Sinning, not sunning, at the beach

beach_churchIn Myrtle Beach, there exists these two words on the side of a building “beach church,” probably not two words you would normally associate with each other.

But for them, it’s home to a family of believers who gather weekly to celebrate their faith in Christ.

Christ was clear in the New Testament that church is not defined by a building, but by the faith that the believers displayed.

Whether you live at the beach, or just vacation there, are you displaying the true faith of a believer?

I’ll admit that during my recent vacation I sinned. I clearly stepped over the bounds of the Ten Commandments and knocked at least one of them out of the park. Let’s take the easy and obvious one for analysis.10Commandments

While there, I was envious of those people who live the luxurious condo life on a regular day basis. Whether its because of high paying jobs, or just family money, some people have the opportunity to live a “beach life” and I was jealous of them.

At what point does “dreaming” become envy? For years, my wife and I have talked about retiring at the beach. So am I truly envious, or just trying to make my dream a reality? I’m soliciting help here. I don’t know where to look in the Bible for an answer.

Idiot Light

That’s right. I think it’s the first use of that term in my blog: idiot. “Back in the day,” vehicles were equipped with about 4 or so gauges (speedometer, oil gauge, fuel gauge, and engine temperature – and sometimes a voltmeter, pressure gauge, and/or tachometer). Each of these were generally utilized by the driver infrequently to check on the status of the engine. Today, in most cars, the only remaining gauges are the speedometer and fuel gauge – although they have been replaced in some vehicles with electronic readouts. Most other gauges are no longer present in a car, but have been replaced by an “idiot” light – a light that comes on if the reading is abnormal. These lights generally don’t tell the driver if the reading is high or low, just that it is outside the normal operating range.

With or without idiot lights or gauges, I wish it was much easier to keep an eye on our spiritual life. Am I “full enough” of Christ today? Then again, that sounds like a stupid question. I’ve never read in the Bible of any such thing as too much God in our lives.

Ever feel empty of Christ? It’s a feeling that many people get way too often. Next time you’re feeling empty, be vocal about it and ask God to show up in a mighty way in your life. No need to wait until God gives you the “sign” that you’ve gone too far – that’s one idiot light I want to keep DIMMED OFF in my life.

It’s only a game!

I mentioned earlier this week to a few individuals that I was introduced to religion when I was a teenager. When I was 15, my family moved to Alabama. The day our household furniture arrived, I rode my bicycle down the street when a couple other teens stopped me and witnessed to me. They asked me one simple question: Are you an Alabama or an Auburn fan? I had to make a choice that day what my future held!

From that day forward, I knew what was important to many people in Alabama. Some might say this is the extreme, nevertheless I’ve also had the pleasure of serving in a church where the Deacons gathered early one year to discuss whether the church should cancel evening services on the night of the Superbowl. (Maybe they thought God might be busy watching the big game too?)

Although I tease, football is a serious sport in the Southeast and nobody should take it lightly. Yet, it truly is only a game. Next year will roll around and as the years pass, people will generally forget most of the details, (but not the FINAL outcome – did your team win or not).

Do you realize the same is true in faith? You MUST make a choice which team you are for. Are you WITH God or AGAINST Him? Today is the day to make the choice, and it WILL determine your future (for eternity)!

And even though the next year will roll around, unlike football, it’s NOT just a game, it’s your future. Although people will generally forget the details of your faith and actions, it IS the FINAL OUTCOME that mattersdid you choose God or not?

Make Plans to Attend…

When a big event occurs, the promoter usually sends out marketing literature that reminds us to “Make Plans to Attend . . ..” Obviously, this is for their benefit and yours. Planning your calendar in advance is a good way to make sure you don’t miss critical activities or events.

What’s this simple observation have to do with my blog? Simply put, I think the Bible is God’s way of telling us to “Make Plans to Attend Heaven.” If you fail to plan accordingly today, there will be no second chance when He comes to get us tomorrow (and that’s a VERY CRITICAL EVENT!).

Make Plans to Attend Heaven today – ask for His forgiveness and receive Jesus in your heart today (click here:  http://whativaluemost.com/Discover.aspx) . If you already have Jesus in your life, then take time to talk to Him, I think He misses us when we don’t talk to him.  “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thes 5:17).

If you want more detailed reading about planning in your life, continue reading below, otherwise stop here, and Thanks for reading!

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How does this activity of planning compare with what the Bible teaches? The Bible is VERY clear in James 4:13-17 when it mentions that planning your life is really a waste (my interpretation), because “you do not know what tomorrow will bring” (James 4:14). In Proverbs, we find “the heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps” (Pro. 16:9).

Furthermore, the Bible is also very clear that the LORD plans your ways: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 29:11a).

So, if an atheist was to employ this Scripture, he may convince a man to stop planning his life, and be more spontaneous. Sounds legitimate and Biblical to me!

So am I here to tell you to forget planning and be spontaneous in 2016? No, absolutely not. Yet, I’m still going to preach by the Word. Proverbs 15:22 states “without counsel plans fail, but with many advisors they succeed.” Psalm 20:4 states “May God give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.”

In today’s world, we are constantly bombarded with worldly views that conflict with Biblical teachings. Sometimes these views utilize pieces and parts of Scripture to convince people that they are “right.” Don’t let yourself be fooled into worldly thinking. Instead . . . observe the world, research the Bible, pray for understanding, and as the 1990’s would say WWJD?

Happy Birthday Dad!

