Thursday, June 21, 2012

Backing Up is Hard to Do - A transparent look at life from my perspective.

The following really is not intended for any benefit for readers. It is meant to allow me to see my thoughts in a media that I have a connection with. Feel free to skip this post - you won't be missing anything important. I've been a college student for a long time - a REALLY LONG time. Starting late, and trying to tailor fit a degree plan that fits me has been fraught with exhausting obstacles. Lately, actually, the last two years, I have been struggling with coursework, or, more accurately, fitting coursework into my schedule. As a husband, father, pastor, ministry leader and friend, my plate is full as is my satisfaction with life. So why the struggle, I wonder? It hit me today. I struggle with coursework because I have never been a scholar, (I passed high school with mainly C's & D's) I'm an audible and interactive learner and, most importantly, I am already living my dream. I've realized that all I've ever really wanted in life is to be a husband, father and pastor. Mounting student debt for classes which are purported to enable me to do that which I'm already doing and have been doing for nearly 5 years has become very disheartening. While there is something to be said for finishing what I started, I am beginning to question the cost - both financial and physical. Continuing classes for the sole purpose of keeping large loans at bay doesn't seem like such a healthy option anymore. My college has been awarded major grants which go toward larger and more beautiful buildings and facilities while tuition increases follow suit. Honesty time, I am completely burnt on school and completely hooked on being a husband. father and pastor. For the sake of my sanity and health, again, both physical and financial, I need to make some changes in regard to school. If I must choose, I'm choosing people. The people that comprise my family and those entrusted to my care as their pastor. Battling through coursework is too much like backing up.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Dancing With the Devil

As Christians, we used to spend a great deal of time talking to our kids about the importance of obeying Paul's command in scripture that says that we are not to be unevenly yoked. Simply put, we are not to form close relationships with those outside of the faith. Such is true for romantic, business and, even some friendships.

However, in recent years, many Christians have become lax in following that command. "Evangelistic" dating, the desire to show acceptance to everyone and the flat-out ignoring of scripture's mandate because “we want to” have taken root and are flourishing patterns in this area now.

It is hard to sit and watch solid Christians, get pulled down while thinking they will be the exception - they will be the strong one. Seldom if ever, is this the case. How many of God’s family do we have to see fall, before we say something? Or, will we ever say anything?

Additionally, there is a growing trend that indicates that staying equally yoked has become fraught with complex problems. I know of several spouses of ministry leaders, pastors and solid Christians that have not only walked out of their marriage, but have walked out on their faith as well. These things could not have happened overnight. What led to the shocking change of heart and mind?

What or who came between husband and wife, parent and child and family and God.

In an effort to appear non-judgmental and accepting, I fear that the church has accepted an invitation - an invitation to dance with the devil.

This is all very alarming to me. That doesn't mean that I am panicking - running down my street heralding a catastrophe, but I am alarmed. I am concerned because I have seen where the party ends up. It leads to death – death of a marriage, a family, ones faith and even one’s body.

Parents, please wake up, parent up and set an example. Ask the tough questions of yourself first and then ask those same questions of your children. Is who I’m (your) dating pleasing God? Or, are they dragging me (you) down – into compromise and sin?

What are you and your spouse teaching your kids about their choices in who they date? What are you doing to ensure that you and your spouse stay equally yoked in your faith? If you are married and not equally yoked, STAY MARRIED - God’s Holy Spirit will minister to your spouse through you, as long as you stay rooted in Christ. God will reward you for your faithfulness to Him and your spouse.

Don’t fall for a cheap invitation – it will cost you more than you ever wanted to pay.