Write injuries in dust, benefits in marble.

Happy Monday! We just came off a stinkin’ great day at KFirst!

We are DONE with September.  It is so hard to believe that we are in the last stretch of 2012.

I’ll kick off Monday with a simple TRUTH for ya. It comes from a Benjamin Franklin plays into the theme of our sermon series we just closed out. Benjamin says, “Write injuries in dust, benefits in marble.” Coming off what we preached this past month and yesterday’s message about watching our words, this is the icing on the cake. Remember the benefits/blessings of the Lord.  Write them upon your heart and hold on to them. You’re injuries; the ways you’ve been hurt or disappointed…write them in dust so they can easily be taken care of and released. This is a great segway into recapping our Sunday and looking forward to this week.

Here are 5 things I want you to know about…

#1 – KFirst closed out our series “Dust” yesterday. We talked about having a Kosher, or proper, mouth. A TRUTH we shared: If you have infection in your words, you have infection in your heart (Luke 6:45). I thought Pastor Marty did an excellent job illustrating the power of the tongue. Hopefully this week you and your family will follow through with the tabasco sauce.  I know my kids are NOT looking forward to that.  If you missed the message, download it from iTunes  later on Monday or hit the website.

#2 – We are reading through the Gospels as a church!

You can pick up a reading plan at the church…OR…you can join us on youversion.  I firmly believe, consistent doses of the Word brings heart change.  If you need a reminder, sign up for daily emails from this blog and we’ll connect you with the scriptures you need.  Today we are starting with Matthew 1, Luke 1 and John 1.

#3 – Night of Worship and Payer is Wednesday night! Join us this Wednesday for the best Wednesday of the month.  At 6:45 we are coming together for an evening of prayer and we want you to join us.   It’s an hour of prayer you don’t want to miss.

#4 – We have testimony coming this Sunday.  This would be a perfect Sunday to invite your friends.  Nino Guarisco, a graduate of Portage Northern and campus pastor at the University of Michigan, will be giving his testimony this Sunday at KFirst.  At the end of service, Pastor Todd is giving a special announcement about an amazing upcoming event for our church.

#5 – Be in prayer over our next series “Vampires: Dealing with people who suck the life out of you.  

We are going to do a short 3 week series. We all have vampires in our lives. They’re not the ones with pale skin and fangs – but they do suck the life out of us. So how do you love the people who drain you? How do you handle these relationships? How do you make it work when all you want to do is run? I don’t know about you, but I’ve got “Vampires” in my life.  But more specifically, I think that I’ve been a “Vampire” to others.  I think we’re going to laugh. I thing we are all going to be challenged.  I think we are going to come out of this series called to give life…not “suck” it out of a person.

That’s all we have today.  Keep up on your reading…and write down His blessings in “marble.”

Thanks for letting me ramble…

“Are you talking nautical to me?”

Is anyone else a fan of Sig Hanson?  Any Discovery Channel geeks out there?

If you’ve never partaken in this amazing show, “Deadliest Catch” is a documentary series chronicling the real-life high-sea adventures of the Alaskan crab fishermen. It is professed to be the most deadly profession in the world (and for good reason). Sig Hanson is by far my favorite captain to watch on the show.  He commands the Northwestern as one of the more successful crab fisherman.  I’ll admit, his crew is one of the more entertaining crews to watch.

Watching the show pulls me into their world of fishing the Bering Sea. Anne has heard me more than once proudly proclaim that could do that job.   I see myself working for 36 hours straight pulling crab pots.  The reality, for the first few days, I’d be clutching the railing throwing up from sea sickness. One episode in particular, stands out to me. A  “greenhorn” or the newest crewman on a fishing vessel, has a freak-out moment and is ready to jump ship.  The deep, the waves, the intensity of the moment has caused this man to call it quits. He is so consumed with fear that has forgone rational thought.  The boat is forced to abandon its journey to take this greenhorn back to shore.  His final scene is him shamefully leaving the boat and walking down the dock in his Lions jersey (kinda indicative of most Lions seasons).  We all watch and think we’d handle it much better.  How scary can it be?

