Where It’s Safe….

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A Popular Progressive Insurance commercial has a set the bar of humor with its character Flo, and her portrait of their company. By watching her, one understand the company to be one that thinks ahead, uses creativity, offers the best price possible, is not bogged by traditional rules, and protects is customers. The current add, “I’ll Stand By You”, features an amazingly off key performance by both Flo and a separate salesman, which displays the companies commitment to the customer and the extreme levels they will go to provide the insurance and the security one needs to sign with their company and trust their products. Truly, I love this commercial! It brings a smile each time. maxresdefault

Today, while changing the fuse in the dryer, my 5 year old daughter came into the laundry room and looked over my shoulder. “Stay back” I exclaimed. “It’s dangerous in here, and I don’t want you to get hurt!” She replied, “I know its dangerous dad. That’s why I stayed behind you where it was safe.”

I continued working on the dryer. Smiling first because she had no idea that I was scared and working on a complex machine after watching several youtube videos, but inspired as I worked, thinking, what if we took this approach towards our Heavenly Father?

In her few words was displayed the complete the trust and faith that she has in me. There was no doubt in her mind that she would be safe as long as she was positioned behind the one that could protect her. I focused in on my walk with the Lord, and life her as we travel. There are moments where it seems the pace of the Lord is too slow for my own liking. It has been tempting to break rank, and run ahead towards the goal.

Oddly, God gives us a vision of our future, and then helps us journey towards what He has revealed to us. I wish If I could put into words the frustration of seeing the flag on the hill! Seeing the flag gives us a point of reference, and often makes us desire to take a straight line towards the prize. Our desire to conquer and to obtain what God has for us, has a tendency to take us off the path God has designed to get us there. God’s path rarely seems to be a straight line. It is more like an obstacle course that takes us around and through many challenges, in an effort to build and train us not just to obtain the flag, but to take the flag, and have the strength and character to be able to conquer more land and plant that same flag in new territories!

In many cases, we can obtain the flag without following Him, thus we have to be leery of those things that come to easy or without struggle. God is a God that develops, and takes us through processes that help us understand the territory being conquered and not just feeling the joy of holding the flag in our hand. God knows that the flag we see, is just the first of many. Thus getting out of line, might avail us to obtain the flag we see, but disqualify us from obtaining the flags we don’t see.

This just in: He is loyal! He is Faithful! He will do just what He said! If you let Him. If you stay with Him. If you maintain stride with Him. If you allow Him to complete you. If you allow Him to prepare you! All things are truly possible.

In conclusion, standing behind the Lord is not a long distance and neighbor is standing behind us as parents. Standing behind is much like my 5 year old. She was literally looking over my shoulder. We must stick close to God.  We must be peering over His shoulder watching what is being done, and being obedient to what the command is to do! This will being glory and honor to the Lord! Let us live our lives behind, but in stride with God. Feeling the full trust and protection He provides, as we keep stride with Him.

Contributions from an 8 Year Old….(Camp Exalted)

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This week, a unique experience at Camp Exalted was had.  Many lessons were learned both from the study, the teaching of the Word and the Applying of His message to everyday life.

What a wonderful morning it was.  Blessed by two outstanding messages form the 7th & 8th Grade deans, I returned to my room to find it cool to the skin, and the bed made well.  Impressed that the camp had turn down service to the rooms, I felt extra blessed! CampExalted

The next day, the same routine.  Blessed to find the excellent service of the team from Camp Copass.  Time for a quick shower, opening to door only to have my smile dashed by the site of this mornings towels.  I found it hard to hard to believe that the team did such a marvelous job on the beds and living facility, and neglected the bathroom.  On top of that, the trash cans weren’t empty.  I just couldn’t understand why they would do only half of the job.  Though I had the mind to file a complaint, I thought just to be thankful for the portion being done.

campcopassI pressed on Wednesday to lunch, only to find myself in conversation with my roommate, whose 8 year old daughter was brought to camp each day by a family member, which said, “you know my daughter has been making our beds each day?”  She sat eating with us.  I thanked her for making the bed. Her response, “You’re welcome; I like making beds!”

