Our Story is meant for God’s Glory

James 1English Standard Version (ESV)

Greeting
1 James, a servant[a] of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,

To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion:

Greetings.

Testing of Your Faith
2 Count it all joy, my brothers,[b] when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

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The Unholy trinity

(Me, Myself and I)

Left to our own devices, what hope of eternity with God do we have?  Left by ourselves, what is the likelihood that we may slip?  Left by ourselves, what could possibly go wrong?  In Romans we read that “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  In Psalms we read that we were brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.  In Mark, we read Jesus telling us that from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, fornication, thefts, murders and adulteries.  In Jeremiah, we read that the heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick.  Who can understand it?

2 Timothy 3:2-4
For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.”

In all that we do, we have to acknowledge that we were built and made for community.  The Holy Trinity is the perfect and flawless example of this:  God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.  They are the perfect community.  They gave us an example of what perfect community is like.

 

 

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Sensei

(One Who Has Gone Before)

Everyone once in a while, you may find yourself in the presence of great men.  Whether they are merchants, cowboys or warriors – you will know that they are great men because of the way they carry themselves.  Usually you will note authority, humility, integrity, character and you will find yourself walking away from them being a better person for the moments that you spent with them.  This is a person that I want to be.  I want to be a great husband, a really good father (a legacy dad) and someone who when others talk to me that they walk away from our conversation feeling comforted, encouraged and urged to live a life worthy of God.

For the past three years, I have been taking Kempo Jui Jitsui with my son.  I love martial arts for so many reasons.  This form of martial arts is literally warrior combat.  They do not use this style or allow it in UFC fighting because the opponent would not fare well.  I love this art because, for me, it truly relates to me in the sense of discipleship.  There is so much correlation to it that it makes me giddy just thinking about it and our men’s ministry called Men of Faith.

First of all, the term (title) Sensei, literally means, “one who has gone before.”  Each of us are on our own journey.  Each of us have purpose and a reason to be than rather to seem (Lance will love this sentence).  For those of  us that are in Christ, each of us have been given gifts and are called to be stewards of what God has given us.  If you are fortunate to have spent time (or are currently spending time) with these great men, then you will reflect on what they have shown you.  Where they are guiding you and what their hope for you is in your walk.

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Men of Faith

The Word of God Changes Lives

I have been leading our Men’s Ministry, called Men of Faith, since 2007.  I continue to learn and continue to be amazed at what the Word of God can do to a group of men.  I can watch someone who is raw and beginning in their faith (regardless of age) or talk to someone who has been walking many years with God and in either find myself amazed at God’s good, good Grace.

God is patient and kind and full of mercy, love and grace.  He is a good, good Father.  Who is man, oh God, that you are so mindful of Him?  You are perfect in all of your ways to us, dear Lord.

James 5:16-20English Standard Version (ESV)

16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.[a] 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.  19 My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, 20 let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

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Why do we need the church? Part 1

A follow up to Lance's Post: "Dear Church, Are We Off Course?"

need the churchMy friend, Lance (founder of Legacy dad), penned this blog post, “Dear Church, Are We Off Course?” in which he spoke from the heart and from some frustration and pure honesty with issues in today’s church in the free world, The United States of America.  If you haven’t read it or have, I encourage you to read it again and then ponder to yourself to ask what you see in your church and where are we going.

In Ephesians 5:25 we read are “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”, which applies to those whom Christ died for.  In Matthew 16:18, Jesus said that “I will build my church.”  In the Old Testament they reference to an assembly of people who worshiped God.  The Greek word, Ekklesia, is a term that is translated as church, which simply means assembly.  The Church is both local and universal.  The church is both visible and invisible.  It is not defined as brick and mortar.  In metaphors in the New Testament, the Church is referenced as “an olive tree (Romans 11:17-24), a field of crops (1 Corinthians 3:6-9), a building (1 Cor. 3:9) and a harvest (Matthew 13:1-30 and John 4:35).  The Church is a group of new priests, holy believers (that is you and I who are set apart for Him).

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Test God?

How is this possible?

First of all,  let me premise this blog by saying that I do not believe in man’s definition of “Prosperity Gospel” as defined as “Prosperity theology (sometimes referred to as the prosperity gospel, the health and wealth gospel, or the gospel of success) [A] is a religious belief among some Christians, who hold that financial blessing and physical well-being are always the will of God for them, and that faith, positive speech, and donations to religious causes will increase one’s material wealth. It is based on interpretations of the Bible that are traditional to Judaism (with respect to the Hebrew Bible),[1] though less so in Christianity. Prosperity theology views the Bible as a contract between God and humans: if humans have faith in God, he will deliver security and prosperity.” (Wikipedia).

test-in-progressTo be a true disciple of God you have to be careful with your exegesis (defined as critical explanation or interpretation of a text, especially of scripture).  That is, to say, that when you read and interpret Scripture, you are to study it well and true and to understand contextual what the Scripture is saying.  It is important to read the whole text to understand the text completely.  Is it relevant to me now, is it for the time and place that it is written, does the passage transcend time?  All of these things have to carefully weighed and meditated on.  When you read God’s word in the way that it is intended to be read, then you will have a humble heart when reading this book.  Let me clear, when this book “reads” you.  The word is active and alive and it is sharper than any two-edged sword.  It is the inerrant word of God.  For a believer, in biblical inerrancy, Holy Scripture is the Word of God, and carries the full authority of God. Every single statement of the Bible calls for instant and unqualified acceptance. Every doctrine of the Bible is the teaching of God and therefore requires a full agreement.

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Hate your brother?

(Call yourself a Christian?)

1_john_title1 John 4:7-21New International Version (NIV)

God’s Love and Ours
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

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Family Devotion Time

(it's not as hard as you think)

This morning I found myself for the third morning in a row waking up an hour before my morning alarm (which is early, really early).   Needless to say, the night before I just simply prayed in my
bed and managed to fall asleep for whatever remaining time I had until my morning routine, but this morning was different.  This morning, I jumped up and started the coffee pot before it’s early preset time.  I let the dog out.  I read my Bible.  I journaled and I even spent more time in prayer than I normally do.  family-hands-and-home

As I drove to work, I listened to worship music and prayed for more.   I prayed for the 4 guys that I am walking with.  I prayed for the prayer list that I have been in need to get to.  For some unknown reason, it is 8:00pm and I am still wide awake.  I even went to the dentist this afternoon and had time to finish my afternoon work from home.  Please note: None of this was possible on my time.  Left to my own devices, this day would have been an epic fail.  I even had time to work out for the second day in a row before family time.

Next, family devotion.

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