Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I'm Not Selfish, Am I?

Selfishness is one of those things we're constantly surrounded by in our culture. People who are always trying to get ahead and often at the expense of others around them. Look at Webster's definition of selfish, "Seeking or concentrating on one's own advantage, pleasure or well-being without regard for others." Now compare it to selfless, "Having no concern for self." Here are two definitions that couldn't be more opposite. So how do you view others? Are they simply there to build your kingdom, dreams or serve you? Or are they there for you to see their dreams and vision come to pass and for you to serve them? We have no greater example of selflessness than Jesus. Matthew 20:28 tells us, "For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many." We also have the example of Paul, who did not use others to promote his agenda, plans or dreams, but equipped others to fulfill their own calling and dreams. Today we will all be around people. Will you serve them or will you expect them to serve you? What will you do to see their dreams, hopes and calling come to pass? Opportunities to help others get ahead abound all around us. Don't use others for your selfish purposes, but help others to thrive and accomplish what God has for them :)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Actions Speak Volumes Over Words

I think we've all heard the quote "actions speak louder than words". But when you really think about it, I believe there's lots of people who don't realize how true this quote really is. There's nothing more frustrating than someone who tells you one thing and yet their lifestyle contradicts what they told you. Someone who tells you to do something and yet it's not something that they choose not to do themselves. Shouldn't words and lifestyle go hand in hand? Should what someone says be visible in their own life? Well I think they should. You don't have to go very far to find examples of this. It's commonplace among politicians, athletes, teachers and other leaders in society. One thing I've always tried to do is let my lifestyle model what comes out of my mouth. Have I always succeeded? Nope! But it's definitely something I try to do. It's more than talking the talk. Life is really about walking the walk. Is there anything in your life where your words don't line up with your actions? I think it's always good from time to time to take a look at how this is playing out in your life. Being able to talk a good talk is one thing, but walking a good walk is something very different. I love the example of Paul in the Bible. He was a man who not only talked a good talk, but he walked it also. I love what he says in 1 Corinthians 11:1, "Pattern yourselves after me [follow my example], as I imitate and follow Christ (the Messiah)." Can you say that to others? Is your walk such that others can follow you and grow in their walk with the Lord? Each day don't forget that your actions do speak louder than your words :)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Fruit

I just got done teaching a class at HITC on the fruit of the Spirit. It's funny how you can go over stuff hundreds of times and read the same verses over and over, yet there's always something fresh when it comes to principles and verses found in the Bible. One of things that people can easily forget when it comes to fruit is that it takes both time and patience for it to grow. Whether it's fruit on a tree or the fruit of the Spirit. How foolish it would be for people to plant a seed and then immediately expect a tree to spring up with good fruit on it. It's the same way when it comes to the fruit of the Spirit. There is often a process for growth and maturity. Maybe that's why longsuffering or patience is one of them. Don't be discouraged if there's not the visible fruit in your life at the moment. Never forget that if you have good seed, good soil, some watering and fertilizing of the seed, fruit will come. Why will it come? Because fruit is the product of the seed that's inside, which is Jesus and the Holy Spirit in you. Good fruit will come. Don't worry or stress about it. The fruit of the Spirit that appear are simply a reflection of the good things that are going on inside of you :) Check out Galatians 5:16-25 if you have time. It's well worth it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What A Mess!

I've been captivated by the story and circumstances surrounding the situation of Oscar Pistorious in South Africa. A phenomenal and very special athlete, also known as the Blade Runner, who has made an irreversible life changing decision by shooting and killing his well known model and lawyer girlfriend. If you've been watching the circus unfold, there are many unanswered questions, as well as questions I'd love to ask. But what I cannot understand is why he shot 4 rounds into a bathroom without knowing what was behind the door. What if he had kids and it was one of them? Any gun owner knows you shouldn't shoot blindly like that. Unfortunately, Pistorious' life will never be the same. He may go to jail for the rest of his life, and yes, his high-profile defense attorney may get him off the hook. Irregardless, his life will be forever changed. It saddens me how anti-gun groups use a story such as this to promote their agenda. What if it had been a burglar that confronted him in his house, which is very common in the violence-ridden nation of South Africa? Yes, Oscar Pistorious did make a huge mistake by what he did, but it was not the fault of a gun, but the person using it. I'm extremely saddened for Reeva Steenkamp's family and my hope is that people can learn from this tragedy.

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Stuff People Get Rid Of...

