A “THUMBS UP” Worldview…for Real Life

A few years back I wrote the following as I was preparing my final paper to earn my Doctor of Ministry degree. As I read it again today, it seemed like something worth sharing here. It still applies. God bless you as you live out your “Thumbs Up” worldview.

Frustration!  To the extreme!  That’s what Jonathan was feeling as he sat staring at the text message he had just received from his secretary.  After all, it was just an innocent invitation to go out for a beer after work.  Why shouldn’t he?  But, then the thoughts of his wife came flooding into his head.  The argument that had punctuated his morning departure had left him angry and resentful.  He deserved a little break after work, especially with someone who understood him and was willing to listen.  Still … his heart was crying out to him to the contrary.  It also brought to mind the faces of his children, eagerly asking him to “listen to my story” and “come play catch with me” and “guess what Jeff said to me today.”  Though he was too exhausted to face their urgent demands, part of him wanted desperately to spend more precious moments with each of his three children.  Then, in another quick transition of the mind, Jonathan was considering the meeting at church that evening, where he was expected to be the answer man, ready to fix all the financial problems the church was facing in another round of “budget talks.”  It was so draining.  With so many varying points of view, how could they ever come to an agreement?  His stomach started to churn, especially as he considered another encounter with that nasty Mrs. P.  She had it out for him, for sure.

The phone vibrated again.  “RU in?”  Back to the moment.  What to do?  Jonathan considered offering up a quick prayer, but this only touched on another sore spot.  How could he pray to the one he was regularly ignoring?  He knew he should be reading his Bible and praying each day, but there was no time.  By the time his head hit the pillow, he was out in a moment with the “Our Father” trailing off his lips into a deep snore.  The thought of praying now seemed hypocritical and insincere.  Just then, he glanced up to the posting board above his desk.  There before him was the page he had received in church last Sunday.  “A ‘Thumbs Up’ Worldview” it said at the top.  (See this page in Appendix 3 below.)  He’d listened to the pastor talk about it, but it was just the same old words he’d been hearing for years.  Another message about getting your priorities into God’s order.  So, of course, he’d taken the cue to use the sermon time to plan out the rest of his Sunday … lunch with his step-mom, a quick stop at the store for paint and a six pack, home to assess the paint job, watch the football game, paint for an hour, watch the next football game, paint for another hour … if the game didn’t go into overtime, rush to bed to get a few hours sleep before an early wake up for another work week.  Now, however, the words on the page struck him with new clarity.  All those things he’d been hearing about priorities as God intended started to make sense. 

Jonathan took the sheet and started reading, ignoring the persistent vibrating of his phone.  “Jesus Christ is the highest priority for each of us personally ….”  Yes, he knew it was true.  He had to put Jesus back where He belonged.  The voice of the Spirit in his heart reminded him of the countless times before when this had proven to be the best route in all things.  Broken and humbled, Jonathan said a quick prayer, “Lord, help me put you first and to get the rest of my life back in line as well.  Please forgive me for how I’ve failed you, my wife, my kids, my church … my secretary.  Forgive me by your grace and help me turn my whole life over to you as my Lord.  In your name, Lord Jesus, I pray it.  Amen.”  Jonathan raised his eyes to the page again.  “Spouse is the next priority ….”  He couldn’t deny it.  Even though he and Sarah had fought that morning, he loved her unconditionally, just as he’d promised to do on their wedding day.  He was equally to blame for the squabble.  It was time for him to get home and work things out with the one he cherished more than any other person on earth.  He needed to start with seeking her forgiveness and seeking to make it right.  Part of him really wanted to make her pay for her mean words.  He really was tempted to go out for that beer with his secretary just to get even.  But, that hadn’t worked so well last time.  It had left Sarah and him hurting for a month.  It was time to go home.  He needed to sacrifice his vengeful, competitive spirit that so often got him into trouble.  “Give me courage, Lord, and the right words to say to show Sarah how truly sorry I am for hurting her.”

Next on the page, “Children and extended family are the next priority ….”  No more excuses.  After working things out with Sarah, it was time for him to make a plan with the kids.  He’d sit down with his calendar and let each child join him in scheduling one hour a week with each of them to do whatever they wanted together with him.  He would be physically present with them on their terms.  No, it wasn’t much, but it would be a start.  It would help them know that they were still important to him.  He would listen on their terms and let them set the agenda.  His love would show itself incarnationally, just like the pastor had said.  As Jonathan glanced back at the “Thumbs Up” page he noticed the part about extended family.  Yeah, it was probably time to work things out with his step-dad.  Though he shuddered to even think about it, the rift between them needed to be addressed before it was too late and the drinking finally killed his step-dad.  This would be a big one.  “Lord, help me know where to start and what to do to reach my step-dad.  Even though his heart is so bitter toward me and you and all the world, help me not give up.  Give me the wisdom and courage I need.  And, I need you, Lord, to change his heart.”

