Tuesday, January 19, 2016

75 years of commitment

Maybe I am the only one who never heard about Fred Stobaugh. Fred met his wife, Lorraine in Peoria, IL in 1938. He fell in love with her almost on the spot. 

After 75 years of faithful love and devotion to his  wife, Lorraine died and Fred wrote a song in honor of his wife. 

Fred heard about an on-line singer-songwriter contest sponsored by Green Shoe Studio, a local music business. 

This man is not a song-writer or a singer, but something about his entry touched the the folks at Green Shoe Studio. 

This is one of the great love stories of our time. A man loving one woman for life and for keeps. 

Fred's devotion to Lorraine reflects what the Lord says in Ephesians 5: 25. 

Watch the video and allow it to inspire you. Share it with others.

The joy that comes from staying committed through the hard times is what really matters. 

Whatever you think you may or may not have in common with your spouse when you are young and tempted to bail out on a marriage, keep in mind that by the time you’ve been married for forty years, you will have more in common with your spouse—shared experiences, shared trials and triumphs—than any other person on the planet. 

And the most important thing you will have in common is a monumental shared achievement: the marriage itself that brings honor to God and blesses others. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

4 questions every Christians must answer

I found these four questions quite helpful in thinking about ways to engage and serve my community. Why not get together with other concerned Christians and wrestle with the questions? Be ready for what the Lord will show you and call you to do.

First, what is good in our culture that we can promote, protect, and celebrate?

Second, what is missing in our culture that we can creatively contribute?

Third, what is evil in our culture that we can stop?

And finally, what is broken in our culture that we can restore?

Restoring all things: God's audacious plan to restore the world through everyday people. By Warren Cole Smith and John Stonestreet

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The #1 Reason To Never Give Up

If you have ever reached a point in life where you are thinking about giving up on your marriage, on your life, or on your calling, read these great and encouraging words from the late Father John Richard Neuhaus:

And will we overcome? Will we prevail? We have overcome and have prevailed ultimately because He has overcome and He has prevailed. There are days in which you and I get discouraged. On those days I tell myself—I suppose almost every day I tell myself, sometimes several times a day—those marvelous lines from T. S. Eliot’s “East Coker,” where Eliot says, “For us there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.” For us there is only the trying. The rest is not our business. Some people read those lines as lines of resignation, kind of shrugging your shoulders and saying, “What can you do?” But I read them as lines of vibrant hope. The rest is not our business. The rest is God’s business. Thank God, we are not God. Thank God, God is God.

Richard John Neuhaus, “Telling the World Its Own Story.” Available on-line at http:// www.colsoncenter.org/ search-library/ search? view = searchdetail& id = 21199.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

5 reasons why following Jesus is the most challenging thing you could ever do with your life.

I am serious. This is not hyperbole. The most challenging thing you could ever do with your life is to completely surrender your will over to the will of God.

To give up your rights to the righteousness of Christ; to say no to what the world says yes to, to give instead of take; to put the interests of others ahead of yours, are some of the reasons why following Jesus is not for the faint of heart.

I still can't understand why some Christians give the impression that following Jesus is nothing more than inviting him into your heart? 

Here are 5 reasons why you should calculate the cost before following Jesus:

1. You are called to follow not fandom.
Kyle Idleman in Not a Fan says, “The biggest threat to the church today is fans who call themselves Christians but aren’t actually interested in following Christ. 

They want to be close enough to Jesus to get all the benefits, but not so close that it requires anything from them.”

2. You are sent to serve.
Imagine going to the White House and the president of the United States takes off his suit, gets on his hands and knees and starts washing your feet. 

Weird, right? This is how Peter felt when Jesus served him. To serve is to take the lowest seat and do what others would loathe to do. Jesus said, he came not be served but to serve (Mark 10:45).

3. You will suffer. 
Jesus said, Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me (Matthew 10:17).

If you don’t believe Jesus, then check out Christianity Today’s Top 50 Countries Where It's Now Hardest To Be a Christian.

4.  You must be courageous. 
Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted.  So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows (Matthew 10: 29-31).

5. You must choose who will be #1.
Jesus will not take a lesser place in your life. 

He’s either Lord of all or he’s not Lord at all. 

Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it (Matthew 10:37-39).