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So it’s 3:11am and I just got a chance to lay down on a couch that would comfortably fit a full grown three year old laying down or two very small lap dogs. My back hurts. My foot is swollen and bruised from an epic basketball fail two days ago. My body has taken in too much caffeine just to make it to this point and I’m pretty sure I’m sputtering out. There is a good chance that when I finally drift off to sleep they may just leave me here until it’s go time on Sunday morning. I’ve never preached with bed head but I’m not above it. 

I could talk about all the things that come standard with 143 kids in an enclosed room for 6+ active hours:

1. Kids sweat a lot

2. Getting three kids to eat a meal in a relatively formal fashion is rare so you can only imagine what 143 looks like. 

3. Kids have way more energy than I can remember having. 

4. From a Dad who has two daughters – a wall of seperation for nap time that includes threats, chairs, humans, and everything else you can think of…….is a must. 

Something I learned that seems to be atypical today is: 

1. When the gospel is taught in church it creates a church culture of adults who are willing to stay up way past their bedtimes, participate in foolish games, cheer til they have no voice, smell stinky feet, and get moved out of their comfort zone because they realize that it is more about serving others instead of serving themselves. 

2. The future of the Church looks bright. 

3. An event that statistically looks like it will fail can be a huge success because God’s love encourages us to work together and rely on him. 

4. I couldn’t be more proud of FFWC and the 30+ volunteers who made it happen tonight…….or last night……or whatever it’s 3 in the morning and you know what I mean. 

Signing off from the worlds tiniest couch with the most full and happy heart! 

#teamJesus

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Is Chivalry Biblical?

December 17, 2014 — Leave a comment

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In a generation of fatherless children chivalry seems to be growing extinct. One of the responsibilities of men who follow Christ is to teach the next generation of boys how to become men. According to fatherhoodfactor.com up to 43% of kids today live in fatherless homes, and this is just one alarming statistic they have found. Becoming the right father is what God desires from us.

As part of being a father it is our responsibility to teach our sons how to treat women and to teach our daughters how they should expect to be treated. Jesus gave the ultimate example of chivalry by giving his life for his bride (the church). From this one simple act Jesus teaches us that the act of being chivalrous comes from putting others before yourself.

Here are a few examples of how to teach your kids to be chivalrous.
1. You are the example your kids learn from the most. If you aren’t showing chivalry then they won’t either.
2. Teach them by example how to say “sir” and “ma’am”.
3. Teach your boys to open doors for women, carry their bags, pull out their seat for them, and give up their seat if there isn’t one for a lady.

These are just a few ways to teach someone how to be chivalrous. This is a trait that brings honor to God so it should be important to us. Make a decision today to take time with your children to teach them how to be chivalrous.

2 Things about Jesus

December 11, 2014 — Leave a comment

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. (‭Luke‬ ‭2‬:‭10‬ ESV)image

I love the fact that this scripture is the beginning of some shepherds relationships to Jesus. Talk about an introduction! A couple things that interest me about how the birth of Christ unfolds:

First, I love that Jesus chose to share one of the greatest moments in history with shepherds. Shepherds were the bottom of the working class and Jesus chose to share this moment with them! It’s like God was saying, “There is no “classes” of people when it comes to me. I want to spend time with people no matter who they are or how society classifies them.”

Secondly, I love that the joy associated with this new relationship eliminated fear! If you know Jesus you don’t have to fear! That’s great news! Live like it!

Often times our daily variables lead us to neglect how great God really is. Now, no one wants to admit this because who wants to neglect the creator right?!?! Let me be the voice of truth here. We all do it! Sometimes our busyness doesn’t allow us enough time to reflect on the one who hung the stars and knows them by name. Sometimes it’s a process that takes away from seeing his greatness. It’s easy to get into the habit of reading the bible just to read and fail to meditate on what it says. Sometimes our variables come in the form of ruined plans. These plans were created by us and we believe them to be the best possible scenario and when they fail we, at times, secretly question his motives and greatness.

We have all done this or something similar to this when things don’t go our way. However, all of our squandered plans, every full schedule that allows no time with God, and any variable that could be or ever has been conceived does not take away from God’s greatness! His great work on Calvary will always be more than enough for us to refer to him as a GREAT GOD!

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SOAP = scripture, observation, application, and prayer.

S : Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13, 14 ESV)

O : Paul counter culturally looks at salvation as the beginning of work. He views it as punching in. Why? Because he wasn’t looking to salvation as a get out of hell free card. The experience was so astounding that he immediately wanted to share it with as many people as possible.

One way in which Paul was able to stay so focused on the future was due to his ability to forget the past. Think about it! So many Christians find themselves paralyzed by the thought of talking to someone about Jesus who they knew before they met Jesus. Why? Because of the potential for that person to remember who they were before they submitted their life to Christ. No one wants to look like a hypocrite! But here is the thing, we don’t want people to look at us, we want people to look at Jesus!

If Paul focused his ministry on telling people about how he persecuted Christians rather than telling them about God’s grace and love his ministry wouldn’t have made it very far.

A : strive for the goal of knowing that when your last days come you have shared Jesus with as many people as you could have, using words when necessary.

P : God help me get over my past and focus on the future you require of me. Give me the strength and humility to share your love with as many people as I can. Thank you for your blessings! Amen

Do you even care?

