Words…

part 2

colossiansOne day a teacher asked her students to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name.

Then she told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it down.

It took the remainder of the class period to finish their assignment, and as the students left the room, each one handed in the papers.

That Saturday, the teacher wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper, and listed what everyone else had said about that individual. 

On Monday she gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class was smiling. ‘Really?’ she heard whispered. ‘I never knew that I meant anything to anyone!’ and, ‘I didn’t know others liked me so much,’ were most of the comments.

No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. She never knew if they discussed them after class or with their parents, but it didn’t matter. The exercise had accomplished its purpose. The students were happy with themselves and one another. That group of students moved on.

Several years later, one of the students was killed in Vietnam and his teacher attended the funeral of that special student. She had never seen a serviceman in a military coffin before. He looked so handsome, so mature.

The church was packed with his friends. One by one those who loved him took a last walk by the coffin. The teacher was the last one to bless the coffin.

As she stood there, one of the soldiers who acted as pallbearer came up to her. ‘Were you Mark’s math teacher?’ he asked. She nodded: ‘yes.’ Then he said: ‘Mark talked about you a lot.’

After the funeral, most of Mark’s former classmates went together to a luncheon. Mark’s mother and father were there, obviously waiting to speak with his teacher.

‘We want to show you something,’ his father said, taking a wallet out of his pocket ‘They found this on Mark when he was killed. We thought you might recognize it.’

Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of notebook paper that had obviously been taped, folded and refolded many times. The teacher knew without looking that the papers were the ones on which she had listed all the good things each of Mark’s classmates had said about him.

‘Thank you so much for doing that,’ Mark’s mother said. ‘As you can see, Mark treasured it.’

All of Mark’s former classmates started to gather around. Charlie smiled rather sheepishly and said, ‘I still have my list. It’s in the top drawer of my desk at home.’

Chuck’s wife said, ‘Chuck asked me to put his in our wedding album.’

‘I have mine too,’ Marilyn said. ‘It’s in my diary’

Then Vicki, another classmate, reached into her pocketbook, took out her wallet and showed her worn and frazzled list to the group. ‘I carry this with me at all times,’ Vicki said and without batting an eyelash, she continued: ‘I think we all saved our lists’

That’s when the teacher finally sat down and cried. She cried for Mark and for all his friends who would never see him again.

The density of people in society is so thick that we forget that life will end one day. And we don’t know when that one day will be.

So please, tell the people you love and care for, that they are special and important. Tell them, before it is too late. And One Way To Accomplish This Is: Forward this message on.

Colossians 4:6English Standard Version (ESV)

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

The Mark of a Mature Christian

According to the Book of James

moodyGod’s will is for every man to grow (Hebrews 6:1)

  D.L. Moody said “Character is what you are in the dark”

  • -A mature Christian is positive under pressure
  • -A mature Christian is sensitive to people
  • -A mature Christian has mastered his mouth
  • -A mature Christian is a peacemaker not a troublemaker
  • -A mature Christian is patient and prayerful

 

Four Marks of a Disciple

  • Discipleship growth means two things: increasing the number of disciples and the depth of disciples. God never intended for his church to be a mile wide and an inch deep. Since Christ has clearly defined our goal as discipleship growth let me give you four marks of a disciple. Check and see how you are doing in these four areas.
  • 1. Disciples are maturing in their faith. They are growing. They are in the Word. They are not on cruise control. Each day they live in expectancy of what God is going to do through their witness and life.
  • The original disciples grew in their knowledge and experience with the Lord. Spiritual maturity was part of Christ’s goal for the original disciples and for us today. Jesus was very intentional about helping His disciples grow into fully developed and devoted mature followers. Are you maturing? Are you growing in Christ? The question churches need to ask is, “are we developing disciples?”
  • 2. The second mark is ministry. Disciples care and serve other people. Jesus was very intentional in training His disciples in the lifestyle of being a servant. As we help people grow spiritually, we can only do so by helping them understand the role of serving. A non serving Christian is a contradiction in terms. Are you serving the Lord?
  • 3. The third mark is mission. Jesus’ disciples knew their mission. They were to make disciples. Jesus not only taught this He modeled it for the disciples. As a disciple we are on mission. The mission becomes our passion.
  • 4. The final mark is multiplication. It is quite obvious that the original disciples understood that multiplying and reproducing disciples was the method Christ taught them. This method turned lose will evangelize the world. Not addition but multiplication.
  • Jesus developed a handful of disciples who would reproduce or multiply more disciples who would reproduce more disciples…The ultimate mark of discipleship growth is when a disciple reproduces another disciple.
  • How are you doing in these four areas?  We are on mission.  Let’s live like it!

Romans 12:1-2English Standard Version (ESV)

A Living Sacrifice

12 I appeal to you therefore, brothers,[a] by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.[b] Do not be conformed to this world,[c]but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.[d]

Colossians 3:1-17English Standard Version (ESV)

Put On the New Self

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your[a] life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you:[b] sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming.[c] In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self[d]with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave,[e] free; but Christ is all, and in all.

