Married Mondays – Dig a little deeper

IMG_0310

Welcome to another Married Monday everybody.  I apologize now to anyone reading this with kids, as you now have a song from The Princess and The Frog stuck in your head.  If not you do now.  Or maybe I brought up a bad memory of 2 days ago when you had to dig a little deeper just to find your car.

Where I’m going this week, is that we need to take our communications to another level.  Many times we know that something is bothering our spouse.  Over time we learn their tells, we know when something is off.  Too many times we get caught up in our lives, we get caught up in doing things to take our minds off of things, we work to get away from things, we leave work to get away from things.  But it is when we get home, when we try to veg out, when we don’t really want to get into what is going on outside.

IMG_0311

If you or your spouse are they type that tends to shut down and veg out, when you’ve had a rough few days, don’t shut them out.  When you see this start happening in your marriage, go ahead and give the other person a little time to relax open up on their own.  But don’t let too much time pass.  Knowing the other person, you can tell when things are just off.  It’s at this point, if they aren’t opening up, you have to start digging.  Use your words wisely, and dig carefully.  Not because of what you will uncover, but to continue to be thoughtful, because no matter how long you have been together, sometime things are just hard to explain.  Sometimes we will shut down and not really know that we are doing it.

Dig deeper whenever things feel off.  It is your responsibility to dig.  It is your responsibility to call the other person on their BS, when they aren’t fully saying what is going on.  When you dig, and explain what you are seeing, the release will be better for both of you.  You are a team, you are there to help each other through whatever is going on.

IMG_0312

So I challenge you this week, to watch, to dig, and to keep each other accountable.  Keep each other lifted up.  Keep each other communicating.  Be there for each other and listen to each other

But I’m not a very good person

So in contrast to my other post,But I’m a Good Person,  I want to flip things around for you a little bit.  Again along the lines of Grace being for ALL not SOME.  Many people feel that they have too much baggage for God.  Too much wrong in their past for God to love or to use them.

IMG_0297

So I wanted to give you a list of jacked up people in Bible:

Let’s start here:

Matthew 1:1-2, 6

1The [a]record of the genealogy of [b]Jesus [c]the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham:

Abraham [d]was the father of Isaac, [e]Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of[f]Judah and his brothers

Jesse was the father of David the king.  David was the father of Solomon by [h]Bathsheba who had been the wife of Uriah.

Abraham — Yes, Father Abraham, didn’t believe God could make good on His promise of having a son, because his wife was barren.  Had a son with a hand maiden.  After his wife got pregnant, he sent off the hand maiden and her son.  So here we have an adulterous dead-beat dad…

Jacob — Ever heard the story of Jacob and his brother Esau.  Twin boys, Jacob was momma’s boy.  Manipulated his brother into giving up his birthright.  He also with the help of his mom, tricked his dad Isaac who was dying and going blind, taking his brothers family rights, and making his brother his slave.  To the point that his brother Esau wanted to kill him.

David — David was a great man of God.  He was a loved ruler of Israel.  But verse 6 above says a lot.  David had Bathsheba’s husband killed so that he could be with her, after he got her pregnant while her husband was away at war.

Genesis 9:20-21

20 Then Noah began [j]farming and planted a vineyard. 21 He drank of the wine and became drunk, and uncovered himself inside his tent.

Noah — Builder of the Ark, after the flood got drunk and naked.

Exodus 2:11-12

11 Now it came about in those days, when Moses had grown up, that he went out to his brethren and looked on their [c]hard labors; and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren. 12 So he [d]looked this way and that, and when he saw there was no one around, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.

Moses — Leader of God’s people out of Egypt, Holder of the 10 commandments;  was a murderer.

Joshua 2:1, 8-9

1 Then Joshua the son of Nun sent two men as spies secretly from Shittim, saying, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” So they went and came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab, and [a]lodged there.

Now before they lay down, [b]she came up to them on the roof, and said to the men, “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have [c]melted away before you.

Rahab — One of a few women in the bible with her own story.  She was a harlot.  She protected the Israelite spies in Jericho.

Are you feeling any better about what is in your past yet?  God has used murderers, drunks, prostitutes, tax collectors, and cheaters.

IMG_0298

No matter what your situation is, no matter what you have done in your past, no matter how ruined you feel that you are, God can and will use you.  All you have to do is listen to Him, when he is calling to you.  He is waiting on you to call out to Him and ask for His grace and forgiveness.  He is waiting on YOU to say, Lord I know I’m a sinner, and that I am far from you.  I want you in my life.  I want to receive your forgiveness and grace.  Lord please forgive me and come into my life and make me new.  Use me Lord, to reach those around me that are far from you.  Clean me Lord and restore me.  I know that it is only though you that I can be saved.  It is only through you that I am made whole.  Thank you Lord for making me whole and saving me.  Thank you for your grace and your love and your mercy.

