Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday Five...11/30/12

Here are Five Favorites for this week...

1. Favorite Christmas Song:

2. Favorite Infographic: Your Smartphone is Spying on You (Mashable)

(Click the picture to see the full-sized image)

3. Favorite Parenting Article: Capturing the Heart of Preschoolers

4. Favorite Thing About Autumn...the end of it.

5. Favorite joke this week:
"They told me I had type A blood, but it was a type-O."

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wednesday's Word...11/28/12

Broken Praise:

This past Friday night, my small group took a trip to Southeast Christian Church for The Story Tour (check out the album at It's tour of the music of The Story. It tells the story of God's Love and Redemption through the lives of people throughout the Bible. 

There was one that stood out to me the most. Do you know the story of Job? His story can be found in the book of the Bible with his name on it. Most of the story takes place in the first couple of chapters.  In a nutshell, Job was one of the wealthiest people in the ancient east. As part of a test from Satan, he loses everything; his house, his livestock, and his children. Next Satan attacks him personally and Job is struck with sores all over his body. His wife pressures him to "...curse God and die!" Yet in all of this, his response is "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised."

The following video is the song inspired by Job's story. It's called "Broken Praise" and was recorded by Todd Smith of the group Selah. 

As I read the lyrics, reflecting on the life of Job, I was overwhelmed. What a powerful testimony. In all seriousness, I never want to have to utter them as a result in the circumstances of my life, but I hope that, if it need be, I would stand in my grief, pain, or loss, and raise broken praise and give Him glory.

Your thoughts?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday's Mention...11/26/12

This Monday's Mention is a little unusual, because it didn't happen at actually happened at Taco Bell. 

I don't often frequent Taco Bell, but Blake got me hooked on the Loco Tacos (aka Doritos Tacos)...all I can say is WOW! If you haven't tried it, you are truly missing out. (hmmm...wondering if I could get a Taco Bell sponsorship? Anyone have any ties there?)

Anyway, on to the mention:

There's a young lady that works there often times when I visit there for lunch. I think her name is Destiny. I always know its her, even before I get to the window. At many drive through lines at many fast food restaurants as you pull up to the speaker box, you get "What do you want?" Okay, not really, but its usually something like, "Welcome to __________, may I take your order?" Not when Destiny is working. Her first question is always, "How are you doing?" It's probably not protocol, but what's interesting is that it sounds like a genuine question. 

When you get to the window, she is always smiling and extremely friendly. I can honestly say that I have never been more impressed with a fast food employee. Maybe I'm reading into this more than I should, but she seems to love her job, when so many clearly don't. Let's face it, it's not the most glorious job. She's handing cheap tacos to hungry people. 

She does it with joy, excitement, and purpose...and it's contagious. I leave with my cheap (but so delicious) tacos happier because she takes pride in her work. 

Do you? It's a new week. You never know your response will impact someone else. It doesn't matter if you're in food service or if you are an owner/operator. She have an opportunity to share God's Love in everything we do, even if its in a passive, non-direct way. And, you have no idea what God wants to do through you. It's one small step to becoming "rooted."

Some upcoming events:
- December 2nd - Family Christmas Devotionals are published. Be sure to pick up one of these devotionals for your family. The staff at C.C.C. wrote each devotion, there are children's activities as well. (If you don't attend C.C.C., let us know and we can send you one.)

- December 9th - Christmas good. It starts at 6:00 PM in the Family Life Center and is followed up with a brief service in the sanctuary where you can bring a family ornament to hang on the church tree.

- December 16th - Service Night. After stuffing ourselves the week before, we are going to have an opportunity to pour ourselves into the lives of others. We are going to make knotted fleece blankets for those in need. We are going to ask you to bring $2 a person to offset the cost of the fleece. It all starts at 6:30 PM in the Family Life Center. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Friday Five...11/23/12

Here's this week's list: (For the record, many of my posts are scheduled in advance, so no, I'm not blogging when I should be spending time with family. I'm writing this on Monday.) 