Reading further down the page, a “Thumbs Up” worldview holds that “church family is the next priority for every member.”  Mrs. P. may be a scary old …, but she was still a child of God.  She was still his sister in Christ.  She may not like his proposals for the church’s money issues, but life has probably been rough for her since her husband died.  He’d get to the meeting early enough to ask her how she was doing since it was about this time last year that he died.  Money matters will always be there, but our focus on eternity is something that will last way after all the money and all the churches on earth are gone.  He knew he needed to remind Mrs. P. that he was looking forward to the reunion with Mr. P. in heaven one day too.  And on the money issues; God would help them through that too.  He’d present the numbers as clearly as he could, and then they’d work together to set their priorities … using this “A ‘Thumbs Up’ Worldview” sheet to guide them.  That was it.  He’d take this page along with him.  It was time he showed support for the pastor as the head of their church family and practiced what he’d been preaching.  The pastor had said that having our priorities in line with God’s way would guide the congregation on the right path, including with the use of their money.  It was time for all of the members of the board, himself included, to stop fighting for their own selfish goals and to seek what fit with the overall vision of the congregation; in line with the “Thumbs Up” worldview.  He was sure this would help.  The board always looked to him for the answers on the money situation.  Well, it was time for him to lift their eyes above the numbers on the page and to the Bridegroom, Jesus.  He wouldn’t let his bride go hungry or naked.  He would provide as they followed His example of sacrificial, unconditional and incarnational love.

A tap on his shoulder caused Jonathan to jump.  There she was.  His attractive secretary with her pleading eyes, “Aren’t you going to join us?”  In his mind, he was thinking of saying, “No way!  I’ve got to run from you like the plague right now!”  But, then he recalled the last part of the “Thumbs Up” worldview and quickly prayed, “Lord, give me the right words to help this one who doesn’t know you.”  He kindly declined her offer and explained that he really needed to get home and take care of some problems with Sarah and the kids.  He added, “Even though we don’t always see eye to eye, I love my wife and I’d do anything for her.”  The questioning and envious look in the eyes of his secretary reinforced the questions she’d asked before about the value of marriage.  He knew she came from a whole different perspective, but she’d been asking more questions lately.  Although the devil had tempted Jonathan to run in a romantic direction with this beautiful woman, he knew he couldn’t go there.  Not only would it betray his Lord, wife and everyone else, it would also lead his secretary further from the light.  Now was his opportunity to start shedding some real light on the situation.  “Let’s talk tomorrow at lunch in the cafeteria about this paper in my hands.  I think you might be interested.”  His secretary looked skeptical, but, in a hesitating voice, agreed.  She was desperate for some answers to her own growing relationship problems.

As he grabbed his brief-case and headed for the door, Jonathan offered a silent prayer, “Thank you, Lord, for one little step in the right direction.  Help me keep moving forward one step at a time in your way.  I know you love me as the perfect husband.  Help me to follow your lead in my life; as your disciple, as a husband, as a father, as a step-son, as a church member, as a witness for you in the world.  Teach me to love sacrificially, unconditionally and incarnationally.  Guide me each day with a ‘Thumbs Up’ worldview.  In your name, Lord Jesus, I pray.  Amen.”

Posted in Relationship Priorities, Worldview | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Blessing Couples to Be a Blessing

This coming Saturday Heather and I will be leading our Marriage in God’s Way seminar at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Bay City, MI. We love leading married and engaged couples through this study of what God’s Word teaches for their benefit. Jesus is the perfect husband toward His bride, the church. Following His example and guidance, couples grow in a lasting love marked by tremendous joy and powerful witness to the world. Such couples also bring strength to the congregation of believers of which they’re a part.

I need to stress that last point more clearly. Christian congregations benefit TREMENDOUSLY when the couples in that congregation are living according to God’s plan for marriage. This is ESPECIALLY true when the pastor and other church leaders are following God’s lead. They’re a living picture of the Gospel! The way they sacrifice for each other. The way they’re committed to each other, no matter what. They way they care for each other’s physical needs. The way they forgive. The way they LOVE! This helps others in the congregation to understand Jesus’ love through a living, real example. This is an awesome sermon along-side of those preached from the pulpit. Such couples also go out into the world to be a living picture of the Gospel for EVERYONE to see. This is a better and more effective evangelism program than most others I’ve seen in the church.

