Tag Archives: son

When is Kid’s Day?

20130822-102456.jpg

I remember as a child taking note of all the special days for the adults. There are the holidays that they get off work, but even more important to me as a kid were the holidays that allowed the parents to get gifts. There’s grandparents day and Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

One day I remember asking, “When is Kid’s Day?”

My mom was quick to let me know that every day was Kid’s Day. I was constantly getting snacks and prizes and having everyone focused on me and what I was doing.

Every day IS Kid’s Day, right?

We focus on our children in all areas of life. We support them in their schooling. We attend their sports activities and ooh and aah over their accomplishments in other areas of life. We encourage their friendships and work to help them to choose wisely. How about their relationship with God?

Churches all over the place are spending more and more energy and resources on children’s programs. They understand that parents are looking to train their children well in the knowledge of the truth of God’s word. These things are good and signs of a healthy church. It is right for us to focus on not just our past or our present but especially on our future.

What people all over are finding, however, is that children – once they graduate high school – are leaving the faith at an alarming rate. These kids were taken to all the bible classes. They did all the activities, but yet they leave anyway.

There are a few things we can do to keep that from happening with our children.

First: Parents, you need to step up your game. Statistics are showing that your children won’t be as involved as you. Especially at the college level. While your children are young you need to be modeling a passion for the Word of God and His church. Otherwise your children will see through the classes you forced them to attend and notice that you didn’t emphasize it in your life and only attended to do your duty. This is not appealing to them. That may not be your motivation for attending, but they see what you do more than what you say. If you are a Sunday Morning Only attendee, then chances are your kids will be non-attendees. It’s time to get involved in a meaningful relationship with your church and the members therein in order to provide the community needed to grow spiritually healthy.

Second: Parents, you need to be teaching your children. Church attendance won’t teach your children. Bible classes, while they help, are often thin on the meatier parts that your kids are hungry for. They need to know that you study the scripture. They need to learn from you. They need to see that their understanding of the scripture is important to you. And they need to see the scripture without all the sunshine and rainbows that we sometimes put in it. The scriptures portray reality and how to live in that reality. Don’t sterilize it to protect your kids. Teach them the honest truth.

Third: As a family spend meaningful time with other Christians in your congregation. One of the reasons that teens leave when they get to the college age is that they have no connections with anyone other than the kids their age. This makes the transition awkward at best and helps to influence them to leave. Invite your older children to spend time with you and your adult church friends. Participate in classes where many ages are present so they can see how to interact among the generations.

Lastly: Don’t wait until they are in Jr. High or High School to expect them to participate and pay attention during worship services. If they can talk, then they can learn to sing. This is a process, and the timing is different for everyone, but I often see older elementary age children playing video games and coloring during worship services. They are old enough to listen, but you are showing them that it is not important for them to do so. Train them. They are ready.

Parents, we have a great responsibility to our children. You may be doing these things already. If so, great! If you aren’t, don’t beat yourself up about it. Just make a decision to change today. As we change so will our kids. Let’s stop the exodus. Let’s begin a spiritual renewal in our children.


Celebrating the Wrong Birthday

20130531-092835.jpg

The other day was my son’s birthday. It was a wonderful day to remember the years and how he has grown so much. I’m very proud of him.

I remember when he was born. I remember so many of his “firsts” as he learned and experienced new things. He has made me proud, so why wouldn’t I celebrate his birth?

Or culture makes a really big deal out of birthdays. It is easy for parents to get caught in a trap of having to outdo last year’s party so as not to disappoint. Birthday parties become more and more expensive each year, and that’s not even regarding the presents.

It seems like every day I have a whole list of friends who are celebrating their birthday. The funny thing is, however, these celebrations are a relatively new concept for “normal” folk.

Birthday celebrations have their origin in paganism as people believed evil spirits would visit a person on the day of their birth each year, so they would surround themselves with people who were jolly in order to keep the spirits at bay. The ones who celebrated birthdays for the sake of celebration were usually noblemen or kings with the money to celebrate with much pomp.

Birthday celebrations are much fun, and I enjoy them each time they come around, but is this the biggest event we should celebrate in our lives each year?

Maybe we are celebrating the wrong event.

