What Christianity is NOT

It is absolutely amazing how many wrong ideas there are concerning what it means to be a Christian. It would absolutely astound you, I hope, to hear what many people think makes them a Christian. Let’s look at a few things that some wrongly believe.

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David Platt – FBC Pastor Conference 2010

OK – I had posted on Facebook that I heard the most moving sermon on missons in my life at the FBC Pastor conference by 30 year old pastor David Platt of Church at Brook Hills.

I bought both the DVD and the CD and since they are not marked as copyright material, I am posting the audio here as a podcast to help build the kingdom.  Enjoy and listen closely.

David Platt – FBC JAX Pastor Conference

Repost: What God is teaching me about being a man

Having been a male for the last forty-eight years, I kind of thought I had it figured out what it meant to be a man.  You know, go out and kill dinner and drag it home, have control of the house, etc…, etc…, etc…

I have learned that my wife was right – I am an idiot.  Wait, Julie doesn’t think I am an idiot, on the contrary she thinks I am quite smart.  It’s the stupid things that I do that at times that cause her to shake her head and think “idiot!”  I call it the Ray Berone syndrome, if you have ever watch the sitcom named after Ray you know what I am talking about.

Before being in full time vocational ministry (an oxymoron BTW), I was in the work force in Accounting and Financial Management for a couple of Fortune 500 companies.  I was making good money, had loads of responsibility and bought into that my identity was found and based on what I did for my livelihood. The scripture passage is so true in 1 Corinthians 13, “when I was a child(boy) I spoke like a child(boy), I thought like a child(boy), I acted like a child(boy). When I became a man, I put away childish(boyish) things, thoughts, and actions.”

There is still a little boy in me and in most men. That is what I call the fun side of manhood.  When the boy in me controls my life, I am going to be selfish, not generous. I will think of only my self and not others. Many men need to grow up and get rid of the boy in their life. That doesn’t mean we can’t go to football games or kill some animal and drag it home for dinner. But in the context of our relationship with our wife and children, we put them and their needs and wants first – way ahead of ours.

When I was a boy, I never thought it would be so hard to be a man.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!

The Christmas story centers on Jesus’ birth and introduces us to God’s plan to win us back to Himself. We speak of the “incarnation” of Jesus – the act of His “taking on flesh” so that He might walk among us, love us, and ultimately give His life for us. In Christ, God took on flesh, so that He might relate to us.  We in turn are called to step into the lives of others – to literally be “Jesus with skin on” to a world that needs to see and know the love of God.  Make a commitment right now that you will step into the lives of others in 2010 by being Jesus with skin on.
Jeff, Julie, Sarah, Emily and Caleb

Last of traffic light posts..

Second, you  need to determine what kind of person you are going to be in this life. This is an issue of character and integrity. I don’t know any better description of what Jesus was like in character than in Galatians 5 where Paul writes about the fruit of what God’s power does in us as He grows us. Our character is formed by the accumulation of good habits and honestly, by the accumulation of bad habits if we are not careful.  If you have a habit of being kind to people, people will look at you and say you are a kind person.  And God is developing those good habits in us to develop good character.

Third, we must determine how we are going to use our God given talents, abilities and gifts to carry out his vision. You have talents, abilities and gifts that God has given you to make a difference in the world. Until we start using these special presents from God, we will be unfulfilled. I believe in the principle found in Colossians 3:23, that whatever we do, we should do it for the glory of God.  This includes using our talents, gifts, and abilities to carry out God’s vision in both ministry positions and secular jobs.

Traffic Lights cont…

Continuing from my previous post…

First, you must determine what is the center of your life. Our solar system is a marvel in many ways, but one that relates to this topic is that all of the planets revolve around one central source of energy, our sun. God set in order our solar system and each planet pays a part in the system. Without our sun we could not exist physically. Without God, we cannot exist spiritually, physically, and emotionally. The center of your life in the twenty-first century revolves around you. We have been trained by our educational system, our media saturated society, and the politically incorrect to believe that we are the center of our life, that we are our own gods.

If you have any age to you, you will remember years ago there used to be an inexpensive toy called super balls.  You hit it on the ground and it’d go thirty, forty feet high.  Why?  Because the center of a super ball was so tightly compacted it was a solid core not some mushy center like a tennis ball, which is very mushy.  But a super ball had a very solid core and that gave it its bounce. Man, I loved those balls. When we got tired of them, we would pitch them to each other and knock it about five hundred feet, without human growth hormones!

God must be at the core of your life, your vision, your call, and your dream.  God is a solid core, not some mushy psycho-nonsense that we get from media superstars that have afternoon talk shows. Making God the core of your life will involve a disciplined walk with God which will include a daily devotional time of Bible study and prayer, and also importantly, the sacrifice of your wants and desires.

Traffic Light Cameras

Red Light Camera1209I am sure you have seen them.  Those annoying traffic cameras that cities are using now to catch those who have a tendency to continue through the stop light as it is turns from yellow to red. As I write this there are lawsuits in the city of Cleveland, OH. that state these types of cameras are illegal. Cities argue that they are for safety, not for income. That is open to debate!

