situations are transformed by people who are willing to offer a simple solution, and simple solutions can bring about huge consequences.
What do you see – a sad situation or a simple solution?
God

America’s biggest danger

Somebody posed this question – how do you eat an elephant? The best answer was, “One bite at a time.” Enough little bites can consume the whole big elephant.

Big things fall because little things eat away at them. Little drops of water constantly hitting a rock will eventually wear the rock down. If a woodpecker keeps pecking long enough with his little pecks, a limb or even a tree can come down. A lot of little things led to the collapse of the 12-story residential complex, Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Florida. Many residents died and many are still unaccounted for.

I feel that today so many things are chipping away at the foundation of America. Because they come in little packages, many people are not paying attention to them. I believe that America is in a dangerous position. It’s like a boat that becomes untied from the pier. It starts drifting. You can be sitting in the boat and not be aware that it’s drifting.

Drifting doesn’t seem so bad, except there is a huge waterfall out there. The boat will drift towards the waterfall. Unless there is a change of direction, the boat will go over the waterfall and everybody aboard will be in danger.

America’s biggest threat is never from the outside but from the inside. It’s the slow deterioration of our values.

Abraham Lincoln gave his first major policy speech and addressed the question of the dangers to America. He did not expect some transatlantic military giant to cross the ocean and crush us with a single blow. He affirmed that no armies in the world would ever come into this country and “take a drink from the Ohio or make a track on the Blue Ridge.”

He warned that the biggest danger is the one that will rise up from within. He said, “If it ever reaches us, it must spring up from amongst us. It cannot come from abroad.”

That’s so true today. I fear that we’re allowing our Biblical and moral principles to be eroded. Big things fall from within because little things have immense power. Consider these examples: denying the fact that Jesus is God’s plan for salvation; taking God out of the picture and saying that man can solve all of his problems; changing our understanding of family; deadening sensitivity to racial injustice; not protecting the unborn; neglecting our responsibility to those less fortunate; and you add to the list.

C.S Lewis writes that the Devil believes that “the safest road to hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”

Is there hope? I believe there’s only one hope, and that is a return to trusting and obeying the God who loved the world so much that He sent His Son in order that His kingdom might come on earth.

We have a choice –  “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

What will you help change today?

God

Perseverance pays off.

EDITOR’S NOTE Unfortunately we failed to include John Ed’s blog post last week.

My followers enjoy his insights so much and asked where his blog was. So this week we’re highlighting the two blog posts of his Enjoy.

Adrianne Haslet-Davis was one of the spectators at the 2013 Boston Marathon when she experienced the explosions ripping through the crowd.  She lost the lower part of her left leg.  While recovering, she set a goal to run the Boston Marathon someday.

This year, 2016, she did just that.  She is 35 years old and had to stop at the seventh mile for an hour because her stump began to swell up, causing problems for her prosthetic running leg.  She kept thinking, “I can’t pull out.”  She knew she had to finish.  She gave a lot of credit to her “pit crew” on whom she leaned in order to experience the emotional finish.  She said, “If you put your mind to something, you can get there.”  That’s perseverance!  No quit in Adrianne!

Ingeborg Sylim-Rapoport was a student in Nazi Germany.  She was not allowed to complete her doctorate because her mother was Jewish.  Getting that PhD was a dream she had.  

She was 102 years old last year when she got a second chance of finishing her education at the University of Hamburg.  The university officials heard about her case on her 100th birthday.  This is 80 years after she had written her thesis on Diphtheria.  She successfully took her final oral exam and graduated magna cum laude!  At 102 years old – she never quit.  She accomplished her goal, and she did it in fine order!  That’s perseverance!

Micah McDade was born with cerebral palsy and has been confined to wheelchairs his entire life.  His goal was to receive his diploma standing on his feet.  He went through two grueling years of physical therapy, conducted largely in secret.  Micah’s big day came when he made his way across the stage at his graduation from Okmulgee High School in Oklahoma in June 2016.  He shocked his fellow students and parents by slowly rising from his wheelchair and taking his first steps.  Everyone at the graduation ceremony erupted with applause.  The announcer said, “Ladies and gentlemen, I have been doing this a long time, but this is the best ever!”

Michael Valudreuil had a plastering business that went out of business eight years ago.  He got a job as a college custodian cleaning classrooms at Massachusetts Worcester Polytechnic Institute.  WPI employees could take classes free.  He started studying engineering.  He worked his classes and his studying around his custodial job.

