The Week That Was: Obama, Mascot Changes And Vacation Bible School

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No Shred Of Evidence In The IRS Scandal

Here’s what we know. The IRS targeted specific groups who were considered unfriendly to the Obama administration. Here’s what we don’t know. What did Lois Lerner and other IRS officials write to one another in e-mails? And we likely never will. That’s because the hard drives of all the computers used in this conspiracy were “recycled.”

Don’t you love how the government uses nice, friendly words to describe their corruption? We didn’t destroy e-mails. We recycled them! There’s no corruption here! Just us going green. Hooray for recycling!

Next year, I’m trying this one out.

“Mr. Sanders, it appears that you failed to turn your taxes in by the proper time.”

“It’s not that I failed to turn them in. It’s just that I recycled them. They’re in tiny pieces over there in the blue bin with the progressive looking triangle on the side of it.”

If there’s one thing that we’ve learned from our government it’s that you can’t argue with environmental friendliness. I’m going to save thousands next year!

The Truth About The Obama Presidency

The middle east is a bigger disaster than it ever has been. Our own border is no longer a border. There’s a new scandal from the White House every week. Just one of those scandals would have been enough to sink any other president. Obama has ten of them and somehow manages to survive.

The events in and involving our nation should lead any unbiased observer to conclude that our president is guilty of either gross incompetence or high crimes and misdemeanors. Here’s the scary part. Obama is far too intelligent to be guilty of this level of gross incompetence.

Federal Government Steals The Redskins 

It looks like the Washington Redskins are going to have to change their name. If I were Daniel Snyder, the team’s owner, I’d voluntarily change the team mascot to something more in line with the city that the team represents. Maybe the Washington Purposeful Losers of Self-Indicting E-mails. Or how about the Washington Patriot Haters? The Washington Scandalz? We could even put a picture of Harry Reid wearing an eye patch on the side of their newly improved, concussion proof, environmentally friendly helmets. Look out, Raiders!

Sadly, we’ll never see the team switch to names like that. Most likely the president will issue an executive order mandating that we all start calling the Redskins something like the One Worlders, The Globalists, The Banksters or The Unity.

It’s not hard to imagine the Washington Redskins becoming the Washington Unity.

But all this will do is make us get the Washington professional football team mixed up with the Washington professional women’s basketball team. Actually, that probably already happens more than the Redskins care to admit.

I do like the idea of teams having names that match their identity. I can’t remember the last time I saw a Royal in Kansas City. Or a Red in Cincinnati. What am I even supposed to be looking for? It’s all so confusing. My new team names won’t be any less offensive but they will help to keep things in order for the frustrated sports fan.

Here are a few examples.

Major League Baseball

The Atlanta We Will Build A New Stadium And You Will Like It And Pay For It, People of Marietta

The New York Yankees Are My Favorite Team Even Though I’ve Never Been Within a 200 Mile Radius of New York City

The Cleveland Mathematically Eliminated From Playoff Contention An Hour Or So After Opening Day

NBA

The Miami I Bet You Won’t Be Wearing Our Jersey After We Let Lebron Go

NFL

The Dallas If It Wasn’t For Us ESPN Wouldn’t Have Anything To Talk About

The Atlanta Our City Has More Apartment Fires, Standardized Test Cheating Scandals And Night Club Shootings Than Your City (With The Exception Of Memphis)

College Football

The Florida State We Weren’t Aware That Grand Theft And Assault Were Illegal In This State

The Auburn We’re Glad That Grand Theft And Assault Are Illegal At The University of Georgia. Where Else Would We Get Our Quarterbacks From?

That one rolls off the tongue doesn’t it?

If you happen to be the proud owner of a Washington Redskins shirt or jacket, hang on to it. It’s going to be worth something in another year or so. Just don’t get caught with it or you might get shipped off to a reeducation center in Cuba where you’ll be forced to cheer for the Guantanamo Bay Terrorist Traders.

