Posts Tagged ‘Church’

My daughters first bike was not put together when it came in the box from the store. So as a father who was rarely handy with tools, I was a little nervous that I might put her surprise bicycle together poorly. The morning of her birthday I decided to ride the bike myself in my neighborhood to “test” it out. I imagine my neighbors thought I was crazy as they were looking out their window at a thirty year old man riding a five year old’s bike. I rode that little girl’s pink bike down my street and back, making sure the handle bars were steady and the brakes were sufficient.

When Jesus brought kingdom vision to the earth, He was amazing in showing the power of God’s love in miracles to the earth. Had Jesus stopped there by only doing the miracles Himself, the kingdom would not have advanced forward so we could enjoy it today. Jesus had kingdom vision of the future of His disciples doing greater things than Him. Did you know Jesus had you in mind as the “joy” set before Him to endure the cross? Jesus always had vision for the future that drove Him to love. Jesus sent his disciples out two by two to minister the kingdom on earth as He had showed them to do Himself. Kingdom vision always has a plan to invest in the next generation to do greater things than them.

Without daily Kingdom vision, contentment is elusive and our life will be a breeding ground for anxiety. Did you know that I received greater joy watching my daughter ride her bike for the first time than riding my bike for the first time myself? Can you imagine if I never let my daughter ride her bike but chose to ride it myself? There are grown adults that are spiritually responsible to disciple no one. Just riding their own bike, isolated by themselves (or worse a children’s bike), and wondering why they are anxious in life. Kingdom vision takes the last thing Jesus told us before ascending into Heaven to heart, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, (Matthew 28:19)”

But what if you didn’t have a father to teach you to ride a bike? Can we be real? This is where so many Christians in the faith were not discipled by the generation before them so they repeat the insecurity pattern of holding tightly their spiritual gifts. Insecurity struggles to rejoice when the young people are discovering their gifts because maybe they never received a time of parental rejoicing for themselves. A generational curse of poor fathering and mothering can either be our identity or we can look to Jesus who became our curse and receive kingdom vision lessons from Him. Jesus is always supplying vision for those hungry to receive!

John 14:12-14 NKJ12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.

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I have a real concern for the Body of Christ today, that the value of marriage has decreased in our churches and homes. When you value something, a price is paid in order to know the value of that object. Today marriage has daily payments that declares value to the relationship. According to John 13 the world can see if we are Jesus disciples by our love for one another. I know the greatest evangelism work we do is through our marriage. I say this often, I believe the world’s perception of God’s love is hinging on the local church.

The Bible has a lot to say about marriage but the root of a marriage’s value is Jesus. You see I used to think that I could carry out the second commandment and love my wife as myself and be okay. Except my wife didn’t want to be loved the same way as I loved myself, which was all over the map by the way. I was an emotional roller coaster, hating myself some days and thinking I was super holy others. I valued my wife the way I valued myself which was always self righteous. Then Jesus showed me His value and perception of me, buried and hidden in Christ. That I am the righteousness of God, approved by God because Jesus became my sin and I His righteousness. He made me a new creation and was speaking now to the new man not the old.

Jesus gave us a new command in John 13:34 saying, “Love one another as I have loved you.” No longer was love one another as you love yourself, good enough for Jesus. Jesus always had this way of dropping difficult love bombs on the self righteous. For example in Matthew 5, Jesus steps up from the ten commandments, “Don’t even look upon a woman to lust and don’t even be angry with your brother”. Jesus knew that people would justify in their hearts why they could treat people like they valued themselves. People didn’t know their own value and it would cause them to love by emotion which was a temporary modification.

One of things I am most saddened by my marriage in the past, is how I used to water the fruit of my wife’s tree. Of course this was right after I spent time trying to water my own fruit. Healthy fruit is always grown from watering the root. Jesus is the vine and the root. So self behavior that is healthy comes from abiding (intimacy) in the vine. Imagine a tree that is making loud noises struggling to produce fruit. Now imagine a farmer walking out with a water hose and hosing down the fruit, pretty stupid right? That was my marriage when I would meditate on my behavior or hers and try to fix it, instead of meditating on Jesus and what He finished on the cross. If Jesus calls me righteous, then He calls my spouse righteous! Do I wait to treat her like that until she has great fruit, or do I call things not as though they were from Heaven’s perspective? Watering your spouse’s root can begin simply by speaking over them and praying the word of how they are seen through the lens of the cross. How does Heaven see you and how are you known in Heaven? Being born again means you are now seen from Heaven as crucified with Christ. Value your spouse the way Jesus values you and continues to fight for you!

