“Faker” – Nicholas T. McDonald – part 2

We are excited and honored that our friend, Nicholas T. McDonald, will be joining us again via Skype for today’s  “Think on These Things.” We will be discussing biblical principles and concepts from his book, “Faker,” as we address how to live for real when you’re tempted to fake it.

Listen or watch at 2:00 p.m. Central.

Listen locally on WGIB 91.9 FM, or:
91.9 FM – Birmingham
92.3 FM – Springville
101.5 FM – Columbiana
106.1 FM – Moody/Odenville
106.1 FM – Jasper
107.9 FM – Tuscaloosa

Watch on WAY-TV channel 47

Stream it live at: gleniris.net/WGIB

Nicholas T. McDonald has worked in youth ministry for 5 years, studied communication and creative writing at Olivet Nazarene and Oxford University, and has traveled and spoken to youth internationally at retreats, graduations, and Christian schools. He is the author and proprietor of the blog, Scribblepreach.com.

Nicholas T. McDonald – “Faker”

We are excited and honored that our friend, Nicholas T. McDonald, will be joining us via Skype for today’s  “Think on These Things.” We will be discussing biblical principles and concepts from his book, “Faker,” as we address how to live for real when you’re tempted to fake it.

Our discussion this week, and next, will be based on Nicholas’ book, “Faker.”

Listen or watch at 2:00 p.m. Central.

Listen locally on WGIB 91.9 FM, or:
91.9 FM – Birmingham
92.3 FM – Springville
101.5 FM – Columbiana
106.1 FM – Moody/Odenville
106.1 FM – Jasper
107.9 FM – Tuscaloosa

Watch on WAY-TV channel 47

Stream it live at: gleniris.net/WGIB

Nicholas T. McDonald has worked in youth ministry for 5 years, studied communication and creative writing at Olivet Nazarene and Oxford University, and has traveled and spoken to youth internationally at retreats, graduations, and Christian schools. He is the author and proprietor of the blog, Scribblepreach.com.

How Four Men Impacted My Life

I am delighted to have my sweet friend, Rachel Shaw, as my Guest Blogger again.


As you may already know, I wrote a guest blog last November, entitled, “How Three Ladies Made a Difference in My Life.” You can read it HERE. Today, I decided to write something on a similar, yet different note: “How Four Men Impacted My Life.”

Let me tell you a little bit about these four men. All of these men are married (so, no, I’m not dating them). As I served alongside them on several occasions, they’ve continued to point to Christ through everything they do. I can’t wait to share with you how they have impacted my life and changed the way I view Christ and the cross.

My cousin, Travis, exemplified very powerful characteristics of Christ: humility and willingness to serve. When my grandparents asked him if he would do something for them, he willingly and joyfully agreed. He obeyed even though it wasn’t convenient for him. He obeyed even though it wasn’t exactly easy or fun. If it wasn’t fun, or easy, or convenient, then why did Travis obey? Well, I’m so glad you asked!

The answer is simply because he realized that it was an opportunity to honor Christ, an opportunity to reflect the humble nature of God. By humbly obeying, Travis is being a wonderful reflection of Christ’s character and love.

Similarly, in Philippians 2:5-11, Paul talks about how Jesus—the Creator of the earth—died humbly for our sins, and He didn’t have to. As we read Philippians 2:5-11 below, I’d like you to think about how Jesus willingly served us by dying on the cross for us:

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

The second man who made an impact on me is Benjamin. God has gifted Benjamin with the ability to build relationships. When given the opportunity to greet first-time visitors and people who were not familiar with the Gospel, Benjamin jumped in willingly and excitedly. He and his wife took time out of their busy schedules—in one of the busiest times of the year (Christmas)—to tell people about Jesus.

Instead of using Christmas break for himself, he used it to invest in other people’s lives. He made everyone feel welcomed and loved—even if that meant “getting out of his comfort zone.” As Benjamin saw Christ at work in other peoples’ lives, he complimented them joyfully, without being jealous or contentious. Benjamin wisely invested his time, talents, and treasures for our Risen Savior! When he has to give an account before the Lord about how he used his gifts and abilities for Christ, he will hear “well done, my good and faithful servant” because he has selflessly served Christ with his talents.

