Tuesday, April 29, 2008

What Do I Do With The Bible?

Is it possible that we run into biblical naivety and illiteracy?

Here's a question for you:
Why is it that often (at least in my experience) the people with the best Bible knowledge are so relationally challenged?

Clue: When writing about love, the Apostle Paul mentioned how knowledge “puffs up.”

1 Corinthians 8:1b-3: "..We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. But the man who loves God is known by God." (niv)

Colossians 2:18: "Some people enjoy acting like they are humble and love to worship angels. Those people always talk about the visions they have seen. Don't let those people say, "You don't do these things, so you are wrong." Those people are full of foolish pride because they think only the thoughts of people, {not the thoughts of God}." (erv)

(niv): "..his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions."

Here are some positive and negative aspects toward the Word of God:

Bible gluttony (knowledge becomes more important to you than love (puffed up)
Excessive Bible Ingestion
Reading the Bible as "required checklist" (without recognizing His power through the lives of the people during the Old and New Testament)
We became the Pharisees… all about “the word,” without becoming like The Word (Christ.)
Interacting with the truth
Reading the Bible like clockwork every day for an hour or more is pointless if it's not done out of a desire for relationship with God.
Reading the Bible (as if taking a vitamin supplement or aspirin) when we are feeling a little low and need a "inspire me now". It's not about the reading or the knowing. It's about the Living! That's what we need to work on.

I am not promoting biblical ignorance and I am not saying that if people find reading the Bible devotionally is meaningful that they should stop. I am just relating my experience.

It seems like I have a lot of knowledge of the Bible that needs to work itself out. (I just realized that sounds like some kind of strange constipation. "chuckle")

I also realized I need to be in community to discuss what some of these truths mean to our lives. Like we're to be the Bible people read through our influence, our love, our forgiveness/being forgiven. I am for pondering how to live what we read in the Bible rather conquer it on some superficial technical level.

"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." James 1:22 (niv)

Seven for Your Children

7 Tips for Better Relationships with Your Kids

Our kids are looking for a relationship with the Lord - something they can count on. It’s up to us as parents to show our kids what that relationship with God really looks like. The best way we can do this is to model a healthy, accepting, God-honoring relationship between them and us. Josh McDowell shared in his book, "Beyond Belief to Convictions" the seven principles for helping parents be the role of Christ to their children - and I can't agree more with these principles:

7 Tips for Building Better Relationships with Your Kids.

1. Affirmation
When we affirm our kids’ emotions, it gives them a sense of authenticity. See Romans 12:15.Sharing their joys as well as their sorrows; their successes and their failures, conveys the message that you really care and are doing your best to understand!

2. Acceptance
Your unconditional acceptance of your child provides them with a strong sense of security. See Romans 15:7. Without realizing it, too many parents send the message that acceptance is based on performance (like when we praise our kids when they get A’s in school and withhold praise(or even criticize) when they get B’s or C’s). Unfortunately, many of our own parents used shame-based parenting when we were growing up – and so we use the same kind of parenting style with our kids. If you use shame-based parenting with your kids, I want to challenge you with the truth – it simply doesn’t work!

3. Appreciation
When parents express appreciation to their kids, they communicate that their kids are significant. See Romans 1:8 – where the Apostle Paul essentially says, “I appreciate you.” Rather than taking your kids and their contributions on behalf of your family for granted, look for times to express authentic appreciation. For some, it may take work, but catching your kids in the act of doing something good – and recognizing them for it will help to build an importance sense of self-worth in their lives.

4. Availability
When parents are available to their own children, they gain a sense that they are important. Your presence in their lives is one of the most significant ways that you can communicate your love and care. I call it the “Power of Being There”! Remember, kids spell love, T-I-M-E.

5. Affection
When parents give their kids affection, it sends them the message that they are lovable. Everyone wants to feel that they are lovable! Your kids are no different. They need to know they are loved both by your words, through your actions and through appropriate touch! Dads – particularly –never underestimate the power of a well-timed hug! Bless your kids with the gift of affection!

