Tuesday, June 30, 2015

July 1, 2015

 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” II Chronicles 7:14

God’s love is unconditional but His promises aren’t. There is always an “if, then” condition in the promise. He has always delivered on the “then” when people act on the “if”.

The second part of this promise identifies who the promise is addressed to “if MY PEOPLE, WHO ARE CALLED BY MY NAME”.

Are you one of His people?

Are you called by His Name?

You are if you have received Christ as your Savior by repentance, confession and faith.

If so, this promise is for you!

God’s promises are always directed to His people.

God’s plans are always executed through His people who keep His promise.

God’s power is demonstrated through His people who keep His promise and carry out His plan.

How can God work if He can’t work through His people?

How can He work through His people if His people won’t keep His promises?

How can people be called by His name and not keep His promises?

Obviously it happens and that is what leads to the need for repentance and forgiveness.

Only a person who is called by His name can be guilty of disobedience because they know what is required of them.

So, are disobedient people who call themselves by His name partially responsible for the ills that befall their nation?

If so, what should they do?

If so, shouldn’t they do it soon?

What will you do?


Monday, June 29, 2015

June 30, 2015

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” II Chronicles 7:14

This is one of the best known verses to guide us in intercessory prayer for our Nation. Since we plan to devote time for that in our service this week it is worth devoting time to this week!

Before I begin sharing my thoughts on this verse, I want to share some encouraging news to illustrate the power of intercessory prayer. It was my privilege to have lunch with a missionary and his wife who worshiped with us at FredWes yesterday. They serve with YWAM in the south east part of India. As we visited I asked him if he has experienced what missionaries in Africa and other Muslim areas are reporting – Christ appearing to Muslims in visions and dreams leading them to convert to Christianity. He exclaimed, “Oh, yes!”

As we speculated on this exciting phenomenon we agreed that it must have something to do with many prayers of intercession being offered up for the salvation of these Sons of Abraham.

James said it best, “The prevailing earnest prayer of a righteous man avails much.” James 5:16

We believe prayer is powerful because it connects us to an all-powerful God! That’s why the little to letter word at the beginning of this verse is significant! “IF”! “If my people….”

That phrase is powerful because:

1) It promises a “then”! If you will call on me THEN I will hear and answer! To get a THEN you must offer the IF!

2) It prescribes a commitment to faith and action. The Founder of our movement, John Wesley said, “Nothing happens except for prayer.”

3) It provides hope for His people in difficult times!

For these reasons and others we are calling the FredWes family to prayer in both services this next Sunday! We are doing this as a last desperate act of fearful people we are doing this as a faithful people who are fully convinced that when we commit to the “IF” God will commit to the “THEN”!

Sunday, July 5th, we will honor our nation by giving ourselves to intercessory prayer for her. "IF" you can join us, then we will have more effective results!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

June 29, 2015

"For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love. By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. He gathers the waters of the sea into jars, he puts the deep into storehouses. Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the people of the world revere him. For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm. The LORD foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations."  Psalms 33:4-11

These words were written centuries before the United States of America was ever thought of, so to apply the Psalm directly to our nation is foolish. However, truths and beliefs that are declared are timeless and bear resemblance to the principles upon which our Founders built our great nation.

I will highlight some of those for you in this post and I think you will see what I mean.

The Principles of Our Nation

Two of the founding principles upon which our great nation was established are mentioned here: righteousness and justice. Righteousness essentially means that we look to God to determine what is right and wrong and justice is the implementation of right and wrong. A sincere wholesale return to righteousness and justice would sure help restore our nation today!

In addition, there are a couple of big concepts mentioned here that were embraced by the Founders and contributed to the greatness of the USA.

"For the word of the LORD is right and true"

The "word of the Lord" refers to the Ten Commandments. Those commandments were highly regarded by many of the Founders and would form the foundation for our system of justice, morality, and in defining our God-given rights. For example:

The first four commandments form the basis for the following rights: The Freedom of Speech, The Freedom of Assembly and Freedom of Religion.

