Monday, March 31, 2008

This week I'm going to post some thoughts on giving, here's part 1, "Urban Legends About Giving"

This week I'm going to post some thoughts on giving. Most of the thoughts will be borrowed from a great website called generousgiving and my personal stories will be of course, mine. (and true) Don't ever forget, you cannot out give God!


I’m Not Required to Give
It’s my money. I earned it.
It is a common idea (especially in America) that a person has absolute authority over his own stuff. But the reality is very different. The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it (Psalm 24:1). Whatever we have has come from the Lord’s hand, and only indirectly by our earning (1 Chronicles 29:14). Our wealth belongs to us in the same way that a child’s bedroom belongs to the child. The room actually belongs to the parent, but the child is given temporary, accountable charge over it. This is even more so for Christians, who have been bought at the price of Jesus’ death (1 Corinthians 5:20). Our lives and all our stuff is utterly at the disposal of the God who bought us.


My giving is a private matter between God and me, no one else.

In our culture, a man’s checkbook is no one’s business but his own. In a similar way, many Christians say that their giving is a private matter, information to which only God is privy. They point to Jesus’ admonition in Matthew 6: “[W]hen you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” But Jesus’ words here have to do with our inner motives for giving (to please God rather than men), not a privilege of privacy. Any time you find yourself insisting that some part of your spiritual life is nobody else’s business, it may be a warning sign that you are trying to hide something. We should keep in mind that the Lord Jesus gave his life not primarily to secure a private relationship with each of us, but to make for himself a church of people consecrated to him (Ephesians 5:25). And this church shares a mutual responsibility for the spiritual growth of its members (Galatians 6:1-5), including our use of money. This means that Christians should be honest and accountable with each other about how we handle God’s money. So my giving is actually between God, me, and my Christian brothers and sisters.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Great song

My wife and I have enjoyed watching the celebrity apprentice these last few weeks and I heard a great song at the finale. The song is by Trace Adkins and it's called, "You're gonna miss this." Every time the song is purchased on iTunes in the next week or so the money goes to a deserving charity. It is a great song and it will really get you thinking. Check it out and Enjoy!

Tomorrow has me thinking about how to love my kids better...

Tomorrow morning is the weekend experience for our church family. It's an exciting weekend! We are coming off of Easter (which is our highest attended day of the year) and we are celebrating child dedication. (which is also highly attended) A few times each year we dedicate children from our church family to the Lord. It's a great moment and one of my favorite things to do as a Pastor. It's a special moment for the family and one that I have enjoyed with my own. I was thinking about the follow-through of that dedication process and how I can be more loving to my children. I found this good article on the five love languages and how to love your child. It's good stuff and I thought it could be helpful for all of you out there that have children like I do.

Five Love Languages
Do your children feel loved? Do they sense your unconditional affection and support as they school at home? Although we may think we’re showing love to our children, many times our children fail to feel loved because we use the wrong love language. According to The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell, children sense love in five basic ways – words of affirmation, gift giving, quality time, acts of service, and physical touch. Do you know which of these love languages speaks loudest to your child’s heart?

Determining your child’s love language will enable you to achieve family closeness and provide a solid emotional foundation for your child. One simple test you can use to find your child’s love language is to ask your child this question:
If I was gone on vacation for several weeks, what would you like me to do when I returned home?

Tell you how much I missed you. (words of affirmation)
Bring a gift back for you. (gift giving)
Spend the day playing together. (quality time)
Make your favorite meal for supper. (acts of service)
Give you a big hug and kiss. (physical touch)

Although your child may say that he would like you to do all of these, tell him to pick just one. Your child’s response will pinpoint his particular love language and enable you to communicate your love to him more effectively.

So what are some practical ways of meeting your child’s need for love as you educate him at home? Depending on your child’s particular love language you might do the following:

Words of Affirmation – Mean what you say. No flattery allowed.
0. Write encouraging comments like “great job” on his daily papers.
0. Hide “I love you” notes in his assignments.
0. Pay sincere compliments when he demonstrates positive character qualities with siblings.
0. Be polite and use “please” and “thank you” liberally.
0. Praise him verbally as often as you can for both his efforts and successes in school.
0. Pray aloud with him daily and ask for God’s blessing on his life.

