30 for 30. Intro

This last November I turned the big 3-0. In wrestling with lots of things- I concluded to share some thoughts about what I’ve learned at 30. I’m not an expert. I’m not even sure if it is a good idea. I’m just going to wing it. 30 things and posts seems like a lot; however, seeing as how they represent years of my life- it ain’t that much. My hope is to share encouragement with families about the grace of God.

Why love isn’t working for lots of people.

We’ve been talking about love with students at JbarJ Church in Ruidoso.  I sent out this question last week, why does love seem to fizzle-out in so many relationships?”

Some of the answers I received via text message:

“because some people don’t know what they want… when you think you need to be in a relationship because everyone else is”

“we are too young and immature to make a commitment to anyone and don’t understand what love really is”

“because they ‘decide’ they don’t wanna be with that person. Since it’s a decision. And to that person they aren’t loyal and don’t trust any more”

“Love has its ups and downs. If you stay down too long you are long gone. It’s like a rose, it blooms if you don’t supply water or love it fizzles and dies. Love is a rose- it needs attention”

“I think love fizzles out because people at this age don’t know what they want and think love is what is shown on TV when it truthfully is just being happy and knowing that no matter what happens they will always be therefor you and if something goes wrong, you will still have them- like with love in anyway… mom, dad or boy/girl friend”

Here is the big idea we looked at: Real Love doesn’t quit.

When we look at real love, we see that God’s love for me has never quit.  No matter how bad it has been, God has loved me.  Love fizzles out because people are loving in a way that quits.  Quitting can go back to lots of different sources including selfishness, pride and even betrayal.  The bottom line is that when love fizzles in any relationship, it quits.

God’s love in Hosea.

We talked about the book of Hosea.  If you haven’t spent some time in this book, check it out.  It is about a prophet who is preaching to God’s people in the Old Testament. God’s people had not been faithful to uphold their end of the covenant and Hosea is a prophet God used to get their attention.  He married a prostitute; she was unfaithful and cheated on Hosea. God told Hosea to do all of this so that His people would see that they had been cheating on God. When we sin, we cheat on God. We give up a good life with God to go to work as a prostitute for our own sin. It is disgusting. We cheapen ourselves and though we have a faithful partner, we choose to give ourselves away to whom ever or whatever will give us what we think we need.

Think about this: in the midst of me cheating on God, God is still loving us. He chooses to remain faithful to me even when I am unfaithful to Him. Love according to and defined by God does not quit. ever.

Don’t be fooled here! God’s love for us brings us to a point where we can return to Him just like in Hosea.  Some stop here and say, “oh well, God loves everyone no matter what so it doesn’t matter what I do, who I worship or what I believe.” Because God loves us, he remains consistent to His promises- both those that save us and those that condemn our sins. His love is this, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8).  The ball is in our court in that we must decide who we will follow and worship; God’s promise is that if we choose life in Christ we will have our death sentence paid through the blood of Christ. If we don’t then we must pay our own.  God’s love is there but we must turn to Him for saving.  God’s is faithful with all his promises- all of them! Don’t forget this!

So we are obviously not God and we aren’t perfect. What’s the point for me today?
The point for us today is that we need to model our understanding of love after God’s example of love.  I need to take on the task of loving my wife with God’s love as my template.  I want to imitate God’s love when I love my wife. Choosing a mate is a big thing because God calls me to love this person for the rest of my life; my love for my wife is not supposed to quit. No matter what I feel like, how frustrated I am with my wife or what happens- if I love like God loves me, I won’t quit. It is a vulnerable place to be- real love is an all-in experience… that’s why the institution of marriage is a sacred thing and not something to mess with (sexually, spiritually or emotionally).

People who aren’t married- listen up.  Instead of trying to love your boyfriend or girlfriend with everything you have- just commit to love your future spouse in a way that won’t quit. Make a commitment to love your husband or wife in a way that is far greater than anything you give your flings along the way. If you don’t get this right and choose to fall in and out of ‘love’ several times before saying “i do”… your understanding of love for your spouse is going to be messed up. The implications of this go deep- but they start with you choosing to love your spouse today.

My answer for why love isn’t working for some people is that many approach love without God’s love as their blueprint. You don’t want your marriage to end in divorce? Study God’s love and then model your idea of love after God’s. Sharing and illustrating God’s love with the world comes when husbands love their wives other as Christ loved the church.

love. week2 notes

Good news.  We had a great discussion this week about Love.  Students met in groups to answer the following questions.