Commandments five and seven form the foundation for the Sanctity of marriage and the primacy of the family.

The sixth commandment forms the right to life while the ninth suggests the right to justice under the law.

And the eighth and tenth commandments are the basis for the right to pursue, possess, and protect private property.

A representation of Moses with the Ten Commandments is etched on the wall of the Supreme Court Building in Washington, DC.

A statue of Moses holding the Ten Commandments is featured in the rotunda of the Library of Congress.

The Ten Commandments are symbolized in the floor of the National Archives Building in Washington , D.C.

Any objective scholarship will show the powerful impact that the Ten Commandments had on the Founders as they forged the founding documents upon with their new nation would be established. The "Word of the Lord" has proven "right and true" for generations of free Americans over its 235 years of existence.

Little did Moses know the incredible influence of those words God etched on the tablets he carried down from his encounter with God on Mt. Sinai. Several great nations have been built upon their timeless truths.

But Commandments are not kept or carried out by nations, they are observed by people - individuals like you and me. Each time you obey God's commandment and put it into practice you not only benefit yourself but you strengthen your nation! What better way to prove the "Word of the Lord right and true" than to do right and live in His truth? Are you doing that? Will you?

Saturday, June 27, 2015

June 28, 2015

"Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, does not boast, it is not proud." I Corinthians 13:4

Would you rather have a porcupine or a puppy for a pet?

Have you ever tried to cuddle a porcupine? Well, don't!

However, cuddling a puppy has been proven to be good for your emotional and mental health!

You may be thinking, "Brad, what are you talking about? How do you get porcupines and puppies out of this verse?"

"Love is patient, love is kind" means that God's love gives you the ability to take grief from someone and give them grace in return. That sounds like a puppy to me! No matter how mean you are to your dog it will always come back ready to lick your face.

Not so with porcupines. They can't even cuddle with each other because of their sharp quills that cause pain to whomever they get close to. 

That reminds me of jealousy, boasting and arrogance. Those attitudes manifested in your life make it hard for you to get close to other people without hurting them.  Others will find it hard to get close to you as well.

Love is patience and kindness.

Love is not jealousy, boasting or arrogance.

Patience is not jealousy, boasting or arrogance.

Kindness is not jealousy, boasting or arrogance.

So, if love is the "more excellent way" and you don't have it that's a problem!

Some of the problems created by jealousy, boasting and arrogance are:

- Comparing yourself to others always putting yourself in a more favorable light
- Competing with others to make you look better and others look worse
- Conspiring to undermine the success of others so you appear more successful
- Controlling situations and trying to control others so you will feel like you're in charge

None of those individually will make you more cuddly. Each will tend to push others away. All of them or any combination of them turn you into a full-fledged porcupine!

What should you do? How do you become a puppy and not a porcupine?

- Realize - you need God love and you haven't received it.           
- Repent - tell God you are tired of your jealousy, boasting and pride
- Receive - empty yourself and receive the fullness of His love by faith
- Readjust - live differently in the power of His Spirit and begin to love:

When tempted to compare I will compliment instead!

When tempted to compete I will celebrate instead!

When tempted to conspire I will contribute instead!

When tempted to control I will commit it to God instead!

If it were only that easy for real porcupines!

Friday, June 26, 2015

June 27, 2015

“Love is patient, love is kind. Love envies not; love flaunts not itself and is not puffed up.” I Corinthians 13:4

The Christian Faith is all about relationships, that is why love is such an indispensable factor in faith. Faith begins with a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ and then must be expressed in fellowship with other Christ-followers.

That is also why attitudes like jealousy, boasting, and arrogance are so negative – because they harm relationships. It is hard to love someone who is jealous or boastful or arrogant. Some people are all three. If you have ever tried to live with such a person you know what I’m talking about.

Today I am focusing on arrogance. The Greek word for arrogance has the idea of “puffed up or inflated like a balloon”. So an arrogant person is one who is “inflated with self-importance” or you could say he is a wind bag.

