Links & Quotes

One of the last pictures I took with my Mom ♥

“Love of the Word appears preeminently in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He read it publicly. He quoted it continually. He expounded it frequently. He advised the Jews to search it. He used it as His weapon to resist the devil. He repeatedly said, ‘The Scripture must be fulfilled.’ Almost the last thing He did was to ‘open their minds so they could understand the Scriptures’ (Luke 24:45). I am afraid that man cannot be a true servant of Christ, who has not something of his Master’s mind and feeling towards the Bible.” —J.C. Ryle, Bible Reading 

“The character of our praying will determine the character of our preaching. Light praying will make light preaching. …The preacher must be preeminently a man of prayer. His heart must graduate in the school of prayer. In the school of prayer only can the heart learn to preach.” —E.M. Bounds, Power Through Prayer 

I have blogged several thoughts about the historicity of the Bible. Here’s a post on Breakpoint about yet another archeological discovery that once again vindicates the Bible’s trustworthiness.

“Some pastors and preachers are lazy and no good. They do not pray; they do not read; they do not search the Scripture. … The call is: watch, study, attend to reading. In truth you cannot read too much in Scripture; and what you read you cannot read too carefully, and what you read carefully you cannot understand too well, and what you understand well you cannot teach too well, and what you teach well you cannot live too well. … The devil … the world … and our flesh are raging and raving against us. Therefore, dear sirs and brothers, pastors and preachers, pray, read, study, be diligent.” —Martin Luther

Looking at God’s awesomeness brings a peace that nothing else can.

A very thought-provoking Q&A with Sean McDowell and Dr. Stephen Meyer: Does Science Point to God?

Podcast: Leaders Lead At Home First

Listen to the audio-only version of this podcast by clicking on the player below, or scroll down to watch the video.

On this episode of “The Craig And Greg Show” we talk about: 

  • [0:15] Leaders need to use their leadership skills at home 
  • [0:46] Home should be where leaders get replenished 
  • [2:12] Work comes and goes, but family can be our lasting legacy 
  • [2:30] How do effective leaders think about success at home? 
  • [4:09] A sad story of misplaced priorities 
  • [4:45] How I helped my church board learn how to make family a priority 
  • [6:31] Greg learned some parenting insights from one of his clients 
  • [8:20] God equips leaders to lead well with their spouse and kids 
  • [9:43] Greg shares a quote about sacrifice, investment, and ROI 
  • [10:16] We share habits and practices that have helped us lead at home 
  • [13:07] How do leaders create a legacy of success in our families? 
  • [15:14] Greg explores how leaders can even lead their parents 
  • [16:14] What do you want on your tombstone? 
  • [17:14] I share a poem from my son Brandon 
  • [18:30] Legacy is determined by what our family says about us 
  • [19:56] How leaders can set family leadership goals for the New Year

Check out this episode and subscribe on YouTube so you can watch all of the upcoming episodes. You can also listen to our podcast on Spotify and Apple.

Leaders Lead At Home

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

On a recent episode of The Craig And Greg Show, Greg and I discussed the vitally important role of leading in our families. 

Most parents know they should do this, but one of the things that gets in the way is trying to determine just how “success” should be defined in a family setting. 

Greg and I talk about the distractions to meaningful interactions with our spouse and kids, and I share a story about how I helped my church board understand this concept so that they could support me in this.

The bottom line: Someone else can do our jobs, but we are the only ones who can be the godly spouse for our husband or wife, and the godly parent for kids. Let’s make sure this is always our priority! 

If you would like to watch this full episode of The Craig And Greg Show, please click here. And if you would like to know more about my book which I mentioned in this podcast, please click here. 

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Poetry Saturday—Choices

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

“…Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.” (Joshua 24:15)

I have to choose.
Not my parents.
Not my heritage.
To choose for me.
Myself.

I have to choose.
Not trapped by yesterday.
Not anxious for tomorrow.
To choose this day.
Everyday.

I have to choose.
Not to be in control.
Not to be the master.
To choose whom I will serve.
Jesus.

