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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Quiet Time: Think Weak - Be Weak

Think Weak – Be Weak

For as he thinks within himself, so he is. He says to you, “Eat and drink!” But his heart is not with you. – Proverbs 23:7

I believe in speaking God’s truth to challenges. Whether it be the motivation to continue a daily fitness routine or facing something a bit more serious; the process is the same. We can face the moment by affirming God’s truth over it, out loud, if possible. “I can do all things through Christ…” (Philippians 4:13), “I am (fill in your challenge here) for the glory of God” (1 Peter 4:11), “Do not fear man…fear God” (Matthew 10:28), or whatever scripture is appropriate for the need of the moment. This helps us not only to meet the challenge with a positive attitude, but also bolsters faith in remembering where our strength lies.

We may not be much to look at by worldly standards, in fact, God likes to use the dauncey (slang for strange, odd, or just plain not cute) to proclaim His glory (1 Corinthians 1:27). The fact is, we may indeed be physically weakened; however, spiritually we are strong, bold, and built for battle.

May I be direct? I think that Satan enjoys it when a believer operates from a position of defeat. It makes that Christian less of a threat and turns him into a weakened wimpy warrior (Ephesians 6:12).

God is the immutable, omniscient, Lord over all, and He is on your side. So, don’t buy the lie. Instead, assert the truth.

Because if you think you’re weak, you will be weak, and you are not weak!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Quiet Time: No Talent No Problem (God Skills the Servant)

No Talent No Problem (God Skills the Servant)

Read: Hebrews 13:15-17

And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. – Hebrews 13:16

God skills the servant for service (1 Chronicles 15:22 & 25:27), but if his heart isn’t in it he shouldn’t begin it. However, if he is willing to be used, who knows what God will do?

I remember my very first ministry opportunity. My wife, Des and I were attending a bay area inner city church. The youth pastor moved away which left the church in the lurch with a dozen or so tough minded, high energy kids. The pastor asked if Des and I would mind filling in while they looked for a new youth director (that’s what we called youth pastors back in the day). I said I’d do what I could, but really had no idea where to begin.

So, I did what I knew how to do. I told all the youth to show up in the main sanctuary next to the big grand piano on stage; we were going to build a band.

Our first night most the kids showed up. I asked if any of them played an instrument. “No.” “Have any of you ever sung in front of an audience?” “No.” “What kind of music do you like?” You should know that this neighborhood was in transition from mono-racial to multicultural so the answer was mixed; with quizzical looks and pinched expressions that told me I’d just asked a real stupid question, they said, “You know Meester Dog, what’s on the radio!” (Doug is a difficult name for Latin kids to say. My best friend’s mom called me Dogless up until the day I married; then she called me Meester Dogless). I really wanted to reach these kids on their level so I told them we were going to write a song. Well, that changed things quite a bit! Everyone, and I mean everyone (including the tough neighborhood enforcer) got excited and immediately focused on the project.

I asked anyone who felt like they were pretty good at putting words together to break off and start on some lyrics based on a piece of scripture I’d given them to read as part of a bible study. They were to bring in the verses as they came to them. “Don’t worry about getting it perfect, we’ll fix them at the piano”, I said. The remainder stood around the hulking grand piano and waited for the first set of words to come from the lyric factory. As we waited I tested some of the vocals. One of the older teens could carry a tune, but the rest had no, I mean NO sense of pitch at all. By the time the lyric group brought out the first set of words, I knew one thing for certain. We had no rhythm, no vocals, and no band. But what we did have was a willingness to work and for the first time in a long time, we had each other. We were a team, a family, and I wasn’t about to let that go. But I did.

As time progressed I’d like to say we turned things around sonically. But, the fact is, we didn’t have the God given skills to do it. However, we did put together a puppet troop, a drama team, and the one young man who could actually sing began to write music on his own. I showed him how, I, a bassist, put chords together on the piano in order to write songs that were simple yet meaningful. He actually sang a couple of his creations during the Sunday morning worship service. The congregation was blown away by his talent. He and I became pretty close before I eventually moved away to another part of town. Today, he’s happily married and has two beautiful kids.

