Buy any new smartphone….

ipad-underwater4Buy any new smartphone and get a brand new SinkPad free!*

*Must purchase smartphone in store via on-line App on WorstPricePlan@ on a new 2-year wireless agreement, with optional pigproof** case. Use of smartphone does not make you smarter. Installation of the Superman App does not enable the operator to fly. Our phone makes no legal representation that it is better than your grandmother’s rotary phone. SinkPad not a real sinker. We reserve the right to make fun of fine print. This offer makes no representation that anything in life is free, oh, except one thing, see fine print at very bottom.

**Pig-proof cases not yet patented, nor available in store.

So you’re still reading, huh? Sorry about that. That’s what I think of these ads. They lure you in; thinking that you are getting something for nothing!

We all know there is no such thing as a free lunch, but I still like to find a bargain (when there is one). But unfortunately nowadays, unless you’re using Dealnews.com, Brad’s Deals, or some other web-service to filter out the somewhat deceptive advertising, you’re likely being conned without knowing better.

Don’t believe me? (Oh, I thought you would, been there huh? – thus no reason to give an example)

Thankfully, there is one other source you can go to for a true deal. And that’s Jesus. No strings attached, Jesus wants to provide you eternal life, and doesn’t ask for anything at all but your heart. That’s right, give your heart (not physically, but spiritually) to Him, and He will grow you into things you could never dream of, and then after your physical life has ended, He has provided an eternal life that you can live in Heaven above.

Isn’t it comforting to know that in the world full of deception, that at least one thing remains true!

7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. – Galatians 6:7-8

***FinePrint: See details above in larger print.

sticks and stones…

sticks-and-stones1Stick and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me!

We all know that isn’t true, yet we said it anyway when we were kids. The truth is that words do hurt, and they can hurt for a long time.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. – Ephesians 4:29

shoes, shoes, and more shoes….

How many pair of shoes do you have? Women generally have more than men, because no single shoe can apparently go with more than one outfit (at least that’s what I’ve learned as a husband – no offense Kimberly – you probably have less shoes than most women). Anyway, I’m wondering – how many shoes do you have?

Let’s count how many shoes you have:

Your church shoes
Your work shoes
Your vacation shoes
Your public shoes
Your party shoes
Your family shoes

Have you picked up yet? While we all have physical shoes that we put on our feet; we can also replace the word shoes with “face.” Many of us put on our church “faces” when we attend church. Then we put on a different pair of “shoes” when we walk through the doors at work. And on vacation, we have a different pair we display.

Are you wearing a different pair of shoes when you leave the doors of church? If so, why?

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind – Romans 12:2a

Share!

It’s my turn! Share! You’ve had it all day! Why won’t you let me have that?

If you’ve ever been around kids, you’ve heard those lines and more. Why? Because one child has what the other wants. Maybe it’s a scooter, an ipad, a remote controlled car, or just simply a ball. We all have what someone else wants. And sometimes (especially as kids), we don’t want to share it, because it’s so nice to have it in our possession.

As Christians, we all have something that others need, and STILL we don’t share it with them. Hmmm….

Making Disciples

Ever wear flip flops to church? Years ago, I was asked by a deacon in church, “are those sandals?” His question was obviously rhetorical. He was implying that I had worn improper footwear to church. Without thinking much, I gave the rather juvenile comeback: “I’m pretty sure Jesus wore them.” Today, I probably wouldn’t be so outspoken against an elder. Yet, I was upset that he would be focused so much on my attire.

I’ve visited many churches last year when I moved to South Carolina, and was exposed to a variety of “welcome” methods as well as church cultures. From the extreme reformed Baptist church, to the mega-church concert, from the small traditional southern Baptist church, to the technological simulcast, each church has its own culture or traditions. And their acceptance of you, as an outsider, differ from widely open to narrowly closed. I’ve experienced all of those just within a 15 mile radius of Greenville.

