Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Danger or Glorified Sin

I was talking with a counselor once about how sins often breed other sins. We were talking about the sin of adultery specifically, that when a person commits adultery, the other person in the marriage is much more likely to commit adultery, because it becomes an option. I found it interesting how my counselor friend shared that often the sins of one person opens the doors for others.

There are some things that we would never consider doing, and it seems like no one could do anything, we are afraid of the consequences and the price. One day our friends try it and they live to tell the tale, they may even enjoy it. They didn't die, lightening didn't strike and no one died. This happens with teens with sex. One teen has sex and tells their friends about the experience. It then is no longer a big, strange thing, but something their friends are doing.

It seems to be part of human nature that when someone tries something, we want to try it too. We have to realize that if someone makes a mistake, commits a sin and does the wrong thing, we may not always see the consequences. We may not see how it effects them, it may seem like there isn't a cost. There is. If someone introduces you to a new way to sin, it's not an open invitation. There is still a cost and a price to be paid.

In the same way, we have to be careful how we talk to others about our sin. Just like with the married couple and adultery, we don't want to make our sin an option for someone else. We don't want to make it seem like we "got away" with it or pulled a fast one on God. The truth is, even if there isn't any visible cost, our sin always has a price and it causes problems. It disrupts relationships and causes problems, even when it's hard to see. It's important not to glorify our sin and share it in a way that can cause others to stumble.

When we confess our sins to others, there are things to remember. You should confess and have accountability with a person or people, but we need to choose wisely. You shouldn't be random in your confessions. It should be a mature believer, someone you trust and depend on. It should be someone who won't lead you into temptation or cause you to stumble, and in the same way not to cause others to stumble. We have to make sure we don't cause others to fall, but instead support them in the areas we have learned lessons and failed. Never brag about your sin, or get caught in a competition to see who has sinned the worst. Paul shared that he was a sinner, but did not give specifics or list all the ways he sinned. In the same way, we can acknowledge we are sinners without giving specifics. A man can share that he struggles with lust without painting a mental image of who he lusts after. A woman can share she struggles with jealousy without listing all the things she wished she had that she was jealous of. A couple can share they need prayer for some issues in their marriage without airing all of their dirty laundry for the world to see.

Let's be open, let's stay accountable but we wise about it. Let's make sure we are concerned and cautious about others. Let's not make our sin an option or others and ensure the sins of others doesn't become an option for us. It's a lot of work and takes diligence, but it will be worth it.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

My Most Important Role

I've been a lot of things in my life. I've been a Pastor, Youth Pastor, Education Pastor, Associate Pastor, Campus Missionary, Teacher, Speaker, Coach, Consultant, Operator, Technician, Manager and a whole list of other things. They have been great positions for the most part, but there is one role that is looming over me and I feel the responsibility. I cherish it, but also don't underestimate it. It's the role of being the head of my family. I'm a husband and father.

I haven't always been the best at this role. I've messed up, said and done things I regret, I've dropped the ball and just blown it. The job keeps changing, I started with no kids, now there are three. They keep getting older and it gets more complicated. This year I have one is Elementary, one in Middle School and one in High School. It's no longer simple questions, the questions and problems are much more complex. I'm trying to walk beside my wife as we navigate teenage years. Teenage attitudes. Issues that come up.

Marriage keeps changing too. When we started it was just her and I and we had no idea what we were doing. Now it's been 16 years and she knows what she is doing but I'm still pretty clueless. I try to be helpful but I fail at that. I am thankful that I have a very forgiving wife. I know I have blown it often as the Spiritual leader of the house. I don't pray with her like I should, I have struggled with that our entire marriage. I don't really talk with her about the Bible like I should either. I have tried, but I often end up on things that are more theoretical than practical. Theories and ideas and all sorts of Woven things about time and predestination.

I am not the perfect dad or husband. I mess up but I know that I have to try and I have to do my best. I can't just cut out or cop out or fade out. I'm dad, no one else is going to have that role for my kids because they are my kids. I can't resign or get fired or get fired and tell everyone I resigned. I have to get better. On the plus side, I found out if you read on your chosen field for an hour a day, you'll be an international expert in like 7 to 10 years. I will keep reading all I can about being a good dad and a good husband. I have a good number of books read, so I'll just keep at it.

