Episode #1 Love Your Neighbor

We officially started a podcast! Check out our first episode with my friend Jordan and I.  We talk about Kim Davis, Facebook and loving your neighbor.

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#icebucketchallenge #alsicebucketchallenge #strikeoutals

So, if you have logged onto social media in the past several weeks you have seen copious amounts of videos of EVERYONE dumping buckets of water on their head.  By now, we all realize that this is about raising awareness of ALS and promoting donations to ALS research.

I am certainly glad that this horrible disease is getting so much attention as it is 100% fatal with no cure.  However, as Christians we don’t just follow social trends and go along with the crowd.  I have been challenged to do this multiple times at this point and have politely declined and given my reasons for abstaining.  Here are some of them:

  1. The ALS Association is an organization that supports and performs embryonic stem cell research. While you can elect that your donation dollars not be spent to fund embryonic stem cell research (and the major study going on now is funded by a particular donor interested in such research) ALSA does state that it will not hinder future research of this type.
  2. Social gratification. I can’t speak for anyone else but when I was first challenged my first thought was “oh man let’s do something big so people will notice.”  The whole reason it is viral is because it plays into the instant social gratification veiled as altruism.
  3. Dumping 5+ gallons of clean, fresh, ice water on your head is degrading to countries and people who don’t have even a single glass of clean drinking water. Our water is so abundant and free that we don’t think twice about dumping it on our heads.  Now don’t get me wrong, we also water our lawns and wash our cars (while most people don’t even own a car or have a lawn).  But I don’t think we should be going around making a show of it either.

As a Christian, my giving should never be fueled by emotions.  Commercials can be very good at getting us to feel a certain way.  Marketing is all about stirring emotions to drive an end goal.  To me, my donations or charity should be done in accordance with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  It is HIS money after all, right?  Again, I’m not saying that all of this money going to ALS research is a bad thing but I wonder how many Christians have donated to a cause simply because of a challenge without being burdened by God that they should give God’s money to ALSA (or some other foundation/organization).  This isn’t just applying to ALS but to every donation I make.  Everything I give should be in accordance with what God wants me to do and where God wants me to donate (whether it is money or time).  My challenge to you is not to follow a social trend and make donations to the popular place but to pray and be open about what God has you to do.  For me, I wasn’t lead to give to ALS research for the reasons I listed in this post.

I will tell you about a charity that I do support and that God has laid on my heart.

Charity: Water

I’m not seeking to challenge anyone into giving.  I had originally included a paragraph about life in a third world country but realized that wasn’t appropriate.  Pray about it.  I know some of our readers do regularly give to charities that they feel strongly about.  I personally have been burdened by resources in other countries and love that charity: water gives 100% of donation dollars to the projects (not administrative costs).  Research charity: water and if this is something you want to support click the link below!

https://my.charitywater.org/coffee-theology-jesus

As a side note: for those that are burdened about ALS, I did find an alternative place to ALSA that conducts biblically ethical research:
http://www.jp2mri.org/capital-campaign.htm

Thanks for reading!  As always if you have any comments please let us know!

Rob

What I Learned From Watching the Perfect Marriage

I was extremely fortunate to grow up with two loving parents who not only loved all three of their kids (who definitely pushed their love to the limits), but also loved Jesus like crazy.  The older I get I realize how solid my parent’s marriage actually was.

 

In a day where so many kids grow up without a mom or dad, or in abusive situations, I felt very lucky to grow up in a house that was overall peaceful with two great parents who were willing to learn and adjust to not only each other but to their children’s temperaments and attitudes as well.   

 

Here are a few things I learned about marriage through them.

 

1. They Never Went to Bed Angry – I honestly can count on one hand the times I remember my parents arguing.  I can count on one finger the time it got so heated my dad left the house to cool off.  In 25 years I can’t think of one time that my mom or dad slept on the couch because there was a disagreement between them.  My parents were quick to forgive each other and to put any heated situation in the past.  When my dad got angry the few times I remember, he was quick to apologize and my mom was quick to forgive.  As their marriage progressed they got better and better at forgiving each other. 

