Emergency, Emergency!  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , , , , ,

"What are you going to be when you grow up?” If you ask my son this question, his answer will be “a fireman.” Over his short forty-five month life, he has told us that he is going to be a Chinese-food worker, a Pizza Hut worker, and a few other occupations, when he grows up. The latest, a fireman, has come after being introduced to the movie “Fireproof.” Though it is a movie that involves the subject of marriage, what my son takes from it is the thrilling life of “Fireman Caleb.” Caleb is the main character in the movie, played by Kirk Cameron.

Wanting to be a fireman has invoked a wide range of imaginative play. He takes the plug-in side of a cell phone charger to be the walkie-talkie that a fireman uses. He has used his bicycle helmet to be fireman’s helmet. He uses a smaller oatmeal container with a bungee cord through it as an oxygen container. It is rarely a dull moment when his imagination is in full swing and “Fireman Caleb” comes out to save the day.

Recently, I found a toy fireman’s hat and got it for him. When I showed it to him, he was very excited. I love his over-the-top showing of excitement when he receives something he really likes and the receiving of this new toy was no exception.

Recently, my son was going through his pre-bedtime ritual when I heard him exclaim, “Uh oh, Dad, your razor is in the toilet.” I ventured into the bathroom to find that one of the attachments to my mustache trimmer located at the bottom of the toilet. Upon my arrival at the toilet I said “Yep, that’s what it is.” My fourteen-month old daughter is growing more capable of taking things she finds in the house and putting them in places where one would commonly find water. As I start to reach into the water I hear my son come running from his room exclaiming “Emergency, emergency!” He had gone into his room to put on his newly acquired fireman’s hat. Now he came into the bathroom with only a t-shirt, underwear, and his toy fireman’s helmet.

As I pulled the attachment out of the toilet, I couldn’t help but laugh hysterically. The scene provided quite the entertainment.

As I thought about this situation, I couldn’t help but to think about how God must have his moments where He watches us scurry around in our “emergency” situations. My son’s “emergency” situation was no emergency at all. For him he was just playing fireman. However, in his pretending he was serious. He wanted to make sure and have his hat on so that he would be protected for the job.

As I go through my life being on God’s “team” there are times that I see a situation as an emergency and He must think, “Relax, I have this all under control.” Do you go through situations like that? Are there situations that come up that are major to you, at the time, causing you to become frazzled? However, in the grand scheme of things they are pretty little? Maybe it is losing your keys, missing a turn, forgetting an assignment at home, or a host of other issues we face.

Does God become worked up over those types of examples? I seriously doubt it. So why do we? One reason, because they are an “emergency” to us. When you miss your turn you may be heading to a job interview or some other event in which you are on a timeline. When you forget an assignment at home you are in jeopardy of having your grade lowered.

When the Israelites were in front of the Red Sea and the Egyptians were coming from behind, they, in their mind, were in an emergency. “Emergency, emergency!” they exclaimed. Though their words are paraphrased, “Why did you bring us out here to die to the Egyptians? You should have left us back in Egypt!” Putting the human aspect to the scene, I wonder if God was thinking something like, “Relax, I have it all under control. I need the Egyptians to come closer so that they will follow you across the Sea and then I can wipe them out, protecting My people.”

Are you in the middle of an emergency? I have my own emergencies often as deadlines approach. However, we must remember that God has these things all under control. As for a real emergency, that’s for another time.
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Shortness of a Season: Autumn  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fall colors are practically indescribable. The deep reds, bright oranges, and golden yellows and so marvelous to look at. Last year, there was a gorgeous tree that was full of colored leaves. Then, one day, as it happens in Western Kansas, the wind blew. This was such a windy time that the beautiful tree was now just left to a few leaves and branches.

My wife and I were disappointed as we love to look at the fall colors. Like most things, they are here one day and gone the next, which brings us to this week's quote...
Autumn is really the best of the seasons; and I'm not sure that old age isn't the best part of life. But of course, like autumn, it doesn't last. ~ C.S. Lewis, "Letters of C. S. Lewis [1966] "27 October 1963""
What do you think of fall/autumn? Is it an enjoyable time for you?

