Why The Bible Matters


bibleReposted from Radical Mentoring

Why do so few people read the Bible?

I’m not talking about a random verse pulled out to make a point, I’m talking about the book itself . . . the entity . . . this thing that’s integral to our faith. It’s one of the most important topics!

God’s Word is eternal . . . it’ll last beyond the internet, the Super Bowl, the iPhone, the Final Four . . . everything. In heaven, we’ll recognize the words, the wisdom, and the authors, and we’ll never tire of learning what it all means.

So why bother now? Why not wait until heaven when we’ll have all the time in the world? (. . . or out of the world?) Besides, is this stuff really important? Is it really true? Why do we struggle to ‘get into it’?

There’s the fact that God’s Word has been around . . . unchanged for hundreds, if not thousands of years, and almost half the world’s population believe its essence. A friend of mine was ready to commit his life to the nine ‘insights’ spelled out in The Celestine Prophecy. I asked, “Wow, what if the author changes his mind, or discovers some new truth?” Shortly after, he published The Tenth Insight. My friend later became a Jesus-follower.

Isn’t it smarter to build your life on a time-tested plan?  The New Testament approach to life is wise, effective, stable, practical, and true.

“But isn’t the Bible just a compendium of stories and folklore, pieced together by church people with a motive?”

Sounds convincing, until you try to explain how the Dead Sea Scrolls perfectly matched earlier manuscripts and were untouched by church people from their recording until their discovery in the 1950’s. The Bible is true. You can depend on it.

“But is it relevant?” You bet it is! Here’s just one example . . .

You get a new job or have your first child or move to a new church. You’re scared out of your skin! But when you read 2 Timothy 1:7, God reminds you “the spirit of fear is not of God, but God is love, power and a sound mind.” Suddenly, you realize “Hey, I can do this! God loves me! This fear I’m feeling isn’t coming from Him . . . I have His power within me . . . I can discipline myself . . . I have a sound mind . . . let’s get on with it!” You’re no longer afraid.

And one more point . . . the Bible is supernatural! I’m not kidding.

Remember Hebrews 4:12? For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

Paraphrase: God will use His Word to help you sort out your thoughts and attitudes regarding what you want (i.e., your “heart”).

I take that to mean when I read the Bible and ask, “God, what are you teaching me here?” or “Lord, what would you have me do?” He’ll often give me wisdom I’m not smart enough to discover on my own.

And then I try to obey. I also write it down in my journal, because I don’t want to forget. I’ve unearthed much of what’s written in my blog posts this way.

So . . . read your Bible. And chat with the Author as you read. Pray. Ask questions. Listen to His answers and instructions.

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Not Being so Hard on Yourself


freedom-1

Reposted from Winning With Jesus

The past few weeks Jesus has led me to make time on my day off to “review the film” What went right, what went wrong and what can be changed.

As I sat down for the film session, I was ready to hear all the things that needed improvement.

As I closed my eyes, Jesus rattled off 10 areas where I did an excellent job and a whopping 1 area to improve upon. It helped to totally change my perspective of God.

I couldn’t help but laugh, here I was going into the film room with a mindset of what I was doing wrong and instead God flips the mindset into what I was doing right!

Totally God!

The more and more I understand God’s nature, he isn’t about berating me into make changes. He does it in a kind and loving way and it is for our benefit!

Romans 2:4 says,

“Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?”
Repentance simply means a changing of one’s mind. So in the example above about the film session, I repented of falling into self condemnation and hatred into loving myself and giving grace to myself right where I am at.

Prayer: Father I thank you for every reader. I pray that you help remind each reader of how kind and loving  you are. Holy Spirit, help us not be hard on ourselves for the sake of sounding spiritual . Help us to recognize where we are doing what is right and make note of it. And if we need a correction, you do it in a kind and loving way. In Jesus name! Amen!

Comments and Application:  Are there areas in your life where perhaps you are too hard on yourself? How can you show more grace to yourselves in those times. I would love to hear about it in the comments below!

