Are you robbing God?

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When I was about seven years old, my family went on a trip to Sauk Prairie, Wisconsin to visit some of my parents' friends.  They had four kids, the same number of kids as my family.  I don't remember much from the trip, except that they had some cool toys.  One toy in particular was a rubber mouse from Chuck E Cheese.  When it came time to leave, I didn't want to leave the new toy I had discovered - so I took it with me.  It wasn't until about halfway home that my parents asked me about the toy.  I told them it wasn't mine.  Needless to say, they weren't happy.  But instead of scolding me with words, they turned around and drove back to their friends' house, making me walk up to the front door and give them their toy back.  And on top of all that humiliation, I had to apologize.  I definitely learned my lesson early on that thievery is a sin.

I am worth 25 cents.

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I didn't realize how prideful and arrogant I could be until my girlfriend and I began getting serious about our lives together.  Now that we are engaged and planning to get married at the end of the year, I am realizing how selfish and arrogant I really am.

Bring (v): "come to a place with"

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"For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit" (I Peter 3:18, KJV).

The Struggle Is Real!

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Among teenagers today, there is a phrase that they say when they are faced with challenges in life: "The struggle is real!"  (Unless you're from Whiteville, then you will say, "The skruggle is real!")  Today, I join them in their cry.  "THE STRUGGLE IS REAL!"

Giving Up

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God's love is incredible.  It is unconditional.  It is without limit.  It is perfect.  It is timely.  It is always true and fulfilling.

A few Sunday's ago, Pastor Matthew Watkins of Grace Pointe Church in Whiteville, Tennessee delivered a message on the three forms of love in the original Greek: erosphileo; and agape.  Each word differs and only one is truly from God and offers the greatest and most fulfilling experience a human being can know.  But do you know which one it is?  (The answer may surprise you....)

Choosing Obedience

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There are many choices we have in life - some start very early in the morning.  Will I choose to hit the snooze button on the alarm or not?  Should I take a shower or just splash some water on my face?  Which shirt should I wear today for work?  What kind of cereal am I going to eat for breakfast?  The decisions are endless.  Yet while many of those types of decisions are small and will not make a huge difference in our lives, there is one choice that will always impact us positively: choosing obedience.

"God!! Which way do I go?!"

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Life is full of decisions.  But which decisions we choose can have drastic impact in our lives.

Right now, I am faced with many life-altering decisions.  I have had several interviews with different schools in Wisconsin and Illinois.  At the same time, I am still employed with another school district in Tennessee.  So what am I doing?  In short, I want to see if God will direct my life back toward my home state of Wisconsin.  Yet, if He does not, I will

Assurance of Salvation

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"I have anxiety attacks when I don't read [my Bible] and when [the attacks] come up, I feel like if Jesus were to come back I'd be stranded here and it all has to do with assurance of my salvation.  I struggle with it soooo much.  It's a constant thing."

I received the previous text message from a young man recently.  After reading it, I knew

Don't Judge Me!

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"Don't judge me" is a phrase used by many today.  It is most commonly used in times of defense, when someone feels judged for doing something wrong.  But this phrase is often times sorely misused.

Are You Spiritually Blind?

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Which physical sense do you value the most? Is it your eyesight? Is it your sense of smell?  Is it your sense of hearing?  Or perhaps it's your sense of touch?  That would be a really hard sense to lose, if it is possible to lose it.

The State of the Union is One of Confusion!

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Currently, I do not have internet at my house, so I'm typing this at school, which doesn't give me the same time or relaxation as when I type at home.  Nevertheless, here we go!

Lately I have been thinking about the state of the union.  The United States will be 238 years old on July 4 of this year.  The country is still relatively young.  Already, we have drifted - if not paddled - very, very far away from the moral truths that this country was founded upon.  People can argue this point until they die, but the fact is that our founding fathers were most definitely Christians, believers in the Bible and supporters of Truth.  The facts don't lie.  Just read some of their early documents:

Answered Prayer! (But Why Am I Surprised?)

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It seems like when prayers are answered, I am usually surprised, but I know I shouldn't be.  Answered prayer is no different than someone responding in a conversation.  Just as in conversation, an answer is expected.

