How activists against racism may be reinforcing it deeper into our culture.

indiangirl2

I watched a video the other day of a passionate young adult working to prove that racism is a very real problem that must be dealt with.  By the time it appeared on my Facebook feed it had been watched hundreds of thousands of times. 

Actually, he did a good job identifying problems that do exist and areas in our culture that need to be improved.  The problem is HOW he was making his viewers aware.  He basically said repeatedly in different ways, “You’re a racist!”  He was bold and passionate. 

Before we proceed let’s assume his information was 100% accurate and his heart was in the right place.

I still think he, along with many others, are making things worse. 

Here is why.

There is an important piece to the maturation process psychologically – identity.  Professional counselors and educators have been aware of this for a long time.

If an alcoholic is trying to improve, it’s one thing for him to admit he has a problem.  It’s something else to have him come home night after night to a spouse that calls him a “worthless drunk.”  Counselors long ago realized that berating and name calling doesn’t help.  In fact, it makes it worse.  Being made aware of a problem is very different than being told your problem is your identity… repeatedly. The wife may hate that he is an alcoholic– and at the same time reinforcing it IS his identity more deeply into his heart and soul! 

In education, it’s the same way.  If you have a young child who struggles with math, it’s one thing to identify there are places he needs extra attention; it’s another to remind him repeatedly he is “stupid.” You can absolutely point out an area in which he needs to improve, but ratifying in him that being “stupid” is a part of his identity will do more damage than good.  He may even actually come to believe it is who he is, accepting it even deeper into his identity. 

Moreover, social uniqueness (identity) is formed by what you are for AND by what you are against, from religion, politics, national identities, even artistic preferences.  Identity IS divisive and being unique is a basic human desire.  What’s important is HOW we approach uniqueness.  Racism (used broadly), by practice, is not only preferring a unique trait, but also believing the PEOPLE who have or prefer other unique traits are somehow less valuable or even worthless.  Our culture has ignorantly tried to throw out both sides of this by pretending to be blind to differences in general.  Trying to say there is no gender, color, intellectual or athletic gifting and the like is silly and limits the beautiful diversity of humanity.  For example:

People need to stop saying things like “kids don’t see color.”  Yes, they do.  They just aren’t bothered by the difference.  In fact, they can openly talk about it because a difference in skin color is a vastly inferior issue to the friendship they have.  What needs to be elevated is the priority of love.

“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”- Martin Luther King, Jr.

We don’t want to live blind to the complex beauty that is humanity, or be afraid to see differences in each other. However, the binding agent of this uniqueness is love. 

Lastly, abhorrent name calling, violent marches, and belittling trigger the primal fight or flight instinct.  There are countless articles and research papers showing that people struggle to learn when they are deeply angry or afraid.  Every well-intentioned video or article that provokes the primal fight or flight may be highly effective click-bait (meaning a lot of people see it) but will not help move hearts toward love and respect.  In most cases as your blood pressure goes up, your ability to reason goes way down. 

So, what do we do?

In my home: I will not label my kids as a racist, idiot, bully or the like. Even if I think their values are wrong. That’s not their identity and not who they have to become.  That said they are unique and absolutely can improve themselves in many ways.  Not everything they like or dislike will be right, but that has no bearing on their value as a person.  In Christianity, human value is not subjective but objective. I will teach them there is space to love people deeply and talk about differences, even debate them. As a Christian, I tell them all humans are made in the image of God and have immeasurable value– from the unborn baby to the elderly dementia patient, from those born in the heart of India to those born in the heart of Kansas– and we should treat all as Christ sees them over how we may feel about them.  So, in our home we may challenge each other’s ideas and prefer different music styles, but love remains.

Identity: People are eternally valuable creations of God. 

Objective: Teach my children to approach a complex world the way Jesus did. You can challenge people, wrestle with ideas and ideals, but you cannot take away their transcendent value.  You don’t have that power.