In your group’s opinion, is love a…
Feeling or Emotion
An action word (verb)
SomeTHING that you give or receive (noun)
A describing word, an adjective
OTHER:
What is the OPPOSITE of Love?
Read 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8
What does your group consider to be the greatest describing word or phrase of Love mentioned here in this passage?
What is the greatest story of LOVE that your group can come up with?

They had some good input… but I challenged students to think about love not as a feeling or something that we give away- but to think of Love as a choice I make to place someone’s or something’s needs above my own desires. This idea brings a lot of implication and is taken right out of the idea that Love is not self-seeking.  John 3:16 describes God’s love as something that God has chosen and this choice led God to some awesome action. I shared about my love for my wife and kiddo. To be honest with  them, I don’t always feel like loving. There are times when we just don’t feel like doing things- love is one of these things. Just because we don’t have a feeling doesn’t mean we aren’t called to love!

The other challenge presented was the understanding of the Opposite of love.  All of our groups claimed ‘hate’ as the opposite of love.  Good thoughts because hate is a strong action. We looked at the idea that maybe while hate is not loving, selfishness is the opposite of love. When I put my own desires at the center of my world, whom am I loving? With God, dating relationships, parents and friendships- selfishness tears down love. It is impossible to be selfish and really love someone.
I have visited with many teenagers and college students in the past 10 years.  One story that I hear repeated is that of how sex outside of marriage has beaten up some of these young adults. Many times it is an idea of love that leads to this premature intimacy. “If you love me, then you will…”  This phrase is a total perversion of what love is all about. Notice the focus of the phrase- YOU love ME.  Love isn’t about ME.  It’s about what is best for YOU.  Guys need to wake up and look down the road when it comes to sex. If you really love this girl, what is it going to look like 5 or 10 years from now when you two have gone your separate ways? Love her? Put HER true needs above your desire for sex.

Good thoughts to think on.  I challenged our students to read and think upon John 3:16.  Some of our students had this verse memorized… it is a great one to remember! God’s love is a powerful example of what Love is all about. Think about it this week- talk about it.  Love.

Next week we will look at real love that really does something.

Blessed to be able to share.
chris

Men don’t make a habit of quitting.

I think our world is plagued with lots of bad things; at the heart of things going wrong, I’m seeing lots of men quit on a consistent basis. My specific frame of reference: Team Sports. Young men are hanging it up in mid-season. I’ve got no problem with guys who don’t play sports- my beef is with guys who commit to a team sport and then decide they want to stay at home, play xbox, make out with their girl friend or just stare at the wall.  Being a part of team sport is not about you but the team.  Too many times guys show up ready to have the team serve them.  This might not sound like a big deal, after all, we are talking teenage sporting events here.  Who cares if these guys quit, right? I’m not looking at the sports- I’m looking at the habit that is developing.

If you can tell off your buddies and teammates because you just don’t feel like doing the work you said you would do- what are you going to tell your wife when things go south in your marriage someday? Being a part of something when things are good- well that is easy! Sticking with it because you are a man of your word- that’s tough. I’m concerned because we don’t need a church of guys who quit.  I’ve met people who wander from church to church because of whatever reason.  Bottom line- relationships with people in the church are hard work. If you just quit when you don’t like something- what is accomplished? You move down the street, everything is great for about a year and then you get your feelings hurt and quit again.  Sorry to be so blunt- but quitting doesn’t work.  I think part of why God gives us the local church is so that we learn not to quit. Even in our struggles with other Believers we learn to really love; love doesn’t quit.

If you could imagine one guy from Jesus’ day who was a trash talker, imagine Peter. He was the guy in the huddle (also called the disciples) who was really loud and excited about being a part of Jesus’ team. If you have never studied the life of peter, you should. Peter was a fisherman. We aren’t talking bass pro shop fishing on ESPN, we are talking about rough, loud and smelly old school net fishing. Peter was loud and probably told people around him ‘whatcha need to do is…” about all sorts of stuff.  What happened, he boasted about staying beside Jesus and BAM he quits!  He told everyone and their grandma that He was going to stay with Jesus through thick and thin.  What happened? Jesus uses his self-promotion to illustrate just how Great His love is for people who consistently abandon our call as followers. Peter would deny Jesus 3 times before the next morning. Peter quit Jesus.

Here’s the deal: Peter quit but then learned from his fall and decided to get back in the race and finish. No matter where we are in life- if we have a breath to take, we  have the opportunity to get back up and finish when it comes to following Christ. I’d encourage men to examine their lives and be on the look-out for a pattern of quitting.  Quitting smoking- ok; constantly quitting jobs because you don’t handle authority- hey bud, it ain’t them, IT IS YOU!

