John Wayne and Jesus

As a kid you want to be tough.  When I was a kid there was no tougher man than John Wayne.   I was born in 1981 so John Wayne’s movies were before my time but I liked what my dad liked so that meant before I was a teenager I had watched every John Wayne movie multiple times.

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JohnWayne could take on 100 Indians and win.

John Wayne could out shoot every bad guy that ever lived in the west.

John Wayne could give any beautiful woman a kiss at anytime and she would always like it even if she didn’t want it.

John Wayne could be shot multiple times and still find the strength, through sheer courage and determination to whip whatever bad guy was in front of him.

John Wayne could make a man a child by the mere force of his words.

John Wayne could have a man cowering down to him with a simple stare.

John Wayne taught Chuck Norris what it meant to be a bad dude.

When I was a kid John was the epitome of what it meant to be a man.   As I have grown I understand that there is a much greater example of manhood than John Wayne and His name is Jesus.

John Wayne (The Duke) communicated a few things to me as a child.  MEN ARE TOUGH.  Men are not afraid to fight.   Men stand up against what is wrong.  Men fight for what is right.

Jesus teaches us many of these same truths but gives a more complete picture of what manhood should look like.

The Duke was always tough but rarely tender.

Jesus was tougher than any man, even to the point of death on the cross but was so tender little children wanted to sit on His lap.

The Duke was always in charge and rarely took advice from anyone.

Jesus had all authority yet submitted Himself to the will of God the Father.

The Duke knew what he wanted and would beat up or shoot any man that got in his way.

Jesus knew what He had to accomplish and would love and lay down His life for the sins of the world.

The Duke never served anyone.

Jesus came to serve and not to be served.

The Duke rode a brown horse.

Jesus will ride a white horse.

Being a man is more than being tough and being able to take charge.   Being a man is about being a humble leader who takes responsibility to love and serve.  I want to be more like Jesus than John.

This YOUTUBE video makes me think that maybe John Wayne was a compassionate man in his real life.

The Wonder Of It All

Psalm 40:5 Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders which You have done, And Your thoughts toward us; There is none to compare with You.   If I would declare and speak of them, They would be too numerous to count.

I love doing things with my children.  Usually it is hard for me to get the energy to do what I need to do as a dad, but when I do what I should I never regret it.   I often regret moments of selfishness when I do not spend the time I need with my little ones.   At the time of this writing my twin girls are age three.  For their third birthday we bought them little princess bicycles with streamers and training wheels.  They were so excited to get their bikes and wanted to ride them right away.  They often rode tricycles at their grandparent’s house so I thought the transition would be a breeze…I was wrong.  I have taken them out many times to teach them to ride.  Each time we tried we would all end up frustrated and crying.   They were fearful and could not figure out the braking process.   As soon as they would slowly inch forward they would cry out, “Daddy!  Daddy!”  Each time I took them out to try to ride they would discover something new.   They would inch a little further.  Yesterday we went for a ride and they took off like never before.  This bike riding adventure gives a clear illustration of the bigger picture in parenting.  We inch them along day by day and then one day (tears) they no longer need us to hold them up.  This is the goal and blessing of parenting.  I try to keep in my mind each day that these few brief years I have small children cannot be wasted.  Soon they will ride away and start their own families.

We have many responsibilities to our children but we do not go unpaid.  Each day, if we make ourselves available and aware, our children provide for us priceless treasures in themselves.  They laugh, smile, hug, love, learn, and shine with the wonder of life that we as parents often forget.  We get bogged down with stress, bills, deadlines and responsibilities.  Children are our treasures that ground us to the joy and wonder of life.   Don’t miss the treasures that they are offering you today.

6 FATHERING TRIPWIRES

A tripwire is a passive triggering mechanism. Typically, a wire or cord is attached to some device for detecting or reacting to physical movement.  Tripwires are frequently used in boobytraps, whereby a tug on the wire (or release of tension on it) will detonate the explosives.

