Ten Irrecoverable Moments

Frank Page, CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention, spoke about irrecoverable moments – moments that never come our way again.  It made me think about about irrecoverable moments that only happen once:

  1. Your child’s first steps.
  2. Your last first kiss.
  3. The last time your mother calls your name.
  4. The conversation that wounded the relationship beyond healing.
  5. The moment to stop and help someone in Jesus’ name.
  6. The last time your daughter sits in your lap – without it being creepy.
  7. When you definitively and completely gave your life to Jesus.
  8. Your first moment driving a car by yourself.
  9. The first time your son beats you in a race.
  10. The last words you say.

Are you going to miss the moments?  Savor and seize each moment God gives you.

Pray, Give, Go

Every follower of Jesus is on a mission.  That mission has three components:

  • Pray.  Pray for God’s Kingdom to advance.  Pray for missionaries.  Pray for churches to grow.  Pray for generous givers to share resources.  Pray for people to share their story.  Pray for people to serve.
  • Give.  It takes resources to do a mission.  I think all of God’s people should give a tithe (10%) to the church they attend and they should give over and above that 10% an offering to missions.  At ADBC, we call it the Open Door Offering.  Other churches have different names, but most churches have some way of financially supporting missions.
  • Go.  God wants you to have a hands on mission experience.  It may be serving during Operation Inasmuch.  It may be volunteering at United Ministries.  It may be going a mission trip to Honduras, or Haiti, or New York.  God wants you to have your world expanded!

So Pray.  Give.  Go.

The $47,000 Hog…

My cousin Tamara grew up with me. She and her brother Dane were my companions when we worked cows, explored the woods, and stayed at their grandmother’s house (my Aunt Iris).

Tamara never married, stayed in Wauchula, and became a school teacher. Along the way she served as a Foster Mom. One boy captured her heart, Heath. Tamara adopted Heath and loved him deeply.

Tamara had a spirit that gave and loved.. She taught Kindergarten and everyone loved “Miss Hendry.” She didn’t have an enemy in the world.

Last week, Tamara wasn’t feeling well at school. She got Heath out of his classroom and went home. Shortly after arriving home, she suffered a heart attack and passed away, while Heath called 911.

Last week was also the county fair. As I have explained before, the cultural event in Hardee County each year is the livestock auction. For those unfamiliar with the rituals of 4-H and FFA (Future Farmers of America), kids raise a hog or a steer which is then auctioned off. The bidding is spirited – there is a satisfaction in settling an old grudge by running up the bid on another man. Plus, the kids get to make some money for college. For hogs, the bid is usually around $4 to $6 per pound. On a 270 pound animal, it adds up.

Heath is in 4-H. He had been feeding a hog, anticipating the auction. His mother died in his presence on Wednesday. The livestock auction was to be the next day. All of Heath’s family knew that Tamara would want him to be there for the auction, so Heath went.

This is what I love about community. As word spread through the community about Tamara, friends and kin decided to do something to show Heath their support. Phone calls were made, suggestions were offered, and the community decided to rally around a young man who needed support.

When it came time for Heath’s hog to be auctioned, the auctioneer brought him out into the ring and explained the circumstances (which everyone already knew). The bidding began a little high, at $5. Then it went up. And up. And up again. Twenty dollars flew by, then thirty. Fifty was left in the dust. Seventy, eighty, a hundred dollars per pound was bid.

As the bid went higher, tears started to form. The bid went past $120, then past $150. A minute and half after the auction, the bid was at $170 per pound, and the auctioneer cried “Sold!” The crowd erupted in cheers.

To help you with the math, Heath’s hog weighed 276 pounds. That’s 276 lbs. x $170 = $47,000.

I was told there wasn’t a dry eye in the arena. I know who was there: people who are used to a cow stepping on their foot and shrugging it off; people who never shed a tear when a beloved dog died; people who get on with the hard work of life, never complaining. But this night was different. This night a community came together to say in a very tangible way, “Young man, we are so sorry about your Mother. We loved her and we love you. We can’t replace her, but we can help you.”

It really is better to give than receive.

Tamara would approve.

