Monday, February 7, 2011

Our Love for One Another is a Witness

In Johnny Cash's song, "God's Gonna Cut You Down," he sings, "You can run on for a long time, run on for a long time, run on for a long time, sooner or later God’ll cut you down, sooner or later God’ll cut you down . . . Go tell that long tongue liar, go tell that midnight rider, tell the rambler, the gambler, the backbiter, tell them that God’s gonna cut ‘em down, tell ‘em that God’s gonna cut ‘em down . . ."
He gives a testimony, "O my goodness gracious let me tell ya the news, my head’s been wet with the midnight dew, I’ve been down on bended knee, talkin’ to the man from Galilee, He spoke to me in a voice so sweet, i thought I heard a shuffle of angels' feet, He spoke to me and my heart stood still, when He said 'Man, go do My will,' . . . You can throw your rock, and hide your hand, workin’ in the dark against your fellow man, But sure as God made black and white, what is done in the dark will be brought to the light . . ."
This song speaks about people who do not follow God, and think they are getting away with it. In the trailer for the new movie "True Grit," based on the 1968 book by Charles Portis, True Grit, this song is played. The message of that book is a similar message, where a man murders another man in the old west, and the story is of bringing him to justice. It is a great book, but that's not the point.
The point has to do with what Paul wrote about in Galatians 5:13-26, where he urged the Galatians to "walk by the Spirit, and you will not satisfy the desires of the flesh," or "live by the Spirit," (NIV) (for JC Smith :)) Hold onto that thought . . .
. . . John 13:34-35, Jesus said "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
Picture Jesus in the upper room, talking to His disciples, and he tells them a new commandment.
(Sorry, couldn't find a more manly Jesus picture--not one that was reverent. Got a better one? Send it to He's not replacing the First and Great Commandment, "Love the Lord Your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength;" He's not replacing the 2nd Great Commandment "Love your neighbor as yourself," but He's giving them a new commandment like the other two. This should flow out of your life. This command is the new bumper sticker He wants them to wear, that marks them as people trying to be like Him. The rabbi is telling His students the school mascot: Love one another.
Go back to Galatians. Paul writes to a people much like our churches today. Whether or not you believe they were in Northern or Southern Galatia, they had the same problems we have. On one hand, they struggled with legalism, where Christians believe that if they act perfectly it is the most important part of their walk with Christ. Usually these are people who define themselves by who they're against or what they don't believe in, or what they don't do. You've heard, "We don't smoke, drink, chew, or hang around those that do." Who wants to be a part of an amoeba that constantly defines itself by what others do, that it does not?
Then Galatia had the other extreme, which were the libertines, or the eccentrics carrying out their Christian liberty. A good word to describe them is irresponsible. You can spot these Christians because they believe that they prayed a prayer and now can live however they want. They do not feel guilty when they sin, or express remorse, because they think that because all sin was paid for on the cross, Jesus doesn't care. Kind of like a multi-billionaire handing us hundreds of dollars every month and not caring how we spend it because the supply seems limitless. That is also wrong.
In this context, speaking of living their lives like Christ, Paul incorporates Jesus' command in the sermon on the Mount and John 13 in the Upper Room discourse: Love your neighbor as yourself! Paul says it sums up the entire law! "So then, live by the Spirit . . ." In other words, "Because of this . . ." or "Having said that, I say to you . . ." In light of your need to stop biting and devouring each other, you need to live by the Spirit, and you will not satisfy the desires of the flesh. The two, he explains, are like oil and water and cannot co-exist. You must choose, and it isn't legalism, and it isn't irresponsible Christian hedonism, it is in the middle like Jesus. Live by the Spirit, communion with God and letting Him lead you.
Our witness is loudest in our relationships that are closest. We should be so living by the Holy Spirit that we can open our home and let people watch us argue with our spouse and see that even in our disagreements, the Holy Spirit is there and our resolution is in accordance with God the Holy Spirit. Same with our churches, so that unbelievers are awed at our love for one another. Disciples of Jesus have this. Do you? If not, are you working on it? This is something you can't put off.
Dr. Criswell, long time pastor of First Baptist Church, Dallas, TX, described this as if we all owned two dogs, one called the sinful nature and the other represented walking by the Spirit. Whichever dog you feed is going to grow stronger. So the question is "Which of your two dogs is healthy and growing, and which of your two dogs is starving?"
Lewis Sperry Chafer, in his book, He That is Spiritual, hits this nail on the head. He said that the problem is never God's fault (I'm paraphrasing), it is ours. It isn't that the Spirit isn't filling us enough, because the Holy Spirit comes into our lives completely when we are saved. The problem is us not giving Him enough of ourselves.
Don't miss this: Paul told Christians in Galatians 5 that in order to love one another, you must be living by the Spirit. You must be godly, because you can try to love someone completely like Jesus did (remember, it is "as I have loved you,"), but unless you depend on Him, your nature is not able to love others like Jesus did. The Spirit in you--Jesus who said He would be with you always, even to the end of the age--the Spirit of Christ which is the Holy Spirit--He alone gives us the power we need to love one another. In order to love one another, we have to live by the Holy Spirit.
So, then, how does what Paul is saying relate to what Jesus said in John 13? Jesus said loving one another is our ID. Paul explained that can't happen unless we are trying to be Godly. Godliness can't happen unless we surrender ourselves to the Holy Spirit. So then, how do we surrender ourselves to the Holy Spirit? Read Galatians 5:22 and following, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other."
What Paul describes is like two people walking up the ladder of Godliness.
As long as both people continue to climb upwards, they continue to get closer together. However, if one person decides to go down and give into the sinful nature, the two naturally grow farther apart.
Followers of the rabbi from Galilee, let's be people of love, an inner joy, people of peace, people who have patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness in our relationships and to our call, people of gentleness, and people who demonstrate to the world what self-control looks like. Ask the Holy Spirit to enable you to do this. Focus on this, on what we do. Love one another greatly.
Lastly, my friend from India grew up a Hindu and now is a Christ-follower. It is interesting that He said the one thing that got him, that he could not stop thinking about when he met Christians, was their love for one another. It was their treatment of each other better than family, that got him. That eventually led him to investigate and discover the Gospel, and follow Jesus. Keep reading in Galatians and chapter 6 says, "Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted." Let's risk our lives for one another, help restore the fallen followers of Jesus, help the poor brothers and sisters (as well as the poor unbelievers), and that will be a loud witness to the world who thinks we're irrelevant. Let's be disciples who show love for one another.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Knowing Jesus Means Having Compassion on People," Matthew 14:13-33

