Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone?

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To some this may sound like a trick question, to others it is serious thought. I tend to fall in to the second camp. I really wonder how much would I be missed if I were no longer around. I often wonder what kind of legacy will be left behind by me. I wonder will there be enough people at my funeral to even carry my casket. I wonder a lot of different things about what the lives of those I love will be like if I were to pass away.

Now, I have been writing everyday minus one for the last 62 days, I wonder if you all would miss me if I were gone. I am curious if I have left a small mark on your world, that has left and indelible mark on you in some way? Everyone wants to be remembered for doing something good.

It may be selfish, but I want to be remembered for making difference in the world through my words. Not because they are my words, but because every time I write I try to offer hope and encouragement through the power of Jesus Christ. There is no way I have been able to do all the things in this life I have done without His guidance and help.

So it is not a legacy of me I want to leave behind but a spreading of the good news of Jesus. I want people to say of me, what they said of the disciples, “That He has been with Jesus.” And as it is being said God would be glorified and in the end I would be like John the Baptist. “He must increase, and I must decrease.”

If I haven’t left that kind of impact then what has my life been for? What is it all about? So I guess in reality while I want to be a little selfish and know if people would miss me if I were gone the biggest question is did I represent Christ well while I was here? If I were to stop writing tomorrow, would the work I have created be a good discipleship tool, or just more junk clogging up the net?

Question: Do you think I have made a difference for the Kingdom of God? How can I do more?

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How Can You Be An Everyday Hero?

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This head line seems to just about sum up all to be said. But, sometimes all we need is a hero, someone to step in and save us from our lives. There are a lot of times we don’t care where this so called hero comes from. I got the idea from watching a movie, specifically DareDevil.

This hero can come in many forms. It could be your local cashier at Wal-mart, or your barista at Starbucks. You never know you could become someones hero. By the smallest act of kindness can make a huge difference. I have witnessed it many times in my own life how something as simple as a phone call can turn someone’s day/week around. It seems inconsequential to us but to that person it means the world.

Being a hero doesn’t always have to be some extreme event like those portrayed on TV and in the movies. You don’t have to rescue someone from a car wreck or a burning building. Take a co-worker out for coffee and get to know them a little bit better. Call up a friend you haven’t seen in a while and go to lunch.

One of the best things you can do is volunteer. Especially with organizations like the Cub Scouts and feed in to the lives of young children. Help to mold them into model citizens. Or another way you can serve is by getting involved with a local food pantry or a similar type institution. By doing these random acts of kindness and giving back to the lives of others you are being an everyday hero.

Christ told his disciples if they saw one hungry to feed them, or naked to clothe them and if they did it for the least of them the did it for him. In another place it speaks of doing well for a stranger and you may have entertained an angel. So you never quite know who you are doing the good work for. So always be vigilant and let your good work become God’s work.

I long to hear the stories you will have of all the good you have been doing. By God’s grace I lead a few Bible studies, and a cub scout den.

My question to you is how can you be an everyday hero now?

How to Love Someone Who’s An Addict

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This is not an easy post to write. I am not writing as the person who needs to learn how to love an addict. I am the addict addressing how to be loved. In my life I have been addicted to A LOT of things. Ranging from alcohol and drugs to pornography. By the grace of a loving God through Jesus Christ I have been set free from those addictions.

However, there is one ugly monster I cannot slay and it’s the addiction of approval. I know when you read this headline you were probably expecting a how to guide since it says “How to love someone that’s an addict.” What I hope you get from this post is exactly what it promises. Just not the step by step variety.

For me I have learned not to put myself in the sin of proximity. It means not allowing myself to be put in situations where I may fall off the wagon. So the first thing you can do is not be a stumbling block for those who struggle with addiction. If they are trying to not do something, don’t bring it around them. This goes for EVERYTHING from food to cigarettes.

Try not to reminisce about the good old days when such and such used to take place. All it does is make the person feel like you don’t love them for who they are, just what they used to be. I was a very crazy guy in my previous lifestyle. Now I am more laid back. I tend to play the background and let others take the center stage.

One of the best things you can do is love the person through all of their struggles. It is not an easy road to travel. I did not walk the road alone and can take no credit for the turn around made in my life. It is all due to the intervention of Jesus Christ into my life. But what I do know is the things mentioned above have helped me to remain clean and sober for almost 13 years.

