Aaron Summers

In Need of Anger Management?

In Life and Culture on May 20, 2015 at 8:07 am

road-rage

On the way to pick up my son from school I nearly had a wreck.  NO, I wasn’t texting or checking email.  The vehicle in front of me stopped suddenly because the vehicle in front of him stopped suddenly.  The cause for all the commotion was a tweener who decided to jump out in front of cars and cross the street on his bike.  I found myself throwing my hands up in the air and muttering something about “Stupid kids these days!”  I didn’t kill him.  I didn’t call him an idiot to his face.  In fact, he didn’t hear me at all.  I’m good right?

According to the strictest interpretation, that being Pharisaic, I am in the right.  However Jesus made it a habit of His to change the game.  In one of His earliest teachings He stated,

21 “You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’* 22 But I say, if you are even angry with someone,* you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot,* you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone,* you are in danger of the fires of hell.*

23 “So if you are presenting a sacrifice* at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, 24 leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.

25 “When you are on the way to court with your adversary, settle your differences quickly. Otherwise, your accuser may hand you over to the judge, who will hand you over to an officer, and you will be thrown into prison. 26 And if that happens, you surely won’t be free again until you have paid the last penny.*

When I read those words, I realize that my anger led to wrongdoing.  Lord, forgive me.

Jesus started with the law.  “You have heard it said, ‘Do not murder’.”  We all know this is wrong, right?  We get it.  To take another’s life from them and their family is wrong.  In fact, a BIG wrong!  But He did not stop.   Jesus brought it back to relationships.  Jesus would later be asked what the greatest commandment is.  He replied that we are to love God and love our neighbor.  He equated the two in priority.  He would go on to say that all of the law hinged on these two concepts.

If we just read the command without a concept of relationships we have stopped short.  We are not taking into consideration the intent of the law, only the letter of it.  The religious leaders were very good at this.  So are we.

What about murder? Jesus located the root of murder in anger and hatred (vv. 21–26). Rather than nurse anger, which may lead to murder, the kingdom citizen is to value peacemaking. He is to take the initiative to be reconciled to his brother. Later John would write, “Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer” (1 John 3:15).  Jesus makes an adjustment.

  • I am angry without cause. Sometimes we just get up on the wrong side of the bed and take it out on those around us.  Things did not go our way during the day and we lash out at those who had nothing to do with it.
  • I call someone an idiot. This is a word filled with utter contempt for someone.  The implication is being empty-headed.  I guess we should seek forgiveness for every blond joke?
  • I call someone a fool. This moves from intellect, as before, to morally bankruptcy.  The sense is that the person in question is considered morally worthless.

Jesus then tells us what to do about in a real world application.  If I know someone has a problem with me I am to go and seek reconciliation.  My ability to worship God and receive His blessing is on the line here.  If we go to church but harbor ill against ANYONE we must first make it as right as we can before thinking that God can be worshipped!  Our churches are powerless today in this culture because we have forgotten about the relational aspect of God’s intentions for us.  If you have something against a person settle it quickly.  If you are aware of someone having a problem with you, settle it quickly.

3 Actions That Save Your Family

In Uncategorized on May 14, 2015 at 7:39 am

family

The family is the pivot point of culture.  When the family is strong our culture is strong.  When the family breaks down so does our culture.  From the moment God breathed the words, “It is not good for man to be alone”, the family has been at the center of a strong culture.  Families have always been under attack and today is no different.  In the just the first 12 chapters of the FIRST book of the Bible we see

  • Murder
  • Estrangement
  • Deception
  • Abandonment
  • Affairs
  • Idolatry

The family faces those and many more struggles today.  What’s a family to do?  How can we save our family?  3 actions can can put you on the offensive.