Completing lunch, Rev. Cotton offered to take the trays up from our meal.  An Elder, we all insisted that we take his tray to display our respect for his contributions to the Kingdom, only to be denied.  He spoke, “I used to work these camps.  I know how much work goes into teaching, preaching and counseling at these camps.  The least I can do is take your trays.  Let me serve.  Yall get back to work!”

The next morning, I stood next to the bed, and began to make up the bed.  I was impressed, but didn’t want an 8 year old cleaning up after me.  Surely, I should remove this task from her hands so that she can enjoy moments as a kiddo.  As I finished making the bed, I began to think about Rev. Cotton.  He was adamant about adding to the camp and making our jobs easier.  he just wanted to contribute in any way he could.  What if this young lady felt the same way?  Maybe the way I could say show my appreciation was by saying thanks, and not by denying her the opportunity to show and perfect her skills?

I unmade the bed, and left the room, returned before lunch to find the beds made again.  It was more impressive knowing that her hands had made the bed.  I stood there in amazement, thinking, her skills were so impressive, that I assumed that housekeeping had been there.  Though it was my responsibility, she was selfless, and willing to make right, what I had left wrong, not just once, but everyday.

I thought about our Lord, who often works behind the scenes.  His hands make right things that we have left undone.  He serves us and shows His love for us when we are undeserving.  He aides us in our journey, often doing things to bring us assurance and happiness, even when we haven’t requested us.  He does it not for the thanks or recognition, but just to display His love for us!  Thus the very least we can do is say thanks.

Yet foolishly, many of us would focus on the trash can and the towels.  And as opposed to praising Him and giving thanks, would have a mouth filled with complaints, when the conviction of leaving a task undone should not only cause us to give thanks, but should compel us to wash the towels and take out the trash.

Furthermore, we must learn to not only appreciate the gifts of others, but must afford others the opportunity to serve in whatever capacity they can contribute.  In service, we learn much about ourselves, others and God.  There are also moments that we need to create opportunities for people to serve.  The thought of leaving something undone bothers us all, but the knowledge that someone could use this experience to grow must give us all comfort.  Truly, the Lord and displays this by putting our hands to the plow.  Though it would be nothing for God to appear to the World individually to share the Gospel, He allows us to have the honor of baring witness to others, and keeps our hands busy to the plow making and developing disciples.

I am grateful for the efforts of this amazing young lady.  The future of the church is bright.  I includes amazing young people like her, who desire to serve, have a grateful heart, are willing to serve, and look forward to their contribution impacting the entire world!

Broken Families & Broken People……Camp Exalted 2014

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As the landscape of the family structure is being re-written, those teaching and preaching are being forced to address new issues and a new presented reality from the people we are called too.  The present age has altered job descriptions redefined roles, as well as ones understanning of the word in the process.  Our churches will be challenged to be relevant without accepting the present reality.Man In Prayer Christian Stock Photo

As not to address the numerouse family dynamics, the sin and or the breach or break of covenant, we will address the common confusions that is making these wrongs become right.

Un-Unified Teams
Parents and families are supposed to present and be consistent as a unified team.  With the divorce rate increasing, unequally yoked unions, and the number of children born in non-covenant families has placed our children in the middle of war zones and unfriendly tug-o-wars.  Our children face are in a neutral zone, forced to survive through the posturing and fighting of two individuals and or families, that have not been able to agree upon a set group of values and rules.

Inconsistent Rules/Competing Authorities
These Un-Unified Teams leave our children uncovered, believing that there are a variety of rules that are correct as opposed to one way that is right by the Lord.  Competing rules leave children confused, wavering and constantly questioning right; believing that right is a matter of perspective, need and place, which causes children to believe that their desires are synonymous with what is right.   This can cause them to appear aggressive and rebellious; where as, they are simply doing what they believe to be right as the captain of their fate.

