Aaron Summers

Posts Tagged ‘love’

Who Am I?

In Gospel Living on March 21, 2017 at 12:48 pm

There seems to be a growing media attention toward those who are gender neutral or gender confused.  While on the treadmill the other day, the TV in front of me had the Ellen Show on and I was intrigued with the captioning I was reading.  The person being interviewed desired to be considered gender neutral.

From a Biblical perspective, there is no neutral.  God created them male and female. However, I feel we don’t fully understand the effects of the Fall.  When sin and evil entered, there was more than just a problem with Adam and Eve.  The whole universe “fell” into an evil situation.  With that said, we are now faced with further consequences of this and each generation progresses.

Today we wake up to a world of desired neutrality where some want us to disregard genetics and focus on how we feel.  We are called to be kind and loving in the name of Jesus, but we do not have to agree on this.  May we share the truth IN LOVE as Paul told the Ephesians.  There is no room for hate in this arena, but the design was to be male or female based on body mechanics.  A desire to be someone or something else is a result of the fallen nature of humanity that only Jesus can remedy.

Stop Looking At My Container!

In Life and Culture on February 14, 2017 at 1:31 pm

Beautiful senior woman smiling at camera

Miss Mary brought a dish to the church lunches for a long time but recently quit.  No one thought much about it at first.

  • Maybe she wasn’t feeling good.
  • Maybe she was extra busy.
  • Maybe….

The next one arrived and Miss Mary did not bring anything that day either.  Some of the people came to the pastor and asked if he knew what the problem was with Miss Mary not bringing her beautiful dish as always.  They couldn’t imagine what the issue was.  They missed her dish.  They wanted her dish.  He told them that they should go speak to her if they saw it as a problem.

So, Margaret, Sarah, Esther, and Mabel all went over to Miss Mary’s house.  The yard looked fine.  The flowers were blooming.  The porch was clean.  They rang the doorbell and Miss Mary came to the door.  They noted to themselves she seems fine.  Invited in, they went to have some tea.  The house looked fine.  The tea tasted right.

WHAT WAS THE PROBLEM?

They all sat down and meandered around the issue until Miss Mary spoke up.

“You all here to see where my dish has been?”

Trying to fake shock, they all tried to deny it.  Finally, Mabel spoke up and explained that they were just concerned something might be wrong.

“Oh, there is.”, replied Miss Mary.

“Every time there is a church lunch we all bring our dishes.  Some are filled more than others.  Some are more worn than others.  I look down the table and then I listen.  I listen as we all discuss how beautiful someone’s dish is.  I look at the younger woman.  I look at the little girls.  Then it dawned on me.  It’s not about the dish.  It’s about the food.  We comment so much on everyone’s dish or platter or bowl.  But we have stopped talking about the food inside the container.  Ladies, if we are only concerned about the container, we have missed the point.  We don’t gather to evaluate one another’s dishes but to enjoy the food inside.”

At that the ladies were silent.  They knew it to be true.  They all vowed to make a change.

At the next church lunch, they all brought their broken and worn out containers and filled them with beautiful food.  As the little girls came in they made sure to point out how good the food was and that it didn’t matter as much about what it arrived in.  They made sure that the young moms understood that whatever they brought was more important than the container.

That was the most enjoyed meal that little church had eaten in a long time.

Moral: 

We teach our girls that the container is more important than what is inside.  May we stop evaluating the containers and start enjoying the food inside.  There we find joy and health and love.

8 Motivations You Probably Choose Everyday

In behavior, Gospel Living on March 31, 2015 at 7:51 am

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“What’s my motivation?”

Nearly every actor will ask this question at some point.  It is important for the actor to know the motivation of the character being portrayed in order to make it look real.  The writer or director will inform the artist as to the mind and heart of the character. This question comes from a need to know the heart of the character being portrayed.  If the actions and the heart do not match then every knows it is fake or someone gets miffed. Bad acting comes from the inability to have the behavior and heart match.

What about real life, though?  Why do WE do what we do? Each of the following is a good reason at times, but when we push them too far or too often they break down.

1. Obligation – when people operate out of a sense of obligation everyone feels it.  You speak to Ed because you have to do so.  You apologize because you are being made to do so.  Your work is because you have to do so.  Cain can be seen as someone who was bringing an offering to God in this way.  It was rejected.

