Are smart phones a sin….?

smartphonesBefore I go into different parallels on this question, I wanted to ask you, the reader, what your initial reaction was?  Was it:  1) No way! 2) Hmmm 3) I never really thought about that 4) hmmm, okay, I can see where this is going?  If you are truly in tune with the word and with our old self (sin nature) and our new self (a new creation in Christ) then you could clearly choose option 3 and or option 4.

The reality of the question really becomes what is the writer really trying to ask me.   Does it have to be a phone?  Can it be a computer, a tv, a car, a person, a cherished item and/or what.  The real question is:  Are they any people, places or things in your life that are a sin?  Now you are probably saying how can a people be a sin in my life?  That is a fair question and one that deserves to be answered (not yet).  Stay with me, please.

To be in tune with what I am really asking, ask yourselves these questions:

  • Is the Lord over areas in my life, or does He control them all?
  • Are there idols in my life that I need to destroy or set in their proper place?
  • How can I serve two masters?
  • Is what I prioritize in my life honoring God?
  • If not, why not?

Job 12:6English Standard Version (ESV) 6 The tents of robbers are at peace, and those who provoke God are secure, who bring their god in their hand.[a]

smartphone1How can people, places or things be a sin in our life?  When we put the word of God into this perspective, then the answer really is:  easily!  Some choose to idolize a movie star, a child, a rock star, and so on.  Others choose to worship stuff and assets and things that they covet and yet still others choose to put things before God making all these other things a small “g” (god).

So, back to the original paragraph: How can a cell phone be a sin?  Simply put, if it comes before everything else in our life.  Seriously, next time you go out to dinner with the family (put down your cell phone, heck, turn it off and leave it in the car) and watch your family.  Watch the people around you and watch how everyone (even intimate relationships) put these idols before their very own lives.

Technology is not a sin when we use it for good.  However, as humans, not many of us know how to filter, how to time manage and how not to covet what the world throws at us.  I know this, because as I type these very words, I am convicted by some of these idols in my life.

So the focus question here for all of us:

Is the Lord the Lord over all of our lives?
Thoughts?

Dante

 

 

Lessons of Faith, Part 1

Elijah1 Kings 17 New International Version (NIV)

Elijah Announces a Great Drought

17 Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe[a] in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.”

Elijah Fed by Ravens

2 Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah: 3 “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. 4 You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there.”  5 So he did what the Lord had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. 6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.

Elijah and the Widow at Zarephath

7 Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land. 8 Then the word of the Lord came to him: 9 “Go at once to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and stay there. I have directed a widow there to supply you with food.” 10 So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, “Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?” 11 As she was going to get it, he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.” 12 “As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.” 13 Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’”  15 She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. 16 For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah. 17 Some time later the son of the woman who owned the house became ill. He grew worse and worse, and finally stopped breathing. 18 She said to Elijah, “What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?” 19 “Give me your son,” Elijah replied. He took him from her arms, carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his bed. 20 Then he cried out to the Lord, “Lord my God, have you brought tragedy even on this widow I am staying with, by causing her son to die?” 21 Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried out to the Lord, “Lord my God, let this boy’s life return to him!”  22 The Lord heard Elijah’s cry, and the boy’s life returned to him, and he lived. 23 Elijah picked up the child and carried him down from the room into the house. He gave him to his mother and said, “Look, your son is alive!”  24 Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord from your mouth is the truth.”

This life event happened for you and I to believe.   This story sums up some truth that we, as Christians, can hold on to for dear life.  I love the word of God and believe that it has a wealth of information and truth that can grow us into the disciples that God wants us to be.

