Wednesday, November 2, 2011

What Was That...?

Remember how I told you that most cover songs are awful ideas.

Well this video I showed tonight is an exception:



Yes. That is Willie Nelson singing.
Yes. That is a Coldplay song he is singing.
Yes. Those are claymation pigs in a video about sustainable living.

Does it get any better than this?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Better Late...

Greetings all.

I pray that you survived the crazy candy-fest that is Halloween. My family had a grand ol' time and is still recovering from bloated belly-aches this morning!

We actually started a new tradition yesterday of truly making my day off a day of rest and ending with a traditional Shabbat meal. (More on this in a day or two)

But in honor of my costume last night (I dressed as a Procrastinator - "I'll work on my costume...tomorrow!") I thought I'd post this truly informative and helpful article on the holiday of Halloween:

What Christians Should Know About Halloween on theresurgence.com

Let me know your thoughts and where you land on the whole issue. God bless.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Simply Put...

The word of the day for me has been "simple".

It keeps popping up every time I turn around.

Like the lady who talked to me about growing up on a farm - feeding chickens, fishing in creeks - and how it was a better time. She finished her moment of nostalgia with the statement: "I guess it was simpler times."

Or the numerous comments about the hotdog & marshmallow roast one of our Sunday School classes had this weekend. Is it a coincidence that they all loved it and all identified that it was restful time to have no agenda other than to visit around the fire?

One lady referred to it as "simple".

See, so often I feel this pressure to do more. Do bigger. Do faster.

I confessed to the "simple"-comment lady that I always feel this pressure to have an agenda, thinking that's what people want.

But maybe we just want things to be simple. Maybe God even desires that for us.

One of my favorite statements regarding the disciples is found in Acts 4:13

The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.


See, the disciples were just ordinary men who were used by God to do extra-ordinary things.

Maybe it was because they had rid their lives of complexity to the point where God could use them. Too often my plans, my agenda, my calendar get in the way of listening to God and loving others.

Maybe we need to try to be more simple. How can you simplify this week?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Crisis...

Approximately 70 percent of the earth's surface is covered with it.

Up to two-thirds of your body is made up of it.

And yet the lack of it is the largest crisis facing our planet today.

Water.

Up to a billion people on our planet today do not have access to adequate clean water. That means one in every six people alive do not have the most basic need of life. That is mind-boggling. Especially when we turn our faucet on without a second thought that anything other than clean, cool water will come out.

As followers of Christ, this problem should concern us.

Jesus said that the second greatest thing God asks us to do is love our neighbor as ourselves. He also makes it quite clear that our neighbor is anyone that we discover has a need for which we have a solution.

So let's start obeying Christ and being part of the solution!

This year our youth ministry has committed to raising enough funds for a well in another community. We will be partnering with Living Water International to accomplish this task.

For the next month we are making a renewed effort to raise funds and awareness for this project. We are challenging all of our youth to come up with individual creative ways to raise money and get people involved.

Asking each of your friends for a $1.

Giving up soda, movies, shopping, whatever; and then giving the money you save.

Drinking only water for the month and spreading the word.


The possibilities are endless.

We will then have a special offering on Wednesday, November 9th.

In addition to these efforts, some of our members have also organized a benefit concert in November at the Lemondrop in Springfield, MO. All proceeds will go towards this project.

So I pray that you will get involved and be the neighbor God commands us to be. God bless.

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Good Day...

It was a good day at church yesterday.

We had good attendance at church. People were very receptive to the sermon. Some even came to the altar to respond. I got the privilege of baptizing a little girl during our service. Another young lady shared with me that she received the Lord as her Savior earlier this week.

And yet, there were hard things yesterday too. We found out after our first service that a dear elderly lady in our church had past away during the night. Some of our congregation were actually the ones who discovered it when they tried to pick her up for church. Another young lady came to me after service and shared about some really tough and discouraging things going on in her life. Another member is having a really hard time with recovery from surgery.

But at the end of the day, after our evening service as several of us stood on the front lawn watching our kids run through the grass and having great conversation, we found ourselves saying, "What a good day!"

But was it good because of attendance or how many people responded? Was it good because things went the way we wanted them too?

In Genesis we see God looking at the things He created - the things that came from Him - and calling them good. In the gospels we see Jesus telling the rich young ruler that "no one is good except God alone." Paul tells us in Romans 8 that in all things (that would include both the salvation and the death that we experienced yesterday at our church) God works for the good of those who love Him. James tells us that every good and perfect gift is from God above.

And you begin getting this sense in Scripture that "good" isn't so much a circumstantial state of being, but a realization that God is with us. That He is in control despite our circumstances.

And if these things are all true (which we know they are) wouldn't every day be a good day?

So tell me, how was your day good yesterday?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Back To School!

For most of us school is starting back this week (if it hasn't already started).

I know for me it brings back that excitement I felt as a kid. A fresh year with a fresh teacher and fresh school supplies. There was something special about riding that big yellow bus on the first day with your backpack full of freshly sharpened No. 2's and your brand new Knight Rider lunch box next to you.

(I still almost can't resist buying a Captain America lunchbox for myself while shopping for my own kids!)

And with the excitement of school, I always look forward to the return to routine in our youth ministry. After a long summer of camps and vacations, our students return looking for the stability of our fellowship.

Each year we offer a Back-To-School Kickoff to connect with new students and reconnect with those we haven't seen in awhile. We also always start off the year with a fresh and relevant message series. This year we are going to spend almost three months in the book of Ezekiel under the title of "Abomination and the Magic Bands"! We are also retooling some of the things we are doing with Sunday School and Small Groups to maximize our discipleship opportunities.

We have found that with the excitement of school starting, it is always a great time to recast vision and launch fresh direction. I hope you will join us in that excitement.

So what are you excited about during this back to school season?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Good Day...

A good day is...

waking up next to your beautiful bride.
taking an early morning bike ride with your son.
picking vegetables from your own garden in the cool of the morning.
laughing with your family.
helping out a neighbor.
investing in the future (our children).
sitting down to a meal together.
trying something new.
seeing someone set free.
giving thanks to God for all the small things He does for us each day.

I pray your day is good.

"And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good..." (Genesis 1:31 ESV)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Leaving for Camp...