In Luke 15:10, Jesus says these words, “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

When you come to Jesus the angels throw a party in heaven!

Maybe we should take a cue from the angels. When a person is baptized, maybe we should throw a party. Then, maybe we should be celebrating that new birth each year.

Do you remember the day you came to Christ? My physical birthday is coming up in June, but my spiritual birthday – the day my sins were washed away and I received the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38) – is September 8. That’s the day the angels threw a party for me.

When is your spiritual birthday? If you haven’t had it yet, the angels are waiting to throw a party for you.


On My Own Schedule

20130508-095815.jpg

I bought a new game for my iPad. I know, I’m a grown man and shouldn’t be playing video games, but I am a big fan of the Lego games. So, when I saw that Lego Batman 2 was on the iPad I purchased it as a bit of escapism therapy.

Now, I play video games every once in a while, but my son wants to play them every day, and ever since I got the game he’s wanted to play it. After I played through the first time I decided it was time to let him begin his journey through the game. I let him play for a little while for the first couple of days, but the other day the first thing he asked for when he woke up was to play this game.

We had a lot to get done that day and much running around to do, so I told him he’d get to play, but not right now. Well, that answer wasn’t good enough for him. He kept asking me every five minutes if he could play the game. Throughout the day he talked about the game and reminded me of the fact that I had told him he’d get to play that day.

It got really annoying.

I reminded him that I wouldn’t forget. I gave him my word, but no matter my attempt to convince him that he could trust me he kept on nagging me about the game. Then it dawned on me; I do that with God.

We are called to be persistent and bold in our prayers (Luke 11), but we are also promised that whatever we ask for in Jesus’ name we will receive (John 14:13-14). Azariah wanted to play the game on his time and his terms. I knew that wouldn’t be best for him for several reasons, but he couldn’t comprehend that.

When I pray, do I trust that God will answer my prayers? I know many people that get frustrated with God because He didn’t answer their prayers on their time schedule and in their way. When we have those attitudes toward our Creator they reek of arrogance.

The bible says that God’s foolishness is wiser than man’s wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:25). If He is so much wiser than we are, then can we not trust Him to take care of us? Can we not trust Him to answer our prayers according to His promise?

Yes we can. Thanks be to God for His trustworthiness and the fulfillment of His promises. Thanks be to God for the answers to our prayers. May we learn to see those answers through His eyes that we may see the blessing in whatever way He deems as the right way to fulfill our requests. There is peace in that perspective.


Right In Front Of Our Faces

20130130-102626.jpg

Yesterday I took a break from office work and meetings to give my son an opportunity he’s never had before. I took him to get a ski lesson at a local ski run. He’s six, and he’s never been on a set of skis before. In fact, until last month, he’d never even seen much skiing.

He did great. In a matter of three hours he could ski down the green runs. He still falls a few times down the hill, but for his first day he was fantastic. I hope that he loves to ski like I do. It is my prayer that he can enjoy this and many other wonderful hobbies that take advantage of the magnificence of God’s creation around us.

A I think about our experience, however, I can’t help but think of the people I’ve met in the various places I’ve lived that have never experienced many of the wonders outside of the town where they live. The are many people in this area that have never skied. When I lived outside Sequoia National Park in California I met several people who had never seen the big trees.

I love taking people to new places and showing them things they have never seen before. To me it is a way to help them experience the love of God in a new way. God made all of creation and then gave it to mankind to take care of and rule over. Some things can only be explained as God giving them to us for us to simply say, “wow”!

These people who don’t explore much outside the comfort zone of their towns or neighborhood remind me of most of the rest of us. We have been given a life to live, and we have been charged with being good stewards of this life, but we seem content to do the same things week after week and never try anything new.

We are called to use our spiritual gifts to serve God. but many people I know can’t even tell me what their spiritual gifts are. Do you know what yours are?

One of the best way to find out what our spiritual gifts are is to try new things. Are you good at visiting the sick? You’ll never know until you try. Are you good at telling strangers the great news of Jesus’ salvation? Practicing this art is a great way to find out. We have a life that we have been given, but many of us are only living a shadow of that life because we are too afraid to try to find out what spiritual gifts we’ve been given.

