Monthly Archives: June 2010

Face To Face With The…Opposition?

My wife and I recently celebrated our 10th Anniversary.  We went into Washington, DC and spent the night.  It was a great couple of days away from everything.  We stopped for lunch one day at a place just west of the White House called “Corner Bakery Cafe.”  It was a fantastic place to eat.  And right outside the cafe, on either side of the street corner were a couple of men.  They were wearing T-shirts that read, “Equality.”  Misty and I briefly chatted over lunch who they might be representing, but both of us knew what that term has come to represent.Equality

As we left we decided to stop and talk to one of them.  He was very polite and began talking to us about their organization’s purpose and what they were trying to accomplish.  Misty and I listened when he handed us a three-ring binder.  He began flipping through some of the pages.  On one of the pages were listed other organizations in the country.  And not just any organizations.  Some of the leading Christian organizations in our country, including Focus on the Family.  He explained to us how their agenda was going to be confronted and they were preparing to be “opposed” by some of the leading Christian organizations in our country.  It was at this point that I had the thought, “What would happen if I told him I was a campus pastor for a church in the DC area?  How would he react?”  I mean, he did just call us the “opposition.”

I didn’t tell him who I was.  We listened, thanked him for his time and moved on.  As we walked away, we immediately began discussing our impressions of that experience.  My question was this, “Why do we have to be the opposition?”

When I read through the New Testament, I read about a powerful man named Jesus.  He was the Son of God and John 1 teaches that He was God in the flesh.  He brought the very nature of God, the exact representation of God, onto the earth in human form.  He stepped into a world that was torn.  The Romans were in conflict with the Israelites.  The leading religious leaders of His day were in conflict with many of the people they were taking advantage of.  There was even conflict among the religious leaders themselves.  And while conflict was thriving, people were being overlooked.

Jesus changed all that.  On a couple of occasions, it is recorded that He touched a leper.  This was culturally unacceptable, especially for someone in the role of rabbi as Jesus was.  There was another time when a woman, who was caught in adultery (why didn’t the religious leaders bring the man as well?) was brought to Jesus.  He responded to her with grace.  Then there was another time when Jesus had a conversation with a Samaritan woman.  The Samaritans were hated by the Jews.  The whole scene had disaster written all over it.  Yet, the story concludes with the woman running into town, full of excitement and she brings the entire village out to meet Jesus.  And there were at least three occasions where Jesus raised a dead person to life.

Not only in His actions, but also in His teachings, Jesus proved to be the greatest humanitarian.  When a religious leader asked Jesus in a trap question, what the greatest commandment was, Jesus replied, “Love God with everything you are and love your neighbor as yourself.”  Jesus loved the people around Him through His teaching and His lifestyle.

He defended the weak.

He stood up for the overlooked.

He brought justice to those who had been oppressed.

He shared life with the unpopular.

He ate with those on the lowest rung of the social totem pole.

He was by all accounts, a revolutionary, humanitarian.  He brought all people onto a level playing field.  The religious elite were too proud and the overlooked were lifted up.  And ultimately, He accomplished the greatest humanitarian act in history; He died on a cross for our sins (all of our sins, even the sins of the “religious”) and rose from the dead three days later.   All of this brought humanity onto an even playing field in the eyes of God the Father.

The ultimate question is not which organization you support.

The ultimate question is not who’s our opposition.

The ultimate question is; do you know Jesus Christ?

Because in the end, God is not going to ask us how many organizations or causes we were for, but He is going to ask if we know His Son.

Where Are We Going?

Clark GriswoldHave you ever been on a road trip or family vacation where you weren’t really sure the driver knew where they were going?  You might hear mom say something like, “Would you stop and ask for directions?”  Or, “We’re lost, aren’t we?”  And in that moment you must take yourself to a scene, any scene, with Clark Griswold in it.  You know that feeling.  The ride is fast and furious, but we’re not really sure where it’s going.

I ran across this video clip through a Facebook link today.  Go ahead and watch it.  I’ll wait for you to get back.

So let me ask you the question, “Where are we going?”  Where is this ride going to end?  How did we get, what appears to me to be, this far down?

Do you have children?

10 years old?

7 years old?

4 years old?

Now tell me how you would react if they came home from school with a condom and some “counseling.”

I’m certain that at the end of this ride, there is nothing good waiting for us.  Someone really should stop and get some directions.  The family vacation is getting uglier by the minute.

Father’s Day!