Brandon Pollard
For free podcasts visit http://www.graceforeternity.com

Remember when baseball home run records were seemingly being broken weekly? Then to only find out that most of our favorite athletes in that era were taking some kind of illegal substance (performance enhancing drugs). The side effects were destructive to the players and the game of baseball, but it’s amazing how sports can mirror the every day Christian life.

 

There is an illegal substance in the Kingdom of God, Paul addressed it in Galatians 3, but today in this blog let’s modernize it a little, let’s call it the performance enhancing gospel drug (P.E.G.)

P.E.G– The lie that God’s love and His favor can be earned by our performance. (Which every religion in the world believes about their god, but Christianity)

The side effects: bipolar Christianity which always asks and wonders “He loves me… He loves me not”- the performance roller coaster allows highs of self righteousness and lows of unworthiness based on performance.

Remember the first time you heard the pure gospel? You believed that God loved you, right there in your moment of life, when you were still a sinner and God sent His son Jesus to die and become sin for you, so that you could have a right relationship with God.  You were excited because not once in your whole life was your performance good enough for God. But then you accepted Jesus as your Lord, to take your sins and save you, and you really felt loved!

Fast forward a few years and for some of us, we may have been exposed to an illegal substance (P.E.G.). It may have been offered from a friend or even a pulpit. Once we receive this drug, our performance appears instantly better, possibly because we are comparing ourselves to our friends and leaders at home, church or at work. Our words seem much more controlled, because we don’t want God mad at us, unless we are talking with our wife or kids. And now we may even point other people to our performance and behavior for the blessings and favor of God upon our life. We may not consciously be trying to earn Gods love with our performance, but we do have a seven step method to modify and improve our friend’s behavior, because our view of God’s favor is performance based.

A few questions to ask people when offered this drug…..

What if God is not this angry old man that takes His presence or His love away from His children because of their failures? What if He really did place all our success and failures and nail them to the cross in exchange for Jesus’ success? Because even our successful performance is like filthy rags compared to His righteousness. What if God based His favor and relationship toward us on Christ alone? What if He knew that the only way for us to have great fruit (performance) and experience freedom was to abide in Jesus? What if God doesn’t want us so self performance conscious, but Christ conscious? What if the effects of a performance enhanced gospel results in a bipolar Christian, but the effects of the pure gospel is a child confident in their Father’s love based on the performance of Jesus Christ? What if for all eternity we need the grace of Jesus Christ, because without Him we can do nothing? What if there was someone that could believe this today?

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Brandon and Dana 2
Have you ever been a leader in your local church struggling with making time for your marriage? I nearly lost my marriage as a church volunteer. It is only because of the grace of Jesus that my marriage is strong today and such a priority in my life! My passion is to help marriages in the local church be all that Christ wants them to be. Marriage should be a reflection of the love affair between Jesus and His people. Unconsciously, many leaders make the local church a top priority in their life, often followed by their children as the next in priority and then, if there is time left over, the wife is given the left overs of his time. Paul wrote in Ephesians 5. “Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” not “Husbands lay down your wife for the church”. What does give yourself up for her mean for us as husbands today?

Men, what if the Holy Spirit knew it would be a sacrifice to make our wives a priority more than our children, or the local church? Maybe that’s why He knew we needed to lay our lives (priorities) down. Every church leader would say their marriage is a priority but I often say, “Where your time is, there your priority/heart is also.” Time is a treasure and worth much more than the American dollar, because it goes up in value. So men, let me encourage you to prioritize your wife and lay down your life by making a decision today to invest in them by putting them on the calendar.

For free sermon podcasts or music visit us at http://www.graceforeternity.com

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As my family celebrates my role as “dad” in the home this weekend, I took a moment to reflect on what was accomplished as a father of three children these last twelve years. Quickly I was reminded of some failure moments and became deeply concerned how quickly time has flown. In the relatively short amount of time left with my kids in the house, what could I do to improve my effectiveness as a father? I came up with the top 5 things I could continue to grow and be better at as a dad.