In June 2016 he graduated with a mechanical engineering degree.  

His accomplishment made national news, and job offers started pouring in.  He has accepted an engineering position at a Connecticut aerospace firm.  Michael didn’t quit, and his degree and his job are value rewards for his perseverance.

How many times do you think Adrianne, Ingeborg, Micah and Michael thought about quitting?  They went through a lot of tough times, but quitting did not seem to be an option for any of them.  They endured and persevered and continued until they finished!

Winston Churchill, speaking at Harrow School, his alma mater, said, “Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never – in nothing great or small, large or petty – never give in!”  Thomas Edison said, “Our greatest weakness lies in quitting; the most certain way to succeed is always to try one more time.”  I remember my Dad saying, “It’s always better to have one simple goal and complete it than to have a big goal and never get around to finishing it.”  

We are reminded in Hebrews 12:1 to run our race with perseverance and never give up.  Paul said that good works always produce a harvest if we do not give up (Gal. 6:9).

God

Are you giving or getting

Looking through human glasses, we see getting. Looking through God’s glasses, we are able to see giving. A spirit of getting is a result of our natural selfishness. The spirit of giving is the result of God’s grace helping us to see things from a different perspective.
“The greedy only wants to get, while the Godly only wants to give.”  (Proverbs 21:26) Jesus himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35) This is demonstrated so clearly by two great bodies of water in Israel. I’ve visited there on several occasions and had the privilege of seeing first hand this principle.
One body of water is the Sea of Galilee. It’s very beautiful. Jesus spent much of his time teaching there. It has green foliage around the edges of the water. It is filled with fish. It has life. It depicts beauty and it pours itself out to fertilize the Jordan plain. It is always giving what it receives.
The other body of water is the Dead Sea. It’s dead because nothing lives around it or in it. It is so salty that you can literally wade out in the water and the saltiness will keep you afloat. I have done that!
The reason it’s dead is that it has no outlet. It keeps everything for itself. It is always getting and keeping, and that leads to death.
The two bodies of water in Israel both come from the same source. It’s the same water which flows down from the heights of Hermon and the roots of the Cedars of Lebanon. It flows first into the Sea of Galilee, then is passed along to the Dead Sea. The same water – one sea gives and lives – the other sea gets, keeps, and dies. Our lives are either like the Dead Sea or the Sea of Galilee.
My good friend, John “Rat” Riley, told me about his granddaughter, Isabella, who at that time was 13 years old. She lived in Atlanta. John often speaks at a business function there, and he invited Isabella to go with him.
While they were riding in the car, she told him that she had become a certified babysitter. Isabella then started talking about her concern for the poor. She knew that John had been involved with World Vision and helping adopt children. She told him that she wanted to give financially to sponsor a child.
He told her that the cost would be a dollar a day. She looked a bit surprised and said, “Oh!” He assumed that $1 a day, $30 a month would take a pretty good chunk of a 13-year-old’s babysitting money, and that would be too much. Maybe she wanted to do less to try to support a child.
John was shocked when Isabella looked at him and said, “In that case, I want to sponsor two children!”
Jesus confronted a wealthy man one day who was a “getter.” He asked about conditions for following Jesus, and He told him that he would have to shift from “getting” to “giving.” One of the saddest pictures in the New Testament is the man refusing to change. (Luke 18:18-25)
Are you getting or giving?
God

DOWN WITH PRIDE!

In my opinion gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transsexuals and queers could not have picked a more offensive, morally reprehensive label to celebrate.

Pride is at the root of every sin known to mankind. Every one.

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:8.

To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech. Proverb s 8:13

You folks and your pride collide headlong into God’s will for your lives and lifestyle.

My friends over at Miriam Webster’s place describe pride as a feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements

Totally self-absorbed, self-centered. ME ME ME! Focused on what you think of yourselves rather than showing thankfulness for who your Creator and mine created you to be. No matter what or who you are and what you believe about yourselves, God loves every one of you unconditionally and has a beautiful plan for your life if you will trust Him and His will.

I have a suggestion: A serious one that just might be a beautiful thing.

Rather tha call your celebration PRIDE, why not your celebration–SERVE?

After all Jesus commanded me and you to LOVE ANOTHER and to consider the needs of others greater than our own. That’s our greatest purpose. It’s God’s personal calling for each of our lives.

proverbs

God

Do, do, do”

A guy I know at church was telling me all about his Christian walk. One thing he told me was, “Oh, I read the Bible every morning for 15 minutes religiously.”