Today I realized that it’s my dad’s birthday. Almost 9 years ago he passed away from heart-related conditions. I’m somewhat saddened today, which is very unusual. Normally his birthday comes and goes without even an acknowledgement from me, but this year it’s affected me more than normal. I miss him. I’m upset that he never got to meet his youngest grandson. My dad was a great man and a wonderful father who took time to be with his children. I wish he could be here to guide me and help me be a better father.

However, I also celebrate in the victory that he had because He knew Jesus. Today, he’s in Heaven without pain or worldly concerns, and that’s a better life for him than it was on earth.

Although I would question his Salvation in my younger years, I know that he came to know God prior to passing.

Who would you miss if they were gone today? Do they know Jesus? Can you be comforted in knowing that they will be in Heaven, and that you’ll see them again someday? If not, take time this year to talk to them about your faith. It’s not your responsibility to “convince them” to be a Christian; it’s merely your gift to them to tell them about Christ.

HOT water freezes faster than cold water- really?

If you’ve been around any amount of years, you’ve probably heard this claim more than once. In fact, some people swear by it, others disregard it as fallacy and say that common sense won’t permit them to believe it.

For years, I was in the latter crowd, not believing it due to common sense.

But first let’s consider why some claim this “wild idea.” First, it’s been proven that hot water freezes faster than cold water. Now let me clarify this – it’s also been proven that cold water freezes faster than hot water.

Now – how is that possible? Science would require us to have only one “truth.” Justice, similarly, pursues the “whole truth and nothing but the truth.”

Background: something not-so-commonly known as the Mpemba Effect happens when hot water freezes faster than cold water.

Interestingly, nobody knows what causes it, although many people have tried explanations which primarily include gas molecules and/or the transfer of heat to the top surface of a container and this super-cools the lower water.

Interestingly, it all depends on the overall conditions (environment, temperatures of both liquids, etc). But to make a stance and a decision myself, I delved outside last night during 20 degree temps to experiment for myself (with my buddyhot_cold_water Wesley on my hip).

Two identical shallow metal containers, 1 with cold tap water, another with 1.5 min microwaved HOT water. 10 minutes later, ice crystals were forming on the surface of the cold water, but not for another 5 minutes on the hot water. Conclusion – cold water freezes faster – duh, big surprise!

But wait, we never checked to see which one “fully” froze first. But then again, that wasn’t the question; the question was which freezes faster hot water or cold, not the “whole container” of water.

So, why is this on a Christian blog? Simply because there are many people out there that deny God and speak openly and freely. Some just say God doesn’t exist, and many others (including their children) believe them. If we all just believed each other, then we wouldn’t be able to think for ourselves.

Worse yet, there are others out there that will use Scripture to “prove” God doesn’t exist! After all, the Bible says “There is no God” (Psalm 14:1). [By the way, feel free to look up that verse now, so when the Atheist quotes it, you can be sure and quote the whole verse: “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.” – Psalm 14:1a].

So what’s the moral today? Don’t believe everything you hear. Even if it is “true” – it might not be the WHOLE truth.

a baby changes everything….

In today’s culture of sexploitation, girls can sometimes find themselves pregnant in their early teens.

Teenage boys filled with desire and passion often use the words “I love you” to manipulate girls. The result is a regret that the girl cannot ever overcome, and for the boy, a guilt and shame that should last a lifetime.

Yet, we seem to accept it in today’s society.

For our own children however, we may think it could never happen, but ….

it does….

it happens….

Often, too close to home…

And for many unfortunately, both boy and girl are to blame.

 

For one girl however, she never said “yes.” She was never touched, not even once by a man. Yet, her life too, was changed forever. And so was his….

A Baby Changes Everything by Faith Hill <click link @ left to listen>

It’s Friday – TGIF!

TGIF – wow, that’s a term we hear pretty often, but do we really mean it? Are we truly thanking God for it being Friday, or are we just so thankful that the week is over, that we aren’t really thanking Him, but are just glad the weekend is here?

So many times in life I am guilty of saying “Thank God for….” I don’t know if you’ve been there, but sometimes that just comes out of my mouth out of habit – more than out of an appreciation to God that something has happened.

An example is “Thank God traffic wasn’t bad last night when I….”  – Did I really mean that?

Do we really acknowledge that He, “GOD,” is in charge and really over-seeing all these actions on earth?

so that from the rising of the sun
    to the place of its setting
people may know there is none besides Me.
    I am the Lord, and there is no other.
I form the light and create darkness,
    I bring prosperity and create disaster;
    I, the Lord, do all these things. – Isaiah 45:6-7

It’s so hard to comprehend sometimes that God IS in control. That it is HE that is causing things to happen. But Why?

Not “why is it hard to comprehend,” but “why does HE care to be involved in our lives” to that extent?

I think the simple answer is because He LOVES us! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t understand HOW He does all this: maintains the whole world, the interaction of man with man, man with animals, and man with nature, but I know He does.

And I think it’s because He wants us to feel His presence:

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

The Lord your God is with you,
    the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
    in His love He will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing.” – Zeph 3:17

Therefore, the next time you say, or hear someone say, “Thank God…” or “TGIF” – let it remind you, and truly stop to Thank GOD!

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

80 vs 20, now what?

So, I’ve talked about being a “Christian.” For some of you, it goes without saying. In fact, that old 80/20 rule probably hits most people who are active in church (80% of the work is done by 20% of the people). If you are one of the active 20% in church, I applaud you!

Unfortunately, because of the 80/20 fact, it’s easy to get burned out (of course you probably know that).

Still, God wants us to be persistent in our work, doing good things, and following Him.

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. – Galatians 6:9

It’s easy to get knocked down by the world, by all the “things” in our lives, and even by our families and loved ones, but God is faithful and just to deliver us.