Category Archives: Thoughts

Questions – Relationship=Obfuscation

From time to time I see statements, comments, questions, or rants that make me feel a desire and almost a need to respond to bring clarity or to open a dialogue that can be used to minister to those around me. This is always a challenge as it is very hard to cover some topics with a simple Instagram reply or a Facebook post (especially since I am not on Facebook) but the hope is to intrigue the reader enough to reach out and continue the dialogue. So last night my bride showed me a post and a question that is a response to that post in which I wanted to take a moment to reply; again in hopes to either start a dialogue or simply to inform and correct some misunderstandings.

First and foremost however I want everyone to understand that some parts of the question are far more detailed and in-depth than a simple 140 character reply. These theological concepts could take time to explain properly and furthermore would also take the Holy Spirit to unveil a person’s heart to truly understand. It is far more important to outline the fundamental fact of what Christ did on the cross as the perfect sacrifice so that those who would believe would not be separated from God forever. Without truly understanding the sacrifice that was made on the cross and ones need for Christ, the concepts discussed further down might not mean anything. So if you as the reader of this do not truly understand that and you want to know more please reach out to me and I will meet with you or call you or converse however you deem…cause it is that important!!

And to be honest that is the whole reason for our ministry, Into This Grace (www.intothisgrace.org), was started for this very type of thing and would gladly meet with you, your friend, or anyone that would want to sit and truly discuss for the sake of trying to understand.

So let me try to address parts of this question and then I will trust the Holy Spirit to move in the hearts and feet of the people that need more to contact us for further discussion.

Question:

If we were created in His image…….and we would never condemn our children to an eternity of torture why then would our “loving” God?  Is this a myth that has been perpetuated by organized religion? The same religion responsible for translating and retranslating the Bible because it’s subjects could not read Latin? The same religion that was also responsible for selling indulgences?  Makes me question it all……..
Asking for a friend.

1. We were created in His image. True. That means we are separate from every other creation in that we have a soul that is eternal. The Trinity (God the Father, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit) does not have a start or a stop in the timeline of existence, God was not born and He will not die. Therefore as humans, we have an immaterial part of us that gives us the ability to have a relationship with God and give us a unique difference from the rest of all living things. No other creation (animals, plants, etc) can live eternally in Heaven through salvation in Christ.

2. we would never condemn our children to an eternity of torture why then would our “loving” God?

I think it is first most important to understand the term “loving” as the Bible defines it. We must understand that scripture says (1 John 4:16) that God is love. He is not only perfect love though He is also perfect justice and righteousness. But His perfect love is demonstrated in the fact that He sacrificed His only Son as payment for the sin of those that would believe so we have to be careful when we begin to think that we are a better judge of what is right and wrong according to our limited standards. If we do that we then begin to say that God is unloving for allowing people to pay for their sins. God is Holy and is very clear throughout scripture that His wrath/judgment (Romans 1:18-20) will be upon sin and the only reward of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Physically that means our body will pass away and the soul which is in the image of God will eternally be separated from Him in Hell. But in the first chapter of Romans, it is very clear that God’s nature has been made known to all man and that those who do not believe are without excuse. This means God has revealed Himself and His love for all through His actions and throughout history.

3. Is this a myth that has been perpetuated by organized religion?

First and foremost we need to understand that religion is man-centered. Rules, regulations, works, etc… that all are actions and qualities that determine how close to God or approved by God one can be. In that regard, Christianity cannot be considered a religion; it is a relationship that God has established with His children. True biblical Christianity teaches that God is the pursuer and man is simply the recipient (Romans 8:3). The Bible clearly teaches that there is nothing man can do to make himself right with God (Isaiah 53:6; 64:6; Romans 3:23; 6:23). In fact, the Bible teaches that God did for us what we cannot do for ourselves (Colossians 2:13; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Our sin separates us from His presence, and sin must be punished (Romans 6:23; Matthew 10:28; 23:33). But, because God loves us, He took our punishment. All we who believe have salvation through faith (Ephesians 2:8–9; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Grace is God’s blessing on the undeserving.