My Mom has a saying about an arrogant person. She posits, “If I could buy him for what he is worth and sell him for what he thinks he is worth I’d become a millionaire!”

I admit that’s a bit harsh, but an arrogant person suffers with an overblown idea of his own importance and therefore struggles to appreciate the value of others. An arrogant person also has a hard time realizing his need for God or the love of God.

It was attitudes like jealousy, boastfulness and arrogance that caused the Apostle Paul to write Chapter 13 of the Corinthian letter. The church was being divided by competing selfish interests and out of control egos. Rather than completing each other they were competing against each other. A church in this condition cannot long survive.

Take the time to study the Chapters leading up to this chapter and you will understand why Paul felt compelled to teach these believers about “the more excellent way”. This most excellent way begins with patience and kindness. It is impossible to be patient or kind with a heart filled with jealousy, boasting and arrogance.

God loves the Church and designed it so it can only operate in the power of His love. He designed it to operate with a diversity of gifts that can only survive and thrive when united in His love through the Holy Spirit. Individual egos must be consecrated to God’s will, cleansed by the blood of Jesus and filled with the Holy Spirit. Only then can believers complete each other rather than compete. It is the only hope for the Corinthian Church or for FredWes.

How is your attitude?

Do you have your ego under control?

Are you competing within your church or are you completing it?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

June 26, 2015

“Love is patient, love is kind. Love envies not; love flaunts not itself and is not puffed up.” I Corinthians 13:4

Love is a big idea. It is so big that it could only come from God.

So love must me expressed in large yet simple terms.

Week one I summarized the big ideas of love being patient and kind this way – “Love gets grief and gives grace.”

We two I will sum up the negative traits of envy, boastfulness and arrogance in this phrase – “Love completes not competes”.

What do I mean by that?

Envy or jealousy is zealous to get what others have and to guard what it thinks others want to take.

Boastfulness throws a parade for itself! It flaunts and promotes itself above others.

Arrogance is the soil in which the seeds of envy and boasting grow and bear fruit.

A heart that harbors envy, boastfulness and arrogance has little room for love as great and pervasive as God’s love. Such attitudes lead you to compare and compete with others. You measure your self-worth and net worth in comparison to theirs. If you come out well in the comparison you will feel superior and if you don’t you will feel threatened. Take this story for example:

Two shopkeepers were bitter rivals. Their stores were directly across the street from each other, and they would spend each day keeping track of each other's business. If one got a customer, he would smile in triumph at his rival. One night an angel appeared to one of the shopkeepers in a dream and said, "I will give you anything you ask, but whatever you receive, your competitor will receive twice as much. Would you be rich? You can be very rich, but he will be twice as wealthy. Do you wish to live a long and healthy life? You can, but his life will be longer and healthier. What is your desire?" The man frowned, thought for a moment, and then said, "Here is my request: Strike me blind in one eye!"

Those are the attitudes of envy, boastfulness and arrogance in action. As you can see, there is nothing even remotely loving about them. When you allow these attitudes to remain unchecked and you choose not to deal with them you will end up in a similar state as this merchant. It never ends well for those who live to compete and not complete.

Envy, boasting and arrogance are written into our nature. It is what we have inherited from Adam and Eve. These were the attitudes that led them astray. This “unholy trinity” is the cause of the majority of sinful acts committed by those who have not discovered the “more excellent way”. The presence of these attitudes denotes the absence of God’s Perfect Love.

God called you and me to complete each other not to compete against each other. He offers us a love that can so radically change us that we will become as happy for the success and prosperity of others as we would be for our own success!


That’s hard! That’s a totally different spirit! It would take a miracle for that to happen!


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

June 25, 2015

“Love is patient, love is kind. Love envies not; love flaunts not itself and is not puffed up.” I Corinthians 13:4

The Great Commandment demands you to, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" I Corinthians 13:4-8 describes in great detail what that love looks like.

How can you love God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind if you are envious, boastful or arrogant?

How can you love your neighbor fully if you are filled with envy, boasting and arrogance?

