iGod

I have a confession to make.

I used to despise Apple products.

I mean I was really, really vocal about it to the point I annoyed myself.  I literally would got out of my way to buy any Microsoft product or anti-Apple product possible.  It got so bad that I even owned a Zune.

Its ok…my therapy is helping.

The slippery slope to my Apple conversion happened almost over night when my work switched me to a MacBook.  It didn’t take long for my wife and I to make a full switch to Apple and we wont be going out to the other guys.

There was one product that convinced us both more than anything.  The iPhone.

As my wife said, “It is the first phone I actually love because it does exactly what you want it to do in such a basic and easy way.”  I couldn’t agree more.  From setting up the voicemail to even adding a contact it seemed to almost read your mind as you were thinking “boy I wish I could do this.” and then Whamo! there it was.

So as our Apple Logo tattoos dry (joking) we are here to say that we are firmly planted in the Apple family and couldn’t be happier.

When I stopped and thought about it a lot of people want God to be like their iPhone.

We want a god that will do what we want when we want it in the most basic of ways so we don’t have to do much on our own.   We also want a god that when he seems out of date we just upgrade to a new version and boom “IOS god 6” is in our life.

I wish I could say I was immune to this desire but sadly I’m not.  I too have those thoughts of “God I wish You just did this…” as I secretly think I have a better way than Him.

As Christians, our God does not give us those customizable options with Him.  As God told Moses at the burning bush,  “I AM WHO I AM” and for us that needs to be enough.  We see throughout Scripture evidence that God is consistent, unchanging, unwavering, and not a moldable God.

“Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” – Psalm 90:2

“Your righteousness is everlasting and your law is true.” – Psalm 119:142

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.” – Isaiah 55:8.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” – Revelation 1:8

We are so blessed to have a God that wants to call us sons and daughters.  Our God is full of unconditional love, mercy, and grace towards His children.  He knows our suffering, pain, fears, desires,  but yet has a perfect plan for each us that rests firmly in His will.  THAT is our God.

However what He is not is iGod.

He’s not a god that we can upgrade or downgrade so we don’t have do the hard parts of forgiveness or pursue holiness.  He doesn’t let us download an app that let’s us keep living our life of sin but yet still call Him Father.  He doesn’t waiver with the popular political parties agenda or to the cultural buzz so he remains “relevant”.

That is not the God of the Bible but a god the world has created and shrouded in a haze of spirituality to make him “look” holy.  Following this god will lead only to separation from the true God.  A life of frustration and pain as the god you serve constantly changes with the winds.  There is no stability or faith to be found in this god.

So my friends find your strength in the God that is jealous for you and your affection.  Place your full weight into the God the created all you see and has a plan for you beyond what you can ever imagine.  He desperately loves you and THAT will never change.

Enjoy your iPhone, but don’t get caught up in the fad of iGod.  That fad always gets poor reviews in the end.

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Super Fan, Messy Cars, & God

When I played baseball at the University of Nebraska there was a guy there we called “Super Fan”.  He had been a Nebraska Cornhusker fan for years and went to EVERYTHING Nebraska Husker Athletics offered taking pictures every step of the way.

He also apparently was wealthy, but you’d never know by looking at him.  He always wore the same clothes, he rarely showered or cut his fingernails, he had matted hair, was missing a few key teeth, and there was a smell about him that was hard to handle.  I say these things not to be cruel, but to simple present the facts about our Super Fan we loved.  You heard me right; we genuinely loved this guy because after all when I played we loved all of our fan very much.

However, what stuck out to me more than anything was not his army fatigue pants or scraggly beard, but it was his car.  Super Fan had a station wagon that he literally had packed from hatchback to hood with stuff.  Newspapers, trash, camera film, Husker programs, and anything else interesting he found along the way were packed so tight in there that we swore the windows were going to pop.  If it every happen I always pictured it as a Piñata but instead of candy spilling out it would be 1980’s newspapers from rural towns in Nebraska.