 

To see a video of the auction http://www.fox13news.com/news/local-news/93963123-story

Sex and Your Soul

Sex has uniting quality because it involves every part of your soul.

Relationships – Sex impacts your relationship with God.  To reject His design is to say”Hey God, I know you want sex to be, but I think I’m smarter than you.”  Sex  impacts your relationship with others.  If you don’t care about a relationship, be honest enough to say,  “Hey, you are attractive, but I’m just interested in your body, not your soul. If this really good, maybe I’ll see if your soul interests me.” Doesn’t that sound like using people?

When sex is good – It bring out souls together. Brings us closer. Physical intimacy is probably the closest we get to understanding the power and joy of intimacy between Father, Son, and Spirit.

Body – Sex is an appetite. What happens if you satisfy every appetite?  Ever seen people come out of an “all you can eat buffet?  Do people look healthy/happy? Appetites become habits – the new normal. Then habit controls you.

When sex is good, the habits build you up. They grow your soul not destroy it.Healthy habits don’t hijack your brain, leaving you helpless.  Instead, they put God in control soyou are in control.

Mind –  your thoughts and feelings.  Because relationships get sexualized so rapidly, the sexual experience becomes the way we evaluate the relationship. If the physical feels right, then he/she must be the right person. Distorts how we think about that person and we are closed to wise counsel.

When sex is good in marriage, helps you think clearer. It changes your ideals of beauty and attractiveness.

Heart/Will – How you make decisions. – Paul said,  “Flee because sexual sin hurts you.  It is a sin against  your true self.” Isn’t that why we hide? Isn’t that why shame?

When sex is good there is no shame.  Instead there is a sense of romance and a  sense of joy.  No one wants to hear “I love you with most of my heart.” God designed your heart/will/mind to find its greatest satisfaction with one person and one God. Andy Stanley – “You can only be one with one.”

What happens when sex is soulful – it fills your soul, build you up, draws you close to each other and to God. Instead of burning your soul, it warms your relationship.

Who to Vote For…

The Republican primary is tomorrow.  The Democratic primary is next Saturday.  A lot of the talk around town is about “Who are you going to vote for?”

I will not endorse any specific candidate.  I will encourage all of you to vote.  But I also want to encourage you to think and pray before you vote.

Think about:

  • Who is willing to learn.  Being President requires a humility to learn.
  • Who is a track record of pulling people who disagree together.  Anyone can talk a good game;  politics in our country requires compromise to advance your cause.
  • Who has courage to act and not to act.  Dwight Eisenhower’s great legacy includes numerous times when he chose not to unleash America’s military might.
  • Who has a sense of dependence on God.  Who knows they do not know and is willing to ask God for help.

Pray for:

  • Wisdom.
  • Pray that there will be no hate in your heart when you go to vote.  Hate in your heart can lead to a vote for a candidate that hates, an attitude which does not honor Jesus.
  • A non-angry, non- condemning attitude toward those who vote differently.
  • Pray for a candidate who is willing to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8).
  • Pray for God to bless, preserve, and protect these United States.

Above all, keep your faith in Jesus.  Government can do some – but Jesus can do everything.

 

Five Reasons to Talk about S*x in Church

Five reasons to talk about sex in church:

  1. Believe or not, God designed human beings to have sex.  From the design of our bodies to the reality of procreation, sex testifies that God intended this to be part of our existence.  When Adam first saw Eve, his first response was something like “Yippee!”
  2. There is a whole book in the Bible that extols sex – the Song of Solomon.  It is passionate, graphic, and a celebration of a couple falling in love.  More than just an erotic poem, it reminds us that God understands how powerful sex is.  As Frederick Buechner said, “Sex is like nitroglycerin:  It can heal hearts or blow up bridges.”  The Song of Solomon helps us remember the power of sex is something best handled with the wisdom of God.
  3. Sex causes a lot of human pain and a lot of human sin.  Like most of God’s good gifts, we’ve taken something good and holy and used it to rebel against God.  Most people carry some sexual wounds from their past.  They need to know God’s healing grace counts for sex sins too.  Churches have been guilty of having two categories for sin:  sexual sins and every other kind of sin.  The consequences of sin are different, but sin is still missing the mark.  According to Colossians 3:5, sexual sin and greed are on the same list.  So we can’t confront the adulterer, or the porn addict, or the person who acts on same sex attraction without confronting the person who acts on the belief that more is better.
  4. Jesus didn’t talk about sex very much, but he sure showed a lot of grace toward a woman shacked up with someone (the woman at the well) and a woman caught in the act of adultery.  To anyone who has ever sinned sexually, Jesus would say, “I came not to the world to condemn you; but to save you. (John 3:17).”  Jesus is not interested in you beating yourself up for your past failures.  He wants to forgive you and break the power of your past.  When those old memories come up, let Jesus speak grace to them.  Messages of condemnation aren’t coming from Jesus, but from the Adversary.
  5. In our culture, sex sells.  Maybe that’s one more reason we need to talk about it in church – we’re not selling anything.   Whenever a culture sexually objectifies a person, one more step is taken away from recognizing everyone matters to God.  We are denying that people are souls.  Sex is so much more than a physical act.  This is the most important reason for us to talk about sex.  We are called to be that different voice in the culture. Our voice needs to say, “We see people as souls, not objects.  Sex is not just a physical drive.  Sex is about soul intimacy.”

We are giving the Good News away – humans are souls and Jesus wants to redeem their souls, so people can live the life He made them to have.

That’s why we need to talk about sex in church!

Jesus’ answer for Things that Drive Men and Women Crazy About Each Other

Dr. David Buss, professor and researcher at the University of Texas, has identified common conflicts between men and women in relationships.

The five things that bother women about men:

  1. Demands for physical intimacy.
  2. Condescending attitude.
  3. Hiding emotions.
  4. Neglect.
  5. Thoughtlessness.

The three things  that bother men about women:

  1. Being rejected – especially when bidding for physical intimacy.
  2. Moodiness.
  3. Self-absorption.

Jesus knew all about these differences; He made us after all.  He has an answer for each of them:

The five things that bother women about men:

  1. Demands for physical intimacy – Love is patient
  2. Condescending attitude – Love does not dishonor others.
  3. Hiding emotions – Love rejoices in the truth
  4. Neglect – Love is not self-seeking.
  5. Thoughtlessness – Love is kind.

There three things  that bother men about women:

  1. Being rejected – especially when bidding for physical intimacy – Love is not self-seeking (again).
  2. Moodiness – Love is patient (keeps coming up).
  3. Self-absorption – Love is not proud.

Notice all the answers come for 1 Corinthians 13.  One more reason to read your Bible.  It teaches you the Jesus way of life.

Valentines and M &Ms…

When I was eight years old, I had a crush on Karen Turley. She was a cute third grader – blond hair and blue eyes- who lived one street over. Sometimes I would ride my bike past her house in hopes of catching a glimpse of her (I know – today, that would stalking!). To say the least, I was smitten.

Being the new kid in the neighborhood, freshly transplanted from the ranch and small town life, I wasn’t sure about the codes of conduct when it came to expressing interest in such a wonderful feminine creature. But Valentine’s Day was approaching, and I knew an expression of my affection was required.

I asked my mother to get me a bag of M & M’s to give to Karen. I hoped this 10 cent bag of candy would open her heart to me – or at least, get me in the door to play. My mother, either out of pity, compassion, or a desire to learn hard lessons in the realm of romance, procured the candy, and off I went on my bike.

On the short trip to her house, it dawned on me that a whole bag of M & M’s was an awful lot of candy. In fact, a dainty creature like Karen probably couldn’t eat the whole bag. Besides, I wasn’t sure if I really liked her enough to give her the whole bag of candy. So I decided to open the bag and remove some of the candy, and eat it myself.

When I arrive at her house, I went up, rang the doorbell and waited. Mrs. Turley answered the door. I asked for Karen, who came to the door with her lovely blond hair and her pretty blue eyes. I gave her the half eaten bag of M & M’s, told her “Happy Valentine’s Day,” turned red, and ran off.

Mrs. Turley thought it was funny and called my mother to tell her so. My mother explained to me that girls like to be treated special and have whole bags of M & M’s. Karen Turley, through nine more years of school together, never spoke to me again.

