We are all just prisoners here by our own device


Truth is sometimes the means of correction. The foundation of our inner and outer being is truth. This came to me in a conversation with my wife, when she asked me “How many times did Jesus say, “I tell you the truth?” Well curious enough I took it like an engineer and counted 76 times. The first time Jesus utters the emphasis of “truth telling,” He talks about keeping the commandments, living out the commandments, and then teaching the commandments. The second time Jesus is only a few verses away. And that is where we start. Matthew 5:25-26.

25 “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny. Matthew 5:25-26

Jesus is speaking both literally and about the prison we so often put ourselves in. This prison of debt prevents progress and growth and breeds contempt to our debt and our debtor. It is the anti-ministry, it is slavery and it prevents us from hearing God’s call. It is debtor’s prison and we live in a culture that is behind those bars.

Debtors Prison

When our money is spoken for we give less if anything at all. We postpone ministry because of our debt and before we can move on and be free to give and minister, the truth is-we can’t until we pay “every last penny…” It is proven we are less effective when in debt than when we have saved and understand the concept of delayed gratification. Most of us love to be cheerful and generous givers, but many are stuck in debtors prison.

Mission debt

As missionaries when we are in debt we are held to staying where we are. When our children need something we are limited in the amount of help we can give. When our fellow missionaries need support, we often let them down and when God presents a ministry opportunity we are stuck back at finishing old business. Debt is a prison and while we may not be behind prison bars we cannot get out until, “every last penny is paid.”

Prisoner’s

I walk this lonely prison yard

to exercise my mind.

Emptying myself in deep contrition.

I have caused the ice to harden

and I’ve past the county line

Can you heal me of human condition?

and you tell me the truth

and I seek nothing but the truth

and I confront the escapism that haunts me.

I’m a prisoner in debt

Caught in a net

seeking righteousness come free me

You’re a listener advocate

and you’ve paid my every debt

I am hungry Lord, please feed me.

I walk this neighborhood

looking for some good

but I can’t get past the bills in

my own letter box.

Settle quick, start today

if you don’t there’s hell to pay

and truth will come our way

open prison blocks.

I’m a prisoner in debt

Caught in a net

seeking righteousness come free me

You’re a listener advocate

and you’ve paid my every debt

I am hungry Lord, please feed me

Bridge- There is freedom in your truth

There is wisdom in the truth.

So I walk this prison yard

why does life have to be so hard?

I come to you with open arms

Lord free me!

I’m a prisoner in debt

Caught in a net

seeking righteousness come free me

You’re a listener advocate

and you’ve paid my every debt

I am hungry Lord, please feed me

BT Springs Matthew 5:26

2.28.12

If we are judged by the content of our character the truth will set us free, Confronting our debt and paying every last penny off sets us free to minister; to support and deal with life. Just the action of getting a plan together that includes ministry, pay-offs, work, home and community outreach is freeing, if we stick to the plan. We want to deal with life with an open hand instead of a clenched fist. While we don’t get a “get out of jail free” card we are free to move freely in what God has called us to do.

Action plan to building content of character

1. Come up with a strategy to pay off debt quickly.

2. What would and what can you do with your income if you were debt free?

3. What if our government wasn’t in debt? What are the possibilities of a debt free America?

4. What does God want you to do that you can’t because of debt?

5. What are some of the things you had to say “no” to because of debt?

I tell you the truth if you want to be judged by the content of your character and not by the color of your skin, your past, your religious views, your sexual preference… (etc.) you must:

1. Love the Lord with all your heart, soul and mind and your neighbor as yourself. (see Matthew 5:18)

2. Teach your children, your neighbors and your friends how to keep God’s commandments by showing them and living out “loving the Lord your God with all your heart soul and mind and loving your neighbor as you love yourself.” All the other commandments fall into place on those two.(If you do those two you won’t murder, commit adultery, covet, steal…(etc))

3. Get out of debtor’s prison so you can be free to minister, to lead and to communicate truth in a debtor’s nation and a culture up to it’s eyeballs in debt. (Matt 5:25-26).