The bags are packed. The snacks are bought. The registrations are complete. The bus is fueled. The stage is set.

We are leaving today for Christ in Youth Conference with our High Schoolers. Please pray for us that we would allow God to challenge and change us this week.

God bless.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Guitar Man...

So my oldest son has finally started showing an interest in learning guitar.

As I have played guitar since I was in high school and continue to play almost everyday for my children, I've wondered when it would happen.

I've been careful to not try to push it, as I don't want to be that parent living out their "I-wanted-to-be-a-Rock-Star-but-since-I-didn't-I'm-going-to-push-it-on-my-kids" dream.

But he was recently given a youth sized guitar and it has inspired him.

So the lessons have began...and as the first assignment I created a playlist of "great" guitarists for him to listen to so we can find the type of guitar playing he wants to move towards.

In doing that, I've been reminded of how many truly great guitarists there are out there.

And here is probably one of my all-time favorites, Mark Knopfler, playing with one of his heroes, Chet Atkins:



Hope you enjoy.

And if you are into music and/or guitars, who is your favorite?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Words To Live By...

Last night at Youth Service, we started a study of the book of 2 Timothy.

As Paul's second letter to Timothy and written very near the end of Paul's life, we find it full of reminders. It is rich with words of wisdom for Timothy and the church. And as you read, the words begin to take shape as some sort of creed or motto.

The culmination in prose of a life lived out for Christ.

So as we studied last night, we discussed mottos - words to live by.

Justice for All

In God We Trust

Hakuna Matata

And in my research, I stumbled upon a wonderful thing - the state mottos project. Apparently, each state in the union has a motto (who knew!). And so a designer from New York decided to breathe new life in to these sayings.

Here is the description of the project from their site:

50 AND 50 IS A CURATED PROJECT WHICH ATTEMPTS TO CONSTRUCT A HANDSOME NEW WAY OF LOOKING AT OUR COUNTRY. FIFTY DESIGNERS, ONE PER STATE, HAVE ILLUSTRATED THEIR STATE MOTTO, CREATING SOMETHING STEEPED IN HISTORY BUT COMPLETELY MODERN AND UNIQUE: A KIND OF DESIGNER'S ATLAS.

And as I perused the designs, I was enamored and inspired.

This is the kind of thing I love and strive for each day. To take something antiquated but foundational and communicate it with freshness and creativity.

So take a look at these images. Tell my your favorites.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Constantly...

So I'm a little bit of a nerd.

Cases in point:

-In most crowds, I get asked the computer problem questions.
-I gravitate towards the sci-fi section in movie and book stores. (who am I kidding, I don't go to stores anymore! I stream that stuff from the internet!)
-I like math.

I know there's all sorts of reasons, some that might require counseling, for those things. But I'd like to believe it's because computers and science and math are often logical. They have things in them that are constant. They can be figured out using a consequential path of reason.

Ministry is not often this way.

Sometimes things in ministry don't make sense.
Sometimes things in ministry don't add up.
Sometimes things in ministry are not consistent.

This summer we've been challenging our youth on the concept of being constant. To do this we've used the books of 1st & 2nd Thessalonians and 1st & 2nd Timothy.
Here's just a taste of the things Paul says here to be constant in:

"we give thanks to God always for all of you.."
"...constantly mentioning you in our prayer."
"...always seek to do good to one another and to everyone"
"Rejoice always..."
"...pray without ceasing"
"...remember you constantly in my prayers"
"...always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry."

A lot of times we go by this model in youth ministry that we want kids to be on fire. But I wonder if we wouldn't be better to teach them to simply be constant.

In their prayer life.
In their study of the Word.
In their relationships.
In their commitments.
In their love of one another.


And that pattern must start with us parents, pastors, teachers, and leaders.

So, how do you maintain consistency in your life? And what are you doing to inspire it in others?

Friday, July 15, 2011

A "Barn-Raising" Experience...


As I type this post, we are patiently waiting for the finalization of our loan process to buy this beautiful old farmhouse and adjoining property.

As a contingency of the loan we had to complete some repairs to the house last week. It was a tiring, overwhelming, beautiful experience.

The sellers came along side us to make the work happen as did so many of our friends and family. It was humbling and bewildering why so many gave up so many hours in the heat of summer to work on a house that was neither theirs nor ours yet.

Last Saturday we had a particularly large and motivated crew who spent most of the day knocking out job after job. One of the crew stated to me that it was a lot like a good old-fashioned "barn-raising".

I know for us and the sellers, the picture of community we saw last week was beyond what we could have imagined, although I know that it is what community is supposed to look like.

What a blessing to be a part of something like that.

God is good.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Mine...!

It's fun watching the culture of my children develop.

One particularly interesting culture is that surrounding meal times. It goes like this...

When Isaac, our 2 year old, realizes that food is starting to be put on the table, he runs to his seat and begins grabbing as much of it as his two little hands can handle and stuffing it into his mouth.

Invariably, one of my oldest two realize it and start yelling, "Mom! Dad! Isaac's eating all the food!"

The immediate response is usually for Hannah, our third oldest at 5, to sneak over, grab one of the food items in each hand and stuff one in her mouth and hand the other to Isaac in as fast a succession as she can muster.

This usually leads to my oldest two trying to grab the remaining uneaten food from the dish and Hannah & Isaac's hands.

Which, of course, leads to screaming, kicking, and slobbering.

Ok. Maybe I'm exaggerating...a little. But our kids definitely have developed the skill of eating in haste.

That was why I was so intrigued by my recent reading of Exodus 12. This is the chapter where God prescribes to Moses the details for the first Passover and the final plague in Egypt. And so it tells how to pick and prepare the sacrificial lamb and then it gets to verse 11:

"In this manner you shall eat it: with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord's Passover." (ESV)

My kids would have no problem obeying that Bible verse.

But it set me to thinking, we are so often "in haste" about many things. Getting loaded in the car. Getting the bills paid. Making sure the lawn is mowed. Getting to that fun thing we are doing today. Making sure I get my share. But how often are we "in haste" for God to work in our life.

Oh, maybe when things aren't going our way. When we are at the end of our rope. But this posture of being ready for God to work at any time is the position He over and over tries to teach the Israelites in the Scriptures.

So how about you? What are you "in haste" over this week?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Legacy Part Three: Kinfolk...

