Archive for October, 2010

Who was that masked man?

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.  Matthew 16:15-17

One of the most popular TV shows years ago was “The Lone Ranger.” Every week young people and adults turned on the television, hearts pounding with excitement as they listened to the opening theme.

The Lone Ranger wore a mask and he had his faithful friend Tonto by his side, he went around helping people and fighting evil and injustice. Almost every week the show ended the same way. After the Lone Ranger had saved someone from the bad guys, he rode off into the sunset on his horse, Silver, saying, “Hi Yo, Silver!”

Then someone would always ask the question, “Who was that masked man?”

When Jesus lived on earth, he went around helping people too. He fed the hungry, healed the sick, made the blind to see and the lame to walk. After Jesus healed someone, it was not unusual to hear someone in the crowd ask, “Who is this man?”

Jesus heard people asking that question and he also heard the answers that people gave. One day Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?”

The disciples answered, “Well, some think you are John the Baptist, others think you are Elijah, Jeremiah or one of the prophets come back to life.”

“But who do you say that I am?” Jesus asked. Simon Peter spoke up and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said, “blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven”.

Many people today do not know Jesus and are asking, “Who is this man?” People give many answers. Some say he was a great teacher. Others say he was a prophet or a great religious leader. The real answer to that question is the same answer that Peter gave when Jesus asked it. He is the Christ the Son of the living God. He is The One that has come to rescue us and give us hope.

Who do you say that He is?


Watching the Father

When my youngest son Joshua was about 2 we had this thing going. Everyday before I went off to work he would say, “Swish Swish”, meaning for me to turn on my wipers before I leave the driveway. This went on for a while and soon added flicking my lights and finally beeping the horn. When he heard the horn this huge smile popped on to his face and the joy seen on his face was amazing. And as I backed out of the driveway he stares out the window to see what his father is going to do.

Isn’t that how it should be with our Heavenly Father? Shouldn’t we been watching every move He makes to see what He is going to do next. All that boils down to this – God has a plan, For you! 

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope”, Jeremiah 29:11.

This really rings true for all of us. And while we pray for help, health and hope, pray believing that God can right every wrong, heal every hurt, cure any sickness, dry every tear. The Lord thought hard about your creation, spent a lot of time thinking about all the things that make you unique and put all that into motion. He wants you to have perfect peace in your heart – personal peace that comes from KNOWING HIM and to give you a future that is our hope – A life with Him. So when you pray – believe and start Watching the Father to see what He is doing.

Who am I

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them – Eph. 2:10

Some time ago I was given some “new” duties on my job at the newspaper. I gotta tell you that I was not real happy. But after stewing on it for a while, I began to think about what I had taught students in the past about why we are here on this earth and really got a smack in the face about my attitude –  The Lord, by the way, QUICKLY corrected me. I am thankful to have a job.

Why on earth am I here on earth? What am I here for? This question is asked a lot by students and adults. Some of the answers are, “I don’t know”…”I’m an accident”….”I never even think about it.”

Our purpose is to bring glory and honor to God. No matter what vocation we choose, we must see it as an opportunity to fulfill a greater calling.  Our passage of scripture says that we are His “workmanship” stating that we were created by God, carved out of nothing and that should send a chill of excitement over our bodies. God Himself took the time to fearfully and wonderfully create…YOU. He took the time and care to make you just as you are and here it is – for His glory; to bring Him honor.

Everyone dreams about what they might want to be when they grow up; a doctor, lawyer, a professional athlete or maybe a super hero. I wanted to be Superman but that didn’t work out. My cape kept getting hung in the spokes of my bike.

Anyway, society tries it’s best to define peoples lives. It tries to put us in categories by what we do, how much we make, what kind of car we drive and what kind of body we have. Even as a believer we get caught up in the pursuit of success. Our lives become broken down into sections…
• Personal life
• Professional life
• Spiritual life

The truth of the matter is that we were never created to climb the corporate ladder. We were not created to compete for power and riches and fame. Instead we were created to glorify God – PERIOD. Now there is nothing wrong with having a good, well paying job as long as it is kept in it perspective – we’ll get to that on another day.