I didn’t say it, but I wanted to say, “That’s a big problem, you read it RELIGIOUSLY!” The guy probably thinks his Bible reading religiously is going to rack up some acceptance points with God.

Do you know how many points God gives this guy for his daily Bible reading? None. Do you know how many acceptance points God gives you for going to church every Sunday? None. Do you know how many points God gives you for taking those hot meals to the Nursing Home? None. How about tithing? Nada

Are you starting to get the picture? Don’t get me wrong. Those things are all nice to do and we need to do them. But in God’s economy and in the grand scheme of things–they don’t count for anything.

Many Christians (and Yours Truly at one time in my life) have the mindset that the more they DO for God He might love them more or accept them more. Chip Ingram says this, “We don’t live FOR God’s acceptance/approval, we live OUT OF God’s acceptance/approval of us.

But that cannot compare with what Jesus Christ has done. God has been so kind to us, and he has accepted us because of Jesus. And so we will live and rule like kings. Rom 5:17

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Romans 12:1

Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. Romans 14:18.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

Doing thing for God and doing God’s work are worlds apart.

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10

Many people today are striving to be religious enough or Christian enough to gain God’s approval rather than live out of God’s approval, because they are already approved/accepted by God from the moment they accepted Christ as their Savior.

God

For His Glory mission statement

God gave me my mission statement for my For His Glory blog

I started writing my blog in April 2010. With the exception of two months of rehab after my stroke in February, 2018 and a self-imposed three-week sabbatical several years ago I’ve published original blog posts and an occasional guest post either five-days a week or three days a week for almost 11 years.

In the beginning I was writing on a variety of topics. Then in 2014 God said to me, “I want you to write for Me.” So For His Glory was born.

Since then I have trusted God to give me the words and subjects He wants me to write about in my blog. He gave me my tag line for my blog: “Christ-centered, family oriented blog posts that glorify God.” He also gave me the words for my mission statement: To help us all know, understand, believe and live out of our true identify in Christ.”

To that end I’ve decided to spend some blog post capital helping us all explore and understand what it means to know and believe what our TRUE identity in Christ means.

DISCLAIMER–I am NOT a theologian, a pastor or a Biblical scholar. I’m an everyday Joe with a 35-year writing-for-a-living resume who loves the Lord, loves to immerse myself in God’s word and grow daily in my intimate relationship with Jesus.

If you ever read something you may consider to be contrary to Biblical truth, please let me know right away so we can rectify it.

God

How’s your Christianity workin’ for you?

When folks see how you are living day-to-day now what evidence would they see that Christ is living in you? Or would folks see evidence that you are surrendered to God’s will in your life and allowing Jesus to live his life through you. If you went on trial for being a Christian would the prosecution have enough evidence to convict you?

I wonder just how many folks today who identity themselves as Christians are making an effort to follow Jesus, love one another, and consider the needs of others as more important than their own. Does your brand of Christianity look like that?

Does your lifestyle now look more like the Galatians 2:20 new man in Christ:  I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Or does your lifestyle reflect worldly thinking like in 1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.

If you’re a believer and an earnest follower of Christ it is easy to fall back into a dangerous pattern of worldly thinking and behavior. The instant we realize we might be slipping down that slippery slope into the world Flee. right away. Get into God’s word. Pray. Call a friend.

Satan will try anything to keep you worldly. And the longer you stay the worse it will be and the harder it will be to extricate yourself

God

Enabling

Enabling is one of those misguided behaviors that keeps the enabled person from experiencing the full impact and consequences of their behavior. Enabling is not helping or supporting. In fact it is hindering and constraining. It is interfering with another person’s responsibility to be doing things they should be doing for themselves It is relatively easy to lapse into enabling behavior.

Enabling is most often associated with the behavior of parents, siblings or friends towards addicts. You might believe if you don’t help, the outcome for everyone involved will be far worse. Maybe you excuse troubling behavior, lend money, or assist in other ways. It is easy for an enabler to excuse an addict’s behavior and life choices. Enablers often tell themselves that they are actually helping the addict.

But it’s important to realize enabling doesn’t help.

Over time it can have a damaging effect on your loved one and others around them. It’s often easy for someone to blame others–relatives or friends, teachers, yourself, family or employers for the addict’s behavior.

