A Springboard for You

For a better life and a better eternity

4 Lies of Raising a Princess

This past weekend, I had the great fortune of taking my wonderful 11-year-old daughter to Orlando, Florida for the Fathers of Faith and Daughters of Excellence retreat led by a great father of two daughters, Frederic Gray. It was a great experience. We stayed at the Doubletree Castle hotel, kicking off the weekend with a daddy/daughter banquet, listening to several great presentations about the role of the Father in raising excellent Daughters and also the role of the Daughter in heeding the advice of the Father.

Tessa and I had a great time. After scheduled events were over on Friday evening, we continued our own little daddy/daughter date and played a game of miniature golf. Of course, I thought that was great because I stomped her socks off. Then we crossed the street to Friendly’s and had a really good but really expensive chocolate shake. I also learned that sometimes even 11-year-olds snore. That was amazing.

I got a lot of good things out of the weekend and I think Tessa did as well. But one concept really jumped out at me. Frederic commented on the modern lies of raising a princess. Don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying boycott Disney or that it is a sin to watch their movies. I’m simply saying we need to consider some of the messages with which we may be training our little girls and never even know it. Consider just a few. You can probably give some thought to it and think of some more. These lies are expressed below as they are told to our little girls in these movies.

Lie #1

I can defy my father’s advice and direction and follow the impulses of my emotions and in the end everything will work out alright. After all love should be my guide when pursuing prince charming.

Truth: Hey, I know dads can sometimes be mistaken. But lets get real. A 40 to 50 year-old father knows a lot more about the way the world works and a lot more about 18 to 25 year-old boys than daughters do. Further, Hollywood and Disney aside, the American landscape is littered with broken homes because daughters were guided by the emotional infatuation they confused with real love and married someone despite the good advice of their parents.

Lie #2

I can find my prince charming by one night of dancing with a stranger.

Truth: Real love is not an emotional fit when a man walks into the room or places his arms around you. Real love is knowing a person intimately, knowing his strengths, weaknesses, flaws, personality, past, goals, etc. and then devoting your life to complement his. Real love is not an emotion that is out of your control. Love is an action that is your choice. You can certainly find a man who will thrill your soul for a while just by looking into his eyes on the dance floor. But you can’t possibly find a man you are sure you want to commit yourself to unconditionally or even know that he is worthy of such commitment that way.

Lie #3

If I love a monster enough, he’ll eventually change into prince charming.

Truth: Once again, the American landscape is littered with broken homes because young ladies were certain that the guy they were dating who was rude, inconsiderate, irresponsible and sometimes even cruel would change over time as she just loved him enough. Don’t get me wrong, people can change. But, daughters, you can’t change them. They can only do that themselves. Pay attention to the way your “prince charming” treats his mother and his sisters. That is how he’ll treat you and you are not likely to change it. Pay attention to how he treats you while you’re dating. If he is cruel, sarcastic, degrading, objectifying and condescending now, it will probably only get worse when you’re married to him. If you are only an object with which to make out or try to have *** **** while you are dating, you will not suddenly become a person with hopes and dreams in his eyes once you are married. Pay attention to his work ethic and his discipline while you are dating. If he is a bum who is mooching off his parents while you’re dating, he won’t suddenly become Mr. Responsible once kids come on the scene. Look, I know people change. I have changed over the years. But don’t buy the lie that you can change someone. 

Lie #4

The most important thing in life is true love’s kiss from prince charming.

Truth: Physical intimacy is a great part of a committed relationship. Sadly, most folks today think physical intimacy is the goal of every relationship. That just isn’t so. The goal of relationships is completeness, wholeness. The goal is to find someone who complements and therefore completes you. You can’t figure that out if you’re merely focusing on his lips. I don’t know how many married couples I’ve spoken with or tried to counsel who claim they married someone they didn’t really know because when they started dating, all they did was make-out. I’m not at the point where I’ll call it a sin to kiss someone to whom you aren’t married. I might get there, but I’m not there yet. However, to be honest, I wish I had never kissed anyone but my wife. All the physical intimacy I ever had with girls before I got married only served to mess up the joy of the physical intimacy I want with my wife. They all became obstacles I’ve had to overcome so “true love’s kiss” could actually be something special. In any event, get this in its proper order. Physical intimacy is not the goal of our relationships. Physical intimacy is the celebration of one very special relationship that is already in it is proper and committed place. Get the commitment, the union, the completion down and then let physical intimacy celebrate that. Then you’ll really have your prince charming and then true love’s kiss can be very special and exciting. But if you’re trying to find prince charming by seeing what kind of kisser he is, you’re only looking for trouble.