That car and Super Fan were something to see and I’ve yet to see duplicated.

His car is probably what now motivates me to keep my car clean or it could be my inner conviction to take care of the things I’ve bought.

Regardless messy cars fascinate me and drive me crazy all at the same time.

They drive me crazy because I think messy cars because I think they are 100% avoidable.  Messy cars are easily fixed by taking a quick glance before you get out of your car and removing, throwing away, or putting away anything that doesn’t need to be in there.

For example, you don’t need to keep 10 Filet O’ Fish sandwich boxes in your backseat.  Those can get thrown away 1 at a time as you eat them or all 10 at once if you’ve had a bad day and don’t want to talk about why you ate 10 of those in the first place.

Boom!  Simple….clean car every time.

Oh, and don’t give me the excuse that you have kids either.   I’ve got kids and if I say we clean it up before we go inside it can get done.  Keeping your car clean is as simple as throwing away the junk each time you leave it.

This can be such a great illustration for our spiritual lives.

We so often get frustrated with our “messy car” lives that we become overwhelmed and paralyzed.  Sometimes we stock pile old memories or past sins in our lives like Super Fan did with old copies of the Lincoln Journal Star that we can barely see out of the windows of reality.

The beautiful part about our walk with Jesus is that he wants all of our junk and all of our garbage so we don’t have to be bogged down by it.  When we find ourselves claimed by Him, defined by Him, and cleaned by Him we are forever changed.  We no longer have to drive around in a car full of junk because Jesus deep cleaned us.

David tells us in Psalm 40:1-3

“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire;


he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.


Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.”

However, we need to take an active roll in that soul cleansing too.

As we draw closer to Christ and to the life He has for us we will realize the sin we are still carrying.  It’s sin that is jammed into our lives that we’ve tried to ignore but cannot any longer.

Our responsibility is to constantly take inventory of our life and throw out the garbage that we see.  We can’t keep empty Sonic cups of lust, crusty chicken fingers of anger, or dirty socks of hatred in our life any longer.  There is only one place for that stuff and it’s in the trash where it belongs.

But only you and I can do it.

God doesn’t reach down into the cracks of our seats to scoop out the smooshed up French fries.  He can point to them and say “Do you see that?” but we have to be the ones that reach down and deal with the consequences of the science experiment we’ve created.  If we give it to Him he will take it, but He won’t take anything without permission.

So before you do anything else stop and take inventory of your life.  Ask God to deep clean the areas of sin you’ve been ignoring and start getting things straightened out today.

Believe me, He will do a heck of a job and leave you smelling like that new car scent for eternity.

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Seeking Wisdom: Proverbs 20 – Sinful Heart Disease

From the very beginning of Proverbs Solomon taught us that “the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom”.  However, as we refine our search for wisdom upon a Godly foundation we also have to realize that seeking wisdom also means we must stop lying to ourselves.

I so often see people traveling down a path of sin and destruction lying to themselves with every step.  It’s amazing to hear people’s self-justification for why they need to keep doing what they are doing.

Sin has a way of grabbing hold of our soul in way that makes us do or say things we normally never would. It clouds our thinking and reasoning in such a profound way that we literally are not in our right mind.  We fail to think like God wants us to, and we instead ignore Him to follow our heart.

It’s this heart that beats for happiness and self gratification at all costs.

Solomon profoundly says in Proverbs 20:5

The purpose of a mans heart are deep waters,

but a man of understanding draws them out.

I’ve found the deeper you dive into the sinful heart of man the more and more darkness you discover.  The more self-justified it becomes.  The more and more lost it really is.

My apologies to the American Heart Association, but I believe sin is truly the number one cause of heart disease in our world.

Can you resonate with any of these heart patients?