4. The same religion responsible for translating and retranslating the Bible because it’s subjects could not read Latin?

I believe that this might derive from a Catholic background or in reference to that, but in all reality, no one “religion” is necessarily responsible for sole translation and retranslation of the Bible to current day. God sovereignly chose to have His Word written in Hebrew (the Old Testament) and Greek (the New Testament), and the only true translation would be a word for word translation from the original text. There are several of those to include in the conversation with English Standard Version (ESV) and New American Standard Version (NASB) being at the top in my opinion but again a long conversation that has many facets.

5. The same religion that was also responsible for selling indulgences? Makes me question it all…..…

That is truly one of the biggest problems with “religion”, it begins to derive ways for man to earn favor or wishes from God through actions or indulgences and that always return void. And furthermore, this is not the way that God defines our relationship with Him throughout scripture. In fact one of the very instances that we see Jesus show anger is when “religious” people turned His fathers house into a market selling and taking advantage of followers or those trying to get close to God through indulgences.

In summation, all of these are conversations that depend upon your understanding of scripture and your personal relationship with Christ. This is the most important thing to take away is that if you don’t know Christ and are not filled with the Holy Spirit then some of the conversations are just that, conversations. Jesus is in the heart-changing business, has your heart been changed? If you desire to discuss more or in greater details please feel free to reach out to me and I will gladly take time to discuss.

Pastor Tyler

Dad. My life is hard and its your fault!

Parents, let’s have a come to Jesus moment, shall we?

“You know what makes me sick to my stomach? When I hear grown people say that kids have changed. Kids haven’t changed. Kids don’t know anything about anything. We’ve changed as adults. We demand less of kids. We expect less of kids. We make their lives easier instead of preparing them for what life is truly about. We’re the ones that have changed.” -Frank Martin S.C. Head Basketball Coach

I read this quote the other day and I found that it scratched an itch of mine that tends to bring up much irritation in my mind. This quote was by a gentleman that spends his life trying to get young adults to perform at a high level and is then judged by their performance for his annual review. It stands to reason then that the character of the young adults that he recruits every year might matter to him and that he might be a skilled craftsman at evaluating that said character especially after 26 years in the industry. Then with that assumption in mind, it would also stand to reason that he can identify trends in our society within that particular focus. Now, I am saying that he is James Dobson with “Focus on the Family” and has all the answers to our parenting miscues, no. However, I am saying I bet he can identify the type of young adult that he wants in his program regardless of their athletic skill set and the type of parenting that supports it.

As a baseball coach I see all types of parents, from many different teams, but inevitably every team has a set of parents who are far too into their kid’s athletic career and probably even more so than their own athlete is. Parents are willing to go to great lengths to make sure that their kid makes the team (whichever one that is that they deem valuable) including defending their poor performance at try-outs. Explaining why the athlete has not done any work at home outside of practice, and I could go on and on. But ultimately this points to a parenting issue, I know that is hard to hear, but that doesn’t make it any less true. I also know that you’re just trying to protect Sally or Billy because you want them to have the greatest childhood and to be successful so that one day they are going to turn around and give you the greatest parent award. But ultimately that is not about Billy or Sally and what is best for them. That is about you and quite frankly, it is selfish. Because that is about you being proud of you and being able to tell your co-worker that your son or daughter made this team or received that reward.

Our job as parents is to teach them how to navigate this life without us. My parents never discussed my playing time, field position, or jersey number with my high school coach. In fact, I don’t think they ever even talked to my college coach after my recruitment period was over. A parents job is to teach, plain and simple. If you’re a parent then you’re a teacher and you’re teaching your child every day with your attitude, actions, skills, and don’t forget your reactions. If we react to our child falling down with cuddles, kisses, and band-aids when they are 1-year old that is fine, but when they are 8 years old probably not. That is an opportunity to discuss the words “injury vs. hurt” and provide the understanding when you’re injured you go to the hospital, but when your hurt you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, you wipe away anything that might have possibly resembled a tear and then you try again.

