Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Well, today we spent the entire day painting. We are painting all the rooms for the girls in the Genesis house. Most of us have been painting the bedrooms while Chris has been spray panting the beds. They just found out today they are getting a newly remodeled area...they were pumped. It was pretty neat seeing how excited they were. Hopefully, we will complete all the painting and begin laying carpet tomorrow. It would be nice to get all of that done tomorrow since Friday will be our last official day to work. We fly home Saturday morning. I'll be sure and snap some shots of the completed rooms. Tonight, we had supper at the Exodus house which is where the older boys live. We provided a pizza party for all the children. It was awesome. Some of the kids would hide some of the pizza so they would have some for later...that was sad. The good thing is these kids would be on the streets with nothing to eat if not for Richard and Jeanene...the leaders of Children's Vision. Let me tell you, they are doing a great job here in Bogota...very inspiring. One cool thing tonight was the addition of two new children. Two sisters, 16 months old and 2 months old were brought into the home tonight. Marinda and one of the ladies staying with us at Bethel were asked by Jeanene to come to her room and help bathe them and clean them up. After supper they presented them to the children as their sisters. The mother of these two babies came to Jeanene for help. She was feeding the baby sugar water in a bottle. That was a neat experience for Marinda to get to help clean up a brand new addition to Children's Vision. After that we went to a park and played basketball. Here in Colombia it's all about soccer, but we convinced them to go play some basketball. It was a lot of fun. We are beat so I'm going to bed...we have a lot of work to do tomorrow.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Today we had our visit with Kelly Johanna Caranza Ceballos. She's 8 yrs old and we've been sponsoring her thru compassion for about 2 yrs. We were shuttled to the Compassion office in Bogota and were given a tour of the facility. We got to see the room where our letters are translated. It was really neat seeing all of it firsthand. After that, our translator took us in a cab to Kelly's project in Monterrey. Very cool guy, i'll share more about him when we get back. I cannot imagine how this whole day could've gone any better. We were taken to the village church and we met Kelly and her family. Kelly and some of her classmates performed some authentic Colombian dances for us. We took a tour of her school. We went to her house and gave her and her family some gifts. She lives in a very poor area and her house is on a dirt floor. It was very sad to see the conditions they live in but compassion is doing a great job with this ministry. We took Kelly and her mother to the mall and Kelly experienced some things for the very 1st time. She had never been to the mall. She had never eaten a hamburger at a restaurant. She had never been on an esclator or elevator. We got her some sunglasses, ice cream and took her for a ride in the bumper cars...it was awesome. After that, we spent the rest of the afternoon at the park. Let me say, this was the most amazing day we have ever had as a family...at least to my knowledge. I'll share more about it when we get home, but it was just unbelievable. We were very impressed with compassion and the way they handled the visitation. Thanks for all the prayers. As for the Moix's, they spent the day scraping and painting in the Genesis house. That's what we will probably be doing for most of the week. There's a little Christian bakery down the street from where we stay. We walked down there after we had supper with the boys in the Exodus house. They serve different kinds of breads, hot chocolate, snacks etc. Oh yeah, we had a new girl move in the Bethel house with us today. She is from Peoria, Illinois and has been in Bogota for a little while and now she is doing some work at Children's Vision. It's been a great day! Hope everyone is doing well back home and thanks again for the prayers...see you soon!
Sunday, July 25, 2010
We don't have an internet connection at the place we are staying. One of the schools (the Genesis House) has an internet connection upstairs but it's around the corner from where we are. So, i'll try to type down some thoughts when I can and copy and paste them to my blog when we are at the Genesis House. The schools are spread out around the neighborhood. I always thought in my mind they were all together but that's not the case. I guess they just buy property when the opportunity arises and the funds are available. The neighborhood has a lot of thieves/crime so, we have been told not to go out after 8:30 p.m. Moix has his boyscout knife so, he has been given the role of security :-) We are getting ready for church...we will go with Jeanine and the children. I'm not real sure what is on the agenda for the rest of the day but I think we may go to the Exito (like our wal-mart) for supplies. There's not much too eat for breakfast. Let me tell you, these kids are starving for love and attention. It's amazing how we met them for the 1st time and their fingers had to be literally pried from our arms. We don't speak spanish and they don't seem to care one bit. They just want somebody to play with them. I probably need to mention the pictures on the last post are shots from the Bethel Station, where we are staying. I'll try to post some photos when possible. That's all for now.
