A Springboard for You

For a better life and a better eternity

Pride Goes Before a Fall

I’m taking a brief break from my series on what I have learned about preparing for temptation simply to provide this helpful reminder that pride goes before a fall.

I certainly hope this guy learns from his life.

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August 29, 2008 Posted by | Just Plain Fun, Uncategorized, Videos | , , , | 1 Comment

What I Have Learned about Preparing for Temptation: Part 2

Satan is vicious. He roams like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour (I Peter 5:8). Just like we wouldn’t go on a safari in lion infested territory without preparation, we need to prepare to face Satan’s attacks. We have already learned we begin with Repentance and Confession. In this post, we need to see the place of Bible Study and Prayer.

We all know Psalm 119:11. “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (ESV). Clearly, if we want to avoid sin, we must spend time in Bible Study. We do this to know what sin is. We can’t even accomplish the Confession we have already discussed if we do not learn the mind of God through His revelation (cf. I Corinthians 2:11-12). Consider Matthew 4:1-11. Even Jesus overcame sin because of what was written. He knew what was sin and He knew how to respond when Satan attacked because He had stored up God’s word in His heart.

We also need to study God’s word to learn Satan’s attacks. II Corinthians 2:11 speaks of knowing Satan’s designs so we won’t be outwitted by him. From Eve to Peter, through Bible study we see how Satan tempted others. Learning how he attacks prepares us and helps us respond well.

At the same time, we need to develop a healthy habit of Prayer. No doubt, we will need to pray in the moment of temptation. The only way to be strong enough to pray in the moment of temptation is if we have developed a strong habit of prayer when we weren’t being tempted.

Consider the example of Daniel in Daniel 6:10. Daniel was able to keep praying when it was illegal because it was what he had done previously. Prayer was his ingrained response.

We must remember our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against powers too great for us (cf. Ephesians 6:10-13). We can’t win this battle. But God can. Therefore, we need to develop a healthy relationship with God through prayer. As Ephesians 3:20 says, God can do far more abundantly than we ask by the power working through us. However, this means we have to ask.

Further, as the model prayer demonstrates in Matthew 6:13, God is able to keep us from and deliver us through temptation. How many temptations might we avoid in our lives if we simply make this prayer a habit even when we aren’t being tempted?

What is your plan for study and prayer this week? Schedule it out and then make sure to fit it in. Don’t do this to check it off your Christian living list, but because this is what works. This is what will help you overcome those temptations.

May God richly bless you as you draw closer to Him.
More importantly, may you richly bless God. 

August 26, 2008 Posted by | Christian living, Overcoming Sin, Preparing for Temptation | , , , , , | Leave a comment

What I’ve Learned about Preparing for Temptation: Part 1

 

“I can overcome anything except temptation.” An overly used one-liner and yet overly used because it is overly true. It certainly has been overly true in my life. With that in mind, I want to share with you what helps me face the daily battle, what helps me prepare for Satan’s attacks. This is the first part in what looks like will be a four part series on how to prepare for temptation. Of course, who knows what I might learn over the next several days that gets added in. I hope it helps.

 

 

Preparing for Temptation: Part 1

Regrettably, the “Just Say No” tactic that sounds so good in the safety of our assemblies doesn’t always hold water when we are face to face with Satan’s weapons on the battlefield. We need some real help to overcome temptation. What should we do? Like any battle, without preparation, we will fall. There are several things we must do to prepare; in this article, I want to share two—Repentance and Confession.

The first thing we have to do is Repent. II Corinthians 7:10 says, “For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret…” (ESV). We have already sinned (Romans 3:23). This isn’t about getting perfect people to stay perfect, but helping sinful people avoid future sin. Without repentance, the battle is already lost.

Repentance is a change of mind leading to a change of action. If we still think some sin is alright, not that bad, not a big deal, a social faux pas, a mistake or any other mitigated concept, change of action will not take place. Only when we mourn our actions and change our minds will we overcome temptation. As long as I believe there’s not really anything wrong with having bitterness, wrath or clamor toward my wife and kids, I will not stop. Oh, I may white-knuckle it for a while to please other people, but it will always creep back in. I must rethink my sins and see how bad they really are.

