Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
- Increase the average life expectancy of your children by 8 years.
- Significantly reduce their use and risk from Alcohol, Tobacco and Drugs.
- Dramatically reduce their risk for committing a crime.
- Improve their attitude at school and increase their school participation.
- Reduce their risk of rebelliousness.
- Reduce the likelihood that they would binge drink in college.
- Improve their odds for a “happy”” life.
- Provide them with a lifelong moral compass.
- Get them to wear their seat-belts more often.
Now let’s discover where we are in our generation when it comes to church attendance. Only 41% of Americans attend church services on a typical weekend. Each new generation becomes increasingly unchurched. Parents of kids under eighteen were the most likely to say they were too busy for church. “Adults who attended church regularly as a child are nearly three times as likely to be attending today as are their peers who avoided the church during childhood.” Further, Barna shows the probability of accepting Christ, segmented by age. “Children between the ages of 5 and 13 have a 32% probability of accepting Jesus Christ as their Savior. The probability of accepting Christ drops to 4% for those who are between the ages of 14 and 18. Those older then 18 have a 6% probability of accepting Christ as their Savior.” You could readily see the importance of taking a child to church.
Excerpt from 'The Jesus Habits'
Monday, March 22, 2010
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Monday, March 15, 2010
I've been playing sports since I was old enough to hold a Nerf ball. Whether it was baseball, basketball or football, I was pretty much involved in competition year round until I graduated from college. I learned early on that one of the first questions you ask when you are about to play is, "Are we playing just for fun?" More often than not, the answer was "no." This meant we were playing for a trophy, a reward or some title at the end of the game or season. And this inevitably meant that the competition was turned up a notch (or two or three). It moved beyond just good-spirited fun to giving it your best effort and a leave-it-all-on-the-field mentality.
On the other hand, "just for fun" signaled a bending of the rules, a focus on fun more than the outcome and, sometimes, the swapping of teams to keep it from getting to serious.
The difference was all determined by what you hoped to gain at the end of the game.
This morning, I was reading and listening to some worship music as part of my time with God. My thoughts were directed to this passage in Colossians:
...since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:24 NIV
The reward for this life is significant. Far from any trophy or plaque, Scripture teaches us that we live for an inheritance that "will not rust or fade"--an eternal one. This is a competition to pale all others, a race that must be run with all diligence. So, why do so many Christ followers live as if they are in this "just for fun?" For many of us, it seems as if we do not understand the seriousness of this journey. We are more worried about how fun it will be than we are about the outcome--for us and for those God has placed within our influence.
Make no mistake, this contest is real. It's a battle. Sadly, for those who are in this "just for fun," they will find that this was never really an option. There is an award for those who run this race well but each of us must choose to give it our all. We'll find that it was worth every ounce of our lives that we put into living a life of purity and holiness. Game on!
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. John 15:4
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
Monday, March 08, 2010
What is amazing to me is the growing friendship that God has brought from that situation. I love and respect Wayne for the integrity with which he dealt with Josh's death. I appreciate him even more for what he continues to do in light of that awful experience. Thanks, Wayne. You are greatly respected.
To Debbie, one of the conference attenders (and maybe some others out there), thank you for your very kind words in response to my presentation. We do have a DVD of the presentation that is available for institutional use. However, we do not have anything for personal viewing. You can find out more by contacting us via this e-mail address (email@example.com).
Also, one really cool update. We've had a web presence in a very simple form for about a year now for Ridley Barron Ministries. In the next couple of weeks, we will be going "live" with a new, more expanded site that reflects the growing ministries of RBM and the opportunities that are available there. You can check it out at www.ridleybarron.com (hard to forget that one, huh?) As I said, right now it's very simple and limited. However, by next week, the new site will be operating.
Thanks for all the great comments from last week in Houston. Next week, I'm in Columbia, SC for another conference. Looking forward to meeting some new faces and continuing to watch as God uses these events to bring about some cool stuff.