We are currently at the Genesis house watching a movie with the children. Maddie and Marinda stayed at the Bethel house since maddie wasn't feeling well...pray for her. The Archer's will be leaving at 8 am to meet our compassion sponsored child. We have a suitcase full of gifts for her...that's gonna be awesome. We will give the kids at children's vision the gifts from crossroads on Tuesday. The moix's along with a mother and daughter from Indiana will begin painting in the Genesis tomorrow. The mother and daughter are here as missionaries as well and are staying in the bethel house. We went to church this morning with some of the kids and it was an experience. Hearing some of the songs we do in spanish was interesting and they like to dance...it was cool. Moix and myself got to say a couple words with a translator. We had the afternoon off so we checked out the mall which is about 1 mile from bethel. It's the largest mall in south america. They have a store called Exito (like walmart) and we were able to get some supplies. Keep us in prayer, having a great time.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Friday, July 9, 2010
Thursday, July 8, 2010
We went to the Hello Tonight Concert last night in Memphis. The concert was at Hope Church and it was sold out. We bought our tickets about 3 months ago. I must say, it was awesome. I'm a big fan of both Tomlin and Toby...however, they are both very different. Tomlin is more of a worship leader type and Toby is the rapper/singer, tons of action going on on-stage during his time. I guess you could say it was the best of both worlds...Hannah Montana plug not intended. Go see either one of them if you get the chance and tell them Mike sent you. Yeah, do that...tell them I sent you.
Monday, July 5, 2010
We have signed the lease and the building in Paragould is officially ours...at least for the next 12 months. The building is located in the Paragould Plaza just south of Sears. We will find out about city codes and have the utilities switched over this week. Once we get that stuff out of the way we can go to work on preparing the building for Church. The launch date is set for 10-10-10 and the service will be at 9:00 a.m. This is gonna be a really cool day for Crossroads Church as we are stepping out on faith and trusting God during this journey. I'll try and keep everyone updated on the progress of the building.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
The last chapter is here. Perhaps the most famous chapter in all of Proverbs. A passage that describes the type of woman all men should seek. However, most women want to avoid this chapter because it seems so unattainable. I've heard some people ask, "where's the passage for the man?" We hear about the Proverbs 31 woman but where's the challenge for the man? Well, we need to remember that the intended audience is still the young man. This is not some tidbit thrown in at the end to give instruction for young women. This is the type of woman we as men should seek for as a wife. Nothing has changed, he doesn't want men settling for women that will cause them to go astray. Hold your standards very high, as women should also do in looking for a husband. The 1st 9 verses of this chapter don't get much attention, most usually jump to verse 10. The sayings of King Lemuel, like Agur, we don't really know anything about him. The 1st 9 verses are things he learned from his mother. There are 3 basic teachings, do not use your power to indulge in women, stay sober, and use your authority to defend the weak. Verses 6 & 7 seem a little odd, but the meaning is simple. If alcohol has any value it is for people in this position, but don't let yourself get this way. It's not a license to get people in tough situations drunk. He goes on to say in 8 & 9...speak up for them and defend them. 10-31 contain what has been called the Proverbs 31 woman. Again, the intended audience here is the young man. A young person needs to look long and hard at the character of the person he or she considers marrying. Sexy looks, a winning personality, and popularity are not of themselves bad, but they are not the basis for a lifelong commitment. Few things cause as much pain and regret as marrying a person of bad morals or weak character. The book of Proverbs lays out from beginning to end, the choice for the young man. The way of integrity over the way of folly. I think it is very fitting that the book ends by encouraging the young man to find a living, breathing, wise woman to share his life with.
Monday, June 21, 2010
This chapter is credited to Agur son of Jakeh. We know absolutely nothing about him. However, I love how he starts this chapter. Verse 2 & 3, 'i am the most ignorant of men; I do not have a man's understanding. I have not learned wisdom, nor have i knowledge of the Holy One.' Agur admits that he doesn't have the answers to some of life's toughest questions. In doing this, he is able to embrace the truth that only God can give. The commandment we talked about Sunday, "Honor your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you" goes along with the point of 30:17. Respect for parents is the key to learning respect for all authority. People that can't live with authority will generally live short lives. Those who honor parents can accept limits and will usually enjoy a long, peaceful life. It's what we discussed Sunday, you want to honor your parents? Live wisely.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
One of my favorite verses is in this chapter. Verse 18 "Where there is no revelation the people cast off restraint; but blessed is he who keeps the law." In other words, 'where there is no vision, people perish.' Think about that verse for a second in every area of your life. When you don't have a vision for your marriage, that relationship might not go the distance. Without a vision in your family, it could self destruct. When you don't have a vision for your life, your jobs will be many, but your fulfillment will be scarce. When there is no vision, it will die. Vision is the ability to see beyond today. It's not living for the moment, but living for what can be. Solomon knew this well. As the King, he would need a strong vision for the country. I think that's one reason Solomon asked God for wisdom. He realized the need for special discernment in governing a nation. God blessed him and because of that, the nation had many peaceful years under the reign of Solomon. Having a vision for each area of your life is one of the most important things we can do. It helps us decide what is important and what is a waste of our time. Knowing what to say 'no' to is one of the advantages of having a vision. When something doesn't lead us toward our vision, we have to be willing to say 'no.' That means saying 'no' to many 'good things' and saying 'yes' to the 'best things.' As Solomon has been preaching in this whole book, there are 2 paths...one leads to death and the other to life. Having a vision helps us follow the path that leads to life.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
This chapter continues on with wisdom for the future leaders of families and communities. A young man needs a few basic skills as he enters adult life. He must be able to get along with other people, especially the men in his community. Also, he must know how to read their character. And it is very important for a young man to become well equipped to provide for his family. Also, this chapter discusses the wealthy and the poor. People with wealth and privilege have a special obligation to those who have less, but the temptation is for them to abuse their power. However, if they follow the Biblical path, they are less likely to fall into this trap. There are also a few warnings in here for the rich. Verses 19-27 focus on this area. Chasing fantasies, get rich quick schemes, showing favoritism to certain people, being stingy, etc. Solomon covers all the bases.