On second thought, maybe you should just recycle all of your Redskins gear.

Vacation Bible School

On Thursday night I taught three children’s Bible classes at Vacation Bible School. By the time I was done I felt like I had fought in a 15-round fight and directed traffic on 285 in Atlanta. At the same time.

I won’t go so far as to call it impossible but it was tough.

Which gives me an idea.

We should find a way to make Lois Lerner teach Vacation Bible School non-stop until she turns over her incriminating e-mails. My guess is that we’d have all the answers we needed within a week.

But that kind of punishment would be cruel and unusual.

To the children at Vacation Bible School.

Questions My Grandfather Never Had To Answer

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The guy on TV looked like a man.

But he talked like a woman.

Why?

I’m pretty sure that my grandfather never got that question from one of his sons.

I did.

Our culture is currently falling all over itself to convince us that it is perfectly normal for a man to act like a woman, a man to marry another man, two women to raise a child together, so on and so forth. A lot of the dirty work in the battle to normalize gender confusion is done through the entertainment industry. That’s why ESPN makes a big deal about a late round pick in the NFL Draft. It’s why many shows feature gay characters. And it’s why the man in one of the commercials that comes on during your kid’s favorite television show likes to act like a woman.

If you grow up seeing something every day while being told that it’s normal you’ll eventually believe that it is. That seems to be the strategy these days at least. And it seems to be working. Sometimes it can even be intimidating when a parent considers the world kids are growing up in and being influenced by. Can we really expect Romans 1 to compete with the media and the government?

Yes.

But it can’t just be a passage that we reference in a political conversation. It, along with the rest of Scripture, has to be something that parents live out before their children. It’s not enough for our kids to hear us talk about what manhood is not. We have to show them what it is.

When a man works hard to provide for and serve his wife and kids, the ridiculous examples of manhood we see demonstrated in television and film will seem foolish.

A church where men boldly serve, pray and sing in public will be the training center in which our children learn to discern what true manhood really is.

Something just won’t seem right about gay marriage in our kid’s eyes when they’ve grown up with a mom and a dad who take the gospel seriously and apply it to their own marriage.

And when a dad is actively engaged first in the pursuit of his God, then in the pursuit of his wife and finally in the training up of his kids, his words will carry much more weight in the household that he leads. If all we ever do is simply point out what is wrong in our culture, our voice will be just one among many that our kids hear. But if we actually make the effort to live out what we preach, showing consistent examples of true manhood and womanhood, our message just might stick.

I still remember the first time that I saw two men holding hands. One of them had a ribbon in his hair. I had no idea what to think. My mom could see my confusion but she didn’t say much. Just don’t stare. Keep moving.

Those days are gone.

We can no longer get away with avoiding tough topics like this one with our kids. It’s been said that nature abhors a vacuum. The hearts and minds of our children are no exception. If we aren’t busy speaking truth to them, we can be sure that someone else with plenty of lies to sell will quickly take our place.

At some point, every parent will have to answer a question similar to the one that my kid asked me. We must be ready, at all times, to give them the answers they are looking for.

But our words can only go so far. Simply hearing what we are against is never enough.

Our kids need to actually see our pursuit of Truth.

And as they grow older, we pray that the pursuit of truth will just seem normal to them.

Even in a world where normal is no longer tolerated.

Big News For Small Time Pastors

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You are not the head coach of the Cleveland Browns. God is not mad at you. You are not stuck in ministry purgatory, waiting for God to move you to the big city where real ministry is done. You are the pastor of a small church in a small town and you are right where God wants you to be.

You may not know it yet but you are being used by God. He is doing great things through you. But that can be hard to see when you preach to 60 people every Sunday morning. Questions about your effectiveness can linger a little longer when your last three sermon series haven’t yet been turned into books.

But hang in there. God’s glory isn’t dependent upon how many TV cameras are in your church, how many satellite campuses you have to be driven to on Sunday mornings or how many Twitter followers you have. God’s glory isn’t dependent upon you at all. But still, it would be nice to be a part of making that glory known. Don’t worry. You are. Just stay faithful. As you do, here are a few things to remember.

