How to Honor Your Mother

Yesterday was Mother’s Day, and I was excited for an emphasis-day on honoring my mother!

I decided to preach in a manner that I do not normally prefer. I preached a “How-To” sermon on “4 Ways to Honor Your Mother.”

You can listen to the whole sermon here.

Honor your mother is part of the 5th commandment that God gave to His people through Moses in the 10 Commandments in the book of Exodus. If Honoring your mother is one of God’s 10 great laws, then obviously it is important. Just think – if you were going to create a world and then give it 10 laws, what would be your 10 laws? Would honoring your mother be one of the 10? Obviously, God thinks moms are important!

Here were my 4 Points:

  1. Obey her.
    Ephesians 6:1 says “Children obey your parents.”
    If you want to honor your mother, obey her. Few things hurt a mother more than her children failing to listen to her instruction. Rebellious & Disobedient kids are not honoring their mother. They are dishonoring her. If mom says to take out the trash, you honor her when you take out the trash. You dishonor her and shame her, when you do not take out the trash.
  2. Praise her.
    Proverbs 31:28 says “Her children rise up and call her blessed.” 
    -If you want to honor your mother, praise her. Speak well of her. Everyone likes to be spoken well of. Mothers especially love to hear their children speak highly of them. The whole basketball world has been raving over the recent MVP speech from Kevin Durant in which he praised his mother. Can you imagine how great that made her feel? I am sure his words meant more to her than his basketball skills. He honored his mother by praising her.
  3. Imitate her.
    2 Timothy 1:5 says “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure dwells in you as well.”
    -If you want to honor your mother, imitate her. Find ways to be like her. Learn from her ways and copy them. One wise man has said that imitation is the greatest form of flattery. Your mom will receive such honor when she sees that you are like her. You are taking to her ways.
  4. Trust in Jesus.
    Psalm 16:2 says “I have no good apart from you.”
    If you want to honor your mother, trust in Jesus. All mothers desire for their children to be the best son/daughter possible. Apart from Jesus in us, we are unable to be our best. We are hardly good without Him. I have had many great influences upon my life. Coaches, teachers, friends, and neighbors have all influenced me in varying ways to honor my mom. But without a doubt the biggest and best influence upon me to honor my mother has been God. Christ alive in me causes me to desire to honor my mother.
    -On this note, lets remember that “Honor Your Mother” is one of God’s commandments. God gave us the laws to show us our need for a savior. As we hear of God’s standard to honor our mother, we should run to God for grace and strength to be able to honor our mother.
    -As Jesus said, “Apart from me, you can do nothing.” -John 15:5.

Begg on “Laziness”

Most mornings while in the car, I listen to Alistair Begg preaching. Its on the radio at 8:00am on 94.7 FM. Lately he has been preaching from Proverbs concerning issues like friendship, honesty, procrastination and laziness.

 

This morning he was preaching on “Laziness and Procrastination.” It was a great message. You can listen to it here.

Here is a quote that stuck with me:

“Laziness is a sin. God made us to work. …

As parents we have a great responsibility in this … the challenge for us is to breed children that are known for the quality of their work, for the consistency of their attendance, for the honesty of their endeavor, for the extra-mile given in the place of their employment. These simple things will increasingly be the marks of the godly as our world gives up on the standards of God’s Word.” 

Everything is NOT awesome

A few months back when the new Lego movie came out, we took our sons to see it. The movie was great. It kept their attention. And we loved it. (My 3 sons are so wildly in to Legos right now!)

lego movieThe theme song to the movie is a very catchy pop song called Everything is Awesome! 

Emmett, the main character in the movie, is a happy-go-lucky construction worker who begins each day enthusiastically singing this song – “Everything is Awesome!” The song is very catchy. The lyrics are funny. I especially like the song. My sons and I sing it together often. One line in the song says “Everything is awesome! Everything is cool when you’re part of a team.” Who doesn’t like happy encouraging words like that?

But the other day a few things were going wrong in our house. It was cold and rainy so the kids could not go outside. We did not allow the TV to be on because we had already watched too much television.  It was not the best day in the life of our kids.

Well, Noah was walking through the house singing “Everything is awesome!” He said it several times. And that’s when I heard JJ say to him, “No. Everything is not awesome!”

It was a pivotal moment in our kids lives. I was glad to hear him say that. I am glad that he knows that.

JJ loves that song more than my other kids. He knows all the lyrics. He sings it more often than his brothers. But he knows its not totally true.

I don’t want to be a dad that falsely causes his kids to think everything is awesome. That’s not true. Some days are bad. Some days it rains, and we are stuck indoors. Some days we cannot do what we REALLY want to do. Some days are not awesome.

It is healthy for a kid to learn that reality because the older they get the more it will be clear. Let me give a few examples:

Just in the last week:

  • A 16 year old girl has come to me for help. She is in trouble from drugs. She has dropped out of school.  The dad of her baby is not involved. She does not have a job.
  • We cared for handfuls of people we know who are painfully battling through cancer.
  • I spoke to my mother who lost her father 2 weeks ago. She and her mother (my grandmother) are crying and grieving as they deal with the loss of their father/husband.
  • An alcoholic called me in tears asking for help. He says he is at rock bottom and does not know what to do. He cannot stop drinking.
  • Another family near and dear to us found out that a loved one had committed suicide.
  • Another family has come desperately seeking financial help because they are drowning in debt.

These are just some of the things that have happened in the last few days. None of these are on the news. I have not even mentioned the 5 year old in Louisville killed by a drunk-driver, or the ferry in South Korea that sank with hundreds on board, or the lost plane with over 300 passengers unaccounted for. We could go on and on and on with things that are not awesome. 

But in all honesty, things just aren’t. They are not awesome.  My son, JJ, learned this truth that day. And I am glad he did.

So we need to understand life in light of this realization. If we do not come to understand this truth, then life will be too hard for us. If we do not understand this truth, then we will not understand God.

God tells us in the Bible “For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves…” -(Romans 8:22-23) In other words, everything is not awesome. Don’t be confused. Don’t have unrealistic expectations for life. Life indeed can be great at times, but everything is not awesome.

But God is awesome. And if anyone is in Christ, they are safe- they are God’s.

“Come and see what God has done: He is awesome…” -Psalm 66:5

So, lets not look for life to be awesome but instead look to God who is!

 

Resurrection Eggs Video with my son

My wife has been teaching our kids about the Resurrection of Jesus. She uses a dozen Easter eggs to help them learn it. It seems to work really well. Here is a cool video of Noah (3 years old) explaining what each of the eggs mean.

  • Egg 1 = a leaf – the people waved palm branches as Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey
  • Egg 2 = some bread – for Jesus and the Last Supper with the disciples
  • Egg 3 = some money – silver that Judas took to betray Jesus
  • Egg 4 = a sword – Peter used a sword to wrongly fight for Jesus
  • Egg 5 = some ropes – they whipped and beat Jesus
  • Egg 6 = a crown of thorns – they placed this on Jesus to mock him as a king
  • Egg 7 = a cross – they nailed Jesus to a cross, crucifying him
  • Egg 8 = 3 nails – they used 3 nails to hang Jesus on the cross
  • Egg 9 = a spear – they stabbed Jesus’ side on the cross to confirm his death
  • Egg 10 = some cloth – they wrapped him in white linens to bury him
  • Egg 11 = a stone – they closed up the tomb with a stone
  • Egg 12 =  is Empty – to show that the tomb is empty. Jesus is alive!

 

*The video is full of “Spanglish.” I hope you are able to follow along.

**Also, sorry it doesn’t exactly fit on the blog.

what I took away from T4G

Last week was the biennial Together for the Gospel Conference.

t4g image

As a pastor attending a conference with some 7,000+ other ministry-minded people, I was very encouraged. Here are some of the gems I took away from the conference. The theme this year was “Unashamed.” The emphasis was on evangelism.

 

 

Thabiti Anyabwile

– “wrongly in our evangelism, repentance is often like a footnote to the conversation.”

-“Repentance is a fountain of joy in heaven.”

-“Repentance begins to value God properly.”

Matt Chandler

– “People love Pauline theology but not Pauline pain.”

-“Lets not get over the miracle of the new birth.”

-“Lets be bold brothers, we won’t regret it.”

Mark Dever

– “In a fallen world, some fears may come true.”

-“Our helplessness is the doorway to trust in God.”

-“Satan always presents a rival interpretation of the meaning and purpose of events in our lives.”

Kevin DeYoung

– “Jesus refers to so much Old Testament history and always assumes it is true fact. He never questions it.”

-“In Genesis 2:24, who is talking? Who said it? Who wrote it? In Matthew 19, Jesus says it is God because God is the author of the Bible.”

-“To be bold is to be clear in the face of fear.”

Ligon Duncan

– (This is one of the best sermons I have ever heard.)

-“Sin brings into you that which God did not intend when He created you.”

-“Leviticus does not tell you how to get clean. It just shows you how you are unclean.”

-“If you are going to bring people to Jesus, you need to know that Jesus knows what to do with them. He knows how to deal with their defilement.”

John MacArthur

– “Hell will be far worse for the reached people then it will ever be for the unreached.”

-“Nothing that Jesus did offended them. Everything that he said offended them.”

-“It is always the words that offend.”

John Piper

– “If God is not faithful then Romans 8 means nothing.”

– “The depths of Romans 9 are what enable the heights of Romans 8.”

– (Piper’s 2nd point of application on the word “somehow” from Romans 11:14 was incredible!)

David Platt

– “Right doctrine leads to relentless prayer.”

-“Moses is not changing God’s plan, he is fulfilling it. God in his providence has called us to pray and shape history with his unfolding plan.”

-“‘I worry that the problem is not the sexual immorality of the culture, but rather the self-sufficient culture of the church.”

-“There is something about the glory of God that once you taste it you want more.”

 

“…he made me a priest though…”

Trip Lee’s song “One Sixteen” on his newest album The Good Life is one of the most popular songs to come out of the Reach Records 1-1-6 camp. The song includes K.B. and Andy Mineo. Trip Lee has also written a book called The Good Life.

trip lee good life

The song has a pretty cool design to it. Each of the 3 guys rap for 16 lines. So each only needs one 16 to brag on King Jesus. But the obvious play on words is that “one sixteen” is also referring to Romans 1:16 which says “For I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…” Most everyone who has listened to the song had figured that out.

But I want to comment on one particular part in the song. In Trip Lee’s verse (at the 48 second mark in the youtube video linked above) he says this “I aint got no white collar; he made me priest though.”

I think that many young people today are not sure what Trip means in saying that. As a pastor of a Southern Baptist church, on two separate occasions I have had some college students ask me what he means. One thought Trip Lee was referring to pastors, and the other was unsure what it meant.

So, I would like to clarify what Trip Lee means in the song when he says that God made him a priest even though he does not have a white collar. (Let me be very clear- I have never spoken with Trip Lee about this, but I am fairly positive I know what he is saying. And let me also clarify that I am not implying that I know what he is saying because I am so clever, but rather because “the priesthood of the believer” is such a key piece of doctrine.)

What this means:

A priest and a pastor are not the same thing. Trip Lee is not at all a Catholic priest. And he is not, in that statement, referring to himself as a pastor.

Evangelical Christians believe in the Priesthood of the believer. Anyone who is a born-again believer in Jesus is a priest. 

Webster’s dictionary defines it this way:

“a doctrine of the Protestant Christian Church: every individual has direct access to God without ecclesiastical mediation and each individual shares the responsibility of ministering to the other members of the community of believers”

Wayne Grudem explains it  like this:

“We are also priests, because Peter calls us “a royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9). He invites us to be built into a spiritual temple and “to be a holy priesthood” as well as “to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5). The author of Hebrews also views us as priests who are able to enter into the holy of holies (Heb. 10:19,22) and able to “continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name” (Heb. 13:15). He also tells us that our good works are sacrifices pleasing to God: “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God” (Heb. 13:16). Paul also has a priestly role in mind for us when he writes, “I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship” (Rom. 12:1).”

What Trip Lee is saying in that line is that God has saved him. He now knows God. He now has a relationship with God. He indeed does not have a white collar. But indeed is a priest. God made him a priest. God made Trip Lee, and every other follower of Jesus, a priest when He saved them and forgave them of their sins.

So, Trip Lee is not referring to a special position or title in a church somewhere. He is referring to the saving work of God.

When God calls someone to Himself, He makes them a priest.

Praise God for that!

“young man, are you happy?”

Just the other day I was standing at the gas pump in Fairdale (pictured below) filling up my car when an older gentleman caught me by surprise.

Unexpectedly, from the adjacent gas pump, he blurted out “young man, are you happy?”

Startled by his voice and volume, it took me a few seconds to process what had just happened.

20140317_113445As I thought it over, I found myself smiling as I confidently responded “Yes sir!”

He then said “Well then at least theres two of us.” And belted out a loud “Woo-hooo!” as he walked away.

And that was it. He got in his car and drove off. I finished pumping my gas, got in my car, and drove off.

As I pulled away, I thought to myself how awesome that turn of events was:

1) I am happy. And it was easy for me to answer that I am happy.

2) That man is happy. He really must be for him to have spoken to me in such a happy way.

3)Psalm 1:1-2 (HCSB) “How happy is the man … his delight is in the Lord’s instruction.”

4)That man speaking to me really made my day. “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.” (Prov. 25:11) And “”To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is!” (Prov. 15:23)

“what will happen to him?”

I recently read a powerful quote! Perhaps we need to reverse the question.

The first question that the priest …and the Levite asked was: “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” But the Good Samaritan … reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”

This quote is referring to the Parable of the Good Samaritan given by Jesus Christ in Luke 10:25-37.

In this parable, Jesus is approached by a man asking how to receive eternal life. That is a reasonable question. Jesus answers the man’s question by telling a story. And the story goes on to show how 2 “religious people” did not show mercy to a neighbor. The one who did show mercy (the good samaritan) to the needy neighbor is the model example Jesus gives of the person who is to inherit eternal life because he now loves God and his neighbor through faith in Jesus Christ.

Now getting back to this quote, what is our focus as we see needy people? What is our heart as we encounter those who are lost and struggling? Are we trying to protect and save our own lives? Or are we trying to give up and lose our own lives? (Luke 9:24)

May we be like Jesus who “demonstrates his own love toward us in that while we were yet sinners” he died for us!

So the next time you let someone walk away; or the next time you just leave some folks behind; or the next time you give up on your church family; or the next time you ignore someone in need; or the next time you see someone suffering; or the next time you just make excuses, ask yourself “What will happen to him/them?”

–This quote comes from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech he gave on April 3, 1968 called “I’ve Been to the Mountain Top.”

“Sometime in your life, hope that you might…”

I recently began reading K.P. Yohannan’s book No Longer a Slumdog. God has already used this book greatly to stir my soul. The ministry Gospel for Asia is giving the book away for free.  You can click here to get the book for free.

Chapter one of the book begins with this great quote from Daniel Berrigan:

“Sometime in your life, hope that you might see one starved man, the look on his face when the bread finally arrives. Hope that you might have baked it or bought or even kneaded it yourself. For that look on his face, for your meeting his eyes across a piece of bread, you might be willing to lose a lot, or suffer a lot, or die a little, even.”

Wow!

Jesus said “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.  For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” (Matthew 16:25-26)

Sledding in the snow

Valeria and I took our children out to play in the snow. Tom Wallace park in Jefferson Memorial Forest (The lake in the background was frozen over. We were able to walk out on it.) located right here in Fairdale is an awesome place to go sledding. As these videos show, They loved it!
family pic snow day tom wallace

 

Here is JJ going down the big hill. (Notice that he clips Eli at the bottom!)


Here is Eli going down the big hill. I think he went the farthest!


Here is Noah going down the big hill. (I am proud of him. He recently turned 3 years old, and he was brave to go.)


And here is JJ & Eli going together! Two brothers who are the best of friends. They started spinning toward the bottom!

We had so much fun! I also was able to take our little girl, Carolina, down with me one time. She was smiling so big!