So I'm a sucker for a great beard.

Here are some beards that have impressed me this week:







That last beard belongs to a fellow who wrote this article that opened my eyes, confirmed my suspicions and blew my mind. It all centers around Numbers 27.

So if you've been following along in parts 1 and 2 of this series of posts, you know that I've been thinking about legacy and passing on faith and character to my children and how delicate and yet wonderful life can be. And I've been thinking about it in regards to my particular situation.

But God, as He usually is, is up to something bigger than just me.

Yesterday we left off with Hoglah and her sisters being part of the great census in Numbers 26. But the problem with Hoglah and her sisters was that their father had died and they had no brother, so they were in danger of being left out of the inheritance of property as they got ready to move into the Promised Land. So these young ladies go to Moses and present their case, ending with:

"Why should the name of our father be taken away from his clan because he has no son? Give to us a possession among our father's brothers." (Num 27:4 ESV)


Moses wisely consults God rather than making up some answer or offending the Women's Liberation Movement. And God answers by making a new law indicating that if a man dies with no sons, his inheritance goes to his daughter. If he has no daughter, it goes to his brothers. If he has no brothers, it goes to his father's brothers. And so on.

This can be called the law of the kinsmen redeemer.

So I read this and I immediately think of Ruth and Boaz. Ruth is a widow who has no son. Her mother-in-law is also a widow and her sons are all dead. So Boaz, as a kinsman redeemer, marries Ruth and takes their family under his wing, thus securing an inheritance for Ruth's husband's family in the same tribal lands. (It was at this point that I searched and found my bearded friend's article which confirmed that Boaz was fulfilling the law prescribed in Numbers 27)

Boaz also happens to be the grandfather of David.

David happens to be in the lineage of Christ.

Christ happens to be our redeemer, paying the price for us so we can have an inheritance in God's eternal kingdom.

And sometimes we think an inheritance is just about some money or land.

God's got bigger plans.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Legacy Part Two: Begat...

So with all of these thoughts about legacy dancing around in my head, I picked up my Bible yesterday morning and started reading Numbers 26.

In this chapter we find Moses and Eleazar, Aaron's son, taking a census of the Israelite people. This is the second census since the Exodus as now all of the original generation had passed away and this new generation was poised to possess the promised land.

There were several things that stood out in this chapter to me. Like that the tribe of Judah had almost double the amount of people as most of the other tribes. Or that this guy Zelophehad named one of his daughters probably the worst Bible name ever: Hoglah!

But the thing that compelled me the most was just the vastness of how many people comprised the nation of Israel at that time: over 600,000 men, not including the tribe of Levi, women, or children.

That's a lot of people to take on a 40 year camping trip!

And as I think about all of the struggling and striving and praying and working that goes into my life and my pursuit of God and my desire to do the best for my family, it struck me how each of these people did the same thing. Add to that the fact that each of these people were a part of one of the greatest movements of God in history, it makes it kind of ironic that many of them never even got their name mentioned. And for a lot who did, it was only once on one page.

Yet each of those lives were important and valuable to God. He heard every one of their prayers. He made and cared for each of their children. He had desires and wants for their lives. He delighted in placing them in the midst of this part of His great story.

Tomorrow, I'll post about what happened to Hoglah and her sisters, but for today, let's just be humbled by the fact that our lives are so small compared with God's story and yet be awed by the fact that He takes such care in our individual life.

God bless.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Legacy Part One: Leaving...

I've been thinking a lot about legacy this week.

You know, that concept of what your life leaves behind. How you're remembered. What you pass on to your children.

On Sunday, I had a conversation with a gentleman about his Bible and how it had been given to him when he was eight years old. That was over 50 years ago. He is wanting to get it rebound so he can hold on to it. Maybe pass it on to someone. He then shared how his family had a Bible that had been passed down three generations. His sister currently has it and it will then pass on to her daughter.

That is what I want for my family. My children.

Even as we work to buy a little farm-ette, I want this to be a part of instilling values and faith and character. I want this to build a place and a time that is foundational for my children.

Today we began working on the property to get it ready for closing. It was wonderful to see our children as excited as we were for the direction God is taking our family. There are hardly words to express the feeling I got having my children working beside me.

In the Bible this would be called inheritance.

Tomorrow I'll post more about that concept and what I read today in the Bible that blew my mind!

But for today, share with me your favorite thing that was passed on to you from your parents. It can be tangible or intangible. Can't wait to hear your thoughts!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

One of My Favorite Things...

Yesterday I woke up and told my wife that I was going to get to do one of my favorite things...

Make a movie.

We were shooting footage for some videos for our upcoming Middle School camp and I was excited! I love the process of making a piece of film that moves or challenges or captures people. I love planning the story. I love shooting the shots with great people. I love editing the footage and watching it take form. I get a lot of joy from it.

After camp I'll share some of the video we made on here, but until then I thought I'd show you one of my current favorite online filmmakers:

Julian Smith is a prolific sketch video producer who got his start when he posted this video on YouTube and it went viral:


Now Julian makes his living making his art for our enjoyment. He hits on topics ranging from to faith to grandmas to just plain fun. He even shares my interest in up-to-date technology. Hope you enjoy his stuff.

So, what is one of your favorite things? Who is somebody who shares that love or inspires you?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Do You Hear What I Hear...?

So our family is in the process of purchasing a small plot of land with a very old farmhouse on it just south of town.

It has been a crazy, whirlwind experience and a lesson in listening to God.

We've known for awhile that we might need a little more room than our little house on a small city lot would provide. But we've also known that it wasn't time yet.

But we've been watching. Looking at the real estate postings. Driving by properties. And through the process, we've come up with this list of what we're looking for.

Still close enough that I can ride my bike to church.

Enough square-footage for us and our five kids.

At least five-acres but not more than ten.

Layout so we can have an orchard and run some animals.

And less debt than we are in now.


I know. Sounds like a crazy list. And we knew it was fairly picky so we didn't expect it to happen any time soon.

Well, just a couple of weeks ago, via a family member and a search on craigslist, we found a property that meets every last checkpoint. So we prayed. We sought godly council. We had our builder friend look at the place. And at every turn it was a clear green light.

People who are normally cautious have given us great encouragement to move forward. The sellers were told by a friend from church to not worry because God had preserved this property for a certain family and it hadn't been time yet.