At the same time, I also need to Confess. I John 1:9 says if we confess our sins, God will forgive us. Forgiveness is a prerequisite to salvation, but that is not why I bring it up. Confession literally means to say the same thing as. In spiritual things, it means to say the same thing as God about something. Thus, confessing my sins to God is not merely admitting I sinned. Confessing means verbalizing exactly what God thinks about the sin.

If I want to overcome sin in the future, I have to get God’s view of something entrenched in my head. I have to see it the way God sees it. I have to speak about it the way God speaks about it. When I confess my sins to God, I’m agreeing with Him. I am communing with His mind. I am connecting with His thoughts and ways. The point is not that we have to hit a checklist of confession for each sin to be saved. The point is working through the exercise of seeing what God sees and thinking like God thinks is necessary if I want to live God’s way.

If I don’t repent of and confess my sins, I won’t make it when the temptation hits again. So let’s start here. Be honest. What are your sins? What does God say about them? What are you going to say about them? Feel free to write out the list and work through them one by one. God will help. God will forgive. You will grow.

May God richly bless you as you draw closer to Him.
More importantly, may you richly bless God.

August 23, 2008 Posted by | Christian living, Overcoming Sin, Preparing for Temptation | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yes, Sam, You Need Some YES MEN

 

In Getting to Did: How to Lose Your Big “But” and Live a Life without Regret, my upcoming book, Sam’s world craters, leaving him unemployed and foundering as he tries to find a job. Enter Dave, Sam’s successful neighbor. Dave introduces Sam to three friends who help him get rid of his big “but” and turn his couldas into cans, his shouldas into shalls and his wouldas into wills. Check out what Dave’s COACH taught Sam about Making the PLAY and how you just can’t do that without “Yes Men.” I know, sounds odd. But check out this excerpt and let me know what you think.

 

 

          Sam said, “Okay, I get the PASSION, LOOKING TO THE FUTURE, and ACCEPTING NO EXCUSES. But what is up with this YES MEN thing? I’ve always hated that.”

         The COACH responded, “Yeah, Dave told me you were already upset about that one. The normal connotation of YES MEN is dreadful. We don’t want people who just always say, ‘Yes,’ even when they disagree in order to get on our good side. That, however, is not what I mean by YES MEN. We want people who will challenge our thinking and expand our vision.

         “These YES MEN are people with whom you surround yourself to encourage you and hold you accountable. They are the people who tell you, ‘YES, you CAN,’ when you are thinking, ‘No, I can’t.’ They tell you, ‘YES, you SHALL,’ when you are thinking, ‘No, I shall not.’ They tell you, ‘YES, you WILL,’ when you are thinking, ‘No, I won’t.’

         “Your YES MEN are your accountability partners. Dave and I get together regularly along with the TRAINER and the PROFESSOR to act as each other’s YES MEN. Further, we get together with many of the other people we have helped along the way.

         “I hope you don’t think it’ll be a cake walk from this point on. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve had this conversation with who end up settling for mediocrity in their lives. They don’t step up to the plate. When you talk to them today, they’ve just grown their big ol’ BUTS back again. Without fail, each one started back into their old habits of COULDA, SHOULDA and WOULDA by neglecting their relationship with their YES MEN.

         “As you pick out your YES MEN, don’t pick out the ones we often think of as YES MEN, the ones afraid to state their convictions and disagree when it’s necessary. They won’t help you. Pick the ones who’ll push you. Pick the ones who’ll force you to get up when you have fallen. Pick the ones who’ll question you and make you clarify your vision and your course of action. Pick the ones who’ll ACCEPT NO EXCUSES. But make sure to pick out YES MEN who are willing to say ‘YES, you CAN,’ even when no one else has before.

         “When you have established your council of YES MEN, be completely open and honest with them. Let them know your plans, dreams and visions. Let them know the obstacles you see and the struggles you face. Let them know your fears. Then listen respectfully to their advice. Remember, it’s just that, advice. You SHOULD still be you and you must make your final choices. Good YES MEN will ACCEPT NO EXCUSES from you, not even, ‘I did what you YES MEN said I SHOULD.’

         “Here are the benefits of YES MEN. First, two heads are better than one. Even with all of your INSIGHT into your work and life, it’s still hard to read the label when you’re inside the bottle. It’s always good to get advice and counsel from others with differing perspectives.