Enabling comes in several shapes and sizes if your enabling is directed towards addicts or addictive behavior.

Enablers often bail addicts out of trouble (pays off debts, fixes tickets, hires lawyers, provides jobs.(Gives the addict unearned or undeserved. “Sees the problem” as caused by something else–broken home, insecurity, shyness, loneliness, a different disease.

Do you enable other people?
God

People pleasing

I’m not trying to win the approval of people but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant. Galatians 1:10

I was a people pleaser for years. And a good one, if I do say so myself. But that’s not a good thing.

I grew up in an alcoholic home so I was automatically predisposed to people pleasing. You see, because of my innate role in my dysfunctional family I wanted everyone to be happy and like me. I despised conflict of any kind. If everyone wasn’t happy I would try doing or saying whatever I thought would make them happy and like me.

Lots of folks drag that people pleasing baggage with them into adulthood.

The root cause of most people pleasing is people’s inability to grasp the meaning of a tiny two-letter, one-syllable English word: NO!

They love to say “Yes”. They fear that if they tell someone who asks them to do something “No”, that person may not like them or be sorely disappointed in them. That would mortify a people pleaser.

If you’re a people pleasure it means that you regard other people’s opinions of you and their wants and needs as more important than your own.

If you put anything or person ahead of God’s important in your life, tat thing or person becomes an idol. It could be a girl, a car, a job, a hobby, a football team, video games, something as inconsequential as a soap opera. Anything or person before God in your life is an idol.

God himself tells Moses in the first of the Ten Commandment, “You shall have no other gods before me. And He follows that up with the second commandment. “You shall not make for yourself an idol. Those are God’s first and second commandments, folks. Not the 5th or 6th. So what do you think God thinks about people pleasing?

Why not take a few minutes to make a list of the top ten things most important to you in your life.

Where is God (truthfully) on your list?

God

Trust

When my daughter was five we wanted to teach her how to go under water when she was swimming. She could already sort of swim, but she kept her head above water. She was still skittish about going under.

Well, I was determined to teach her there was nothing scary or dangerous about putting your head under water when you got in the pool

So, we went to the pool. I asked Leah to stand on the edge of our pool. She wanted to wear her nose plugs but I nixed that idea. I jumped in the pool and stood in the water just far enough so I could catch her if anything went wrong. I spread my arms wide apart. “Okay Sweetie, now just jump into Daddy’s arms. I’m right here. I’m going to catch you.

“No, Daddy, I’m afraid.”

“You don’t need to be afraid. Daddy’s going to catch you. I promise

“What if I fall” she said.

“There’s no place to fall. You’ll land right in Daddy’s arms. It will be fun,” I pleaded.

“I can’t,” she said.

After about 15 minutes of this I asked, “Will you do it if I let you wear your nose plugs?” She reluctantly agreed and put them on. She stood on the edge of the pool and I spread my arms out to catch her. “Come on Sweetie it will be fun. You’ll see.

Finally she jumped. Well I wouldn’t really call it jumped. More like flailing into my waiting arms.

I made sure her whole head went under and then I snatched her out of the water.” Now, wasn’t that fun?”

“Okay, Daddy. Yes it was fun. Can we do it again?

She spent the next 45 minutes jumping off the side of the pool into Daddy’s arms. Did Daddy enjoy it? For about five minutes.

When Leah found out she could trust me to catch her when she jumped in my arms, she didn’t hesitate at all to trust me over and over.

Isn’t that how we learn to trust God? When we learn that God is who He says He is and that He does what He says He will do, it becomes easier and easier to trust him over and over each time we choose to trust him.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

Okay, Daddy. Yes it was fun. Can we do it again?

She spent the next 45 minutes jumping off the side of the pool into Daddy’s arms. Did Daddy enjoy it? For about five minutes.H

When Leah found out she could trust me to catch her when she jumped in my arms, she didn’t hesitate at all to trust me over and over.

Isn’t that how we learn to trust God. When we learn that God is who He says He is and that He does what He says He will do, it becomes easier and easier to trust him over and over.

[

Okay, Daddy. Yes it was fun. Can we do it again?

She spent the next 45 minutes jumping off the side of the pool into Daddy’s arms. Did Daddy enjoy it? For about five minutes.H

When Leah found out she could trust me to catch her when she jumped in my arms, she didn’t hesitate at all to trust me over and over.