Friday, June 18, 2010
Chapter 27 is loaded with good stuff. Another widely quoted verse is in this chapter...(17) 'as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.' Let's break down this chapter. I think the whole point of the 1st two verses is...don't be too sure about the future or yourself. As a leader, sometimes I feel like I have to know what's going to happen tomorrow. However, it's ridiculous to think that way. We need a plan, we need direction, but tomorrow is out of our hands. Verse 5 shows the importance of open communication in relationships. 'Better is open rebuke than hidden love.' This does not mean that it is always better to rebuke or that there is never a time to be silent. The point is that we should express our love to others, and that takes honesty. The next several verses show that building and maintaining close relationships with family and friends is one of the most important things in the world. The rest of this chapter is clearly an appeal from father to son. How to follow sound business practices, how to have good relationships with men in the community, etc. He even talks about the importance of using wisdom in selecting a wife in verse 15, 16. 'restraining her is like restraining the wind or grasping oil with the hand.' In other words, she's out of control. She is quarrelsome, always spending money, making trouble and he can't do anything about it. This type of wife is very different than the one painted in chapter 31. The last 4 or 5 verses of the chapter seem a little strange...talking about grain, flocks, hay, goat's milk. I think the point is simply, take care of your business and your business will take of you. Again, use wisdom in life, be smart and make wise decisions...decisions that won't come back to haunt you, but bless you.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Verse 1 is good..."like snow in summer or rain in harvest, honor is not fitting for a fool." Rain was highly treasured in ancient Israel 'and today's farmers' but if it came at the wrong time...it could do damage. In the same way, a fool who gets honor is likely to take responsibility that he cannot handle. However, snow in the summertime sounds pretty good right now...ha! According to verse 3, the rod is the only instruction a fool understands. Verse 4 & 5 seem to contradict. 4...'do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself.' 5...'answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes.' So, first we don't answer a fool and then we do? (scratchin my head). This actually gives us a good example of how proverbs work. Sometimes it is wise and sometimes it is not wise to answer a fool with the same kind of emotion that the fool himself uses. Sometimes you have to speak this way to get your point across, but if you do it too much...you may become like the fool. Verses 6-10 all talk about the fool with some cool metaphors...'like a lame man's legs' (not going anywhere)...'like tying a stone in a sling' (it may sling around and hit the slinger)...'like a thorn in a drunkard's hand (loses it sting). Pretty cool stuff. The rest of the chapter talks about sluggards, busybodies & liars. The easy thing to do is think about others that fit these descriptions but the more challenging thing to do is ask..."is he describing me?"
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
As stated in the 1st verse, chapters 25-29 are a separate collection of sayings collected and edited by the scribes of Hezekiah. Hezekiah ruled Judah 716-686 B.C. Matthew lists Hezekiah in the genealogy of Jesus. Many of Jesus' teachings are simple and direct because they come straight from Proverbs. His warning about taking places of honor in Luke 14:7-11 seems to come from Proverbs 25:6,7 and His teaching on settling disputes privately in Luke 12:57-59 may be from Proverbs 25:8-10. Personal character is one of the main teachings of Proverbs. That's why Proverbs warns us about the kinds of people to avoid and the kinds of things to add to our life. Integrity, good people skills and strong character are not optional in the Christian life.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Several different sayings of the wise fill this chapter. I think the point of verses 8 & 9 is that a bad reputation is not easy to overcome. Verses 11 & 12 just simply mean we should rescue the innocent when we are able. This chapter shows us that one result of biblical wisdom is that we become mature people. A person of character does not rejoice over the suffering of enemies, tells the truth, lives within his means, is generous but is not sucked into throwing away his money, and can love faithfully.
Monday, June 14, 2010
The 1st 3 verses warn us of taking favors from rich and powerful people. They generally want something in exchange, and their price can be very high. Verses 4 & 5 teach us not to make becoming rich our goal in life. A prosperous life doesn't always include material wealth. There is some teaching on how to raise children in this chapter. The raising of children involves the giving of punishment and praise. To do one without the other is to give a child an unbalanced life. People always want to ask the 'alcohol' question. Can a Christian drink? Solomon shares some of his wisdom on that in this chapter...verses 20, 21 & 29-35. Alcohol, drugs, narcotics all offer brief pleasure while destroying the body. Solomon's advice is to use wisdom. Think about the end result of your actions, not the moment. As he says in verse 32...'in the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper.'
