Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Leaving a “Spiritual Inheritance”


While preparing for my men’s book study “The man God Uses” I came up with a question for next week’s lesson. The question is “What does it mean to have a Spiritual responsibility to your children and grandchildren?” Now the book we are reading had some great examples but I also came across an article on the internet that talked about leaving a “Spiritual Inheritance”. I have never really given it much thought but I do know after Heidi and I were married my grandfather gave us a bible with a personal note and some scriptures that would help us in the future. I think that’s what their talking about. I can remember another time when my brother and I were talking about books and what to do with the ones we’ve read. How about leaving them for our kids? How cool would that be to see what your parents were reading and to look at things they highlighted or notes they may have jotted down? You know we are always worried about leaving our kids money but how awesome would it be to leave a “Spiritual Inheritance”? I would love to have more personal things like this from my parents and grandparents. So my challenge to you all is to start preparing your Spiritual Inheritance for your kids and grandchildren. Below is an article I pulled from the internet that has some great ideals. You might even want to save your blogs for your children as well.


"A good man," says Proverbs 13:22, "leaves an inheritance to his children's children." Leaving a material and financial inheritance in a wise manner is good stewardship and can be a great blessing to your heirs. But have you considered ways to leave an inheritance to your family that will have a more direct spiritual impact on them?

These spiritual lives we're trying to simplify aren't lived for ourselves only. We also bear responsibility to influence others spiritually, especially the members of our own family. To that end, here are a few items to leave as spiritual time capsules with the belief that they will bless many generations of your descendants.

Prayers. The beloved old Bible commentator, Matthew Henry said somewhere that wise parents are more concerned about leaving a treasury of prayers for their children than a treasury of silver and gold. God can answer long after we are dead the prayers for our children and future generations we bring to His throne today. King Hezekiah's wicked son, Manasseh, repented and turned to the Lord many decades after Hezekiah died (see 2 Chronicles 33:12-19), but no doubt the father left behind a rich inheritance of prayers to God for his wayward boy. You may want to preserve some of your prayers for your descendants in letters or journals.

Journals. One hundred years from now, quite possibly all that will be known of you will be from photographs or videos, and from what you write. Despite your decades of life and labor, few, if any, of even your direct descendants a century from today will know anything about your spirituality. (What do you know about the inner life of your ancestors who, just 1200 months ago, were as alive as you are now?) Leave your heirs a clear, written testimony of how you came to know God through Jesus Christ. Provide them with a record of answers to prayer, remarkable providences, significant spiritual events, and other works of God in your part of their family history. Write letters to your descendants, urging them to trust Christ, to maintain a Christian heritage in the family, and to meet you in Heaven. Make a list of books that have influenced you.

Books. Leave a library—especially of Christian books—for your children and their children. The Lord may use the books to bring them to Christ and to give solid guidance to their spiritual lives long after you are gone. Collect good books for your children or grandchildren even before they are born. I've always bought books (both Christian and general reading) for my daughter, Laurelen, years before she could enjoy them. In fact, I started buying books for her future children when she was just six years old. So if I find a bargain on boys' books, I'll buy them—even though Laurelen will probably never read them—in anticipation of having grandsons some day. Who knows whether some of the great old used books I find for them today will still be available or affordable by then?

Daily planners. If you have the space, archive your daily planners. These reflect how you've spent your time and, combined with your journals, provide a fairly complete biography of your adult life.

Of course, your most immediate spiritual legacy is the life you live before the watching eyes of your children and grandchildren. However, some (all?) of your grandchildren or great-grandchildren may never know you personally. But if you leave them a rich spiritual inheritance, they may say of you, "He being dead still speaks" (Hebrews 11:4).

Friday, July 10, 2009

Don’t mess with the Bull you’ll get the horns!

One of my favorite quotes from the movie “ The Breakfast Club” besides “does Barry Manilow know you stole his wardrobe?” is “ don’t mess with the bull, you’ll get the horns”. Well that’s exactly what happened the other day in Spain during the annual running of Bulls festival. Here is some of the story from the AP

PAMPLONA, Spain - A charging bull gored a man to death Friday at Pamplona's San Fermin festival, the first such fatality in nearly 15 years. Nine others were injured in a particularly dangerous and chaotic chapter of the running of the bulls.

The San Fermin festival Web site said the unidentified man was gored in the neck and lung during a run in which a rogue bull separated from the pack, which is among the worst things that can happen at Spain's most popular fiesta.

My question is why do we even entertain doing stuff like this? I know I have done some crazy things in my past. But I always have to ask myself “what was I thinking?” I have to admit before this guy was gored to death I have always thought it would be cool to run with the bulls. Also have you ever noticed it’s always young to middle age white guys doing crazy stunts like this. Do women have these ideals and just not act on them? What is it about us that make us think things like this would be a cool ? Putting a lit bottle rocket in your butt is another example reckless behavior guys have engaged in. Is it the “Jack Ass Syndrome” ?