Gift Giving – It doesn’t need to be expensive, just thoughtful and age appropriate.
0. Purchase items (favorite candy bar, coloring book, anything he’d like) from dollar-value stores to use as daily rewards on schoolwork.
0. Choose a gift or plan an activity that he has been wanting and give it as a reward for a successful school year.
0. Create a surprise love bucket. Fill it with a different educational item each week, such as art supplies, an educational computer game, a new reference book, a new notebook, or some other study item.
0. Make homemade gifts. These gifts may even spark an interest in carpentry, sewing, photography, gardening, and other life skills.
Quality Time – Undivided attention required. No multi-tasking allowed.
0. Cherish learning together – don’t hurry him through his school lessons.
0. Take all the time necessary to help him work through questions he doesn’t understand.
0. Plan an individual field trip covering one of his subjects.
0. Skip school and plan a regular date once a month to do something fun.
0. Watch a movie, play a board game, or read a book together.
0. Play a seasonal sport activity together for physical education class.
0. Work together on a hobby that he enjoys.
Acts of Service – Be creative. Go beyond the normal duties of being a parent.
0. Help him paint and redecorate his room.
0. Plan a special party or activity for his friends.
0. Wash and wax his car.
0. Volunteer to help in his Sunday school class or youth group at church.
Physical Touch – Warning! This love language is not for young children only!
0. Give kisses and hugs without measure – of course!
0. Cuddle in a chair while you share a book for reading class.
0. Give a backrub while he is studying at the computer or the table.
0. Give a pedicure or manicure as you study lessons on health.
Don’t assume that you are communicating love effectively simply because you teach your child at home. Just as children learn academics differently, they also feel love from their parents differently. If you want your children to remember their days of home education as ones filled with love, monitor their hearts through the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, apply large amounts of God’s agape love, and communicate in the love language that they understand best!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Bunny time!




Some Easter pics from this weekend. My family is such a blessing. That is the whole clan minus my beautiful wife. I am a very blessed muchacho. The first pic is a pretty funny story. We had gotten each of our children a little chocolate bunny in their family Easter basket. Carter (2 years old) was playing with his bunny and he poked the face and it broke and fell inside the hollow bunny. It totally freaked him out. He was scared to death of the bunny and still will not go near it. You can see it in his face in the picture. The question is, "Would it be wrong for me to use it as a discipline tool?" To say things like, "do you want me to get the bunny if you don't listen?" I would never do that, I'm just teasing. It was a pretty funny moment and one that my wife and I will always remember. BEWARE OF THE HOLLOW CHOCOLATE BUNNY!

Easter-after

It's Easter-after and I'm feeling pretty good. We have a great team and everyone stepped up and did an awesome job. I'm spending some time early this week with some pastor friends of mine from out of town. We get together 2-3 times a year to make sure that we are not losing our minds. I value all of my friends but these guys are unique because they do what I do. They are all Pastors at churches in the North East. It's great to be able to download your heart with others. DO YOU HAVE PEOPLE THAT YOU CAN DOWNLOAD WITH IN YOUR LIFE. I need people that I can be honest with. What's great about my friends is that they don't need anything from me. They don't need my money, time or influence. They have chosen to be my friend just because. It's easier to journey through life with friends. We need all kinds of friends to share life together with. If you don't have good friends that you can trust, pray and ask God to give you some ASAP. Trust me, He will. You do not have because you do not ask. Go ahead and ask today!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Resurrection Day!



We had a great day today at Freedom Life! Our church pulled together and we enjoyed an awesome weekend service. We had tons of visitors and God's presence was there in a powerful way. It was one of our largest attended services ever, right around 600 people, and it was a blast! It takes a lot of passionate volunteers and inviters to make a service happen each weekend, and this week was no different. From our parking attendants to our children workers, everyone gave of themselves sacrificially! It is an honor to be a part of a great church and to see everyone function in their gifts.
We launched our new series called, 'thread.' It's a series that I've wanted to adapt for the last few years from Fellowship church. I talked about how God desires to give us new threads and new life in Him. It is exciting to see people take steps in their spiritual journey towards Christ. When I get to pray with people that want their walk with God to be resurrected by the power of Jesus Christ and to start new, there is no great joy. I hope that you had a happy resurrection day, my day was a blast!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Easter Weekend

I can't believe that Easter weekend is here! I'm taking my family out to get our pictures taken and to buy some new threads. I love getting our kids pictures taken and dressing them up. I want to look back and see how much they changed and what 'threads' we had them in. It's something my family always did and my wife does a great job of planning all of those things with our family. Here is a pic from my archives as a kid.



Those are some serious threads and some serious ears! Hilarious!! Anyway, this years message series beginning Easter Sunday is called 'thread.' Join us this weekend at 10 a.m. as we look at the connection between our threads and the hope that we have in the Savior, Jesus Christ.