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The content of our character


Have you ever thought of the human condition of so many people being habitual liars? Ronald Reagan likes to say “Trust but verify” in Russian when dealing with the Soviet Union. For evangelicals in a world of habitual liars this is where we need to be. Trusting but always verifying, telling the truth and defining what truth is.

Lies, truth and confessions

A liar must convince himself of the possibilities of the benefits to lie and justify crossing the line of truth. We are a culture made of liars that are often rewarded for it. Contrast that with the truth tellers who often wind up being punished for telling the truth. A liar’s chief motive is to delay consequence for an action or inaction. The prelude to the “Lord have mercy” version of the Kyrie is an admission to both the ‘sin of doing and the sin of failing to do.’ This is the human condition in thoughts, in words and in action. The Mass provides an out for the believer, to confess publicly that we are sinners. A liar will try to convince people that “what they are doing or refuse to do is not a sin.” They may be lying to you when they say that, but they first had to lie to themselves.

Wild Fires

There are countless examples where crimes have been committed against humanity that have become toxic dumping sites that are burning and eroding the backbone of truth in our cities. While the initial infraction was bad enough, the wildfire that burns out of control causes residual burns that are devasting to marriages, families, businesses and communities. Look at the financial scandals that were bad enough, but how lies spread through people involved. Divorce, suicide, bankruptcy and erosion of trust and accountability were the direct and indirect consequences to the initial infraction. Why? Fear is the answer. Corporate execs feared telling the truth about how their company was doing for fear of disgrace. Satan is alive and well and when people feel they have no way out, the prince of lies convinces the isolated to lie, because ‘no one could ever forgive a person as devious as you.’

The content of our character

One of the most important things that Martin luther King ever said was that he wanted his children to be judged by “the content of their character.” One of the cornerstones of a study, relationship and outreach idea that I will publish is “The content of our character.” Character starts with truth and the truth is defined as Biblical and the definition of Biblical truth is in the person of Jesus. Some 76 times Jesus Christ begins important teachings with “I tell you the truth…” While people may not understand who Jesus is, few would call him a liar. I believe that starting with Matthew 5:18 the quintessential truth is initiated in the midst of the “Sermon on the Mount.” “I tell you the truth,” Jesus begins.He continues with the choice that teachers of “religious law” were doing. They were teaching people how to break the commandments instead of teaching people to keep the commandments.

I tell you the truth

I’m just saying- I tell you the truth

and as long as we’re under this roof

Truth lives.

I’m not playing, I tell you the truth

and under this roof

the truth shall live.

1. Until the end of the world

until heaven and earth disappear

the truth will ring out- crystal clear.

not the smallest letter, or a stroke of my pen,

will erase the law from the books,

not even then.

I’m just saying- I tell you the truth

and as long as we’re under this roof

Truth lives.

I’m not playing, I tell you the truth

and under this roof

the truth shall live.

Bridge:

Don’t teach them how to murder

Don’t teach them how to steal

Don’t teach them how to slander or cheat,

No matter how you may feel.

Don’t justify the means

or you will come to a bad end,

loving God will find you

loving people as your friends.

Chorus:

I’m just saying- I tell you the truth

and as long as we’re under this roof

Truth lives.

I’m not playing, I tell you the truth

and under this roof

the truth shall live.

2.I’m just saying get right with your brother

Get right with your God,

Get right with all nations

Bring righteoussness abroad.

Don’t be like Pharisee’s

bringing people to their knees

without an ounce of repentance

without a chance of redemption

without a firm connection

to the truth.

I’m just saying- I tell you the truth

and as long as we’re under this roof

Truth lives.

I’m not playing, I tell you the truth

and under this roof

the truth shall live.

BT Springs 2.27.12

10 days of Drive Time


In the next forty days God will accomplish much in the lives of His people. This is said without prophetic voice but in God’s system it is a cycle that has been repeated since the beginning of time. The problem is not so much expectations but for those who refuse to give God all the credit but instead give Him all the blame. Too many people will be absent from His doings and will miss it entirely. In our human conditions it is amazing how any of us can see past our own agendas and are blinded to the 365 sunrises that are repeated every 24 hours; the 365 sunsets and everything else that keeps us spinning here on earth.

