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This time of year always get’s me thinking about names and what goes into the naming process. Websters dictionary describes the word name to be a description, a word given to describe someone or something. When someone says I went to Yosemite, you understand where it is, the majesty there. If someone says I went to the Grand Canyon, you get a visual of its grandeur. When some one says I have seen the king, you don’t get a proper picture of whom he may be, because the word king is more of a title then a name. In Isaiah 9:6 the child to be born unto us, the Lord Jesus Christ, will be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Many people say these are titles, I will argue that these are names. Take Prince of Peace, He is called The Prince of Peace, the Sar Shalom, not a peaceful prince. It is His name not just a title, He is not a mere peace maker, but The Prince over Peace.

Most of my readers have a personal relationship with God through Jesus, but some do not. I welcome them both, my question is why are you a follower of Christ vs one who rejects Him, why are you a fully devoted follower vs one who rejects Jesus. Who is this child who grew up fully Jewish, who is this child who at 12 was a teacher to many adults, who is this man who was called rabbi, teacher, Lord. Who is this man who is called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. We have all these names for who Jesus is, who God is. The question is what is the name you have given Him, what do you call Him, to describe who He is to you. Whats in a name….majesty, soaring mountains, majestic cliffs, waterfalls, like at Yosemite. Or a gaping hole, an inspiring canyon, that you find at the grand canyon. I’m not looking for titles, I am looking for who God is to you. When I think of God I think of Abba, yes its a title but also a name, Daddy. When I think of God I think of Adonai, Master, to whom I am a slave, not a harsh master but a loving, caring, compassionate Master who gives instructions for living, as a blessing not as a burden. So who’s God to you, what name do you call him, be it good or not? For the One who was and is and is to come, why does the name you give him mean so much to you?

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I know it’s been a while since I last wrote here on my blog, and for that I apologize. So much has been going on in my life and the life of my family over the past few weeks that I honestly haven’t been in the frame of mind to post. I have so much to share with everyone and simply don’t know how or how much.
That said though, I just couldn’t pass up posting on this day of Thanksgiving. There has been so much in my life and the life of my family that I can say I’ve been thankful for over this past year, but in light of rather recent events I have to say that I have found a heartfelt thankfulness for things that for too long I took for granted.  Here’s just a few of the things I’m thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day.
 
I’m thankful for the job I have and that we didn’t go out on strike. Thankful that I’ve had the opportunity to build relationships with many that I’ve worked with over these past eighteen years.
 
I’m thankful for my wife and children. Thankful for their love for others as well as for each other.
 
I’m thankful for my friends, both those face to face as well as those forged online. Thankful that the walls of separation by distance have been breached in so many ways to allow the true bonding that it takes for real friendships to be built and sustained.
 
Most of all, I’m eternally thankful for the greatest gift the human race has ever known, the gift of salvation by grace through faith in the finished work of Christ Jesus. Thankful that a life like mine, a life that was bound by the chains of sin and rebellion against God could matter so much to Him that He would Love me even then and make a way for the gap between His Holiness and my sinfulness to be bridged so that I could enter into relationship with Him.
 
These are just a very few of the things I find myself thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day, 2009.
I’d love to hear what your thankful for. Please share at least one thing that you feel thanks for today.

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I don’t know about you, but I’ve been a sports fan for as long as I can remember, enjoying everything from baseball to boxing, so for today’s “fill in the blank Friday” post I’d like to get to know my readers a little bit better by talking a little sports shop about yours and my favorite sports team(s).
Just to let you know what a sports nut I am, here is a list of the teams that I love to watch as a fan.

 
1: Baseball – I’m a die hard Atlanta Braves fan. Have been since before the Dale Murphy days when they couldn’t see the top of the cellar for being so far down. (No “hitch a ride on the 90’s band wagon” for this boy)
 
2: Basketball – Not a big follower until playoff season starts, but come on, who doesn’t love my Phoenix Suns 🙂
 
3: Pro Football – As a kid I was a Dallas Cowboy fan (like by growing up in Northeast Texas I had a choice), but after Roger Staubach retired I switched teams and have been a Saints fan ever since. Now I know what your thinking (Ooo look, it’s the “Ain’ts”) but every team needs at least one fan, and I’m theirs.
 
4: Hockey – Ok, being the redneck that I am I know I’m gonna get some flack for this one, but I promise this is the only team I like North of the Mason Dixon line. After all, we all know that Hockey was never created to be a Southern sport. Nevertheless, I am a die hard New York Rangers fan. No matter how much geritol they have to take before hitting the ice, they rule!
 
5: Collage Football – Many of you know this already, but for those that don’t, let there be no mistake about my loyalty to the Alabama Crimson Tide. I’ve been a fan ever since the late 70’s when the greatest football artist to hold a coaching position ever walked the field, Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. So for all you haters out there I got just two words for ya…ROLL TIDE!!
 