2.  Honor – much of men are taught to do is out of honor.  We are taught to stand for God, Country, and Mom.  Boys will fight over bad-mouthing one’s mother.  Men will fight and die to uphold the honor of God and Country.  This is not a bad trait in and of itself.  Yet it can spill over to being the only reason and then it falls flat.  David’s honor rose up during Nathan’s story only to discover he was the subject.

3.  Pride – for all that honor is for others, pride is for yourself.  We act out of this without even knowing it.  When we feel threatened our pride rises up for all to see.  We cannot handle our work, creations, or efforts being challenged.  When our blood, sweat, and tears have been poured into a project, we dare someone to criticize!  Haman could not stand Mordecai.  His pride overwhelmed him!

4.  Desire – we act because we want something.  The boy who over-flatters the girl wants something she may not be ready to give.  The suck-up at the office is hoping for a promotion.  The child who voluntarily cleans their room wants something.  At our animal level we have wants, some say needs, in our lives that we will do whatever is necessary to achieve!  This usually leads to addictions and/or family meltdowns.  Delilah working Samson over is an example.

5. Spite – while this is an emotion much like desire it takes on a nasty tone.  This is the evil side of desire.  When this is our motivation we are premeditating a way to harm someone else out of revenge, usually.  Again, Cain comes to mind.

6.  Envy – we often want what we cannot have.  Worse, we want that thing somebody else has.  Operating out of envy can create an entire lifestyle foreign to who you really are and brings no real satisfaction.  Ahab wanted Naboth’s vineyard.  He whined and carried on because he was envious of him.

7.  Jealousy – this can become an extremely controlling factor in our lives and int he lives of those around us.  When this is our motivation we claim love and cry protection, but really it can be pushed too far.  Jealousy and envy are closely related and are often linked in the Bible.  While envy focuses on objects, jealousy focuses more on attention.  Joseph’s brother’s were jealous of the attention he received from their father.

8. Love – God has shown us the way we should go.  He loves us.  Through Jesus we see God’s love.  He did not provide Jesus because of any other reason than He loves us.  When we place our faith in Jesus’ death burial and resurrection as sufficient for God’s requirements, we give our lives to God.  We are transformed into something new.  God changes us so that we can love others.

At work, school, home, or church, if we operate out of less than love we become that clanging cymbal of Paul.  To a hurting world anything less than love as a motivation comes off wrong.  Why do you act the way you do?  May it be out of love from this point forward.

We love because He first loved us.

It’s Christmas!

In Christmas on December 2, 2014 at 9:02 am

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Christmas Time is here!

Friday, not Thursday, really gets the holidays pumping.  We say thank you all day and in a variety of ways on Thursday, but on Friday we push, pull, and charge our way through for more.  Black Friday is a well-known event, though not an official holiday (yet).  Store owners wistfully dream of coming back to a profit setting at the close of business and many will.

How did you spend your Friday?  Were you one that gave up and stayed as far away as possible?  Were you one that gave in and shopped but did not camp?  Were you that one who gave it your all and combed through every possible ad and put together a map and schedule for every store in order to fulfill your whole list in one day?

Many I know poke fun and ridicule those who “go all out” for this day.  In some ways, I am one of those who mock you.  Why?  I think it has to do more with the level of importance in the big picture.  We talk about giving our all, giving 110%, or being “all in”.  When we put the same importance across the board there is a loss of priority.  When we “leave it all” on the field for a game but cannot “give our all” to the things of Christ we have skewed our system.

What if we gave our all to the things of Christ?

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”

God could have given up on us.  He could have thrown up His hands and said, “If you can’t earn it, you don’t get it.”  He could have just held us to the sacrificial system.  Giving up means that there is no hope any longer under the weight of an angry God.

God could have given in and walked away.  Who’s to say He could not have just gone and created another universe with a new Adam and Eve and left us.  How horrible!  Giving in means we are alone.

God gave us His all.  He gave us Jesus.  He gives us hope.  He gives us Himself.

What will you give?

Can We Truly Co-Exist?

In Chrisian Life, Jesus, Missional, SBC on November 2, 2014 at 8:10 am

Why is it that the SBC and LGBT decide to get together the week of Halloween?  Is it because they could not bear to take off their masks?  At any rate, before people start thinking the SBC has “changed their stance”, please read this report.