Matthew 25:21 says: His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”

I had the wonderful privilege to see Benjamin’s selfless acts in action over Christmas break. His selflessness reminds me to get to know the people around me, spend time with them, cherish and care about them like Christ does for me.

He lived out Philippians 2:3-4, which says: Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Jeremiah serves in the Children’s Ministry at church, and he is not afraid to speak the truth in love to the children in Sunday School class. If he runs into  sticky situations, which are almost unavoidable in children’s ministry, his immediate reaction is, “How can I glorify God in this situation? Who can I love and serve in this situation?” That kind of attitude cannot be produced overnight. It can only be produced as a result of Christ at work in Jeremiah’s life. Since Jeremiah is a Christian, he views life differently than non-Christians. He views life as an opportunity to love Jesus by loving and serving others.

When a child stubbornly disobeys a class leader, Jeremiah is not afraid to speak to that child privately, address his sin, and gently and kindly encourage that child to ask for forgiveness to the person(s) whom he has hurt/disobeyed. I’m so thankful that Jeremiah is ready and willing to jump in and serve in children’s ministry! His service is an example for me to emulate as I serve in children’s ministry too! I want to keep Christ at the center of my service, and remember that Christ is a Redeeming, Forgiving Savior, Who loves us—even in our deepest, darkest moments of sin! Wow, what a Savior!

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, – Ephesians 4:15

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. – I Peter 4:8

… but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8

Thomas works at a hospital—a secular environment. Do you think Thomas can still glorify God in a secular, self-centered, work environment? ABSOLUTELY! In fact, that’s exactly what Thomas does! Thomas is always willing to jump in and serve others—no matter the location! When he interacts with patients at the hospital, he is intently interested in their lives, exemplifying selfless love. By not only asking questions, but also showing care and kindness to people in distress over health situations, Thomas’s life points to an all-knowing, all-powerful, Sovereign God. Thomas shows love to his co-workers, who are not the most pleasant people to be around, just like Ruth did in how she handled her relationship with her mother-in-law, Naomi. If you were around Thomas for just a little while, you would quickly catch on that Thomas is a thankful person. Thankfulness starts at the heart, not the mouth. Like all of us, Thomas has to consciously work at cultivating a heart of thankfulness; it does not come naturally to him—or us.

Matthew 5:14, 16 says: “You are the light of the world…In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

Thomas is really good at sharing the light of the Gospel in his work environment, and that challenges me to do the same wherever I am: at home, work, or church.

CONCLUSION

As we read about Travis, we are reminded that we need to be humble enough to obey even if it isn’t easy.

Benjamin got to know strangers (which is hard to do) and gladly told them about Jesus. What an awesome example of evangelism in the life of a changed believer!

When we look at Jeremiah’s service in children’s ministry, we see that even though speaking the truth in love to someone (especially a child) isn’t easy, it’s absolutely necessary! And it is what God has called every one of us to do on a regular basis.

And lastly, Thomas showed us that living for Christ in a secular workplace is possible! And, not only is it possible, it is also vital to daily Christian living.  We must not only “talk the talk,” we must also “walk the walk!”

Let’s live for Christ in service, outreach, and faithful obedience today!

*All Scripture passages are taken from the English Standard Version (ESV) of the Holy Bible.

MY GUEST BLOGGER:

Rachel Shaw is a 15-year-old young lady, who loves the Lord! She and her family  live in Lafayette, Indiana. She loves to write, so please follow her blog, Rachel’s Reflections. Besides blogging, you may find her baking delicious desserts like blueberry muffins (family favorite!) or reading one of her favorite books. She is currently writing a novel about a Pony Express rider. Stay tuned for more information about the book on her blog, Rachel’s Reflections!

Rachel’s dad is Dr. Mark Shaw, a dear brother in Christ who has discipled and taught me so much about loving the Lord, living out The Great Commission, and using the Holy Spirit-inspired Word of God to bring hope and help to hurting people enslaved to addictions.

Dr. Paul Tautges – What the Savior Wants to See in Your Life

We are honored that my dear friend, Dr. Paul Tautges, will be joining us again via Skype for today’s  “Think on These Things” program as we look at “What the Savior Wants to See in Your Life.”

