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Passing the Torch-Part 2

Thanks for your comments on my first post on Passing the Torch. It’s hard to have a dialogue with someone when you disagree on something as fundamental as absolute truth. Tim’s comment nailed my thoughts exactly. Truth is truth no matter what I or anyone else thinks about it. Post modernism says what is true for one person may not be true for someone else. Truth becomes relative rather than absolute. The foundation of all that I believe about the origin of life, the purpose of life, and the existence of eternal life is absolute truth. What I believe is either true or it is absurd, but it cannot be both depending on how I or someone else feels/thinks about it.

Here some foundational absolute truths that I live by: 1. All mankind is sinful and in need of redemption (Romans 3:23). 2. Jesus, the only Son of God, came to earth as the Redeemer for all mankind (John 3:16, Romans 6:23). 3. Jesus is the one and only way to God and eternal life (John 14:6). 4. Without faith in Jesus there is no hope, and eternal death in hell is certain (Revelation 20:11-15).  If I believe these to be true, it would be neglect and hateful for me NOT to teach them to my children.

My question today about passing the torch is this, What is THE TORCH you want to pass on to your children? Every parent passes beliefs, perspectives, behaviors, etc. on to their children rather they consciously choose to or not. If you could only pass on one foundational truth to your children, what would that truth be?

When I think about passing the torch in that context, then a lot of things I consider to be important aren’t so important anymore. Is it really important that Camden and Rory like hunting and the outdoors like I do? Is it really important that my kids cheer for the sports teams that I hold dear? Is it really important that they’re into sports at all (I can’t believe I just typed that)? My point is that many times I take every opportunity that presents itself to make sure my kids feel passionate about the same things I’m passionate about, but how much effort do I give to the most important torch I’m trying to pass on.

Parents pass a lot of torches on to their children…some intentionally and some not. Your torches are probably different than my torches. Maybe you want your children to follow in your footsteps with their career choices, their college choices, their politics, their hobbies, etc. None of those things, in-and-of themselves, may be bad. The question is whether we spend more energy passing on those things than we do passing on what is really important.

Deuteronomy 6:5-7 says, “5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”

That is THE TORCH. More than anything else, I want my children to love God with all their heart, soul, and strength. If I’m going to pass that torch on there are some things that I, as a parent, have to do. In my next Passing the Torch post, I’m going to share some things that God is teaching me about passing the torch. I know these things for sure: 1. Parenting is the hardest job I’ve ever had, 2. I often screw it up and pray that my kids aren’t scarred for life, 3. I don’t have all the answers.

So help me out. What, as a parent, do you have to do to ensure that the Deuteronomy 6 torch is passed on to the next generation? What is essential…non-negotiable? Get the conversation started!

Christlike

Jesus’ words from His sermon on the mount, Matthew 5:43-47,

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?”

Christians protect Muslims during prayer in Cairo’s dangerous Tahrir square

Meredith Birkett says: On Twitter, Nevine Zaki linked to a picture she said she photographed on Wednesday of Christians protecting Muslims during their prayers in Tahrir Square. The square in Cario continues to be a scene of violence between pro- and anti-Mubarak supporters who were wielding sticks and throwing rocks. She tweeted:

Bear in mind that this pic was taken a month after z Alexandria bombing where many Christians died in vain. Yet we all stood by each other.

 

This picture says speaks VOLUMES. It brings Jesus’ words to life. It makes me think and question my own heart. I’ve quoted the “love your enemies” verse, but am I willing to put it into practice like the guys in this picture? I’ve also quoted the book of James, “faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” I don’t want my faith to be empty rituals. I want my faith to be accompanied by actions…actions that make a difference in the lives of others…even especially my enemies. I encourage you to think about the reality of this picture and allow God to use it to speak to your heart in the same way He has brought conviction to my heart. I have a lot to learn…I think the guys in the picture could teach me a lot about living for Jesus.

By the way, I haven’t forgotten my earlier post, Passing the Torch, I’ve just had a crazy week. I appreciate your comments, and hope to follow up on that post soon. I just had to share this picture!

Passing the Torch

This was my first video on YouTube 3 years ago. Isn’t that kid cute! He just couldn’t remember where to end the song so he kept going…even changed keys!

I had this interesting conversation in the comments section on this video (my comments are in bold)

I will address this subject more in upcoming posts, but I wanted to get your thoughts. Leave a comment below and tell me how would you have responded to this individual?

You’re going where?

  • Collin County – 808,207 people with an average of 94 people moving into the county every day
  • The fastest growing county in Texas, and one of the fastest growing in the U.S.
  • The 6th most populous county in Texas

More than 1/2 of those 808,207 people do not

claim any religious affiliation at all!