The church did eventually hired a youth director and the teenagers, of course grew up. Some went on to seminary and into full time ministry. Others continue to serve their Lord through the local church, and I think a couple are on the mission field abroad. A few accepted Christ for the first time. But none of them went into the music ministry or anything musical. So what?

I do believe that the Lord skills the servant. Musicians and vocalists are expected to utilize their skills in the building up of the body, church, sanctuary of the living God. However, what is expected may be rejected. It really is a shame when gifted Christians refuse to be used. After all, who knows what God can do with someone who does what he knows to do.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Quiet Time: Ambushed By Ambition

Ambushed By Ambition

Read: 2 Samuel 4:1-12

Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. – 2 Corinthians 5:9

Worship leader is a misnomer in that we really lead no one, we simply serve the King. Our ambition is to please the One we sing for and to become one with the congregation (which includes His pastor) in preparing hearts to hear God’s heart. Ishbosheth had a couple of family members whose ambition was to please the king too. Unfortunately, they didn’t see Ish as the king to serve.

Ishbosheth was Saul’s son and heir to the throne of Israel. Abner was the general of his army. When Abner died by the murderous hand of Joab, king Ishbosheth lost his courage. Obviously he’d placed his faith in a man not in God. (That’s a message in itself)

Baanah and Rechab were relatives of Ishbosheth through the tribe of Benjamin and commanders in his army. Not good. These guys snuck up to Ish’s house and murdered him in his bed while he took an afternoon siesta. They then cut off his head to prove that they did it and presented it to David (the king anointed and appointed by God) hoping for a reward. I’m sure they thought that they’d just killed the new king’s number one enemy. To add validity to their actions, they acted like God wanted it done (2 Sam. 4:8).
Bad idea. David didn’t consider Saul or his son’s as enemies. In fact, Jonathan, Saul’s eldest son, was once David’s best friend! The other problem was the fact that they didn’t defeat Ishbosheth in battle, they murdered him in his bed…while he slept…unguarded, unarmed, and unaware that his own family members were out to kill him. And you thought you had family issues!

David, being a man after God’s own heart, did what he knew God demanded and immediately enacted the death penalty, having his warriors kill Rechab and Baanah right where they stood.
Now, had we asked Rick and Ben if they’d really heard a word from God telling them to kill their cousin in his sleep like a couple of cowards, I hope they’d say, “Well, no God didn’t talk to us straight up, but we saw that Ish was out and Dave was in.” I’m sure they liked their positions as commanders with Ish and probably hoped to be promoted in David’s army or may-be even placed in a position of prominence next to the throne, where, if they were patient, they’d have a chance to do to David what they did to their cuz and take the throne for themselves. Alright, alright, so my imagination is running away with me, but you get the picture. These guys went with whatever got them ahead for the moment. Their motivation was anything but doing God’s will. They tried to use God instead of allowing God to use them. (Another message in itself)

A servant’s ambition is to be used in the service of his Lord. We call ourselves worship leaders, but the fact is, we lead no one; we simply serve with the gifts and talents God has given us. We work hard at our craft and practice songs ahead of time so that we don’t flub up the God moments. OK, so may-be it’s a bit more than that, but one of the great things about being a worship minister is that you’re always in a support role, singing for Someone greater than yourself. Through all of this singing we slowly, steadily prepare our hearts for the Word as brought forth by His preacher. The Holy Spirit then uses all of this preparation to teach us what God wants in our lives, and then He empowers us to do it. "Doing it" is called serving Him, and that brings us back to our ambition…to glorify God!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Song Series: God Leads Us Along

God Leads Us Along

Read: Psalm 40

Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders which You have done,
And Your thoughts toward us;
There is none to compare with You
If I would declare and speak of them,
They would be too numerous to count – Psalm 40:5

“When you purpose to look for God in the everyday details of your life, you will begin to notice so many little things that He does to bring Himself glory, to reassure you that every detail of your life matters to Him.” – The Rice Family Blog.

This word came along at just the right time. So, I’ve stopped to start this blog.

