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May 30, 2007

know your people, they are your reason for being there

"Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds."
Proverbs 27:23

I cannot stress the importance of knowing your people. If you are a leader you ought to know everything you can about your people. It will amaze you how that can help you to utilize them better in whatever endeavor you are attempting.

also, taking the time to know them, what they like, what they don't, what they are doing in life, where their interests lay, and whatnot can go a long way towards building that influence over them.

not to mention how much better you will be able to help them develop as individual within the group (organization, whatever), and if it is in a corporate environment then you will have to put feedback into the evaluation process and that requires detailed information about them and their work habits.

(special thanks to Peter Hodges for connecting the Scripture to the concept for me, thanks!)

May 25, 2007

morale booster

A leader needs to be a morale booster.

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones. Prov. 17:22

be silly, crack jokes, tease people, it's amazing what a little bit of laughter can do to boost morale, and that can change everything.

Christine my niece

got saved!

May 24, 2007

Truth Matters, wk 1

What is Truth? You find this question is growing more and more prevalent in our society these days, and I think that it is a legitimate question that deserves a legitimate answer. Is there an answer to that question? I think so, and I believe that it starts with understanding that this question is not a new one. It was asked many thousands of years ago by a Roman named Pilate.

Pilate said to Him, "What is truth?" And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, "I find no fault in Him at all. John 18:38 (NKJV)

This philosophy is not new it is as old as man itself. In the Garden of Eden it was asked by someone for the first time.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?" Genesis 3:1 (NIV)

In essence, the Serpent was asking, “What is true?” And we have been asking that question ever since. So let us ask that question, and thoroughly understand the nature of the question, its answer, and how it affects us today.

Pilate asked Jesus, “What is truth?” I have another question to add to it:

Can we know truth?

In order to answer that question we have to know what it is, and we find the answer to that question in the Scripture.

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. John 14: 6 (NASB)

So I ask you, is truth knowable? If it exists, and it is a person then yes it is knowable.
How ironic, Pilate voiced the question, “What is truth?” to Truth. Jesus claimed to be Truth. Not the epitome of it, but it itself! And He was standing before one who asked what He was! Pilate was asking the wrong question, he should have been asking, “Who is truth?” The answer is Jesus, Jesus is truth. Does truth exist? Yes, it does! Can it be known? Yes He can!!

I was once challenged to a debate online by someone who just wanted to argue with me. He posed a question he did not think I would answer. I did not want to get dragged into a debate with someone who was not interested in discovering truth but I also did not want Christianity to be challenged without answer so I kindly answered the question and in the course of debate I made the statement, “I am not afraid of the Truth, I worship Him.”

Because we know that Truth is a person, and people are knowable then we can know Truth by knowing Christ. So, how can we understand truth in light of this? What I mean by that is this: can we define truth in light of that understanding? I believe that we can.

Truth: 1. Jesus Christ (Jn. 14:6); 2. Something that is in agreement with Jesus Christ.

All of this begs the question, “Does Truth matter?” If the answer is yes, then it naturally begs the next question ”Why does Truth matter?

Our society is being subverted by a philosophy that says that truth is subjective in its very nature, that it cannot be known because it is different to each person. Some even claim there is no form of absolute truth, and others that there is no truth at all!

Whatever is good and perfect comes to us from God above, who created all heaven's lights. Unlike them, he never changes or casts shifting shadows. James 1:17 (NLT)

You see, Truth exists, it is knowable, and it is absolute (i.e.: unchanging) and it does matter because without truth we cannot determine right and wrong. If truth is subjective, or non-existent, then it is unknowable. If it is unknowable then it is a pointless pursuit. If it is unknowable then it is of no consequence, it does not matter. If that is true then there is no moral law and if no moral law then there is no wrong and right.

If we accept this philosophy of relativism then we have to conclude some things.

Relativism says that there is no absolute truth, which means that we have to throw out logic because logic is the pursuit of truth based on the assumption that it can be known and that if A is true and B is true and the relationship is valid then C must be true. That is an absolute truth. Relativists do not challenge the assumption of absolute truth in science or logic, why challenge it in morality? If we throw out logic then we have to throw out science also. Because science is the use of logic to discover truth and if logic goes then so does science. So what does that leave? Confusion. It leads people to a society based on might not right. Because nothing is right or wrong on an absolute level, your opinion of right and wrong is just as valid as mine, then it is just as ok to say that if you believe that it is ok to steal paperclips from work that is ok, but if I believe it is ok to murder people then that is ok too.

