Don’t Just Silence The Alarm!

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Marriage and Family

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Dewater 4

“Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God.” Revelation 3:2

Alarm Bells, Alarm Bells, Alarm Bells! I really don’t like alarm bells! My week began with driving into the church parking lot, getting out of my truck, thinking to myself, “that noise is different”. At first I wasn’t sure where it was coming from. But, as soon as I began walking closer to the church building, I quickly found that the noise was coming from inside the building. And, oh my was it NOISE! As uncomfortable as the noise was, I had to go into the building to check for smoke or fire, thankfully I didn’t find any. I finally found the silence button!

Alarm bells are for just what the name says. Alarm Bells (or other alarm horrible sounds) are designed to start in the case of emergency. Alarm bells are really, really good, because they tell you that something is wrong. On the other hand, alarm bells are really, REALLY annoying, uncomfortable, and sometimes feel unbearable. Regardless, alarm bells cause you to WAKE UP and do something about it.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we had alarm bells built into our relationships? If something was going wrong with our relationship with our spouse or our kids, an alarm went off and didn’t turn off until we did something about it. That would be really good. Unfortunately, I think to many people, like me, just find the silence button for the alarm and push it. The silence button doesn’t fix the problem; it only soothes the pain for the moment. In marriage and family life, all too often we are used to pushing the silence button, rather than taking the time to really work through the issues that are causing the problem in the first place. It’s really nice to have a silence button, but it’s even better to have fixed a strain in a relationship that will eventually lead to a fracture!

Here are some indicators that alarm bells may be ringing in your family:

  1. You or your spouse get angry with each other on a frequent basis…
  2. You haven’t had a date night with only your spouse for over a month…
  3. Your son or daughter is spending more time with friends or other activities than with you…
  4. You can’t have a conversation with your son/daughter without frustration…
  5. You can’t remember the last time your family has prayed together…

These indicators are not to condemn, but only to spur your thinking… The fact is, marriages and families are being torn apart every day because the silence button is being pushed repeatedly and the problems are not being worked on. My Encouragement for you this week: If you find that alarm bells are ringing and you are not sure what to do; follow the instructions from the verse above and then seek help from a healthy Christian who cares.

 

Disclaimer: The context of the verse above is Jesus speaking to the church in Sardis. The interpretation is not regarding marriage; I am just making application from this verse for marriage.

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God is Speaking!

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Jesus Talk

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Praying on Street Corner

“Do homage to the Son, lest He become angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!” Psalm 2:12

Have you ever been asked about the people of the Old Testament? If Jesus came during the time of the New Testament and people have to place their faith in Him to be saved; what happens to the people who lived before Jesus came to the earth? This is a great question, though I will not give a full answer to that direct question in this blog. But, that question so easily leads us to another question like, did the people in the Old Testament know about Jesus? Did they know that God had a “only begotten Son” (John 3:16)?

Look again at the scripture above and ask yourself these questions: Who wrote this Psalm (see Acts 4:25)? Who is the author saying to “do homage” to?

The man who wrote Psalm 2 had an understanding about God and His Son. God was speaking through this man to reveal His Son. This is incredible! Nearly 1,000 years before Jesus was even born, this writer of Psalm 2 was exhorting others to revere the Son.  God is speaking! There is no other way for man to have known except through direct revelation from God!

You see, just because people lived before the birth of Jesus doesn’t mean that they were without knowledge of God and how He was going to save them. God, in His sovereignty, was revealing His Son by speaking through prophets of old so that the world would know who He was.

Let’s make sure that in our day, we allow God to use us to reveal who His Son is. As the Psalm goes, “How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!”.

My encouragement for us this week: Take refuge in Jesus and help all those you come across this week take refuge in Him as well!

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“So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present.” Acts 17:17

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Building Words!

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Marriage and Family

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Dewater 4

“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that is may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29

One of the downfalls in me being a good husband is my mouth. I have said so many things over the years that hurt my wife. You would think that I could learn after the fifth or fiftieth time, but nope. There is just something that happens inside of me when I don’t get my way, or when I feel bad about a situation, or when I am angry over something that happened. Yes, something happens when I focus on… me. For me, most, if not all of my negative responses and words have come from me focusing on me. Talk about selfish! Talk about pride!

