A Man Named Jonadab

What an incredible family line! Moses’ father-in-law Jethro was the ancestor of the Kenite family line, and from this family tree came a man named Recab.

The Recabite family was of immense help to the Israelites. They served as scouts for them, and they joined in the battle to defeat the Canaanites in Gaza, Ashkelon, and Ekron. Years later a Recabite named Jonadab was with King Jehu when he rid Israel of King Ahab’s evil influence of Baal worship.

Jonadab called the Recabite family to follow him in living a holy lifestyle. He set some incredibly high standards for them, but for the next 200+ years the Recabite family held to these standards. Even as the nation of Judah was carried into captivity because of their gross sin against God, the Recabite family stood solidly for God, never getting caught up in society’s pull toward sin.

Their fidelity toward God wasn’t without notice. Here’s an incredibly powerful statement: God said, “Jonadab son of Recab will never fail to have a man serve Me.”

Think about that. A family line that is always serving God for generation after generation after generation. That’s what I want. It took Jonadab making a dramatic counter-cultural stand for his faith in God and then passing that on to his family. Wow!

For the sake of never failing to have my descendants serve God, I am willing to make a stand. I am ready to live counter-culturally. I’m going to stand strong. What about you?

Take The Initiative

“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” —John Bunyan

I love doing something unexpected for someone. Something kind and thoughtful, but totally “out of the blue.” It’s especially nice when the person for whom you do something nice needs it the most, yet would be the last person to ask for help.

In Matthew 25 Jesus talks about people who take the initiative to help the poor, the hungry, the needy. Jesus never says that they asked for help, but simply that His followers saw the need and addressed it. Jesus concludes by saying, “When you did it to one of the least of these My brothers and sisters, you were doing it to Me!

Even better: we take the initiative to bless one of the least of these and we get a blessing from God. How cool is that!

Over the weekend our youth group showed up at a precious lady’s house unannounced. We all affectionately refer to Thelma as “Grandma.” We didn’t tell her that we were coming, we just showed up and started cleaning up her yard. (Disclaimer: I have to admit that we did get an immediate blessing, in that Grandma’s daughter Joan made us a cake, so we got a slice before we left.) Pictures are here.

I’m so proud of these young servants who showed up to bless Grandma. As you helped her, you were helping Jesus. Great will be your reward in heaven—way to go!

I Passed!

A whole lot of studying—and a lot of prayer support—paid off. I passed my first exam with a 91% and my second exam with 92%. Hooray!

Pesticide test

Weekend Survey

Okay, let’s get the weekend started with something fun, and a little informative. How about answering a couple of quick questions about your weekend? If you want to remain anonymous, you may, but I don’t think anyone’s going to shoot you down because of your answers on this fun survey! Answer in the comments below…

  1. When do you consider your weekend officially started?
  2. Do you stick with your diet on the weekend, or do you cheat? If you cheat, what’s the favorite craving food?
  3. Do you have a college football team you cheer for? If so, which team will it be this weekend?
  4. How about a pro team?
  5. Will you attend church this weekend? If so, do you like the time of the service, or would you like another time?
  6. What’s the one thing you’re really looking forward to this weekend?
  7. When do you consider your weekend officially over?

Pretty easy, huh? I look forward to what you have to say. Have a great weekend!

Walking In Someone Else’s Flip-Flops

DSCN0970“Empathy is a stunning act of imaginative derring-do, the ultimate virtual reality—climbing into another’s mind to experience the world from that person’s perspective.” —Donald H. Pink

As we continued our series called Bigger Than Me last night (part 1 is here), we challenged our Impact! youth group to develop greater empathy. That word literally means to be immersed in the feelings of others … to step into someone else’s reality … to walk around in someone else’s flip-flops.

The greatest example ever of this is when Jesus Christ came to earth. He stepped into our flip-flops by coming to live among us in human flesh. He experienced everything we ever have or ever will experience; He knows our weaknesses, our dreams, our joys.

For we do not have a High Priest Who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses and infirmities and liability to the assaults of temptation, but One Who has been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning. … For because He Himself [in His humanity] has suffered in being tempted (tested and tried), He is able [immediately] to run to the cry of (assist, relieve) those who are being tempted and tested and tried…. (Hebrews 4:15, 2:18)

Our youth have committed themselves to develop this Christ-like attribute of empathy. Last night they came to the altar to pick up a flip-flop keychain to remind themselves of this commitment. All of us who made this commitment are going to try to walk in others’ flip-flops by trying to find out:

  1. What do they cry about?
  2. What do they sing about?
  3. What do they dream about?

(Thank you, John Maxwell, for your instruction to me on this!)

I hope you have personally experienced the incredible empathy of Jesus. He understands your fears, your joys, and your dreams even better than you understand them yourself. And I hope that you will join us in our commitment to greater empathy with each other. What a blessing you can be to others when you choose to walk in their flip-flops for awhile.

