Archive: : Jun 2014

  1. World’s Okayest Dad

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    One day, your biggest concern is that the sugar at the bottom of your Dunkin’ Donuts iced coffee isn’t dissolved, and the next day…you’re responsible for a human life. This responsibility petrifies any warm-blooded man, and we are thrust into it with no manual, no practice, and no idea of what to do about it.

    The moment Paisley was born, a new feeling entered into my life: I knew that no matter what, I would do anything for that little girl. I didn’t have to be taught that feeling, it just happened. I’m sure a pack of rabid dogs wouldn’t have burst into that hospital room, but boy, I was ready just in case. I don’t know any jiu jitsu, but I could probably have confused them into submission with some wild hand waving or loud yelps. Maybe I would have just run around like Curly from the Three Stooges.

    I love my little girl, and it’s really only since becoming a dad that I have been able to understand the love a parent can have for a child. It’s a love that is modeled for us in the Bible. But here’s one thing that I can’t comprehend: How did God let his only son get killed? I mean, we all can benefit from this incredible sacrifice, but honestly…how is it even possible that God so loved us enough to accept the death of his son as payment for our sinful hearts?

    June is the month where we honor our dads, and unfortunately many people have to dig pretty deep to find something nice to say about their fathers. Fortunately for me, I have a great dad. I know he loves me and would do anything for me. I also know my dad wouldn’t hand me over to an angry mob for someone else’s sake. Even though I have a new appreciation for the love a parent can have for his child, I don’t understand a love deeper than that for someone else.

    I’m new at this dad thing. I’m not very good at it, and I’m sure I’ll get worse before I get better. I would put myself in the category of “okay.” And even though my dad is great and I’m learning, there is only one WORLD’S BEST DAD, and that’s the Father who would let his son die that millions more throughout history might live.

  2. Join the Club. Or Don’t.

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    Faith without actions is dead.

    But what comes of actions without faith?

    When someone gets saved, many times our (Christians) emphasis immediately shifts from the grace of God to what they need to do to change their life: stop smoking, stop gambling, start tithing, be at the church every time the doors are open… It’s more like joining the Boy Scouts than embarking on an exciting faith journey.

    But just like our relationship with God grows, our actions should grow as a result of what He’s doing in our lives. ‘Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks…the body does…the wallet spends…’ If we’re expecting newly saved people to immediately “join the club,” are we doing them a disservice? I mean, if we’re putting so much emphasis on living a life of faith rather than actually having faith, are we really trusting that grace is so amazing?

    I wonder if that’s what happened to Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5. They sold their property and (sort of) gave the proceeds for the work of the Lord. They wanted to be a part of what the apostles were doing, but their hearts weren’t completely there yet. So they were struck dead.

    Struck dead. D-E-D, dead.

    Perhaps we’re putting people’s lives in jeopardy by expecting too much of their actions without any development of faith. Are we so anxious to add to our numbers that we neglect organic growth with Jesus in the name of another helper, partner, or member?

    I think what we learn in Acts 5 is that motivation matters. Doing what everybody else is doing simply is not enough. God accepts you for who you are, not what you do. But as your faith grows, your actions will follow. A little faith, a little doing. We are still saved by grace, through faith. Even faith the size of the period at the end of this sentence.

  3. Calling All Name Droppers

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    Isaiah 2:12-22

    We all like to name drop. We love to talk about the time we met Michael W. Smith (I haven’t), or that time we saw Tom Brady buying a Whopper Jr. (he must have), or that your cousin-in-law’s sister took out Jennifer Aniston’s trash (I’m sure her trash guy has a cousin…in-law). We hold people in high esteem. Even in the church. We have celebrity worship leaders, celebrity pastors, world-renowned evangelists, etc.

    It’s really cool to think about a day where none of that matters. Nothing we’ve done or created (even the really tall buildings or the space shuttle) will compare to God’s glory. And for those of us who aren’t special–or don’t feel special–it will be a day when we realize that everything we’ve done or experienced has been God all along.

    He is the reason for everything.

    Isaiah 2:22 “Stop trusting in mere humans, who have but a breath in their nostrils. Why hold them in esteem?” 17-18 “The Lord alone will be exalted in that day, and the idols will totally disappear.

  4. Where God Guides, He Provides

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    Throughout my life, God has made the things that I’m supposed to do abundantly clear. Over the years, understanding that has helped me not to overthink my steps, but to implicitly trust Him. Two major situations with my education are proof of this: Attending VFCC for my undergrad, and getting my Master’s at Regent. Valley Forge was the only school I applied to, and I really just knew from sixth grade that it was the right school for me. The opportunity to go to Regent came first through a simple tri-fold photocopied advertisement in the mail. I looked into the program and it looked appealing. After I started the application process–more accurately, the week my application was complete–I found out that I could get my education for free. That was a pretty obvious choice.

    The nudge in our lives toward missions was really started when my good friend John came to visit us in October 2011. He was working on us to go work with him on a new project in Costa Rica. That was the first time when we actually thought we could be used overseas in a full-time ministry capacity. God was clear that it wasn’t right for us, but it was a little ignition point that got our minds going.

    So now, almost three years later, how do we know that this nudge has turned into a call? The same way I always have: He has made it abundantly clear. We have had more “coincidences” and “happenstances” throughout this process than can be chalked up to chance. We’ve tested God and He has come through in huge ways. We have prayed, God has provided, and as Acts 15:28 models, ‘it seems good to the Holy Spirit and us.’