1. Celebrate Victories With The Family

It seems like so often I play the sheriff of the home that my kids need to remember I see their successes. Nothing like a family celebration at the snow cone stand, amusement park or movie theatre to celebrate victories of my kid’s character and achievements.

2. Respond In Love Don’t React In Anger

I want to respond not react to my kid’s behavior. Manipulation and control is often a reaction to their bad behavior, but if I respond with giving them a choice of consequences good or bad, then I empower them to make their own choices. Home should be a safe testing ground for children to make bad choices and receive consequences. When I don’t give them choices and try and modify their behavior with my control when they are around me, it’s only “fools gold”. They should be learning the fruit of the Spirit which is “self control” not “dad will always be around to catch you so you better watch out” control. Now if I can just remember this when I’m tired and grumpy.

3. Find Their Dreams And Passion And Help Them Pursue

I’m embarrassed to say it took me 13 years of marriage to know and help pursue my wife’s dreams and passions. My children on the other hand, I knew partially each child’s when they were toddlers because I spent a lot of time praying and asking what their future would hold. Each night I put them to bed and pray over them I ask God to show us more of their gifts and where He is leading them in the future but I honestly need to spend more time and resources preparing them for their God given passion.

4. Pray For Their Future Spouses

It’s never too early to pray for my kids’ future spouses. I pray for their protection, family life and relationship with Jesus to be incredibly strong. I must spend more time in prayer because today’s prayer makes tomorrow’s outcome.

5. Create A Home Of No Condemnation

No matter how they behave they are still loved and accepted by me. I realize their perception of my love effects their reception of God’s love. What an incredible responsibility I have to represent the Father God to my children. This is why I have to create a safe environment in my home of no judgement that would ever disconnect our relationship. Many times I have to pursue my children to remove guilt and condemnation with hugs and affirmation.

 

There’s so many more ways that I could be a better dad and I have some really great friends who are great dads and great mentors! Please take a moment and share your thoughts on this or more ways I can improve as a dad as we celebrate this Father’s Day!

visit us at http://www.graceforeternity.com for free music and podcasts

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My wife and I teach our children to embrace that moment in sports, life or school when a difficulty becomes an obstacle to overcome! Deep inside we know that it is through life’s process of hardships that develops them into mentally strong adults. If you have kept up with my blogs in the past, then you probably know that I’m going to ask, “How does God treat us as His children?”. It’s easier to teach our kids if we know how God teaches us. The goal for every trial in your life is for God to reveal a new revelation of Himself. He wants to reveal who He is for you that you would have never known or asked, except for the trial you are facing.  Not every trial is from God, it might be consequences of actions or living in a fallen world, but every trial can reveal who God wants to be for you. For all eternity we will discover who Christ is for us and all eternity our identity is found in Him! Eternity started the day you received Christ.

For podcasts and music visit http://www.graceforeternity.com

 

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Just so happens to be my birthday this month and I realized there are some people who only celebrate their birthday one day a year, so I thought I would share my cunningness to milk the celebration of my birth to an entire month and not just one day. This is inexcusable for my family and friends to celebrate only one day a year the birth of such a humble guy, so if you too have the humility that I obviously possess (which is why you clicked the link to this blog), enjoy these gems!

1. Never plan your birthday fun the day of your birthday, if possible take a week vacation sometime in the month of your birthday. (Tip: invite your parents, even if they don’t pay for you, they can’t not pay for things and they buy their grand kids toys and they make great babysitters).

2.  Ask your 5 closest friends to join you for one on one lunch that week to celebrate your birthday. Each day of the week you should have your lunch paid for  (depending on the closeness of friendship). The more “close” friends you have the more weeks you can celebrate.

3. Start a birthday celebration at the end of the month at your job for those who have a birthday within that month. This works best when you have only 5 co-workers and none of them share your birth month

4. Every day of your birthday month that you are eating out, announce that you are celebrating your birthday. You will be surprised how many restaurants want to celebrate with  you and why rob the world of celebration and joy!

5. This last one is difficult, especially if your grandparents are older or have passed away, but make an appointment for them to celebrate you as well. Sure the nursing home cake doesn’t taste as good as the restaurants, but it is free and it is worth seeing the joy of the elderly, dancing to music all because of the day you were born!

Visit http://www.graceforeternity.com for teaching podcasts and free worship downloads!

