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Archive for the ‘Faith’ Category

I’ve posted before about the importance of guarding our heart. It is the first verse we’ve had our kids memorize and sets up a lot of the parental decisions we make. There are many things we don’t allow our kids to participate in because we feel it would be letting our guard down.

However, over the years the more I’ve thought about this verse the more truth I’ve gotten from it. I ask my kids often, “How’s your heart?” We talk about if anyone has broken a promise to them. If anyone has lied to them. If anyone has hurt their heart. I don’t want my kids to grow up with broken, pain-filled hearts. Because people with broken, pain-filled hearts not only have a hard time in life, but often inflict brokenness and pain on others.

As a dad this gets tricky though and sometimes feels like a daunting task. Pain in many shapes and forms happen. Broken promises and lies happen. Broken hearts are a product of these things. But a few weeks ago I was reading and realized we don’t have to do this all on our own. The peace of God is here to help us.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

– Philippians 4:7 (NIV – emphasis added)

As a dad, and as a Christ follower, it’s good to know that God doesn’t leave this awesome task to us alone. He is here to help our kids… and us.

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Evie and I have accepted a new ministry assignment at Lawrenceville Church of God (LCOG) in Lawrenceville, Georgia. I will serve as the Family Ministries Pastor and provide leadership to the Nursery, Children, and Youth ministries. We’re extremely excited to join the wonderful staff at LCOG and serve alongside them. Additionally, we’re thrilled for the opportunity to minister with family. Kevin Harris, my brother, is the senior pastor at LCOG. We’re grateful to him and the elders who’ve graciously invited us to be a part of their team.

Leaving GenesisChurch.tv was not an easy decision. We made it after weeks of prayer, fasting, and seeking of wise counsel. When we arrived in Tallahassee a year and a half ago, all the people of Genesis were quick to open their hearts and homes to my family, and for that I’m tremendously thankful. We’ve learned so much from Pastor Brian and the rest of the staff and we’re certainly leaving the richer for it.

On this journey of faith there will be many new challenges, lessons, and victories ahead of us. As they happen, I will continue to share them here. Immediately though, we’re focsued on getting our family moved. So if you know us, and you pray, we’d appreciate your prayers this week. We’ve got a LOT to do and need many logistical things to come together to ensure a smooth move for our family. Today we’re packing up. And on Wednesday (just like in this classic song), we’ll be taking the train to Georgia… WHOO WHOOOOO!

Well figuratively at least. 🙂

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prodigalgodTim Keller is the Senior Pastor of Redeemer Church in Manhattan. He’s an intellectual, and a really good one. What I mean is he’s really smart! Like YODA smart! But more importantly, he’s a pastor. Coupled with his awesome brain-power is an equally inspiring compassion for people. Truly a rare combo.

In his recent book, The Prodigal God, Keller deconstructs legalism and the pitfalls of dutiful religion. In his introduction, Keller explains that he wrote the book for faith seekers, as well as Christian faith insiders who may benefit from a fresh approach to the gospel. If you are either, which means everyone, you’ll benefit from this book.

Keller opens by explaining that the word ‘prodigal’ has been misrepresented and its true definition is not ‘wayward’ but instead means ‘recklessly extravagant’ or ‘having spent everything’. He goes on to explain the good news of the gospel message in a fresh way and how God has recklessly spent everything on us. I highly recommend it!

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What’s NOT in the Bible

Just finished reading the gospel of John this week and some things really struck me. Not only things that were in there, but this time some things that were not.

For example in chapter 8, when the Pharisees brought a promiscuous woman to Him, what did Jesus write in the sand? In Chapter 11, just before raising Lazarus from the dead, what caused “a deep anger” (The Message) to well up within Him? Not once… but twice?

These are moments I’ve heard others speculate about, but a different one struck me on this reading. One that I can not remember hearing someone speak to. The moment is in chapter 13. After reading it I was riveted with the question, “What was it like when Jesus washed Judas’ feet?” We know that Judas had already decided to betray Jesus (v. 2). We also know that Jesus was aware of Judas’ intent (v. 11). But what we don’t know is how that moment went down.

I think about what was going through Jesus’ mind while He took Judas’ feet and wiped them clean, all while knowing Judas’ motives were filthier than a pig’s hoof on a hot summer day (if you get my drift). I think about what kind of emotions were probably displayed by Jesus who often wore His heart on His sleeve. I also wonder if Judas displayed any emotions. Mostly though, I think about what it must have been like for Jesus to bend down and serve the man He knew was about to turn on Him. And honestly I have a hard time wrapping my brain around it.