1. Favorite Tweet: "@rickwarren God didn't create children to live your life." OUCH.

2. Favorite Website - My brother-in-law's church did a tribute to honor Rich Mullins on the 15th Anniversary of his death. Unbelieveable talent in Knoxville, TN. I had heard about the event a while back, but they just launched the site for the rest of us to see. 

3. Favorite Abe Lincoln Picture:

4.  Favorite Other Presidential Picture: Can you guess who this is?**

5. Favorite Little Known Fact: Are you an e-book reader? If so, here's some cool news: David C Cook Publishers offer a free e-book every Monday. Sometimes they're books you've never heard of, but sometimes you hit a home run  They're available in just about any format. Search your favorite e-book store to see if they're available in your reader's format. I know they work on iBookstore, Kindle, and Nook for sure. (As a side note, I periodically check e- bookstores for top free books. I've found some pretty great books from Francis Chan, John Ortberg, fiction and non-fiction, devotionals and more.)

Hope you had a great thanksgiving!

**That's a young Teddy Rosevelt!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wednesday's Word...TEN: Unto Others (Part 5 of 5)

This is part 5 of 5. Find part 1 here and part 2 here and part 3 here and part 4 here.

What happens next in the Ten Commandments is astounding. Because after God says, “I want to be the one and only God; don’t make any statues to Me or idols to Me; I want to be in the middle of everything; don't misuse My name; take a day off to remember Me,” after He talks about Himself, Himself, Himself, God does a big turn and spends the rest of the commandments telling us how to treat others. He says, “Everybody you come into contact with is valuable, so treat them right. Everybody you have a relationship with is valuable to Me, so treat them right. I want you to honor Me, and then I want you to honor everybody else around you. Even the people you don’t like are valuable.” You can't even imagine how astounding this would have been for the Israelites to hear at this time.

Here's what the Ten Commandments do that no other law in culture or in early civilization did—the Ten Commandments elevate everybody's status in that community. The Ten Commandments say there's not going to be a king that has special rights, there's not going to be a prophet that has special privileges, there's not going to be a ruling class that gets to make the rules. There's not going to be a person who is above the law and who makes the law. Everybody in this community, everybody in this nation is going to be accountable to God only and has to obey the Law He's given. Basically, everybody in this community has value—men, women and even slaves. And while this may sound normal in our world, I'm telling you, there was not a spot of real estate in the world where this kind of law was conducted back then. It was so new and so different to them that they had a very difficult time adjusting.

In their culture, kings typically thought of themselves as god. So the king could do whatever he wanted—he was above the law. The king made the law, the king changed the law, the king ignored the law and those who were close to the king could do the same. The more money you had, the more power you had. The more power you had, the more leverage you had with the law and against the law. But all of a sudden, God comes along and says to Moses, “Not in My land. Not in My nation. Not in My economy. Everybody is on equal footing.”

And that's why the Ten Commandments were such a brilliant, God-given idea. God said, “No one is above My Law. Moses, as leader of the Israelites, you are not above the Law either. I am the Lawgiver and you are the Law keepers; everybody is ultimately accountable to Me.” It was brilliant, it was unheard of, it was uncomfortable—especially when compared to other countries with other rules. 

God shifts gears. He says, “Look, I have said that I want you to honor Me, and now I want to talk to you about honoring other people.” So what kind of people do you think He mentions first? The king? No. How about Moses? No. The leaders? No. So who would be next? Listen to what God says in Exodus 20:12: “Honor your father and your mother” (NIV). Is it really that important? Yes, it is. In fact, it's so important that it's the only commandment with a promise attached to it. Listen to the rest of it: “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12 NIV).
B. It is an interesting promise because this was a nation of people who had no land yet. They had all the people, wealth and leadership, and now they have the Law—but they still had no land. But God tells them He’s going to bring them to their land. And once He gets them there, they’re going to have an economy, they’re going to build buildings, they’re going to have an army, they’re going to have currency, they're going to be like a nation, but God doesn't want them to ever forget that they were once a people without a land. So if they honor their parents, they live long in the land. And if they don’t? Well, the God who put them in the land could take them right back out. It is kind of like when you've heard your parents joke, “I brought you into this world, and I will take you out.” Kind of sounds similar, doesn’t it? But listen to this. God doesn't say, “If you don't honor me, or if you don't murder or steal . . . ” He says, “If you don't as a culture continue to honor your father and your mother, I will take you out of your land.” That’s a pretty serious consequence for a commandment that doesn’t seem like that big of a deal.