1. Watch your Bible Belt assumptions.

I live in a small southern town. More than once I’ve heard it referred to as “the buckle of the Bible belt.” There are churches on every corner. Ask someone if they’re saved and you will usually get the same answer.

“Yes.”

Your town is probably a lot like mine. But don’t let that fool you. A while back a lady in my church was telling another woman about Jesus. The lady’s response to the name of Jesus was unforgettable.

“Who?”

I talked to another woman who leads Bible studies for young single mothers. She said that one mother told her that this was the first time she had ever held a Bible.

Call it the buckle of the Bible Belt all you want. Just remember that as times change, that buckle is getting smaller and smaller.

That’s part of why God has placed you where he has. People in your town, even the ones who grew up hearing about Jesus, need the gospel.

2. Rethink missional.

For some, missional means sitting at the popular table in our culture’s lunch room. It means sipping coffee inside of a trendy bistro while examining the finer points of theology with a couple of the writers of Lost. And that’s great. If you live in New York or L.A. But not if you live in Booger Bottom, Georgia. Yes, that’s a real town.

Missional in places like Booger Bottom means turkey hunting, getting to know the lady in charge of the housing authority and drinking your coffee at the Huddle House. Or Dairy Queen. Or Dari King. Yes, that’s real too.

A lot of our talk about moving toward people in need is just cover for our real intentions of moving to places where we would just really like to live to be with people who we really wish we were more like. That’s not always the case. But sometimes it is.

The teenager in the trailer park who is forced to play dad for his three younger brothers needs Jesus. Your coolness factor can’t save him. Neither can your ability to be relevant. But, if you’re obedient, you just might be one of the instruments God uses to bring salvation to this kid and his family.

If God wanted your favorite celebrity pastor to reach the people in your town, he would move him there. But he hasn’t. So stop trying to be him. Start trying to be a little more like the people who actually live around you.

3. Cut the grass.

Ministry is not like building a house. After two or three months of hard work, you don’t always get to see the fruits of your labor. Sometimes you never do. And that can be discouraging. So get a nice lawn mower and enjoy the instant gratification that comes with cutting the grass.

The grass was tall. Now it’s not. You did that. Congratulations!

4. Sit a spell.

One of the great things about the south is our unusual sayings. When I was a kid and supper was almost ready my mom would always say, “I’m fixin’ to take it up.” I have no idea what that means.

“Sit a spell” is another classic southern phrase but it actually has a discernible meaning. It means to sit down and stay a while. Don’t be in a hurry to leave.

That’s good advice for pastors.

Most people drive through your small town on their way to some place better. They’re just passing through. May the same not be said of you. God may move you somewhere else tomorrow. But for now, try to keep the mindset that this is the place where you’re going to spend the rest of your life.

Don’t be in a hurry to leave.

Sit a spell.

5. Just say no.

That advice turned out to not be very helpful in regards to our nation’s drug problem. But it can help you, your family and your church.

Although your town is small, your opportunities will be big. You can be the chaplain for the police and the high school football team. You can be the guy waiting at the emergency room for that sick church member to arrive. You can leave your vacations early to put out a fire back home.

And a lot of your people will love you for it.

Just don’t count your wife and kids as part of that adoring group.

If you really care about them, and raising up leaders from your congregation, learn how to say no.

A professional wrestler once told me, “Jesus died for the church. You don’t have to.”

But you will unless you learn to say no.

6. Point your church to their real pastor.

It is very easy for a pastor, especially one in a small southern town who manages to stick around for a while, to build his own kingdom. After a certain amount of funerals, weddings and last minute crisis counseling sessions there will be a lot of people who believe that you must be one of the twelve disciples. Some will even be tempted to think that you are the one who led the twelve disciples. And you’ll be tempted to fuel those beliefs.

