Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Pointing the Gun at Parents

We have a  need for mothers and fathers to make children their priority.  It is time to stop the substitution of electronic gadgets for parenting. It is time to get our kids back to the dinner table and converse with them and know what they are doing and where their hearts are. We need to teach them about an all knowing God that has set rules and limits for us to live by so that we may prosper. It is time for grown ups to grow up and be responsible for the generation they are raising. Giving children permission to be and do anything they want needs to be replaced with taking responsibility for their actions and knowing that being the best they can be is some times tough and will take courage to do so. It is time to stop making excuses and using weapons and medicines as scapegoats. The responsibility of children falls directly on the people that care for them. Parents and grandparents, teachers and pastors. It is time for grown ups to be grown up, to set boundaries and expect them to be followed. It is time  to educate, to love and discipline our children. It is time to share the message of hope and forgiveness that God has offered willingly. Evil children don't always come from evil parents but they do come from contrite, uncaring and/or overwhelmed care takers that chose to ignore the child when they need them most. They come from allowance and permission that excuse actions that should have consequences.  Corporal punishment was replaced by putting a child in time out years ago, time out has been replaced with redirection. We have spared the rod and spoiled the child at the expense of their sanity and well being. I am not suggesting we bring back corporal punishment but children do have to have consequences for wrong action. They have to understand right from wrong. They also need to have a purpose and reason for being the best life has to offer. It may take a village but it starts and ends with the parents.

The parents have given the children the weapon of doing and saying anything they like without consequence and seem to always be surprised when the child takes this weapon and points it back at them.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Social media works even for the church

Social statistics now says my true reach of people on a daily basis is more than 4 times the number of my facebook friends. That means about 2800 people follow me on a daily basis. That is more than the number of people that go to my church. Or more than go to the local high school and more people than within a mile of my home. I reach people on four continents and 20 US states. I reach ages 13 to 81. Am I saying this to brag. Maybe a little. 
My real point is social media works and churches should be using it to reach people. I can ask people on 4 continents and in 20 US States to go to church with me. I think I have a few times but I have not seen a post from a single church in my area, including my own, inviting me to church. I belong to my church's facebook page but don't remember being invited. It doesn't have a schedule or calendar. Post are random and inconsistent. 
It is time for churches to use social media to it's advantage. Make friends, stay in touch and invite more each day. A program will only fill up with a good marketing plan. Churches are not exempt from this. They should share there weekly schedule. Invite more than the church body to events and create an inviting and welcome atmosphere. Not one like the church below. 

I saw this picture on facebook, Shouldn't it read instead, If your are going to hell, why not come to church with me first.

It is time for churches to step up and step out of their comfort zones. If you haven't looked Jesus Christ is on facebook but he has less than 5 million followers. With half a billion people on facebook, this tells me the church is not doing it's job. It is easy to reach people, stay in touch, and provide all the information they need to bring them into the congregation. Christians should make sure something inviting and welcoming shows up in there feed everyday and it should come from the church they belong too. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

If there is something I want or someone I want to have a relationship with I will make every effort to make it happen.

Ecclesiastes 1

Nothing Makes Sense

1When the son of David was king in Jerusalem, he was known to be very wise, [a] and he said: 2Nothing makes sense!
Everything is nonsense.
2-11 Smoke, nothing but smoke. [That's what the Quester says.] There's nothing to anything—it's all smoke.
What's there to show for a lifetime of work, a lifetime of working your fingers to the bone? 
One generation goes its way, the next one arrives,but nothing changes—it's business as usual for old planet earth. The sun comes up and the sun goes down, then does it again, and again—the same old round.
The wind blows south, the wind blows north. Around and around and around it blows, blowing this way, then that—the whirling, erratic wind. All the rivers flow into the sea, but the sea never fills up. The rivers keep flowing to the same old place, and then start all over and do it again. Everything's boring, utterly boring— no one can find any meaning in it. Boring to the eye, boring to the ear. What was will be again, what happened will happen again. There's nothing new on this earth. Year after year it's the same old thing. 
Does someone call out, "Hey, this is new"? Don't get excited—it's the same old story. Nobody remembers what happened yesterday. And the things that will happen tomorrow? Nobody'll remember them either.
Don't count on being remembered.

Knowing that the world and people never changes is a hard thing to grasp. Understanding that people no matter who they are, are people. Each one seeks understanding, attention, affection and acceptance. If you wanted to be friends with someone and you knew you couldn't fail would you pick up the phone, send them an email, or stop them on the street? Would you share what you have in common? Listen to them? Be compassionate and caring for them? Help them write their life story? You can be friends with anyone you share something in common with, from the homeless to the rich and famous and everyone in between. You have to want what they want and share in what they want to share. You have to be persistent and consistent. Sometimes you will find out they are not the friend you wanted and sometimes you must expect to be forgotten over time.