I cannot tell you the number of kids I see on weekends crying because they hit a pop-up or grounded out. This is really sad because in real life you cannot hit the reset button and start the game over just because it didn’t go your way! And if you think as a parent that Sally or Billy hitting a ground ball to the second baseman and getting thrown out by 30 feet is hard on her or him, then real life is going to crush your kid. Ultimately this world is not fair, it is not wanting your kid to be successful, they have to work hard for that to happen and the only way they can learn that is to be taught.

They have to see the realities of life and that you work hard in everything you do. They have to understand that we all live under authority and that we can’t always control what happens to us but we can control our reaction to it. That ultimately our response to situations in life is what matters the most not necessarily always the end result. We need to stop giving out the proverbial participation trophy and start teaching our children that just showing up doesn’t deserve a reward. If you want something then you have to go get it and to teach our children any differently is to set them up for failure and your reward will be them living in the basement wearing a Batman costume at 30. Let your child fail and let them learn from it. Teach them scripture and walk every day with them teaching diligently, as our ultimate authority has directed us as parents to do.

American culture is teaching children to be soft, weak, and entitled. This is an everyday battle for your children’s lives and us as parents cannot be lazy and allow the iPad or T.V. to teach them how to live.

P. T.

Samuel L. Jackson said what?

It is very easy in this day and time to be confused about what is TRUTH.  If you do not believe me then turn on your T.V. and tune in to CNN and Fox News to watch how they discuss the same event or topic from two different sides.  Before you realize it you will begin to question whether or not they are even discussing the same event; much less are their “facts” the same.  And this seems to be the way of the culture right now as anyone with a Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and/or “Satan’s spawn” (as we like to call it at our house) Snapchat account and an internet connection can have an opinion and be able to vent and rant on it.  And believe me I understand the irony of making that statement!

And so this leads me to ask this question not only to myself as a parent, but also to all you who are parents:  Who is filling the role of PARENT in your child’s life today?  Who is giving your child truth about right and wrong, sexuality, marriage, what it means to be an American, or most important about God?

I believe that our culture today has given parents the freedom to step away and assume that their kids are just going to figure it out.  We as a culture have adopted the idea that instead of engaging our children to teach them we should allow other people, device apps, tv shows etc. to do all of those things for us.  Why take the time to teach your child to read when there is an ipad app which will do the same thing?  Then we wonder why our children have attention issues when they have never been made to sit through a church service, doctor visit, or even a family dinner without something to entertain them.  I believe that our culture of technology has just made this worse and parents that much more lazy.  Most parents today it seems would rather bargain, barter, cave-in, distract or even worse medicate to save them from having to take the effort and diligence it takes to shape a young mind with discipline and consistency.

For instance, this weekend I witnessed a man make statements about homeschooling that were so ignorant it proved to me at least that he had believed a lie.  The lie is this: there is no other way to educate your child about real life than to turn them over to a government run school system.  Now, I am not saying that public school is evil but I am saying that if your children are in public school you have to work that much harder to be the major influence in their lives.  Our culture is telling parents to let schools and other people be the major educator and influence of their child’s mind because they know best.  I believe that is not only sad but repulsive that the culture in our country is lying to parents to believe a lie rather than what God our creator has lined out for us in scripture.  By the way, Satan has told the same lie to Parents about church.  He has convinced parents that simply taking your kids faithfully to church is enough to foster a true relationship with God, and to learn how to live a God honoring life.  This is in strong contradiction to what scripture teaches about a Parent’s role versus the Church’s.

Now, I understand this is not the most politically correct stance to take, and some will cringe and say I am a little to hard nosed and rigid (which I have been accused of before).  And by no means am I saying that we at ITG have done it all correctly, as we are still learning as well; but none of that makes the trend less true.

