Challenging believers in Jesus to think and act based on Bible truth.

Monday Challenge 9.4.17 – Charlottesville Declaration, Athletes and Mental Illness, Saving Marriage

Good morning! Some tough topics on the holiday, but worth the ready. Enjoy – and be challenged!

Charlottesville Delcaration

Still processing this, but this declaration helps us understand the concerns and perspectives of our African American brothers and sisters.

Question: Would you sign it? Why or why not?

Athletes and Mental Illness

“It’s okay to not be okay”. Open, honest, conversation and statistics.

Question: How does this help you understand mental illness?

Saving a Marriage

Navigating “I don’t love you anymore” and “I had an affair” and staying married. Powerful testimony of love.

Question: What does this teach us about the nature of love?

The Will of God

This article takes us into the sometimes difficult topic of discerning God’s will.

Question: Can you relate to God better after reading this?

 

Tuesday Rambling 7.4.17 – Do We REALLY proclaim Jesus?

Well, do we?

  • Let me present a short list of things we may proclaim instead of Jesus.
  • First, we can proclaim ourselves.
  • 2 Corinthians 4:5 draws a distinction between proclaiming ourselves and proclaiming Jesus.
  • We proclaim ourselves when we rest in our Twitter likes, Instagram followers, and Facebook activity. When we rest in our profile, friends, things, or status.
  • We can proclaim our church. This can be good, but if we never proclaim Jesus then talking about Jesus proves empty.
  • Our church should never take the place of Christ in our proclamation.
  • We can proclaim our work.
  • Here’s the real challenge. In discussing this verse with a few people during Project Shine last week, (see www.projectshineakron.org for more info about this ministry) the harsh reality emerged that without proclaiming Christ all we proclaim is our work, perhaps unintentionally shining the light on ourselves.
  • Serving in any ministry could lead to this temptation. I have heard a LOT about ministries, through conferences, social media, local contacts, etc.
  • Many times we hear about the WAY believers serve rather than WHOM they serve.
  • Challenge: share the Gospel in all your work, whether church or other ministry.
  • Challenge: make sure sharing Christ lays at the foundation of any organization.
  • Challenge: develop strategy to exalt Jesus every step of the way so no confusion lingers.

Monday Challenge 4.10.17 – When You’re Wronged, Don’t Parent Snowflakes, Easter Week

Good Monday morning. At our house today marks my wife Julie’s birthday. Woohoo!

Take some time to think through what you’ll read here today. Some challenging stuff for sure.

When You’re Wronged

This article will challenge anyone suffering from an injustice beyond their control.

Question: How does God’s mercy speak to injustice?

Don’t Parent Snowflakes

This should make us think about our definitions of bullying and challenge us to think about the emotional health and stability of our kids.

Question: How might our definitions of bullying affect the emotional health of kids?

Become Less

What a title: “The Grace of Becoming Less”.

Question: How do you evaluate “contentment”?

Easter Week in Real Time

I found this early this morning.  Hopefully it will help you understand the events of Holy Week.

Question: Where does knowledge such as this meet practice in daily life?

Think and Act 3.29.17 – A Difficult But Hopeful Transition

This past Sunday March 26, our church marked the changing of a season as Josh Miller, Youth Director of almost seven years spent his last Sunday with us. If you would like to listen to the message God gave me for that day, you can listen to it here: Three Encouragements In Transition.

I’m hoping anyone reading this post will find encouragement, help, and perspective. A few summary thoughts:

1. Yes, this situation is difficult.

I don’t have it in me to smile and portray some fake reality. That benefits no one. When God leads someone  away who has developed programming, supported many teens and families, improved your office atmosphere, and befriended you and many in your church and community, it stings.

When someone experiences wide levels of love, support, and friendship, plain facts say they will leave a hole in people’s lives. Yes, of course!

2. No, this situation is not unbearable. God leads the way.

Refer to point #1. “When God leads…” It sounds simple to say “If God authors the change, He will author the path forward.” Well, simple or not, that statement lines up with the truth.

The day Josh told me of their final decision to make the move, I felt a huge sense of loss. But I remember going to my office to do nothing but seek and worship God for about an hour. I am convinced that sweet time spent with God in those difficult moments has provided the foundation of trust He’s (slowly) brought about.

Since Sunday, I’ve gotten a lot of work done in the office the past couple days. Lord willing, a worship service will happen Sunday. I’m beginning to wonder how God will move in our staffing situation. I’m sure Josh looks forward to his new position at Riverwood. I know my friends at Riverwood will anxiously and lovingly receive him.

I don’t claim to know God’s purposes, but I trust His leading more than I trust my ability to comprehend. I am in awe of God, not just when it feels good. Yes, even when it feels bad.

In short, God allows us to see that life goes in in the midst of difficult seasons!

 

3. Personally…

  • I would ask you to pray for our church and all from Josh’s pool of family, friends, and co-workers who will truly miss his presence at our church.
  • Our church’s response has encouraged me greatly, as many have openly committed to praying for God’s leading in both Josh and Kristi’s lives and the future life of our church.
  • These past couple years have forced me to lean into my own calling. God has moved my closest friends/co-workers yet I have no sense He desires to move me. I will press on!

4. So, challenge yourself. How do you handle transition and season changes?

God leads through seasons of life. Do we have an understanding of our world where we expect changes to come? Let’s say God allows me to stay in full time ministry into my 60’s. These seven years working with Josh would represent less than 20% of my total ministry career and much less over my statistically projected lifespan (which currently stands around 80). I hope to remember it fondly and talk with Josh at that point about all God taught us during this season.

Simply put, worshiping God prevents the past from developing into an idol that stifles both present effectiveness and future vision. With an appropriate mixture of sting and optimism, it’s time to acknowledge the end of a very sweet season with a sweet friend and his family…

And to look forward by God’s grace to the season that lies ahead!

Think. When you don’t understand what God’s plans, do you ask Him first or try to figure it all out on your own?

Act. Treasure the seasons of your lives and how God has lead you through them!

Monday Challenge 2.27.17 – Digital Detox, Teens and Love, Election Stress

Good Monday morning!

No? Good Monday challenge. For sure. Enjoy!

Digital Detox

Check out this jam packed article – lots of resources regarding digital detox. Don’t know what that means? Find out and evaluate the issue as it relates to you!

Question: When and why should you take a break from digital stuff?

Teens and Love

How do teens learn about love? Great question. This article will make you think.

Question: How can you challenge younger people in your life to think about love?

Courage

What a great challenge to us to seek courage in finding Jesus. Fear = not an option!

Question: What fears bog you down? Why do you think that is?

Election Stress

David Murray with a second article this week. I know, a little biased, but such good stuff. Check out this one one stresses from economics to the election.

Question: What stresses you the most? Which of the verses in this article speaks most to your stress?