If you’re a couple that happens to be free from 9 to 3 this Saturday and you’re in the vicinity of Bay City, Michigan, you can probably still come join us for this awesome opportunity to be blessed to become a blessing. If you can’t join us, then please pray for us. Our loving Bridegroom, Jesus, delights in blessing couples that seek to follow His way.

Posted in Congregational Life, Marriage, Witnessing | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

A Spiritual Routine to Get You Out of Bed…JOYFULLY!

Daily routines are important. Setting the spiritual tone of your day is critically important. I talked about this in my sermon on Good Friday. I shared the routine I use to bring the events of Good Friday and Easter to bear on every day of my life. This is the routine that keeps me from the 4:00 a.m. worry and fear that attempts to paralyze me. As I put Jesus in His proper “Thumbs Up” position, I’m renewed in my Baptism and the living hope that empowers me to get out of bed and face the day with peace, contentment and overflowing joy. It’s ALL about Jesus and the power He gives me by His Holy Spirit.

Since Good Friday, several people have commented on how helpful my message was for them. They’ve been adapting my routine to fit their own with powerful results. They asked me if I could summarize my routine in a written form as a reference tool. So, here it is. This is not the way you have to do it, but perhaps it will help you establish a morning spiritual renewal routine that will put your heart and life where it should be…in the hands of the LORD.

Sing… “Be still and know that I am God” x 3.  1-to remember you were created by an awesome, almighty God who loves you. 2-to remember you are heading back to your heavenly Father’s powerful presence at the end of your days because nothing in this world is mightier than Him. 3-to renew your trust in the Father’s care for you this day, knowing He will provide all you truly need.

Sing… “I am God who cares for you” x 3. 1-to remember that Jesus fulfilled the plan set forth in Eden to save us from our sin by His sinless life, miserable suffering, crucifixion, enduring of hell, dying and rising again in victory. Also, to recall that I am baptized into Jesus’ death and resurrection so I am forgiven and free from sin and its power. 2-to remember that by grace, through faith in Jesus, I will be welcomed by Him into the eternal joy of the new creation at the end of my life on earth. I WILL rise from the dead with a perfect body on Judgment Day. 3-to rejoice in the care that Jesus will give me today, freeing me from worry and fear as I rest securely in His peace and joy.

Sing… “Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me” x 3. 1-to remember that the Holy Spirit, who was with the Father and the Son at creation, has always given faith and strength to God’s children, including Jesus in His passion for us. 2-to seek the Spirit’s ongoing strengthening of my faith through the Word and Sacraments for the rest of my days until I enter paradise. 3-to beseech the Spirit to again, this day, take me back to my Baptism, melting me, molding me, filling me and using me to the glory of my God and the good of all whom I will be privileged to serve this day.

Thank the Lord for all I have…food, clothes, home, possessions, relationships and, most of all, saving faith in Jesus. Then, with a free and joyous spirit, arise to LIVE in thanks to the Lord in another day given to me as a gift from my mighty and loving Triune God.

I pray your days will all begin with a routine something like this. May the Spirit of God melt your sinful self, mold you into the image of Jesus, fill you with courageous power and use you in another new day to joyfully make Jesus known.

Posted in Character, Family Life, Resources, Worldview | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Are Your Priorities Out of Whack for Holy Week?

Holy Week is the perfect time to check our priorities. What REALLY matters in my life? This week we remember that NOTHING is more important than the suffering, death and resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Baptized into Jesus, we share in His victory over death and hell. Growing in our relationship with Him by receiving His gifts is our top priority. To be loved by Jesus…sacrificially, unconditionally and incarnationally…changes everything else in life.

This is why I regularly say, “Thumbs up to Jesus!” It’s a way for me to remember to keep Jesus as my top priority. Then, His love flows into me and fills me. I remember this as I picture myself as the palm of my hand. When I have my thumb up to Jesus, His love flows down into me, the palm. And, when this relationship is in order, then I can share His love with all the people in my life, represented by the four fingers on my hand.

