Thursday, January 24, 2013

Lessons from Neverland

Years ago I had a room full toys solders and aquariums of fish, but I could not buy diapers for my baby boy.

You know at that time I could not see my responsibilities because, I was still in never, never land being a Peter Pan Boy. I wanted to play and not grow up. I did not understand responsibility and I did not want it, but like it or not I had a family and a new baby.

Oh I thought I had it under control, but I did not. I remember when my fish started dying and everything I did could not save them. I began to realize that I cared more about fish then I did my wife and child. I boxed up my toys and gave away the last of my fish and tried to get focused on the things more important. No it did not happen in a day and no it was not easy, to escape from never land, but thanks be to God I did. Now as an older man I still have times when I want to escape to never land, but the things that always saves me is reflecting on what is most important. Yes I still like games and even playing now and then. But I never allow that to take the place of being there for those who need me, or serving my wife. You see we cannot live in Neverland because it is not a real place, we can only live in the realities of life. I don’t want to be a Pete Pan Man, so I learned to keep before me my goals, I control my anger and put my family first.

I want to share something from Pastor Pete Bertolero on the application of these principles.

1)     Grow up. The Apostle Paul did not recognize the transitional period of adolescence. In 1 Corinthians 13:11 he addressed only two stages of development: childhood and adulthood. “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.”

2)    Stop being a parasite (a taker) and start being a provider (giver). Proverbs 30:15 “A leech has twin daughters named "Gimme" and "Gimme more." Ephesians 4:28 “He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.” 

3)    Become a Fighter, Friend and Frat. The three faces of Peter Pan: When the play Peter Pan is traditionally performed, the same actor plays all three parts: Captain Hook, Wendy’s father Mr. Darling, and Peter Pan. In order to free himself from the mire of immaturity, Peter Pan must first risk loss and death by fighting for his friends and island and defeating Captain Hook, and becomes a Captain/leader in the process. He then helps get the children escape from Neverland and get back to their home – back to reality, and thus fills the role of a father by taking on the responsibility and welfare of others. If he had chosen to remain in the real world out of his love for Wendy and care for the Darling children, he would have eventually grown into a mature, strong, responsible manly man with some help from a man-making community.

One of the things that christian men in our church have learned together is that masculinity is code imposed on the men in a given culture, by which they are expected to live in order to be recognized and accepted as manly men. This code of masculinity or chivalry contains some of the same expectations in every culture, including –standing up to danger; bearing up under pain and suffering, and sacrificing oneself for the good of others. A masculine code helps a man overcome his natural instincts so that he will do what’s best for others and not for himself.

I thank God that I had a loving wife who prayed for me and a God who corrected me. So I pray for you men out there to Put your wife before you and to prefer her above anyone or Thing in your life and join me in the REAL world.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Wednesday, Blue Laws and Mayberry.

Debbie and I were celebrating our anniversary one year and so were out on a Wednesday and what happens the stores are closing. Why, well it is Wednesday and they are getting ready for mid week service. Years ago I was preaching a revival in a small town in South Carolina at around 2 pm I leave my room to go get something to eat and I can't find anything open...I go over to the police department and he says well they close half a day because it is Wednesday and they are preparing for church. You see in the past there was such a thing as "Blue Laws". According to one source "The first occurrence of the phrase blue law so far found is in the New-York Mercury of March 3, 1755, where the writer imagines a future newspaper praising the revival of "our Connecticut's old Blue Laws". In his 1781 book General History of Connecticut, the Reverend Samuel Peters (1735–1826) used it to describe various laws first enacted by Puritan colonies in the 17th century that prohibited various activities, recreational as well as commercial, on Sunday (Saturday evening through Sunday night). Sometimes the sale of certain types of merchandise was prohibited, and in some cases all retail and business activity.

Apparently "the word blue was used in the 17th century as a disparaging reference to rigid moral codes and those who observed them, particularly in blue-stocking, a reference to Oliver Cromwell's supporters in the parliament of 1653." (Oxford English Dictionary.

In Texas, for example, blue laws prohibited selling housewares such as pots, pans, and washing machines on Sunday until 1985. Many states still prohibit selling alcohol for on and off-premise sales in one form or another on Sundays at some restricted time, under the rationale that people should be in church on Sunday morning, or at least not drinking. Some places go as far as to declare themselves dry counties where not alcohol is sold in any store.While watching Mayberry one day,I heard Andy and Barney talking about Mayberry being a dry county.There are even some dry counties and cities around where I live.

One day I was visiting John's shop in Eatonton and He had to get to the bank before it closed, yep it was Wednesday. Our society and culture is losing so much each and every day and nothing is special anymore. Once I was on a holiday and I felt strange going out to eat while passing the churches and seeing believers going to worship. You see it has always been my habit that even when on vacations I find a church and go. What am I trying to say is, that the early church met everyday for Fellowship, Bible study and Prayer. You see I have tried to be an example to others, so because of that I don't ever want to lose the kind of dedication to God, that says Sunday only gatherings would be enough.

