An Open Letter to President Obama About Parenting A Nation

sasha:maliaobamaDear Mr. President,

What would happen in your family if Sasha ended up buying some music on iTunes that she should not buy? What would happen if she ended up purchasing some music with the explicit red warning sign by it? Michelle and yourself had trusted her with her iTunes card, you feel like you warned her about what she could and could not listen to, and she knew what was expected of her. Basically, what happened is that you trusted her, and she betrayed your trust?

I am sure you would discipline her in some form or fashion. Would you ban her from iTunes? Would you take her account away? Would you take the iTunes card back? It would be interesting to know.

What would be more interesting to know is what would you do to Malia. What punishment would she receive for the actions of Sasha? Does Malia keep her iTunes account? What about her iTunes card you gave her? Most importantly, does she keep her iPod or her iPhone?

You see Mr. President, on December 14th,2012, Adam Lanza, who was one of your national children, did something stupid. He disobeyed the rules. He deserved punishment, discipline, and correction. However, he did not stay around for any of it. He took the easy way out. He was a coward. Yes, he was confused, warped, and could have been a poster child for a decaying section of a generation in America. However, Adam Lenza does not represent all your American children.

While you were growing up, did any of your siblings do something stupid that you got blamed for or punished for? Have you ever suffered the consequence of someone else’s wrongdoing? How did it make your feel? President Obama, I believe the rest of your children in America feel we are getting punished for our sibling’s stupidity. We feel you want to take away what you rightfully trusted us with at one time and what we have been trustworthy with. We feel you are taking gifts our grandparents gave us because one person did something horribly wrong . He was a person who represented less than one percent of the rest of us.

lostsheepI remember Jesus telling a parable about one lost sheep in Luke 15. The shepherd left the ninety-nine sheep to go after the one lost sheep, which was a moving gesture of love and character. He did not condemn the ninety-nine, barricade them into submission, or scold them with threats about if they ran of too. He simply trusted them as He went to look for the one lost sheep.

Mr. President, I believe you have gone after the wrong sheep. We all feel we are being punished for the offense of one. The majority of us are in the fold and doing what right. We feel we are being punished for the one that ran off. Please don’t make the mistake of punishing Malia for Sasha’s wrong doing.

“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?” Luke 15:4-5

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Sandy Hook Shooting Newtown, Connecticut… Analyzing A Troubled 20 Year Old

Connecticut School ShootingAs our nation mourns and heals from the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut we are bombarded with the question, “What can we do to avoid this ever happening again?” The most popular vibe will be gun control. We will ask why this young man was so angry and crazed to kill his own mother and the children at this school. This young man’s divorced parents have already been observed on the news. The fact that he felt crazed to kill the children too… points to the fact that there was some form of resentment or hatred towards what this class represented. This situation will be analyzed for years. The bottom line is that this leaves us numb and without real answers.

Adam Lanza was twenty years old. That means he was born around 1992. What happened in this young man’s life between 1992-2012 that would cause him to go off the deep end? Was he indulged too much? Was he resentful towards a working mom that he felt valued her class over him? Did money play a part of this? We may never know the answer to these questions.

The fact is that we are seeing this more and more. We are also seeing this from people who look like normal people, like people we see everyday. President Obama’s speech on December 14th, 2012 made reference of putting politics aside and stopping behavior like this, as if we can police this. The fact is that we really have little control over the drug war in America, the drunk drivers killing others, or crazed gunmen going on a killing spree. So who are you going to blame? Are you going to blame a lack of gun control, the rise of divorce, working moms, video games, society in general, or television? What is interesting is that President Obama gave the answer to all the above in his speech but one would have to be a keen listener to have heard it.