In our culture: The battle is won by education and in relationships. I decided to do a little “research” and spent an evening watching interview after interview on YouTube of people who overcame racism.  I couldn’t find one that overcame racism with more physical or emotional violence.  The victory was always won through relationships and education.  If the objective is to win HEARTS– tangible forgiveness, mercy, and love are far more powerful than taking up arms and stone-throwing. If you want to change hearts, don’t work to prove there is hate without also working to demonstrate how it can be overcome. Don’t divide people further, build a bridge to speak into their life.

There are a lot of people in this world I disagree with and I actually enjoy a well-mannered debate.  Yet, I do not have any power to remove someone’s value. Even if I disagree with them. In my opinion their value is assigned by the Creator. 

He loved people so much that he sent what was dearest to him, his son, to die, so that they may be rescued.  The very people he knew had wrong affections and values.

Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

I’ll let pastor King be my final thought…

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

picture: https://www.pexels.com/photo/portrait-dark-black-and-white-eyes-12087/

 

Mother’s Day (Now that I’m a Mom)

MothersDay

Now that I’m a Mom

Written by Leslie, for my Mom on Mother’s Day

 

Now that I’m a Mom…I understand how tiresome it is to feed everyone day after day, year after year.

Now that I’m a Mom…I know what it’s like to walk in the door and the first words I hear are, “I’m hungry!”

Now that I’m a Mom…I understand the aggravation of never getting a moment of privacy, even in the bathroom.

Now that I’m a Mom…I know what it’s like to have had to put up with so much whining I feel like I’m going to explode…and sometimes I do.

Now that I’m a Mom…I know what it’s like to have a daughter who gets into my jewelry, shoes, make-up, scarves, and purses, and strews them all over the house.

Now that I’m a Mom…I understand the endless laundry, constant messes, and relentless dirty dishes.

Now that I’m a Mom…I worry that that they’re not getting enough nutrition and tell them to eat their fruits and vegetables, and say things like, “Kids in Africa would be happy to have that.”

Now that I’m a Mom…I know what it’s like to have your six-year-old insist he knows more than you.

Now that I’m a Mom…I no longer shop for myself very often, am content with the same wardrobe for several years, because I have to be.

Now that I’m a Mom…I know what it’s like to work hard over a meal, making sure I’ve covered all the essential food groups while maintaining a pleasing taste, only to sit down to eat and hear the words, “This is gross!”

Now that I’m a Mom…I know what it is to feel frazzled, overwhelmed, and unappreciated.

But…

Now that I’m a Mom…I’ve experienced the thrill of seeing my baby for the first time.

Now that I’m a Mom…I now understand the feeling of having your heart outside of your body.

Now that I’m a Mom…I understand the feeling of loving someone so much it hurts.

Now that I’m a Mom…I know the guilt of feeling like I don’t measure up because I want my children to never get yelled at, to experience me at my best all the time, but knowing I fail every day.

Now that I’m a Mom…I understand the inner tug of war at forcing my children to do something they don’t want to do because it’s good for them, even though it causes me pain as well.

Now that I’m a Mom…I know the sacrifice of spending my Christmas or birthday money on them instead of me, and they might not know or say thank you, but it doesn’t    matter because their happiness and needs matter more than mine.

Now that I’m a Mom…I know what it’s like to swell with pride when they accomplish something that to others seems insignificant, but to me is amazing.

Now that I’m a Mom…I push my kids to reach their potential because I believe in them and want them to experience all that life has to offer, even when they fight me.

Now that I’m a Mom…I realize all the sacrifice, tears, heartache, joys, weariness, delight, worry, and struggle my own wonderful mother herself must have experienced.

Now that I’m a Mom…I feel blessed and fortunate that I have a Mom who showed me how to be a good one, and that she had a Mom who did the same for her.

Now that I’m a Mom…I realize how smart my own Mom is, and when she used to say, “You’ll understand someday,” she was right.

Now that I’m a Mom…I understand why God says “a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised,” and that “her beauty should come from a gentle and quiet spirit.”

Now that I’m a Mom…I know the work, aggravation, and sacrifice will all be worth it, because just as I have done with my mother, someday my children will grow up and appreciate it, will see me as a woman worthy of praise and honor…

…and then I get to be their friend.