Points to take from this Story:

  • God is in control – two critical times in Elijah’s timeline, God has said, “I have directed”  He is in control ALWAYS
  • Faith without works is dead – God brought His prophet and this widow together.  God had ordained this very meeting.  One person (Elijah) was mature in God’s word and Spirit and believed and acted on his faith in God.  The other person, a widow with a son, was hell bent on giving her and her son one last meal before they surely died – She was hopeless.  Yet, she let God lead her to this Holy man, God’s Prophet, and trusted the words.  Even though, she still thought they were doomed and probably said in her heart, “yes, okay, sure, I will give you my son and I’s last meal” but then realized that she was talking to God’s prophet and she acted.  She took the step of faith – she gave it all knowing the cost could surely be death (she trusted).
  • She went away – she went away to do the man of God’s will (to cook for him) she trusted him and she went away IN FAITH and believed
  • Even in Hopeless times – No matter how hopeless and desperate times seem – God makes the impossible possible.  God fed Elijah, the woman and her son.  God rose her son from the dead.  He is an Awesome God.

How many of us put God in a box and pull him out only when we need Him or only when the situations are too grave for just our little ‘ol selves to handle?  How many of us fear God, yet fail to grow our relationship with him?  (We know that He is in Heaven and in control) yet we forget that He wants a relationship with us.

How many of us are afraid to give it all to God?  Our jobs, our families, our divorce, our singleness, our broken dreams and our money?  Is God in Control?  Is He over it all?  Then why do we limit God’s blessings in our life.  Take a step toward relationship and trust and in obedience to Him see what He has in store for you.

Blessings,

Dante

 

Be Watchful, Stand Firm, Act Like Men

What does this verse mean to you?

To Calvin, it meant, “13. Watch ye. A short exhortation, but of great weight. He exhorts them to watch, in order that Satan may not oppress them, finding them off their guard. For as the warfare is incessant, the watching requires to be incessant too. Now watchfulness of spirit is this — when, free and disentangled from earthly cares, we meditate on the things of God. For as the body is weighed down by surfeiting and drunkenness, (Luke 21:34,) so as to be fit for nothing, so the cares and lusts of the world, idleness or carelessness, are like a spiritual surfeiting that overpowers the mind. [169]

The second thing is that they persevere in the faith, or that they hold fast the faith, so as to stand firm; because that is the foundation on which we rest. It is certain, however, that he points out the means of perseverance — by resting upon God with a firm faith.

In the third exhortation, which is much of the same nature, he stirs them up to manly fortitude. And, as we are naturally weak, he exhorts them fourthly to strengthen themselves, or gather strength. For where we render it be strong, Paul makes use of only one word, which is equivalent to strengthen yourselves.

14. Let all your things be done in love Again he repeats what is the rule in all those transactions, in which we have dealings with one another. He wishes, then, that love shall be the directress; because the Corinthians erred chiefly in this respect — that every one looked to himself without caring for others.

—–

To US:  What does this verse mean (what should this verse mean) for Legacy dads around the world:

Be Watchful

  • Study the word of God
  • Know the way your enemy works
  • Be on Guard and ready to act
  • Flee from evil

Stand firm in the faith

  • Do not give in to peer pressure
  • Be ready to give an answer
  • Don’t be swayed from the truth

Act Like Men

Be Strong

  • Trust in the Lord
  • Do not lean on your own understanding
  • God is our strong tower (our refuge)
  • He is our strength
  • Find your Joy in the Lord (for the joy in Him is our Strength)

Let All That You Do Be Done In Love

  • Read Here
  • Carry Each other’s burdens
  • Love one another
  • Do not devour your Christian brothers and sisters

What are you thoughts on this?

 

Dante

 

 

Man up, Lion down

 

WHAT:  ACT LIKE MEN

WHERE/WHEN :  CHICAGO ILLINOIS (ALL STATE ARENA) May 15-16, 2015 Allstate Arena 6920 N Mannheim Rd. Rosemont, IL 60018

WHY:  TO CONNECT, TO GROW, TO DISCIPLE

WHO:  ALL OF YOU

Lance and I cannot believe that Act Like Men 2015 is here again.  We had such an awesome time and had great fellowship with our brothers and forged new friendships and accountability along the way.  There are conferences that pump you up and get riveted and then you go home back into the every day life and entertain sin.  And then their are churches, groups of men, men’s groups and disciples of Christ who go to a conference like Act Like Men and decide that this day will be the day that I take the Lion in my life (the sin that I keep chained in the closet, in the darkness and away from all other eyes) and I am going to drag it out in the street and put a proverbial bullet in its head.