See, God knew that once they were successful, once they were wealthy, once they were powerful, they would have a tendency to import other ideas and other religions and other values from the nations surrounding them. God knew there would be a tendency to say, “Mom and Dad, I know that whole God thing was great for you, and I know the whole Ten Commandments thing was great for you, and I know I've got a picture of Moses on the mantel, but we’re sophisticated people now. We’re modern ancient people, and you are just ancient people. We are different—we are past this.” And the tendency would not just be to show disrespect to their parents, but to abandon the values that God had handed down to their parents. And God says, “I want you to be a light and a reflection of My glory to the surrounding nations. And if you allow the family to unwind and dissolve, I'm going to have to do something about it. When you abandon those values, when you dishonor your father and your mother, I’m going to rip you out of the land because you are not there for your sake alone.”

It's amazing. If Moses had made these commandments up, he would've gotten his name in there somewhere. He would have added an 11th commandment: “Do what Moses says.” But he didn’t. These laws came from God. So following the commandment to honor your parents, God says: “You shall not murder” (v. 15 NIV). The rest of the commandments basically tell us to honor other people around us. “You shall not murder” means honor other people’s bodies. The next one says: “You shall not commit adultery” (v. 14 NIV). That means honor marriage. The next one says: “You shall not steal,” meaning honor people’s possessions (v. 15 NIV). The next one says: “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor” (v. 16 NIV). Honor others' reputations.

In other words, the whole Law is about honoring God and honoring other people. You can't steal from people, you can't lie about people, you can't steal the wife of a person who doesn't have anything else but a wife to steal. You can't take advantage of your position or your power. Everybody is on equal footing, and these laws apply to everyone. Do you know what God is communicating through these commandments? That He is concerned not only about how you treat other people, but that He is also concerned about how people treat you. He’s communicating that you are invaluable to Him, that these were men and women made in His image. Regardless of what they have or don't have, or who they are connected to or where they live, their status is elevated because of God's commitment to them—as reflected in this amazing Law.

And then God gets to the last commandment. This is the unenforceable commandment. This is the commandment that has to do with what is going on inside of you. This is the commandment that really stands apart from all the rest of the commandments because it is not something you know somebody else has actually done. Listen to this: “You shall not covet your neighbor's house” (v. 17 NIV).

“Covet” means to strongly desire; it really means to lust after, not just physically, but to want something so bad that you can’t stop thinking about it. Lust is not just a sexual thing. It can also mean to want something that somebody else has so much that it hurts your relationship with that person.

Listen to the rest. He says: “You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or his maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor” (Exodus 20:17 NIV). Coveting an ox would be like coveting your neighbor's SUV; coveting a donkey would be like coveting your neighbor's car. And then just in case someone tries to think of something not covered by this commandment, God says not to covet anything that belongs to your neighbor. God is saying to the nation, “Look, you are not just accountable to God for how you behave, you are accountable to God for what you think. You're not just accountable to God for what you do, you're accountable to God for what you're thinking about doing. You are not just accountable to God for adultery, you're accountable to God for thinking about adultery.”

God chose to put this in the commandments not to make His people good, but to make them free.

He says, “I know that coveting leads to stealing and coveting leads to adultery and coveting leads to lying about your neighbor and coveting leads to dishonoring your parents. Coveting is what leads to all of this stuff. So I want you to cut it off at the root. I want you to guard your heart and your mind. So that these other commandments don't become an issue for you.” He wants us to honor Him and to honor people. And when we cut the problem off at the root, we live free of the enslavement our sin gets us in. 

