Thursday, October 31, 2013

Looking For Love...

We are all looking for love.

It's just a question of if we are looking in the right places.

Last night as a part of our series on Identity and the book of Ephesians, our Youth Ministry looked at the issue of love and relationships. As we looked at the last half of Ephesians chapter 5, our conclusion was that our love for anyone else must come from God's love for us. Therefore any attempts we make at finding that special someone to love us must be fueled by our satisfaction in Christ.

That changes everything.

Throughout history, every culture has it's rituals and practices for finding a mate. There's the Apples-in-the-Arm-Pits Dance from Austria. There's the Empty-Knife-Sheath from Finland. There's Bundling from early American history. But perhaps the strangest practice was a modern invention:

The Dating Game.

The Dating Game was a long-running television game show featuring a person looking for a date and three prospects. Without seeing or knowing any of the three contestants, the date-seeker would ask three questions and then decide which person they would date.

It looked something like this:

So here's my challenge to you: After considering the principles for relationships in Ephesians 5:22-33, what THREE QUESTIONS would you ask of a prospective date?

Friday, October 18, 2013

Don't Be An Ostrich...

So I saw this on Facebook the other day and it made me laugh...

It made me laugh because we ALL know what they thought we'd be using Snapchat for.

But wait, let me back up a minute. Maybe you don't know what Snapchat is. Snapchat is a social media app that lets you send pictures that disappear forever a few seconds after the recipient views them...sort of.

Due to recent litigation between the founders of Snapchat, lots of new info has come to light about the origin of the app and the status of your pictures. I ran across this article that highlights some of these issues as well as informs parents of the potential dangers of Snapchat.

If you are a parent of a teenager or work with young people in some capacity, I STRONGLY urge you to read this article. If you have any questions, please post in the comments or contact me directly at

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

It's An Imitation...

This week was my daughter Hannah's birthday. Following the precedent set by her brother, Hannah asked for me to take her somewhere special...the Waffle House

So we set off for a father-daughter date full of grease and sugar and fond memories.

Now her choice may seem odd to you, but you have to understand she is her father's daughter and the Waffle House has always held a special place in my heart. She was just imitating a love she sees in me.

I have often been told how much my children look like me, but they also imitate me in actions and interests and tastes. That's partly because they love me and want to be like me, but it's also partly because I love them and have built into their life.

The Scripture is rich with references to God being our Father. On Wednesday night, our youth ministry looked at the concept that God has adopted us as children.

Think about that for a moment. The Creator of the universe looked at you - despite your flaws and your sins - and he paid the adoption price - His own Son's blood - so that you could be His.

He picked you.

That is the beauty of adoption. You get picked. Despite your situation, circumstances, condition, you get chosen.

And when we realize that, it makes us want to be more like our dad. Ephesians 5:1 says it best:

"Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children."

As we were getting ready to leave the Waffle House, I reached for the ticket that had been placed face down on the table. One phrase on the back jumped out at me.

Make sure you thank you Heavenly Father for choosing you today.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

I'm So Excited....

Upon returning from vacation, Pastor Doug gave my children one of those growing alien toys as a souvenir.

You know, one of those ones where you put it in a jar of water and it grows to 600% of it's original size.

and it glows in the dark.

My kids are totally in love with it.

They change it's water everyday. They care for it meticulously. They are convinced that they are going to grow it to be life-sized. And they tell EVERYONE about it.

Just last night one of Hannah's friends came over for a few minutes, and Hannah gave her this dissertation about the proper care of your alien.

I think the poor little girl is going to have nightmares.

But it got me to thinking...we can't stop talking about things we are excited about. So what do you talk about?

I had a member of our congregation stop by this morning and she just wanted to share all of the good things God was doing in her life. All of them revolved around opportunities she had to share with others about God and His love and grace and power. As she teared up I realized how excited she was about God and these opportunities He was giving her.

It reminded me of my kids and their alien.

May we fall in love with God in such a way this week that we can't stop talking about HIM!!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

God Gives the BEST Gifts...

At last night's youth service we continued looking at our identity and the book of Ephesians by talking about how our gifts don't give us our identity but rather our identity gives us our gifts.

This truth comes from the fact that it is only after we receive Christ and our relationship with Him defines who we are that we receive and understand Spiritual Gifts. We also learned that our gifts and talents are not for our good; but for the good of others.

The lists of some possible spiritual gifts that God may be giving you are found in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10; 1 Corinthians 12:28-30; Romans 12:6-8; Ephesians 4:11; and 1 Peter 4:11. Here is a link to a website with a clear list and definitions of most of these gifts.

So I want to hear from you this week. What gifts do you think you have and why? What are you doing to test out these gifts? Where is God leading you to serve for the good of others as a result of the gifts you have?