After my relationship with Jesus, if I’m married, my next most important relationship is that with my spouse. My spouse is represented by my forefinger…my #1 human relationship. Following the marriage mandate of Gen. 2:24, I’ve “left father and mother” to hold fast to my spouse in committed, incarnate love. With Jesus as my guide, strength and source of forgiveness, I pass on to my beloved bride the love I’ve received from the Bridegroom, Jesus. If I’m not married to another person, then my marriage to Jesus takes precedent and shapes the way I love the other people in my life.

Speaking of those others, when I have a right relationship with my spouse, we can then work effectively together to love the next most important people in my life, those I’m related to by blood or marriage. Represented by my middle finger, my children, parents, siblings, in-laws and all my other relatives are of great importance to me. Still, they come after my spouse. If I don’t have a strong relationship with my spouse, I won’t be able to give my best to my family. I bless them most when I’m showing them the love of Jesus by the way I love my spouse. Parents, children and other family get the best love from me when Jesus is on top, my spouse is next and they follow right after.

As I keep those first three priorities in order, I also overflow with love for my fellow believers in Jesus throughout the world. My church family, represented by my ring finger, will be touched with Jesus’ love through me as they see me receiving from Jesus and passing on His love to my spouse and family. The church family can then be modeled after healthy biological families. All relationships in the church are to be shaped by the sacrificial, unconditional and incarnate love taught by Jesus and practiced in the home. A congregation with such healthy relationships will be a living witness to the world of how families ought to function.

That takes me to my final relational priority in life…my relationships with everyone else who doesn’t fit one of the above priorities. Represented by my pinky finger, these people may be my lowest priority by comparison, but that does NOT make them unimportant. I’ve been called to love my neighbor as myself…and all of these “pinky” people are my neighbors. If I want to love them as much as possible, then I keep all of my above relationships in their right place. With right priorities, Jesus’ love WILL flow into me and into my spouse, family and church so that the other people I encounter won’t be able to miss my living witness of love. They’ll be wrapped up in the peace, contentment, purpose and joy that emanate from all my other relationships.

As we observe Holy Week, we take time to reflect on what really matters. Jesus on top! Spouse, other family members and church family after that. Then, we’ll fulfill our high calling to bear witness to the world of the one way of salvation through our risen and victorious Savior, Jesus. The Spirit will work through us to fill our entire life with Jesus’ infectious love. By God’s power, many more will join us in that awesome love for eternity.

Blessings on your rightly prioritized Holy Week!

Posted in Relationship Priorities, Witnessing, Worldview | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Three Simple Keys to Lasting Love

If we’re clear on life’s three big questions (Where from? Where to? My purpose?), we’re sitting right in the middle of Jesus’ eternal love for us. It’s a perfect love marked by sacrifice, commitment and physical care. These are the three key elements of love for any relationship. Couples who practice love in these ways will enter marriage on the right path and stay on track to a life-long love.

The Bible passage that sets the foundation for loving relationships is Genesis 2:24, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (ESV) Jesus shows such love to us. He left His heavenly Father to come to earth. He was so committed to us that He went through hell in our place and died. He cares for our physical life so much that He rose in the flesh so we will too. Because of His perfect love, we’re free from sin, hell and the grave.

Now, we’re free to share Jesus’ love with everyone, starting in marriage. A man and woman are ready to get married when they’re willing to sacrifice self and become totally one with the other. No “his stuff…her stuff” anymore. Now everything’s “OUR stuff!” This self-sacrifice throughout a marriage keeps it free from self-absorbed destruction. Commitment to the marriage with unconditional love will also preserve it. When both are in it for life, even WHEN the other deceives, hurts, slanders or betrays, then the forgiving power of Jesus will bring them through every trial. Love will deepen. Joy will prevail. And, when you add on devoted physical care for the other, the delight in each other will never fade…even when our bodies do.

That’s the simple picture of love. It’s the way to begin a wonderful marriage. It’s the way for a marriage to deepen. It’s the way to life-long purpose together. A big part of that purpose is to pass along the love we know to everyone around us. We can do that…with joy…when we keep our relationship priorities in order. This also makes sense of life if we never marry or should lose our spouse. With Jesus first in life, His love sustains and enlivens us…every   single   one   of   us.

Posted in Family Life, Marriage, Worldview | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Start by Answering Life’s 3 Big Questions

Marriages and families are in distress. Blunt. Painful. Reality. It’s the consequence of the sinful selfishness that infects us all. How do we turn this around? WE DON’T! But, the God who made us STILL loves us and is eager to heal our brokenness. And, in fact, He already has. Jesus did it. Done deal! We get to benefit from it by receiving His gift for free. Where do we start? Repentance of our selfishness. Fleeing to Him for grace. Receiving His forgiveness. Rejoicing in salvation. Walking in newness of life. Guided by the Holy Spirit.