The answer in each case is, “You can’t!”

Since God gave the Great Commandment not the great suggestion, you have a problem.

You must be patient and kind but you cannot be envious, boastful or arrogant.

The word for “boastful” literally means “to parade yourself”. That’s a humorous image isn’t it?

I doubt if you would organize a parade for yourself but when you have a boastful spirit you are prone to put yourself on parade.

One central truth of the Great Commandment and I Corinthians 13 is that life is not about you! You need to make life about God and about others.

If you read the preceding chapters of I Corinthians you will see some illustrations of the envy, boasting, and arrogance that led Paul to write this Chapter. The Corinthian church was becoming filled with discord and strife due to their self-centeredness.

True love, perfect love, is not envious of anything except more of God.

True love boasts only of God.

True love comes to those who understand that when you have Him, you have all you need! What else would you desire? You would have no need for envy.

True love is so mindful of God’s greatness that it has nothing to boast of but Him!

To live in God’s love you must check your ego at the door.

Have you done that?

Is all of your boasting in Him?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

June 24, 2015

“Love is patient, love is kind. Love envies not; love flaunts not itself and is not puffed up.” I Corinthians 13:4

Our challenge this Summer will be to get our human minds around the idea of a supernatural love.

No pressure!

You get the idea you may be in trouble when you learn that the first characteristic of this “agape” love is patience. We learned that patience means having a “long fuse”. It is the ability to take abuse from another without being overcome by anger. If you can do that you have love but if not, you don’t!


Love is also kind. Paired with patience, kindness means that a loving “long fused” person absorbs unkindness and returns kindness. If you can do that you have love. If you cannot you don’t have it.

One of the barriers to patience and kindness is envy. You can’t be patient or kind if envy is in your heart. The word used for envy means to “boil over” with zeal for what someone else is or for what someone else has. You cannot love a person and be envious toward them. You won’t find it in you to be patient or kind, either.

Is there someone you envy?

Think about your attitude toward him.

Are you happy when that person succeeds?

Can you congratulate him and really mean it?

Probably not!

It was envy that motivated Cain to kill Abel. You would think a brother would love his brother, but because of envy he couldn’t.

What caused Joseph’s brothers to toss him into a pit to kill him and then deciding to sell him as a slave? It was envy!

Envy drove King Saul to pursue David with the intention of killing him.

Love does not envy.

Love is patient.

Love is kind.

This is going to be hard, isn’t it?

June 23, 2015

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."  II Corinthians 5:17

There are a lot of things I would have liked to change about myself.

Growing up in Indiana where high school basketball is SO important, I wanted to be taller than I was. But I wasn't.

I wish I could have changed the amount of athleticism I possessed so I could have been quicker and faster and jumped higher. But I couldn't.

If I could have been more talented in music I would have made that change. But I couldn't.

God knew that we are capable of changing ourselves. That is precisely why He sent Jesus to change things for us!

One of the major change points in your life will be the day you understand how little you can actually change.

But change you must! I must change. Here's why:

"for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God"  Romans 3:

"The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

You and I are born as sinners. As sinners we have separated ourselves from a holy God. That was the reason Jesus came. He came to take our sins upon Himself and die as a sacrificial offering for our sins. We deserved death because we are sinful. He deserved the best of life since He was holy.

Jesus changed His address by coming to earth. He changed form by coming as a man. And He changed from holy to sinful as He took our sins upon Himself on the cross. And the only reason He made all those changes was so He could change us.

If you will change your mind and trust Him for your salvation rather than trying to earn it yourself, everything will change! You will become a new creation in Christ! Your relationship with God will change. You will have a change of heart. Your mind will be transformed. Your eternal destination will change. Your desires and motivations will change.

One small change from you is all it takes for Him to make big changes in you!

Monday, June 22, 2015

June 22, 2015

“…..love envies not; love flaunts not itself and is not puffed up.” I Corinthians 13:4b

As an avid golfer I look forward every year to the U. S. Open Golf Tournament which determines the champion golfer of the year. This great sporting event is always played on the week leading up to Father’s Day so the final round is contested on Father’s Day.