Listen or watch at 2:00 p.m. Central.

Listen locally on WGIB 91.9 FM, or:
91.9 FM – Birmingham
92.3 FM – Springville
101.5 FM – Columbiana
106.1 FM – Moody/Odenville
106.1 FM – Jasper
107.9 FM – Tuscaloosa

Watch on WAY-TV channel 47

Stream it live at: gleniris.net/WGIB

Dr. Paul Tautges serves as senior pastor of Cornerstone Community Church in Mayfield Heights, Ohio (a suburb east of Cleveland). Prior to accepting the Lord’s call to Cornerstone, he served as pastor of Immanuel Bible Church in Sheboygan, Wisconsin for 22 years. Paul has been married to Karen since 1986. Together they are the grateful parents of ten blessings from God and grandparents to two. Paul has authored or contributed to ten books including Counseling One Another, Comfort the Grieving, Discipline of Mercy, Brass Heavens, and Scripture and Counseling. Paul also serves as the series editor for the LifeLine Mini-Books from Shepherd Press and is a teaching Fellow with ACBC (Association of Certified Biblical Counselors). You will want to subscribe to his bogs at his website:  Counseling One Another

Dr. Paul Tautges – The Inner Rebelliousness of Sin

I am thrilled and honored that my dear friend, Dr. Paul Tautges, will be joining us via Skype for today’s  “Think on These Things” program as we look at “The Inner Rebelliousness of Sin.”

Listen or watch at 2:00 p.m. Central.

Listen locally on WGIB 91.9 FM, or:
91.9 FM – Birmingham
92.3 FM – Springville
101.5 FM – Columbiana
106.1 FM – Moody/Odenville
106.1 FM – Jasper
107.9 FM – Tuscaloosa

Watch on WAY-TV channel 47

Stream it live at: gleniris.net/WGIB

Dr. Paul Tautges serves as senior pastor of Cornerstone Community Church in Mayfield Heights, Ohio (a suburb east of Cleveland). Prior to accepting the Lord’s call to Cornerstone, he served as pastor of Immanuel Bible Church in Sheboygan, Wisconsin for 22 years. Paul has been married to Karen since 1986. Together they are the grateful parents of ten blessings from God and grandparents to two. Paul has authored or contributed to ten books including Counseling One Another, Comfort the Grieving, Discipline of Mercy, Brass Heavens, and Scripture and Counseling. Paul also serves as the series editor for the LifeLine Mini-Books from Shepherd Press and is a teaching Fellow with ACBC (Association of Certified Biblical Counselors). You will want to subscribe to his bogs at his website:  Counseling One Another

I Miss My Father … Dad … Daddy

It is hard to believe that my Dad, Ray Crowder, died 26 years ago today.

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This pic, circa 1976, taken at Little River Canyon, is one of my favorite pics of us together.

As I was making notes of things to include in this blog, I noticed that I used Father, Dad, and Daddy, at different times to speak of him. I began thinking about why I call him different titles. So, a change in direction for my thoughts.

Below you will find the Merriam-Webster.com definition for each term, followed by my connotation for each term, and a memory:

  • Father – is a formal title for “a male parent” or “someone who has begotten a child.”

When I refer to him with this title, it is referring to his parental, and maybe even authoritative, disciplinary role in my life. So, I saw him as Father a lot during my childhood and teen days!!

When my Father told me to do something, I was to do it immediately, joyfully, and completely, or there would be consequences (aka discipline). I remember one Saturday when Mom was leaving to go grocery shopping that my Father told me I could not go play with my friend, Donna Vinyard (now Wood), until I cleaned up my room, and put the dishes in the dishwasher. He immediately left to visit someone in the hospital, which I, of course, took as my cue to go play with Donna.

After some time had passed, I heard my Father calling—OK, yelling, “SHIRLEY JEANNE!” You know you’re in trouble when they use the first and middle names, don’t you? Sadly, I arrived home well before I thought of a some-what-believable excuse.

