Thursday, February 28, 2013

Authority and Responsibility

I write a great deal about marriage and I will continue to do that. However, today, I want focus on a more broader scope in hopes of generating some discussion. 

One of the most important lessons that we learn in life as well as one of the hardest lessons to learn while entering adulthood is that there is no separating authority and responsibility.

We are guiding our two youngest, with lots of prayer and trembling while watching our two oldest test the waters of the abyss known as adulthood. Thankfully and most blessedly, through us and even in spite of us, our children know the truth of God's love and have a relationship with Jesus. That will guide them well as they remain faithful to Christ.

Drawing the distinction between and recognizing the intimate connection of authority and responsibility is a task that takes a while to grasp.

For a teen or young adult, it can be as simple as wanting the authority to stay out later at night but not wanting the responsibility to lock the door and turn off the lights after arriving home. 

Or. Even more complex, the same want the authority to make their own decisions but shun the responsibility of the outcome, the financing and the affect of those decisions, both for themselves and others.

Is this struggle natural? Of course it is. We, as adults have been there ourselves, with our children and, sometimes, with other adults who haven't navigated this right of passage with great success. 

Saying that the difficulty in grasping this important relationship is natural and normal, does not negate the sense of urgency we, as parents, must possess in teaching and modeling this.

All to often, we see a disconnect in this area in our society: in the home; we want the authority of a husband/wife without the responsibility of a husband/wife, in the workplace; we want the authority of the boss without the responsibility of the boss, in the school; just go to some PTO meetings, there are moms and dads who want the authority of the leadership but not the responsibility of the leadership, in the church; we want the authority of the pastor but not the responsibility of the pastor.

What have we modeled for this young generation? If our children are to learn the irrefutable connection between authority and responsibility, then, I, as their parent, need to do better.

6 "In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. 7 If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. 8 If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly."
Romans 12:6-8 NLT

The gift given by the Holy Spirit grants us the privilege of authority. Exercising and using the gift wisely and generously is the responsibility. The two cannot be separated.

I would love to see a discussion on this. Join the conversation!
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Wednesday, February 27, 2013


"But Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things.
 “Heaven forbid, Lord,” he said. “This will never happen to you!”
Jesus turned to Peter and said, 'Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me.
 You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.'" 
(Matthew 16:22-23 NLT)

Can't you just see yourself in Peter? I can. It's much easier to talk our faith than it is to walk our faith. I mean, almost daily, we have the opportunity to tell people that God has a plan and a purpose for everything, especially when a person is going through a tough situation.

But, what about the times when we're the one in the tough situation? It is at these times that we are tempted to question God or even doubt him. 

However, God sees what we can't and our greatest trial could become our greatest testimony. Peter only saw the coming loss of his friend and Lord. He saw the tough situation coming only as how it would affect him.

But, as he trusted God, Peter, eventually, became a principle building block in God's Kingdom.

Trust God today! Your test, your trial, either today or in the future may become your BOOM!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

DAILY BOOM! - February 26

"When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan. For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit." (1 Corinthians 2:1-4 NLT)

Paul possessed several qualities both natural and supernatural. He had a firm grasp of the scriptures to date from his years of studying and training as a Pharisee. He also was filled with the Holy Spirit and was under a powerful anointing of the same.

However, Paul had something that is lacking in many mature Christians today. Like Paul, many can exegete (interpret) scripture, determine the meaning of a passage and most of those can arrive at a correct application.

However, unlike Paul, it seems that a far lesser amount of Christ-Followers can correctly interpret their audience, the people around them.

As Christians we need to be cognizant of where people are on their journey with Christ. There are times when we need to challenge and exhort them to growth, but we must avoid giving them something that they are not ready for and in so doing, turn them away from Christ.

I desire to be like Paul. Less about me and more about the people around me. When I love and consider them over myself, I am loving Jesus.

At least that is what Jesus, himself, said...

Monday, February 25, 2013

Daily Boom! - Monday, February 25

"When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God did not lead them along the main road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land. God said, 'If the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.'” 
Exodus 13:17 NLT

When you first surrender your life to Christ, when you say, "Jesus, you take over", God doesn't expect you to change overnight. Sure, it can happen, but, usually it is a process, a journey.

Israel was on a journey. Sure, God could have guided them along a shorter route; however, he knew what they were ready for and what they were not ready for.

It's the same for you and I. God knows what we can handle and what we cannot. As we grow in him, we will have the faith, the strength and the spiritual determination in Christ to face larger battles in our lives.

Short or long, the journey is toward Jesus. Stay on the journey and don't loose your direction!