 

Read more?

To all the parents who are just about to lose it… Take a minute and read this!

20140110-215611.jpg

 

10 Relationships Emotionally Healthy People Have

Image

10 relationships emotionally healthy people have.   

There are countless articles on the power of perspective and surviving difficult situations.  When strong purpose and healthy relationships are strategically injected into even the hardest of situations people can find meaning.  Everything in life hinges on relationships.  I have compiled a strategic relationship list.  If you can clearly answer all of these it will fulfill more than any job or education you achieve.  From an emotional health perspective, this list is MORE important than money, power, and education.
You probably can’t answer all of these with confidence. That’s all right, save this and work on them.
Remember… everything is about relationships!

  1. The person who demonstrated selfless love to me is _______.
  2. The person whom I have committed to demonstrate selfless love to is _______.
  3. The person who helped me discover my purpose in life is _______.
  4. The person I would gladly give everything I own to is _______.
  5. The person I could call anytime day or night and ask for help is _______.
  6. The person I keep no secrets from is _______.
  7. The person whose life mission I would love to carry on is _______.
  8. The person who I would love to carry on my life’s mission is _______.
  9. I currently feel loved by _______.
  10. The person I can’t wait to see in heaven is _______.

If you can answer all ten of these with confidence you are the relational elite. If you can answer all ten, chances are you are a stable missional person even if you are going through a rough patch in life at the moment.  If you can’t answer these, this is a great list to work on!  You will tackle everything from meaning and personal value to legacy and death by wrestling with each of these questions.  The ultimate relationship is the one you develop with Christ.

It’s important to note these questions are derived from quite a few different sources.

7 relational lies that need to be confronted

20131126-223730.jpg

7 relational lies that must be confronted!

The Lie: People in great relationships always get along.    

The Truth: Conflict is required for intimacy.  If you are constantly running from conflict, my guess is you don’t have deep friendships.  Learning to speak truth in love will create an enviornment of transparency that satisfies deeply.  It only comes through healthy conflict and transparency.  Don’t be FAKE! 

The Lie: A healthy relationship will eventually be free of conflict.  

The Truth: We are all flawed. There is a term in the Bible called forbearance, which in context often means the refraining of enforcement.  This means there will be times where you are absolutely right about something and the other person is absolutely wrong.  However, you choose to forgive (not necessarly ignore) for the sake of the relationship.  Sometimes the relationship is more important than the issue. This also applies well to our most familiar flaws.  Much like a physical weakness or flaw, sometimes there isn’t a magic pill or miraculous counseling session that will fix it.  You choose instead to forbear and graciously move forward together!  Hear me clearly, ALL of us have issues.  Healthy relationships know, recognize, and reflect healthy forbearance. 

The Lie: People fall in love. 

The Truth: People fall in lust.  True love is work, a journey of focused commitment. History teaches us instant-conflict-free relationships are most likely to be found in fairytales.

The Lie: Lucky people experience great friendships. 

The Truth: Loving, sacrificially committed people experience great friendships.  It’s like a group of friends embarking on a long ocean voyage. The friends in this ship live it up together when it’s calm and steady each other when the storm rages. 

The Lie: I don’t need people. 

The Truth: There is nothing more powerful and satisfying than to be deeply known and loved. Known, meaning you are relationally close and familiar with that which makes another unique, the good and the bad. Loved, meaning someone affectionately chooses you, no matter what. Nothing satisfies more than to be chosen and loved, in-spite of our flaws. 

The Lie: Marriage is old fashioned and divorce is no big deal. 

The Truth: It’s often harder for people to get over a divorce than it is to recover from the death of a loved one. Betrayal after intimacy hurts deeply.  Marriage is intended to be a covenant, with boundaries, protecting a developing relationship.  The Biblical view of marriage isn’t a list of rules holding you back.  It is a treasure map showing the route to a deeply satisfying relationship.  If you don’t follow the map, don’t expect to find the treasure.

The Lie: Porn is the not-so-bad norm. 

