A Nanny for the Family

People sometimes wonder why I’m such an advocate of filtered Internet access. We’ve used a product called SafeEyes from internetsafety.com for years. But when they sold out to McAfee, and their product support was shipped overseas, the company began making numerous missteps, in my opinion. I wanted something different, however, there didn’t seem to be anything comparable. But recently SafeEyes has simply slowed my computer and my connection speeds down to impossible to use, so we looked again.

Last night, we installed NetNanny from content watch.com. I am dumbfounded at the speed of my connection again! I forgot how much I depended on my laptop and how fun it was to use…. Really, it had gotten that bad that I hardLy used my laptop anymore.

So, if it was that bad, why not just get rid of the Internet filter? In my personal devotional time this morning, I read this:

And he said to the human race, “The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.” (‭Job‬ ‭28‬:‭28‬ NET)

Wisdom doesn’t come from an open internet. Wisdom doesn’t come from the news. Wisdom doesn’t come from an always connected family. Wisdom comes from spending time with God. Shunning evil helps us do that. Keeping evil away from my house is important. Just like I wouldn’t let cable companies bring garbage into my house (if I had a cable connection), nor am I about to allow the Internet to bring me garbage through unintended web searches, through accidental typos, and neither from our selfish hearts.

And he said to the human race, “The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.” (‭Job‬ ‭28‬:‭28‬ NET)

Good words for today….

Updated: 8/31/2015

A couple of months ago we started having troubles with Net Nanny. It quit filtering, uninstalled itself, and wouldn’t reload at times. We’ve now switched to Covenant Eyes filtering. We’ve been doing so for several months and like it a lot. 

My Son, Myself and Fire

When I was about three or four years old, my mom and dad were smokers. One day I picked up a book of matches. I played with them on the coffee table by batting around, flipping it here and there. Finally, I got around to opening it. And I fingered the little red matches long enough and one came out. I finally figured out how to light the match, and was mesmerized by the flame burning brightly… until it hit my fingers and I screamed! Bad experience. However, it didn’t deter my love of the flame. I’ve always liked fire. I’ve always played with fire.

Fast-forward ___ years….

My one year old son really, really likes fire too. When I start the wood stove in the morning (a near daily affair), he loves to come and watch. He’s learning to stay back, but we do have a fence up to remind him not to get too close. He likes to test us. He wants to make sure we really mean no. He thinks his way is best. Did I already say, he’s one…?

But I realized his nature: fire intrigues him. I realized that watching the fire was in his very core of who he is. He just wants to touch it. He loves to watch when I start the fire. He loves to lay in front of it when he gets his diaper changed – and will lay still while I change him, if he can just watch the fire. I love to watch fire too. It feels good. It’s relaxing. It’s mesmerizing.

So? Should I let him?

A few nights ago, we decided to open the doors of the fireplace/wood stove and roast hot dogs (should’ve done marshmallows, but didn’t think of it until now). As 4 of my kids crowded around the fireplace with the metal sticks and hotdogs a-roasting, my son crowded in behind them. He wanted to get close too. But he couldn’t. He was like Zacheus – He was too short to see over the crowd. But he JUST HAD TO SEE IT AND GET CLOSE AND TOUCH IT. I mean, it’s in his very nature. He is attracted to fire. (He’s not attracted to cold – go figure….) Then he saw a way around the girls and went for it. He ran beside them and was going to get in close. Fortunately the 12 year old saw him and stopped him. He screamed, he cried, he really wanted in to touch that brightly colored fire.

I know what he was saying. I don’t speak in tongues, but I still knew – I could see it in his eyes and read his facial expressions. “You don’t love me, or you’d let me!” “You must not care for me, you are telling me no!” “It’s who I am! I want that!” I could see it. I could hear it. Believe me, I could hear it!

Should I let him, because he wants to? Because it’s in his nature? Because he was born that way?

Of course not! The most loving thing any parent can do at that point is to say no. Love doesn’t mean agreement. Love doesn’t mean acceptance of everything, but it does mean acceptance of everyONE. I did the most loving thing I could do – I provided a safe place for my son because I told him no and put the fence back up after the hotdogs…. And one day, when he realizes what could have happened to him, he’ll thank me. I’m sure of it.

It ought to be the same at church. I would hope that when I’m headed down a faulty way, someone (ANYONE!) would tell me to stop. I’m not talking about people outside the church. I’m talking about people inside the church. We help and support each other. Church should be a safe place. And a safe place isn’t where I’ll get burned. A safe place is where I choose to follow the “law of liberty” the Bible talks about. Any help along that path, I’m grateful for.