6: Last, but not least I’m a fan of the greatest endurance sport ever conceived in the mind of a redneck. You guessed it, Nascar baby! Stick me in the 24 car and let me run a lap for the boy’s at Hendrick Motorsports and I’ll die with a grin on my face. Now I know, some of ya’ll are thinking right now, “but John, why in the world would you think of Nascar as a sport, much less the ultimate endurance sport?” Well, the answers quite simple really. It’s because Baseball, Basketball, and Football only takes one ball. Rubbings racing! 🙂
 
Now how about you guy’s?
I am a fan of ____________ (sport(s)) and ____________ (team(s)) within that sport.

 

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Insanity= doing what you have always done and expecting a different result.
Are you insane?
Am I?
How do you worship?
What do you hold on to?
God, is He our magic lamp, where we can do whatever we want? (8 for by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;9 not of works, that no man (including myself) should glory. Ephesians 2:8-9)
Should grace abound so that sin can much more abound? God no! (1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?2 God forbid. We who died to sin, how shall we any longer live therein?)
God, let your holiness abound so we can catch fire.
 
Insanity= I can keep doing as I always have, after all I said “the prayer…”
Love, acceptance-you define it, I have. They are different words, they have different meanings.
Love-Acceptance
I love, but according to God’s word with you in blatant sin I cannot accept you.
Does that mean that I don’t love you? No, I just can’t accept you as a brethren. If you are to be a fully devoted follower of Christ, my brethren and in sin you cannot fully know God. Like Paul explained to the church in Corinthians (1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father’s wife.2 And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this?3 Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present.4 When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present,5 hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord. 6 Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough?7 Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast–as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.8 Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth. 9 I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people–10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.11 But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. 12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.” 1 Corinthians 5:1-13)
Judgment is past. Where times past judgment has fallen and I hurt, I die where God has called me to.
God loves,
God demands,
Old testament,
New testament-No, wait that’s to easy…
 
Are we called to be happy or holy?
I don’t expect much response.
But when God shows up and we are not on our faces before him-Are you happy?
Will you be with me on your face before God-Are you holy?
 
Happy-Holy
You decide.
I choose Holy!

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One of the definitions of passion in Websters dictionary is a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept. With that in mind I’d like to use this weeks “Fill in the blank Friday” post to not only share what I am most passionate about but to also challenge all of my readers to share their passion in life as well.
People and seeing real and lasting lifechange is what I am all about at my core. It goes much deeper than fervor or enthusiasm on my part. It is a full on passion. Not that I own or possess, but that owns and possesses me.
Now please share what your passionate about.
My passion is __________.

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onethingdifferent

Stare at the picture above and find which sheep is not like the others. “Take your time…good job I knew you could do it!” That, my friend, is called discernment. Some of you might not have been able to be discerning because you did not want to pass judgment on the sheep. Maybe you feel that it is not your place to say if there is any difference between the sheep and that it is for God to judge. For those that believe we are called to be discerning, you followed a simple process. You put the suspecting sheep to the test. From across the room everything looks fine but as you come closer you start to see some differences. You just distinguished between the flock of sheep and a wolf in sheep’s clothing, which was pretty tricky since they are the same size and shape. But, you know enough about sheep to sniff out the impostor.

The world we live in is becoming one ecumenical lazy river of religion. Where religious deception abounds, how can we possibly discern the true from the false? So many churches, so many preachers. Here is a simple strategy for seeing clearly. Study the Word of God verse by verse. It is the measuring stick for testing all preaching and teaching. The more you know the truth, the easier it will be to identify or expose a false teaching.

Why is it so important? It was the apostle Paul who wrote, “…there are some that…would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any [man] preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:7-9).

The Apostle Paul was pretty clear with his continued warnings.

“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

Having discernment means that you can separate truth from error. You examine teaching; you don’t believe everything you hear, but you test the teachings. Even the Bereans tested Paul’s teaching to see if it was in harmony with the Word of God.

You will never notice the counterfeit unless you know what the original looks like. The Bible is clear that there is only one true gospel and MANY false gospels. Don’t be afraid to contend for the faith. No one is above being tested against scripture, not even the angels. Test, evaluate, and examine the teacher and the message.

Discernment is your responsibility. Use your brain to reason what you hear against scripture. It should become a life’s discipline.

I John 4 1-4 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

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If you had told me twenty years ago that I would still be around to see this day come I do believe, had I been coherent enough to comprehend what you were saying, I’d have laughed at you. With all the abuse I was doing to myself through heavy drinking day in IMG_4599and day out, chasing anything with two legs and a skirt, and getting into fights I can remember many times thinking I wouldn’t live to the end of the week, much less to see the age of forty, yet here I am.
Looking back I can see time and time again how God intervened in my life and kept me alive even when I was so far from Him and now that I do know God and have fully surrendered my life to Him through Christ it’s much easier to see Him moving in my life and know His voice.
The bottom line is that had I not surrendered my life fully to Christ and entered into a very real and everlasting relationship with God when I did, I fully believe I would have died and not had the chance to be sitting here for all of you to see today for my fortieth birthday, so I give all the praise, glory, and honor to God for keeping me alive and for blessing me with each of you.

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