I have chosen.
Myself.
Today.
Jesus.

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Poetry Saturday—An Owens Haiku

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on Apple or Spotify.

Craig loved Betsy first.
Then came three lovable kids.
All five love Jesus.

Then God sent us west.
To the town of Cedar Springs.
We all love our church.

God added spouses.
Lovable mates for our kids.
The blessings increase. —Craig T. Owens

Poetry Saturday—Make My House A Home

The house is quiet

And I don’t like it

It just feels like a house

My stuff is all here

It’s all in its place

It just feels like a house

I need some banter

Perhaps some laughter

To make this house my home

Some hugs would be nice

Maybe a cuddle

To make this house my home —Craig T. Owens

Poetry Saturday—Brothers And Sisters The Same

Look around at the sign of the times,
churches are closing their doors.
Is it because God has left them
or because of internal wars?

There‘s people trying to find the Savior
but they don’t know where to go.
One says, “This church is a good one,”
another says, “No, it ain’t so.”

What happens when the doors lock?
What happens to the lost soul?
Is this what Jesus was all about?
Was fancy carpet His real goal?

Does anyone know where God truly is?
Did He tell you while deep in prayer?
Does He need stained glass windows
for Him to be present there?

If Jesus Himself came to your church
do you think that they’d let Him in?
Or would they say, “That‘s outrageous,
the people He’s with commit sin!”

Do you think that you’ve overcome,
that you‘re a sinner no more?
If that’s what you think, I’m sorry,
Jesus has something for you in store.

We all are sinners each and everyone.
None of us are innocent and pure;
if you think that you are different,
I don’t think that you are so sure.

So before you go pointing your finger,
before you go laying the blame,
remember what it says in the Bible:
we are brothers and sisters the same. —Barney Fritcher

A Praying Family

Not one word in Scripture is wasted: not one word is redundant or replaceable. When Jesus taught us to pray to a Heavenly Father, He taught us to say, “OUR Father.” That means we are all His children, with His Holy Spirit helping us to grasp this—The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that WE are God’s children. Now if WE are children, then WE are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ… (Romans 8:16-17). 

Did you know that the word saints never appears in the singular in Scripture? No one person is singled out for his or her saintliness. Because we are saintS, praying together to OUR Father, this means accountability. For some people, accountability is a bad word. It seems to them to feel like someone is looking over their shoulder or checking up on them. But Christians should never feel this way! I like how Ken Blanchard defines this: “Accountability means: We owe each other for something we’ve agreed upon.” 

What have the saints of God agreed upon? That God is our Father, that Jesus is His Son and our Brother, and that the Holy Spirit is our Helper. We’ve agreed that if we are brothers and sisters in God’s family, we are mutually accountable to one another. 

In the context of the prayer Jesus taught us to pray, being mutually accountable means: 

  1. Power in our prayersgive US today our daily bread. Jesus talks about the power in agreement, and the apostle Paul emphasizes how the Holy Spirit helps believers harmonize in prayer with each other and with God’s will (Matthew 18:19-20; Romans 8:27). 
  1. Strengthening of our characterforgive US our debts, as WE also have forgiven our debtors. Jack Hayford points out that, “The believer’s best defense against self-deception is through mutual accountability to one another.” In order for our character to be strengthened, we have to allow others to speak into our lives—even the lovingly painful words (Proverbs 27:17, 6). 
  1. Protection from falling to temptationlead US not into temptation, but deliver US from the evil one. Samson became entangled with a prostitute when he was all by himself; Elijah became depressed when he sent his servant away; David fell into sin when he was alone; Peter denied Christ when all of the other disciples had run away. That’s why the writer of Hebrews counsels us to stick close to our Christian family members (Hebrews 10:21-25). 

In an earlier post, I noted that how we view God is going to determine what we pray and what we expect after we pray. Coming together and praying together will help us see God better. Just as the angels around the throne are always crying out to each other “Holy! Holy! Holy!”, when we come together we can show our fellow saints what we’ve learned about our holy Father’s love and power. This is both an encouragement to others and allows others to be an encouragement to us too. Then together we can pray more boldly and expect great things in response to our prayer. 

