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Posts Tagged ‘christian’

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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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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RESERVATIONS…you need them for your favorite restaurants, nice hotels, or even renting a car for a road trip. You need a reservation for just about anything important.

There is nothing more important than where you will spend eternity. And the truth is, you need a reservation for that too! In this new series at GenesisChurch.TV, we will take a look at the afterlife menu as we discuss the realities of both heaven and hell. Come this Sunday @ 9.29 or 11.01. Click here for directions.

We’ll be holding your reservation…

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Yesterday, I was watching my friend Jerad hold his newborn baby girl. There was this really, really cool moment when I caught him just watching her. She wasn’t talking, smiling, crying, or doing anything to demand his attention. In fact… she was asleep! She was just… there! And he couldn’t take his eyes off of her. He was simply watching her… and smiling.

This is what our prayer time should look like. We don’t have to jump, yell, be repetitive, or be in the correct posture to get God’s attention. Like a father who is smitten with his newborn baby, all we have to do is show up. And when we show up, I believe God is there. He is watching… and He is smiling.

But too often when we approach God we get caught up with feelings of guilt and shame. We feel like we don’t measure up and we’re consumed with reminders of where we’ve fallen short. Because of those emotions and self-accusations, we sometimes try to overcompensate with unwarranted methods in our prayers.

Honestly, looking back at times of prayer in my life, I think I may have missed it. I was trying to prove myself in my prayers or was ‘doing’ a prayer out of obligation. When in reality, I think God just wanted to take me into His arms and shield me from the cares of this world. As hard as it is to imagine, He was content to just BE with me! And even when I didn’t know how to ask for it, He wanted to give me exactly what I needed… His embrace!

“The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant.

They’re full of formulas and programs and advice,

peddling techniques for getting what you want from God.

Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.”

Matthew 5:7-8, The Message

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Servant of the Gospel

In many of my recent readings and some of my favorite podcasts, the importance and centrality of the gospel has been a running theme. Then, yesterday morning during my Bible reading, Paul describes the good news of the gospel in Colossians 1:15-23. When I came to the end of this passage, it stopped me in my tracks.

This is the gospel you heard… and of which I,

Paul, have become a servant. – Colossians 1:23b

Paul calls himself a servant. Not a servant of God, not a servant of Jesus, but a servant of the gospel ! WOW! I was floored. Literally. I was face down praying and hoping to live, love, and speak in such a way as to be worthy of that title… A Servant of the Gospel!

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