Remember that Grace will always win…

But I’m a good person

prayer

Over the past couple weeks our pastor has been doing a series called Grace too good to be true. This is been one of the most amazing message series I have heard in a long time.

It has been a reminder that we are all messed up, some more than others, but we were all once in the same place. We were all once outside of God’s grace and mercy. There are “good” people out there that do really amazing things, but they haven’t given their lives to God. There are people on death row that have realized the wrongness of what they have done, and have asked God for forgiveness and He has brought them into his circle of grace and mercy.

It’s not a matter of the things that you have done or the things that you do.  The closer that you are to God and the closer that you draw into Him, the harder it’s going to be to sin or to look to sin.  Many people will look around and say, “Well at least I’ve never _____,”  “At least I’m not doing _____”  Fill in what ever Holier than thou reference you want in these blanks.  This is the problem with Churches and Christians today.  So much time is spent calling out the sins, and belittling those that fit those molds.  God poured out His grace on the cross for ALL not SOME.   

John 3:16-17

16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

IMG_0245

I want to take a minute to brag on our church for a minute here as well.  We recently changed our mission statement to the following : “ Helping people far from God find God.”  This simple statement sums up what we are about.  Out other big question that we always ask is: “If we ceased to exist, would our city miss us?”

At the end of the day, being a good person isn’t what it’s all about.  Being a good person makes you likable.  Being a good person may make you feel better about yourself.  But what is your standard of good?  Have you ever told a lie?  Have you ever, looked at someone lustfully that wasn’t your spouse?  Have you ever left work with a pen or sticky notes?  If you answer yes to all three, you are a Lying, Thieving, Adulterer.  This make you no better in God’s eyes than someone who is a murderer, a drunk, (insert your better than sin here).  Your story shouldn’t be that, “I’m blessed by God because I do this, _______.”  Your story should be, “ God has blessed me with this even though I’ve done this.”  It’s not about what you can do for God, it’s more about what God can use you for.  When you are doing His work for His glory, you may not be the best person, but you will be living a blessed life.

John 8:1-11

But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees *brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, they *said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them,“He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. 10 Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” 11 She said, “No one, [a]Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.”

Are you living you life comparing yourself to others or are you comparing yourself to Christ?  Are you living up to the calling that God has placed on your life?  Do you know the calling that God has on your life?  Do you know that it is God’s grace that has saved you?  You don’t have to get your life right before you come to God.  He will help you through that.  He will change you.  You don’t have to worry about changing yourself, that will come.

Married Mondays – Old School

Over the past few weeks, I know that I have repeatedly, wrote about shutting off your devices and spending good old fashioned quality time with your spouse and loved ones.  This week I want to step past just talking about things to do with your spouse and hit on things to do as a family.

As we get further into the holiday season, take time to focus on what truly matters most.  Many of us just finished up Thanksgiving, and still have days worth of left overs.  Many of us went out for Black Friday sales on Thursday and through the weekend, and many more of us will be spending time going through all of the Cyber Monday/Cyber Week deals.  These aren’t the things that matter.  What truly matters is looking at what you can do as a family to touch those around you.  Maybe, as a family, you can start a tradition of doing Operation Christmas Child(a little late for this one now,) Angel Tree, Toys for Tots, or working with one of the many other charities out there.  As a family we have made it a point to do something every year.  For less than you would spend on junk that you don’t need, you can use that on someone else.  We tend to fill our lives with stuff, and we retreat to our STUFF to make us Happy, but then we just need the newest thing, or the thing that is better than someone else’s.  And we get stuck in a cycle of want.  Let’s put it in perspective, the phone that many of you are reading this on, will cost you over $600 ($10-30/month at a time.)  If you feel that you can use that same phone for a year longer, what could you do for someone else, for another family, for someone in another county.  As a family take a moment to do something for someone else.  We are now a global community, from your house in the US, you can with a simple click, buy chickens for a family in another country.

This week’s title I took from the book my daughter is reading right now Diary of A Wimpy Kid : Old School.  It has taken her a little while to understand what it is really about.  From what I have seen of it so far is one of the things that I have been touching on over the past few weeks.  Stepping away from technology, actually communicating with words from your mouth, and enjoying what is around you.  Enjoying the outdoors, enjoying company, enjoying each other.

