Month: June 2014

Letters To Kim Jong Un – Missions Monday

What would you say to someone who has imprisoned and tortured 30,000 of your brothers and sisters in Christ?

That’s exactly what North Korean President, Kim Jong Un, has done to those in his country who confess Jesus as their Lord. For example, according to “Voice of the Martyrs” website:

“A witness saw a young woman who folded her hands in a praying fashion when the SSD [State Security Department] interrogated her. The SSD suspected therefore that she was a Christian. They took her to another room and beat her until she confessed.”
—Testimony before the United Nations Human Rights Council
Persecution means one thing to us as Americans. It means something completely different to our precious brothers and sisters across the globe. How will we stand with them? How will we support them? We can pray, take action and bring things to light that are happening around the world. 
VOM has made it possible for believers to send letters to Kim Jong Un. Join me and praying and taking action! Here’s an excerpt from the letter you can send electronically or physically:

“To: Mr. Kim Jong Un,
Leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea)

I am a Christian. I believe in the one supreme God and in salvation only through His Son, Jesus, who died on the cross for my sins and for the sins of all who confess Him and place their trust in Him.

I am aware of the treatment of Christians in your nation. I am aware that Christians are tortured, imprisoned and even executed simply for confessing their belief in God and His Son, Jesus Christ, and for their willingness to share their faith with others, even though your nation’s constitution guarantees freedom of religious choice…”

To send Kim a letter head over to the “Voice of the Martyrs” website at http://www.persecution.com. Check out their great resources. Pray for the North Korean people and their president.

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The Last and Least

The first and most.

These two words define our world. They defined me in my past and still cry out from my flesh. They blind us of the glory of the gospel. A gospel that wants to turn our value system upside down.

Being “first and most” fits in with a modern view of success and importance. We fool ourselves into thinking we’re missing out on life by not partaking in a worldly view that will ultimately leave us empty. Putting ourselves first and making the most out of “me-almighty” is a great way to be “puffed up” but a terrible way to live life.

But truthfully, living that way comes natural to me. Until I met Christ I lived as a young man convinced that I must become first – get ahead of everyone else by any means necessary, take part in the game of life along with everyone else by seeking pleasure in temporary, unfulfilling things.

Make much of myself and the world will make much of me.

Looking back, I knew there had to be something more, but didn’t have time to consider what it was. Especially in my younger years, I was at the mercy of a swiftly moving stream of influence towards the “first and most” mentality. Time wasted thinking or meaning or purpose meant falling behind and being second or, heaven forbid, last!

The world’s system seemed so burdensome: get noticed, get the girls, get wasted, get the friends, get ahead, get the grades, get the most, get happiness? Fulfillment? Purpose? These things left me more empty than when I first began. They testified to my heart a need. A need for something more. More than this world could give.

By trying to be first in life we instantly put enormous pressure on ourselves to remain first. Stay ahead. And by virtue of our selfish desires to stay first, we must rely on our own power to do so. This is unsustainable and not the way we’re made to operate. We are made to worship.

Being the most in God’s upside-down Kingdom is the exact opposite of what the world would tell us. Jesus corrects the disciples misunderstanding and turns “greatness” on its head by comparing his Kingdom to a child.

Being “first and most” doesn’t fit the shape or aim of the God-Man who came to “serve and give his life as a ransom for many.”

Being the last and least isn’t about getting trampled by the world. It’s about believing that the gospel fundamentally changes our life’s economy. What once had value now is darkened by the shadow of God’s glorious grace in Jesus. He is now the treasure hidden in a field worth selling everything for. He is now our hearts desire. He is now the Lord of our lives. So that put’s me in place as I’m unable to save myself or give myself any sort of real, lasting purpose. Realizing Christ’s obedience in His death, I clearly see His love and am catapulted into life with that same love for others. I’m humbled by it. So I begin seeing the world as God does. “The Last and Least” is about putting others first and myself last. It’s about remaining a servant, the least, so that God will be made glorious in my humility.

This my heart’s desire even though I fail miserably. He is faithful to forgive me when I do. My confidence comes not from my own ability but in the ability afforded to me by his grace. Jesus help us to be the last and least, your servants!

Feeling Linky Punk? 6.13.14

Cool links for those who feel linky…

melfal-star-wars-episode-vii-millennium-falcon-unveiled

  • The Millennium Falcon Strikes Back! Harrison Ford (Han Solo) injured his ankle this week. A door on his prized ship maimed him during the filming of Star Wars: Episode VII. Maybe a Jedi mind trick can help the pain? Harrison Ford Injured on set of Star Wars.
  • No time to teach your kid to ride their bike? Hire a bike coach. Yes, it’s being done. Check it here: Hire A Kid Bike Coach.
  • The ultimate flop. A German soccer coach makes a feeble attempt to get a call from the ref during a soccer match. Too funny. Lots of shouting in German.

