Dad, You Leave Big Footprints!

20 06 2015

Image result for footsteps in the snow

A man going from his house to the stable one snowy morning, heard a voice behind him, “I’m coming along, too, papa,” and, looking behind, saw his little son lifting his little feet and planting them carefully in his father’s footsteps. So do the children imitate their parents. “No man liveth unto himself.” Our children walk in our footsteps; so let us take heed how we walk.

Bible Illustrations 

 





A Mother’s Faith

10 05 2015

Image result for abraham lincoln mother

“I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also”—(2 Tim. 1:5).
Lois and Eunice are not irrelevancies in the story of Timothy. What they were had much to do with what he was, or they would not have been named with this honor. As one missionary put it, “To make a sound Christian of a Hindu you have got to convert his grandmother.”
Nowhere will we find a more wonderful example of such feminine spiritual aristocracy than in the life of Abraham Lincoln. When he was a baby his mother said that she would rather have him learn to read the Bible than to have him own a farm. While the boy was still young, in forlorn poverty that mother died and was buried without religious services at her grave. Afterwards came a step-mother—a most understanding woman. She also desired that Abraham learn to read, and to read the Bible. He did.
So the two women of the backwoods and the cabin of the dirt floor had ambition for the boy and gave him guidance. Who knows how much they contributed to what he became? It may be that some of us who wish we had greater opportunity fail to recognize those we have in the nurturing of faith in our children.

Heartwarming Bible Illustrations.





The Consequences of Putting Off Marriage, for Christians and for Culture

9 01 2015

by Shane Morris

The Consequences of Putting Off Marriage, for Christians and for Culture

More young Americans than ever are kicking cans down the road instead of dragging them from their bumpers. In other words, they’re putting off marriage for ever longer periods of time, creating long-term problems for those who don’t wait to have sex and lengthening temptation for those who do wait, especially 20-something Christians.

Writing in World, Warren Cole Smith shares insights from Jennifer Marshall’s recent speech at the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. Marshall, a social policy expert at the Heritage Foundation, says the trend among young adults of pushing marriage into their late 20s and beyond spells trouble, which is why she urges Christians to lead the way in helping Americans rethink their priorities.

“The median age of first marriage has risen six years in the last four decades,” says Marshall. “Almost half of women are still single at age 30. That’s compared to an extremely low percentage of aged-30 women in 1970 who were single. We’re having really profound changes. That’s something we’ve got to talk about, particularly in the church where we clearly do prize marriage and want people to be able to find their way to that and have cultural support from the church community. If we’re not talking about that, we’ve got problems.”

What kinds of problems? For one thing, says Marshall, late marriage means late childbearing. And when a sizable percentage or even a majority of women forego their best childbearing years, they see increases in infertility and complications. Even if all goes as planned, she reminded her audience, young people who reallocate to school and career the years historically spent rearing families simply have less time left over when they get around to marriage and children.

And it’s not a rare phenomenon. These days, not saying “I do” or welcoming a newborn until after college and vocation has become the norm. According to recent statistics, a record-breaking number of American adults are single, and fertility rates have dropped into negative territory (more Americans are dying than being born). And because most Americans in their 20s aren’t waiting until marriage to sleep with their romantic partners, it means the marriages they do eventually enter will be less stable, less satisfying, and more likely to end in divorce.

And that’s just the array of problems facing singles as a demographic. Focusing on just the Christian singles, a new set of challenges emerges.

“We [in the church] are teaching kids at 14 to wait until they get married before they have sex,” says Marshall. “Historically, that might have been until they were 21. If they’re not getting married until they’re 30, that looks like a really tough hurdle. As a public policy person looking at these questions, we look at the aggregate data. As the typical age of first marriage is climbing, we’re also seeing cohabitation rates climb. We’re seeing unwed childbearing climb dramatically.”

Without the “easy out” of premarital sex and cohabitation, Christian young people often find themselves in a struggle to keep themselves for a honeymoon that could be a decade or more away. The average age for marriage among American men is now 29. For women it’s 27. This means churches are asking Christian students to spend, on average, 15 years fighting the strongest hormones of their lives. It’s an expectation no previous generation of believers has faced.