February 10, 2014 — Leave a comment

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SOAP = scripture, observation, application, and prayer. 

S = I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you. For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. For they all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 2:19-21 ESV)

O = Paul talks about sending Timothy, someone he discipled, to them because of his differences from the norm. Paul says that Timothy will be concerned about their welfare instead of his own, because he seeks the will of Christ. I find it interesting in the last few thousand years that the vast majority of people, Christians included, are not adequately concerned with the welfare of others. I’m not saying we are bad people! But I am saying that most of us lack the compassion for others because we are too concerned with our own welfare. We need to be filled with compassion for those who are hurting. Think about the worst time you have ever had in your life, no subtract Jesus from that experience……that’s how they feel. 

A = Learn to be more involved with the concern of others and their welfare than you are interested in worrying about your own. God promises us that if we love him and are called according to his purpose that all things will turn out good (Romans 8.28 ESV). But people who are far from God don’t know this! Learn to be the light of Christ by being concerned about other people! 

P = God fill our hearts with compassion for those who are hurting around us! Help us trust in you concerning our own problems that all things will work out for good! Allow us to be like Timothy and honestly be concerned about the welfare of those around us. Thank you for your blessings. Amen.

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I am not a technology nazi (feel free to interject with your favorite Seinfeld Soup Nazi impersonation at this time). In fact, I love technology (feel free to interject with you favorite Napoleon Dynamite’s Skip impersonation). I promise this blog won’t continue with all these movie one-liner interjections. Hopefully! To be honest I am as “nerdy” as they come. To date I have watched all but one WWDC. If you don’t know what that means then there is still hope for you. If you are thinking about googling that right now through the multitask capability of your smart device then you better keep on reading because, my friend, you are worse than you believe. At times I think I suffer from a true case of separation anxiety if my iPhone, iPad, or Mac is not within reaching distance. I didn’t think it was that bad until my wife and I decided to start having “tech-no” Mondays. For one evening of the week our family takes a technology sabbatical. No phones (unless a picture was needed), no iPads, no computers, no TV unless it’s for a family movie, and no video games. No techno, hence the “tech-no” title. Sounds great right? Yeah well I found myself struggling more than I would like to admit. I found myself reaching for my pocket periodically every 15 minutes or so. What if someone was trying to contact me? What if someone was in trouble? What if someone needs some advice? What if I don’t respond to a Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram conversation in a timely manner? And for the love of all humanity what if it took me more than 30 minutes to reply to a text? These were serious questions that I was contemplating.

Regretfully after some self critique I realized that almost every morning the first thing I had been doing was checking my phone for things I may have missed through the night. I would like to say the first thing I was doing was giving my wife a good morning kiss and then praying, but that would be a lie. I do pray and read frequently in the morning it just comes after I tap-in to see what the world of technology was up to. I also realized that almost every night I was having one last scroll through social media before calling it a day.

You’re probably thinking, “Wow. He is messed up!” All I can say is don’t go pointing out the iPhone in my eyes when you have a much larger screened 3rd generation, much better resolutioned, iPad in front of yours! (Feel free to interject with your own biblical reference to Matthew 7:3 ESV) Seriously, try going an entire evening with all internet and text message capable devices put away. Most people like me will be surprised to find the difficulty in this task.

It’s more of a problem than you think! Author Kevin DeYoung, who wrote the book CRAZY BUSY, says: “We are always engaged with our thumbs, but rarely engaged with our thoughts. We keep downloading information, but rarely get down into the depths of our hearts.” In other words we occupy much of our time thumb scrolling and browsing through the internet and all it’s social media and neglect the relationships around us and ourselves. Soul-searching, I used to hear that word and think it was only for devout Christians who had 15 or more years of experience and theologians. I have, despite what you might think, had moments of soul-searching. These moments have had one thing in common. Silence! They were moments where I took the time in the silence of my car to talk with God. Walks in the woods by myself and the almost extinct moments of silence in my home have produced these “soul-searching” moments. I must confess that technology has taken more of these moments than I can tally. Instead I found myself trying to affirm myself, my position, and even at times my character by the number of likes I received on a Facebook post, the response that a tweet received, or how admiration an Instagram post received. But that was just the first layer of what I found. I became aware that if I text someone I found myself expecting a reply within seconds. If I sent an email I was expecting a reply within a one or two hours, unless you were a close friend, then that time is cut in half. What?!!! I was more impatient with the people who were close to me than those who weren’t?!!!

I have come to the conclusion that my “sickness” should could be diagnosed as a case of Tech-no Affirmation! Is it curable you ask? Yes! But you have to be willing to not rely on technology for communication as much. You have to be willing to succumb to the fact that your families opinion of you matters more than your 800 friends on Facebook, because lets be honest you don’t even know who a big majority of them are. Don’t use social media for affirmation. “I don’t care anymore if my post only earns 3 likes, I have 3 people in my home who will like me with or without the approval of social media.” The last thing you have to be willing to do is have more patience. Give people time to respond. They have busy lives too. Just because they haven’t responded in 30 minutes does not mean there is something wrong with your relationship. It just means they are busy just like you. Here is a good antidote for Tech-no Affirmation: Calling is better than texting. Visiting is better than calling. Remember there is no substitute for dwelling with physical people in a physical place.

Join me and quit giving your family and God a social media-like relationship. Put your device down and spend time with them!

Aaron