2. They Are Growing Old Together – It’s no secret that my dad is not the same person he was when my parents first got married.  My dad grew up in a completely different house than my mom did.  While my mom’s family was all about…well family (oh, and pasta), my dad’s family was more of the ‘do whatever you want’ type.  When my parents first got married it was a major shift for both of them.  My mom was used to having people over all the time and my dad…well he most definitely was not.   Over the years they changed and adapted to each other’s needs and personality types and they are both better because of it.  My dad is a much more personable person these days not because he was forced to but because he loves my mom and wants to meet her needs.  Which brings me right in to my next point

 

3. They Meet Each Other’s Needs –  Oh sure, they are still two different people.  My dad has no problem working on his motorcycle in the garage for hours by himself (something my whole family would pay money to see my mom do), and my mom has no problem talking to her friends either in person or on the phone for hours (something we’d all pay a lot of money to see my dad do), but they sacrifice for each other and they cross over into each other’s needs to meet them.  My mom encourages my dad to buy the toys he wants, she has never once fought him on it.  My dad hosts more people at the house more often, not because he necessarily wants to but because he knows it meets a need for my mom.  It’s mutual submission to each other and what the other needs and it works wonderfully. 

 

4. The Never Fought About Money – My parents have owned a small business for almost 30 years.  Once again I can not think of one time they fought over money.  As far as I know they never had their own personal checking accounts and their were no secrets between them regarding where money went.  My mom was the book keeper for the business so she knew more about how our house economy worked, but my dad never once doubted where the money was going.  My dad was also the sole provider of the family for the past 25 years and he was always extremely generous with the money he made for us.  I once again can’t think of a time where my dad told my mom no (unless they were mutually going on a budget).  Trust me, my dad didn’t want the  pool, but my mom did….and now we have a pool.  The things that my mom wanted and my dad didn’t (and vice-versa) was never used a weapon in their marriage either.  My dad was more than happy to give my mom the world if he could regardless of who was making the money. 

 

5. They Disciplined Their Kids – Yes, I was spanked as a child (I know I’m really mentally scarred) and you know what? I’m a better person because of it.   My parents never ever ever spanked me out of anger or hit me out of anger.  I spanked on my cute little butt and was always told that my parents loved me and they wanted the best for me.  I truly never thought I was being abused, and I don’t have nightmares about being spanked….ever.   I was a little punk as a child and I needed to learn that I wasn’t the one running the shots, my parents were.  I’m so grateful for it now.

6. They Are Still In Love With Each Other – My parents marriage is like a well oiled machine.  If you walk into our house on a week day morning you’ll see my dad at the kitchen table running through all of the paperwork for the job that day and planning out all the materials he will need and then getting his employees together and sending them out to get supplies while my mom is running between the kitchen packing lunches for all of us while going into the office to get details my dad might now have.  They communicate like pros and you can tell that all of the hardwork they put in to their marriage early on has paid off immensely.  I know my dad still sees my mom as the most beautiful person who has ever lived, and I know my mom is still head over heels for my dad.  

7. They Mutually Submitted to Each Other – Let’s not confuse things here. I know that many non-Christians think that Christianity teaches the woman to submit to her husband and for the husband to rule over her like a king but this can’t be farther from the truth. The Bible teaches mutual submission with distinct roles to be fulfilled in marriage.  My dad sacrificed so much for my mom and consistently put her needs before his own.  My mom absolutely loved being a stay at home mom and she kept a CLEAN house even with three tiny terrors living there.  My mom wasn’t forced to stay at home, she wanted to stay at home and my dad will tell you that she took the much harder job.  Trust me, raising three kids, running a business, maintaining a house, and being involved with a local Church is no easy feat.  My parents both knew the two essential roles it takes to have a family and the fulfilled those roles flawlessly. 

