Delicate

I Love You Mom

This Sunday is Mother’s Day. It’s the one day of the year where mothers everywhere actually receive the recognition they deserve. A mother’s job includes responding to medical injuries, remembering things that the rest of the family forgets, making sure the house is in order, raising up children, and even counseling the family through times of loss, sorrow, and pain. A mother’s job isn’t a part-time job. It’s not full-time either. It’s all the time! Moms are always on call, 24/7. Moms are full of love, compassion, forgiveness, and grace: especially my mom.

Growing up in a family of 4 boys and 3 dogs, my mom was always doing something. She was always making delicious home cooked meals, cleaning up after the mess that we created throughout the house, ready to bandage up the flesh wound that we received after being thrown off a golf-cart, and always right around the corner before we got into something stupid. My mom was everywhere all the time. When we had soccer practice, she was there. When we had to stay late for detention, she was there. She was always doing her best to keep us safe, and raise us up the way she thought best. After reading through and reflecting on a few Biblical examples of mothers, I’ve found that they all remind me of my mom in their own way. Here’s why…

 

Jesus’ Mom

After reading through the passage in Luke 1, when the angel approached Mary about giving birth to a son, we see that Mary was a servant of the Lord. Mary lived a life of service and humility. She understood that it wasn’t going to be about her: but that her son, Jesus, meant everything. Mary was willing to do just about anything to ensure that Jesus would live up to the life that God had called him to live. She was ready to do anything and everything for God. Her life defined what it meant to be a servant. My mom shared this servants heart. She was always ready to serve God, and her family. Looking back, I cannot believe the things that my mom put up with. With 4 boys and 3 dogs, our house was crazy! Yet, instead of losing her temper and screaming (like I would have done!) she showed us love, encouragement, and she dedicated her life to serving our family. After reading through the early pages of Luke, and reflecting on the service that Mary showed to God, I’m reminded of the service that my mom has dedicated to our family.

 

Moses’ Mom

Moses wasn’t born in the best of times. Israel was under slavery in Egypt, and due to their rising numbers and strength, Pharaoh had all newborn Israelite boys sent away to certain death. Moses’ mom however had different plans. She hid her baby for about 3 months after he was born. Then when she simply couldn’t hide him any longer, she made a basket and sent her son down the river in order to protect him. Moses ended up in the hands of Pharaoh’s daughter. Moses’ mom was willing to give away her son to an entirely different type of people, in order to protect his life. In a weird sort of way, I can almost relate to this story. My family didn’t suffer years of slavery in Egypt. My mom wasn’t forced to send off her 4 sons. But there was a time where my mom faced a tough situation.

About 4 years ago, my parents decided to move out to Southern California, some 1,900 miles away from home. I had made the tough decision of staying back home, in Michigan. My mom let me make my own decision, without giving me grief, showing her sorrow, or letting me know in any way that I had let her down. It was probably one of the hardest things she had ever done, but she did it because it was best for me. Just like Moses’ mom and the situation my mom faced, a mom has to do what’s best for her children, regardless of whether she likes it or not.

 

Ruth’s Mom-In-Law

Naomi wasn’t Ruth’s mother, but her mother-in-law. The relationship between Naomi and Ruth is one where we can learn about the Biblical expectations for in-law relationships. Naomi had just lost her husband and her two sons. She was left with the two wives of her sons. After telling both of them to return to their hometown, one of them decided to stay with Naomi. Ruth made the decision to stay with the true family that she had: Naomi. Ruth said to Naomi, “For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.” Ruth gave full commitment to her mother Naomi, and Naomi did the same. When it comes to in-law relationships, the world has a definition. In-laws are supposed to be those crazy people that you’re forced to see on holidays. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for Ruth and Naomi and it shouldn’t be the case for us today.

My wife and I have been blessed with two out-of-this-world mothers. They both reflect the Biblical examples of what a mother should be like. They serve unconditionally, and they do the best for their children regardless of what it means for them. Above all, they both accept their new in-law like their own. They both have brought us in just as if we were their own son or daughter. Our moms have lived out that Naomi-Ruth relationship.

 

Sunday is Mother’s Day. I have two of the worlds greatest moms anyone could ask for! Time to leave some love for your mom this mothers day. Leave a comment below with what you love most about your mom.

 

I love you mom!

 

(Photo by Flickr User: Basheer Tome)

baltimore-hands

Baltimore Burning

The community of Baltimore has been in the spotlight this week due to a recent outbreak of violence. Beginning early this week, several riots turned ugly and ended up spawning into arson, burglary, and even theft. The national guard was dispatched, and police in riot gear attempted to calm the crowd. Several nights of mandatory curfew were put into effect.

