Thursday, February 2, 2017

be a master in 5 minutes!

What people once mastered by dedicating their life to, we now want the same results in an hour.

Athletes dedicated 80 hours a week to becoming competitive but now parents want to send their kid to an AYSO practice for one hour every other week and are baffled that their kid isn't D1 material.

Parents and school boards and politicians pressure teachers into giving people A/B honor role just for showing up and then are mad at the teachers when their child, who made straight As, makes a 17 on their ACT.

Some Parents want teachers, in addition to being hard but easy, firm but sensitive, zero tolerance but lenient, and teach 3 years of state standards in 90 days, to then raise their kids -- when the teacher gets bladder infections because they don't even have the time or ability to take bathroom breaks for themselves.

Some want to tell their kids that if they're not good at dinner the cops will come get them and lock them up but then want those same police to be "approachable".

Often times people want the youth minister of a church to change their child's life, redirect their trajectory, teach them manners, morality (and the Real gospel) and if said youth minister can't turn around little Johnny's/Suzy's life in an hour a week for 4 weeks, then the youth minister is the one who has failed that child.

We as adults want to our Christian faith to be propped up by the 30 minutes we "dedicate" to a sermon every seven days and are bewildered that we can't clearly discern the voice of God.

We want to righteously fight for/against and vote for or not for a politician that has been campaigning for 4 years, based on the 90 second YouTube video we watched that one time shared by that one person on that one social media channel.

We want our kids to be endlessly grateful for an award or accolade when they (and everyone around them) get a new trophy every other day whether they were even present for whatever event they're celebrating.

We want to be madly, deeply, and completely understood without _really_ listening to understand, even on a surface level, anyone else.

We want everyone around us to know we did/didn't mean something based on them intimately knowing our character, without ever considering the character of the person "attacking" (aka "disagreeing with") us.

We all want to master everything we try in 5 minutes (or else give up) when the person in that YouTube video we're watching to learn it has been practicing it their whole life.


Friday, November 18, 2016

23 Absolutes that should be present in every marriage


  1. In marriage, you always assume the best of your partner
  2. You never tell your spouse you don’t respect them.
  3. You never tell your spouse you don’t love them.   
  4. You never tell your spouse they “ARE” something when you mean they are “acting” like something.
  5. Avoid absolutes (see what I did there?):  If you feel like your spouse is acting (again – acting, not Is) a certain way today, be specific ("today", "for the last 2 days", "since Monday", etc), but not “always”.   
  6. Rage has NO place in a marriage.  Ever.  No matter what.  Not in a marriage.
  7. You never scream at your spouse.  You also never scream at your spouse and play the semantics game and say you were just “yelling”.
  8. Never speak to your spouse in such a way where if someone was listening in they  wouldn’t be able to tell if you were speaking to your spouse or your child.      
  9. Never cuss At your spouse, never call your spouse a curse word-do not label.
  10. Never physically lay hands on your spouse, ever, never, ever, never, never (this goes without saying, of course, but hey… since I’m making a list:).   
  11. Don’t threaten. 
  12. Don’t attempt to use intimidation (physical, threatening, withholding, tattling, etc)
  13. Never use sex as a bargaining chip (no withholding).
  14. Never use the kids as leverage.
  15. Never play the kids off your spouse.
  16. Keep the verbal diarrhea to yourself – because after you’ve “fixed” whatever the issue was, you won’t be able to find everyone who heard you griping about it to tell them it’s now all better. 
  17. Do not carry over one argument to the next.
  18. Try not to go to bed without having first discussed anything that has made one spouse hurt or angry that day.  Will you Always be able to fix everything before you lie down?  No.  But don’t go to bed without first attempting to start the softening process.
  19. Never speak to your husband in a way that you would never allow your son’s future girlfriend to talk to him.
  20. Never speak to your wife in a way that you wouldn’t be perfectly fine with a future boyfriend talking to your daughter.
  21. Never forget that your spouse is your spouse.  You are divinely charged with their emotional, physical, and spiritual care.  Not just when it’s easy.  Always.
  22. Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry (and never become enraged)
  23. Whether your spouse “deserves” something can’t even be in your vocabulary.  The ONLY thing they have to do to deserve your best is to be your spouse.  That’s it. Not be their best, just be your spouse.  Therefore, always be patient, kind, respectful, loving, not arrogant, not rude, tender, selfless, never rejoice in their pain, never resentful, humble, always believe, always hope, always love.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Pornography.



