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How to Take Advantage of Our Bonds

December 15, 2014

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As we progress through our day, we often have a captive audience.

As we progress through our day, we often have a captive audience.

…faith comes from hearing… – Romans 10:17

When Paul wrote the “prison epistles,” he wasn’t imprisoned in some deep dark dungeon cutoff from the world.

Paul was living in his own rent house – he even had visitors coming and going and was teaching them the Gospel! (Philippians 1:12) Since he was under arrest, he had a Pretorian (or imperial) guard connected to him at all times.

Imagine being chained to the apostle Paul a few hours a day, getting to hear God’s word directly from him!

When Paul wrote about that event, his attitude wasn’t that he was captive – in fact, the guards seemed to be the captives. He saw it as an advantage that resulted in the knowledge of Christ spreading throughout the troops. (Philippians 1:13) Paul’s success from that time encouraged the other brothers to teach Christ without fear of what the government might do to them. (Philippians 1:14)

Imagine how many guards must have been saved through the repetition of Paul teaching his visitors. He didn’t record any numbers, but if faith comes from hearing God’s word, then enough faith to respond must have eventually been present among those men.

Most of us in our era will never have to suffer imprisonment for Christ’s cause, but think about the situations where we are virtually bonded to others:

Our family.

Our co-workers.

Our club meetings.

What if we took advantage of those captive audiences?

Don’t be obnoxious … with a little planning and practice, this could be done right. Gentle and opportunistic mention of godly things is plenty in the beginning.

If we are following Paul’s example like he taught in 2 Timothy 2:2, this is something we should be doing – It’s not just a good idea.

Goal idea for the new year: Take advantage of times we are in “bonded” situations and cause X people to ask to hear more.

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5 Goals That Will Develop a Winning Attitude

September 3, 2014

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Our attitude in life affects us just like an aircraft's attitude

Our attitude in life affects us just like an aircraft’s attitude

Previously, we considered the idea that our prevailing attitude is important because it defines who we are and qualifies us as Christians. Since there are so many godly attitudes we can talk about, we will limit it to just a few today.

The book of Proverbs contains the richest set of practices and observations about what a godly attitude looks like. Let’s dig in!

Reverence for God

This key verse of the book of Proverbs reminds us of the baseline attitude we need to be successful Christians.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction – Proverbs 1:7

This kind of fear is reverence and respect. He is the Creator. He will be the Judge. Without this kind of attitude we will fail to know everything he wants us to know about him.


Contentment is a big deal in the Bible. That’s not to say we are not to set goals and work hard to achieve them. A content attitude is one that lacks envy:

A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot – Proverbs 14:30

It requires godliness

But godliness with contentment is great gain… – 1 Timothy 6:6

And when we are well off, it requires that we remain generous:

As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life – 1 Timothy 6:17-19

A Pure Heart

The Bible is full of warnings about what is in the heart. This one though, might summarize them all:

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he – Proverbs 23:7 KJV

Whatever we do and say acts just like a meter indicating the level of purity in our heart. How good can we really be when we use crude language, lie, or fail to be encouragers?


I don’t know of any place in the Bible where pride good. It is definitely a dangerous attitude to have. Again, the Proverb writer sums it all up:

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall – Proverbs 16:18

At any point where we let pride get in the lead, hurt is likely to be following

Take Joy in Our Life

Being able to rejoice in any situation is another key attitude. The Bible says it is therapeutic:

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones – Proverbs 17:22

And it says whatever the situation, we have heaven to look forward to:

Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven – Matthew 5:12a

Joy is important to Christianity because it is pretty hard to convince people to join us when we are a bunch of sad sacks!

Where do I start?

For many of us, there is a lot of work to do if we are only going to implement these. The good news is that they tend to develop when we live a certain lifestyle. With just a few habits, pointers and actions, the apostle Paul shows us how to develop these attitudes.

That’s where we’ll go next – Stay tuned!

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I Can Predict Your Mood on Any Given Day

September 2, 2014

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Our general attitude is often displayed for all to see

Our general attitude is often displayed for all to see

How is your attitude?

Sometimes we might say something like “I have a bad attitude today.”

Saying that gets the point across, but it is more of an expression of our current state of mind. “I am in a bad mood” is a better way to state it. When we talk about our attitude, it is usually relative to our overall disposition.

Our attitude affects what our mood is most likely to be on any given day. It also affects how much energy it takes to get through a situation.