Make sure that your church knows the truth. Remind them that you are their associate pastor and that Jesus is the one who is in charge (Colossians 1:18). Share your flaws with them. Tell them when you struggle. Ask them to pray for you in areas where you are weak.

Your church needs an example of a flawed man who experiences victory through greater reliance upon the Holy Spirit. You can be that example.

Your church already has a Savior who leads them. They don’t need two. Is all of your hard work being done to build Jesus’ kingdom or yours?

Rest assured, the people that you pastor will find out that you are not Jesus and that your kingdom isn’t so great. They can either find out through your constant, loving confessions or they can find out in the paper.

The degree to which you do battle with your pride will determine how they find out.

Pastor, there is real pain in your small town. People are lost. They are confused. They are hurting. No amount of semi-functional church buildings on every corner or memories of religious traditions can do anything about that. Only the gospel can. And God has ordained that you would be the one to proclaim it to the people in your town.

You may never enjoy all of the success that comes with being a big time pastor.

And that’s okay.

It’s much better to be faithful in Booger Bottom than successful anywhere else.

Hang in there.

Preachers Aren’t The Only Ones With Pulpits

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Every Sunday morning I stand up behind a small wooden podium to tell people about Jesus. Some of them listen politely. Some of them laugh, even when I don’t say anything funny. Some of them fall asleep. Some of them take notes.

The task of delivering a message to a group of people is not one that is unique to my profession.

Parents do it every day.

When someone pulls out in front of us in traffic, gives us the finger and goes on about their way, our reaction preaches a sermon to the watching eyes in the backseat. It may be a sermon filled with tons of new and exciting new words or it may be a sermon about love, forgiveness and patience.

Our response to the increasing horror we see and hear on the news is a powerful sermon as well. It’s main point can be, “We’re all gonna die!” or it can be, “God is in control.”

Parents carry a pulpit with them. And from it, thousands of times a day, we preach a sermon to our kids. Whether the sermon is a good one or a bad one, we can be sure of this one thing.

Our kids aren’t sleeping.

They’re taking notes.

Every year on Father’s Day, I get a book. The same book. It’s an old composition notebook. The first page has scribbling on it followed by a note from my wife. The next page, written a year later, has scribbling that is a bit more defined along with another note from my wife. A few days ago, there were two paragraphs written in the most recent addition to my Father’s Day book. One was from my wife. One was from my son. His scribbles have turned into sentences. And now he’s got a younger brother who’s not too far behind.

When I read their words and admire their pictures, I can see pieces of myself and I am reminded that my kids are taking notes.

I like to talk to the TV. It never accomplishes anything but I do it anyway. A while back I saw a commercial for a handheld video game system. The commercial showed kids playing it in tree houses, on the beach and at internationally known exotic locations. Before  thinking, I spoke about the absurdity of the commercial. The kids were sitting in the middle of some of the coolest, funnest places on earth but they were too busy to enjoy them because they were playing a video game.

A few days later my son was talking about that same handheld video game system. I could feel it coming. I was sure that he was going to ask me to buy him one.

I was wrong.

He told me that those games looked like a lot of fun but they also looked like they kept kids from things that are more fun. Things like tree houses. Just like in the commercial.

I preached my sermon.

My son took his notes.

Every parent is a preacher. Just like the preachers we see and hear about in pulpits at churches all around the world, some parents share a message of love and hope. Some lay heavy, legalistic burdens on their hearers and others make empty promises.

We are all preachers.

Some of us deliver our sermons to large crowds while we stand behind wooden podiums.

Others preach their sermons to crowds of two while driving to soccer practice.

Regardless of the size of our congregation or the shape of our pulpit, this much is certain.

Those who are listening to us are taking notes.

A Father’s Day Reflection On The Importance Of Being Dad

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Every kid needs a friend.

Someone who will tell him that everything is going to be okay.

Someone who will laugh with her when no one else will.

Someone to waste an entire afternoon with.

Someone to endlessly argue with about sports.