We were even blessed with an unexpected financial blessing on a day we were feeling particularly iffy in the process.

I really don't think it could be any clearer if he came down and told us face to face. He has clearly spoken.

But why is that? Because I've definitely had other times and decisions that I didn't feel I heard as clearly...if at all!

I was listening to a sermon by Matt Chandler the other day on Habakkuk, and he pointed out through Habakkuk's whinings and questions that God shows clearly that He hears and responds. It doesn't really matter who we are or what the situation. Hearing and answering are a part of who God is. It's just up to us to not miss the answer.

The very same day, I was reading Numbers 9 when the Israelites brought Moses a question about how unclean people were to deal with the Passover.

I think there is profound truth in Moses' answer:

"Wait, that I may hear what the Lord will command concerning you." (Numbers 9:8 ESV)

And maybe that's just the key. We don't wait enough. Or we lean too much or too quickly on our own understanding. Or maybe God answers and we miss it because we don't really believe He is going to answer.

I definitely don't have it all figured out. I am humbled that God has so clearly spoken to us in this recent decision. But I trust He has a purpose in it. I pray we can take encouragement today that God does hear and He does respond. Let's live in belief of that truth.

God bless.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Summer Routine...

The words "Summer" & "Routine" may seem like polar opposites.

Summer is usually signified for young people with lazy days and late nights. But my experience is that the longer we are out of routine, the easier it is to fall into bad habits and attitudes. I know at my house, just a few days of an off schedule results in fighting, whining, and the occasional gnashing of teeth!

This summer we have been challenging the young people of 180 Youth Ministries to pursue a continued routine of seeking God through consistency and community. Our Wednesday night series CONSTANT has challenged us to grow in the spiritual disciplines of prayer, Bible reading, service and accountability as we've looked at Paul's two letters to the Thessalonian church.

Just last week we made a challenge for the next 30 days to read our Bible everyday and find an accountability partner to help us keep up that commitment.

I know it might seem cliche or over-simplified but I believe it is those simple habits that help us to continue our pursuit of our Lord. So, whether you are a regular at our group or a reader from afar, I encourage you to make a plan to build some of God's routines into your life this summer.

As a start to this process, answer this question: What are you doing this summer to maintain your relationship with God?

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Little Fun...

So I was online reading the news the other day and this picture caught my eye...



Upon further reading I found out this was photographer Paul Ripke's response to the latest viral hit sweeping the web: MANBABIES!

It's this site where dad's are encouraged to swap out heads with their child for a little family fun.

So I decided to try it...



Now I want to see yours. If you've got kids, swap heads with them. If not use your wife, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, BFF, pet, whatever. Then post it somewhere on the internet and give us the link in the comments of this post. Looking forward to some creepy pics!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Programs! Programs! Programs!

When I felt the call to ministry after my sophomore year of college, I quickly knew the direction that ministry would be focused: teenagers.

I saw them as the group I knew the best, that could benefit the most from my experiences, and the most logical in which to invest.

They're the future of the church after all, right?

And most churches at that time held the same idea. If you want your church to grow and continue, GET THE KIDS!

And how do we get the kids?

GREAT YOUTH MINISTRIES, of course! Full of crazy games, all-nighters, and way too much pizza. (Here's one veteran youth minister's confessions on how some of those elements went awry for him;)

And so churches scrambled to get young ministers to expend lots of energy building these exciting programs to invest in the church of the future....

The problem is, those youth have rarely become part of the church.

That same veteran youth minister who confessed all his crazy & stupid experiences in the above link, has recently said this:

"Contrary to much of our current thinking about the importance of powerful youth ministries to the lifelong spiritual development of future adults, research proves otherwise: a teenager who attends a church's worship service on a regular basis and does not attend youth group is more likely to continue to attend church worship services as an adult than a teen who is active in youth group but doesn't attend worship services with other age groups." (Mark Oestreicher from The Emerging Church)

And after more than a decade of youth ministry at a single church, I can say that is generally true. Not in every case, but more often than not.

And as we face an increasingly diverse and distracted culture, that places us at an interesting crossroads.

For those of you just joining through the Missouri Free Will Baptists Facebook page, I want you to know that I want to create a space where we can discuss and wrestle with these issues of faith, purity and culture. I want this to be a place where we can voice our frustrations and discouragements (because I know there are plenty!) but also exhort and challenge and suggest ways to improve. I don't have many of the answers but I will be sharing some things we are doing as a ministry that are working (as well as share the things we try that definitely don't!)

But mostly I want this to be a forum for community and discussion as we do the good work of sharing Christ with the world (and that world includes more than 30 million teenagers!)

So I pray you will join us. Let's start with this question: Which category did/do you fall in? 1)went to church but not youth group as a kid. 2)went to youth group but not church as a kid. 3)went to church and youth group both as a kid.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

In Case You Weren't There....

In case you didn't make it to 180 Service last night, this video shows what you missed (sort of;)...






Oh yeah...and a look at I Thessalonians 1. Join us next Wednesday at 7pm as we talk about The American Idle. Come ready with your best singing voice. There will probably be prizes.

God bless.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Creating Your Space...

So my wife and I were having one of those nostalgic conversations about our childhood the other day and the topic of teen heart-throbs came up.

We recounted how when we were in those pre-teen to teen years, the big thing was to fall in love with some teenage movie/TV/music star, know everything there was to know about them and then plaster their face all over the walls of your room. So, in just about every teenager's personal space you would find posters of Ralph Macchio or Kirk Cameron looming over their bed.

I must admit I too made a foray into this practice. My choice was Alyssa Milano circa her "Who's the Boss?" era. But the whole idea didn't seem to fit me well. It was a tad embarrassing, so I quickly moved to posters of comic book heroes and my favorite bands.

But our conversation led me to a cultural question: Do teenagers still use posters?

Of course we have all those little Bieberites out there continuing the teen heart-throb mentality, but do they still use their bedroom walls to create their space or...

Has the pull of the virtual world become so great that teens use cellphones, Facebook pages and the like to create that picture of who they are and who they want to be.

I'd love to hear some feedback for the purpose of cultural research. Help me answer this question.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

What Are You Giving...?