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Wealth is not a bad thing but according to verse 1, if it comes at the expense of everyone else, it is too costly. This proverb seems to set the stage for the next few verses as they deal with wealth, poverty, prudent life, etc. Proverbs 6 - end of chapter are various sayings. Verse 6 is one of the most well-known of all. 'Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.' This proverb is not a guarantee that our children will never stray from the Biblical teachings they receive when they are young. However, if we teach our children the ways of God on their level, when they get old, it is much more likely that they will remain in the truth. Verse 7 is what Jeremy talked about this morning. 'The rich rule over the poor and the borrower is servant to the lender.' We should avoid falling into poverty because it takes away our control over our lives and gives it to someone else. This is the reason the wise try to stay out of debt. Verse 15 could be disturbing to parents that don't believe in spanking their children. We must remember that our children can't be taught on an adult level, nor can they be reasoned with on an adult level. They must receive discipline appropriate on their age level. Verse 24 is one that we mentioned a couple weeks ago during the series warning us to avoid a hot tempered man. Why? Because you run the risk of learning his ways. As people, we rub off on one another, whether we are good or bad.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Verse 1 shows that the King is not the one in control, it is God. God controls the King. This doesn't mean every King is just, but royal power is a tool that God uses. Verses 9 & 19 both discuss the same topic. One says better to live on a corner of the roof and the other says better to live in the desert...than live with a quarrelsome wife. The point is, any situation is better than living with a quarrelsome wife. You think any of the 1,000 wives Solomon had were quarrelsome? Haha! I bet they were. Verse 14 mentions giving a gift in secret to appease an enemy. This is the idea of settling out of court...a good thing. However, verse 15 reminds us that society can function well only when justice is served. Verses 23 & 24 showcase two different types of people...those who watch what they say and those who boast. Wisdom lives in the 1st and pride lives in the 2nd. Remember, all of these proverbs written are there to help us live skillfully. That's why there are so many different topics in each chapter. We are learning God-given wisdom from Solomon. Underline and circle the ones that speak to you. We all need more wisdom...I know I sure do.
Friday, June 11, 2010
In the first few verses we see more discussion on the mocker. He consumes large amounts of alcohol making his personality worse than it already was. Also, a mocker is someone that is always ready to get in a fight...according to verse 3. This chapter is really focusing on people of good character and people of evil character. People are not always what they seem to be and we must exercise discernment. Being discerning is not the same as being judgmental. However, we do great damage to God's church when we allow unworthy people to lead when they are not ready. We see in verse 10 (differing weights and differing measure--the Lord detests them both) that God hates dishonest scales. And verse 11 follows with the power of actions...we can talk the game but do we play the game? Verse 13 lets us know that some people are just lazy. Verse 18 shows the value of seeking advice before making major decisions. Verse 19 warns us not to reveal anything to a person that is known to gossip. Verse 21 warns us to be careful in dealing with someone that gained money too quickly or easily. Verse 27 is interesting...'the lamp of the Lord searches the spirit of a man; it searches out his inmost being.' The idea is that God breathed life into Adam and His light is like a lamp that searches the inner parts of man...meaning there are no secrets to be kept from God...He knows all. However, we don't...so, we must use discernment in dealing with people. Whenever we allow ourselves to be burned by people of bad character because we don't exercise discernment...it spells trouble. God doesn't want us to just go thru the motions in dealing with people. We have to be wise, think things through, stop rushing and seek helpful advice from others. God wants us to succeed in this life on earth.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Proverbs gives a lot of attention to how prudence leads to a prosperous life because poverty can be so damaging and embarrassing. This doesn't mean that the rich are automatically good and the poor are bad. But we have to recognize that poverty can destroy our lives. Therefore, we should seek to follow biblical wisdom--not in order to get rich but in order to be free of the clutches of poverty and the power of the rich. Also, although the Bible speaks of God's compassion to the poor, it never glorifies poverty. 19:13 is probably a verse you've heard mentioned before..."a quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping." We tend to think of the drip, drip, drip of the sink. However, they didn't have sinks. Solomon was probably referring to a leaky roof, something many people during this time had experienced. A leaky roof would not just be annoying, it would cause major damage to the house. Solomon is showing that a quarrelsome wife is not only a headache, but causes a great deal of trouble for the husband and everyone else in the house. In the last few verses of the chapter and into the next we hear about the 'mocker.' A mocker in Proverbs is someone who rejects wisdom, authority, etc. How do you address a mocker? Sarcasm! Notice verse 27..."stop listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge." It could be translated this way...'stop listening to instruction, my son, so that you may wander from intelligent words.' Gotta love sarcasm!
