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Heart Attitudes and Prayer

Posted on May 4, 2019 · Posted in Parenting, Prayer

Parents, if your desire is to see your children’s hearts become responsive to the gospel, the place to start is with your own heart. Here are 3 core heart-attitudes to cultivate that will help mold your heart to be God’s instrument for presenting Christ to your children.  The first attitude is humility:   Humility is the source of the power that you need to represent Christ well to your children.  Humility means that you trust God and follow him. Pride means that you trust yourself and fail to consistently rely.. read more

What Captures your Heart?

Posted on May 3, 2019 · Posted in Earthly Treasure, Godward Orientation

What is it that captures your heart? What matters more than anything else? Whether you are conscious of it or not, these questions drive both you and your children. Jesus graciously leads us into this discussion in Matthew 13:44: The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. This man found a treasure. He quickly buried it again hoping no one noticed. Filled with joy,.. read more

Where is God?

Posted on May 1, 2019 · Posted in Prayer, Wisdom, Worldview

There are times when everything goes wrong all at once. The kids are out of control. There are problems with the car, with the house. You are tired to the bone. You try to pray but it is like God is on a coffee break.  Life gets like this sometimes. Jehoshaphat had such a moment. However, instead of wondering where God was he turned to the praise of his God. Praise often is the last thing thought about when life becomes crazy.  We associate praise with good times but not.. read more

Praying for Fun

Posted on April 28, 2019 · Posted in Ruling Desires, Sanctification

If you are like most people, you like to laugh and have fun. And if you are like most people you seldom pray for God to help you have fun. If you are a teenager praying to God to have fun may appear counter-productive: what does God have to do with having fun? That is a really good question!  As strange as it may seem, fun is God’s gift to us. If it was not for God we would have no clue that fun was even a thing! All the.. read more

The Gift of Clouds

Posted on April 25, 2019 · Posted in World View

It’s cloudy this morning. As the sun rises the thick cloud cover will break open to show the blue sky. This is typical for where I live and probably where you live as well. So, why write about something so ordinary? Because seeing God move the clouds is anything but ordinary!  The Holy Spirit has made it a point in Scriptures to tell us that when we see the clouds move across the sky we are seeing God in action. Meteorologists explain how what begin as moisture rising to form.. read more

Relationships: Blessing or Curse?

Posted on April 22, 2019 · Posted in Godward Orientation

Relationships are the fuel of life. They bring out the very best and the very worst of who we are. Relationships are a gift that can give beauty, meaning, and purpose. But they can also be a weapon to hurt and damage our souls. Relationships bring joy and sorrow, healing and pain, hope and despair, fulfillment and emptiness, gain and loss. Why is it like this? How can the same thing be so good and awful, a blessing or a curse? The answer is not that complicated. Relationships that are.. read more

Saturday: It is Finished

Posted on April 20, 2019 · Posted in Faith, Gospel

Three years of hope, gone.  Jesus gave John, the only disciple with him at his death, final instructions about caring for his mother. Then Jesus spoke his final words — “It is finished.” To you and me, now, those are words of hope and wonder. Jesus did what was necessary to secure life for his sheep. “It is finished” means that our sins are forgiven, Jesus did the will of his Father.  They are words of comfort and peace.  But that is not likely what they meant on that Saturday.. read more

An Embarrassing Easter Story

Posted on April 19, 2019 · Posted in Pride

The Last Passover, the first Lord’s Supper, the intimate setting in the upper room, provides precious memories. But there is another memory of that night that we don’t recall so easily. It is a story that discloses the selfishness of the human heart. Just after the Lord’s Supper and just before Jesus goes to the garden to pray, the disciples manage to get into an argument that exposed the pride of their hearts. They were trying to figure out who among them might betray Jesus since he had just predicted.. read more

Jesus, the Only Good Son

Posted on April 18, 2019 · Posted in Faith, Gospel

John records that at the end of his life Jesus said, “it is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. These are not the actions and words of a victim. Jesus was in control of his own death. He ended his life when it was the right time when he had finished what his Father asked him to do. No one took his life from him, he laid down of his own accord (John 10:17-18). The death of Jesus was not a random moment in time… read more

Easter and Your Enemies

Posted on April 16, 2019 · Posted in Culture, Gospel, Worship

You may think you know exactly who your enemy is. Your enemy is your unhappy spouse. Your enemy is your stubborn teenager. Your enemy is your ungrateful boss. Your enemy is your friend who said something you don’t like. Your enemy is the economy or the job market. Your enemy is your sickness. Your parents are your enemy. In short, you may think life is your enemy. The truth is that most of the time you are wrong. You are likely to believe the enemy is the people and circumstances.. read more