  • Patient #1:  A young, mid-30‘s man with a great future ahead of him.  He comes from a good home, has a good job, and even has some friends he’d call close.  Everyone likes to be around him and by the looks of it he has it all together.  But what hides deep in his heart is that alcohol is his god.  He will say he only does it socially with friends, but the truth is that he can’t make it to lunch without a drink.  He will self-justify that it’s good for his body and that he’s got it under control, but deep down he knows that this sin train is traveling so fast he can’t stop it and it’s destined to derail his life.
  • Patient #2:  A wife and mother of three sits in her comfortable suburban home looking out the back window sipping coffee.  Opening the back door, she lets the dog inside before getting ready to go to the gym.  She’s always loved working out and with the kids in school she is free to take her time now without rushing.  However this time it’s not just working out she’s rushing to get to, but Craig.  You see Craig is a guy she met at the gym and he says all the right things to fill in all the gaps in her life her heart says are missing.  If you ask her it’s only an innocent friendship, but deep down she is about to throw away her entire life for the fleeting affections of a man who will treat her like a used Kleenex once he gets what he wants.
  • Patient #3:  A middle-aged man kisses his wife and son good-bye before hopping in the company truck.  For the last 15 years he’s taken this ride to work, but the other day his boss pulled him into the office with some news.  Despite the tough economy things have been good where he works and they want to promote him.  As he outlines the new position, the man realizes that this new position will require more time away from home and possibly even being out-of- town over the weekend.  It doesn’t take long to realize that he won’t be able to coach his son’s soccer team anymore and may even mean waiting to have another baby.  He shakes off the feelings quickly so as to not to be distracted and signs the new contract without discussing it with his wife.  His heart tells him he just did the best thing for his family because he’s able to provide for them better.  What his heart didn’t tell him is that it may be more money but it will be far less of him that his family gets.

So many of us will read these situations and say “Come on man how can you not see how crazy this is!”, but the reality is that when you heart is infected with sin this happens all the time.

The cure for disease is not exercise or even eating better, but rather trusting God and seeking His wisdom in our life.  When we stop lying to ourselves about our sin and start being truthful with what God has designed for us to be doing, we start to gain traction in our faith.

We start to gain wisdom that is sure to cure our heart and our soul in the process.

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4 Things Wives Can Do To Crush Their Husbands

God designed marriage to be led by the man, but this doesn’t mean we don’t need support.  In a vast number of marriages I see an excessive amount of burden placed upon the husband that doesn’t have to be there.  Some of it is self-inflicted, which I outlined in 5 Things Husband Can Do To Make Your Wife Want A Divorce, but some of it is caused by their wives actions and words.  These are crushing blows to their husbands, but they are also things that can be avoided if not eliminated.

Ladies, I would have you consider the following 4 areas and see where some of them may be true of you.  Realize that outside of God, who we as husbands desperately respect, desire confirmation and attention from is you.  What you think of us carries a great deal of weight and can either lift us up or bring us to our knees.

These are 4 things that wives can do to crush their husbands.

1.  Never Encourage Him

The expectation to provide for our families is interwoven into our spirit as men.  Generally we don’t need a reminder that this is what is expected. However, although we appear rough, tough, and confident we still have a small boy inside of us that thinks we are terrible at everything.  So if the one closest to us that we love won’t take the time to encourage us and appreciate our efforts who will?  A small word such as “You know I don’t say this enough, but you are really good at your job and I just want to thank you for working so hard for our family” or “I just want you to know you are a great dad” goes a long way to sustaining us.

If you want to crush your husband never encourage him.

2. Speak To Him Through Your Kids

One of the most difficult things I see in marriages is when their kids are used in tough marital times.  More often than not wives will childishly speak to their husbands through the kids.  I’ve seen it done blatantly such as, “Johnny, go tell your father that if he wants dinner he needs to get his fat butt off the chair and get in here.”  I’ve also seen it passively done where the whole family is in the room and you hear things like “Well Suzy, your ‘father’ must think I’m a maid because he can’t seem to pick up his own laundry off the floor.”  Not only is this highly immature and unfair to your children, but it also makes a man feel even more like a child inside and does nothing but tear him down.