Parents, you have a responsibility given by God to help teach, mold, and shape your child’s mind, behavior, beliefs, and reactions to the world around them.  By now your asking what does Samuel L. Jackson have to do with this, well this is a great interview that he did in 2013 about this very issue of culture, children, gun control, and who is responsible for shaping children.   I thought it was very interesting to hear his opinion and views of media, culture, and parenting (to be honest it is not what I thought it would be).

 

~ God Bless – Tyler

The Ole’ Believer Meter

As I get older there are certain memories that become sweeter and sweeter. As I consider or are reminded of them I often try to almost relive or submerse myself in the memory. Mostly, because that time is gone or maybe the person involved is gone but the fondness of those memories grows as I age and as I begin to notice time is really passing quicker than I would like. I can almost drift back to when I was 8 or 9 and helping my Grandfather with projects around His church. I can see Him walking through the halls, fixing doors, working on the HVAC, and tending to the audio system.  One of these fond memories I can remember is watching Him work in the sanctuary by replacing hymnals in the pew pockets and changing the attendance and offering board that hung near the pulpit.

Fast forward to today and I wonder where did that display of records begin. Why would anyone think that putting last week’s attendance and offering on display, where the entire congregation can stare at it all service, would be a good idea?  I am sure that whomever started this was probably thinking it would be an encouragement to a small body.  In that they could begin to see the attendance grow and the correlating offering which would bring about the possibility of greater ministry. But for some of those smaller bodies, as was my Grandfathers near the end of His life, I can only imagine that it must also have had the opposite effect to see that 12 people attended last Sunday and gave a total of fifty-eight dollars. Especially for those bodies that once were thriving with young families and had ministries that were reaching out to their community. I fear that this “tradition” of counting those in attendance can also leads us into other tendencies which can be somewhat Pharisaical and legalistic.

It is very easy for us to sit in our pews or chairs on Sunday morning and take stock of who is there and who is not. Now armed with this information the question becomes what should we do with this knowledge that Mr. and Mrs. Absentee and their kids have been out two weeks in a row. Hopefully this information will be used correctly and lead us to call on the Absentees to ensure that they are doing okay and if not to determine if we can serve them in some way. I believe a call with the right heart would leave most people feeling loved and thankful that someone noticed and cared enough to inquire. I fear though that the most common reaction to Mr.and Mrs. Absentee is to assume that they are off gallivanting around and are just blowing off church as it is just another activity in their busy life. That the family is somewhat undependable and truthfully not to serious about their faith. With this thought in mind I think we all, if being honest, can think of a family that matches what we would consider as matching that description. They would rather be at the beach, the fair, the mountains, camping, hunting, biking, and almost anything else because they deserve that trip or that activity so that they can blow off steam from the stress of the week. But there it is; I just proved my own point. We can very easily slide into Matthew 23:25 where Jesus condemns the pharisees for cleaning the outside of the cup and leaving the inside filthy.  Meaning maybe we begin to judge others actions based upon a religious checklist of items that is based on external actions rather than allowing the Holy Spirit to discern exactly where the heart is at.

At this point you are probably confused about what side of the fence I am actually standing on, so let me be very clear!! That board near the pulpit that is in so many churches whether physically or just in practice is just a way to foster the “Ole’ Believer Meter”.  This idea that one’s attendance is a reflection upon not only the state of your walk but also the state of your home.  The “every weekers” tend to look down upon those that miss as though they are not living up to their potential or are simply just not putting out the effort that a “Good Believer” should.  And to be totally honest I am still trying to figure out where that line of demarcation is…is it 40 Sundays a year is a good believer and 39 is bad?  Or maybe 48/47 is the line?

