Tag Archives: Life

Want to be a better father?

10 things great dads do

My review of 10 Things Great Dads Do by Rick Johnson

5 years and 2 months ago, my wife and I become the parents to a beautiful baby girl. In March of this year we became the parents to the cutest baby boy ever born…I might be a little bias. Outside of marriage, there is probably nothing that teaches people more about themselves than parenting and in 5 short years, I have had some great moments and some not so great moments. There are moments I look back at and wonder how I could have possibly responded and acted the way I did. Then there are times where I have the perfect parent mindset and I wonder why it does not remain forever. As anyone will tell you, parenting is hard work. It is a tough task for anyone. The only people who might say parenting is easy would be those parents who have abdicated their responsibility to actually raise their kids and pay others to do it.

As soon as you say you want to be the best parent there is, your child will unknowingly find a way to put you to the test. You might be on the way home from work and say I am going to be the perfect father when I get home. Then, you walk in the door to your house and it looks like a tornado has somehow picked out the inside of your home and completely turned everything around. The home you left when you went to work in the morning is a distant memory. Your wife is laying on the couch (if she doesn’t meet you at the door and tell you “good luck, I will be back in a month”) completely worn out from the day. Every room looks like my daughter turned into the incredible hulk and just went smashing through the house. On top of that, she has decided the walls would be her painting and coloring canvas instead of paper, the toilets are clogged because she used too much toilet paper after using the bathroom, water is all over the bathroom floor from her cannonball into the bathtub, the floors are a slip-n-slide due to drool from my teething son, and my daughter is running around the house singing “Let it Go” at the top of her lungs. Ok, so the truth is this has never happened to me, it may have to some of you but I just wanted to include this for dramatic effect. It seems when we decide to become better at something, the universe comes at you with all guns blazing. It is crazy how this happens. But every feeling you have had to this moment goes out the window as you just want to walk back out and try again in a couple hours.

I have to admit I have never personally experienced anything this bad, but it does seem that every time I truly decide I am going to be more patient with my kids, something happens to test it. Up until reading this book, I had been praying and asking God to help me become a better father and husband. 10 Things Great Dads Do was the best book for me to read at my current stage in life. I am far from being a perfect dad. I have my good moments and my bad moments but unfortunately, it seems like the bad moments far outweigh the good moments. I do not want to be the dad who looks back and regrets how he parented his kids. I want to be the dad who looks back and cherishes every moment he had with his children and would not change a thing. I know this would only happen in a perfect world but I also know if I truly want to be the best father and husband I can be, it will take hard work, discipline and dedication. Some people might say it will take blood, sweat and tears, which can also be true but I think you get the picture. To be a good father, it will take work because our kids really know how to bring out the worst in us…and they never had to be trained for it. After reading 10 Things, I can honestly say I have been refreshed, encouraged and challenged to be the best father I can be as well as equipped with some helpful tips and advice on how to move forward in my quest to better fathering.

Rick Johnson shares from personal experiences as well as stories from other fathers in order to help dads make decisions to be great dads, and that is what it takes, a decision to do it and then the discipline to follow through. Anyone can be a great dad but in order to do so, you cannot forfeit your responsibilities, you have to embrace them. Along with this, there is enormous pressure on fathers. It has been proven that children without a father face a much more difficult life than children with fathers. Daughters and sons both need the presence of a father or the tide turns against them in life and life becomes an even more intense uphill battle. Thus, fathers really need to step up to the plate for the sake of their children, and the next generation. This book will encourage and equip you with ideas on how to become the father you long to be.

As a father, are you beat up? Are you discouraged because there seems to be more yelling than laughter in your home? Are you tempted to just become more withdrawn from your family and just hope above that everything will turn out ok and then you can come back in to your children’s lives? Or are you going through a great stretch in your life right now where everything is just peachy? No matter where you are at in your journey of fatherhood, this book is worth your time. I can honestly say I have been challenged to be a better father through this book and it has given me renewed energy to actually strive to be the best father I can be. If you know of a man in your life who is just getting beat up as a father and is discouraged, get him a copy of this book. It will help.

Disclaimer: In accordance with FTC regulations, I received this book from Revell Books in return for a review of the book.


Jesus IS the Answer

Jesus IS the answer

What this world needs is Jesus. There is no better way to put it.

