The Parsonage (not my home)

The Parsonage (not my home)

I have lived in a parsonage most of my life, My daddy being a pastor and now my husband being one, has sealed my destiny in this. You may be saying “What is a Parsonage?, That is a strange word.”  Well, Webster defines it as “the house provided by a church for its’ pastor” Living in a parsonage is a peculiar position to be in, you aren’t renting but you don’t own either. The home isn’t yours,  but it is yours to live in for the season you pastor there.

It typically isn’t painted or decorated to your preferences, you simply have to take what you get. (and you don’t throw a fit)  Some parsonages have been poorly maintained and look like they haven’t seen any attention to detail or style since the 60’s, while others are immaculately cared for.  As new pastors to a community, you never know if the church is going to require the pastor and his family to get permission before you do anything to the home, like paint or hang things on the wall or will they be comfortable just to let you decorate and maintain it yourself. On the other hand, I am sure some congregations feel the same way and are wondering “How much does the pastor expect of us?”

I remember as a little girl, one week while our family was gone on a vacation, the church people,  trying to be helpful, came inside the parsonage without my parents knowledge and painted the whole interior.  To my mother’s horror she was not expecting people in her home without notice so it was in no way ready for any guests, after all when a family leaves for a vacation, they aren’t typically deep cleaning before they go. So, needless to say, it wasnt ready for furniture to be move out to be painted behind. But the worst part was,  they painted every room in the house without asking my mother what color she would like. The color turned out to be a green that my mother despised, well before those sweet dear members decided to help her out, and perhaps that is why we had nothing in the house that remotely matched it.

Some churches think it is important to keep their pastors humble,  so they assure you live in a home much less than any of the parishioners would choose to live in, while others honor their pastors and assure they have a home at least as equal or much better than any of their parishioners. (parishioners is another churchy word for people that go to the church)  Living in a parsonage can be a tricky thing. It can be uncomfortable for a pastor to have to make the board aware of broken appliances, especially when he knows that the churches finances might be tight and can’t really afford to replace it. But, at the same time, a home needs a stove or refrigerator and usually if the churches budget is tight, so is the pastor’s,  so it’s not like he or she can afford to replace it.

So you can see how living in a parsonage can feel like you are really living at the mercy of a group of people who hold your personal space and job in their hands. It can be very awkward.  while at the same time, you are very grateful for their generosity. But the bottom line is, it is not your home. and for me, it has never felt like my home. No matter where I have lived, and I have lived in at least 11 parsonages, that I can think of just off the top of my head.  Because for me , there is always that shadow, of “What will the board think if I do this?”, “What will the neighbors think of our church if the kids leave their bikes in the yard or the scrubs are trimmed imperfectly?” I don’t know if the congregations feels this way but, I am always wondering when they come into the house, “Are they judging how well I have kept it up for them?” It’s kind of like seeing your hairdresser out on the street when you are having a bad hair day.  

But the maintenance and style isn’t the only thing that is not our own in a parsonage. Your privacy,  many times, is given up because at anytime, by your sheer profession you can be called upon or dropped in on.

I remember one specific evening, when I was a little girl, my family was having some special time when an unexpected knock came at the door. It was a young teenage girl and her boyfriend that attended our church. She was crying and I was immediately asked to go to my room. Well, me being the inquisitive child I have always been, went down the hall toward my bedroom but just happened to stop at the rocking chair at the end and sat hiding behind it as I listened  to these young people tell my parents she was pregnant and they didn’t know what to do.

I have learned a lot behind these parsonage walls, and this one defining moment that taught me that I never wanted to be put in that predicament as a teenager,  and is probably what kept me a virgin till my wedding day.

But all of my family doesn’t carry the baggage I do of living behind the parsonage walls, they don’t understand that this is not our own home and we can’t be just leaving our underwear and socks around everywhere, because at some point and time,  because of our profession, someone might walk into our home unexpectedly with a issue or need, or maybe just want to paint the inside of our house.