I hope all of the father’s out there were really blessed by their families on Father’s Day.  I know that I had an amazing day.  My family took great care of me and we had a lot of fun together.  We had lunch at Texas Roadhouse (my aunt and uncle joined us as well).  Then it was off to a short nap and some relaxation in the afternoon.  And then we had a family movie night.  It was a great day.

Father's Day

Father's Day

But there was one very special moment that stuck out a little more than the rest.  It was Saturday and my son, Grant, came to me with a card.  It was a day early but he said he decided he wanted to give it to me ahead of time.  The outside of the card had the words, “To Dad, From Grant” written in crayon and pencil.  It was his homemade card just for me.  Then I opened it to read the inside.  And this is what he had to say (punctuation corrections mine).

I love you, Dad

I love you, Dad

I love you, Dad

You’re funny and you’re tall

You can swim and you can bike

But I love it when you’re home best of all.

I thought this was pretty sweet of him.  He had taken a poetry class at school and put it to good use.  Father’s Day is great!  I can’t wait for next year already.

What did you do for Father’s Day?

What sticks out to you about your father?

Top Ten

On June 3, 2000, I was married to a beautiful, young lady named Misty.  It has been 10 years since we were married.  Our life has been one incredible journey.  It has been a journey of faith, one that has inspired, one that has hurt and one that has drawn us close together.

We just returned from an overnight stay for our Anniversary.  It got me thinking about our life together.  After 10 years, there are many things that I have learned and many things that I have yet to learn.  For now, I want to share the top ten things I love about my wife (in no particular order).

10 – Her Tireless Care For Her Family

I don’t know any more who works as hard for her family as my wife.  There is probably a reason why at the end of the day she basically crashes on her bed.  She tirelessly cares for her family…all 4 of us…all day long.  It is her caring heart for us that has endeared me to her.

9 – Her Ability To See The Positive In Any Situation

Has your family ever been in a situation that could easily become an “end of the world” type of situation.  We have experienced those like all other normal, families.  However, there is one minor difference in our home.  My wife can find a way to make it a positive.  I have seen our kids do some of the craziest, off the wall things, and my wife will say something like, “Grab the camera.  This is hilarious.”  It’s one of those things that is small, but it is invaluable to daily life.  And I’m even more thankful for the way she see the positives in my many gaffs.  I have made a lot of mistakes in my life and my wife always helps me see the positive and how I can grow through it.

8 – The Way She Encourages The Best In Her Kids

She has an amazing ability to see gifts and abilities in her children.  She sees them as unique and understands that it is important to direct those talents in the right direction.  When our kids have the chance to use their abilities, she is right there to encourage them in the right direction.  I love the way she encourages the best in our kids.

7 – Her Passion To Use Her Gifts And Abilities

My wife flies in the face of the stereotypical, stay at home wife.  Many people see stay at home moms as held back, or 1950’s kitchen mom’s or whatever other stereotype you can think of.  My wife has gifts and talents.  She knows what they are.  And she finds a way to use them.  She loves photography, so she started a photography business.  She loves children, so she is getting a job at a pre-school.  She is passionately following her gifts and abilities.  And I love to watch her flourish.

6 – Her Ability To Move Beyond Life’s Difficulties

I will not be sharing any details in this post about “life’s difficulties.”  However, I have seen my wife go through some of the most difficult situations a wife and mother should ever have to be put in.  I have held her while she has cried because she has felt that she lost too many years of our children’s lives to some difficult ministry situations.  I have seen her encounter steps of faith that can be difficult at first, yet she always handles them with grace.  When life has been difficult, she has taken it head on, then graciously overcome the obstacle.  She is the strongest woman I know and I’m so thankful for that.

5 – Her Willingness To Put Her Life On Pause For Nearly A Decade

My wife has gifts and abilities that drive her to want to accomplish things with her life.  Yet she has been the most sacrificial wife I know.  She has given so much of herself to me and her children.  I get more angry as a father when I feel myself taking advantage of her for that, or when I see our kids sometimes act ungrateful toward their mom.  None of us has any real idea how much she has sacrificed for us.  And for that, I am forever indebted to her.  Thank you for sacrificing so much for us my love.

4 – The Way She Soaks In New Information

One of my favorite things about my wife is her desire to grow and learn new things.  I love watching her read a book.  You can see her eyes light up as she learns something new.  She likes to share the many details of something insight she has gained.  We could talk for hours about her thoughts on LOST.  I just love watching her grow even smarter, leaving me in the dust intellectually.