Tripwires are almost invisible and usually when a soldier has discovered the wire it’s too late.   These tripwires have killed thousands in battle over the years.   I believe there are many tripwires that can be explosive in the home.   It is important for dads to recognize these tripwires in their own lives before it is too late and they do permanent damage to their children and wives.  It seems that so many people are damaged for life because of some wound their dad has inflicted upon their heart.  Daddy wounds can take a lifetime to heal and sometimes never do.   Here are 6 tripwires I believe all dad’s need to be careful not to cross

 

THE WORK WIRE – All me were made to work and a lazy man is really no man at all.   If we are honest something happens when we get a family.  We deeply love our children and our wife but coming home feels like a lot like work.  It is work.  The work of being a father and a husband is often more emotionally taxing than our actual job.   In order to avoid the stress of dealing with problems at home many men simply work longer hours and use work as their excuse not to come home.  Anyone who says that a stay at home mom does not work is crazy.  I know if I were a stay at home mom there would be many days I would be glad to deal the corporate workplace instead of whining, potty training, and 1000’s of “I’m Hungry’s” and “She won’t share’s.”  When you are tempted to work late remember that your time at home is short and your kid’s and wife desperately need you.  You may bring home a paycheck, but it is even more important that your bring yourself home to serve your family.

 

THE CHECKOUT WIRE – I have heard so many ridiculous excuses.  “I just don’t love the children’s mother any more.”  “Doesn’t God want me to be happy?”  “They are probably better off without me.”   Men use these and other reasons to check out on their families.  Real men stay.  They make it work.   They don’t abandon their children while pacifying their conscience with a monthly check.  Go to counseling.   Learn to forgive.  Get in a small group at a church where you can get support. But for heaven sake DON’T QUIT!

 

THE HOBBY WIRE – Fishing, hunting, golf, exercise and any other hobby that you may love are wonderful ways to enjoy life and relieve stress.   Be careful not to do them in excess.  If you are going to have hobbies make sure they are things you can do with your children.   Remember you will have time for hobbies when your children are gone.

 

THE VICARIOUS LIVING WIRE – If you are a dad you believe your children are special (If you don’t you should).   You believe your son is particularly gifted at sports and your daughter is the best dancer and pianist in the bunch.   I am glad you believe in your child.   You should offer them healthy support and encourage them to do and be their best.   But be careful not to push them to try to be something you want more than they do.  Don’t be the dad that curses the umpire out at the game.  Don’t be the dad that has a talk with or pay the little league coach to get your kid in the game.  Don’t be the dad that pushes your child to excel so much in their particular field that they no longer enjoy the joy of childhood.   Don’t try to make them the athlete, student, musician, or popular kid that you never were.  Let them be who God made them to be and love them for who they are, whether they make it to the big leagues or not.

 

THE GROUCH WIRE – Maybe you are with them but you don’t have fun with them.   You are so focused on them being perfect that you never take the time to laugh with them, tickle them, and play with them.   Leave work at work.   Turn of the TV and get off your phone.  Don’t take your stress out on your children.  I think we are all guilty of this one from time to time.

 

THE PORNOGRAPHY WIRE – This is one that is blowing up families everywhere.  Whether you are the good dad with the secret habit or the man who doesn’t try to hide this issue.  More families than ever are severely effected by the viral plague of pornography.   Pornography turns people into objects.   It turns your mind into an insatiable lust machine.   It makes your wife feel unloved and insufficient.  One result that may be most harmful is how it disturbs your children.  Your son’s will likely take on your dirty habit and not be able to see women as the treasure that God made them.  They will view young ladies as a object of their desire.   Pornography makes you awkward around your little daughter especially if her body is changing.  You cannot have your teenage daughter’s friend’s over without lusting after them and you cannot show affection towards your daughter as you should.   You become awkward hugging her and giving her the innocent affection that she needs and craves from her father.   If you can’t give it to her then she will find male attention somewhere.  She will probably find some hormone crazed teenage boy who will be glad to give her attention in all the wrong ways.  Your addiction could blow up her security for the rest of her life. trip-wire

HE NEVER TAUGHT ME TO TWERK – 6 LESSONS FROM MY DAD

Proverbs 4:1 Hear, O sons, the instruction of a father, And give attention that you may gain understanding

            There are so many horrible examples of fatherhood today.  The Lord graciously blessed me with a God honoring dad.  Maybe you didn’t have a great dad, through this blog I want to share my dad with you.   You can learn from him as I have.

The past few days my parent’s have been visiting with us in celebration of my son’s 6th birthday.  It has been such a blessing to spend some time with mom and dad.   As I am often reflecting on fatherhood I wanted to share a few truths that my dad’s life has taught and continues to teach me.

