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Showing posts from January, 2010

Church & Home

Today, I had the privilege of leading the parent/child dedication at church. I have done a couple before. As I reflected on the dedication, I was again reminded of the importance of church and home.

As I meet with parents, I make it clear that Scripture shows it is their responsibility to pass on their faith to their kids as seen in Deuteronomy 6, Ephesians 6, and Psalm 78. We in the church have said this for a long time, but we have failed because we do not then equip parents how to do this. I pray and hope this will change in the body of Christ. As Associate Pastor, I want to equip parents through training and teaching that will help them impact their kids. I want to encourage and pray for parents to do this well. This is just one part of the equation.

The next part is my role as a parent. Not only does Scripture speak to this topic, but research is also supporting it over and over. Mom, you are the number 1 influence in your kids' faith development. Dad, you are number…

Crazy Love

Yesterday, I finished the book, Crazy Love, by Francis Chan. I highly recommend the book. I wanted to share some quotes from the final chapter that really "rocked my world."

"The first church responded with immediate action: repentance, baptism, selling possessions, sharing the gospel. We respond with words like Amen, Convicting sermon, Great book . . . and then are paralyzed as we try to decipher what God wants of our lives."

"My suggestion as you think, make decisions, and discern how God would have you live is to ask yourself, "Is this the most loving way to do life? Am I loving my neighbor and my God by living where I live, by driving what I drive, by talking how I talk? " I urge you to consider and actually live as though each person you come into contact with is Christ."

"Memories are wonderful, but do you live differently because of them?"

"Be careful not to turn others' lives into the mold for your own. Allow God to b…

15 years ago today

15 years ago today, I took Bethany on our first date. Let me share the "complicated" story.

I can honestly say that I experienced love at first sight when I saw Bethany on the first day of orientation at Sterling College. She did not have the same reaction as I did. However, I really had decided after hearing about Bethany from my college roommate that she was someone that I could be interested in. But you might be thinking, "Does orientation begin in January?"

The answer is no. I was very interested in Bethany from day one, but I had a lot of changes that needed to occur in my life personally before she would ever be interested in me. I learned a great deal from Bethany over the coming months. She explained that she would never date anyone that she could not marry. Wow! That is serious. And at the time, I was not the kind of guy that she was interested in marrying. Spiritually, I was not very mature. My worldview was a little skewed. This forced me to…

Mitchell's First Basket

Mitchell really enjoys basketball. His team is doing great as they have only lost one game. It is so fun watching him cheer and get excited for his team. He encourages them both on and off the court. The one thing missing: scoring a goal. He really wanted to make a basket and had not yet.

Today, that changed. He received a great pass from his teammate and shot the ball and swish. He was so happy. You could see it on his face. His grandma and grandpa were there to see it too. His sisters' were excited for him as well.

This has been a good season to teach him about patience and teamwork. We have been able to talk about the importance of playing defense and making good passes. It also has challenged him to want to get better by practicing. It has been fun watching him get better.

Haiti-One Way to help out

There are many ways you can help out with the situation in Haiti. There are many reputable organizations who are already on the ground there and are doing a wonderful service for the people of Haiti. Consider making a donation to them.

We also heard this Sunday from John Reimer, a member of our church and a board member of Haiti Lifeline Ministry. Check out their website at www.haitilifelineministries.com. They also have a regular presence in Haiti and through your help (financially and physically going on a trip), they plan to be a part of the recovery and rebuilding.

For those with children, I highly recommend taking your child to help with a food packaging event at Numana. It is something that your child can understand and feel a part of something bigger than themselves. It also allows you as a family to serve together. As you know, I am a major supporter of parents and children serving beside each other. See the press release below for more information about Numana and upcoming ev…

Children in the worship service

I wanted to share a quote from "Parenting in the Pew" by Robbie Castleman. She is actually quoting from Stanley Hauerwas and William Willimon from Resident Aliens. This gives all of us in the church something to think about this week and in the future.

In many of our modern, sophisticated congregations, children are often viewed as distractions. We tolerate children only to the extent they promise to become "adults" like us. Adult members sometimes complain that they cannot pay attention to the sermon, they cannot listen to the beautiful music, when fidgety children are beside them in the pews. "Send them away," many adults say. Create "Children's Church" so these distracting children can be removed in order that we adults can pay attention.

Interestingly, Jesus put a child in the center of his disciples, "in the midst of them," in order to help them pay attention. . . . The child was a last-ditch effort by God to help the dis…

Excuses

Tonight, I am thinking about the excuses I make in a given day. Many times those excuses revolve around money. For the last year, I have been thinking and discussing with Bethany my desire to sponsor a child through Compassion or World Vision. I have had this on my mind and heart for a while now.

