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Last nights Bible Study was inspired by New Year’s Resolutions. I have never really understood what the purpose of these was or why people seemed to care so much, but the fact remains that this time of year, people will “commit” to them. We looked in Ephesians 4:17-32 and 5:1-19. We did not cover this completely, but will be an ongoing series for a few weeks. The group that attends on Wednesday nights is usually around 20ish and we have from 6th to 12th grade. Occasionally we divide up if it seems like they will be unruly, but for the most part they are a good group.

The focal point of the lesson was a challenge for the young people to really look at there lives. We never know what tomorrow might bring but we can reflect upon where we have been to better prepare ourselves. I asked the kids not to stress New Year’s Resolutions, but rather reflect upon their christian “standing”, “walk”, or “maturity”. Look at where they were yesterday, last week, last month, and even last year. It was my goal to get them to see that the could have done one of three things…

Progress – Stagnate – Regress

These were my points if you will. When we reflect upon our lives we should be able to say that we are making progress with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Far too often in our christian lives we remain the same, and are content with where we are. There are times when we “back slide” and regress back into old destructive habits.

There is an amazing song by Casting Crowns entitled Slow Fade.  I think the song may still be up on there home page now. In the song it talks about how big life changing things rarely just happen out of the blue. There is a process… steps… you get weak in one area of your life, allow the devil to gain a foothold, then it steadily gets worse.

I tried to encourage the kids to take a serious look at their lives and allow the Holy Spirit to make progress in their life.

The Love Dare

I bought my wife a copy of The Love Dare. There was a movie that came out a while ago entitled Fireproof. In this movie, which I have yet to see, a man reads this book in an effort to save his marriage. I feel as though I have a really good marriage, but my wife and I have been looking for a good devotional book for 13 years. We have not really looked that hard, and really, I am to blame for this, but I think we may see this one through.

I feel as though I am a decent husband and father to our kids, but I am lacking in the area of Spiritual Leader of the Household. I do not mean for this to sound chavonistic, but I do feel as though that is the Man’s primary role as husband and father. I step up for the “big issues” if you will. I have no problems sharing my wisdom, or explaining challenging scriptures, but this is not the whole picture. I feel as though my wife has a much more meaningful impact on my children with the little things. She leads their prayers at night. She disciplines them by reminding them that their actions are not just against our wishes, but may be sin as well. I think it is this that has the most impact upon their lives.

My hope is that this devotion that my wife and I read together will strengthen our marriage. I never want it to grow old or stagnant. I want each new year, each month, each week, each day to see us growing closer. I want to see that smile upon her face that I was able to create so easily when we were courting. I want our kids, when the time is right to marry, to look to our marriage as an example or what love is supposed to look like. I want our friends and family to see our marriage for what it is, a creation of God.

Sunday Morning

A good friend of mine taught Sunday School for me this morning. His name is Chris Biddix and he is currently attending Liberty University with plans of going into global missions. He talked about John the Baptist and did an outstanding job. I am really impressed with his walk with God and how I have watched him mature and grow in the time that I have known him.

He mentioned how John the Baptist had an intense passion for Jesus even though he had never met him. John devoted himself to the coming messiah in the hopes that others would be ready. He began to talk about repentance and faith before Jesus had even come on the scene. His time in the wilderness only served to strenghten his resolve in his faith and the God that he knew.

I think the teenagers really need a role model in their lives. They are bombarded by so much rubbish from the world today and a lot of high school / college kids fall away from God. The world challenges their belief system and they are unsure of how to stand. They are taught individual facts while growing up but never fully comprehend how to put it all together into a way of life.

The youth have always been my passion. It burdens my heart to see them struggle and fall to the confusion that is the world. I try, with God guiding me, to show them how it all fits together and how yes, your faith may be challenged, but you can overcome. The world can make you have doubts, but once you are able to work through them you come out of the whole experience stronger for it.

I think having Chris as a friend helps me as well. It keeps me grounded in letting me know that I still have a lot to learn. He has been an encouragement to me for quite some time by his life, by letting me know that maybe I do make a difference. I do not mean to say that is about me, but it is a burden at times to think that what you teach goes unheard. With Chris I know that, even though he is his own person, maybe I do touch people’s lives.

Traditions

In my family, just like many others we have our little things that we do around the holidays. We generally neglect Christmas Eve Candelight Services, and stay home for family time. I am not knocking the Christmas Eve Service, but I feel that at times we over shadow family with Church. In my house family comes before Church, not before God though. We stay home and have party food. My wife, kids, and I make all sorts of things. We have cookies, chips, dip, vegetables, potato skins, etc… Good times…

We allow the kids to select one gift to open on Christmas Eve. Not sure why we do this we just have. I think it is fun for the kids. They enjoy looking through their gifts under the tree and selecting the “perfect” one.