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Several verses in the beginning of this chapter are focused on the tongue. Solomon knew that words matter...verse 21 says, "the tongue has the power of life and death." We underestimate the power of the tongue, whether used for good or evil. Verses 9-12 focus on security. Verse 11..."the wealth of the rich is their fortified city; they imagine it an unscalable wall." True security, however, is not found in money but in the Lord. I would guess that the inspiration for the Kutless song 'Strong Tower' came from verse 11. Check it out here. Verses 15-19 talk about some of the basic rules of ancient Israel's courts. It really all boils down to fairness. Fairness should be a basic quality of someone that knows God. Verse 22 talks about the joy of having a good wife. Women would later become the downfall of Solomon as he accumulated around 1,000 wives. He must have had a lot of bathrooms in his house. The problem with all of his wives was they were not followers of God. They influenced Solomon to worship other gods. So, a God-fearing woman is 'good' and verse 22 says we can receive favor from the Lord if we find one.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
The 1st half of verse 5 says, "he who mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker." In other words, you make fun of people, you make fun of God. Now, this doesn't mean making fun of people in an enjoyable way (meaning both parties find it funny), we all do that. This is talking about cutting people down in a demeaning way. Cutting people down in order to elevate ourselves. Because they are a created being, we are in essence making fun of God. Verses 20-22 talk about family. The deeper message is that we cannot find happiness if we neglect to train, love and nurture our children. No amount of success in other areas will make up for failure here. The last two verses of the chapter show the power of our words. We did a whole series on the tongue called 'talk is (not) cheap' just a few weeks ago. Our words show us for what we are. If we speak carefully, we are wise. If we are long-winded and highly opinionated and are constantly getting into quarrels, we are fools.
Monday, June 7, 2010
Several miscellaneous proverbs are collected in this chapter. In reading these, it's always good to underline or circle the ones that speak to you. Putting them to memory or writing them on post it notes is also a good habit to form. Verse 2 is a scary proverb. "All a man's ways seem innocent to him," is the 1st half of the verse. We've heard this before in proverbs and no one will argue this. It's easy to look at what other people do wrong and consider our decisions as healthy. The problem is the word 'seem.' And then he brings some scary reality in the 2nd half of the verse..."but motives are weighed by the Lord. Motives? Really? Man, if that doesn't make you shake nothing will. God is not just weighing my bad choices, he is weighing the motives behind those decisions. I think verse 28 is just plain sad. "A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends." Gossip whether true or false is still gossip. However, most gossip in my opinion is false or very exaggerated. So, what makes this verse so sad is that 'close friends' are separated by information that is probably false. It might be better if it said casual friends are separated by gossip, but the word close makes it sad.
Sunday, June 6, 2010
For the most part, this chapter is a collection of miscellaneous proverbs. However, the 1st 17 verses or so contain sayings on gentleness. The rest of the chapter contain 'better sayings'...proverbs that say x is better than y. Verse 4 shows the power of the tongue. We can bring healing to people or we can crush someone's spirit...the choice is ours. I think one thing we as Christians do is drastically underestimate the power between our teeth. Verse 17 shows that it doesn't matter how much 'stuff' you have, if you don't have love there is nothing. This verse reminds me of Paul, he claimed everything was worthless if we were without love. Verse 29 will encourage you or make you sick to your stomach. "The Lord is far from the wicked but he hears the prayer of the righteous." Wicked people are people that God stays away from. However, if we strive to live the life he desires...he hears our prayers. Now, he doesn't necessarily answer our prayers but he hears them. That should encourage us, because all of us have felt at different times in our life that God isn't listening. He is listening, but we may not be asking for the right things.
Saturday, June 5, 2010
Verse 3 says, 'a fool's talk brings a rod to his back, but the lips of the wise protect them.' In other words, watch your mouth or you might get a beating. I know many fights that have started because someone was unable to bite their lip. Our mouth can get us in a lot of trouble. Verses 5-7 give some good advice on watching who we listen to. Advice is always good to get but the problem is most of us usually get advice from someone that we know will agree with us. Advice is not helpful when that's the case. Verses 8-15 pretty much state that life is not always what it seems to be. Therefore, we must use wise discernment in life, which is what Proverbs is all about. Something else worth noting in this chapter is security. True security is in God and an upright life. The idea is, if a person has true security in God, even life in a tent can be secure.
Friday, June 4, 2010
Several different topics are given in Chapter 13...the mouth, riches, providing for the family, etc. I thought verse 7 was interesting. "One man pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth." We all know people like that today. Some people always act like they have more than they really do. Also, many people are so humble, we don't realize they are rich. It amazes me that these Proverbs were written by Solomon some 3,000 years ago. It just shows you how the truths in God's word carries on year after year. Verse 20 brings to mind what we talked about last Sunday. "He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm." It matters who you run with. This is especially true for teenagers because they are at that crucial age of wanting acceptance. It's very easy to be in the wrong group and not even realize it. I think verse 25 sums it all up..."the righteous eat to their hearts content, but the stomach of the wicked goes hungry." Choosing the path of the wicked will always leave you empty. I heard someone say we were all born with an emptiness in our stomach that can only be filled with Christ. However, we try to fill it with the riches of this world, but it will never fully satisfy. I'm assuming that's how Paul was able to say he had become 'content in all circumstances' and according to Solomon...it's a path we all choose.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
It appears righteousness vs. wickedness, use and abuse of words and diligence vs. laziness are some of the main themes in this chapter. Of course, we are in the heart of proverbs now, meaning there are a lot of different topics covered in each chapter. I was a little surprised by verse 10..."a righteous man cares for the need of his animal, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel." Verses 9-11 are all talking about some fashion of providing needs. This may a good verse for the animal lovers out there. Imagine if you were out of food, who would be the last to eat? You wife? Your children? Hopefully, it would be your pet. Solomon is just letting us know that a righteous man is serious about providing for his family and even the animals are taken care of. Of course, some people care more about their pets than they do the family, but that's another story. I thought verse 15 was dead on. "The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice." Now, it would be easy to apply this verse to 'teens' but I think we've all been there and I'm sure we'll be there again in the future. It could be a job decision, dating decision, an item purchase...anything. Solomon says we can be so sure of something that it 'seems right'...key word being seems. That's a little scary when you start to think about. I think that's why we should never lead alone. We all lead in some area of life. It could be the job, home...wherever. Advice is always a good thing to go after. Many times people that are on the 'outside' can see better what needs to happen on the inside. So, next time you're sure about something, get a second or third opinion and go from there.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
There are several verses on righteousness in the beginning of this chapter. Some people may be bothered by some of these passages that appear to endorse a 'works based righteousness.' However, Proverbs never mentions that forgiveness is gained by good works to God. This really shows how we miss the whole idea of justification by grace. God's grace doesn't mean that we don't need to repent (to change directions) or that God doesn't care how we live our lives. A person that is happy with living their lives in a selfish way has never truly repented.