It’s early, 03:30, on a Saturday morning, and I’m preparing to head out to my secular job. (I don’t sleep well when I know I need to wake up early the next day) I’ve worked several weeks now without a day off, and yesterday, Friday, at the last minute I was asked to work again, this Saturday morning; start time, 05:00. Now, that’s often the nature of my vocation. Things can get real busy real fast and stay busy for what seems like a really long time. I’ve grown to accept it and am very thankful to even have a job, especially in light of the recent economic struggles our state has experienced. However, I’ve discovered that my attitude often takes on a darker side when I’ve gone several days with little sleep and few hours off. Additionally, as a bi vocational worship leader, my time becomes even more pinched. If I’m not careful, projects become more important than people. I begin to lose focus on my purpose for living (to glorify God). Business, planning, organizing, and getting the job done become priority and I soon find myself entangled in the affairs of the everyday (2 Timothy 2:4). But for the grace of God, I could easily become a workaholic.

Fortunately, I’ve come to understand, time spent with God is both crucial and sacrosanct; so, I carve out the first hour of my day to have a quiet moment with Him. I learned to have a “quiet time” as a youth after my mother gave me a little devotional booklet titled “Our Daily Bread” printed by Radio Bible Class; morning devotions have now become a life-style habit. During these early morning moments, God often speaks to my heart in unanticipated ways. Like my sister in Christ’s recent blog or a word spoken during a general conversation, in addition to, the momentary flash of inspiration in the off times carelessly overlooked details of the aggregate substance of the daily grind. God never fails to find a way to grab my attention; reminding me that He is always working His plan for this child’s life.

I love being in the family of God. Seeing God work in the lives of others reminds me that He never stops steering the ship. God loves His children and guides them along even when they don’t take time to see it. Seasons of busyness will come, I will get distracted, but I rest in the fact that God designs the details; therefore, I purpose to look for God in the everyday.

God Leads Us Along (Isaiah 43:1-3)

In shady, green pastures, so rich and so sweet.
God leads His dear children along;
Where the water’s cool flow bathes the weary one’s feet,
God leads His dear children along.

Some thro’ the water, some thro’ the flood,
Some thro’ the fire, but all thro’ the blood;
Some thro’ great sorrow, but God gives a song,
In the night season and all the day long.

by George A Young, 1903

About the picture: The Pygmy Marmoset Callithrix (Cebuella) pygmaea may be the smallest monkey in the world. Measuring only 5-1/2” long, with claws on all five fingers except its big toe which has a flat nail, God designed this little guy for climbing wet slippery trees. God really is interested in the details.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Song Series: Your Name High

Living to Make
Your Name High

Read: Isaiah 61:1-3

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
Because the LORD has anointed me
To bring good news to the afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to captives
And freedom to prisoners – Isaiah 61:1

Our church likes to use the song “Living to Make Your Name High” as a call to worship or opening song on Sundays. It is a song of celebration, hope and victory. Many of our members come from a place of brokenness and despair. They intimately understand the need for a Savior better than most. Poor lifestyle choices led them into dark places they never intended to go. Like the woman who anointed Jesus feet with perfume, many in the Palms Community fellowship felt unfit for inclusion in common social circles; may-be they even felt excluded from some of our bay area sister churches. None the less, they love Jesus so much that they just had to find a place to serve Him. Christ honors them as true lovers of God as, “Those who have been forgiven much [and who now ] love much” – (Luke 7:47). In the words of our bass guitarist, when talking one night about our worship team, he said, “Man, we sure are a motley crew!” I laughed and said, "Yes we are, and I'm glad we are, who we are!" Yet, we are the very people God is talking to in Isaiah 61.