Seeing God in the Word

Dusty BibleReading in the LIFE Journal today, in the book of Numbers.

6he said, “Listen to my words:

“When there are prophets of the LORD among you,
I revealg myself to them in visions,
I speak to them in dreams.
7But this is not true of my servant Moses;
he is faithful in all my house.
8With him I speak face to face,
clearly and not in riddles;
he sees the form of the LORD.
Why then were you not afraid
to speak against my servant Moses?”
The Holy Bible: Today’s New International Version. 2005 (Nu 12:6–8). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

I ponder this in light of the Christian song that says, “I want to see you, I want to touch your face” in speaking to God….

Probably we all want to see God more clearly. Probably we all want to touch him. We all want to be in that kind of relationship with God. But God is essentially saying, only 1 person ever got to see God face-to-face. Only a select few get to have those kinds of dreams and visions.

I sat there thinking, “How do I get to be good enough to be one of those select few?” and then it hit me. God doesn’t choose the good. He gives grace to a few for a purpose, but it’s not because they are better at the Christian thing than you or I am. God does it on purpose, because it will advance his cause more.

Yes…I need to continue to grow closer to God. I need to continue to seek Him in his revealed word. However, I’ll leave the decisions about how He chooses to communicate with Him.

Simply Amazed!

Screen Shot 2013-01-16 at 7.07.23 AMAs a pre-teen of 12 years old, I attended a series of meetings that changed my life forever. I was amazed at what I learned about God and His grace. I was fascinated to learn that He loved me, already knew me, and wanted to spend time with me. I was just a kid! I was overpowered by the idea that he didn’t want to punish us forever in an eternally burning hell, so he didn’t create one. Over the course of 6 weeks, I came to an understanding and love for God that can only be described as remarkable. My life was forever changed.

The day before we went to church for the first time, I was doing a sleepover at my friend’s house. I smoked my first (and last) two cigarettes that night. We were also beginning to experiment with alcohol. I already had a god before I went to those meetings, it was baseball. In 6 short weeks, my life was changed and so was my community. There was one less person who would end up as an alcoholic, one less person who would think of following the gods of this age and one more person (at 12) who would become a preacher.

We are currently holding a similar series of meetings in my church. It’s a prophecy seminar. As I watch people leave each night, I see amazement. They are amazed at the things they are learning. That God loves them. That God doesn’t burn the wicked forever. That death is a sleep. I know they are in for so much more. But for now, I know that their amazement will change their lives, their family, and yes, even their community for the better.

Yep. Jesus does just that.

They are simply amazed right now. I still am too!

Live Your Life in Such a Way….

72232_10200326226828170_1143027126_nA Mentor-Friend of mine (he also used to be my boss) used to say, “Live your life in such a way that if someone started a rumor about you, no one would believe it.”

I’ve held onto that phrase for the better part of 25 years and tried to abide by it. By no means have I done it always. By no means have I reached a state of perfection. But it’s been my desire and my goal.

This week, I was troubled to hear of a friend, who has lived totally secret double life. Frankly, I wasn’t surprised by this new information. This friend lived his life in a way that rumors abounded.

Here’s a good set of guidelines to live by:

8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

The Holy Bible: New International Version. 1996 (electronic ed.) (Jos 1:7–9). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

I want the Lord to go with me wherever I go. I want to stand tall, to live a strong and courageous life. I hear in this passage, the way to do it is to live according to God’s standard. And in order to do that, I must not get very far away from His book. Scripture memorization, LIFE Journaling, obedience – these are some of the ways to keep close to God’s word.

That’s the way I desire to live. That’s why I’m held accountable to this by others – friends, wife, colleagues. I would encourage you live by God’s standards too!

An Army of Youth

Madison Avenue has it figured out. The teenagers of our day have the most discretionary time and money. They know if they can capture the minds of kids they will likely have them for life!

One Christian writer in the 19th century has said that the work of God will be finished by an army of youth. Yet the church often waits until people are well into their 50s before they could get involved. I used to chastise a church I pastored because I was the only one on the board under 50 (I was in my late 20s). However I was only on the board because they had to let me….

I am currently attending a conference called GYC. It is their intent to raise up this army of youth. I’m impressed that this is their goal. I know some who don’t like all their theological stances, but I am willing to grant them grace. The spirit of God works in unity in diversity. It’s likely time get over the theological debates and start again to raise up a revolutionary army.

The way to start is by captivating those with the most discretionary time and energy – the youth…and we’ll likely have them doing it for life!