#SundaySetlist

This week’s set list at New Season Church:

  • One Thing Remains
  • How Can It Be
  • Death Was Arrested

If you have not had the opportunity to hear Death Was Arrested, be sure and check it out!

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No Time Like The Present

Well, 2 years…I really suck at keeping up with a blog. I should have known considering I have a hard time keeping a journal. I have never been good at these types of things, but here we go again.

So much has changed since the last time I “blogged” — do we even call it blogging anymore? I feel old just thinking about it. This go around, I will be posting randomness per usual. Posts about being a husband, father, and worship leader. Some posts will certainly fall short and down right suck. Some posts may help someone, some posts will probably go unread. Here goes nothing.

How To Be A Better Husband

I will be completely honest: I am not the greatest husband. I mess up, make stupid mistakes, fail to lead my wife as I should, and fail to pastor my wife as I am called to. The worst thing I could do is give up. The worst thing I could do is stop trying to make good decisions, stop trying to lead and pastor my wife like God called me to.

 

So, how do we become better husbands? Here are some ways that I believe we can get closer to God’s plan for our marriages:

 

1. Love Jesus and pursue Him wholeheartedly
We cannot and will not have a Godly marriage if we are not pursuing a relationship with Jesus. I know firsthand that if Jesus is not the center of your life He will not be the center of your marriage.

2. Pray FOR our wives
Everyday. Every single day we should be praying for our wives. Selflessness is really hard, but this action of praying FOR your wife will help you to continually put her first in your mind and relationship with God.

3. Pray WITH our wives
This is something Courtney and I try to do everyday. Sometimes I am so tired that it’s hard, but consistency is key. Have we missed a night here and there? Yep. It shouldn’t be a religious obligation, just like reading your Bible everyday shouldn’t just be one more thing on the Christian to-do list. Praying with your wife creates intimacy and vulnerability. You are sharing with your wife a conversation that you are having about your marriage, doubts, fears, and everyday struggles with God. That’s pretty amazing when you think of it that way.

4. Stay in the Word
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Get on a reading plan if you aren’t already on one. You can find some great ones on the YouVersion App for your smartphone.

5. Listen to Godly men
Every man needs another man to help him grow as a Christian and a husband. This needs to be someone you can have tough conversations with (i.e. a pastor, mentor, counselor, etc.). How are you staying accountable? Listening to sermons is great, but are you actually talking one on one with someone? I meet with a guy at least twice a month if not more to talk about everything that is going on in life. From sex, work, friends, to my relationship with God.

 

So these are just some quick ideas to help you and I stay on the right track OR get back on track. I am not perfect and will never pretend to be. I have to work at these things constantly. They do not come easy. Marriage is not easy. Life is not easy. The biggest thing I have needed to hear and learn to do is MAN UP! Work hard. Strive to be the best man you can be through Jesus. You cannot do it on your own but only with the help of Jesus. I’m learning with you.

Separate The Men From The Boys

So, my wife and I are expecting a little boy this fall. Pretty crazy to think about. It’s very humbling and an honor to become a parent. One thing has started to bother me though…

For some reason I just expected we would have girl. Maybe I thought it would be a little easier. I can love, dote, spoil, and raise a beautiful little girl. But we are having a boy – that changes things.

Don’t get me wrong, I am so excited to be having a boy, it just changes things. So what has been bothering me? All I have heard since we have found out we are having a boy is, “Boys are EASY!”

Ha! Easy?? Sure, boys may not be the clingy type like a little girl might be. Boys can be given a stick to play with instead of a doll. Boys can be dealt with a little more sternly than girls. You can just tell a boy to “rub some dirt on it.” And the list goes on…So does that make it easy?

I think some parents may be missing something. I don’t want to raise a boy… I want to raise a MAN. Not just any man. I want to raise a God-fearing, Jesus-worshiping, God-honoring man. THAT is not easy. By God’s help and grace, the Holy Spirit’s guiding and prompting, and Jesus’ power I trust I can accomplish this. Easy will never be the word I will use to describe it.

You might say, “You haven’t even started yet, so what do you know?” Well, I disagree. I started the moment I said “I Do.” I have been building a foundation since the day I was blessed to marry my bride. I have missed the mark on more than one occasion and I will never be perfect, but I have started the process. How I treat my wife will be how my son treats women. So, yep… I’ve started the job and I get a promotion in several more months.