How is Your Relationship with God Today


pulse-check

Reposted from Follow the Good Shepherd

How’s your relationship with God today? Is it dull or intimate? Do you still remember your honeymoon stage when you first encountered His love? Do you still feel the same way now? Do you still feel the strong urge to fulfill your mission and to realize your godly vision now or is it long gone?

A lot of Christians go through this stage when they feel bored because there’s not much action (this is not true though as a lot of miracles happen everyday, we just overlook it or take it for granted sometimes). Although it’s normal, it doesn’t mean that we should not address it. Love is not just about feelings. It’s a commitment.It means to stay in the relationship through the ordinary and extraordinary, through the routine and the unusual, through the highs and lows, through the similarities and differences. It’s a piece of work but we need to trust our Potter to turn us from a simple pile of clay to a glorious work of art.

Most of the time, when our relationship gets boring or if we feel like His path is not where we want to go, we tend to run away from God. We don’t want to do what he asks us to do. We try to tune His volume down in our lives so we can live how we please. If we continue to do this, things might get dangerous. Consider the story of Jonah and how God pursued Him: Letting Go: Running Away From God.

So, what should we do if we feel like the fire inside us is burning out?

Pray Unceasingly. No matter how boring our prayer might sound like to ourselves, remember that our God is a very personal God and He is mindful of us. Communication is vital in any form of relationship and prayer is our main communication tool with God.

Keep Reading. Not everyone hears God audibly speak to us. Reading his Word would allow us to get advice and teachings from God himself without waiting to hear a thunderous voice from heaven. The Bible is our ultimate instruction and guide book that He left for us. Everything we need to know is already in here.

Stay Connected. Attend the church service, listen to podcasts, and catch up with your life group from church. Hearing God’s Words through godly people is a way for us to reconnect to God and vice versa. Remember, if you take a coal away from the rest of the burning coals, it will become cold. But if you put it back with the rest, it will burn again.

God never fails to provide and take care of us. He has given us a mission to fulfill in various areas of our lives. That should be enough to keep us from getting bored. Sometimes, the problem is that we don’t like the mission itself, thus, we ignore it and pretend nothing is happening in our lives which leads us to getting bored. It’s never gonna work this way. God gives us the opportunity to live a full and meaningful life but remember, it takes two to tango!

The Missing Milestone


milestone

Reposted from Radical Mentoring

Today’s post is from Jeff Henderson who leads Gwinnett Church in North Atlanta. Jeff and his good friend David Salyers have seen a need and met it with outstanding results. If you’ll ever have a middle school son or grandson, don’t miss this!

Over the years, as our kids have grown older, people have often asked my wife Wendy and I this question: “What’s the most important thing you did to help transition Jesse and Cole into the middle school and teenage years?”

That’s a great question.

It’s no secret that middle school is a difficult time in life. Youth pastor Derrick Harris says, “The 6th graders of today are the 8th graders of 10 years ago. Not because they are more mature, but because they are more exposed.” From exposure to pornography to peer pressure, middle schoolers have it more difficult than ever before.

But here’s the thing: Middle school isn’t just a difficult time in life, it’s a pivotal time in life. It’s in these years that kids are changing not just physically, but emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. It’s a transition unlike any other.

So, for myself and Wendy, we saw the transition into middle school as an important milestone in their lives.

Milestones are moments that mark our lives in a significant way. Things like the birth of a child, graduation ceremonies, weddings and retirement parties. They represent the end of a season of life and the beginning of a new one. After a milestone moment, we adopt a new identity of sorts.

Yet when it came time for my son Cole to transition into the teenage and middle school years, my friend David Salyers and I realized that there was a missing milestone. Throughout history in nearly every single culture there was a rite of passage, particularly from boyhood to manhood. Yet sadly, in our Western culture we have lost this important idea. It has become the Missing Milestone.