Someone to get in trouble with and hopefully learn with through the consequences of that trouble.

Someone who she can talk to about boys.

Someone to walk next to him as they both try to navigate life together.

Every kid needs a friend.

Every kid also needs a father.

He needs a father to tell him that everything is okay. Unless it isn’t. That’s when he needs a father to lead him and teach him through the adversity.

She needs a father who is relaxed enough to laugh when something is funny and mature enough to respond appropriately when the situation calls for a different reaction.

He needs a father who models and encourages rest but who also teaches that the best rest comes after you have accomplished something.

He needs a father who will play catch with him, not in hopes that it will someday lead to the pros but rather as part of a strategic plan of developing him into a man of integrity.

She needs a father who will not turn a blind or permissive eye to her foolishness but who will wrap her in the fatherly arms of correction and forgiveness.

She needs a father who she can talk to about boys. She needs a father who will be her protector in a world full of predators. She needs a father who will be her standard as she considers the one man who is right for her.

He needs a father who will walk ahead of him, leaving solid footsteps of wisdom, faithfulness, risk and joy for him to follow.

Every kid needs a friend.

And every kid needs a father.

Good fathers will fight hard to see that the two are not confused.

10 Things You Can Absolutely Count On Happening This Year At Your Church’s VBS

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1. There will be a kid there who no one else knows. He will not be wearing a shirt and he will have a rat tail. His name will be Dakota and his mom will drop him off about 3 hours too early on the first day. You won’t see Dakota’s mom again until the end of the week. Maybe.

2. During music time, a bunch of kids will get into a fight over the one set of bongos in the box of instruments. Nobody wants to play the sandpaper. Nobody! And since when is sandpaper a musical instrument? I can sort of understand the triangle but sandpaper? Anyway, all of the kids with sandpaper and triangles will gang up to take the bongos away from that girl in the dress with ribbons in her hair who clearly does not deserve the bongos that were given to her. After all of the dust settles down, Dakota will have the bongos. And, somehow, everyone will be okay with that.

3. Each night’s snack will be some combination of juice, goldfish and those little cookies that you can wear like rings. It’s written in your church bylaws somewhere. Go check.

See. What’d I tell you?

Ours reads like this.

Article 2.2.3a: Dietary Matters

Whereas upon the receiving of refreshments during Vacation Bible School, all children shall be given goldfish, ring cookies and juice.

4. On the Sunday morning following Vacation Bible School, when all of the kids and workers wear their VBS T-Shirts with jeans, your pastor will be in on the action too. Sort of. He’ll skip the jeans and just wear his bright orange shirt that says Adventure Time With Jesus! with his suit. Nothing is more pastoral, and I mean nothing, than a VBS shirt worn over a dress shirt and tie combo with slacks and dress shoes.

5. Somewhere around 2:30 on Wednesday afternoon, you’ll begin to wonder if you have some previously undiscovered disease that makes you want to take a six hour nap right there on the bathroom floor. Don’t worry. You’re fine. What you have is simply a result of being around too many screaming kids. It’s not a disease. Yet. A new drug by the name of Stopscreamingyall is pending approval from the FDA. Look for the commercials during this year’s Super Bowl.

6. At the end of each night you’ll find yourself in that awkward position where only one kid (Dakota) is waiting for his ride to come. Should you wait with him? You waited last night. Shouldn’t someone else have to deal with this get the opportunity to minister to young Dakota? Sure enough, you’ll be the one waiting and having to find the right words to say to Dakota’s tardy mother.

Here’s what not to say: “Look lady, we end at 8. At night!! Not in the morning. I’m missing World Cup for this.”

Here’s a better option: “Hey, I just wanted to let you know that from now on we’re having our VBS at the Huddle House so you can just start dropping Dakota off there.”

I know how cruel and unmissional that sounds but it’s really best for all parties. The Huddle House could use the extra business and or help in the back and the rest of the kids at VBS would really like to play the bongos.

