Filter Through Life

Taming the Tongue

When words are many, sin is not absent,
but he who holds his tongue is wise.  
Proverbs 10:19  


A fool shows his annoyance at once,
but a prudent man overlooks an insult.
 Proverbs 12:16  


A man of knowledge uses words with restraint,
and a man of understanding is even-tempered.

Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent,
and discerning if he holds his tongue. 
Proverbs 17:27-28  


I am convicted by these words today.  God has been dealing with me for the last several weeks about my mouth.  I boast too much.  I gripe too much.  I gossip too much.  I just flat out talk too much.  I have a hard time controlling my tongue and I want to change that starting today. 


I want to be a godly man, husband and leader in my community and church.  I have to start with the small things.  I must love God and my wife.  I have to be faithful with my prayer.  I have to read my bible.  I have to go to church and I have to tithe.  But that isn’t enough.  If I do all these things yet cannot control my tongue then I am not godly at all.  James asks us in James 3:12, “can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs?”  Certainly not.  Neither can a man leave his tongue unbridled and expect to have influence. 


I know I can’t do it on my own; I’ve tried.  I am glad I don’t have to. 


      But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you,

      for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 

                       2 Corinthians 12:9


Thank God for grace.


I don’t like Ike
September 12, 2008, 9:34 am
Filed under: Christianity, Faith, God, Jesus, Religion, Weather | Tags: ,

There are apparently a lot of people that have chosen to stay in the Houston area and stare down Hurricane Ike.  I can’t help but liken this to the Christian walk. 


There will be many opportunities for each and every one of us to stare down a storm in our lives; it’s called adversity and it’s inevitable.  What we choose to do in the mist of adversity can possibly strengthen our character and it can definitely reveal it. 


Regardless of what someone does in the midst of a hurricane, the aftermath will almost always be messy.  The same goes with adversity.  Choosing to face it will almost always be messy for a while.  It causes damage, loss and it can hurt.  But we don’t have to brave the storm alone.  Psalm 46:1-3 says:


    God is our refuge and strength,
       an ever-present help in trouble.

    Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
       and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,

    though its waters roar and foam
       and the mountains quake with their surging.

Do we have the faith to let God help us through adversity or will we run from it?  Personally, I am too chunky to run so I will just look adversity in square in the eye and when it asks, “Have you paid your dues?” I will respond, “Yes sir, the check is in the mail.”

One cautionary note: if I were in Houston facing an adversary such as Ike, I think would have to turn tail and run. (And I’m a manly man)  

Run, Houston, Run!!!

1 Peter 1:6-7 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Ever Taken The Lord’s Name in Vain?

I try so very hard to not break any of the Ten Commandments.  Some of them are easy.  Some of them…not so much.  There is one that I have always considered pretty easy; taking The Lord’s name in vain.  I can’t say I have never done it but it’s not something that is part of my everyday language. 


Cheri and I went to Houston to visit my Dad in the hospital yesterday and on the trip home we decided to listen to a sermon on CD that my brother had given to me.  The message was Ray Comfort’s “Hell’s Best Kept Secret.”  The message is an absolute must for anyone that is, has or is going to be a minister, pastor or teacher of God’s Word. 


Anyway, about half-way into the message he recaps a hypothetical conversation he might have with someone that is not saved.


“Have you used God’s name in vain?”


 “Yeah…I’ve been trying to stop.”


“You know what you’re doing? Instead of using a four-letter filth word beginning with ‘s’ to express disgust, you’re using God’s name in its place. That’s called blasphemy.”


You know, I have thought about the fact that it is blasphemous to say the name of The Lord in vain.  That was a pretty big motivating factor in why I stopped doing it.  However, I never really thought about it this way.  I never thought that I was equating the most holy of names with something as filthy as excrement.  It hurt my heart.  I mean, not only is He my savior, He is my lord.  I wouldn’t call my boss a piece of poop why on earth would I do that to my God?  He didn’t just give me a job, He has given me life, salvation, my beautiful wife and everlasting life. 


I am sorry.  Please forgive me.