I’m sure you can think of more. I may bring up more in a later post. But Dads, I hope you’re getting the picture. Again, I’m not saying boycott princess movies by Disney. But be aware and use them as opportunities to talk about the difference between fantasy and reality. There is a reason those stories are called fairy tales.

ELC

 

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September 30, 2008 Posted by | A Springboard for Your Family Life, Daughters, Fathers, Raising Kids, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

3 Keys for Facing Our Financial Future, Bailout or Not

You can’t turn on the television or fire up an internet home page on Yahoo, Google or some other place without getting a face full of “Government Bail Out.” It’s almost more prevalent than Tina Fey as Sarah Palin. Now, I’m not an economist, so I don’t fully understand what needs to be bailed out. And I’m not a politician, so I don’t fully understand what the government plans to do about it. But, I am a house owning, debt paying off, job working, family raising American who begins to get a little worried when I hear things like “Biggest crisis since the 1930’s” and “Reminiscent of the Great Depression.” 

At the same time, I’m a Christian. Should I face this financial fallout with a Chicken Little attitude? Or should I take another approach? I’d like to share three keys, I think we as Christians need to keep in mind as we hear all this news and begin to get our fears and worries up.

 

  1. Seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be added to you (cf. Matthew 6:33): Yes, that still applies during an economic recession. It still applies even in a depression. No, God didn’t promise we would live in a nice house, drive nice cars and wear nice clothes. But He did promise to take care of us if we sought His kingdom and righteousness first. We need to remember that stocks, bonds, insurance plans and savings accounts will not take care of us in the long run. God can and will if He is our priority. No, that doesn’t mean throw financial caution to the wind, running up debt, wasting money and then expecting God to bail us out (our government’s example notwithstanding). It simply means make serving God a priority, even if you think it will cost you money and God will take care of you.
     
  2. Take it one day at a time (cf. Matthew 5:34): Let tomorrow worry about itself, Jesus said. We need to simply face today. You know what, the economy may come crashing down next Monday. But it hasn’t crashed yet today. Next Monday may be really rotten. It may be the most horrible day of our lives. Who knows? But today is not so bad. We’ve eaten today. We’re still able to access our internet today. We are living in our home today. Let’s not make today rotten by focusing on how rotten it might be next week. No, as with our last point, this doesn’t mean throw caution to the wind and live recklessly today trying to capture fun in the sun while it lasts. That is just as much letting today be dominated by tomorrow as the fearmongering approach. Rather, live wisely today. Make wise choices with your money and material blessings today. Don’t do it out of a sense of control as if you can somehow make sure that next Monday is not rotten if the economy turns south and we run into a Great Depression and it becomes so bad we are like a third world country. But simply live wisely today and rejoice in today’s blessings. Don’t let today’s blessings turn sour in your mouth because you are worried about what might happen next week. Just take it one day at a time.
     
  3. Share (cf. II Corinthians 8-9; Hebrews 13:16): This is the hard one. Financial ruin looms around the corner. Our natural reaction is to hoard. If I don’t take care of me, who will? I need to look out for #1. We need to remember instead that sharing on an individual level is how God expects us to take care of each other, not government bailouts. When times are good, we need to share those blessings. When times are bad, we need to share what blessings we have. I think of the story that I’m sure I read in one of those “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books of “The Poor Family in our Church.” As the story is told in first person–
    The preacher had announced that he had learned about a poor family in the congregation and wanted the church to do something good for them. On the following Sunday, they would take a special collection for this poor family. Our family took it very seriously. We knew we didn’t have much, but we wanted to help out the poor family. So, we made some sacrifices. We cut and scraped. Mama bought cheaper meat for supper. Daddy put some of his overtime money in. The kids cut some neighbors’ yards. By Saturday, we had scraped together $20. (This obviously took place several years ago.) On Sunday, we were so proud we all sat up on the second pew. We were beaming as Daddy dropped in the $20 bill. We knew there were so many better off than we were and they would do so much more. But we had done what we could. That afternoon, the preacher knocked on our door and handed Daddy an envelope, saying he hoped we would accept this gift with the love he had intended it. The preacher was smiling as he left. Daddy slowly opened the envelope. $25 fell out.–
    The sad fact is, it is often those who have the least to share that are the most generous. We as Christians need to share. Whatever we face in the future, we need to remember that the blessings God has given us are meant to be spread around, not hoarded. 