Picture a tired and grieving Jesus with His disciples, looking for seclusion, and finally finding it. He had just heard about John the Baptist’s death, and needed a moment alone. He and His disciples boarded a boat on Lake Galilee, pushed off the shore, and at last they would find seclusion.
When they reached the other side of the lake, crowds had anticipated their arrival. Was He disappointed? He had compassion on them. He began to heal their sick.
When evening came, which was 3pm for Jewish people, His disciples said to Him (Paraphrase) “this is our secluded spot we were looking for. We found it first. Send them away so they can buy themselves some food.”
Don’t you love it when people try to get you to do something by suggesting you do something else? The disciples didn’t care about them being fed as much as they cared about themselves resting.
Jesus wanted them to have the same compassion on the crowds, and He replied,
14:16, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
“We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,’ they answered.
“Bring them here to me,” he said.
Jesus directed the people to sit down. Luke tells us He divided them into groups of 50.
Jesus took the food, looked up, gave thanks, and broke the loaves of bread.
One of the most common Jewish blessings for food was, “Blessed art Thou, o Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who brings forth bread from the earth.”
Jesus possibly said that common blessing, thanking God publicly. Then Jesus gave the food to the disciples, until they were passing out food. They would return several times each and Jesus never ran out of food. He made the five loaves and two fish last for 5,000 men, and above that many women and children.
Notice: How many people did Jesus hand the food to in the crowd? None. Jesus handed the food to His disciples, and they handed food to the people.
Jesus wants to work through you to show HIS compassion through your life.
They didn’t just have enough; they had 12 baskets full. One basket for each disciple.
When you commit yourself to serve God by having compassion on people, God will take care of your needs in His way and in His time.

Jesus then sent the disciples in a boat away from that part of the lake, and then He sent the crowds away. He finally had time to rest.
If you’re available to God and watching for peoples’ needs, God will provide times of rest for you. If you avoid peoples’ needs and force times of rest, you will miss the miraculous work that God wants to do through you.
If you're thinking right now, listening to this, "I don't have any spare time now. How will I have any free time if I let people interrupt my schedule?"
If you do it to minister to them, God will take care of you and give you a season of rest in His way and in His time.

Jesus isn’t finished showing compassion. He doesn’t just require you to show compassion as His disciple.
He was by Himself, up on a mountainside praying. 14:23 tells us “when evening came,” possibly meaning the 4th watch of the night (3am-6am). Jesus was alone still in a time or resting and or prayer.
The boat was far from shore, and being “buffeted” by the waves; the wind was against it.
During the fourth watch Jesus came to them, walking on water, having compassion for His disciples caught in a storm.
Peter goes out after Jesus calls him, and Peter takes his focus off Jesus and puts it on the problems.
He cries out “Lord, save me!”
Jesus saved him, then Jesus rebuked him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
It is awesome to arrive in the safety of Jesus' hand, but it is terribly uncomfortable to leave the place of security like the boat. It is also terribly difficult sometimes to walk that space between the place of safety and where Jesus commands us to go. Yet, if Peter had stayed focused on Jesus, the story would have ended without Jesus rebuking him. Would you have succeeded?
Not even the greatest of the OT prophets walked on water. Not even deities of other cultures walked on or controlled water. They had religious texts where their gods saved sailors, but none of the other nations' gods dealt with the sea. The sea in ancient near eastern culture was a symbol for chaos and evil.
The only God immune to its appetite of swallowing people, and the only God able to calm it, is Jesus Christ God Almighty!
Matt 14:33, “Those who were in the boat worshipped Him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’”
Something else to notice here, that Jesus not only tells you to show others compassion, but He is standing there showing you compassion when you fail.
Knowing Jesus means showing compassion to people. God wants you to do that. He wants YOU to get involved.
What did Jesus say? Matthew 28 records that He told us to make disciples by going into all the world, baptizing them, and teaching them to obey all He has commanded. As we do that He is with us always.
Right now as I write, and later as you read, people are dying and going to hell.
Jesus talked about hell, and how our showing them compassion fits into their eternal destiny. He said in Matthew 16, "I will build My church, and the gates of hell will not stand against it."
In some Jewish writings, Sheol (Gehenna, Hell) is portrayed as a place with many, many gates and layers of gates as you go further in, to keep the damned inside.
Jesus is saying that though their destiny is to be trapped in the painful consequences of their sin forever, My church will liberate them from hell.
That is awesome! He wants you to be a liberator. It starts with having compassion on people.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Naaman Principle

In this entry we’re taking a look at the ministry of one of the greatest prophets in the Old Testament, Elisha. God used Elisha to accomplish more miracles than anyone else in the Old Testament; in fact, anyone else in Scripture next to Jesus. Elisha was used to perform fourteen miracles, but our focus is not on him. Our focus is on a non-Israelite, foreign, ungodly man named Naaman. How does this relate to our need to get back on track? You’ve probably figured out the thesis, but read on just to make sure.

The story unfolds in 2 Kings 5. His name means “beautiful or handsome one.” He was the commander of the army of Aram (also called Syria), under king Ben-Hadad I or II.

He was mighty in battle, and God had used him already (whether he knew it or not, we are not told). He came to Israel because he had heard from his servant girl that there was a prophet in Samaria who could cure him of his leprosy.

We’re told that the Lord granted Naaman success in battle. During one of those campaigns, Naaman capture this Israelite slave girl. Sometimes God places His people in positions of lowliness, suffering, humiliation, or forced meekness for His greater purpose. I wonder how many times the slave girl doubted God’s sovereignty. If you’re in a position like this, God still has a purpose for you, just like He intended this unnamed slave girl to direct Naaman towards His prophet, Elisha.