Major League Baseball’s Baltimore Orioles club decided not to open up their game to the public on Wednesday afternoon. This game went down in the history books as the first ever baseball game with an official recorded attendance of 0. Several groups have tried to explain away the actions of these individuals. Some believe that these events were the results of a racism problem that’s crippled Baltimore since the 1960’s. Others have concluded that it was a viral social media message that pushed individuals to act out in a malicious fashion. Either way, we can learn a few things from the recent events of Baltimore.

 

Stirring the embers of sin with sin.

Sin is like a bag of your favorite chips. You never stop with just one. For example, one little white lie always leads to many, many more. In the Baltimore situation this week, one sin was stirred with many more sins, leading to an uncontrollable mob of sinful people taking part in sinful actions. Satan likes taking sin viral. Unfortunately, in today’s world that’s not hard to do. We need to be different. We need to be set apart, and take a stand against sin before it spirals out of control.

 

A Jesus response.

Free speech is a great thing, but when your free speech turns into looting, arson, and theft, then it becomes a problem. Jesus was a proponent of peaceful, free speech. He also gave us several fruit we should strive to live by in every situation; whether good or bad. We are to live with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Paul gives us this list in what we call the fruit of the spirit. If you’re upset, if you’re anxious, our response to any situation should be filled with these fruit. No matter what, our mission in life isn’t to live for ourselves, but share the most important message of all: Jesus.

 

So what can we do for Baltimore? Pray. Pray for peace. Pray that the people would be able to find comfort and hope in this time of uncertainty, confusion, and anger. Pray for the law enforcement of the Baltimore area that they might continue to serve faithfully, for their protection, and for their spirits. Most importantly, don’t forget to pray that the people of Baltimore would remember to honor Christ instead of stirring the embers of sin with more sin.

 

(Photo Credit: Reuters/Jim Bourg)

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What are your thoughts on Baltimore? Leave them in the comments below!

Broken Church

A Broken Church

Looking back at the early church, or the church in the book of Acts, you can easily tell that church today is different. Most of the time, it’s easy to come to the conclusion that the church is broken. First, let me clarify something. When I say church, I mean every believer on the planet. I don’t mean the church I’m working at, or the church you’re currently attending, but everyone who believes in Jesus.

If you haven’t read through the book of Acts, I encourage you to do so. Look at how those early believers had passion. Look at what they did. Afterwards, it’s easy to tell that today’s church is broken. We’re not as passionate as those early church believers were. Today’s church is more opening accepting of sin. Somewhere along the way, something went wrong. But what? Here’s what I think is wrong with today’s church.

 

Lack of Trust

God has called us to action. He’s called us to step out on that call. Today, Christian’s lack the trust to step out of their comfort zones and act out on that call.

 

Lack of Passion

What happened to the passion, boldness, and zeal that the early church had in the book of Acts? Did we lose it somewhere along the way? Are we missing something?

 

Tradition/Ritual

Tradition and ritual have chocked out the truth. We’ve completely forgot about the function and reason behind these practices, and put the importance on the tradition or ritual itself.

 

Acceptance of Culture

We’re growing more and more adapt to the society of sin. Tolerance has turned into acceptance.

 

Lost Love for God’s Word

We are growing a generation that’s prone to be Biblically-illiterate. Christian’s have lost sight of our God-breathed privilege.

 

Lost Love for Christ

Jesus loves you. It’s time we start loving him back.

 

The worst part is that these problems are only getting worse. There’s no question that today’s church has completely missed the markThe good news of the story is that there’s still hope. Check back soon for my answer to this problem of epic proportions.

 

NOTE: This post is a remake of an original post, titled “What’s Wrong with the Church” that was posted on February 3rd, 2012. The original post, and it’s content also makes an appearance in my upcoming book, Wake Up.

 

(Photo by Flickr User: Paxson Woelber)

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What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment below!

Love

Fight Sin with Love

Let’s face it: life is a battle. Every day is a journey filled with many obstacles to overcome. In the Bible, God describes an even larger battle that’s ongoing. It’s the battle of good against evil. In the beginning, sin entered the world through Adam & Eve. We’ve all done it. We’ve all sinned. At one point or another, we’ve chosen to satisfy our own selfish desires instead of following God. In the battle of life, sin is on one side of the battlefield. What’s on the other side though?