Because the U. S. Open is always played by the world’s greatest golfers on one of the Nation’s most difficult courses that is set up to play as hard as it can possibly play, the Tournament usually features a dramatic ending.

The 2015 edition was not an exception, coming down to the last putt from the final player to determine the winner. Dustin Johnson hit two fantastic shots under immense pressure to put himself in position to have a twelve foot putt to win the Championship. As he stood over the tricky downhill putt, Dustin had two chances to win. If he knocked the ball into the hole he would be the outright champion but even with two putts he could have tied for the lead and earned his way into an eighteen hole playoff today. But, he struck the putt a little too firmly and ran it four feet past the hole. No problem! Now all he had to do was run in this straight uphill four-footer and he would tie for the lead. Sadly though, he pulled the putt and missed it to the left.

Dustin Johnson’s three putt gave the Championship to Jordan Spieth. So you could say that Jordan won or you can also say that Dustin lost. Knowing how golfers think, I am sure Jordan would have preferred to win the tournament rather than have Dustin lose it. I am equally sure it will take Dustin a long time to get over how he squandered this rare opportunity.

I share this because it illustrates the spirit of our Scripture text and gives instruction on how Christ followers should respond in these difficult moments of life.

First, if you are Dustin Johnson, how should you respond in a way consistent with Godly love?

According to the Apostle Paul, Godly love would cause Dustin to be sincerely happy for Jordan Spieth’s victory. Not only that, but he would be as happy over Jordan’s win and he would have been if he had won!

Along with to his genuine joy for Jordan, if Dustin were to demonstrate this great love he would not make any excuses about his loss that would diminish Jordan’s win in the least.

You may be thinking, “Wow, Brad, that’s really hard!” Or, you may even be thinking, “Brad, that’s not possible!”

In terms of human ego, you are correct! It is not in you, nor is it in me.  That is why this love is supernatural! Only God can give you this sort of love.

Second, if you are Jordan Spieth, how should you behave in this time of historic triumph?

According to this verse, he should show deep humility for the win and sincere compassion for the loser. Jordan’s concern for Dustin’s feeling of failure and loss should be stronger that his celebration of his fortune.

So, how do you handle it when someone succeeds where you have failed?

Are you able to be as happy for the success of another as you are for your own success?

If you can sincerely answer yes, you have I Corinthians 13 love!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

June 21, 2015

"But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD." Genesis 6:8

If it were easy being a good dad, everyone would be doing it.

Noah qualifies as a good dad. I think you could put him in the great dad category.

That begs the question, "What defines a great dad?"

Here's my answer based on what I know of the Bible and from what I see of Noah:

1) He pleased God.

That's what it means to find "favor" with God. He was a great earthly father because he pleased his Heavenly Father. How? By being "righteous, blameless and walked with God".

2) He prayed

Where does it say that? How did he know about building the ark? God gave Noah a detailed description on how to build something he had never seen before - a boat!

3) He persevered

For over 100 years he worked on constructing the ark. Every day for more than a century he got up and went to work on this ship of salvation.

4) He protected his family

Obviously, he delivered his family from the flood waters, but more importantly, he protected them spiritually from the moral corruption of that day.

5) He provided for his family.

As a responsible bread-winner, Noah made sure his wife and children had what they needed.

Noah is in the Hall of Faith listed in Hebrews 11. Rightly so! But he also ranks high on the Hall of Fathers. He became a great father by pleasing His Heavenly Father!

How about you? Have you found favor with God?

Are you pleasing your Heavenly father by being righteous, by being blameless, and by walking with Him?

Saturday, June 20, 2015

June 20, 2015

“……love never fails….” I Corinthians 13:8

One thing common to everyone who has taken on the role of a parent, and that is the occasional feeling that you are failing as a parent.

Perhaps that is how you are feeling at this moment.