I have a question, if my truth is true and your truth is true, what happens when your truth and my truth have a head on collision? Your truth says you should live, my truth says you should die. We both act on our truths, and I murder you, what right does anyone have to tell me that that is wrong? Obviously we have attributed authority to something to determine right from wrong, the question is what and why. Relativism leads to this thinking process and we can see it being played out before our very eyes:

Dear God: Why didn't you save the school children at the following schools? Moses Lake, Washington 2/2/96 Bethel, Alaska 2/19/97! Pearl, Mississippi 10/1/97 West Paducah, Kentucky 12/1/97 Stam P, Arkansas 12/15/97 Jonesboro, Arkansas 3/24/98 Edinboro, Pennsylvania 4/24/98 Fayetteville, Tennessee 5/19/98 Springfield, Oregon 5/21/98 Richmond, Virginia 6/15/98 Littleton, Colorado 4/20/99 Taber, Alberta, Canada 5/28/99 Conyers, Georgia 5/20/99 Deming, New Mexico 11/19/99 Fort Gibson, Oklahoma 12/6/99 Santee, California 3/ 5/01 and El Cajon, California 3/22/01?

Columbine High School

Amish Country, PA

Virginia Tech


Concerned Student



Dear Concerned Student:

I am not allowed in schools.




How did this get started?


Let's see,

I think it started when Madeline Murray O'Hare complained

She didn't want any prayer in our schools.

And we said, OK...



Someone said you better not read the Bible in school,

The Bible that says

"Thou shalt! Not kill,

Thou shalt not steal,

And love your neighbors as yourself,"

And we said, OK...


Dr. Benjamin Spock said

We shouldn't spank our children

when they misbehaved

because their little personalities

would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem.

And we said,

An expert should know what he's talking about.

So we won't spank them anymore...


Then someone said

Teachers and principals better not

Discipline our children when they misbehave.

And the school administrators said

No faculty member in this school

Better touch a student when they misbehave

Because we don't want any bad publicity,

And we surely don't want to be sued.

And we accepted their

And the entertainment industry said,

let's make TV shows and movies that promote

Profanity, violence and illicit sex...

And let's record music that encourages

Rape, drugs, murder, suicide, and satanic themes...

And we said,

it's just entertainment

And it has no adverse effect

And nobody takes it seriously anyway,

So go right ahead.


Now we're asking ourselves

Why our children have no conscience,

Why they don't know right from wrong,

And why it doesn't bother them to

Kill strangers, classmates or even themselves.



If we thought about it long and hard enough,

We could figure it out.

I'm sure it has a great deal to do with...


Do you see how this gets started? Without absolute truth we have no boundaries, no fence posts to provide us a context. In olden days, while crossing the Great Plains people would occasionally get lost forever and some even died because they would get so confused about where they were and where they needed to go. People reject truth because they do not want to be fenced in, but those pioneers would have loved to have run across a fence, because it would have told them where they were.

It comes down to this: Who has authority to determine right from wrong? Is it you? Is it me? I think that it should be the person who in the end has the final decision, and that person is God. Only His opinion matters. That is why truth matters.

May 19, 2007

how do we respond to hard?

I wonder what other people think about that question. How do you respond to something that is hard?

My 9 year old niece was struggling in kung fu class this last wednesday due to severe balance problems (most of which was in her head) and kept saying "I can't do it!"

It got me thinking, how do we respond to something that is hard? Do we respond with a defeatist attitude and give up, or do we keep persisting?

That question begged this next question in my mind: Why should we persist in practice of something that is hard?

Of course the obvious answer is that if we persist then someday we will succeed. But is that all? I think that this is where a great many of people lack understanding in our society today, particularly in the young people. There is an intangible benefit to giving something the required effort to truly master it, not just get a passible ability but truly master it. I don't really think it matters what it is, as long as it is difficult and you don't quit until you have completely mastered it. There is something that we gain on a very deep level by struggling with it. Far too many people practice something only enough to get by and do not bother to stay with it until they have mastered it, and that is a sad thing really, because they are the ones that suffer from not trying. Sure it is hard, but if it is easy, then it carries very little value beyond the immediate satisfaction of being able to do it -- passibly. In times long gone, in places not here, people would spend a lifetime seeking in the study and mastery of one single thing. The discipline that they gained from the struggle, the strength of character, the wisdom, and the humility that comes from knowing that you have not yet mastered completely this one thing yet you keep trying at it is the mark of a certain type of person that has value far deeper than what we run across in most people you meet. If you know someone like that, cherish them. Study those people, and maybe you too can gain value from their struggle.