If you want to crush your husband speak to him through your kids.

3.  Use Sex As A Weapon

I’m willing to bet 95% of men are more sexually driven in marriage then women, but I’m also willing to bet that 100% of women know that.  Wives that use sex as weapon do some of the most damaging effects to a marriage. To these women, sex becomes a tool in their manipulation toolbox.  They use it as a dangling lure to get what they want, a gift only given out at birthdays and Christmas, and it becomes a form of corporal punishment when they are “too tired” or want to make sure the husband “pays for what he did”.  The problem is that this is completely unbiblical, plays right into Satan’s plan, and crushes your husband.  To reject your husband time after time is not only crushes his spirit, but it also makes him more likely to slip into other avenues to pursue that feeling.

If you want to crush your husband use sex as a weapon in your marriage.

4.  Never Pray For Him

I would ask this simple question of you today wives.  When was the last time you prayed for your husband? Now, I’m not talking about passive aggressive prayers like “God, I pray that he gets off the couch and mows the grass today” or “God, please help my husband to not be such a Grade-A jerk all the time.” but rather a genuine prayer to God for your husband.  When have you prayed for his day at work, for him as a father, or for his walk with Christ?  We may never know that you are doing it, but I can guarantee we know when you’re not.  We know it because we feel like we are all alone and that our strength is weak.  Our souls need others praying for us and more than anything we need you to be praying for us.  You are the ones that know us best and the ones that are our 2nd love of all time.

If you want to crush your husband never pray for him.

I’m the first to say that men need to step up and be better in their marriages.  We need to start being the men of God called us to be, but ladies you play a great part in this pursuit.  You can’t simply sit on the sidelines while you watch us train to become who you want us to become and then reap the benefits when it happens.  We need you to be an active part of the process and supportive.

To a man, if we had the choice of being respected by our friends, boss, or wife we’d choose our wife every time.  We need your help and the way in which you support us has the power to crush us or lift us up to levels we never thought possible.

It doesn’t take much, but a little from you goes a long way.

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5 Things Husbands Can Do To Make Your Wife Want A Divorce

It is sad, but so many husbands are oblivious to the fact that they are on a path toward destruction in their marriage and much of it is their fault.  I’ve seen five consistent things that men do to drive women to the point of calling it quits.  I pray that my fellow husbands are willing to consider these truths and decide to what degree they are true in their own lives.

 1.    Be The Spiritual Follower

God has called the man to be the spiritual leader of the marriage, but more often men are running from this responsibility and leaving the burden to the wife.  The weight can be incredibly daunting and places a huge wedge in the marriage.  The fatigue of always being the one to beg, plead, or sadly drive to church alone is crushing.  At some point our wives will ask the question, “How can I live in a house or raise our kids with someone who doesn’t put God first?”  If you want to lose your marriage, be a spiritual follower.

 2.    Place Your Job Ahead Of Your Family

Most men are quick to find their identity in their jobs and the fact that they provide for the family.  Spending increased time away from the family is easily justified by the mantra “Someone’s gotta put food on the table!” or “I’m just trying to make our life comfortable.”  Without question, providing for the family is vital to a marriage, but to what extreme and at what cost?  Rarely do men ever stop long enough to ask the question “Is this what my wife really wants?”  I’m willing to bet my last lock of hair that most men would prefer more time with their wife then a newer car or bigger home.  If you want to lose your marriage, put your job before your family.

 3.    Place Your Hobbies In Front Of Your Family

It’s amazing to see the concessions that family’s have to make so guys can fulfill their fantasies through other grown men’s athletic abilities.  They will study, scheme, trade, and invest to make sure they are the winner of a $25 gift certificate to The Outback.  But yet if you ask them about what their kids are struggling with in school or what time soccer practice is, they won’t have a clue.  Time with their wives gets replaced with slow pitch softball trips, fantasy football drafts, and amateur MMA fights at the local VFW.  If you want to lose your marriage, put your hobbies before your family.