8. My Parents Introduced Me to Jesus – I can’t speak on behalf of my other two (awesome) siblings, but I can say without a doubt that my parents are the ones who introduced me to Jesus and changed my life forever.  They didn’t just tell me about Jesus and what it means to be a Christian, they modeled it in every area of their life.  My parents were always honest, they always paid their taxes,and  they gave money to those in need.  They didn’t just send a few bucks overseas here and there, they gave money to people who couldn’t pay their mortgages, or couldn’t put food on the table.  My mom ever single morning has that Bible out and is reading it taking notes.  As a kid she would often tell us proverbs (usually when she was angry) that still stick with me to this day.  We were heavily involved with a local Church as well.  This gave me my foundation for life.  I owe my relationship with Jesus all to my parents modeling a life after Christ and building their entire lives around it. 

 

 

 

My generation doesn’t like hard work (just ask my dad he will tell you all about it), but marriage is hard work and when you put the time, effort and commitment into it, the result is a beautiful strong thing that binds two people together.

 

 So thanks mom and dad for being the best examples of marriage that I’ve ever seen.  You’ve raised three great kids and built a great life together.  Thanks for being the model marriage that so many people look up to. 

 

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-TW

 

 

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The Social Media Dilemma: Part One

I LOVE social media. I really do.

I use it daily, I use it to connect with old friends, see what my friends who are traveling are up to, I use it to promote this blog, use it to share my opinions on things, and I use it to keep in touch with people I don’t see often. Social media (especially Facebook) sure has its perks.

But, like any good thing, the abuse of it can lead to a major problem. Social media is not immune to its own problems….and it has quite a few when it is used to an extreme.

In the next two posts, Rob and I are going to be touching on the two big problems we see with social media when we begin to let it creep in to areas it really shouldn’t be. I (Tim) will be taking part one, and Rob will be taking part two. Onward to part 1.

What do I think is one of the biggest dangers of Facebook? The dreaded ‘like’ button. This little button says so much more than the word itself. This word ‘like’ also says approval, validation, popularity, cool, and pretty much any other word designed to inflate the self. When you get 30 likes on a status you can’t help but think “wow, I must be a popular guy”. You know how I know people think that? Because I think that.

The shift in our culture over the past decade regarding where we seek popularity has been immense. Specifically related to where and how we seek validation and approval. We used to seek most of our approval from actual human beings. These could include our peers, parents, immediate family, co-workers, or fans. But over the years we’ve shifted from people to digitized words and symbols. Now, we get our validation from how many people retweet our tweet, how many people ‘like’ our opinions, how many people share our photo, blog post (whoops), or self-made meme (so far no luck). We now view ourselves more highly when social media views us more highly.

Here’s the thing though, God has already approved of us. Yes, the one who designed every atom in our body, who knows us better than we know ourselves, has already approved us and validates us as lovely, brave and worth loving. The fact that Christ died on the cross to save a dying world from their own sin shows us that he approves of us. So much that He wants to set us up as co-heirs with His Son!

If we don’t find our approval from our Creator we will always be seeking our validation from somewhere else. For some it might not necessarily be social media, but for most that is where we seek it.

It’s a dead end.

A black hole.

And it’s not authentic.

It’s like eating junk food.

When we use social media as a validation tool, we essentially tell God that what he already says about us is not true. When we seek unhealthy approval from people, we become a slave to the cycle of thinking “man I hope people like this”.

God didn’t design us to live enslaved to other people and what they think of us, He designed us to live in freedom of who he says we already are.

Social media can be a great tool. In fact, you most likely found this post through Facebook or some other form of it. But when we use it to validate us as humans, as worthy, it falls short. Until you find it in the one who designed you, it will be an empty lifelong pursuit.

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On Resolving Conflict

Resolving relationship issues is tough work. It’s so tough in fact, that most people don’t even bother resolving issues they have with other people.  They either sweep them under the rug, or cut the relationship off completely.  But this is contrary to Jesus and His way of living.  When we hold grudges and let problems get in the way of our relationships with people, we are letting brokenness reign instead of Jesus and his restorative nature.

 

I’ve been fortunate to be a part of a strong local community these past 7 years where I’ve had to resolve issues I’ve had with people, or people have had to resolve issues they’ve had with me.  These conversations have not been always easy, but they have always been necessary.  Why?  Because we knew that for us to really live in relationships together we had to be honest and willing to ‘go there’ even when it was difficult. 