Naaman came from Aram, to Israel, with the blessings of his king. He brought a small treasure to pay to the king of Israel for healing him. King Joram didn’t didn’t see any way for him to be healed, and tore his clothes in distress. Elisha heard of it, and sent word that Naaman should come to Elisha and he would know there was a prophet of God in Israel.

The leader of God’s people, the king, should have known where to find the prophet of God. Instead, he saw Naaman’s approach through his own personal values, namely as a threat to his power. So Elisha texted King Joram just in time, telling him he’d take care of it.

Naaman arrived at the doorway of Elisha’s house with his entourage. Elisha didn’t go out to meet him, but sent a servant telling him to dip in the Jordan River 7 times.

Naaman, expecting to speak with Elisha himself, and expecting more ritual, was furious. His pride was wounded.

(vv. 11-12) “He turned and went off in a rage.”

Sometimes people are upset at God or God’s mouthpiece because they were expecting something different. You probably have faced this as a Christian before. When I was an Associate Pastor in Dallas, TX, one Sunday morning a lady called our church and asked, “Are women allowed to wear pants there?” We were a Baptist church, but not that kind. One of the greatest compliments I’ve heard was a friend telling me, “Nate, when I’m with you, I can’t imagine you as a pastor.” He goes to our church and is an active leader there. He further explained that he had a preconceived idea of pastor as an aloof, anti-social, stoic fossil who loved crowds but hated people.

I hope I don’t ever see one more briefcase-toting, coat and tie wearing, professional occupying his dust-free office, operating a 9-5 workday, preoccupied with programs and ministries as the solutions for sin. We need no more professionals writing how-to books. We need prophets of God, who will tell people not to promote a mosque at ground zero, or to be ashamed of themselves if they’ve never helped the poor while never missing their favorite TV show. We need people who are willing to be slandered as “friend of tax-collectors and sinners,” not excusing Jesus-style ministry in the name of “above reproach” or avoiding “slippery slope” lifestyles.

Naaman didn’t expect to be talked to by a servant, dismissed to wash on what he considered a dirty river. Sometimes the simple message of “believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved,” is insulting to your pride. Sometimes you expect God to acknowledge your physical, mental, or spiritual eliteness. Sometimes you expect God to come to you on your terms, at your time, in your place, and do things your way.

Isaiah 55:9, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Today one of the weaknesses of our churches is trying too hard to meet sinners on their terms. God doesn’t even try hard to meet sinners on their terms and offer compromise. All people must meet God on His terms, which necessitates thinking less of self and more of Him.

We must meet God on His terms. Today He says to you, your best righteous works are not valuable to Him. Only the righteous work of Jesus on the cross, Jesus in the tomb, and Jesus resurrected in the air!

Some people have been disappointed in the church because they believe the church needs to come to them and be more seeker sensitive. That is not God’s plan for His church. I recently read a great list of reasons people don’t attend sports events, if the same excuses applied as are used for leaving church. So here are reasons people leave churches applied to sporting events:

1. Every time I went, they asked me for money.

2. The people with whom I had to sit didn’t seem very friendly.

3. The seats were too hard and uncomfortable.

4. The coach never came to see me.

5. The referee made a decision with which I could not agree.

6. I was sitting with some hypocrites–they only came to see what others were wearing.

7. Some games went into overtime, and I was late getting home.

8. The band played numbers I had never heard before.

9. The games are scheduled when I want to do other things.

10. My parents took me to too many games when I was growing up.

11. Since I read a book on sports, I feel that I know more than the coaches anyway.

12. I don’t want to take my children, because I want them to choose for themselves what sport they like best (Charles R. Swindoll, The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart, s.v. “excuses.”).

God doesn’t want to make a deal with you regarding your cleansing. He doesn’t take bribes, accept acts of penance, or need our offerings in order for us to be healed. It is only by God’s grace—His giving us what we didn’t earn and should not have—that we receive healing.

It is only by God overlooking Naaman’s status as outside the covenant people, that Naaman received God’s mercy. It is only by God overlooking our status as sinful people that we receive God’s mercy. It is only God giving good works, God giving righteousness, God giving all that we are healed. Jesus’ death and resurrection are the only good works that can pay for ultimate healing, and God did that for you. Free of cost!

God has a storehouse of treasure and He wants you to withdraw out of His account, freely!

What happens next with Naaman?

For the second time, his healing is influenced by his servants. It was an Israelite servant girl who gave him the idea of going to Elisha, and now God again used the humble to influence the mighty.

Notice what Elisha did and did not do:

He left Naaman alone for God to deal with him. Too many times, when we tell someone about Jesus and the need to follow Him, we break out our spiritual first aid kit and rush like a paranoid field medic to the scene. We believe we will be the influencing force for their salvation. God is the only influence for salvation.

Elisha did not chase Naaman. God did. Pastors, church leaders, those who have family members who reject Christ, and all who have told the Gospel while being mocked and jeered: God is still able to save, and He’s the only one who ever could in the first place. Don’t chase. Let God chase.

As this applies to winnowing out the wheat of our churches and making disciples like Jesus Christ, there will be seed that falls by the wayside, on thorns, on rocky soil, and on fertile soil. The fertile soil seed is what we must focus on. If some drop off and decide to reject the tightening of the screws, and the harder practice so that the chance of winning the game is greater, then we must let God chase them.

Naaman put his pride aside and followed Elisha’s advice.

What was his response? After seeing the results he praised God!

5:15, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel.”

Gehazi, witnessing God work, could only think of the money Elisha was passing up. Gehazi desired the money, and snuck later and lied, taking the money. Gehazi then lied to Elisha about taking the money. God cursed Gehazi with leprosy and all his descendants.

Note: Sometimes the people on the outside understand more about God than the people on the inside

What does this have to do with following Jesus? Jesus gave a commentary on this passage, saying it applied to Himself.

Turn to Luke 4. Jesus told us why God healed Naaman and Naaman came to recognize the One True God, about how God chose to heal a foreigner and be glorified through that man’s healing rather than healing one of the many leprous Israelites. Why did God choose to do this? Jesus said it was because of the very reason Nazareth rejected Him.

Luke 4:22–27 (READ IT)

Part 1 of what Jesus said is this:

If God’s people reject Him, God will go outside and find those who are faithful.

