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Tag Archives: Childlike Faith

Have a Nice Day, Lord!

It’s been a real adventure raising 5 kids. We had Clint, our first, only a year into our marriage..and the parental learning process began. Parenting is one of the most challenging and rewarding things you’ll do in your life. We’ve enjoyed every minute of it even though there’s been plenty of things to work through with each of them. I will say, looking back, that the years of raising kids goes by incredibly fast.

We have thousands of great memories from those years. One of those memories is when we started praying before meals. We’d often take turns and let the kids if they were willing, pray a lot of the time. I’ll never forget how one of our boys, who was about three at the time, often prayed. I’d help him get started and then he’d take it from there. He had just a little lisp at the time and his prayer would go something like this: “God, Bleth Mom and Dad, Bleth my brotherth, bleth MeMaw and Papaw….and uh…..have a nithe day, God!” It was about the sweetest prayer you’ve ever heard. I can’t help but think the Lord, Himself, loved the prayer and especially the part where He was told to, “Have a nithe day.” He probably doesn’t hear that too often.

I was thinking about that recently and I made a little Top-10 list of the things that should help the Father to have a ‘nithe’ day: 

  1. Get to know Him….No, I mean, really get to know Him! *He wants to be relational with you. Interact, and relate to Him as Father!
  2. Receive His ‘gift’! *Salvation is free……Receive it!
  3. Find your place/Discover your destiny! *You’ve been gifted so you can be a functional contributor to the Body of Christ. Get in the process of finding out how you’re gifted!
  4. Gravitate into your ‘sonship’! *He has handpicked you to be His son/daughter. Make the most of it….and keep it simple!
  5. Be ‘who’ you are! *There’s no one like you. Don’t try to be anyone else!
  6. Use your faith! *Learn to be led by the Holy Spirit!
  7. Get along! *Be a peacemaker! Dad’s love it when their kids get along!
  8. Get back up! *Everybody gets knocked down….not everybody gets back up!
  9. Be a ‘learner’! *It’s a lifetime endeavor. Make every day a day to learn!
  10. Be ‘free’! Jesus died for us to be free; free from sin…free from the Law! Enjoy your freedom!

Don’t forget…..He’s already extremely proud of you and He wants to see you succeed in every area of your life! And, maybe sometime in your prayer time, you can even tell Him to “Have a nithe day”!

You might like these, too:

Good Ground Grows Good Weeds, Too!

What If It’s Not to ‘Break’ You,….but to ‘Make’ You?

 

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It Was a Great Answer!

If you’re not familiar with our Camp of Champions, you should check it out. It’s just about the most unique church camp you’ll ever bump into. It’s a rodeo church camp. There’s a few others out there but I’d estimate that ours’ is the biggest of its kind anywhere. This was our 14th year and as usual we had participants from about 8 states. It’s for boys and girls age 6-16 who have their sights set to participate in Jr. rodeo. In the 14 years since the inception of the Camp of Champions we’ve had several national junior rodeo champs, high school rodeo champs, college champions and even a PRCA world champion!

Instructors for the Camp of Champions is a virtual “Who’s Who” in the rodeo world. There’ve been too many world champions to mention who give their time and energy for a few days to help these kids in their respective rodeo events…but they’re also ‘champions’ in their walk with the Lord. Rodeo instruction takes place in the daytime and there are tent services at night with the instructors doing testimonies and most of the ministry. In the past 14 years there’s been well over a thousand young people who’ve given their lives to the Lord without any ‘pressure’ from us! We believe that the Holy Spirit is good enough at what he does that we don’t have to try to manipulate or frighten kids into making a decision. Jesus didn’t do that…..so we’re not going to do it either! 

I learned a long time ago that you don’t have to convince kids that God is real…..or that He’s good! They already know…..and they already believe! But during our camp recently I was reminded again of just how much the Father has already done for us to enable us to believe. It was on the last night service of the camp. There were over 80 boys, and about twice that number of parents, instructors and helpers under the tent. I was closing out the service when I asked a couple of really simple questions. “Do you believe in Jesus?” It was unanimous! I think every kid and adult in the tent responded with a loud, resounding “Yes”! I then asked the question, “Why do you believe in Jesus?” …..and it was unanimous again. But, this time, not one single person answered, I mean, total silence! It was 100% quiet! And, it suddenly occurred to me that, that was a great answer!! 