The Truth: All porn, whether soft or hard core, is sacrificing to a false idol.  Porn plays dark games in your mind.  Hear me clearly–this includes romance novels, or what I call porn for women.  Romance novels “Photoshop” false relational images with words and create expectations that are far from reality. It seems as modern Christianity permits romance novels as acceptable, the more marriages seem to crumble.  So, why does this continue?  Let’s change that and change our marriages!  

Of course, there are more relational lies and truths.  Here are just a few, to get you thinking!

If you are having a difficult holiday season check out the new book on peace.
Only 0.99 for one more week!

Click Here: http://www.amazon.com/understand-Christian-Biblical-Principles-ebook/dp/B00FL2EM1A/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1381460981&sr=1-1

20131126-225520.jpg

I hate my best friends, and you should hate yours too!

Image

 

I hate my best friends, and you should hate yours too!

His name is Jeremy and it all happened about 13 years ago.  I was finishing up my undergraduate degree and a bunch of us were hanging out off campus.  The conversation changed, and we started pouring out our hearts.  College was coming to an end and some of the guys were about to be married, myself included.  The end of an era was coming up fast!  At one point in the conversation Jeremy looked at me and said, “Mike, you don’t treat Leslie very well.”  I felt like an angry cat about to pounce.  Honestly, who says that?!  He then had the gall to give specific examples!  Every example just fed my fire.  I couldn’t believe it!  Somehow I played it cool the rest of the night.  Over the next few days I was overly aware of how I treated my wife-to-be.  I started to notice little things that I said and did that weren’t all that kind.  Here is this beautiful, brilliant, young woman, and I realized I didn’t always treat her right.

I decided to do something most people refuse to do—I accepted his rebuke.   He was right—I didn’t like it, but he was right. 

I discovered something really powerful and yet painful.  Real accountability is rough and it hurts!

People today run from friendships, a church, or family that puts the pressure on.  I am not talking about abuse; I am talking about healthy conflict.  You don’t want just “yes” friends; you want friends who will call you out when you are wrong!  Les and Leslie Parrott, Christian marriage psychologists, insist “conflict is the only way to intimacy.”

Two questions I want you to wrestle with:  

  1. Who in your life do you allow to push back?  To challenge your decisions?  Who would tell you, “That’s stupid, don’t do that!”  Maybe in a gentler way, but you get the point.
  2. Who do you need to be honest with?  If there is someone who you know needs to hear something, say it!  Real friends push back, so speak the truth in love!

I also want to thank my incredible accountability group: Jeremy, Lance, James, David, and Aaron.  You have saved my life and marriage numerous times because you were honest!  I know you confront me because you love me.  You make me so frustrated sometimes, and yet I would give my life for you!  I thank God for friends like you.  My best friends, that yes, sometimes I hate!

Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”

Awkward Accountability and a Few Real Christians / Este mundo necesita desesperadamente Cristianos Verdaderos

Image

Awkward Accountability and a Few Real Christians

(Desplácese hacia abajo para leer una versión en español / Spanish translation below)

You will find two things in this article.

1) A look at why accountability is important.

2) Accountability questions you can use!

Why is it that doing the right thing often feels a bit awkward? Saying sorry, confronting someone, or even admitting when you’re wrong can all be difficult and humbling.

I remember the day I faced one of these awkward situations that completely changed my life.  I was about 17 years old and was on a relentless hunt for the same things most high school boys are, girls and popularity.  In the pursuit of my self-absorbed high school passions I made many choices that hurt the people who loved me most.  I was harsh with my parents, scoffed at all the religious rules, and was distant to my church friends.  The objective of my life at that point was girls and glory and I left a wake of destruction to attain it.

I clearly remember the night it all fell apart.  The girl I was dating was sweet, she really did have a good heart, but neither of us was on the right path at the time.  We both had great backgrounds and parents who probably wouldn’t have approved of the direction we were going.  The less my parents were involved in my life and relationships, the happier I was.  Then that evening, it all fell apart.  We broke up.  I had dated a number of girls in a fairly quick succession and I just lost it.  I dropped her off at home and remember yelling out in frustration in my truck as I drove away, I even punched the steering wheel.  Not a good night for Mike!  I needed some friends to talk to, but I realized I didn’t want to go hang out with my football buddies.  Though I really enjoyed their company, they weren’t people I could be broken in front of or transparent about how I was feeling.