When you stand back and look at the whole thing, it is very clear that the Ten Commandments aren't a behavioral code to somehow win our acceptance with God. They are given to a people who are already accepted by God. He wanted this to be His nation that reflected His glory. He wanted them to understand that to depart from the Law was to move in the direction of something bad and harmful. And ultimately they would pay. In fact, at the end of the Ten Commandments something happens.

Here is what God was pleading with them to do; He was saying, “Would you please, please, please allow My greatness to be all the motivation you ever need to obey Me? Would you just trust Me? Would you be so overwhelmed that when you're tempted to steal or covet, or you're tempted to say bad things about your neighbor, will you remember who you are dealing with? Will you not learn the hard way? Will you just trust Me?”

He is not trying to make you good; He's just trying to keep you free. And the question for me and the question for you is will we trust Him?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Monday's Mention...11/19/12

Last night was a great time. The sanctuary was full. Fella Wilson, presented a message from the book of Acts about the great storm on the sea. It was a great reminder that, in the midst of our storms, that God keeps his promises, He is present with us through the storm, and that storms pass, even if it seems you're being driven by the storm. 

Have a great week!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday Five...11/16/12

Here's this week's five favorite things for you:

1. Favorite Tweet (via Jon Acuff) - "Know what makes me feel like a bad parent? The Subaru ad where kids wash the inside of a car with hoses & their dad is happy. #NotMyReaction"

2. Favorite Taxidermy Photo...(random, I know)

3. Favorite Baby Fighting Video

4. Favorite Thanksgiving Video that wont make the Thanksgiving Service:

5. Finally, my favorite joke of this week:
 - Jokes about German sausage are the wurst.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thursday's thing...(I know I'm being redundant)

I'm thinking about making some changes to the blog for 2013 (if the world still exists after December 20th). I would like you thoughts if you haven't already responded:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wednesday's Word...TEN: Do Nothing (Part 4 of 5)

This is part 4 of 5. Find part 1 here and part 2 here and part 3 here.

So we are 4 weeks into the 10 Commandments and we're only going to hit one more of them today. So far, we have discovered that the 10 Commandments were not given as a condition for a relationship, but they were given as a confirmation of a relationship with God. Did you catch that? Relationship always precedes rules with God. He calls us His first, then gives us the rules. 

Let’s look at Exodus 20:8-9: “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work” (NIV). Okay, let’s back up a little here. The word “Sabbath” is actually a noun that came from a verb meaning rest, or don't work. Now, at this point you may hear that and think that this idea of rest and not working might have been great for Israel thousands of years ago, but that isn't going to fly with your schedule in the 21st century.

as long ago as this was, their culture was not all that different from ours now. This was a group of people who had come out of slavery where they spent all of their time, I mean literally all of their time, serving Egyptians. This was a group of people who had a very strong work ethic, and they lived in a world where if you didn't work all the time, your family may not eat. People’s lives depended on working hard and working often. So for God to tell them to take an entire 24-hour period off and do no work—in other words, provide nothing for yourself—probably came across not only as unrealistic, but insensitive too. Didn’t God care that they get food in their stomachs? But fortunately for this group of people, they had just had an experience with God that put this commandment in context.

When the Israelites left Egypt, they numbered about one or two million. The whole nation left Egypt, and while they took some food with them, there was only so much they could pack and it would only last for so long. They were literally an entire culture moving through the desert, and it didn’t take long at all before they ran out of food. So they began to complain and take their complaints to Moses, their leader, saying they were going to starve to death. But then one morning something strange happens. They woke up and looked outside their tents, and scattered all over the ground were these little, crusty pieces of something they had never seen before. Well, somebody was just hungry enough to put this crusty piece of something in his mouth and eat it, and when he did he realized it was food! When they needed it the most, God actually provided food for them by having it rain down from heaven. They called this food manna.