I could pontificate here or attempt to tie this post up in a nice little bow. However, I’m not sure how. (And please don’t misunderstand this brief post or its title as a defense for overlooking the countless lessons and boundless wisdom readily available in the Scriptures.) I will say that if you’re looking for them, lessons can sometimes be found from what’s NOT in the Bible. And from this specific passage, lessons for people who have been betrayed, and even greater lessons for us betrayers.

That’s the best little bow I’ve got. Any thoughts?

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A little over a year ago, my family relocated to Tallahassee, Florida, from Birmingham, Alabama. Over the past year, Blake has had the opportunity to visit with some of his friends from Birmingham on occasion. He always enjoys hooking back up with his buddies. There are a couple of little guys that as soon as they see each other it is as if we never moved. I love that!

Well out of nowhere tonight, Blake mentioned that he had not seen one of his friends in a long time. He was indeed correct. Over the past year I think Blake had only seen this friend one time. Then Blake followed up with something very interesting. He said, “Man! It’s been so long since I’ve seen him that I forgot the sound of his voice!”

Wow! Forgot the sound of his voice! What an amazing statement from my 7 year old little man. While it saddened me a little bit (even though Blake wasn’t sad when he said it… it was just a matter of fact to him), I found his sincere words to be helpful in my journey of faith!

I never… ever, ever, EVER… want to forget the sound of God’s voice! I want it to be as distinct as the smell of my grandmother’s house, and I want it to be as familiar as my favorite chair. I want it to be as comforting as my wife’s, “I love you”, but I want it to be as disturbing as a police siren when if I’m pushing the speed limit.

I know it is always just ahead of me, and I hope to always follow it!

“…he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know HIS voice.” – John 10:4b

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Last night I was thinking of the ol’ question, “What came first?” People have debated for generations whether it was the chicken or the egg. When it comes to familial relationships though, there is no denying that there has to be PARENTS before there can be CHILDREN.

Now let me say one of my greatest joys in life is to provide for my kids. As parents, our children NEED us! They need our love, attention, care, time, protection, and oh yes… our money! (I wish I would have bought stock in a formula company before I had kids!) And children don’t need to ask for these resources. By their very nature, helpless as they are at first, they DEMAND it! And by our nature, as parents, we want to do all we can to take care of them. This is all part of God’s plan!

What happens too often though is parent’s end up giving ALL their ancillary resources (extra time, energy, love, attention, and care) to their children and neglect their spouse. Our kids demand our attention, but our spouse should never have to!

What it boils down to is this… There was an US, before there was a THEM!

What do I mean!?! There was an ‘Evie and Phil’ before Blake and Anna Brooke were ever thought of. That may sound mean spirited, but I promise… IT’S NOT! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my kids! I’ve been working in kids ministry for over 13 years, and I LOVE my kids more than any other kids on the planet. But, my marriage came first. I can’t allow my kids’ needs, or more importantly their perceived needs (otherwise called wants) to consume my life in such a way that I neglect the needs of my wife. I have to continue to pursue her!

Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives,

exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting.

– Ephesians 5:25, The Message

Additionally, my kids will one day grow up. As their dad, a primary part of my job is to prepare them to leave my home and start their own. When that day comes, it will be back to me & Evie, and hopefully our relationship will be as strong as ever!

So to answer the ol’ question… THE CHICKENS CAME FIRST! Now that’s not to say parent’s are chicken! It takes tremendous courage to raise kids in today’s culture. But caving into our kids every whim at the expense of our own marriage… now that is a cowardly thing to do!

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I posted earlier about Phil Wickham’s Singalong album and the genius idea of making it a free download.

Well the last few days, his song “You’re Beautiful” has become the soundtrack for my morning commute. This song, like its title, is beautiful. It is also powerful! Full of emotion AND truth! It has become my new favorite worship song. Check out the lyrics!

I see Your face in every sunrise
The colors of the morning are inside Your eyes
The world awakens in the light of the day
I look up to the sky and say
You’re beautiful

I see Your power in the moonlit night
Where planets are in motion and galaxies are bright
We are amazed in the light of the stars
It’s all proclaiming who You are
You’re beautiful, You’re beautiful

I see you there hanging on a tree
You bled and then you died and then you rose again for me
Now you are sitting on Your heavenly throne
Soon we will be coming home
You’re beautiful, you’re beautiful

When we arrive at eternity’s shore
Where death is just a memory and tears are no more
We’ll enter in as the wedding bells ring
Your bride will come together and we’ll sing
You’re beautiful, You’re beautiful, You’re beautiful

And now with three posts about Phil (his Hallelujah cover is here), I’m officially a Phil Wickham UBERFAN!

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