So I've been reading through the Pentateuch lately (that is the first five books of the Bible) and have been amazed at how specific all the rules and instructions are.

For instance, today I read Numbers 7 which relates the offerings the people made for the dedication of the tabernacle and altar (the traveling church structure where God's presence was to dwell). After bringing six wagons and twelve oxen to be used to transport the tabernacle and altar, each of the twelve tribes brought a dedication offering, one tribe per day for twelve days.

And they each brought the same thing: a silver platter weighing 3¼ pounds and a silver basin weighing 1¾ pounds. These were both filled with grain offerings of choice flour moistened with olive oil. A gold container weighing four ounces, which was filled with incense. A young bull, a ram, and a one-year-old male lamb for a burnt offering, and a male goat for a sin offering. For a peace offering, two bulls, five rams, five male goats, and five one-year-old male lambs.


Amazing. How crazy that they were so specific to the weights and numbers. How unbelievable that they all agreed to give the same and so much. How compelling that they were so dedicated as to take almost two weeks to celebrate this religious structure.

And all evidence points to that they did this willingly and spontaneously (that is of their own decision). But the key to this faithfulness and dedication I believe is in the end of the chapter. After the offerings were all made it says:

Moses went into the tent of meeting to speak with the Lord, he heard the voice speaking to him from above the mercy seat that was on the ark of the testimony, from between the two cherubim; and it spoke to him. (Numbers 7:89 ESV)

What wouldn't you give to have God's actual presence dwell among you? What wouldn't you do to have God's audible voice give you guidance and direction?

And yet for us, that offering has already been made on our behalf. Jesus is our sin offering. He is our mercy seat. He has prepared the way for us to enter into God's presence forever. We have only to put our hope and faith in Him.

May we as the Israelite tribes respond to the truth that God wants to dwell among us with joy and generosity and devotion and faithfulness.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Fun with Water

Here is a little reminder video we made to raise awareness of our fundraising project for the year:



Our Youth Ministry has chosen to raise funds and awareness for the Global Water Crisis, with the ultimate goal of raising $5000 to install a well in a place that doesn't have access to clean water. Our current plan is to facilitate this goal through Living Water International.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Who is Jesus?

A friend of mine posted this as their status this week on FaceBook:

"Who do YOU say Jesus is?"

It's an interesting question. If you've been joining us on Wednesday nights over the past couple months, you know that we have been going through the Gospel of John, and in John's own words: "Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." (John 20:30-31 ESV)

So as we've studied this book of the Bible, we have seen how purposely the author shows us who Jesus said He was. This last week as we looked primarily at chapters 18 & 19, we saw that Jesus proclaimed to be King.

But not the kind of king the Jews thought He was going to be. And not the kind of king Pilate and the Roman government thought He was going to be. But the kind of King that God had promised since the beginning of time.

A King of authority. A King for all eternity. A King of a spiritual realm that will never pass away. And a King who doesn't need His subjects approval to maintain His power or reign.

He is King no matter what!

And yet He wants us to respond to Him - to who He is...because He wants us to experience the joy and freedom of His kingdom.

Interestingly enough the morning after our study, I was reading Acts 13, and my jaw just about hit the floor. Even though I hadn't looked at this Scripture or even thought about it while preparing Wednesday's message, Paul's words to the people of Antioch almost exactly paralleled what I shared the night before. Even down to referencing many of the same Old Testament scriptures.

And the people Paul was speaking to responded with joy and excitement and humility. And they asked him to come back the next week and share so they could bring their friends and family.

They responded to who Jesus was.

After receiving responses on her FaceBook status, my friend posted here response:

"[Jesus is] God's only son, the only sinless person who took on the sins of the world so that those who confess Him as Lord of their lives would be saved and set free from the bondage of sin from that moment for all eternity. That's my Jesus & He wants to be yours too! Don't wait! Would you stay in jail if someone opened the door & took your place?"

How are you going to respond?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

And Now for Something Completely Different...

Here is some encouragement for you.



Isn't it good to see a young person excited and interested in getting into God's Word.

We showed this video at our youth service last Wednesday. As a part of our current teaching series and our renewed challenge to the young people to start reading more of the Bible, we are highlighting stories of how people are doing.

I hope this encourages you like it does me today! I would love to hear your reactions and also how you are currently getting into the Bible.

God bless!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Was I Just Imagining Things...?

So a few months ago my pastor came into my office, handed me a book, and said, "I think this is more your kind of book."

The book was Imaginary Jesus, the first book by Matt Mikalatos.

Billed as a "not-quite-true story", this wild ride follows Matt as the main character of his own story trying to find the REAL Jesus amid a sea of imaginary ones.

I won't spoil the story much more than that other than to say I really enjoyed this book. It was full of wonderful humor, piercing truths, and challenging thoughts. Not necessarily a book of theology as much as a modern day parable about our approach to our Savior.

As I finished it this week while on vacation, I really identified with Matt and his struggle. The spot that really floored me though was near the end. Matt was walking through a prayer labyrinth when he comes upon a television playing just static. The talking donkey (yes, there is a talking donkey in the story!) comes out from behind the TV and points out that the TV represents Matt by saying:

"I mean that your head is full of static. Stuffed full of television and radio and comic books and noise. You say you can't hear Jesus, but it's because you have earbuds in all the time. You're afraid of silence. You're afraid to let even a strong signal through."

I so identified with this...to a painful level. I say I want to hear from Jesus and yet I fill my life with noise.

music.

movies.

text messages.

voicemails.

blogging.

Even on vacation, I found it hard to make time just for silence and listening. So I have a renewed encouragement to be more purposeful about minimizing the noise in my life.

How about you. Do you have the same struggle as Matt and I? What is the source of noise in your life? What is one way you can reduce your noise this week?

Look forward to your comments. God bless!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Love Wins...?

So coming back from vacation has been a little surreal.

People are talking about all sorts of things as common knowledge that I didn't even know happened:

hailstorms and dirty rain.

accidents and people in the hospital.

and, oh yeah, this Rob Bell controversy.

So I spent a couple hours yesterday trying to sort through what was going on.