 

Because of that, the relationships formed are of the strongest bond.  When you confront someone with the love and humility of Jesus, you open yourself and the other person involved to healing and restoration.  Is it easy? Of course not, it’s often awkward, and painful.  BUT, as the conversation progresses you see a light at the end of the tunnel.  

 

Why am I blogging about this? Because we don’t know how to confront people and resolve problems between each other in our culture.  No, we’d much rather run to twitter and rant, we’d much rather call our other friend about the problem and spread gossip like wildfire, we’d much rather tear the other person down to make ourselves look better.  When we don’t confront, when we don’t know how to humbly approach each other we lose out on deeper relationships.  

 

I’ve been on both sides of the confrontation.  I’ve been the person who has initiated and brought the conversation up, told the person how I felt when he/she said this, or did that, and then heard their side and worked to common ground. I’ve also been the person who has been told that what I did or said was not ok and he/she was deeply hurt.  At that point, I had no choice but to eat a big helping of humble pie, ask for their forgiveness (which they so graciously extended), and then moved on.  This is a lost art even in the Christian culture.  we’d much rather go to our pastor, we’d much rather talk to someone else about our problem, not the person directly involved.

The Bible talks over and over about this.  Jesus tells us that before we even go to Him, if we remember that we have an issue with someone to immediately to that person to resolve our problem.  We are told not to let the sun go down on our anger, and Paul tells us to love one another, forgiving one another just as Christ forgave us.

 

Do not be afraid to talk to someone about the offense they committed against you.  Be gracious, be humble and willing to hear them out. Humans do dumb things and that includes you.  No one is above reproach.  We love to think that we are above being confronted.  People will vehemently defend their actions even if they are completely in the wrong.  Ultimately, this comes down to a pride issue that is for another post, but to Christians I will say this: Kill that pride and be teachable.  If you have an issue you need to resolve with another human being (wife, husband, son, daughter, friend, brother, sister, mom, dad, the guy at the grocery story etc), then go to that person and talk those things out.  Don’t give sin a foothold to start spreading, the longer you wait the harder it is to resolve the issue and the easier it is to keep going down that path. 

If you like this post then share it!

 

-TW

Poetry: “Ok”

Ok so it’s been a while since the last post and I’ve been working on a few other ideas but I decided to mix it up a little bit with this one.  I  like to write poems and lyrics from time to time and I wanted to share a poem I wrote recently.  The Title is “Ok” and it is about man’s ruin and redemption; sin and salvation.  Let me know your thoughts.

 

“Ok”

Beating my fist to this chest to feel relevance
Defining by opinion my own excellence.
If I can only convince Him of my worthiness
Then I’ll be ok.

Him, who breathed the worlds into time, space and matter,
Who aligned the expanding universe on a silver platter
And handed it to man to rule; what a disaster.
It’ll all be ok.

The innocence of creation had lost its position
In the heart of man was now a self-religion
To put ourselves on the throne; a new vision.
We will be ok.

The more rungs of this ladder I upwardly climb
The further I descend from the presence of the divine
And the terror of our circumstance dawns on my mind.
I am not ok.

As our sin offended the highest the heavens
It continues to corrupt us down to our essence.
We’ve got nothing to fight with, no weapons.
We are not ok.

The point and purpose of eternal salvation
Is so much more than we have time to mention.
But how is this for a simple explanation:
To be made ok.

The beauty of grace is in the inability
To save ourselves, its all futility
But God sent Christ to save you and me.
We can be ok.

In a moment the Christ, reached in and changed my heart
A complete change from the inside, a brand new start.
I have a place in the plan of God, my own part.
More than just OK..

The beauty of grace is in the inability
To save ourselves, its all futility
But God sent Christ to save you and me.
We can be ok.

In a moment the Christ, reached in and changed my heart
A complete change from the inside, a brand new start.
I have a place in the plan of God, my own part.
More than just OK.

-RM

Beer, Beer, Beer! Christians and Alcohol.

This is Side 1:  See Side 2 here!

I know right? How can a person who claims to be a follower of Christ say such a terrible word! Beer is evil! So is anything else that contains alcohol! How dare Christians drink! If this is your mentality, buckle up.

