My goal for my sons

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goalsAs a parent, I have often thought, what is my goal in life for my kids? Of course, my kids are no longer at home and have grown to the point where they are parents themselves. The question still remains, what is my goal in life for my kids?

Let me state it in a single phrase: my goal for my sons is to pass me as a man. That’s right, pass me as a man.

I have hindered and contributed to the downgrading of society if my sons are less than I. I have left society as it was, with no improvement at all, if my sons are only as good as I. So, my desire, my goal, my passion for my sons is to pass me as a man.

Pass me when it comes to INTEGRITY. That involves being authentic and real to the core. It calls for honesty and trustworthiness at all times, whether or not anybodybody is looking. That means doing the right thing even if nobody knows that you’re doing the right thing.

Pass me when it comes to LOVING GOD. Live every day with a close, personal, growing relationship with the God of heaven. Live every day with the unending desire to please him in all things. Live every day with that relationship and desire even when those around you choose to do otherwise.

Pass me when it comes to VALUE TO THE KINGDOM. That means have a kingdom minded outlook on life. See everything from the perspective of God and his kingdom since everything begins and ends with God. Be committed to being a lifelong participant in advancing the kingdom of God both near and far.

Pass me in SERVICE TO OTHERS. Live daily with an other focused perspective. See others and their needs from a heart of compassion and care. Follow that focus with a life of unselfishness. Ask not or think not of what others can do for you but what you can do for others. Serve others as agoals 2 follower and servant of Jesus because Jesus was all about serving others.

Pass me as a HUSBAND. Love your wife with all your heart and let her know that every day in countless ways. Give her the security of a relationship that is built on unselfish love. With that love, lead her. Led her with service. Lead her with focus and direction for your marriage. Lead her to love God and others with all her heart.

And pass me as a FATHER. Be the father that models what you want in your children. Be the father that is the kind of person you want your child to be. Be the father that your children will be proud to follow. And give them direction. Direct them through your model and teaching to a life of love, meaning, purpose, significance, and eternal reward.

goals 4My desire for my sons is to pass me as a man. It would be good if they did that by the time they are 40. However, take a few additional years if necessary. I will not be threatened by my sons passing me as a man. I will be overwhelmingly proud of the achievement.

Weird-because normal isn’t working!

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Weird-coverThese days, it’s normal to deal with financial debt, high divorce rates, and bad relationships. Maybe it’s time to shake things up. In our new teaching series at NVCC, beginning June 23, we explore life beyond normal into the WEIRD.

You will be invited to follow the teachings of Jesus and lead a weird life. Because even if we lay the Bible aside and just look at life practically, wouldn’t you agree that normal is not working? 

However, the teachings of Jesus and the teachings of Scripture lead us off of the normal, broad path onto a narrow and different path. And if you want what normal people have, just keep on going with the flow of the world. But if you want what few have, you are going to have to do what few do and take the Bible seriously. If you will, you can have something way better than normal.

Scripture is clear, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.” (Romans 12:2) 

Weird people don’t think like normal people think. Because Normal Isn’t Working. Let us learn together how to think differently and live a life that brings honor to God, weird though it might be.

Marriage–Contract or Covenant?

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marriage  I want to make a very true statement and unpack it for you and that is this, “We need to recognize that marriage is a covenant not a contract”.  People today all over the world will treat it as a contract.  It is a piece of paper, it is a legal agreement, and it is so much more than that. 

You can see a great picture of this in the Old Testament in the Book of Malachi when the people are whining, “God, why won’t you answer our prayers”?  We are praying, where are you?  And God is basically going to say, “Men, you have been unfaithful to your wives and therefore I am not answering your prayers”.  You can read it all if you want to get the context.  Malachi 2:14 says, “Why aren’t you answering our prayers”?  Well, here’s why; because you have broken faith with her, your wife, though she is your partner and the wife of your marriage covenant,” not marriage contract, but marriage covenant. 