But increased emphasis on self-betterment isn’t entirely to blame. As Karen Swallow Prior writes at The Atlantic, our culture’s conception of marriage itself as a “capstone,” rather than a “cornerstone,” has caused many to look at matrimony as unattainable. As one group of sociologists behind a landmark study on the subject wrote, marriage is now “something [young people] do after they have all their ducks in a row, rather than a foundation for launching into adulthood and parenthood.”

How can church leaders respond to the pressures for young Christians to treat marriage as a cherry on top of academic, vocational, and sexual experience? Is the answer to give up on college and settle for less rewarding careers? How do we exalt marriage as a “good thing,” and a picture of God’s “favor” (Genesis 2:18, Proverbs 18:22), without making it an idol? And how can we offer Christian 20-somethings a means to resist settling for sex without a ceremony?

A few years ago in Christianity Today, Mark Regnerus and three other scholars offered suggestions, but above all emphasized that early marriage runs deeply counter to industrial culture in the 21st century. If we’re serious about confronting this issue, they argued, the church should be prepared to take radical steps toward supporting both young couples and those who find themselves single beyond their 20s but choose to obey God by remaining celibate. Above all, they agree, the church must not remain silent about the consequences of widespread delays in marriage. Understanding the trend and acknowledging the young people who live it is the first step toward a change that desperately needs to be made.

 





A Prayer of Thanksgiving

25 11 2014

Eternal Father,

We set aside one day a year to express our gratefulness to you, an exercise that is worthy of our daily concern. We don’t know where to begin, so we start with being thankful for who you are. You are eternal,  you are are merciful, and you are love. Your ways are everlasting, your promises, mercies, salvation, love, and goodness, are everlasting. When we are find ourselves weak, discouraged, sick, ashamed, overwhelmed, or at the end of our rope; we find that underneath are the everlasting arms. You have offered to us eternal life so that our joy would be complete only in thee.

We are grateful for who you are to us. You are the water of life when we thirst, our Savior when we call, our Shepherd when we wander, our Healer when we are ill, our song in the night, our strength for the day, our rock in time of storm, our light when the way is dark, and our hope when our circumstances seem to have none. You are Father, one of the most precious titles that we have the privilege of addressing you. We collectively bring a spirit of gratefulness on this day of Thanksgiving.

We also look to the Hand that feeds us and thank you for the wants that you fill in our lives on a daily basis, many of which we overlook. You have nourished us, clothed us, and given us shelter. We live, move and have our being because of your grace. We thank you for the star filled nights of beauty, the rain, the seasons, the sunshine, and the health to enjoy it. We thank you for family, friends, and nation. We thank you for our employment, our abilities, and our freedom to worship you in spirit and in truth.

On this day in our yearly calendar, we gratefully acknowledge you, count our many blessings, and offer to you our praise. We ask this in the name of the One who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, the name of Jesus.

Amen





When Gifts Lose Their Luster

13 05 2014
There are times I grow weary of good things. Things I love. Things I would not want to live without. Things that have the ability to make my heart beat a little bit faster and keep my mind racing when I ought to be asleep. They are good things, but somehow, through time or familiarity or neglect or something else, they begin to feel not so good. I wish it wasn’t this way, but it seems to be yet another cost of being a sinful person in a sinful world. Even the best things feel like bad things at times.The Bible is one of God’s great gifts. Without it I would be hopelessly and utterly lost. I would not know who I am, who God is, or what he desires from me. That Bible is living and active, it is the very words of God recorded and preserved for me. Reading the Bible saved my soul and transformed my life. It gave me meaning and purpose and direction. And yet even it can seem so humdrum at times. Drab. Uninteresting. A chore. A duty. Even it can seem like a not-so-good thing.