6. Approach Their World
When parents approach their kids’ world, it tells them that what is important to them is also important to you. Sometimes, this means moving out of your own comfort zones – in order to enter their world. You may not be thrilled by watching your kids participate in a certain sport or activity. But, remember that 1 Corinthians 12 says that “love does not seek it’s own.” When you show up at your kids’ events, it sends the all-important message that they really matter!

7. Accountability
Parents must set reasonable limits and boundaries for their kids. See the discussion about the value of discipline in Hebrews 12. Consistent discipline by parents teaches kids the skills of responsibility and self-control that they need to live a successful adult life. In fact, I don’t believe that parents can be sure they are sending the message that their kids are loved without providing consistent discipline.

Not only this is helpful for all the parents in the world but it's also helpful for me and my wife as we parent our three girls. Satan is out there to destroy the livelihood of Christian families with worldly influence, hollow and deceptive philosophy of raising children!

Pray for us as we pray for all of you parents! Go and show Jesus (love) to your kids!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Personal or Impersonal

Wow! What a weekend!! While my wife, Michelle, went to the LANO (ladies') event, I took my kids and a friend to go see Amanda play softball against Herndon. The game went well. I noticed the other team had tall girls and they look like 15 years old girls playing against our 12 year olds. The storm blew by and the game was called.

Then we waited another hour for our game but it was also called due to the storms. Then the girls (all four of them) and I went on home to R-E-S-T!

The deaf worship, yesterday, was great! I concluded the lesson on our man, Habakkuk! We focused more on how we're to "wait" on the Lord. In my sermon, I gave three things that will help us understand how the Lord answers our requests and prayers:

1. He'll answer, "Yes!"
2. He'll answer, "No."
3. Or He'll say, "Wait."

We may question God and say, "God isn't answering my prayers." Well. He may have. It's either a "No" or just "wait" for His answer(s).

Change of subject... I had a wonderful lunch with our beloved members of the church at Joe's Crab Shack. Some great questions came up. Someone asked this one question,

"Why aren't deaf people committed to Jesus? Why aren't deaf people attending a deaf church? Why aren't God's children doing the Lord's will?"

I believe there are two groups of Christians living in the world today:

1. Personally Experiencing Jesus
This individual is addicted to Jesus with no plans to recover from it.
This individual live the life of Christ.
This individual portrays/influence the attitudes of Jesus.
This individual is a vessel of Christ (lifeblood flows from Him through him/her).
This individual lives sacrificially meaning he/she sets the Lord's plan above all other plans.
This individual is in love with Jesus (Bride/bridegroom).
This individual is humbly involved in the work of the Lord.

2. Impersonally Experiencing Jesus
Without unity
Lukewarm (Rev. 3:16)

One day, God will call each of us home. Imagine standing before His throne and He asks this one simple question,

"What did you do with My Son, Jesus?"

How would you answer His question?

Yes! He desires our answer to be as genuine and personal as possible. If you aren't personally experiencing Jesus daily, why not start now? What are you waiting for? Come and do the Lord's will, starting right now! Say a prayer. Ask Jesus to revive the fire in your hearts. Ask God to transform you into righteousness and use you for His glory! Do all this in His precious and powerful name!

"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." Colossians 3:17 (niv)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Let It Rise

Praise God for this lil kid!! Makes me hungry to see deaf children come to know the Lord!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Spring Retreat '08: CROSS TRAINING!

It's finally here! I've been waiting for the theme and lessons for May 2nd through 4th Deaf Family Retreat @ Camp Wamava..

The theme is: CROSS TRAINING! (Exercising Your Faith)

Lessons will be:

Lifestyles of the Fit and Faithful
Wait Training
The World's Strongest Man
In A Pit In The Snow With A Lion

Great lessons! Now, I am excited about this upcoming retreat!! Register ASAP at:


It's $35 pp, children 12 and under are free!


