Speed Limits and Sin

There I was:  driving to Oklahoma City. As I was leaving Liberal, a truck sped past me down the highway. The speed limit was 65. As he went by I decided to put pedal to the metal and keep up with him. My justification?  Well, if I can keep up with this guy, I can get to OKC quicker!  And if a police officer clocks us, he’ll get the guy in the truck first, because he’s in front of me. Those were my honest thoughts as I found myself going 90 in a 65. After a few minutes I finally decided to slow down and that’s when it hit me:

Isn’t that situation a lot like how we treat sin sometimes?  We’re cruising along, following others, testing the limits… Justifying our actions and comparing our behavior to the behavior of mere mortals. When in reality, we’re not supposed to be comparing ourselves to other humans, were supposed to be comparing ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ. 

We tell ourselves that what we’re doing is okay because:

  • others are worse
  • someone else will get caught first
  • so-and-so does it, and they’re a Christian

We’ve decided to go the limit that the world has set for us rather than the standards God has clearly defined in His Word. 
Whoever said, “Rules are meant to be broken,” is frankly… Dumb. To put it nicely. Rules are not meant to be broken. Standards and limits help to keep us out of trouble. 

Instead of justifying our actions by comparing ourselves to others, we should compare our actions and behaviors (and speech) to the scriptures, and to the One who showed us the correct way:  Jesus. 

If our actions aren’t aligned with the limits God has given us in His Word; it’s time to take a look at the spedometer and make an adjustment before it’s too late. 

Don’t let sin propel you where you’re trying to go. Don’t use others as a way of tracking your progress:  use Jesus. 

Until next time…

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Youth Camp 2015: Takeaways

This past week at Silver State Baptist Youth Camp was amazing as always!  It never gets old seeing God work in the lives of young people. And even adults, too. The preaching was amazing. Here are some things that really stood out to me:

Brother David Hetzer, Keynote Speaker of Chapel Services:

  • Don’t be a sluggard to responsibility.
  • Don’t be slow to the place God is trying to get you in your heart.
  • You don’t get to determine what day God shows up at your life.
  • There should be a spiritual desire to know what God has for you. Don’t wait on your friends or youth pastor or others.
  • When the Word is open approach it as a harvest. 
  • Being around the Bible doesn’t make you closer to God. You must be about the Bible.  
  • Being around the gospel doesn’t make you saved.  
  • Being around the Bible doesn’t make you understand God, responding to the Bible helps you understand God. 
  • Are you just a passenger with the Bible? May God help us to be in the driver’s seat.
  • All people have an accent concerning the truths of God. Our life reveals our accent of what we believe. Your life speak about what God says. We all have an accent. Accents come from the people you’re around. What’s your accent?  Is the accent you have right now the accent you want to have in two years?  To change your accent you have to want to. As long as you choose the wrong accent you’re going to be speaking the same way.
  • Your friends are more than people you hang out with. They set the course for who you will become. 
  • Are the people you’re close to taking you the right way?
  • All of us have a country, places we are known to be a certain person.
  • All of us are born spiritually blind. 
  • Jesus wants to change you bigger than your country, beyond what you and other people think you can be.
  • Jesus wants to challenge us out of our country and do more with us than we ever imagined.
  • We wrestle and struggle when Jesus challenges us to go beyond ourselves.
  • When we get familiar seeing things a certain way, it’s hard to see that God can do more and we limit his power. 
  • Don’t box yourself in.
  • If you don’t trust God to do more with you than you think is possible, you’ll never know what he has for you.
  • God will make you more than you ever thought you would be.
  • Jesus is bigger than your country; he will use people to turn the world around. 
  • What is God calling you to tonight that you’re afraid of?
  • Love is not wrong. But Samson loved the wrong kind of woman. He chose to love the wrong kind of person. 
  • When you love someone who doesn’t really love God and doesn’t want to go where God wants them to go or where God wants you to go, you just put a cap on your life.  
  • The type of people not to marry: unspiritual people,  selfish people, users/seductive people, insensitive people.  
  • Be the right kind of person and love the right kind of person.
  • Life is like a road trip. You need to pay attention to what kind of car you’re getting in because that will affect the rest of your life.
  • People generally seek friendship for selfish reasons. 
  • Don’t operate like general society who’s always wanting a handout from people. Live above and beyond that. 
  • A Christian lives their life looking for how they can give and help others… not for themselves. 
  • Defy the normal way of society by being a giver not a taker. 
  • Are you more of a giver or a taker when it comes to God?
  • Why do people stay unmoved? Because they don’t realize how big a sinner they are. Some people get used to their sinfulness and don’t think it’s that bad.
  • When you stop getting convicted, you think way too highly of yourself and too low of what Jesus has done in your life.
  • You in your own strength are unable to do what God is calling you to do by yourself. 
  • If you want to go from desire to fulfillment, you’re going to have to seek Jesus.
  • Keep going until you see God break through in your life. True faith is persistent. Do not allow failure to discourage you to quit. Keep pleading and praying, be persistent!

