Three Failure Philosophies to Destroy in Your Life

No doubt there are many phrases regularly quoted in your home.

“If it’s not yours, don’t touch it.”

“Think before you speak.”

“It’s not done until it’s down right.”

One of the concepts repeatedly quoted in my ministry is:

“If your philosophy doesn’t work 100% of the time, you need a new philosophy.”

I spend a lot of time fleshing out the concept of “Failure Philosophies” with the boys I work with at Victory Academy, and I’d like to take a moment to do the same for you.

Continue reading “Three Failure Philosophies to Destroy in Your Life”

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Valentines, Communism, and Communicating Biblically

Valentines, Communism, and Communicating Biblically

I was twenty-seven when I took ownership of my first class of impressionable sixth graders. Those twenty-three minds were a veritable blank canvas ready for my pedagogical feather to tickle their intellects and break up the ground of their mixed metaphors.

Everything progressed perfectly until Fate took a sick day during second semester. One of my fellow elementary professors broke the news to me like this:

“All of your students have to give a valentine to everyone else in their class.”

Even now I think my response was genius.

Continue reading “Valentines, Communism, and Communicating Biblically”

Why It’s Always About Me

It's Always My Fault

Counselee: “My wife doesn’t respect me.”
Me: “Why do you think you’re not easy to respect?”
Counselee: “What does this have to do with me?”

or

Counselee: “My parents are such idiots!”
Me: “You know, I don’t think the Lord’s glorified when you talk about your parents that way. ”
Counselee: “You’re just like my parents! Why’s it always my fault?!”

or

Friend: “When you’re talking with atheists, it doesn’t do any good to quote the Bible to them.”
Me: “Well, I don’t see any other options. God says His Word is powerful and effective. My human reasoning won’t sway them if His Word doesn’t.”
Friend: “Yeah, I don’t think it works.”
Me: “Maybe you need to reconsider the sufficiency of the Scripture. What’s God been teaching you in His Word recently?”
Friend: “Why does this have to be about me?”

Always My Fault

Of course, you realize that few conversations actually work this quickly. Wisdom dictates that it take a bit longer to get from the first observation to the last.

Still, over the past ten years of family counseling I can’t remember a single situation where a counselee was perfectly innocent within a conflict. There wasn’t a single man who hadn’t provoked his children to wrath or not lived with his wife according to knowledge. I never counseled a wife who’d submitted to her husband and loved her children consistently. And – believe it or not – I never met a child who honored and obeyed his parents without fault.

They all had grievances, they all had mental fingers to point, they all had emotional subpoenas to deliver, they all had judgment to bear down . . . but they all had responsibility too. Each train-wrecked relationship was partially their doing. Each argument was of their own making.

The same goes for me.

Continue reading “Why It’s Always About Me”

5 Ways You Take God’s Job (and fail at it)

5 Ways You Take God's Job and fail at it Creating the universe, facilitating each atom, tracking every sparrow, counting the stars, and superintending every event to achieve His greatest glory and the benefit of His followers . . . if God weren’t God, He’d have his hands full.

Yet, even though we know He’s omnipotent and omniscient (all-knowing and all-powerful), we still feel the need to “lend God a hand.” It’s like we think we’re His administrative assistant or something.

Guess what. He doesn’t need our help to do His job. In fact, there are many cases where He flat-out commands that we stay away from that which only He can do.

So, what divine tasks have you tried to usurp recently?

You Save Someone

We all know you can’t redeem anyone’s soul from Hell. You need Christ’s shed blood as much as the next guy. However, we often pretend we can see the heart of man and then use that “divine insight” to make pronouncements concerning another’s eternal destiny. And what’s worse, many people do this with their children.

I spoke with a teenager who informed me that he’d recently been born again. He also told me that when he shared this news with his father, Daddy-o reminded his son that he’d been saved since he was five and insisted his son had merely received “assurance of salvation.”

Eight months later that young man had completely rejected God and is now a hard-core atheist.

Way to go, Dad. Instead of being aware of his son’s doubt, confusion, and searching, Father-dear assuaged his own concerns by futilely trying to write his son’s name in the Book of Life. While trying to convince his son that he was saved, Dad missed the chance to share Christ with him.

You can’t save someone, and you can’t know for certain a person’s saved. You can tell a tree by its fruit, but we seem to regularly mess that up too. When dealing with someone about their eternal destiny, let God’s Word be their source of joy and comfort. If they don’t have assurance from the Bible, you shouldn’t say anything to convince them.

That’s God’s job.

You Get Revenge

Most Bible readers are familiar with the anti-revenge injunction; but does that really stop them?

“’Vengeance is mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.”