That is the smoke of life. You rise from the fire, strong and full of hope, you spread over a larger and larger area touching many and thinning out as you go, until you simply disappear. You will just become so much smoke on the water as they say.

If you wanted something you don't have, would you work to find a solution to get it if you knew success was only a few steps away? Who would you ask for it? What reason would you have that you deserve such a thing? Would you be persistent to get it or would you give up if the road gets too hard? Would you change with the wind or get bored? Objects like people have to be wanted, understood and accepted. Each needs attention. If you want something bad enough it will never just happen or fall in your lap. You have to plan for it. You have to ask yourself and others the right questions. You need to be persistent and consistent.
Everything in life takes effort. Friendship, companionship, and anything else you desire can be yours but you have to make time for it. You have to create a plan for success and stick to it no matter what. Sometimes your plan will change or have to be modified but it will be a plan with an end in mind. 

Creating a successful life first starts with the understanding the words of King David. You are but a part of a generation that has mostly forgotten what the generation before has done. There is really nothing new, only different than it was before. Time will pass and the sun will rise and fall, the winds will blow and rivers and seas will ebb and flow. The next generation will have forgotten all this again when your time is passed. So what is really important is the here and now.

Write down what your life's expectations are. Make a plan to get the things in life you desire. Choose wisely because your time is limited. Don't count on being remembered. Count on living each day until it is done.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Understanding Andy: I would have worked harder to maintain the relatio...

Understanding Andy: I would have worked harder to maintain the relatio...: Job 2:11-13 (Contemporary English Version) Job's Three Friends 11Eliphaz from Teman, Bildad from Shuah, and Zophar from Naamah [a] were t...

I would have worked harder to maintain the relationships I have and worry less about the ones I don't.

Job 2:11-13 (Contemporary English Version)

Job's Three Friends
11Eliphaz from Teman, Bildad from Shuah, and Zophar from Naamah [a] were three of Job's friends, and they heard about his troubles. So they agreed to visit Job and comfort him. 12When they came near enough to see Job, they could hardly recognize him. And in their great sorrow, they tore their clothes, then sprinkled dust on their heads and cried bitterly. 13For seven days and nights, they sat silently on the ground beside him, because they realized what terrible pain he was in.

Friendship is an amazing thing. It ebbs and flows like and ocean tide. There are highs and lows. There are storms and moments of calm. Why people don't remember to maintain friendships is one of life's mysteries to me. Most people don't attempt to keep a friendship going because they think the cost is too high or the reciprocation from others is too low but the one thing I know is it is worth the cost.

The great divide among friends seems to be the end of high school or college. People leave to create a different life than the one they have. They seek other friendships and leave the one's behind they already have.

Years later they spend time seeking out old friendships from the past. I can't tell you how many times someone has said to me," do you know what happened to so and so? I wish we would have kept in touch".

Reconnecting can be hard. After years of being apart circumstances have changed. We miss out on our friends life story, the birth of their children, marriages and divorces, death of parents and other life changing events. We could have shared our life story as well. Catching up will never make up for time lost but it is amazing to restart a friendship any way.

Friends are a support system in good times and bad. As with Job, friends are there when life is a little rocky or worse.

With the invention of social networks, life has become easier to keep in touch with people. If you want to see what they are up too or where they are you need only to check there facebook, twitter or linkedin account. Still people loose touch. Sometimes they just lurk in the background never saying what is on their mind. Wishing, instead of actively saying we should still be friends.

No matter how long it has been, a friendship can be picked up from where it left off. Old friendships can become new again with just the simple act of saying hello.

I have friendships that have lasted more than 30 years. Some all the way back to grade school some of these people I don't see often but we do stay in touch.

Realizing people and not things are the important part of life when you are young will make it much easier when you get older. You won't care how much money you have or how many houses cars or toys you have if there is no one to share them with. It is easier to keep an old friend than make a new one.

So work hard to maintain the relationships you have. It will be worth every minute you spend.

Friday, March 2, 2012

I would enjoy my body just the way it is.

1 Corinthians 6:20 (New International Version)

You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

Looking at ourselves in the mirror can be hard as we grow older. We compete against a society that says we should look a certain way and dress a certain way and even eat a certain way. Make-up covers a lot of sins or so we think. The truth of the matter is we care way too much what others think of our appearance and the sad fact is you shouldn't worry about what people think of you. You'd be amazed at how seldom they do.

We exercise and try to eat right. We buy stuff to remove hair, stuff to grow hair and stuff to hide hair. In the end we can do nothing to hide the inevitable process of aging. We will grow old and no amount of plastic surgery, make-up, exercise or holistic approach can prevent it.

I recently heard someone say that when God made Adam and Eve, he thought they were more beautiful than the sunset or any other living creature. If you take a moment to think that God sees you as the most beautiful of all things, how can you worry about your outward appearance?