The scripture above is incredible! It is also very hard! Yet, if I as a husband would follow this every time I find myself getting ready to say a snide comment, I would not hurt my wife and our marriage would be happier. But that’s the problem, how can I follow it every time? I go back to the I. If I am focusing on myself, I will blow it every time and say things that are hurtful and destroying. But, if I focus on my wife (and the Word), I will better be able to see the right response that I should give so that I can build her up in that moment, rather than tear her down.

Divorce is a result of tearing each other down over a length of time. A happy and strong marriage is a result of building each other up over a length of time. Don’t think for a moment that you can’t achieve the latter. If you have spent most of your time tearing down, take action today towards spending all of your time in building up. It takes lots of work, but it is so worth it!

My encouragement for you this week: Say some words every day this week that build up your spouse!

Have a great week building your marriage!

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Push Forward!

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Jesus Talk

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Praying on Street Corner

“And he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.” Psalm 1:3

Did you catch the last phrase of this verse!? It is an incredible statement! “in whatever he does, he prospers”. We would need to go back to the previous verse to understand the person who attains this, but in short, the person who “his delight is in the law of the Lord, and His law he meditates day and night.”

Have you ever felt like you can’t go on? Ever felt like you just can’t push forward? This verse is for you! The word ‘prospers’ doesn’t necessarily mean what our American western mind thinks it means. The Hebrew word for ‘prospers’ is tsalach; literally means ‘to push forward’. Wow! All of a sudden this has new meaning to someone like me who grew up in a culture that teaches that to prosper means that one has money, is happy, and successful in every way. To push forward sounds like not everything is perfect, but regardless of circumstances and outside situations, a person is able to keep going. I’ve got something in my life right now that I could just raise my hands and say, “I’m done”, but it is clear to me that God will give me what I need to continue to ‘push forward’ as long as I delight in Him by meditating on His word. How about you?

Let’s apply this to talking to people about Jesus. Yesterday, our church had a neighborhood BBQ at a park just a couple blocks away. It was a great time for both our church family and the 20-30 neighborhood people that joined us. At one point, I sat down next to four teenage guys and just started to get to know them. During the conversation, I started thinking about asking them if they had a relationship with God. I had a small battle in my mind whether I was going to ask them or not, I mean I just met them; this was our first BBQ, what if they don’t want to come to another one. Well, I ‘pushed forward’ and asked them if they had a relationship with God. One of them had, three didn’t. I proceeded to share the gospel with them (Sin, God’s Standard, Jesus, The Cross, Resurrection, New Life). No, none of them went to their knees to repent in tears. But, I believe that God will honor the servant that is willing and able to ‘push forward’ in sharing the good news with a world that needs to hear it!

My encouragement for you this week is: Allow God to help you Push Forward by meditating on His word and then go talk to someone about Jesus this week that needs to hear about their sin and then the good news of what God has done!

Have a great week talking about Jesus!

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“So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present.” Acts 17:17

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What Are You Teaching Your Family?_Part 2

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Marriage and Family

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Dewater 4

“Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. And you shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9

A few weeks ago, my wife and I took the youth of our church to Olympia, WA for the Franklin Graham prayer rally. It was a special time as we gathered at the capital of the state of Washington in order to pray for our state and country. After the prayer rally we ate lunch together, went to a trampoline park to jump for a couple hours, and then we had dinner together before we drove home.

One thing, I left out. When we all loaded into the church van and started onto the highway towards Olympia that morning, I told our passengers that we would be continuing a tradition that me, my wife, and my boys do whenever we travel somewhere. When we travel to another town (usually to see family) when we get onto the freeway, we take turns praying. We pray for the people that we are going to see, we pray that God would fill us with His love, we pray that we would be a blessing to those that we are going to visit. So, each person in the van (12 in all) took turns praying. Some were very formal, some were short and sweet. It was awesome! I was proud of each of them for praying.