There is no parenting scoreboard or instrument for measuring how you are doing as a parent at any given moment. It is a moment by moment process and every child is a work in progress and sometimes it just feels like you are losing!

You don’t like losing at anything! Neither do I. It is especially hard to feel like you are losing in the job of parenting because (1) you don’t want to lose your child; and (2) you don’t want to be thought of as a poor parent.

For every parent who has ever felt this way (and that would be every parent) there two Scriptures have encouraging news for you! LOVE NEVER FAILS!

Some things work every time they are tried. Obedience always works! Every time you obey God it allows Him to work in and through your life! There has never been a time that a Child of God obeyed Him and it didn’t work out for that one who obeyed.

Prayer works every time it is tried. While you may not receive exactly what you prayed for you know that every prayer is heard every prayer is heard in Heaven has an impact on earth. When you pray in Jesus’ Name, every prayer is heard in Heaven and every prayer causes something to happen on earth. Sometimes something will happen in the heart of your child or something will happen in your heart. To every prayer God answers, “Yes”, “no” or “later”. Your job is to pray, then believe, then watch for the evidence that God is at work in answer to your prayer.

Love works every time it is tried!

But that is only true if the love is question is the love of God because God’s love never fails. God’s love always triumphs over any fear, over any doubt, over any hatred, or any feelings of failure as a parent. Love never fails!

Your love may fail toward your child but God’s love working in you and through you will never fail because “Love never fails”! You can only fail with your child (ren) if you fail to love your child with the supernatural “agape” love of God!

So, disregard any feelings of failure as a parent. It isn’t about you or your failures anyway! It isn’t about you at all! If you want to receive the power of God you must crucify your selfish, self-loving nature and receive His love through the Holy Spirit!

Once you receive His Holy Spirit and the fruit of His Spirit, His love will fill your heart and it will cover for any failures you might make as a parent. His love is stronger than your failures!

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” I Peter 4:8

Thursday, June 18, 2015

June 19, 2015

"The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him." Proverbs 23:24 

Fathers are just as essential to healthy child development as mothers. Psychology Today explained, "Fatherhood turns out to be a complex and unique phenomenon with huge consequences for the emotional and intellectual growth of children."

Erik Erikson, a pioneer in the world of child psychology, asserts that a father's love and a mother's love are qualitatively different. Fathers "love more dangerously" because their love is more "expectant, more instrumental" than a mother's love. A father brings unique contributions to the job of parenting a child that no one else can replicate. Following are some of the most compelling ways that a father’s involvement makes a positive difference in a child's life.
  •  Fathers parent differently
Fathering expert Dr. Kyle Pruett explains that fathers have a distinct style of communication and interaction with children. By eight weeks of age, infants can tell the difference between their mother’s and father’s interaction with them.

This diversity, in itself, provides children with a broader, richer experience of contrasting relational interactions. Whether they realize it or not, children are learning, by sheer experience, that men and women are different and have different ways of dealing with life, other adults and children. This understanding is critical for their development.
  • Fathers play differently.
Fathers tickle more, they wrestle, and they throw their children in the air (while mother says . . . "Not so high!"). Fathers chase their children, sometimes as playful, scary "monsters."

Fathering expert John Snarey explains that children who roughhouse with their fathers learn that biting, kicking and other forms of physical violence are not acceptable. They learn self-control by being told when "enough is enough" and when to settle down. Girls and boys both learn a healthy balance between timidity and aggression.
  • Fathers build confidence.
Go to any playground and listen to the parents. Who is encouraging kids to swing or climb just a little higher, ride their bike just a little faster, throw just a little harder? Who is encouraging kids to be careful? Mothers protect and dads encourage kids to push the limits.