Life, especially as I get older, reminds me that it is short. I want to treasure the minutes I have with my kids. Not only is our time limited, but their time as "little ones" also goes quickly.

May we appreciate life and the moments in life. The moments add up through life to give us our span. I am not the only one who has taken things for granted, but may little reminders like this help me to appreciate the moments in my life more.

Now it's your turn, What is something you wish you could have a "do over" in your life?
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Fall: The Fall  

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What do you suppose the average is in which a person falls in a lifetime? 1000, 10,000, 25,000, 50,000, 100,000 or more? Then you'd have to define what is a fall? Simply losing one's balance or tripping? Basically, anytime they come down off their feet?

THE Fall, which it is commonly called, took place soon after mankind was created. It didn't take long for mortal man to make an eternal mistake. The crafty Serpent convinced the woman (later named Eve) to take of the forbidden fruit. She then offered some to Adam, who also took. This set up man's spiritual separation. Separated until someone took the place of the mistake. That was Jesus. What a great day that was for those before the cross, to have their sins taken on by Christ.

As we discussed The Fall on Sunday, here are some applications to choose from to use this week...
  • Fallen and You Can't Get Up ~ When we become spiritually separated from God, aka fallen, we cannot get back up and return to that walk with Him until Christ picks us up. Our glory will be returned once we are immersed and have our sins washed away. May we relish that we have a way out of our sin problem.
  • Understand Your Limitations ~ If you're like me, you like to try to handle things on your own. However, each of us has limitations. We can only be "so good" on our own. In addition, there are situations that are beyond our control. Since we are not equipped to handle everything and cannot create things to happen beyond our control, it is nice to appreciate the One who can. When you fall, give it over to God.
  • Plastic Surgeon ~ If I were to go in and have a plastic surgery performed, I'd want to have a reputable doctor. I would like to have certain things removed - at least as much as possible. Christ is that figurative plastic surgeon. He can take scars away that are seemingly never going away. Though the memory may always be there, the scar can be gone. When would you like to make an appointment?
Marks can be left by a fall. The Fall left marks on mankind. Most of which were taken away by Jesus. We can be thankful for Him taking those marks away. May we relish in this fact and enjoy the freedom of having the marks wiped away. 


Now it's your turn, what do you appreciate about Christ coming to take away the spiritual effects of the Fall?
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Appreciative  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , ,

"I'm bored!" was a phrase that I can remember saying as a kid. It happened more than once in my life. This comment would draw a comment from my parents to say "You have too many toys to be bored." Though there was truth found in that statement, to me it was not what I wanted to hear. I wanted to hear something that showed they were going to do something about my boredom.

I have a cousin that seemed to have "everything" as a child. I loved going to his house, which was seldom, as we lived far apart. He had all the "Hot Wheels" cars, along with all the Star Wars action figures and vehicles/spaceships, plus a pinball machine. Later on he had all the cassette tapes a person could want and a two-seater go cart. Do you see why I liked to go to his house?

I wanted things that he had in a bad way. I was like a slobbering dog as I saw all the things he had each time I saw him (which was maybe twice a year). I bet he never was bored, right? With all these things he had, how could he become bored? I bet he did, though. My desire to have what he had brings us to this week's quote...
Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough. ~ Oprah Winfrey

It seems that time does help in creating appreciation for what you already possess. However, as new things come about, there will always be something you want.

I know that there was a time which I started to appreciate what I already had, so much that what others had was not as appealing. It is such a good feeling to appreciate what you have.

Look around and do some inventory on what you have and start to appreciate it!

Now it's your turn, what have you had to appreciate more due to overlooking its value?
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You Will Build It, the Question is Where?  

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Natural changes occur to people as they grow. Babies start to fill out. Then comes sitting up, walking, and talking. Growth spurts will take place at various times. Puberty will take place. Maturation of mind and body will happen over time. As the body ages, wrinkles, lack of eye flexibility, and gray hair comes into a person's life. We cannot forget the skeletal system begins to lose some range of motion along with joint pain.