LOVE YOUR WIFE – My dad is not a typical romantic, in fact from a Hollywood prospective he is actually pretty terrible at romance.  However, my dad deeply loves my mother, she knows it and so does every one else.   Recently my mother has been through a physical ordeal with a botched surgery that almost killed her.   After over a month in the hospital she was able to go home.   Dad has been her nurse.  He has had to dress her wounds and help her in every way.   My mother also has many problems with her back and is not able to sleep on a flat mattress any longer.  She sleeps in a recliner.   I was talking to mom this weekend and we were discussing options for her to get a mattress that she may be able to sleep on.   I made the comment to her that I am sure dad misses having her warmth near him at night since they sleep in different rooms because of her back.   To that she said to me, “Oh, he doesn’t sleep in a different room.  Ever since I have come home from the hospital he sleeps beside me on the couch to make sure I am ok.”   Wow!  That is romance.  What a great lesson on teaching me how to love my wife.  I hope I can be like that one day.

SERVE YOUR FAMILY WHEN YOU DON’T FEEL LIKE IT – Being a dad is hard work.  Sometimes being a dad is no fun at all.  It means you park the car and run through the rain while you let everyone else off at the entrance.  It means you give up your jacket when someone in the family is cold.   It means you cut up your children’s food before you eat your own.   I have witnessed my dad selflessly give of himself and I can’t remember him ever complaining about it.   I can remember late one night when I as 18 or 19 and I acquired a flat tire.   I looked underneath my truck and I had no light and no way of changing the tire.   Who did I call?   Dad!   He’d been in bed for hours.  He came and helped me change my tire.  He smiled and told me he was sorry I had a flat.   He never complained.  I hope I can be like that one day.

BE INVOLVED – He watched “He-Man” with me, coached my little league teams (to multiple championships), took me camping, and took me to help him in the garden.   He took me fishing.   He took me to church.  He never missed a high school football or soccer game that I played in.   He even came and watched practice.   He was always the loudest one.   He had a nickname for me.   He called me “Tank.”  I can remember on cold nights in Florida during soccer season the crowd would be a dismal 20 people bundled up in blankets quietly cheering us on.   In the quite crowd I heard the loud voice of my dad, “KICK IT TANK!  GET EM TANK!   SCORE TANK!”  To be real honest it embarrassed me at the time.  Now with deep affection it brings tears to my eyes as I think about his voice.  Even today as a write this his support continues.  My dad and mom were supposed to leave on Monday morning of this week but they stayed another day because I am preaching a revival.   They stayed an extra day to hear me preach, to encourage me, to lift me up.   I hope I can be like that one day.

MODEL FAITH – I can remember many mornings waking up to find my dad on his knees praying (probably for my brothers and I) and reading his Bible.   Each week he calls me and prays with me over the phone.   He serves his church.   I don’t think he has ever met someone he didn’t like.  He seems to really think of others as more important than himself.   I hope I can be like that one day.

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LAUGH A LOT – My dad told me when he was growing up his nickname was  “Sunshine.”   I’m guessing it’s because he’s always laughing and smiling.   My dad has a high-pitched laugh that we heard often in our home growing up.   He is a fun guy that little kids are drawn too.  My friends always loved my dad when I was a kid because he always took an interest in them.  We never had “inside” dogs growing up.  One way my dad thought would be an effective way to wake my brothers and I up was to throw a Dachshund on us in the morning and allow them to lick us awake…not pleasant, but he thought it was funny.   I hope I can be like that one day.

BE MORE – I never had the chance to meet my grandfather.  Apparently he was a brilliant man.  I never got to meet him because he was an alcoholic.  He had so many gifts but alcohol would rob my dad of the father he needed.  It would have been easy and natural for my dad and his brothers to go down the same path.  Alcoholic’s children often suffer the same fate as their parents.   The Grace of God, a loving mother, the prayers of a Godly wife, and a desire in my dad to be the dad he never had made him different.  I have never seen him drunk.  He has never abused me in a fit of rage.  He chose to be different.  He chose to be more!   I know his prayer for me is not that I become him but that I become all that God wants me to be.  My prayer for my son is not that he walks in my path but that he takes the next step as a follower of Christ and lover of people.     I hope I can be like that one day…

These are some things I am learning from my dad.   My mom is even better J I will write about her soon.   What are some things you have learned (good or bad) from your dad?