Un-harmonious Confrontations

Lastly, Inconsistent Rules/Competing Authorities leave out children to take notes from un-harmonious confrontations. These confrontations teach and rehears for our children a way of addressing authority figures and peers, while feeling justified in and after the encounter because of the belief that now is right.  Not having proper rules, regulations and examples of how to disagree, leaves our kids mimicking improper behavior, forging a character that is built on brokenness; leaving to unhappiness.

Thus the new battle ground.  A battle ground that is no longer stationary, but one that continues to shift according to person that stands before you.  Our families are changing, and our values have weakened, leaving our approach antiquated, and our purpose renewed and in need of an upgrade.

Highly Distractable…Camp Exalted 2014

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Camp Exalted each year helps us rediscover God, re-encounter worship, and reconnect the generations.  A week away from the distractions help refocus each attendant as well as quiets the world so that His voice can be heard.

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Family Group at Camp Exalted

While teaching the 8th grade class, A young lady found it difficult to read the physical Bible, complaining about the font size. She was given a cell phone with a Bible Application and suddenly she read smoothly.  When comparing the fonts, they were almost identical in size however were different style of fonts. It became apparent that her familiarity and comfort with the phone as a medium was better than her comfort with the physical book.

Our discussion continued later, highlighting how much we access through our phones.  Currently, many of our children get even have their homework and text books either downloaded or bookmarked/linked, research materials, communication and even our Bibles are on our phones.

Concern grew later when kids were questioned.  Most kids acknowledged that their phones and tablets are a large gateway to sin.  Much of the temptation,  struggles and strongholds make themselves available by reaching out to them in daily life.  It is safe to say that the phones are a modern day thorn in the flesh that accompany our kids and torment them along the way.  Though valuable, they give direct access to knowledge that is beyond their maturity and present temptation that they are not strong enough to resist.

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Worship at Camp Exalted 2014

While our children seek to do right, evil is always present with them.  While reading and spending quiet time with the Lord, they are forced to ignore calls, texts, post, updates, tweets and ect, all of which aren’t evil in nature, but keep our children from completing the task at hand.  They are asked to spend quiet time with God a must a million conversations and thousands of life events.  As an adult, the distraction of the phone has pushed and mandated that all efforts be returned to a physical apllication.

Though phones have become a neccessay put of our exixtence, we must protect our children by monitoring this medium and police this gateway that has the ability to undermine our teaching.  We must remain aware that the adversary is constantly looking for ways to corrupt our children.  He desires to steal kill and destroy.  He wants to take the innocence away so that they will stop dining on the instructions given from our parental mantle that comes from our Lord.

Our families are under attack and we must close the Trojan horse that enters our children’s room at night leading them further into sin.   Ephesians 6:11-12; John 10:10

The Hunger Pains…of Mismanagement

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Inspiration:
(4 year old couldn’t find shoes)
4 Year Old: Daddy, where are my shoes?
My reply: I’m responsible for you, not your shoes! You have keep up with what I give you.

As I got into the car, I thought the shoes to be out finances/resources myself to be God and my child to be us.

I began to wonder how many times we have mismanaged, misplaced, squandered, given away, torn can’t find the match to what God has provided to cover is not just for that day but for weeks to come.

In truth, like children, we often find ourselves with our hands and heads up with put voices raised asking God “Where are my shoe?” We grow frustrated looking for them and other times don’t bother to search because we know our careless ways towards his provisions will render search unfruitful or laborious.

Are you careful cursing your resources? Some of us take care of them, but have them spread so thin that when its time to place them together, or departure is delayed. Are your working a plan and structuring your resources? Are they stored in a safe place? Are they being monitored? Have your restricted access to your resources? Where are your shoes?20140307-164806.jpg

I hear God saying to us, I have supplied all of your needs according toy riches in glory, but you are always short and in a tight because you are spending August provisions in May because you didn’t manage well in February.

We must get a handle I. Our resources. Though God had a cattle on a thousand hills, his process of the. Release of said resources are His and His alone. Though there are times when the rain s at our cry, there will be days where out voices are parched. Manage your resources tonnage the crying that your days of praise for what has been provided will not out number the cries from the days of your created lack from your poor management.