So from then on out, every single morning of the week except for one—the Sabbath—the Israelites woke up and found fresh manna on the ground. Essentially God told Moses, “Look, I want you to tell the people that I'm going to provide for them what they need to eat every single day. They need to trust me on this. Tell them not to try to store up food from one day for the next. I only want them to get just enough manna for the day.” It sounded simple enough, but some people didn't believe it. They thought God might cut off the supply, that maybe He wouldn’t be good to His word, so just in case, they got two days' worth of food. But the next morning when they woke up, the manna they saved was rotten and full of worms. They may have thought they were being smart, but what they were doing was choosing not to trust God. 

God created a situation where Israel was forced to be dependent on Him—daily. For 40 years their daily bread was waiting for them every morning outside their tent. And the night before the Sabbath, they gathered twice as much so they would have enough for two days—the one time a week when two days’ worth of provision is allowed. They learned to take the Sabbath off. They learned that God could be trusted when they chose to rest—and when they rested, they acknowledged all God had done to allow them the time to stop. Listen to how extreme God’s instructions were in Exodus 20:10: "On [the Sabbath] you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates" (NIV).
Obviously, this mattered to God. He’s saying, “I don't want you to do this halfway. I don’t even want your animals doing work. I don't want anybody doing any work—not even those you expect to work. I want there to be 24 hours where you realize more than any other time My provision for you. I want you to realize that I am looking out for you, I notice your needs and I have you under my care. The Sabbath is to be a day that you commemorate and remember all I have already done to get you where you are.” And Israel taking the time to look back and see what God had already done gave them a confidence to look forward in confidence of what God would do in the future.

The day of rest is a day of remembrance. The day of rest is a period of time when the nation of Israel had to remember as important as progress was, as important as prosperity was, and as important as eating and living indoors was, there was something else that was more important. It was having a constant physical trust in God our Provider. It was taking the time to remember that when they stopped working, when they paused long enough to acknowledge God they just might find that far fewer things depended on them than they realized. In fact, their stillness would instead serve as a reminder that God had things under far greater control than they ever could. And taking the time to be still confirmed that God was bigger—bigger than their need, bigger than their progress, and bigger than their drive.

Ultimately the issue comes down to this—can you trust God? That is the point of the Sabbath. And that is why we are so reluctant to take it—because we are afraid. We truly think that if we stopped, if we rested, everything would fall apart. We trust more in our own ability than we do God’s provision. But the Sabbath is a tangible way to choose trust when everything inside of us may want to fight it. It’s learning to count on God with that very, very practical part of life. It’s learning that it’s not all up to you. That it’s not all in your hands. It’s stopping from the frantic pace of life, and remembering not only how God provided, but about who He is.

So here is my challenge to you—would you be willing to institute the principle of the Sabbath in your life? Would you try for just one month, to make time every week where you force yourself to remember what God has done and is doing in your life—and in the lives of those around you?
You’re going to feel like you’re missing out, or maybe falling behind. You’re going to feel like you need that little bit extra to keep up, or stay ahead. But what if, for one day, you let God consume your time instead of everything and everyone else?

This isn't an excuse to get out of work. No. It’s about getting your work done before the Sabbath hits. It’s about prioritizing your schedule and your time to make room for the Sabbath. It doesn't even have to be the same time period each week. There are no rules about this part of it. God just cares that the rest and the focus happens. Period.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Boldness and Prayer...and what it has to do with becoming rooted.

I had the opportunity to preach this past week. The message could be summed up fairly simply: Boldness today paves the way for God to work. We are called to be bold, to stand up for what's right, but to do it with humility and respect. 

Whenever I teach or preach I try to point to an area in which we should be rooted. When we began the "rooted in God's love" initiative, we laid out 6 expressions of love and gave people bookmarks with spiritual goals using those six expressions (the goals can be found here): Study, Prayer, Stewardship, Discipleship, Community, and Service.