Alcohol! Not many things are as controversial among Christians as alcohol. I grew up in churches where the consumption of alcohol was looked down upon. My parents never drank, their friends never drank, and the church body I grew up in preached drinking as a sin from the pulpit. I have known many other Christians who took the same strict stance.

There’s a problem though. Not only did Jesus drink wine (which was strong enough to get drunk off of), the Bible condones drinking. There was wine at the last supper. Paul tells Timothy that the elders should not be lovers of MUCH wine not any wine, and let’s not forget that Jesus’s first miracle was turning water in to wine. If Jesus did that miracle at a church meeting, there’s a good chance he’d get a talking to by the pastor or other Church leadership. Alcohol is Biblical and there is nothing wrong with drinking in moderation. However there are still Christians who look down on other Christians who have a beer or glass of wine over dinner. It’s completely unbiblical to cast judgment on Christians who enjoy such a beverage, if that’s you, you need to check your heart and get Biblical.

I personally don’t drink, it’s a personal conviction I’ve had for a very long time. My father’s family all had major alcohol problems. The Lord was very clear that I was not to drink casually, and that alcohol was not for me. However many of my friends do enjoy beer, wine, or a mixed drink, and they are followers of Christ. For me to look down on them as “less” of a Christian is wrong because the Bible is so crystal clear that drinking is not wrong, being drunk is.

It’s also interesting to me that I’ve met so many Christians that view any kind of drinking as wrong but they are either are unaware or forget that many of the people we look up to in the history of the faith had their own brewery’s for beer. In fact, I recently read that the founder of Guinness became a follower of Christ by listening to John Wesley preach. Guinness turned his company in to one of the most charitable companies in Ireland. He paid his staff extremely well, and took care of the poor all through his brewing company Guinness. Owning a brewery was common back in the earlier centuries, C.S Lewis (Author of Narnia), A.W Tozer, and many other titans of the faith all enjoyed their beer. It was not until the fundamentalist movement came along in the 19/20th/21st centuries that our view of alcohol changed as something dirty, unbiblical, and something that only party people do. This view is wrong and in the grand scheme of history is a very small view of any kind of alcoholic drink.

Now I know people will say “well Tim people who drink shouldn’t cause a brother to stumble” to which I agree. I’ve been blessed to have great friends who made sure to check with me before they drank in front of me. If I told them I found it to be a stumbling block they would never drink in front of me. There are Christians who drink who like to rub it in other people’s faces, this is a terrible approach. However, the opposite is true, Christians who don’t drink need to get off their high-horse mentality and realize that they are only going above and beyond what Scripture teaches and we call that legalism. If you choose not to drink you have that prerogative (not to mention you save a lot of money when you go out to eat), but to cast judgement on brothers and sisters who do is so out of line I think Jesus would look at you in the eye and say “Get the plank out of your own eye before you get the speck out of your brother’s eye”.

What’s my point? To the Christian who says “did you see so and so drinking tonight?!” check your heart. Alcohol is all throughout the Bible. The Jews drank it when they threw week long parties. Jesus drank wine, so many saints of the faith had their own breweries and enjoyed beer all throughout the centuries. I can give you example after example of people that loved The Lord, had thriving relationships with Him that enjoyed their adult beverages as well. I realize that our culture abuses alcohol, I realize that it’s seen as a party drink, I realized getting so drunk you black out is cool among people my age, but that shouldn’t make Christians view the actual beverage as sin when the Bible mentions it so often.

To Christians who enjoy a beer or glass of wine, be aware of who you do it in front of. Sometimes the drink isn’t worth your brother stumbling over it. Make sure if your around fellow brothers and sisters that you check with them to make sure it’s not a problem to anyone. Paul is so clear in this and it saves relationships. Be patient with those who have opposing views, speak in love and in humility when approaching this subject.

EDIT- I should mention here that by drinking I do not mean being drunk or getting tipsy. These things Scripture is also clear on. Just like anything, alcohol can be abused. I just wanted to make sure I was clear on this point that by drinking I mean simply enjoying a glass of wine or a drink, not drinking to the point of being impaired.