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.


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.

New Blog
August 25, 2008, 3:44 pm
Filed under: Blogs, Ministry, Ushers

If serving in the Usher/Greeter/Hospitality capacity has ever crossed your mind please stop by and take a look at my new blog.  I know, I know.  I am not too good keeping up with one blog, let alone two.  However, I am now exploring an entirely new area of ministry for me and there surely going to be a lot of information flowing through me and the blog.  There will also probably be lots of stories of stupid things I am sure to do while learning the new trade.  So check it out from time to time.  Teach me something, learn something and laugh at my expense.   

New Opportunity
August 20, 2008, 11:29 am
Filed under: Ministry, Prayer, Relationships, Religion

It is official; I am no longer the Youth Pastor of Legacy Fellowship.  Well, it’s not official until the first of the month, I guess.  I am finishing up the month as the Youth Pastor and then Tony, the Lead Pastor at Legacy is going to take it over until someone new is appointed.  Tony is a long-time youth guy and I know he will do a lot better than I ever did at the position.


So, how did I come to this?  Was I fired?  Did I quit?  Well, God did it.  My wife and I have been feeling for a long time that we were just not in the right position.  It was a grind for us to do anything associated with ministry because we were trudging in a ministry that was no longer our calling.  I believe we were called to the ministry and we were supposed to serve in that capacity for a season.  The season is now coming to an end.  Tony knew it too.


It came up in conversation when Cheri and I were having dinner over at Tony and Kandy’s.  We were just talking and as the layers were pealed back (like an onion, we have many) I decided I would come forth and be completely honest.  I told him I didn’t feel like we were supposed to be doing youth ministry anymore.  I also explained that I was certain I knew where we should be serving but that the position wasn’t really a high priority at this time. 


After we all talked and gave feedback it was decided that we would move into a new position.  Apparently, Tony didn’t share the same opinion about it not being a high priority and new Cheri and I are the Connections Pastors at Legacy.


What is a Connections Pastor, you ask?  We are going to be in charge of the Usher Team, the Reception Team (we will have one soon or this may fall under Hospitality), Living Rooms (Legacy’s small groups), Men’s Ministry, Prayer Ministry and Legacy Athletics (yeah, that’s coming after I heal up a bit).  Cheri and I will share in responsibilities of Living Rooms, Reception and Athletics.  I will head the Men’s Ministry and Usher Team and Cheri will head the Prayer Ministry.  I can’t wait to see how it all works out and I can’t wait to see who God brings along to fill the many spots we will have on these ministry teams. 


I also can’t wait until God appoints the next Youth Pastor.  As excited as I am to be moving forward in my new area of ministry I can’t help but feel a bit down about leaving the youth.  We weren’t complete failures, I guess.  We just weren’t the right fit.  I am praying now for the next person to be the perfect fit for our church and for our youth.

I will not be disaffected
August 6, 2008, 7:37 am
Filed under: Daily Living, Faith, Jesus, Ministry, Prayer, Relationships, Religion

I have been thinking a lot about the disaffectedness of people these days.  It is really weighing on my heart this morning for some reason. 


I have talked with a lot of people who are content to go through this world and not touch anyone in it.  They say things like, “they can do whatever they want as long as it doesn’t affect me”, or “I can’t do anything about it so why should I care?”  I think attitudes like that are a major problem with the world today.  It seems there are so few people out there that care anything about anyone other than themselves.


It is my heart’s desire to help people.  I want to give my time and my resources to bless others so that they might bless someone else in return.  That, my friends, is the best way for people to see God in this world, through us.  I am not always perfect, in fact, I rarely am even very good when it comes to this.  However, I try to tell myself that my body and my money and my things are not my own, they are God’s.  If He wants me to share them with someone I will do my best to comply.  It’s when my best isn’t good enough that I have to pray that the Holy Spirit will work through me.  Otherwise, look out for a disaffected stare and a cold shoulder.


Thank God for His Holy Spirit.  Thank God for grace.

Know-It-All Kid
April 28, 2008, 9:14 am
Filed under: Bible Study, Faith, Ministry, Random Junk, Religion, Teenagers, Youth Ministry | Tags:

We have been teaching this youth how to read the Bible over the last several weeks.  We are reading through Proverbs right now and I think it is going well.  However, yesterday I decided to mix things up and make the class uncomfortable.  I told them they had to split into two groups, read the chapter together and discuss 2 to 4 verses that they liked.  I had them elect one person to present to the class the verses they chose and explain why they chose them, what they meant and how they can apply it to their lives.


Cheri helped the senior high and I helped the junior high.  After reading Proverbs 6, I asked the kids what they liked about it and one of the young men, we’ll call him Cooper, answered “I liked verses 6-8.”


“Wow”, I thought to myself.  That was the same three verses I liked from the passage.  They are:

 6 Go to the ant, you sluggard;
       consider its ways and be wise! 

 7 It has no commander,
       no overseer or ruler,

8 yet it stores its provisions in summer
       and gathers its food at harvest. (NIV)


“So, why did you pick these verses, Coop?”


“Well, it’s telling you that you can look at the way ants behave and gain wisdom.  See, they don’t have anyone telling them what to do or anything but they are working hard anyway.  They know what needs to be done and they are doing it.”


Whole E-Cow.  My jaw was agape.  I was expecting something a little more his age, more Sunday School.  Of course, I wasn’t expecting him to pick out this verse either so I shouldn’t have been surprised. 


I exclaimed to young Cooper, “That is incredible insight and shows a lot of wisdom.  I am very impressed.  You know that you have now elected yourself the speaker too, right?”


Shrugging, “Okay.”


I don’t know if everyone was as impressed as I am but I just had to share that story.  I have read Proverbs a dozen times.  I read Proverbs 6 about five times before class.  It wasn’t until one of the last times I read it and after I had read a commentary that verses 6-8 stuck out to me.  I think I have a future scholar in my class.  Or maybe I am just dumb.

Generation: Change – Helping to Change Me
April 28, 2008, 8:56 am
Filed under: Ministry, Religion, Youth Ministry | Tags: , ,

Saturday, my wife and I attended a youth leader’s conference called The Core 2008 – Generation: Change.  We really enjoyed it and took a lot away from it, including about a half-dozen books we bought.  We really needed it.  It was informative, relative and fun.  The speaker, Les Christie, was fantastic and I hope to hear him speak again.  Incidentally, he also has a son named David who recently married a young lady named…Cheri.


So I have been thinking about youth stuff, church stuff and me stuff a lot over the last couple of days and what I can do to improve these things.  There is some room for improvement in the youth and church stuff and a lot of room for a complete overhaul with the me stuff.  I need to start there.  I know if I try to fix the other stuff first then I still have a problem (or two…or seventy-six) with my own junk. 


I have to start by recognizing and admitting my weaknesses.  I don’t like admitting that I have a weakness, or several for that matter, but it is in this area that I could use the help God has given me in Cheri and the Holy Spirit.  I have to stop trying to do things on my own or I will surely screw up and burn out.


This conference was just what I needed and I highly recommend attending if you have the opportunity.  I can’t wait to begin applying what I learned and seeing a generation change.