You may recall that Isaiah 61 was the passage of scripture Jesus read from the day He was asked to teach in the synagogue in Nazareth (Luke 4:17-21). Originally, the scripture brought a message of hope of coming deliverance for the Jews from their captivity in Babylon. However, Jesus brought Isaiah’s prophesy forward to the people gathered at the synagogue by saying, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your ears” (Luke 4:21). In agreement with this passage, Jesus said that the Spirit of the Lord was upon Him, to let the hearers know that He was speaking prophetically. He was anointed, which meant that He was actually sent by God and set apart for that moment. He wanted the listener to know that He came as healer of broken lives and deliver from the chains that so easily held God’s creation in the dungeon of despair. Jesus came to destroy sin’s despair, to make paupers into princes, to shake free the shackles and prisons of the past. Jesus wants us to know that, in Him, we may not be society’s choice, but we are God’s champions (1 Peter 2:8-10).

As God’s champions we are challenged to indeed make His name high. A great way to accomplish this is by sharing what the world cannot offer. Freedom from the penalty for sin (Romans 3:23), a new way of life in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), abundant life here and now (John 10:10), and eternal life here after (John 14:3) In Christ we have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Now, that’s something worth calling God’s people together to sing about!

By Joel Houston

We are living to make Your name high Jesus
Living to make Your name high Jesus
You gave what the world couldn’t offer us
Say what they want, say what they want!
Your Name on High

As heard on This Is Our God. Words & music by: Joel Houston. For more information, visit:

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Song Series: Always


Read: Psalm 121:1-3

My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth – Psalm 121:2

“I rescued him, thinking I was doing a good thing. His masters abused him. They tied him to a tree and beat him,” recalled Achibra, a noble fiftyish man with a sturdy, youthful build and mature eyes that command attention. “But, after the police gave him to his parents, he was once again sold by his parents, this time to fishermen working on the Bay of Guinea near the Ivory Coast.” This is John’s story, a boy who was sold into slavery by his parents. It is one of many told by several thousand children who work 14-20 hours a day as slaves in Ghana's fishing industry. Children are being left to fend for themselves by the very people who most kids look to for help. However, a ray of hope shines through as strangers from a foreign land intervene  bringing hope by rescuing the helpless. Every Christian should be able to relate to this story.

We were desperate and helpless before Christ. No hope, no future, no one who cared; or so we thought. Then someone shared the good news of the God who loves us and gave Himself up for us. Jesus, a stranger from a foreign land, intervened on our behalf and brought us a future and a hope. Unlike Mr. Achibra, God rescued us and it was indeed a good thing. Now, we have an opportunity to participate in His helping the hopeless both pragmatically and eternally.

Father’s House International in Ghana is a Christian based outreach making a difference. Their mission statement reads: “Father's House International is dedicated to helping the desperate and exploited children without much hope all around the world”. Achibra was one man trying to help one child. He did the best he could, and helped for a time. If only he knew about Father’s House International, his story would have a much happier conclusion. So, you may be wondering, what’s all this have to do with the song “Always”?

As I researched Kristian Stanfill’s new song “Always” I came across his website and clicked on NEWS. I noticed that he and his band took part in GHANA ROCK, a benefit concert to support The Father’s House in Ghana. The really cool thing about this benefit concert is that it was organized by a small group of passionate teenagers. “So, God wants me to follow the lead of a bunch of kids”, I thought to myself? Well, why not. The bible says a little child shall lead them (Isaiah 11:6) and God uses whomever He chooses. Therefore, I’m gonna suggest at my next practice that our worship team at The Palms Community take Father’s House on as a group ministry and outreach.

I want to help as many people as I can learn to look to the Lord for their help while seeing His love through the lives of His people as they reach out in His strength. God’s in the business of rescuing humans both great and small; and that’s a good thing…a really good thing, ALWAYS.

Here are some links that you may find useful:
Kristian Stanfill's chord charts (free!)
Father's House International:
Big World Magazine for more related info:
Youth Councils Leadership Page:

Friday, May 13, 2011

Quiet Time: Do What's In Front of You

Do What's In Front of You

Read: Matthew 25:14-30

Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. – Matthew 25:16

The best way to get a job done is to just do it. “Well, duh”, you say! “If I did what needs to be done every time I thought about doing it, it wouldn’t need to be done at all”. True, but there’s no getting around the fact that life is filled with, “Do what’s in front of you” opportunities my wife is one of the best getter done people I know.