Being mutually accountable to the saints in prayer…

  • hallows God as our Father

  • glorifies Jesus as our Brother

  • honors the Spirit as our Helper

God never intended that you would have to walk through life alone. He wants us to share the journey with fellow saints—His family made up of our brothers and sisters. This praying family truly honors God’s name! 

Join me on Sunday as we continue to learn more about prayer. 

Don’t __________ One Another

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible.

Check out James 4:11, “Brethren…

  • …do not speak evil of one another” (NKJV) 
  • …do not accuse or malign one another” (AMP)
  • …do not bad-mouth one another” (MSG)
  • …do not slander one another” (GW)
  • …do not criticize one another” (NLT)
  • …do not defame one another” (Greek definition for katalaleo) 

Why not? James gives us three good reasons:

  1. All humans are made in God’s image. So to defame another person is to defame God. 
  2. All humans are a part of my family. “One another” (Greek allelon) and “brethren” (Greek adelphos) includes me too! 
  3. It only set me up to be judged in the same way—“What right do you have to judge or criticize others?” (TLB) … “Who are you that you presume to pass judgment on your neighbor?” (AMP) … “Who do you think you are to meddle in the destiny of others?” (MSG). 

The bottom line—

If I don’t want someone to ___________ me, I shouldn’t ___________ them! 

(see Luke 6:31 and James 2:8)

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3 Lessons From A Devoted Dad

If you were to pick a man that would have been desperately devoted to Jesus as his Savior, Cornelius wouldn’t make anyone’s “top 10” list! 

Just take a look at all the strikes against this man. He was a… 

  • Gentile—to Jews, Gentiles were just the fuel to stoke the fires of hell. 
  • resident of the city of Caesarea—since this was the headquarters of the Roman government for Palestine, not many Jews would venture there. 
  • Roman—historians say only 10% of Romans in this era were monotheistic. 
  • centurion—not just any centurion, but an extremely powerful centurion from the Italian Regiment (not just a local mercenary who was in it for the money). And he took his name from Cornelius Sulla, a Roman general known both for his mercy and his ruthlessness.

All of this makes Cornelius a fully self-sufficient and a well-to-do man who was not likely to look for help from God. Nor was he the type of person that a Christian missionary might seek out. 

But clearly, something was missing in Cornelius’ life because he was completely countercultural in his pursuit after God. Not just his pursuit of God, but his quick understanding of exactly who Jesus was. 

Luke the historian describes Cornelius as:

  • devout and God-fearing. The Greek word for devout literally means “a right worshipper.” It’s a word Luke only uses three times in Acts, and two of those times are describing Cornelius. 
  • prayerful. The word Luke uses for him means someone who makes prayer personal and ongoing. 
  • generous. Cornelius took care of people who couldn’t take care of themselves. 

All of this got God’s attention (see Psalm 141:2; Revelation 5:8; Proverbs 19:17), and He sent an angel to direct Cornelius to Peter. 

When Peter came to Cornelius’ house, twice he said “as you know” (vv. 36, 37), showing us that Cornelius was aware that there was not only one true God, but that a relationship with Jesus was the only way to be in right relationship with God. As Peter spoke with Cornelius, his family, his relatives, his close friends, and even his fellow soldiers, the Holy Spirit baptized them just as He had done with the disciples of Jesus on the day of Pentecost. 

So here are 3 vital lessons for all men to learn from the life of Cornelius the centurion—

  1. Your devotion to God is influential. People around you do notice your devoted pursuit of God.
  2. Your openness to all that God has puts your family, friends, and coworkers in a place to receive God’s blessings too.
  3. God’s blessings flowing through you have lasting and far-reaching results. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Cornelius may have opened the door for Christian evangelism to Gentiles unlike anything that had happened before.

Dads, be devoted to God. Desire all He has for you, and all He has for those around you. Pursue Him no matter how many “strikes” there may be against you. 

If you missed any of the messages in this series, you can access the full list of messages by clicking here.

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