Posted 11/26/14 at 12:56 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices
Imagine a shepherd boy minding his own business, doing what his father has asked him to do just like he had done yesterday and the day before. Today, however, his faith will be tested. A lion would come that day and take one the David’s sheep.
David was just a boy. How could he defend himself against a wild animal? He could have sat down in the middle of the field and given up. He could have cried out to God, “Why did you let this happen to me? You have given me more than I can handle. I thought you were supposed to bless me for all the things I have done right!” But David did not.
With confidence in God’s strength and assurance that he was not alone, David ran after that lion, killed him, and took back the sheep. Then, David went back to tending the sheep just as his father asked.
A few weeks passed, everything was going smoothly when out of no where a bear came along to take a sheep. David again could have gone home and left the sheep to cry in his bed, “God, how many times is this going to happen to me? You are NOT taking care of me like you said you would! When will I get my blessing??” But David did not. Again, he rose up and, remembering how God had helped him overcome the lion, David defeated the bear and saved the sheep once more. FULL POST
Posted 11/26/14 at 12:18 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices
My friend, Ronnie Dean “The Preaching Machine” of Missouri shared with me a story six months ago that really resonated with me. He shared a trip that he took to California and some friends invited him to see the massive, majestic Redwoods. These trees have endured tornadoes, weathered storms and stood the test of time. To his surprise he was introduced to something that floored him as he learned what toppled the tree.
The regal Redwood didn’t fall because of a massive storm, harsh winds, devastating earthquake or downsizing in our economy – what leveled the tree was TERMITES! Just last month, I heard a loud thud while in my home in Maryland while typing on the computer. The back half of the house shook violently and the dishes in our china cabinet ratled and I went outside and a 70 foot oak tree collaped, hit our roof and bounced off falling to the ground like a daredevil with no parachute! I went out to survey the damage (first, to make sure the roof didn’t have any gaping holes) and two to see what caused the fall? Sure, enough it was due to termites! FULL POST
Posted 11/26/14 at 10:47 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices
It hurts my heart to see so much pain and agony brought upon communities affected by the chain of events that took place in Ferguson, MO.
And while I honestly don’t know enough about the situation to make a solid stand, I can’t help but stay focused on the bigger picture—the fact a human life has been lost. I mean, that’s why we’re all chatting in the first place isn’t it? No matter what side of the story you find yourself standing, we must all understand thatGod values the sanctity of life, and no death is justifiable under God’s grace
The “fixer” within me wishes I could do more, but all I know how to do in a time like this is pray. For some people prayer may seem like a mediocre action, but the reality is that it has the power to change the course of history. I pray for all who were involved in the Ferguson shooting, and I pray that God can bring peace and understanding to those who have been affected. This is a delicate situation. FULL POST
Posted 11/26/14 at 10:36 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices
“Now there were in the same country shepherds abiding in their fields by night….” (Luke 2)
(Herewith we present a report from the youngest shepherd of that fateful night in the field outside Bethlehem, with the occasional editor’s remark in italics.)
I was not supposed to work that night, it being a school night. My friend Elihu asked me to fill in for him. Now, my father is not real thrilled with me hanging out with some of these characters who work night shifts with the sheep. Shepherding is the ultimate unskilled labor and only those who can’t do anything else–or hesitate to show their faces in public in the day–need apply.
But Father knows I’m a good student and agreed that we could use the money.
Anyway, that’s how it happened that I had the most amazing experience of my young life.
Did I say I’m only 15? So, it’s not like I have seen everything, but this is surely the high point of my life so far. I can’t imagine it getting any better. FULL POST
Posted 11/26/14 at 10:28 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices
Today I’m going to do a heartbreaking one: How do I know when to give up on my marriage? When have I done enough and tried hard enough? I get variations on this quite frequently, and I’ll share two with you today:
It took me a long time to figure out why I was so angry at him for so many years. It felt like he was holding back love and affection from me and that he didn’t care about or for me. Even when I tell him I would like to be hugged or touched he could barely do it. I feel rejected from my husband. Being a Christian woman I do not believe in leaving and I really do not want to. I feel like a prisoner in this relationship. I cannot leave for the commitment I made but I am dying inside with lack of affection. What am I to do? How much daily rejection can I keep taking. I touch him nicely on the shoulders or back and he acts like I am not even there. He has all sorts of “good” reasons to not be affectionate to me they all stem to something I said or did years ago. FULL POST
Posted 11/26/14 at 10:12 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices
If this is the first time for a believer to go through a crushing period it can be very disconcerting. Often it causes them to doubt the validity of Christianity. Up to this point the Christian has only known the academics of the Faith; but once the actual process of testing begins it can be overwhelming. Since the spiritual diet in many Churches in America is mostly focused on the sweet parts of the Bible, the average believer is unprepared to face the trials all of God’s servants encountered in the Bible.