Morning, Bloggers!

My wife and I did a "promo" before the sermon yesterday (4/20) on "God's Waiting Room"..

Many people in the world today do not like to "wait". Waiting in line, waiting at doctor's office or hospitals (unless there are magazines to read) and more. We live in a "Microwave Society" today! We want faster service: faster internet, fast-food, faster way from one point to the next.

It is encouraged that you read the book of Habakkuk. Regardless of how long we must wait for His answers, we need to be assured that "..the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him." Hab. 2:20 (niv)

Romans 8:25 (erv), “But we are hoping for something that we don't have yet. We are waiting for it patiently.”

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Thump. Thump. Who's There?

This is an article blogged by Terry Rush. Terry is a pulpit minister in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I've always enjoyed his lessons! Read on!

This blog is for young ministers who get thumped on occasion. I got mine today and should you think that somewhere along the ministry trail it quits, it doesn't. Furthermore, it's a necessary part of kingdom life; specifically personal growth. Yes, even old guys take a hit here and there.

A member came to see me today carefully expressing the dissatisfaction she and her husband have regarding my preaching. They get nothing from it. Nothing. They are bored and frustated at hearing nothing from our pulpit. How does this revelation hit me? Well, not good. It didn't make my day. The fact that such a conversation went on is only half of the event. It's what I intend to do with it that completes the project.

I INTEND TO GROW FROM IT. This is valuable stuff....painful in obvious places....but valuable. Don't waste yours. This isn't weird. It's useful.

I INTEND TO IMPROVE. I'm a better preacher than I was a few years ago and I anticipate I will be a better preacher someday than I am now. So why should I let such a conversation do anything but motivate me to stay in school and keep learning the method God chose to reach the world?

I DON'T INTEND TO ADJUST TO PLEASE THEM. If God's improving me pleases them, then that's a bonus, but my goal will not be to step up to the pulpit this Sunday and tickle their ears. Such will be up to Him, not me.

I DON'T INTEND TO POUT. I've spent too many days in such a useless pit. No more....when I can remember. Yep, the lady did hurt my feelings. Nope, I will not squander my young age fretting over something that He must work out. If I can get better awesome. Worry will not be a part of my sleep effort tonight.

I INTEND TO USE THIS EVENT TO BUILD SOME OF YOU UP. Criticism especially hurts ministers. We are usually in this work in the first place because we are sensitive. It's a part of ministerial fabric. Thus, for us, hurtful words really dig deeply. But we must not wither under such heat. We must regard it as training in the Kingdom Gym.

I am not being picked on. A couple doesn't care for my preaching. They are good people. Hey, I don't care for my preaching sometimes. Even when I'm lousy God uses such messages to promote His agenda in some way. You have a lot on the ball, young leader. Don't resist those who challenge you. Take it in. Sort through it all. Keep the valuable stuff. Toss the rest aside.

We have work to do and such workouts will keep us from giving up. Endurance is a kingdom matter....a big kingdom matter. Don't quit......II Cor. 4:16-18. If you are His minister it will be imperative you take a little thumping here and there. You won't like it because you arent' supposed to like it. We didn't like homework either. But both are designed for our learning.

Fellowship Luncheon!

Happy Treating!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Scars of Life

Here's an awesome story for you all! Thanks to Monica Shimmin for forwarding this story. This literally made my eyes well up! Read on!

Some years ago, on a hot summer day in south Florida, a little boy decided to go for a swim in the old swimming hole behind his house. In a hurry to dive into the cool water, he ran out the back door, leaving behind shoes, socks, and shirt as he went.

He flew into the water, not realizing that as he swam toward the middle of the lake, an alligator was swimming toward the shore.

His father working in the yard saw the two as they got closer and closer together. In utter fear, he ran toward the water, yelling to his son as loudly as he could.