Isn’t that how we learn to trust God. When we learn that God is who He says He is and that He does what He says He will do, it becomes easier and easier to trust him over and over.

God

How good is good enough?

Some folks, even some well-intended Christians, believe in and practice doing good things in hopes God will love them more and rack up more points for acceptance.

They believe their performance is the ticket for being good enough to please God and serve Him.

They have this performance code that says. “If I do enough, work enough, give enough, go to church enough, give enough, read the Bible enough, . serve enough, and obey enough, I’ll have a great relationship with God and be good enough to please Him.

They are totally wrong.

You can never be good enough for God. First of all, God is the only one in heaven or earth who is good. Jesus proclaimed in Mark 10, “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.”

There is no such thing as a good Christian. Even though God is the only one who is good in all the universe, we still have scores of believers who still think their performance counts.

It never will.

God

Will Archie Bunker be in heaven?

Archie Bunker

Archie Bunker was the master of malapropisms in the hit TV comedy series, All In The Family on CBS from 1971 to 1979.

If you labeled Archie as opinionated, stubborn, self-absorbed, bigoted, bull-headed, overbearing, pigheaded, prejudiced, biased, conceited, and stubborn, you wouldn’t be wrong.

And I think some folks who watched the show would call those Archie’s good qualities

Archie did not discriminate against any race or group. He lambasted everybody. He referred to all Blacks as “you people.” whether or not he was talking about them or to them. He denounced Jews, he criticized the Germans, he said Catholics were going to hell, he slammed Liberals, he called Puerto Ricans Spics. He had no use for Democrats or Jimmy Carter. He called his son-in-law, Mike an Atheistic pinko Pollock meathead. He wouldn’t allow his family to say anything negative about Gerald Ford or Ronald Reagan.

Everyone or people-group he didn’t like became fodder for his insults, faulty reasoning and malapropisms.

As much as we might think someone like Archie Bunker might be like ants at a picnic in heaven we have to remember who God is and that he is love. God created Archie before the foundations of the world and has always loved him as much as he loves you and me now. God loves Archie Bunker as much as God loves Billy Graham or the Apostle Paul.

And we need to be reminded of God’s promises about heaven. When Archie gets there all that crusty exterior and contrary nature will be gone. He’ll be kind and humble and have a servant’s heart, and he won’t criticize heaven or the weather or the angels and he will love his neighbors. It may be hard for us to imagine at first but he’ll be one of us, just like us for all of eternity. That’s how loving God is.

Some of Archie’s Malapropisms

1) Archie asks “what’s that smell” Gloria tells him that her friend Robin is burning incense. “It smells like a house of illrefute.

2)“They want people like your mother on the jury because they know she doesn’t have any pre-conscrewed ideas

3) “It’s a well known fact that capital punishment is a detergent to crime!”

4) Mike says, “It’s just pelvic construction women are built differently” Archie answers, “Oh please don’t draw me no diaphragms

5) “There’s wide open sex all over the place, but that’s okay that’s just your submissive society!”

6) Talking about rioting in California. Just look at that, bricks and bottles. It’s a regular insuruption.”

7) “Back in my day we learned to keep things in their proper suspective.”

8) “You and that bleeding heart Reverend Fletcher sittin’ up there in that ivory shower.”

9) “Dear Mr. President, your Honor, Sir. As one of your faithful constituionals.”

10) Mike and Archie argue, “It’s not irreverent to the conversation.” Mike corrects him ‘irrelevant” Archie says “What ever, it’s not German to the conversation.”

Archie was opinionated, bigoted, bossy,

God

The Waffle House Weather

Waffle House open 24/7365

We have a bunch of hurricanes in the South every year.

We also have a bunch of Waffle Houses. 2,100 restaurants in 25 states.

Each year the National Weather Service and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, spend millions in resources and man power across the Southeast to help predict before hurricanes make landfall the path, strength and severity of the killer storms or other natural disasters.

Waffle Houses help the government make those predictions

Waffle Houses stay open 24/7/52 weeks a year. They never close.

So weather forecasters know things’ll be okay if Waffle House is open. If you ever drive up to one and it’s closed you better find shelter and fast.

If you’re not from the South you may not realize it, but one of the ways folks know how bad a storm will be or was is all based on whether or not the Waffle Houses close up shop. It’s just a fact of life. If Waffle House is still open, things are gonna be fine. If they start closing… well, it’s probably too late to get out and you done messed up. It’s called the “Waffle House Index.