There is no one on this earth I love more than my wife. She is one of God’s greatest gifts to me. I am deeply dependent upon her—I’ve been married to her for almost my entire adulthood—and really wouldn’t know how to go about life without her. I love her dearly. Yet at times, too many times, I can find myself growing frustrated with her. Short-tempered. Surly. Just plain angry. In those moments, or in those extended times, it’s like I’ve grown weary of the gift. For a time that good thing becomes a not-so-good thing.

Children. Vocation. Location. Everything I love, every good gift, can fade in time.

I have come to realize something about those times when I grow weary of good gifts: This weariness makes a statement about me, not the gift. The weariness is so often a direct result of my neglect. I have neglected to cherish the gift and honor the giver.

the most effective means for increasing our love for the Bible is to spend time in the Bible.





How Do You Prepare for Sunday?

24 04 2014

 This is an important question lest our trip to the church every week becomes routine, inconvenient, and lacking freshness. Our youth see such a lack of sincerity in our weekly ritual that they decide not to get involved in “organized religion”. The church is often judged by worship (aided by loud music, hip worship leader, and stunning video), facility (aided by A/C, padded pews, gym, coffee shop, and live band), and activities (aided by inter-mural sports, copious volunteers, and energetic youth leaders). It is also important for us to have the right attitude toward the church at which God called us. Read this timely blog and give yourself an attitude check.

Pastor Dave

by Jordan Kauflin

How Do You Prepare for Sunday?

Two Common Mistakes

Here are two common errors we can make.

At times, we can prepare as spectators. We come mainly to watch, not participate. It’s like how I prepare to go see a sporting event. Besides making sure I’m not wearing the opposing teams colors, I don’t prepare much. I anticipate it, but my general attitude in going to a sporting event is, “Entertain me! Move me! Show me something amazing!” Or if you’re a loyal fan of a lousy team like I am, “Make me suffer!”

We can have the same attitude as we come to our Sunday gatherings. We come with the expectation, spoken or assumed, that everyone else needs to make sure we have a good time. I need my kids to be taken care of. I need people to seek me out. I need the music to sound a certain way. I need the preacher to stop speaking on time so that I can get on with my life. As for Jesus? Hopefully he shows up by his Spirit so I can have a spiritual, emotional experience that carries me through my week. We come as spectators, expecting to be served.

Prepare to Receive

Every time we gather as a church, God will speak to us as his word is preached, sung, read, and studied. Hearing from God is a weighty and glorious thing. Just read Exodus 19–20. To see God for who he is, to be overwhelmed by his greatness and holiness, to experience his presence, to see his boundless love and mercy, to encounter what should make our hearts tremble. Through Jesus, we can boldly come and receive (Hebrews 10:19–22), but confidence does not equal casualness. Prepare by asking God to help you receive his revelation with gratefulness and humility.

Prepare to Respond

When God reveals himself to us, things happen. Experiencing God leads us to respond (Isaiah 6:8). Rather than being a spectator or a passive participant, our hearts are moved to worship because we have once again seen the beauty, greatness, holiness, mercy, and love of our God. We sing to him, confess our sins, receive his word preached, take communion, and give our finances, all in grateful response to seeing who God is and what he has done for us in Jesus.

Prepare for this Sunday by asking that God would help you rightly respond to him.

Prepare to Edify Others

Our worship doesn’t stop when the singing ends, or the preacher says, “Amen.” It continues as we greet, encourage, serve, pray for, exhort, and care for one another. God chooses to use people to edify his body (1 Corinthians 14:26). You and me. Isn’t that amazing?

Do you come to church expecting that God will use you? It might be as you serve practically, it might be as you take two minutes to pray for a friend, or greet a new person, or encourage a child. You have a part to play. This Sunday, prepare for gathering with your church family by asking God how he might use you to edify his church.

 






The Human Spirit

6 04 2014

I received this clip from my step-father; I wept the first (and second) time I saw it! It is not distinctly Christian, but you could see the world that God so loves (John 3:16). Many of these people do not speak our language nor adhere to our culture, but they all have the same spirit. Watch it and see if you agree.

Pastor Dave