I have been reading Francis Chan's Book and I ran across this quote, I hope it will inspire your faith and dedication.

"We need to stop giving people excuses not to believe in God. You've probably heard the expression 'I believe in God, just not organized religion'. I don't think people would say that if the church truly lived like we are called to live." 
— Francis Chan

Your turn (please leave your answer in the comments below) what changes in our culture you have noticed or what would like to see come back again?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Happy Birthday to the LOVE of My Life

When I met her I knew that she was the one for me and now I know even more that without her I would not be who I am.
She has put up with me think of that.

She has made do without having the home or kitchen of her own.
She carried five of my children without ever fussing or complaining, that was not her way.
I know she felt bad but I never knew it.
When I saw my daughter the other day unable to keep her food down, I realized that I never saw Debbie throw up, she kept that to herself, maybe because at that time I was not very sensitive.
When she was in labor she was strong, stronger than I could ever be, she had no pain killers and she took it all and delivered them well, one even over 11 pounds.

Debra Elaine Seker Stair

I see her growing older now and doing that with all the grace she has, and even when life hits where it hurts she bounces back with a smile. 
Our home has always been a place of comfort, because of her.
She has taught me how to forgive, how to see the other side of something, how to pray for someone.
She has taught me how to be nice, when I wanted to get very mad.
She has shown me how to see the good in people even when I swear there was only meanness. She is the very Best DD that anyone could ever have and those Grand babies know it.
She has been an example of a southern Lady with grace and charm, that I needed and I thank God for her.
She is the Lady behind this man, and I am the better for her.
She is not getting older she just keeps getting BETTER. 
On this your Birthday, I wish you the very Best and Long Life too.

Did he say Holiness?

You know when I was growing up you could not go to movies, you could not listen to secular music, you could not smoke, drink, curse, dance with the opposite sex, wear jewelry, dye your hair, pierce your ears and whole number of No Nos. Then things started to loosen up a little bit and preachers started teaching that it was only what was in the heart that mattered. Well now we have come to the place where we do whatever we want as long as our heart is right. I will never be so spiritual as to know another persons heart that is for sure. 

My Grandfather Pastor Hilbert

However when all the studies tell us that the standards of church are no different than that of the world and now we even have churches that encourage abortions and homo-sexually relationships, well there just might be something wrong with our hearts.

I read an article about the Catholic Bishops’ in America who can not agree on weather to serve a member communion if they openly support abortions. And what about the open and disrespectful rebuke by the Bishop of Porto Manuel Clemente of the Pope on his stand against condoms? Is it a sign of the times when we do not respect our Leaders or Elders and just want it our way? 

Does this mean that we blindly follow our leaders, no but it does mean that we are respectfully of the place God has called them too, and pray the Lord will help us to hear their HEART. After all they are just doing what they have been called to do and that is to Shepherd our hearts and guides us in to a better way. 

By no means do I want to go back to the world of legalism anymore than I want to throw away the good things that times have taught us. But I also am concerned about what kind of world my children and grandchildren will someday live in.

When I see my grandfather’s picture on my wall I am reminded to ask myself would he be pleased with me. Am I living the kind of life that he prayed for me to have? Am I respecting those things that he would respect? What am I passing down to the next generation that would make him proud?

But even more than pleasing him, I know that I must endeavor to please Jesus, because someday I will give an account for every word that I have spoken and that is a scary thought. So I pray dear Lord help me keep my heart in line with you and your desires for me Amen.

Share with me in the comments below a story about one of your grandparents.
Thank you

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Words from a Father

Raising Godly children is the only goal any father has. 
Oh they could get a good education, a great job, even have a good family, but if your children do not follow the Lord, I would say that a father has failed at least in some part. 
There is nothing wrong with wanting our children to be good, kind, well mannered and achieve great things. 
But more important than that is, do and will our children serve God with their whole heart? 
Their relationship with the heavenly Father is more important than any relationship they could ever have. 
I read recently there are a few things we can do that will aid us in importing to them our faith. 
The whole list can be found in the book "The Warrior Within", by Pat Williams:

  1. Pray for them daily
  2. Love them unconditionally (this one was one of my weaknesses)
  3. Keep the lines of communication open
  4. Grab every teachable movement
  5. Praise efforts not results
  6. Never discipline in anger
  7. Forgive your children
My Arrows
I remember something that my son Terry Lee told me once and that was to pick your battles
You know not everything is war worthy.
Another thing that comes to mind is to stay cool, oh how I have failed on that one, but you know there is still time. So as someone said "how to be a perfect dad" is to remember there are no perfect dad's! 
But there are dad's who repent and try again to learn how to please the Lord and be an example of the faith to all those who are watching them. 
I pray that your children will grow up to serve the Lord.

Psalms 78; 5-7
He planted a witness in Jacob, set his Word firmly in Israel, Then commanded our parents to teach it to their children So the next generation would know, and all the generations to come— Know the truth and tell the stories so their children can trust in God, Never forget the works of God but keep his commands to the letter.

I would really like to hear what you have learned about being a father. Or share a story with me about your father in the comments below.