In fact, the term “Attitude” is even used by a pilots to describe how their craft is positioned in the sky.

An experienced pilot can use the attitude of the airplane to predict a number of things to help it along its journey. Everything about the journey depends on the airplane and how it interacts with the environment – fuel usage, speed, altitude – everything.

People are the same way.

When we understand what attitude is, we can accurately describe a person and understand why they make certain decisions.

An attitude of entitlement causes many to become takers.

An attitude of service causes some to become givers.

The attitude of a victim makes one believe the world is out to get him

Those with an attitude of contentment find the simple pleasure of life to be enough to make them happy.

This is so true that we could look at any given “self-help” book and figure out what kind of attitude the author wants us to have. We have to position ourselves properly in order to achieve our goals in the most efficient manner.

Jesus thought so too.

Attitude is so important to every decision we make in life, that changing the attitude of his potential followers was the first thing Jesus set out to do. The Sermon on the Mount pointed out the flaws in how people were obeying God’s word:

It was no longer going to be enough to simply not kill your neighbor for offending you, you also have to be quick to forgive. (Matthew 5:21-26, 38-42)

It was no longer enough to keep your hands off a woman that was not your wife, you are not supposed to even think of another woman in that way. (Matthew 5:27-30)

It was no longer proper to take an oath to prove you are telling the truth, you should cultivate a reputation of always being truthful. (Matthew 5:33-37)

In order to set things right and serve God the way he had always intended, a new attitude was going to be required.

Think about it for a minute – how easy is it to avoid sin when we look for ways to justify an action that falls into that “gray area?” When we take the approach of obeying the letter of the law and not the spirit of the law, we tend to get comfortable with being in sinful situations.

Let’s ask it again

Now – how is your attitude?

Think about what you have accomplished this year. Think about what you plan to do today. Think about your relationship in general with someone important to you.

These are some things that can give you clues to how those around you see you on a day-to-day basis.

We are going to look at this from a Scriptural standpoint this week – stay tuned.

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How NOT to Build a House

August 7, 2014

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There are no shortcuts to laying a proper foundation

There are no shortcuts to laying a proper foundation

Since I have moved to Texas, I have heard a lot of radio advertisements about fixing the foundations of houses. The ground here seems to have a tendency to settle over time, causing instability in many buildings

Also, I am amazed at how many houses are gone in Galveston because of hurricane Ike in September, 2008. Years later it is evident where houses used to be – the results of inadequate foundations.

It is very evident how important it is to follow design specifications when building houses in Texas!

In the same way our building foundations are tested by the elements, all of us will be tested by God in his time. Paul uses this metaphor in 1 Corinthians 3:5-17 to help us make sure we are prepared for the judgment.

  1. There is only one sufficient foundation (1 Corinthians 3:11) – People tend to get away from focusing on Christ’s sacrifice and build up around programs and “good” things forgetting to point others to salvation.
  2. He leaves it to us to build up from there (1 Corinthians 3:12-13) – Everything we build will be tested. The good materials will stand. The poor materials will burn away.
  3. The Spirit will be grieved when our “temple” falls (1 Corinthians 3:16-17) – If we are the temple of God, then we need to take care of it like it is his temple.

There are plenty of opinions on the exact meaning of these verses, but one thing is very clear: Christ provides the only authorized specifications for our spiritual foundation. Anything else puts God’s temple at risk.


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The Value of Men’s Wisdom

August 5, 2014

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The sum of human knowledge...

The sum of human knowledge…

If you wonder why the world has become more and more divided over the Bible and God’s existence, Paul explains it quite well:

For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. – 1 Corinthians 1:18

He also gives an example from Isaiah 29:14, where man’s “wisdom” has failed God’s test when the Jews faced the Assyrians. (1 Corinthians 1:19)

When we consider the wisdom of men, we can point to a number of examples that it fails in time:

  • The pyramids of Giza are interesting, but a colossal waste
  • Encyclopedias from the 1970’s are almost useless
  • There has never been a permanent government
  • Today’s advanced electronic device becomes tomorrow’s doorstop

And even though Newton’s theories were used to get to the moon, they have been discovered to have flaws.

God’s word has never failed.  It has never been superseded. The more we dig into it, the more we see how solid the wisdom is.

It is full of advice that remains as sound today as it was when it was put on paper.

It is a plan for living well and stress free.

It is the story of our Creator and what he has in store for us.

If we give it its due, its rewards are without limit!

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