 

The Blessings of the Church

Charles Spurgeon called the church the dearest place on earth.

The book of Revelation refers to the church as the bride of Christ.

The church is the body of gathered believers in Jesus Christ that come together on mission to pray, fellowship, learn, worship and tell the rest of the world of the blessed hope.

Many complain about the church. Many claim Christ but not His church. They are missing out on so much.

I have been an official part of the Church since my salvation at age 16 but I was a part of the blessings of the church long before that. I grew up in the community of faith. I did not grow up in a perfect church but it was a dear place. It was a place that people loved me, tolerated me, and tried to tell me about the love of Jesus. Each week volunteers would put up with my smart attitude, my biting sarcasm and my rebellious spirit. They would put up with me because they knew my only hope would be found in Christ and that is what they were offering me.

Finally at age 16 Jesus arrested my soul. He radically changed my life and called me to invest in others. I cannot overstate the blessings (physical, spiritual, and emotional) I have experienced through the people of God as a part of His Church.

Here are a Few:

I have been taught the word of God by dozens of unpaid teachers.
I have been loved when I was unlovable.
My best friends have come from within the church.
My wife came from church affiliation.
When I felt a call to go on a mission trip to a foreign country at age 19 and could not pay for it, a dear older brother would finance the trip in its entirety for me. This trip would change my life and solidify my calling.
For the last 13 years the people of the church have paid my salary.
When each of my children was born the people of the church bought thousands of dollars worth of diapers, clothes and other baby supplies.
Casseroles came after the babies because of the church!
When someone close to me died it was a church member that called or visited to lift me up in prayer.
I have grown closer to Christ as a result of learning from others in the church.
I have dear brothers and sisters in India, Argentina, Canada, Haiti, Honduras and many other places in the world that I share a common bond with through our faith in Christ.
I have been able to use my gifts through the church.
Now I am beginning to see the next generation that I have had the opportunity to invest in become serving members of the church. This may be the greatest blessing.

I have laughed, cried, prayed, preached, loved, sacrificed, and been eternally blessed through the Bride of Christ.

Thank You JESUS for your Church.

How has the church been a blessing to you?

A SKIN PROBLEM OR SIN PROBLEM?

The other day I was returning from lunch with a co-worker and walking back to work in the downtown area of the small, southern town in Rural Georgia in which I live. As we were walking there was an older gentleman walking in front of us that stopped us and said as he pointed at a young black man driving a Mercedes on the downtown street, “I imagine he probably got that selling drugs.” It shocked me that this man had such extreme prejudice in his heart for a young man that he did not know nor did he know anything about. He felt the need to stop two strangers on the street in order to tell us that he believed that the young man in the car got the car through criminal activity. He was young and black, so therefore, he had to be a drug dealer.
As I walked to the office and drove home later in the day this incident really bothered me. It reminded me that racism is still alive and well.
Just a few days earlier I was in a meeting and an older white man commented about two young black men that have been attending the church. The way this man said what he said made me almost gasp. He said, “Who are these two boys that have been coming to church with their pants down past their butt? Who are they?” These two young men are fine young men that are growing in the Lord, but this was not the focus of the question. The man seemed to show not concern for the spiritual well being of these young men, but contempt for their race and culture.
It breaks my heart that people don’t see others as the valuable special creation of God. He specially designed each one of us and He deeply loves and desires relationship with every person. It breaks my heart even more that this attitude is present within the body of Christ.
If you are reading this and thinking how terrible white people are, please dismount from your high horse. All races are racist. It is not a skin problem but a heart problem. My heart broke when a 17 year old young man was not cold in the ground before race baiters were making it an issue of black and white and drumming up hatred of the worst kind.
I love Jesus and thank God that red and yellow, black and white, they are all precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children, young adults, median adults, and old people of the world. He died and shed his blood so that those who would surrender, in faith to Him could have a relationship with Him, be forgiven of their sins, and have eternal life.
I have prejudice in my heart, and so do you. The question is not, “Are we racists, classists, or sexists?” The question we should ask ourselves is, “HOW am I a racist, classist, or sexist?” As God exposes that wickedness or our hearts we must, in humble repentance, submit ourselves to God and ask Him to cleanse our wicked hearts and help us see people as He sees them.