We allow our kids to believe in Santa. I know that there are many Christians who do not, but we do. I think there is nothing wrong with imagination and being a child, so I encourage the Santa belief. We do not wrap Santa gifts. I like the way the kids can just wake up Christmas morning and see the whole Santa layout before them. This also eliminates the worry of having the same wrapping paper elsewhere.

Accountability

I started this blog to accompany my gaming/hobby blog almost 2 months ago and have not been back since. This is a space where hopefully I can build a community of support or accountability. I think differenty than a lot of the “religious” people that I know and love. I am not sure why that is, but it has always been this way. I am an odd person, I will admit, and I know that I tend to judge Christians much harder than I do “non-Christians.” I do not advocate this, I just recognize this as a fault.

I guess I merely want to express my ideas here… My concerns, my failures, my success, my desires, my hopes… Perhaps someone will stumble upon this blog and be going through the same things. Perhaps God will lead someone here to give me words of wisdom, a mentor. Perhaps God will lead someone here for me to mentor. Who knows.

I feel as though I was “led” to start this blog and I have neglected it. I shall do my best to remedy that failure.

What am I currently up to? I am one of the youth workers / leaders at Stoney Point Baptist Church in Fayetteville, NC. We have a decent sized youth group (12 – 20) on average, meeting on Sundays and Wednesdays. I also lead Children’s Church once a month on a rotational basis. I love helping, and teaching young people. In fact I find it very hard to have “normal” friendships. Out of all the people I view as friends, none are adults. They fall into the category of college kid and younger.

I have a wonderful supportive wife and three amazing kids. I talk with and enjoy their company, but can not really share with them either. I do share with some of my “religious” conudrums but they really do not get it. To quote my wife “You are over my head.” I do not mean to be, I just speak my heart. It just happens.

Well there is my intro. I shall do my best to make this a regular posting.

Good and Evil

What is good or evil? How do we, as sinful people determine this? What is our standard? Is our outlook the same as the Bible? Let me share a few stories that leave me wondering….

Let us assume that you live in a small town or no more that 1000 people. You are a tight nit community, nothing goes on without the whole town knowing. The kind of mystical town where there are still Town Hall meetings.  Are we on the same page? Good…

Now one night “something” happens and in the morning the town is full of cries, wailing, and tears. What has happened? Well in the night lots of people have died. It seems that the firstborn of every household has died. Just for the sake of argument we shall put the number at 333, or 30%. It could be higher, may be lower, no math here, just a story. Now who in this town would call this a “good” event? Would most assume this is some evil act? Some horrible thing has happened to this “innocent” little town?

Well in the Book of Exodus, Chapter 11, we can see that this “evil” was sent by God. We know that God is Holy, so how do we, as humans, sinful imperfect creatures, justify this act? We can not. God’s ways are beyond our understanding. He reveals to us His will in His time, and only what we need to know.

In the Book of 1 Samuel, Chapter 16:14, we see another oddity… “Now the Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him.” This is the passage where Samuel is following God’s will and is looking for the new King to be. He goes to find one of Jesse’s sons (David), whom God has set apart.

My question is this… Why did God, a Holy God, send an EVIL spirit to torment Saul? What was the nature of this evil spirit? Was it a true spirit or merely a defect in Saul’s brain? I believe exactly what the Word says. I believe that  the spirit was sent from God to torment Saul. I also believe that the spirit was evil in the sense that it was still following God’s will, but had an evil purpose in the eyes of man.

Another one.. the whole book of Job. If the story was taken out of context, would this entire thing not seem evil? Would it not seem horrible? This book allows us to see what may take place when evil comes into our lives. God allows things to happen to us that we may label as evil so that his perfect will may be accomplished. We are tools set upon this earth to glorify Him and be used by Him. I thank God that he is able to use me in all my imperfection.

One last thought…. The book of Job always makes me wonder about the relationship between God and the Devil. Can the Devil do anything without God’s will? I do not believe so. I think there is nothing that takes place on this earth that God does not allow. I also believe the rebellion that is mentioned in the Book of Enoch and Revelation have not happened yet. I do not think that it is possible for the Devil are any of the host that follows (followed or will follow?) him to break from God’s will. I wonder if the event will take place at the exact moment that the Devil tries to break God’s will and is punished with everlasting torment that is Hell.

A New Start…

I am not really new to blogging. I have done it for a long time, even before I was aware of the term blogging. I have another blog that I use for World of Warcraft, a video game that I play, however, I felt as though this would be more appropriate for its own page.

I have been thinking about beginning this blog for a while now in the hopes that I can find others out there that are as deeply concerned about the modern state of the Church and its “sheep” that we can at least correspond together. I have tried on many occasions to find someone (mentor as my wife puts it) that shares similar passions about the word of God, but have thus far failed. At times this search has been very frustrating for me, and here, I suppose, is the next step.

I recently directed to an old friend’s blog and decided to check it out. Well this was the final push that I needed. So here, whether I get views or not, will be my source for “musings” on the word of God.