The culture (world) we live in has changed so much since I was a little dude. The internet can be a powerful tool or a death trap for us. Social Media has all but destroyed personal relationships and don’t get me started on pornography’s hold on our culture. Raising a child in the 21st Century is going to be a challenge no matter the gender. I cannot simply blow off my responsibility as a husband and a father to let things happen or “shake out” as they may. Intentionality will be the word I use to describe how I will strive/struggle to lead my family. I know I will always come up short and I pray I can always come to my wife and son with humility and pick the baton back up.

Time to separate the men from the boys.

New Year, New Resolutions

Yesterday, like millions of other Americans, I started a list of resolutions. One of my top resolutions was to read more. After all, readers are leaders…

To go along with that, I want to be reading my Bible more as well. Throughout 2013, my wife and I did a reading plan from Bible.com (YouVersion on your phone) called the 345Plus plan. This basically took you through the New Testament and through random OT books as well as a Psalm and Proverb everyday. I’m not going to lie, this plan kicked my tail at times. There were some days I missed and I would beat myself up a little about it. Not saying that’s right at all because I know reading my Bible shouldn’t be something I just check off on a list of things to do in a day. Regardless, it was tough to keep up at times because of how much was involved. I loved Wednesdays and Thursdays at times because it was a shorter reading.

So as 2014 began, I told myself I wanted to read through the ENTIRE Bible this year. Heck, it couldn’t be any harder than the 345Plus plan right? WRONG! I clicked “Begin Plan” and saw my first days reading…I was a little shocked. Now before you go and judge me, I am not the biggest reader in the world. I like to read books that are actually going to further my knowledge on something. If it is fiction and it just something to do, I don’t read it. Obviously the Bible isn’t fiction, but holy cow! I was not prepared for so much reading…everyday…for the next 365 days!

I questioned my choice. I thought to myself, “I know God isn’t going to love me any more or any less if I cannot keep up with this plan, so maybe I should pick something a little more my speed/level.” THEN, the Holy Spirit chimed in:

– How much TV have you been watching?

– How many times have you checked you Facebook/Twitter/Instagram today?

– How are you spending your free time before/during/after work?

Wow…

I know that I could be in the Word more. These convictions definitely pointed that out to me. If I take less time to read my Bible and put more time in to writing a blog, posting a status, or taking a photo of my coffee then I have failed myself. I would go further to say that I have sinned. WHAT??!! SINNED because you didn’t read your Bible more? That sounds pretty legalistic and like your salvation is based upon whether or not you read the Bible enough. That is NOT what I am saying at all. But look at it this way– If I have chosen to read the status of my friend on Facebook instead of the Word of God…am I not elevating one over the other? Sounds like idolatry to me. If the first app I click on my phone in the morning is Twitter instead of cracking open God’s Word I got some misguided priorities. Now, this is MY conviction. I am not saying that it is yours. I honestly believe that everyone has different convictions…so save the judgmental comments.

Some of my resolutions for the new year:

– Be in the Bible more

– Love and lead my wife better than I did last year

– Read more books, watch less TV

– Love others better than I have

What are some of your resolutions for 2014?

How Would Jesus Respond?

I do not even know where to begin. After the response to my last post, I am sure this one will fall short… but I want to keep a conversation going if I can.

Over the past several months I have been reading about and following some information on the Millennials. It seems there is an issue with the Church as a whole when it comes to this generation. People ranging from 18 to 30 years old are leaving the Church. Not just a few here and there, but by the hundreds.

There was an article that I read addressing this issue a while back and I encourage you to read it as well. If you do not want to take the time to read it, I will do my best to give you a couple quotes and a central theme to provoke more discussion.

The author, Rachel Held Evans states, “young adults perceive evangelical Christianity to be too political, too exclusive, old-fashioned, unconcerned with social justice and hostile to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.” Interesting topics to think about in light of my last post, huh? Obviously there is a much bigger issue at hand for the Church than cool coffee shops and hip pastors with tattoos.

Ms. Evans goes on to say, “What millennials really want from the church is not a change in style but a change in substance.” Is this true? Is our generation looking for more than what the average local church is offering?

I want to open this topic up for discussion if we can. Why do YOU think Millennials are leaving the church? Is the Church no longer relevant to this demographic? How should the Church as a whole go about reaching this demographic to change the trajectory? How would Jesus want us to respond?

Is Phil Robertson a REAL Christian?

This morning as I was driving into work I heard something pretty disturbing: “Duck Dynasty star suspended for anti-gay remarks.”