 

Hey, I don’t know what’s going to happen in America’s financial future. Frankly, I have the feeling that sooner or later, we’re going to have to pay the piper. Band-aids like government bailouts won’t fix the problems. They will only postpone the inevitable. But God has shown how we should act no matter what comes our way financially. Let’s quit facing this like Republicans or Democrats and start facing it like Christians.

ELC

September 29, 2008 Posted by | A Springboard for Your Spiritual Life, Finances | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Presidential Candidate, Part 2

My political views expressed on Monday notwithstanding, I have to share with you more footage of my Presidential candidate, Shane Scott. As with all candidates, he is being attacked by the media, he is being undermined by the other parties and he is holding his very own convention, which, for some reason, I didn’t get invited to. I’m not sure he recognizes the influence I have over all 20 people who regularly visit this blog.

You can see Shane’s original videos at my earlier political post.

Sit back and prepare to be swept off your feet by a candidate who is a lot like us, who really represents change for the American future, who promises nothing but asks for everything. I invite you to become a Shaniac. Climb aboard the Shane Train. You won’t regret it.

Learn of the People’s Party’s platform for overcoming our national debt and gas crisis.

 

Every candidate needs his very own news media scandal. Shane Scott is just as mired in controversy as everyone else.

 

And now for the People’s Party Convention, aired September 9, 2008. Hosted at the Let It Shine Gymnasium in Cool Springs, Tennessee. You know, I just live 20 minutes from there. You’d think I could have received an invitation or something. Don’t worry, I’m not bitter. I hold no grudges. Shane still has my vote…maybe.

 

The Vice Presidential Candidate.

 

I hope this has been a Springboard for Fun in your Friday.

ELC

September 26, 2008 Posted by | A Springboard for Fun, Just Plain Fun, Videos | , , , | 1 Comment

How To Be Ready For Your Lucky Break

Who hasn’t seen this video?

Some think, “Lucky Paul Potts. I wish I could get a lucky break like that.” No doubt, Paul did not climb and claw his way up the music industry. However, this is hardly a lucky break. Potts didn’t get a voice like that by luck of the draw. He practiced. He worked hard. He prepared. Then he actually went after it when given the opportunity.

The fact is each and every one of us probably have a hundred lucky breaks a year. However, few of us are actually ready to take advantage of the lucky break and so it passes us by. If you want to take advantage of your lucky breaks, here are ten keys.

 

  1. Practice
  2. Practice
  3. Practice
  4. Work Hard
  5. Work Hard
  6. Work Hard
  7. Keep Your Eyes Open
  8. Keep Your Eyes Open
  9. Keep Your Eyes Open
  10. When You See Your Break Act Based Upon Your Practice and Hard Work
If you do this, then you may end up with your own video like these:
 

 

 
ELC

September 25, 2008 Posted by | A Springboard for Your Professional Life, Success | , , , , | Leave a comment

Fireproof Your Marriage

I can’t wait to see this. I’m sure I won’t agree with everything in this movie. But I’m also sure it will be a great springboard for my marriage and yours.

 

See you there,

ELC

September 23, 2008 Posted by | A Springboard for Your Family Life, Marriage, Videos | , , , , | 1 Comment

For Whom Should a Christian Vote?

On September 14, 2008, I presented a lesson for the Franklin Church of Christ in Franklin, TN. We asked the question “For Whom Should a Christian Vote?” The answer may surprise you.

If you would like to see the lesson in its original formatting or listen to the audio, then click the link to the website for the congregation below, otherwise you can read it as I’ve pasted it in below.

Franklin Church of Christ

 

Introduction:

I don’t expect a show of hands on this one. I just want you to think. For whom are you planning to vote in the upcoming presidential election? Perhaps it is John McCain as he now leads the Republican party. Or maybe you have become enamored with the stardom of Barak Obama. Then again, maybe you are leaning outside the box and are going to vote for Chuck Baldwin who is this year’s Constitution Party nominee. He is staunchly pro-life, will outlaw embryonic stem cell research, thinks a constitutional amendment should be passed defining marriage as between a man and a woman. Maybe you are leaning to the Libertarian party and plan to vote for Robert Barr, Jr. He will put an end to the war in Iraq and the military efforts in Afghanistan, thinks states should decide regarding the definition of marriage, will put an end to illegal immigration, opposes socialized medicine, wants to remove entitlement programs and will uphold your right to bear arms. Or maybe you lean to the other extreme and want to vote for the Socialist Party nominee, Brian Moore. He will also remove troops from Iraq and Afghanistan and outlaw all weapons of mass destruction, he will provide a National healthcare plan, perhaps most importantly he will legislate a 30 hour work week with six weeks of paid vacation every year and a full pension and guarantee all American families an income of $35,000 per adult per year. Or maybe you remember Alan Keyes who once ran for Republican nomination. He is running for President again, but as the nominee for America’s Independent Party. He will promote an amendment to protect marriage as between a man and woman, he will outlaw abortion, repeal the 16th and 17th amendments which will take away the government’s ability to tax our income. He is in favor of limited government and specifically states his dependence upon God. Or maybe you want to go way out on a limb and vote for veritable unknown 42-year-old Steve Adams of Lexington, KY, running as an independent. He is pro-life. Will push for a marriage amendment and promises in his first 100 days to work on producing a congressional report card to let us know how our Senators and Representatives are voting. He will balance the budget, secure Social Security, bring troops home, secure the border and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Or maybe you are leaning to one of the other 350 some odd candidates who have announced their intent to run. Wow! According to Project Vote Smart at votesmart.org, more than 350 people have announced their intent to run for President and even more are thinking about it. Interestingly, this doesn’t even include Christian and gospel preacher Shane Scott who has publicly announced his bid for the presidency on YouTube at ShaneforAmerica (Yes, he is just joking…I think).