At the end of President’s Obama’s speech he said, “May God bless the memory of the victims and, in the words of Scripture, heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds.” There is your answer! Who is the One who heals and binds up wounds? Do you know what he was quoting? Yes the Bible, but more specifically? It was Psalm 147:3. President Obama may not know where this Old Testament scripture is fulfilled but it is fulfilled in the Person of Jesus (Luke 4:18). He is our answer. He was the answer Adam Lanza’s issue. It’s interesting that the name Adam means man because Jesus is the answer to mankind. America can keep on policing everything from elementary schools to the middle east but until we look to the One who controls the heart, we will continue seeing tragedies like this and we will keep on asking. “Why?”barackobamaschoolshootingspeechap_296

Today, make the commitment to become a Christ follower. Admit you are a sinner and need Christ (Romans 3:23). Understand that Jesus loves you and died for your sins (Romans 5:8 & John 3:16). Realize Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). Ask Him to be your Lord (boss) and Savior today. You do this through prayer, which is talking to God.

You can pray something like: God, thank You for sending Jesus to die for me on the cross. I realize I am a sinner and that I need forgiveness that only Your Son can provide. I ask that He would save me, cleanse me, and make me His follower and Your child. Thank You for loving me this much to do this. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Now… Please get involved in a Bible believing church and start influencing people from the inside out and stop trying to control them from the outside in.

Don’t Judge Me Bro!

“Don’t judge me.” Have you ever heard someone say this? It’s a very popular response when people make a judgment call on someone or something. We, as Americans, seem to have a schizophrenic relationship with judging others. On the one hand we cry foul play by saying, “Don’t judge” and on the other hand we can’t seem to stop making judgment calls. In fact, I would say we actually love to watch judgment in action.

Take for example the TV shows that millions of Americans tune into each week. One can find judgment on all levels. American Idol has their judges. Survivor has a weekly judging party and ends the season with a jury. People love drama and get in on the judging themselves. The People’s Court, and shows like it, seem to be doing well too with Judge Judy, Judge Mathis, and Judge Joe Brown. People love to watch the action.

So, why the cry of do not judge? I believe one reason is that the Bible says, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged” (Matthew 7:1). Jesus said these words and it is important to read the words which follow because if one just takes that one verse out of it’s context, people would never have the right to make a judgment call according to Jesus. Good thing He elaborates on this topic a little. He goes on to say, “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you” (Matthew 7:2). My first thought about this statement is that if I just lower my standards, I’m good with Jesus and off the hook. If I have an “anything goes” standard of living, and I sport that same standard to everyone else, then that is how God will judge me someday. Here again, it’s good Jesus explains His train of thought.

Jesus continues, “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3-4). I think Jesus was stating the obvious here, we all have our problems and issues. Some may be small like a speck and some have issues like a log in their eye. I don’t know if you have ever had something small in your eye like a gnat or a speck of dirt. If you have, I’m sure you realize how irritating it can be. It is something you go to a mirror for or someone else that can help you.

I believe God has given us two things in life to help us with our eye problems. One is a spiritual mirror, which is the Bible. If one studies it with The Holy Spirit’s influence and guidance all the logs and specks become clear and the remedy for them is understood. The second thing God gives us is Spirit Controlled Christians. They are people who can help you see things that you and others around you can’t see. This is why Jesus finishes up this passage and thought with, “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:5). I believe Jesus has two goals here, first, to clear up your vision and then, for you to help clear up others. His goal is for believers to judge rightly, not to never judge. This is why The Apostle Paul says later, “Don’t you know that God’s people will judge the world? And if you are going to judge the world, aren’t you able to judge small cases? Don’t you know that we will judge angels? Then we should be able to judge the things of this life even more!” (1 Corinthians 6:2-3).

So… how is your eyesight? Get in front of the spiritual mirror daily and find some Spirit controlled people to connect with weekly. Don’t forget when Jesus gives you better vision, don’t just enjoy it, help someone else to see clearer.

A Cup of Cold Water In Jesus’ Name

And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward. Matthew 10:42

People try to classify Chick-fil-a as hateful because they love God, love people, and love the Bible. The following video shows what I saw Wednesday, August 1st, 2012 when I showed up at our local Chick-fil-a. The atmosphere was electric, the spirit was loving. The people there were either supporting the American Constitution, loving Dan Cathy, loving Jesus, loving the Bible, or all the above.

