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Jesus is Lord!

May 29, 2015 Leave a comment

Philippians 2:8-10 reminds us that at the First Coming of Jesus, He humbled Himself and this greatly pleased the Father so that everyone will recognize Him as Lord one day:

Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

-Mark (my knee and your knee will bow to the Lord Jesus Christ)

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September is National “Recovery” Month – How about Nat’l Transformation Month instead!?!

September 1, 2011 Leave a comment

It’s September which means one thing: it’s National Recovery Month!

While I like the word “recovery,” I love the biblical word, “transformation”, so much better because God wants more for the person struggling with an addiction!

II Cor. 3:18 and Romans 12:2 remind us that God wants to transform our minds by making us more Christ-like! His plan is fantastic and is more than just staying clean and sober! So let’s rename this month from what the world calls it and call it what God calls it: National Transformation Month.

Really, every month of the entire year is national transformation month because God is still in the business of transforming lives for His own glory!

-Mark (glad God is transforming me daily)

Two at a Time!

March 10, 2011 2 comments

I am a multi-tasker. Not that I do all of the tasks well, but I like to accomplish two things at one time.

I heard a song called “One Small Step” by a group called Downhere. I like those guys because they are theologically sound (for the most part) and smart. This song in particular has the following lyric in it:

“I know it’s gonna be a hard day…We’ll take one small step, two at a time.”

What a picture of marriage! Walking alongside your best friend, your spouse, taking one small step TOGETHER. God gave Adam Eve because he was lonely in Genesis 2.

Our TIL ministry is summed up by this “one small step, two at a time” philosophy of two by two ministry where we provide two biblical counselors working together! There are no better partnerships in our model of ministry than married couples that the Lord has brought together!

I love it! Team work! Based upon Luke 10:1.

No one ever has to do ministry alone, especially married persons, what a way to improve your marriage relationship: do discipleship ministry together!

In a world where we feel alone all of the time, it’s nice to do ministry alongside all of the faithful servants in TIL!

-Mark (working with others to spread the good news)

“Kids” or Children?

February 28, 2011 Leave a comment

My recently deceased grandmother once told me, “I don’t call children ‘kids’ because a ‘kid’ is a goat and children are not wild animals.”

Wow, how our words change over the years!

At first, I didn’t get it. But what she was saying to me was, “Mark, I value children as human beings made in the image of God and do not think of them as wild animals.” Value.

Do you value your children? Do you treat them with dignity? If so, why not delete the word “kid” from your vocabulary. Try replacing it just for one week with the word “child” and see how well you do. It’s hard to do.

I’ve been doing it for years but I still slip occasionally and say “kid” every once in awhile, but it’s rare praise God!

Jesus valued children according to Matthew 19:13-15: “Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, 14 but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” 15 And he laid his hands on them and went away.” (The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Mt 19:13-15). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.)

-Mark (finding high value in the little children and wanting to have their type of faith)

Why I Do NOT Recommend Sleepovers for Children

February 26, 2011 2 comments

Are sleepovers really necessary to the growth and development of children? Really?

How beneficial are they?

Well, as a biblical counselor, I hear all kinds of stories about what happens at sleepovers – the majority of them not good. I hear about first time uses of alcohol, marijuana, even cocaine, sexual abuse, sexual experimentation, watching inappropriate movies (sex, horror, language, etc.), and other terrible things that children under the authority (or lack thereof) are subjected to. Many of them are first time experiences which is even more sad!

So, do I recommend sleepovers for children or young adults? No.

Are they sinful? Not always but they can be. Why do we insist upon these events except when they are absolutely necessary?

In a day and age where we complain about child abuse and sexual abuse affecting people and leading them to addictions as older adults, why do we give the flesh and Satan an opportunity to introduce our children to such things? Some will say I am over-protective but why risk it unless necessary?

-Mark (seeing too much in the counseling room to make me comfortable with doing the things the way the culture/world says we should do them…I want to be biblical not cultural)

American Parenting is killing us!

February 24, 2011 Leave a comment

With Christmas a distant memory that occurred two months ago, maybe now it’s “safe” to critique the typical philosophy of most American parents (even Christians): “Give your children EVERYTHING they want, materially speaking, and especially at Christmas.”

The traditional American style of parenting is to give your children EVERYTHING they want for Christmas. “We can’t let our children be disappointed, especially at Christmas time, since it’s the celebration of the birth of our Savior,” is what many parents say. But is this type of thinking the way God teaches us to parent our children?

Of course parents want their children to celebrate the birth of Christ and to have positive experiences in this life, but the Bible teaches believers in Christ to be primarily givers rather than simply receivers. Acts 20:35 (ESV)states: “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'” Giving captures the very heart of God Who gave His only begotten Son for our salvation!

As a parent, you must begin instilling the value of giving to God by giving to others at a very early age. Don’t expect your children to automatically think like a Christian especially when American society (the world) promotes consumerism and pleasure at all costs. Parents must model giving to their children and invest time in cultivating the attitude of giving in their child’s minds.

On page 116 of the book Addiction-Proof Parenting: Biblical Prevention Strategies, one of the “practical to do’s” challenges parents and children to make an effort to not use the words “my, mine, or I” for one week in order to foster an attitude that everything belongs to the Lord and we are merely stewards. Rather than saying, “That’s my toy,” challenge your child to say, “That’s God’s toy He has given me to play with.” This new attitude encourages your child to be a good steward by taking care of what he/she has been given rather than to be a consumer, using up the toy until it is gone.

Be intentional and help your child to embrace the grace of God given freely to all of His children. Encourage your child to share the message of eternal life with others through random acts of kindness in the love of Christ this holiday season!

True joy is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22) given to us by God when we live by His Spirit and give to others. Give your child the eternal value of cheerful giving since “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7 – ESV).

-Mark (Be a Christian parent not a typical American parent by being a giver not a consumer!)

Will there be sports in heaven?

February 21, 2011 Leave a comment

There is so much emphasis on sports in our culture. I am guilty of it, too! Quite frankly, it’s a distraction.

What about our children playing sports? Are there really a lot of good life lessons to be learned in sports that could not be learned in music or other venues?

Should the family center its life around the practice schedule and games of a child in baseball, softball, basketball, football, cheerleading, ballet, and the like? Does that really free us to do the work of ministry (Eph. 4:12) to be available to help others? Or does it over-commit us and limit our ability to help others?

Just asking challenging questions to prayerfully consider…

-Mark (seeking to have a Christ-centered family and not a “sports-centered” family)

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