Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Real American Idol

This is going to be a controversial post. It will also be easy to misunderstand.

The biggest idol in America today is children.

While it is true that children are under attack and there is more abuse today. While it is true that child molesters are treated too lightly and there are too many in poverty.

But in middle and upper class America- children have become idols.

I work in a wonderful school. I feel a lot of support and encouragement- but my heart grieves over the average parenting style.

There used to be a saying- "When momma's not happy - no one is happy"

Today that quote is - "When little Johnny's not happy- no one is happy"

Kids today are given more leisure and doting attention today than in any time in history. The average middle and upper class kid has experienced so much leisure and life experiences, that they are bored and soft- and cry at the least discomfort.

Parents are kids buddies and I have seen moms and dads tremble before their idols when they whine.

The results have been very destructive:

We spend more money that ever seeking the perfect upbringing for our children. Ballet, tennis, golf, voice lessons, travel soccer, sunday A.M. basketball, year round baseball, gymnastics, martial arts, travel, T.V., no chores, carted around carte blanche, concerts, movies, big ticket restaurants, cell phones, shopping sprees, ipods.

Sadly, the materialism has led to thanklessness and selfishness.

We believe our kids first over authority figures. I rarely ever have a parent check with me to see if their kid's version of a situation is accurate. They call angry- ready to support their kid over me. When I explain my side of the story, they often calm down and apologize. I call it the speed of the internet and the accuracy of the weatherman.

We tear down coaches and teachers who draw hard lines and discipline. Teachers and coaches are leaving the profession because the parents seem unreasonable and unbearable.

I know a coach who suspended a kid for lying, missing practice, and having a bad attitude. The parents requested a meeting with his superior and asked that the coach be removed.

Parents let their children pick their school, their clothes, their music, and their friends without any input at all. I will say, "Are you going to let them choose heroin or not- or you at least going to put your foot down sometime."

WAKE UP AMERICA- love your kids by saying no- let them feel some loss- don't dote on them all the time- support authority- discipline- make it hard sometimes-hold back some life experiences for later in life- tell them what you want and expect them to do it!

In the end, they will love you for it.

Love your children- but please- stop worshipping them.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Reaction to "End of the Spear"

In a world that unnaturally strains to voice praise of "Brokeback Mountain" God quietly continues the victory lap of truth and redemption.

The movie, 'End of the Spear" is the true story of the missionaries martyred in Ecuador and how the gospel spead to the tribe that killed them, ending generations of senseless brutality and superstition.

I had several strong impressions from the movie.

The tribe had a religious belief that centered around becomming man enough to jump the "great boa" at death. I'm always startled at how indigenous faiths mirror the truth of the gospel story. We do need to battle the great boa - that serpent named Lucifer- but not with the power of killing, but with the humility and love of Christ.

What a beautiful, emotional, and powerful story! I trembled and shed many tears.

As I walked out of the theatre, it was a sun smiled snowy day in Nashville. With a few drying tears, I once again cried out a prayer of thanks to my King! Lord, let me give my work and life to carry this glorious message of forgiveness and peace!

The gospel goes forth in brokeness- yet it is unbreakable.
It goes forward despite setbacks- it is unshakable
Human tragedy is just a tapestry of glory in the Master's hand
It goes forth despite my shame and sin- the truth of my condition does not hinder it
How remarkable- How wondrous
If you sneer and mock this story- how will you escape if you ignore such a glorious salvation?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


BREAKTHROUGH VICTORY- Stories of Courage in the Kingdom of

After some early success in England, the ministry of the Church took a
big hit in 616 A.D.

The great King Ethelbert passed away as did King Sabart of the Saxons.
The sons of both of these kings were gross idolators and quickly
abandoned the faith of their fathers.

Angry at the Church and rejecting its message, the sons began a campaign
of persecution and rebuke against God’s ministers.

Three godly Christian leaders, Laurence, Justis, and Mellitus, met
together and came to the conclusion that it was time to leave the work
of the gospel in England. Their reasoning seemed so sound- ‘It is better
to serve God in freedom, than to live impotently among heathen who have
rejected the faith.”.

On the very night that Laurence was to leave – He lay down in the church
and had long fervent prayers for the sadly afflicted church. He prayed
long into the night and fell into a deep sleep.

It was at this time that Peter appeared to him in a dream. Peter
actually scourged him and with apostolic sternness asked why he was
abandoning the flock. Peter said, “I suffered chains, blows,
imprisonment- even death. Have you forgotten my example?”

Laurence awoke- deeply moved- and requested an audience with the King.
He showed King Eadbald the scourge marks and explained that the pain was
endured for his salvation.

King Eadbald was so moved, that he renounced his idolatry, accepted the
Christian faith, and was baptized. He began supporting the welfare of
the church with all means at his disposal.

Recorded by Bede- Ecclesiastical History of the English People/

God’s Kingdom is always victorious and the gospel is never hindered. In
the darkest moments of final despair is when God most wants to show up
and conquer. God is a hero, and all He wants from us is to just keep
swimming, keep swinging, keep praying, keep loving , and …..never, never
, never lose hope.

“Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed…without weakening in his
faith, he faced reality…yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding
the promises of God, being fully persuaded that God had the power to do
what He promised. That is why ‘it was credited to him as righteousness’”
Romans 4: 18-22 (Paraphrased).

Thank you all for the privilege of serving with you as we proclaim
Christ and display Christ in great hope and final victory!
Press ON!

Monday, February 06, 2006

How to Awaken


As soon as they entered the dwelling­place assigned them they began to imitate the course of life practiced in the primitive church; applying themselves to frequent prayer, watching and fasting; preaching the word of life to as many as they could; despising all worldly things, as not belonging to them; receiving only their necessary food from those they taught; living themselves in all respects conformably to what they prescribed to others, and being always disposed to suffer any adversity, and even to die for that truth which they preached. In short, several believed and were baptized, admiring the simplicity of their innocent life, and the sweetness of their heavenly doctrine. There was on the east side of the city a church dedicated to the honour of St. Martin, built whilst the Romans were still in the island, wherein the queen, who, as has been said before, was a Christian, used to pray. In this they first began to meet, to sing, to pray, to say mass, to preach, and to baptize, till the king, being converted to the faith, allowed them to preach openly, and build or repair churches in all places.

When he, among the rest, induced by the unspotted life of these holy men, and their delightful promises, which, by many miracles, they proved to be most certain, believed and was baptized, greater numbers began daily to flock together to hear the word, and, forsaking their heathen rites, to associate themselves, by believing, to the unity of the church of Christ. Their conversion the king so far encouraged, as that he compelled none to embrace Christianity, but only showed more affection to the believers, as to his fellow­citizens in the heavenly kingdom. for he had learned from his instructors and leaders to salvation, that the service of Christ ought to be voluntary, not by compulsion.

Augustine knew what to do- begin living the Christian life- praying, fasting, persevereing,preaching, loving, and serving. It wasn't long before the Lord began adding to their number daily!