Another thing I noticed about this chapter are the verses on wickedness. Verse 21 says, 'be sure of this: the wicked will not go unpunished.' That's a difficult verse to read at face value because we live in a world where the wicked seem to get away with everything. We have to remember that although human justice fails, God's justice never does.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
The main focus through the first 9 chapters of Proverbs has been Wisdom, Folly, Adultery & the paths to life or death. There's been other stuff included but those are probably the main things that have risen out so far. Now we move to what my Bible says is the 'Proverbs of Solomon.' We will see more 'one-liners' now, but there is still structure. Verses 1-5 show diligence versus laziness. Verses 6-11 show the mouth of the wicked. Notice that verse 6b and 11b are the same...sort of like bookends. You will probably notice that a lot in proverbs. However, there are principles that cover a wide array of subjects in each chapter. Verse 4 'lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.' Not a guarantee to be wealthy...I know many people that work 'hard' but may not be wealthy. However, you have to define wealth. We usually like to compare with our neighbor...not the best thing to do. It's a principle, not a get-rich scheme. Meaning, if you want to be poor...be lazy. You want to be wealthy? Work hard. I like verse 17 which is a good verse for leaders. 'He who heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.' People that can't stand correction, based on this verse, are not ready to lead. Solomon says they will lead others astray. I know many people that resist correction from people with good intentions. That's not a healthy thing to do. Leaders are learners. Once you stop learning, you stop leading. There is so much wisdom packed into each of these chapters.
Monday, May 31, 2010
Proverbs Chapter 9:
This chapter introduces a new character, Woman Folly. This new character reinforces the whole theme of Proverbs…that there are two paths to choose from. She is clearly the opposite of Lady Wisdom and bears the characteristics of the prostitute…loud, careless and a temptress. The thing to remember is all of our decisions lead us down a path. Even if we feel the decision is very minor, it still leads us to a destination. The introduction of Lady Folly reveals that we either choose wisdom…the way of life or folly…the way of death.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Proverbs Chapter 8:
I love how we just left a chapter that talked about an adulteress woman pursuing a man and now we see Lady Wisdom also pursuing a man. The whole theme of having two paths to choose from continues to stay alive. One path leads to death and the other leads to life. We’ve heard from Lady Wisdom a lot in just a few chapters in Proverbs, so who is she? Is it God, Christ, some Egyptian or Greek god? Actually, Lady Wisdom is a personification of the wisdom that God has built into the world. When Solomon talks about creation we see wisdom woven into the process. Remember, Proverbs is a book of principles and agreeing with them doesn’t make any difference…they are still active. Wisdom is woven into our world and according to verse 4 it’s available to anyone and verse 17 implies she is easy to find. Young men were being challenged by Solomon to pursue the woman that brings life…Lady Wisdom.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Proverbs Chapter 7:
Chapter 7 is a further warning about adultery. It’s interesting because it has a lengthy story from verse 6 to 23. Solomon is peeking through the lattice of his window and watches a young man fall prey to an adulteress woman. He watches the young man as he is lured by the woman to have sex. It’s not just her dress that is seductive but her words. She mentions fellowship offerings in verse 14. Basically, what she is doing is justifying making money for sex so she can use it for worship. Also, she mentions her husband is gone and took the money purse with him. She somehow convinces the young man that he is actually doing a good deed by paying for sex. It seems crazy but that shows how naïve people can be in certain situations. The young man goes to the bedroom with the woman and the picture Solomon paints is not the one the young man has in his mind. Solomon says ‘an ox going to the slaughter’…’a deer stepping into a noose.’ The young man is probably thinking…’I’m the man’…’this is going to be awesome.’ Whenever you’re involved in sin it’s sometimes difficult to see what is really going to happen. As Solomon peeks through the lattice he is watching something he has seen many times and he knows the ending. According to Solomon, it’s a path that leads to the chambers of death. Some people struggle with this passage because it seems to portray the young man as innocent and the woman as the seducer. However, we have to remember that many of these proverbs were written to the young men since they would become leaders of their household and communities. Also, the culture was different then and all of the ‘good girls’ would be at home under the protection of their father. That’s different from today since men and women can hook up almost anywhere at anytime. So, for a book written to young men it makes sense to tell a story from this perspective.