Also, each year we try and do some special family activities during the holy week to help our kids understand the reality of Easter and the resurrection. I found a good link with lots of great ideas at christianity today's website, for more information, click here I also recommend the Miss Pattycake books, videos and the resurrection eggs from Family Life. Our kid's love them, learn from them and they are fun. Enjoy the Easter weekend and remember to focus on the reality of the resurrection!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Hope

I read a really good devotional today from Joel Osteen ministries and I wanted to share it with you.

Hope Comes from Him
Today's Scripture

“Find rest, o my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him” (Psalm 62:5).

Today's Word from Joel and Victoria

God is constantly planting seeds of hope and victory in your life. He’s constantly trying to deposit His faith on the inside of you. Often times, when we’re anxious and worried, it’s difficult to hear His voice of hope and confidence. But when we stop and quiet ourselves, when we find rest in Him, we will recognize His voice of hope. You’ll hear Him saying to your heart, “Your best days are still in front of you, you are more than a conqueror, you’re the head and not the tail.” As you receive His hope, it creates a foundation for faith to rise inside your heart. The Bible says that faith gives substance to things hoped for. In other words, your hope gives your faith something to work toward. If the cares of this world have left you frustrated and empty today, make the decision right now to open your heart and allow the Lord to deposit His hope on the inside of you. It doesn’t matter what you are facing today or what’s happened in your past, God wants to give you hope today. He wants to pour out His blessing in every area of your life so that you will live the abundant life He has for you!

A Prayer for Today

Father in heaven, I ask for Your hope today. Thank You for lifting me up into heavenly places with You. Show me how to be a vessel of hope to those who are around me today. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

What Kind Of Person Are You?

I read a great blog today from over at davidfoster.tv. The post is below. Take some time to answer this question, What kind of person are you?

There are four kinds of people, I’ve discovered. Here they are:

1. COULD DO PERSON. “I could do that” These are the people that make excuses why they didn’t do it. If all the stars aligned and all the resources were made available, they could do that.

2. LIKE TO DO PERSON. “I’d like to do that” That’s the person who says that if it’s simple, easy and fast, I wouldn’t mind having the reward.

3. SHOUD DO PERSON. “I should do that” That’s the person who lives by an inner sense of the moral rightness of a thing, but is never able to make the connection to move into action.

4. MUST DO PERSON. “I must do that” That’s the person who, in spite of lack of resources, opportunity, and skill, will go out and find all three.

Here is the question I have for you. WHAT IS YOUR MUST? There are not many. There are probably not more than three, certainly no more than five in your life. But what are the things that you absolutely must do; must do or die? Not could do, not should do, not would do, but must do. If you haven’t found those things, you’re living your life as a terrible risk. What’s the risk? To waste it at things you’re really not good at, that you don’t care about, and are way too easy to do.

Remember, it’s the mediocre middle that looks for things that are fast, easy, and simple. It’s the elite, the excellers, the achievers, the succeeders, and those who raise their game to a level of must who end up with the money, power, and satisfaction. It will cause you tension, aggravation, and sleepless nights. It will wear you out and push you down the road. BUT THAT’S WHAT YOU WERE MADE FOR.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Time flies, do you know where yours is going?

We are gearing up for a series called, "One Month To Live," at the end of next month. I'm pretty excited about the effect that I believe it will have on our church family and on those who will be visiting during that time. As I've been thinking about the series, I've had some interesting things happen this week. First, I was talking with my 8 year old daughter about an American Girl book that she borrowed from a friend and was reading. The book teaches girls about their developmental stages during the pre-teen years. My daughter was explaining things to me that we did not even want to think about discussing with her yet. My wife and I are still shell-shocked. The only period that I want my daughter learning about is the one that goes at the end of a sentence! Time flies, I was rocking her to sleep in my arms just yesterday and now she's learning about growing up. The second memorable event that happened this week is that I had the chance to sit down with a very nice lady that was told just days ago that she has one month to live. She was diagnosed with cancer and we are believing God for a miracle for her. Whether it's at the beginning of your life or near the end, it seems like life goes so fast. It challenged me to live with more intentionality and to ask myself, "time flies, do you know where yours is going?"

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

W.W.G.D.

Did you see this headline? Mary Ann of 'Gilligan's Island' Caught With Marijuana in Car Click here to check out the story.
I guess the question we must ask ourselves is, "What would Gilligan do?" Crazy stuff!