This takes us to listening to the Holy Spirit. The Spirit leads us to the answers to life’s three key questions. These answers are critical for the restoration of broken marriages. They’re essential before the start of a healthy marriage. So, here you go…

Where did we come from?  GOD made us (our first ancestors, Adam and Eve) perfect in His image at creation some 6000 years ago. But, sadly, we’ve lost that perfection as we’ve selfishly turned from God to our own sinful ways (thus broken homes).

Where are we going? BACK TO GOD in a New Creation made possible by the free gift of forgiveness purchased for us by Jesus’ sinless life, substitutionary death and victorious resurrection. We are sure of this as the Holy Spirit leads us to repentance and faith in Jesus through Holy Baptism and God’s Word.

What’s our purpose in between? LIVING IN THANKFUL SERVICE to Jesus by loving Him above all else and teaching everyone about new life in Him. We start by passing along His sacrificial, unconditional and incarnational love in our homes every day.

Lent is a good time to reflect on these basics and get our own lives in order. Return to these foundational questions and everything else shrinks in importance. Our petty, selfish conflicts that divide our homes are driven out. We start afresh in the grace of Jesus by the power of the Spirit. We grow in the JOY of salvation as we dig further into Jesus’ Word to guide us in His love. More on that soon.

Posted in Worldview | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

On Removing Splinters from Noses

As a follow-up to my post last week regarding pronouns, today I’m sharing a bit of a parable. Discussions this week showed there were many with a hunger for more on this topic, especially as it relates to parenting children in our world today.

When my son was about two years old, he was intrigued by the dog living beyond our backyard and would often peek between the slats of the tall wooden fence to see this giant white dog. One day I came home from church and Heather shared that I had a nursing job to do. It was my job to deal with splinter removal. And, on this day I had quite a job to do.

It turns out that as my son was peering through the rough wooden fence, his nose was picking up many tiny little splinters. Of course, he didn’t’ want ANYTHING to do with their removal. And, on top of it, our elderly neighbor didn’t help matters by saying that he was kind of cute with the extra little freckles on his nose.

As a loving dad, I knew I couldn’t let those dirty, rotten splinters stay where they were. There was a risk of infection and other problems. So, in spite of the tears and struggles against my efforts, I was able to remove every one of those pesky splinters. And, by God’s gift of healing, the little red dots eventually went away and life joyfully continued…with more careful peeking through the fence.

Childhood presents our children with many enticements that pique their curiosity…and threaten their well-being, especially their faith. Loving parents warn their children of such things but can’t protect them from all of them. Sin WILL find its way into their lives. It’s then that love really finds its test…challenging parents to care enough to remove the dirty infectious power of sin from their lives. They will resist because it WILL be painful. Others will say it’s fine or even kind of cute to see our children in their soiled condition. But Christ has called us to tough love. And, by His grace and power, that love will pay off as our children will recover, learn important lessons and grow in the whole health that only Jesus and His love can give. The blessings will be worth the effort…eternally.

Posted in Character, Family Life, Worldview | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Which Pronouns Do YOU Prefer?

It’s popular these days to discuss the usage of pronouns. Many are very concerned about which ones are used in reference to their personal identity. Do you like to be associated with “she, her, hers” or “he, him, his” or “they, them, theirs” or …? While personal identity is a very important matter, I believe we are on the wrong track if we get hung up about such pronouns. The focus of all of this talk is what I want to make ME feel good about MYSELF in MY way. It’s a very self-absorbed line of thought. It’s NOT the direction God would have us go!

The first three commandments remind us that our attention must always be focused, first and foremost, on GOD. HE is Lord of the universe and there is no other…not even ME. HIS NAME is what should concern me, not MY name or MY pronouns. HIS praise is what should consume my life, not MY self-praise.

And, being claimed by Jesus by grace through the washing of Holy Baptism is what gives me the identity that matters more than anything else. Call me “Child of God,” “Disciple of Jesus,” “Christian!” He has claimed me (and each of you who has been baptized) with a very special second person pronoun in Isaiah 43:1, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.”  I have been forgiven for all my sin and that has changed my world so I’m not absorbed with myself. I’m obsessed with thanking and praising HIM…JESUS…my SAVIOR! I want to praise HIM every day. I am HIS!

So, if you want to get hung up on which pronoun is best for you, I’d say you go for this one…HIS!