Hopefully I have grown out of this stage of my life but I have to worry about my son and his buddies and I pray they won’t try to act out some of these things they see on you-tube. What are some of the craziest stunts you have ever done? For me it would be running over a junked car with a tank, and driving 125 Mph on the Autobahn in Germany. What was I thinking?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Church: Love It, Don't Leave It


I found this article in the Washington Post and thought it was worth sharing. Seems like lately we have been trying to come up with our own style of church instead of following the example Jesus set for us over 2,000 years ago. I am all for meeting at houses or coffee shops for some fellowship and worship as long as it's not taking the place our weekly Church services. As a matter of fact I think we need to spend more time together in fellowship and worship. I am really encouraged when I see how our Westwood youth get together and just hang out at Church. What do you all think? Are we too caught up in the world to give more than 2 or 3 hours a week worshiping with our Brothers and Sisters in Christ? I know I spend that amount of time just goofing off at the house everynight. So while I am taking the plank out of my own eye let us try to come up with some ways to get together and fellowship more..What says you? Below is the article from the Washington Post

Church: Love It, Don't Leave It
By Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck

Here's what Bono, Oprah, and the guru speakers on PBS won't tell you: Jesus believed in organized religion and he founded an institution. Of course, Jesus had no patience for religious hacks and self-righteous wannabes, but he was still Jewish. And as Jew, he read the Holy Book, worshiped in the synagogue, and kept Torah. He did not start a movement of latte-drinking disciples who excelled in spiritual conversations. He founded the church (Matt. 16:18) and commissioned the apostles to proclaim the good news that Israel's Messiah had come and the sins of the world could be forgiven through his death on the cross (Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 2:14-36).

For almost two millennia, it was axiomatic that Christians, like, actually went to church (or at least told other Christians they did). From Cyprian to Calvin it was believed that for those to whom God "is Father the church may also be Mother." But increasingly Christians are trying to get more spiritual by getting less church.

Take a spin through the religion section at your local bookstore. What you'll find there is revealing - there are "revolutionary" books for stay at home moms, teenagers, and Christian businessmen. There are lots of manifestos. And most of the books about church are about people leaving the church to "find God." There are lots of Kerouacian "journey" stories, and at least one book about the gospel according to Starbucks. It used to be you had to overthrow a country to be considered a revolutionary, and now, it seems, you just have to quit church and go pray in the woods.

We've been in the church our whole lives and are not blind to its failings. Churches can be boring, hypocritical, hurtful, and inept. The church is full of sinners. Which is kind of the point. Christians are worse than you think. Our Savior is better than you imagine.

But the church is not all about oppression and drudgery. Almost every church we know of visits old people, brings meals to new moms, supports disaster relief, and does something for the poor. We love the local church, in spite of its problems, because it's where we go to meet God. It's not a glorified social/country club you attend to be around people who talk and look just you do. It's a place to hear God's word spoken, taught and affirmed. It's a place to sing praises to God, and a place to serve others. It's a place to be challenged.

The church is more than plural for Christian. It is both organism and organization, a living thing comprised of a certain order, regular worship services, with doctrinal standards, institutional norms, and defined rituals. Without the institution of the church nurturing the flock and protecting the faith for two thousand years, there would be no Christianity. If Gen Xers (like us) and their friends want to be against something, start a revolution. If you want to conserve truth and grace for twenty centuries, plant a church.

We love the church because Christ loved the church. She is his bride--a harlot at times, but his bride nonetheless, being washed clean by the word of God (Eph. 5:25-26). If you are into Jesus, don't rail on his bride. Jesus died for the church, so don't be bothered by a little dying to self for the church's sake. If you keep in mind that everyone there is a sinner (including yourself) and that Jesus Christ is the point and not you, your dreams, or your kids, your church experience might not be as lame as you fear.

Perhaps Christians are leaving the church because it isn't tolerant and open-minded. But perhaps the church-leavers have their own intolerance too--intolerant of tradition, intolerant of authority, intolerant of imperfection except their own. Are you open-minded enough to give the church a chance--a chance for the church to be the church, not a coffee shop, not a mall, not a variety show, not Chuck E. Cheese, not a U2 concert, not a nature walk, but a wonderfully ordinary, blood-bought, Spirit-driven church with pastors, sermons, budgets, hymns, bad carpet and worse coffee?

The Church, because it is Christ's church, will outlive American Idol, the NFL, and all of our grandkids. We won't last, but the Church will. So when it comes to church, be like Jesus: love it, don't leave it. As Saint Calloway once prophesied to the Brothers of Blues, "Jake, you get wise, you get to church