Thursday, December 6, 2007

Smoking and littering

So I have been wondering something for a while. Why is smoking not considered littering? I guess that I have wondered this since I did some community clean up work with the school. When we went out and picked up trash, a lot of it was cigarette butts. And those things are nasty. Who knows where they have been. But we know where they are. All over the streets, sidewalks, entrances, etc... They post signs on the freeway for littering, but no one ever gets fined for flicking a butt out the window. I do not like it when I am driving down the freeway and a cigarette comes flying out of the window in front of me. It may be because I am always nervous the ashes will jump up and hit my gas tank. Forgive my weird paranoia, but that really does go through my head.
Everyone knows that smoking is not healthy for you. That is why the government raised the cigarette tax. They want to get rid of smoking because it costs the country billions in health care each year (no source on that, may be an exaggeration, I am not sure, either way it is close). So why not start fining smokers every time they litter too?

Thursday, November 22, 2007


The television has changed the culture so much. When I was growing up, I didn’t have a TV until later in elementary school. It took a little while. But our family would go outside and play. I grew up playing kick the can and tag and outdoor games like that. Then my brothers and I always played different sports outside. Instead of watching the TV or playing video games, we would play basketball, baseball, hockey, football, and soccer. We had a ping-pong table and pool table as well. The TV is a cause for a lack of an attention span in children. This is a cause of ADHD that the world rants and raves about.
There are many interesting movies out there to watch. Lots of my friends are all up to date on their movies. They spend their time and money making sure that they do not miss any of the best movies. Now, I do not have anything against these movies. But I think it says much about our society and the importance of entertainment. Instead of it being something to do on the side, it has turned into something that consumes us. The amount of time spent learning and reading has been transferred to the amount of time we spend on entertainment. We no longer seek knowledge, but rather struggle to not drown in the ocean of entertainment. I am often clueless in conversations about movies because I have not spent the time watching these movies. While movies can educate quite a bit and do have positives to them, I do question the overall help of them to society.
No longer are Christians actively seeking wholesome entertainment that will grow them in the Lord. There is pressure on the entertainment industry to produce movies that exploit all the problems that the Bible teaches against. The reason there is pressure is because that is what people watch and so if they want to make any money, filthy movies is what they must produce. Movies are a reflection of our society’s desires. Now, I will say in the last couple of years there have been hit movies that were clean and good. I hope that the demand for those goes up.

Saturday, November 3, 2007


Prayer is a topic of which I do not have any authority to write on. Dean C.J. Vaughn said, “If I wished to humble anyone, I should question them about their prayers.” This statement rings very true in my own life. I shudder to think about how little I talk to my God. When I do talk to Him, I often am not focused on Him but drift off in thoughts. I guess I could relate it to a man trying to talk to his wife during a football game between his favorite team and their rivals where the clock is ticking down in the fourth quarter of a tied ball game. Incoherent is probably the best word to describe it. I often find myself apologizing to my King for daydreaming instead of fellowshipping. I would love to spend three hours in prayer with God as Martin Luther wrote about. But I am not strong in my faith as I should be. Although I have around fifteen to thirty minutes allotted for prayer after Bible reading in the morning, I do not think that they are all ever directly used for solely communion with the Father. I wish that I could say they were. I do pray during the day randomly, but I cannot say that I pray without ceasing as Paul tells us to do in Thessalonians.
I do know, however, that I am continuing to grow in this area of my life. More time is spent in prayer now than several years ago. I think that should be our goal, to grow. I do not think that I need to make an argument for prayer as we all know that we need to do it. We know that Jesus set the example of prayer by His all night prayer meetings with the Father and by His forty nights of prayer and fasting before starting ministry. If Jesus needed a night in prayer to pick His disciples, certainly we need many nights in prayer for our smallest decisions.
How often we find ourselves praying only when we need God. After 9/11/2001 the US put up many signs saying God bless the USA and said they were praying. But how soon have we forgotten the God we need. Only when tragedy strikes do we turn to Him. I am not just criticizing the country, but also myself. When I preach, I need to pray for the power of God. I know of one time where the sermon was going horrible I felt, and I almost just stopped in the middle of a sentence and started praying. But just that little glance towards Jesus of prayer for His power turned the whole sermon around. But I waited until things were going bad. Instead, I need to look to Him for everything. I need His power and presence in my life to ever do anything for Him. This power comes from humble prayer before Him.

Discipled by parents

Growing up I believe that I was discipled by my parents. No, I do not recall them sitting down and going through a discipleship book with them. But I do remember praying with them before school in the morning, during meals, at night before bed, and other random times. I also remember walking down the stairs in the morning and often seeing my dad at his desk reading his Bible and doing his quiet time. Then in the kitchen I would see my mom reading her Bible while eating her cereal. So guess what I did. I had a quiet time and learned to have a prayer life. While it was not automatic, practicing spiritual disciplines in front of your children is also teaching them how to do it. So if you are not doing those, then your children, I believe, are less likely to practice it.
I really enjoy talking with my parents about spiritual things. It is awkward sometimes, and I do not think that I was always like that. But I think that it has its place and is important for the child to see that you do have a spiritual side to you besides just going to church. My mom always shared with me who she was witnessing to. This encouraged me to pass along my faith, but also to pray for the lost.
I know that my parents were not perfect. They taught me that as well. But I did learn quite a bit from them. My dad’s willingness to be a missionary is probably the main root that caused me to go into missionary work. He never became a career missionary, but he was always ready and willing to go. He went to Mexico for a two week trip as a doctor. They held clinics to meet physical needs and had people there meeting spiritual needs as well. Then he took our whole family to the Amazon in Brazil where he volunteered for two and a half months in 1993 and six months in 1996-1997. If I had never had that exposure to Brazil, I am pretty sure that I would not be returning to that same area where I was before. God really used those trips to impact my life. So maybe God has never called you to full time Christian ministry, but that does not mean God cannot use you to shape your children’s future in serving God. Be open to ministry opportunities and having the opportunity to expose them to Christian service.
We are not all called to be in full time Christian ministry, but we are called to be full time Christians. We may not have the time to study and preach a 45 minute message to our kids every week, but we can read and study the Bible enough to show our kids the importance of it.