And as I think about those, I have to compare them to the “churches” at the time of Jesus. If we place ourselves 2000 years ago, we’d find the same thing. From the elite religious leaders, having beautiful temples, where they sold their goods, to the countryside revival Sermon on the Mount. Even then, not everybody got it. And even those that did, had different ways to share the gospel.

I’m not “digging” at any church for their method. However, I will, as Jesus did, condemn those who don’t love others. If we are so focused on how people are dressed, or what their current life is like, then we have missed the boat. Jesus was condemned by leaders for fellowshipping with sinners. But He said…..

10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

We shouldn’t be so focused on our methods in the church, but how we show the love of Jesus outside of church. Please take the time to watch this video on what church should and COULD be like…..

 

Making Disciples: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJWkQ9UP_m8

Stuff!

Ever live in a small place? When we first got married, Kimberly and I lived in ½ of a single wide trailer. That’s right, just half. No, we didn’t share living spaces, we truly rented a duplex single wide, and not a large one. The trailer consisted of identical, mirrored homes. We had 1 bedroom that was large enough for a full size bed, tiny closet, and a couple of upright plastic Rubbermaid drawers. The living room held a small loveseat, chair and TV. The Kitchen was a very small counter, with tiny sink, and shared the open space with the living room. A miniature bathroom was set off to the side of the kitchen (that’s right, the full length of the kitchen and bath, was the width of the trailer – that’s how small it was). On the outside, we had a small deck with a yard closet, and our yard was small enough to be mowed with a weed-eater (which is what I used).

Yet those were some of the best times my wife and I remember. Why is that? I can think of only one answer – we had each other and that was enough. Walmart was down the block, but we didn’t need much. We had our own little family at the time, complete with a couple dogs.
We didn’t have “stuff” clogging our life. We weren’t hurried from one event to the other. We didn’t have a lot of hobbies taking away our precious time. We just spent our time with each other, enjoying life.

Today, most of us have larger homes than that, busier lives, and more stuff than we can stuff in our closets (or basements – guilty!). So, how do we overcome the stuff in our lives and focus back on our life?

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. – Matthew 6:19-21

Yay Technology! What?

Laptops – I think we all have one now. And if you don’t you probably have a tablet or phablet (that’s right – the latest techno word – phone/tablet). Technology has made our life so much easier, hasn’t it! Now we are able to sit down for hours on end at night in front of TV, and instead of wasting away our time rotting in a chair, we can now watch youtube videos, keep up with the Jones’s on facebook, or discover new “life hacks” via the digital world.

In fact, if we really wanted to, we can spend countless hours engrossed in Biblical theology and reading billions of on-line blogs about how God worked in their lives. But we don’t.

So, why is it that we think technology has improved our life?

Sometimes I think the Amish have it all right. I read the latest blog from an Amish family on-line about what they are doing, and it occurred to me that what we are doing wrong is….

Did you pick up on that? There is no Amish blog on-line. They aren’t wasting life away writing about each other, they are actually living life.
Sometimes, I am convicted because I am just as guilty as the next, for posting what I do on Facebook, or keeping tabs on my friends. But realize this, if I don’t “like” your post – it isn’t because I didn’t like it, it’s probably because I didn’t read it. If you want me to know about your life, call me, or at the least, text me what’s going on.

And concerning Facebook:

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Lights, Camera, Action!

Lights, Camera, Action! We’ve all heard and seen it before: the events preceding the next performance, either on stage, or in front of recording cameras. It seems like the Director just loves to say those words. But why does he do it? Because it is necessary to prepare everyone for the next series of moves.

Did you ever think that that’s exactly what the Pastor is doing each Sunday morning when he gets in the pulpit? He might as well say: Lights, Camera, Action! Because even though he is not acting, the next series of events are extremely important to get everyone prepared for the next steps of Christianity.