If you tell God “No,” God will find another to take your place who is willing to say, “Yes.”

Romans 11 tells us about this happening to Israel, God’s chosen people:

Romans 11:7–12 (READ IT)

Today we stand at a crossroads, where we have the decision Naaman had.

Are we similar today to the Israel Elisha lived in? Are God’s people today giving into idols and derailed from the mission of the church?

Jesus said to go into all the world and make disciples of every nation. Are you doing that?

America used to be the most involved in training and sending people for the Kingdom work. Now God is doing that work in Asian churches, and African churches, and South American churches. Before America, it was England who birthed William Carey, Hudson Taylor, and the 1800’s missionary movement that sent thousands all over the world.

Today South Korea has the largest church the Yoida Full Gospel Church which averages 800,000 people in attendance every Sunday. That means nothing, unless there is more. And there is. They purchased a mountain called Prayer Mountain, where anyone can come and pray. They send out missionaries all over the world and send out church planters all over the world.

In China, the underground church is training missionaries to go into Muslim countries that are closed. This is a closed country where Christians are persecuted, sending missionaries to countries where Christians are persecuted.

What are you doing with all the comforts and freedom you have?

We can:

1) throw away the words of God Who is saying to do something different and possibly uncomfortable

2) accept what is an unexpected word from God in an unexpected way

We can trust that God really does want you to take seriously Jesus’ requirements for following Him.

Part 2 of what Jesus said about Naaman is this:

Jesus had a habit of stirring the pot. He could have walked out of Nazareth with their lipservice approval. But he knew they were telling him what he wanted to hear. Like where we live sometimes. You and I would have to be foolish to believe everything people say about us, especially what people say to me.

#1 question you need to ask is not “What will people think about me?” but “Am I converted?” If you’re saved, then from what? Do you do those old sinful things? If you do, can you really say God saved you from it? John Wesley wrote after years of ministry, that he was not a Christian, but he desperately hoped to become one. Where are the ones who will consider that part of their salvation is their cross?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Surviving Temptation (Knowing God: David pt 3)

The story of David and Bathsheba is the story of forbidden lust; er, I mean, forbidden love. All because David and Bathsheba did not survive temptation.
Today I want to give you 3 steps for surviving temptation. They are road markers as you walk through your life. You will need to keep this near you every year. If you follow these steps, you will increase your chances of surviving your next encounter with temptation.

David should have been leading his army as most kings did, but he neglected his military responsibility.
Step #1, Be where you are supposed to be
This means when you’re supposed to be at work, be there. When you’re supposed to be with your family, be there. When you’re supposed to be at our worship gathering, be there. When you’re supposed to be at our worship gathering, be there! (you get it) When you’re supposed to be at school, be there! When you are supposed to be in a place of Bible study and prayer, be there. This is so important. David wasn't leading his people as their King as he was supposed to be leading his people. He was laying on his bed, idle, and then walking out on his rooftop.
Discipleship Journal surveyed the most common sins amongst their readers. They found the most common ones were:
1-Materialism, 2-Pride, 3-Self-centeredness, 4-Laziness, 5-Tie between a) Sexual lust, and b) Anger/Bitterness, 6-Envy, 7-Gluttony, 8-Lying
They also found that 81% of survey respondents noted temptations were more potent when they had neglected their time with God; 57% when they were physically tired.
On resisting temptation: 84% said that resisting temptation was accomplished by prayer; 76% said avoiding compromising situations; 66% said with Bible study; 52% said by being accountable to someone.
Are you using your position and free time to be where you are not supposed to be? If so, you are preparing yourself to fall into sin.
Be where you’re supposed to be.

Step #2, Think what you are supposed to think
David’s 2nd problem was that he was not thinking what he was supposed to be thinking. If you’re not where you should be, then neither will your mind be where it should be.
He was restless. In v. 2, he was so restless he got up out of bed and wandered around. That’s when he found trouble.
Has that ever happened to you? Your mind wanders? Late at night, trying to sleep? The best advice I can give you if you can’t sleep is this: If you can’t sleep, don’t count sheep, talk to the shepherd.
David only had to look and a woman was bathing down below. Bathsheba knew she was in the king’s sight, probably in an open courtyard on their property. She had placed herself within David’s sights. Also, in v. 4, we’re told she had purified herself from her uncleanliness, which according to the law meant that she was available.
2 Corinthians 10:5 says, “we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
There will always be a Bathsheba, out in the open, setting a trap for you to fall into. There will be something you want that you know you shouldn’t have, right within your reach!
Christian men, you’d better set up walls of Bible verses around your mind or your unwalled city will be invaded! Christian women you'd better set up walls around your mind or your unwalled city will be invaded. Proverbs tells us a man without self-control is like a city without walls.
At this point, David should have sent someone to Bathsheba and said, “Don’t bathe outside where I can see you!” But what does he do? He sent someone to get her so he could have her. C. S. Lewis writes, in The Screwtape Letters, when speaking of how the devil can conquer believers, “The long, dull monotonous years of middle-aged prosperity or middle-aged adversity are excellent campaigning weather.”
You will be tempted sometime in the future to let your mind wander, and if you do, it probably will not land in a safe place.
Satan is the Master of the suckerpunch, disguised as an angel of light. He will lie to you. And you will convince yourself that you are innocently bringing glory to God! But then you will discover guilt, shame, and pain!
Proverbs 5 warns against the temptation of sin saying, “Keep to a path far from her, do not go near the door of her house, lest you give your best strength to others and your years to one who is cruel, lest strangers feast on your wealth and your toil enrich another man’s house. At the end of your life you will groan, when your flesh and body are spent. You will say, ‘How I hate discipline! How my heart spurned correction! I would not obey my teachers or listen to my instructors. I have come to the brink of utter ruin in the midst of the whole assembly.” You’ll say “I blew it! I wasted my life!” Don’t waste your life. Think what you are supposed to think.
God’s purpose for your mind is for you to be transformed by the renewing of your mind, one Bible verse at a time. Today, it’s 2 Cor 10:5. When you memorize that, move onto another one.