Friday, March 05, 2010
....and missing my kids. I love that God has given me this opportunity to use our story for good. I even like the traveling a bit, though the airport security can get old. But I always miss being home with my family. They are so much a part of who I am. I wish I could take them on the road with me and let them see and experience the great places I get to go. I guess it makes going home that much sweeter. You know, the whole "absence makes the heart grow fonder" deal.
It's a big day tomorrow (Saturday). My oldest is turning 18. Wow! I know she's excited. Me? I have mixed feelings. I'm excited she's having the big day and that she is daily showing how God is transforming her and making her into the young woman I have been praying for. I just hate that we are rushing up to the day she leaves for Samford--it's getting really close--and I've only had this little bit of time with her. It just goes too fast. And the time we do have is split between school, work, church and a very intelligent young man she has fallen for (he's intelligent because he's dating my beautiful daughter). But you might expect a dad to say that.
I know she doesn't read this but I thought I'd say it anyway. Happy birthday, Morgan. I love you and am very proud of you.
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
God's word tells us over and over again that He wants something much better for us.
I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10
...for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 1 John 5:4
More than just a promise of something fantastic that awaits us in Heaven, I think God wants us to taste that "full life" now as He guides us through difficulty and allows us to experience His constant presence. No, you won't live a carefree life. But God does promise that we can bring our anxieties to him because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).
Our problem is that we know the obvious things we must do, we just choose not to do them. We know that God's Word transforms us but most of us never take the time to read it. We know that prayer is a direct conversation with our Creator but our times with Him are infrequent at best. We know the good things to choose and we know the selfish things that tempt us. For most of us, though, our pursuits are about us and our comfort rather than the good that God would have us pursue. Yet, we are surprised when life gets overwhelming or despair seems to consume us.
Rather than give in to the status quo of the day, we must choose to embrace the promises of God that help us rise above gloomy economic news, ward off the high demands of our culture and make the wise choices that honor God. That is the lifestyle that brings us the freedom that God desires for us.
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age. Titus 2:11-12
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
At first glance, the verse above can make you a little nervous...and by all rights it should. Just to know that every step of our journey is laid out before God can be unnerving. There is no place I have gone nor any thought that I have held in my head that He is not aware of. Even the deepest desires of my soul are known to Him.
I started taking a closer look at the second half of that verse this morning. It's an obvious reference to the process that gold goes through as it is refined. This process, with tremendous heat and stress, causes the gold to come out in a purer form. It's the end result that makes the process worth while.
But it's a comfort to me to know that I am in the hands of an expert. You see, any time you and I are willing to let God test or refine us, He has promised not only to bring us through that fire but to guarantee that the end result is a purer "product." My tests and trials are God's way of knocking the "me" out of me and revealing His presence in my life. God is an expert at such matters. He knows what I can handle; He knows the limits that I can withstand. That's why the story of Job is such a fascinating one. If you haven't read it in a while, do so. You'll be reminded that God is always up to something in our lives, even if it appears to be behind the scenes. I don't usually like church signs very much...at least as far as the theology behind them is concerned. But this one I saw last week made pretty good sense:
When Satan tries us, he attempts to bring out the worst in us. When God tries us, He attempts to bring out the best.
Monday, March 01, 2010
I know I've said this a lot lately but I've really enjoyed this message series--History--over the last few weeks. Coming back to these first books of the Old Testament is like hooking up with an old friend again and catching up on lapsed time. It is a fascinating story of this journey that man has been on with God for thousands of years. For me, it's been an incredible "God-hunt" to trace God's behind-the-scenes activity as the events of world history unfolded.
I was challenged by yesterday's message on the Ten Commandments. Like many of you, I've always seen these "regulations for life" as a rule book on how to get it right. However, the closer I look at the story, I realize that it's more about God's grace and love. God was saying to us, "I love you deeply and I'm not going anywhere. This is a level of holiness that you cannot possibly attain without me and my promise is to be right here with you as your God." Think about the significance of that statement, the personal level of love that God extends to you and me.
His grace has always been present...from the minute Adam and Eve first sinned to right now when you and I fail to make good choices.