People will go through these stages at various times. Some may not experience all of them, but they are common. One thing is for sure, if you are going to go through the stages, you cannot escape them.

Jesus finishes his discussion of life lessons at the end of Matthew 7 (24-29). He has just filled them with lots of behavioral changing information. They should be thinking differently about various areas in their life, now. As he has given them all of this information, He says now do something with it. You, as the modern-day recipient, are to do something with this information. What will you do? Here are some applications to choose from to use this week...
  • Location, Location, Location ~ When it comes to real estate it is all about location. When it comes to building your life in Christ, it is also all about location. If you are building it on sandy areas, then you are going to shift, especially as life brings about situations to you that are not the most pleasant. In the end, even the pleasant things could cause you to shift. Either way, the shifting could make you weak - so build on the Rock!
  • Dig Deep ~ Luke's rendering of this scriptures in Luke 6:48 speaks of digging deep. As we set up shop in Christ we must dig deep so that we will be able to stand firm in the days of "trouble."
  • Anchors Aweigh ~ If what you are building is having a hard time staying in that rock, maybe you need to let down an anchor to keep you where you need to be. Or maybe in the meantime while you are digging deep or laying your foundation you need a place to keep you grounded. Now is the time to make sure you are firm in your walk with Him and that you can understand what Jesus wants in your life. Don't let yourself slip...drop the anchor...secure your faith...build on the rock.

For those who feel they have their faith secure, congratulations. However, do not underestimate the sudden coming of a disaster.

Also, this is a "figurative" location, so no matter where you are at in the world your structure will be secure if built on the rock, rather than shifting sand.

Do you need to "move?" If so, now is the time! Move from the sand to the rock...God will help you in the transition!

Remember, the question is not if you will build it, but WHERE! So where will it be?
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Visit the Grave; Look to the Future  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , , , , ,

I am fortunate to still have my parents in my life. I, also, have all my siblings around. I have not lost anyone in my immediate family. Some are not so fortunate. This writing is not about losing someone, though it is about losing something.

In regards to the grieving process, it is generally advised for people to be involved in their normal lives within a reasonable time following the tragedy. Having your mind fixed on something in the past does just that...keeps it fixed or anchored there.

We can visit the grave, lay some flowers in place, but then we must move forward with life. That brings us to this week's quote...
If you're still hanging onto a dead dream of yesterday, laying flowers on its grave by the hour, you cannot be planting the seeds for a new dream to grow today. ~ Joyce Chapman

Those that have lost someone close to you have had the experience of going to that person's grave. Your return trip varies in reason. You may take flowers or some other sentimental object to resurface the memories you had with that person. But after the graveside visit, you can move on with your life and each year becomes a bit easier to handle.

Do you have a dream? Have you seen any growth take place? Is there any growth potential?

Make it a point to look to the future. Do not spend all your time at the grave. Ideas go there to die...leave them there. Then go back to plant some seeds of new flowers!
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False Peeps  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , , , , , ,

Friends are there to encourage and support you as you go through life. Occasionally, you will experience the tragedy of a person of whom you thought was your friend, turn their back on you. It is full of heartbreak. One might argue you were a bit delusional in your trust, depending on how deep or solid the friendship was at the time.

Maybe you've been the friend who has "pulled the wool over their eyes" and caused someone else to be delusional in your friendship.

Either way, it hits home about what Jesus is saying in Matthew 7:21-23 about saying "Lord, Lord" to Jesus. As we reflect on that, here are some applications to choose from to use this week...

  • Peep Show ~ Is your life in Christ just something for "show?" Are you doing the various actions for others (spouse, family member, parent, public) to see what you do? If it is for show consider the end result possibility "I never knew you...away from me you evildoer." Kind of frightening!
  • A Name is Just a Name ~ As I am a parent there are times when I ask my son to reply "Yes, sir" when it comes to responding to something I've instructed him to do. Partly because he has said "Yes" in a snotty way. He will respond with the words "Yes, sir!" in an emphatic and snotty way. You could easily read that as simply emphatic, but that isn't the way he is responding. There are different ways to emphasize a word or words. And by that emphasis would convey various things.May we acknowledge Jesus as our Lord, but do it in a way that brings honor to Him, not belittling.
  • Reflect Your View ~ Is Jesus "Lord" of your life? It should be reflected in that way, so much you don't even need to say anything - people should see Him in you. I have my moments when I try to tell a joke or funny story, but it doesn't come out well, so I have to explain it. May our life properly reflect Christ in a way we don't have to tell people - they will just see Him.
Our following of Christ must stem from the heart. The heart is vital to the rest of the body. When God has our heart, he will have the rest of us too.