This got me to thinking about boldness and where it fits. I failed to make that connection on Sunday, but I am convinced that it falls into the Prayer expression. Our goal in prayer is to have a constant awareness of God's presence in our lives. We often try to sensationalize God's presence, but in reality is it simply to recognize that God is at work in the world around us and to adjust our eyes to be able to see where He is and to join Him in His work.

I believe that to have boldness that God honors is to recognize that my actions today will alter, even if it's just slightly, the course of my life; but not just my life, potentially the lives of all those around me. 

We have a huge weight of responsibility for what we do and say today. 

Anyway, that's what I've been wrestling with today. Thoughts?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Monday's Mention...11/12/12

Yesterday was Veterans Day. Thank you to the service men and women of the past and those who stand up today, fighting for the freedoms that we love so much and take for granted.

Yesterday, we showed this video as part of our service. I wanted to share it again with you today:

Friday, November 9, 2012

Friday Five...11/9/12

Here's this week's list:

1. Favorite Photo (and here's how it was taken): 
Cover of New York Magazine after Hurricane Sandy

2. Favorite Joke (that is completely appropriate, but I could never use as a sermon illustration):

-- A dyslexic man walks into a bra... --

3. Favorite Thoughts on Halloween Candy from Tim Hawkins

4. Favorite "Oh! I Get It!" Bumper Sticker: From Stuff Christians Like

5. Finally, my Favorite "Christmas just got better!" Picture

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Wednesday's Word...TEN: That's Not My Name (Part 3 of 5)

This is part 3 of 5. Find part 1 here and part 2 here.

So, we're three weeks into talking about the 10 Commandments, the rules that God gave Moses and the Hebrew slaves after inviting them into relationship with Him, rescuing them from slavery in Egypt, and doing some pretty amazing miracles along the way.

Today I want to focus in on the 3rd Commandment. If I had to guess, I would bet a lot of you are familiar with this one. But the reason I want to talk about it is because it is so incredibly misunderstood.

If you've been around church for a while, you were probably taught this one. I know I was, and this commandment had a very specific application that went along with it. Unfortunately, it may have been the wrong application. But I can remember this commandment being drilled in my head: “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God" (Exodus 20:7 NIV).

I was taught, and maybe you were too, that according to this commandment, when you lose your temper, when you get upset, angry or stub your toe, you’re not supposed to yell out God's name or His Son's name. Oh, and while you’re at it, you aren't supposed to ask God if He would curse or damn something with His name attached either. Are you with me?

Now I want to stop and think about this for a minute because if we really spend some time on this, we will realize how silly this application sounds next to the other commandments we have already covered. I mean, God has given the big Ten here, the top 10 things He wants to make sure Israel gets right. And He gets to number three and says, “Thou shall not call out My name when you lose your temper”? Could that really be what that means? Before He tells us not to murder or steal, God says, “Hey, don’t yell out My name!”? But what if it doesn't mean that? Now, I’ll be honest, I still think it's a bad thing to yell out God's name or to yell out Jesus' name when you lose your temper. But my feelings on that have nothing to do with this commandment. I think it’s just disrespectful. 

“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses His name.” (Exodus 20:7, NIV)

Reading that, don’t you think there could be more to this commandment than saying God’s name in a fit of rage? The NIV has the word “misuse”; in other words, don’t abuse, mishandle or, and this one is really important, exploit the name of God. More comes to mind than just cursing when I hear this. This means we are not to associate God’s name with something God is not associated with. Let’s take it one step farther. It also means don't leverage the name of God in order to accomplish something God has nothing to do with. That is abusing His name. That is mishandling His name. That is exploiting His name. Don't use God to accomplish your means; don't use the name of God to get your way. That is misusing the name of God. 

He wants us to be careful about what we say about Him and what we attribute to Him. What we say and what we attribute reflect on His character, so we better be sure we reflect His character accurately. 