This video shows that Chick-fil-a  has taken the high road on this Pro-Family Values issue. Some try to label CFA as hateful but all of the hateful stories I have seen are coming from the homosexual side of this issue. The man in this video thinks he took away from CFA and from this nice young lady. Actually this man took nothing from this company or from this young lady… but gave the company and this nice young lady an opportunity to give a cup of cold water in Jesus’ name. I’m proud that the Cathy’s motto was Read Mor Bible, and Be Mor Jesus, before it was Eat Mor Chikin.

Chick-fil-a is a rare bird, an endangered species. I am proud of the Americans, and the Christians who showed up on Wednesday to support them and to say, I hope we don’t let this special bird die off because it’s as sacred to our heritage as our American eagle.

Sunday’s Hope

Lake Harney SunriseWhat I like about Sunday is that it is a day of hope. People call it The Lord’s Day, Resurrection Day, and some just call it a catch up day. However, the idea of catching up may have some deep spiritual implications if one thought deeply about it.

Today is Sunday, and as I get up with thoughts about God which are great and thoughts about self which are sobering I make my way to shave and hit the play button on my iPod, it is not by chance that Reliant K’s song “When I Go Down” comes on to help me resolve that God is so great and I am so dysfunctional but He is there with open arms.

I’ll leave you with the song. It says it much better than me. I hope you enjoy and know He deeply loves you no matter what.

The Lord is My Master

What are sheep like? I have never been around them long enough to know. What I do know about sheep, I had to study about them. I have no personal experience with them. This past week while sitting in class at Reformed Theological Seminary our professor referred to The 23rd Psalm.  It also has been titled the Shepherd’s Psalm.

Shepherds take care of sheep, which is common in Israel. It is as common as Americans owning and taking care of dogs. I started to think—which is a dangerous thing for me—what if the 23rd Psalm was about dogs rather than sheep. I started to think about my son’s Border Collie, and the Labrador Retriever I used to own. What if The Shepherd’s Psalm was The Master’s Psalm. This is what I came up with. I hope you enjoy.

The Lord is my Master.

He gives me everything I need.

He makes me lie down in my comfy bed 
right beside my bowl of cool water.

He directs my mind and my will.

He leads me in obedience training so He can brag on me for His glory and namesake.

Even though we go on walks with all kinds of danger around me, I will fear nothing 
for my Master is with me.

His collar is around me and He has hold of my leash.
 They comfort me and make me feel safe.

He prepares a dish full of food in the presence of every pesky flea and irritating cat I know.

He anoints my head with shampoo and Frontline. My bowls overflow.

Surely My Master’s love for me and His friendship are with me all the days of my life.

And I shall rest in the house of my Master, next to the AC vent, forevermore.

Two Sets of Youth

“Darwin decided he was claustrophobic so he sat down and started to think…” were some of the funny lyrics I recently came across as I was converting some old 8mm videos to mp4s. The video clip is a song to the tune of “Two Sets of Jones” by Big Tent Revival. A couple of my students back in 1997 decided to write a song about me tearing the wall down between the junior high room and the senior high room. This was a feat one does not attempt in student ministry their first few years but I had been the youth pastor for seven years and was feeling good about my chances of creating a larger meeting room. So with the help of one of our members and some of the youth hauling off the trash, we took out the wall.

What was special about this was getting a song written about me. It may be the only song ever written about me. My claim to fame in life may be tearing down a wall in a youth room.

What was inspiring about this song was the point these two students brought out at the end of the song. “Is there a wall between you and another, and are you willing to tear it away?” The good news of the gospel is that Jesus has come to reconcile (to make friends again) us to God. Not only that, Jesus also gives us the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-19). The wrong that is between you (and another) God’s love will remove it. The division will crumble just like the wall fell.” The question is, “Will the wall come down?” The choice is yours. “Do what you say you believe. Then you will learn of real love and be free.” Hootie Hoo!!!