The SBC still believes that homosexuality is wrong.  However, those who have sparked controversy over the past 30 years have decided to take their heads out of the sand and at least recognize its presence, albeit, a presence that is still one’s choice.  The Bible expresses to love people, but we have not always done that and should repent.  Yet, we are not called to embrace the sinful choice of anyone regardless.  For this reason, a church was recently(last month) removed from the list of cooperating churches.

The issue at hand is this: where is the line between embracing a human and condoning a sin?  This has been our problem for YEARS!  In an effort to hold high the value and authority of scripture we have also bullied and demeaned our fellow-man.  Scripture is clear that homosexuality is wrong citing both in Leviticus and Romans.  It is also clear that God does not force us into a position of sin being the only option.

We are given a choice.  Obviously, for those trapped within any issue there is the feeling that no choice exists.  The nurturing part of life can be so convincing that there does not seem to be a way out, but there is always hope in Jesus Christ!  He provides the way to freedom and promise.  I do not claim to understand the nature/nurture issue with regards to homosexuality except what Scripture teaches.  It, like every other sin, is wrong.  Yet, God can forgive and provide strength and support through a faith-based relationship in Jesus Christ to return to God’s way of design.  We are to love people and lead them to Jesus.

Romance is More than Sex and Passion

In love on August 13, 2014 at 10:22 am

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As I get older, it cracks me up to see the next generation of those learning to love and failing at it.  What I am finding is that what used to be High School is now in Junior High and Upper Elementary age kids.  It appears that the “lover” crowd is getting younger!  My children are in this age-bracket and I fear for what they are faced with concerning dating pressure.  Why must we push our children to be adults before it is time?  Why must we see elementary-aged children on “dates”?  I don’t mean play dates either.

Maybe I am old.

Maybe I am right.

We are hurrying our children to become something they are unprepared by God to be yet.  Just because our hormone-filled foods are creating premature adolescence does not mean that they are ready.  Our culture is broken.  In fact, we cannot actually agree on what is even sexy.  The Gap is presenting too-thin and Sports Illustrated (Not suitable for children…or men) presents too naked.

Where is the romance?

I fear we need to understand the definition of romance before we can actually discuss it.  However, Webster and I do not agree.  Romance, as defined today, deals either with something old and fantastical or new, fresh, and short-lived with hot passion!  My sarcasm is really screaming right now that romance has gone the way of my youth and energy. Yet, I feel that romance in its pure form comes out of a developing relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  The reason we have it all messed up is because we have removed God from the dating, marriage, passion, sex equation.  When we are out of touch with God, temptations become very strong.

The exclusive dating is killing our kids since our culture has promised joy and happiness if we would just follow what our bodies are telling us.  I know too many youth who now live with regrets and pain as a result of the fluttering nature of young love.  Yet, so many see the revolving door that is their parent’s bedroom and simply follow suit.

Romance begins with God.  As we develop a loving lasting relationship with Him we become equipped to do so with someone else for life.  Starter marriages and Trial Marriages through cohabitation are not fulfilling.  Romance does not have to be only the hot passion of youth but also the gentle smooth dance of two people whose lives have become intertwined.  The severing of this kind of couple happens when one, or both, have moved away from God.  How do we get it back?

Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.  For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.  And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.   1 John 2:15-17

…and so will romance!

3 Critical Prayers to Pray

In Chrisian Life on April 28, 2014 at 2:18 pm

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What would you ask for if you found a genie-in-a-bottle and were granted three wishes that were bound to come true?

Have you heard the story of a young man who found a genie-in-a-bottle? This young adult is walking down the beach and comes across an old bottle. He picks it up, pulls out the cork and out pops a genie.

The genie says, “Thank you for freeing me from the bottle. In return I will grant you three wishes.” The man says, “Great! I always dreamed of this and I know exactly what I want. First, I want one billion dollars in a Swiss bank account.” Poof! There is a flash of light and a piece of paper with account numbers appears in his hand. He continues, “Next, I want a brand new red Ferrari right here.” Poof! There is a flash of light and a bright red brand-new Ferrari appears right next to him. He continues, “Finally, I want to be irresistible to women.” Poof! There is a flash of light and he turns into a box of chocolates.