New Year. New Job. New Mexico.

We are about to get to 2010. We think about newness every January 1… here’s what’s new with us in the Weaver house.

We are moving to Ruidoso, New Mexico

God has allowed us to be a part of some great things in Comanche. Our FBC family has embraced us, loved us, and been a great example for my family. The encouragement and support we have received from our church over the last four years has surpassed my understanding of what genuine community really is. There is a group of students who have grabbed hold of the message of Christ and are growing. It’s been a challenge to stay ahead of some of these students. Bottom line: God has given our ministry way more than we deserve.

If you live in Comanche and don’t go to church- go to FBC next week. I feel less like a salesman saying this now that I’m about to shoot the deuce. Seriously!  I’ve run into several parents in the past four years who will probably read this and yet are not involved with a local church.  Look back at 2009; if you went to church less than 5 times, are you really a part of it? Not trying to get legalistic here but let’s be real with my invite. Go to church. Join a small group or Sunday School class.  I speak about FBC and tell you that there are people in this local church who will love you if you will let them.

I teach week-in and week-out about faith that comes as a result of running into the Grace of God. So that brings us to the move.

We have been praying for one year about God’s plan for our ministry specifically in the area of God placing us in an area that is uncomfortable and in need of a family to live the message of Jesus Christ. We knew the move was coming but didn’t know when or where.  One year of prayer, thought, ideas and sorting through the ‘ifs’. God has opened a lot of doors to get us to this point. I could go on and on about how things have fallen into place… but the main point is that we are striving to be obedient to God’s call on our life.  I don’t brag about that or say this lightly; God has prepared the way and we are just along for the ride. For my Comanche friends, this is what I pray you pull away from my life- that I’m a follower.

The When?

My last Sunday at FBC will be January 10, 2010. I’ll be around that next week and then my family and I will hop in a truck and move all of our junk to New Mexico on January 15.

The Where?

Ruidoso, New Mexico
J Bar J Country Church
I’ve known the pastor of this church since I was a little kiddo, Charles Clary.  I’ve grew up with his family at Tate Springs Baptist in Arlington, TX and one of my college roommates married his granddaughter. He’s a great guy and started this church about 8 years ago. I’ll be working with the families of the church.  I’m excited about working with Charles and being around his heart for people and the vision of starting new churches where needed.  Ruidoso is a neat place; you should think about taking a vacation there. It’s a lot different from the nation of Texas. Different thinking, culture, and lifestyle. We prayed for uncomfortable; I’ll let you know on the comfort level… but different? Yes.

New Prayers.

I’ve been prayed for by lots of people. Please don’t stop praying for me and my family.

Pray for:
First Baptist Church in Comanche
The actual moving process.
We will sell our house in Comanche.
Meeting new people and building new relationships.
J Bar J Country Church

Experiencing peace through Christ,
Chris

What now? and The Student Ministry Game Plan. Check it out here

The Perfect parent- forgiven

“You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. Deuteronomy 11:18-19 ESV

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise),  “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”  Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:1-4

You might find several approaches to parenting- and honestly, there are more than a few that probably all have some validity. I’d like to share some of what I see in teenagers and how I believe parents can respond. No. I don’t have a teenager yet. And no. I don’t know it all. But yes. A Biblical approach (as in using the Bible as a guide for making parenting decisions) does work- all the time.

It is impossible to be the parent you are created to be without Jesus Christ.

That’s it, period. Immediately my non-believing friends will disregard my post as biased and probably a little closed-minded. Ok. Let’s say that you believe God does not exist or maybe there is no absolute truth in the world. That’s great for you (and another discussion to be had outside of parenting)- but what hope do you offer your child? The benefit of Godly parenting has some pretty hefty rewards. If your child becomes sick with leukemia- what hope will you share with your child outside of the promises of Christ? We will keep looking at this in a minute. The point is- Hope. Pointing a child to God brings hope that can never be taken away. No matter the situation, Jesus Christ is hope.  Believing parents have hope to share and don’t even have to be perfect to do it!

Forgiven.

The salvation we read about in scripture gives us forgiveness and eternal life. When we come to a place of choosing Jesus Christ for our personal life- we are forsaking our past mistakes for a newness of life. Everyone has mistakes. A forgiven parent has owned up to his or her mistakes… at least at some point. God forgives through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ; there is no trying to payback, trying to set it straight, reason to stay condemned, or beating yourself up. Salvation is all about making a filthy and sinful person into a clean and righteous follower of Christ.

