Friday, September 29, 2006
Go See "Facing the Giants"
I am still working on the second part of the Spiritual Disciplines, but I thought I would share this review of Facing the Giants that I have posted on a few other blogs.


I usually go to the movies on my Fridays off from work. Today I was trying to decide, do I want to see School of Scoundrels or Facing the Giants? It really was not a hard decision, especially after reading the School of Scoundrels review and realizing that the only movies I really wanted to see that came out today were Facing the Giants and Open Season. I am a movie buff and I have to say, there is absolutely nothing that is coming out of Hollywood lately with any redeeming qualities or originality. After choosing to see Facing the Giants, I realized that it was not me, but the Lord trying to tell me something with this movie.

One thing about Facing the Giants, it is not the best-acted movie. No one is going to win an Oscar(but I think there is more to it than the acting on that account). The depth of the characters, the depth of the story, and its relatability to not only every Christian, but also everyone that has the normal weight of life on their shoulders was inspiring. This movie is for anyone that has a problem being afraid to try; for anyone looking for answers when they think there are none.

Grant Taylor is the coach of a Georgia Christian High School, Shiloh Christian Academy (SCA). For the last 6 years, he has been a mediocre coach, and on the first day of the new school year, he learns that his best player has left SCA for a rival school so he can have an opportunity to win. As the movie progresses, we also learn that Coach Taylor and his wife, Brooke, have been trying to have a child for 4 years and are struggling with infertility; their car is about to fall apart, they are struggling to make ends meet, and to top it all off, their house smells like a dead animal.

After finding out that Brooke is not the reason for the infertility, Coach Taylor goes to get himself checked. It is then that his world begins to fall apart. A week or so later, he finds out that he is infertile. He then spends a long afternoon at the school contemplating how to tell Brooke. Before Coach Taylor leaves, he offers to close the school and let the janitor go home early. While closing up, he overhears the fathers of the players having a meeting about terminating his employment. "He is a nice guy, but he is not a winner."

Coach Taylor goes home and breaks down in front of Brooke. He lets her know everything that has happened. Unlike most people today who would try to fix things themselves, Coach Taylor turns to the only things that he knows can guide him: Scripture and prayer. He stays up the entire night asking God for guidance and strength and a couple of days later, he gets his answer.

I will not share any more of the story, but I will share this: Facing the Giants will challenge you and inspire you. There were times in the movie that I could not help but cry. Some times it was for Coach Taylor and his multitude of problems. Other times, it was for the joy of a young man that accepted Christ and apologizes to his father for being disobedient.

Facing the Giants challenges us to trust the Lord, to take chances when we are afraid, to realize that everything in this life that we think is important, isn't unless you are doing it for the glory of God.

I would love to share more about the movie, but it would ruin some of the surprises. Pay particular attention to the scriptures used in the film, they may just speak to you as they did to me.

Facing the Giants can be summed up as this:

"Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'" (NIV) Matthew 19:26.

Never forget that with God in your life, anything is possible, and go, ENJOY THE FILM!


PS: The only mature theme in the entire movie was the problems surrounding their infertility. The football was no more violent that going to a Friday night High School game. There was no crude humor, no language, one or two controlled, appropriate outbursts of anger, but nothing that I could see that would earn it a PG rating. I have seen G reated movies from Disney with more violence and adult themes than this film. I'm just sayin'!

  posted at 10:58 PM

Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Spiritual Disciplines II is Coming
Just a little something to hold you guys over until the next Spiritual Disciplines posting. I say you guys, because well, I hope someone reads what I am writing. If not, it is OK. I am able to use this time to focus on God's word and try to better understand what God has planned for me in my life, but as usual, I digress (darn stream of consciousness).

My wife is working with me on writing this next posting, but she got sick after we went tubing, so we have not been able to work on it very much. Until then, something to think about.

Facing Temptation

We are all tempted at some time or another in our walks with Christ. For some of us, the temptation comes from the opposite sex. For others, it is past drug or alcohol problem that continues to haunt us (I know they are the same thing...semantics, semantics). Sometimes, it is uncontrollable anger. When facing these challenges, turn to the Word for comfort. Hebrews 4:15-16 states:

"For we do not have a high priest (Jesus) who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." (NIV)

Christ went through all the we go through, yet he asked His father for strength to overcome the temptation of sin, and with his Father's strength, He never gave in. Do not forget that the Lord God will provide you strength, if you ask.

