Monthly Archives: June 2014

The first few days in Ghana

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Wow…the last few days have been amazing! For those of you following my blog and waiting to hear the reports about Ghana…I apologize! The internet has been quite scarce! I finally have a decent signal…and I am hoping that it will last until I finish this post! We arrived Saturday evening, and came to the motel to check in and head to bed. We had a friendly roach waiting in our room to welcome us. ūüôā No problem…I quickly evicted him! We had to services Sunday, and God showed up in an incredible way! Sunday mornings church was outside under a ‘pavilion’. Two of the young ladies from the team helped out by teaching Sunday School. As always, the children can steal your heart away! Monday we headed to the Monkey Sanctuary, and the monkeys came down out of the trees and took the bananas right out of our hands. If you were lucky, the monkeys would peal the bananas in your hand and eat them. Me…not so lucky! We then headed to Kpetoe Kente Village and watched them workers weaving blankets, mufflers, and the such, and were able to purchase some as well. Bro. Sisco surprised us with a very nice muffler, also called a kente, embroidered with ‘AYC Ghana 2014’! Tuesday consisted of a long drive, with church in the evening. The worship was absolutely amazing, and God showed up in a tremendous way. After preaching on repentance, and the church spending some time in repentance, the Holy Ghost poured out and there were multiple healings! Today we loaded back in the bus and headed back towards Accra. We began the day by going to Almina Castle, an old slave trading fort. It was a very educational and sobering experience. We then stopped by the coast and the young people got to go get their feet in the ocean…of course several felt the need to get completely soaked! From there we headed to Kakum National Park and got to walk the rope bridges several hundred feet in the air! Seven bridges…I thought I did pretty well to make it three! We are now enjoying the air conditioning in the motel, and preparing to head to a hospital and orphanage to make some donations tomorrow, and to have Sunday School at the orphanage! Hopefully the wifi stays strong, and I will post again tomorrow night… Until then…God bless!

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Training up a child…

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I just saw a posting that stated, ‘If you have children, remember this: When you finish with them, the rest of the world has to live with them, so please teach them respect’.

I read that statement, and immediately agreed! ¬†I have been around families where the children acted like they had never been out in public. ¬†I have been in restaurants and watched children run around the place, almost knocking waitresses off their feet, and creating quite the unpleasant dining experience for the rest of the customers. ¬†I have been in stores where children screamed and threw tantrums throughout the entire shopping trip. ¬†I have watched as children hit their parents and yelled “NO” at the top of their lungs.

It also brings to memory my pre-children days…when I would take in such experiences, and think, “When I have children…” ¬†It’s quite easy to judge when we are not the ones in the situation at present!

#1 РProverbs 22:6 gives sound advice to parents.  Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.  Parents have a responsibility to teach their child right from wrong!  It begins from the moment of conception.  A peaceful home needs to be created.  The day that child comes home, that child needs a father and a mother in his or her life, guiding that child with both a firm and loving atmosphere.  Guidelines and expectations should be set, and the parents need to consistently enforce them.  Their should be consequences for the child who does not meet up with the clearly defined expectations.

Keep in mind, consequences need to be clearly defined as well, and the severity of the consequence should be set according to the severity of the infraction and based upon the age of the child!  There is a great difference between punishment, and child abuse!  A parent needs to be careful to act in love, and not to react in anger, as that is the moment that a punishment may turn to child abuse!

#2 РTitus 2:3-4 gives great advice to the training of new parents.  The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,

There is a biblical responsibility to the elders, to pass on knowledge, advice, training, and correction, to the younger generation! ¬†There is also a biblical responsibility of the younger generation, to accept the wisdom being passed on by the elders! ¬†Every young parent should find a few ‘elders’ in their lives to receive good council from!

Want to know where to start??? ¬†Start with your pastor and his wife…and ask them for some good suggestions of some elders for your life! ¬†Once you have some elders set in your life, sit down and accept the counsel. ¬†They may step on your toes, they may tell you that you are parenting wrong, take the counsel, pray about it, and raise those children properly!

#3 – Matthew 7:1-3 ¬†Judge not, that ye be not judged. ¬†For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. ¬†And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

John 8:7 ¬†…He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone…

It is so easy to look at others children, and think, “wow…they don’t know how to parent!” ¬†We can be so quick to judge children and parents, without knowing anything about the situation! ¬†Perhaps that child is being raised without a father or a mother. ¬†Perhaps that child has a disability that is not visible to the human eye. ¬†Perhaps there is trauma¬†in the family, such a death. ¬†Perhaps that child is having a rough situation at school. ¬†Perhaps the child was a victim of abuse. ¬†Perhaps the family is deep in debt, and working many hours, leaving the unfortunate children to fend for themselves most of the day. ¬†It is not our place to judge…however misfortunate the situation…the parents may be doing the best they can!

Remember, that is still one of God’s children, and our place is to extend love towards them, not judgement!