This past Sunday I preached on pornography.  I didn't "have the opportunity", I wasn't "blessed to talk about", I didn't "joyfully present", I did as I thought I was commanded.  Even when I didn't want to.  Let me explain:

Pornography touches every family in the United States of America.  Every family.  Pornography knows no demographic, no target market.  Porn is not bound by class, gender, race, age, religion, or creed.

Pornography has mind boggling statistics associated with it.  Numbers so large they're dangerous, and what I mean by "so large they're dangerous" is this:  if one person dies it's a tragedy.  If 10 people die it's a national crisis.  If 1,000,000 die it's a statistic.  A number.  Nothing more.  We glaze over it because we have trained our brains and our minds to do so.

Why wasn't I excited about preaching this sermon?  Because it's scary.  Stepping on other people's toes is one thing, but signing up to drop an anvil on your own bruise, battered, and exposed toes is another.  But God asked me to.  I firmly believe that, when I allow it (when I shut up and listen and don't worry about schedules, and stress, and logistics, and optics), the Holy Spirit guides me (and Anyone who will allow it - I'm NOT special in this.  At. All.) to preach on what God wants the group I'm getting to speak to to hear.  But I was still nervous.

That may not sound like a big deal, but I don't get stage fright... like... ever.  If you give me 5 minute warning, I can preach to a large group and feel okay about it.  But preaching on pornography?  That gave me... pause (and stomach indigestion 5 minutes before time to walk on stage).

Pornography is one of (if not the) biggest issue the modern church family is facing.  Josh McDowell calls pornography the "black plague".

Take a listen to this sermon, listen to all the statistics shared (from a 2016 Barna Group study: "The Porn Phenomenon"), and see for yourself.

Then, please, Please, PLEASE listen to this coming Sunday's sermon (the follow up) for what do we do, how do we face it, how do we address it, how do we Beat it.

Thank you....


https://youtu.be/VECZFF5PaxI

Pornography.

This past Sunday I preached on pornography.  I didn't "have the opportunity", I wasn't "blessed to talk about", I didn't "joyfully present", I did as I thought I was commanded.  Even when I didn't want to.  Let me explain:

Pornography touches every family in the United States of America.  Every family.  Pornography knows no demographic, no target market.  Porn is not bound by class, gender, race, age, religion, or creed.

Pornography has mind boggling statistics associated with it.  Numbers so large they're dangerous, and what I mean by "so large they're dangerous" is this:  if one person dies it's a tragedy.  If 10 people die it's a national crisis.  If 1,000,000 die it's a statistic.  A number.  Nothing more.  We glaze over it because we have trained our brains and our minds to do so.

Why wasn't I excited about preaching this sermon?  Because it's scary.  Stepping on other people's toes is one thing, but signing up to drop an anvil on your own bruise, battered, and exposed toes is another.  But God asked me to.  I firmly believe that, when I allow it (when I shut up and listen and don't worry about schedules, and stress, and logistics, and optics), the Holy Spirit guides me (and Anyone who will allow it - I'm NOT special in this.  At. All.) to preach on what God wants the group I'm getting to speak to to hear.  But I was still nervous.

That may not sound like a big deal, but I don't get stage fright... like... ever.  If you give me 5 minute warning, I can preach to a large group and feel okay about it.  But preaching on pornography?  That gave me... pause (and stomach indigestion 5 minutes before time to walk on stage).

Pornography is one of (if not the) biggest issue the modern church family is facing.  Josh McDowell calls pornography the "black plague".

Take a listen to this sermon, listen to all the statistics shared (from a 2016 Barna Group study: "The Porn Phenomenon"), and see for yourself.

Then, please, Please, PLEASE listen to this coming Sunday's sermon (the follow up) for what do we do, how do we face it, how do we address it, how do we Beat it.

Thank you....


https://youtu.be/VECZFF5PaxI

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

National Police Week

As many of you may know, this is National Police Week.  Law Enforcement officers are very near and dear to my heart and, as such, I wanted to share a few thoughts:

Some know a lot about the Law Enforcement community, some know very little, and a lot believe they know more than they actually do…

“There are too many cops!”
The population of the United States is currently ~320 million.  The number of sworn police officers in the USA is about 900,000.  Or .0028 of the population. 

“Cops are dumb!  And overpaid too!”
An estimated ½ of the departments in the USA require a degree to be a Police Officer while the other half don’t.  Neither half has a starting pay commiserate with the job responsibilities.  In the state of Tennessee the average starting salary for a sworn police officer is $37,000, and that includes the “higher” paid major metropolitan areas.  For most places in Tennessee that looks more like $29,000-$31,000.

“Police Officer deaths are just a right wing media myth!”
On average, 165 police officers die in the line of duty every year in the United States.  

To give some small bit of perspective, since 2001 there have been ~2,250 Americans killed in Afghanistan.  During that same time period ~2,375 law enforcement officers have been killed in the US.

The average age of a slain officer is 39.

There are 20,789 names carved into the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial walls.

That’s not to mention that fact that Law Enforcement Officers have over double the rate of “depressive symptoms” and that’s only counting what’s reported.  One of the great threats to the Law Enforcement community is the fact that things like depression and stress are seen as ‘weakness’ and/or ‘part of the job’ and so _Very_ few actually report, which makes that percentage even more staggering.

Then you also have that officers have a higher risk of coronary events than other professions, almost 60% of officers have higher than recommended cholesterol levels, and nearly all, on average, have higher pulse rates and higher diastolic blood pressure.

“But they signed up for it!”
Now, there’s something we can agree on.  They did.  They chose it.  You know what, some go in ignorant and cavalier, but most know about those above statistics.  They know they have a much higher risk of death, they know that, statistically speaking, their marriage has a much lower chance of survival.  They even know (or come to understand quickly) that they will be vilified, blamed, feared, and hated.  
But they signed up anyway.  
They report back to the line anyway.  
They choose it, everyday. 

Are their corrupt police officers? 
Officers who hide behind a badge and a gun so they can live out their fantasies of grandeur? You bet.  Just like there are teachers, firefighters, bank tellers, and preachers who do the same.  
But the overwhelming majority do it for you.  
For the ones who don’t thank them, for the ones who hide behind keyboards so they can live out their fantasies of grandeur, for the ones who hate them and teach others to hate them.  

Law Enforcement shows up for work everyday to get spit on and ridiculed, and put under a microscope, and investigated, and shot at because they don’t do it for the thanks; if they did, they wouldn’t show back up!

Law Enforcement officers put on their hot, cheaply made, ill fitting uniforms, drape on their cheapest available body armor, buckle up their 35 pound work belts, and lace up their 10 pound dress shoes that they have to wear to stand, run, crouch, crawl, and fight in because they view it (rightfully so) as a calling.  

Just as a teacher or a preacher, police officers are choosing an often times thankless ministry.

You’re dang right:  They signed up for it.  
And I, for one, want to say Thank you.


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Honoring Marriage

This past Sunday I was fortunate enough to get to preach.  It was Valentine's day and I decided to do a sermon on honoring marriage.

We focused on encouraging marriages, building up spouses, singles, parents, kids, divorcees, single parents, etc.

We tried to examine our roles in honoring our own marriage and in honoring the marriages around us - because ALL marriages should be held in great honor, esteemed is highly valuable, and made to be our focus... our treasure.


https://youtu.be/ax7jU9c-NA8?t=7s