Well let me tell you why I bring this up, its because I love my church.  I love my elders, my fellow brothers & sisters in Christ who also call it home, I love our worship, & our men.  Truthfully I love the fact that we tend to sit in the same place and I know my pew will be open when I arrive cause to be honest I really like sitting there.  It is out of that same love however, that I also bring it up to cause the body to consider it’s actions, words, and judgments.  I ask  the body to review the life, the fruit and the walk of those before the meter is used.  Don’t get me wrong church attendance matters!!!  It is the place to worship, fellowship, receive truth and correction, and to be encouraged.  I would also venture to say that if you are reading this and feel I am finally giving you the license to no longer feel guilty about being out you might want to review your motive and heart behind your attendance.

I know this is long, but stay with me one more paragraph so that I can explain myself fully.  My children are in the busiest time of their lives while in my home, which is one of the reasons we homeschool, so that we can spend a lot of intentional time studying the Bible. We do topical studies, book studies, season of life studies, we integrate it into their curriculum and we do them as a group and separately with each child.  I even meet weekly with my daughter’s boyfriend to make sure he is in the Word and on a right path so that if that relationship continues he will be ready one day to take over some of my roles.  In the past week my wife and I have met with couples, counseled parents, carried furniture to help a family in need, all in front of or directly involving our children.  So, how does that impact my church attendance; it doesn’t! I still long to be with my church family every Sunday but if I can’t please know that I am still the same passionate believer I have always been.  Be confident that I am not failing on my duties as a believer but I am actually doing what we are called to do.  We are actually doing what all of the sermons we have attended were teaching us to be and that is to be a missionary for Christ.  So the next time you see me return after I miss a Sunday because one of my daughters or my son is playing in a tournament or we are visiting family,  try to think of it as if I have returned from a missionary journey cause indeed we have.  Embrace us as ones that are weary cause we were in the world fighting for the Gospel, rather than sarcastically re-introducing yourself and I will do the same.  Please don’t take this harshly, just be aware…I am the pastor in my home, I am a humble servant of Christ trying to be more and more like Him everyday, I am a serious missionary to a world that does not know the great I AM!

I am Tyler, a husband, a father, a friend, a teacher, a volleyball missionary, a soccer missionary, a baseball coach & missionary.  I am trying to live my life to glorify the Father, honor my wife, and raise Godly children…if you have doubts come ask and we can have a great time of fellowship and conversation.

God Bless

Reality Check

13 Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done in love.

I recently went to a training course through my work to determine my social style. This is a fancy way of saying, “how I behave and communicate with others.” It helps to determine what are my natural tendencies in those interactions and how versatile I am at working through the other styles to ensure all of my communication is as effective as it can be. Even though I was not excited to go at first, it turns out that it was a great course to provide some feedback as well as confirm some things that I already knew.  For instance, I am analytical analytical. This means my primary and secondary behaviors are both analytical. Now I could bore you with what all that means, but the part that is most important in the results is this sentence: “The analytical style person appears to live life according to the facts, principles, logic, and consistency that one can find in reality.”

This was a very intense statement for me as that is honestly exactly what I pray for…REALITY.  I pray that I would see things through Christ’s eyes for what they really are and not for what I want them to be.  I want to see my marriage, my children, my own personal walk where they truly are and not allow Satan to blind me to reality.  I want my connection to God to be as authentic and full as possible and for that to occur I have to see honestly where my heart and my life are.  I believe that far to often we as believers, parents, and spouses willingly believe the lies of Satan because that is easier than dealing with the reality of where our heart truly is.

For example, I often see parents that will allow sin to occur in their home without addressing it and will be shocked by the results that it harvests later in life.  And I believe that is because it is easier to say “Well you know how teenagers are”, or “1,2,3…don’t make me count again” than it is to sacrifice your time and energy to carry out punishments that are needed.  Reality is exhausting as well as acoustic at times, but if we are to truly grow then we must pursue the realness of our Christian faith.  We must not let tradition or customs dictate our beliefs as we must allow scripture to do that.  Of course, with any conversation the pendulum can swing to far the other way as well.  We can attempt to use rigid rules that are so strict that we believe the lie from Satan that tough rules will result in strong character and maturity.  This is not reality either as this can grieve the relationship thereby exasperating the child which causes more sin and destruction leading to the opposite desired results.