7. A lady will tell you how thankful she is for offering this for her grandchildren. She’ll say that she’s never heard of your church before. She’ll ask what time your Sunday morning services start. She’ll say that she’s looking forward to coming this Sunday. You won’t see her again until next year’s VBS.

8. Kids will run through the halls of your church. They will run like there’s no tomorrow. And they’ll do so while wearing hats. Or, in Dakota’s case, shirtless. One of the longtime members will see this and he will not be happy. At what he thinks to be just the right time he’ll stand up and say, “Hey! You boys quit running in here. This is God’s house.” He’ll then take another puff off his cigarette and sit back down in his pew.

9. On the first night, while all of the kids are getting their name tags, there will be a problem. There will be one kid who just sort of shows up without any adult supervision. You’ll ask him his name so that you can properly keep track of him.

“What’s your name little fellow?”

“Pooh Pooh.”

“I’m sorry?”

“For what?”

“No. What’s your name?”

“Pooh Pooh.”

“Uhh…”

You spend the rest of the week calling the child names like Buddy, Dude and Guy. Everyone else just sticks with his proper name.

Pooh Pooh.

10. By the end of the week you decide to make some changes. Like moving to a church with no one under the age of 75. Or taking up a new drug. Either way, you won’t be doing VBS again.

But you’ll be back.

And so will Pooh Pooh.

And Dakota.

But I’m not sure about Dakota’s mom.

A Better Test Of Your Southernicity

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Last weekend I took a test that was supposed to tell me if I was a real southerner. I passed with flying colors. But I still didn’t feel good about my accomplishment. Most of the questions had to do with Elvis and Gone With the Wind. There are people who live in Iceland who know an awful lot about Elvis and Gone With the Wind but that doesn’t make them true southerners. In an effort to keep people from developing a false sense of security regarding their southernicity, I developed a better test.

1. How would you respond to the following question. “Would you like to come over to my house this weekend? We’re having a barbecue.”

a.) “Splendid! I’ll bring the clam chowder.”

b.) “How exactly does one have a barbecue? I think I’ll pass, stay at my house and eat some barbecue.”

If you chose b, you are a true southerner.

2. Suppose that you are brewing some tea when you suddenly realize that there is no sugar in your house. Which of the following options seems most appropriate to you?

a.) No big deal. Besides, there’s probably a packet of Sweet’N Low somewhere around the house.

b.) You quickly run to Piggly Wiggly to buy a few 5 pound bags of sugar.

c.) You quickly run to Piggly Wiggly’s to buy a few 5 pound bags of sugar.

d.) No sugar in the house?! Not while I’m alive.

If you chose a, you are not a true southerner.

If you chose b, you are a true southerner.

If you chose c, you are a certified, genuine, real deal southerner.

If you chose d, you get to be the governor of the south for a week.

3. Someone asks you if you like country music. When you respond in the affirmative, they offer you four free tickets to see Luke Bryan and Rascal Flatts. How do you respond?

a.) “Splendid! I’ll bring the clam chowder.”

b.) You shake your head and walk away while mumbling something to yourself about Hank Williams never wearing skinny jeans and guy-liner.

Unless you are a girl under the age of 18 who for some reason has a passion for clam chowder, you are not a true southerner if you chose a.

4.) When is it appropriate for a man to remove his hat?

a.) Whenever it quits snowing.

b.) Indoors, during prayer, during the national anthem and during a meal.

c.) Indoors, during prayer, during the national anthem, during a meal and during the playing of Free Bird.

If you answered a, you are not a true southerner.

If you answered b, you are a true southern gentleman.

If you answered c and you play your cards right, you just might get a few votes in the next presidential election.

5.) Your kid comes home from school to tell you that he learned about King George. What do you say?

a.) “King George was a deeply misunderstood man. We need more like him.”

b.) “Amarillo by morning. Amarillo’s where I’ll be.”

If you answered a, you are likely employed by the NSA.