Friday, February 22, 2013


"For Christ didn’t send me to baptize, but to preach the Good News—and not with clever speech, for fear that the cross of Christ would lose its power." (1 Corinthians 1:17 NLT)

Paul knew who had sent him and what he was sent to do. Beyond that and more importantly, he was cognizant of the fact that the power of the message he preached was Jesus and an empty cross.

He didn't weigh the message down, slow it or restrict it's spread with smart talk and weighty theology.

I'm for keeping it as simple as it really is. Mankind was lost in sin , Jesus paid our price on a cross and then beat hell, death and the grave when he was raised from the dead. We can walk in that victory when we accept Jesus and his love for us. We can have a growing relationship with Him that is based on his love for us and our faithfulness to what he teaches us in his Word.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

DAILY BOOM - 2-21-2013

After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone. (Matthew 14:23 NLT)

I have no idea how many times I have heard the story within this passage. From Sunday school flannel graph stories to videos to reading this passage over and over again. 

Even in messages, pastors tend to focus on the big events - Jesus walking on the water and Peter taking his eyes off Jesus.

But, look at the second verse in the passage. Jesus went up into the hills to pray -alone. Jesus did this often, and, often, he did so right before some of the greatest miracles in the Gospels.

We tend to expect great things from God without investing time alone in prayer. What would happen if we passionately prayed every day? Easier written than done, for sure. But what if?

What would we see God do?

DAILY BOOM - 2-20-2013

Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and begged, “Plead with the LORD to take the frogs away from me and my people. I will let your people go, so they can offer sacrifices to the LORD.”
“You set the time!” Moses replied. “Tell me when you want me to pray for you, your officials, and your people. Then you and your houses will be rid of the frogs. They will remain only in the Nile River.”
“Do it tomorrow,” Pharaoh said.

“All right,” Moses replied, “it will be as you have said. Then you will know that 
there is no one like the 
LORD our God. 
Exodus 8:8-10 NLT

OK. Let's say you are Pharaoh and your house and land are full of frogs and the deliverer, who has God's ear, asks you when you want him to pray for your deliverance. And you answer, "Tomorrow?"

Isn't that just like us at times?We want deliverance from our problems and hang-ups but we know that there will be a side of that deliverance that we will be required to uphold. 

So, when Christ offers us deliverance, rather than give in and surrender our heart, we harden it and say, "Tomorrow."

What are the frogs - the things that you are trying to hang onto that are keeping you from fully surrendering your heart to Christ?

Whatever those things are, let them go and let God deliver you. God is asking you right now, "Do you want me to deliver you?" Say, "Yes!" today!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Give us today the food we need...
Matthew 6:11 NLT

No matter where we are on our journey with Christ. Whether we have just surrendered our heart and life to him or we have been following his plan for our life for years, his faithfulness never wavers. This week I have had the privilege of watching God make deposits of his love, grace and provision into people's lives in very real, practical and amazing ways.

In our own life as a family, Robin and I are experiencing God's provision on a daily basis. Far too often, we get stressed because we can't see how we are going to get around the next corner or over the next obstacle, while God has our next steps ordered and is making a way for us to walk in those steps. 

If you're being tempted to worry about how you will make it through tomorrow, next week or next month. STOP IT! It is still today, you don't need provision for those future dates yet. God's got it covered. Be faithful to be who he has called you to be and do what his Word instructs you to do. Trust him for today and do the same tomorrow.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Widening HIS Field

"Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn't have deep roots, they died. Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand."
Matt 13:3-9 NLT

Many years ago, when I was in Jr. High, our school had a "Hobby Day". When the designated day arrived, the gymnasium was packed  full of tables loaded with pets, stamp collections, model cars, trains and a variety of other things.

I, too, participated by including my hobby in the event. However, my addition to the display of hobbies had to remain outside as one could not get a 14 foot tall and 30 foot wide combine harvester through the gym door. Yes, that's right, I brought a combine to school. This will give you a little insight to how my mind works...

Growing up, I worked on a farm and I considered farming to be my hobby. It was all that I did besides going to school and I went to school, only because I had to go. I was an industrious and hard worker, dedicated to my hobby to the point that I would get up at 0'dark-thirty and ride my bicycle four miles to the farm to do my daily chores. I made $2.50 per day plus I ate all my meals with my boss' family. It boiled down to a lot of hard, repetitive work for very little pay and I loved it. Looking back on that time, I can see how God prepared me for his plan for my adult life.

One of my favorite times of the year was harvest time. And, being a young boy, I could only watch as the combines were used to harvest the soybeans and corn. These massive machines can shake the ground as they pick, separate, store the harvest while discharging the waste in their wake.

Combines are efficient machines. They can cover a lot of ground quickly and easily, far outpacing their predecessors. Today's models can plot the fields electronically, showing which plots of the field produced the highest yields indicating the changes that need to be made in the sowing, fertilizing and growing process.