Being forgiven is huge in parenting. Without personal forgiveness you will never be able to challenge your student to be who they should be.  Parents- are you forgiven?  Ok let’s try again.  Parents, does your parenting reflect forgiveness?  Being forgiven calls us to leave our old behind and press on to a new life in Jesus Christ.

Let’s say you spent most of your teenage years smoking weed and jacking cars.  You made it to adulthood and now you are a parent.  Somewhere alon the way, you met Christ and are now a believer.  As a parent, you don’t encourage your student to go out and smoke weed and steal cars… you discourage it.  However, they figure out that it is a lot of fun.  You catch them one night and know the discipline that they need- but who are you to judge them?  You would be such a hippocriate to really punish them!  You talk to them about it but you really don’t discipline your child.  The sin of your past has softened your impact as a parent and spiritual guide for your student.

Apply the above situation to anything you want: sex, cheating, drugs, fishing without a license. It’s all the same.

If you don’t embrace your own forgiveness then your student is worse off than you ever can be.

Why are they worse off? Because they know you- they see it and they see that everything is going to work out alright.  God will forgiven them and give them 2.5 kids just like you. That’s a horrible assumption to make about God’s grace.

God doesn’t call you to be perfect parent!  He doesn’t call you to bury your past so so deep that your student never finds out about your party days. But parents, deal with your past sin. Repent if you haven’t.  Even if it was a long time ago- if you haven’t repented you haven’t dealt with it! When you approach the struggle of leading your child- do so by magnifying the grace of God.  Don’t build yourself up- point your child to the God who took you and made you new again.  It is here that you can show your student God’s Word for their life. You’re the leader in this thing and your student is following you.

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.  Proverbs 22:6

don’t take my wife to jail.

Saturday night was crazy. Well not all of it, but it got crazy about 11:30 pm.  I was in bed and already asleep.   I woke up to someone pounding on the door.  I looked out to see a police car driving off.  It just so happens that I’ve been helping a few students who have had some problems with the law this week; thinking that one might be in trouble, I called the Police Department.

The officer showed back up at my house a few minutes later.  He informed me that he had a warrant for my wife’s arrest.

Crazy?  Yes. “You must have the wrong person,” I explained. He replied, “I’m here to arrest Laura Weaver for check fraud.” He was serious. Very serious.

Immediately my mind raced to all the identity theft specials I’ve seen on the news.  After a few minutes of explaining that there must me some mistake he allowed me to go in and get her I.D.  I woke her up and tried to prepare her for the horrible idea that if her I.D. for some reason matches who they are looking for- she would be handcuffed and taken ‘downtown’.

Thankfully, the DL number didn’t match and he told me that my wife was not a match and that she would not have to go to jail. She was in the clear… and the cop was on his way.  Maybe this is a good time to make it clear that my wife is not a criminal, is not going to jail, and was not arrested.

I felt so many emotions during this late night experience.  The cops are supposed to be the good guys… justice for all and all that mumbo jumbo, right? I wanted to jump up and down and say “Wait! We are the good guys!” Or maybe, “This isn’t fair!”

It got me thinking about justice.  I serve a just God.  He doesn’t go back on His word. A majority of the Bible deals with God’s justice in one way or another. God is the ultimate judge and he makes His ruling based on the one and ultimate truth.  What a great peace we can have in knowing that we can’t be falsely accused by God; what a humbling feeling we have in knowing that we are rightly accused!

A little deeper look at justice leads me to the persecution of Jesus Christ.  I can imagine the thoughts that Christ had to silence when the soldiers came to take him away.  “Don’t you have a clue who I am?”

Jesus didn’t deserve what he was handed- but He chose to endure on my behalf.  In the moments of uncertainty of this ordeal I felt very helpless and wronged.  Christ had to deal with this on a massive scale.  People who he had live with were about to abandon him; the penalty for sin was about to be placed upon his life. Jesus Christ made a choice- a choice not to appeal his case but to accept the just punishment for my sin.

Did I think about encouraging my wife to accept the charges on behalf of the other “Laura Weaver”? No! Never crossed my mind.  That’s crazy talk!

The Gospel is crazy talk!  Too many times we think we have it figured out- we know all the answers. We know all about God and Jesus and the Holy Bible. We are wrong.  We don’t know all about God and Jesus because we can’t explain why God chooses over and over again to turn himself over on our behalf.  I convinced that our worship is not what it could be when we think we have it figured out. A few more steps removed and now we’ve earned our salvation. Saving Grace didn’t happen in a nice and pleasant way- an innocent man was hauled away in the middle of the night… for the crime that I committed.

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 jn 4:10 NIV