4.    Always Think Of Yourself

There was only one Man that walked on water, but you’d be surprised how many men want to challenge that title.  From the moment the day begins to the final moments in the recliner as their eyelids flutter shut, the world revolves around them.  Helping with laundry, giving the kids a bath, taking the trash out, or even picking up their dirty underwear are tasks too menial for the self-focused man.  If you want to lose your marriage, make everything about you.

 5.    Ignore Everything

One of the skills I see a lot of husbands working hard to develop is selective dementia.  It’s a unique skill that requires you to be able to think everything is ok while simultaneously ignoring reality around you.  When fully developed, a man with this ability can think his marriage is fine in autopilot mode.  He believes his kids respect him even though they play no role in their lives.  He thinks a family budget is only for people with no money even though his own family has no money.  All the while being comfortable knowing more career statistics about the starting quarterback for the Bears than his own wife.  If you want to lose your marriage, ignore everything around you.

Men, I say this with a mouth full of sarcasm and a heart full of sadness at the reality of these five things.  There are marriages that are crumbling because of one or all of these truths in our homes and we have to do something about it.

It’s time that we start being the men that God want us to be in our homes and it begins with believing that when God tells us to serve our wives that we believe it.  If we want different marriages and families we have to start doing different things.  If we keep doing what we are doing, we will keep getting what we’ve got.

Is there culpability on our wives’ side of the table?

Is a marriage a partnership of one man and one woman committed to each other and to God?

Of course!

But that does not give us the right to checkout on our responsibility to do what we are called to do.

It’s time to buck up and start working on our marriage at least as hard as we do our portfolio or surround sound systems.  We need to start leading our families and do the things we know we should be doing.

If we don’t, the 50% divorce rate average will continue to rise and we will only need to look in the mirror to see why it’s happening.

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Fauxgiveness

When my wife and I moved into our townhouse almost 10 years ago we wanted to freshen up the walls.  Not that white isn’t a great color, but when it’s everywhere it makes you want to poke your eyes out with an ice pick.

So Cherie found a really awesome painting technique that, when completed, made the walls look like suede leather.  It looked easy enough to do. However, the project nearly cost me my right rotator cuff from all of the brush strokes.  But when it was done, this faux technique totally made our walls looked like a big old couch.

Now here’s the thing.  When we were done, PETA never once came and picketed at our house because of all the animals harmed in the making of our leather walls.  No one threw fake buckets of blood at me as I walked to my car so I could think about what we had done.

Not even one newspaper reporter came to our house or come to think of it I didn’t get even one nasty email from anyone.

Do you want to know why?

Our walls were fake.  They weren’t really leather because it was only a faux finish made to look like leather.

As Christians we have faux finishes too, but none more evident than forgiveness.

forgiveness(noun) The act of forgiving; pardon.

faux – (Adj) not genuine or real; being an imitation of the genuine article

Forgiveness seems to be an elusive discipline for Christians even though we know God wants us to!

Paul tells us in Colossians 3:12-14 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

Chances are we all believe this is true.  We know we need forgiveness yet when the opportunity presents itself we often cringe just like any other person.

However we’ve found a way to dance around actually have to do it.

Fauxgiveness.

Fauxgiveness is the equivalent of our leather walls.  From a distance it may look like forgiveness but upon further inspection it’s the farthest thing from it.  Here are some faux techniques I’ve seen used.