What Millennials Want In Leaders

I am called to minister to the largest generation since the “Baby Boomers”. The Millennials (those born between 1980 and 2000) are close to my heart as I fall into the older side of that generation. But you know, not “old” old. So I am reaching out to my own. With that in mind I count it a privilege to equip these young ‘uns (Alabama slang) to reach their peers, their city and their world. But what do they look for in their leaders?

The answer to this would help us all. Knowing this massive generation better holds one key to helping them shape our future.

Dr. Thom Rainer, President of Lifeway, posted some insightful characteristics that Millennials want in their leaders. He came about these characteristics in research for his book “The Millennials” a few years ago. You may be surprised at what he found. Dr. Rainer writes:

  1. Mentoring. This generation has great respect for those older than they are. Most of them have good relationships with their parents. They have learned from older people all their lives, and they don’t want to stop now. They want to be led and taught in their places of work, in their churches, and in their families. They particularly want to learn from couples who have had long and successful marriages. Many Millennials see such examples as heroes to emulate.
  2. Gentle spirit. This category is easier to describe by what Millennials do not want in leaders. Divisive, loud, and acrimonious persons turn them off. They loathe politicians and political pundits who scream at each other. They are leaving churches to some extent because they see many Christian leaders as negative and prone to divisiveness. They are repulsed by business leaders with harsh and autocratic spirits.
  3. Transparency and authenticity. I wish Jess and I had counted the number of times that Millennials used the word “real” to describe leaders they want to follow. As one Millennial told us, her generation “can smell phony and pretentiousness a mile away.” They don’t want phony; they want authentic. They don’t want pretentious; they want transparent.
  4. Integrity. The Millennials are weary of politicians who don’t keep promises. They are tired of Christian leaders who fail basic moral standards. They are fed up with business leaders who are more concerned about personal gain than serving others. They want leaders with integrity.

To read more see the original article over at the Lifeway site: What Millennials Want in Leaders.

Check out the book “The Millennials” right here.

Beauty Is A Beast

It’s not a typo. I mean “beast” in the way the cool kids do.

My wife and I had a conversation recently about beauty. It was awesome. After 12 years of marriage and nearly 15 ministering to young adult women and teenage girls, the following is what we discovered.

Beauty is a beast to figure out. True beauty is hard to pursue and discern. It’s a difficult undertaking for anyone. Whether it’s my 6 year old, a teenage girl, young mom or grandmother. Beauty is something that, if not viewed through the lens of the gospel, can be lost in a world of pencil-thin models, photoshop and caked-on makeup. The world is loud about their version of beauty. It’s also wrong.

Our value, worth and beauty is based not on pre-determined, worldly criteria. A new identity as sons and daughters of the King makes us heavenly royalty. Which is to be desired far more than maintaining attractive facades on these fading, temporary vessels. Our earthy bodies are fallen and tattered by sin. It is a “forever beauty” that women truly need. A beauty that is primary, based on what God says as opposed to an outward, secondary beauty based on what others say. Us guys should heed this word as well. Do we champion God’s beauty to our sisters? Are we helping them or hurting them?

Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.  – Proverbs 31:30

Even before I knew Christ, while God continued to testify Himself to me as a teen, I began to see the emptiness of worldly beauty in the opposite sex. I began to notice those young women who knew and loved Christ had something deeper that actually spoke something about their Savior. And it spoke to me. It’s what I saw in my future wife as I began to get involved at a local church. I’m blessed to have her. She embodies scriptural beauty. The luster of her eyes reveals a window showing her satisfaction in Christ. Her smile gleams a joy found in the finished work of Christ. I love her. A lot.

Beauty in Godly women is a testimony of their blood-bought identity. Their outward beauty is made complete by their inward beauty. There is something beautiful about a woman who seeks the Lord; finding her acceptance and true beauty in her new identity in Him. What good is the outward is the inward is out of order?

Peter mentions in 1 Peter 3 that the beauty God finds precious is imperishable. This is “forever beauty”. God’s Beauty. I’m praying my sister’s pursue it. And I’m praying that I and my brothers can see them as God does also.

Just one dude’s perspective on beauty; guided in the matter by a very wise and insightful wife.