I was grounded, which meant I could not play with any friends, not even my own brother! In addition, for a whole week, I was to do the laundry (under mom’s or his supervision, of course), vacuum the entire house everyday, help Mom with all the meal preparation, serving, and clean-up—including wiping down everything! I could, of course, go to Sunday School, Sunday morning service, Training Union, and Wednesday night prayer meeting. I could also walk directly to school and home again.

That was my Father loving me enough to teach me to be submissive to authority, and that every decision I make has a consequence; some which I would perceive as positive and some I would perceive as negative.

  • Dad – is an informal title for “a person’s father.”  A handwritten note in a file I have on Fathering reads: “Being a dad means ‘being there’ for your child(ren).” (Unfortunately I did not notate the source.)

If memory is serving me well, I began referring to him as Dad in my teen years. It is more informal and indicative of me becoming more independent of my parents, of my becoming more mature—OK, maybe older is more accurate! Perhaps the best marker of this shift was learning to discuss and debate things with him.

One Saturday night when I was in high school, friends invited me to go to a movie. Since Dad knew those going, and the young man who would be driving us (can’t remember if it was Ricky Clay or Charles Garrett), he gave me permission to go. However, since I had to get up early the next morning to help prepare all the food we would be taking to church for a covered dish lunch, I was to come home right after the movie.

Well, of course, after the movie the group decided we should go to El Burrito, and I didn’t want to miss out on anything! When I didn’t get home around the time Dad expected me, he told mom, “They wanted to get something to eat. I’m sure that’s where she is.”

(Now, before you think my Dad was an unconcerned parent, that everyone in the city of Gadsden knew Ray Crowder. So, if we had been in a wreck someone would have called him.)

On the way home, my mind kicked into gear as I suddenly remembered I was going to be in trouble for disobeying my Dad. I did have a dime and could have called and let my friends help me convince him to let me go get something to eat, but alas …

When I walked in the house (the door into the kitchen), there sat Dad at the kitchen table. Being the discerning teenager I was, I could tell immediately that I was in big trouble! He wasn’t reading the paper, or drinking iced sweet tea, or eating a snack. He didn’t even look angry, he was just sitting there looking at me.

I sat down in a chair directly across from him. He continued sitting motionlessly and silently, and just looked straight in my eyes. Although mom said it was not more than a minute, it seemed like an eternity to me.

Finally, Dad said, “Sweetheart” and inhaled deeply. He did not raised his voice, in fact, he spoke in that measured and controlled tone of voice indicating to me that my social life had ended—FOREVER! Mom joined us at the table.

Dad reminded me how I was continually telling him that I was a teenager, old enough to have more freedom, to make decisions on my own, and that I knew what was right and wrong.” Yep, of one thing I was certain—NO MORE SOCIAL LIFE FOR ME!

Since it was evident, at least to Dad and Mom, that I did not understand the difference in right and wrong; we spent the next hour or so making sure that I knew how the Bible, Dad, and Mom, defined right and wrong. And the consequences of sinning against God and disobeying my parents.

Forty-one years later, I remember that discussion almost word-for-word. I learned the definitions of right and wrong, although my actions since then have shown that I don’t really understand, for if I did, I would have made much different choices in myriad situations!

  • Daddy – is a title for “a person’s father – used especially by young children.”

Of course I called him Daddy as a child, and even up into my early thirties (when he died), I would refer to him as “Daddy.” Now, when I speak of certain memories, or I am really missing him, “Daddy” is what comes to mind.

I must have been seven- or eight-years old when I took it upon myself to get something unplugged from an electrical outlet in the wall. I do not remember what I thought must be unplugged, but, it would not come out. So, being the brilliant youngster I was, I went into the kitchen, got a knife …

Yes, the shock knocked the breath out of me as I landed on my rear end, and it scared me!

When I screamed bloody murder, my Daddy (and my Mommy and brother Tim) came running! Before he even got to me, Daddy saw the knife on the floor near the outlet and realized what had happened. Daddy scooped me up into his arms. He and mommy checked my hands for burns, and asked me questions so they could determine if I had fried my brain. Meanwhile, Daddy was holding me tightly, while whispering—well, actually, he wasn’t whispering because I wouldn’t have heard him over my screams!—comforting words: “Daddy’s got you.” “You’re OK.” “Ssshhhh.” “Mommy and Daddy are here.”