  • Fauxgive and Forget – This is a common technique used by Christians and Non-Christians alike.  It requires that we stuff anything anyone has done to us under the rug in our soul and pretend it’s not there.  Out of sight so out of soul.
  • Fauxgive and Tell – This is great for Christians because it lets you tell everyone that out of the goodness of your heart you’ve forgiven them and there are no hard feelings.  Usually people will nod in agreement and perhaps even say “amen” if they are truly holy.
  • Fauxgive and Laugh – This is great technique at parties.  This is where you take what was done to you and make it a joke. This makes it look like you are totally over it.  After all, if you can laugh about it you must be over it….right?

These are just three examples of Fauxgiveness, but I’ll bet all of us have used these techniques at one time or another.

Now on the outside this looks FANTASTIC because it appears we have embraced forgiveness with ease, but tragically what’s happening on the inside tells a different story.

The closer you look at the “leather” wall you realize that forgiveness hasn’t really happened at all.  We are still as hurt, crushed, confused, and bitter as we were when it first happened.

Fauxgiveness may fool a few people on the outside but our souls are never fooled.  It still longs for freedom that only true forgiveness can offer.

Forgiveness that realizes holding onto the past only weighs you down, not the other person.  Forgiveness that sees faking it as only prolonging the agony in your life. Forgiveness that looks into the eyes of Jesus and can’t help but reflect that love to others.  Forgiveness that places all the hurt and pain at the foot of the cross and leaves it for Jesus to handle.

Forgiveness that is tired of being tired and is ready to run free in the freedom found only in Christ.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” – Matthew 11:28

Only Jesus can offer this type of weight loss for our souls and get us past Fauxgiveness.

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True Confessions Of A First Time Dad: I’m Scared I’m Going To Leave A Kid

Ok, before you judge me too harshly you can’t tell me you haven’t thought it, dreamt it, or done it.  Losing a kid is like the worst nightmare a parent could have I think.

Unless of course you are my wife who still dreams that Aniston (now 3 years old) is falling out of our bed (which she’s never slept in), off my side (again she’s never slept in), and proceeds to lunge across the bed to catch her only to realize midair that it’s a dream and she’s about to land on her sleeping husband…again.

It was funny the first time, terrifying the second, and now the only thing I can hold over her head because she is virtually perfect. 🙂

But all of us…I repeat all of us as parents have the fear of losing or leaving their kid somewhere.  Especially if you have more than one!  I don’t know how that Dugger Family (aka Baby Making Machines) do it.  They must leave handfuls of kids everywhere they go for crying out loud!  I be they just pin little baggies of change on all of them to make calls back home when it happens.

My fear is that I will get Aniston all strapped in and leave Easton strapped in his carseat on the driveway or still in the cart at Target.  I fast forward the story in my mind to when I realize I did it and how quickly I hope the police arrest me before Cherie get’s a hold of me and kills me.

The only thing that gives me any semblance of peace is that even Jesus got forgotten by his parents.  Yep…you heard me right.

Check it out…

“Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. hen they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” Luke 2:41-48

The reason this encourages me is that even if I leave Easton in the dressing room at the mall I can always say “atleast I didn’t’ lose God!”

It also I believe is such a reminder from God Himself that we should not take ourselves as parents so seriously.  We need to realize that just because we have a small human developing under our care and depending on us for their very existence we can’t think we won’t screw up.

We will…believe me our parents did too and we made it through only casually scarred.

Not only do we need to remind ourselves of that truth, but our kids need to see that too.  The need to know we aren’t perfect and need the forgiveness of God just as much as anyone else.

Sometimes the best conversations we can have with our kids is the conversation that starts off “Daddy or Mommy really screwed up and I need your forgiveness for…”

The honesty and transparency we demonstrate in our life will be more impactful than showing them how to change the oil in the car or how to walk in high heals.  The habit of walking humbly and actively seeking God’s forgiveness is setting our kids up for a stronger relationship with God and us as their parents with every honest screw up we openly admit.

So whether you cut a guy off in traffic or forget a kid at a Sox game have the courage to admit you screwed up, ask for forgiveness, and remind your kids atleast you didn’t lose God.