 

imageDid you know there are two types of ministries we can offer to our family, according to Paul in 2 Corinthians. One ministry is the kind you can learn and study just about anywhere, in any religion, and they all agree that it comes down to being a good person on this earth so we can love God with all our strength and love people. Sounds doable, right? Then there is another ministry that points to Jesus loving us so much, becoming sin and believers becoming righteous, regardless their behavior, to eternally be connected with God. One ministry points to fruit and the other points to the root ( the vine where fruit is produced). Both ministries have glory but only one is permanent and unchanging.

One ministry (which I like to call bi-polar Christianity) is called condemnation and always points to self behavior. Paul also calls this ministry the “ministry of death” or the Ten Commandments, which Jesus lived under while on the earth and He fulfilled. The other ministry is righteousness and points to who we already are in Christ Jesus. How do we know if we are living in the ministry of condemnation or righteousness in our home? The fruit of freedom is in a family’s home ministering in righteousness. Your spouse and children will be overflowing in joy and freedom. The law will always point families to self-help behavior to earn favor with God and the fruit of that ministry is self-righteousness. I heard a family say once that “the teaching of righteousness in Christ is for baby believers and that it’s the very beginning salvation process” but my response was, “not only is righteousness in Christ the foundation, but according to Paul, it is the spiritual meat to be devoured by the spiritually mature (Hebrews 5:13).”

I am learning as a husband and a father not to mix these two ministries of condemnation and righteousness in my home. The main thing is to seek first His righteousness, because I can only give in power what I myself have received from Jesus!

visit http://www.graceforeternity.com for free message podcasts and worship downloads

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One of the most powerful and effective witnessing tool to the world can be the Christian’s marriage and family life. Marriage for the believer is a mirror of the love affair between Christ and the church. Christian parenting can be a reflection of the unconditional love and forgiveness the Father has for His children. Of course it is incredibly difficult to love our spouse and children if we don’t take the time to receive the love that Jesus has for us. Jesus said those that have been forgiven little, love little (Luke 7:46-48) and I used to think that I had a very little to be forgiven since I had received salvation at such an early age. The truth is, we have all have fallen short of the glory of God. We all have been forgiven exactly the same, because if you break one commandment then you are guilty of breaking them all. As Christians we don’t all meditate on exactly what was paid by Jesus for us and because of that, we don’t all love the same. We all were born into a kingdom of darkness and the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4) was our father. Once we were saved, we were completely forgiven and given the gift of righteousness (Romans 5:17). By the way, gifts never require payments in this new family and will not be returned. How can a Father be this loving? When we meditate on this kind of forgiveness and unconditional love, then we begin to receive it for ourselves and can’t help but overflow to our spouse and children.  Yes, the first recipients of our ministry begins in the home but you can only give (in power) what you have received from Jesus (Mathew 10:8). Meditate on the cross and how much you have been forgiven and paid for, because your family needs that kind of unconditional love!

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For years I had been trying to teach my children humility and to think of others first. I realized after so much hard work, in constantly pointing out when they were being selfish, that they resolved in to trying to manipulate my perception of their humility. Some people call this “modified behavior”.  Yes, around Christmas time this was in full evidence, and pretty much anytime I stepped into their rooms while they were playing together. The name calling and the non existent sharing of toys ceased and something that sounded like “humility” to anyone but this parent listening, would begin. However, I desperately wanted heart transformation not modified behavior for my children and all I could do was enter my prayer closet and ask God for wisdom.

It seems like anytime I talk to God about my children’s behavior, He speaks about what it is like “fathering” me. Amazingly (unlike I react to my kids), He didn’t point out my selfishness, nor did he bring up my pride. Instead He reminded me of His righteousness (Greek definition: “Divine Approval”) that was given to me through Jesus Christ. He reminded me it is not my job to work hard for me to bear fruit but to abide in the vine which naturally bears fruit. He makes it so easy to abide in Jesus because there is unconditional love. We all desire character for our children but if it only comes from us then it’s guaranteed to fade when we are away. Please don’t misunderstand me,  We as parents discipline our children for their bad decisions because they need that from us, but we continually point them to the forgiveness and the unconditional love of Jesus.

My responsibility as a parent is to point my children to Jesus and who they are in Him and they will abide in Him and bear fruit even when I am not around and it’s not Christmas season.