This is that conference.  This is that time.  This is the year.  This is the day when you change it.  This is the day that you will let other brothers in.  This is the day that you will be accountable.  This is the day that you will Act Like Men!

1 Corinthians 16:13English Standard Version (ESV)

13 Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong

Blessings,

Dante

To Sign up for Act Like Men, Click HERE (Note;  If you go to my church or Lance’s Church, contact us privately as we have a church code for this event)

The Ultimate Gifts

ultimategiftbookBoth Lance and I have posted on the Movie, The Ultimate Gift, back in 2007 and 2011, and I decided to have my family watch that movie last night.  My three kids (ages 10, 9 and 7) all thoroughly enjoyed the movie and were saddened with tears through parts of the movie.  I learned a lot about my kids (more teachable moments) in that was both my intention and my hope that they would connect to a life lesson that I was trying to bring them.  The theme of the movie is in its title:  The Ultimate Gift and my family and I were not let down.

There are gifts that the main character has to learn throughout the movie (that are applicable to life)

  • The Gift of Work – if you can appreciate this gift and learn to love the gift you can accomplish anything in life
  • The Gift of Money – when you realize good stewardship and that its all God’s, then you can appreciate what He has given you
  • The Gift of Friends – when hard times hit, you know who you true friends truly are
  • The Gift of Learning – you will never be old enough to continue to learn, appreciate the learning times
  • The Gift of Problems – Read James 1 (life will not be easy, it’s how you embrace them that can carry you through)
  • The Gift of Family – No matter what, family (both biological and church) should always be close to you (and your heart)
  • The Gift of Laughter – Life is too serious, enjoy these precious moments of laughter
  • The Gift of Dreams – Set the curve high and reach for God’s best in your life
  • The Gift of Giving – to give is truly better than to receive, for the blessing lies in this
  • The Gift of Gratitude – appreciate these moments that others do for you no matter how significant or insignificant
  • The Gift of a Day – life, as it is said, is way too short, so appreciate the days that the Lord has given you
  • The Gift of Love – the Ultimate Gift!  In one of my favorite musicals (Les Miserables) there is a line that says, “to love another person is to see the Face of God”…

the ultimate giftWhat I really liked about this movie is:  Everything!  What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul (answer:  nothing!).  This movie encapsulates a road to discipleship that is biblical and that it truly tells you that giving is better than receiving.  This is completely counter-culturual in that it shows you that when you give without expectation (letting the right hand not know what the left hand is doing) God’s blessing is so much better than what we possibly could think.

This movie aloud me the privilege to share a beautiful teaching moment with my family – What really matters in life.  I taught about God’s love for us and what he calls us to do in return.  My youngest (7) was hit hard with the realization of death and that one day mom and dad will be gone (be sensitive to this), but what the tears aloud us to do was to connect on so many different levels.  I learned not to be afraid to share bitter truths in life with our kids.  The reality and frailty of this conversation led to a much bigger theme:  The Gift of Family and the Gift of Love (God’s love for us).  When we put these things in our life and move towards God’s path for us, then we find the abundant life that He promises us.

I would love to see a follow-up movie on this.  My theme in this would be a man who used to be a trust-fund brat and totally of this world, moving to a true disciple of Jesus Christ making a difference in the world.  Looking like something Job quotes in his book: Job 29.

Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all of your ways acknowledge him and He will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3).