Here’s how it works

If Waffle House is open and serving full meals, FEMA knows things are going well and the index is green.

If the diner is only serving a limited menu, it tells FEMA there may be supply or power issues in an area. That equals a yellow on the index.

But if a Waffle House is closed, FEMA knows it’s bad, and the index turns red. Since Waffle House is so prepared for disasters, the index doesn’t turn red very often.

God

Just fishermen and farmers

Jesus could not have picked a more ragtag, unassuming, uneducated, impoverished bunch of followers to be in his small group of disciples.

They were just fishermen and farmers. There wasn’t a high school graduate among them. They probably never went to school. A few of them probably didn’t have two mites to rub together. Sometimes they fished on the wrong side of the boat.

Yet, when Jesus called them, each one of them IMMEDIATELY dropped all they had, answered his call, and followed Jesus. They left their boats and fields., their livelihoods, their friends, families and their possessions.

Think about what they did for a moment.

They didn’t know the guy, they’d never seen him before. He dressed like they did. He didn’t introduce himself or explain who he was or what he was doing there.

The only two words he spoke to them , “Follow Me.”

And they all did.

And Jesus and his 12-man small group of disciples changed the whole world.

God

Millennials and the church.

What is happening with young people today and the church’s influence over them? Does the church even have any influence over the younger generations?

A survey conducted by the Cultural Research Center (CRC) at Arizona Christian University in Glendale Arizona found that 41% of Millennials, those folks born between 1981 and 1996, don’t care, know, or believe God exists.

The survey found that the 41% ers reject faith and organized religion. The Millennials surveyed said they define success and morality in terms of personal happiness and economic and social justice.

All I can say is I’m thrilled I’m not a millennial.

I have no clue what the numbers would be for the other groups, But I think it would be safe to say the church is losing it’s grip on its numbers and influence and effectiveness across the board.

God

Memorial Day Tribute

memorial day

My dad was a proud World War II veteran. Like most of his friends, and lots of young men in the 1940′s, the Japanese invasion of Pearl Harbor shocked him. He enlisted in the Air Corps in early 1942.

Dad rarely discussed his tour of duty defending our country. He saw plenty and did plenty, but refused to talk about it. I think lots of his contemporaries felt the same way. One day, before he became ill I asked him flat out, “Dad, would you write your thoughts about your WWII experiences?” I asked him if he would consider writing an account of his career in the military. He agreed.

I thought after so many years he might not remember much. His mind was slowly slipping away. He was having trouble remembering lots of things.

But what he wrote shocked me to the core.

Dad wrote, from memory, every mission (19 total) he flew and the dates he flew them. He remembered the target and the details of every mission he and his crew flew. Dad was the radio man on a photo reconnaissance squadron.  His crew flew in ahead of the combat missions to photograph the locations and areas around potential bombing targets. Dad and his crew flew missions out of Guam and several other South Pacific locations into Japan. On one or two missions they took anti-aircraft fire and feared for their lives.

Since Dad’s crew was photo reconnaissance, they developed their own film. Dad asked my grandpa to send him a camera, which he did, and dad took more than 2000 personal pictures during his tour. A typhoon pounded the base, however, and destroyed his pictures and everything else on the island. Dad said he escaped the typhoon with only the shirt on his back.

Dad was very proud of his service. He joined the American Legion when he returned from the war and was a faithful member and servant for 50 years. He earned a burial with full military honors, including a flag-draped coffin, taps and a 21-gun salute.

My dad was one of many honorable veterans in our family, including my grandfather, Uncle John and great uncles. I was proud to serve a tour in the Air Force during the Vietnam War in Selma, Alabama (uneventful as it may have been). I didn’t see combat like my dad, but served plenty of airmen and officers who had been in the thick of battle.

Dad is and will always be one of my heroes.

Many other sons my age can recall stories (different details, different missions, different theaters of war) about their fathers’ or uncles’ military service in World War II or Korea.

And today we have lots more veterans still serving here at home and far from home. Whatever our political views, or our opinions about our United States military, we remain the most independent, blessed nation on the planet. And we have all those who are currently serving, have served, or died in battle whose sacrifices have helped us gain that freedom.

May God bless all our veterans and our active duty military today and forever, wherever they may be.https://www.youtube.com/embed/xf8hfZuzw_A?version=3&rel=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&fs=1&hl=en&autohide=2&wmode=transparentAdvertisementsabout:blank