Hearing his voice, the little boy became alarmed and made a U-turn to swim to his father. It was too late. Just as he reached his father, the alligator reached him. From the dock, the father grabbed his little boy by the arms just as the alligator snatched his legs. That began an incredible tug-of-war between the two. The alligator was much stronger than the father, but the father was much too passionate to let go. A farmer happened to drive by, heard his screams, raced from his truck, took aim and shot the alligator.

Remarkably, after weeks and weeks in the hospital, the little boy survived. His legs were extremely scarred by the vicious att ack of the animal. And on his arms were deep scratches where his father's fingernails dug into his flesh in his effort to hang on to the son he loved.

The newspaper reporter, who interviewed the boy after the trauma, asked if he would show him his scars. The boy lifted his pant legs. And then, with obvious pride, he said to the reporter, 'But look at my arms. I have great scars on my arms, too. I have them because my Dad wouldn't let go.'

You and I can identify with that little boy. We have scars, too. No, not from an alligator, but the scars of a painful past. Some of those scars are unsightly and have caused us deep regret. But, some wounds, my friend, are because God has refused to let go. In the midst of your struggle, He's been there holding on to you.

God loves you. You are a child of God. He wants to protect you and provide for you in every way. But sometimes we foolishly wade into dangerous situations, not knowing what lies ahead. The swimming hole of life is filled with peril, and we forget that the enemy is waiting to attack.

That's when the tug-of-war begins, and if you have the scars of His love on your arms be very, very grateful. He did not and will not ever let you go.

Please pass this on to those you love. God has blessed you, so that you can be a blessing to others. You just never know where a person is in his/her life and what they are going through.

Never judge another person's scars, because you don't know how they got them. Right now, someone needs to know that God loves them, and you love them, too. ~~~~ enough to not let them go.

Nana Star and the Moonman book in Sign Language.

I received this recently today.. Spread the word to those with deaf children and codas! :)


My name is April Franz and I'm the marketing director for Chick-fil-A
in Chantilly. We have what we call "Family Night" every Tuesday
evening. At the end of the month (4/29--6:00--8:00 pm) we are having
one of our special Fifth Tuesday Family Nights in which we're
celebrating everyone's birthday. Our special guests that night will
be "Nana Star" authors Elena Patrice and Elizabeth Sills. At 6:15,
they will be reading their books to the kids as well as character
posing for photos, playing music and autographing their books. They
are bringing along a sign-language interpreter, so we wanted to
especially invite any families in your ministry that would enjoy being
a part of this special event.

They have a video on YouTube of one of their interpreters which is
really great to watch.

We would truly love for your folks to join us that night! We'll be
having a cake, Icedream sundae bar, goody bags for the kids and of
course the Chick-fil-A Cow as well.

Hope to have the opportunity to meet you!

April Franz
703 888-8592

Happy Birthday, Baby!

Today is Michelle's birthday!

Thank you God for giving her life. Thank you for her parents for how they raised her. Thank you for her brother and his Christ-like influence on her. If it wasn't for her, I wouldn't have three wonderful children. If it wasn't for her birth, I wouldn't be where I am (a faithful lover of Jesus Christ and God).

Today, we (me and my kids) celebrate her birth! Fireworks exploding! Showering confettis! And we sing this song:

We sing for joy!
We shout Your Name!
We celebrate Your creation!

God, we give you glory, honor and praise because of Michelle, her life, her love for You and her influence. Thank You for bringing her into this world!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Dry Bones Live!

Hut, hut!

Sounds like a quarterback giving calls?? Pretty close but not quite! Instead of hearing the quarterback's command, it's time to hear God calling the plays.

Funny how we have football stadiums filled with 50+ thousands of screaming, NFL jersey clad, beer guzzling, hotdog chomping fans, especially on Sundays! Parking lots are full and they even pay $5-10 to get in and park! There are tailgaters arriving early in the morning for a pre-game cookout. It doesn't matter how the weather is whether its minus 5 degrees or raining, the fans will be there! I don't think anyone will sleep during any games!! They wouldn't miss this for the world!