Here’s my reasoning; The Bible is clear that we’ve all been given ‘the’ measure of faith. It’s the same quality of faith that God used when He ‘spoke’ the world into being. It’s faith to believe in Jesus, His Son, even when we can’t even tell you “why”. I heard someone say it this way one time; “I just know down in my ‘knower'”! It’s that deep, God given, assurance of the reality that He exists….and that He’s good!

So, if you can say you believe in Jesus but you just can’t answer why…..That’s a great answer!!

Maybe you should tell Him, “Thanks”!

Check these out, too:

The Thing About Unconditional Love

Maybe You Should Quit Whippin’ Your Own A#$!!

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It’s All Good!

Here’s a catchy little Robert Zimmerman (more commonly known as Bob Dylan who turns 75 this week) tune that you might like titled, “It’s All Good”. (click here to listen) Not everyone likes Dylan (understandable, ….and you’re forgiven).…and hardly anyone likes him like I do but either way he’ll go down in music history as being the greatest poet/songwriter of our generation.

It’s all good! I like that phrase. I’ve already used it a time or two today. It’s ultra positive and anytime it’s spoken it gives everyone involved an upbeat feeling. It may not always be entirely a 100% accurate, which I think is still OK,  but it’s a perspective thing. It’s about making a positive declaration even when everything might not be exactly like you had hoped it would be. And, I think if we’re declaring that “It’s all good”, we might actually feel better about the things we’re having to deal with.

There’s just something about making a positive confession that’s good for the soul. It stirs optimism in our spirit, but that’s not all. It’s really an authentic statement of faith of the highest order. If you back up a little bit and look at the big picture you’ll grasp the reality that the Lord really does have control over all these, seemingly, chaotic things happening in the world today……including our own little petty dilemmas that we struggle with day in and day out. But we’ll only see those problems of ours’ as ‘petty’ and insignificant if we can look at them with an eternal perspective. When we do that….then we can start to believe our way out of our discouragement, knowing that there are better days ahead.

Looking back over 60+ years of ups and downs, victories and failures scattered along the road of life…..and considering where I COULD be. I’d have to say, “It’s All Good”!!

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Livin’ It Up

There’s a phenomenon, I guess you’d call it, that I’ve observed down through the years. And it seems to have it’s effect just about every time….on whoever it’s applied on, or practiced with. It’s the thing of giving honor, or not giving honor, to someone. The conventional way of thinking is that when someone does something noble or noteworthy that we then honor them for their behavior. Makes sense from a logical standpoint. But, I’ve also seen that when we honor someone above their achievements that they nearly always without fail…..rise to a higher level of action. There’s plenty of people who would argue with that line of thinking but you can’t argue with real, genuine results! And again…..you get positive results nearly every time you do it. It seems to work in whatever venue it’s exercised in, whether in your own family, the workplace, the church, friendships or even with just casual relationships.

It works! But, the opposite side of the coin always seems to work, (‘or not work’, might be a better description!) too. When we don’t give that honor…..or when we ignore the actions of those that we interact with, or have a low opinion of them…..they will nearly always lower their behavior to that level, as well. It just does something to a person’s self-esteem. You can probably think about the times that you’ve been honored, ……or dishonored, maybe even overlooked and remember how it made you feel. I think something very profound happens when we give honor…..even before it’s earned.

I’ve said many times that in being a pastor it’s a lot more important for me to teach people ‘who they are’, than to teach them ‘what to do’. For me it’s obvious; when people begin to understand ‘who’ they really are (from God’s perspective)…..that’s when the behavior begins to really change….and it’s always a change for the better! He’s put an extremely high value on you, even called you His own sons and daughters. That makes me want to live up to my true identity!

 

People have a tendency to live up (or down) to the opinion you have of them.

 

If You Love Someone….You Should Tell Them!

It Feels Good To Be “Believed In”!!