12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Vision

Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained.”

“Where there is no vision, there is no hope,” – George Washington Carver.

“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision,” – Helen Keller.

visionVision gives leaders a purpose and road map to where they need to be, to go, to dream, and to end up.  A church that follows a leader who uses vision to have others take ownership in that vision is both humble and God-honoring, with structure and purpose.  In the book Courageous Leadership, Bill Hybels quotes Romans 12:8,  “the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads,[a] with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.” (ESV).  He states that when we read this, those of us that have the gift of leadership better sit up and take notice, and we better lead with diligence.  “Why, because the Church, the bride of Christ, upon which the eternal destiny of the world depends, will flourish or falter largely on the basis of how we lead.”

Through Jesus Christ, who is the Author of our salvation, we find the hope in him and through His Spirit to boldly approach his task to go and make disciples and to preach and teach the good news.  In addition, we are to train others to love, to be in community and to carry each other’s burdens, and to be in relationship with others.  An effective leader can dream and cast vision, but is doomed if he/she cannot convey this vision to others in such a way that they fail to take ownership in that vision.  Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained.”  Bill Hybels states, “They can’t focus, can’t reach their goal, can’t follow their dream.  An older translation says, “Without vision, the people perish.”  Hybels says “Vision is a picture of the future that produces passion.”

In Men of Faith, we worship, read scripture, pray and carry each other’s burdens.  We created an environment that yields to the truth: God’s word!  We share with each other our most honest feelings, and we have set a tone that trust is there and what is said there stays there.  In other words, we see community and relationship.  The vision that Men of Faith has is to bring men to the Word of God, pray to God and watch the Holy Spirit change men.  The word of God encourages, convicts and comforts men in their daily lives.

In Legacy Dad, both Lance and I have a heart for men and women and our hope is to use the blog as a tool to share God’s word and our life experience through ministry.  Also, to challenge and use biblical truth in application.  Our vision is to see this ministry turn into a full-time ministry using our gifts and talents to make a difference in others.  The purpose of Legacy Dad is to share real men’s journeys, Biblical-based wisdom and the latest research on what works in life – in easy to read weekly life lessons and devotionals.  We are transparent, Bible-based and give you the latest advice on manhood, parenting, marriage and faith.

imagesOur hope is that we can equip as many men, fathers and parents as possible and create a generation of leaders that leave a real legacy for their children and the generations to come

How would I measure success in ministry with the vision of its leaders:  1) What fruit is it bearing?  2) Do others own the vision?  3) Are others being listened to?  Are they sharing their fears and desires with their leader? If so, does the leader weigh those and incorporate that into the path of their vision? 4) Most importantly – is the vision pointing others to Christ?  If not, why not?

Blessings,

Dante

Unstuck: The Power For Change

My wife had her hands over her face, tears streaking down the sides of her cheeks.  She was sobbing.  “You have to file for divorce and move on with your life.”  The counselor told her. “Think about your children. At this point in his life, he will never change. I’ve seen this scenario hundreds of times and they never change. If you take him back, it will all be the same”   That was 15 years ago…

photo-1444828589547-4ee6f3cb625a

I stared at the guy as he sat looking down at the ground shaking his head.  After an uncomfortably long silence he finally looked up “I know I need to change these destructive habits, but it’s too hard!” He yelled at me. “I don’t even want to pray about it because God may give me opportunities and I don’t want to deal with this!”

How do people change their lives?  How do you move from desperation to happiness?  How do we get unstuck and move forward?

Continue Reading »

Final Charge to Legacy Dads

(and to Timothy)

Final Charge to Timothy

1timothy1 Timothy 6:11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14 to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords,16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.

Legacy Dads (and to those who journey it is to be this man of God)

Things you can do right now to start this process:

  • Prayer (ask for the Lord to reveal those things in you that need to change)
  • Repent
  • Pursue God (through prayer and the reading of his word)
  • Pursue Godliness (God is holy!  Put your own sin nature to death daily)
  • Pursue Faith (Believe and receive the Holy Spirit and God’s testimony)
  • Pursue Love (how do others see Christ through your behavior and attitude – do these need to change?)
  • Pursue Endurance (train yourself in the way that God’s word tells us to go)
  • Pursue Gentleness (this does not mean to be a whimp) – Be pure in heart and encourage, comfort and urge those
  • If you are a believer, a disciple, a legacy dad THEN Fight!  Fight the good fight of faith because Ephesians 6 is not lying about spiritual warfare
  • Take hold of your faith!

TimothyIn all that you do, let the Word of Christ dwell in each of you richly.

Be blessed!