The sound of our own voice

We miss what God is doing because we have fallen in love with the sound of our own voice and our original ideas! In the last ten days I was traveling and had a lot of alone time to interview, to counsel and to consult people in media. I was in Bowling Green, Kentucky where I was interviewing an author and working with a radio station and something impressed me-I talk too much. I am different from many men where as my mind is continually running and I think a lot of humor, deeper theological messages, and music. Last year around this time I thought about this and I came to the conclusion that I would concentrate on message, music and mission. I like the simplify messages and so as I was getting out of the shower it came to mind that there “always is a danger in talking too much, yet we can rarely listen enough.” Think about all the agendas that are out there. I get calls from publicists, authors and musicians about a new idea that will revolutionize people and yet the only way you can do that if they are willing to listen.

The problem with National Religious Broadcasters

I was in Nashville and I enjoyed all my meetings at NRB. The problem with NRB is the “R” in NRB. Religion makes us deaf to listening to what others might be trying to tell us and what God is trying to say to us. We use religion as a billy club to hit people on the sides of their heads to make a point. No matter how many times we repeat the punchline they will not hear us. I drove from Nashville to Ashville on Ash Wednesday and that point kept ringing in my ear, “I talk too much but I can never listen enough.” What if the “R” stood for “Relationships.”

National Relational Broadcasters

Now that sounds interactive, doesn’t it? If we were to study what God’s word is as a nation, act relational with our community as well as God, we’d have a great three way daily discussion and new opportunities to listen. Measuring in media has been a long-term math problem! But what it comes down to is how many people are reading what we say; are listening to the message and are watching what we do? If I can’t answer that question than I am not very relational. Without love where would we be now?I love writing and I love responding to people’s questions and letters. I grow with the process of writing, reading, recording and listening. I get something out of watching a mentor and shooting a scene. I get more out of listening than writing a piece like this. I can’t go very far without hearing the voices that write the poetry, the articles, the songs and the studies. Sometimes I write my best stuff when I talk to God in ten days of silence.

Ashes

I’m reminded of where I come from

and humbled by all the things I’ve done

back to the ashes

I remember what I’ve failed at

and where the victory you’ve won confronts me

back to ashes

Ashes to ashes

dust to dust

on this dusty road I’m traveling on

I’ve been traveling on.

Ashes to Ashes

Silver to rust

down to earth

where my body belongs

long gone. My soul goes on…

I’m reminded of what I’m made of

and what I’ve made of seasons- life goes on.

It’s in how I respond.

I remember where I’ve been

and what I’ve built on this foundation

burn on…don’t hold on.

Ashes to ashes

dust to dust

on this dusty road I’m traveling on

I’ve been traveling on.

Ashes to Ashes

Silver to rust

down to earth

where my body belongs

long gone. My soul goes on…

I’m reminded of what I’m made of

and what I’ve made of seasons- life goes on.

It’s in how I respond.

Bridge:

I’ve burned too many bridges

being my own man

without a reason to what I’m doing here

and I’ve learned too many lessons

I’ve ignored your plan

and the road you called me to

is far and oh so clear- abstract clear.

Ashes to ashes

dust to dust

on this dusty road I’m traveling on

I’ve been traveling on.

Ashes to Ashes

Silver to rust

down to earth

where my body belongs

long gone. My soul goes on…

I’m reminded of what I’m made of

and what I’ve made of seasons- life goes on.

It’s in how I respond.

So I’m reminded of the wretch I am

destined to be damned, except for what you’ve done

and I remember prison, on my own,

if not for the freedom you have won- this road I’m on.

Ashes to ashes

dust to dust

on this dusty road I’m traveling on

I’ve been traveling on.

Ashes to Ashes

Silver to rust

down to earth

where my body belongs

long gone. My soul goes on…

BT Springs

Lent 2.24.12

St. Valentine and the meaning of protective love


The experienced blogger and internet journalist is aware that their title is always subject to the advertisers and stalkers of the broadband. As many of us open our morning e-mails there it is an assortment of “spam.” It doesn’t take much time to go through the heart shaped mailbox they come in with phony messages that often compliment you on your subject matter and how they never thought of this, but the “information was useful.” Happy Valentines Day to all the Spammers out there! Your message has been deleted- in love.