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Let The Story Begin

Well to all my Parkview Christian Church readers out there this is an exciting week for us as a church.  Beginning this Saturday September 22 we begin a 31-week journey together that is sure to radically change us all.

It’s a journey that all of us have wanted to take but some have never seemed to have the time, focus, or endurance to do it.  Walking this road means we learn the truth about what we “thought”.  It means we see the good with the bad and the ugly about who we really are.  And it has the potential for the question of “what’s that mean?” to be replaced with the statement “I get that now.”

Choosing to take this journey will change our life because what we are about to embark on is walking through one of the greatest gifts God ever gave us.

The Bible.

That’s right for the next 31 weeks we as a church will be travelling through the entire Bible using Randy Frazee’s The Story as our guide.  This book is a tremendous tool as it threads the pages of Scripture into a wonderful narrative while respecting the Text through utilization of the NIV translation of the Bible.  Gone are the stale interactions you may have had in the past with God’s Word and replace that with a page turning experience you won’t want to put down.

Even if you don’t attend Parkview as your home church I’d invite you to join the journey with us.  You can get the book from Amazon or iBooks and simply read a chapter a week.  Pastor Tim and the rest of us on the preaching team will be teaching on that week’s reading over the weekend.   You can follow along by siply watching them on our Media Player tab.  Then, jump into small group or discuss with your family the questions located in the back of the book or in the Small Group guide.  Believe me the more you interact with what you are reading and hearing the more it will impact your life.

So just to be clear here is the plan each week:

  1. Read:  Read 1 Chapter a week from The Story
  2. Attend:  Attend a Parkview service either in person or on the web.
  3. Discuss:  Discuss what you’ve heard and read in a small group, with your family, or with a group of friends.

It’s that simple!!!

Now, before our journey begins and we extend our foot into virgin soil I’m reminded of the words of the men walking on the road to Emmaus.   After being taught the Scriptures by the resurrected Jesus Christ they say these words to each other in Luke 24:32

“Were not our hearts burning within us while he

talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

WOW

That is my prayer for all of us as we open God’s Word together.

I pray that with every page turn we allow the reality that the entire Bible is about Jesus and as we learn more about Him our hearts will begin to burn with a desire to know Him more.

Don’t miss this life changing opportunity to let The Story of God come alive to you.

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Fixn’ To Get A Texa-Cali Accent

When I was at a conference in Dallas, I had a chance to watch a baseball game at The Ballpark In Arlington home of the Texas Rangers.  As with everything in Texas, the park was bigger and more audacious than necessary, but it was BEAUTIFUL.

I had a great time eating bacon wrapped hotdogs (yes you read that right), getting souvenirs for my kids, and talking to all the people around us.  Oddly enough which wherever I go I seem to talk to people (shocking I know), but our new Southern friends were really cool.  They were very kind and seemed overly interested to talk to a group of Chicago pastors out “in the wild”.

The family behind us was taking their mom out for her first baseball game ever and she was having a blast.  I swapped parenting war stories with the daughter who had a little boy and girl about the same age as Aniston and Easton.  Nothing seems to bond people together like potty training 2-year-old stories for some reason.

The group of ladies in front of us was super fun too.  We learned that the Cub infection had spread coast-to-coast.  Apparently one of their dads growing up listening to Harry Carry from California, but don’t worry we prayed for her before we left.  🙂

It was my California transplant that intrigued me the most.   She had a thick southern accent now and I had to ask how long it took her to get it.  She said, “Not long at all!  It just seemed to come naturally moved down here and now when I go back to California they make fun of my ‘Y’all’s’ and ‘Fixin’’ comments.”

It got me to thinking about how that is so true in our spiritual life.  When we decide to leave our old life of sin and replace it with the Grace of Jesus stuff changes.

I guess you can say we get a new accent.