As Christians, we know that there are no genies to be found in bottles. We should also know that God is not a genie, or the benevolent grandpa as some would purport. However, God does care for you and wants you to communicate with Him. We have the awesome privilege to bow before our Heavenly Father in prayer to ask him for what we need. What will you ask for? Let’s take a look at 3 things God would love for you to ask:

  1. “I want Jesus to rule my life more today than yesterday through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
  2. “I want to know and share the love of Christ wherever You take me Father.”
  3. “I want to experience the very best that You have for me and to never settle for less.”

These are three things Paul prayed the Ephesians would have as a result of their relationship with God and with him. May we help one another understand that greatness of our God. May we stand with arms high and heart abandoned before the One who stood for us!

Ending the Winter in Your Family

In Family, Life and Culture on March 26, 2014 at 8:24 am

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With the recent release of Frozen on DVD and the current weather battle for spring to emerge, I have considered how we can thaw out in our family relationships. Like so many others, we bought the DVD of Frozen, though we had not seen it in the theater. We sat down over a school break and watched it. It is an amazing film filled with wonderful animation and catchy songs. While I enjoyed the movie, I was disturbed with the treatment of Elsa, as I am sure I was supposed to be. How often do we, unintentionally and with good reasons, treat our family the way she was treated? The royal parents had a difficult time on their hands to be sure. Elsa was different from others. She often found herself in uncontrollable situations, such as the one that got her imprisoned in her room. In order to end winter in your family her are a few key terms to remember.

Express

During a play time, Elsa unfortunately hurt her sister trying to help her sister. The parents reacted poorly and isolated her from that moment. She was not allowed to be who she was designed to be. There are four basic ways a child will learn to express themselves in school: Academics, Arts, Athletics, and Agriculture. Your child will excel in one of these areas and possibly show interest in others. If we are going to train up our children to be all God made them to be then we need to allow for expression to come naturally. If we isolate them in one area because it is the most comfortable for us then we lose out on the full potential in our relationship with each other.

Embrace

Elsa felt all alone. She had parents. She had a sister. Yet, she felt alone and unloved. Critically, she also felt unlovable. This can happen in our family too. Every person is wired by God in a unique way. Gary Chapman has made a career out of developing 5 Love Languages for every possible situation. Every family member will have a stronger need for one over the others. If you try to love them all the same then you will fail. Each person is different. Siblings have the same genetic code but will need different ways of feeling loved and supported.

Expand

Elsa was put away because the parents did not know how to deal with the reality of their daughter. Instead of taking an interest in what she could do, they locked her up. Expanding our horizons is healthy. Involve them and yourself in a variety of options, even the ones you may not enjoy. During the process, watch to see you finds their niche. Sometimes no one will, but the process of learning together builds the bonds of family.

You might be experiencing an eternal winter in your family right now. Everyone is on edge and grumpy. Maybe there are broken relationships. Honest and sincere love will melt the ice that surrounds the hearts and minds of those who have been hurt. One action is a fairy tale for sure, but consistent acts of love will allow spring to bloom in your family again!

4 Critical Needs For The Dad Life (Mom’s Too) From Nanny McPhee

In Parenting on March 3, 2014 at 9:34 am

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When you need me but do not want me, then I must stay.
When you want me but no longer need me, then I have to go.

Raising children has never been easy.  God has placed within them imagination, strength of will, and emotional immaturity. We have placed within them a sinful nature which makes for a dangerous concoction.  There are, have been, and certainly will be moments each day when I feel the truth of Nanny McPhee.  I am but 6 months from being a Dad of a teenager. In some ways, my daughter (10) is already trying out teenage responses.

When they were little, their need for us was so overwhelming.  They could do nothing on their own.  They could not eat or dress on their own.  For a time they could not even use the bathroom on their own.  Now of course, fights ensue over how long they are in the mirror, how much hot water was used, and who did not turn on the fan!  I digress.  Now they are becoming so independent.  The growth chart on the wall attempts to reveal young adults when their faces and emotions betray.  We are now in the midst of this McPhee truth.

They need hugs and kisses though they do not want them.  Children need affection regardless of what they tell you.  They also need to see affection between parents.  The way I treat Dulcie will likely be how my son treats a wife.  The way I train him to treat his mother will further develop how he treats a wife.  The way I love my daughter will directly affect the kind of man she will marry.  They need the affection though the adolescent in them will act like it kills them!