Want to know something interesting? The maddest Jesus ever gets in the New Testament is when He walks into the temple and finds men in the outer courts changing money and selling sacrificial animals to poor people for a huge profit. The animals being sold aren't even the animals God said could be sacrificed. He clearly stated in the Old Testament which animals would be a suitable sacrifice and how the sacrifices should be prepared.
Basically, these religious leaders allowed other people to come into the temple and abuse the system to enrich themselves. So when Jesus walks into the temple, He is furious. He saw the religious leaders leveraging the name of God and leveraging the Law. In other words, they were exploiting it. Luke 19 describes it this way: Then he entered the temple area and began driving out those who were selling (v. 45 NIV). Then Jesus says to the religious leaders, “It is written . . . 'My house will be a house of prayer'; but you have made it a 'den of robbers'” (Luke 19:46 NIV).

In other words, Jesus is saying, “You have managed to break the eighth commandment, which says, “Thou shall not steal”; you've bypassed My Father's desire to have this temple be a holy place; you've violated the clear teachings of My Father by coming up with a system that allows you to steal from the people. And you are doing it all in My name!” See, when people showed up at the temple they assumed it was all legitimate business. They trusted what the religious leaders were asking of them. But the religious leaders were exploiting the name, intent and character of God, and Jesus was furious.

If you stay in the habit or if you get in the habit of dodging the Law of God in the name of God, ultimately you will miss God.

So here's my question—in your own little world, in your own little way, do you try to leverage God against Himself? In your own little way, in your own little world, are there things you know God doesn't want you to do, places He doesn't want you to go? But you justify it, twist it, to make it okay? You may not be thinking about it at the time, but you’re violating the third commandment. And I don’t know what all of the ramifications for this look like, but I do know as long as you are dodging the will of God in the name of God, as long as you are dodging the morality of God, as long as you're dodging the Law of God, as long as you are dodging the commands of God, you won't know Him.

If you don’t put a stop to the cycle, you’ll go on hearing people talk about this personal relationship with God and you’ll always wonder, “Why can't I experience that?” The only way to do that is to be honest and say, “God, I want to do that sin, but I'm not going to pretend like it's okay with you anymore. God, I want to be in that relationship, and I'm going to be honest and say You probably don't want me to be in that relationship. I'm just telling you I'm not going to pretend like somehow You want me to be happy regardless of the cost. I’m not going to play that game anymore.”

And if you make that decision, I have a feeling that the God who loves you will penetrate your stubborn heart and get control of your life. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Monday's Mention...11/5/12

Worth a mention:

- We've had over 60 people involved in our Married People classes! It's been a great opportunity to better understand our spouses and strengthen our marriages. Look for more opportunities to come!

- Shaun and Paige Hord have poured themselves into these two groups. They are a great example of a couple who are using their gifts to serve Christ!

I am excited about some things coming up in the next couple months as we approach the holiday on the lookout for ways that you can grow on your journey to become "rooted in God's love."

See you Wednesday. Don't forget to take a brief survey about the blog here

Friday, November 2, 2012

Friday Five...11/2/12

This week is dominated by videos. Enjoy!

1. Favorite Thing I Learned - I'm tying my show wrong:

2. Favorite Advertisement - Coke Zero and Skyfall

3. Favorite Thanksgiving Themed Video: Stuff People Say:

(And this one: don't watch it if you can't laugh at yourself a little, and it's not really a Thanksgiving video, but it's a "Christian" response to the "Things People Say" YouTube meme)

4. Favorite "non-video" of the week: "Different Paths" - excellent article on drawing out your child's strengths.

5. Favorite Johnny and Chachi Video...this week. "The Don't Song:"

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thursday's Third Degree...(trying to keep the alliteration going!?!?)

I've been blogging again for about a month and a half. Would you do me a favor? I'd like your feedback. I have created the simple form below. If you could take a minute and give me your thoughts and press the submit button when you are finished, I would greatly appreciate it. It's completely anonymous, so I won't hunt you don't if you hate it. :-)

If, for some reason, the form is not appearing below, you can click this link.