Perhaps I am not so surprised by answered prayer as I am excited.  Last week, one of my prayers was answered in a miraculous way.

Tax Season (featuring guest author Adam Miller)

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Tax season is in full swing, which means its time for cutting corners, white lies and twisting the truth.  Why is that?  Why do we not trust God to provide what we need, within the parameters of doing what is right?

Stop and think about your life.  How often do you drive five miles (or more) over the speed limit?  Just because you probably will not experience consequences means you don’t have to obey the law? Dang. Or how often do you skew your insurance policy so you don’t have to pay as much? How truthful were you when you filed your taxes?  Is a couple hundred extra on your return really worth being a bit shady? How many times a day do you alter a story to save or improve your image?  In school, how often did/do you copy answers or use someone else’s work?   At your job, do you actually do everything that is expected of you, or do you do enough to get by and stretch the truth about the rest? How honest was your last job application and interview? How often do you skimp on the amount you tithe?  How often do you sign for someone else or fudge your time card?  How much music and movies do you own that you didn't pay for? How often do you text while driving?

The Tact of Truth: The Conclusion of the Matter

This is the fifth and final post in a series of posts entitled: "Truth's Heroes."

I have battled and sought out the answers to this question of what it means to stand up for what's right especially in the midst so much evil around us today.  It seems that people do not have a clue anymore about what is wrong and what is right.  I thought I knew the answer: State the Truth, letting people know what's wrong and what's right.  Yet somehow I felt pushy and standoffish when I put that into practice.  I think there is yet a better way than I have written about so far.  And it came to me by means of listening to a friend through whom God spoke.

In the spirit of "saving the best for last," allow me to expound on the meaning of what it means to speak the Truth in this final post in the "Truth's Heroes" series.

Miracles don't happen anymore. Do they?

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Yesterday at church I was talking to a woman about healing and the power of God.  Healing is such a taboo subject, it seems, among people in the church.  We want to believe it, but somehow we can't.  We wish it would happen to us, but we're afraid to start asking for it because it might not happen.  Instead of seeking it, we avoid it.  "Leave that healing stuff to the snake-handlers - those Pentecostals," we utter with a bit of arrogance.

Grace: Truth's Best Weapon

This is the fourth post in a series of posts entitled: "Truth's Heroes."

As I continue to wrestle with this idea of boldly proclaiming Truth, I started to wonder: "Where does Grace fit into the equation?  When should I extend Grace if I'm supposed to be unwavering in my in-toleration of evil?  Should I ever let people 'off the hook' for the wrong they have done?  It seems rather mean and hateful if all I do is tell people what they're doing wrong and that they need to repent.  Jesus granted us Grace - or a pardon that we don't deserve - so when should I overlook someone's wrongdoing?"

The questions seem valid, right?  However, they couldn't be more deceptive.

The Necessity of Confrontation

This is the third post in a series of posts entitled: "Truth's Heroes."

Instead of standing up for what's right, we complain about what's wrong....

Today at school I saw a student being bullied by another couple of students.  Here's what happened: During lunch, a girl was walking back from the snack machine with a bag of candy.  Tearing open the bag, the candy spilled on the ground.  Two other students reacted and grabbed some of it for themselves.  Having seen what happened, I began walking toward the incident in the back of the lunch room.  The girl had finished picking up her candy and was asking for the other pieces back from the two bullies.  Instead of handing the candy over to the girl, they threw one piece on the ground and laughed.  The girl, shaking her head, turned and walked back to her seat.  In the meantime, one of the bullies took out a piece of the candy and began eating it.  This is about the time when I entered the picture.  Needless to say, I wasn't very happy.

"And zeal will consume me..."

This is the second post in a series of posts entitled: "Truth's Heroes."

If you were to describe Jesus in a few words, what words would you choose?

Surely, words like loving, merciful, kind, compassionate, gentle, peaceful, and humble would be near the top of the list.

The truth is, Jesus is so much more than cupcakes and good feelings.

Micaiah: A Man With Guts

This post marks the first in a series of posts entitled: "Truth's Heroes."