This past weekend

I had a great time this past weekend as I enjoyed our churches marriage conference and some much needed time with my wife. My mother-in-law came into town and was a blessing as she watched our kids for a few days. It was weird to go out and not be interrupted in some way by one of our four children.
At our weekend service we had special guests, Greg & Kristie Hollis, who also were the speakers at our marriage retreat. They did a great job of investing into our church. Greg really challenged us on Sunday to develop our family portrait. Not based on the past, but on the future that God has for each of us. I guess the question is, "What will your family look like in the future based on the intentional choices that you make today?" It is a question that I'm really taking some time to consider. The stakes are huge and generations will be affected by my choices. I hope that you'll consider that question this week also.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

LOVE AFFAIR SERIES

We are currently in a a great teaching series called, "Love Affair" during our weekend service. We are reading through the books of 1,2, & 3 John and asking God to teach us how to love. I invite you to join us as we read through these powerful books. This past weekend was a particularly challenging message as we talked about the reality that God commands us to love other Christ-followers, as well as our enemies. Who are you having a difficult time loving this week? Maybe it is a friend, a loved one, a co-worker, an enemy or maybe it's even yourself. Let God grow you this week as you make a decision to love God and love others regardless of the circumstance. Especially love those that don't deserve it. You can have everything in the world, but if you don't have love, you don't have anything. Remember, God is love! I'll talk more about this tomorrow...

Runway Fashion Model Trips and Falls-TWICE

It's tuesday and I need a laugh. Enjoy this video, the whole thing is absolutely hilarious! Have a great day!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Another great devotional, part 2

Here is another great devotional from one of my favorite preachers, Ed Young. (personal note, enjoy Buddy & check out Ed's video with Joel, pretty funny!)

Remember the words I spoke to you: "No servant is greater than his master." If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me.
John 15:20-21


Many people are surprised when they read these verses of Scripture for the first time. How can a loving, peaceful, gentle God allow people to hate you for being obedient to him? But many are surprised because one of biggest lies about the Christian faith is that obedience equals a comfortable life. But Jesus says in Matthew 10 that he did not come to bring peace. He came to bring a sword.

Jesus' message is so strong that it produces polarizing responses in your life and mine. God never promised that if we were obedient we would live a comfortable life. Some of God's most obedient followers have been imprisoned, tortured and have even forfeited their lives because of their allegiance to Christ.

Most Christ-followers today will not lose their life for faithful obedience. But the costs are often more subtle. There may be social sacrifices. There may be sacrifices of time to serve others that could have been used to serve self. But these are small sacrifices compared to the ultimate sacrifice that Christ made on the cross.

Don't let the sacrifices keep you from focusing on the bigger picture. Consider what the Bible said about Jesus. "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:2). Jesus sacrificed his life because of the blessings on the other side of the cross. Can you focus on the blessings ahead of you?

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Another great devotional!

Confidence in Him
This is another great devotional that I got this week. It is from Joel Osteen Ministries and I think it will be an encouragement to you! Enjoy!

Today's Scripture

“My soul takes refuge and finds shelter and confidence in You…” (Psalm 57:1).

Today's Word from Joel and Victoria

Do you need more confidence for something specific in your life today? Confidence is strength in knowing that God has chosen you and equipped you for everything in life today. It doesn’t matter what you may be facing, you can find confidence in God. When you understand how much God loves you and that He desires to empower you, every obstacle will become smaller and smaller. Know this, for every challenge, God has a solution. He wants to turn your obstacle into opportunity. He wants to bring you out stronger than before. He wants to take you to higher places. Your soul can find refuge and shelter in Him. That means, you can rest, even in the midst of the storms of life. Take a step of faith today and begin to thank Him for working your life. Thank Him for the confidence that He has promised you. Remember, God is at work on your behalf. He will fill your heart with His peace, confidence, and power to move forward into the abundant life He has for you!

A Prayer for Today


Father in Heaven, I come to You today with a humble heart. I give You my concerns and worries and ask You to fill me with Your peace and confidence today. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

How Bad Do You Hate Your Job?

Officials: Man Asked Friend to Shoot Him So He Could Skip Work
Saturday, March 01, 2008


PASCO, Wash. — What happened to faking a cough?

Sheriff's detectives in Washington state say a man had his friend shoot him in the shoulder so he wouldn't have to go to work.

When he first spoke with deputies, Daniel Kuch told them he'd been the victim of a drive-by shooting while he was jogging Thursday.

But detectives told KONA radio that Kuch later acknowledged that he asked his friend to shoot him so he could get some time off work and avoid a drug test.

The friend has been arrested for investigation of reckless endangerment. Kuch is expected to be charged with false reporting.

Detectives declined to say where Kuch works, or whether he still has a job. It wasn't known if he had obtained a lawyer.