Can you imagine the mind games David must have battled as he was running from Saul’s attacks? Where was God during this time? Did David wonder if the prophet Samuel misheard God when he prophesied he would be the next king? What about young Joseph when he was languishing in an Egyptian prison; didn’t God show him something different in his dreams? What about Paul being regularly beaten and imprisoned for simply preaching great sermons? The mental anguish they faced must have been immeasurable. FULL POST
Posted 11/25/14 at 12:05 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices
God has given us a desire for each other and a desire to be married. God has placed those desires in everyone so that a man will GO out and pursue a woman, and make her his wife, and a girl will be happily pursued. It is completely normal to want to be married. Marriage is a system that God set up and ordained.
Marriage is a beautiful picture of the gospel. Husbands are commanded to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it. Wives are commanded to submit themselves to their husbands as the church submits itself to the Lord. As the woman submits to her husband and her husband submits to the Word and to the Lord, the gospel is shown to all who look on their marriage.. and God is glorified.
So, what about the rest of us? I don’t want to miss the chance to live out the gospel for the world. I want a life that proclaims the glory of God. What about me? What about now?
In 1 Corinthians chapter 7, Paul speaks about marriage and singleness, and what he says may surprise you. He doesn’t say, “get married,” and he doesn’t say, “stay single.” He says, “Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife.” (vs 27) Um, well what does that mean? It means, “Hey, both are good….chill out!” FULL POST
Posted 11/25/14 at 11:26 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices
People ask me periodically why I shop at Walmart? With a smile but no less serious I share as a preacher of the Gospel I already have TARGET on my back! The truth is we are marked men (and women) when we live for God. The Bible reminds us “We are not ignorant of Satan’s devices.” He is a sick snake and destruction is his game and loser and liar are his names.
The fact is, I frequent both stores (Walmart and Target) but the threats of the enemy are real. Very real. We should not cower in defeat but its imperative to put on the FULL ARMOR of God from the feet up. From head to toe we need to be dressed for both worship and WAR! Many don’t want to hear this or believe it but we are in a fight. Life is a fight. The Apostle Paul reminds us to “fight the good fight.”
Despite having a bullseye on my back and a walking target for Satan’s attacks I must confess that “EVERLAST” is tattooed on my forehead. Some days I feel like a preacher and other times I feel like a punching bag. What was confusing for so long were some of the most insensitive comments come from carnal and complacent Christians. You expect it from the “lost” behind but its dissapointing from believers out front. Too often, I have encountered folks who want to take “cheap shots.” My Uncle Bobby Shelton played three seasons with the Detroit Tigers (AAA) in 1967-1969. The Tigers won the World Series that last year and he just missed out getting a ring. It has been said “the loudest critics come from the cheapest seats.” I have also learned those that bring the least to a meal demand to the eat the most. #Hello FULL POST
Posted 11/25/14 at 11:12 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices
Another way to describe this tension in the Church would be to use parents as an illustration. Let’s imagine three or four couples along with their children, having a dinner party at someone’s house. The kids are in the back yard playing while the parents are relaxing over coffee and conversation. There is apparent unity and consensus among them as they enjoy each other’s company.
However, when the children come into the living room to join the conversation so does the potential for friction as the different parenting styles become evident. Everyone keeps their thoughts to themselves but on the ride home each car is filled with comments like “I can’t believe they let their kids act that way,” or “They are so mean to their children,” or “That’s not how I would deal with that situation”. These parents got along until the children came into the room.
This family analogy can also illustrate the sentiments between ministers of the Gospel. It may be easy to get along with other ministers, even from different camps, until the sheep (children) are in the room. Suddenly the gifting in each minister wants to impact the people of God according to their abilities. We sometimes presume we know what the people of God “really” need. Instead of each of us affirming and preferring the other ministers, we can doubt their validity. FULL POST
Posted 11/25/14 at 10:54 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices
In student ministry, Jesus and pizza go together like peanut butter and jelly. The era of “youth ministry” is slowly fading, and the era of discipleship making needs to make its voice heard.
Pizza and more pizza. I think we’re all sick of pizza. In fact, I believe students are looking for more than just food when they come to a student event or gathering. While pizza, music and games are great accessories to any student ministry, they cannot be the foundation in which a ministry is built on. They can never be. Discipleship must be the #1 priority. Why? Because everything else flows from the essence of discipleship. If we’re not making disciples, we’re not fulfilling our calling as Christ-followers.
I have this gut-wrenching feeling that many students will move off to college with nothing learned from church except food, games and shiny events. None of these things are bad, but they aren’t the crux of what will keep a student fixated on the face of Jesus once walking into the real world. Discipleship is key. FULL POST