Recently I've been buying and reselling gently used sports clothing and team apparel to make a little extra money to help with our vacation this year. It's been so much fun finding great deals here and there. Those of you who know me know that the Lord always seems to help me find incredible stuff at incredible prices :) What shocks me is some of the items people get rid of, virtually throwing them out. I've found a lot of name quality clothing such as North Face, Spyder, Mountain Hardwear and Columbia. A lot of what I find is in like-new condition. The way I see it is one man's junk is another man's treasure. I appreciate those who like getting rid of their junk and encourage them to keep doing it :) For me it's so much fun finding those treasures and being able to pass them on to someone else at a price that's within their budget. If you want to check out my FB page where I resell all my items you can click here https://www.facebook.com/LGSportsClothingAndTeams. I know that there are lots of people who are wondering about ways to make a little extra income. I know the times we're in are tough for a lot of people, but in our great nation there are always things you can do. What are some ways you might be able to make a little extra income? What most see as problems, some see as opportunities :)

Friday, February 15, 2013

Returning to the Old Stomping Grounds...

videoI'm excited this morning as I'm going down to the Boise State University campus with our interns. I can't help but think of the years I've spent down there in the past. I spent 4 years on the campus as a student from 1987-1990 and then two more years as an assistant tennis coach. It was on the BSU campus that I gave my life to Jesus Christ, becoming a born-again Christian. It was in 1989 that my life took a 180 degree turn. And from that moment forward I've never looked back. I can't help but think about BSU being a place of great opportunity when it comes to souls being saved, needs being met, lives being healed, and new vision being imparted. The main reason we're going down to the BSU campus today is to be around lots of unsaved people, just like most Christians do on a daily basis. I'd love to see our students see the needs in people's lives and be moved with compassion as Jesus was in Matthew 14:14 which says, "Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick." I believe that it's time for Christians to be moved with compassion. We can be so focussed and busy with life that we can miss the dying and hurting multitudes all around us. I've been praying lately that God would continue helping me to be moved with compassion. Is that your prayer today? And just for fun I've added a fun video clip from 1989 from when I was a BSU student :) 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy 18th Birthday Amber...

The years seem to have gone so quickly. One minute I'm holding her in my arms as a baby and today she's turned 18. When I think for a minute about my big girl, as I call her, I can't help but smile. A lot of time, effort and hard work went into raising, shaping and forming this incredible woman. As I stand back and watch her I can't help but think about all the incredible things the Lord has blessed her with. She has the ability to reach any generation. Whether it's babies, her peers, young adults, thirty year olds or even the elderly, she can be their friend and has the ability to influence their lives. She's thoughtful, kind, funny, loyal, wise and definitely concerned about the well-being of others. But most importantly, what stands out to me as her dad is her love for the Lord. She loves the Word, can pray up a storm with what's on her heart, sings songs of praise to Him constantly, and is a light for Him wherever she goes. She's not afraid about what others think, so long as it's pleasing to Him. I believe this is going to be such an amazing year for my big girl and know that Jeremiah 29:11 is for Amber today, "For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." Happy Birthday Amber! I'm so proud of you and excited for you. I love you so much :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Life is Like a Box of Chocolates...

OK, so it's been about 6 weeks now since we found out we're going to have another baby. I still don't think the shock has dulled an ounce, but the excitement has really started to kick in. It's kind of funny that on one hand I celebrate my oldest daughter's 18th birthday tomorrow, and on the other, there's a baby in my wife's womb. Crazy! At the end of the summer when we're expecting, my wife and I will both be 46 (well almost 46 for Katherine), and our kids will be 18, 16, 14 and 0. I have to chuckle :) God definitely has a sense of humor. It's funny how we can think we have things all planned out and have all our ducks in a row for the future, but in reality this couldn't be farther from the truth. Sometimes I think it's easy for us to make elaborate plans, detailed steps and lay out the path we're going to take. However, in reality the Lord's the one who's in control. I can't help but think of Proverbs 16:9 which says, "We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps." He truly does determine our steps. I think it's so important for us to never forget those simple words, "Lord, Your will be done". If we choose to live our life according to this, regardless what happens, our trust is in Him and we know He always has our best interest in mind :) Thank you Lord for allowing me to be living in this incredible moment of time :)