3 – The Way She Looks At Me

Sometimes when things in life are a little bumpy, we will have deep conversations.  But when the going gets tough, she sometimes gives me this look.  It’s not the general “look” that most men get.  It’s not the “look” that the husbands on TV get when their wives are annoyed at them.  She looks at me as if to say, “Stan, I trust you and I believe in you.”  Pretty sure she has said those words, but when she looks at me and puts her trust and security in my leadership, I am fulfilled.  She helps me become who God wants me to be.  The only way I can fulfill my purpose in life is when my wife allows me to and helps me accomplish it.  Thank you for helping me fulfill my purpose in life, Misty.

2 – The Way She Weaves God Into Our Daily Life

Many times I have heard her in a conversation with our children and she will begin to quote Scripture.  She has an incredible ability to weave things of God into the daily life of our family.  Many people might think they have to be scholars and theologians to do this, but it’s just the simply, every day things when you can help your kids see God in a practical way.  I love to watch her when she is in this mode.  It’s beautiful to see God be brought into our lives in a practical way.

Misty and I

My Beautiful Wife, Misty

1 – Because She Loves Me

I love her back because I can see in her life and actions that she loves me first.  I am so thankful for her unconditional love, even when I’m at my worst.  She always loves me first.  My stupid pride gets in the way sometimes, but she never fails to be humble and show me her love through her actions.  I can see so much of how God loves me, just by watching her.  And after all, isn’t that how we are supposed to show the world God’s love for us, by living it out with each other?  She has an amazing depth to her love.  I only hope I can hold half the love for others that she has.

My wife is a beautiful, articulate, intelligent, loving and compassionate individual.  God is doing big things in her life and I am lucky to be able to share life with her.  Thanks for the last 10 years my love.  I can’t wait to see what the next 10 bring.  I love you so much!

Free Give Away!

Hey everyone.  One of my favorite blogs, CPF, is up to some good stuff.  They have been around for 3 years and have posted over 1000 articles.  They are my favorite resource on Christian finances.  I have used them as a resource for many lessons I have taught and preached on money.  They have truly been a blessing to me and my ministry.

Right now, they are doing something amazing.  They are giving away a free iPad, as well as a few gift cards.  So, you should head over there and check them out.  Read their stuff.  It’s among the best I’ve found.

Cleaning Up Poo!

It’s fun to watch some of the people in our neighborhood walk their dogs.  It’s early in the morning and they are enjoying a nice, peaceful walk.  In one hand is the leash and in the other is a plastic bag.  This is about the time the dog stops to take care of his business in the neighbor’s yard.  When the dog is finished, the owner takes the plastic bag, bends over (very funny considering some of the people who live around here) and picks up their dog’s leftovers.

While it isn’t the best representation, this is very much what our relationship with Jesus is like.  We walk around and make messes, He is there to clean it up.

Remember Mark 9?  Jesus and His closest disciples, Peter, James and John, are coming down the mountain right after the transfiguration.  They encounter a huge group of people.  He finds that His other disciples have tried to cast out a demon but were unable to.  The father of the child is frustrated about the situation.  Jesus cleans up the mess.

Remember John 18?  Jesus is in the process of being betrayed by Judas.  Soldiers have stepped forward to arrest Christ.  Peter has just told Jesus he will die for Him and he begins to put those words into action.  He draws his sword and cuts of the ear of the High Priest’s servant, Malchus.  Jesus halts the madness, bends down, grabs the severed ear off the ground and heals the servant.  Jesus cleans up the mess.

As we grow in discipleship, one of the lessons we will learn is that we can’t do this alone.  Ultimately, we aren’t good enough to clean up our own messes.  There is nothing we can do that is good enough that will clean up the mess of sin that we have made.

In Jesus’ greatest act on earth of “cleaning up the mess,” He died on a cross to become the ultimate payment for all of our messes.  He came to earth to show us His love and to offer His grace and forgiveness.  When it comes to discipleship, we will never be perfect.  Humans will almost always find a way to mess things up.  That’s why I’m so thankful for Jesus Christ, who died and rose again to take that mess away from me.

Thanks be to Jesus Christ for His amazing love.

Thank You Jesus, for cleaning up after me when I continually find a way to screw things up.

Thank You Jesus, for your grace that overlooks the many messes I have made.

Thank You Jesus, for making me right with God even when I didn’t deserve it.

What do you think?  Hoping to hear from you on this one.

Am I way out of line on the analogy?

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