Pin-point your prayers as a family

These prayers have clarity, direction, and focus.  These prayers honor God and are the kind we need to be praying.  Pinpoint prayers are deeply rooted in God’s Word. They have authority because they flow right out of what God has already told us he is willing to do. There’s no guesswork in pinpoint praying. As a parent, you just take the world’s greatest prayer script (the Bible) and use it as your guide for what and how you pray for your kids.  There’s nothing vague about pinpoint prayers. They’re typically short, direct, and to the point. Consider Jesus’s petitions in the Lord’s Prayer. His requests for God’s name to be glorified and for God’s provision, protection, and forgiveness are all very specific and focused. There’s nothing broad or uncertain about them. Pinpoint praying requires you to think through what you want God to do, build the case for it biblically, and then say it in the most precise and deliberate way possible to God. No flowery language, no King James English, and no long or theologically loaded phrases are required with pinpoint prayers. Part of their power lies in their directness.  Pinpoint prayers don’t mess around. They don’t dance around an issue, hoping that God will get the hint and come through with a miracle without us really having to ask for one. Pinpoint prayers walk right up to God’s throne and plead for his best, for his kingdom, and for his favor in our lives and the lives of our children. This is not weak-willed praying. Can you think of any area where boldness, courage, and faith are more appropriate than in prayers for your family?

Prioritize your needs as a family

Our calendars can be our dictator.  We run from event to event and are exhausted by the end of the week.  One reason families are not making it to church is exhaustion.  There is a sense of need for being together, having a slower morning, or just sleeping!  Of course, that is not to mention the event schedule that happens later!  In an tempt to provide for our families, especially the kids, opportunities we never had, we are going to extremes.  Focus on what is truly important more than the urgent screams of your calendar.  Items like shelter, nutrition and protection rank at the top and are hardly worth mentioning.  Did you know that the amount of sleep of child needs actually increases as they hit adolescence?  Your JH or HS child actually needs close to the same amount of sleep that a toddler needs.  Unfortunately, during these years we are too busy to worry about sleep!  Yet one thing looms but goes unnoticed.  The spiritual development of the family is crucial to tackling the issues of our day.  If we are not grounded in solid Bible study, spiritual challenge, and accountability families run an extreme risk of breakage during the trying times.

Present the Gospel through your family

We have been called to be salt and light.  This works as a family also!  You may have distinct concern for your kids to know God and trust in Jesus.  Did you know that there is more to do?  Salvation comes by faith alone.  But our mission to reach others too.  We have been crafted by God for good works.  Living out your mission as a person and as a family unit makes the difference.  God, who is already at work, invites your family to join in this work to reach the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  God’s love and grace propels us to such destiny.

 

May we leverage our lives and families for God’s glory through prayer, priorities, and presentation.  Live on mission where you are right now.  Intersect the culture with the Gospel!

#selfies

In Uncategorized on May 11, 2015 at 6:40 am

 

selfie_21221691

I take them.  You take them.  We all take them.

We take them at parties.  We take them on the beach.  We take them at gatherings.  We take them in front of the mirror.  We put them on Instagram.  We wait for comments.  What do selfies tell us about ourselves?  Often, I find people who are in need of approval.  They are hoping someone will comment and tell them they are beautiful, or wonderful, or courageous, or that they made a great choice on their hair, makeup, attire, car, house, or pet purchase.  Why do we need approval?  Most of us are not being built up, encourage, and enabled to be strong and courageous.  We are being ridiculed, torn down, and destroyed by a culture that is selfish rather than selfless as Jesus address.  Our #MCM, #TBT and #FBF are all designed for us to post something that is already accepted or we have already decided upon and are confident.  Our daily selfies tend to be like the girl who could not decide on a prom dress and wanted Facebook to decide.  Only 13% of American women consider themselves pretty and only 28% of men think of themselves as handsome.  94% of men and 99% of women would change something about themselves.

Thank you media outlets.  Thank you.

God has a different view as the Psalmist writes,

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.  Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.
 
How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!
Listen, I have no problem with taking #selfies.  If someone doesn’t think you’re cool or beautiful does not mean anything. God is happy with how he made you and will stick by you even when you don’t feel pretty or useful.  Take all the #selfies you want and post them just don’t let the comments define you.
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