So my cry out to God almost nightly is that I don’t miss anything in my home, marriage, children, or personal walk.  That all sin would be exposed,  so that I can truly live my life in a manner that is worthy of God’s sacrifice on the cross.  I know that I will never truly be worthy,  but if I live as Paul instructed us to live in 1 Corinthians 16:13-14, I may at least hear “Well done.”

So men of God , I challenge you to be a Reality Warrior.  This means that you must “BE Watchful” for all sin in your life and that of your families.  You must be willing to “STAND FIRM IN THE FAITH” and address all aspects of evil without wilting to the cultural pressure or the lies of Satan.  We must “ACT LIKE MEN” and put away laziness so that we can overcome the hard aspects of life,  so that we can love our wife irregardless of the amount of respect she shows, raise our children to understand that no sin is okay,  and that God cares about every word, thought, and action we take.  We must “BE STRONG” enough to let go of pride and get transparent with our lives and get on our knees and ask for help from the Lord to lead our homes and to keep our eyes in reality.  And we must “LET ALL WE DO BE DONE IN LOVE” so that we are not hypocritical and judging others with the judgment of God and judging ourselves with the grace of God.

Please take a moment to watch this video on Google’s newest product.  It should make you smile as you think about looking at your life desiring to see reality.

God Bless,
PT

A Testimony

Revelation 12:11 says this:
11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.

If you are like me; your testimony is one of joy, trial, victory, failure and some more failure.  And there are times that to be honest the last thing that I want to do is share it with someone and be an example of what a Christian really is – BROKEN. But this is not what scripture tells us!  As you see above in Revelation we are shown that the dragon (Satan) was defeated by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony. So by sharing the power of the Cross and the Grace of God on our lives we definitely have an impact. And maybe just maybe this is our way of pushing back on the fall of man.

And if you spend any time at all reading this site then you know that we are trying to be as transparent and boisterous about what God has done and is doing in our lives. And normally that is great but today is one of the times that I must use this venue as a confessional and a way to lay something down. This morning I woke up with a railroad tie on my chest and found it hard to breath.

I truthfully have battled this all morning and I use scripture to remind myself that God is gracious and abounding in steadfast love for me.  Also, that my past failures are just that in the past; in fact Psalm 103:8-12 covers both of those truths for every believer.  And during this battle today God brought a song into my Google playlist by Big Daddy Weave that directly spoke to my heart as a loving reminder from my Heavenly Father.

So my testimony today is His Story and it is this:
My Savior choose to redeem the most despicable, low life, no good man like me.  And He instructed me and you because of Him to draw near with boldness to gain mercy and help in the battle (Hebrews 4.)

Big Daddy Weave says it this way:

” If I should speak then let it be

Of the grace that is greater than all my sin
Of when justice was served and where mercy wins
Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in
To tell you my story is to tell of Him”

Psalm 96:1-4
Oh sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth!
Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!
For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods.

Sing a new song today!
-Tyler

Backwards

Sometimes I look at this world and I get so angry at what we have become.  And as I write this know that it is with a tear and a fist held in anthem.  It is not anger at anyone but anger at some and what has become so culturally grown.  Where because of this world and our failures we have become sinfully bound. We are weak and should be ashamed because that is how we sound:  Ashamed of the Gospel, ashamed to be truthful, ashamed to be open and ashamed to be human.   We hide behind our names and consider that worthy and that God should be grateful.

Well I don’t want to live my life that way.  I don’t want to build walls and hills to hide my shame and guilt.  I don’t want to appear to have it together cause I just need Jesus the one and only Savior.

Now the world tells us that we don’t need Him.  That its good enough to just love your own kin and all your freedoms.  We have addictions and struggles and the world does nothing but evolve them.  We have believers that fall and don’t know how to rise up again, so they hide and pray that no one will find them.  All the while believing that God somehow will mistake them.

