Tag Archives: brother

A Vapor in the Wind

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My uncle was in the prime of his life. He was the oldest of four siblings. My dad was the second oldest. He was the father of two beautiful, grown daughters

Uncle Tony (Mark Dobbs) was a retired Commander from the US Navy. He lived in his lake house in North Arkansas on Bull Shoals Lake. He was involved in the leadership of his town. He had acquired his real estate license and had just published his second book, “Fracked”.

Last Father’s Day he and his wife, Cheryl, were heading eastbound in their small car. There was a car in front of them, and headed westbound was an 18 wheeler with a car leading it. The two cars collided suddenly.

My uncle swerved to the right to miss the accident, and the 18 wheeler swerved to the left to do the same. In an instant their lives changed.

My uncle died on Father’s Day. My aunt is still in the hospital, unresponsive, with major damage to her body. Please pray for her, my grandma, their daughters and grandchildren, and our whole family.

Life is short. The bible says we are but a vapor – here one minute and gone the next.

It is what you do with the time you have on the earth that matters. There is no time for procrastination when it comes to your relationship with God. There is no time to miss telling those you love how much you feel for them. There is no time for squandering your life away on yourself.

You were created to glorify God with your life. You were created to seek Him and find Him – He promises He’s not far from you. You were created to consider others better than yourself. You were created for more than this world says you are.

Time is short. Kiss your children. Tell your mom you love her. Spend time with your dad. Love your wife or husband. But most of all, get your life right with God. There might not be a tomorrow.


Family Matters

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I grew up in a wonderful family. My parents are still married. I talk to my sister and brother regularly. My family did many things and took many trips together. We ate together regularly, and my parents attended almost all of my milestone events growing up. In fact, the only ones they didn’t attend we’re the ones I asked them not to attend.

I love my family. But I miss them.

In over ten years of ministry I have not lived closer than six hours from my parents. Right now we live about three hours from my wife’s family, and that’s the closest we’ve lived to any immediate family since we’ve been married.

Not being close to family is hard. It puts a strain on a person when their support group is so far away. As we began having children we didn’t have family close that was willing to help watch them. We didn’t have the ability to go chat with the parents over dinner the way many people do. We have been alone – separated from our family.

But it hasn’t been all bad.

The most wonderful thing about Christianity is the grace that God gives us each day through the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection. The most wonderful things about the church – the body of Christ – is that we are family.

Jody and I have worked for several churches, and in those churches we have struggled to find a few people that we would consider family. In fact, in some places, we found people who weren’t a part of “our church” who were like family to us. It is with great joy that I can say that here in Aztec we have a family at the Aztec church of Christ.

It is a joyous find to behold a church where a person is welcomed at whatever walk of life they are in. It is comforting to know that love is given regardless of whether or not someone completely agrees with you. It is awesome to be part of a family that isn’t blood related but treats you as though you were. That is what we have found in Aztec. Not just with one or two people, but with a whole congregation.

Jesus said to his disciples, “By this they will know you are my disciples; if you love one another.” This is what we are called to as Christians. This is what being a part of a church should feel like.

A we celebrate this, though, it is important to not get comfortable there. We must continually be working to grow the family. If you and I love this family so much, then why would we not want others to experience what we’ve got?! The church was not established to cater to the Christians. It was established to provide a support group, a family, for those who were reaching out to tell others about the saving grace of Jesus. The church should always be about growing the family.

So, I thank you, Aztec church of Christ, for the love and acceptance you have shown my family and others as they have come. May you and the rest of the body of Christ around the world be about sharing that love beyond our assemblies and building. May we be people who share that kind of family spirit with those who have no home, who have no family to call their own.

God bless each of you, and may He fill your heart with a family that has no borders. May you be part of a family whose home is in Heaven. May you become a child of the Father who loves beyond your comprehension. If you’d like to be a part of a family like that, then I invite you to Aztec church of Christ. You can find us on the web at www.aztecchurch.org, and we are even on Facebook! If you have any questions for me, please call at 334-6626 or email me at mrjdobbs@gmail.com.


Sibling Rivalries and Outside Impressions

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“I don’t love you anymore!”

Whenever I think of these words I hear my daughter’s voice, and it makes me sad. My kids often play very well together. They are 4 and 6 years old, and when my son frustrates my daughter she spouts things like “I don’t love you anymore” and “I don’t forgive you”.

We are working diligently with her on this. She’s saying these things out of an immediate hurt, but she doesn’t really feel that way about him. We can see that in her eyes, but at the moment she doesn’t love or forgive him. Even though these feelings are difficult to process, and she doesn’t mean it permanently, it still hurts my son, and it hurts me too. I don’t want to see them fighting.

“I don’t forgive you.”

We don’t say things like my daughter says now that we are “grown-ups” (at least most of us don’t), but do we often think those very things?