Apparently Rob Bell released a promotional video for his new book Love Wins: A Book about Heaven, Hell and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived. (Which doesn't come out for another couple of weeks or so.) And based on the almost three minutes of mostly rhetorical questions a lot (and I do mean a LOT) of people have had some pretty strong reactions. The concern lies at what Bell's stance is on salvation and hell. Many are accusing Bell of being a universalist - that is to say he believes everyone gets to go to heaven (which is not what the Scripture teaches!) However, the book isn't out yet. All we have are a few provacative questions and quotes.

Probably the most helpful and objective information I was able to find is a series of posts reviewing an actual prerelease copy of the book. Even with that I still think the verdict remains out until we can actually see what the book has to say.

But what it did spark with me and my household yesterday was this thought:

Is it okay to ask questions?

Much of what I was able to glean from the video, numerous posts and the excerpts from the book review is that Bell is asking a lot of questions about what salvation is and what the Scriptures really say. Most of the questions I've seen from the book so far are questions I've probably thought at one time.

That doesn't mean I reject the basic foundational truths of the Bible or the Christian faith. It has just been a part of my journey to understand God and His Word.

So tell me your thoughts. Is it okay to ask questions? Are there some questions that we shouldn't ask? Where is the best venue to ask these questions? What are the questions you are wrestling with right now?

Look forward to hearing from you. It's good to be back!

(P.S. 3/9/2011 - A friend of mine just posted a link to this post from another blogger who has an actual review copy of the book. Seems to clarify a lot of the issues and even has some thoughts on some of my above questions.)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Checking Your Status...

So this week my family and I are taking a little vacation.

And that includes from technology and social media as well! (I wrote this post last week before we left.)

So as you read this, we are blissfully unaware of what is going on in the blogosphere and purposefully avoiding checking our facebook pages.

The interesting thing about that is it is not easy! We are a little too connected to our internet connections. So pray for us while we are on detox this week!

While we are gone, I thought I'd share with you a few disturbing looks into social media that I've seen lately:


1. The Social Network. A new movie from David Fincher (director of such revolutionary films as Fight Club and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)! A soundtrack from Trent Reznor (of NineInchNails fame)! An account of the start of facebook! Nominated for just about every Academy Award there is! This movie sounds like an obvious great, but I can't honestly say I would recommend it. It was well made. It was informative. But it was very disturbing. It left me feeling conflicted about whether I even wanted a facebook account anymore.


2. Catfish. Another critically acclaimed film. This time an actual documentary (or that is what they propose at least). But again it left me feeling...well...creeped out. A look into the dangerous and dark place that internet relationships can take us, and in this case all done through facebook.


3. Egyptian Protests. The world has watched with nervous interest as the pro-democratic revolutions have taken place around the world recently. One interesting and alarming fact that I discovered while watching the coverage in Egypt was that much of it was organized through facebook. Wael Ghonim, a Google executive and one of the leaders of the protests, explains in this article how they used facebook and other media technology to start a new kind of revolution.

Now, I don't necessarily recommend the films above. As I've noted there is gritty, disturbing content. I also don't condone the civil unrest that's happening around the world. But each of these matters show us a very real picture of what is happening in our society today: A picture of what social media is doing to our culture.

So I'd love to hear your responses. I'd also love to hear your approach to managing your social media because if we don't manage it I believe it will control us!

God bless.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Something Must Be Working...!

So I have a story and a resource for your Sunday morning.

Last week my 10-year old son Ethan checked this book from the library called Manga Metamorphosis. My son is a big comic book fan and loved the manga style art and format. However, this book also happens to be a graphic novel translation of the book of Acts and some excerpts from the Epistles!

Ethan read the whole thing in one week! It seemed everytime I turned around he was pouring over the pages.

So after that week, we were sitting next to each other in church services last Sunday. I had set my Bible down on the pew between he and I. Suddenly I noticed him pick up the Bible and flip it open.

Cool, I thought.

Then I looked closer and saw that he had turned to the book of Acts and was flipping through the pages. So I asked him quietly what he was doing.

"Checking to see if that manga book was accurate to the real Bible," he said.

Wow. That was a cool parent moment to say the least. And he and I found the book was accurate which was also encouraging.


So, upon doing a little more research, I actually found that Tyndale has put out the entire New Living Translation in a manga format called The Manga Bible.

We are buying it this week.

If some simple formatting will get my son to passionately read and study the Bible then bring on the Manga Bible!

Have a great Sunday!

Friday, February 25, 2011

What Is It...?

So I had a humbling experience this morning while reading the Bible.

So yesterday we had a situation happen with our finances that didn't exactly go according to plan. And when things don't go according to plan, my immediate tendency is to recalculate, replan, rebudget, do whatever I can to fix the problem...

Oh yeah, and WORRY!

So this morning I was doing my Bible reading in Exodus 16 where God first sends down manna for the Israelites in the wilderness. I'm going along, comparing translations, picking out words and phrases of interest, trying to figure out what these words mean, thinking about something cool I can put on my blog, when it hit me...

THESE WORDS ARE FOR ME!

I've been doing all of this Bible study lately, and I'd almost forgotten this time was supposed to be communion with God for my life!

So here is what stood out to me. (I'm going to share from the Message because it was surprisingly similar to the ESV in this text and worded in a way that most clearly communicates what God impressed on me.)

God said to Moses, “I’m going to rain bread down from the skies for you. The people will go out and gather each day’s ration. I’m going to test them to see if they’ll live according to my Teaching or not." (Ex 16:4 MSG)

and

God said to Moses, “How long are you going to disobey my commands and not follow my instructions? Don’t you see that God has given you the Sabbath? So on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days. So, each of you, stay home. Don’t leave home on the seventh day.” (Ex 16:39-29 MSG)

So often I've read this passage as the Israelites disobeying the Lord. But it hit me today that maybe the most important aspect was that God was teaching them to trust Him. The bread from heaven was to be not only provision but a lesson in trusting God not themselves or their reason or their ability to budget or anything else. And the Sabbath was not a rule to be followed, but a blessing to cherished. He simply used the bread to teach them that lesson. So...

...the people quit working on the seventh day. (Ex 16:30 MSG)

I am thankful to the Lord today that He reminded me that He is in control and I am not; that He wants to work good in my life...if I will obey His teachings. I pray that I will adhere to this lesson.

So how about you? What has God told you lately?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

What Are You Reading...?

We showed this video at church service last night.