Our identity in Christ is not a title on a resume or in having big or car. It’s not how much we have achieved in life.  It’s about honoring Him and what eternal impact you have on a desperate world that lacks hope. You are valuable because of who you are IN Christ not because of what you will do for a living.

I leave you with this thought from Psalm 8:4 – “what are mortals that you should think of us, mere humans that you should care for us?”

God delights in His children!

Walking with God

I have been in the ministry for over 12 years. I began as a volunteer, then moved into an transitional youth minister position twice at the same church. The Lord then called me and my family to a church in Kings Mountain where we have served for close to 4 years. Walking with God is hard. Walking with God requires change. The scripture says this…

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light – Eph. 5:8

Andrea, my daughter, were at church one afternoon preparing for the Wed. night bus trip to pick up students as we did every Wed. night. I noticed her walking out in front of me. You have to understand that at this time she was 4 years old. But as she got older instead of holding my hand, she wanted to walk ahead of me, not holding my hand which we always did for safety crossing the parking lot. She would look back every couple of step, making sure that I was still there but still wanted to be ahead of me. I would have to call her name and say, “Stop, Slow down”.

Believe it or not, to walk with God we have to start thinking like Him. Walking takes some steps.

Our walk is important. We are no longer darkness; we are light in the Lord. It doesn’t say that we were once IN darkness but that we WERE darkness. Many have no idea what I am talking about and are wondering about what does it means to “Walk with God? So I hope to convey to you clearly three steps to walking with God.

STEP 1 – Change your Mind

Romans 12:2 – And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God

We are supposed to conform or fit into a pattern and we all do. Our pop culture that is in rebellion to God will try to convince you to conform into an un-godly pattern.

Not only are we not to be conformed to the pattern of this world but we are to be transformed which is to change into another form. It is like the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly. The butterfly is completely different, completely! Our minds need to be renovated. The mind is used to perceive and understand and feeling, make judgments. Our minds need to change from what we think is acceptable, pure and good.

Lots of thoughts go through your mind in the course of the day. TV, Movies, Friends, Magazines, Video Games, Bible, Music, Parents, Internet.

These things are not always good. In fact many of the things that we watch, read, play and view are full of ungodly principles. How in the world does a person allow these things to fill their hearts and minds? The battleground between conforming and transformed is fought first in the mind – we must think differently!

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things. – Phil. 4:8

Ever had your faith scrutinized? Ever had it tested? Someone ever been put through the wringer to see if your faith was genuine? Worthy? Miller says that they are the genuine draught beer. Coke says that they are the “Real Thing”. What about you? What about your faith? Want to be transformed? Change your mind – change the way you think.

STEP 2 – Change your Attitude

1 Tim. 4:12 – Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity

What kind of attitude do you have? What kind of conduct? What kind of love? What kind of spirit? Faith? Purity? Timothy was a young man. We don’t really know how young but scholars estimate that he was around 25 to 30. Because Timothy was young, he was vulnerable to the errors of youth which often bring the criticism of those who are older. To address this, Paul called him to live a life so that was so godly that no one could despise or “think little of” his youth. God has called us to “make an impression”, to “be an example”. Be an example by what you say, what you do, in love, in attitude, in faith and in purity.

STEP 3 – Change your Heart

Psalm 51:10 – Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Psalm 51 is a prayer of repentance. David was agonizing in prayer after he was visited by the prophet Nathan. The first 6 verses are David’s confession and we read things like “Have mercy upon me, O God, Blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.”

And because of the Lord’s kindness and His mercy David is restored.

David is asking God to shape or fashion his heart, to mold his heart with God as the subject or model. David is asking the same awesome God that created the heavens and the earth to create in fallen man a new heart – Not just a heart but a clean heart – clean, pure, without defects. David is asking God to repair his spirit and to make his spirit firm and fixed on Him.