Could you imagine what would happen if every family in Vancouver were to teach their kids to pray, out loud, together. How about if spouses would pray together. Something special happens when families spend time praying together out loud.

You might be saying, “I don’t pray much”, or, “I don’t know how to pray”. The best way to learn is to start. Praying is simply talking to God. Talk to Him like He is your best friend. Share the deep parts and share the shallow parts. Share the light parts and share the dark parts. He already knows it all, but He wants to hear it from you! As you start, make sure you take someone along with you, like your spouse and kids! Everything we do with or without our spouse and kids is teaching them something.

I want to encourage you to teach your family that prayer needs to be a vital part of who we are as followers of Christ!

Have a great week talking with God!

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Delighting in Jesus!

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Jesus Talk

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Praying on Street Corner

“But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.” Psalm 1:2

I was recently talking with a friend about how easy it is to allow the most important things in life to get put to the side. I can think of a few: saying I’m sorry, doing your chores, spending time with those who are most important to you. And then, there is one thing that for me this morning that stands out above all the rest; delighting in God’s law.

It would be really interesting to take a survey among Christians regarding the amount of time we spend delighting in God’s law. There are some amazing promises attached to those who will delight in God and His word. I encourage you to find those promises and spend some time thinking about them; feel free to start with Psalm 1:3.

How does this apply to talking to people about Jesus? Great question! Not only do people need to know that Jesus can save them from their sins, but that God expects us to delight in Him! I don’t know that most Christians are aware of this. But it’s true! God wants and expects His children to delight in Him! The question is, how do we delight in Him? Answer (look at the end of verse 2), by meditating on His word day and night so that we can be careful to obey it (Joshua 1:8). When we decide to think about God’s word in such a way so that it leads us to obey His word, then we are actually delighting in Him!

In a family Bible study that I was doing with my wife and boys, my youngest son pointed out this verse (Psalm 1:2) and said, “for those who already have a relationship with Jesus, I can tell them that this will strengthen it.” Amen! Christians need to hear about strengthening their relationship with Jesus by meditating on His word so that they can obey it; then they will be delighting in Jesus!

My encouragement for you this week: Go encourage someone to meditate on God’s word while you make a choice to do the same!

As Christians do this, our hearts will hunger for more of Jesus and we will be compelled to tell others about Him! Don’t allow this to be pushed to the side of things to do! There are millions of people dying in our world without a relationship with our Savior.

Have a great week talking about and delighting in Jesus!

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“So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present.” Acts 17:17

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The Witness From Above

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Psalm 68:32-35

Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth, sing praise to the Lord, Selah to him who rides the ancient skies above, who thunders with mighty voice. Proclaim the power of God, whose majesty is over Israel, whose power is in the skies. You are awesome, O God, in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God!

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Other Recent Recordings

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Teaching Your Family to Follow Jesus_Part 1

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Marriage and Family

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Dewater 4

“Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. And you shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9

This week I have been at the annual conference meetings for our churches. Some of it has been interesting, some of it has been inspiring, some of it has been boring. But, Monday night, our general superintendent gave a message from Mark 10:17-21, on following Jesus. I must admit when he said that he was going to speak on Radically Following Jesus I thought to myself, “I’ve heard this before”. But, the more I listened, the more I found myself thinking the message was for me. “I’ve been following Jesus”, I thought to myself. And, I have. But, as he described how Jesus asks us to leave everything behind to follow Him, I found that God was putting His finger on something in my heart. I responded to God by telling Him that He could have that area and that I was going to continue to follow Him.

I was wishing that my family was with me so that they could have heard the message and have the experienced what I had. The reality is, even if they were there, they might or might not have experienced what I did. But, when I got home, I shared with my family what God spoke to me. I sat on the couch and wept as I recalled what God had touched in my heart and what He was asking of me. I didn’t expect them to feel the same way, to think the same way, nor to respond the same way that I did. I simply shared with them what God was doing with me.

I realized that I was teaching my family. As I wept in front of them and genuinely shared with them what God was doing in me, I was teaching my family that everyone, even their husband and daddy, needs to listen and allow God to work in them.