It brings to mind this Scripture,

And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 1 Corinthians 9:25

puts it into perspective for me, what about you?

thanks for thinking about it!

May 17, 2007

Spiderman 3

I saw Spiderman 3 and I loved it, but my favorite part was the very end where (won't spoil it for y'all) Peter was doing his monologue about what he learned.

He says that we always have a choice and in the end it's our choices that make us who we are. We CAN choose to do the right thing.

amazing insight, sounds familiar. . .

thanks for thinking about it!!

May 15, 2007

Drew in Management

tonight, while talking with Cory in the parking lot, Drew a manager drove up and asked me if I would be working tomorrow because he needs help with his religion class. He needs to compare/contrast Muhammed with Jesus and he thought I would be able to help him do that.

I told him I would love to help and I will do my best.

Pray for me as I will try to give a clear gospel presentation to him while helping him. Also pray that I will be able to help him.


EDIT: he didn't get with me, don't know what happened. Maybe he will come see me in the next few days. keep praying!

May 12, 2007

None Less Than My Best

Greetings!! I am Eleazar son of Dodai the Ahohite; servant of David, Anointed of God. My Lord has granted me special honors to come and tell my story to this honorable assembly tonight. My role in history is small, and many would not know of my exploits performed in the name of my God in the service of my King David. I dare say, only two of my adventures were ever recorded in His Holy Word, but those were recorded for good reason I assure thee.

Perhaps, I am getting ahead of myself. Let me explain, after David escaped Saul by fleeing to Nob and the cave of Adullam many men gathered to him, about 400 in all. (1 Sam. 22) I was with that group, myself and my two comrades. We became David’s Three, it was us who braved the Philistine army to bring him a drink of water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem (2 Sam. 23), but that was a minor trifle compared to what I am really known for accomplishing for my master David and His God.

The Philistines were camped at Pas Dammim for battle, my King David and I taunted them. It was grand! We hurled insults at them and mocked their gods! We called them names and spoke ill of their courage in battle, and their skill with the sword. We told them that just one of our men with God on our side could put their entire army to flight! Ahhh, they did not take too kindly to that. Haha, no they did not. They were so infuriated that they attacked with a fury that few have seen in a Philistine since!! They fought so hard that they put the Israelite army to flight. As the retreat was being sounded, I fell back with my men and we fled.

I couldn’t help but recall our taunting to the Philistines before, and our boasts of the power of our God compared to theirs. I remembered my master’s battle with the giant, and I stopped running. I turned half way around and I glanced back at the chasing Philistine army. Time began to slow down for me. The world was moving as though in a dream. I looked back towards my comrades and I felt great shame at the lack of faith and courage that we were displaying that day. I turned my face toward heaven, and with my sword in my hand I cried out to my God and I turned to face the Philistine army, knowing I stood alone to face them.

I knew not whether I would live or die, no, I feared I would die before I had struck down just three of my enemies that day, but I had resolved in my heart that I would not run from these heathen men but would stand alone if I must to honor my God with my best. I would not stop fighting until I had fallen dead at their feet or my God granted me victory! I gritted my teeth and I bent my legs with my sword held low and point up I awaited my fate as I watched the approaching army gain precious distance closer to me in slow motion. I could see each man’s face as he faced me, I could hear each war cry. My eyes scanned the battle lines as I stood defiantly before them – one man against hundreds with only a sword in my hand and God at my back. It was a strange sensation watching each step that the Philistines made move slowly through time, bringing them closer and closer to me and my doubtless death. Each second seemed like an hour, and with each step my resolve to not give less than my all that moment, my final moment, grew. Finally the last few steps were about to be covered and I raised my sword to meet my first, and maybe last opponent. With the clang of the metal on metal, time regained its normal momentum. And the last battle of my life, I thought, began its final stage.

I had fought many battles and lived before this one, and most I fought with zeal and vigor, yet at this moment I fought with such energy, with such strength and yet with such smoothness and precision as I have never fought ever again. It was as though God fought through me that day. I slew my three, and then three more, and then three more and so it continued for what seemed days. It never slowed, never quit. With every man I cut down, three more appeared before me ready to avenge their brothers death. I grew weary with the effort, yet I did not falter in my vow. It became a struggle to even stand, let alone lift my sword and with each stroke and swing and stab of my blade I grew even wearier. Yet I did not stop, I could hear myself screaming in my mind, or maybe it was in my ears, I cannot even remember if I was thinking it or screaming it: “I will not stop giving my God my best today until I am dead at their feet or I stand victorious over them today!”