Blessings,

Dante

PS – there is a sequel/prequel called the ultimate life (movie preview to follow once it is viewed)

 

Movie Review: When the Game Stands Tall

My wife and I recently rented the movie, When the Game Stands Tall.  We were very pleased with this rental and thoroughly enjoyed the life lessons that were taught in it.  A lot of these themes coincidentally lineup with Lance and I and to be more specific, line up with truth in Scripture.

whenthegameIt amazes me when Hollywood veers away from truth in Scripture and tries to create their own dialogue and sensationalism (ie. Noah and Exodus – not true at all to Scritpure.  Hollywood needs to learn, that whether we like it, believe it, and or just down right demand it – there is a lot of wealth to be made if they stick to biblical truth and tell the story that God’s word has been doing forever!

That being said, some life lessons that were given through the movie:

  • When you base your life on truth in Scripture (you will have a good life).  This does not mean that you will be free from trials and tribulations, but you will have a good life
  • Scripture (and the truth in Scripture) can change a community (For the better)
  • Do not ignore your primary role as spiritual leader to your wife and kids (it not only is your main directive, it is imperative to making their faith real)
  • Carry each others burdens (community is essential in the Christian life)
  • Forgive (even when it is hard)
  • Be humble in all circumstances

The movie was very entertaining and brought home so very biblical principles.  www.legacydad.com movie review:  A-

Blesssings,

D

The Secret to Life – A 75 Year Study from Harvard University

This Saturday will be the first Men of Faith (men’s group) of the year 2015 and I will have the pleasure to lead this group.  There are times in life when I like to look at secular viewpoints so I Googled the “Secret to Life” and was overjoyed when I find this article from the Huffington Post written back in 2013, The 75-Year Study that found the Secrets to a fulfilling life.  To put it simply, there was a Harvard University Grant that followed 268 male Harvard undergrads from the classes of 1938 to 1940 who are well into their 90′s at present day.  George Vaillant, the Harvard Psychiatrist, who conducted this study from 1972 to 2004 wrote a book about it, in order to revisit the findings.  Below were 5 lessons from the Grant Study to apply to your own pursuit of a happier and more meaningful life (I will add scripture context to see if this hold true):

Love Is Really All That Matters:  “It may seem obvious, but that doesn’t make it any less true: Love is key to a happy and fulfilling life. As Vaillant puts it, there are two pillars of happiness. “One is love,” he writes. “The other is finding a way of coping with life that does not push love away.”  (Scripture test:  Click Here).

It’s About More than Money and Power:  “The Grant Study’s findings echoed those of other studies — that acquiring more money and power doesn’t correlate to greater happiness. That’s not to say money or traditional career success don’t matter. But they’re small parts of a much larger picture — and while they may loom large for us in the moment, they diminish in importance when viewed in the context of a full life.”  (Scripture test:  Click Here)

Regardless of How We Begin Life, We Can All Become Happier:  “A man named Godfrey Minot Camille went into the Grant study with fairly bleak prospects for life satisfaction: He had the lowest rating for future stability of all the subjects and he had previously attempted suicide. But at the end of his life, he was one of the happiest. Why? As Vaillant explains, “He spent his life searching for love.” (Scripture Test:  Click Here)

Connection Is Crucial:  “”Joy is connection,” Vaillant says. “The more areas in your life you can make connection, the better.” The study found strong relationships to be far and away the strongest predictor of life satisfaction. And in terms of career satisfaction, too, feeling connected to one’s work was far more important than making money or achieving traditional success.  “The conclusion of the study, not in a medical but in a psychological sense, is that connection is the whole shooting match,” says Vaillant.  As life goes on, connections become even more important. The Grant Study provides strong support for the growing body of research that has linked social ties withlongevitylower stress levels and improved overall well-being.  (Scripture Test:  Click Here)