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Imperfect Spouse

My wife and I have been leading several couples through the DVD series "The Sacred Marriage" recently. It's been a wonderful series that I think any marriage would benefit from. One of the things that has jumped out at me about it is the concept of the "perfect spouse." Anyone who's married has to chuckle when they hear this phrase because they know there's just no truth to it. If you're goal is to find a spouse who's perfect, you might be looking for quite some time. Every spouse, as we all know, has their imperfections, flaws and shortcomings. But think for a moment about how maybe God wants to use your spouse's shortcomings to help you grow as a person. And how He wants to use your shortcomings to strengthen your spouse. As I look back at my own marriage of 21 years, God has used things in me to help my wife, and visa-versa. God didn't intend the shortcomings of your spouse to irritate, frustrate and annoy you, but to help you change in areas that He desires you to, by using your spouse. The next time you want to point out your spouse's imperfections and flaws, maybe you should take a look at yourself, and see how the Lord wants to use them to help you grow and change :)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Be An Example at Playing Second Fiddle


Everyone has relationships and there are qualities that make a relationships work. You may even have a few come to mind. But to me, one of the most vital qualities is found in Romans 12:10 which says, "Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another." This isn't just something that's to be known, but rather done. Perhaps that's why it begins with the word "Be." This can only be done if humility is present. Today I want to emphasize the giving of preference to one another. In a world that's full of envy, competitiveness, jealousy and striving, this verse is a breath of fresh air. Can you imagine what would happen in all relationships if this was done? In fact, the meaning of this is pretty amazing. Giving preference means, “going before, leading and setting the example for others to follow.” It  actually implies a striving to excel in this area out of mutual honor and respect for one another. It essentially means taking second fiddle because of your love for your friends and preferring them before yourself. Any relationship with this quality in the mix will become an even stronger relationship :)           

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

So Begins Our Jouney...

Now that most of you are over the shock of my announcement Monday about my wife and I being pregnant, I can share a little about the journey which begins today. This morning we're going to have our first ultrasound and meet with our doctor. You may say that it's just old hat to us seeing we already have three kids. But I'm excited to see what's changed when it comes to procedures, technology and care, seeing it has been 14 years since we've done this :) I'm sure they have different procedures with things and I know that technology has only improved. And I'm eager to see how they handle the care side of things with pregnancy nowadays. Yes, things do change in everything, except when it comes to one thing, and that's Christ. I'm so thankful that He's unchanging. He is the same whether it was when we had our first child 18 years ago, or when we have this new bundle of joy. Hebrews 13:8 tells us, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." In a world that's constantly changing, it's so nice to know that the most important thing or person in my life is unchanging :) And no, this ultrasound picture isn't ours. To get the scoop on what's going on go to http://hitcpastor.blogspot.com/2013/02/excitement-and-shock-at-same-time.html

Monday, February 4, 2013

Excitement and Shock at the Same Time!

This past few weeks have been probably the most unexpected of my life. It's funny how sometimes we can have the future sort of mapped out in our minds and at the same time say we're following the Lord's direction. Being only a few years away I was looking forward to the empty nest season of life, having a little extra money and ready to do some things I'd only dreamed of. Nobody can say that God doesn't have a sense of humor, because often He does things that surprise us all. And a few weeks ago my wife and I were definitely surprised. With Katherine and I turning 46 this year, God decided it was time for our family to have a little shake up. So here's the scoop. Katherine is pregnant and we are going to have a baby at the end of the summer. It's so exciting I can't explain. There's so much joy it's incredible. What's hard is wrapping our arms around the idea. Our oldest child turns 18 next week and our youngest turns 14 this summer. So our family will look like two 46 year old parents, an 18 year old, a 16 year old, a 14 year old and a newborn. Talk about crazy! Regardless of the shock, there's already an excitement growing and we're already talking about all the things that will change having a baby in the home. Psalm 127:3 tells us that, "Children are a gift from the Lordthey are a reward from Him." We view this baby in Katherine to be such a gift and a true blessing from the Lord. God's plans for him/her must be amazing for Him to do what He's chosen to do. Thank you Lord for choosing my wife and I to bring this little one into the world and to train them up to fulfill your purposes. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

If Bad Companions Tempt You...

I was reading Proverb 1 today and was thinking about verses 10 and 15 which the Message Bible says, "Dear friend, if bad companions tempt you, don’t go along with them...Oh, friend, don’t give them a second look;  don’t listen to them for a minute." There is some precious wisdom in these verses. Too often I hear about people who become entangled in messes because they ignored the wisdom given here. Before they know it, they're in a place they can't escape. Usually we're aware when we shouldn't be doing something. Maybe you're asked to go somewhere or do something that you don't feel good about. The wisdom is not to do it. Usually when people ask us to do something that we don't have peace about, there's a reason. Beware of bad companions! Do what the verse says and don't even give them a second look. Before you know it you could end up in a situation you'll regret. Don't forget the wisdom of 1 Corinthians 15:33, "Bad company corrupts good character". Be wise in this area :)