With all these candidates and almost all of them vying for the vote of Christians, what are we to do? Is there a candidate we should support because we are Christians? Or maybe we should back up and take a look at this whole election thing in a different light.

 

Discussion:

I.      First, can a Christian vote?

A.    I do not believe a Christian has to vote. There is no command in Scripture for a Christian to be at all interested in politics or government. I find it interesting despite the New Testament’s complete silence about voting that some Christians who have never talked to another person about the gospel, almost never visit their sick brethren, rarely invite anyone into their home will become sanctimonious in an election year and talk about the Christian’s responsibility to vote. And then even further about the Christian’s responsibility to vote for their favorite candidate. Perhaps we are missing some of the Scripture’s actual priorities for us.

B.    Romans 13:1 and I Peter 2:13-14 teaches that God establishes the governing authorities; we do not. I recognize some brethren believe this means they shouldn’t vote because that would mean they are trying to establish government instead of letting God do so. Others simply think this means voting is pointless because God will establish the government He wants for whatever purpose He wants it to accomplish, therefore our own vote doesn’t really count. I respect that position, and as I said, I don’t think anyone has to vote.

C.    However, I think we need to remember God works through us. Consider the salvation of souls. We know for certain that God does the saving. That is God’s work. He saves souls. But consider I Corinthians 3:5. God did the saving, but He worked through men by giving them the opportunity to teach. Consider also the great Old Testament example of Esther. No doubt, the point of Esther is that God saved the Jews. However, Esther was not to sit tight and simply say God would take care of it. Rather, Mordecai said, “Who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14, ESV). When it was done, God would be praised for this deliverance. If Esther did nothing, God would still accomplish His will. However, the fact that God was the deliverer did not mean God’s child must refuse to act or that her action was pointless. Therefore, the claim that God is doing something, does not mean men must stay uninvolved. The fact is, in a democracy, God establishes the government, but He does so through the votes of people. Who knows whether you have not come to the United States for such a time as this that God through your vote might install your candidate as president. Maybe not, but who knows?

II.     What is God’s position?

A.    Having established that you are allowed to vote if you so choose, I want to move on to consider this idea that there is some candidate out there that is God’s candidate. I am amazed at the number of people who claim to be Christians who vote all over the political spectrum, but they all act as if all Christian’s must vote exactly like them. Really? Do we really know God’s position on all the issues that play a part in the President’s role?

B.    Consider the following issues and give me book, chapter and verse on God’s position.

 

  1. State’s rights versus federalism?
  2. Education?
  3. Socialized medicine?
  4. Immigration?
  5. Healthcare?
  6. NAFTA?
  7. Taxes?
  8. The Patriot Act?
  9. Social Security?
  10. Personal Privacy vs. Government surveillance to protect national security?
  11. The right to own a gun?
  12. Capitalism versus Socialism?
  13. Democracy versus Imperialism?
  14. Confederacy versus Union?
  15. Foreign policy?
  16. Energy policy?
  17. The environment?
  18. The line item veto?
  19. Defense spending?
  20. The trade embargo of Cuba?

C.    Brothers and sisters, if our choice for the next president is so important to God that we as Christians should vote for a particular person because God wants us to, why hasn’t He filled us in on His position on all these presidential issues?