That day, I learned the difference between “like” and “love” – to like someone means you give some; to love someone means you give all.

If I had paid closer attention at church, I probably would have learned this sooner. We used to sing a song, “Jesus Paid it All.” God certainly had a thing or two to teach me about love.

What Not to Get Your Valentine for Valentine’s Day…

I recognize this is a stressful week for everyone in a relationship. What exactly do you get that special someone for Valentine’s Day? There are a lot of variables: length of relationship, individual tastes, the next step for the relationship, and of course, the amount in your checking account.

In an effort to be helpful, let me offer this list of things not to get your significant other for Valentine’s Day (thank you Google for the assistance provided in making this list).

If your Valentine is male, do not give:

  • A cat.
  • A scrapbook filled with memories from your relationship. He will say “Oh” and have no idea what to do with it.
  • Any movie that has a male actor better looking than him. Which, of course, means any movie.
  • Anything stuffed (a deer he has killed is acceptable).
  • Flowers. Really, do I even have to include this?
  • Pajamas. Men only wear pajamas when they are sick. Pajamas will make him think you think he is sick.
  • Ties. Ties send a subliminal message that you want to choke him to death.
  • A box with a note telling him his gift has come yet. Go to the Dollar Store and buy something. Inside, men are like little boys – they want to open presents!
  • An outfit. It reminds him of the Christmas when all he got was clothes. That was the Christmas he knew childhood was over.

If your Valentine is female, do not give:

  • Anything that plugs into an electrical outlet.
  • A gift card to a restaurant. This says, “I can’t stand to your cooking, you make me sick.” Wrong message.
  • Any giant stuffed animal. This is allowable for middle schoolers. After middle school, all giant stuffed animals do is take up space in the closet. Women would prefer that space be used for clothes. The stuffed animal is on the curb for the garbage man in three weeks, tops.
  • Anything kitchen related. This sends the message, “I think women belong in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant.” Wrong message.
  • Shoes. Women enjoy looking at hundreds of pairs of shoes. They enjoy asking your opinion. They do not enjoy you depriving them of the exquisite agony of shoe shopping.
  • A pink gun. Any woman who seriously wants a gun, wants a gun that is camouflaged, or has a composition stock or has a high quality wood stock. A pink gun might result in you being the first target.
  • Fake jewelry. I know the guy at the story said she’ll never know the difference. She will find out. I don’t know how. It’s a gift women have.
  • Fake flowers. Nothing says a cold heart like cold plastic daisies.
  • A gag gift.
  • A gym membership or a Weight Watchers gift certificate. Instant fail.

So what should you give your significant other for Valentine’s Day?

Valentine’s Day is one more reason to pray for God’s guidance in all things.

Random Super Bowl Thoughts

Before we say goodbye to football for the season, these parting thoughts:

  • Defense is essentially about disrupting what your opponent wants to do on offense.  This was definitely a game more dominated by defense – a battle Denver won hands down.  Which is a reminder that every organization needs dreamers and system builders.
  • John Elway learned the same lesson every offensive minded coach and general manager learns:  You can’t win championships with half a team.  You have to build a defense.
  • Nice to see Wade Phillips, the Denver Offensive Coordinator, notch a Super Bowl win.
  • Peyton Manning brings to the game the intangible of leadership.  His athleticism may have declined, but he makes everyone around him better.
  • Have made everyone better, retire Peyton!
  • Cam Newton is a good leader as well, but his poor handling of the post-game interview cost him.  Scary how much leadership capital you can throw away in one bad decision.
  • Gary Kubiak backed up John Elway.  Yet it was his love for the game that caused Elway to pick Gary as the coach.  Insight:  You may spend years in frustration preparing for something even better.
  • Half-time was just okay – didn’t blow me away.
  • The monkey, puppy, baby commercial was terrible.  Can’t even remember what it advertised.
  • Loved the sheep singing in the Toyota commercial.
  • Definitely agree some things should not be advertised during Super Bowl – like toe fungus.
  • Here is the basic rule about advertising – if I can’t remember the product, but only how the ad made me feel, the advertiser just blew a lot of money on nothing.
  • How long until the next season starts?