All this got me thinking, the parsonage is not much different than our life in Christ, once we give our life to God. It is not our own either, it is His and we shouldn’t be just leaving the junk of this world laying around in it. We should always be aware that this world isn’t our home we are just passing through. The truth is we are living for another just like you do in a parsonage,  and that other is Christ. You don’t always get what you want because our flesh often wants things that are not good for us.

If we are truly following after God. We have to remember that the chains of sin have been broken over us when we accept Christ. But, because of God’s amazing grace,  He has given us a choice of our will. So we must choose to pick up the junk in our lives, and avoid the temptations that so easily trips us up.

When this world seems to be crashing down around us, we can remember that this world is not our home, we are just passing through, this is only for a season and God has a home waiting for us that supersedes anything we could hope for or image.

This life is only temporary and we can’t  allow the struggles that come our way to discourage us or distract us from what we should be focused on and that is living our life pleasing to the King of Kings. Troubles will come, things happen in our life we wish didn’t , but we can trust God has a bigger and better plan if we will just follow it.  

 

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Worst Parenting Fear!

Worst Parenting Fear!

Being a parent can be one of the scariest things anyone can do. You hope to you are doing it right. You don’t want to miss your kids up to bad, because you know you, yourself, aren’t perfect, and well let’s face it we all think we are a little messed up and our biggest prayer as parents is “God just don’t let me mess up my kids”.

I remember one particular time this was heavy on my heart as a young mom. My oldest had to be in about 1st grade. We were associate pastors in charge of children’s ministries in Iola Kansas. Our children’s ministry there ran about 80-100 kids each Sunday.  We had a bus ministry of 3 buses that drove around town every Sunday, picking up kids to bring them to church. To assure the kids would come, we would go around door to door every Saturday and knock on the doors of homes in the area reminding the parents we would be coming by tomorrow to pick up their children.

Often Jeff would take our son, Lee with him on those trips. In fact pretty much every part of our ministry Lee as well as all our children have tagged along and been a part of it with us. Lee however was our only child at this time in our life so not only was our weekly canvasing the neighborhoods part of his weekly agenda, so was summer church camps. For several years we spent a month at kids and junior camps in the summer not even coming home on the weekend in between camps. Because we were Children’s Pastors, Jeff and I were counselors each week and Lee got to tag along with his dad in the boys cabins.

Wheat State Camp is 4 weeks in the summer that kids from Assembly of God churches all over Kansas come together in Augusta at our district camp ground where a different age group comes each week to play games and sporting events, have fellowship with other believers and all go to church services together in the evening. It was one of those evenings I was down at the altar crying out to God because my heart was so heavy. I felt as if I was ruining my kid’s life. I was probably about week 3 of being at camp for us and I was believing all the negative thoughts satan was running through my head that said “Lee is going to hate church” or “You are pushing our religion down his throat by keeping him here”. “What kind of mother are you?”.

As I was pouring out my heart to God that evening, with young girls from my cabin,  praying all around me. I felt God say, Looked up over to the boys side of the altar area. There I saw Lee standing with his arms raised to his Savior, tears streaming down his face. It was as if God was saying,” He is okay.” Because God knows, more than anything I want my kids to serve Him.

That kid is now 33 years old and running for a seat in the Oklahoma House as State Representatives for District 68. He was telling me the other day of how his campaigning was going. You see every evening after he gets off work and on Saturdays, he goes canvassing door to door the neighborhoods of his district.

He was actually canvassing with another candidate recently when the candidate of the same party said  “Man you are good at this!, Have you done this before?” To which my son responded “Sure have, but not for political purposes”.  See, it was all those years ago, that Lee walked with his daddy canvassing the neighborhood for the churches bus ministry that taught him how to handle himself and approach people in that type of situation. But we didn’t take Lee out canvassing with the idea that this is going to be a lesson, or with any thought that he would use it later on in life, and we never had any idea he would actually run for a political office at that age. But, it was a lesson that gave him confidence where another person might have been hesitate to knock on a stranger’s door without it.

All this got me thinking…….  Deuteronomy 11:18 – says “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds,…….. 19 Teach them to your children, speaking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorposts of your houses and gates,… “.  In essence, it is saying teach your children about God as you go about your everyday responsibilities. All too often we expect the church to teach our children or we think I’ll just wait until they are older and let them decide for themselves what kind of faith they want to accept. But that isn’t what God tells us to do.  