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Resistance Training

I’m far from a fitness guru….but I have been going to the gym several times a week for the past 10-12 years. It’s hard to tell by looking at me, though! In fact, in a conversation with a friend a couple years back I mentioned that I regularly go to the gym. He looked at me kinda funny, laughed a little smirky laugh and said, “Really”?!! … It kinda hurt my feelings.

But, seriously, going to the gym is something I do enjoy. I read a lot of fitness articles, get a half dozen health and fitness emails and blogs a week. I’ve always been ‘health minded’, so to speak, and I still enjoy learning about health and fitness issues. There’s a lot of information, and a lot of opinions out there. Occasionally there is conflicting information but for the most part it’s pretty consistent.

A good, balanced workout plan should have some cardio exercise such as running, walking or biking. But along with the cardio, one of the things that all the fitness experts agree on, for all ages, is the need to include ‘resistance training’ into our workout regimen. “Resistance training can come in various forms, the most common being the use of free weights (barbells, dumbbells), universal weight machines, rubber exercise bands or even our own body weight. There are significant benefits of resistance training including bone, muscle and ligament strength, improved joint function, increased metabolism and improved cardiac function. If we’re serious at all about our own physical fitness it makes sense to include some resistance training.

I’m thinking that our spiritual health and well-being should also include a good dose of ‘resistance training’. If you think about it there’s hardly ever a time that we’re not enduring some kind of unpleasant situation in our life. It might be a relational challenge, financial situation, dealing with a problem child or family member or it might even be a physical ailment. Anytime you’re going up against any of these things….that’s resistance. And, just as physical resistance training helps to stabilize and grow our muscles, these things we go through go a long ways in strengthening our faith and our overall spiritual life. As hard as they might be, going through them,….in the long haul they’re very good for us. We’re being conformed into the image of Jesus….at least that’s what the Book says. And the trials of our lives are critical in that process.

So, if you’re going to the gym and getting your body in shape…be sure and add some resistance training. It’ll be good for you! And while you’re going through the fires in life….don’t forget…..resistance training is vital for your spiritual health, too!

Pass these on to your friends if you like ’em!

Check these out:

What If It’s Not to ‘Break’ You,….but to ‘Make’ You?

‘Betrayal’ – Nothing Easy About It!

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Here’s Our Chance!

“I came here looking for something I couldn’t find anywhere else.” It seems to be the heart cry of a lot of people these days who are willing take a chance on the Lord…..or maybe even willing to take a chance on the  church. We’re living in, what seems to be, very uncertain times. But there is a growing undercurrent of people looking for some ‘real’ answers to their real problems. They don’t want the ‘religious’, churchy, ‘holier than thou’ thing….and who could blame ’em? That never actually worked for anybody,anyway! No, they’re looking for something genuine, authentic, real. They don’t know what it looks like, or feels like……but they know what it doesn’t feel like. The church in America really needs to adjust to be relevant for the times we’re in. Our message is timeless…..but the methods of reaching the world are stale…..and everyone knows it except the people in the church. For some reason they’re the last to get the news. We won’t get many chances with these ‘searchers’; we better get it right!

Many of these people are desperate, desperate enough, in fact, to gamble and see if this God they hear us talking about exists or not. They’ll try, and try hard. At least that’s what I’m seeing of late. But when we make them feel like they can’t make it or make them feel like they’re not good enough…..they’ll believe that’s how God sees them, too. They think, “Hey, you don’t know me, but you don’t like me…..and you say you care less how I feel.” If we don’t act like we care and make them feel important ….they’ll, in turn, believe that they’re not important to Him. They won’t hang around for that! ….and again, who could blame ’em? Tragic!

Deep down, they all wonder if the Lord could really love somebody like them. They have an inner sense of destiny (that’s a God-given thing!) but they haven’t found anyone who can give them the key to help unlock those secrets. They’d say, “I ain’t tryin’ to be nobody, I just want a chance to be myself.”.

Here’s our chance! Let’s get it right!

*Oh, and by the way…..“I came here looking for something I couldn’t find anywhere else. I ain’t trying to be nobody, I just want a chance to be myself.” That’s the first two lines of the #1 country song by Buck Owens and Dwight Yoakum, “Streets of Bakersfield”! click here to watch.