Brother Rex Harmon,  Hillside #2 Speaker, missionary to Jamaica:

  • As you develop friends and acquaintances, they will affect your life.
  • Be careful of the friends you pick.
  • Who’s looking at you? Are you pointing them in the right direction?
  • As a believer you’re never on your own.
  • The lost need a Savior, they don’t know where He is. They need someone to tell them.
  • The Word of the Lord is the biggest weapon.  Hold on to the Scriptures, don’t let them loose. Put them in your heart. 
  • Serving God pays big dividends. 
  • God is your biggest weapon, learn how to use Him. 
  • God knows our needs before we do.
  • When we get close to God, he shows us what love is.
  • As we walk along in our life, God pays attention to every step we take. 

Brother Ron Jones, Hillside #1 Speaker

  • We never really change unless we want to.
  • Action is always associated with your will.
  • If you disobey you have to pay.
  • Our problem is we don’t fear God anymore.
  • You can’t say no until you’re willing to say yes.
  • Living in standards is a good thing.
  • Don’t set wickedness in front of your eyes.
  • Nobody knows what you do, or think in private, that’s where your character is revealed. God sees it. 
  • You control your own eyes.
  • There are people around us who say they’re saved but they’re really not.
  • Darkness must be driven out by light. 
  • Walk in light, be light, so they can see light.
  • God doesn’t need our opinion, he needs our obedience. 
  • The people that are around you do make a difference of who you are and who you will be in the future.
  • Most people have one or two friends that are wicked and they might even be saved in the youth group. Don’t be identified by their ways. 
  • How are you supposed to win the lost? Be different than them. 
  • Don’t use man’s psychology to talk to people, use the Word of God. It’s quick and powerful. 
  • If you hang around froward people, you too will be froward.  Frowardness is a poison. It turns into gossip.  Cut off the froward person and walk away. 

Such a great week!  Excited to see how God works in people now that we are off the mountain!  

Until next time…

Why I Left What I Love

A lot has gone down since my last post. I’ve been extremely busy with every day life. But school is officially out and I am officially inspired to write! Today I’m going to write about something that I keep getting questions about and strange looks whenever it’s brought up.

I grew up playing soccer. I started playing on a team in 2nd grade for The Kicks. (original, huh?). Then I played for The Storm, which I still have my very first trophy ever from back in the early 90s! (Wow that makes me feel old). I went on to play for The Vipers, The All-Stars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. When I was in 5th grade I gave up soccer to focus on AAU basketball. Everyone always thinks soccer is my favorite sport, but it’s actually basketball! Anyways, I picked soccer back up when I got to high school, playing all four years for my alma mater. I ended up receiving a soccer scholarship, which determined my choice of college to attend. I played at William Penn University all four years, even being captain of the team my senior year. Then I graduated and moved to Liberal, Kansas. Where I began my teaching career and was also offered an assistant coaching position at the high school in town. I gladly accepted and was the assistant from 2010-2012. I was then offered the head coaching position, which again, I gladly accepted.

This past spring, I resigned from coaching soccer when the season was done. I love soccer, I do. But I love God more. My intended plan of resignation was to wait until next spring, 2016. I had it all planned out from the time I started coaching there back in 2010. I was going to step down as coach when my first group of students as seventh graders, would be graduating, in 2016.  Because a lot of them played for me.  I was so gung-ho on bowing out gracefully with that group of seniors. But things change. I changed. My walk with the Lord changed. So I decided to step back a season earlier.

Prior to this 2015 season, I knew, in my heart of hearts, that this would be my last year coaching girls soccer at the high school. If I’m being completely honest, I knew last year, in 2014, that this would be my last year.

But why? Why end a season earlier than your original plan? And this is where I get the funny looks… God. That’s why. 

Through lots of prayer over the past months I can honestly feel at peace about my decision to step down as head coach. I just know God has something for me at this time next year. Maybe it’s focusing more on my teaching? Or going back to school? Maybe coaching at the middle school instead? Or maybe just nothing… Relaxing and enjoying a break! I have NO idea what God has for me at this time next year but I completely trust Him.

Another thing I had to think about was the pay cut I would be taking. Quite a big monthly chunk. But I just trusted God with my decision and He followed through and provided for me already!  The last day of school I received an email saying I was eligible to move over horizontally on the pay scale. Plus our district is doing a longevity stipend which will start in November. And I changed my health insurance. I worked out all the math, and I’m breaking even this next year by making the same, only without coaching soccer. Crazy!

But God is good and always faithful. Just gotta trust Him.  I just want to be obedient and sensitive to the Holy Spirit. I love coaching soccer, but I love God more. I have no idea what the Lord will have for me next spring but I’m excited!