Valentines Day in Denver

In Denver and throughout Colorado there is a large contingent of people and organizations trying to bring awareness to the problem of Human Trafficking around the world but most importantly in our cities. The patron Saint of Christian marriage goes back to the 1400’s when St. Valentine was executed for presiding over Christian Marriages. A Christian Marriage is known as one man and one woman who vow before God that they will be faithful to one another and to God “until death do us part.”  Valentine was martyred for rescuing young women from “sex games” of the Romans based on the Old Testament worship of Baal. The practice not only tried to snuff out Christian marriage but also sacrificed children in that society. Valentine, legend has it, was a priest who protected marriage and family God’s way, much like St. Nicholas protected young women by throwing Dowry money in the windows of young women who otherwise would have been sold into sexual slavery. While today we often don’t like to think that the culture could eliminate Christian Marriage, or make it go underground, the assault on Christian Marriage is alive and well.

Set apart

The history of marriage is something that people gave their lives to protect. So the latest blip of a church endorsed marriage bolstering God’s plan for men and women found in Genesis is something that is set apart and is the purpose and vision statement for families. Anything else is not marriage. The works of George Gilder open the debate on the purpose of marriage:

“The crucial process of civilization is the subordination of male sexual impulses and male biology to the long term horizons of female sexuality.” “Once the man marries he can change,” writes Gilder. “He has to change, for his wife will not long have him if he remains in spirit a single man. He must settle his life, and commit it to the needs of raising a family…He must submit…to the values of maternal morality and futurity.” Gilder maintains that  “women are more confident in their identity than men because of their physical processes. Thus, men, to a large extent, must learn masculine identity.” That is why a “man shall leave his parents and a woman leave her home, they shall come together where the two shall be as one.” (Peter Yarrow sings in Wedding Song” which emphasizes God’s design for marriage and life through family in Genesis 2:22-25.) St Valentine died to preserve the truth of God’s design and the purpose of “human love and sexuality.” In Denver we have a large problem with Human Trafficking. There are a lot of St. Valentines who are trying to make a dent in the area.

Combat forces in Human Trafficking

Just last month a sex trafficking ring that lured underage girls into prostitution and also dealt cocaine and methamphetamine was broken up in Colorado, according to Colorado Attorney General Suthers.There is a lab that opened up in Denver that concerned citizens can access at http://www.combathumantrafficking.org/. You can read cases and affidavits, testimonies and actualities at the Colorado Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking.

The integration of church and state

LCHT is conducting Community Needs Assessments in several communities throughout Colorado, including Boulder, Colorado Springs, Denver, Englewood, and Fort Collins. As a means of increasing community ownership and project sustainability, 75 individuals have been trained to conduct the Community Needs Assessment surveys. To date, over 160 surveys have been collected from these communities. In support of this statewide effort, The Zonta Club of Denver awarded Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking funding in February, 2009 to extend and update a Denver community needs assessment report conducted in 2006 and to strengthen and build a the victim service referral network. Furthermore, the Zonta Club of Douglas County and Wellspring Church of Englewood have also funded Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking to include their own communities in the CNA project. Like Valentine there are people risking their lives to protect women and children.

 

 

 

 

Sherwood versus Hollywood


Despite what you might think regarding the disparity of acting chops, film angles and direction, Sherwood Baptist for the budget and scope of work is not in competition with Hollywood. Between the story lines,costs and the creative, production and distribution methods it is unfair to compare the two. For the genre of “Christian Film” the Kendrick brothers have continuously set the bar from their first film Facing the Giants to their current film Courageous striking a chord for men and women in strengthening their relationships in their homes, at work and in community. Evangelical pastors use film to illustrate what is wrong with our culture. The Kendrick’s shoot film to illustrate the conflicts and the resolution of those conflicts through faith.