III.   But my issues matter to God?

A.    No doubt, most Christians will point out they vote based on values and moral issues about which God has expressed opinions. Interestingly, they can’t seem to agree on which issues are the ones upon which God really and truly wants to base our vote. If we take the two major parties, Republican Christians (and for all you Democrats out there, Christians really can be Republicans) say we need to vote based on the candidates’ positions on abortion and homosexuality. No doubt, God considers harming the unborn child the same as harming anyone else. See the Old Testament law in Exodus 21:22-25. Obviously, God is opposed to the practice of homosexuality. Romans 1:26-29 clearly states that homosexual practice is against nature and against God’s law. On the other hand, Democrat Christians (and for all you Republicans out there, Christians really can be Democrats) say we should focus on what the candidates view is on caring for the poor. No doubt, taking care of the poor is very important to God. Jesus said Christians should sell their goods and give to the poor in Luke 12:33. When Paul received the right hand of fellowship from James, Cephas and John to go work among the Gentiles, their one statement was, “Remember the poor” (Galatians 2:10). You will recognize that when God established His own nation, He actually levied a 10% tax on all the Israelites in order to support not only the Levites, but for the widows, fatherless and sojourners (Deuteronomy 14:29). Have you ever read God’s policy through Nehemiah when many in that kingdom had gotten overstretched with bad debt? In Nehemiah 5:9-13, Nehemiah, the governor of Judah, commanded the Jews to forgive the debts and give back the mortgaged property and stop charging interest when folks borrowed. The people responded that they would require nothing of the folks who had borrowed. God is absolutely concerned about the care for the poor and has even favored government and legal involvement in making sure the poor were cared for. So, which of those issues is God really more concerned about? Which should win out?

B.    Further, does voting for a Presidential candidate actually mean God’s will is going to be done about anything? Let’s take one of the most often cited issues among Christians—abortion. I will admit that it is an issue upon which my vote has been based almost consistently. For six years we had a Republican president and a Republican congress, many of whom were elected because they garnered the pro-life votes of many Christians and abortion is still legal. Yet, here they are again claiming they should get the Christian vote because they are pro-life. Does our vote actually translate into God’s will being done? Apparently not.

C.    Further, which of the candidates is really for God’s will being done. Can anyone let me know which of the candidates is the prohibition candidate (cf. Proverbs 31:4)? At one time, some Christians would have argued tooth and toenail that a Christian could only vote for a guy if he was really opposed to alcohol. Somewhere along the line we gave that one up. Did we cease to be God-fearing Christians because we quit voting based on that issue? Which of the candidates wants to make sexual immorality illegal (cf. Hebrews 13:4)? Which one wants to make divorce unlawful except in cases of sexual immorality (cf. Matthew 19:3-5)? Which one wants to enforce baptism for the remission of sins (cf. Acts 2:38)? Which one wants to point out that churches are only authorized by God to provide benevolent aid to Christians and then only when their families can’t or won’t help (cf. Acts 4:32-37; I Timothy 5:16)? I guess I’m just unsure how we can pick one or two biblical issues, ignore the rest and then act like we are voting for God’s candidate.

D.    Finally, do you remember what Jesus came in the world to do? Jesus came into the world to establish His heavenly kingdom (Matthew 16:18-19; Mark 9:1). He did not come to establish policy for earthly kingdoms. He did not direct Christians to change their earthly kingdoms, but to spread the heavenly kingdom one person at a time by teaching. According to Luke 19:10, Jesus came to seek and to save those who are lost. That is the job we are to carry on. To all Republicans, how many people have ever been saved by the gospel of Jesus because you voted for Ronald Reagan, George Bush or even John McCain? To all Democrats, how many people have ever been saved by the gospel of Jesus because you voted for Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton or Barak Obama. For all you independents or third party endorsers, how many people have ever been saved because you voted for Ross Perot, Ron Paul or Chuck Baldwin? If people could be saved by the gospel based on the politicians for whom we vote, then I’m sure God would have told us for whom to vote. But God is not concerned about national policy. He is concerned about His saints getting the gospel out to one more person.

IV.   Has God asked us to spread His will through political means?

A.    I think the heart of the matter comes down to this question. So many Christians act like voting a certain way is our Christian duty because God has called us to make our national laws correspond with the Bible. Brothers and Sisters, that just isn’t true. Interestingly enough, God never once told the first century Christians to do anything about national policies and laws. In fact, the only governmental policy God remotely suggested the Christians do anything about is found in I Timothy 2:1-2. The only policy God encourages us to be really concerned about is whether or not the government allows us to serve God peacefully. And then, the action He encouraged us to take was to pray.