How about you? Are you the perfect mom, dad, husband, wife, son, daughter, employee, whatever? We live in a day when it's just easier to quit, cut and run, quit and give up. You can't, and you shouldn't. Let's try a little more, give a little more, tolerate a little more and work on that patience thing. Don't buy the lie that if you leave, things will be better. It rarely boosts moral to lose someone from your life, so let's keep going. We can survive, we can thrive and we can do this. You can do this.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Update on my Back/ Leg Issue

Well, I had surgery on my back, a micro-discectomy. It did the trick, my leg pain was gone. . . for about a week. Then it began to creep back. It's back in my hamstring and my foot is tingly again. Again. I am having another MRI to figure out what is going on. Hopefully it's just scar tissue and a few injections will take care of the issue. Thanks for all the prayers and support, I really appreciate it. In the mean time, I am chilling at home, writing and reading and being in pain. It's not the best way to spend time, but I'm trying to make the most of it.  I'll keep you all up to date as I find out what is going on. Can't wait for that perfected resurrection body!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Indie Authors, Sharing for Change

Bring a writer gives you an awesome ability to read and talk to other writers. This is one such occasion to read a story that is so much more. I'll let the author, Ang King tell you:

About Black Sheep

About Black Sheep

How does one write a foreword to their life story? I guess I’ll give it a try. I’m not even sure why I decided to write my story, but maybe someone needs to read it.
What is Black Sheep about? About me, well part 1 about me.  You’ll read about my abuse history, memories, and recovery. I plan to write more about my Spiritual Journey in part two but am considering combining the two.
I wanted my story out there, I wanted to let other survivors know they are not alone and to give them a voice. Part of my narrative I am really talking to God.
I hope my book lets others believe they are not alone. Thank you.

You can find her book here.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Let's Talk Education

If you know me then you probably know I consider myself an educator. I am not a public school teacher, but I have spent a lot of time inside the classroom. I have taught (substitute, but I had to prepare lesson plans often) public school, taught one class in a Christian school. It was amazing. I have taught a whole lot in churches from babies to senior adults. I have taught in conferences and in large group settings, down to 1 on 1 classes with people. Teaching is my passion.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the education system of the United States needs some help. I want to address today what I think the issues are, how we begin to fix things and then encourage you to get involved. So let's start with what I see the three biggest issues are in public education as it exists today.

First, teachers are no longer in control of teaching, administrators are losing the ability to administrate, districts have lost control, the state DOE is losing the ability to make decisions because they all have to cater to the Federal Government. What is messed up is that the Federal Government has no real power over state Departments of Education, so instead of saying "you have to do this", they control them by the purse strings. States that play by the rules get Federal funds. If you don't play by the Fed's rules, you don't get the money. The money drives the agenda, not the educational needs of the students. I don't blame the States, the Districts, the Administrators and definitely not the teachers. I blame the legislators at both the state and federal level.

Legislators want to make the best education system possible, but they are not educators and they make bad decisions based on ignorance. Over testing and using material that is not using developmentally accurate methods in teaching and testing. They need to give control back to educators and let them make decisions. They need to be able to make local decisions and not be bullied by budgets. Legislators need to be involved in making the ideal situations for educators to thrive but give the teacher control of the classroom, the principal control of the school, the superintendent control of his district. Give the school board a role of oversight, but let those who know teaching, teach.

Number two is that education is no place to pursue social agenda. The school is not the place to teach kids about homosexuality, transgenderism, religious teachings, Christian or Islamic expect for their place in the history of the nation. Kids in school need not be bogged down in being the social experiment for whichever political party is in the majority. The purpose of education is the create good citizens. We need to teach them to think critically, which means we can't tell them how to think. Moral and ethical issues are to be handled by parents, by religion and by philosophy, not by the public education system. The public school can not be the police force of society by making children of today conform to the idealistic norms of the controlling group. You can't make the kids of Atheists be Christian, you can't make the kids of Christians be Atheists. You shouldn't try to force sexual agendas on kids, and developmentally speaking, you should never try to tell a kid in elementary school what his or her sexual preference is. If a boy plays with barbies, it doesn't mean anything except he likes barbies. He doesn't have to be gay. He can play with the barbie or play house or whatever, let the kid be a kid. It's time to stop making the classroom the place for social experimentation.

Third, the way curriculum and especially textbooks are created. This overlaps some with point two, but let's be honest about textbooks. They are all written for Californa and New York. That is where most of the people are, so they write the textbooks with the largest markets in mind. They don't write textbooks thinking about rural Iowa or Alabama or Nevada. They think about LA and San Fran and New York. Much of what we find has been written to cater to the social agenda of those areas. It is also crazy to think that the student in Nebraska have the same educational needs a those in LA. While we all should be learning the same things, we don't learn them the same way. This is because of an educational principle called scaffolding. It's much like building a tower, you start with a foundation  and build upon that foundation and grow the structure. In math, you learn to count, then add, subtract, multiply then divide. You build on the previous skills. You don't just learn things inside the classroom, but in the community. The things you use in your community and your home impact your education. This is different in farming communities, mining communities, industrialized places, large business centers and travel hubs. Your environment makes a difference, so using textbooks with kids in large cities in mind is not the best for the majority of America.

Here is the question of the day, what do we do about it? First, call your local legislators, call your congressmen and senator and talk to them about your concerns. Talk to the teachers, the principals, and the local school board members about what the issues and needs are. Join a PTO/PTA. Volunteer, speak out and be informed. Learn the educational platform of candidates and vote. Lobby, donate, support the AEA (Area Education Association) your state Education Association the NEA. Speak up, make your voice heard. Write a letter to the editor, heck you can even write a blog. Find ways to speak up and share your concerns and we can solve some tough education issues in our country.