I am operating under the general premise that Christians today are so afraid of offending someone that we keep the Truth to ourselves.  When a teacher at school teaches evolution to innocent children, we turn and look the other way.  When a policy is made in government that goes completely against the Bible, we might mumble under our breath - and then turn the other way.  When an athlete comes out as "gay," we sidestep any controversy about the subject and turn the other way.  My friends, I say "we" because I am guilty of it too.  But we shouldn't be.  None of us who know the Truth should be hiding it.  We should be speaking it.

I am going to be focusing on some very controversial issues over the next few posts.  Some of you may agree with me wholeheartedly, others will undoubtedly emphatically disagree with me.  Regardless, I am not in charge of what you do with the information I will be presenting over the next few days: you are.  I am simply the spokesperson, not because I necessarily want to be, but because God has specifically burdened me with this literal, pressing weight.  As we will see in our journey ahead, sometimes being the spokesperson means you are as hated as the message giver Himself.

The Danger of Entitlement

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As I said in yesterday's post, I have been coaching an elementary-aged basketball team for the last month or so. Last night was our last practice, so I decided to do it the old "Cougar Camp" way and have competitions with prizes awarded to the winners. ("Cougar Camp" is a week-long, summer baseball camp in my hometown for elementary school kids that my dad has organized for over a decade. Prizes are awarded each day to kids who win competitions or display great character.)

Finding Joy in Chaos

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Beginning in early January and ending this Friday night, I have volunteered a few hours each week to coach an elementary-aged basketball team at a local church.  Now, in mid-February, we are in the final week of this very short, yet very draining, season.

Have you ever tried coaching little kids before?  The first night I told them to line up on the line, and they immediately

3 Simple Strategies to Stop Complaining

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I have come to realization that I complain a lot more than I would like to think.  Complaining is so easy to do.  But why?  Why is it so much easier to complain than stay upbeat and positive?  How does one look at the glass half-full and not half-empty?

Here are three simple and Biblical ways to stop the habit of complaining.

"The Love Approach" - The Results Are In!

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The results are in: The Love Approach works!

I didn't get to try it on my class since testing changed the daily schedule this week, but I did try it on a few different students throughout the week.  Today, in fact, I practiced

"The Love Approach"

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The last four days have been rough.  I contracted a stomach virus from somewhere last week (I've been keeping the toilets busy ever since).  On top of feeling sick, I had an early morning blow up during my first block class on Friday.

This is how it "went down."

"Put me in, coach!"

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Sitting the bench is never as fun as playing in the game.

Growing up, I was gifted with talent in athletics.  I sure was not a Michael Jordan, but I had earned the starting spot on all my teams growing up.  I started at a number of positions in baseball, ranging from catcher to pitcher to third base; in basketball I was one of the

2 Things That Changed My Life!

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I won't bore you with details; I'll get right to it.

There are two things that have been shared with me in the last week that have greatly influenced - even changed - my life, particularly my thinking.


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Yesterday, I ran some errands on our chilly day off of school.  Granted, chilly to Tennesseans is not the same kind of chilly to Wisconsinites; nonetheless, school was cancelled yesterday due to the frigid drop of temperature to 20 degrees Fahrenheit (above zero).

Still, 20 degrees is pretty cold no matter where you live.  And if you lived in the house I lived in, you would experience this cold 24/7, not just when you were outside.  This is mostly due to

Teen pregnancy down 6%! But is that enough?

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This morning on the school news channel, a story was reported on the decline of teen pregnancy in the United States.  The story went on to explain that a reason behind the decline was due to two MTV shows: "Teen Mom" and "16 and Pregnant."  The TV shows follow the lives of pregnant teenagers through their pregnancies, documenting their highs and lows, rewards and setbacks.  The new research claimed that

Nice Guys Finish Last

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I love observing people.  I love finding that one person in a crowded area and just watching them.  There is one student at school, for instance, who comes into the cafeteria everyday doing some kind of new dance.  Sometimes watching people can be

Should a Christian use social media?

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Here's a good debate: Should a born-again Christian use social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram?

I'm sure your first response is either defensive or an immediate no.

But let's think about this a little deeper than just the surface, emotional level.

My New Year's Resolution

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Alright.  First of all, I hate the idea of "New Year's resolutions."  I mean, do we really need a new year to tell us to change?  Why not just start doing it the day you think of it?  But I guess some people aren't mentally strong enough to do that... which is why

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