Scripture Memorization, Week 27

Well, the week number reminds me that we are half way through the year. I hope you are enjoying the Scripture Memorization process this year and, more importantly, that it is making a difference in your life.

We’ve been looking at the Roman Road salvation verses for several weeks. The best way to get these is to simply click HERE for last week’s and go backwards. While we’ve been looking at how a person becomes saved; right with God, today’s verse points out the results of a person’s change of heart. If you claim to be a believer, then this should be the desire of your heart. Here is the final in this series of verses with this week’s memory verse:

I still have people joining into this process even midway through the year. Feel free to join us.

He Who Loves You, Watches Over You

One of the greatest feelings as a parent has to be watching your children sleep….

Knowing they are safe….resting…under your care…

I never got tired of knowing my boys were safe in their beds at night. It was a great time of day.

I wonder if God feels that way…

I wonder if God gets a charge out of watching over His children as they sleep…

I wonder if He smiles when He sees a child drift into dream land…

I’m reminded of these verses:

“He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” (Psalm 121:3-4)

When you are sound asleep, God is on watch…like a proud dad!

As you go to bed tonight, capture the moment, imagine the emotion God has as He watches His child fall asleep.

My Current Heart Stirrings: Men’s Ministry

I did men’s ministry for many years before I went into vocational ministry. Recently I felt led to address the young men in our church. One Saturday morning, I invited men aged 35 and under to join me as I shared some thoughts with them. Basically I said to them what I wish had been said to me at that age. The response from the guys who attended has been amazing. They want more.

In the process of planning and praying for this event, God did something to my heart. I’m still processing all that means, but I know it involves being more intentional addressing concerns I see as a need for more godly men to lead in their homes, communities and churches.

This week I received this email. (Some details are omitted to protect the identity, although this email is one of dozens like it I receive each year.)

Hi, my wife and I attend your church regularly. My wife feels like I need to be more of a spiritual leader. I wanted to get your advice on what I should do as a husband to be more of a spiritual leader in my marriage and what it looks like. Thank you for your time.

Pastor, how would you answer that question?

God is placing a huge passion and burden on my heart for men, specifically young men who desire to be godly, but aren’t sure where to start. I’ve seldom met a man who didn’t want to do the right things, but I’ve met many who didn’t know how to get there. Mentoring and discipleship resources for men are rare compared to what’s available for women.

In the coming weeks and months, I’m going to spend more time addressing this issue here and in other venues. I’m even praying about a bigger opportunity to address this need. I don’t know what’s next completely, but I know when I stand before my God I want to have been faithful to His call.

Am I on the right track? Help me process this need and opportunity.

Men, be honest, do you need some help in this area of your life? Are you struggling in your roles as a man?

Women, what about your take on this issue? Do men need help learning to be godly men?

What are the best resources right now addressing this issue?

I’d love your input as it helps confirm and fuel my heart and thoughts.

Make Sure You Have at Least One of These…

Make sure you have at least one person in your life…

…Who is willing to say the hard things you don’t want to hear but need to hear…

  • Someone you trust…
  • Someone who knows you…
  • Someone with wisdom…
  • Someone who loves you…

Willing to tell you the truth…

It could save you, your marriage, and possibly your life…

Do you have someone like that in your life?

The Danger of the Mundane…And How to Fight It…

A danger exists in completing the routine tasks you have to do…

  • Routine assignments at work…
  • Routines in relationships…
  • Routines in physical activities…
  • Routines in daily quiet times…
  • Routines in weekly calendaring…

I call it the danger of the mundane…

The things we always do, things that we do everyday, as good as those things may be, can become so routine that they begin to be seen as more of a drag than a pleasure. If one is not careful, the routine becomes the only. our whole world becomes scheduled and predictable. I see couples struggle with this in their marriage and individuals in their careers. It’s common…even routine.

Some of the dangers of the mundane include:

  • You stifle creativity
  • You get bored
  • You remain unchallenged
  • You leave the best things undiscovered
  • You take blessings and other people for granted

Here are some ways you can fight the danger of the mundane:

  • Discipline time to dream
  • Find new ways to do old things
  • Rotate the schedule of when you do routine things
  • Delegate routine tasks if possible
  • Trade routine tasks with others…cross train for another position…
  • Be willing to try something new…
  • Always try to have some change in your life…

Have you ever faced the danger of the mundane? How did you fight this danger?

For further reading, you can see one way my wife and I addressed this danger in our marriage HERE.

3 Steps to Jump Start Your Spiritual Life

Have you been in a spiritual slump lately? Can you not seem to get out of the funk of the slump?