“And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” 2 Peter 1:19

The words “To pay attention” is a very cool Greek word (prosecho). It literally means, “to have direction toward something”. It was a nautical term used to describe steering a ship on course. In the days when all ships were sailing ships, “prosecho was a very important concept. In the open water, there are no street signs.  There are no exits to pull off to get directions.  If you didn’t know how to set a course, you could easily get lost at sea.

Who is writing this? Simon Peter

What was his “trade” before following Christ? Fisherman. (Maybe he’s the Sig Hanson of Biblical times)

Just like KFirst isn’t surprised when I use a football metaphor, we shouldn’t be alarmed that Peter is reaching back to his roots to help us understand what the Lord is speaking.  He is telling us the something about steering our course in life: Pay attention to the wind and the heavens if you want to stay on course.

God has equipped us with a word from heaven and the fresh wind of the Holy Spirit to guide us. But we have to pay attention. I’ll give you a TRUTH to ponder: Reaching your destination won’t happen if you let the currents take you wherever they happen to go.

Before the age of nautical technology, sailing far beyond the site of the shore was a not easy.  It was a scary thing. At one time, there were people who believed the world was flat and if you sailed too far you’d fall off the edge of the earth. Unless you had the proper training and/or you had a compass, without the shore to guide you, it was pretty hard to know which way to go. This is the reason why many trips were done at night. The stars were the guides. Lamps and city lights shining from the shore were easier to see.

This writer…this fishermen knew how important it was to have an illuminated marker when he found himself out on dark waters.  Dark waters have so much potential of driving fear and anxiety because three things:

  1. Their depth.  (they’re dark for a reason)
  2. Their reputation.  Beneath the surface lies dangerous creatures as well as the wreckage of former vessels who did not make it.
  3. No shelter.  Out in the deep. You cannot hide. You have to face whatever comes your way

If there is anyone understood what it was like to go through “deep waters” or dark fearful times, Peter is a prime example. Matthew 8:23-17 is the story of the disciples and Jesus sailing.  Most of us have read the story.  We remember the ending.  What we, many times forget: some of the men freaking out are experienced fishermen. Their reaction speaks of the severity of the storm. It shows the urgency of the moment.  They needed Jesus to stand up in the storm speak to the darkness. More than storms on the sea, Peter knew what it was like to go through dark times. Whether it was his denial of Christ or winding up in jail, he was experienced in going through moments where he needed help.  He needed direction. Simon Peter needed something to guide him.

And now this fisherman tells us that our lives in Christ need the same sort of markers that a ship’s captain would need. Peter knew the sea. He knew its dangers and its deceptions. But he was confident in spite of the turmoil of life because he paid close attention to the beacon of the Word. In the darkest part of our lives, a little light can be seen from a great distance. Be watchful for the light and it will direct your course.

When we start to feel surrounded by dark waters, there is a lamp shining in the darkness. It is the Word of God, the same word that Psalm 119 describes as “a lamp unto my feet“. NOTE:  the Word won’t make any difference to us unless we pay close attention to it.

I’ll end with this: Admit the depth of your need, celebrate the lavish power of grace, and get up and follow by faith.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Are you having trouble with profanity?

Happy Monday…er Tuesday! I’m late in getting this out.  I had a great time speaking yesterday at Zion Bible College – GR.  I love connecting with future/present ministers!!!

We are in the thick of the fall season and I’m excited about what’s happening in our church community. If you were not able to join us, we had an amazing day of ministry that makes it exciting be a part of this church community.

I’ll kick off Tuesday with a simple TRUTH: “The question today is not whether you will worship, but rather what you will worship. Your glorious Creator or something he created?” Today is a choice.  Every moment is a choice.  You get to choose whether your life will worship the Lord or your own desires. Live a life of worship today and “hallow” His name today. This is a great segway into recapping our Sunday and looking forward to this week.