Proverbs also tells us, “Train up a child in the way he should go [teaching him to seek God’s wisdom and will for his abilities and talents] Even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Prov 22:6 Amp) How do you train up a child, if you wait till they are older and let them decide? You don’t, this makes it plain that parents are instructed to teach their child in His ways. As a minister my dad use to say, it is better to build boys and girls for Jesus then rebuild broken down men and women for Christ. You may ask why is it better to teach them when they are young? Because we are creatures of habit. We get in good habits or we get into bad habits but either way they are habits and old habits are hard to break. I don’t know a better habit then going to church every week, reading your bibles, and praying every day.

As parents often times I think we negate the reality that our children are always watching and learning from everything we do and say. It is important that we keep in mind children learn what we live. I don’t care how old they are, they are like little sponges absorbing everything we say and do. So the question is what are we teaching are kids? It wasn’t our intention to be teaching Lee anything, on the days we canvass the neighborhood but we did. I also believe he has learned how to follow God by our example (habits) of going to church, reading our bibles and praying with our kids. Lee developed a relationship with Jesus Christ all his own and that has given him the foundation he needs to make good choices and why he cares enough to try to make a difference in this country.

Does he have some ideas that I have wondered about? Sure!  But the truth is we probably taught him that too. Oh! Not the exact ideas, but I believe his father and I taught him to not just go with the crowd. We have lived a life of entrepreneurship and pioneering new ideas since he was born. From being the first homeschoolers in Graham County, to deciding to start a church with absolutely no support except knowing God has called us. We have taught him to judge whatever you do to the word of God and in this day and age when there is more people just following the crowd of what has always been done or what everyone else is doing. It is not surprising, he choose to be in the libertarian party because he sees the present parties in place are not making any difference. Lee isn’t afraid to pioneer down a new path of politics and I am completely confident he will pave his own way down that path as well.  

So the question is, what are you instilling in your children and grandchildren?  What are you talking about as you drive around in the car, sit in your homes? What messages are you sending to them? The fact is, whatever you are teaching them, they will take it to the next level. They will push the limit of whatever you are doing, good or bad. Do you want your kid to do more of what you do? What legacy are you leaving?  

 

Driving Ms Alesa

Driving Ms Alesa

If you know me very well, you know that when there is an option to drive or let someone else do it , I normally opt for letting someone else drive. My husband Jeff is typically my chauffeur, I have often teased my children if their father dies before I do, they will need to hire me a new chauffeur and Jeff often teases he is “Driving Ms Alesa”.  Now don’t get me wrong, I will drive if I need to and have often offered to on long trips with Jeff, but he always responds the say way “ I got it dear”. I am not for sure if he always drives because he doesn’t trust my driving or because he just likes to drive, but either way I am happy with our arrangement.

 

On those rare occasions that I do drive with Jeff in the car. It isn’t uncommon for me to ask him directions. See, because he normally drives I don’t pay much attention to how we get there. I might be busy reading a book, scrolling through my phone or writing a story for the paper.  My other excuse for not knowing where I am going is Jeff rarely takes the same route to a destination twice. So ultimately. I just trust him to take me where I need to be.

 

All this got me thinking, Isn’t that a lot like us in life?  We often don’t pay attention to where our life is headed spiritually.  We allow the distractions of this life to weigh us down. From being occupied with working to pay the bills,  to self gratification of whatever we feel like we want that day.

 

We soon, stop reading our bibles, taking time to worship everyday throughout the day. We often neglect our time with other believers, who can encourage us,  by skipping church. If we are not intentional in living our life for Christ we will soon just slide into complacency and one day we will look up and realize we don’t know where we are spiritually, just as I have many times riding in the passenger seat of the car with Jeff. I will look up and think “ Where are we?”