Is there someone you are harboring a grudge against? Are you keeping a record of their wrongs? Do you hold it against them? Do you shun them because of your feelings toward them? Often times we act like my preschool daughter.

“The disciple whom Jesus loved” is how John describes himself in the fourth book of the New Testament. He went on to write three other books ingeniously titled 1, 2, and 3 John. In 1 John he talks about who we are called to be in Christ. He is remembering the words of Jesus from the night he was handed over to trial.

In John 13:35 Jesus tells his disciples that they will be identified in the world around them by their love for one another. This is a selfless love as described in 1 Corinthians 13. It is a defining love – the central characteristic that should describe Christ-followers.

In 1 John 3, he describes how this looks in a bit more detail. He explains that people who don’t do right aren’t children of God, and we get that. I think our world readily accepts the idea that doing right helps your journey to be connected to the Father. But then he adds a caveat that is unexpected. He said that you can’t be a child of God if you don’t love your brother or sister.

Please understand this: he didn’t say you have to say “I love you” to your fellow mankind. He said you have to actually love them. It’s an action, not an emotion. It’s a choice, not a feeling.

He then goes on to explain that if you don’t love your brothers and sisters whom you have seen you cannot love God whom you have not seen. He didn’t say you won’t; he said you can’t. It’s impossible for you.

Loving others isn’t always easy, but it is what we are called to do. If you don’t understand what love looks like then Paul gives a great definition in 1 Corinthians 13:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud, it is not rude, it is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrong. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

Now, take your name and place it in wherever you read the word “love”. Can you be described in this way? Would the world look at you and know you are a Christian because of your love?

If you can’t be described in this manner, then today is a day to seek God in prayer and ask His spirit to develop this quality of love in you. The truth is that we can never spread the message of God’s love through Jesus if we aren’t willing to sacrificially love others ourselves.

What say you? Do you find that the vast majority of the Christians professing Christ are truly loving this way, or are they more judgmental and condemning than the Savior they profess to follow? This is a dialogue that truly needs to be shared.

Feel free to let me know what you think! You can email me at jddobbs@verizon.net or comment on this article at http://www.mrdobbs.org. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

May God show you the areas in your life where you haven’t allowed His love to take over. May you. Be shown love by Christians that you know. And may you fall in love with Jesus who loves you perfectly. God bless you.


Shoe Tying Gone Wrong

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Are you familiar with TED? It is a nonprofit organization whose motto is “Ideas Worth Spreading”. You can find information from them at http://www.TED.com.

What TED does is bring some of the brightest minds around the planet to talk about a wide variety of topics. People speak on such things as solving water crisis problems and helping world hunger. They talk about why our universe is fit for our type of life and how to fix a broken economy.

Many of the speakers do an excellent job and are fascinating. I’ll admit that most are a bit out of my league or just don’t pique my interest. However, I ran across one of their videos that surprised me. You can go to TED.com or YouTube and search for “Terry Moore: How to tie your shoes”.

In this 3 minute video Terry Moore discusses how to tie shoes the correct way. I’ve been tying my shoes for most of my life and hadn’t realized that there was actually a right and wrong way to tie shoes. It turns out that there is a best way to do this, and most people are close to getting it right but one wrong move has them tying a knot that is weak at best. This is a major cause of shoes randomly becoming untied throughout the day.

How do you tie your shoes? The right way or the wrong way? Did you even know there was such a distinction?

We tie our shoes day after day, and we teach our kids to tie their shoes the way we tie them so that generation after generation grows up tying their shoes the way it has always been done. Just because it’s always been done that way by your family, however, doesn’t mean it’s the best or right way to do it.

The apostle Paul understood this later in life. He had spent his entire life extremely dedicated to the Pharisaical sect of Judaism. He knew the letter of the law and was a “Hebrew of Hebrews”. He did everything right (or so he thought). Not only did he do everything right, but he was evangelistic in trying to get others to change their ways and condemning those who taught the way of Christ.

It was on his way to Damascus to righteously persecute more of these heretics in the name of Jehovah when Jesus appeared to Paul (then known as Saul). During that encounter, Paul realized that though he had been convinced that was he was doing was right, and even though he had great zeal for his way of life, he was dead wrong and needed to change.

Fortunately for everyone who reads the bible he wasn’t resistant to the vision, and he changed his way of thinking with the help of the Spirit. He went on to write most of the New Testament as we know it and became one of the greatest evangelists for Christ of all time.

We wrestle with this same kind of thinking today. So many things are done day and week and year after year because we have always done them that way. We accept things as being scriptural because someone said it is scriptural. We, like sheep, blindly follow the sheep that went before us.

Fortunately, for us, there is forgiveness from God. We surely do not have everything right.