I have had several seasons of life where I simply didn’t feel close to God. Obviously, as the old saying goes, “I moved, not God.” I’ve learned a few things about the process of getting out of a spiritual slump.

Here are 3 easy ways to jump start your spiritual life:

Spend time in the right places – No matter how flashy we get, we will never escape the power of the Bible. Church serves a purpose in our spiritual growth. Prayer happens when we get alone with God. Some people encourage us in our walk with Christ and some don’t. Don’t expect to jump start your spiritual life until you are hanging out in the right places.

Discipline yourself – Supposedly if you do something continually for 21 days a habit forms that you can maintain. Years ago I was going through a difficult time, which led to a spiritual slump. Someone gave me some great advice. He said, “Read your Bible every day whether you feel like it or not.” I did. It worked. At first it was awkward, even mechanical seemingly, but over time, I fell in love again with God’s Word and my God..

Find accountability – Find one or two people you trust who will hold you accountable to this task. Give them freedom to ask if you have read your Bible, attended church, spent time alone with God, etc. Being accountable is always helpful, but especially during slump periods.

Did you want the process to be more difficult? It’s not…

Ready to start? Just Do It!

Be honest: Are you in a spiritual slump these days?

Scripture Memorization, Week 26

We are nearing the end of our look at what’s been called The Roman Road, a handy tool of verses helpful in explaining salvation to someone. I hope you are keeping up with each of these. It will give you a good purview of the book of Romans. If you missed any of these, see THIS POST for last week’s verse and trace back from there.

Here is this week’s memory verse:

Be honest: Have you ever completed the promise of this verse? Do you know for certain you are “saved”?

Is the Problem with the Gym the Same Problem with the Church?

Let’s face it…going to the gym can be brutal on the ego…

Recently Cheryl and I moved downtown. It was an intentional life change (You can read about it HERE.) Part of that move involved changing gyms. I now workout on the campus of our local university, Austin Peay State University. I love the facility. I’m a huge supporter of our local school. Cheryl and I graduated from there, but there’s only one problem with my new workout location.

Most of the people in the gym don’t look like they need to be there…

They are young, lean, fit, strong, beautiful college-aged gym people…

More so than my last gym where lots of people looked like me. :)

Recently as I was sweating like the oldies it got me thinking…

Isn’t that the perception of the church at times?

I can’t go there…because…everyone looks like they don’t need the church.

They are smiling, joyful, seemingly have-it-all-together people.

If my life is falling apart, why would I want to go there? I don’t fit in. I have nothing to offer. My life doesn’t match their life.

But then again, maybe because my physical body is out of shape is the reason I need to be in the gym…

And, maybe it’s why, when my life is a mess, I need the church…

BTW, behind the beautiful bodies in the gym may contain some messed up hearts and minds. And, behind those smiling faces at church may be some mixed up hearts and minds. (I wrote about that HERE.)

Let me make a deal with you…

I’ll keep going to my gym if you’ll give church another chance….

Be honest, have you ever felt you didn’t belong in church because your life was a mess?

Your Story Isn’t Too Big for Me To…

About once a month, someone shares a story with me that’s big. I get stories all the time, but I’m talking about the kind of story that makes your jaw flop open when you hear it…that kind of big story.

I’ve quit being surprised when it happens, but I’m usually surprised that it’s happening to the person telling me the story. Usually this type of story starts with a phrase such as “I hope you’ll still be my friend after I tell you this...” or “Please don’t give up on me when I tell you this…”

Someone made a huge error…they messed up…they sinned…

What surprises me most, however, is that no matter how much I preach with grace, in spite of the fact that “grace” is in our church’s name, even though I’m not bashful about saying I’ve had tremendous failures in my own life…

People still worry how I will respond to them.

Guilt does that too a person…and struggling with the emotions after a moral failure is often one of the hardest consequences…

Let me make one thing perfectly clear, however…

Your story isn’t too big for me to…

  • Extend you grace…
  • Call you my friend…
  • Still love you…
  • Want the best for you…
  • Introduce you to my Savior…

You see, it’s not because I’m especially graceful, but because I serve a BIG GOD…

And He’s extended me much grace…So I know…

My Jesus isn’t scared away by the size or the messiness of your story…

The seemingly impossible situation you’ve found yourself in hasn’t startled Him either…

Go ahead…share your story with me…watch and see…

By the way, the longer you try to protect your story or the longer you pretend it isn’t your story…

The longer you may be delaying receiving forgiveness and grace…

Have you ever felt your story was “too big” to share?

Do you have one person in your life with whom you can share anything and know he or she will still love you?

Do you need to confess your darkest pain to someone today?