This morning in my devotions, I was reading this passage in Matthew, chapter 13. My mind immediately went back to my "farming" days and, specifically, to the fact that a combine blows out a heavier proportion of separated waste - the chaff, stalks, stems and leaves - than the fruit of the harvest.

Jesus knew that not everyone who hears will believe. He knew that not everyone who hears will understand. And, he knew that not everyone who hears will follow. Those that don't believe, understand and follow, will eventually, be like the chaff and be discarded. That is heartbreaking to me and I hope it is to you as well.

It is not God's will that anyone be discarded by their own choosing. So, what are the options? We could, fold our arms and say, "Well, that's just the way it is and there is nothing we can do about it." Or. We could pray as Jesus instructed us to do.

He said to his disciples, "The harvest is great, but the workers are few. 
So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields." 
Matt 9:37-38

Knowing that not everybody is going to accept Christ, as disheartening and sad as that is, should compel us to take wider swaths through our communities, our regions and our world. Our churches should evaluate the fields that they are called by God to tend. When an outreach is blessed by God and produces results in people taking a step toward Jesus, widen the effort in that plot of the field - pray more,  plant more, water more and fertilize more. Jesus' command was and still is for us to pray for a widening of the harvest effort.

In a day when we see the signs of Christ's return, instead of narrowing the opening of the way that leads to what Christ called an already narrow gate, let's open up the door to that narrow gate wide - through our relationships, our churches, our outreaches and, most importantly, our prayers. Let's glean all that we can knowing that some will choose to hear, understand, believe and follow.

1. Are you in the field or are you enjoying watching the wind blow through the harvest?
2. What's in your hand, a sickle or the steering wheel of a combine?
3. Who is beside you? What's in their hand?
4. Who is following you? Do you feel the ground rumbling?

Still bringing the combine...

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Faith, Knowledge and Reality

There is a strange and familiar intersection in life. It is where our Faith, our Knowledge and our Reality meet.

Have you ever been doing exactly what you are supposed to be doing and your life circumstance still seems insurmountable?

When you are praying, serving, giving and living as you should, and the bills get higher and the due dates draw closer.

When you step out in faith and you experience small miracles but the deliverance that you anticipate doesn't happen or happen when you think they should.

When what you believe, know and, even, preach seems to differ from ongoing experience.

Have you ever been at this intersection? What has been your experience?

I'm not being a fatalist or even being negative. I'm looking forward to some dialogue on this. If you have been there, feel free to share your experiences, frustrations and victories.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Faithfulness of God

Yesterday, after the service, I noticed a little white envelope on the chair next to my wife. It was colored on and decorated with either a marker or crayon.

I often get "gifts" from the kids in Children's Church so I quickly picked it up, anxious to see the drawing and blessing some child had felt led to give me.

After opening the envelope,  out slid a $100.00 bill. We were stunned. It came at a perfect time. Robin and I didn't know how we would pay our bills this week.

God used someone, perhaps someone and a child to show His faithfulness to us.

Trust God.  He is faithful.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

My Brown Leather Jacket

I wore my brown leather jacket today. So what, you ask? I really like my brown leather jacket. Not because it is brown, not because it is leather and not because it is warm. Granted, I do like those things about the jacket; however, I really like the jacket because of a memory that is attached to it.

Robin and I were speaking at a marriage retreat during which the weather suddenly turned cold. Normally that would not have been a problem, except for the fact that I had forgotten to pack a jacket. During the retreat, we were going to spend the day as couples outside, going from place to place and enjoying the fellowship.

It soon became apparent to some of the couples that I didn't have a jacket and only a few minutes passed before a couple approached us and offered me one. "My husband brought an extra jacket, so it's no problem," the wife explained as she smiled. Her husband handed me the jacket and said, "This will keep you warm."

I wore the jacket all day. Actually, it was the first time I had ever wore genuine leather. I caught myself lifting one of the sleeves to my nose on several occasions throughout the day.

At the end of the day when it was time for each couple to go their separate ways, I took off the jacket and attempted to hand it back to it's gracious owner. "Nah, it's yours," the husband insisted. I began to protest but soon realized that any attempts to give back the jacket was futile.

The gift was so touching, that I smile every time I even see the jacket hanging in our closet. The gift was a sacrifice from someone who loved God, given to someone who had a need. Not only did I need a jacket that day, but the gift was needed as I had very few jackets in my wardrobe.

The writer of Hebrews reminds us of what pleases God.

 "And don't forget to do good and to share with those in need. 
These are the sacrifices that please God."
Hebrews 13:16 NLT

The gift of the jacket no doubt pleased God. Thank you God. Thank you Chuck.