REALLY??

Obviously, the news did not go on to tell the whole story, just that ‘Duck Dynasty’ star Phil Robertson had been indefinitely suspended from the A&E show. My curiosity was piqued.

As soon as I was able to look up the news article, I did. I heard a foxnews.com roundtable discussion on the matter and I was blown away at the ignorance of one of the commentators. “The fact that someone would equate the love I might have for another man with beastiality or a drunkard or adultery or something like this…certainly flies in the face of what it means to be Christian. What it means to be Christian is to treat others like you would want to be treated” (Direct quote from this video.)

The reason that Phil Robertson “equated” homosexuality with adultery, drunkenness, and beastiality is because to him it’s all the same. It’s all against what God teaches us in His Word…which is sin. It’s black and white…no room for gray. He drew a line in what his faith teaches…so is that bad? For those of you who feel like Christians are intolerant, take a look in the mirror first. Are you intolerant of Christianity? TRUE Christians love everyone. It doesn’t matter your race, sexual orientation, beliefs, or the family you are from…there is no justification of hate toward anyone!

Here is why I really believe Mr. Robertson was pretty much fired: He talks too much about Jesus. Yep, I said it. Why do I feel this way? Let’s look back at a couple other issues that came out from Phil himself:

I am referencing a video I saw a while back where Phil was talking about how A&E were putting in fake bleeps. “They inserted fake bleeps like someone had used profanity, but no one had used profanity.” Phil goes on to say, “Why would you do that? If you want that just turn the station…There’s plenty of that!” So here we start to see that A&E was trying to make it seem like this “Christian” family was using profanity throughout the show.

The second issue (same video) was the fact that A&E was editing Phil’s prayers at the end of the episodes. Phil would always close his prayers by saying, “In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.” Well, guess what — A&E cut that part out. Phil states, “why would cut out ‘in Jesus’ name,’ they said, ‘well, they don’t want to offend…'”

So, can we see a pattern here? If you have heard Phil speak or have seen any YouTube clips of him doing so, you know beyond a shadow of doubt that he is a Christ follower. He is just plain honest and in your face about it. I admire that. He does not back down when it comes to offending people. THE GOSPEL IS OFFENSIVE! Phil states that sin is sin. There is no difference between being an adulterer and being a liar. They are the same.

So back to the issue at hand. Phil made a statement: ” I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other.” That’s a true, Christian statement. Jesus loves EVERYONE no matter the sin you have been or are still stuck in.

GLAAD states, “this flies in the face of what true Christians believe.” How so? They are saying that “true Christians” should not believe the Bible? 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Romans 1:26-27 are some references. True Christians believe that apart from Jesus you will forever be separated from God. That’s pretty offensive in and of itself. It doesn’t matter what lifestyle you live, apart from Jesus Christ there is no life.

So, let’s get REALLY real- I can bet we all make the list in 1 Corinthians as those who will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Let’s take a look at a few: Have you ever put something above God? You are an idolater. Have you ever stolen anything? You are a thief. Have you ever had a little too much to drink and gotten slammed? You are a drunkard. Ever had sex outside of the marriage covenant? You are sexually immoral. Like I said, let’s get REAL! I am guilty as guilty gets, but there is GREAT news: JESUS came and died for all of these things! THAT IS WHAT TRUE CHRISTIANITY IS ABOUT!!! JESUS!!! Nothing else. If you try and take Christ out of Christianity and instead, insert your moral code you are fooling yourself. Take a look at what Romans 5:8 – “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” WOW that’s good news!

So because of JESUS, I am no longer on the list. Apart from Him I am the epitome of the list– stuck in sin and shame. But because Jesus saves me from sin and death, I can rejoice that God the Father looks at me and sees Jesus instead of my broken, sinful self. All glory to Jesus!

A can of worms has been opened and poured out. I know. I have offended a LOT of people. I know. But I am truly not ashamed. I love Jesus and I am called by Him to love everyone no matter what’s going on in their life. Jesus was always hanging out with those who were far from God. As Christians, we should be loving on people and also being honest about our beliefs. Does that mean we should shove our beliefs on others? Nope. Does it mean we should stand on the street corner and scream at people and tell them they are going to hell? Nope. It just means we should be humble, loving and compassionate toward others. If someone asks you what you believe about something, tell them. If they are offended by it they shouldn’t have asked you. Let’s grow up and just be real!