The importance of this Missing Milestone can not be overstated. It affects our families, communities, and nation in innumerable and immeasurable ways. Dr. John Trent writes in his book The Blessing, “If a young man fails to receive the blessing of his father, he will spend the rest of his life looking for it in all the wrong places.”

I didn’t want that for my son Cole, and neither did David for his sons. So, we teamed up to create a modern-day rite of passage for our boys. A rite of passage that was tons of fun but also paved the way for crucial conversations.

It eventually turned into what is now Champion Tribes, a group experience that gives fathers a plan to be intentional in their sons’ lives. A roadmap that we’re working hard to bring to families all across the country.

That, I think, is oftentimes the key: Parents have the passion, but they lack the plan. If this is you, here are some things to consider . . .

  1. It needs to be a moment in time, yet part of a journey.
  2. It should build upon ceremony and ritual.
  3. It needs to include your blessing.
  4. It needs to be done in community.

If you want to learn more about our experience, how we have helped hundreds of fathers navigate this important phase of life, and teach values like Commitment, Humility, Accountability and Perseverance, you can visit championtribes.com/how-it-works.

At the end of the day, no matter what stage of your life your child is in, don’t miss the milestone moments!

Scripture: Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. (Proverbs 22:6)

Begging for Scraps


chickfilaprayer

Reposted from Faith Tap

Helping the homeless is something that some of us love to do, and something others avoid for their own reasons. But when one struggling homeless man wandered into a Murfreesboro, Tennessee Chick-fil-A, he got the surprise of a lifetime.

The man came in wanting any leftover food scraps the store had to spare – but he left with so much more!

A father-daughter duo was enjoying a quiet meal to themselves when they witnessed the kind actions of the Chick-fil-A manager. The father, Joey Mustain, posted the entire story to Facebook as soon as they got home!

“I took Stella to Chick-fil-A today. It’s our normal daddy-daughter spot. It’s clean, so good, and the playground has a tractor beam on her the moment she sees it.

When we finished eating and she’d worked up her dessert appetite playing with the other kids, we went back to trade in her toy for ice cream. She wanted to sit at a table to eat the cone (something we usually do in the truck), and I’m so glad she did.

We took a booth right next to the spot where you wait for your drink to be ‘refreshed,’ and we had a front-row seat to this beautiful scene: a homeless traveler had walked in and asked if they had any extra food.

Mud was wet and caked on his well-traveled shoes.

His hair was matted, and his beard wasn’t a statement as much as it was a necessity and a sign that he doesn’t get to shave as often as most of us do.

People near him kept their distance, but that didn’t stop him from being kind. He spoke to people who reluctantly spoke back, and he smiled while he waited on a manager.”

It seemed as though nothing could faze this gentle homeless man.

The manager approached the homeless man, and Joey was shocked by what he heard during the ensuing conversation!
“All I could pick up on of the conversation was the manager saying that he’d love to give him a full, warm meal. Not just scraps or extras.

The only thing he required was that the man let him pray with him.

After the homeless man agreed, there was no waiting for things to die down, there was no scooting anyone to the side.

As busy as they were, the manager stopped then and there, laid his hand on the man, and proceeded to pray.

filet

I heard love in that prayer. The homeless man wasn’t some untouchable stain on business. He was the reason that store opened its doors this morning (or any morning).

I asked Stella to watch and she stared. She asked what was happening and when I told her, she bowed her head, too.

I realized then and there that Chick-fil-A doesn’t simply do business for profits, they truly use business to minister….

I love teaching my daughter life lessons, and I also love being there to watch other Christians teach her life lessons. Thank you, Chick-fil-A, for taking care of the latter today.”

The manager could’ve easily ushered the dirtied man away from his restaurant, but instead, he chose to make a positive difference.

As the weather gets chillier and the homeless are forced to endure frigid, dangerous conditions, think about how you can make a positive change! No matter where you live, there’s a homeless shelter that will gladly take your old clothes, volunteer time or money (if you have extra to spare).
You do have what it takes to change lives for the better, just as this amazing manager did!