So here we go: Be where you're supposed to ___, and Think what you're supposed to ___, and step #3, in surviving temptation is Do what you are supposed to ___. That's right, do.
David violated all three principles. The author of 2 Samuel 11 records 4 times where David sent for something. In Hebrew, it is the word sha-lah, “to send, or dispatch,” a right of the King or authority figure. The excitement of sin filled David and he used the authority of his position to satisfy his lust and cover up his sin.
You want to yell into the cedar walls of David’s palace, “Stop! Don’t do it!” But he did it. David fell headfirst into sin.
One of my pastor friends in Mexico, Pastor David, and I would go out for supplies sometimes. And whenever we saw a pretty girl, short David in his high pitched voice would nudge me and say, “Fuego, fuego!” “Fire, fire!”
Not this David. He got burned.
Notice how quickly King David acted. He didn’t consult anyone, or spend time romancing Bathsheba, but it was a one night stand, based on what he could get out of it. God had told Samuel that David was a man after His own heart. Up until now, in Scripture he was a godly man. 4 chapters earlier, God made a permanent promise with him that he would always have an heir on the throne. David defeated the giant Goliath and thousands of Philistines and was the most feared warrior king in the middle east! Yet he could not conquer himself.
Here he was, showing he was also a depraved sinner, even though he was used by God. After discovering that Bathsheba was pregnant with David’s child, David had her husband killed, and for 9 months lived a lie.
I watched this second hand many years ago. One of my friends fell morally about 10 years ago, and I’ll never forget walking with him through the process of public confession and removal from his ministry.
Have you given into sin? Have you followed David’s bad example? You can say you don’t feel bad, but that’s just a cover up. If you believe in God, and are a follower of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit lives in you and has been needling you.
David wrote about his experience of torture in Psalm 32, saying, “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.”
You will be tempted to cover up your sin. The greatest tool for unplugging Christians from church is secret sin.
But there is Good news:
1st piece of good news—There is a way out. I love it how for everything bad that the world offers the Bible has good news to counter it! There is good news for temptation and sin today!
It’s called Doing what you’re supposed to do. 1 Cor 10:13 says, “but God is faithful, Who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with every temptation will provide a way of escape so you can bear it.”
God has always has a fire exit for His people! He always has a lifeboat that you can find! You can never say, “God abandoned me!” He will provide a way of escape. Awesome!
When tempted you need to look for the way of escape. Next time, Pray for the way out!
I’m not here this morning to beat you up because of your sin, because I have sinned too. I will sin sometime in the future too.
2nd piece of good news—2 Samuel 12, when David was met by God through his servant Nathan the Prophet. David finally did what he was supposed to do.
Your sin can be forgiven. In 2 Samuel 12:13, David says, “I have sinned against the Lord.” What was God’s response? “The Lord has taken away your sin.” There were consequences, but God had taken away his sin.
Doing what you need to do means saying to God “I have sinned,” and you will find that God is “slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness.” God word says, “as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” God’s word says, “Come, let us reason together, though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” God’s word says, “if we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness!”
David sent and used his authority, but God sent His word by His authority through His prophet to talk about God’s omnipotence! All powerful! He can forgive any sin, as many times as you commit it. If you need to feel clean and healed, and get back on your feet, God sent Jesus to die for not one, two, three, four, 20, 100 of your sins, but all of your sin! And He will forgive you. Do you believe this? In Psalm 32, David didn’t end on a bad note. He writes, “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’—and You forgave the guilt of my sin.” Come to God this morning. Be where you should be, Think, and Do what you are supposed to think, and do. Come to God.

A Heart of Obedience (Knowing God: David pt 1)

Where is your heart? A boy in children’s hospital, was very disobedient. The nurses couldn’t’ control him. One day a visitor had the idea to use positive reinforcement. She said, “If you are good for a week, I’ll give you a dime when I come again.” A week later, she stood before his bed. The boy was hiding underneath his covers. “I’ll tell you what,’ she said, “I won’t ask the nurses if you behaved. You must tell me yourself. Do you deserve the dime?” After a moment’s pause, a small voice from among the sheets said, “Gimme a penny.”

Today we're looking at David, but you can’t fully appreciate King David until you know about King Saul. So, I want to tell you a summary of the end of King Saul’s reign and the beginning of David’s, and then some principles we can glean from this story.

The main idea as you scroll down this blog is right here: If you obey God, it shows you have a heart for God, and you will be blessed by God.

Meet Saul.

1 Samuel 9 describes him as “an impressive young man without equal among the Israelites—a head taller than any of the others.” In the original language this communicates the idea that Saul was great, and the language in 9:1 for Kish being a “man of standing” most likely means wealthy, successful, prosperous—a powerful man. Saul too was impressive. Unusually tall. He was outwardly everything Israel wanted in a king. Money, power, strength, easy to look at.
At the 2009 Political Awards, I mean “Academy Awards,” this was the same tone as when Sean Penn talked about his admiration of the newly elected president Barak Obama, calling him an articulate man and other compliments, gaining applause from the audience. He looks good, acts good, and we can physically follow him.
Saul had the opportunity to be Israel’s greatest king, but he blew it. He was anointed by God, and told by Samuel in 1 Samuel 10:8, “Go down ahead of me to Gilgal. I will surely come down to you to sacrifice burnt offerings, but you must wait seven days until I come to you and tell you what you are to do.” After his anointing, Saul was filled with the Spirit and prophesied, and 11:6, “the Spirit of God came upon him in power,” and Saul led God’s people to victory!
Disobedience #1, But Saul disobeyed God!
How? He Offered sacrifices instead of waiting for Samuel (1 Sam 13:11–14)
What’s the big deal? That was Saul’s response. He said, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Micmash, I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.”
Principle #1 Sometimes you don’t understand why you should obey God. But you still should obey Him.
At this point, Samuel rebuked Saul and said, “the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.”
Disobeying God costs you.