Every Christmas we travel back to Tennessee and Alabama to visit our families and enjoy a respite from the lake effect snow machine that usually cranks up in November in northeast Ohio. A few weeks after we returned from our annual pilgrimage to the Promised Land in East Tennessee in 2006, my wife Julie comes in the house laughing. She was holding in her hand an envelope addressed from the City of Knoxville, Tennessee.  Inside the envelope were a couple of photographs that showed what looked like our vehicle going through a stop light. After closer examination of the license plate, I did determine that it was indeed our vehicle. Who was driving is still debatable in our home as both Julie and I took turns operating the vehicle while in Tennessee. I hope the City of Knoxville put my fifty-dollar fine to good use.

We have to determine in our lives when to stop and when to go. When are there red lights and when are there green lights and should we pay attention to the yellow lights that mean we should use caution. When the green light comes on regarding vision, we cannot sit still, we must move. We must go forward. So how do we do that?

Tomorrow I will give some simple steps on how…

My Brother Sammy Calloway

obit_327_1257942788760His actual name is Samuel Joseph Calloway, but we always called him Sammy. Out of ten kids, I was the youngest and Sammy was the next in age to me, just about four years older. Sammy would have been 52 on November 27th. Some of you had the privilege of either knowing Sammy or meeting Sammy and he probably touched your life somehow. This time last year he spent over a month with us in Ohio. I thank the Lord we were able to have him with us for Thanksgiving and his birthday.

This morning at approximately 6:30 Sammy’s physical life ended and his eternal life began. Actually his eternal life began about 27 years ago when he finally decided to stop living for himself and gave his life over to God. I want to share what happened this morning starting at about 6:00.  For those of you who are reading this that are not followers of Christ, what you are about to read will not make much sense or seem like goofy ravings.
Sammy had been in Hillcrest Nursing home in Knoxville since last December and over the past month his health had been going down hill. Yesterday my family called me to come home because Sammy had taken a bad turn for the worst and mys sisters bought me an airplane ticket to come back to Knoxville. I got into to town about 3:30 in the afternoon and went immediately to the nursing home. I volunteered to stay at the nursing home with Sammy overnight to be with him in case of a problem. He had been very lethargic and almost comatose throughout the day, not speaking or opening his eyes. Arounbd 8:30 last night he began he to lift  his hands up like he was reaching to hug his sons Cody and Tyler. Later around 9:30 everyone had gone home to get rest except for myself and my brother-in-law Dennis. Sammy became alert and asked what time it was and I told him 9:30. He again began to lift up his hands as if to reach out to someone or for someone.
All through the night I was talking to him, praying and reading scriptures to him. Around midnight he was sleeping and back to being lethargic. Around 5:30 this morning his breathing became fast, about one breath per second. Around 6:00 I began to tell him that we knew he was tired and we wanted what was best for him even if it was leaving us. You see, Sammy had been suffering for years from three bypass surgeries, damage to his body from abusing drugs, and from being diabetic. Five years ago doctors told us he would only live for a few more months – well he proved them wrong. This happened more than once, but the toll on his poor body had finally caught up with him. I called my sisters and brother at 6:20 and told them to come because I didn’t think he was going to make it much longer.
After I called my siblings I told Sammy it was ok to go and that Jesus was in the room with us. I wasn’t just saying that to make him feel better. The presence of Jesus was in that room with us. Sammy loves his sons, they were the pride of his life. I told Sammy that I would tell his boys that he loved them and the moment I did, he opened his eyes for the first time in hours as to say to me, “Thank you.” I told him I would miss him and that we all would miss him, but that we would see him again. Again I told him it was ok to go and that Jesus was with us. I then told him to tell our Mom and Dad that we miss them and that we love them. He again opened his eyes and looked past me, not at me. I asked who did he see? I asked if he was seeing the Lord, angels, Mom and Dad. He closed his eyes and then opened them one more time to look past me, then he closed his eyes and stopped breathing. He had entered into the presence of our Lord. What a moment!
I have been around people when they have passed on. Our Dad, another brother amd several people who were Christian brothers and sisters. I have many, many memories of Sammy from the time we were kids up until now. I have never been in a situation like I was with Sammy. I will hold this memory in my heart until the day that I take my last breath. I regret not calling my siblings and Sammy’s sons sooner, but one of my sisters shared with me that the way it happened was God’s plan.
It is not goodbye to Sammy, but I’ll see you later buddy – save a place for me.
“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.”
Thanks for letting me share.

Nothing Happens Until Someone Steps Up

That is a law of life.  Look at history.  The Civil Rights movement was nothing until a man came along named Martin Luther King and said, “I have a dream” and he provided leadership.  The NASA space program was nothing until a guy named John Kennedy said, “We’re going to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade.”  A man by the name of Ray Kroc said, “I want fast food at a convenient price in a clean atmosphere” and he invented an entire industry called fast food. In your own family — you have family problems… nothing happens until somebody in the family assumes leadership and says, “We’re going to do something about it.”  Everything rises or falls on leadership.  Most problems can be traced to a lack of competent leadership.  The greatest problem today is a leadership shortage.  The greatest need is trained leaders.

I came across a verse in the Bible that is found in the book of Judges. As a matter of fact, it is the last sentence in that book. Not only is it the last sentence, it  also sums up the entire book.   The last verse of the book Judges 21:25 “Every man did what was right in his own eyes.  There was no king in Israel.” Where there is no leadership, people do their own thing.  There is instability.