B.    Further, think back to when the New Testament was written. Under what kind of government did the Christians live? The Romans had ended the Republic some time before the birth of Jesus even though they tried to maintain vestiges of it for a time. They were under an emperor. I can’t help but notice that God did not encourage His children to do anything political to spread His will. In fact, II Corinthians 10:3-7 stands out to me. This is more than just saying we don’t stick a gun to someone’s head and force them to be baptized. The point behind this is our kingdom is not a material one, therefore we don’t use political machinations to force someone to obey God at all. Instead, we persuade people with reason from the Word. If that impacts the laws of our nation, then so be it. The fact is, however, God never once asked His people to do anything political about the laws of the land. He simply commanded that we pray for those who rule over us (I Timothy 2:1-2). And then He commanded us to submit to them, whoever they ended up being (Romans 13:1) unless they ask us to disobey God (Acts 5:29). Finally, He commanded us to honor the governing authority (I Peter 2:17). Allow me to remind you this was written when the governing authorities were anything but God-fearing.

C.    Consider also Jesus’ statement in John 18:36. Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world. Why on earth do we keep trying to make America Jesus’ nation by acting like there is a candidate for whom all Christians have to vote because he/she will help the United States be a Christian nation. God did not do away with His chosen national kingdom merely to get us to try to set up another one. Brothers and sisters, Jesus did not die to make America a Christian nation. He died so Americans could become Christians (along with members of every other nation). Our job, therefore is not to make American a Christian nation, but to take the gospel to our neighbors so they can be saved. Which do you think God cares about more, what our law codes say or what our people do?

D.    When Paul had the opportunity to speak to policy makers, was his goal to get them to pass God’s laws? No. His goal was to teach them the gospel. See him before Felix in Acts 24, before Festus in Acts 25, before Agrippa in Acts 26. He didn’t petition them to establish biblically based laws, he tried to teach them the gospel. No doubt, if these men became Christians, their policies and laws might change. But Paul’s point was not to change national policy, Paul’s goal was to save individual souls.

E.    Finally, do we think abortion, homosexuality, poverty and all the other issues we bicker over politically were any less part of the Roman culture? Homosexuality was such a part of the culture Paul had to write against it specifically in passages like Romans 1:26-27. There were poor people all over the Roman Empire and it was even worse then because socio-economic class was often established at birth and could hardly be changed. Abortion and infanticide were practiced among the Romans. Where are the passages that show the Christians what to do about these political atrocities that kept Rome from being a Christian Empire? They just aren’t there. Instead we have passages like I Corinthians 6:9-11. What was God’s answer to these moral ills? Not changing national laws and policies but teaching individuals the gospel so they can be saved and then redeemed from their immorality.

V.    Let’s get back to just spreading the gospel.

A.    I think it is sad that all the politicians play the religious card. They all want us to know how Christian they are as if that gives them God’s endorsement. What is worse, however, is that we Christians sometimes get caught up in it and act like our vote has to line up with some kind of teaching from God so we can further His plans. That just isn’t in the Bible.

B.    I know it is hardly “religiously correct” to say this. I know I am probably upsetting almost everyone who hears this sermon because we so want to prove that everyone has to vote like us to serve God properly. But that just isn’t in the Word of God. The fact is, I don’t think we can make one single claim from the Bible that suggests God really cares how we vote. Our job in serving Him is not about our nation’s laws and policies. Our job is to get the gospel out. If you really want to further God’s will regarding caring for the poor, get out and help someone who is poor. If you really want to further God’s will regarding abortion, teach people the gospel truth about sexual responsibility and then help support them as they choose to keep a baby if they have made a mistake. If you really want to further God’s will regarding homosexuality, show love and concern for someone who struggles with that sin as you help the overcome by the grace of God. What good will it do if we change national policy by our votes but never convince anyone to love God enough to obey His will on these issues.

C.    To be honest, I think one of the reasons we get so up in arms about voting is because voting is so easy. We go into a booth and push some buttons where no one can see us and try to elect officials to pass laws to force people to obey God. Then we pat ourselves on the back for doing our part in God’s fight against immorality. We haven’t done anything in God’s fight against immorality when we vote. We haven’t done anything in God’s fight against immorality until we start talking to the immoral about the freedom from sin they can have in Christ Jesus.

Conclusion:

Brothers and Sisters, I don’t know that God cares whether or not we are a Republic, a Democracy, a Monarchy or a Dictatorship. However, I must admit that my own personal view of politics is that the ability to elect representatives is the best form of government. That, however, is a political and social view, not a spiritual or biblical one. I view the ability to vote for representatives who think like me is one of the greatest privileges we have in our country and I take it seriously. Frankly, I believe we are allowed to favor a candidate for any reason or reasons we think are most important to help protect and preserve our country. With that, I recognize that because of experience and situation, each of us may see different issues as the most pressing ones in our nation. The fact that you don’t see the same issues as pressing as I do, doesn’t mean you are less of a Christian than I am and vice versa. So then, for whom should the Christian vote for president or in any other election for that matter? The Christian should vote for the candidate he/she thinks will most represent their opinions if elected based on whatever issues he/she decides are most pressing.