Share these blogs if you find them helpful! Thanks….AT

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Objects in the Mirror are Closer Than They Appear!

I see that several times a day when I’m driving. It’s a little helpful warning printed on the side rearview mirrors of nearly every car manufactured today. I’d guess that they have prevented quite a few accidents through the years.

I think about looking at the rearview mirrors in life, especially those incidents, events and happenings that have caused us heartbreak and emotional pain. It’s kinda amazing how, even though we’re far past those things, that they can come up in our mind during the ‘dark’ times. Then when we start to give attention to them, which is common, for the natural mind, the feelings and emotions we experienced then….somehow become real again. I think this is one of those things that the Lord would really love to help us overcome.

I struggle with things like this from time to time. It’s crazy how past failures can come back to haunt you mentally if you’re not careful. These things have the potential to totally distract us and even worse they can dominate our attention and thinking to the degree that we lose our entire focus. I don’t think it’s necessary and I don’t think the Lord wants us to fret over things that have happened way back in the past…..especially since we can’t do anything about them now. The joy that we ought to be experiencing in this life seems to dissipate for me when I get in this mode.

If we go back to the analogy of driving a car it makes sense to look at the rearview mirror from time to time. It’s a safety factor. But if you think about it….it’d be insane to keep your focus on it all the time and never look ahead. I think that’s the logic we should use in life. We should definitely keep our focus on the Father! Maybe it’s productive to glance back every now and then and learn from past mistakes….but to keep our focus on those things is sure to cause a wreck!

Similar posts:

You Can Live in the Past if You Want To…..But There Is a ‘Downside’

Keep Your Eyes On The Road!

Maybe You Should Quit Whippin’ Your Own A#$!!

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“Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death”

If you were paying attention at all in American History class in school, you’ll remember that line. It was the one memorable line of a speech that Patrick Henry gave before the Virginia Convention on March 23, 1775, at St. John’s Church in Richmond, Virginia. He is credited with having swung the balance in convincing the convention to pass a resolution delivering Virginian troops for the Revolutionary War. Among the delegates to the convention were future U.S. Presidents Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. He concluded his famous speech by saying, “I know not what course others may take but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”

Patrick Henry considered the possibility of liberty….or perhaps the potential loss of liberty to be a monumental thing to fight for. Apparently, the other members of the Virginia Convention agreed. For, after a few minutes of absolute quiet,….they agreed with Patrick’s plea to dispatch troops for the battle.

Freedom is a wonderful thing! It has an extremely high value. But, then again, it came at an extremely costly price. I sometimes wonder, though, if we appreciate it as much as we should, living in America. I think it does me some good from time to time to reflect on the reality that there has actually been bloodshed so that we can live in a nation so great….and so Free. If you need a reminder watch “Saving Private Ryan”! It’ll do as much to jumpstart your patriotism as anything I can think of.

Spiritually speaking, we’ve also been given liberty.….and not to minimize the liberty we have as a nation at all….but the liberty we’ve been given as believers came at an even greater price. It too was a result of bloodshed! Only this time it wasn’t by some great military effort that we attained freedom. Nope….it was the willful act of one solitary Man that purchased our freedom…..once and for all. The battle would never have to be waged again!

The question would obviously be raised, “What did we become free from?”. Good question. First off, and it’s a big one, we are now free from sin…..and, equally as significant, the penalty of it (which is eternal separation from God)! And, if that’s not enough for you….we have been set free from the Law and the penalty for breaking that, too! Oh, …..and don’t forget the freedom from ‘dead religion’; you’ll appreciate that one, as well!

“We have been called to liberty”, that’s what Paul said in one of his letters. And, it saddens me that anytime we start talking about liberty around the church…that some over-religious, self-righteous, Pharisee-minded (well, I better stop there!) person immediately starts talking about compromise, and sin. Paul went on to say that we shouldn’t use that liberty as on opportunity for the flesh.

I seriously doubt that any of us are living out the extent of freedom and liberty that Jesus died for us to have, and that grieves me. But, I’m working on it; it’s on my list of things to do! And, if it’s true that we aren’t living out the fulness of that liberty that He’s purchased for us at such a costly price…..then we’re not experiencing the fulness of life that we should be! I think I’m going with Patrick Henry on this one…..“I know not what course others may take but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”

Check ’em out: 

You Got to Me Too Late!

