May 2007


ministries_27525_21.jpgI don’t agree with everything he says, but Rick Warren has some good thoughts here on principles from Jesus’ ministry that we should incorporate into our own.

1.  Identification (knowing who you are)

2.  Motivation (clarify why you are in ministry)

3.  Dedication (I must keep my life pure)

4.  Concentration (I must focus on what is important)

5.  Delegation (I must involve others in my ministry)

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This weekend Jaime went to visit her good friends from college so I was able to have some good “daddy-daughter time.”  Although the girls (and I) missed their mom, we had a lot of fun together.  Here’s a few pictures from the weekend.

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Enjoying the beautiful day down by the Ohio River

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Lily looking at a family of ducks

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Emie and Lily having fun on the teeter-totter at Waterfront Park

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Putting pepperonies on the homemade pizza!

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The Wall Street Journal recently ran a story addressing the “culture of praise” that is becoming characteristic of the next generation of American workers.  The article reports that corporations including Land’s End and Bank of America are actually hiring consultants to teach managers how to compliment employees. While our culture attempts to pursue mental health and happiness as the highest goal, quite the opposite has unfolded.  Here’s an excerpt from one Christian writer’s response to this phenomenon: 

Not surprisingly, the “praise me” generation are not only, NOT happy; they are, in many cases, increasingly alienated from others, disconnected from any transcendent meaning or purpose, insecure, and overly dependent upon the approval of others. This generation suffers from the highest levels of depression, suicide, drug and alcohol abuse, and various other psychological pathologies, than any other generation in American history despite having been repeatedly told that they are the greatest!

This is a question that Christians often ask but few answer from the Scriptures.  I found this article by Matt Privett to be very helpful.  Here’s the conclusion to his essay:

With the evidence pointing toward the idea that all infants and unborn who die are excluded from judgment and included in heaven, the method of their inclusion remains at issue. The Bible indicates that no man is saved by the works that he does, but by grace alone (Rom 3:20; Eph 2:8-9). It is by grace that God has saved sinners throughout all of human history, not just in the New Testament (Gen 15:6). Scripture is explicit that there is no other way to come into God’s favor (Rom 3:21-26). In addition, there is no place in God’s Word that teaches the damnation of infants and unborn. On the contrary, every biblical reference to the issue, whether explicit or implicit, gives reason to believe they go directly into the presence of God when they physically die.

That being the case, infants are saved by the grace of God through the finished, redemptive work of Jesus Christ the way every other human inhabitant of heaven is. All babies are in need of a Savior because of the guilt of Adam; however, they are innocent of personal sinful deeds, rebellious acts, and unbelief.25 These individuals do not reach the state where they comprehend revelation and have the ability to choose or reject the gospel. Thus, they are not condemned and God has provided them the one and only Savior. As a result, one is left to conclude that all infants, unborn, and mentally incapable who die before reaching a state of accountability are among the elect, whom God graciously receives into His glorious presence at the moment of physical death (2 Tim 2:10).

Just as David’s dead infant son went to a place where he would one day be joined by his earthly father (2 Sam 12:23), all infants who die in that state go to heaven. Just as Jeremiah was known by God, consecrated from his mother’s womb, and appointed a prophet to the nations (Jer 1:5), all babies who die are known by God and ultimately glorified with Him (Rom 8:30). Just as John the Baptist was full of the Holy Spirit while still inside the body of Elizabeth, all of the unborn who die are washed from their inherited sinful state by the regenerating and renewing of the Holy Spirit (Tit 3:5). Thus, when asked what the eternal destiny of one of these who die is, one can answer with biblical confidence as MacArthur does, “Instant heaven.”

Read “Why we believe children who die go to heaven?” by Al Mohler and Danny Akin

(HT: TK)

markbrucelee.jpgMany of you know my twin brother Mark is a missionary in Japan.  Recently, Rudy Vaughan (missionary pilot and member of my church) went to visit my brother Mark and his wife Maki.  He put together a short video of the time he spent with them.  The picture on the left is Mark battling Bruce Lee on a trip he had awhile back.  I’m pretty sure Mark won the battle because of his black belt in karate!  But in all seriousness, please pray for Mark & Maki as they minister in Japan and look forward to their first baby being born in early June.

images14.jpgAfter seeing Spiderman 3 last night I was struck with how easily anger can creep into the heart of every man — even Spider-man.  I must admit that I often fail to obey the command to be slow to anger, especially as a parent.  But what is the source of this sinful anger?

James 4:1 says, “What causes (or what is the source) of quarrels and what causes fights among you?  Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?” 

According to James, we have angry conflicts with one another because our passions or pleasures have become so intense that they are at war within us.  Some of these desires are not necessarily bad but when we let them “camp out” in our hearts they can become stronger and sinful.  Our deceitful hearts are capable of coveting something to the degree that we are willing to sin and wage war in order to get what we want.

Spiderman’s anger came from a heart that was filled with hurt over the loss of his grandfather.  This hurting heart wasn’t dealt with and so it turned to anger and revenge.  His good desire for justice waged war within his members and grew to be a sinful desire for vengeance.  Likewise, the Sandman experienced pain in his heart over the choices he made that led to him not being able to see his daughter, but this pain quickly turned to a lustful pursuit of money in order to get what he wanted but could not have.

So last night as I finished watching the movie I asked myself this question: “What’s going on in my own heart when I feel angry?”  I thought of a lot of things, but realized that anger is often a secondary emotion.  Most of the time my sinful anger flows from a heart that hurts inside or a heart that wants the approval and acceptance of others.  Can you relate?  So what do we do with this anger?

Spiderman can actually teach us something here.  He finally came to terms with the truth about his grandfather and was willing to forgive.  For us as believers we must come to terms with the truth about who we are and what is causing us to be angry.  And then as James goes on to say in the same chapter, submit ourselves therefore to God, drawing near with a humble heart remembering that He opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6-8). 

images3.jpgWhen Jaime and I got married (nearly 9 years ago) we made it a habit to read together before going to bed.  Over the years we’ve read through many devotional books, books on marriage, and just fun Christian fiction books.  Here’s an article by the folks from Covenant Life (Joshua Harris’ church) that encouraged me to continue to read with my wife and look for ways to intentionally talk together about what we’re reading.

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