I dare you to film this

Case in point is the companion devotional to “Fireproof” written by Pastor Stephen Kendrick. The book is a daily Bible Study called “The Love Dare” extracting the Biblical concepts of 1 John and applying it to marriage and family. The devotional helps couples see what marriage can be like and asks challenging questions. Alex Kendrick is a rarity in church circles. His position is like a Research and Development  executive in charge of “Film Outreach” at Sherwood. It was the brothers Kendrick who challenged the congregation in Albany Georgia to fund projects that would impact the world of film and engage the culture.

Powerful real life stories

To be sure the stories that the Kendrick’s shoot are more powerful in worldview than most Hollywood projects. They do not sugar coat subjects and don’t try to tie things up in a neat little spiritual pile. They deal with subjects as diverse as love, death and taxes. They deal with subjects with cultural impact as infidelity and stewardship. These are subjects you won’t find many in Hollywood tackling. They don’t go into “gay cowboys” or “abortion mills” or sensationalism of the Harvey Milk story because in most people’s minds they may struggle with some of the issues but the answer to draw closer to God and church is a foreign concept in the Hollywood market which influences the culture where most multi-screen theaters are. The companion media that goes along with the film has a bigger and longer life in DVD release, publishing and even music releases than most Hollywood Blockbusters.

Sherwood can be confrontational

The Sherwood method of film making is budget conscious, long-lasting and growth oriented. Sherwood has started a “revolution of love” in their development. The films are media friendly in helping people correct their problems, challenge their cultural influence and in the end they are change-agents in the way couples act toward one another. It would be interesting to get a number of how many marriages and families have been saved and strengthened by the films and the other resources they have produced. It may not be Hollywood but it is Sherwood.

Radio active prayer transmitted in your town


Pray for Christians in media

Every Monday we gather our team and pray for Christian media affiliates and partners who air our programs. This allows for a time to start the week in prayer for the specific needs of people who are in community oriented radio. Today we had the opportunity to pray with and for a station 60 miles North of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The area had been hit by Tropical storms and floods in September without interruption. There was damage down to the station’s AM transmitter and that will be a financial burden to the station. Today the National Prayer examiner will begin a series of prayers for those in media with an evangelical slant. Next week we will be meeting with hundreds of radio and TV producers, Internet and web producers to brain storm new communications areas that will impact the world and communities for the cause.

Pray for marriage

Our world-wide economic woes has not helped the divorce rate. Couples are reeling and at first many felt that the cost of divorce was delaying the process and people were “staying legally married,” for the legal expense. The misconception that “gay marriage” will stabilize statistics is not really panning out in our society. NPE is praying that God’s plan for marriage between one man and one woman would not be politicized as it has been, and that Christian marriage and family life would be valued once again as the “God standard.”

Pray for Truth in counseling

The recent debate on lobbyists took a turn for the worse last week and that is something we should be praying about. The Susan G. Komen Foundation found themselves in the midst of a funding controversy when at first they refused funds from Planned Parenthood. The lobbyists for Planned Parenthood used their political machine to discredit the organization with a smear campaign with a slanderous message that Susan G. Komen was being political by refusing funds from the leading abortion provider. Please pray for sense and sensibility on life and death issues and women’s health.

Pray for a culture of life to prevail

The National Prayer examiner reports on things that many people are praying about. The main thing is that we utilize prayer to strengthen our relationship with God and to get down to the fact that we are praying for women who are in positions of influence when it comes to choosing to sustain a pregnancy or to end a pregnancy, for couples to choose their marriage and family over career; we pray for the unemployed and the underemployed and we pray that the church would come alongside these people with providing work, or partnering with companies and entrepreneurs to work together. For more information on Cause Central and our work in ministry,leadership and communications please e-mail CommunityRadioNetwork@juno.com.

Pray for network connections

The assault on women’s health is a connection that should not and is not missed by God. The misleading organizations are doing something that they are claiming to help women and are endorsing a different kind of abuse. When you have people claiming to care about women’s health while compromising their families, when you are endorsing same-sex marriage as an option to protect people from divorce, when you give us a false sense of stem cell research as opposed to umbilical chord stem cells, you are disconnecting issues that have real connections in marriage and family life. Pray that our eyes be opened.

a simpler faith and a work in progress


What are you doing for lunch this Friday? I have something that might help men and women find the right Valentine’s Day gift that would last for a lot longer than wine, roses and candies. Today I am having lunch with a guy named Ed Galisewski for my Friday conversation. I will write, shoot, and record the interview for DEE and I wanted to let you in on what I will ask him.

