What uncommon things do we want to become common?

Things like:
our children having mutual love and respect for each other.
our teenage children having love, honor, respect and obedience for their parents.
us continually becoming better friends and lovers.
our family totally trusting God in all things and putting our faith in Him to fulfill his promises.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Lose Your Life

By Creg
A couple of weeks ago we went to the Texas High School Rodeo Championships. My parents were nice enough to go early to save us front row seats so Samantha could have a close up view of all the beautiful horses. The first event was the bareback bronc riding. Now this wasn't my first rodeo, but it's quite different when you're up close & personal. A couple of times the horses came right up to the wall within a few feet of us. The look of fear on those boys' faces was saying, "I realize I could die any second." Unforgettable. One cowboy was bucked so hard that he came down with only one boot on. It was so violent that my neck started hurting just watching them get thrown around like a rag doll. Which is generally what happens when you jump on the back of a 1,500 lb wild animal that desperately does not want to be touched. That's called being willing to lose your life.

Sitting next to me at the rodeo was a Vietnam veteran. After I thanked him for his service for keeping my family & me free, he told me of some his adventures in war. He said that he'd been shot 15 times in one battle. When the helicopter picked him up they told him he had less than 1 pint of blood in his body. He was pronounced dead 4 different times! That's called being willing to lose your life.

Then Jesus said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it."
Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate ... their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple."

Deny yourself, lose your life, hate your life? Strong words. Jesus wouldn't make a very good elementary school counselor trying to get kids to have good self esteem. There's a lie out there that says the best idea is to follow your own interests & inner desires. When Jesus says to lose your life, he's not talking about a bronc rider or soldier. He wants you to hate the life you had without him in it, so you'll do whatever it takes to lose that life. Then you can live the life that God created you to live.

All of us have a life to lose. If it's not drugs, alcohol, stealing or adultery, it's pride, prejudice, selfishness, cowardice or comfort. Let's get on with losing our life.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Overcoming Pt 2

By Creg

How does a 9 year old child start smoking weed? When both of your parents & most of your friends are into drugs, that's all you know. Ethan grew up in such a bad atmosphere that he would be gone from home for months at a time, wondering if his parents even cared that he was missing. He started smoking meth at 11 and snorting heroin at 15.

(Top: Jason & Ethan, Bottom: Ethan & Creg)

As a 9th grader he was sent to 2 different alternative schools for fighting. At the second school he brought drugs on campus and was charged with a felony (which was later erased). When he was 17 he started shooting heroin. He says his life was "all about me." His relationship with God consisted of quick prayers to not get caught with his stash of drugs when the cops pulled him over. Gradually Ethan felt being pulled toward God. He started going to church with his girlfriend because he noticed she had something in her life that he wanted. A desire arose in him to learn about God, still wondering if He is real. Ethan couldn't bring himself to pray anymore, because he didn't think God would answer him if he doubted God. Tired of constant drug use & living at the bottom of life, Ethan, now 19, decided to come to the Serenity House in Abilene about 6 months ago. That brought a different perspective - There's got to be more to life. After moving into Jason's recovery house, he went with Jason to Bible study & church. It was then that he decided he needed something bigger. Not doing drugs anymore was a good thing, but there was still something missing. Tonight Ethan decided to be reborn, losing his life for the cause of Christ.

Praise God for the transforming work of the Holy Spirit working in the lives of Jason, Ethan and others.