If you answered b, even if you got every other question wrong, you are a true southerner. So make yourself at home, enjoy a nice glass of sweet tea, some of King George’s music and our southern hospitality. Just don’t offer us any clam chowder or Rascal Flatts tickets or we’ll throw our hat at you.

Southern hospitality does have its limits.

Things To Remember When The Devil Won’t Leave You Alone

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First, it should be pointed out that there is a way to get the devil to leave you alone. You don’t have to get the 23rd Psalm tattooed on your forehead. You don’t have to memorize anything. You don’t have to rub chicken grease on your face and do a special dance. It’s much easier than that. All you have to do is nothing.

Never speak up to share a biblical worldview on a controversial topic.

Never move towards hurting people.

Never allow the gospel to do surgery on your own soul.

And most important of all, never share the gospel with someone in hopes of getting that someone to repent and believe in Jesus.

Stay away from those types of things and the devil is sure to leave you alone. Much like the way that you drive by the flattened skunk in the middle of the road, Satan will pass on by you, smiling with assurance that you are already dead.

The Christian life here on earth is not primarily focused on getting the devil to leave us alone. It’s about continuing on our mission in victory and obedience despite Satan’s attacks. If you care anything about loving Jesus to the point of actually doing what he says, you can count on Satan’s fiery darts coming your way. As they do, here are a few things for you to remember.

1. Remember God’s Power

In Matthew 4 Satan comes at Jesus pretty hard. For a while it’s a back and forth battle but then it all comes to an end with one short sentence. Jesus said, “Be gone, Satan.” Satan left immediately. The same voice that spoke those words is the same voice that spoke creation into existence (Colossians 1:16) and is the same voice that prays for you continually (Romans 8:34). That’s why Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:10 to be strong “in the Lord.” Not in ourselves. Not in our rituals. In the Lord.

Christian, your strength is found in the One who has already defeated your enemy. Fight like a winner.

2. Remember Your Victory

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Ephesians 6:13 (ESV)

You don’t have to keep getting knocked down by the same temptations and fears. They are guaranteed to come your way. But, in Christ, you will withstand the evil day. In Christ, you will stand firm.

Christian, your victory over your enemy has already been secured. Fight like a winner.

3. Remember God’s Truth

There’s a funny thing about truth. Nobody likes it until it confirms what they already like to believe. Real truth doesn’t work that way. In reality, Jesus is the standard by which all other supposed truths are measured. He is not a way, a truth and a life. He is the truth (John 14:6).

Christian, as you stare down the lies of your enemy, remember that Truth is on your side. Fight like a winner.

4. Remember Who You Are

The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe. Proverbs 18:10 (ESV)

I’m glad that Paul did not say to put on the breastplate of self-righteousness. In Ephesians 6:14 he just calls it the breastplate of righteousness. Ultimately, it’s not your righteousness that will deflect the fiery darts of your enemy. Only Christ’s righteousness can do that. And he has given his righteousness to you (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Christian, Jesus has given you his indestructible armor to stand against your enemy. Fight like a winner.

5. Remember The Message

People think that spiritual warfare is burning Ozzy records and invisible angels doing karate moves on each other. In reality, the peak of spiritual warfare is when Christians share the gospel. Satan is blinding the eyes of unbelievers to keep them from seeing the truth of the gospel and his blinders are not easily removed. There will be a fight. But that fight will not be won through our weakening of the message. Too many Christians and churches have settled for offering cups of water to drowning men in an effort to be relevant. The greatest need of blinded men is the gospel of peace as seen in Jesus Christ, the light of the world.

Christian, the message you have been given, as unpopular as it may be, is a very important one that cannot be changed to appease the crowds. Fight like a winner.

6. Remember Your Weapon

Paul calls it the “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17). It’s the only offensive weapon in his famous list of spiritual body armor. Just as you would never consider going to war without a weapon or with one that you are not familiar with, you are insane to enter into each day’s war without hearing from God through his word or simply by relying on something you read when you were a kid.