#4 РAnd finally, parents, remember, you get one chance, and only one, to get it right!  Raise that child right!

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Heroes

Heroes…

The world is full of so-called heroes.  Young people look up to celebrities whom are greatly leading this young generation in the wrong direction.  From football stars, to basketball stars, to movie stars, both young and old are watching on the television, on the computer, and buying up magazines at the supermarket to track their every move.  They watch their rise to fame, the money they are making, but also their lives falling apart with drugs, divorce, and a wild lifestlye.

We need to point our children and grandchildren in the right direction when seeking heroes.

Who are my heroes…

My Grandparents: ¬†My grandpa and grandma left Bloomington, IN when my dad was a child. ¬†They headed to Iowa City, IA, a city where they knew no one, and a city with no Apostolic Church. ¬†They rented an apartment, and rented a storefront, and began holding services. ¬†My grandfather left a well paying job, and began busting tires at Montgomery Wards to pay the bills. ¬†He also started a church in Phoenix, AZ years later. ¬†I have watched my grandparents throughout my life always sacrificing so they could fulfill God’s will in their lives. ¬†They will never be rich, they will never receive awards or accolades, and will never be well known, but in my eyes they are heroes and giants!

My Parents:  29 years ago, my dad relocated to Williston, ND to take over a small church.  This is where I grew up.  We never had family near us and we had to travel great distances to spend time with family.  We spent Easters, Birthdays, and Christmas with just the four of us.  I have watched the struggle at times when it seemed that things were falling apart in the church.  But for 29 years, I have watched my dad continue to sacrifice his life for the purpose that God has in it, never complaining and never doubting God!

My Wife: ¬†12 years ago, I married the greatest lady ever! ¬†She had NO clue what she was getting into! ¬†She has stuck by me through thick and thin, and last year she moved away from her family and her friends, to follow me to the other side of the state, so we could fulfill God’s will in our lives. ¬†She has stepped up to the plate, and even stepped up to the pulpit a few times when needed, and dealt with ‘issues’ as they arose, going way outside of her comfort zone! ¬†She has amazed me, standing strong, and not doubting God’s direction in our lives!

Jesus Christ: ¬†At the top of my list of heroes, is Jesus Christ! ¬†Noone else has ever went to the cross for me. ¬†He’s always been there, through thick and through thin, through the highs and the lows!

Now how about you…go find some heroes worth looking up to!

 

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Prioritizing God and Family

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I was recently asked to explain the hierarchy of priorities for parents / married couples. ¬†Unfortunately, the world has skewed mankind’s priorities…some say children should be your first priority, others say your friends, or your boss…in almost all cases the world is placing spouses on the back burner, and God is not even a part of their equation! ¬†We wonder why crime and morals have hit an all time low…and why the divorce rate is so high…because marriage is no longer a sacred institution and people have quit putting their trust in God!

Deuteronomy 6:5  And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

We are to love God with ALL of us…every fiber of our being…with every breath that we take…with every ounce of energy we withhold!¬† That makes Him the first priority! ¬†There should be no questions!

1 Corinthians 11:3  But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

This scripture shows us God is at the top of the hierarchy, followed by man and woman.

If God is at the head, the loyalty is obviously first to him. ¬†And if the husband is ‚Äėhead‚Äô of the woman, her loyalty is second to him, after God!

In Genesis, for the first couple chapters, it was just God and Adam!

Woman did not come until later…making the relationship between God and mankind the first, and relationship between man and woman, the second relationship.  This also shows the significance of God first, spouse second!

Then comes the children…

A relationship between and man and woman comes before children…children are a result of that relationship, making the priority of children fall in line after the relationship with the spouse!

Ephesians 5:31  For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

The spouse separates from their family and joins as husband and wife…they become as ONE flesh!

You do not become as one flesh with your children!  Therefore, once again, the relationship with your spouse comes before the relationship with your children!

Don’t get me wrong…you have an obligation to care for your children. ¬†You are to provide emotional and material support for their well being. ¬†You are to love your children. ¬†I would go as far as to say you should be willing to lay your life down for your children. ¬†BUT, don’t neglect your spouse, and definitely don’t neglect your relationship with Jesus Christ because you now have children!

God first, spouse second, children third, and the rest of the world can fall in line!

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Heading to Ghana

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In just one short week, my wife and I, along with young people from across North Dakota, will be heading to Boston, Massachusetts!  Two days after arriving in Boston, we will meet up young people from across the nation, and all 51 of us will be flying to Accra, Ghana, in Africa.

We will be embarking on the journey of a lifetime, taking the gospel to Ghana, visiting an orphanage, participating in a Bible College Graduation Ceremony, and taking in the customs and culture of Ghana.

This will be my wife’s and my third missions trip…the first to Switzerland / Liechtenstein, and the second to Cambodia.

I hope to blog each day we are gone…so check back regularly!

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