Do you know what it means to give your best? Do you really, I thought I did that day, until I reached it and I was neither dead nor victorious. So I continued giving. I gave it to the Philistines over and over again, beyond the point I could even comprehend the passing of time. I could not even feel my arms but I could see them swinging my sword and with every stroke I saw another man fall. I was tripping over bodies left and right, literally climbing over them, and slipping on the blood stained ground. Each time raising again to face another man. It seemed endless, and then it was over. It seemed unreal. I turned and stumbled around half blinded by wounds on my head I had no memory of receiving, seeking frantically to find my next opponent before he found me, but I found no one, for there were none left. I stood in an open field full of dead men, hundreds, strewn in piles all around me and slowly it dawned on me that I had defeated the entire army. I lived! I was victorious!! My God had granted me my prayer despite my own lack of faith! I tried to drop my sword but my hand would not obey my command. The muscles of my arm were stiff as a dead mans, and my hand would not be opened. As my fellow Israelites rallied to my side, there was not a single Philistine left alive. They had only to pick the loot from the bodies.

That day I understood a new meaning to giving God my best. I understood that surrender to God meant not surrendering to anything else until I had achieved victory or I stood before my Maker in Heaven. To fail in the day of adversity is weakness indeed!

I tell my story to you today to encourage you that you too may bring victory against overwhelming odds! That you too may do great deeds that will be remembered for generations to come as fabulous feats. It does not require great skill or great ability for I certainly did not have the skill for what I accomplished that day. It only requires a steadfast determination to give nothing less than your absolute all to God and that will be enough. For nothing is impossible with God!!!

Adapted from 2 Samuel 23 by A. Read Wall, May 12, 2007 for dramatic effect

May 10, 2007

Josh @ McDonalds

I witnessed to a young man tonight at Mcdonalds who sat down at the table next to mine and saw me engaged in conversation with a co-worker from Wal-Mart (who I led to the Lord last week, he came to church today) and his wife.

Josh was his name, he asked me "what's up with you guys and that book?"

nice lead-in wouldn't you say?

So I shared with him for a while and I began to tell him about why the Bible was so important.

Be praying for him, God did not lead him to my table and prompt him to ask his question in vain, I believe it was intentional.

Pray specifically that Josh will not be able to forget our talk, that it will stick in his mind like a bur on your pant legs until he gets it resolved.


Joel in Kung Fu

Last Thursday night I was standing at the service desk at walmart talking with a man named Cory (a believer) about seeing Spiderman 3 the next night. We were both going to see it that night seperatly. He was talking about how he had not seen the first two movies. He said that it was odd because his roomate was obsessed with Spiderman and he hadn't made him see the movies, but he had made him watch lots of other movies. "It was a little disappointing, actually." He said.

Instantly this thought came to my mind and I told him this: "It's funny you should say that, because I wonder how many people walk away from us feeling disappointed because we didn't share our passion of God with them."

No sooner did I say this than a co-worker named Joel walked up to me, he has been trying to come to my kung fu classes and he wanted to talk to me about that. As he walked up he asked me, "What the H*** are you guys talking about?"
I looked at Cory and said, "like this" and then turned to Joel and said, "Funny you should say that, because that is exactly what we are talking about -- Hell." I pulled a gospel track out and shared the Good News with him. He prayed to accept Christ as his Savior that night at the service desk at Wal-Mart.

I walked away excited, but in a cautious way, for by his demeanor it was difficult to tell if what he had done he really understood. Tonight, he came to class, too late for class but just in time for church. Afterward I took his wife and him out to McDonalds and we talked. He shared a little of his life and we talked about the Bible and God and I was encouraging him to get into his Bible.

I think based on that conversation it might just have clicked with him. Hard to tell, but I will continue to follow up with him and we shall see if he begins to see change in his life.

Pray for Joel, specifically that God will speak to his heart, that he will make his committment to Christ real, and that he will see growth.

Also, pray that God will work out his work schedule so that he can continue to come to class consistently for that I think will be his avenue of growth.


Elvira in Housewares

a few weeks ago, I was asked to go to a walmart store in Springfield with three other people and help them stock their shelves.

I led my team throughout the day and made a prospective contact for future witnessing named Joel. I also primarily worked that day with a girl from my housewares dept. named Elvira.