Des can clean an entire house in the time it takes most people to clean a kitchen. This is not an exaggeration, I know, I’ve clocked her against myself, my family and my friends (she ministers by helping people get their homes in order from time to time). I asked her how she does it and she said, “I just don’t stop.” In other words, she does what’s in front of her; then, when she’s done with what’s in front of her she moves on until there’s nothing left in front of her. Pretty simple, huh? No preplanning, no real forethought, just do it- just work.

When you think about it, there are very few jobs that require a lot of set up or deliberation. I’ve worked with several churches that spent hours in planning sessions. We had committee meetings, staff meetings, and counsel meetings. These weren’t bad in and of themselves, but they seemed to offer a false sense of accomplishment. You see, sometimes planning made us feel like we’d actually done something, but in reality, until we in fact worked the job, the job still needed to be worked. If someone would have simply taken the task in hand and fixed what was in front of them, the entire church would’ve benefitted.

“Just Do It” wasn’t originated by a popular shoe company, it is a proverb written millenniums past:
Hard work always pays off;
mere talk puts no bread on the table. - Proverbs 14:23 (The Message)

So, the next time we feel like putting off what needs to be done, or are nonplused about where to begin, let’s trust God’s promise and just start by doing what’s in front of us.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Song Series: Hope In Me

HOPE IN ME by Mary Alessi

Read: 2 Thess. 2

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word. – 2 Thess. 2:16-17

A quiet click and the game was over; well, it was over as far as my son was concerned. He’s the one person I know who refuses to watch a live broadcast of his team from beginning to end if he knows they’re about to loose. I asked him how, after watching two plus hours of heart pounding, emotion rending, intense focus on his team, that he could now, with the flip of a switch, simply turn off the T.V. and walk away without seeing the final score. He said frankly, “I refuse to see them loose.” In other words, my son had lost all hope of his team winning the game and since the outcome was inevitable, he would rather not watch it happen.

Christians have got it made! Not only do we know that the team we’re pulling for wins, but we’re actually a member of the winning team and get to join in the celebration when the game is won. Because of our star player, Jesus, we have an unshakable hope that the outcome is inevitable. Jesus has guaranteed us that we will gain the victory through Him (2 Thess. 2:14).

There may be times that our team may look like it’s in trouble. However, Paul, in his letter to the Thessalonians, encourages us today not to be shaken, disturbed, or deceived (2 Thess. 2:2-3). He reminds us that although our opponent may look like he’s in control; he’s only a pawn in the game of eternity and will easily be defeated in the final moments of Christ’s appearing (2 Thess. 2:8).

So, the next time we’re tempted to lose heart, let’s remember our star, Jesus, is the hope in us. The outcome is inevitable; say it with me now,

Jesus, You are the hope in me
Jesus, You are the hope in me
I can’t live without You, You are everything I need
Jesus, You are the hope in me

© 2009 Miami Life Sounds Publishing INC. (BMI) / Say The Name Publishing. (BMI) All rights reserved. CCLI: 5865307

Monday, May 9, 2011

Quiet Time:Thor Ignored

Thor Ignored

My daughter and I recently saw the movie, “Thor”. Entertaining and fun, it had a lot of super hero action, big screen graphics, and pretty decent acting. On our way home we were discussing the movie and both of us hit on a similarity between the main character and Jesus. In the movie, Thor, a son of Oden, is cast down to earth after a falling out with his dad. Once on earth no one recognizes him for who he really is. Other than his arrival on a lightning bolt/tornado looking worm hole thingy, there’s really nothing that makes earthbound Thor any different from all the other athletic Navy Seal type humans on the planet.

Jesus, the one and only Son of God and creator of the universe chose to come to earth and no one recognized Him as Who He is (John 1:9-14). Other than his miraculous arrival through a virgin birth, His making the blind to see, the lame walk, and the dead alive again, He was unremarkable (if you can remain unremarkable after all of that). That’s when it struck me. People don’t recognize Christians for who they really are either.