Challenges –and the Perspective They Give You — Can Make You Happier:  The journey from immaturity to maturity, says Vaillant, is a sort of movement from narcissism to connection, and a big part of this shift has to do with the way we deal with challenges.  Coping mechanisms — “the capacity to make gold out of s*@t,” as Vaillant puts it — have a significant effect on social support and overall well-being. The secret is replacing narcissism, a single-minded focus on one’s own emotional oscillations and perceived problems, with mature coping defenses, Vaillant explains, citing Mother Teresa and Beethoven as examples. “Mother Teresa had a perfectly terrible childhood, and her inner spiritual life was very painful,” says Vaillant. “But she had a highly successful life by caring about other people. Creative expression is another way to productively deal with challenges and achieve meaning and well-being. “The secret of Beethoven being able to cope with misery through his art was when he wrote ‘Ode to Joy,’” says Vaillant. “Beethoven was able to make connection with his music.”  (Scripture test:  Click Here)

———

Some questions that I would have asked these men in this Grant Study:

  • Do you know the Lord as Savior?
  • How did you come to find these answers (through the Word of God)?
  • Why is Love so important to you?

Harvard Laws of 1642:

Harvard College Lawes of 1642 
(from 
New England’s First Fruits)

1. When any Schollar is able to Read Tully or such like classicall Latine Author ex tempore, and make and speake true Latin in verse and prose suo (ut aiunt)
Marte, and decline perfectly the paradigmes of Nounes and verbes in the Greeke tongue, then may hee bee admitted into the  College, nor shall any claime admission before such qualifications.
2. Every one shall consider the mayne End of his life and studyes, to know God and Jesus Christ which is Eternall life. Joh. 17.3.
3. Seeing the Lord giveth wisdome, every one shall seriously by prayer in secret, seeke wisdome of him. prov. 2.2,3 etc.
4. Every one shall so exercise himselfe in reading the Scriptures twice a day that they bee ready to give an account of their proficiency therein, both in theoreticall
observations of Language and Logicke, and in practicall and spirituall truthes as their tutor shall require according to their severall abilities respectively, seeing the Entrance of the word giveth light etc. psal. 119, 130.
5. In the publicke Church assembly they shall carefully shunne all gestures that shew any contempt or neglect of Gods ordinances and bee ready to give an account to their tutors of their profiting and to use the helpes of Storing themselves with knowledge, as their tutours shall direct them, and all Sophisters and Bachellors (until themselves make common place) shall publiquely repeate Sermons in the Hall whenver they are called forth.
6. they shall eschew all prophanation of Gods holy name, attributes, word, ordinances, and times of worship, and study with Reverence and love carefully to
reteine God and his truth in their minds.
7. they shall honour as their parents, Magistrates, Elders, tutours and aged persons, by beeing silent in their presence (except they bee called on to answer)
not gainesaying shewing all those laudable expressions of honour and Reverence in their presence, that are in uses as bowing before them standing uncovered or the like.
8. they shall be slow to speake, and eschew not onely oathes, Lies, and uncertaine Rumours, but likewise all idle, foolish, bitter scoffing, frothy wanton words and offensive gestures.

 

 

 

Happy New Year – From Legacy Dad

Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV) “11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare[a] and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Philippians 3:13-14 (ESV) “13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

chicago skylineWhether you celebrate the New Year by toasting grape juice, pillows (going to bed early), or even Champagne, we would like you to look back for a gander in 2014.  For some of you, it has been full of travel and work and more travel and for others it has been just another year under the belt.   For some, it has been a year of trials and tribulations and for others it has been a year of jubilee and blessing.  While yet, for others, it may have been a year of both trial and blessing.  Whatever and where ever you are in this life – we would like to humbly wish you all a very Happy New Year.

So what is our challenge for 2015?

  • Calling all Legacy dads:
  • Strain toward the goal (finish well)
  • Press toward walking more with God
  • Lean more on God (Jesus and His Spirit) and less on ourselves
  • Declare God’s plan for our lives (and not our own)

0112-top-earth_lightsWhen we work toward the goal of Jesus, we learn to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, then we see more of God’s will in our lives and less of our will.

 

Remember, God does have plans for us – really good plans.

 

 

Happy New Year and the best to your and your families in 2015!

Blessings,

Lance & Dante