Friday, October 27, 2017

My Inheritance (delayed)

I am rich now, because of an investment made by you, Dad, when I was young. This was not a college fund, stock in a company, or a high yield savings account. The investment was the words of God.

When I was young you used to pray the Lord's prayer with Jerrett and I before bed, for months on end. I don't really know how long. It could've been years. That detail is a bit fuzzy.

I remember you would recite from memory the Lord’s prayer and explain parts of it to us bit by bit. It was especially powerful that you had it memorized. This communicated implicitly the importance of it upfront: "this is something worth having with you at all times." I didn't appreciate that at first, but when I was converted later in life, it helped push me towards what David did: "I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you" (Psalm 119:11)

My Dad with playing with my
nephew James, Summer 2017
I was just a couple years under 10 and I didn't realize you were making an investment in my life that would grow exponentially over the years. By age 11 – 12, I was disinterested in spiritual things, but Jesus grabbed a hold of me at late 17.  Now the Lord’s prayer has been a guide for me many times, putting a structure on my prayers so that they are guided by God's word, ensuring they are God-centered and are very likely to be answered.

Thank you Dad for making that investment in my life. I'm enjoying the return abundantly and I look forward to planting that seed in our children one day. My faith is deeper and prayer life is richer because of what God did to grow your investment in me as a child. It is hard to convey the weight of my thankfulness, so I hope just a simple "thank you" will do in print. Thanks Dad, and I love you.

If you are reading this and are wondering how to invest in your children so they are rich as God would have them be, I recommend doing what my dad did and making the words of God an integral part of your child's life in the home. You can't underestimate the return it may have in their life, though it may seem meager at times. 
Deuteronomy 6

Friday, June 30, 2017

Be a little strange...

"Outsiders" get their label because they lead lives that are strange; Strange in the way they think, spend time, and look for approval. Outsiders lead a strange lives because they belong to a different kingdom. This kingdom has strange values, strange ethics, and a strange King. Paul knew this well and had to remind the Philippians "But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ..." (Phil 3:20 ESV)

There is an enemy though who wants nothing more than to assimilate us. He wants us to live as citizens of the world's kingdom and submit to the ruler of this world, Satan. (John 14:30) Not only does Satan want us to live as part of his kingdom, his citizens want us to live as part of his kingdom as well. They want us to live, believe, and have fun in all the same ways. If they can't change our minds, they will settle for insisting that we keep our heavenly citizenship a private matter. "You can believe in Jesus, but don't burden me by talking to me about him or the kind of life he wants people to live." The tension is that our king has asked us to do exactly those things. As followers of Jesus, we often can't make both Jesus and the world smile because they are asking opposite things.

To live as outsiders, we need to stay connected with our King because the voices all around and even in our own hearts are calling out for us to live as insiders, citizens of this world. Peter wrote "Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8 ESV) When you get back from camp, you return to a battlefront. Satan isn't going to take the summer off to go somewhere with better weather (he is used to the heat.) He is prowling and is ready to attack. He will seek, kill, and destroy ASAP. It won't always be obvious. Sometimes it starts with a small desire to get approval from friends for a wrong thing that seems so inconsequential.

Would you join me this summer by living as an outsider? We are staying connected to our king, trusting him to give us strength and insight on how to live as an outsider. We are doing this by meeting for Bible study starting (next) Sunday July 8th at 4pm and we are also doing daily prayer and Bible study (with the book you received after camp). We will live as citizens of one of these kingdoms this summer, evidenced by our belief and behavior. It is not too late to start living like an outsider this summer. Be strange for the glory of God! 

A couple more of these encouragements will follow!