Sunday, March 29, 2015
Saturday, March 28, 2015
Spent the day (Saturday) planting in the garden and scraping the location where our new (final) home will be build.
As you can see, Renae is on the tractor doing the work. I'm glad she enjoys doing this kind of thing. We spent the entire day together (a full ten hours) working on the property.
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Thursday, March 19, 2015
For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ (Philippians 3:18)
"... don't you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be the friend of the world becomes the enemy of God" (James 4:4).
If you are an unashamed and dedicated follower of Christ you will have enemies. A lot of enemies.
The idea of having enemies is not very popular among Christians today because so many of us seem more intent on fitting into culture, or at least getting its affirmation, than opposing it. And the entire idea of having enemies seems out of sync with the Christian life.
But it isn’t.
Jesus made it very clear that He did not come to bring peace, but a sword. Little wonder His life did not end with a crowning, but a crucifying. He also said that we too would be hated by this world. In fact, His apostles and disciples and tens of thousands of followers were put to death for their faith.
So, why are so many Christians today opting for a popular stance in society instead of a prophetic one?
Because we are misguided, that’s why. We actually believe that acceptance by the world is validation of our Christianity… so we don’t’ take a clear stance on anything (no matter how clear the Bible may be) and avoid the issues at all cost.
For others, it’s a kind of spiritual insecurity. Somehow they are not legitimate until they land on Oprah, are covered by USA Today, or invited to make the talk show circuit.
It’s almost as if we are trying to emulate Bono – a kind of rock star or celebrity who espouses Christian faith. Not to denigrate Bono, but a better model would be Bonhoeffer (as in, Detrick Bonhoeffer). He was a believer who clearly saw the lines of good and evil and worked tirelessly to overthrow evil (in his case, Adolph Hitler and the Third Reich). Rather than being crowned with popularity, for Bonhoeffer, it ended in execution at a concentration camp.
Suffice it to say, we are behind enemy lines. And when you are behind enemy lines, there are, well, enemies. The goal is not to be enemy-free, as if Christianity in its purest form is so cheerful... so happy... so agreeable... and so compelling that no one will ever reject it.
No, the gospel is truth. It's God's truth... and, as such, it is offensive to some; especially those with an unregenerate mind. Many will openly reject it, not to mention its moral mandates. No, we are not to embody culture, but to be counter-culture. The
that we advance is not the kingdom of this world. kingdom of God
So stop worrying about having enemies. It goes with the territory.
You’ll have them when you stand for truth.
You’ll have them because you don’t flow with majority opinion when it crashes against Biblical authority.
After all, Jesus did.
And do you really think following Him would avoid any kind of cross?
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Saturday, March 14, 2015
Thursday, March 12, 2015
Monday, March 9, 2015
In the Bible, those who are in Christ are often referred to as “sheep” and pastors are often referred to as “shepherds.” From this, we have all kinds of catch-phrases in regards to church life; most notably “sheep swapping” or “sheep stealing,” which is when people move from one local church to another, or when pastors knowingly pilfer the pew of a neighboring church.
So, is this always a bad thing?
Is it ever a good thing?
Yes… to both questions.
Five Good Reasons to Shop around
- The Teaching Veers Away from a Biblical Foundation or Historical Orthodoxy
- The Leadership Lacks Integrity
- Financial Scandal
- The Congregation is Infected with Habitual Disunity
- The Mission Lacks Clarity or Focus
Here are Five Bad (Immature) Reasons to Shop Around
- You don’t like the long check-in line at the children’s ministry station
- You don’t like to be challenged about tithing or being involved in capital campaigns
- You don't like the new faces in the crowd
- You don’t like discovering that your favorite seat has been taken
- You don’t like having limited access to the pastor
Here are Five Really Bad Reasons to Shop Around
- You want to gravitate to the "next hot thing" that's happening in the church down the street. And then the "next hot thing" after that... and after that...
- You are leaving because you were admonished about a serious, unrepentant sin
- You didn't get your way regarding something that was important to you
- Your toes got stepped on regarding a lifestyle or obedience matter that the Bible is very clear about
- You got "offended" by someone but you never practiced Matthew 18:15 to resolve the issue
Here are Five "Grey" Reasons to Shop Around
- Your teenager wants to go somewhere else
- Your age group or stage of life is under-represented
- Your passion in ministry isn't offered or enabled
- Your philosophy of ministry is different
- Your new address makes it too far to drive
These are considered grey for one reason: sometimes they are legitimate, and sometimes they are not.