Also understand this (1 Corinthians 10:13):

"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." (NIV)

The Lord will always provide us with a way out of any temptation that we may face. The challenge is hearing and letting God's small, still voice guide us.


Lord, we are all tempted, but You have promised a way out, we just need to look for it and pray. Lord help me discern Your message for me in times of temptation. Let me hear Your voice calling, and not Satan's. Let me fully grasp Your help and understand that You are always here for me, even when I do not think that I need you. I ask this in Your Holy Name, Christ Jesus. Amen.

  posted at 2:33 PM

Thursday, September 14, 2006
I will be off tubing on the Comal River this weekend with my beautiful wife. My next Spiritual Discipline posting will be out Sunday night (like 2am Monday) or Monday night, at the latest.

Enjoy the weekend!

  posted at 3:20 PM

Financial Peace University
"In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has." (NIV) Proverbs 21:20

This is the basis for Financial Peace University (FPU) hosted by Dave Ramsey. For the past few years, my church has hosted this 13 week course that helps teach families to get out of debt and stay out of debt. I was blessed to attend the first course at our church and this fall I was asked to be a coordinator. This program is a powerful, Biblically based program that helps individuals become financially secure and leads the financially distressed down a road to financial freedom.

I found FPU to be one of the most rewarding seminars I have ever taken. Dave is not only knowlegable, but his teaching methods, though extreme at times, really help you understand how wonderful your life would be if you just followed what God calls us to do and stop using credit cards, taking loans, and other fancy tricks the financial people play with us in today's world. My wife and I paid off over $10,000 in debt just during the 13 week course.

There is contact information through the links above to get your church started helping all its members and all Christians truly live out God's call.

Proverbs 22:7 says it best:
"The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. " (NIV)

Don't let the credit card companies, and banks from which you have borrowed, be your master, let Jesus Christ.

"Humility and the fear of the LORD bring wealth and honor and life. " (NIV) Proverbs 22:4

  posted at 9:46 AM

Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Spiritual Discipline I: Participate in Church

The phrase "Participating in Church" can be divisive. I say this because there are those that may be reading this that go to a building on Sunday, sit through a service, and are either not involved with anyone else at their "church," or they believe sitting in a pew is going to get them to heaven. They truly believe that they are "participating." Church is so much more than being in a building. Make no mistake; I will challenge a few people's views of church in this post. But more than that, I will challenge you to not be a pew sitter, but to be truly involved in your church, get to know your fellow church goers, and use what is learned on Sunday to go into the world and spread the Good News about our risen Lord.

Now I want everyone to know, that when I talk about church, I am not necessarily talking about that "big brick building" that you go to each week. Church can be anywhere it needs to be. It can be in the woods on a weekend retreat. It can be in someone’s apartment (you guys know who you are ;) ). Church, from here forward, will be defined as a community of believers that have come together to worship our Lord, Jesus Christ, celebrate His Sacrifice, and enable the rest of the community to go out and "preach the Gospel, and if need be, use words." (Thanks St. Francis as shared by Pastor Burt)

During the last 5 years, I have been more involved with my faith, studied the bible more than I ever thought I could, and have come to understand that Christ really wants us to be one body striving to spread the Good News and not to be so much like the Pharisees, caught in the laws and traditions of our faith.

Christ’s priestly prayer in John 17:20-23 states Christ’s wish for the church:

“I'm praying not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me because of them and their witness about me. The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind— just as you, Father, are in me and I in you, so they might be one heart and mind with us. Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me. The same glory you gave me, I gave them, so they'll be as unified and together as we are— I in them and you in me. Then they'll be mature in this oneness, and give the godless world evidence that you've sent me and loved them in the same way you've loved me.” (The Message)

I can delve more into this, but Kevin Baker of Christian Conversations did a really great job discussing the divisions of the Christian church in America and the healing that can begin if we all join in prayer for unity: Read - Why I am a United Methodist (Part I), and Why I am a United Methodist (Part II). I will try not to digress too much more… ;)

Reasons for Participating in Church

I have searched the web and found many sites about reasons for Participating in Church. Some of the lists are 100 or more items long, others are only a few. I even found some that gave reasons for not participating in church. After all that, I go back to some basic reasons that have been discussed on various occasions in my Sunday School class (that I admit, I need to attend more regularly for reason number 2).