Christian, God has given you a weapon and he wants you to use it. Fight like a winner.

7. Remember Your Connection

The greatest measure of our arrogance is our prayer life. Prayer is another way of saying, “I can’t do this. God, will you help me?” A lack of prayer is another way of saying, “I’ve got this one, God. I’ll let you know when I need your help.” A lack of prayer is also a fantastic way of drawing a giant bullseye on your heart and mind, showing the enemy exactly where and when to attack.

Christian, maintain frequent, sincere communication with the One who has secured your victory. Fight like a winner.

8. Remember Others

You’re not the only Christian being attacked by the enemy. Your brothers and sisters on the front lines in schools, pulpits, foreign lands and office buildings are facing it too. And they need your prayers. Pray for your pastor. Don’t just support missionaries with your money. Pray for them too. It doesn’t matter how strong you are in the faith, if you are on the front lines there will be the temptation to abandon your message. Paul asked for prayer that he would not do this. If he felt the need for such help from his brothers and sisters, we can be sure that we need it too.

Christian, Satan’s offensive is a large one so pray for your brothers and sisters as they pray for you.

Fight like a winner.

Together.

Should That Dad With The Baseball Bat Have Been Charged With A Hate Crime?

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Last week a man beat another man with a baseball bat. The man who did the beating is the father of a 15-year-old girl. The man who received the beating is the 42-year-old teacher of that young girl. If you’re not familiar with the story, you can probably guess why the beating took place.

The adult teacher was having an inappropriate relationship with the young girl.

When he came to the girl’s house to try to smooth things over with the child’s father, things went south. Well, at least for the teacher.

No charges have been filed against the father and most people seem to be of the mindset that they would have done the same thing if they were in that dad’s shoes.

But if we are to be consistent in our current progressive views on love, sex and relationships, we should be outraged. The father of that young girl should be charged with a hate crime.

Who was he to stand in the way of two consenting individuals who are in love? As long as the love is there and both parties are willing, why should anything else matter? Who’s getting hurt here? Where’s the crime?

That’s how the current fascination with gay marriage was sold to us, remember? It’s how Michelle Obama and others presented their argument to us. Love is all that matters. No one is allowed to judge if it’s called love.

But, as is usually the case with progressives, the natural outcomes were never considered. They scream and shout for higher minimum wages but wonder why all of the businesses are leaving town. They demand free healthcare but fail to consider that, in economics at least, nothing is free. Everyone pays something. So a lot of people are left with no job but all the birth control they can get their hands on.

The same is true for so-called marriage equality. Progressives like to call those in support of traditional marriage bigots, hypocrites and religious extremists. But they fail to see their own bigoted hypocrisy. If love and marriage is just a matter of how one person feels about another, with no fixed standards, why is there a problem with a 42-year-old man carrying on a relationship with a 15-year-old girl? Who are we to stop a 45-year-old woman from marrying a 13-year-old boy? Why should it matter to us if she wants to marry two or three teenage boys at the same time?

Love is all that matters, right?

Who are we to judge?

Marriage equality for all!

I should stop now before I give the progressives anymore ideas. But you get the point. With our current downward trends regarding sex and marriage, today’s child predators are tomorrow’s freedom fighters.

The truth is that standards do matter. To some degree, most everyone believes that. The problem is that those standards can’t be based on current fads or trends, as they tend to be today. The term traditional marriage leaves one with the impression that marriage was invented at the 1960 Republican National Convention. It wasn’t. It was designed by God at the beginning of time (Genesis 2:18-25). We would be wise to follow his instructions for what he designed.

The dad with the baseball bat did the right thing. It’s what any loving father would do. Most of us agree with that. For now. But, as we move further and further away from God’s fixed standards of marriage and replace them with our emotion based fads, something frightening is happening.

We aren’t just redefining marriage.

We’re redefining love.

And in a society where truth is based merely on the feelings of the moment, love is a scary thing.