Here are 5 things I want you to know about…

#1 – KFirst continued our series “Dust” on Sunday. We focused on “Keeping the Name Safe.” We corrected the mindset of profaning the name of Jesus.  It’s not all about what you say.  When you profess Christ but refuse to live that out before men…you are living profanity. Our actions can succeed in bringing shame on the name of Jesus around the world. In the lives of normal people, we can be guilty of hillul hashem (profaning the name).

But when we lift our hands in worship…And hate our neighbor

When we go to church and profess our relationship with God…but refuse to help a neighbor who is hurting

We are profaning the name.

Our goal?  Read the words of Christ about the “Name”:  John 17:26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.

Go live out “hallowing” the name of Jesus.

If you missed the message, download it from iTunes  later on Monday or hit the website.

#2 – Annual Business Meeting is a this week.  Our trustee nominees are presented in a handout at the information center and in the church office. I’d ask that you take some time intercede over this as we approach 3 trustee positions with prayerful hearts.  We have such an awesome list of nominees and I am excited for the future of our board.

#3 – On Sunday we are launching a 1 month reading plan.  I’m going to challenge our congregation to read all four Gospels in ONE MONTH.  October 1 will be our start date in this amazing journey.  The reading plan will be available online, via this blog, and available at the information desk.

#4 – You can’t afford to miss Sunday, October 7 for an outreach announcement. We have a great opportunity for local outreach that I believe can have explosive results in connecting to the community. Don’t sleep in that day.  I can’t wait.

#5 – Pray over our new series coming up in October.  We are going to do a short 3 week series “Vampires: Dealing with people who suck the life out of you.” I think we’re going to laugh. I thing we are all going to be challenged.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve got “Vampires” in my life.  But more specifically, I think that I’ve been a “Vampire” to others.  We are called to give life…not “suck” it out of a person.  We are supposed to be sources of joy…I better stop. I’ll start preaching the series too early.

That’s all we have today.  Love the Lord…and don’t let your lives be “profanity” to the world.  Show the world who Jesus is.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

Want to sabotage your marriage? I can help!!!

If there’s any one subject I’m very passionate about outside of Christ and pastoring, it’s Marriage. Luckily, marriage is a big part of my pastoring. As far as topics, it’s the one that I read about the most. I won’t go to the place where I will proclaim to be an expert or a “know-it-all” on the subject. But the Lord has given me a drive for knowledge and wisdom about issues that cause marital health decay. I am determined to see our families grow strong. I’m determined to see our children trained in the way they should go. I believe the way to do that is through healthy marriages.

Marriage is an institution established by the Lord. The design of man and woman in their unity reflect the beauty and complexity of the One that created humanity in His image. Your marriage is not a life of two but one. The oneness must remain healthy. BUT…You can’t expect your marriage to grow merely by circumstance and chance. You must be intentional.

If you are not intentional about heath…you’re being intentional about death. Some people are bent on ignoring issues because they don’t want to make waves. I’ll give ya a TRUTH: Ignoring a problem is like giving it steroids. Deal with marriage problems quickly, before they become monsters.

I like how The Message speaks about marriage. “ Marriage is a decision to serve the other, whether in bed or out…” I know the context of the section in 1 Corinthians 7 is about sex. But the statement goes far beyond the bed. It’s about laying down our pride and selfish desire and serving for the health of the “oneness.”

Perhaps you don’t believe me. So I’ll approach it from the opposite side of health. If you’re looking for ways to absolutely blow up your marriage? I’ve got some foolproof tactics that will help.

#1 – Refuse to grow
Refuse change. Just because businesses that don’t embrace usually go in to bankruptcy…Just because churches that don’t embrace change go into irrelevancy…doesn’t mean that will happen to your marriage. WRONG! Marriage NOTE: Every husband and wife need to be determined that they will pursue personal, spiritual, and marital growth. Every season of life will hand another level of circumstances that will necessitate continual growth. If not…you are sabotaging your marriage.