This story really tells it like it is….

In the forests of northern Europe and Asia lives little animal called the ermine, known for his snow-white fur in winter. He instinctively protects his white coat against anything that would soil it. Fur hunters take advantage of this unusual trait of the ermine. They don’t set a snare to catch him, but instead they find his home, which is usually a cleft in a rock or a hollow in an old tree. They smear the entrance and interior with grime. Then the hunters set their dogs loose to find and chase the ermine. The frightened animal flees toward home but doesn’t enter because of the filth. Rather than soil his white coat, he is trapped by the dogs and captured while preserving his purity. For the ermine, purity is more precious than life.

The Good Stuff

Andrea and Joshua (2 of my Children) are a trip. It never fails. Whenever I break out a Little Debbie snack cake, not just any Little Debbie, but the little ones with the chocolate cakes held together by chocolate fudge icing covered by milk chocolate – that’s right, that’s the one. When they hear the sound of that plastic wrap crinkling…they know and they come running! They want a bite of the good stuff that dad has.

Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession. – James 1:17-18 NLT

I like that! “Whatever is good”, “whatever is perfect” comes from the Father! The Father has the good stuff – truth, love and hope. He wants us to have these things in abundance. I always have those Little Debbie in the fridge, they just taste better that way, so the crinkling plastic wrap is always the same – a chocolate covered Little Debbie. The children know what they are going to get – the best that I have to offer. Not much chance of that changing. Not much chance of my children being anything less than my prized possessions either. So we learn from God and about God that in the vastness of time and space, out of all creation, we are important to Him and that He loves us enough to save the good stuff for us – truth, love and hope.

Lord I am thankful that You never withhold from us the good stuff; that everything that is good is given in great abundance. Help me to receive these gifts from You with a glad, thankful heart – Amen

He sings over us

The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing – Zephaniah 3:17

I was at home one morning before work and it was snack time. I LOVE snack time! My wife Kristi brought the children one of the usual snacks, today was the cheese puffs. As I sat on the couch watching Joshua my 2-year-old (then) enjoy the crispy snack I began to smile at the strangest thing. I could hear Joshua crunching away at his snack, really enjoying every bite. It sounded like Snoopy on Charlie Brown Christmas eating that big stack of bones – really.

My smile was that of sheer pleasure as I observed Joshua’s delight. It made me think about how God delights, even sings over His children because of His great love for us. When we have joy, God has more joy. When we have pain, God has more pain.

We seem to forget that with all of our shortcomings, with all of our faults and failures that the God of the universe REJOICES over us. Can you imagine the song that God sings over you?

All of my children experienced their Daddy walking with them up and down the hallway or pacing in the kitchen floor singing to them as they struggled with sleeping, tummy aches or just plain fussiness and especially the times when everything was peachy, watching their little faces smile knowing that there are loved.

This is one of the characteristics of our heavenly Father. He models this behavior for us so that we might be more like Him and rejoice over our children, even sing over them.

Lord help us to recognize the Love that You have for us – a superior, unfailing love; a matchless love that can ONLY come from a holy heavenly Father.  Allow our hearts to open up and embrace Your pure undying affection and share with the world the name – JESUS! – Amen

The Deal

Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake;   12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice – 1 Kings 19:11-12

I have been compelled by God to use the things I have experienced for LifeChange. I have probably learned more about the Lord and been taught more about the love of God as a father than years of  bible college. I have 5 children ranging with a wide range in ages The Lord uses the simplest things to get our attention and reveal Himself to use. So here it is – I hope to use the time and text to put some light on a dark world, to talk and teach about the things that important to me – things like the Lord, life and family to name a few. You may get more than you bargained for. I hope that God uses our time together to bring you closer to Him. I fully intend to lift up the name of Jesus and to let the world see the passion that He has given me in my heart.  Let’s hope for a change of heart.