They need sleep though they do not think they want it.  We have attempted to keep a fairly structured bedtime.  Some nights do not allow, such as Sunday and Wednesday nights due to church related activities.  However, we try to get them in bed early.  Though they are a little older, 8pm is still a goal we have.  Healing and brain development occurs during sleep.  If children do not get the right amount of sleep everyone pays the price.  In addition, Dulcie and I need time to ourselves.  One of the greatest ways to be better parents is to be better spouses.  We need the time together as well.

They need guidance though they don’t always want it.  My kids are like yours.  They have an independent streak in them that they nurture and produce at the most inopportune moments!  This seems to be the year of the attitude, though I vaguely remember last year was also.  Guiding how they react and respond to influence both inside and out is critical to success in life.  Trust me, they do not always want this guidance, but they need it.  They need to know the boundaries.  They need to know the consequences.  They need endure consequences at times also.

They need encouragement in measured doses.  Every person needs encouragement.  However, we can encourage in an embarrassing way if not careful.  Coaching from the stands may feel encouraging to you but not to them.  Coach them up at home in love and kindness.  I am reminded often by Dulcie that God has given me a big voice that can sound mean at times.  I have to work on sounding loving and kind while getting their attention.  One of the easiest ways is to just have those conversations privately rather than publicly.  If YOU need to release your guilt of un-involvement, don’t embarrass them!  Make the time to text, call, message, or speak to them away from the action and noise of friends.  A little every day is more important than a lot on Saturday.

The Bible teaches that we are not to exasperate our children.  If we believe that to mean never make them mad then I have failed miserably.  However, I understand it to mean to provide for their needs even when they don’t see it.  We are to be there when they need us even if they do not want us.  As they grow and mature they will not need us as often but will want us and we can invest in a rich friendship for years to come.

3 Things Everyone Needs to Know on Valentine’s Day

In Life and Culture, love on February 14, 2014 at 10:50 am

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Outside of the principal’s office each year on this day 2 8-foot tables were set up.  As the flower and gift shops opened for business they started hauling in all manner of vases and baskets.  By lunch, these tables were overflowing.  All the people would come and get their items and then they would fill up again after lunch for those who had forgotten earlier or had acquired a date over lunch.

Saying “I like you” can get expensive.  See, there was very little love involved in shelling out massive amounts of money.  In fact, I find it rather amusing that guys are so uninvolved in the lives of those they say they love that they simply order and deliver.  I read a Facebook post of a friend of mine who was really happy with her gift because there was thought involved.  Instead of just buying “the usual”, the guy purchased items he knew she really wanted.  Here are 3 things everyone needs to know on Valentine’s Day.

Love is more than an order over the phone.  Anyone can phone in an order.  I admit, I have done this before and regretted it!  Love is about a relationship.  If I just phone in an order which involves generic items that speaks to my guilt more than my love.  Guilt due to waiting too late and now the punt plan takes over.  You send in a basket to your child because you want them to feel special.  I would propose that a well-loved child’s esteem is built each day and not on one gigantic day.

Love is about a relationship.  I would suggest that most teenage boys have no clue about this aspect.  If your purpose in life on this day is about your girl getting the biggest, best, or most expensive item then you are measuring against the wrong standard.  Your gift being bigger than your buddy’s gift is not the standard.  The depth of what you know about your love and matching that with just the right gift is the standard.  Does she giggle with glee because you have shown her that you have listened?  Does your child need a large gift to make her feel special or have you built her up with confidence of your love and support daily through relationship?

Love is not always about money.  Face it.  Guys think that if they spend enough money the love with grow.  More flowers and bigger baskets become egregious if they have to outdo last year.  I recently discovered a letter I wrote 20 years ago to my wife.  She still keeps it tucked away in a safe place.  The cost of ink and paper is irrelevant.  This has been kept because of the intangibles.  Throwing money at a relationship does not fix the problem or make her feel more loved.  Giving of your heart is what counts.

Some might say that I am not a romantic and must be a love “hater”.  This is not true.  The truth is that romance takes effort and, at times, we guys can get lazy.  When you take the time to listen, observe, and then respond life, love, and laughter will once again fill your heart and home.

Listen carefully.
Watch closely.
Respond confidently.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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