 

Once we trust God with our lives, we need to allow Him to guide us and direct us. But we won’t know the direction we are suppose to go, if we don’t follow what the map (His word) says and if we don’t stay in a constant precute of Him we will soon lose our way. Although, He is our invisible friend who is always there,  he will not intervene in any part of our life, if we don’t invite Him in. .

 

Our lives don’t just automatically steer into a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Just like our cars don’t just automatically steer in the direction we are going without someone taking the wheel and turning it. It’s up to us to intentionally make Christ a priority in our lives and it isn’t good enough to say “I believe in God or I love God” God created us for a personal relationship with Him. One where we are in constant contact with Him everyday, like you would a best friend. Satan wants to do everything he can to keep us from doing that. Satan wants to be that roadblock in our lives to distract and discourage us from what is really important.

 

I mean have you ever know anyone that said “ I don’t know how my life got here?”, or “ I don’t understand what went wrong?” It is almost as if they wake up from a daze and suddenly realize something isn’t right. Except they were the common denominator in their whole story. They were there all the time, but because they weren’t intentional in their relationship with God, they didn’t keep their eyes on the only real GPS, for our life (Christ) suddenly they have found they are lost and don’t know what to do.

 

The bible warns us in John 10:10,  that “Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy but Christ comes that you might have life and have it abundantly” . Are lives are a battlefield and it isn’t one of this world. We are told in Ephesians 6:12  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”  Our battle is with satan and all his demons, and the only way we can can defeat him is by allowing Jesus Christ to rule our lives, then with the same power that rose Jesus from the dead will live in us and we can overcome satan.

 

But God tells us to put on the full armor of God. If we continue reading on verse 13 says  “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, stand” . He tells us to be buckled with the truth, carry the breastplate of righteousness, feet fitted with the gospel of peace,  take up the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

 

I believe in everyday language that means,  Follow the Truth, by living right and following God’s Word, we then have the Peace God,   through our Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, who gives us Salvation, by His promises in the Word of God.

 

But none of that just happens, it doesn’t happen just by saying you believe in God, it doesn’t happen by saying you love God, it happens by initially taking the wheel of your life and following hard after God. In Matthew 7:21, we are warned that not everyone who says they love God is going to make it to heaven. God warns us that, those people were saying “ We love God” But their hearts were not following after Him because He didn’t even know them, He wasn’t their best friend. They kept living life for themselves and only had a surface relationship with Him, when it was in the “in crowd” thing to do or perhaps just when they needed help. .

 

But let me challenge you today, if the people you hang out with don’t realize that there is something different about you. If you are so comfortable around people who you know aren’t living a life pleasing to God, that you never even think about it.  Then you probably need to pay more attention to where you are going in your spiritual life. Because God tells us in 2 Corinthians 6:17 to come out and be different, and I don’t think God is talking about your hair, or what you wear, I think He is talking about your heart and your passion for Him. That is what He is most concern with.

 

Is He just an afterthought of yours or is He the center or your attention?  

God wants our attention, He wants us to focus on Him. Because that is the only way we will get down this road of life. 

Chad’s Southern Draw! (Who do you sound like)

Chad’s Southern Draw! (Who do you sound like)

If you have spent anytime around my 2 guys Jeff and Chad, you may have noticed a couple of similarities. Besides the fact they are both large in stature and have the biggest hearts anyone could ask for. Once they open their mouths it is suddenly revealed. They both have a southern draw. Jeff was born and raised in Mobile Alabama. “The Heart of Dixie and the Port City of the South”, as he likes to call it. Jeff didn’t leave Mobile till after he graduated from High School and then went into the United States Air Force.

 

Chad was born and raised in Kansas and has only been down south a handful of times. So, you may ask “Why does Chad often sound like he was born and raised in the south? And to that  question I would respond “Because he lived around his father for 21 years.” He has practically been in his father’s back pocket most of his life. He admires his dad and wants to pretty much be exactly like him.

 

Now I am not gonna lie, I have heard Chad embellish his southern accent a few times and like any other southerner he can draw it out more sometimes than others. But Chad legitimately sounds like a southerner most days. Especially, when he is responding respectively to his elders as he as been taught to do so by saying “Yes, Ma’am and No Sir”.

