Hats off to you, technology!

So, as I’m sure you know that working full time and having a family makes it hard to go to school at the same time. Well, I’m currently behind a few weeks (like, 5) and need to catch up quickly before I run out of time!

I’m getting to the point, I promise! This week was spring break for our kiddos. We went to Montgomery, AL and Panama City, FL to see family and friends. Each way was about a 10ish hour drive, we broke each into 2 days. I drove from Texas to Montgomery, then down to Panama City. While there, the preacher at the congregation my in-laws go to asked if my wife does all the driving now. I was a little confused and told him no, I do most of the driving. He said when he was in school his wife did the driving so he could read for his classes. Duh! She drove home.

OK, here’s the technology part. I go to an online school that uses Blackboard for assignments and I prefer e-books, so I use the Kindle app on my tablet to read. Well, you need internet for either of those to work! So, I used my phone as a WiFi hotspot, connected my tablet to it and did about 4 weeks of reading for one of my classes in 2 days. I took the quizzes for 3 of those weeks at the hotel we stayed in last night.

I could never imagine having this kind of connectivity when I was a kid! My kids are in the back seat watching DVDs while playing on their own tablets. I got to stare out the window for 8+ hours at a time when I was a kid.

Anyway, that’s my mini weekend take away. Technology.

Any of you have fun stories about technology in school or ministry (or whatever)?

Jonah, a Rusty Gate, and Me

The Biblical account of Jonah has some crazy action! Jonah ran from God, got tossed overboard in a storm, swallowed by a giant fish, vomited out onto land, then finally preached God’s message in a very dangerous city, in a very dangerous country. The people living the city were so vile, that God had planned to destroy them if they didn’t change their ways! Jonah delivered the message to them and God’s transforming word did its work and they repented! God decided not to destroy them, and this made Jonah happy that he finally performed his God given duties. Right? No!

In fact, “it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry.” (Jonah 4:1) Jonah had a lot of things going into the mission field of Nineveh. He had God on his side, he had a life saving, soul preserving message from God. Through Jonah, God saved many souls on that day! But Jonah was also missing a few things. Things like: compassion, grace, empathy, and love!

In 1 Corinthians 13:1 Paul wrote, “If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.”  Jonah spoke with more than human eloquence and angelic ecstasy, he spoke with the authority and might of God! But he did not love. Paul would go on to write, “So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.” Jonah did end up doing what he was told, he preached God’s life saving message and saved many souls, but he gained nothing. He was spiritually bankrupt! Because he did not love.

Are we any different? I can also go the ends of the earth, or the end of my street, and spread to gospel because it’s what I’m “supposed to do”. But just like a smile that never reaches my eyes, if the gospel never reaches my heart, I don’t benefit at all from the work I do! That’s called going through the motions. The people I teach may end up obeying the gospel and become saved, but if I don’t love them as I teach and preach, I will be lost!

So today, as I labor in God’s Kingdom, I need to evaluate myself. Every word I say, every action I take, every decision that I make, every thought I think… are they done with love?

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13)

Don’t be a clanging cymbal, noisy gong, or a creaking rusty gate! Speak the truth and love (Ephesians 4:15)! 

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.  Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:7-8)

Have a great week!

Get up, Bambi!

get_up_bambi

There’s a scene from Walt Disney’s 1942 classic, Bambi, where the titular young deer is laying down tired, wounded, and alone as a wildfire races toward him. The Great Prince of the Forest, and Bambi’s father, calls out to him, “Get up, Bambi! Get up! You must get up!” Bambi’s father could see what he couldn’t see for himself, the imminent danger he was in and that he would certainly die if he didn’t pick himself up off the ground and move.

1 Kings 19 shows us a picture of the prophet Elijah. He had just won a great victory in a spiritual battle with the prophets of Baal, a false Canaanite god. Queen Jezebel, the evil wife of King Ahab, heard about the defeat of her prophets and chased after Elijah to kill him! Tired, scared, and seemingly alone, Elijah took up residence in a cave in the wilderness and laid down, for good. God came to him and asked, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” Elijah explained that he was tired and that he was the only person in Israel that was still loyal to him. God told Elijah that there were at least 7,000 Israelites who were still loyal to their God, and he gave Elijah a list of things to do, including to train Elisha, his replacement. God basically said get up, Elijah! Get up!

We as Christians are also warned of dangers around us. Paul warns us of false teachers, who want to destroy us from the inside. Peter warns us about the devil, who stalks us, hunting to find a person who he can devour! We may want lay down under the pressure and strain of spiritual battle, feeling wounded, lost, and alone. But we are never alone. Just like Elijah, there are those who are loyal to our God, our Christian family who we can lean on and they can lean on us. We have Jesus who we can cast our cares onto, we have the Spirit who guides us and makes intercession for us, and we have the Father who forgives us and watches over us.

So get up, Christian! Get up! You must get up! There is work to do, let’s go together and do it!