Disobedience #2: He spared the evil King instead of obeying God and being God’s instrument of judgment (1 Sam 15:20–23)
Principle #2, obedience is more important to God than sacrifice
Sometimes you won’t see the reason to obey God. But you should anyway. Saul’s actions showed he didn’t value the things God values; he accepted the anointing by God, but then ruled for his own reasons. Again, in 1 Samuel 15:20–21, Saul made excuses for his direct disobedience.
Matthew Henry, in his comment on this passage, gives one explanation of why people swat away God’s commands and disobey Him. “God bade him kill all, and yet he puts in among the instances of his obedience that he brought Agag alive, which he though was as good as if he had killed him. Thus carnal deceitful hearts think to excuse themselves from God’s commandments with their own equivalents.”
Read 1 Samuel 15:22–23
When you disobey God, you reveal your heart is not like His. Like hijacking an airplane, so people hijack God’s plan and twist it into their own. It should be more like the military. An order is given from the Commander-in-chief, and we as His soldiers obey Him!
How can you check if you are obeying God? Ask yourself:
Is God the most important person in your life?
Do you love others? Like other people?
Do you do what God tells you to do through the Bible?

These are important questions to spend a minute and think about. So please, pause, and stop everything to answer them.

I also decided to write down why people disobey God, and not just "those guys," but why "WE" disobey God. Here's a list I came up with:
1. God is not seen, and His presence not always felt, and He gives grace instead of having a lightning bolt to zap people with.
2. It’s hard to obey God. It makes you feel uncomfortable
3. Obeying God separates you from people who want nothing to do with God.
4. In the end, if a person will not obey God, it is because your heart is not like His, there is no motivation, there is no fear of God. You have forgotten that your God is a consuming Fire. You have forgotten that your God is going to be all that is left of life as you know it, and you will need to cling to Him because every plant, animal, and person will depend directly on Him! You have forgotten that He made you, and He bought you!
If I have just described you, you need to confess that attitude, wake up, and know what God wants and then do it! That’s it! No more, add nothing to it. Just that.

There are just 2 choices before us when we read about Saul versus David. You are already walking down one of two paths. Either you are deciding when you will obey God, and when you won’t, and keeping God in a corner, or
Choice #2, you are Knowing God more, and then obeying Him.

Now the opposite, let’s meet David, described as the least of all Jesse’s sons, relegated to the grunt work, and “ruddy,” or reddish and rugged. It is the same word used to describe Esau when he was born, with his red hair all over his body. The Hebrew literally says David has “beautiful eyes.” Not from a powerful family, but a family of shepherds. Not a head taller, but young enough to be a boy, probably teenage years or young adult (though this is debated. He will marry not long into the future, and we will find out later on, when he challenges Goliath, that he fought a lion and bear and beat them).

God said in 1 Samuel 13:14, “. . . the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people, because you have not kept the lord’s command.” Still following David's story, he was anointed by God, through Samuel, just like Saul(1 Sam 16:7).

Saul and David had the same prophet, same anointing, same promise of a kingdom that would last forever, but different attitudes of obedience, because of different hearts!
Don’t miss that! It’s the most important part of this story!

David courageously fought Goliath; he did not attack Saul though many thought he should have. Let me continue just a little longer to show how David was a man of honor and integrity.
1. David asked God if he should fight certain battles and obeyed God
2. 1 Samuel 23:2 against the Philistines
3. 1 Samuel 30 outnumbered to rescue his family
4. 2 Samuel 5:19, 23, and God told him to wait until they heard the sound of marching in the top of the trees, then to act promptly.
When you obey God you reveal that you have a heart like His.

Wrapping up, here are some principles to walk away with:

1. Sometimes you don’t see the reason why you should obey God but you should still obey Him.
a. Disobeying God costs you.
b. Sometimes you don’t see the reason why you should obey God.
c. Sometimes you have a better plan than God does, but you don't.
If you are living that story, please trust God, that His plan is a better one.
2. Obedience is more important to God than sacrifice
3. When you disobey God, you reveal your heart is not like His.
4. When you obey God, you reveal that your heart IS like His. You value the things that God values!
If you're asking, "What should I do?"
Ask yourself:
i. Are there areas of your life where you are not obeying God?
ii. Are you daily obeying Him?
Check on this too:
i. Is God the most important person in your life?
ii. Do you love others?
iii. Do you do what God tells you to do through the Bible?

Did God bless David for his obedience? Big time! 2 Sam 7:8–17, the Davidic Covenant, the promise that one of David’s heirs would be the Messiah of Israel!
We have seen through Saul and David's comparisons, that if you obey God, it shows you have a heart like God's, and you will be blessed by God.
Why not obey God today?

God is Calling Your Name (Knowing God: Samuel)

Emily and I took our family to Menard’s recently and had one of those parental nightmares. After I scoured the shelves for the right size screws and bolts to fix some new furniture in preparation for our new baby, I looked down and Tommy was gone. I quickly checked the next aisle, and the next, and eventually Trinity and I made a long 30 min lap around half of the huge store, calling his name in the garden center, the wood, insulation, everywhere! I called my wife on my cell phone and realized he had found her. I was exhausted after that. Every possible evil intent a kidnapper could have flooded through my brain and I batted them away, telling God I was trusting Him. Tommy didn’t answer me because he was too far away to hear me.
Another scary event happened to some friends of ours. They lost their daughter for 2hrs. The parents had similar reactions, and called her name, and the authorities were involved, until finally she came out from hiding. When they called, she didn’t recognize their voices because she had fallen asleep. She wasn't listening.
I'm not trying to terrify you, but one more story. My daughter was riding her bike last week and took off for the busy road as fast as she could. I called her, yelling for her to stop, but she didn’t listen. I called her again and she didn’t listen, a third time, and I heard my voice echo off the buildings near her, and knew she could hear me, but she did not obey.
Are all of these stories to tell you about terrifying children’s tales? Am I trying to frighten you? These stories all have a piece of what not to do when God calls your name. God called a young boy named Samuel, and Samuel was not too far away to hear Him, he was not asleep when his name was called (he recognized it), and when he knew God was calling him, he obeyed.
God will call you if you belong to Him, and tell you what to do. The question is: will you be ready?