Friday, November 2, 2007

New to Blogging, the Jesus Question

So I am new to blogging, but not to writing down my ideas. I am writing what is labeled on my computer as a "book," but I do not have enough confidence to really call it a good book. It is more a collection of my ideas. I think that I will post them soon enough. Right now my computer is crashed and in the HP center in Memphis and I don't really have access to my "book" that hopefully does not get erased off my computer. Here is an excerpt I wrote about Jesus though. Let me know what you think. Hope it is not too long for you.

Who is Jesus? My brother Phil has really been thinking lately about who Jesus really is and how He treated people. This is a great question because it really is a debatable question. There are all kinds of sects in Christianity that think differently about this question. Even non-Christians have their opinions about Jesus. Although some try to prove He never existed, that is kind of rare because it is so far-fetched and beyond reason. Many people create their own Jesus to fit their own ideas or beliefs. Others do not care about who Jesus was and how He affects their life. Some have never heard of Jesus because the government has banned any knowledge of Him. If you look at the life of Jesus, you see a life of compassion for the multitudes. Some times He would weep about it. Other times He would just start healing and teaching the people. He truly desired for the multitude to know the truth. He accepted people for who they were, but also had the desire to bring them into a right relationship with the Father (reconciliation). He went to the destitute and lonely. To the woman at the well, He gave the living waters. Despite her background as a woman who could not keep a husband, He still spoke to her. She even knew that Jesus should not be speaking to her because of the customs of the day, but He did anyway. He impacted and changed her life, enough so that the entire town came out to see Jesus. Think about it. The town knew this woman and how she had all these husbands. Jesus changed her life enough to where the town saw the difference and came out to see who made the change. There must have been a change in her for the town to listen. That is the business Jesus is into; meeting people where they are and radically changing their lives to be a follower of Him.Zaccheus was not a respected man. After all, he took people’s money and profited greatly from it. No one liked the man and people would not talk to him. He was a thief and every one knew it. But Jesus still talked to him. Zaccheus saw Christ for who He was and it impacted him to the point of radically changing his life. After Christ changed his life he gave a bunch of money away. He gave it to those that he had wronged. I think that Jesus loved everyone no matter their past. He did not look at people’s outward appearance and decide if they were good enough for God to use. He knew that God uses everyone no matter their past. God sees the potential that we have, even though He could see failures of the past and future. Even though Jesus could have judged people and passed by them, He knew their spiritual needs and stopped to help. We can learn from Him in so many ways in how to treat people. We are to deal with people in love at all times because that is what Christ did. When we love others, Christ’s love is shown to them. When encountering Christ, people’s lives should change. As Christians, we should be the little Christ’s that bring people to the knowledge of the truth of God through the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. As a result of our knowing Jesus Christ, our lives should radically change. II Corinthians 5:17 says that we are new creations. Once we are saved, we are made alive spiritually. We have the ability to walk in the newness of life. Before salvation, no one is expected to live a “good life.” We are born sinners and do not have Christ in us. I am not saying that someone cannot be good, but rather that their nature is to sin. We can never expect an unsaved person to act like a Christian. Yes, we shake our heads at statistics on the nation that tell us of immorality, drugs, alcohol, and killing. What can we expect? They are not able to walk in the truth. They are carnal and live in spiritual darkness. I have been writing on this topic for a little while, having realized that many books have been written on the same topic. Then I came across a pretty popular author named the Apostle Paul who explained it much better than I ever could. Colossians 3 says:Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. COL 3:2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. COL 3:3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. COL 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. COL 3:5 Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. COL 3:6 For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, COL 3:7 and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. COL 3:8 But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. COL 3:9 Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, COL 3:10 and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him— COL 3:11 a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all. COL 3:12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; COL 3:13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. COL 3:14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. COL 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. COL 3:16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. COL 3:17 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. The chapter starts out basically saying that if you are saved, this is how you should act. In verse five it says to put to death the parts of your life that are earthly or of sin nature. We started as sinners, but having put on Christ, we now have the ability to reject our sin nature. I am not saying that we will not struggle because that is definitely not true. We all struggle with sin all the time, but we do have Christ and have the ability to put on the new man as verse ten says. We need to continually grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ. As we read Scriptures, we learn to be more like Christ and hopefully do make those right decisions to follow Him. Once we encounter Christ as our Savior and Lord, we experience progressive sanctification. We are becoming holier and holier as we grow in Christ. That means that we are becoming more and more like Christ. Our compassion for others will grow as our heart for Christ grows. So the main point of these last couple of pages is that Jesus loves everyone and accepts everyone, but once you accept Him it should radically change your life.