For that matter, Christians tend not to see things as they really are. Jesus is our brother, God is our Father, and heaven is our home (Gal. 3:25-27). We have been placed here on good ole’ terra firma for the purpose of bringing God glory until we get back home (Eph. 2:9-11).

Now, I for one, am not looking for ice giants to fight (Thor loved fighting these guys).I certainly don’t like conflict any more than anyone else; but, one thing I’m going to try to do better is to face my challenges from a position of victory. I mean, really, what’ve I got to loose, my Father is in control and all He really asks of me is to stand firm in His strength (Eph. 6:10-13)?

Furthermore, I’ve found that the only Thors that the devil ignores are the ones who live lackadaisically?

Here’s a truism to wrap it all up:
Battles come to everyone, but not everyone comes to battle.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Quiet Time: That's Just Not Right

That’s Just Not Right

Read: Psalm 67

Cease from anger and forsake wrath;
Do not fret; it leads only to evil doing – Psalm 67:8

“That’s just not right!” I could hear the frustration in John, the lead guitarist’s voice. He was using a borrowed guitar for worship team practice and for some odd reason the thing wouldn’t stay in tune. It kept going sharp. It may be helpful for those of us who are not musically inclined, to know that it usually takes just a couple of minutes to tune an instrument and I’ve never-ever-no never, heard of one detuning itself sharp. Most often a guitar will go flat (detune to a lower note). But, here was John, on his third failed tuning attempt, becoming more and more frustrated because things just weren’t making sense. So, he quietly placed the instrument back in the case, ambled toward the sound booth, and resigned himself to the tech team for the remainder of practice.

Sometimes life throws us a curve, and by life, I mean God. I believe there are moments in our lives when things just don’t make sense, and God allows it to be that way. The selfish person gets more stuff, the cheater wins the game, the bully beats up the wimp, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. It’s like life, like a borrowed guitar, goes sharp for no apparent reason. Now, we may feel like chucking our present pridicament. But what if we determined to turn from whining to winning by proactively doing what Psalm 37:3 tells us to do: trust God, do good, stand firm, and be faithful.

The point is, I believe God allows us to experience frustrating situations in order to remind us that our hope is in Him and Him alone. So, let’s get our game face on, stand firm, and start being who God’s called us to be in midst of a fallen and fractured generation. Our job is to give God glory even when life just doesn't make sense; and that's just right!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Song Series: Feet That Move

Feet That Move

Read: Matthew 11:1-6

the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM. - Matthew 11:5

John’s disciples wanted to know if Jesus was the Christ. Jesus told them look around, what do you see? You see God at work in the lives of people, all people; the rich and famous, as well as, the down and outs. You see miracles that have never been done in your lifetime. You see people to whom most wouldn’t give the time of day receiving the good news of the kingdom with gladness. You see changed lives! What do you think? Am I the Messiah? Now stop worrying about who people say that I am and move on.

This passage kind of reminds me of what an old fishing buddy of mine used to say.
“If the fish aren’t biting where you're at, move.” That was his, Ishmael’s, philosophy when it came to shore-line fishing. I often walked along the bayside with him plugging for fish during the early morning hours before going to work, and I can count on one hand the number of times I didn’t catch at least one fish. The secret: never spend more than 20 or 30 minutes in one spot. If they weren’t biting we’d move to the opposite shoreline of the little peninsular we often fished. Then if they weren’t hitting on the peninsular we’d jump in the car and fish underneath a nearby bridge. The bottom line is, we moved where the fish were.

I think we Christians waste a lot of time fishing where the fish aren’t biting. We need to ready to share the good news of salvation through the Messiah, Christ Jesus, but it may be helpful to first find out where the fish are. Next time you sense God moving you to drop a line, why not start by first asking a simple question of the person? “To you, who is Jesus?” Then be ready to listen. Don’t argue, just listen. When they’re all done telling you what they believe, then ask, “So, if what you believe in is untrue, would you want to know?” If they say, “Yes,” be ready to share the Gospel; the fish are biting! If the answer is, "No", move; God isn't drawing them (John 6:44).