Then something happened—I became very aware of the fact that I didn’t have any truly safe friends.  I remembered that the above-mentioned church friends I had blown off many times were meeting to work on restoring an old 56 Chevy pickup.  I knew where they were and decided to go.  I remember so clearly standing outside the door of that garage wondering how I would be received.  I didn’t want to go home and didn’t want to be alone, so I went in.  I will never forget what happened next.  One of the guys put down a tool, walked over, and gave me a hug.  I had turned away from superficial high school obsessions, and walked into love, acceptance, and mercy.

I want to say that far too many churches neglect this.  If you have not experienced love when walking through the doors of a church let me just say that I am really sorry.  There are many who call themselves Christians who care more about the comfort of playing “country club church” rather than the mission of Christ.  I have read countless blogs bashing Christians, and often they are right.  Yep, you heard me correctly.  Their analysis is correct.  The problem is the Christians they are evaluating aren’t really acting the way Christians are supposed to act—they just wear the t-shirt.  Remember though, love is not the absence of accountability!  True Christian love is a passion for people, not the allowance of a moral free-for-all!  Mercy and truth must coexist together.  It’s Biblical. (click here to read more about the freedom that can be found in God’s law)

So how do we raise a true family of believers that look at the brokenness around them and with arms open wide embrace a hurting world?  I believe the answer is a right relationship with God and personal accountability.  It doesn’t happen overnight.  We are all on a journey of learning to respond right and act right, and on this side of life we won’t get it perfectly right.  Only one man always said and did exactly the right thing.  In the years that followed that unforgettable night in high school, God shaped me through his Word and those guys.  We would meet weekly and hold each other accountable to living out the teachings of the Bible.  Don’t get me wrong—we all messed it up quite often, but our passion was to actually try to live like Christ.  Here are questions very similar to the ones we asked each other.

 Accountability Questions

  1. Have you spent time each day this week reading God’s Word and in prayer?
  2. What have you done this week to spend quality time with your family and friends?
  3. Did your work ethic honor God this week?
  4. Have you been above reproach in financial matters this week?
  5. Have you been morally pure in your thoughts and actions this week?
  6. Have you told any half-truths or outright lies, putting yourself in a better light to those around you?
  7. Have you shared the Gospel with an unbeliever this week?
  8. Have you taken care of your body through daily physical exercise and proper eating/sleeping habits?
  9. Have you been a faithful steward of God’s tithes and resources?

It was asking and answering questions like these that shaped us as young men and still shape us today!  Our passion is to usher into our world the nature of Jesus.  All I can say is this: I know that Jesus saves.  I have experienced real Christianity and want to train others to live it out too.

Looking back on my life, I wonder how many parents pray their kids don’t have to travel difficult roads.  I know, I get it, I am a parent now too, but this hard road led me to the feet of Jesus and into great dynamic friendships!  The person that you love may be traveling a hard road right now.  The journey may take years, but remember the story isn’t finished yet.  Brokenness is sometimes a gift. 

I want to thank Norman Cano for translating the blog!