Either of these parenting styles by themselves can be unhealthy. One can tend toward encouraging risk without consideration of consequences. The other tends to avoid risk, which can fail to build independence and confidence. Together, they help children remain safe while expanding their experiences and increasing their confidence.
  •  Fathers communicate differently.
A major study showed that when speaking to children, mothers and fathers are different. Mothers will simplify their words and speak on the child's level. Men are not as inclined to modify their language for the child. The mother's way facilitates immediate communication; the father's way challenges the child to expand her vocabulary and linguistic skills — an important building block of academic success.
  •  Fathers discipline differently.
Educational psychologist Carol Gilligan tells us that fathers stress justice, fairness and duty (based on rules), while mothers stress sympathy, care and help (based on relationships). Fathers tend to observe and enforce rules systematically and sternly, teaching children the consequences of right and wrong. Mothers tend toward grace and sympathy, providing a sense of hopefulness. Again, either of these disciplinary approaches by themselves is not good, but together, they create a healthy, proper balance.
  •  Fathers prepare children for the real world.
Involved dads help children see that attitudes and behaviors have consequences. For instance, fathers are more likely than mothers to tell their children that if they are not nice to others, kids will not want to play with them. Or, if they don't do well in school, they will not get into a good college or secure a desirable job. Fathers help children prepare for the reality and harshness of the world.
  • Fathers provide a look at the world of men.
Men and women are different. They eat differently. They dress differently. They cope with life differently. Girls and boys who grow up with a father are more familiar and secure with the curious world of men.

Girls with involved, married fathers are more likely to have healthier relationships with the opposite sex because they learn from their fathers how proper men act toward women. They know which behaviors are inappropriate.

They also have a healthy familiarity with the world of men — they don't wonder how a man's facial stubble feels or what it's like to be hugged by strong arms. This knowledge builds emotional security and safety from the exploitation of predatory males.

Boys who grow up with dads are less likely to be violent. They have their masculinity affirmed and learn from their fathers how to channel their masculinity and strength in positive ways. Fathers help sons understand proper male sexuality, hygiene and behavior in age-appropriate ways. As noted sociologist David Popenoe explains, "Fathers are far more than just 'second adults' in the home. Involved fathers — especially biological fathers — bring positive benefits to their children that no other person is as likely to bring."

Dad done well is a key foundation of a healthy and happy family. You make a world of difference for your wife and your children, Dad! Don't miss it for the world!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

June 18, 2015

In 1993, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D., NY) coined the phrase "defining deviancy down". Moynihan's thesis was that, as a society, America has been "re-defining deviancy" so as to exempt conduct previously stigmatized, and quietly raising the "normal" level for behavior that was abnormal by previous standards.

It's not often I agree with someone from the Democratic Party, but in this case I am in full agreement with the Senator! It has been over 20 years since he made this perceptive commentary on American culture and the past two decades have added credibility to his statement.

Nowadays we are told the degradation of our culture is the "new normal" and we'd better adjust to it!

I have no intention of adjusting to it. I refuse to participate in the further deconstruction of our culture. I will not adjust to the "new normal". I have dedicated the rest of my life to restoring the "old normal". That is one reason I have chosen to spend the Summer preaching a series on I Corinthians 13:4-8. Like the Apostle Paul, I want this to be the norm for our culture beginning with the people of God:

"Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, is not selfish, and does not get upset with others. Love does not count up wrongs that have been done. Love takes no pleasure in evil but rejoices over the truth. Love patiently accepts all things. It always trusts, always hopes, and always endures. Love never ends."

Paul also described "old normal" like this in another letter:

But the Spirit produces the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. There is no law that says these things are wrong. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their own sinful selves. They have given up their old selfish feelings and the evil things they wanted to do. We get our new life from the Spirit, so we should follow the Spirit. We must not be proud or make trouble with each other or be jealous of each other.

This “old normal” is what God calls us to when we commit to becoming fully devoted followers of Christ. It is the normal result of dying to your selfish will and receiving the fullness of God’s Holy Spirit. Being filled with the Spirit and walking in the Spirit is the prescribed normal for His people. It is our only hope for confronting and defeating the “new normal”.

I call you to join me in “defining decency up” and “reconstructing” our culture. I challenge you to be Spirit-filled and walk in the Holy Spirit.

If you refuse to be part of the solution you will remain part of the problem.