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.



Prayer Request
September 3, 2008, 8:29 pm
Filed under: Faith, Prayer, Religion | Tags: ,

I once read that bitterness/resentment/holding a grudge is like drinking a spoonful of arsenic everyday and expecting someone else to die.  It is horrible and it can rot you from the inside out if you don’t nip it in the bud. 

 

Well, I need to nip my bitterness in the bud.  I rarely petition for prayer but I really need it right now.  So I ask you all to please remember me in prayer and I thank you in advance.



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.



Pride
August 29, 2008, 9:45 am
Filed under: Daily Living, Faith, Jesus, Marriage, Relationships, Religion | Tags: ,

Pride is one of the most destructive forces on the planet.  I am not talking about being proud of your child when he hits a home run.  I am not talking about a pride of lions either, though I imagine said pride could be quit destructive as well given the right circumstances.  I digress.  What I am talking about is pride in one’s self.  Dictionary.com (one of my favorite websites ever) defines the noun pride as the following (most applicable definitions in red):

           

1.

a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.

 

2.

the state or feeling of being proud.

 

3.

a becoming or dignified sense of what is due to oneself or one’s position or character; self-respect; self-esteem.

 

4.

pleasure or satisfaction taken in something done by or belonging to oneself or believed to reflect credit upon oneself

 

5.

something that causes a person or persons to be proud

 

6.

the best of a group, class, society, etc.

 

7.

the most flourishing state or period

 

8.

mettle in a horse.

 

9.

Literary

. splendor, magnificence, or pomp.

 

10.

a group of lions.

 

11.

sexual desire, esp. in a female animal.

 

12.

ornament or adornment.

 

What makes anyone think they are better or more deserving than someone else?  Pride and pride alone.  I don’t care if you are a world-class, gold medal winning athlete that is a member of Mensa International and president of the PTA, you are not better or more deserving than the person serving you your pretentious grande, non-fat, mint chip, chai, mocha latte…with extra whipped cream.  We are all human beings, born imperfect and sinful.  We all need grace and we all need our Savior, Jesus Christ. 

 

My pride has been raging full tilt the last couple of days.  I have used the fact that I just had surgery, I haven’t sleep much in two weeks and I am constantly in pain as an excuse to think I am more deserving of grace and leniency from my wife than usual.  I reached the end of Cheri’s grace rope last night. 

 

I am tired.  I hurt all day long.  Yesterday just flat out sucked and Cheri did something that kind of annoyed me.  Because my nerves are currently taking up residence on my epidermis I let this…how do I put this delicately…excuse the vernacular but, piss me off.  I was a total jerk.  I didn’t yell or cuss or scream or anything like that.  I just didn’t talk.  I had a little pity party all night.  I fell asleep watching Alton Brown and Cheri went to bed without waking me or saying goodnight.  That is very unusual. 

So this morning I had to make the call.  I had to say I was sorry, and I was.  I am.  I let my pride ruin an entire evening with my loving wife, dare I say, the pride of my life.  The words didn’t come out easily, what with me swallowing while trying to apologize, but they did come out.  She forgave me as she is so apt to do.  Did I deserve it?  No, but that is what grace is all about. 

 

Maybe one of these days I will have the chance to show her a little grace.  Probably not.  That’s the problem with living with a saint.

Ecclesiastes 7:8-9 The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.  Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.

 

 



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.