#2 – Keep Quiet
Talk to your friends and coworkers about your spouse and not to them because doing so will be awkward! Even better, using the silent treatment is really an amazing weapon when it comes to refusing to communicate. Never mind that’s how the kids in the nursery deal with each other. Marriage NOTE: Work on your words, tones, mannerisms, and timing and learn to open the barriers and talk.

#3 – Expect your spouse to possess mind reading abilities
Just expect your spouse to know what you are thinking. Remember: You shouldn’t have to ask…your spouse should just know! You could give a hint. But if your spouse loves you, he/she will by osmosis know everything that you know. Marriage NOTE: At this point I’d go into a cliché about the word “assume” but that may not be appropriate.

#4 – Turn off your hearing aid.
Refuse to be a listener. Especially during conflict, interrupt your spouse to immediately correct them. Then quickly trying your best to make a stronger point always helps tear a relationship to pieces! Marriage NOTE: Your spouse wants to hear you…BUT he/she wants to know that they have been, not heard, but listened to. Find a connection to what they are saying as well as what they are feeling.

#5 – Spousal Pessimism
(a term I got from Perry Noble) Always assume the absolute worst about your spouse. As soon as you hear (or even think about) something negative about my spouse it is absolutely essential to carry that thought to its fullest illogical conclusion. Don’t EVER ask for an explanation or clarification. If you do, you may spawn some open communication will lead to a stronger marriage! Marriage NOTE: Please sense the sarcasm

#6 –It’s not worth winning if you can’t win big
(Okay, that line came from the “Mighty Ducks”)Win at all costs. Remember: the goal is to win…not to actually bring resolution. If you realize you’re wrong about something, don’t drop your pride. It’ll invite a barrage of accusations that actually have nothing to do with what the original argument/discussion had to do with in the first place! Win at all costs, even if it means saying things that hurt and wound deeply. Remember, it’s not you that’s hurt…wait…what about that oneness thing? That’s right. When one is hurt, both hurt.

#7 – Friends don’t make good lovers
You cannot see your spouse and you as being on the same team if you want a great marriage. After all, don’t opposites attract? Doesn’t more fighting make for a stronger marriage? Make sure you view everything as some sort of game and make it a goal to COMPETE with your spouse and not actually COMPLETE them. Marriage NOTE: Make sure that the only sex you’re having isn’t always “make-up sex.” Make-up sex has one level. Strive to deepen your friendship and I promise it will take the sex to whole level than “make-up sex” could ever do.

#8 – Point the finger
If there’s anything you communicate, make sure it’s ALWAYS about how much they are “not meeting your needs” and how they need to “step up and do better” as often as possible. By all means do NOT take a look at yourself and what you could do to improve the marriage. Everything MUST be blamed on them and you’ve got to see yourself as flawless and perfect. After all, they are the one with inadequacies and shortcomings….wait, if they constantly make bad decisions, what does that say about their decision to marry you? hmmmm

#9 – Be dull
Step away from anything fun. Dating was done when you said “I do.” You have your friends and your spouse needs theirs. Don’t have mutual friends…and for the sake of sanity you don’t want to be connected to other couples. Don’t do anything fun as a family. If you have to go out together, spend as much time on your smart phone (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc) because communication with your spouse will do nothing except make your marriage stronger. (That one hurt to type…I, possibly, might be guilty of that one.)

#10 – Stop laughing
Take everything serious. No smiles. No warmth. I know that laugher tends to break the tension. Do I really want my spouse to see things in me that remind them of our dating relationship? Isn’t it better to keep the marriage on edge? Isn’t life too serious to lighten it up and live? (sorry…I’m laughing just typing that)

I hope the list brings a few smiles and, at the same time, causes a bit of introspection. Marriage is hard work. Two broken, imperfect people come together to form a union, covenant, and a life. If you expect to get healthy as a marriage, you BOTH have to be intentional about your decisions to keep it healthy.

rejoice in the “spouse” of your youth”

Have fun.

Thanks for letting me ramble…