When you find some way to serve God that brings you great joy then you’ll have found one of your many talents.

I want to encourage you this year to find out what God has created you to do. Maybe you’ll run a company in a way that shares the messages of grace and love with its employees and customers. Maybe you’ll find that giving to the church or other ministries brings you joy. Maybe you’ll take a trip to another country to do mission work only to find that you were ministered to even more. Maybe you’ll teach a class or say a prayer or sing a song. Whatever you do, you’ll be taking steps to finding the purpose God has created you for.

May you find out the life God has purposed for you. May the kingdom of God grow because of your newfound fervor. And may you be blessed richly because you got out of your comfort zone to try something new.

God bless you. If there’s anything you’d like to discuss concerning this or any other topic, feel free to contact me at 505-334-6626 or via email at jddobbs@verizon.net.


Why Do We Do Good?

20120724-234332.jpg

“I don’t do good works to be saved; I do good works BECAUSE I am saved.”

Have you ever heard that phrase? Chances are that someone has said this either to you or in relation to some church they feel are teaching a works-salvation theology. I’ve heard this more times than I can count used to explain the relationship between works and salvation.

I’m not so sure this cliché really gets to the heart of this matter.

First of all, Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith –and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.” This passage definitely rules out the works as being part of our salvation, or does it?

What is faith? Hebrews 11:1 gives the most popular definition, but for me it’s still a little vague. When you study faith in the scripture it is more than belief. Belief is a thought or emotional connection about something. It is a conviction, but until it has an action tied to it, it is not faith. Faith is being so sure of you what you cannot see that you act on what you cannot see. Faith by its very nature is active. According to James, faith without deeds is dead. Is this a contradiction? No.

When I come to faith in God and give my life to Him I have to make some pretty major life changes. Anyone whose life has not been changed since coming to Christ has not truly been “converted” to anything and their salvation is suspect for Christ is ever working in us through His Spirit to make us more like Him. In order to have faith I must begin to act on the knowledge that God is real and I truly have been saved from my sins. The natural outcome of this is love for God. And love is always an action when it comes to God and others (love of ice cream is action too but altogether different).

When I begin to see the scope of love from God to me, then I am faced with just how unworthy of that love I really am. It is only when I come to that reality that I begin to love others as I have been loved. To love God is to love those whom God loves.

This brings me to my second thought regarding the cliché above. every time I have heard this phrase it has been in a setting where someone (at times me) has been trying to explain to someone else that they have an obligation out of their salvation to do good works to others. Even though I have always felt this to be extremely shallow I have been caught up into teaching this technique as well. There is a hint of truth here, but it misses the beauty of salvation and doing good by a long shot.

If you told me it was your birthday then ordered me to give you a gift, then it wouldn’t feel much like a gift when you received it. Or if I gave a gift to my daughter and told her, “well, your mother said I have to give this to you – it’s my obligation as your dad.” What would her reaction be? I am afraid it would be the worst gift ever for it wasn’t given out of love.

We are definitely called, as Christians who have been saved by the death and resurrection of Jesus, to do good works. Those good works are evidences of our faith. But if I am doing them out of a sense of duty, then they aren’t benefiting me or anyone else.

I don’t do good works because of an obligation due to my salvation. I do good works because God has loved me beyond my worth and comprehension. As I see His love and begin to realize that love, then I love Him back (the first and greatest commandment according to Jesus). Then, as that relationship of love grows I learn to see others through God’s eyes and love them as well (the second greatest commandment).

I don’t do good works to be saved. I do good works because God loves me, and I love Him, and I love others as well.

If you can’t accurately make that confession about yourself, then you are going through the motions. Over and over the bible condemns such actions. God would rather you be silent than lie to him in song. He would rather you keep your money than give it in frustration out of a sense of duty. But most of all, he would rather not have to worry about any of that because you are absolutely in love with Him and His creation.

I hope that the next time you hear this phrase it will spur you to remember this article. I hope you are passionately pursuing relationship with God. I hope you are loving people out of compulsion rather than out of duty – you can’t help love them because of the love-relationship between you and God.