Jesus is the only answer to pain and evil and suffering. He took our pain upon Himself so death is not the end for us. Apart from Jesus, there is no answer to the big three headed monster of pain, evil and suffering. We just have to hope against hope that we live a better life and don’t experience any pain, evil or suffering. But if something does happen, we are left to simply shrug our shoulders and keep going through life more numb. Other religions ignore it but Jesus is the answer for it through a relationship with Him.

Jesus is the hope of this world. Jesus resurrected from the dead to conquer death and the grave which gives us hope that no matter how bad this world gets, it is not our final home. There IS something better coming. When He was crucified, He didn’t just die as a good man. He died as the Son of God and because of this, He defeated the grave and because of this, we have hope that even though there is pain evil and suffering in the world, we have hope that when we also die, it is not the end and life only gets better for eternity.

Jesus is love. God is love and we love because He first loved us. We only know what love is because of God. Jesus was that love personified to show the extent to which God loves us. How else can we explain what love is? How do we know love apart from a loving God? Do animals know love? Not in the same way humans do.

Jesus is truth. How can we say anything is true or not true if there is no standard? Our emotions are not a good enough standard. We need an absolute standard that stands the test of time. If there is no absolute truth then we are free to do what we want. The man who shot and killed the 2 reporters this morning is simply acting upon what his emotions led him to do. If there is no truth, how can we say what he did, or what anyone else does is wrong? Apart from Jesus, we are left to the simple rule of the animal kingdom, where only the strong survive.

Jesus is life. Apart from Jesus, we cannot experience true life because life only happens through Jesus. This world has so many things that promise a life to the full. They all fall short of offering true life. Drugs, alcohol, sex, and anything else this world offers only leads to bondage and addiction. Jesus leads to freedom which is how life is best lived.

Jesus is God. As God, Jesus is able to be this and so much more. The true question comes in do you follow Him? Do you know Him intimately or do you know Him as an acquaintance? Saying you know Him but not allowing your life to show it is living a lie. Saying you know Jesus but living for yourself is a lie.

If you truly know Jesus and follow Him, the Bible has simple ways to know if someone is a Christian or not:

  1. Do you love God more than anything else?
  2. Do you love your neighbor as much as you love yourself?
  3. Are you making disciples?

How you answer those three questions will reveal if you know about Jesus, or know Jesus and follow Him. It is extremely sad what happened this morning to Alison and Adam. I pray for their families and I pray they had a personal, life changing relationship with Jesus Christ.

The answer this world needs and already knows IS Jesus. And for those who consider themselves followers of Christ, the world needs us to give them Jesus. We can offer the world nothing more and nothing less. It is time for Christians to take seriously what the Gospel of Matthew says in 16:24:

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”

That is how we change this world. Will you?

My prayers go out to the family of Alison and Adam.

alison-parker-adam-ward-today-150826-tease_d6aceb3048ff35498ceb9c59423a996e.nbcnews-ux-2880-1000


Be the Message – a Gospel centered devotional

Be the message

If you only had one sentence, this book could be described this way: Be the Message is a simple, yet life-changing devotional centered on the Gospel. As followers of Christ, it is easy to speak words but not actually live them. If you grew up in a church, chances are you can state what it is you supposedly believe even if your life does not follow your words. This is a struggle for any person claiming to be a follower of Christ. We make statements to satisfy our minds and cause us to think we believe something when our actions simply do not align with our words. Be the Message hits this struggle head on.

Each day follows the same process of opening yourself, God’s Word, your mind, your heart, your life and your arms. This is an effective process because it challenges you to slow down and not simply read through the day’s devotion quickly to simply check it off. It challenges you to think about what you are going to read and one of my favorite parts of the book, gives simply but practical ways to actually do something with what you have read. It is always easy to read something that challenges you and walk away thinking and knowing you should do something with what you read, only to not do anything. This book helps you get beyond that with different ways each day to apply what you have read.

Be the Message is a challenging devotional that will impact your life and challenge you to move beyond words and live your life with the Gospel of Jesus Christ at the center. Jesus did not simply preach the Gospel, He also lived it. This is what we as followers of Christ need to be doing as well, living the Gospel and not just preaching it. When we do this, people will take notice and lives and hearts will be changed.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review as a part of their Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review.

 


Not a Chance: A Review

Not-a-Chance

Can faith in God and science coexist? Does one contradict the other? Many opponents of Christianity attempt to use science to show that a god does not and cannot exist. Along with this, many believe that the supernatural does not exist. They believe people see or experience an illusion or a figment of their imagination, but nothing actually supernatural. Opponents of believing in God often claim that “chance” plays an integral part in the world. This is where Not a Chance makes its plea. Here is a brief synopsis of the book from the back cover:

Despite claiming unbelief in God or any higher power that may have designed or created the world, modern scientists often write and speak of chance as some kind of being or force that can actually cause things to happen.

In this book, Sproul and Mathison “call the scientific world to employ logic and clarity in their discourse, to leave the word chance as an abstract concept to describe mathematical possibilities rather than an ontological entity that can cause change.” How do they accomplish this? They accomplish their goal by presenting compelling and logical arguments that demand to be answered. Not a Chance touches on everything from chaos to reason, magic, contradictions, quantum physics and logic. This book is a great read for someone wanting to stretch their brain and learn more about how God and science cannot just coexist, but actually strengthen an individual’s faith.

Here are a couple quotes from the book:

“Chance is their magic wand to make not only rabbits but entire universes appear out of nothing” (p. 24).

“However, even in our wildest dreams, chance, which is nothing, cannot do something” (p. 24).

“Chance itself has no influence on the outcome of either the coin toss or the subsequent game” (p. 37).

“I do not allow for uncaused effects because uncaused effects represent a contradiction in terms” (p. 58).

“To be free of causality is to be free of logic, and license is given for making nonsense statements with impunity” (p. 61).

One of my favorite quotes from this book is this one: “For something to come from nothing it must, in effect, create itself” (p. 26). The authors respond to this statement with this thought: “For something to create itself it must be before it is. This is impossible” (p. 26). Everyone will agree that this is in fact impossible. And that is why a book like this is so important for Christians to read as it will educate us all with how to respond to arguments against the existence of a supreme being, God Himself.

There is much more that I could cover from this book in this review but let me bring this to a conclusion and share the conclusion as the authors wrote it:

Gravity is not nothing. Space is not nothing. A multiverse is not nothing. Scientists may be able to show mathematically consistent ways in which the existence of any of these somethings could lead to other somethings. But what are the odds that something can come from absolutely nothing? There is not a chance. (p. 223)

How could something come from absolutely nothing? That is a huge question that unfortunately science has never nor will ever be able to answer. Why? Because when science tries to make something out of nothing, in their very experiments they are using something. So they are not reproducing and reenacting the very beginning of the universe they claim to be trying to prove.

Want a book that will cause you to think deeply? Have you been looking for a book on God and science? Then Not a Chance is a book that you will enjoy. Written by author and theologian R.C. Sproul, this book will challenge your cognition. If you are just looking for light reading, keep looking as this book will leave you with a headache.

Disclaimer: In accordance with FTC regulations, I received this book from Baker Books in return for a review of the book.

 


The Atheist’s Fatal Flaw

atheists fatal flaw

While studying at Liberty University Theological Seminary, I took a number of Philosophy courses in hopes of better understanding life and how to defend the faith I claimed to have. Until then, I knew there were opponents to the Christian faith, but in many ways, I had never thought to actually learn what it is they believe. Many times, Christians are said to claim some outrageous beliefs. However, on the other side of that, there are many other religions whose claims are just as outrageous if not more so. This book, as you can gather from the title, focuses on the beliefs of atheists so you can be better equipped to carry on a conversation with an atheist without looking like you have no idea what you are talking about.

The Atheist’s Fatal Flaw is a book that will truly help you understand how you can “give an answer for the hope that you have.” Not only will it do that, it will help you see and understand some of the conflicts within the very claims or beliefs atheists make. If you want to educate yourself in this manner, I would recommend you get this book. Let me quote the synopsis on the back of the book because it makes a great statement about the book and the reason you should pick it up:

This unique book faithfully represents what atheists say they believe about the nature of God, evil, and human autonomy and stands back to watch as the natural inconsistencies in that worldview inevitably rise to the surface. Anyone who wants to be able to speak with confidence to an atheist about the fundamental conflicts in their beliefs will find this resource indispensable.

This book also covers submission and favor, death and faith, guilt and rules, punishment and pardon, hell and heaven, inconsistencies to responses and objections. As you can see, it covers a ton of material, all of which is helpful and meaningful. As you read through it, you could find yourself drowning in the arguments and discussions and quotes from prominent atheists, but the authors do a great job of helping the reader grasp what they need to know.

With that said, this is a brief review of a book I highly recommend for the young believer to the mature believer. Every Christian can benefit from this book, especially because many atheists were at one time, people who claimed to be Christians. So grab a copy, allow your brain to be stretched and get ready to learn and be challenged. Why? Because if we truly want to reach the world for Christ, it involves loving our neighbors as ourselves and in some cases, our neighbors will be atheists. We need to educate ourselves will how to interact with them.

 

Disclaimer: In accordance with FTC regulations, I received this book from Baker Books in return for a review of the book.


All I Need

simplicity

My life is full. I have more than I need. I have more clothes than I can wear in a couple months, and yet most of the time, I wear the same clothes time and again. I often waste food because I do not eat the leftovers from a meal. That in and of itself is amazing, that I have leftovers. I live in a home that offers shelter. I have many conveniences and nice things that help make my life extremely satisfying. In fact, many people around the world would love to have my life. Often, I do not think in this manner. Many times I allow myself to have pity parties because I might not have something that someone else does and it leaves me desiring it. But the simple fact is, no matter how hard your life might appear, I can guarantee you there is someone in the world right now, who if they knew you, would rather have your life than the one they are living. Why are we so easily dissatisfied? Why do we find ourselves wanting more than we need? Why am I so selfish?

This morning, I was reading through my Bible reading plan on YouVersion and read through Numbers 11. I see I am not alone in my desire for more. The Israelites have been led out of Egypt by Moses and they are now free from the slavery they had been in for many, many years. God had provided everything they needed. The Israelites had seen firsthand the miracles God performed before even coming out of Egypt. They had seen the Red Sea parted and they walked on dry land between two walls of water, nothing holding them up. Sometimes I wonder if they could actually see fish or other animals swimming around in the water. Or maybe someone tried to dive in to the wall of water. Either way, this is pretty amazing; nothing like this had been done before. God was physically present every day: in the form of a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. They could physically see that God was with them. I can look at my life and take notice of the same thing, not so much in a cloud or pillar of fire, but God gives evidence that He is with us. I can often overlook it but the signs are there.

However, when we read in Numbers 11, we see the people complaining. How could someone complain when they have already been through all they have been through? Not only did they begin complaining, they began to long for Egypt. Remember what Egypt was for the Israelites? It had become slavery. They were not free people. They were enslaved. The first verse of Numbers 11 says this: “And the people complained in the hearing of the Lord about their misfortunes.” What misfortunes did they have? They had everything they needed. God had provided time and again what they needed. And the most important thing they needed was His presence, but they missed it. But, it continues. Look ahead to verses 4-6:

Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving. And the people of Israel also wept again and said, “Oh that we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. But now, our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.

Read those verses a couple times and let the irony sink in. Then think about your life. We have strong cravings too don’t we? I know I do. It is amazing how our tastes or desires for stuff can be affected by the world around us without us even noticing it. God wants to bring us all to a place where we come to understand we have ALL WE NEED IN HIM. The Israelites did not need the food of Egypt to be content. God had provided what they needed, which most importantly, was His presence, yet they missed it. I miss it every day. They had the food they needed to remain strong. God was providing for them each and every day. Had they forgotten the hardship of their lives in Egypt? Had they forgotten their misery of being driven day after day to work for Pharaoh, to do his bidding?

This happens to me quite often. I see something I want so I find a way to get it, though I had no need for it, whatever IT is. IT is different for each of us. However, God was trying to help the Israelites see that ALL THEY NEEDED was HIM. They did not need all the extra luxuries of Egypt because all it did was distract them from being the people God had called the Israelites to be. And they were comfortable in their slavery. If the Israelites had taken a minute to look at God and check their hearts, they would have seen this. Yet they missed it.

When I take a minute to check my heart, it helps me curb my desires for more stuff, more of the things of this world that do not truly matter. Will my life be any less exciting if I do not get the latest model of something? Am I experiencing a life less satisfying due simply to the fact I do not have _____? If so, then my heart is in the wrong place because all I need is God and when I seek Him first, He has promise to provide everything I need. My problem is too often my wants go further than my needs. God has me right now in a place where I am learning to curb my desires for wants by helping me focus on how He has provided my needs. This is not an easy place to be because of everything around me screaming for my attention and that I pay it some of my mind. However, when I get to a place where I can quiet those screams, it is there God reveals to me I have so much. My life is full. And my life is full so I can use it to impact those around me with the Gospel of God’s grace. My life is not full simply for my pleasure. My life is full to bring glory to God. I find myself praying that God will keep me in this place and that I will continue to curb my desires for more in this life because all it does is drown out the voice of God. I want God’s voice to be the loudest I hear, not the cries for more stuff.

What about you? Are you in a place like this? I would love to hear your story. I pray this encouraged you in some way and feel free to share this with others. Thank you for taking the time to read this post.


Weekly Scoop 3/14

Time for the weekly scoop. This post features articles that I have come across throughout the week that if you have some time set aside this weekend to do some reading, check these out.

First off, if you are like me, you are often tired. Here are some ways to not get more sleep, but to get better sleep: The science behind sleep.

I needed this post. I am not very good about this and was definitely challenged after reading: 10 reasons why handheld devices should be banned for children under 12.

Another post for parents, this one from Orange Parents. Kids asking “why” all the time can get old and annoying, but as this post points out, it is a good habit for them: Why kids should always ask why.

Matt Walsh responds to another abortion argument: I am afraid of this indisputable pro-choice argument.

Too often in Christian circles, we hear people say “well God will never put more on you than you can handle.” I do not believe this to be the case, and here is a post from the Gospel Coalition on the subject as well: God gives me more than I can handle.

Thanks for checking out the Weekly Scoop. Feel free to share this with friends or anyone you feel would benefit from this post. Let me know if I missed something you enjoyed reading recently. Check back next Friday for another edition of the Weekly Scoop.


God’s Word

Moving is not small endeavor. This past weekend my wife and I experienced this firsthand as we moved to Clifton Forge, VA. We are here to continue our ministry at Temple Baptist Church in Covington, VA where I serve as the youth pastor. We are excited to be have a place to call our own for the next year and look forward to seeing what God does in the church and in the youth group. I am praying for God to move in a mighty way. I would covet your prayers as well.

With that said, this morning as I was catching up on my reading plans on YouVersion, I read the following from Billy Graham’s reading plan titled

Day by Day with Billy Graham

and I wanted to share it with you.

Meditate on Scripture

Many of the difficulties we experience as Christians can be traced to a lack of Bible study and reading. We should not be content to skim through a chapter merely to satisfy our conscience. Hide the Word of God in your heart! A little portion well digested is of greater value to the soul than a lengthy portion scanned hurriedly. Do not be discouraged because you cannot understand it all. Go on reading. As you read, the Holy Spirit will enlighten the passages for you. Reading the Bible has a purifying effect upon the heart and mind.

How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. (Psalm 119:9 ESV)

Daily Prayer

Let the enlightenment of the riches of Your Word sink deep within my soul, Lord.

I hope this encourages and challenges you in your daily walk with the Lord. If there is any way I might pray for you please let me know.


How Christians can impact the debate on abortion

abortion

The fight continues day in and day out. The issue has divided the government and the country. Ever since Roe v Wade, abortion has stayed at the forefront of many elections. Does the unborn’s right to live carry more weight than the woman’s right to control her own body? Who has any right to say what a woman can or cannot do to her own body? How can someone say the little baby growing in a mother’s womb is anything but a human life, which therefore means abortion is murder? These are just a few issues the debate over abortion tries to answer. When it comes to abortion, the statistics are staggering when you take the time to check them out. They are heartbreaking as well. Yesterday I posted a blog on The Heart of Abortion. The conclusion I submitted is that abortion has two primary power sources, two driving forces: pride and self-centeredness. Abortion would cease to exist if not for those two notions. In yesterday’s post, I referenced this Eleanor Roosevelt quote: “Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway.” I briefly discussed how this mindset had a huge part in the abortion movement towards being legal. It infiltrated the culture and impacted people around the country because it sounds so good. The heart should be what we follow because how can our own hearts lead us wrong? I have to submit that it truly has led us down the wrong path, a path flowing with the blood of the unborn. The question facing the church is how can we help trigger a shift in culture’s mindset regarding abortion? How can we help culture begin to value life, even when that life might interfere with our lives or our dreams? Is this even possible? Do we bring about this change by standing outside abortion clinics and holding signs showing how much we dislike abortions? Should we only vote for politicians who are pro-life? Should we boycott any company that supports Planned Parenthood? How can we truly make the biggest impact and change the future in this topic? While these ways might seem best, they miss the true heart of the issue which is the human heart. If we begin with finding ways to address the human heart, nothing will change. It will be like putting a Band-Aid on something that requires surgery. Here are a three ways I believe followers of Christ can begin to bring about this transformation in culture and thinking: First and foremost, remember our battle is not against flesh and blood

As Christians, we are constantly reminded our true battle with anything in this world is not a battle against other people, but a battle against Satan and the “spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). Remembering this will help keep us focused on the true battle. Abortion is simply a product of the Spiritual battle waging in the world right now. If we do not face this issue with this in mind, we will simply try to outshout our opponents, which has never been a true manner to bring about lasting change.  More importantly, as we remember who our true battle is against, it helps us love people as God does and see people As God sees them. When a soldier is in a battle, they are not easily distracted from their task; they are focused on the battle at hand. We as Christians need to have a soldier mentality and not allow ourselves to be so easily distracted with the things of this world; things we have allowed ourselves to believe are more important than they are. I need help with this mindset and if we are to bring about a shift in the area of abortion, we need to remember we are in a spiritual battle.

Invest in the next generation

If the mindset on abortion is going to change, it will be changed by the next generation. If we do not help the next generation see the value of life and how everyone, even an unwanted or unexpected baby, deserves the right to live, nothing will change. For this investment to happen, the church needs to find ways to reach the next generation with the Gospel. We need to get involved in the lives of young people, especially those outside the church. Once again, this cannot be simply putting up youth centers and hoping they come to us, it means we need to get to them. How do we get to them? Move into their neighborhoods, substitute teach in their schools, or coach youth athletic teams. Simply put, we need to get involved in their lives. Think about it, who will be getting abortions in the future? It isn’t the older generation, it is the next generation. We cannot show people how much we care at a distance. If we want people to know we care, it means reaching out to them, it means going to where they are. That is how we impact a generation. This also means getting involved in the lives of families around us which means we need to step outside our houses and spend time getting to know our neighbors.

The other part of investing in the next generation is helping young people within the church truly understand what it means to live as a follower of Christ. The people who are on the front lines of this issue are the young people in our churches right now, the college students down to the middle school and junior high students, even down to elementary students. Those are the people we need to be investing in and training how to live as disciples of Christ. This means we as parents and the older people in the church need to not only model a life worthy of the Gospel, but find ways to get involved in the lives of the younger people in the church. This means if we are not truly giving everything we have for the sake of the Gospel, the youth in our churches won’t either.

“What one generation tolerates, the next will embrace.”

I saw this quote on Twitter and it fits very well in this situation. If we in the church today tolerate a mindset where church is optional and God’s Word is not taught in the home, the next generation will embrace it and church will become even more optional and time in God’s Word will become more sparse. If we tolerate other things being placed over church and over the Gospel, they will embrace it. For us to truly change the mindset towards abortion in this country we have to start with young people and truly invest in them and helping them see there is value to life and no one is an accident. Everyone has a God-given purpose and everyone is loved by God and God desires a relationship with them; that is the message we need to teach the young people in this country.