The Update Blog

Well, its been some time since my last blog post! A lot has changed since November of 2015. Allow me to fill you in…

If you read my previous entry about life changes ahead, those changes did indeed happen! God has blessed my family and I with the opportunity to work with the Westside Church of Christ in Alvin, TX. I have been the full-time Family Life and Youth Minister since April of 2016. Aside from the challenges of moving across the country, renting then buying a house, and getting to know teenagers who didn’t want to see their old youth minister leave, things are great! We love the congregation and don’t plan to leave until they throw us out!

I have separated from active duty service in the Air Force and have joined the AF Reserve. I opted to go back into aircraft maintenance. I travel about 6 hours to attend drill, but I decided to do that rather than retrain again (6 months in technical training) to go into a new job closer to home.

I’m still plugging away at my bachelor’s degree of Bible/Ministry at Amridge University. I’m almost there, if all goes well I should finish my coursework this fall and graduate spring of 2018! Next will be my master’s in professional counseling.

Next order of business, I’m thinking of changing my blog name to something more descriptive. I hope that my followers won’t have to update their links or re-follow me, I’ll have to to some more research about that.

I hope to be posting more blogs soon, maybe not weekly, but more regularly.

Thanks for reading, have a great weekend!

Refugees – The Re-Mix

Ok, unless you literally live under a proverbial rock you know about the middle eastern refugees who are seeking asylum in other eastern countries as well as in the United States. I must confess that I, as a father, a husband, and as an American, am very concerned with the idea of 10,000 refugees flooding into our country. I have absolutely no problem with humanitarian needs being met. My concern is with the undoubtedly hidden threats that will also be coming into our backyards along with the innocents. Every fiber of my being is screaming that we most certainly should not let them into our personal safe haven (which isn’t really all that safe, but I guess it is relative to where they are coming from)! But, I’ve really done some thinking and soul searching and have had to check that line of thinking.

27d739139a09b15c31dd2abe57ea10dcLet me throw this thought at you, from a family leadership prospective. Say a group in our country that is considered to be radical, but relatively peaceful, say the Westboro Baptist “Church”, started murdering non-Christian and Christian alike for not believing in their particular brand of hatred. Not only locally, but their movement began to spread. They attack and acquire weaponry and equipment from National Guard and Homeland Security facilities and go on the march straight to your state/city/town/neighborhood/backyard/house. You take your family and run. Lets say, for the sake of my illustration, that you run to Iraq where Islam is a stable form of government and the majority of the population is made up of moderate Muslims. But they don’t let you in with your precious family because you or the people with you could be radical Christian terrorists. You know that you and yours are innocent! But they still don’t want to let you in because of the perceived threat.

Does this scenario give you pause? Did you stop and think about what those monsters would do to your wife? To your children? Or to you? All you want to do is keep your family safe from all harm. But you can’t get away.

This is not meant to try to make you change your mind about national or personal security, or to downplay the very real threat, and I have no budgetary scheme to pay for the aid these people would need, but just to think about it in another light. I must tell you, that as I write this and realize how hard hearted I have been thus far, my heart is breaking for those innocent families who just want a place to live peacefully. Please join me in prayer for the men, women, and children who are caught up in the hateful schemes of evil men.

Life Changes Ahead!

I’m currently enlisted in the US Air Force, my plan was to serve my 20 years while completing my bachelor’s degree in Bible/Ministry and a companion master’s then retire. After retirement I wanted to go into youth ministry or teach Bible at a Christian school. Well, after many prayers and discussions with my wife and family, I have decided to start applying for open positions and if hired, join the Air National Guard or AF Reserve. I’ll then focus on my ministry and completing my education.

I’m looking for a medium sized Church of Christ in the South Eastern United States (SC, NC, GA, AL, TN, FL Panhandle). Please shoot me an email if you have any leads! And feel free to download a copy of my resume.

More importantly, I would like y’all to pray for me and my family as we look to making a huge change in our lives.

Thank you!

But, who raised Job?

That’s a good question isn’t it?  Who did raise Job? Hmm…

We know already that Job was a Godly and righteous man. God’s Word says that he was blameless (Job 1:8)! Can you imagine God calling you, or the child you raised, blameless? But how did Job get to be that way? It’s possible that he came to knowledge of God through study. Or maybe one of his “good” friends taught him. But Job 31:16-18 tells us something about his upbringing:

If I have withheld anything that the poor desired,
    or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail,
or have eaten my morsel alone,

    and the fatherless has not eaten of it
(for from my youth the fatherless grew up with me as with a father,
    and from my mother’s womb I guided the widow)

You see, Job’s parents were servants before him. He witnessed his parents helping orphans and widows, just as we are told by James what true religion is (James 1:27).

So how did Job’s parents teach him to be such a good man? Deuteronomy 6:6-9 springs immediately to mind:

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

I can’t say for certain, but I would imagine that this is how Job learned, and this is how we are to teach our children. Notice that this passage doesn’t say to let Sunday school teachers teach your children. Neither does it say let the youth minister raise your children. No, the Bible says for YOU raise them (Ephesians 6:4). It says to teach by your example. How do you talk about God? Do you talk about God? Do you pray in the morning, before meals, at bed time? Do your children see you studying the Bible? This passage says they should literally see the Word everywhere!

Now that I’m done stomping all over my own toes, I pray that you have an amazing day.