It is a whole different story about my addiction to approval though. I can tell everyone all day long how we are to find our identity in Jesus and we are fully accepted in him. Knowing these things should be enough, but for me they aren’t. I enjoy hearing I have done a good job, people liked whatever I did or however the acknowledgment may come. I write this as a way to acknowledge my need to overcome this aspect of my life and trust God is enough not only for me but my entire family as well.

There are too many things in life people can become addicted to. Watch for the signs in your own life. Comfort can become a ruling emotion, longing to take over. Eating can easily get out of control (take it from me). I had gastric bypass three years ago because my weight had gotten out of control along with the rest of my health. So I understand the devastating effects of addiction and wanting to be loved.

While being loving make sure you are not also an enabler. You have to know when enough is enough. Tweet: Being an enabler is almost more dangerous to an addict than being the one who tells them no all the time. I’d rather you tell me no to an idea out of love and respect than to enable me out of fear or rejection.

I just need to keep reminding myself there is nothing in this world to hard for God to accomplish. He has brought me this far. From being an ex-thug, addict and thief. To having a B.S. in Religion (Magna Cum Laude) and working toward my Masters of Divinity. These are things I never in a million years would have dreamed of. It is my hope, when i am finished with this degree I will be able to use it well and not just for more accolades.

There you have it. Some practical ways to love an addict, and some more about me you may or may not have wanted to know. Now it’s your turn.

Question:What are some things in your life you may be addicted to?

For the Love of Money

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I’m going to assume most of know how the song goes. For the love of money people will steal from their brother. The Bible says the love of money is the root of many kinds of evils. I had a friend ask a question about selling the gospel to make a fortune. Do you think it is okay to make money off of the Gospel?

What a loaded question. If it were evil to make money off of the gospel no pastor would be able to receive a paycheck. I do believe there is another section of Scripture that says the worker is worthy of his wage. I think it depends on the context of how money is being made off the Gospel. Meaning that is it coming from an honest stream of income that seeks to glorify the Lord, or is it something that just seeks to build up that singular person?

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus speaks about seeking first the kingdom of God and everything will be added to you. Meaning that if you make the gospel a priority the things you need for life will be taken care of. Why do we allow money to get such a hold on our hearts? What is it about money that entangles us so easily?

It seems to be the promises it makes but cannot fulfill. Promises to make you happy, to make you enjoy life, to meet all of your needs and expectations. Yet we fall victim to it every time it comes around flaunting itself in the newest form. Some of us (myself included) are in debt and my never see the light of day. By choosing to be a student and better myself I have brought this upon myself.

We do have something that will meet those promises, or should I say someone. Jesus Christ will fulfill our deepest needs and desires, by taking the selfish ones we once had and replacing them with new ones. Ones based on Him, HIs kingdom and glory.

I’d much rather be serving God with a little bit than living an exhorbant lifestyle displeasing to Him. The reason being is he has changed my heart. I no longer long to live solely for myself, I live for him (or at least try to) and want to see his kingdom expanded. We have a choice to be made in lives. We can either choose to live and build our kingdom. Or we can live lives centered on building His kingdom and in the process reap due rewards.

Question: Who’s kingdom are you going to work on building today?

Friends…How Many Do You Really Need?

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Aside from my wife I have a few people I would really call my friend. Which I guess some people would say that I am lucky to have that many. I often wonder how the Lord Jesus felt in the world because no one could fully relate to him and all of the things he was going through. I know we need each other because Proverbs 27:17 tells me that we do. It says, “As iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”
What does that really look like? It requires contact! You cannot have that sharpening without it. The one thing you can take from this is that it says one man, not necessarily a group of men. So you do not have to have a lot of people in your life to be sharpened. Just that one good friend. You know the one who will tell you what you need to hear, even if it’s not what you want to hear. Iron cannot be sharpened without some friction. Just like us we cannot grow without a challenge.
With a friend you can get more things accomplished. Ecclesiastes 4:9 says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.” I’m pretty sure you have heard the old adage, “in order to have friends you must first be a friend.” What does that look like?
I think you need to be someone a person can depend on, someone who keeps their word. Proverbs 18:24 says, “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. What I have been trying to say is summed up in this verse. We don’t need to have a lot of friends. We need one or two good friends, but most of all we need Jesus.
When we have Jesus we have the best friend we could possibly ask for. We still need human friends also just not a whole plethora of them to be happy. Jesus has shown his love for us that he gave his life for us (John 15:13), not only that he did it while we were separated from him by sin (Romans 5:8).
I encourage you to run to Jesus with open arms and tell him how grateful you are for his friendship. If you don’t have a relationship with him I’d be more than happy to discuss how you can. It is the most important decision you’ll ever make.
Do you have friends you can count on? Are you a person people want to call friend?