“Freedom’s Just Another Word” …… But It’s a Whole Lot More Than That!

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The Silver Bullet Lounge

If you were around in the ’80’s you’ll surely remember the Silver Bullet Lounge. The Silver Bullet Lounge was the name of the pub in a Coors Beer commercial. Coors introduced their Coors Light beer in 1978. It contained significantly fewer calories than their regular Coors beer, which appealed to anyone who was calorie minded. Beer lovers could enjoy their brew without compromising on taste (or so I hear! lol), and not worry about stacking on more pounds. I’m still not sure if that was a great win for our culture or not but there are plenty out there who would surely argue that it was!

Coors Light was produced in an attractive silver can that quickly took on the name, likely due to a brilliant marketing ploy by Coors, Silver Bullets. As far as I know, Coors Light drinkers are still calling them that nearly 40 years later.

Just about the time my life was turning around that Silver Bullet Lounge commercial was airing on TV (you can watch it by clicking, here). The setting was in a local pub; everyone was happy and laughing, lots of friendly conversations going on; there was a real sense of community, authentically pleasant relationships and most of all….genuine joy! Now, whether or not that actually happens all the time is anybody’s guess but it probably does happen quite a bit. I thought, as I watched that commercial, “You know, if I could find a church that had that kind of atmosphere…..I think I might go”!

My impression of the church in those days was that almost everyone I saw didn’t really look happy or content. And, it seemed that all the good characteristics that the Silver Bullet Lounge had…..were somehow missing from the church. Now, agreed, that’s not a fair assessment of the church seeing that I wasn’t in it….but that’s how it looked from a distance.  But honestly, after all these years……doing what I do, I still see a lot of church people who don’t display any degree of joy. Kinda sad if you ask me.

Now before you get all twisted up about it,……I’m not advocating that you head on out to the Silver Bullet Lounge. (Although if you do, you won’t get any grief  from me.) But I still contend that we should have all those qualities that they have there, in abundance around the church. It oughta be a happy place! There oughta be a lot of friendly conversation going on; People oughta be laughing….and laughing a lot! There should be an atmosphere of good, genuine and healthy relationships….all the time! If it was like that you might really be surprised who’d come and join in!

We could learn a little somethin’ from the folks down at the ‘ol Silver Bullet!

Check this one out:

Virtual Reality

Laugh a Little! …….. No, Make That a Lot!

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“It’s Complicated!”

I hear that a lot these days. It’s a common admission on FaceBook and other social media sites, and it’s usually used to describe one’s relationship status. It may just be me….but I think I’d steer away from any relationship that’s ‘complicated’. If I were to give advice to any of those claiming to be in a complicated relationship, it’d be to simplify. I think that’d make it easier on everyone involved. I’d love to see just one person on FaceBook describe their relationship by posting….”It’s Simple”!

I imagine a lot of people might also classify their relationship with the Lord as complicated. I mean, He’s a pretty profound Entity to say the least. In fact, in His infiniteness, He could decide to make Himself totally un-understandable if He wanted to. But, it’s just not in His makeup to do so. He could reveal Himself to be so complex that it would totally boggle the human mind. He definitely has that capability, too. But, again, it’s not anything He’s interested in doing in the least.

He has never wanted His relationship with us to be complicated. That’s one reason He reveals Himself as, Father. And, He doesn’t just reveal Himself as Father only because it’s a relationship that we can understand, and relate to….although it does go a long ways in helping. Nope, He reveals Himself as Father…..’cause that’s Who He really is!! It’s the clearest description of Him and of His nature.

Religion has a way of complicating our relationship with the Father…..but don’t let it! When you’re feeling like it’s getting complicated….just revert to the simplicity of that Father/son, Father/daughter relationship that He deeply desires to have with you. Enjoy! 

And when anyone asks you about that relationship you’ll never, ever have to say, “It’s Complicated’!

Check these out:

Simplicity! It’s All I Have to Offer

If You See God “Wrongly”…….You’ll Never See Yourself “Rightly”!

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