It is part of our renewed emphasis on Bible literacy. We are kicking this emphasis off with our current Wednesday night teaching series on what it REALLY looks like to be a follower of Christ.

Last night was week two of this series, and as the young man leading the series walked us through most of the book of Job, I was moved by all of the young people huddled around Bibles in ones, twos or threes reading along in the Word.

If you were there, I would love to hear your feedback.
If you are reading the Bible in a renewed way, I'd love to hear about it
(and even feature you in an upcoming MyBible video if you would be interested!)

God bless.

Monday, February 21, 2011

It's So Good to See You...

So I'm really terrible at keeping up with old friends.

I know I have this deficiency. I think about doing better. Really I do. But the reality has been that my life is often filled with lots of relationships, so relationships that are no longer in immediate proximity fall by the wayside.

And unfortunately I'm not just talking acquaintances but even close friends.

But thankfully I have some really gracious people in my past who still try to keep up with me. We got to experience some of that this past weekend.

A couple who were some of my very best friends in college contacted us and asked if they could come over for the day. We checked our schedule and immediately said "YES".

They and their four children came just before lunch and stayed until well past dinner. Our children and theirs buddied up and had a wonderful day together. We sat around and visited and laughed just like we had never been apart. We found them to be going through and thinking of many of the same things we are:

Family growth. Educational choices. Eating habits. Stuff management for our households. Simplifying. Even cloth diapering!

It was refreshing. We were sad to see them go. We hope to visit with them again soon.

So, who is it that you need to check up on/reconnect with/visit?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

That Stinks...

So let me set the stage a little bit.

As our family grows and we try to save money and create healthier environments for our home, we have made some interesting choices.

Okay, I know some might think weird would be a better word.

Or crazy perhaps.

But one of those choices we have made is to go to cloth diapering.

No, not these kind.



There are actually some really cool new cloth diaper designs like this one.



They actually use snaps or velcro and have removable inserts and don't work too much different than a disposable diaper.

...other than the fact that you have to clean them. And sometimes there are some unpleasant things that need to be scraped off into the toilet. Nine times out of ten...no, more like 99 times out of 100 Shannon has to do this chore.

Okay. I've got you up to speed. Now here's my story.

A few days ago I was having one of those days. I was worried about many things. I was feeling sorry for myself. I was wondering why I was the only one...

You get the idea.

And my wife asked me a normal legitimate question in an appropriate and humble way

...and it made me cranky.

Now I knew it shouldn't. I knew that I was the one in the wrong and my attitude was totally off base.

...but I couldn't seem to kick it. I was upset.

So I'm walking around the house, trying to figure out how to respond and change my attitude and this thought comes to my mind:

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interest, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3-4 ESV)

So I scraped the diapers.

...And I felt better. Immediately. My attitude was changed. My crankiness was gone. My love for my wife was overflowing.

It was weird. And good to experience such a strong tangible effect of Scripture.

So how have you seen Scripture come to life this week?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hello, My Name Is...

It has been very interesting naming all of our children.

And we've actually had all sorts of approaches to the process.

With Ethan we read all the baby name books and consulted our family and took a vote and wrestled with which name was right.

With Shiloh we felt long before we had her that God suggested her name.

Hannah was easy to choose and I can't tell you why (especially since we had a different name in mind for a girl's name until we got pregnant with her).

Isaac was another one that just seemed like God let us know that was who he was supposed to be.

And Ruth...well, we let the kids be a large deciding factor for her (as well as some prayer).

But the amazing thing is that all of them seem to fit their names.

Or their names fit them.

Or something.

Ethan is intense and singular focused. His name means "strong, firm, impetuous".
Shiloh is such a blessing and very laid back. Her name means both "God's gift" and "Peaceful".
Just this week several people noted that Hannah is graceful, which her name means "grace".
Isaac laughed at everything from the time he was a small infant. His name means "laughter".
And Ruth, we'll have to see if she fulfills her role as "companion".

It is very obvious to me that names mean something. They are important.

So, as I've been doing my comparison study, this truth came very much to the forefront in Exodus 3.

I did my first read through of the chapter in the New Living Translation (NLT). And as I read the account of Moses' burning bush experience, something very interesting jumped out at me.

In verse 13, Moses asks God what His Name is so he can tell the Israelites who sent him. God answers in verse 14:

God replied to Moses, “I Am Who I Am. Say this to the people of Israel: I Am has sent me to you.”

What a cool name! I AM! The footnote on that phrase says "I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE". It's this holy word or phrase that indicates the essence of life.

And then in the next couple verses I really got intrigued.

God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: Yahweh,t the God of your ancestors—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.This is my eternal name,my name to remember for all generations.Now go and call together all the elders of Israel. Tell them, ‘The Lord, the God of your ancestors—the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—has appeared to me." (Ex 3:15-16a NLT)

Here's what's so interesting. In verse 15 it uses the word "Yahweh" as God's name and in verse 16 it uses "LORD". But it's the same Hebrew word.

In Hebrew whenever God is being referenced as His personal Name it is YHWH, also known as the tetragrammaton. It is this wonderful and mysterious term that is closely related to the Hebrew term for "I AM" found in verse 14. There is lots of discussion about how it should be pronounced, what exactly it means, and how it should be translated.


Yahweh. Jehovah. LORD. Adonai
. These are all different translations of this word for different reasons. (See this article for some more clarifications on these different options.)

For lots of years, English Bible translators chose to use "LORD", but recently some translators have chosen to start reintroducing the transliteration of the Hebrew, "Yahweh".

Some of the translations doing this are The New Jerusalem Bible, New Living Translation and The Holman Christian Standard Bible. (See this article for some more info on the Holman Christian Standard Bible).

As I've read some passages from these versions, it has really struck me what a different feel it is to have an actual name there to identify with God. It somehow makes some of the statements feel more personal.

While I don't quite know why the NLT chose to use "Yahweh" in one verse and "LORD" in the next, it definitely furthered my attention to this all important name - the name of our God!

So tell me your thoughts. Does the use of "Yahweh" help, hinder or confuse you?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

In Memory of...

So today I was so pleased to get home in time to help Ethan with his science lesson.

What started out as lesson on lasers quickly turned to a discussion on the speed of light which lead to scientific notation which lead to waves and frequencies and sines and cosines...and on and on.

