Be An Encourager

Has anyone ever encouraged you?  I hope so. There’s nothing quite like those words coming to our ears that lift us up, that give us hope or confidence.  Several years ago as a nominal Christian going about my daily monotonous life, I had a guy take me out for lunch who told me I could be a leader, that I could make a difference in the church. Wow!  I had never been told that before andEnourage-Someone-Photo-583x465 it blew me away.  “Really? Me?” It’s so true that there are power in our words; power to lift up or power to tear down. And I for one would rather see people lifted up.

One of my favorite verses is Hebrews 3:13, “But encourage one another daily as long as it is called Today.” Life is hard. God is good. And encouragement we all need. Who can YOU encourage Today? Don’t be a ‘Debby Downer’ that sucks the life out of others. Be an ENCOURAGER! Because you can make a difference.

Why Quitting Is Not An Option

Have you ever wanted to quit anything?  I have, many times.  God (and my wife) knows I’ve wanted to, but over my seventeen years of following ChQuitting-is-not-an-optionrist the “q” word gets harder and harder to say.  And here’s why: somebody else will always quit.  There will ALWAYS be people who quit at their job, their marriage, their family, their God.  But if everyone quits then where does that leave us?  Continue reading

A Christmas Verse For Summer

I love Charlie Brownlinus and the Peanuts gang. My sister even called me Charlie Brown as a kid. Not so much because I loved the show, but because I had a BIG head. So much for sisters (and luckily I grew into it). But as a kid I’d mark down when the Peanuts’ specials were going to be on TV. Probably my most all-time favorite has to be the Christmas special when Charlie Brown is trying to figure out the meaning of Christmas. After all of his frustration his good friend Linus steps on stage and recites Isaiah 9:6, Continue reading

Like Frederika Locker’s Prime Rib

Matthew 23:27, “You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.”

If you’ve ever had prime rib from the Frederika Locker you know it’s some stinkin’ good meat! To my vegetarian friends it’s like the Engine 2 Diet’s black beans & brown rice extravaganza (another oprime_rib_jpg_1280x800_q85ne of my favorites). For those of you who can’t make the connection between the two, and have never had the opportunity to taste their prime rib, let’s just say it’s AWESOME! So a couple weeks ago Deedie and I were able to get away from the reality of having four kids and went out to eat together, alone. I ordered prime rib. When it came it looked good, it smelled good, it was cooked perfectly, but Continue reading

Where Hope Is Found

Renowned poet, Emily Dickinson, once penned: Where Hope Is Found

“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.”

I believe hope is something that every person wants to have.  Hope for a better day.  Hope for a better job, a better life.  Hope that our children turn out to be good people.  But what is the difference between a Christian definition of hope and the way the world uses it?

The word “hope” in everyday English vocabulary is usually different from the idea of certainty. Typically when people use the word hope they mean, “I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I hope it happens.”

Then again, when you read the word “hope” in the Bible (like in 1 Peter 1:13—”set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ”), hope is not wishful thinking. Continue reading

Top 3 Lies Christians Believe

The apostle Paul warned his young protégé pastor Timothy

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.”  ~2 Timothy 4:3-4

Our world is full of lies.  From our governmental officials, to commercials, to our three-year-old kid trying to hide that broken vase, lies are all around us.  The world is a master at presenting its counterfeit products as the genuine article.  And because Christians are followers of the Truth, you would think we would be more in-tune with sniffing them out.

But many Christians believe many lies.  We sometimes don’t even realize that they are lies because we’ve never actually looked them up in God’s word for ourselves.  It’s just “the way it’s always been.” 

There are hundreds of lies Christians believe, but there are three I have personally seen infiltrate the church, the lives of my friends and family, and even at times my own life. Continue reading

Jesus, Could You Come Back Later?

When Jesus called his first disciples to follow him, they dropped everything and followed.  It was a radical decision, but vitally important if they were going to follow the One who gives life.  What about you?  If Jesus showed up at your door today and called you to follow him, would you leave everything?    

Christianity is much more than just head-knowledge, knowing and believing the right things.  Following Christ not only includes our head, but also our hands and our heart. If your faith in Christ doesn’t include your hands and your heart then it’s not Christianity. Jesus calls us to a life of commitment and change. He is our priority.   

Am I truly willing to have my life transformed by God?  Will I allow God to be God, or do I form and shape God into what I want Him to be?

Imagine James or John telling Jesus, “Sure Lord, we’ll follow you.  But Continue reading

The Lost Art of Philoxenia: Christian Hospitality

When we think of “hospitality”, what comes to mind?  Entertaining family and friends?  Martha Stewart?  A painstaking chore?  Something done by only a few, with no lasting consequences?  Over the last few decades we have lost a Biblical understanding of the holistic impact of Christian hospitality.  Martha Stewart didn’t invent hospitality. More radical still, she hasn’t perfected it either. Hospitality as presented in the Bible is not merely a practice. Instead, it is a way of life in view of the coming of God’s Kingdom.

Throughout the entire Bible God demonstrates and commands his followers to practice hospitality.  Our English word “hospitality” comes from the Greek word philoxenia which is from two root words xenia meaning foreigner or stranger and the word philo which means love. In other words we are to show love to strangers, hospitality to others.  So what do you do to show hospitality to others?  How do you show love to strangers?

In his book Outlive Your Life, Max Lucado writes:

“Long before the church had pulpits and baptisteries, she had kitchens and dinner tables. Continue reading

Don’t Forget Adley

 

My wife Deedie talking with Adley

On January 12, 2010 the small Caribbean country of Haiti was hit with a cataclysmic level 7.0 earthquake sixteen miles west of its capital city Port-au-Prince near the city of Léogâne.  The world was shocked as reports came in of an estimated 316,000 dead and over 1 million now homeless.  As the people of Haiti stammered to put their lives back together aid from numerous countries started to pour in.

Two and a half years later Haiti still struggles to get back to normal.  This past month my wife and I traveled to Léogâne to help Samaritan’s Purse with the construction efforts of an orphanage that will eventually house and school 100 children.  Continue reading

Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?

Millions of us have watched and laughed along as Jeff Foxworthy wittingly pokes fun at adults who try to prove their intellectual prowess over school-age children on Fox Network’s game show “Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?”  As we play along it seems like it should be an easy enough task to remember the things we learned in grade school, but only two people, Kathy Cox and George Smoot, have been lucky enough to claim the $1,000,000 prize and escaped admitting that they “are not smarter than a 5th grader.”

Games like Jeopardy or Trivial Pursuit make my head hurt.  Continue reading