Look at the way we do things in our churches. Why do we do them that way? Why do our churches today look so unlike the churches in the first century when the apostles were spreading the message for the first time?

Don’t get me wrong; I am not against tradition. I do, however, think that traditions need to be continually questioned. Is this tradition useful today? What was the purpose for this tradition when it was implemented? Is it right or wrong to participate in this tradition?

Then think about what you have been taught. Do I believe that because it is the logical argument passed down through generations, or do I believe it because the scripture actually makes this argument? Is this belief what was handed to me, or is this truth from the word of God?

Some things we believe to be scriptural truths aren’t even in the scriptures.

According to Deuteronomy 4:2 and Revelation 20:18-19 (symbolic bookends of the scriptures) we are not to hold anyone hostage over anything we have tried to add to the scriptures. We cannot add some tradition then claim it to be heresy if someone doesn’t follow that tradition. We also cannot take the scriptures and cut away the things we don’t believe in. There are at least six different places throughout the scriptures where this warning is given.

I encourage you to question things. You were given a mind that has great capacity for logic and reasoning – use it. You fulfill your purpose as you use the talents God has given you, and you were given the ability to think. Don’t simply let someone else do the thinking for you.

Just a warning: if you do this, you may come up with conclusions that are different than what your other church members or leadership believes. Be patient. Love and peace and unity are much grander philosophies in the scripture than getting everything right. Romans 15:1 warns us to bear with the failings of the weak. Therefore, it is good to question things and work toward change, but we must be patient with others. God doesn’t just give grace to those whom have all the doctrine right…he gives it to those who haven’t gotten things figured out the way you do too.

So, may you learn to tie your shoes properly. May you seek the truth in your beliefs and traditions, but above all, may you seek love and peace and unity among the brotherhood as you work to bring light into error.

God bless you, and if there is anything I can help you with in your walk with Christ, please feel free to call me at 245-1611 or email me at jddobbs@verizon.net. If you’d like to see the video I spoke of earlier, you can find the link on my blog at http://www.mrdobbs.org. God bless you, and have a great week!

Here’s the link:

Terry Moore: How to tie your shoes


Who’s The Real Youth Minister Here?

Today, I’d like to tell you a little bit about me.

I grew up attending non-instrumental churches of Christ.  My Great Grandfather was a song leader.  My Grandfather was a song leader.  My mother would have been a song leader, but she grew up in the 60’s and 70’s, and she was the wrong gender for that at the time.

I have been involved with the churches of Christ since before i was born.

Growing up, my parents were very involved in the local congregation, and when I’d visit my grandpa, he’d have me up on stage leading singing with him.  When I got into 3rd grade we moved to West Monroe, Louisiana where I lived until I graduated High School.  We attended the same church from that point on, and my parents were very involved.  There was hardly an event that we weren’t a part of.  I used to joke about being in the building every time the doors were open.

When I got into the youth group, they kept being involved.  They helped plan and volunteer for various activities.  They did more than encourage me to be involved.  I loved being a part of my youth group growing up.  But, you know why I was excited about youth group?  It wasn’t because I had a great youth minister (which I did). It was because from birth it was instilled into me that church was a central part of our life  My primary youth ministers were my parents.

Looking back on that now, I see how valuable they were in forming me into the man of God I am today.  I cannot thank them enough for investing into God and His church so that I would one day follow in their footsteps.

Now, I’m a youth minister.  My sister sings on the worship team for the church we grew up in, and my brother is actively involved in several outreach ministries.  I’d say they were a success.

“How does that relate to me?” You may ask.

If you are a parent, you are the single largest influence in your child’s life.  You have the power to inspire greatness or defeat into that young person.  You have the power to mold and shape them into followers of God or selfish, entitled agnostics.  You influence them.  What you are involved in and excited about rubs off on them directly and effectively.  What you are apathetic about also influences them.

You are the youth ministers.  This is for parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles.  This is for brothers and sisters and cousins.  This is for kids.  You have the power to influence your family around you.

If you are a part of a church that has a youth minister, you have a great resource there.  But his job is only to supplement what you are doing at home.  If the kids in churches are only getting Jesus on Sunday morning and Wednesday night, then they are anorexic Christians at best. The scriptures say “Train up a child in the way he should go…” The scriptures do not say “Let someone else train up your child…”

Youth ministers are a great tool, and they are useful to help facilitate and teach the youths of today.  The trends of the churches to this point have been to create Youth Minister Centered Youth Ministries.  It’s time to change the trend back to Family-Centered Youth Ministries.

May you be the Spiritual leaders in your home.  May you lead your children by example.  And may these children grow to be pillars of the Church for generations to come.

If there’s anything I can do for you or pray with you about, please feel free to contact me at my office at 245-1611 or via email at jddobbs@verizon.net.  God bless you all as you regain your role as the real Youth Ministers.


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