What is the difference?  A contract is based on mutual distrust.  It is I am in as far as you are in.  If you do me wrong I can get out.  When it comes to rental properties there always is a contract with the one renting. That is, if you don’t pay you don’t stay.  It is protecting the owner from the tenant because he doesn’t trust them to do the right thing.  But the contract also has a flip side, if the owner doesn’t deliver then the tenant could get out and that is the way a lot of people treat marriage.  Well, it is just a contract. If you do what I want we will stay in, if you don’t I won’t.  Someone breaks the contract, it is over. 

A covenant though is different.  A covenant is based on mutual commitment.  It is an unending, totally bindingmarriage3 commitment and it can be maintained by one person.  You may break this but I am not going to break my covenant vows before God.  In other words, I’m all in, every bit of me, totally in, completely, 100%.  There is no back door.  I am giving my covenant vows not before the State I live in but before the God of Heaven, that for richer or for poorer, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health I commit to you in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  It is a totally binding, all in, no back door, covenant vow to God.  Divorce is not even an option.  It is not a word in our vocabulary when it comes to our marriage. 

I like what the late Ruth Graham, wife of Billy Graham world-wide evangelist, one time a reporters were interviewing her and they said Ruth, have you ever thought about divorcing your husband Billy?  She said, “Never one day in my life have I thought about divorcing him.  I thought about murdering him on many occasions but never ever divorce.”  You see, divorce is not an option, not ever.  It is not something we are going to do, why?  Covenant!

 

marriage4Now, let me just say this with all the compassion I can.  For those of you who have been divorced, my purpose is not to heap condemnation on you because I know the pain that you felt and I know many of you didn’t want that.  I know some of you made mistakes and if you could go back you would do it different.  I am not trying to stir up pain or make anybody feel guilty, what I want to do is, I want to talk from this point forward and that is this; if you are a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, when you get married, you stand before God and you make a promise to God and you enter into a covenant and the two become one.  It is not about me, you are not meeting my needs.  But, what about me?  No, no, no, it is about we serving He; as one together we serve as covenant partners in Christ. 

Making the most of the summer season

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summerSummer is a time in which we think about doing all the things we wanted to do during the rest of the year but were not able to do so for one reason or another. The reason might have been that our kids were in school and therefore limited our ability to travel. Another contributing factor might be the weather. Winter weather conditions just flat out limit activity. Summer weather conditions open up limitless opportunities. There’s the mountains, there is the beach, there’s the park, there’s all of the outside things that we thought about doing all winter long.

So summer gives us this long awaited opportunity to enjoy so much more than during the other seasons of the year. We can have more family time, more vacation time, more recreation time, and just more time to do more things.

Here’s an idea. How about using the summer months to not just think about the things we would like to enjoy but also to think about and look for ways that we can connect with people who are living far away from God. If the summer gives us rich opportunities to do things we couldn’t do the rest of the year, it also gives us special opportunities to do things with other people we might not be able to do the rest of the year. So how about looking at using the summer as an increased opportunity for Jesus and the church?

Here are just a few ideas of ideas you might consider:

  • Sponsor or throw a street or block party. Invite all your neighbors within a certain distance and just hang out with them and get to know them.
  •  Invite a specific neighbor to your house for a cookout. Just enjoy the time together. Get to know them better and let them get to know you better.
  •  Exchange childcare with a friend or neighbor. Give them a chance to get away and do something they have been wanting to do.
  •  Serve someone who has a specific need that you have been thinking about helping with but just haven’t gotten around to it. The excuse no longer works. Just do it.
  •  Begin an exercise program with someone you would like to build a relationship with. Not only do you get the relational benefit you get the health benefit as well.
  •  Go to a sporting event together.

The whole idea is to take advantage of the summer season when it comes to developing relationships and serving others. Everything about following Jesus has to do with relationships and serving the needs of people. No other time of the year gives us the opportunity to do that like thesummer 2 summertime.

And then when the opportunity to talk about spiritual issues might arise venture out as far as the Holy Spirit lead you. Or when the door is open to invite them to a church gathering step through that door and extend the invitation.

However, the rule is, you must build a bridge before you can cross the bridge. Summer is an excellent time for bridge building. Let’s use it for that purpose. Let’s not look back when the fall arrives and say, “I wish I had…” Let’s be able to look back and say, “This has been the best summer I can remember in a long time.”