What are you teaching your family? I want to encourage you to allow God to speak to you through His word, act on it, and then share with your family what He is doing in you.

Have a great week as you teach your family to follow Jesus!

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Hell Bound!

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Jesus Talk

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Praying on Street Corner

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23

Did you know that every single person that walks on the planet is automatically headed for an eternity in a place of torment and suffering? Did you know that every person that does not receive the free gift of salvation through the forgiveness of sin that Jesus offers will spend an eternity in Hell?

Last week, I took 3 of our youth to downtown Vancouver to do some Jesus Talk. We setup a sandwich board that reads “The Gospel Guy” and we had a whiteboard that had the “Question of the Day” on it. That day was, “What do you think will happen to you when you die?” MANY people would not give us the time of day. Walking and talking, walking and playing Pokemon, walking and listening to music, walking to work, walking on break, walking to lunch, you name it; they just wanted to walk and NOT talk with us….BUT, there were others who did stop and allow us to ask them the question and have conversation.

There is one guy particular that I want to tell you about because something stood out about him above all the rest. He was interested, he was full of questions, and he was atheist. When I asked him what He would say to God if/when he stands before Him someday and God asks him, “why should I allow you into My Heaven?” This guy said, “you shouldn’t”.

This guy had it right. Now, I don’t think he knew this verse, but he knew that there was no good reason for God to allow him into Heaven if he never believed in God in the first place. Something else stood out about this guy; he said, “I’m so thankful to be able to talk to you guys about this because my friends are atheist and won’t talk to me about this stuff.” An atheist thanked me for talking to him about Jesus!

My encouragement today is this: Be intentional about getting into conversations about the important topics of life. There are people starving out there to be able to talk about God and why they should believe in Him. People need to hear that they don’t meet God’s standard on their own and the only way to Him is through His Son, Jesus Christ!

Have a great week talking to people about Jesus!

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“So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present.”

Acts 17:17

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Happy Anniversary TOGETHER!

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Marriage and Family

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Dewater 4

Since we have been in Vancouver, I have had a harder time nourishing and cherishing my wife. Not that I haven’t wanted to, but because of the business of life and not having a routine of life that I am used to. Have you ever noticed that sometimes the hardest thing to do is make time for those who are the most important to you? Well, this week, I realized that I needed to make time for my wife. Yes, having an anniversary is one way to realize this, but if we wait until an anniversary to realize that we need to make time for our spouse, then chances are, it’s not going to be a happy anniversary TOGETHER.

This week, my wife and I celebrated 17 years of marriage. We celebrated it by being TOGETHER. We didn’t actually do the celebrating on the day of our anniversary, due to other commitments. But, we made sure that we took time for just the two of us to be TOGETHER. Our time consisted of exercise TOGETHER, walking downtown TOGETHER (Yes, Vancouver, that is where I live), drinking coffee TOGETHER, going out to dinner TOGETHER (ask me and I’ll tell you about this great restaurant), walking through the fish hatchery TOGETHER, and eating a frozen custard sundae TOGETHER.

I think there is something about being TOGETHER that Paul meant in Ephesians:

“for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church” Ephesians 5:29

In context, Paul is speaking of how husbands are to love their wives, they are supposed to nourish and cherish them just as their own body. But, how can a husband nourish and cherish his wife if they are not TOGETHER? It’s kinda hard and nearly impossible. I am not picking on, nor trying to make any body feel bad for their extenuating circumstances. I know there are situations due to work, military, and other life circumstances that a husband and wife are not able to be TOGETHER. I am not necessarily addressing those situations, but God’s word still stands.

Make sure that you spend much time TOGETHER with your spouse! Take a walk TOGETHER, pray TOGETHER, drink coffee TOGETHER, drive TOGETHER, work in the yard TOGETHER, play TOGETHER…. Then, you too can look forward to another Happy Anniversary TOGETHER!

Have a GREAT week as you and your spouse are TOGETHER!

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Ephesians 5:22-33

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June 9, 2019 FACEBOOK LIVE RECORDING
(Recording will be added here after the service)
 

What If My Brother Abandoned Me?