Saturday, February 16, 2013

What is Love?

This past week was the observance of Valentine's Day.  As this special day approaches, everyone has an expectation of recieving gifts from children at school to family members to individuals in a relationship. As I reflected this week numerous times, Valentine's Day is a Celebration of Love, But the question comes to mind: What exactly is LOVE?

Last night, the church hosted a Celebration of Love Banquet for our Youth and Senior Adults.  I had the distinct honor to interview three couples which will celebrate their 50 Wedding Anniversary in 2013.  As the conversation went on, some interesting descriptors of love were given.  Some you may or may not have ever thought of until now.

  1. Love is a choice.  Every day of life each one of us has a choice to make, which is to love or not to love.  The Word of God commands us to Love One Another, but it does not necessarily mean we have to like them.  Let me explain...  We must love the individual person, but we may not necessarily mean we like or agree with his/hers action.
  2. Love is a commitment.  When you choose to Love, you commit yourself to it.  People are people, and none of us are perfect.  Therefore, we must commit to love inspite of our imperfections or shortcomings.  Remember, before the foundations of the earth God had a plan to redeem mankind, he committed to love us even though He knew time and time again we would turn our backs on Him.
  3. Love is work.  Life has a way of throwing us curve balls that may make the path rough for a while, but it does not mean to keeping up.  The philsophy in the world today is when the waters become rough run or escape because the grass is greener on the otherside.  However, as a friend shared with me recently, the grass on the otherside still has to be cut just as the grass before.  Anything worth keeping is worth fighting to keep. 
  4. True Love Is Unconditional... Greater love hath no man than for him to lay his life down for his friend. (John 15:13) Unconditional love is giving everything you are for the well-being of another.  16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. (John 3:16-17)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

This Is Going To Hurt Me More Than It Hurts You!!!

The title is a phrase that I have heard throughout my life as well as on a regular basis from students whose parents are taking corrective action in certain situations.

Every situation in life requires a decision to be made, and deep down, we all know what's right and what's wrong. Whether right or wrong, our decisions have consequences. Imagine for a moment if no one on this earth ever had to suffer a consequence for their action... What type of society would it be?
After 15 years of ministry and 7 years of fatherhood, I have begun to understand the phrase this is going to hurt me more than it hurts you... It truly hurts to see students everyday making decisions that are going to lead them down the wrong path, and at some point they will hit rock bottom based upon the consequences of their decisions. As a father, I have been given a Biblical responsibility as I raise my children to help them determine what's right and what's wrong. When they make decisions that maybe harmful to them, may lead them into more troubling situations or may just be flat-out wrong, I must discipline, so they will learn. However, I have come to believe there are two ways of disciplining my children. First, I can discipline by condemning them which I do not believe is Biblical, or second, I can discipline by loving and restoring them which I believe is the Biblical, Godly approach.

The Word of God says, "Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent."

Though discipline is not easy and it hurts.  It’s never easy to punish one of my children, but if I desire to be a man of Integrity and earn the respect, love and loyalty of my children, it involves some suffering on both our parts to learn the lesson.  When these teachable moments come and they do, it may be a firm word or strict reprimand or a tap on the rear, and the child gets upset.  We must allow a few moments to lapse, so they can ponder and comprehend everything about the situation. BUT before the dust settles and we walk away, WE must speak gently to the child and reassure them it’s over, and we love them.

Discipline without Love = Rebellion

 Discipline with Love = Restoration

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Greatest Day In History

As we approach the Greatest Day in History, many people have missed the reason for the season.  It has always and will always be marked by the Birth of Christ.  The Old Testament prepared the way for the Savior of the World, the Promised Messiah.  When Christmas arrives this year, it’s a Birthday Party for Jesus!!! 

Jesus came into the world for every person on the earth. He came to give hope to the hopeless.  He came to give faith to the faithless.  His desire is to have a personal relationship with everyone, and for every individual to spend all eternity with him. 

Will you share the greatest gift with everyone you know this Christmas?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

It’s Your Choice: Flithy Rags or Clean Ones

If you had not bought any new clothes for many years, and someone took you on a shopping spree.  They told you it’s your choice what you buy.  Would you continue to wear your old clothes or the new ones?

As Christians, we have to understand that we must daily surrender to Christ.  We have a daily choice to wear the old rags of sin or the new righteous rags of Christ.  When we choose Christ, our desires begin to change and we do not desire to have anything to do with the filthy, dirty rags of the old life, sin.  Our desire becomes the heart of God to become more like his Son, and He desires for us to put on clean, pure, righteous rags, the new life.  Read Colossians 3:8-10:

Colossians 3:8-10 states, But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
What clothes will you wear?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Fishing for Men

As I grew up near the Gulf of Mexico, my family taught me to fish, and one of the keys to fishing is the tides and weather.  For us to have a successful day out on the water and a huge catch, all of these elements had to be just right.  After checking the forecast and the beautiful sunshining, my family and I would head to the piers for what we expected to be a great day, but we never had control over the number of fish we would catch.

As I ponder what I have learned as a child about fishing, I find myself now reflecting comparing my childhood experience to spiritual fishing.  For someone to come into a relationship with Jesus Christ, everything has to be just right.  A follower of Christ must be obedient. The Gospel must be presented.  The Holy Spirit must be drawing them closer to repentance.  All of these elements and some other things must occur for someone to respond to the Gospel.

A survey by the International Bible Society indicated that 83% of all Christians make their commitment to Jesus between the ages of 4 and 14, that is, when they are children or early youth.

The current Barna study indicates that nearly half of all Americans who accept Jesus Christ as their savior do so before reaching the age of 13 (43%), and that two out of three born again Christians (64%) made that commitment to Christ before their 18th birthday. One out of eight born again people (13%) made their profession of faith while 18 to 21 years old. Less than one out of every four born again Christians (23%) embraced Christ after their twenty-first birthday. Barna noted that these figures are consistent with similar studies it has conducted during the past twenty years.

As we read the research, we have a spiritual forecast of the conditions ready for the big catch.  As a student pastor and a father, I must continue to uphold and preach the Word of God. We do not have control over what the person's decision will be, so we must fully trust in God to do the rest.

18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him.  (Matthew 4:18-20, ESV)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Sometimes He Allows The Storms To Rage

I have lived on the Gulf Coast my entire life, and I have been through many tropical storms and hurricanes.  The most recent is Hurricane Isaac, and it was by far the longest storm I have ever experienced.  Many of us in Louisiana pondered and wondered if the raging wind and rain would ever cease.

As I reflect on the recent days, I am left pondering my life.  Many times the storms of life have raged with no end in sight. And we are left wondering why the storms in life will not cease. A wise friend of mine once shared with me that God sometimes calms the storms of life, but other times He allows the storms to rage, so He can calm His child.

Are you in the midst of a hurricane of life, right now?  Has God calmed  it or is He trying to calm you?