However, I think to myself: I cannot afford it because I am making double mortgage payments. Or I say, I will do it later. Sometimes, I even catch myself thinking, "we are giving enough." Wow. That sounds horrible when written down. But I do think that occasionally. I attribute these thoughts to spiritual warfare as well as my sinful nature. This week, I became convicted and convinced that the time was now.

I decided no more excuses. Trust God to provide. We began sponsoring a child from Niger. Mitchell is very interested and excited. He has been asking a lot of questions. I look forward to the kids writing and getting to know him better. We talked about Niger and lov…

Magi Morsels

Today, I preached on Matthew 2:1-12. I titled the message, "Magi Morsels", because a morsel is a small amount and I spoke about the little things we can learn from the Magi. I also challenged everyone to think about three questions in the coming week. Here is a brief summary of my message.

1st Morsel-Get Gazing vs. 1-2
Just as the Magi were gazing at the sky, we need to keep our eyes focuses on Jesus.Lyrics of Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus and Hebrews 12:2Contrasts between Herod & Jesus (Ruthless vs. Compassionate, Powerful vs. Meek, Demands Respect vs. Receives Respect, Adult vs. Child)What gets in your way of gazing at Christ?
2nd Morsel-Get Going vs. 3-8
The wise men do no stay put, but get going. We can learn from them that we need to get going in our spiritual lives.Life Unlimited in Christ (Centered on Scripture, Holy Spirit Empowered, Reaching the World, Intimate Worship, Serving Others, Transparent Relationships)Contrasts between magi and religious leaders (Hard vs. …

Quotes from my reading yesterday

Here are some quotes from some of the books I am reading right now:

"If we want to be a dad of destiny, we will need to balance our internal commitments with our external actions, to practice what we preach." (They Call Me Dad by Ken Canfield)

"In living out their Christian faith in their marriages and families, believers must recognize that their sinful nature will lead them to rebel against against plan unless aided by the Holy Spirit, and that the devil will seek to use their sinful tendencies and inclinations to lead them astray."
(God, Marriage, and Family by Kostenberger)

"This view allows Christians to agree on the essentials but cling to their differences , with humility and charity." (Speaking of third way (not traditional or emerging) Deep Church by Belcher)

"It is just this sort of love that is crazy to the world: true love, a kind found nowhere but through Christ." (Crazy Love by Chan)

"Children learn to worship by worshiping-throug…

God Provides!

Today, I received a wonderful surprise and blessing. I had written previously that two families in our church has blessed us with surprises in November and December. I was at a loss for words then and can just say, "Praise the Lord." These families' generosity reveals a picture of what Jesus wants the church to be.

Back to today-I left for lunch and got in my van and found an envelope taped to my steering wheel. I thought "this is strange." I opened the envelope and it contained a note and cash that was to be used to help us pay double mortgages this month. I truly don't know why our house in Iola has not sold, but what I do know is that God has provided for us in amazing ways over the last 14 months. I want to say thanks to my anonymous donor and to give praise to God. I laugh to myself as I think that I will be preaching this Sunday and one of my points is that we need to "get giving".

Here is my testimony today: life does not always work…

2010 Family Goals

Yesterday, we spent the day at home and had our first family worship of the year. I decided that I would challenge the family to 2 specific goals in 2 areas of our lives. Above our front door, Bethany has put up the following phrase, "Love God. Love Others." It is a great reminder as I leave the house each day. I decided to pick two ways that we as a family can do both of those things in 2010. Here is what my goals are for the Martin's in these areas:
Love God--As a family, we are going to strive to spend time with God alone at least 5 days of the week in prayer and Bible reading. Our challenge is to pray for each member of the family during our prayer times and to get into God's Word on a regular basis. We will also strive to have a good attitude during family worship as well as corporate worship. We will seek to learn as much as possible during these times of worship. Love Others-The two areas are respect and service. In the area of respect, the kids are t…

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to everyone!

Here I am back in Hesston typing on my "new to me" laptop-thanks to Bethany's Uncle Bob. Both Bethany and I are now able to spend our time on the computer at the same time and we don't have to share.

I have not been posting for the last week as I was on vacation. I spent the last week in Yates Center. I enjoyed the relaxing days and especially the time when I took my kids and nieces sledding 5 days in a row. For those that are interested, we went to 3 different hills-one on north side of vo-ag building at high school, one on northwest corner of new high school gym, and the last was at the old water plant. The kids had a great time. It was really cold the last two days, but we spent an hour each day the previous three.

I also enjoyed getting to see the Abbott's while in Iola for a brief visit on Wednesday. We had to check on the house and wanted to give give Mitchell and Mackenzie some time to spend with our neighbors across the s…