I am not saying you shouldn't eat right or exercise. I am not saying don't wear make-up or shave. You should do these things because you care about yourself and it is right for you. I am saying you are beautiful no matter what.

Do not punish yourself for the thoughts and acts of others. Be comfortable in your own skin because that is the way God wants you to be.

Enjoy your body while you can. Be the beautiful creature that God made. Enjoy your body just the way it is.

When Christ died as a Christian you became his body. How beautiful is that? 

1 Corinthians 12:27
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
1 Corinthians 12:26-28 (in Context) 1 Corinthians 12 (Whole Chapter)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Dance Every Chance You Get

Dance especially with those you love and those who love you.
Ecclesiastes 3:4 (New International Version)
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance

"Daddy want to see my new dance?" Beautiful words from my daughter. " Well of course," I say. Seeing the joy on her face as she glides across the floor focusing on each step she learned in her dance class just fills me up. I can't wait until the father daughter dance I know will come some day in our future.

I have rarely seen an unhappy person on the dance floor, it is an amazing feeling to let the music coarse through you. It doesn't matter who you are or where you come from, dancing is an experience that will provide memories for a lifetime.

I have heard many people over the years say I don't know how to dance or I don't like to dance. Well now is the time to learn. You will find the simplest steps still can make you feel wonderful after spending a little time on the dance floor.

My wife and I aren't great dancers but we like to dance. I love to hold her in my arms and see her laugh when I spin her or even when I mess up. We don't go out dancing but we dance at wedding receptions and have pushed back furniture at home, put the right music on and danced in the living room. When there is a dance floor in a bar we are in we dance.

Dancing is a great way to connect with the ones you love. You not only spend some time together but you share a love of the activity. You don't have to be good you just have to dance.

When you are sad and need a pick me up, dancing is a great thing to do. Find your favorite music and just dance and see how it makes you feel.

Life is too short not too. Dance every chance you get. Dance with the ones you love. I do.

Monday, February 20, 2012

I would look for the good qualities in everyone and enjoy them for those.

Every person you meet in life has some experience they can share that will make you a better person.

Jeremiah 1:7 (New International Version)
7 But the LORD said to me, "Do not say, 'I am only a child.' You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you.

I always find it interesting how people judge each other. They make snide comments about other people, stare, laugh at or even ignore others.

 I have been many places and met many people from presidents to homeless men. The one thing I have found is they all have something to share, a moment in their life or experience that you and I can learn from.  Most of us never give them the chance. We look at their clothes, jobs, income and yes most of all their appearance and decide to pass them by.

What if in the one moment you chose not to speak to someone or acknowledge them, you have eliminated the chance to make a new friend or worse yet find an answer you have been looking for all your life. Life can't always be about money, glamour and the life we currently live.

If you do one thing for yourself today work on your people skills. Say hi to someone you don't know. Acknowledge the person you always meet on the corner or call someone you always said you would like too.  It may be surprising what you learn.

Remember you are not doing it for them you are doing it for you.

Friday, February 17, 2012

I would be braver. I still have a lot of things that I could do better. Taking the first step is always the hardest.

2 Samuel 10:12 (New International Version)

Be strong and let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God. The LORD will do what is good in his sight."

I still have a lot of things that I could do better. Taking the first step is always the hardest. Being afraid can suck the life out of you.
Fear is a strange and dangerous thing. It only exist in our own mind. We can be in a room full of people and none of them might be afraid of the same things we are.

It is the most dangerous and destructive emotion because it can render a person immobile at the times when they most need to move forward.

I have wrestled with many fears over a lifetime. Being afraid of the dark when I was very young. Being afraid of what others thought of me as I grew older. Being afraid of failure in relationships and business  in recent years. Being afraid that I have grown old and the world has passed me by as I struggle with who I am and what I want to be now that I am all grown up.

The thing I find it hardest to do is give those fears up to God.  Listen to the following song called "Our God" by Chris Tomlin. If you don't want to listen to the whole thing go to the 2:37 minute mark and listen to the lyrics:
And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us? And if our God is with us, then what could stand against us?

This is a lesson I learn over and over again. Telling others what you really think is the hardest thing to do. Do it and you will find a freedom that most people, will never achieve. Do it with kindness but do it and your world will be yours and no one else's to command

I have found there is only one way to be fearless. . A friend recently asked me what do you do when you are afraid of something. I responded I either run and hide or shoot to kill. But the fact is in the past I have done neither one. I have frozen like a rabbit and waited for my fears to finish me off. So what is the real trick to becoming fearless. I have heard many people say face your fears and they will go away. Sometimes that is  just too hard. The best way to become fearless is to come up with a plan to face them. Ask God and others for help and of course follow through with the plan.

So What are you afraid of and how do you plan to deal with it?