She rode with back with me, and in the car ride I was able to share the gospel with her. She was attentive and open, but not willing to make a decision then. I was very scared through the whole thing. I feel as though I should have given a stronger invitation, but oh well.

Pray that God will take my feeble attempt and use it to reach her.
also, pray for future opportunities to follow up with her. She is extremely impressed with my lifestyle and that was my primary stepping stone into my witness, pray that God will use it to continue to speak to her.


May 09, 2007

A tear to my eye

Hero burried

May 02, 2007

for Jessica, Mt. 1

some introductory notes on Matthew chapter 1.

The author of Matthew is Matthew (Levi) the Disciple. We know this because the original manuscripts were titled "According to Matthew". This was the same Matthew who was the tax collector.

The purpose of this book is to show Jesus as the Jewish Messiah. This book was written to the church that was composed primarily of Jews at the time who were running into conflict with the mainline Judeaism religion and thus breaking away from the mainline Jewish religion.

Who/what is the Messiah? The Messiah, or the Christ in Greek, is a Hebrew word for the "Annointed One", the person whom God promised would come and lead the nation of Israel in the establishment of the Kingdom of God. He would redeem them from their sins by His own righteousness. Most of the Jewish people missed the point about this person and thought He would be a litteral political leader someone who would come in military power like David and free them from their captors. Instead Jesus came as a Spiritual leader and established a spiritual Kingdom. The Kingdom of God was a major theme for Matthew, this is likely because he was trying to correct this flawed idea of what the Jewish people thought the Kingdom of God was like.

Verses 1-17

Here is the geneology of Jesus Christ from Abraham to Jesus. Why is this important? Because Matthew was trying to show that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah, the first step is to prove that He was in fact Jewish. By virtue of being a descendant of Abraham He was a Jew. Then He was also a descendant of David, which was also necessary to be the Messiah because prophecy stated that the Messiah would come from David's line.

I personnaly think it is worth mentioning that there were listed exactly 14 generations between each major break in history of the geneology. Fourteen between Abraham and David, 14 between David and the Exile, and 14 between the Exile and Jesus. Abraham was the father of the Jewish people, David the father of the line that would produce the Messiah, the Exile was prophecied by Jerermiah and happened on his watch and in those same prophecies he told of a branch that would rule in righteousness and redeem Israel -- the Messiah. Matthew was a tax collector, an accountant in todays terms, numbers were his thing. If anyone would think of numbers and their pattern it would be Matthew. There is some question as to whether Matthew skipped generations to attain this pattern in order to show completeness by the multiples of 7 (skipping generations in the recitation of geneology was an acceptible practice in Hebrew culture). I don't know about that, but if that is true it serves its purpose well. Another take on it is to indicate design, that the coming Messiah was planned in advance and that Jesus was that Messiah.

Verses 17ff

The next section of this chapter deal with the birth of Jesus, but unlike Luke who deals with it from Mary's perspective, Matthew gives it from Joseph' perspective. This is an interesting and (I think) important observation because the lineage above is believed to be the royal line, the legal lineage, or the lineage Jesus through Joseph. It is through this line that the Messiah would expected to come. In Luke, a geneology is given with some variance from this one, and is believed to be the lineage of Jesus through Mary (although there are some other possible options as well) that also traces Him back to David. So Jesus was related to David both legally through His adopted father and genetically through His mother.

The events portrayed in this passage tell us some very important details:

A:) Joseph didn't father Jesus, nor did he have sexual relations with her until after Jesus' birth.
B:) The Holy Spirit caused Mary to concieve (without sexual relations we learn in other Gospels)
C:) Jesus' purpose was made known from the very beginning.
D:) God Himself gave Jesus His name, through Joseph.
E:) God was active in the events leading up to the birth of Jesus.

All of those things are fullfillments of Old Testement prophecies concerning the Messiah, all of which Jesus fulfilled, something that no other figure throughout all of history has done.

Notice that Joseph knowing that Mary pregnant not of him, suspected that Mary was unfaithful to him and was going to divorce her. Why was that necessary when they were only engaged? Because in Hebrew culture marriage was very sacred and an engagement was legally binding, in order to break it you had to have a divorce. Technically, if he wanted to, Joseph was within his rights to make a public spectical of her and have her stoned to death. But because he loved her, and he was a "righteous" man he sought to protect her dignity by divorcing her privately. When he took her as his wife he took her perceived shame on his own shoulders and accepted the public ridicule. He comprimised his own reputation because God told him too. I think this shows that Joseph was the right man for the job. After all, God was entrusting HIS own Son to his care.