They declared me to be OK. Then my Daddy carefully and tenderly ensured I understood what happened so I wouldn’t repeat it!

Thinking about all of this brought the following passage:

And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement
that addresses you as a father addresses his son?
It says,“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”
– Hebrews 12:5-6

I am all too often reminded of my earthly Father as I remember lessons I learned through the discipline I received from him.

I hear or read things all the time that I wish I could discuss with my Dad, and I wonder, “What would Dad think about this?”

All too often, I miss my Daddy, for he protected me, kept me safe (when I allowed him to), and made everything better (and so many other things)!

Remembering my Father, Dad, and Daddy, always evokes myriad emotions, and sometimes leaves me feeling very unprotected and alone.

Yet, in His grace, the Lord always reminds me:

  • I have a Heavenly Father, Who forgave my sin and saved me from an eternity of punishment through His wrath.
  • This same Father God (Savior, Lord) created me to live in intimate relationship with Him. As I read, study, meditate upon, memorize, and listen to preaching of the Holy-Spirit-inspired Word, and through prayer.
  • This same Abba Father lovingly and protectively holds me securely in the grip of his grace.

While Ray Crowder was far from perfect, I am blessed to have had an earthly Father, Dad, and Daddy, from whom I learned about my Heavenly Father, Savior, Lord, and Comforter.

Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. – Deuteronomy 4:9

I miss my Daddy, and am comforted by my Lord!

*All Scripture is taken from the New King James Version of the Holy Bible.

Looking Ahead

Charlotte and I are kicking off 2016 with Andy Wisner joing us for a discussion of Looking Ahead.

Listen or watch at 2:00 p.m. Central.

Listen locally on WGIB 91.9 FM, or:
91.9 FM – Birmingham
92.3 FM – Springville
101.5 FM – Columbiana
106.1 FM – Moody/Odenville
106.1 FM – Jasper
107.9 FM – Tuscaloosa

Watch on WAY-TV channel 47

Stream it live at: gleniris.net/WGIB

Andy Wisner is

How can we stand firm in our faith?

The first day of the New Year is always an exciting day for me, for it represents a NEW BEGINNING. In this brand new year, I am always excited about what God has in store for me during that year. Even though I know difficult days are sure to come, I know that the Lord will give me the grace, mercy, love, strength, and ability to walk victoriously through whatever comes my way!

How can you and I stand firm in our faith and trust in the Lord throughout the coming year?

We can stand firm in our faith because:

  • we have been redeemed by the shed blood of Christ, through Whom we receive forgiveness of our sin,
  • we offer ourselves in obedience and service to Him,
  • by reading, studying, meditating on, and memorizing the Holy-Spirit-inspired-Word the Holy-Spirit-inspired Word by which we are being continually transformed as our minds are renewed.

12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.  – Romans 12:1-2

So, begin this year looking ahead to what the Lord would have us do for His Kingdom.

Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay old of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.Philippians 3:12-14

Do not forget that part of the reason the Lord puts us in a local church is so that we can spur each other on to godly living, encourage, teach, and admonish our brothers and sisters in Christ. Do not miss the opportunities that walk by and sit near you at church.

20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. 22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.Jude 20-22

I woke up in the wee hours of this new year with the words of an old hymn written by Palmer Hartsough (lyrics) and James H. Filmer Sr. (tune) on my mind, “I Am Resolved.” (Look it up online if you are not familiar with this hymn.)

The third verse is particularly appropriate for today:

I am resolved to follow the Savior,
Faithful and true each day,
Heed what He sayeth, do what He willeth,
He is the living way.

Various Scripture verses and passages also came to mind this morning:

  • Proverbs 3:5-6
  • Ecclesiastes 3:11
  • Isaiah 40:31
  • Lamentations 3: 22-24
  • Ezekiel 36:26-28
  • Romans 8:18
  • 2 Corinthians 5:17
  • James 1:17-18
  • 1 Peter 1:3

While some of these verses and passages are specific promises to a specific people at a specific time, they are also God’s way of saying to us today, “You ain’t seen nothing yet!”

Hebrews 12:1-2 also gives us a hint:

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

I’m excited to see what the Lord has in store for us in 2016, aren’t you?