 

Dante

The Word of God changes lives

titusIn the Book of Titus we read how the Apostle Paul has left Timothy in Crete to with a big to do list:

  • 5 The reason I left you in Crete was that you might put in order what was left unfinished
  • Appoint Elders in every town
  • Train Elders to be God’s man
  • Rebuke those parties that need rebuking (Cretans and the Circumcision Party)
  • teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine
  • Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.
  • Teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
  • encourage the young men to be self-controlled
  • In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8 and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us
  • Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, 2 to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone
  • avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless
  • Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. 11 You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned

When Paul first leaves Titus with these men in this church, to the average eye, this would seem like a hopeless task.  But with God, everything is possible as we read in the following texts in Titus:

  • Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
  • Titus 3:3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 8 This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone

discernment-1Remember this:  For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

Left on our own devices we can be overwhelmed, stressed and left hopeless, but with the Word of God we can see how Titus takes these men in Chapter 1 (those who are lost, liars, Cretans and evildoers) and we see the Word of God,  a Man of God and the Spirit of God changing these men to God’s men!

The Word of God changes lives!

The Word of God can teach us!

The Word of God gives us Wisdom!  (The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom).

Don’t leave home without the Word of God.

 

Blessings,
Dante

 

 

 

Completed Devoted

Be relational and real and God will bring them

our-daily-breadWhat if we trained for a marathon race at 25 percent?  What if we committed to our partner 30 percent?  What if we paid taxes on only 30 percent of our income?  What if we spent very little time investing in our family and our marriage?  In all of these questions what do you think the likely end result would be?  Would it be a happy ending?  Would it be edifying?  Would it be worth it to change these questions to what if I gave it my all?

I don’t think very many of us would even remotely try to argue that results would certainly be much different.  All this being said to ask our question of where does our devotion truly stand with the Creator of this Universe?

Some key verses for you to ponder:

  • Deuteronomy 6:5 “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
  • 1 Samuel 12:24  “Only fear the LORD and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.
  • Proverbs 3:9 Honor the LORD from your wealth And from the first of all your produce;
  • Romans 12:1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
  • 1 Corinthians 6:20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
  • 1 Corinthians 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?
  • 2 Corinthians 5:15 and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.
  • 1 Thessalonians 2:12 so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.
  • 1 Peter 4:2 so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.

 

If we were to honestly look at the daily journals of our lives (Our time:  How are we spending it?  Our Treasure: If we were to show everyone in our lives and our churches how God really matters, would our checkbooks show it?  Our Talent:  When we are saved, Scripture tells us that the Spirit gives us fruit, so how are we sharing that?)

Some of us need to take serious inventory of our lives:

  • Ask your spouse to list the top 5 things that are important to you (Where does God line up with that?)
  • Ask your children to list the top 5 things that are important to you (Is God even mentioned)
  • Take a look at your time (Where is God on that list)
  • Take a look at your treasure (What does our checkbook and spending tell us?)
  • Take a look at your talent (Are you using it for God’s kingdom?)

My next post will be on prioritizing…

Blessings,

Dante

 

 

 

TOP 10 WAYS TO BUILD YOUR CHILDREN UP

top-10-mistakesTOP 10 WAYS TO BUILD YOUR CHILDREN UP:

#10     TEACH THEM HEALTHY BOUNDARIES

#  9     TEACH THEM TO RESPECT THEMSELVES (AND THEIR BODIES) AND OTHERS

#  8     TEACH THEM GOOD STEWARDSHIP (OF TIME, OF TALENT AND OF TREASURE)

#  7     INVEST YOUR TIME IN THEM (THEY NEED MORE THAN QUALITY – THEY NEED BOTH QUALITY AND QUANTITY)

#  6     PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN, MAKE EYE CONTACT AND SHOW THEM THAT THEY MATTER TO YOU DAD

#  5     SHOW THEM YOUR FAITH:  MAKE THE BIBLE AN AUTHORITY IN YOUR LIFE, MAKE SERVING OTHERS A PRIORITY, MAKE YOUR FAITH REAL TO THEM

#  4     DATE THEM (TAKE THEM OUT ON ONE ON ONE DATES: IF THEY ARE YOUR DAUGHTERS THEN SHOW THEM HOW A LADY SHOULD BE TREATED.  IF THEY ARE YOUR SONS THEN SHOW THEM HOW TO TREAT LADIES AND BE A GENTLEMEN.

#  3     TELL THEM ABOUT GOD – READ THE WORD WITH THEM. PRAY WITH THEM, OPEN UP TO THEM.

#  2     LOVE THEM, KISS THEM, HUG THEM – DO NOT WITHHOLD LOVE WITH THEM.  EVEN WHEN THEY MESS UP – FORGIVE THEM AS GOD HAS FORGIVEN US.  SHOW THEM HOW TO APOLOGIZE AND TO FORGIVE (AND THEN SHOW THEM HOW LOVE DOES NOT KEEP SCORE, DOES NOT KEEP RECORD OF RIGHT AND WRONG.

#  1     TELL THEM ABOUT GOD.  ABOUT JESUS AND ABOUT HIS SPIRIT.  SHARE WITH THEM WHAT GOD HAS DONE FOR US THROUGH HIS SON JESUS AND WHAT JESUS HAS GIVEN US AS HE SITS AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD – HIS SPIRIT.