1. Worship – Christ calls us to participate in church so we can worship Him with other Christians. Christ has promised that he will be with us, when we participate in church. Matthew 18:19-20 states,

“Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." (NIV)

Worship on your own is great, but worshipping together is AWESOME!

2. Fellowship/Education – Christ calls us together to strengthen each other, encourage each other, witness to each other, and teach each other. If you do not have fellowship in church, you are missing out on one of the greatest aspects of church! Challenges from other Christians help educate you about your faith and make you stronger preparing you for the eventual attacks by the Satan. Your fellowship and education give you the weapons needed to defeat the enemy and better equip to face the evils of the world as you are a witness to your faith and evangelize to others.

John 15:18-27 states:

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates me hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: 'They hated me without reason.'

When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.” (NIV)

With fellowship, with education, with the support of other Christians, we are better prepared to go out and spread the Good News of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

3. Service Opportunities – 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 says,

“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.”(NIV)

Participation in church allows us to begin to understand the gifts that God has blessed each of us with and allows us to better serve His community within church and the outside community around us. These gifts can be those listed above or other gifts we have been given that allow us to further His kingdom.

Some may be wise, guided by the Spirit to help others truly understand the Word.

Some people have the gifts of healing. Most people would believe you have to be a doctor or a nurse to have the gift of healing, but there are times that this gift is less physical and more spiritual. Some individuals have the gift of spiritual healing that allows for the opening of others’ hearts to the message of Christ’s love.

I have met some people that are sensitive to the evil spirits that travel among us… the spirits that cause us pain, suffering, anger, lust. These individuals are able to pray for and help, through the name of Jesus Christ, those they encounter that need relief and aid from their spiritual oppression.

On a simpler note, some people have the gifts of patience, or just being able to listen.

Participation in church, and understanding God’s Word, allows us to see service opportunities in and outside of church.


What am I trying to say in all this? Well, simply put, PARTICIPATE IN CHURCH! Having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is the most important part of Christianity, but if you are not participating in church, it is hard to have that relationship grow. God will not reveal everything He wants for you in your life directly to you. Sometimes, He uses other Christians to bring out the greatness that He has called you to.

Don't be afraid, do make excuses, get involved and make a bigger difference in this world by participating in church.


Heavenly Father, there are times that I want to think that the relationship I have is all about me. Sometimes, I do not want to share my gifts with others. Sometimes, I want to just get away and be by myself, but Lord, I know You have called me to greater things. You have set my heart on fire for You. Let me be able to fully participate in my church, where ever and what ever the circumstances may be at the time. Let me use the gifts that You have given me to serve others within my church as well as those outside my church community. Help me to never fear what others may think of my love for You and my service to Your Good News. I ask this in You Most Holy Name, Jesus Christ. Amen.

  posted at 2:00 AM

Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Introduction: 6 Spiritual Disciplines
The next group of postings that I wanted to work through is a more detailed look at 6 Spiritual Disciplines, originally presented in the sermon titled "The Two Voices, the Two Choices" given by Rev. Susan Grittman on August 20, 2006 at the 11:10 am service at the church I attend in Houston. Susan referenced the these Spiritual Disciplines as a way for Christians to make the "correct Choices" when confronted by the "Two Voices" of the Holy Spirit and Satan. The Disciplines are a guide to help strengthen our Christian faith in order to turn away from Satan's lies and follow the Lord's truth. These Disciplines will not keep us from being tempted. In fact, we will fall. It is a given. We are not perfect. The Disciplines are designed to help us fall less often and to live our lives in the presence of the Lord every day of our lives.

The 6 Spiritual Disciplines that I will discuss are as follows. I will address each one with my comments, as well as scriptural references.

1. Participate in Church
2. Read the Bible Daily
3. Assume Responsibility for Your Thought Life
4. Renounce Old Ways of Thinking, Feeling, and Acting as They Present Themselves
5. Pray Daily
6. Don't Depend on Others to Fight Your Battles

  posted at 6:00 AM

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