We love to punch-in with our holy time card and start delivering pallets of vengeance. We use passive/aggressive quips, manipulation, caustic remarks, gossip, and all-out backstabbing techniques simply because we want our antagonist to feel the same pain we did when they hurt us.

This is sin.

God saves this chore for Himself because He is the only one who can exact righteous vengeance. We avenge because we feel we must protect our own pride; God avenges because His holiness is actually worth it.

You Condemn Others

“He will never change!”

Oh, really? According to the Bible, change is God’s biggest accomplishment! Behind every moment and minutia of the day God’s sovereign hand is working to change us.

Yet our divine condemnations are actually motivated by pessimistic hatred.

Yes. Hatred.

Love hopes all things and believes all things (I Corinthians 13:7). True love rests in God’s ability to do the miraculous and optimistically looks forward to our loved one’s maturity. When we assume someone will never change, we’re being hateful.

We also heist this God-job when we judge people for doing things the Bible doesn’t directly address. It’s true that we are commanded to make judgements (John 7:24). We’re to use God’s Word and His wisdom to discern between good and evil. However, when we judicially decree that someone is sinning in an area the Bible doesn’t specifically name . . . we must be very careful. Condemning a soul is God’s job.

You Assume Motives

I Samuel is very clear that man’s understanding of another man is very limited. We see the skin. However, God has the ability to know the thoughts and intents of a person’s soul.

God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” I Samuel 16:7

Yet that rarely stops us from assuming we know why people do what they do.

I’ve seen it before.”

I know why she said that.”

He always does the same thing because he’ll never change.”

God has equipped us with the wisdom and discernment necessary to shine His Truth on a situation. When we use the Bible, we can often have a very clear picture of the motivations God reveals. But because our personal insight can only penetrate the freckle-level, we must remember four key things about interpreting another’s motives: you can read more about that here.

You Receive Worship

Of all the things God’s responsible for, this one is the most dastardly to usurp.However, we’re so stuck on ourselves, we’re quick to impersonate God when worship is being passed out.

This is the proverbial “dancing where angels fear to tread” for even angels are smart enough not to take this job.

How many times today have you impersonated God by receiving worship?

Ken Collier said, there are “just two choices on the shelf, pleasing God and pleasing self. When we reject God’s will and do what’s right in our own eyes, we’re placing ourselves higher than God. We’re worshipping ourselves. Everything from reading blogs to parenting to eating to taking out the trash must be done as an act of worship to God. The moment we don’t actively desire God’s glory we’re seeking our own. Interestingly enough, it’s when we snatch this task from God that we seek to take the other four jobs to ourselves as well.

Conclusion

If you’ve been perceptive then you’ve realized two things: 1. You’ve taken God’s job far more often than you thought. And 2. The one constant that runs through all of these impersonations is blatant arrogance and pride.

We’ve come to the place where we think we can do God’s job better than He can. It’s so easy to give someone confidence in their eternal state, exact revenge, condemn others, read people’s minds, and bask in the glory of worship!

Unfortunately, we not only epically fail with each attempt, we make everyone else’s God-given jobs that much more difficult. Because now we’re the ones that need to be rebuked, corrected, and admonished.

You’ve been tasked with enormously vital responsibilities. God wants you to be His ambassador. He’s gifted you to fulfill every “one another” in Scripture. He’s given you His Word to use in disciplining, counseling, parenting, leading, mentoring, and fellowshipping. He’s called you to bear the Fruit of the Spirit and put on the whole Armor of God. He’s entrusted you with the life-changing gospel of Christ!

There are plenty of things to keep us busy.

Stop taking God’s job!

“Your children won’t go . . . .” – Quote

“Your children won’t go in the right direction if you’re not moving that way as a couple.” Click To Tweet

Your children won't go . . . - Quote

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Removing the Mask: 4 Ways to Better Understand Your Child

Removing the Mask: 4 Ways to Better Understand Your Child

We drive them to school.

We sleep under the same roof.

We watch every one of their games, concerts, and melt-downs.

We may even have the regular opportunity to share meals with them.

Yet we often have no idea who they are.

We used to think we knew our children, but no more. Perhaps you’ve felt what many parents have verbalized to me about their teenagers:

Something happened.”

They changed.”

They’re not the kid I used to know.”

What happened to my baby?”

This is all too common a parental conundrum, and it happens in many ways for many reasons. But right now, you’re likely less concerned about how it happened than you are about fixing it. And, for some reason, sitting down and asking your son “How’s school,” “Is something bothering you,” or “What are you thinking about?” just doesn’t seem to work anymore.

The encouraging reality is that our children communicate to us who they are in everything they do. They even scream their deepest heart issues to us with their silence.