This is actually a technique called “Witnessing Without Fear” you can find out more info at Frontline Ministries by visiting

We will praise You with the sound of our hands reaching out.
We’ll worship You with feet that move to bring good news.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Quiet Time: Kiss Christian Cussing Goodbye Too!

Kiss Christian Cussing Goodbye Too!

There is no right way to do the wrong thing.

What about Christian cussing, is that OK? You know what that is, don’t you? That’s using infractions like “frig, frigging, ficking, darn, oh my god, geeze”, and other variations on a theme. Are these wrong? Well, I suppose that socially, these words are more acceptable, but could you really see yourself telling the pastor after Sunday morning’s service, “Geeze pastor, that was a great fricking message!” No, I don’t think so. So why would we talk that way around Jesus? He said He’d never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). So, why play with fire. Is this too simple a way of looking at things? I have been accused of being simple.

In my last blog I lined out a few obvious (simple) reasons not to use foul language, but perhaps some of us are saying at this point, “It’s not that I don’t think cussing is wrong, it’s simply that I can’t seem to help myself. And, now I’m hearing that even variations are not to be used.” It is true, I do not think “Christian cussing” is a viable alternative to worldly cussing, but I base it on how the bible leads.

The bottom line is this, cussing is overcome like any other bad habit. Pray knowledgably, act faithfully, and move forward diligently. First, we can tell God how much He means to us and how much we want to please Him (Psalm 11:7). Next, we find scripture that corresponds to the particular challenge and memorize it for the battle ahead (see last blog on cussing). Then, every time we fail to do what we know God enjoys seeing us do, (in this case, using words that edify) we speak His word over the failure, repent, and return to God performing deeds appropriate to repentance (Acts 26:20). Finally, get an accountability partner. There is strength in numbers (Ecclesiastes 4:12). Pretty soon we’ll see that we’re finally leaving the past behind and are pressing on toward the upward call of God (Philippians 3:14).

You know something; most people say that it takes six weeks to break a habit, bad or otherwise. I think it takes two. And, since the simple truth is that there is no right way to do the wrong thing, why not begin anew today. Victory may be less than two weeks away!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Quiet Time: Kissing Cussing Good-bye

Kissing Cussing Goodbye

We can you know; "kiss cussing goodbye". But, the question is often asked, "Why?"

Just this afternoon I had a conversation with a fella who regularly drops “f” bombs. He was telling me how shocked he was that a well-known actor from a ‘70s western used “god -*#@” several times throughout the movie he was watching. He said that he didn’t remember movies having such foul language back in his day. I guess he considers movies different from daily conversational verbiage, none the less; I was intrigued that the language offended him.

Frankly, I’m surprised how often friends and work associates discuss the rightness or wrongness for the general use of infractions. Technically it isn’t permitted at my vocational work site (but most ignore this policy) and personally, my family doesn’t allow it in our house (no one ignores this policy, for fear of the wrath of the Mom). But, you’d be surprised how often I’m asked, even by Christians, “So, what’s wrong with cussing anyway?” First, IMO, it makes you sound stupid. I mean really, you can’t think of another word to use? When was the last time someone you respect as intelligent and thoughtful used foul language as a general rule in their conversations. Secondly, it gives the appearance of evil (1 Thess. 5:22). Finally, it is biblically banned. Not because of social norms or giving the appearance of evil, but because it pollutes the soul and hardens the heart toward the Holy Spirit. You think I’m kidding? Check out these verses: (Matt. 15:17-19) (Eph. 4:29) (Eph. 5:4) (Col. 3:8).
Therefore, if bad language is used to recognize a bad heart and a depraved mind (Rom. 1:28). If it is listed among other things to avoid, such as: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and filthiness. Should we not stop practicing it?

I said earlier, that we can kiss cussing good-bye and, “YES YOU CAN” to coin a phrase. You see, believers are new creatures in Christ. Old things are passed away. We have the fruit of the Holy Spirit, “self-control”, and we love Jesus, which makes us want to please Him. Therefore, we need to believe what God says about us and begin to walk again in newness of life.

Well, that’s my rant for today. What do you think?