Thursday, November 11, 2010

Inkblot Jesus (Tyler)

Have you ever looked at an inkblot? The idea seems to be something like this... stare at a picture of nothing and then decide what it looks like. There are supposed to be no wrong answers, BUT... there is a risk. A psychiatrist may label you 100% crazy if an inkblot that resembles a butterfly looks more to you like a clown stealing your lunch money.
Staring at clouds is similar. We look up at the sky and try to build castles out of the big fluffy white clumps that God has put above us. You can be sitting next to someone that sees Daffy Duck, but no... you are fairly positive that the very same cloud your friend is looking at is a baseball player with a frog in his glove. I suppose it is all a matter of perception, but if you sit and squint and turn you head JUST right, that baseball player becomes Daffy Duck. AMAZING!
The point that we all need to realize is this ---> If, while staring at a cloud, you have to squint and turn your head JUST right to see a certain object, that cloud probably doesn't look enough like the object you are longing to see.
Being a Christian is a lot like that. We are perfectly satisfied with a minor resemblance of Jesus in our own lives. We believe that if someone can squint and see Jesus in us (at least a little), that we are doing just fine. We are NOT called to be inkblots of Jesus. Others should not have to search to see remnants of a life once lived for Christ. We should stop comparing ourselves to other Christians and thinking we are good ENOUGH and instead strive to become what Jesus called us to be... perfect (Matt 5:48). We should be MISTAKEN for Him... instead of just His inkblots.

I Am Thankful For...(by Trinity)

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, we are all pausing for a moment to think about the things that are important to us and really give thanks to the Provider of those things!  I had the kids at AWANA write down what they are thankful for.  I love seeing things from a child's prospective!  It makes me happy.  So here they are:

Note:  I am writing them as they are written.

  • family, food, my BFF's and EVERYTHING and CANDY!!!! --Natalie
  • Sparks and AWANA, momy, Dady, food, God--Kyler
  • Dady, Jesus--Kailey
  • Everything--Beth
  • I'm thankful for my family--unkown
  • I'm fanckful for God--Kylie
  • I am Thankful for God and my Mom and Dad--Lilyana
  • My family, God, Jesus, and everyone and animals and every thing on earth--Hannah
  • I am thankful for my life--Jehnnie
  • My mom and God--Joshua
  • Food--Corban
  • family and friends--Zachary
  • church--Graceyn
  • Daddy--Jeremy
  • my friends and family and everything God can give--Kinsey
  • frins and for my family--Conner
  • a circle (and then he drew 2 circles on the paper)--Braelon
  • Everything--?????? (We know it's Bryce)
  • God's love for me--Grant
  • I am thankful for my house and my family--Jake
  • For the Tulsa zoo and my class and my teacher--Stephanie
  • Lydia, Mom, Dad, my family and a lot of other things--Madi
  • for my mom and my BFF, Hershy and God--Skyy
  • Mom and Dad--Jaylee
  • I love my friends and the Bible--Hannah#17
  • Baby Jesus--Raylee
  • Everything in the world--McKenna
  • for my family and my little sisters and God--Mirieh
  • My dad, my mom and brother--Aiden
  • for the world--Bailee
  • mom--Joshua
  • I love eating Ocotopus--Amanda
  • mom and dad, for my baby sister, horses, dogs and playdough--Ryleigh
  • Mommy, Madi, Dad, friends--Lydia
  • food and our life--unknown
  • pizza--Branom
  • family--Abigail
  • mommy, brothers, sister, Bible--Kacey
  • I live for God--Mackenzie
  • my family--Brooklyn
  • I am thankful for everyone--Madison
  • world--Isaac
  • everything--unkown
  • everything I have--Avery
  • I am thankful for everything--Amanda
  • for my food and my family and for my church and for my friends and for Landon--Olivia
  • everything I get--Terron
  • food and mom and dad and famlee--Skyler
  • I am thankful for my mom and dad and my brothers--Ashlyn
  • brateyleingth (translates to everything...I asked her)--Audrey
  • rocketship, Jordan, Timber--Jaxon
  • Riley, my friend, mommy, daddy, Audrah--Baylee
  • Jordan, Makenzye, Jaxon, Austin--Timber
  • Timber, Makenzye, Kailey, Austin, Jaxon--Jordan
  • Aiden, Luke, Jaxon, Timber, Jordan--Makenzye
  • Riley O., Mommy, daddy, church, new school--Aiden
  • mommy, daddy, sister, grandma, grandpa--Austin
  • Christmas, God, mommy, daddy--Luke