With this thought in mind, I’d like to share 4 vital ways to remove your child’s mask and start the glorious process of knowing your child and helping them become the person God wants them to be.

Continue reading “Removing the Mask: 4 Ways to Better Understand Your Child”

Peace In: Part VIII – Assume the Position

 

 

Sunday Sermon Series

Wow!

We made it through our first Sunday Sermon Series. We’ve experienced a little over 8 weeks of expositional study in Philippians 4:4-9, and I pray it’s been as significant for you as it has for me.

Today we will do a quick review of Philippians 4 and then look at one other verse in order to put a beautiful capstone on our study of biblical peace.

If this is the first you’ve heard of this study, please feel free to jump in “Peace In: Part I – What is Peace?”

Continue reading “Peace In: Part VIII – Assume the Position”

#TBTB #TBT – “Why I’m Not a Christian”

ThrowBack ThursdayIn his review of Bertrand Russell’s “Why I’m Not a Christian,” Jeremy Larson does a great job pointing out the inconsistencies that exist in Russell’s (and most other atheists for that matter) thinking.

All Christians must be ready to take back the Bible by preparing to give every man an answer for the hope that dwells within us. For this reason, it’s wise to acquaint ourselves with the atheist’s thinking, but then arm ourselves with God’s answers.

AMBrewster provides a few thoughts as a preface to Mr. Larson’s article here: “Why I’m Not a Christian.”

Why I'm Not a Christian

Peace In: Part VI – What Are You Thinking?

Sunday Sermon Series

Congratulations! You’ve made it to the second-to-the-last part of our study on biblical peace. Next Sunday we’ll complete our first Sunday Sermon Series! Thank you to all of you who have continued with us to this point. If you’d like to start at the beginning, please click here – “Peace In: Part I.”

Where We Have Been

Over the past five weeks we’ve seen that . . .

  1. Peace is a conditional promise of divine soul rest powerful enough to overcome out feeling of doubt, depression, anxiety, and anger.
  2. The first Peace Prerequisite is that we must fulfill our responsibility to God by finding our sole joy in Him.
  3. The second prerequisite is that we must fulfill our responsibility to others by showing our gentleness in all things because not only is God in us, He is returning soon to collect us unto Himself.
  4. The third requirement is that we must fulfill our responsibility to this life by not being anxious, but instead taking all of our cares and anxieties to God in humble and thankful trust that He will work in and through them as He’s promised.
  5. When we are faithful to obey God, He provides a divine peace that stations a spiritual guard over our thoughts and desires – under the ultimate authority of none other than Jesus Christ.

Where We Are Now

In pure Pauline fashion, it’s as if Paul realizes there’s one more important thing he must say to the Philippians on the subject of peace. So he lays out a fourth Peace Prerequisite followed by a second Peace Promise.

Continue reading “Peace In: Part VI – What Are You Thinking?”

Peace In: Part V – Peace Promise #1

 

Sunday Sermon Series

Welcome back. As always, I’d like to welcome anyone just joining us to take few minutes to catch up with out study. You can start here: “Peace In: part I.” If you missed any other parts, you may click here.

The passage we’re dipping into today is so extremely exciting because it’s the first of two Peace Promises we’ll see before we’re done.

The Peace Prerequisites

Remember, peace is not a natural consequence of being a Christian. If that were so, no Christian would ever be afraid or depressed. But peace is a conditional promise offered to every Christian. All we have to do is do our part. Of course, we can never accomplish anything Christ-honoring with His power, so in the end, God is asking us to do things we can only do through Him to have peace only He can provide. It really is a win-win-win for us.

1. Find your complete and utter joy in nothing and no one else other than God and His Truth. Don’t let a job, spouse, team, grade, children, hobby, song, food, or house be your goal. Make God and His glory your preeminent mission in life. This means His Word and the work He has for us must be more important than our fleeting fancies.

2. Be gentle, gracious, and loving to all men. Men may call you their enemy because they side with sin, but no man should you ever consider unlovable. Peace with the antagonistic, unity with the brethren, and truth in love to all men should be our aim. Know that God provides power to accomplish this by His indwelling Spirit, and that He may return at any moment and wants to find us serving Him.

3. Never be anxious for anything. Instead of dwelling on the problem and fretting over the outcome, allow your thoughts to turn to God, His promises, and His throne. Bow before Him in humble submission, casting your care on Him with a thankful heart that He is using these circumstances to work in you and bring Him glory.

When you accomplish all of this with Christ’s power for Christ’s glory the result is and will always be . . .

Continue reading “Peace In: Part V – Peace Promise #1”