For our marriages and for our families, shutting down the electronics, and spending time playing, using your imagination, talking, and being present changes everything.  The past couple weeks, my wife and I have had the chance to just chill at the house after the munchkin has gone to bed.  It has been awesome to unplug, not watch a show or anything, but spend time together with the Christmas tree on.  We have been able to take this little bit of time to catch up with each other, and put into practice what I’ve been writing these past few weeks.

Also as we get further into the holiday season, I encourage you to make sure that you are taking time out as a couple and as a family, to refocus and rebalance your needs and wants.  Focus on the things that you can do together as a couple and/or as a family, that don’t involve the TV, computer, or game system.  Pull out an old board game, do something that requires imagination, and give them your full attention.  The worries of tomorrow can wait until tomorrow.  Don’t make you family, your spouse, your loved ones, compete for your attention. Go Old School, shut down and have family time.

What makes today different?

What makes today a different day, What makes what you are doing today different?  What are you doing today to make a difference?  We all start out each day with the same 24 hours, but what are we doing in our hours to make a change.  So many times we go through our days just out of routine, we go through the motions.  Life just becomes the same ol’ different day.  But it is when we choose to go outside of our normal routine, step out of our comfort zones, that we change our lives, we change the lives of the ones we love, and we change the lives of all of those around us.

Take the time each day, even if it is just one small thing, it could make a huge difference in someone else’s life.

Check out these videos and hopefully you can find some new or renewed inspiration for tomorrow…


 

Come as you are,

Come as you are, just don’t stay that way.

So I’ve been sitting on this one for a while now and just now found the time to write it out.

In our lives we are defined by where we come from and the things that we have done, either by others or it is how we define ourselves.  But when we look at what God calls us to, it is to leave our old selves, leave our pasts behind us, and follow Him as a new person.  We go to God broken and weighed down by our guilt and shame, but we leave different.  We leave walking closer to God, walking whole and new, without the burdens and hurts.

We find ourselves though holding on, we only know ourselves as the person with this problem or that vice.  It’s hard to let go and change.  It’s hard to admin that you have faults…  What is someone else going to think…  Will people still like me if I change…  These are the questions that go through our heads.  But you have to change, you have to come as you are but leave different.

It is the leaving different part, living different, being different part that is the challenge.  The latest series at our church has been on cleaning out your soul and doing all of these things above.  But one point that our pastor made this past weekend was that so many of us, “put on our church face,” we have things that we hide in our lives that we don’t want others to know about, that continually hold us back from being the person God wants us to be.  But it is also putting on this “church face” this act, that make so many people think of Christians as hypocrites.

So I pray that you will leave different and stay different.  Think about what you can do that will show those around you that your different.  What can you do that will show God to those around you and what sets you apart?

The world does not revolve around…

When the path you walk always leads back to yourself, you never get anywhere – Oogway.

Anyone that has read any of my posts knows I find inspiration in the most random places. The quote above is a prime example. This weekend the munchkin, saw Kung Fu Panda as we were flipping through Netflix. It was in the short Secretes of the Masters, that I heard the above quote and thought that it was a great thought.

Then at church, our pastor was recapping the past few weeks in the series we were on, and mentioned the service 2 weeks ago that was about attitude adjustments and rejoicing. Since we weren’t there that week, I went and pulled the podcast and started listening to it. The main point was that you cannot be self-centered and still be truly joyful in your serving. While you maybe serving God, but if you are doing it for the wrong reasons you are not going to get the results that you are looking for.

Philippians 2:3-4   Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

We go through life, looking for what we deserve. We, I’m lumping all Americans into this, have a feeling of entitlement. I did the work, I should get the credit and the glory. I’m not saying that we should all just say nothing matters and if you want to steal my work and call it yours that fine. What I’m saying is that we are so lucky as Christians, the God does not give us what we deserve, death, he gives us something better, that we cannot even begin to fathom, eternal life.

I am a firm believer in the idea of you get what you put in, if you work hard, and do something that you would be proud to call your own, you will be proud of it. By the same token, if you just don’t give a (insert your own word here), it will show in your actions, and in your life. While you may not get the same benefit or payment as some else, if you did your best and left nothing behind, you can walk away proudly.

It is when we give all that we have, like the small boy who had 5 small loaves of bread and 2 fish, and step back, letting God grab what we have to give, and make something amazing out of it that He gets the glory. One of my favorite songs right now, is Background by Lecrea, and it talks about not needing to be in the spot light and letting God be in the forefront. If you let God have the starring role in your life, the overflow that falls onto you, will be more than enough.