Before I end this lesson, I have no doubt someone who is not exactly happy with this sermon is going to come up when I’m through and try to get me to somehow sideways admit their candidate is the right one by saying, “I appreciate all you said, but don’t you think Christians should take their Bibles with them into the voting booth?” Of course I do, I think Christians should take their Bibles with them everywhere. I think Christians should let God’s moral law impact every decision they make. I just have recognized there are more biblical issues at play than the one upon which you or I have hung our electoral hats. Further, when you leave the voting booth, don’t think you have done God’s will about whatever issue caused you to vote the way you did, because God has never told you how to vote. He has told you how to live, how to teach and how to bring others to salvation through His Son. So, between now and November 4, if you want to really do something for God’s kingdom and even for our nation, quit trying to convince others to vote like you and start sharing the gospel message of salvation with them.  

September 22, 2008 Posted by | A Springboard for Your Spiritual Life | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Do You Like Puns? Check These Out for a Laugh

1. The roundest knight at king Arthur’s round table was Sir Cumference. He acquired his size from too much pi.

2. I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian.

3. She was only a whisky maker, but he loved her still.

4. A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class because it was a weapon of math disruption.

5. The butcher backed into the meat grinder and got a little behind in his work.

6. No matter how much you push the envelope, it’ll still be stationery.

7. A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.

8. A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France would result in Linoleum Blownapart.

9. Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.

10. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

11. A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it.

12. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.

13. Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other, “You stay here, I’ll go on a head.”

14. I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.

15. A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab center said: “Keep off the Grass.”

16. A small boy swallowed some coins and was taken to a hospital. When his grandmother telephoned to ask how he was, a nurse said, “No change yet.”

17. A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.

18. The short fortune-teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.

19. The man who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.

20. A backward poet writes inverse.

21. In democracy it’s your vote that counts. In feudalism it’s your count that votes.

22. When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion.

23. Don’t join dangerous cults: Practice safe sects! 

September 19, 2008 Posted by | A Springboard for Fun, Just Plain Fun, Laughter | , , , , | 1 Comment

The Four Most Important Choices You Ever Make Every Day

I’m reading Lessons from the Classroom: 20 Things Good Teachers Do, by Hal Urban. I don’t teach in schools, but this book is helping me immensely. It has some great advice. In fact, the lesson I just finished has some of the best advice you will ever here as a springboard for your professional life.

Lesson #14: Good teachers help their students discover the power of choice.

Urban teaches all his students the four greatest choices they will ever make are choices they make every day. If only all our schools would teach us these. If they did, we would all be much better off in our careers and professional lives.

 

  1. Your Attitude
  2. How You Treat Others
  3. How Hard You Work
  4. How Honest You Are

 

Do you see how much better we would be if we made wise choices every day in these four areas?

Attitude

The issue is not what is happening to you, but how you respond to it. Each of us chooses our attitude. We all choose whether we will see obstacles as roadblocks or opportunities to grow. We all choose whether we see others as people to use or people to serve. We all choose whether today is a day to grow or a day to stagnate. We all choose our attitude for today.

How You Treat Others

Sadly, many folks have a scarcity mindset thinking there is only so much out there and the only way to make sure I get mine is to make sure you don’t get yours. They see all of life as a competition to prove we are better than others. If on the other hand we recognize life is filled with plenty of respect, honor and glory for everyone, we can feel free to give it away to others without thinking we will lose ours. 

Obviously, the great rule for treating others properly is The Golden Rule. Treat others the way we want to be treated. Please, don’t think anyone has come up with anything new as they talk about the Platinum Rule being better. Clearly, we all want others to consider what we want before they determine how to treat us. Thus, following the Golden Rule means we will consider what others want and need before we treat them. Before you make any choice in your treatment of others, ask yourself if this is what you would want them to do to you in the same circumstance.

How Hard You Work

“Work” is not a four-letter word. Well, it is, but you get the picture. The fact is, there is simply no success without hard work. Folks who rely on the lottery for financial success usually have lost it all in a short time even if they win. Success comes through work. Only you decide how much you will work on your job, your education, your marriage, in your church, on your life and in improving yourself. But understand this, if you don’t work, no one else will work for you.