Today you can leave here taking with you three helpful steps for how to respond when God is calling your name.
We look at 1 Samuel 3:1–3 and the story of a young man whose barren mother Hannah dedicated him to serve the Lord when he was a toddler. Samuel was a student of Eli, the priest at Shiloh, where the ark of the covenant was kept in the tabernacle. One of the commands of the Law was that the priests were to continually keep the lamp candles burning in the tabernacle all night long, and Samuel was near the ark and the lamp, most likely keeping it going. (READ IT, 1 Samuel 3:1-3)

First, in verses 1–3 Samuel was close to God. How do you prepare to respond when God calls your name? The answer is to sit close to God. In order to hear God’s voice, you need to be close to Him. Just like Samuel was near the ark, and Eli was farther away (a description of his spiritual state), you need to position yourself close to God.
In those days it meant being near the visible presence of the Tabernacle and the ark. Today it means spending time devoted to God in private worship and public worship. You need to participate on Sundays, but also at your home, when you work, with your family, with your friends. You need to always be near to God.
Notice it was rare to hear God’s voice in those days. Sometimes people get impatient when they wait and wait and wait and don’t hear anything. Samuel was persistent to do his duty for worship and stay as close to God as anyone could physically be!
At the carnival a couple weeks ago, it was busy and people were shouting and trying to get you to try their rides and buy their goods, and unless you were close to them, you couldn’t hear them.
My son Tommy couldn’t hear me calling him (for his own good), because he was too far away!
(A) Sit close to God. This week, tomorrow, give God 15 minutes of reading your Bible and 15 minutes of prayer. You will be on the road to a beginner’s level of daily devotions and putting yourself closer to Him. This is a step towards understanding Him and obeying Him.

The second step for responding when God calls, is to look what Samuel did when he heard a voice. He asked the man of God if he was calling his name. He looked in the right place for clarification that God was calling him. Even though Eli was not perfect, he got this one right. He knew how to hear God, even if he didn’t obey God.
So, if you're keeping track, write down #2, Make sure it is God speaking to you. In order to know what God wants, you need to verify God’s voice.
There are all kinds of voices out there, like New Age voices, liberal political voices, conservative political voices, socialist voices, capitalist voices, cutting edge voices, traditional voices, talk show voices, pleasing and enticing voices, scary and violent voices, and you need to know how God speaks to you. This only comes through practice of listening to Him. It involves discipline. Most of us won’t hear audible voices. Most of us will hear God through reading His word and prayer and doing that every day. Most of us will get affirmation from another person who is also following Jesus.
Like my friend whose daughter could not respond because she was asleep, so some of you are sleep in your faith! You don’t hear God because you don’t care about the Bible! You don’t value spending time with the one who died for your sin on the cross! You don’t hear because you don’t bother to verify Him. The first book that comes out saying, “God wants every Christian to be a millionaire” makes you foam at the mouth. The radio speaker says, “the world will end in 2012” and you say, “Must be God” without verifying!
Ask anyone who has served in the military and they will tell you about the training and discipline in learning the important lesson of distinguishing the right voice from the false ones. They must learn to hear only their drill instructor or the distraction could cost someone their life.
Are you that focused and waiting to hear from God? If you don't know what He sounds like, that's your first item of business. Isolate His voice from the rest.
How can we be sure it is God speaking?
This is my threefold test I use when making decisions and think I'm hearing God speaking to me: a) does it agree with the Bible? If it does not, then it isn't God. If it does, then continue to question "B." B) does the Spirit confirm it in prayer? When you pray, if you don't feel the Spirit confirming your decision, move to question "c." C) does your church family confirm it? If everyone else you know who is following Jesus thinks you're crazy, then maybe you are! But if the answer to all three questions was "Yes, yes, yes," then most likely God is calling you to do something.
And let me add one more, very important part of finding God's will. Unless you have salvation through Jesus Christ, you will never hear God’s voice. The Holy Spirit in your heart is how God communicates today, and through that same Spirit opening your eyes as you read the Bible that God Himself put here for your benefit. Unless you have faith in Jesus alone that He paid for your sin through dying on the cross and rising again, and unless you believe that, unless you follow Him, you might as well give up on ever knowing God’s will for your life.
Or you can come to Him now, confess every sin, believe in His death and resurrection (I love the resurrection), and commit to follow Him and begin to know His will. Pray that today and tell Him, and the Bible says you are saved from hell and going to heaven, and going in first class. The Bible says the angels throw a party for you if you trust in Jesus Christ today! (Luke 15:7, 10)

Again, if the answer to those three above questions was "Yes, yes, yes," then you'd better do what you think God is telling you to do. That leads to the final step, which is what happens when Eli directs Samuel. Eli tells him the next time he hears a voice calling, "Samuel, Samuel!" to reply, "Speak Lord, for Your servant is listening."
So #3, Say yes when you’re sure it is God speaking. Knowing God means saying yes to whatever God will say in the future.
That takes guts! My daughter did not do that, and suffered a serious consequence. So too, you who call yourself a Christian and ignore the conviction of the Holy Spirit of God day after day, week after week, weekend after weekend, you are also going to suffer a serious consequence.
Look at the text. God says his name twice, like God did on the mountain where Abraham sacrificed Isaac (really himself) to God, and like God said to Moses at the burning bush. God said to Samuel, the most prominent male prophet since Moses, “Samuel, Samuel!”
Did Samuel wait to hear what God wanted before he said yes? Did he? No. He said yes first. Samuel gave God a blank check, and said, “I’m Yours! Here I am!” Samuel obeyed. Will you? Will you say yes when you’re sure it is God speaking?

Saying yes to God will cost you. Samuel was not always popular, he was sometimes lonely, he had fame, but he didn’t have many friends. He had an angry King Saul to contend with, and had to do some brutal, hard work. If you’re not afraid of that, go ahead and tell God “Speak to me Lord, for Your servant is listening.”
So pray to God to speak to you, as you make time to be close to Him. Make sure it's Him speaking when you think you hear something. Finally, say, "Yes."

Monday, August 16, 2010

Father's Day 2010: Building a Godly House

A man walked out of his truck, into the hardware store, and asked “Can I get some 4 X 2’s?” the lady at the counter said, “Excuse me? Don’t you mean 2 X 4’s?” The man shook his head, “No, I mean 4 X 2’s.” She shook her head, “I think you mean 2 X 4’s” The confused man held up his finger, and went back to his truck, talked with the guys in the truck for a few minutes, and then came back to the store. He said, “Yeah, I mean 2 X 4’s.” the lady asked, “How long do you need ‘em?” The man replied, “We’re gonna need ‘em for a loooooong time.”