 

All this got me thinking….. Isn’t that the way we should all talk? Oh! I don’t mean we need to have a southern draw, but we need to talk and act like our Heavenly Father.  All to often in my husband and I’s line of work, we see people, accept Jesus as their Savior or claim they have in the past but yet we see no reflection of that from their lifestyle.  They don’t talk like Him, They don’t act like Him and they never or rarely visit His house. But yet they say “Oh! I love God” or “Oh! God has been so good to me” they have even called us up and said “I just wanted to call you and tell you what God did for me today”.

 

Which, don’t get me wrong it is great that they are acknowledging where the good in their life comes from, and the fact they admit and realize there even is a God is a good thing too. But I often have to wonder and have actually been tempted to respond to them “ I don’t think God gave you that job, I think the devil did, because it is gonna keep your out of God’s house on Sunday” or “ Keep you so busy you don’t have anytime for God” Oh! And I love this one “ I have just been praying and asking God but I haven’t had an answer yet, and I don’t know why God hasn’t answered my prayer?” To which I really want to say “ Well if you want God to answer your prayers, the bible says you first have to follow Him”.

 

I often feel like, if we could see some people with spiritual eyes, they would look like those orphan children in the foreign countries, you know the ones, that are on the TV commercials, with their bellies swollen and flies swarming around their little faces, almost like they are just waiting from them to die. Because on the outside these people, look normal, but spiritually on the inside they are suffering from malnutrition.  

 

God warned us about a society like this in the bible, in 2 Timothy  (NIV)

“1….in the last days.2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money,boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents,ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. “

 

Did you hear that? “Having a form of godliness but denying its power” They have just enough salvation to get to heaven but not enough to live a victorious life. They have accepted Christ but they have refused to deny themselves and they are lovers of pleasure and wants their desires more than they love God. They aren’t willing to give up their will and their way, or they made it to a point in their spiritual walk after accepting Christ where, they came to a challenge and God didn’t answer their prayer the way they wanted.

So, they have a dilemma a crossroads as such, they have to ask themselves, do they continue to trust this God, that didn’t give them what they wanted or do they go back to their old lifestyle? For many they get stuck at a crossroads as such.They have what Henry Blackaby, in the book Experiencing God, calls a Crisis of Belief.  With a little bit of Jesus in them, but a whole lot of the world still lingering. And I tell you from what I have seen, the longer a person, stays stuck, the further backwards they go.

They don’t understand that the reality is to truly to have an intimate, growing relationship with God. James tell us to2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4 NIV

And in Romans 5 we find, 3.but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.”

Then when I hear that word hope, it reminds me that God said “Now faith is the substance of things HOPED for and the evidence of things not seen”  Hebrews 11:1 NIV. We cannot give up when things get bad in life, when life doesn’t go our way. God warned us all those years ago that  “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”John 16:33 (NIV)

See the beauty of all this, is that we aren’t at the end of our story. We aren’t at the end of our life, even when we take our last breath on this earth, there is another life to come. So we have to hang on and trust in the Creator of the Universe, knowing that in HIs wisdom God will reveal His plan in time and the truth is, His plan is always better then what we could hope for. Opps! There is that word again! Hope! Don’t lose, it! Don’t let satan take it from you! Don’t give up!

Because “Faith is the substance of things HOPED for” and “Without Faith”,Hebrews 11:6 says “it is impossible to please God”  and you know what the bonus points on this verse is? God says “He rewards those who seek Him” one translations said earnestly seeks Him, another said sincerely seeks Him, and another said “diligently seeks Him”.

Chad has earnestly sought to be like his father to the point he even sounds and often acts like him and yet he has rarely been to Alabama. So, if Chad can sound like his earthly father down here, how much more can we sound and act like our Heavenly Father if we will only seek Him and trust that when we follow Him everything will be okay, even if it doesn’t look like it now. Because we never want to forget, “hope does not disappoint….” Romans 5:5 NASB

When is Enough, Enough?

When is Enough, Enough?