Whether we are a young Christian, or a mature elder in church, what the pastor has to say is preparing us for the next steps in our life, in the life of the church, and in the life of our community. He is letting us know that everything that we do (that’s right – EVERYTHING) in life is a show, a performance to the world, displaying to them the love of Christ. Are you putting on the right show?

But internally, what’s happening? Are you growing your faith in Christ? Has your mustard seed of faith sprouted, or is your crown of glory fading? Are you really just putting on a show for the world? Or are you living how Christ would have you to live?

WWJD? That was the famous fad just a few years ago. Are you doing what Jesus would do? Or is it all a show?

The world may think that our life is a performance in church, or out of church, but the real question is, what result will your life bring? Will it be the next big box production like Billy Graham, or will it be a flop like Waterworld?

1Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. – Romans 12:1-2

The big days is here! Or is it?

Today’s the big day! How many times have you said that in your life? Did you parents say it for your first day at school? What about on graduation day? What about on the day you got married? Or your first day at work in a new job?

Believe it or not, we celebrate the “big days” of our lives in a manner that would almost seem nonchalant. We talk about it for only a few seconds, and then the brief time passes, and it is merely a memory in our past.

But what about that big day that is still coming? You know the one I’m talking about.

27For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. … 30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. – Matthew 24:27, 30-31

That big day is on its way to a hometown near you. When? We all know that we don’t know. Many people have tried to predict it, and many have been wrong. Others have claimed that the Bible clearly tells us that we don’t know when it will be here…..

36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. – Matthew 24: 36-37

The exact day is honestly irrelevant; no reason to worry about when it’s coming. However, we should be aware of one fact that is true. When that day gets here it’s too late! Too late for what?

Too late to beg. Too late to stand before Jesus at the throne of God and say, “but Jesus, I was waiting….” There will be no excuses for any of us on that day. We all know we have to make a decision to accept Him. But we also know that if we have accepted Him, we have a duty to tell others. And it is just as important for us to tell others about Christ. If we wait until that day, it will be too late.

Do you really want your friend, your relative, your sister or brother, son or daughter to miss the opportunity to be in Heaven because you were too embarrassed to share your love and devotion to Christ with them? What’s the worst they could say “sorry, not interested” or “you’re stupid for believing….”

On that Big day, the truth will be revealed to all, and some of us can very sadly have the ability to say “I told you so.” But instead, we will unfortunately be saddened that they haven’t accepted Christ. So what could you change now, before the Big Day, in order that your loved one would be more responsive to your sharing of the Gospel?

Time to eat, or time to go?

It’s time! Got to go! We are a society of go, go, go. We don’t sit and wait for much. As a business traveler now, I am exposed to different cultures, and it always amazes me how other cultures stop to eat. I don’t mean they “stop what they’re doing,” but that they actually take time to eat.

Whether it’s with family, friends, or co-workers, eating is not something that has to be done because you are hungry, but it’s something that is enjoyed and used as a time of true fellowship and bonding.

For example, in France, the evening meal generally lasts 2-3 hours. Even the lunch meal in France can last up to 2 hours, through several courses of food, and then cheese, and drinks. In Mexico, the meals also seem to take time. I use the words “take time,” because that’s how we, as Americans, see it. It lasts soooo long. But to their culture(s), meals are a time to be experienced, not gulped down.

So what does this have to do with God, right?

Well, I got to thinking this week. What if we stopped to enjoy God? I mean, when we get to church, many people are watching the clock. In anticipation of when Sunday School is over, or when the last point of the sermon is heard, so we can get to lunch and “enjoy our family.” But did you ever stop to think that your family is in church, well, really, your family IS church.

We are brothers and sisters in Christ, and when gathered together in church, we are in our Father’s house. We should enjoy and cherish the time we have together. We shouldn’t always get so focused on the time aspect, but delight in the time we have gathered in one place to rest, recoup, and re-energize in the Lord.

So whether you are throwing down a meal, or hurrying through church, STOP, appreciate the time you have there, and experience the pleasures that God has provided.

You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. – Jeremiah 29:13