Posted in Sex, Worldview | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Surfing the Bore Tide

Bore Tide – Turnagain Arm, Alaska – June 1995

On my honeymoon with Heather to Alaska we had the privilege to witness a pretty cool phenomenon of nature, the Bore Tide in Turnagain Arm. This is a wave of about five to ten feet in height that surges down this narrow and shallow bay. As high tide rolls in from the ocean, the water is forced as through a funnel into a narrow space, producing a rapidly progressing wall of water. Anything in the path of that ten to twenty mile-per-hour wall is either submerged or carried along. Many an unsuspecting animal or person has died in the face of this tremendous force. However, surfers often love to ride this wave for miles.

The onslaught of social forces against God’s design for marriage and family life is a lot like the Bore Tide. You can’t stop it. Satan and those who follow him are relentless. The pressure WILL continue and it will either drown or carry those in its path.

Next week, Americans are going to the polls to vote on people and policies. Voters will be forced to choose between who and what is in line with God’s will and who and what is not, especially on issues of marriage and family. Even if good Christian people are able to join with enough like-minded voters to stop the forces against God’s plan for now, we won’t be able to stop the tide. Satan’s onslaught will persist because he knows that godly marriage and family life is at the heart of the Gospel. Jesus is clearly seen in families that practice marriage in God’s way. And Satan hates it.

So, what do we do in the face of the tide?

We can let it drown us like an unsuspecting deer in the face of the Bore Tide. This WILL happen if we give up and say there’s no point in trying to resist this evil force. We’ll just let the evil society overwhelm us, have its way and drown us with its destructive lies. Then, we’ll join the tide speeding toward hell.

OR, we can ride the tide like a surfer on the Bore Tide. We can do this by using the cross of Jesus as our surfboard. His victory over sin and evil on the cross gives us the ability to rise above the evil around us. His truth enables us to resist Satan’s lies. His Spirit’s power enables us to match Satan’s attacks mile after mile. His love empowers us to ride above the evil forces below us. His joy makes us witnesses of a better way for those who are currently drowning in the tide.

No matter how the elections come out next week, the evil tide will continue to roll. But, I’m not going to give up and drown. I’m riding the tide with Jesus! I’m going to live out marriage in His way and have a joy that rises above all evil. I’m going to be a witness of a joyful way of life that’s free for all who humble themselves and join Jesus at the cross where He’s taken our sins away.

Join me!

Don’t just stand and watch the tide go by as I did on my honeymoon. Don’t miss this opportunity to surf the tide as a witness of hope for all those being swept away.

Let’s ride the tide together. Let’s follow Jesus’ awesome way for marriage and family life that rises above Satan’s lies. Let’s give a vision of surpassing joy to those drowning in the evil tide. Let’s surf on with ecstatic delight until the end of the run when Jesus returns or takes us to Himself. As we go, more and more will see our life in God’s way. The Spirit WILL lead many more to join us in riding the tide…with Jesus carrying us!

Posted in Community Life, Witnessing, Worldview | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Read the Bible with a Family Focus

In January of 2021 I undertook a huge project. I challenged the members of my congregation and many friends to read through the entire Bible in two years. I committed to writing a half-page commentary on the material for the coming week for all 105 weeks of the plan. As I wrote, I especially focused on God’s plan for the family that is ALL THROUGH the Bible. It was a daunting task. The devil tried to get me to stop. COVID continued to make plans and progress difficult. My associate pastor was out of commission with a terrible illness for about five months. I’ve been battling Iritis in both eyes for ten months. But, I refused to give up.

Earlier this month I finally finished the complete set of commentaries on the whole Bible! I was so overwhelmed with gratitude at what I learned in the process, that it brought me to tears in the end. God is so awesome! His Word is so powerful! He has the perfect, Gospel-rich direction for marriage and family relationships…in HIS WAY!

Everyone who joined me in the Bible Reading Journey was truly blessed and continually told me of the blessings they were receiving. If you missed out or only took part briefly, I challenge you to join the journey now…or as soon as you can. 1-1-23 might be a good time to start. You can find the information… including my commentary pages, weekly hour-long lectures by me on YouTube, weekly devotions and more…at this LINK to my congregation’s website (or cut and paste… https://faithgb.org/fbrj/).

In coming weeks I hope to give you samples of what’s in my commentaries. Come back soon to see.

Looking forward to CONTINUING the journey of growing in God’s blessings for families found in His awesome Word!

Posted in Bible Study, Family Life, Resources | Tagged | Leave a comment