Hope for people who struggle with…

…church in this case. There have been books that identify the problem why “men don’t go to church.” Ed is a Jersey guy who pumps iron. This helps with a debate over the subject of Apologetic and I apologize a lot because Ed is in really good shape and I will agree with him- no problem! There is no steroid use in his work outs and he is against any additives in food, fitness, work, home or church. In fact that is what a simpler faith is all about

Too many add-ons

We already have add-ons, ad-nauseum in our culture. With millions of messages competing for allegiance from political campaigns, to car ads and even into our churches. Ed was brought up a Jersey Catholic boy, who went through the Sacraments. But like many others Ed had enough and gradually stopped going to Mass. Yet he still valued his relationship with God. He just craved simplicity. Like the Facebook relationship box gives you, the ins and outs of what state of love you are in, Ed never figured that he would need or want to check the “it’s complicated” box in his relationship with God.

Today the questions will be brief and uncomplicated

What are the main religious add-ons that have turned people away from the church?

What are some of the obstacles in our culture that keep people from connecting with on another?

Our big command is what Ed asks us to picture. It is the Last Supper. Jesus is giving final instructions before going to the cross. His instructions are simple.

“My prayer is not for you alone. I pray also for those who believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to lety the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17:20-23 with emphasis added.) That’s it. That’s simple faith- “Love the Lord your God with your whole heart, soul and mind and your neighbor as yourself.” It’s the basis of everything. You have in this verse the mandate for the common union at the last supper and the birth of community. No additives or small print, no extra credit for theological mastery or extra curricular doctrine.

Meet Ed (AKA Joe Palooka)

As a new author and a long time business man Ed has written a book that convinces men and women everyday the “Whats in it for you?” aspects of the church. We know what drives people away but here are some of the questions our readers have had about evangelism and church:

We are bombarded by brand statements and that is fine, except people want to experience relationship with God and other people. How does the church offer that valuable resource?

In the above verse we are called to two things: 1. Don’t forsake the fellowship and 2. Don’t miss or screw up community. Why are we called to these two things and where does a reader, listener and viewer find it?

There will be the veterans at church who say “Because we’ve always done it that way,” or better yet, ” “We’ve never done it that way.” What do you say to newbies at church in ways of handling the Old Guard?

How many people don’t go to church because they are simply frustrated with the political ad-ons inside the church?

What are the best ways to go church shopping? What do people look for?

There’s the classic line from Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof” He’s right and he’s right-How can they both be right?” What’s your answer and why must we (mostly men be right?)

What makes us afraid of being wrong?

What “religious” baggage do people carry with them into a church?

How can they lose the baggage?

Talk about the C-S-G (Creator, Savior, God) that’s all the theology we need to know -isn’t it?

People have a hard time with the concept of the Trinity, but it is God’s perfect design for community isn’t it? Different parts working together in unity of one God. That is the churches systematic theology. The play your position and “do your job” of coaching. Can it be any simpler than that?

What doctrinal issues do people get hung up on? What other obstacles are there that we should address?

What motivates people to either get closer to God or push away?

Jesus is the advocate to the least of these who equips leaders to be advocates to the least of these. How as evangelical can we continue that process of servant leadership?

There are some churches that are too liturgical for some people’s taste and others that are too Spirit driven – which tends to frighten many away. Is there a balance out there?

Are we hurting our kids by force feeding them our denominational-ism?

Talk about Drew Litton and his cartoons which adorn “a simpler faith.” Why are his cartoons an emphasis to the words and concepts you have in this book?

How has the church responded to your subject matter?

If you would like to comment and answer any of these questions for you, please do so in the comment spaces. After the interview this morning I will fill in Ed’s answers. But I think these are good questions for our readers, listeners and viewers as well as Ed Galisewski.

Lets catch up later. If you have questions you would like me to ask Ed, please e-mail or comment on this blog or column or at Facebook.