DEFINING MARRIAGE

May 16, 2012

 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother
and be united to his wife, and the will become one flesh.”
(Genesis 2:24) 

I find it very interesting that President Obama came out in support of gay marriage the same week our nation celebrated Mother’s Day.  While most of our nation was celebrating family and motherhood, other forces in our nation were working overtime to destroy the family.

Let me be clear about this issue.  God defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman (Genesis 2:24).  Anything outside of God’s design is simply not a marriage in God’s view.  I’d like to address the importance of this issue briefly from three perspectives…

A physical perspective – It doesn’t take a brain surgeon or a rocket scientist to figure out that God designed in nature for males and females of any species to join together and reproduce (Genesis 1:27-28).  The marriage relationship is the only natural means of procreation.  While it is not the only purpose, procreation is certainly one of God’s purposes for marriage.  Without it, the human race would simply pass into oblivion.

A societal perspective – The family is the basic building block of society.  Another one of God’s purposes for the family is passing on a godly heritage – faith, morals, and values (Deuteronomy 6:4-8).   This is best done in the context of family.  Moms and dads are both important in the psychological and emotional development of children.  Together, they instill in their children a balanced moral compass for life.  If the institution of marriage breaks down, society will ultimately deteriorate and self-destruct.

A spiritual perspective God clearly calls homosexuality sin (Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:24-27).  In fact, any sexual relationship outside of God’s design for marriage – a union of one man and one woman – is considered by God to be immoral and sinful.  One cannot expect God’s blessing on their personal life when living in sin, nor can we expect God’s blessing on our nation while promoting sin.

But here’s the good news; and it is really good news.  While God hates sin; He loves sinners.  Because He is holy, God judges sin; but because God is gracious and merciful, He forgives sinners.  God loves us so much He sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross in our place.  When we turn to God in faith and repentance, He forgives our sin in Jesus Christ.  And when a nation turns back to God in repentance, God will restore that nation.  Let’s pray for revival in America!

Dear Heavenly Father,
You are a holy God.  Your ways are just.
You are also a loving God.  I praise you for your grace.
Thank you for forgiving my sin in Jesus Christ.
I pray that our nation will turn back to you!
I pray for revival in America!
In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Advertisements

A FATHER’S TOOLS

June 15, 2011

“Fathers, do not exasperate your children;
instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
(Ephesians 6:4)

My wife and I just came home from a two-week vacation. You may not believe it, but we went hunting on our vacation. We hunted deer, elk, moose, wolves, buffalo, and bear. And we actually shot some of each. Here’s the catch: we didn’t shoot them with rifles or with bow & arrow. We shot them with our cameras. And, we got some good shots, too.

Photographers simply use different tools than hunters. One uses guns, the other uses cameras. In fact, the tools of the trade vary depending on what profession one is in. Construction workers use very different tools than dentists and doctors. Mechanics use different tools than musicians. And a plumber’s tools are very different than a teacher’s tools. But, we all use tools of some kind. A tool is simply an implement used to help accomplish a given task.

With Father’s Day coming this week, it is natural to talk about tools. Most dads have a garage full of tools. But, what tools are available to dads to help accomplish the greatest task of raising godly children and leaving a legacy of faith? I’d like to suggest a few tools that are critical in your task of fathering…

• God’s Word
• Your words
• Your time
• Your leadership

Join us at NMC on Father’s Day for our First Annual Tool Exchange. We will also delve deeper into the tools needed for effective fathering.  Happy Father’s Day!

Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for the privilege of being Your son.
I am grateful that You are my Abba – my Heavenly Dad!
It is my desire to be a godly father and grandfather.
May I leave a legacy of faith!
In Jesus’ name, Amen!


YOUR LEGACY

May 18, 2011

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart
and with all your soul and with all your strength.
These commandments that I give you today are to be upon you hearts.”
(Deuteronomy 6:5-6)

There were two men who lived in colonial New England near the beginning of the 18th century.  Max Jukes was born in 1720.  He was not a particularly evil man; but he was irreligious, profane, a drinker, and not very ambitious. 

Jonathan Edwards was born a few years earlier in 1703.  He entered Yale at the age of 13 and graduated with honors.  Edwards became a minister who is credited with igniting the First Great Awakening in America.  He later became president of Princeton.  Jonathan Edwards married Sarah Pierrepont, and was a godly family man.

In 1877, a man named Richard Dugdale visited aNew Yorkprison and found 42 men there who all descended from one man named Max.  Further research indicated that Max Jukes had 709 descendants of which 280 of were paupers, 140 were criminals including 7 murderers and 60 thieves, 128 were prostitutes, and over 400 were alcoholics.  Max Jukes’ descendents cost the state over  $1.25 million. 

In 1900 another man did some research on the descendants of Jonathan Edwards.  Edwards’ 929 descendents included 13 university presidents, 86 college professors, 100 ministers, 100 missionaries, 314 war veterans, 75 authors, 100 lawyers, 30 judges, 66 physicians, and 80 holders of public office, including three U.S. Senators, seven congressman, mayors of three large cities, governors of three states, and one Vice-President of the United States.

What a contrast in legacies!  How can I leave a godly legacy?  Here are four steps to doing so from Deuteronomy 6:4-9… 

  • Love it
  • Live it
  • Talk it
  • Walk it

What will your legacy be?

 Dear Heavenly Father,
My heart’s desire is to leave a legacy of faith.
So, I commit myself to loving You & living for You.
May I be a godly example to my oikos!
In Jesus’ name, Amen!


LEGACY

May 11, 2011

“A righteous man will be remembered forever…”
(Psalm 112:6)

What’s a legacy?  Webster’s dictionary defines “legacy” as follows…

  1. a gift by will, especially of money or other personal property; bequest
  2. something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past

What kind of legacy will you leave for your children and your grandchildren and generations beyond?  You can leave a gift of property or money in your will.  Then your children can spend the next several years fighting over it.  Or, you can hand down something even better.  You can leave a legacy of faith; a godly heritage. 

So, how do I leave a legacy of faith?  Here are four commitments you must flesh-out in life in order to leave a legacy of faith… 

  • Live with integrity
  • Serve with sincerity
  • Give with generosity
  • Succeed with humility

What will your legacy be?  What are you passing on to your children and grandchildren?  How will you be remembered in future generations?

Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for the spiritual inheritance I have in Christ.
I commit myself anew to leaving a legacy of faith.
May I be a godly example to my oikos – my family and friends.
In Jesus’ name, Amen!


JOB DESCRIPTION FOR MOM

May 4, 2011

“Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”
(Proverbs 31:28-29)

POSITION:  Mother, Mom, Mama, Mommy

JOB DESCRIPTION:  Long term team players needed for challenging permanent work in an often chaotic environment.  Candidates must possess excellent communication and organizational skills and be willing to work variable hours, which will include evenings and weekends and frequent 24-hour shifts on call.  Some overnight travel required, including trips to primitive camping sites on rainy weekends.  Extensive courier & chauffer duties also required.

RESPONSIBILITIES:  Must be willing to be hated, at least temporarily, until someone needs $5.  Must be willing to bite tongue repeatedly.  Must possess the physical stamina of a pack mule and be able to go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds just in case the screams from the backyard are not someone crying wolf.  Must be willing to face stimulating technical challenges such as small gadget repairs, mysteriously sluggish toilets, and stuck zippers.  Must screen phone calls, maintain calendars, and coordinate production of multiple homework projects.  Must have ability to plan and organize social gatherings for clients of all ages.  Must be willing to be indispensable one minute and an embarrassment the next.  Must handle assembly and safety testing of a half-million cheap, plastic toys and battery operated devices.  Must always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.  Must assume final, complete accountability for the quality of the end product.  Responsibilities also include maintenance and janitorial work throughout the facility.

EXPERIENCE NEEDED:  None required.  On-the-job training offered on a continually exhausting basis.

WAGES AND PROMOTIONS:  Virtually none.  Your job is to remain in the same position with no pay for years, without complaining, constantly retraining and updating your skills, so that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you.  You may receive an occasional hug, which seems to make it all worthwhile; and some day you may be promoted to “grand” mother.

Be sure to take some time this weekend to honor your mom (or your wife).  Moms:  thanks for your unselfish and undying love and devotion.

Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for your perfect plan called “family.”
Thanks for my mom.  May You bless her richly this week.
In Jesus’ name, Amen!


SURPRISE!

December 8, 2010

“An angel of the Lord appeared to them,
and the glory of the Lord shone around them,
and they were terrified.”
(Luke 2:9)
 

My wife and I had quite a surprise last weekend – an early Christmas present.  Our son and his wife (Josh & Jen) showed up at our door on Friday afternoon quite unexpectedly.  They flew down from Seattle for the weekend; just for fun & an early Christmas surprise.  Needless to say, we loved it.  We quickly changed a lot of our plans for the weekend (mostly working), and we had a great time with the whole family.  Oh, to be young and impetuous again.  Try it.  You just might have fun, too!

Have you ever thought about how much fun that first Christmas must have been for God?  He was full of surprises.  First, an angel appears to the virgin, Mary, and says “You’re going to have a baby.”  Surprise!  Then, her fiancée discovered that she was pregnant.  Surprise!  Fortunately, an angel filled him in on God’s plan.  He was going to be raising the Son of God.  Surprise!  About that time, some wise men in Persia saw this really strange star in the sky.  They traveled by horseback all the way to Jerusalem and asked Herod about a new King of the Jews.  Surprise!

When it came time for Mary to deliver her baby, there were no hospital beds or motel rooms available.  An innkeeper sent them to his barn where they delivered a baby. Surprise!  Then, out of the blue, a host of angels started singing to some shepherds in the hills.  Surprise!  They left their sheep behind and ran into town where theY found baby Jesus lying in a feeding trough instead of a bassinet.  Surprise!

But, the best surprise of all – that baby was no ordinary baby.  He was and is the Savior of mankind. 

I’m sure that first Christmas was a whole bunch of fun for God.  Apparently, He loves to surprise people.  Have you experienced God’s “surprise” in your life?  If so, enjoy His surprise this Christmas season!

Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for your surprises;
especially the surprises of forgiveness & eternal life
through the gift of Your Son, Jesus Christ.
In Jesus’ name, Amen!


NOTHING BEATS FAMILY!

April 7, 2010

“Sons are a heritage from the Lord;
children are a reward from him.”
(Psalm 127:3)
 

My son just called from Seattle.  I was on my way to a late lunch.  He was on his way home from work.  He just called to say, “Hi!”  So before I ordered my food, I sat in my car in the parking lot and talked for awhile.  I enjoyed it!

Yesterday I went out to lunch with my oldest daughter after doing a little maintenance on our car which she’s been driving for awhile.  We sat at Applebee’s, ate some salads, and just visited for awhile. Nothing critical; nothing earth-shattering – just a father & daughter enjoying some time together.  I enjoyed it!

On Monday, I stopped by my parents house for about an hour.  No particular reason – just to say “Hi!”

On Sunday, we went to our younger daughter’s home after church for Easter dinner & an Easter egg hunt with the grandchildren.  There were about 14 family members there.  We just sat around and visited and laughed and ate and played with the grandchildren.  What a great time!

A week before Easter, Barb and I went to Seattle for our son’s wedding reception.   We visited a lot, helped set-up and clean-up for the reception, and enjoyed celebrating with Josh and his wonderful wife, Jennifer.  What a great time!

While we were gone, Barb’s mom moved in to our home.  She was there when we got back from Seattle.  She seems to be enjoying her new place and we’re enjoying having her there. 

With all the exciting things to do in life these days, there is still nothing that I enjoy more than family – my wife, my children, my grandchildren, and my extended family.  And if that’s not enough, I have a wonderful church family to enjoy, too!  Granted, all relationships come with challenges; but in the final analysis, nothing beats family – my physical family as well as my church family!

Join us this Sunday as we begin a 6-week series entitled, “Family Matters.”  You can check it out on our church website – www.northmountainchurch.org.  

Heavenly Father,
Thanks for family – both physical & spiritual family.
Help me to slow down from the hectic pace of life
and enjoy the family relationships you gave me!
In Jesus’ name, Amen!


ENJOY LIFE!

March 24, 2010

”A cheerful heart has a continual feast.”   (Proverbs 15:15)
”A cheerful heart is good medicine.”  (Proverbs 17:22)

I wrapped up the painting on our remodel project at home last week.  Caleb helped me.  He helped on two separate occasions.  The first time he painted, it didn’t really matter where the paint landed, because the floor was bare and nothing else had been painted yet.  But the second time he helped was a little different.  We were painting a brown accent wall after the other walls and the baseboard had already been painted.  Needless to say, Caleb dripped a little of the brown paint on the white baseboards. 

At first, I found myself getting a little frustrated with the drips.  I was going to have to repaint some baseboards.  Then I came to my senses.  What else would I expect from a 3-year old?  And besides, I had gotten as much brown paint on the white ceiling as he had on the baseboards.  So, I decided to put my own paint brush down and spend a few minutes just watching and helping Caleb.  After awhile, I even picked up Ethan (1 year-old) and put a paint brush in his hand and helped him paint a little.  Then I let Ethan try it by himself.  He promptly missed the wall and landed a brush full of brown paint right in my beard.  We all got a good laugh.  Finally Caleb asked, “Poppy, why aren’t you painting.”  So, I had to get back to work. 

As I reflect back on that incident, it reminded me a something I have learned in the past but often forget.  I tend to take life far too seriously.  Sometimes I just need to lighten up a bit, smell the roses, have some fun, and enjoy life. 

So I want to challenge you to do the same.  When you find yourself taking life too seriously, stop for awhile and do something different just for the fun of it.  In fact, it would do our hearts well to take a few moments every day and enjoy some of the little blessings in life.  After all, God “richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” (I Timothy 6:17)   So, enjoy life!

Heavenly Father,
Life gets so busy & I get so stressed.
Thank you for the many little blessings in life!
Help me to slow down & enjoy life!
In Jesus’ name, Amen!