Put Your Hands To Work

oftersheim-140589_640Are you like me sometimes, who starts something only to leave it unfinished? I’m not sure why I do that. Maybe it just gets boring, but for whatever reason I tend to lose interest in certain projects. That is one reason why I love to write. I am talking about a different subject each day while still looking for Jesus in the midst of the everyday. I am glad the Lord has given me things to discuss over this last month. One thing that scares me though has to do with Jesus’ saying: “Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.(Luke 9:62)
Have you started on the journey of faith and started to have doubts? That is okay just trust in the Lord to answer those doubts. Because Christ is clear that once you start on the path, you shouldn’t look back. If you look back you are unfit for the kingdom of God. That should make every believer take their commitment to Christ that much more serious. 
That means we cannot allow apathy, lethargy or any other -gy take root. We have to work and pay attention to where we are going. If you are plowing a field and not looking ahead to a mark you won’t plow a straight line. If you keep looking back to see how you are doing you are going to start veering off course.
The same is true in our walk with Jesus. If we keep looking back at where we have come from we lose focus to where we are headed. I want to encourage you that if you are seeking God through reading the Bible, prayer, and fellowship with other believers you are on a good trajectory.  It is okay to stop and remember where you started. Just don’t make it your sole focus. 
Do you struggle with looking backward too often?

Challenges

   

 How do you respond to challenges you face? Some people say you can tell a lot about a person based on this one act. I know for me it depends on the challenge. Is it something mental or physical? Is it something I have been able to train for does it appear out of the blue? These are factors I have to take into consideration. But what about challenges mad against your character, how does one respond to that type of attack? I say we take our cue from our Chief shepherd. He was brought before the chief priest at the time and said nothing as  a sheep being lead to slaughter. Is is going to be easy to sit back and let someone attack your character? NO it’s not! But do it anyway. 

     I say that because the Lord will vindicate you there are several different places in the Bible in the Psalms especially where writers like David are crying out because people are coming after him. Take Psalm 3 as an example. David is being chased by his own son Absalom. David says in Psalm 3:4, that he cried out and God heard. In this Psalm David is resting in the Lord, not on his own ability to take care of any given circumstance. Why should you be any different, I know I’m not. I want to rely on God more like David did. Do I? No, not as often as I would like. I tend to take things into my own hands and seek God when the going gets too tough. When I should have started by seeking God and seen how much smoother things would have turned out. 
     There is a situation right now I thought was going to work out one way and I did seek the Lord over it, and it looks as though it may not work out; or it is going to work out in a way I never imagined. That doesn’t make it any less difficult to deal with because if it doesn’t work out I will have to do some scrambling to find  another class to fill its place. And find the money for those books. So I am being stretched in my faith right now. But like I have been saying all I can do is rely upon God to take care of the situation. He is opening doors that I hadn’t even thought of a month or two ago. 
So what challenges are you facing, that you need to trust God to intervene for?

Something for the Last Sunday of Advent

   

 Okay so here it is the Last Sunday of Advent and i hadn’t dedicated any post to the coming of our Lord and Savior. To some people that may not be a big deal, but in our house we enjoy using our advent calendar. Actually my oldest son who wakes up before anyone rushes into the living room to be the one to move the mouse. This calendar is something we use to countdown to Christmas, but why are we really excited to count to the day our Lord was supposedly born? Or are we just excited because we are going to be getting stuff? I think for most of us if we are honest it is the second option. I have done a post before about Christ’s birth and his death. 