When is enough, enough? When do we stop sharing Christ’s love? When do we stop telling others about Him? When do we decide we should stop praying for our unsaved friends? We can we quit being the witness that God has called us to be and just focus on us? When do we get to do what we want to do and not have to think about anyone else but ourselves?

I don’t know? Would it have been enough for our sins to be redeemed by Jesus as he prayed at the Garden of Gethsemane and asked His Father, “Please if there is any other way, don’t make me do this” How about just for being arrested? Could God have called out from the heaven’s and said “Cut! That’s enough this show is over” Would it have been enough for Christ to just be beaten? Or maybe it was just enough for Him to carry the cross up the hill? No! No!! I’ve got it!! Maybe it would be enough for the 3 nails to be hammered into his hands and feet? Surely, that would have been enough right?

The truth is, the only way we could find remediation for our sins was for a sinless sacrifice to come and die for us. DIE do you get that?  Capital D-I-E.

The other day as I was traveling back from Wichita I was listening to Christian talk radio the show was taking questions from callers, and one of the people who called in asked the question ” Should I give up talking to my unsaved family about God?”  You see the young man said that he has 3 or 4 family members who were not living for God. He had encouraged them to read their bibles and go to church,  and because they all had not responded to his expectation, his question was,  “Should he just give up on them?”

My immediate response to him, (Because you know, we all have our opinions in situations like this) So what was my answer you ask? Well, I asked him (as if he could hear me through the radio)  “Did Christ ever give up on you?” “What would you want someone to do for you? Would you want someone if you didn’t know Christ to just give up on you because you were not meeting their expectations? Because things did not happen in the timing you thought they should?” I think the answer for all of us to that is a resounding “NO!”.

But all to often don’t we do that? Don’t we subconsciously or consciously make that decision about co-workers, family members etc. We decide I am done with them! They are too far gone!  They don’t want to hear the truth! Now don’t get me wrong I am not saying to pound people over the head with the word of God until they submit and come to know Him. No!

The bible says it is the kindness of God that leads people to repentance. (Romans 2:4) So I understand that we can’t talk all day everyday to them about coming to Christ. And we certainly aren’t going to win them over by judging and condemning.  No! Far to many people have been run off from the church and God with that one. Nor will isolating people from us help either.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that with every person is a different situation and a different personality you are dealing with. But no matter what the circumstance or situation. We never stop praying for them we never stop loving them. We may have to set boundaries, we may have to be sensitive to their feelings and more often than not we need to meet them where they are. We need to meet their physical needs before they will every want to hear about their spiritual needs.

I don’t know about you, but I am thankful God never gave up on me! I am thankful that Christ was not only beaten for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities  and the stripes on His back were for our healing. (Isaiah 53:5)  I am thankful that I serve a Savior that didn’t give up on me! He didn’t quit!!  But He holds the keys to death, hell and the grave! (Rev 1:18)

He went all the way for you and me!! Praise God! He rose again on that 3rd day!! Now, He is seated at the right hand of the Father making intersession for you and for me! (Mark 16:19)

SO, When is enough, enough? When do we stop sharing Christ’s love? When do we stop telling others about Him? When do we decide we should stop praying for our unsaved friends? We can we quit being the witness that God has called us to be and just focus on us? When do we get to do what we want to do and not have to think about anyone else but us?

I say the answer to all these, is Christ example! There is never enough! There is never enough reasons to stop calling on the name of the Lord for our loved ones and friends to come to know Him. Look at all He went through for us! He followed the specially design plan God had for Him and He has a plan for you to reach the people you love and care about too!

Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that His kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? (Roman 2:4)

So like Christ’s example! It is NEVER enough until we reach the other side and join our Heavenly Father in heaven.

 

 

Now ya know!

Now ya know!

It was probably about 22 years ago, that I started homeschooling our oldest son. When I started homeschooling him one problem I never expected was how frustrated he would get because he didn’t know what he had not been taught yet. Yes, you heard me right. Lee for some reason put so much pressure on himself that he got very upset when he didn’t know what he hadn’t been taught yet. I finally sat him down and said “Lee, this is school, you aren’t suppose to know what to do in your assignments before you are taught”. I had to remind him that was why he went to school was to learn. He didn’t need to come to class knowing everything before he got there.