         “Second, you’ll be surprised how often your network of YES MEN can actually help you with your projects in practical ways by connecting you with others or with needed resources. For instance, when I first started working with this high school, you may remember the team had maintained a losing record for several years. The school board had cut the budget. We were in desperate need of new equipment and didn’t have the funds.”

         “Oh yeah, I remember that,” Sam said. “I remember little Sam complaining about some of the outdated and dilapidated equipment. One of the local sporting goods stores stepped in and made some donations didn’t it?”

         “That’s right. What you don’t know is those donations came because I laid out my troubles to my YES MEN council. The TRAINER had a connection with the upper crust at that store. Dave had an accountant friend who explained the tax advantages of making such a donation. Voilà, our equipment issues were resolved.

         “The third benefit from YES MEN is they help pick you up when you fall down. Before I moved here, I had an experience so devastating I was ready to throw in the towel. I had made a few mistakes in my first head coaching job. Instead of letting me learn from them and grow, one of my assistant coaches, a man I thought was a friend, went behind my back to get me ousted so he could have the job. It was my introduction to another aspect I hate about this job—school politics. I was down and the ref had counted to 9. That was when Dave really came into my life. He had been my landlord for a few years. One day he was just checking out his property and struck up a conversation with me. I guess I needed someone to talk to because I just opened up to him like he was my best friend. He taught me about GETTING TO DID and ever since he has acted as my YES MAN, picked me up and helped me move on. I’m just going to tell you, you can’t replace that or manufacture it on your own.

         “Fourth, maybe I think this because I’m such a people person, but life is just more fun when you’re sharing it with others. Your council of YES MEN gives you people to laugh and cry with. It gives you people to support and people who support you. It gives you people who will pat you on your back when you do well and kick you in the backside when you slack off. It just makes life more interesting and more fun.

         “Finally, when it’s time to do battle and go toe to toe with the ones who’ll try to knock you down and keep you from reaching your goals, your YES MEN provide you with support and strength you WILL never have alone.

         “My game is a game of YES MEN. I have yet to see the one man football team. No PLAY in my game is ever made by a single player. I never let my team forget that. We have to support each other, defend each other and bust heads for each other. In the end, I’m convinced there’ve been some games we won simply because we ‘YES we CANned’ each other through it.

August 20, 2008 Posted by | My Books, Success | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Real Preachers of Genius

I doubt I could spiritually condone everything the Steve and Kathy Show teaches, but I can’t help but love their “Real Preachers of Genius” videos. I hope they put out more. The first one is good, but it is apparent they were just figuring out how to do these.

The second one is awesome.

I hope you enjoyed those as much as I did.

ELC

August 11, 2008 Posted by | Just Plain Fun, Preaching Help, Videos | , , , , | 2 Comments

Jesus’ Gospel is Powerful Enough To Save

I have now heard it all. Okay, maybe not. But surely this is close.

Some church is offering gas cards to get folks to visit. I have no doubt some folks will proclaim, “How innovative! How creative!” Some might say, “Wish I had thought of that.”

I say, what happened to Romans 1:16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (ESV).

I can already hear someone say, “Now Edwin, we believe the gospel is God’s power to save, but we’ve got to get people here to hear that gospel or they won’t be saved.” I say, what happened to Mark 16:15: “And he said to them, ‘Go…'” (ESV)? God didn’t ask us to figure out ways to get people to “come to church.” He asked us to go to them. It might be one thing if a congregation was giving free gas to its members so they could travel the highways and byways talking to folks about the gospel. But since when is our job to figure out how to get people to come to church? 

But that’s not all. Do we really want to be the people who say God’s gospel is powerful enough to save, but only after a certain point? Do we really want to be the people who say the gospel is not powerful enough to save people from start to finish? Do we really think God needs us to get them so far and then He’ll take over? Or do we think the Gospel is powerful enough to get people interested in hearing it and then in obeying it?

Perhaps the problem is the average Christian is, well, average. Maybe if we could move beyond being unremarkably average and really let the Gospel change our lives, other people might get curious about what is going on in our churches. 