Bottom line…we’re going because God has given us a burden for those 404,104 people who have not yet experienced the transforming power of the mercy and forgiveness of their Creator. We want to continue the mission Christ began. He left heaven for the purpose of bringing abundant life (John 10:10) to those without God in their lives. Before Christ returned to heaven He passed that mission on to us (Matthew 28:18-20).

Some may be wondering why we’re going to this area instead of an area where there is a greater need for the Gospel. There are churches in Collin County (I’ve had a hard time finding recent data as to how many churches). As of 2002, there were close to 200 gospel-preaching churches in the county. Compare that to Davidson County (Nashville, TN) where there were about 450 churches as of 2002, with less of a population.

When thinking about planting new churches, I think we often begin with the wrong question, “How many churches are there?” While that is a valid question and one to be considered,  I think we should begin with this question instead, “How many nonbelievers are there?”

We can’t wait to see what God has in store for us when we get there…projected arrival is June 2011!

Stretchable



I never had one of those stretchable toys like Stretch Armstrong, but I remember watching those commercials and thinking they were really cool.

As any fitness trainer will tell you, stretching is good and necessary.

The same is true spiritually speaking. We need to be stretched. The Bible tells one story after another of people who were stretched by God to do more than they felt they were capable of doing. That is the point of stretching–doing more than we are naturally capable of. God stretches people to move them to a point where they are dependent on Him.

Over the last couple of years God has been stretching our family. Two specific books, Crazy Love and Radical, have been instrumental in opening our eyes to what God is wanting to do in our lives. God has been stretching our faith as we have answered the question about whether we are willing to follow God where ever He leads us. Are we willing to let God stretch us?

There was an opportunity for me to teach in South Korea or China. Really God? Move our family to the other side of the planet? God used those months to stretch us. I applied and interviewed. However, that was not in God’s plans for our family. Melissa and I have always said we would follow God where ever, but considering moving our family to Asia made us ask ourselves if we were really “all in.” God pulled and stretched…we grew.

As God closed that door of opportunity, He began stretching us with another one. Our former pastor, Randall Wright, approached us about planting a church with him. Where? We didn’t know at that time, but somewhere. Randall just asked us to pray about it. We agreed to pray, but really didn’t expect God to move us in that direction. Once again, God pulled and stretched…we grew.

To keep this post from getting any longer, we prayed and God moved us. We, along with the Wrights, felt God calling us to plant a church in the Dallas metroplex. A stretch? Definitely! I don’t think God would have it any other way.

The Great Adventure

The soundtrack for this post is Steven Curtis Chapman’s The Great Adventure from the early 90’s.

Our family is about to begin a great adventure of our own. 2011 is going to be a year of major transition for us. A transition that we are very excited to be a part of. In a few months we will pack everything we own into a Uhaul and move to a place that we have only visited one time…a place where we don’t know anyone except for the people moving there with us…a place where I don’t yet have a job…a place where we don’t yet have a house…a place of a lot of unknowns. In the words of Steven Curtis Chapman, we are going to “follow our Leader into the glorious unknown.” The “glorious unknown” for us is Collin County, a suburb north of Dallas, TX.

We are going as part of a team to plant a church with Randall and Collette Wright. We worked together in ministry with the Wrights for 3 1/2 years at Oaklawn Church, and are very excited to be going to Texas with them.

There are two other wonderful families that are making plans to be a part of Team Texas. In all, there are 8 adults and 11 children that make up our team!

I plan to continue teaching and God is already opening doors to make that possible. I will also be an assistant pastor with this new church. Basically, I will transfer what I’m doing here (pastor and school teacher) to a church plant in TX.

Over the next couple of weeks I will share how we came to this decision and why we are planting a church in Collin County, TX.

It’s a very exciting and busy time for us as we make plans and preparations. Please be praying for us, our teammates, and our mission work in TX.

Big news coming soon!

The upcoming new year is going to bring some major changes for our family. Melissa does a fabulous job at keeping you up to date in our day-to-day lives on her blog. I’m committing myself to blog about our ministry on this blog. We view ministry as a family affair.

So I’m revamping the old blog and making it more focused on a specific purpose, our family’s journey of faith. I hope to post a couple of times a week. Sometimes I’ll just be thinking out loud, sometimes I’ll share how God is working in our family, and other times I’ll share updates in our ministry and how you can pray for us.

Many of you already know some of the major changes coming down the pike for our family. For those of you who don’t, check back soon for the big announcement.

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