You know that reminds me of some people, who think they need to know everything in the bible, before they come to church. Some think they need to clean up their life before they give their life to Christ and none of that is true. They are confused like our son. It’s what my daddy use to call “Getting the cart before the horse”.  You would never put a cart in front of the horse and tell him to pull it.

This week we celebrate the most Holy Week in the Church year. This week started off with remembering the triumphal entry of Jesus into the city we call it Palm Sunday, and through out the week we are encouraged to reflect on many things that happened the week before Christ gave His life for us. In fact in the Old Testament, that was written hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth, it contains over 300 prophecies that Jesus fulfilled through His life, death and resurrection.

Mathematically speaking, the odds of anyone fulfilling this amount of prophecy are staggering. Mathematicians put it this way: 1 person fulfilling 8 prophecies: 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000 1 person fulfilling 48 prophecies: 1 chance in 10 to the 157th power 1 person fulfilling 300+ prophecies: Only Jesus!

Isn’t it wonderful, you don’t need to know these facts and statistics before you come to Christ? In fact all a person needs to know is that, they are a sinner and that Christ died for those sins. But most of all I hope you know the Creator of the Universe loves you. I hope you see that love in people who claim to follow Him everyday. I pray you are shown the same grace by those people that was given to them.

See because that’s what Christ did for us as He hung on the cross. We were not deserving of His love and forgiveness. But yet the bible says, While we were still sinners Christ died for us. Romans 5:8. We were shown undeserved favor. Christ knew we would reject Him but yet He still gave His life for us. The bible says we are all sinners, (Romans 3:23)

Lee had to learn that I didn’t expect him to know everything before coming to class and I hope you know that the most important thing that Christ’s wants you to know is that He loves you. Just like I loved Lee, I wasn’t going to punish him for not knowing. In the same way God doesn’t punish us for not knowing everything in the bible before we come to Him. But what God does want is a relationship with you. He wants one so much He sent His only son to die for us. So we would be able to come directly to Him. His son died and rose again 3 days later so we can be with Him again one day.

Are you ready for that? Now that you know, are you assured that if you took your last breath today or if Christ came today you would be caught away with Him? I encourage you, to make sure. Make sure you have admitted to God that you are a sinner as the bible says. Believe on the Lord and His word says you will be saved. (Acts 16:31) Then find a church, (this Sunday is a great time to start) and get involved. The church is a place for you to grow in your relationship with Him, it gives you 2 opportunities. First to grow in your understanding of the bible which is His last letter to us. Second it should be a place where you know you can go, when you are not okay, because there are people there that will hold you up and encourage you.

The Bible also says “…… From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. Luke 12:48 in essence it says  “Much known, Much required” and today you have read what God requires from you.

So now ya know!

And now that ya know, are you going to do something about it?  Because when you do, this Sunday is going to be more special to you than you ever thought it could be. Because the God we serve, is not dead. “For He Is Risen” Matt 28:6. Maybe you already know Him, if so then you also know, He as called you to go and tell others. (Matt 28:7, Mark 16:15, Luke 14:23, Matt 28:19-20 & Acts 1:7-8)  and since He said it so many times in His bible I am pretty sure He was serious about it.

My oldest soon learned how to learn and went on to get his Master’s Degree in Family and Marriage Therapy. He learned it so well, He became the student academic adviser for his college campus, I am talking the student over all the other student advisers, they gave him an office and everything. Why? because he learned it was okay not to know, but it wasn’t okay to stay there. He learned how to learn and then went on to helped others do the same.

So now that ya know, What are you going to do about it?

 

 

 

I love my daddy!

I love my daddy!

All my life I was raised in a ministers home and because of that there was a certain standard I was expected to keep.  In the denomination I was raised you didn’t smoke, drink, dance, or hang out with folks that did. The only problem with that was, as a teenager I thought all the cool kids in High school did those things.