In 1 John 4:8, we see that whoever doesn’t love, doesn’t truly know God. In the last part of that verse, we read that God is love. In this battle of life we speak of, sin is up against it’s nemesis: love. These two are like water and oil. They simply don’t mix. It’s a battle out there. Here’s why…

 

Selfishness is the Root of Sin

Sin comes in many shapes and sizes. We’ve all been there at one point or another. We’ve all fallen short. We’ve all stolen the cookies out of the cookie jar when we shouldn’t have. Everyone has lied, cheated, or taken unethical shortcuts. The truth is, nobody is perfect. We’ve all sinned because we want to satisfy our own selfish desires. We’ve taken the cookies because they seemed desirable at the time. We’ve lied because it seemed to be the best thing to make ourselves look good. Selfishness is behind all sin.

 

Humility is the Root of Love

A constant theme of scripture is the idea of humility. We’re told to have a realistic view of ourselves. We shouldn’t think too highly of ourselves, and at the same time we shouldn’t think too less of ourselves. No matter how much you don’t want to hear it, you’re not God. At the same time, you aren’t dirt. You’re somewhere in between. As followers of Jesus we’re called to love just like he did on the cross. Jesus paid our price on the cross. He didn’t shed his blood for any of his own purposes, but for our benefit. He was humble and he did it because he loved. Love humility in action.

 

Love is a Direct Attack on Sin

Life is a battle. It’s sin against love. Satan is pushing for sin. He wants to push you and me into a lifestyle of selfish pleasures. God on the other hand is pushing for something more. Jesus died on the cross for our sins, paid our price in full, so that we could live. He wants us to share this good news of love with the world, by speaking words of love and living a life of love. He wants us to fight sin with love!

 

Everyday we have a choice. We can either satisfy the desires of the flesh, or we can choose to put others before ourselves. Today, I choose love. I hope you do too. Join the fight. Let’s destroy sin with love. As always, don’t forget to comment below and subscribe to occasional email updates.

 

(Photo by Flickr User: photosteve101)

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4 “Jesus-Like” Qualities I See In My Wife

I remember that day like it was yesterday. It was homecoming at the local high school, and the parade was creeping through town towards the football field. I was one of the hundreds of people in attendance that brisk fall afternoon. It was the day that I would meet my wife, Amanda.

Photo Credit: Amanda Statson

Photo Credit: Amanda Statson

One near death experience, and three declined invitations later, we finally settled on the perfect lunch date. One date led to another and pretty soon, we were dating for five years. After gathering enough courage on our ‘anniversary’, I finally decided to pop the big question. A few short months later, we were married.

I’ve had the opportunity to grow in Christ alongside my best friend for the past several years. Since the first day we met, I’ve noticed she has many Godly-qualities. Here’s 4 “Jesus-Like” Qualities I See In My Wife:

 

1. Compassion — “She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.” -Proverbs 31:20

Throughout scripture Jesus always had compassion on the least and less fortunate of people. He chooses to eat with broken & sinful people, rather than the respected authorities. Christ goes even further, in his Sermon on the Mount, and he tells his audience to pray even for enemies. Compassion isn’t something to show only those close to you. We are to offer up love and support for everybody. This quality that Christ embodied is also very evident in Amanda.

 

2. Humility — “…but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” -Philippians 2:3b

Christ was born for a reason. He came into this world to die. More specifically, he came to die for us. Jesus lived a sinless life. His life was of extreme importance, and yet, he put the needs of others before himself. Similarly, I see this often in the life of my wife. Constantly, I find Amanda putting the needs of others before her own. She thinks of others, acts out for others, serves others, loves others, and will encourage others way before she thinks of herself. Every day, I work towards being as humble as she is, and as humble as Jesus was.

 

 

3. Forgiveness — “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” -Ephesians 4:32

Forgiveness is one of the hardest things we can do. To often, people hurt us more than we can bear. Jesus taught that we must forgive. This forgiveness doesn’t mean we must say a simple, “I forgive you.” Instead we must love & pray for those that have hurt us. As sinners, we all deserve death & judgement. Instead, Christ came to die in our place. He forgave us. Amanda models this forgiveness in her own life. (Keep in mind I’m not easy to live with! She forgives me, even when I am least deserving of her forgiveness.) Her wisdom, when it comes to the area of forgiveness, pushes me to be more forgiving in my relationships with others.

 

4. Love — “We love because he first loved us.” -1 John 4:19

Love and Jesus go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other. Everything Jesus did revolved around love. My wife models this kind of love in her life. The love she shows for others, and for Christ, is immeasurable.

 

The moral of the story is that Amanda continues to amaze me as she embodies Christ-like qualities in her own life. She serves as a great example to myself and all those who know her that this life isn’t about us: it’s about Jesus. I love you Amanda!

 

p.s. Don’t forget to leave a comment below. If you know Amanda, be sure to leave her some love!

 

UPDATE: See 4 (More) “Jesus-Like” Qualities I See In My Wife

 

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