Este mundo necesita desesperadamente Cristianos Verdaderos
En éste artículo encontrarán dos temas:
1)    Un análisis del porque las decisiones son importantes
2)    Preguntas cruciales que pueden utilizar
¿Por qué hacer lo correcto nos hace sentir incómodos? El decir lo siento, confrontar a alguna persona o incluso admitir estar equivocado puede ser muy difícil y requiere humildad.
Recuerdo uno de esos días en el que tuve que enfrentar una situación difícil que cambió mi vida por completo.   Tenía aproximadamente 17 años y me encontraba persiguiendo de manera implacable todas aquellas cosas que los muchachos persiguen a esa edad (en la escuela secundaria), chicas y popularidad.  En medio de aquella persecución, totalmente absorbido por las pasiones del momento, tomé decisiones que lastimaron a las personas que más me amaban.   Mi corazón estaba endurecido hacia mis padres, me burlaba de todas las normas religiosas y estaba alejado de mis amigos de la iglesia.  El propósito de mi vida en ese momento era únicamente las chicas y la gloria, destruí todo lo que estaba a mi paso con tal de alcanzar aquel propósito.
Recuerdo claramente la noche en que todo aquello se vino abajo.  La chica con la que estaba saliendo era dulce, en realidad tenía un buen corazón, pero ninguno de los dos estaba en el camino correcto en aquel momento.  Ambos teníamos un trasfondo maravilloso, padres que posiblemente no aprobarían la dirección que nuestras vidas habían tomado.  Entre menos se inmiscuyeran mis padres en mi vida y amistades, más feliz era.   Aquella noche, todo se vino abajo, terminó la relación con aquella chica, había salido con algunas chicas en un período corto de tiempo y había perdido.   La llevé hasta su casa, recuerdo haber gritado de frustración en mi camioneta mientras me alejaba, incluso golpeé con mi puño el volante.  ¡No fue una buena noche para Mike!  Necesitaba un amigo para hablar, me di cuenta que no deseaba ir con mis amigos del equipo de football; aunque realmente disfrutaba de su compañía, ellos no eran el tipo de amigos con los que yo podría llorar y ser franco respecto a cómo me sentía.
De pronto, algo sucedió – pude darme cuenta que no tenía verdaderos amigos.   Recordé a los amigos de la iglesia que mencioné, de quienes había escapado muchas veces mientras nos reuníamos para trabajar en la restauración de una vieja camioneta Chevy modelo 56.  Sabía en donde se encontraban, así que decidí ir. Recuerdo estar parado justo en la puerta de aquel garaje imaginando como me recibirían, no quería ir a casa y tampoco quería estar sólo, así que decidí entrar.  Nunca olvidaré lo que pasó, uno de los chicos dejó las herramientas con las que estaba trabajando, caminó hacia mí y me abrazó.   Me había alejado de las obsesiones superficiales de la escuela secundaria (high school) y acercado al amor, la aceptación y la misericordia.
Muchas iglesias descuidan esto, si no haz experimentado el amor fraternal al acertarte a una iglesia déjame decirte que lo siento mucho.  Hay muchas personas que se hacen llamar cristianos y están más interesados en su comodidad, juegan a ser un “Club” en lugar de seguir la misión que Cristo les ha encomendado.  He leído innumerables blogs que atacan a los cristianos y lamentablemente en muchas ocasiones tienen razón, su análisis es correcto.  El problema es que los cristianos que éstas personas han evaluado no actúan de la forma que los cristianos deberían hacerlo, simplemente se hacen llamar cristianos.   Recordemos que amor no significa la ausencia de responsabilidad, el verdadero amor en Cristo trae consigo un amor por el prójimo, no la libertad moral de estar libres de todo.  La Misericordia y la Verdad deben coexistir, es bíblico. (Presiona aquí para leer más acerca de la libertad que trae consigo la Ley de Dios).
¿Cómo podemos formar una verdadera familia de creyentes cuyos ojos puedan ser abiertos hacia la necesidad del prójimo y estén dispuestos a extender sus brazos, a dar su vida por un mundo necesitado?  Pienso que la respuesta es una relación verdadera con Dios y una decisión personal.   Esto no pasa de la noche a la mañana, los cristianos nos encontramos en un viaje en el que aprendemos a responder y actuar de la forma correcta, no obstante, debemos estar claros que no somos perfectos, Nuestro Dios es perfecto, Jesús fue el único que siempre hizo lo correcto.
Los años siguientes, después de aquella noche inolvidable, Dios moldeó mi corazón a través de Su Palabra y a través de aquellos muchachos.  Nos reuníamos cada semana, animándonos a seguir firmes en la decisión de vivir bajo las enseñanzas de La Biblia.   No me mal interpreten, eventualmente nos metíamos en problemas, sin embargo, teníamos la pasión de tratar de vivir como Cristo.   Las siguientes son preguntas muy similares a las que solíamos hacernos.
Preguntas Cruciales
1.    Has invertido tiempo para leer la Biblia y Orar cada día de ésta semana?
2.    Que has hecho durante ésta semana para compartir tiempo de calidad con tu familia y amigos?
3.    Honraste a Dios al realizar tu trabajo con ética ésta semana?
4.    Manejaste tus finanzas de manera correcta ésta semana?
5.    Te mantuviste moralmente puro en tu actuar y en tus pensamientos esta semana?
6.    Dijiste alguna verdad a medias o mentiste con tal de guardar tu imagen delante de aquellos que te rodean?
7.    Compartiste el Evangelio de Salvación con alguna persona no creyente ésta semana?
8.    Tuviste cuidado de tu cuerpo (Templo de Dios) ejercitándote, comiendo y durmiendo de forma adecuada?
9.    Has sido un administrador fiel con los diezmos y los recursos que Dios te ha dado?
Fue a través de estas preguntas y respuestas que nuestros corazones fueron moldeados cuando éramos aún muy jóvenes y lo siguen siendo hasta el día de hoy.   Nuestro deseo es traer a éste mundo la Naturaleza de Jesús.   Todo lo que puedo decir es esto: Yo sé que Jesús salva.  He experimentado lo que significa ser un cristiano verdadero y mi anhelo es guiar a otros a vivir de ésta manera.
Al recordar mi propia vida, me pregunto cuántos padres oran por sus hijos para que no tengan que atravesar situaciones difíciles.  Sé lo que esto significa, ahora soy padre también, éste camino difícil me ha guiado a los pies de Jesús y a caminar con personas maravillosas.   La persona que amas quizás pueda estar atravesando por una situación difícil.  El viaje puede tomar años, pero recuerda que la obra aún no está concluida, la Biblia dice: “Aquel que comenzó en vosotros la buena obra, le perfeccionará hasta el día de Cristo Jesús” (Filipenses 1:6 LBLA)