I wouldn’t want to go near that house they were building, would you? God has guidelines for building a spiritual house in your home. Fathers, believe it or not, have a huge role to play in building a Godly house.
Fathers need direction, help on how to love their wives handle their kids. You want them to grow up right, be godly, think of you as Superman. This Bible tells you how to do that

The Bible gives us a foundational verse in Joshua 24:15, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
The Bible also gives us Framing verses, in Deuteronomy 6:4, which are repeated in the Old and New Testaments in different ways. Let’s read Deuteronomy 6:4–9 (READ IT)

Today you’ll finish reading this with parts for building a Godly house. Just as a physical house has the frame, the interior, and the exterior (pardon my overly simplistic reference, it makes good preaching) so spiritually you want that for your house.
The first section of your house found in Deuteronomy 6 is this: Your Identity should be to love God and obey God with everything you are. Fathers are supposed to love God with every part of their lives (READ 6:4-6). Heart and soul communicate in Hebrew the mental and emotional, the conscious and the unconscious, the entire non-physical part of you. That means you should be loving God with your thoughts, your feelings, your plans, your ideas, your jokes, what you listen to, and what words you use. It should be your identity.
In the Riverside service baptism, those of us who went into the mighty Pec came out drenched. After changing into new clothes, those of us who passed out water bottles in the parade did so during a downpoor! Drenched! Many of us experienced this! Just as if you came out of a river or a clean bath, so you should be drenched with God and His commandments.
Is that true of you? Or do you love something more than God?
Your identity should reflect your title of “Christian.” Tom Landry said when he was coach of the Dallas Cowboys, that the first quality they looked for in every athlete they drafted was character. If character wasn’t there, then it didn’t matter how talented or big the player was, their bad character would eventually ruin everything else.
Christian fathers, is your character godly? When you’re alone, are you God’s man? Is God a part of your Sunday ritual, or is God always the one making your decisions?
Build a Godly house. Your Identity should be to love God and obey God with everything you are.

If you have never surrendered yourself to God—this is first. Prime Directive. Numero Uno. Put down the housebuilding tools and step away from the foundation. You need to start over, because without God your house will definitely fall. The Bible says “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.” You need to make sure you have believed in Jesus’ giving his life for your sin, and you own that sin, and you own that death and resurrection, and God will live in you and give you the ability to love and obey Him. If you’re trying to obey God or love God without knowing Jesus Christ, you are chasing your tail! If you are trying to build a Godly house without following Jesus Christ, your house will fall down. So rebuild the foundation starting with following Jesus' teachings.

Now to the interior of your Godly house. Your impression on your children should be for them to follow your example and love and obey God. You need to Immerse them in God’s ways. (READ 6:7-9). Fathers are supposed to immerse their children in God’s commandments. It means in every aspect of your life, fathers, you are supposed to speak to and demonstrate obedience and submission to God. That means telling your kids why you do what you do. Why do you bring your kids to church Sundays? Why don’t you watch dirty movies on TV (besides your wife getting mad at you)? Why do you pray before you eat? Why do you read your Bible? Why do you cry when we’re singing about what Jesus Christ did on the cross for your sin? Tell your kids.
I'm not just saying this, but trying to do this myself and it's hard sometimes. But we keep trying. When I was trying to tell my daughter about her need to follow Jesus and find salvation in Him, I brought up the truth about hell. After she understood what hell was, and who ends up there, she was silent for a long time. Then she said, “I don’t want to go to hello.” After I tried clarifying, "No, it's called 'hell,'" she paused again, then said, "I don't want to go to hell today." I'm not perfect, but like you men who are trying, so I'm trying too to explain God's fingerprints in creation as we are walking and talking about animals and plants, stars, moon, and how God made it all.
Notice “Hear o Israel!” this is not just for fathers, but this is something parents do together.
Wives, let the father lead, and don’t quit when he starts. Why should the father lead? A) if you lead, the man won’t participate; B) your kids need to see their father’s faith to help increase their chances of having a stronger faith. (Pause while I receive the stones from the angry ones, thinking I'm neanderthal--to those I urge you to research a father's presence for adolescents and its influence in adult children. You'll agree with me that the role of a father is the single most important factor in a child becoming an emotionally healthy person).
The best way you can teach your kids God’s love is by loving them.

How do kids spell L.O.V.E.? T.I.M.E.
And train your children without anger! Resist that temptation! Go outside and have a stress break (like smoke break)—but leave if you’re about to blow!
The Bible says to leave your father and mother and cleave to your wife, and sometimes you have to leave your children or else you feel like cleaving them alright! Ephesians 6:1-4 (READ IT) Without anger. Colossians 3:21 also says, “Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.”
Love your children.
A Spanish father and son had a terrible, argumentative relationship. The son finally ran away. The father searched and searched for him, but couldn’t find him. Finally he put an ad in the paper, saying, “Dear Paco, meet me in front of this newspaper office at noon on Saturday. All is forgiven. I love you, your Father.” On Saturday at noon, Paco showed up. So did 800 other men named Paco, all looking for forgiveness and love from their fathers.
Do you get what God wants for you as a father? To love Him and demonstrate that to your children.

We've got the foundation and frame, the interior, and now the exterior. Yes! That means landscaping (my forte). Your impression on the world should be for them to follow your example and love and obey God too. Fathers are supposed to publicly show their love for God and obedience to Him. READ 6:8-9) What does that mean? All of those external markings and symbols mean one thing; that is a public reminder to yourself and a public testimony that God owns you, and you belong to Him.
Like signing your name to the title to a vehicle, or some people tattoo their lover’s name on their arm—it shows ownership and faithfulness!
This means fathers should not set the example that your love and obedience to God are things to be ashamed of.
Like the flower must open up in order to spread pollen and reproduce itself, so you must man up in order to see your children one day follow God!
Men, will you build a Godly house? Or will you refuse God's power and try it on your own?

in Jesus,