Does God have your heart?
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Dream Reaching  

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"Reach!" A "game" a taller person plays with a shorter person when the taller person is trying to keep something away from the other. You've played it I'm sure. You've probably played it on both sides. It is just "not fun" enough, when you are young, that you want to play it with someone else when you grow up.

I remember in Preaching School where our whole class wasn't allowed to make a 100% on a first mid-term exam. It didn't matter if you missed zero or a lot. That is not to say that we all received the same grade, just the ones that didn't miss any didn't receive a perfect score. I was one of them. This decision made some of us frustrated. However, his reasoning was to keep us reaching to improve. That brings us to this week's quote...
Better to have spent a life reaching for a dream that never came true, than to have slept through a life that never had a dream. ~ Samantha Pickreign

One could look at this and think how disappointing it would be to make it to the end of your life and receive nothing. However, how exciting the journey that you can envision your dream so much it keeps you going despite adversities. One could easily sit on the sidelines and never attain anything. But you could also be in the game, always striving for more!

What dream are you reaching for today? Share your comments below...
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Fruit Recognition  

Posted by Jarrod Spencer in , , , , , ,

When I was in high school art, one of the assignments dealt with caricatures. Our assignment was to take something significant about the person and overemphasize that feature. A couple of examples: Jay Leno - chin and Tina Turner - hair. Some are more difficult to pinpoint one feature, but the point is to see something people recognize about that person and "play it up."

You can recognize certain people based on the iconic features that they possess. Some people may not have an external feature that they possess, but some other characteristic. You may know a radio personality based on their voice, and would never recognize them if you passed them on the street. You may recognize a cartoonist based on their drawings, but never be able to recognize their body or voice.

As we looked at Sunday at the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:15-20 where he identifies the fact that there are false teachers around and his audience will recognize them by their fruit. Here are some ways to look at the text and see some applications you can choose to use this week...
  • Giving Off ~ Fruit is a part that comes from a plant, which will likely have "seeds" somewhere on or within the fruit. Occasionally the fruit may not be "protecting" the seed, as when they are found in the middle of the fruit. The seed of a strawberry is on the outside and a seed of a dandelion is at one end of the umbrella-like structure, that is blown in the wind. Something to ask yourself is "what do you give off?" What are you leaving with people which they are having the seed of your faith found within? Are you giving off anything? I hope you are giving off something that points back to Christ. I hope it is taking root with people, too.
  • Bad Fruit ~ Fruit that has gone bad is not appealing to the palate. However, occasionally fruit that has gone bad may not look bad on the outside. It is not until you bite into it do you learn that it is not appetizing. By that time, it is "too late" to not taste the bad taste. May we be careful as we pick people we are going to be around - the "bad taste" of the bad fruit may not be realized till it is too late! People that have characteristics of bad behavior would fall into this, and whatever you deem as a bad behavior may be a rule to determine.
  • Investigate the Possibilities ~ Most all of us know the common types of fruits and how to recognize them. However, there are several fruits that are not as common and are harder to recognize. You would be able to recognize them if you took time to study. The same goes with people. There are lots of people out there that are good, but you must understand them to see if they are not good. Check out various fruit to see what is good and check out various people to see how "good" they are! Without the investigation we do not know who are the good fruit!
  • Be Fruity ~ May you be able to share love, joy, kindness, self-control, etc with the people you come in contact with this week.
Recognition is often found from something on the outside. However Jesus, says look a their fruit...is it good or bad? Is their fruit worth picking? Something you must ask yourself...

Now it's your turn - what do you see in the post that could be added to or just thought? Respond and let me know...
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