Las situaciones difíciles muchas veces son un regalo en nuestras vidas.

Fake friends

Friend

A couple days ago my phone rang.  It was my wife calling to let me know she was feeling quite sick.  It became clear the baton of childcare was being passed to me for the night.  As any great dad would do, I put in a movie and ordered pizza.  We all sat in the living room, turned the lights down, and dove into our pizza and soda as the Chronicles of Narnia started playing.

There was one scene that caught my attention.  Young king Peter stands on a hill overlooking a battlefield.  It’s one of those epic scenes.  The opposing army sounds like thunder as they march, approaching nearer.  The camera rolls over the hill showing how vast and overwhelming this battle is about to be–the good guys are far outnumbered.  They all line up like a perfect chess set with countless pieces, and all became still.  At that moment all you could hear is the wind.  The tension was high and fear was on the face of this young king as he was about to go into a seemingly hopeless battle.  He turns to his friend and general and asks him, “Are you with me?”  His general responds, “To the death.”

To the death…think about that.  Wouldn’t it be awesome to know you have a friend, spouse, or family member that would stand by your side even in the midst of life’s greatest obstacles?   Our world has become so obsessed with self-preservation and pleasure that even the deepest of covenants are no longer sacred.  The loyalty of marriage, family, and even some friendships go to the highest pleasure bidder.  Wouldn’t it be nice to find someone who was absolutely faithful?  A friend who would stand by you through any circumstance, no matter how dismal, and say they are with you to the death.

Believe it or not, this is the model of love Christ demonstrated to us.  As Jesus hung on the cross suffering deep emotional and physical pain he looks at those who have hurt him and says, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” You have a friend who will stand with you even to the death.  In absolute loyalty and complete faithfulness, Jesus wants to show you what honor and love truly look like.  Can you imagine how different our world would be if we were to value justice, commitments, and covenants over self pleasure?  “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:10-11 ESV)

That’s a good Friend.