You see when we meet Jesus, things we used to say, do, believe, act like, or even think don’t seem to fit anymore.  Our lives change as we start to follow Christ closer and realize the new life He has waiting for us in a relationship with Him.

Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”

Our lives HAVE TO CHANGE after we understand what Jesus did for us and we must start to take on the accent of Who we are around.  This may mean people you hung out with or know in your old life may not “get it” or even make fun of you, but just tell them you can’t help it.

After all, Y’all are just fixin’ to follow Jesus!

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True Confessions Of A First Time Dad: The First Day Of School

The day actually came.

I can’t believe it.

Today was the first day of 3-year-old preschool for Aniston.

I know, I know…BIG DAY!!!

It’s a day Cherie and I hoped would come but dreaded that it would all at the same time.  Our little girl is now able to walk, talk, write, say her colors and numbers, brush her teeth, climb in the truck herself, put her “pack pack” on, and more things that even sappy parents don’t care about.

As I walked into her class today it was awesome to see her eyes get wide and her mouth stay open just a little bit as she took it all in.  We found her cubby where she hung her “pack pack” and I even got to show here what the little strap on the top it was used for.  I signed her in, helped her wash her hands, and then knelt down to say good-bye.  She gave me her Beeger kiss and rubbed it in my cheek and then one of her famous big hugs.

But something strange happened right after that I wasn’t expecting…she let go.

No cling on, no crying, no “stay daddy”, but just a simple turn of the head and into the fray of kids without a problem.

I thought to myself, “That little stinker!  Doesn’t she know that deep down I want her to cling to my leg, shed a few tears, and plead for me not to go?  I think I may need to do this to you just so you know what it’s supposed to look like!”

Fortunately inner monologues don’t go audible and she didn’t here me.

So after she scooted along, I scooped up Easton and off Lil’ E and I went.  By the time I got to the truck, strapped Easton in, and sat in my seat it might have been 10 minutes from parked to drop off.  It was over that quick.  Day one of school was in motion and my little girl was off and running.

Part of me couldn’t help but wonder why she was so ok though.

  • Was it the preparing we did weeks in advance when we got her supplies?
  • Was it her little buddy Gibson who she confidently walked into class behind?
  • Was it the awesome little girl God blessed us with in her natural confident nature?

It may have been a combination of all of those things, but deep down I think I know the real reason.

You see, right before we left the house today I made sure we took time to do something.  After I did her hair (as best as I could) I scooped my little Beeg up in my arms and we sat on the couch together.  I wrapped my arms around her and said “Can daddy pray for you?” and she looked at me with her big blue eyes and said “yes daddy.”

I prayed that she had a good day at school, was polite to her teachers, kind to her friends, but I also thanked God for her.  I thanked Him for the gift she was to her mommy and I.  I asked Him to help her to be brave and not scared at school.  I hugged her tight as I asked God to be with my little girl and keep her safe.  In Jesus name…we both said…Amen.”

I believe Aniston was ok today because I know she knows God is with her and He loves her.  She knows that because it wasn’t the first time she heard this.  We have prayed together, read the Bible together, talked about Jesus, and talked about the love of God since she was weeks old in the NICU at Christ Hospital.  She is covered with the love of God in her life and I guarantee she will continue to hear that as long as Cherie and I have breath.

We truly believe what Solomon says in Proverbs 22:6 “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”

Listen, I know this doesn’t guarantee she will be a perfect angel her whole life.  I know she may get into trouble and we may be looking for the return policy on her from time to time, but right now I can see this being true in my little girl.

And I can tell you this with 100% confidence, that it makes this weepy, sappy, red eyed dad feel good knowing that although her daddy may be driving away, her real Dad is right there with her as she traces her hand and colors outside the lines.  God loves that girl more than I do and that must be pretty intense because, except for my wife, I’ve never felt a love like this before.

So I will continue to pray and train our kids up in the Lord because I know that it makes for amazing eternal rewards and easier drive homes.

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