Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Calling All Men…But Who Will Answer? By: Paul Emery

            On September 30 Sherwood Baptist Church is releasing a new movie called Courageous.  As they have done with Facing the Giants, Fireproof, and Flywheel, they have written books based off of the screen play.  I took time to start perusing the newest book last week at work, and all I can say is it is going to be a great movie.  So what does this upcoming movie have to do with me writing today? Courageous is about Fatherhood, and quite frankly that is something that I’m lacking in, as well as many other men in the world today.  Where are our fathers? Where have I been when it comes to the life of my wife and my children?

            As some of you know I’m a very busy person as I go to school full-time, hold two jobs, although right now I’m holding three, and then I study and need to sleep.  It is easy to say that what I’m doing is important, and indeed it is.  I am, and have been the sole provider for my family since April 2004.  I’m not complaining about this role, in fact I love it.  I have a beautiful wife, whom I’m about to celebrate 10 years of matrimony with here in a little over a week.  I’m blessed with 5 wonderful children whom God has entrusted into my stewardship (what was He thinking?)

            Men, I’m fired up today.  My own decisions and behavior have lead to me being fired up, but as I look in the mirror, I know there are many other men who also are living two lives.  Maybe they are not doing it intentionally, maybe they are, but it is time for the hammer to fall, on my life, and the life of any other father who is not honoring Christ with our every breath.  It is kind of funny as a soon to be Chaplin in the military told me that my arguments regarding abortion cannot be based solely off of my faith. The truth of the matter is all our beliefs and decisions should be based off of the Word of God.

            1 John 1:5-7 says; “And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.  If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”

            I’ve been walking in the darkness lately.  Not every day, and in fact I have really only struggled some last week, but in that struggle I was saying I have fellowship with God, and yet I was still doing my own thing, I was in darkness.  Now I’ve come clean with my LORD, and my wife which is the only reason I’m even speaking about this today.  You see I want to be a man who is a man of integrity, and I want to be a man with credibility, so I need to keep short accounts.

This morning as I was at work I got thinking about my struggle of last week.  I often times think with sinful desire, and since I believe Exodus 34:6-7. “Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, ‘The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps loingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and forth generations.’” My thoughts turned to my son, and my daughters. 

Do I want them struggling with the sins that I have struggled with? Do I want them to suffer the consequences I have suffered? Do I want my children to not be able to attain to the calling God may put on their life because their sin has cost them that calling? Again if you read my testimony you have seen that I’ve been very forthcoming with my sin, and also the calling I believe God put on my life.  I do not wish these sins upon anybody, and my heart breaks that I may have forfeited the call God put on my life.

            As I was meditating on these truths today I had to ask myself a question.  What is it that I want my children to demonstrate in my life? I’m very proud of the work ethic I have that was instilled in me by my father.  I’m proud of the fact that I am pursuing a college education to better provide for my family.  I’m proud that I have stayed married to the same woman for almost 10 years.  Although all of these things are things to be proud of they are not the end all be all of my life. What matters in my life is fellowship with Jesus Christ. 

            Here is the mission, if you chose to accept it.  In the book/movie Courageous an event happens that leads one of the characters to begin a study on Biblical fatherhood.  I think this is important, but I think there is more to it than that as well.  Over the next several weeks I intend to begin doing a study on the roles of men.  This is a vast topic, and one that will not make for a light study.  I have spent three years (not continuously in one book, so I figure it will not hurt to change my study) in 1 John.  I don’t think that this study will take three years to complete, especially if I’m faithful in working on it a little every day. 

            Through the course of this study I will look at the roles of men in different areas.  Here is a short list.
1.      Walk with Jesus
2.      Relationship with Wife
3.      Relationship with Children
4.      Relationship with believers
5.      Relationship with the society (this will focus on moral issues and the stance on them)
6.      Relationship with the world (this will focus on evangelism and sharing faith)
Some of these will be quite intense, others maybe not so much.  In the world we live in today there may be some disagreement amongst the political spectrums, but ultimately what matters is what is talked about in Scripture.  My premise is, and always will be, that the complete 66 books are inspired by God, inerrant (without error), and authorative in every area they address, which means they are profitable for teaching, for correction, for reproof, for training in righteousness as said in 2 Tim. 3:16.

            I would like to see other men share their thoughts and studies on these topics.  If you chose to accept this mission you can e-mail me your thoughts on the topic and I will post them on the blog.  If you want to encourage each other, I will gladly provide an address list of anyone who is willing to join in this process with me and phone numbers so we can encourage each other in our walks with Christ. If you are involved in local fellowship work with the other men in your Church.  If you are not involved in local fellowship, get involved!

            I hope some of you will read this, and I hope some of you will join with me.  If you can, get and read the book “Courageous” by Randy Alcorn.  If you live within reasonable driving distance of a theater that is playing this movie I would encourage you to try to go on opening weekend.  Let us send a message to Hollywood that family friendly movies are worth the effort to produce, and will increase their profit margin.

“Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE, © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977 by the Lockman Foundation.  Used by permission.”

Click to see trailer for Courageous

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Can we make the future happen?: A Book Review of “Futurecast” by George Barna By: Paul Emery

Our world is constantly changing.  The things once thought as pure science fiction are becoming a common day experience in our world today.  With the iPhone, Androids, and other smart-phones; iPads and iPods; desktop computers down to mini notebook computers; and so much more, technology keeps advancing faster and faster each and every day.  And it isn’t even technology that is constantly changing; world views, philosophies, moral and religious beliefs our life behaviors and choices are as well.  As these changes continue to occur many sit and scratch their heads and wonder what has happened.   These realizations are what lead me to decide to read and review “Futurecast, what TODAY’S TRENDS mean for TOMORROW’S WORLD” by George Barna.

            George Barna is a respected author and researcher in many circles, and has committed his life to researching out numerous trends in today’s society.  Having conducted many statistical polls of and on various topics he continues to pass on his findings to help whomever he can.  I became most familiar with George Barna almost 10 years ago when he conducted a poll on what it means to be “born-again” working alongside Josh McDowell and was floored with his findings.  Now George Barna has decided to write another book discussing a plethora of statistical findings so that people can take a look at the statistics and make a choice on their involvement in the future.

            This book, although very interesting, requires a keen willingness to sit down and to truly read.  It is possible to scan this book to look at the statistical findings, but to fully understand how these trends are shaping the future; one must be willing to put some work into this book.  However, the person who will benefit the most from this book is a person who is willing to engage in the culture war.

            Many of the chapters are very informative, and have some great information.  However, what I found most beneficial about this book is that Mr. Barna does not just hand out statistic after statistic, but addresses each issue with a full court press.  Also most pleasing to me was George Barna’s willingness to issue a challenge in his final chapter, and speak the truth, that people who are involved can make a difference in directing the trend of our future. 

            All and all I would give this book a 5 out of 5.  It takes a willingness to chew some meat, but the value of the information and the encouragement to get involved makes this book worth the read.  Mr. Barna made a comment I’ve heard many times.  “There are three types of people when it comes to the future: those who will watch it happen, those who will make it happen, and those who will wonder what happened.  Which of those three types will you be?”

(Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”)