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hipocrisy: The Challenge to Live Authentically

In his book, “UnChristian,” David Kinnaman and supporting authors along with the Barna Research Group give weight to the subject of how the church and Christians are viewed by those who do not attend church and do not claim to be Christians.  The book is a reality check which I would suggest every Christian to read.  It is a book about perceptions, and although perceptions are not always accurate, the way Christianity is perceived is driving away people by the dozens.
I would offer to suggest that nearly everyone understands what a hypocrite is and that no one, believer or unbeliever, should be a hypocrite.  We should live what we preach and do what we say and walk like we talk.  But we are sinners, no one is perfect.  A contributing author to Kinnaman’s book writes the following.  Please read it, and then read it one more time.  What he has to say in this matter of a perception of hypocrisy is very insightful and challenging.

“What is behind many –not all, but many – charges and accusations against the character and integrity of Christians is the demand for perfection in the life of anyone who claims to be a Christian and urges others to consider Christianity as well.   This is not, of course, the true meaning of a hypocrite, but even more to the point, it is not an accurate understanding of what it means to enter into the Christian life.
                Yet the world holds us to it, because we hold ourselves – and others – to it.  We fall prey to the charge of hypocrisy because we have reduced spirituality to a list of moral benchmarks coupled with a good dose of judgmentalism.
                The only way to regain our footing is to remind ourselves – and others – that an authentic Christian is simply someone who has made the decision to believe in Jesus as his forgiver and then attempt [I would replace “attempt” to “commit”]to follow him as his leader.  But nowhere in this series of events is perfection or sinlessness.  Rather, there is simply the intention effort and sincere desire to recognize God as, well God.
                Simply put, we must stop presenting ourselves as the message and begin presenting Jesus as the message.  There will be disappointment with Christians as long as there are imperfect people.  Since all Christians are imperfect, there will always be disappointment.  So we must stop having the message of Christ tied to our butchered efforts.” (pg. 65,66)

                Basically, what the author is getting as is that we are perceived as hypocrites because we are wearing an un-needed mask.  Should we strive to set an example with our lives how to live as Christ? YES.  But, we are not the example.  The example has already lived, died then rose again, and reigns on high!  The example is well documented for us in the wonderful Word of God!  We can avoid a perception of hypocrisy by living authentically.  This is done by living with integrity, purity, and transparency.  We must call a spade a spade in that we are sinners.  We will fail people just as people will continue to fail us.  But Christ will never fail you!  Let’s actually live like we are pointing people to Christ, and not to our “butchered efforts.”

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

31 Biblical Virtues to Pray for your kids (Trinity)

I found this list a long time ago, but then recently discovered it again.  Bob Hostetler came up with these 31 Biblical virtues and he put a Scripture verse with each virtue.  I have begun to pray these things once again for my own children as well as for all of "my" children in the ministry (you know I consider all of them to be my babies too!).  This has been an incredible journey that I invite you all to go on.  We (I) forget to pray specifically for our kids sometimes, so this is a great guide to help you pray Scripture over them.  You might even start praying for these things WITH them.  You can talk to your kiddos about what each of these virtues are and how we can better portray them.  I have found that while praying these virtues for my children, the Lord has been growing me in these areas as well. they are:
by Bob Hostetler

1. Salvation—"Lord, let salvation spring up within my children, that they may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory." (Isa. 45:8; 2 Tim. 2:10)

2. Growth in Grace—"I pray that my children may grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." (2 Pet. 3:18)

3. Love—"Grant, Lord, that my children may learn to live a life of love, through the Spirit who dwells in them." (Gal. 5:25; Eph. 5:2)

4. Honesty and Integrity—"May integrity and honesty be their virtue
and their protection." (Ps. 25:21)

5. Self-Control—"Father, help my children not to be like many others around them, but let them be alert and self-controlled in all they do."
(1 Thess. 5:6)

6. Love for God's Word—"May my children grow to find Your Word more precious than much pure gold and sweeter than honey from the comb." (Ps. 19:10)

7. Justice—"God, help my children to love justice as You do and act justly in all they do." (Ps. 11:7; Mic. 6:8)

8. Mercy—"May my children always be merciful, just as their Father is merciful." (Luke 6:36)

9. Respect (for self, others, and authority)—"Father, grant that my children may show proper respect to everyone, as Your Word commands."
(1 Pet. 2:17)

10. Biblical Self-Esteem—"Help my children develop a strong self-esteem that is rooted in the realization that they are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus." (Eph. 2:10)

11. Faithfulness—"Let love and faithfulness never leave my children, but bind these twin virtues around their necks and write them on the tablet of their hearts." (Prov. 3:3)

12. Courage—"May my children always be strong and courageous in their character and in their actions." (Deut. 31:6)

13. Purity—"Create in them a pure heart, O God, and let that purity of heart be shown in their actions." (Ps. 51:10)

14. Kindness—"Lord, may my children always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else." (1 Thess. 5:15)

15. Generosity—"Grant that my children may be generous and willing to share, and so lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age." (1 Tim. 6:18-19)

16. Peace-Loving—"Father, let my children make every effort to do what leads to peace." (Rom. 14:19)

17. Joy—"May my children be filled with the joy given by the Holy Spirit."
(1 Thess. 1:6)

18. Perseverance—"Lord, teach my children perseverance in all they do, and help them especially to run with perseverance the race marked out for them." (Heb. 12:1)

19. Humility—"God, please cultivate in my children the ability to show true humility toward all." (Titus 3:2)

20. Compassion—"Lord, please clothe my children with the virtue of compassion." (Col. 3:12)

21. Responsibility—"Grant that my children may learn responsibility, for each one should carry his own load." (Gal. 6:5)

22. Contentment—"Father, teach my children the secret of being content in any and every situation, through Him who gives them strength." (Phil. 4:12-13)

23. Faith—"I pray that faith will find root and grow in my children's hearts, that by faith they may gain what has been promised to them." (Luke 17:5-6; Heb. 11:1-40)

24. A Servant's Heart—"God, please help my children develop servant's hearts, that they may serve wholeheartedly, as if they were serving the Lord, not men." (Eph. 6:7)

25. Hope—"May the God of hope grant that my children may overflow with hope and hopefulness by the power of the Holy Spirit." (Rom. 15:13)

26. Willingness and Ability to Work—"Teach my children, Lord, to value work and to work at it with all their heart, as working for the Lord and not for men." (Col. 3:23)

27. Passion for God—"Lord, please instill in my children a soul that 'followeth hard after thee,' one that clings passionately to You." (Ps. 63:8)

28. Self-Discipline—"Father, I pray that my children may acquire a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair."
(Prov. 1:3)

29. Prayerfulness—"Grant, Lord, that my children's lives may be marked by prayerfulness, that they may learn to pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers." (1 Thess. 5:17)

30. Gratitude—"Help my children to live lives that are always overflowing with thankfulness and always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Eph. 5:20; Col. 2:7)

31. A Heart for Missions—"Lord, please help my children to develop a desire to see Your glory declared among the nations, Your marvelous deeds among the peoples." (Ps. 96:3)

© Bob Hostetler. Used with permission.