Well that is not the legacy that I choose to have follow me, see I believe that Jesus broke the chains of slavery. I wanna be bold and live a life that honors, one that my son and daughters can see and that points them to the Victory. A life that reflects the true source of hope and mercy, not one that speaks of idols, greed, and heresy.

So let me put action where my mouth is, cause that is how He says that they will know I’m His. Let me be true with my failures, who they hurt and what depths I fell too. Let me love on those that are unlovable and help those that are broken.

With this vapor of a breath that God gave me I pray that He will use me. I pray that this will be my legacy to point like an arrow to the one who redeemed me. The one who sacrificed it all without a doubt for those who are called.

So if you wonder where I stand I’ll tell you the truth. It’s on my knees at the feet of the man with nail scarred hands. You may say that’s crazy but my heart ain’t hazy. Its redeemed, made clean all by the Host of Hosts, The Lord of All, my Hero – Jesus.

–Tyler

Dont Be Like the Mule – by John Piper

Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you. (Psalm 32:9)

Picture God’s people as a farmyard of all sorts of animals. God cares for his animals, he shows them where they need to go, and supplies a barn for their protection.

But there is one beast on this animal farm that gives God an awful time, namely, the mule. He’s stupid and he’s stubborn and you can’t tell which comes first — stubbornness or stupidity.

Now the way God likes to get his animals into the barn for their food and shelter is by teaching them all a personal name and then calling them by name. “I will instruct you and teach you the way that you should go” (Psalm 32:8).

But the mule will not respond to that sort of direction. He is without understanding. So God gets in his pick-up truck and goes out in the field, puts the bit and bridle in the mule’s mouth, hitches it to the truck, and drags him stiff-legged and snorting all the way into the barn.

That is not the way God wants his animals to come to him for blessing.

One of these days it is going to be too late for that mule. He’s going to get clobbered with hail and struck by lightening and when he comes running the barn door is going to be shut.

Therefore, don’t be like the mule, but instead let everyone who is godly come to God in prayer at a time when he may be found (Psalm 32:6).

The way not to be a mule is to humble ourselves, to come to God in prayer, to confess our sins, and to accept, as needy little farmyard chicks, the direction of God into the barn of his protection.

Intentional Life

Those two words are some of the biggest that I can think of.  Not necessarily on the syllable level but more in the context of what that means, at ITG we desperately try to live out an intentional life.  We try to examine every action, every interaction, every word, every thought to ensure that we are being what God desires.  Now I do not want that to come off pious because I am not saying that it always happens I am just describing what we are trying to live out.  And I am sure that anyone that knows us personally can point out an area of hypocrisy in that however the fact remains the same; we are very serious about living intentionally

One of our daughters recently told us that we intimidate her friends because we always look so serious and they know that we are not going to tolerate foolishness.  And that brings a smile and a frown all at the same time.  We do not ever want to come across intimidating; but I do want to be seen as intentional.  As I was reading this morning I can to this verse in the first chapter of Jeremiah:

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5 ESV

Now that sounds intentional, this verse is a word from the Lord to Jeremiah about the purpose of his life.  And if that is God’s methods, meaning that He creates us with an intentional purpose then why should we live in a way that is unintentional.  But I think what happens is that we let the busyness of life take over our intentions.  And we allow our exhaustion from that busyness collapse our intentions.  And then we begin to allow the culture to dictate our intentions.

For example: do we truly consider Halloween and is origins and purposes before we as believers celebrate it?  Do we consider that Deuteronomy 18:9-14 prohibits believers from entertaining divination, fortune telling, sorcery, wizardry, and necromancy because it is an abomination to the Lord.  Do we live intentionally in the world to be a light rather than be of the world and let culture dictate the things that we accept into our lives and our homes?  I know that might have been a hot button topic as an example and if I did upset you please know that was not my intention.

My intention is to urge and cause us as believers to think about what we do and more importantly why we do what we do.

Tyler