How Honest You Are

There is so much dishonesty highlighted in the news, we begin to think no one is honest anymore. The fact is, there are many honest people. There are many successful honest people. Nothing will destroy your success long term than taking shortcuts and lying about it. You may get ahead in the short run by cheating, lying and covering up. Sooner or later though, it all comes out. If you lie, you will lose the confidence of everyone around you. Trust me, sooner or later, folks will find out and you will have a hefty bill to pay. It will likely be more than you can afford. So, make sure you choose honesty today.

Maybe you didn’t hear these lessons in high school. Maybe you have made terrible choices in these areas up until now. Don’t worry. You can start making wise choices today. Do it now.

ELC

September 18, 2008 Posted by | A Springboard for Your Professional Life, Get to Work, Honesty, Relationships, Success | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Before You Punish, Listen to Your Children

I don’t mind so much if my kids wrestle and play around. Pillow fighting is okay, until someone gets hurt, of course. But unprovoked hitting is off limits. In fact, if I see too much of that, wrestling with Dad gets completely cut out until they can learn the difference.

So, when Ryan, my then 5-year-old, started hitting, chasing, picking at and just in general being a nuisance to Tessa’s, my 10-year-old, friend, I knew it was time to act. My natural reaction was to pull out the rod. After all, he was being rebellious and ignoring the clear rules of the house. But, I pressed the pause button. What was causing my generally sweet little boy to become this vicious monster every time John came over to the house?

I sat him down and began to question him. At 5, he was not exactly a great articulator of feelings and internal struggles. But by the time we were done, I knew what was going on. At 10, some of Tessa’s friends are allowed to walk in the neighborhood and go to each other’s homes. At 5, none of Ryan’s friends were allowed to do the same. Tessa seemed to have friends come over all the time and Ryan never did. Further, when Tessa’ friends came over, they didn’t want to play with Ryan. He was just trying to get their attention.

Now, did Ryan need to be disciplined for hitting. Of course. But there was more to it. He also needed to be educated in how to make friends. I’m sure you recognize that the more Ryan picked, chased and hit, the less Tessa and John wanted anything to do with him. It was a vicious cycle. I could certainly spank Ryan for hitting, but that wouldn’t actually deal with the real problem. He needed to be taught how to be a friend. If all I did was discipline the hitting, Ryan would only ever be frustrated and friendless. Now we are working on appropriate ways to be friends, have friends and make new friends. 

By no means is he a master at Dale Carnegie characteristics, but he’s better.

The long and short of this is before you simply discipline and punish your children, you should stop and figure out what is going on. You can still provide the negative reinforcement for the unacceptable action and also fix what is really causing the problem.

ELC

September 16, 2008 Posted by | A Springboard for Your Family Life, Disciplining Children, Raising Kids | , , , | Leave a comment

What You Can Do With Your Meager Talents?

I can imagine it now. The apostles can sense the crowds are getting restless. They are hungry and have nothing to eat. It seems only one little boy gave any thought to preparation. He had five loaves and two fish, but there were 5000 men, not counting many of their wives and children. When Jesus told them, “You feed the crowds,” they were stunned. John 5:9 contains the important question:

“There is a boy her who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?”

Have you ever looked at the overwhelming crowds: maybe you are looking at people you need to help, maybe you are looking at temptations you need to overcome, maybe you are looking at goals you need to accomplish. Whatever you are looking at, you feel paralyzed. You see all this work but feel like the one talent man. Perhaps not even one talent, maybe you feel like only half of a talent. You wonder, “What is my talent for so many?”

Notice what Jesus did in John 5. He sat the people down. Blessed the meager meal and then passed it out. When the meal was done, the apostles gathered in 12 baskets of scraps and leftovers. They had more leftovers than they had original meal. 

Let’s face it, if the only people present that day were the crowds, the boy and the apostles, folks would have gone hungry. That little meal couldn’t feed many, probably just the boy. But Jesus was present. When Jesus is present, He can make the littlest go a long way.

Let’s face it, if the only people present in your life are the crowds, your family and you, folks are going to be in trouble. You can’t possibly have enough talents to do much good. But if Jesus is present, He can take even your smallest gift and use it in extraordinary ways.

This is the heart of Ephesians 3:20. “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us…” If we try to go it alone, we will accomplish nothing…nothing of real value anyway. With Jesus running the helm, He can use our meager talents to accomplish more than we could ask or think.

So, step out with your five loaves and two fish and get to work.

ELC

September 15, 2008 Posted by | A Springboard for Your Spiritual Life, Get to Work, Success | , , | Leave a comment