     Why is this important? Because it gives us something to celebrate with the giving of gifts. NO THAT IS NOT THE REASON. The reason it is important is because it is to be a reminder of the incarnation of Jesus Christ. While I know that this is the season to celebrate his birth I feel we should take a closer look at his death. I know someone is going to say it’s not Easter why is this guy worried about his death? I want to talk about his death because that was the reason he was born. Christ was born to die for our sins. That was his sole mission here on Earth. While he did many great things during his time on the planet the greatest thing he did was die and rise again so that we would never have to fully taste death. Even though we imagine this sweet baby wrapped in swaddling cloths, I want you to never forget the blood stained cross. That is the greatest gift that anyone could give. Jesus said “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 That my friends is the best reason for this season. 
     Don’t get me wrong I love the holiday season and the spirit that it brings with it. But I think we can give the gospel to people and see them changed for more than six weeks out of the year. We can see effectual life change. We could not have had the cross without the manger, we could not have the resurrection without the birth. As I once heard Pastor Ruffin Alphin say, “Christ is the only man who ever got to choose to die.” That quote has stuck with me for close to eight years. 
Do you have any special things you do for Advent? Do you agree or disagree with this post?

Unexpected Circumstances

How often do we freak out when something unexpected happens? I know I do almost every time because I have realized I’m a control freak. Just today Monday the 15th,  both of my macs decided to die in one way or another. So I am writing this blog post on my phone. I’m trying to remain optomistic but it is hard. It is so much easier to expect the worst in any given situation. 

A question I have is “is it that way with God?” Does he look for the worst in us, or does he see the best in us? I would argue the latter if we are in Christ, because he no longer sees us but sees us thru Christs righteousness. How wonderful is it to know that God looks at us as believes and sees his Son, & even sees us as sons and daughters. 
That is awe inspiring. Just like the fact the gentleman I get my machines from took the in trade toward a newer Mac. We are now new creations the old is gone the new has come. That is not what we expect to happen to us. I’m not sure what we expect, but being considered new in Gods eyes, for us that is hard to understand. I was happy with my old(er) machines. But it doesn’t hurt to have something a little newer. In the same manner there are some aspects of your old life that was okay. Now just take those aspects and run them through the filter of Christ and you have something newer. 
All of that being said does not mean I won’t still run into some challenges with this Mac, the same way we are gauranteed to have struggle and conflict in the Christian life. 
What are somethings you weren’t expecting that turned out for the good?

Don’t Despise the Small Things!

   

The title of todays post comes from what was  gleaned from a church service on 12-14-14. That was the biggest take-away I got. Don’t despise the small things, because they can turn into great things. One thing that comes to mind are two of the biggest computer companies in the world, Microsoft and Apple. They both started out small, but with a vision. And they didn’t let anything get in the way of that vision. Because they new the potential that their product had. This is a lesson I am begging to learn. While I do not have a huge following right now, I believe I will one day as long as I continue to produce material people can use. 

     My hope for this post is to encourage you, maybe even challenge you! What do you have inside of you that you are about to let die because you are upset with your meager beginnings? When I first started this blog I was happy when I had 10 visitors a day. Now I am averaging around 140 a day. Which for me is great. Do I think we can do more yes, I DO! But, I know it depends on the plans the Lord has for me and this ministry of writing he has given me. Another reason not to despise small beginnings is because that is exactly how our Lord and Savior started out. He was not born in some fancy mansion in Jerusalem no he was born in a manger  in Bethlehem. He would go on to live a normal life until the time his ministry started. He was not drawing big crowds at first either. It wasn’t’ until people started to take notice of what he was able to do that he grew a following. The biggest problem with Jesus following is they were always in it with the whats in it for me category. Which is okay some of the time, we have to be willing to give back. Sometimes it is the smallest gestures that make the largest impact. Looking ahead there are things we learn from Christ interactions with the disciples. 
     Christ tells the disciples a parable about the mustard seed being the smallest of seeds, yet when it is planted becomes the largest of all garden plants.(Mark 4:30-32) While Jesus was referencing the kingdom of God in this parable we can take a lot away from it.  There is another reference to a mustard seed I like for our context just a little bit more. Jesus is speaking to the disciples and tells them that if they have faith the size of a mustard seed  they can move mountains.(Matt 17:20) It lets me know that I can start out small in anything and still have potential to become more. I don’t know about you but I long to do big things for the kingdom of God. While my faith may be small, God says its all I need. It will grow over time as I exercise it.So for my faithful readers I am VERY appreciative of you and say THANK YOU for all of your support. If you have been blessed by this or another post would leave me a comment letting me know. It is just one small gesture to help me to continue trying to be a blessing to you all. 
Life is hard, but God is good!
Preach
What are you exercising faith in to see it grow? What is your small thing?