If you haven’t begun your love-relationship with God where He has taken away your sins and given you His perfection, then I’d love to discuss any questions you may have regarding making that happen. It’s up to you. Last Friday 12 people unexpectedly died. We aren’t guaranteed tomorrow. Don’t put off your relationship with God through Jesus another day.

If you have been going through the motions, then Jesus is calling you to come back to your first Love. The most wonderful thing about Jesus is that He has never left you; He has been there the whole time waiting for you to desire Him again. If I can pray with you or help you come back in any way please let me know.

You can reach me at jddobbs@verizon.net or at the office at 245-1611. You can even comment on this article or any previous articles at http://www.mrdobbs.org.

God bless you as you do good in His name and for His sake.


The Religion of the Masses

20120605-165516.jpg

Everyone is religious. We all worship something.

I love my kids. Just ask me, and I’ll tell you all about their exploits.

Just today my oldest daughter practiced on the swim team for the first time. It is the middle of the season, and it’s her first opportunity to practice with the team. Her first time out she swam around 4,000 meters. That’s nearly 2.5 MILES! I can run that far, but I’ve never even thought of swimming that far. And that was her first day of practice ever being on any kind of swim team.

Yesterday our family went to a water park in the area, and we had a blast. Our 6 year old son is getting comfortable with swimming and he had a wonderful experience. It’s so much fun to watch him as he dives under the water and stays there for quite some time given his age. He says he likes being under water better. At six, he was having a great time riding the slides with me. The last slide we tried was the one that strikes some sense of fear into almost everyone’s heart when they walk into a water park. You know the slide – its the one that just has one long, nearly straight down, drop. My son wanted to go first, so I let him. My heart stopped as he went out of sight over the lip of the slide, but as he reached the bottom I couldn’t help yelling with excitement. He said it was “awesome”.

My smallest child is my other daughter. She has been doing gymnastics and loving every minute of it. Her coaches have been surprised and impressed since day one at her ability to walk the balance beam without looking down. She is four (started at three), and she looks around the room and at the coach while she walks the beam. When she had her gym’s version of a recital the other day they even had her do a frontward roll on the balance beam. I had never seen her do that before, and she did great!

Everyone is religious. We all worship something.

I’m excited about my children; who wouldn’t be? But I don’t worship them, and they know it. That doesn’t mean that I am the rule, however.

People worship all sorts of things. It’s what consumes them that centralizes their worship. Some people are consumed with money. Some people are consumed with a search for knowledge. Some people are consumed with power. Some people are even consumed with their children!

The kinds of people that astonish me most in terms of what they worship are the atheists and the religious “folk”.

An atheist believes there is no God, and therefore should be free of the moniker “religious”. However, every atheist I have ever seen has something (usually many things) that consumes them. They may worship any combination of the things listed above. Humanists are atheist, technically, but they, too, have a god, and that is the human species. We all worship something.

Religious “folk”, as I use the phrase here, are Christians – of a sort. They say the right things and attend the right meetings, but their focus is clearly seen by their actions and attitudes. These people worship their religion more than the focus of that religion. They are more concerned with making sure everything goes a certain way than with total abandon to the God they profess to worship. They get hung up on the minutia of certain commands while neglecting the very heart of that command.

Religious “folk” fill up church buildings each Sunday with judgmentalism and pomp. They wear the right clothes and look down on you if you don’t. They strictly adhere to their traditions while condemning the “heretics” who dare to challenge those traditions. They don’t even realize that some of the things they hold as sacred are merely traditions! These people are the reason many people stay out of churches today.

We are called to worship one Being only, and that is Jehovah God. He is the One True God who gives life to all men and women everywhere. He is to be forever praised. Not me, not you, not our stuff nor status, but Him alone.

In our culture today, it is so very easy to get caught up in worship of other things. God calls this idolatry, and the first two of the ten commandments condemn it.

Today, I challenge you to evaluate yourself, and be careful as you do so. It is easy for us to stay “holier-than-thou” and write this off as not pertaining to us. I catch myself in that same trap, but it is my hope and prayer that we can effectively see the deficits in our lives. I pray that we can come away from our ungodly religions and come back to the God who is the center of everything that exists.