Friday, May 28, 2010
Proverbs Chapter 6:
Man, this chapter is loaded. We have financial issues, laziness, a list of things the Lord can’t stand and more adultery warnings. I’m not going to hit them all, but I’ll focus on verses 6-11. We can learn from an ant. Wow! Ants seem so useless when you think about it? I mean you’ve probably killed thousands of them by just walking across the yard, spraying your yard or maybe setting bait traps in your house. If I was going to pick something to learn a lesson from, ants would probably be at the bottom of the list. However, Solomon says ‘go to the ant and consider its ways.’ Think about the ant for a second. Have you ever seen one just layin’ around not moving…like your dog? Have you ever watched an ant carry something bigger than its own body? Yeah, I bet you have. In fact, every time I see ants they’re working, moving and doing something. They always seem to be busy. If there’s anyone that needs a vacation it’s probably the ant. Solomon says they do all this on there own…no leader…no boss…no commander saying, ‘get busy, go to work.’ The ant will really make you look hard at your own life and ask, ‘what should I be busy doing?” Most of us are probably hard workers and need some rest. However, spiritually I think is where we tend to get lazy. Reading your Bible, praying, leading your children in devotions, all that stuff takes time and because there are no instant results…we get lazy in that area. Solomon says the ant works hard all summer to store provisions. The ant works hard during one season so it can be prepared for the next. That’s exactly what we should be doing spiritually. Growing in Christ everyday seems so monotonous, but it helps you prepare for every season of life. Maturing in Christ doesn’t just happen, it takes work and Solomon says we can learn from the ant. There are a lot of other topics in this Chapter. Which one spoke to you?
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Proverbs Chapter 5:
Wisdom has been the main theme for the 1st four chapters of Proverbs. There was a brief talk on avoiding gangs in chapter 1, but since then it’s been wisdom. Now, we get to one of the main reasons why we need wisdom. This chapter is really geared towards men, but it also applies to women. The message is pretty simple, don’t cheat on your spouse…enjoy each other in the marriage bed. One thing I like about this chapter is verse 3. “For the lips of an adulteress drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil.” In other words, she will be very desirable and pleasing. Also, it’s not just her looks that will get you but her personality can be attractive…notice…“her speech is smoother than oil.” I think the message is to just be honest with your kids. They will desire someone of the opposite sex someday and when they do…applaud. It’s a good thing. Now, you have to teach them where to channel that desire and according to Solomon, it’s the marriage bed only. Be honest and acknowledge the desire is normal and move from there. Now notice where Solomon goes after he reveals the lure of the woman. He goes on a tear for the rest of the chapter revealing that ‘yeah she’s pleasurable’ but it’s only temporary. Afterwards, you will wish you had never gotten near her because the path she’s on leads to death. He lists all of the negative things about having sex outside of marriage. Verse 19 is a cry for 1 man and 1 woman for life. Solomon says we can be satisfied for always and the scary thing is verse 21. God has ‘full view’ of all we do. I’m not sure we think about that enough. We laugh at Adam & Eve hiding from God in the garden but we still do the same thing today. It’s really kind of funny when you think about it. Adam & Eve didn’t get to read about someone before them hiding from God and learn a lesson. They were the 1st people. We do and we still hide…hmm.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Proverbs Chapter 4:
The great thing about this chapter is how the father is practically begging his son to seek wisdom. Normally, the parental appeal takes a verse or two, but this one goes on and on for about 10 verses. You can really see the passion in the Father as he pleads with his son to seek wisdom. Also, wisdom is seen as a woman, which is interesting. Normally, a father will talk to his son about women and encourage his son to date. The agenda of this father is very different. Verse 6…“love her and she will watch over you”…verse 8…”esteem her”…”embrace her.” It sounds like he’s talking about a girl, but he’s really talking about seeking wisdom. I love verse 3…”when I was a boy.” You’re probably thinking he’s about to tell how he walked 10 miles to school in the snow and it was 105 degrees outside. However, he relates to his son and lets him know he’s not the first to go through struggles. It may be hard to do, but somehow we have to let our children know we’ve been there, without coming across as a know it all. Let them know you made some mistakes and what you learned from them. We just have to be honest. And truthfully, I think we as adults still battle with this issue. Every time we go through something it’s as if we are the only one with problems, or the only one to go through whatever it is we are going through. It’s just more proof that we need advice and direction as we go through the trials and difficulties of life. Verse 11 says wisdom will lead you to straight paths. I think that should be the desire for all Christ followers.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Proverbs Chapter 3:
Chapter 3 continues on with the benefits of wisdom and the appeal of the parents for the young man to search for wisdom. There’s a lot in this chapter…we see giving in 9, 10 & 28, creation in 19 & 20 and doing evil in 29 and on. It’s worth noting that 2 of the most popular verses in the Bible are found here (v. 5, 6). However, the thing I really notice about this chapter is the appeal for a ‘get rich scheme.’ The heading in my Bible says ‘further benefits of wisdom.’ It can be really easy to read Proverbs with the focus on ‘what’ as opposed to ‘who.’ Meaning, we become more interested in ‘what we get’ versus ‘who we become.’ It seems to get support in verse 2 of the chapter…”for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity.” Proverbs never teaches that righteousness is the path to riches…at least not our definition of riches. It does, however, speak the truth that those who live a life devoted to God will escape the pitfalls that bring people to poverty or an early grave. Now, that doesn’t mean everything goes our way and we never experience any difficulties or struggles. We may be going thru some sort of discipline…mentioned in verse 11. But there are some things that we just simply bring on ourselves and Proverbs tells us we don’t have to live that way. There is a better path to take, a better way of life.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Proverbs Chapter 2:
In chapter 2 we see the heart of what Proverbs is all about. There are ‘two ways’ for all to choose from. We can choose to walk the path of integrity or the path selfishness. One path is the fear of God and the other one is choosing to go against the heart of God. Lady Wisdom continues to call out to us and encourages us to seek her. However, wicked men and the immoral woman are also seen calling out in hopes that we will choose their path. In verses 18-22 we see that one path leads to life and the other leads to death. The problem, as we talked about Sunday morning, is we only believe that when we’re driving. It makes sense to head south if we are going to
*One thing I noticed in chapter 2 was verse 17…”who has left the partner of her youth and ignored the covenant she made before God.” The wicked woman that is coming after the young man is a woman that has left her husband. She ‘ignored the covenant she made before God.’ When a couple gets a divorce they not only ignore the covenant between each other but they commit the greater sin by ignoring the covenant they made before God. This scripture really shows the heart of God. He hates divorce. The next time you attend a wedding just imagine God standing on the stage with the bride and groom. As the vows are being spoken, God is listening. They are making a promise to him. Marriage, in God’s eyes, is a huge deal.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Proverbs Chapter 1:
Thank you for joining me as we go thru the book of Proverbs. During this journey I will write down some thoughts on each chapter. You may want to journal some of your own thoughts during this process. There’s a lot of wisdom crammed into this book of the Bible. Hopefully, by the end of the 31 days we will be much wiser without getting much older.
The 1st thing to understand is the simple goal of Proverbs…to teach the ordinary person how to be wise. That’s it! We don’t just need knowledge (information). We don’t just need understanding (ability to process the information). We need wisdom (the ability to make good, healthy decisions). A wise man in the ancient world was supposed to be able to have this kind of wisdom. Also, he should be able to interpret omens from the gods. That’s why guys like Joseph and Daniel were elevated after they interpreted dreams. Proverbs doesn’t offer us this kind of wisdom…only the kind for making healthy decisions.
One thing that really jumps out in Proverbs from the very beginning is the use of the word ‘son.’ Verses 8-19 show a father advising his son to stay out of gangs. Men were the leaders of the household and it was very important to advise young men (the future) how to live life. Also, wisdom is seen as a woman. So, the thing that really grabs your attention in the 1st chapter of Proverbs is the importance of family. The parents are pouring into the lives of their children. I love verse 23…”if you had responded to my rebuke, I would have poured out my heart to you and made my thoughts known to you.” Wisdom is speaking here. Very early in the game we see wisdom has been offered…not just to Solomon but to all of us.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Friday, February 5, 2010
Mike, you don’t know me, but I just wanted to send you a word of encouragement and praise for what you did for Jeremy Sullivan and City Church in Jonesboro on Christmas Eve. I am the Innovative Church Planting Strategist, which is a brand new position for the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. City Church was the first church I helped to start and get going in this position. I just wanted to shoot you guys a note and say what an awesome gift you gave and what a blessing you were to City Church. As you probably know raising up good church partners for church plants is one of the most difficult aspects of my job because most established churches just don’t get it when it comes to church planting. We’re making great strides, but still have a long way to go.
Anyway, I didn’t have any big agenda or anything, I had talked with Jeremy this morning and he told me what you guys had done for them. I got your email address off your website and just wanted to say thank you for being a huge encouragement to City Church through your Christmas gift to them. Very well done. I hope God just absolutely pours amazing things into your church’s life this year.
Grace and Peace,
Dave McClung, Innovative New Work Strategist
Missions Ministries Team
Arkansas Baptist State Convention
10 Remington Dr. Suite #257
Little Rock, AR. 72204
501-376-4791, ext. 5149
In Arkansas: 800-838-2272
Thursday, February 4, 2010
On a side note...
Mosaic Church in Los Angeles entered a commercial in the Doritos contest and if they win, it will be aired Sunday night during the game. They would also win some big money. Right now, they are in the top 3. Check out this link to read the story and view the commercial.
Another cool story you've probably heard about...
Have a Great Day!