But in the church, the very church that Jesus died for, pews aren't filled to the edge. Parking lots aren't normally filled. Over there, we got pew-warmers. Over here, we got one that sleeps six people. If the weather is good, they'll be there. If it's cold outside, they won't, even though the church building adjusted the temperature to a nice, balmy 70 degrees. The church would barely keep their eyes (ears) open to hear the life changing message of God. Most of them actually feel that it's the preacher speaking, not God. Not so! And God is, of course, concerned about His children.

Yes.. It's pretty sad. Today, we live in a world where we can compare the difference between church and entertainment. That's why churches all over are struggling to compete or keep up with the entertainment world. Churches are dying everywhere. People are looking for things that will add spice to their life. They want to leave feeling entertained and feeling good. Churches are changing trends from "What can you do for the church?" to "What can the church do for you?" OUCH!

During the days of Ezekiel, the nation of Israel was gone! No government. No religion. No temple. No people. No recognition. Zip, gone, zilch! Or in other words, D-E-A-D! And God showed Ezekiel his people.. He asked one simple question:

"Son of man, can these bones live?" Ezekiel 37:3a (niv)

Ezekiel answered, "O Sovereign Lord, you alone know." Ezekiel 37:3b (niv)

Amen, Ezekiel. It's not a "man's" job to bring life in dead and relationship-severed people. It's God. Only God knows. That's His business.

What happened next? God gave Ezekiel a command. I know this may sound silly but... Ezekiel did as God told him to do.

It wasn't adding music to wake up dead souls.
It wasn't doing a church-makeover to attract dead Christians.
It wasn't to add a bass-shaker (vibrate chairs) to keep pew-sleepers from sleeping.

Ezekiel did the same old method that we should all do today, Preach The Word!

The Word went into dead souls (whom have forgotten their first love, whom have led themselves astray from the truth, whom have been deceived, blinded and confused, whom followed their own heart instead of followed the command of the Lord) and the Lord breath His Spirit into them. Then they returned to life.

This Sunday, we'll learn more about Z37, where do we stand before God right at the moment and how do we return to God and stay with God!?

Wherever you are, may the Lord be praised!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


Next month, we will be here for 9 years!! That's exactly the same age as our third daughter, Alyson. It's really hard to believe how fast time goes.

And it made me think... It made me think of the possibilities...

How we waste time arguing over doctrinal matters.
How we procrastinate in trying to accomplish important things.
How Satan does a pretty good job keeping us at bay (from doing the Lord's work).
How God can do marvelous things through us but we can't find the time to do it.


Talk is extremely cheap. (You might say, "Yeah, I know I haven't done so and so..)
Excuses costs your life. (God is never interested in them.)

Then I often thought.. Why am I here?

After preaching over 2,000 lessons (sermons) (56 weeks a year (almost 56 lessons)) in 9 years!, not to mention that I work on my days off, preparing lessons on Powerpoint, communicate with Cario, our webmaster, and Tim, our deaf worship leader, what have each of you accomplished out of these lessons?

Few have marvelously transformed and continue to on the transforming lane.
Few have given their lives to pursue ministerial duties at Sunset (www.sibi.cc)

I guess I'm preaching to myself as I type.

I want to understand.

I want to comprehend what God is doing through me. He has been talking to me as I read the Bible, as I pray asking for His forgiveness and forgiving others, and as I listen to others filled with grief.
I want to understand why we're so distracted from doing His work. I want to understand why we've become so defensive against such a wise advice or a sharp but loving criticism.
I want to understand why we plan other things over spending time with God and His people.
I want to understand why, after one day we're on cloud 9 with God then the next day, we're doing evil things (a more Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Living).
I want to understand when I give the utmost Christian example to others, they don't see it and immulate.

After last week/weekend's deaf conference with Billy Leavell, God, through him, made me think about alot of things. God has new plans for me and my family. Now, we await for His "green light".