Live as missionaries

This is by far the most important of the ways we as Christians can make an impact when it comes to the issue of abortion. Missionaries are known as people who go to a certain country or people group and live among them for the purpose of reaching them with Gospel of Jesus Christ. Everything they do from where they live to where they work is based around the purpose of sharing the Gospel with everyone they can. If we are to bring about a change in this country, we have to live with a missionary mindset. I have a friend who models this mindset perfectly while living within what we would call the “Bible belt.” He and his wife and 3 kids had a nice home in one of the nicer areas of Lynchburg, VA. They attended church, they gave faithfully, they helped in soup kitchens and various ministries in their church, and the husband even helped lead a Bible study for a local mission. However, they weren’t satisfied with simply taking time to go into those communities. They wanted something more impactful. They decided to put rent out their house and move into a rented home in what some people would call a more run down area of Lynchburg. They did this because they realized ministry begins with living among the people you want to reach. We can affect people by going to them at various times, but what brings about lasting change is living among people where you can truly have an impact. This is what Jesus did for us. In John 1:14 it says “And the Word (Jesus) became flesh and dwelt among us…” Jesus traded the glory of heaven for the dust and dirt of the earth to live among His creation. The church in America needs to remember the mission field is not overseas, it is right here in our country. What I know is my friend’s family is going to be presented with more opportunities to impact those around them because they live among them. If he had simply continued to reach out and go to them on weekends or other times, he would not have the same impact he does right now by living among them. Imagine if Christians began invading the ghettos and the poorest areas of cities? Imagine if every professing Christian got rid of the idea of living comfortably? Where in the Bible does it tell us to strive to live comfortably? Everything I read in the Bible seems to show we are to live radically and uncomfortably.

The church needs to begin finding ways to get into the world instead of waiting for the world to come to us. One of the main reasons America is where it is right now is because we went through a period where instead of going to the world right outside our doorstep, we began to get comfortable in our churches and houses and neighborhoods and waited for the world to come to us. The church was never meant to be this way. The church was meant to be on mission. Churches used to be built right in the middle of a town or city but now you find so many churches in the suburbs. We need to get back into the city in order to impact it.

  For the church to bring about a shift in thinking on the topic of abortion, these steps are important ones to be taken. We will not have the impact God placed the church here for if we do not take these steps. If we take Jesus’ mission serious, we have no other choice. However, it all has to start with love. As 1 Corinthians 13 says, love needs to be our motivating factor. Our love for God will lead us to a deeper love for Jesus which will lead us to love people as God loves people resulting in our lives bringing glory to God and us having opportunities to share the Gospel with others. If we truly love people as God loves them, we will gain an audience with them and have opportunities to share the hope we have. We will live lives people notice. Why will they notice us? Because we will be living among them, loving them unconditionally and helping them see how much God loves them through our lives. We will be investing in them though they can do nothing for us in return. As we do this, their hearts will be softened and they will be impacted even if they do not believe in God. The most powerful witness for the Gospel is a life lived completely and fully for Christ because when we live that way, people see no hypocrisy and their hearts are opened through our love. This is truly how we bring about this change in our country. It has to start at the bottom, with loving people where they are, not with simply voting pro-life or trying to outshout our opponents. Thanks for taking the time to read this. Feel free to share any comments below. I would love to hear your thoughts.


Weekly Scoop

scoop

It’s Friday, which means time for the Weekly Scoop. If you have never been here before, the Weekly Scoop is a list of links I have compiled throughout the week I believe would be worth your time. So, without further ado, here are the links for this weeks Weekly Scoop.

Christianity Today sat down with Chris Tomlin where he opened up on different topics from worship to justice and leading people to experience God: Chris Tomlin – On Top of the World.

Timothy Tennent writes about how the movie “Saving Mr. Banks” got him thinking about the Gospel and contextualization. A great article: Saving Mr. Banks and the contextualization of the Gospel.

Has culture reached a “moral gag reflex”: Miley Cyrus and the Moral Gag Reflex.

How we talk about abortion to people can be effective, especially when done in a loving and caring way: I was Pro-Choice 3 months ago.

The Public Service Announcement from New Zealand that changed my driving habits (Caution: This is not for the faint of heart): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvLaTupw-hk
Geoff Surratt shares 3 things the church could learn from the popular TV show Downton Abbey: Lessons from Downton Abbey.
Jeff Strong writes a thought provoking article on mistakes Christian parents make with teenagers: Top Ten Mistakes Christian Parents  of Teens Make.
And one more parenting article: Homeschool Blindspots.
And to end with a little humor: 20 Ridiculously Ironic Pictures.
Thanks for taking the time to check out my Weekly Scoop. If you came across something worth sharing, please share it in the comments, or message me and I can put it in next weeks scoop. Feel free to share this with anyone you believe would benefit from this.