I can also already hear someone else say, “Now Edwin, we are not ashamed of the Gospel.” Let’s get real. When our Vacation Bible Schools look more like county fairs with free crafts and bouncy rides, we certainly aren’t saying we think the Gospel can hold its own. When our assemblies look more like rock concerts or club hopping, we certainly aren’t happy with just the Gospel. When we are trying to get people to “come to church” by appealing to their fleshly desires with free gas or with parties for the teenagers, mixers for the young singles, babysitting for the parents and other such appeals, we are saying we just don’t think the Gospel alone will cut it. When someone asks us, “What do you have for my kids?” and we bow our heads, kick the dirt and say, “Just the Gospel,” we are showing embarrassment and shame. We should be able to hold our heads high and say, “We have the Gospel that saves. We have it for you, for your kids, for your grandkids and for everyone in your whole family.”

Let’s face it, a church giving away free gas will get more people in the pews. But free gas doesn’t put anyone in heaven. Only the gospel of Jesus can do that. God is not saying to us, “Help me. I’ve got the saving gospel but no one wants to listen to it. Do something, please.” 

Why don’t we just live the gospel, teach the gospel and let the gospel govern our churches. Yes, I know not many people are into the gospel. Not many people are going to want to “come to church” if all they get out of it is the gospel message. But what good are we doing trying to manipulate people into hearing the gospel? What good are we doing saying God’s gospel is not enough to save people from start to finish?

I’ll say it again, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…”

ELC

August 8, 2008 Posted by | Christian living, evangelism | , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Farkle Principle: How I Lost Millions because of My Big BUT!

Don’t worry, this isn’t a post about any gross or humorous bodily functions.

I learned how to play Farkle, a dice game, when I was five years old, maybe even earlier. That was way back in 1978. Since then I have taught almost every friend I have how to play. It’s a very simple dice game.

If you want to skip the rules of the game and go straight to the point of the post skip the italicized paragraphs.

The only equipment you need is six dice, a piece of paper and a pencil. Ones equal 100 points. Fives equal 50 points. Three of a kind in one toss of the dice equals 100 times the face value of one of the dice. Thus, three fours is 400 points. If you role four of a kind that doubles. Thus, four fours is 800 points. Five of a kind doubles it again. Thus, five fours equals 1600 points. If you roll six of a kind in one toss, you automatically win. Since a single one is already 100 points, three ones is 1000 points and each additional one doubles it. If you roll a straight with all six dice, that is 1500 points.

You start with six dice and roll. You pull out the point dice you want and keep rolling. If you end up with all six dice having points, you then pick them all up and keep rolling. Before you can actually start recording your score for the first time, you have to get to at least 1000 points. With a 1000 points you can get on the board. Then you can quit at any time. Beware, if you toss the dice and have no points, then you lose all the points you have earned that turn. Once you are on the board and it comes to your turn again, you can then stop at any point you want, whether you have 50 points, 500 points or 5000 points. 

The first player to 10,000 wins. However, once one person crosses the coveted finish line, the dice makes one final pass around the table to see if anyone can surpass your score. So, if folks are close, you want to go out big. If someone goes past you, you don’t get another chance to beat them.

That may sound confusing, but it is really quite simple. It is also extremely fun. I could tell you some great gaming stories about my family and friends playing this game over the years. However, I’m not writing this just to teach you to play a simple but fun game for the whole family. I’m not writing this to share family memories with you. I am writing because for years, I have occasionally thought, “You know, I ought to figure out a way to package and market this game.” But I always came back with, “Yeah, BUT you don’t know anything about breaking into the game market.” Or “Yeah, BUT who would want to spend money on a game that really only needs six dice, some paper and a pencil?” There was always this little nagging part of me that thought I should do something about it, however, I always let my big BUT get in the way.

Just a few weeks ago, while perusing Barnes and Noble, I passed the game table and something incredible caught my eye. A packaged game entitled Farkel. The rules were slightly different and they  spelled it differently than I always had but it was the same game. Search the internet and you will find Official Rules and all kinds of other stuff. Someone even came up with a party version. How cool is that?

SOMEBODY ELSE IS MAKING MY MONEY!

Why?

Because I always let my big BUT get in the way. 

I have now learned the Farkle principle. If it’s a good idea, someone is going to capitalize on it. Might as well be me. Now I just need to have another good idea.

ELC

August 5, 2008 Posted by | Making Mistakes, Our big BUT, regrets, Success | , , , , , | 5 Comments