The Resurrection: Humanity’s Story

Posted on April 15, 2019 · Posted in Gospel, Holidays

The resurrection of  Jesus Christ has become a fairy tale in modern culture. Chocolate bunnies, new clothes, and Easter church services are all tolerated as a tip of the hat to an outdated myth. So, Easter break has become Spring break. This is Easter week. Does it still matter? The media will observe this week as a religious or traditional event. But it is doubtful there will be commentary that states the fate of the world depended upon a political prisoner 2,000 years ago. It is unlikely that you will.. read more

A Prayer for Life

Posted on April 12, 2019 · Posted in Prayer, World View, Worship

Dear Father, My dreams are too small, my desires too selfish, my actions too sinful. My focus and, too often, my prayers are about what I think is best. Father, you know my weak heart and doubting faith. I pray you would give me the courage to see that my life is about Christ. I need to follow his life and love you as he did on earth. I pray my life would be about adding to your reputation. I pray my focus would be consumed by showing gratitude for.. read more

Your Middle Schooler Lied

Posted on April 10, 2019 · Posted in Gospel, Lying, Parenting

Jesus died for you. He was resurrected for you. He gave you life. He gave you the opportunity to tell your kids how special he is to you. Jesus made a commitment to you. It’s personal! Do your kids know how special he is to you? Here is a way to let them know. You have caught your middle school child in a lie. You have confronted him with his lie and he has admitted it. Then you tell your child something like this: “Justin, I know what it is.. read more

Specks & Planks

Jesus was the most extraordinary communicator in all of human history. He was the ultimate guide for bringing truth to everyday life.  So it is not surprising that his craft as a carpenter provided rich illustrations for his teaching.  Specks of sawdust were part of his life. He used words with the skill and grace of the ultimate master woodworker. His crafted vivid word pictures that connected his hearers to everyday life. Thus, in Luke’s gospel, he uses the common elements of his carpenter’s life to connect to my life.. read more

Love or Anger

Posted on April 4, 2019 · Posted in Anger, Wisdom, Worship

Love is about showing God’s grace to those whom you love, regardless of the price to you. Love is living out the beauty of Jesus Christ. Love is how other people see the uniqueness of Christianity in you. Love is selfless, sacrificial. Love remembers good and not the last offense. Love’s voice speaks gentle, pleasant, solid words. Love is focused on God’s glory.  Love does not run from fear but overcomes fear. Love means being vulnerable. Love does not demand praise. Love is quiet. Love gives. Love honors. Love is.. read more

Who is the king of your heart?

Posted on April 2, 2019 · Posted in Authority, Ruling Desires, Sanctification

It was about mid-day on a Friday. An anxious Roman governor named Pilate plead with the Jews for the life of Jesus. Pilate knew that this Jesus was innocent and though he claimed to be a king, he was not worthy of capital punishment.  But the Jews responded harshly to Pilate’s attempt to spare Christ. They shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!” “Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked. “We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered. Blinded by rage and anger at Jesus, the.. read more

Parent, You Can Control Your Anger

Posted on March 28, 2019 · Posted in Anger, Parenting, Wisdom

You are angry! Your son just had a minor accident with the car, your golf game for tomorrow got canceled, your neighbor called to remind you your grass is too high and you can’t stop thinking that your boss is giving you too much work and not enough appreciation. You are raising your voice, your face is flushed. If one more crazy thing happens, you will explode! The kids are bracing for the next outburst. Then you feel the buzz from your phone. You look and see it’s your boss,.. read more

Patience: You Can Trust God!

Posted on March 26, 2019 · Posted in Sanctification

A judgmental spirit is a dangerous thing. It leads to doubt, mistrust and broken relationships. But there is another form of judgment that is even more destructive: the practice of judging God. When you begin to question God’s faithfulness, when circumstances are not what you wanted, you are actually judging God. When your general response to life is that life stinks, you are judging God. Why? Because the Holy Spirit says that God is causing all the events in your life to be a good thing for you. So, when.. read more

Is the Pursuit of Purity Exciting?

Posted on March 22, 2019 · Posted in Culture, Godward Orientation, Ruling Desires

If someone asked you what is your goal in life, and you answered “to pursue purity,” it would, for sure, be an unexpected answer. However, when James describes what wisdom that honors God looks like, the first word he selects is pure. Peter urges us to love one another from a pure heart. Purity is vital to a life that honors God. In the New Testament, to be pure is to be genuine, authentic, and undefiled. These are qualities that would enhance any life endeavor and any relationship! So, being.. read more

Occasional Gratitude

Posted on March 21, 2019 · Posted in Gratitude

The Holy Spirit is clear: he wants me to always be thankful. He tells me this in the Psalms of David. He tells me through the pen of Paul: give thanks in everything. This morning I am conscious of how often I am disinterested in following the commands of God’s Spirit, commands that are meant only for my good!  The Spirit’s commands are not just for occasional situations when I feel “led” to follow them or when I “feel” like being thankful.  The Spirit’s commands are given to focus my.. read more