I may have gotten a little carried away, but I just love science.

Ethan and I actually have been working on another little science experiment...Snowflake Blake.

With all the snow recently, we decided to make a snowman.

(along with everyone else in town!)

For our experiment we documented his evolution. Here it is as follows:

Day 1



Day 2



Day 2.5



Day 3



Day 5



Day 7



Day 8



The experiment was loosely designed to create some discussion on which scientific principle was as work: The Second Law of Thermodynamics or The Theory of Evolution?

The Second Law of Thermodynamics very generally states that systems tend to move to a greater state of disorder, while the theory of evolution basically proposes that certain systems tend to move towards a greater level of complexity and order.

Now I know that there is much controversy over whether evolution and entropy (Second Law of Thermodynamics) can even truly be compared when you get to more in-depth definitions of each. I also know that Snowflake Blake is in anything but a closed system, a proposed criteria for the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

But it still served for a good catalyst for some fun scientific discussion with my son.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on evolution versus entropy.
I'd also love to see your snowman pictures if you have them!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

I Gotta Feeling...

So I'm spending a little time listening to JJ Heller and Gungor this morning to get my heart quieted and prepared for worship at church.

What are you doing to prepare to corporately worship Our God and Father today?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Holy Adjectives...

So my new study has already proved to be very interesting.

I'm just a few days in to reading Exodus via several translations and I'm finding all sorts of interesting tidbits that I've missed before. A lot of it seems to be emphasis on certain words that you might just run past in certain translations.

(A great tool I've found to help find those emphasized words is the Discovery Bible. It's the NASB New Testament and it has markings to indicate, in it's words, "emphatic sense, which its Greek sentence implies.")

Today I want to talk to you about one of those instances.

In Exodus 3, I did my first read through in The Message and stopped when I came to verse 3:

Moses said, “What’s going on here? I can’t believe this! Amazing! Why doesn’t the bush burn up?

I stopped because of the colloquial use of the word "Amazing". This is a word that gets thrown around alot in our culture.

My wife is AMAZING!

That song is AMAZING!

Those donuts were AMAZING!

That person just did something so incredible stupid that it is AMAZING!

And therefore I think it has maybe lost some of its power.

Upon comparing it to the ESV and the NET Bible...

(side note: The NET Bible is a very interesting translation. I don't often like the text itself, but it has the most incredible notes and great online study tools at net.bible.org. Check it out!)

...I found that the Hebrew word for which The Message interjected "Amazing" was actually defined as "great." and had the connotation of something extraordinary; that Moses anticipated something special was about to happen.

And I think we might too if we saw a burning bush that wasn't burning up and a voice was talking to us out of it.

But God is still "Amazing" and wants to do something special. And perhaps we miss that these days because we've taken adjectives that were meant for God and use them for sporting events and pizza.

So I want to challenge myself and all of you, let's start reclaiming those holy adjectives for what they were meant for - the praise of our Creator!

Tell me how it goes
. God bless.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I Think I've Caught...!

With being cooped up together inside through all this snowy cold weather, my family has caught many things.

We had the sniffles.

One or two of us caught the stomach flu.

There have been several rampant outbreaks of cabin fever.

There were even some early warning signs of Bieber fever as my two-year old Isaac has been going around saying, "What's a Bieber?"

But the one thing all of us have seemed to have caught was...the Space Bug!

Now there have been lots of factors leading up to this:

1) I got to go to the Kennedy Space Center when I was recently in Florida.
2) My son has been studying about space in his schooling.
3) We just commemorated the 25th Anniversary of the Challenger Disaster.

And it seems since then things have just continued to escalate.

My kids are checking out library books on space. We watched Apollo 13 the other night. Ethan watched an episode of Mythbusters about the moon landing. I even watched an old X-Files episode about a shuttle mission crisis (that was suspiciously akin to the Apollo 13 crisis).

It seems everywhere we turn this week, space is involved. It's been kind of neat for me, as I was so intrigued by space exploration as a child. I loved reading the old Sci-Fi novels. I studied about the NASA programs. I even looked into going to Space Camp, where you train like astronauts for a week.

It has been really neat to get to relive some of that and share that with my kids.

So how about you?

What "fever" have you caught during the great snow-in?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

That's How I Read...(Part 2)

So my friends Nathan and Amanda have just recently started a study of 1 Corinthians based on a uniquely formatted version of the Bible called Books of the Bible. (You can read more about their study here and here.)

Now once we were all able to dig our ways out from the recent blizzard, Nathan and Amanda came over to visit. As we visited, we got to talking about some of their observations from the study. One of the issues that came up was that of submission to authority. This began with the concepts from 1 Corinthians, including staying in the position you were in when you were saved (1 Cor 7:17-24), lawsuits between believers (1 Cor 6:1-11), and giving up your rights (1 Cor 9).

But we also began discussing other places in the Bible where it talks about this issue of submission to authority. We noted that in Romans 13:1 it says, "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God."

And this verse is speaking of the Roman government who was corrupt and oppressive, particularly to Christians!

But we also noted in Acts 4 when the disciples were ordered by the Jewish rulers to no longer speak or teach in the name of Jesus, they answered "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge."(Acts 4:19)

And we obviously know they went on teaching in Jesus' name!

Well, we didn't come to a concrete definitive answer that night, but did seem to agree that we generally need to give up our rights for the sake of Christ's name, even when that means being wronged and treated unjustly sometimes.

So with that fresh in my mind, I was intrigued by something that jumped out at me when I read Exodus 1.

As I did my initial reading in The Message, this grabbed my attention:

The king of Egypt called in the midwives. “Why didn’t you obey my orders? You’ve let those babies live!” The midwives answered Pharaoh, “The Hebrew women aren’t like the Egyptian women; they’re vigorous. Before the midwife can get there, they’ve already had the baby.” God was pleased with the midwives. (vs 18-20a MSG)

What?

The midwives directly disobeyed the order of the Pharoah. When called on it, they lied. And God is pleased?

Upon further study I found the phrase there in the beginning of verse 20 more literally means that God "treated well" the midwives.

But this brings up some interesting questions.

When is it okay to disobey the authorities over us?
Why was it commendable that the midwives just lied to the Pharoah rather than tell the truth and face the consequences?
What makes God treat us well?


Look forward to the comments.