Monday, March 25, 2013

So tired of hearing this news...

IT happened again. Another Leader fell to public sexual temptation and immorality within the last few weeks. I hate it, genuinely hate hearing this news over and over. Since I've started writing this post, I've heard the bad news TWICE in just a few weeks. Both of the recent men were in different areas of the country, different men, different roles, and different ministry capacities. When "this great wickedness and sin against God", (Genesis 39:9) happens, the damage to teens and adults that they spoke to and counseled over the years cannot be measured. For now, I'm not writing to speak about the heartbreak.
Johnny Hunt once said that "Evil loves to cloak itself in HIGH POSITION, RESPECTABILITY AND STATUS." He also reminded us to guard the eye gate, the ear gate and even the gates of the senses (our discernment). In Genesis 39 the enemy came after Joseph in a time of privacy (he was alone in the house) and prosperity (he was in charge of the house).
My purpose in writing must be this: If there is someone out there that is entertaining adulterous thoughts - whether in ministry or not, no matter if a preacher or not. If someone is thinking of acting on adulterous thoughts, falling to temptation and acting out the lust of the flesh - I am writing to that person.
Protection in the armor sense is only good when we put it on. Accountability through Scripture, Godly Mentors and Technological Boundaries are the same - when we don't apply them - good resources lie in the armory, useless and untouched. I sometimes talk freely about the need for protection in this age of hedonistic appetites and I get sideways looks like, "What's the big deal with open source, internet, smart phone?" But you would never think twice about a soldier advising you to put on body armor to protect you from a bullet. Why are we so arrogant in thinking that we don't need to protect ourselves by placing boundaries around us if only to widen the possibilities of really living; living at least the way that God wants us to - Truly Free. In the Biblical Sense - boundaries, i.e. protection, helps us to truly live!
I am praying for the families of the men that fell. I am praying for the men too. May they rise again - wiser. Consequences dictate that they can never minister in the same place with those same people, but we should pray that their scars will fade and that forgiveness will be offered and received.
I pray also for those that are looking to the future; Stand Strong Brothers and Sisters. 1 Peter 5:8-9 says, " 8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings."

Monday, March 11, 2013

Content or Discontent, Which Tent Do You Live In?

A Content Tiger
With props to Tim Hawkins, who poked fun at Pastor's catchy titles - Which tent do you live in? For more on that part of his act, go here.

Sometimes we are unfortunately content doing things that we know are wrong because it makes us look good or feels good to our humanity, but spiritually we are tracking muck all over our souls. We should not be content living this way. To state it another way; sometimes we are content ignoring what is good for us - the new life in Christ Jesus.
The picture to the side is our cat, Tiger. Paws crossed, purring, in complete contentedness. The only problem is that he's in the house - where he is not supposed to be.
He darts in with muddy feet when we take the girls to school in the morning, resisting his 'outside cat' title.  He has been scolded time and again, and he continues to push to get in - and once inside he goes underneath the nearest piece of furniture that will hold him and lays down out of reach.
I pray that when sin crouches at your door seeking to get in that you will live the Crucified Life, that the reality of Galatians 2:20 will jolt you with the shock that if Christ is your LORD - then we cannot be content living in the same tent with sin. Crucify it through the power of Jesus in your life. Focus on Jesus, abide in Him.  We are forgetful and lazy, and the next time the door opens - sin may get in again. Vicarious living in Christ reminds us that being crucified with Christ won't be content with leaving the door open. His sensitivity to sin will have you closing the door quickly, even checking before the door opens to make sure we don't leave room for sin to moves in.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Dr.'s Diagnosis

Dr. James Andrews
I read an interesting article about sports injuries recently and it prompted a memory of a conversation with a teenager. I remember once telling one of my 8th Grade Youth that we didn't want our girls to play a sport more than one season at a time. He said, "Not if you want them to be any good!" He was playing spring baseball at the time, and basketball and football, and travel team baseball in the summer and fall. Whew, I got tired just writing that. That same kid grew to be godly young man, but when he graduated he quit baseball, burned out and beat up. He was fortunate in another way too for he never had to have surgery for his injuries. He was a pitcher and the wear on his shoulder got to be very intense.
If you are a parent or grandparent, I'd welcome your comments.
I fear that not enough people see like the good doctor does. Dr. James Andrews has a unique perspective on youth sports, he has the perspective of the knife that repairs their ligaments and tendons. His opinion is worth reading in the linked article. Dr. Andrews is a surgeon that is concerned due to the increase in operating on children and teens to repair adult pro athlete type injuries.The Dr.'s Diagnosis
Two aspects are leading to increases in youth aged injuries and through 14 years in youth ministry I visited enough hospital rooms to know that Specialization and Professionalism are both on the rise. Specialization is being involved with a single sport year round, increasing the risk of sport related injury due to over activity of the primary muscles and ligaments. Professionalism is involving kids at a very young age and trying to work and train them as if they are pro athletes. Both of these applied to children lead to greater risk of injury and burn out. Thoughts?