Thousands Of Haven’t Miles

I just spent two days away from home. After leaving at 6:00 in the morning and driving for 2+ hours, I sat through two days of intensive training. The following day I was anxious to get back to my family. My trip back home should have been a little over two hours, but I ran into several construction zones which made the trip so much longer. As I turned onto the homestretch I began to get more excited about finally being home.

And all of a sudden the expressway became a parking lot!

Just minutes before I turned onto that expressway, a serious accident took place just ahead of me. It then took me 30 minutes to travel the next mile, as all of the traffic was rerouted off the expressway and onto the side roads.

And then I began to rejoice. I have really been racking up the miles lately, so I began to rejoice that all of my miles have been incident-free miles.

I began to thank God for the accidents I HAVEN’T been in.

I gave praise for the times my car HASN’T broken down.

I rejoiced for all the flat tires I HAVEN’T had.

It’s natural to be thankful after a near-miss, but I want to do a better job of being thankful always—especially for the stuff that HASN’T happened.

What about you? What things HAVEN’T happened that you are thankful for?

Deadly Viper Character Assassins

The dictionary defines an assassin as “one who murders by surprise attack.” No assassin worth his/her salt sends you an announcement to say, “I’ll be stopping by your office tomorrow morning to kill you. If that’s not a convenient time for you, please let me know.” Of course not! Assassins never tell you that they’re coming.

Theodore Roosevelt said, “Character, in the long run, is the decisive factor in the life of an individual and of nations alike.”

So a “character assassin” is something that sneaks up and takes out the essential factor that could have made us successful and effective in life. This is why Deadly Viper Character Assassins is such a vital resource.

Here are the two pulls in my life:

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour [assassinate]. (1 Peter 5:8)

You, therefore, must be perfect [growing into complete maturity of godliness in mind and character, having reached the proper height of virtue and integrity], as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:48)

If I keep our character intact, I’ve developed a foundation that will sustain me for the long haul. In my experience, here’s what I’ve done to keep developing my character:

  1. Be more concerned about my character than my popularity.
  2. Regularly look myself in the mirror of God’s Word to see chinks in my armor.
  3. Make myself accountable to godly friends.

Don’t wait until the assassin has already taken a shot at your character, but begin to protect yourself now. Continue to grow in the character Jesus Christ exhibited for us.

Dirty Dishes

My folks came to our home for dinner after our Sunday church service. It’s always great to have them around.

Aside from the good fellowship and great food, I noticed something else: there were a lot of dishes to be cleaned. Not only was the dishwasher filled and run twice, but there were other dishes that had to be washed by hand. At first, I began to grumble about all of the extra work to do, but then I thought, “Dirty dishes are a good thing.”

Lots of dirty dishes means that lots of people graced our home.

Lots of dirty laundry means that my kids are running around and enjoying life.

Lots of trips to the grocery store means that friends and family are coming over to hang out with us.

Lots of studying means that I have lots of opportunities to invest in others.

There are so many things that I could choose to grumble about, but instead, I’m choosing to focus on the blessings. I’d much rather have dishes to clean, clothes to wash, errands to run, and hours to study than the alternative, wouldn’t you?

Look on the bright side this week: turn those grumbling opportunities into opportunities to give thanks.

Treating People Like Pesticides

So I spent all day yesterday studying for my exam which is required in my new tentmaking position. I was reading all about pesticide laws, protective equipment, governmental oversight, properly-formatted labels, and the like. I’m trying to remember it all for my exam with the Department of Agriculture in a couple of weeks.

I was deeply engrossed in the chapter on “Pesticides and the Environment,” sorting out all of the terms I needed to keep in mind…

  • Solubility
  • Adsorption
  • Persistence
  • Degradation
  • Volatility
  • Vapor drift
  • Toxicity
  • Particle drift
  • Permeability

…and all of sudden it hit me how specifically each pesticide is treated. When you take into account the active and inactive ingredients, the concentrations, the particle sizes, the atmospheric conditions at the time of application, along with all of the factors I just listed above, it’s almost as though each pesticide application is unique.

We consider all of these factors for a chemical, yet we are so quick to put people into well-defined boxes with nice, neat labels:

  • “Well, you know, his parents were…”
  • “Of course she’s a…”
  • “I wouldn’t trust him because he…”
  • “Didn’t you know? She once was a…”

Neat labels that keep people in their place. Yet God says every person is unique. What if we took enough time to get to know people—I mean really get to know them. I think the more we know about others, the less likely it is we’ll put them in one of our convenient boxes.

Here’s what I’m thinking about today: Do I want others to neatly label me? Or do I want to be treated as a unique individual? What if I treated people as carefully and with as much attention to the fine details as I must with my pesticides? Hmm, treating people like pesticides: not a bad idea.

Working Like A Dog?

Grace nappingThe next time someone tells me, “I’ve been working like a dog” …

 

I’m going to ask, “Do you mean like this?” 😂

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