Wisdom is a Woman
April 16, 2008, 9:24 am
Filed under: Bible Study, Christianity, God, wisdom, Youth Ministry | Tags:

I challenged the students to research this week why, in Proverbs, wisdom is referred to as a woman.  I didn’t know myself so I looked it up too.  Apparently, the Hebrew word for wisdom is feminine.  Wisdom wants to be chased like a woman.  Wisdom tries to woo us and wants us to “love” it, much like a woman [typically] craves.  Hmmm, that’s it?  That was pretty simple.  I always thought it must have been a typo.  J 


Just kidding ladies.


We had our monthly staff meeting last night and it was pretty good.  I normally hate meetings and tend to drift off after a while (kind of like our leader…cough).  However, last night was a little different.  Tony talked about what we can look forward to in the coming months at Legacy, and it is pretty exciting and scary all at the same time.


The upcoming series is going to be about commitment; our commitment to the church, the churches commitment to the community, Tony’s commitment to us, etc.  He is fully committed to God’s purpose and his people and he is going to encourage us to be committed as well.  It is going to get really warm and uncomfortable in that building for some.  I love it.


Anne wrote earlier this week about church the church and the difference between making people feel welcome and making them feel comfortable.  We want to love people and we want them to know it.  Love isn’t always comfortable.  Jesus certainly didn’t always tell people what they wanted to hear but what they needed to hear.  That is our responsibility as well. 


Our pastors (and the rest of the body of Christ for that matter) can’t be afraid to call people to commit, even if it scares off a few people in the process.

Writing in Cement

I was reading last night for my Developing Pastor Skills class.  I have a little less that half of a book left and I will be able to write my paper and finish finally.  I would like to share a quote (well, paraphrase) from the book, “Biblical Counseling for Today” by Jeffrey Watson. 


In the particular section from which the quote comes, Mr. Watson is talking about counseling young people and just how important it really is.  He supports his opinion by referring to Matthew 19: 13-14:

Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and    pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them.  Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

He followed this by saying, “Elders have the unique opportunity to write on the foundations of a young people’s lives while the cement is still wet.”


What a fantastic illustration!  Writing in cement is so much easy when it is wet and the marks you leave are permanent.  The markings may get covered with dirt and grime from the world but they are much more easily revealed again if they are already there.  Trying to influence an older person is like writing in dry cement; it can be done but it’s going to take a lot more time, tools and pain to do it.  That’s what I took from it anyway.

Dynamic Youth Ministry
April 8, 2008, 8:43 am
Filed under: God, Jesus, Leadership, Ministry, Prayer, Relationships, Youth Ministry

My wife and I are having a meeting tonight to discuss the state of the youth ministry we run.  We have a lot of things to talk about and probably even more to change.  I have said it before that the ministry has been just so-so from the beginning.  It all starts with me and I take complete responsibility for it. 



Over the last couple of months God has really been dealing with me about this and I think I know what we have to do, almost.  I don’t know exactly what the change looks like but I have been praying and praying about this and just last week I felt like God kicked me in the pants and said to get busy.  I have been doing research and praying and praying and researching. 



I have never wanted an “events/activities-based” ministry; rather I prefer a “relationship-based” ministry.  The way I see it, if kids are coming for the sole purpose of having fun or just to do something then they will stop once something more fun starts happening on Wednesday night or Sunday.  If kids are coming because there are people there that want to see them, people that love them and show genuine concern for them, people that pray for and with them, they have more of a reason to show up. 



Building relationships is difficult, especially with teenagers.  Almost all of them have an outer shell that protects them.  Their guard is almost always up and it takes a long time to build trust with them.  I think we have come to that point.  We don’t have it completely wired but we can build relationships with teens.  I think they know we love them.  I think they know we pray for them and that we have their best interest at heart.



Now, for the sake of the ministry, it’s time for us to build a relationship between “relationship-based” and “events/activities-based” ministries.  I want this ministry to be great.  I want it to be dynamic.  I want teenagers to come and have fun.  I want them build a relationship with Christ.  I want teenagers to become a functional part of the church today.  I want this not for my own pride or ambition but because God wants it.  He is dynamic and He is fun.  He wants relationships with teenagers.  He is going to have to show me how to do this.