The truth is I didn’t care what the “Denomination” said but I did care about what my daddy thought, I loved my daddy so much I never wanted to do anything to hurt him and I knew it would kill my daddy if I ever did anything like that. But that didn’t stop the yearning I had to want to be accepted by my peers.
So I plotted out what I thought was the perfect plan to get me in the cool kids club, but at the same time, making sure not to disappoint my daddy. The plan was,  I would get an IBC Root-beer and stand in the “inner circle” where all the cool kids hung out in hopes that would somehow convince them I was as cool as them and then they would be my friends. While the brown bottle of the root-beer would make it a appear I was drinking, I wouldn’t actually be drinking so I knew my daddy wouldn’t be upset.
I don’t know what it was, but there was something about the connection I had with my daddy. I knew he loved me no matter what. I knew I could tell him anything and he would still love me. Oh!  Don’t get me wrong, we had our disagreements. But I always knew, not matter what,  I was safe, cared for and love by my daddy.
It was the love and respect I had for my daddy that kept me out of trouble as a teenager. I didn’t want to do anything to ever hurt him or his reputation.  I never did really fit into that group of friends, so I never drank anything harder than that root-beer. I never did any drugs, or smoked anything and I think that is also what kept me from not having sex before marriage. It’s what kept me out of jail. I love my daddy so much and I knew my daddy loved me, he had proven his love for me time and time again. It would of literally killed me to hurt my daddy.
In fact I remember a time when Jeff and I were dating, my dad and Jeff’s dad were not getting along. So much so, that Jeff’s father told Jeff that he needed to break up with me. When Jeff told me this, I became concern that perhaps my dad was thinking the same thing, and not wanting to hurt either of the men I loved. I went to my father. Because I have always been an up front, out spoken, independent kind of child and simply told my daddy. “I love you and I never want to do anything to hurt you. So please don’t ask me to stop seeing Jeff.  Because I don’t want to have to disobey you” My dad never asked and I am not certain he ever intended to but I loved him so much I didn’t want to have to make that choice.
I was a lucky girl because my daddy wasn’t just a good man, but was a man that followed after God. See he didn’t just encourage me not to smoke, drink, or wait till I had sex till after marriage.  Because he wanted to be mean or he was following what the “Denomination said”. He did it because of what the bible says. He taught me to take the bible at it’s word. He taught me that the Bible was the ultimate authority on the truth. Not to long ago Oprah made a speech and told the audience it was time to tell “Your Truth” well the fact is there is no such thing as “Your Truth”. If that was the case, when you got pulled over for speeding you could just decide that isn’t “Your Truth” because you didn’t see it as speeding. See if we believe the idea that there is “Your Truth” then there will be as many truths as there are people. That means that we all become god because we as human being tend to justify whatever we want.   If someone came up and asked for your wallet and if you then refused to give it to them, they then  could decided to shoot you for that because “Their Truth” was that they needed your wallet so they should be allowed to have it and if you refused “Their Truth”  said that they had that right to kill you.  To be God requires intelligence and knowledge of the future, it requires someone who can handle great responsibility for everyone in the universe.
That’s why the only God, tells us the “Real Truth” we can find it in His word the bible, and God tells us not to become addicted to substances because he knows they can harm us. 1 Peter 4:3 “For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry”. The bible also tells us that sex should be saved for marriage Heb 13:4 “Let marriage be held in honor above all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.”
So no matter what “Your Truth” Might be, God’s truth is the one that prevails. 1 Cor 10: 23 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. ” See the bible tells us that Jesus said ““I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 We can’t get to Him unless we follow what He tells us to do. But He doesn’t want us to just “Follow the rules” because we are afraid of Him. It is the exact opposite, He wants us to know how much He loves us. Just like I knew my daddy loved me and my decision for following what he said was not because I was afraid of punishment but it was my overwhelming desire to want to please him. In this day and age we are all to often more concerned with pleasing ourselves, more than anyone else.
So you tell me, who do you want to please? My prayer is that everyone will realize just exactly how much God loves them and you will be so consumed with that love that you will not want to hurt the man you gave you life and gave His life for you. It will be out of pure gratitude for what He has done for you. Because He doesn’t hates us, but we need to follow “His Truth” because He loves us, He really loves us.