Here are The Five Most Common Reasons People Shop Around
- I’m Not Being Fed
- I’m Not Being Fed
- I’m Not Being Fed
- I’m Not Being Fed
- I'm Not Being Fed
Not being fed is often a euphemism for minor disagreements among discontented folk who desire a smokescreen for their departure.
The best thing for your spiritual growth, (not to mention the health of the local church, as well as kingdom advancement), is to find a church home, be loyal and committed to it, and to work at making it reach its redemptive potential.
Yes, there will always be more….
- Hipper churches…
- Newer churches…
- Larger churches…
- Smaller churches…
But there will only be ONE church that is YOUR church.
Just like marriage is a marathon, there is depth and sweetness in belonging to a congregation year after year, decade after decade.
…. It's there you know the stories, the people, the milestones.
There are people at PCC who have been with us since the beginning (since the very first service).... and others who have been with us for more than a decade… and others who are about to reach their first decade… etc.
To the person, they will tell you that this long-term commitment is among their most precious investments and realities.
Why? Because it’s their church
It’s the church God has called them to.
That’s not something you shop for.
It’s something you make.
Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Live frugal. Develop skills. Be resourceful.
Taking care of yourself and knowing how to fix things is an important skill (and attitude) to develop. It minimizes your dependence on others, the system, the government, etc., reduces your out-of-pocket expense for repairs, and makes you a better provider for your family.
If I don’t know how something works or how to fix it, I find out (as best I can) and try to fix it myself. It may not come out exactly right the first time, but it will be better the next time.
If I have to call in a home repairman, I will pay for his services once. I will watch him do it, learn, then do it myself next time.
I have a working knowledge and hands-on experience with most aspects of home repair. Saved myself a small fortune over the years too. I can make minor plumbing repairs, fix leaking faucets, replace hot water heaters, replace light fixtures, build privacy fences, pour concrete, install a sprinkler system, replace toilets, add new field lines to a septic system, fix a leaky roof, landscape, paint, weld, pressure wash, saw, cut, nail, build, fabricate, lay patio brick, build a retaining wall, modify a smoker, pull maintenance on my boat, work on lawnmowers (weed eaters, chainsaws, edger’s, and hedge trimmers), and even do small masonry repairs.
Handy man skills. They keep the homestead running.
My father taught me many of them. Others I learned on my own (thanks to my father for imparting to me a self-reliant mindset).
I take the same approach to my health care. I prefer self-treatment options (as much as possible) when experiencing aches and pains in my body instead of rushing to the emergency room at the first sign of sickness. Cuts, sprains, lacerations, smashed finders, cold symptoms, and insect bites (etc) don’t require a hospital visit and $4000 in medical bills. First aid treatment at home will usually suffice.
Regarding getting older: I have a bulging disc in my back, bursitis in a hip joint, trigger finger in my left hand, and a condition called shoulder impingement (in my left shoulder). In every instance I was told by doctors I needed surgery… and extensive on-going physical therapy at their facilities (that would have cost me another fortune). So I began to search for information and learned to heal myself through my own physical therapy exercises at home. After being plagued by pain from these conditions for most of my life, I still have not had one surgery and live relatively pain-free. Some of these exercise have completely changed my life. Furthermore, at 58 years old I am still physically active, can exercise, work hard, ride bikes, take long walks, dig in the garden, haul wood, and be engaged in all other sorts of labor intensive activity.
I think if more people took a more active role in their health care, dedicated themselves to preventative medicine (exercise, and healthy lifestyle habits), and took the time to administer some self-therapy – rather than surrendering to the pain in their knees and back – they would be much better off in many instances.
Thanks to the United States Army, I learned how to hand sew and make stitches when I was 19 years old so that I could make minor repairs on my clothing (like replace buttons and repair holes in the fabric). This is a skill I have used all my life.
I am an outdoorsman, handy man, homestead enthusiast, advocate of self-reliance, gardener, fisherman, dog lover, and cast net thrower....
And I believe in the sovereignty of God.
And I believe in the sovereignty of God.
Until the end comes…..
Country Boy Can Survive
This was not a an easy job, but I did enjoy the exercise.
As weird as it sounds, I enjoy manual labor. It gives me a physical & mental break from my ministerial and administrative duties (which often wear me down mentally and emotionally). Even something as brainless as digging a hole is therapeutic.