Always ask questions – of yourself, and of your situation. Seek truth, and if you’d like to discuss this further know I’m seeking truth as well. If there is anything I can do for you, please contact me at jddobbs@verizon.net or at the church office at 245-1611. God bless your evaluation. God bless the answers you find. And God bless the change that comes as a result.


Horseshoes, Hand Grenades, and Atomic Bombs

20120529-140323.jpg

Close only counts with horseshoes and hand grenades.”

How many times have you heard that? I’ve heard it all my life to refer to many occasions where I have said, “Well, I was close.” I’ve also heard that saying evolve a bit to include atomic bombs.

This Memorial Day weekend I had the wonderful opportunity to go to my parents’ house in Northeast Louisiana. We had a grand time playing and swimming and laughing and reminiscing. We celebrated my son’s birthday and his graduation from kindergarten. We also played horseshoes.

Horseshoes is a great game of some skill and a whole lot of luck. I don’t generally believe in luck, but when a person with no skill accidentally gets a ringer or leaner what else should I call it?

We all played: my mom and dad, my wife and son and daughter, and even my 83 year old grandfather.

In fact, I played my grandfather, and it is with much shame and a bit of a smirk that I must admit that even with a knee that shot pain through his body with every throw and joints with no cushioning, he beat me royally. I think the score was fifteen to seven. I could get the horseshoe close, but not close enough.

We live in a culture that celebrates “close enough”. Look at our political system. The candidates we have running for the various offices do not match up with our moral or political views, so we have to find the one we think represents our ideals “closely enough”. Then we wonder why our country is going downhill so quickly.

I see girls all the time who want deep down to find the man of their dreams, but after years of finding no such man, they settle for “close enough”. That usually leads them to misery in the end.

I see Christians all the time who match their lives up to the scriptures, and they say “eh, close enough”.

Even in horseshoes there is a definition for “close”. There is a measurable boundary where you can determine if you are “close enough”. In our lives, however, we want to place those boundaries wherever we please. This doesn’t work when it comes to the righteousness that God requires. We can’t read how we are supposed to be living according to the scriptures and then dismiss our shortcomings as being close enough.

Let me get something straight: you cannot get to heaven or get saved by anything that you’ve done. It is by the grace of God through the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus that you are saved. However, we have changed our attitude towards that gift over the years to become apathetic concerning our response to that gift.

You don’t receive a million dollars then spit in the face of the one who gave it to you. When we disregard the desires of God for righteousness in our lives we are trampling the cross underfoot.

As I study various religions I am overjoyed to see so many going in the right direction – for a bit. Then I mourn as I see them time after time stray away. They were so close, but they had to ignore something or add something that wasn’t necessary. Eh, at least they’re close. No. I don’t want to stand before God and try to explain to Him how I was “close enough”. I don’t think that argument will set well with Him – the Almighty, wholly pure, righteous, justified Lord of the universe.

No, we must get back to seeing how the scriptures show us how to live. Love must reign in our lives coupled with peace as we seek unity. No longer should we rely on “close enough”. So many people say “I believe in God”, yet their actions prove otherwise. Besides, the bible says that “even the demons believe…”

I want to live my life for Christ in every area. I want to continue to grow in that life that honors Him as I grow to know Him. I never want to be stagnant, and I don’t want to rely on the hope that I was “close enough”. I want assurance that my salvation is secure, and I have that assurance according to the Bible.

I’m not saying that to try to sound arrogant. You can have that assurance as well, but you have to be willing to set aside the “close enough” mindset. You have to be willing to really, truly devote yourself to Christ. I do understand that it is not easy, nor is it convenient, but it is right, and it is what you are called to do and to be.

Join with me in that life of assurance in Christ. If you haven’t truly dedicated your life to Christ as commended to you by Jesus himself, then seek that connection today. If you’ve been living a life of “close enough” you can make the decision to change, and Christ stands waiting to help you in that journey.

I would love to talk with you more about this. If I can help you in any way, please call me at 245-1611 or write me at jddobbs@verizon.net. You can also join the conversation at http://www.mrdobbs.org. Have a great day, play some horseshoes, and be dedicated to God. Bless God; He has already blessed you.


%d bloggers like this: