What Are You Giving Up For Lent?

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Lent is a season of the Christian Year where Christians focus on simple living, prayer, and fasting in order to grow closer to God.

Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent starts today.During Lent, many of us think about something to “give up.” Unfortunately, these things often have little impact up on our life and walk with Christ.

With that said, I would like to offer up 40 things you might consider giving up for Lent this year. There is one for each day of the season. And these are things to give up not just for Lent, but for the rest of your life.

1. Fear of Failure – You don’t succeed without experiencing failure. Just make sure you fail forward.

2. Your Comfort Zone – It’s outside our comfort zones where new discoveries are made.

3. Feelings of Unworthiness – You are fearfully and wonderfully made by your creator. (Psalm 139:14)

4. Impatience – God’s timing is the perfect timing.

5. Retirement – As long as you are still breathing, you are here for a reason. You have a purpose to influence others for Christ. Our work is not always tied to a paycheck.

6. People Pleasing – I can’t please everyone anyways. There is only one I need to strive to please.

7. Comparison – I have my own unique contribution to make and there is no one else like me.

8. Blame – I am not going to pass the buck. I will take responsibility for my actions.

9. Guilt – I am loved by Jesus and he has forgiven my sins. Today is a new day and the past is behind.

10. Overcommitment – Do less better and accomplish more.

11. Lack of Counsel – Wise decisions are rarely made in a vacuum.

12. Impurity – Live lives pure and without blemish.

13. Entitlement – The world does not owe me anything. God does not owe me anything. I live in humility and grace.

14. Apathy – Life is too short not to care.

15. Hatred – Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21)

16. Negativity – I will put the best construction on everything when it comes to other people. I will also minimize my contact with people who are negative and toxic.

17. The Spirit of Poverty – Believe that with God there is always more than enough and never a lack.

18. Going Through the Motions – The more you invest yourself, the more you will get back.

19. Complaint – Instead of contributing to the problem, be the solution.

20. The Pursuit of Happiness – God wants something greater and more lasting than happiness. It is called joy.

21. Bitterness – The only person I am hurting by holding on to this is myself.

22. Distraction – Life is filled with distractions that will take our eyes off the prize.

23. Giving up – God never gives up on us.

24. Mediocrity – If you are going to do something, then give it all you got.

25. Destructive Speech – Encourage one another and all the more as you see the day approaching (Hebrews 10:25)

26. Busyness – It is a badge of honor to be busy. But that does not always translate to abundance.

27. Loneliness – With Jesus I am never alone. He is with me wherever I go.

28. Disunity – If two of you agree on earth about anything, it will be done for them by the Heavenly Father (Matthew 18:19)

29. The Quick Fix – Rarely does true transformation happen overnight.

30. Worry – God is in control and worrying will not help.

31. Idolizing – Don’t assign anyone a standard they cannot live up to.

32. Resistance to Change – Change is certain. It is not if we will change, but how we will change.

33. Pride – Blessed are the humble.

34. Small View of God – Don’t tell God how big your problem is, tell your
problem how big your God is.

35. Envy – I am blessed. My value is not found in my possessions, but in my relationship with my Heavenly Father.

36. Ungratefulness – You have been blessed in a way greater than you realize.

37. Selfish Ambition – God has a mission for me that is bigger than me.

38. Self-Sufficiency – Jesus is my strength. I can do all things through him (Philippians 4:13)

39. Sorrow – Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5b)

40. My Life – Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life (John 12:25)

**resources were found at the website below.


Will you join me for the next 40 days? Each day, I plan to reflect on what I’m giving up and make sure that I’m living it out!

Why I Would Never Force my Kids to go to Church

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Here is the LINK to the original article, or you can just read it below. 

My parents forced me to eat three times a day growing up.  No joke.  Three times.  Every.  Single.  Day.  And it wasn’t always stuff I liked, either.  Matter of fact, I complained a lot about what my mom made.  “Ewww, gross!  Sauteed zucchini?  Seriously?  Mom, you know we hate this stuff!”  So as I approached adulthood I made an important decision.  Since my parents forced me to eat while I was growing up, I decided I was done with meals.  Oh, here and there I’ll eat out of obligation.  I mean, family traditions like Thanksgiving and Christmas, yeah, I’m there.  But daily eating?  No way.  I’m done.


Set in any other context, excuses people make for not going to church sound completely ridiculous.  But set in the context of Christianity, people say these things in all seriousness while others nod sagely in somber agreement.

My son told me a few weeks into school that he didn’t like the teacher.  He wasn’t getting excited enough about learning, and he didn’t really feel connected to the other kids in his class, so I told him he never had to go back to school again.  Who wants to waste their time going somewhere where they aren’t being fulfilled?

We’ve never forced our daughter to stay off the road when playing.  We don’t want to restrict her imagination.  We allow her the freedom to make her own choices in life.

Okay, Ruth.  Come on.  That one was just ridiculous.  No loving parent would ever say that.  That’s a safety issue- a matter of life and death.  Exactly.  And that’s just my point.

Church isn’t a place you go to get pumped up about life.  It isn’t entertainment like a movie or concert.  It is literally a life and death matter.  Eternal life.  Just as a loving parent wouldn’t allow their child to wander in the road or to quit school, a loving Christian parent also does not give the option to their children about going to church, learning Bible stories at home, and praying together.  Do your kids always jump for joy when they hear you say, “Time to get up!  Let’s get ready for church!”  No.  They won’t.  Do they get excited for school every morning?  Hardly.  But you still make them go.  Why?  Because you are the parent and you know what’s best.  Even when they complain, you serve them healthful meals and limit their junk food intake.  You set boundaries for their own safety when playing outside.  You insist they go to school because you’re looking at the long term picture.  And you are right to do those things.  How much more so are you responsible for doing all you can to secure their eternal well being?

Yes, kids can be brought up in a loving Christian home and still turn away later.  That’s on them.  But you, parents, have a task of the utmost importance.  God has placed these precious children into your homes for such a brief while.  You have them with you for perhaps 1/5 of their lives.  Set a strong foundation while they are under your roof.  Take them to church.  Make sure they understand that they are sinners and that Jesus is their Savior.  They are never too young to learn this.  My one-and-a-half year old sees a cross and excitedly shouts, “Jesus!”  Don’t use the excuse that “they wouldn’t understand this.”  Try them.  I don’t understand it all myself, but I still believe.  And you’d better believe that the Holy Spirit works in their hearts effectively.  My children sometime amaze me with the insights they pick up during devotions or Bible readings.  The strength of their faith often humbles me.  Once when I was having a terrible day, my oldest asked, “Can I pray with you?”  He was nine at the time.  He knows there is power in prayer.  He perceives that sometimes there’s nothing he can say that will make it better, so he’ll just go straight to the One who does have that power.  Do my own kids complain about church?  Yes.  Do they tell me it’s boring?  Sometimes, yes.  They say the same things about school.  But church and school are different environments for a reason.  School is centered around learning and thus has its own schedule and structure.  Church is a hospital for sinners.  That would be all of us, mind you.  You, me, the drug dealer a few streets away- all of us are sinners in need of a Savior.  So what do we do at church?  We confess our sins.  Why do we do this at the start?  To “wipe our feet” before entering God’s house, so to speak.  Then we are assured of forgiveness.  We hear God’s Word.  We sing hymns proclaiming what Christ has done for us.  We hear sermons where our pastors preach Christ.  We don’t go to church to hear what we have to do to gain heaven.  No, Christ did it all.  100%.  We can’t do one thing to merit salvation for ourselves.  That’s why we hear sermons about Jesus and not about us. We take the body and blood of Jesus in Holy Communion for the strength of our souls.  And we depart refreshed to serve God by serving our families, friends, and neighbors in Christian love.

So parents, don’t give in to outside pressures telling you not to force your kids to go to church.  Don’t give in to them, either, when they complain about it.  Because at some point an amazing thing happens- that kid who complains about church grows up and takes his or her own kids to church every Sunday.  Going back to my opening analogy, believe it or not, there came a point in my own life where I realized I actually liked sauteed zucchini (although I never would have admitted that to my mother).  Keep at it, parents.  Just as we need three meals a day for physical strength and nourishment, so do we need regular worship to refresh and strengthen our souls.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go make breakfast.

-Ruth Meyer

Phil Robertson And A&E

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“Everything is blurred in what’s right and wrong, Sin becomes fine. Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there — bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men.” -Phil Robertson

GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) & LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) people became enraged that Phil would equate homosexuality to bestiality.

You know because bestiality is sick, twisted, nasty, wrong on many levels…I am sure anyone including GLAAD & LGBT communities would agree.

I wonder if they know that the Bible also equates bestiality to liars, cheaters, stealers, greedy & lustful people, those with evil desires, drunkards, slanderers, & swindlers.

Now let’s do the math. Uuuhhhmmm……SIN! That’s right according to the Bible each one of those is sin. NO, Joe did’t say they were sin, The Bible Does.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10

9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

BUT……there is HOPE and the little word “were”

1 Corinthians 6:11

11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

I’m thankful for verse 11, I used to be, but now I’m WASHED, SANCTIFIED, JUSTIFIED in the name of Jesus and the Spirit of God!

Did you know that you can be too?

My little Dustin is going to have an X-Box for Christmas this year

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The quote below was from a woman who was arrested Nov. 30th for stabbing to death three shoppers at a Chicago-area Wal-Mart in order to secure the store’s last X-Box One.

“Of course I’d do it all over again,” Robbins proclaimed from a Cook County jail cell. “My little Dustin is going to have an X-Box for Christmas this year. No one can take that away from him. Not even the police.”

“Shopping isn’t a hobby for me, it’s a war. So I have to spend a little time behind bars. So what? I didn’t punk out. I fought hard for my family, and I’m proud of that.”

I am not a “shopper” although I have been known to do a little Black Friday shopping if the right deal is available.

Now let’s talk about what Jesus did on Black Friday.

“Jesus therefore took up His own cross. He had come to see it, too, in deeply symbolic terms: symbolic, now, not merely of Roman oppression, but of the way of love and peace which He had commended so vigorously, the way of defeat which He had announced as the way of victory. … It was to become the symbol of victory, but not of the victory of Caesar, nor of those who would oppose Caesar with Caesar’s methods. It was to become the symbol, because it would be the means, of the victory of God.” -NT Wright
Mrs. Robbins proclaimed from a Cook County jail cell, “Of course I’d do it all over again.” She would kill or injure for her little Dustin and consider it victorious.

Jesus did kill or injure for his little______,(insert your name) He sacrificed himself for victory over death and He won’t have to do it all over again!

What are you chasing after and how hard are you willing to fight for your family?




Five Common Hangups to Holiness

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In my google reader this am (oh by the way I am about to cry that google reader is soon to be a thing of the past) Wesleyan Sermons had a post by Dave Ward that I thought was worth reposting.

Five Common Hangups to Holiness


1. The belief that all sin is the same

“I sin in thought, word, and deed every day” you have heard many say. You have also heard your people say “I think every sin is the same, who am I to judge?” Then the proof texts come out: “If you look at a woman you have committed adultery in your heart.” Nobody really thinks this is true. We don’t expel pastors from pulpits from looking the wrong way at a woman. We might rebuke them, but we don’t expel them. We do discipline them for adultery. That means we know there is a difference. We know it so deeply that our entire justice system is built upon this same belief. Intent to harm is judged over accidental harm, and so forth.

Not all sin is the same. Willful sin is the sin you can be free from. Unintentional sin is part of the human condition for life. Purposeful violations of God’s laws can be avoided. Flaws of character and flaws of performance are part of our ongoing battle to be more like Christ. They remain at some level until death. Not all sin is the same.

2. Personal setbacks

Many have pursued holiness only to continue stumbling into one vice or another. They struggle, they pray, they ask God for deliverance. Then they fail again. As human beings are known for doing, we look for justification. We find a proof text for this as well, “Paul was left with his thorn” they say. Paul never said it was a sin, it was a messenger. Yet we grasp that verse out of the many and let ourselves off the hook. It may take more time for us to surrender our attachments than it does for others. It may take more crises of conviction before our pet addictions are finally named. It may take more growth in grace, support from community, or understanding of God’s character before we finally are ready to give ourselves fully up to God. God may choose to delay his work in our hearts for his own reasons that we cannot discern. Our setbacks do not disprove God’s power to save, and to save from sin.

3. High profile failures

My first two academic advisors in ministerial studies had moral failings. Removed from their ministry posts and their academic posts their failures stung many of us in that generation of Wesleyan preachers. You have your own heroes and heroines who have fallen. For many, when someone was an exemplar of godliness to them, and that someone falls, cynicism sets in. “If that person couldn’t be holy, then no one can” we think.

The failure of one does not rule out the possibility for others. Think of it this way: does the doping charges of several high level baseball players rule out even the possibility of integrity for all baseball players?Isn’t it possible that one or two players never doped? How would that logic work if you applied it to a minority group? One or two key figures from that group act immorally so you rule out the possibility of morality for all members of that group. That’s called prejudice. It’s a form of weakened thinking. We have all fallen into it, but it does not rule out holiness.

4. Pride in the proponents

Holiness evangelists used to walk down the campground aisle with dark overcoats during the last of the song set. Sitting up front in a full suit, well above the crowd, they would glare (not singing) out over the crowd. They were setting their sites on their victims. A preaching friend of mine told me the story of giving an altar call in a holiness camp to which there was little response. The old evangelist by his side leaned over and said “Let me show you how this is done, son.” He stood up, manipulated the moment, and brought many to the altar.

Pride. We don’t like it. When the proponents of a position are prideful we like to discard the position. We throw out the baby with the bathwater. Have you ever read the phrase “Don’t rule out the use because of the abuse?” It’s a time worn rule of good thinking. Most Philosophy or Logic classes teach it. When we are tempted to discard holiness because of prideful proponents we need to remember they are not God or the scriptures. When we reject holiness, if holiness is true, it is not the flawed representatives we reject, but the scriptures testimony.

Are these the obstacles you have wrestled with? Do you have others? Share your

Where Life Will Never Die

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Tenth Avenue North has put together a 7-Day Reading Plan on YouVersion for their album ‘The Struggle’, which debuted at #9 on the Billboard 200 charts in August 2012.

Our Ground Zero Student Ministries has used it for our Sunday night small groups.

You can find out more about the overflow devotions HERE.


Our devotion last night was very powerful and I wanted to share it with you.

Tenth Avenue North – The Overflow Devo

Job 1:22
22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.

Revelation 21:4-5
4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” 5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

You Do All Things Well
It was five or six years ago when I got the call from a friend. “Your roommate Travis has malaria. The doctors don’t think he’s gonna make it.”
Time slows. Your head goes foggy. You repeat the line in your head. “They don’t think he’s going to make it.”

Travis had just gotten back from a four month trip to Africa with three of my roommates; though I hesitate to call them roommates. At the time, I lived in a house with four other guys that were less like friends and more like brothers. To imagine one of them dying … well, it just wasn’t possible.

So when I put down the phone, I picked up my guitar and headed out the door. A group of us quickly gathered in the waiting room at the hospital and began to pray. We prayed and prayed and ached and ached.

We shouted. We begged. We pleaded. We sat silent.

We came to the moment.

Have you ever prayed for something so long and so hard that you run out of prayers to pray?

I’ve only been to that place a few times in my life, because, quite honestly, I tend to talk about praying with my friends much more than I actually pray with my friends. But there have been a few times, by the grace of God, when I’ve prayed to the point of exhaustion; to the point of moaning, to the point of groans and unintelligible mutterings.
God heal Travis.God heal Travis.God heal Travis.And then…

I was suddenly struck with the thought, Father, you can heal him now, or heal him by taking him home, but whatever you decide to do, you do all things well. So I feebly picked up my guitar and began to clumsily strum and sing that simple thought. “You do all things, you do all things, you do all things well.” And out of the corner of my eye, I see Travis’ mom stand to her feet, lift her hands up in the air, up above her tear stained cheeks, up above the despair crushing down on her heart, and impossibly begin to sing those words with me.

Now, there are some who would say true faith is all we need to get God to give us what we want. And, if God doesn’t do what we want, the way we want, it isn’t his fault, but it’s our fault for not having enough faith. But you know, when I read the Scriptures, and when I hear talk about mustard seeds and the kingdom come, I get the feeling that Christianity isn’t about how much faith you have, it’s who your faith is in.

When I think about pure faith, I don’t think about those who tighten their fists and say, “God will always heal, as long as I believe enough.” I think about Job. I think about Jesus in the garden, and I think about Travis’ mom.

“You give and take away, but blessed be your name.””Lord, if possible, take this cup from me, but not my will but yours be done.”

“You do all things well.”

Man, if you’re struggling to accept God’s will, how comforting is it to know that even

Jesus struggled, cried, and sweated blood to accept it?

Now, I do have to tell you that the next morning Travis miraculously sat up, pulled his IV out, and began to march right out of the hospital room, gown flapping in the wind and all.

God healed him.


But what I want you to know, and what I pray he allows me to remember, is that He would be just as good, and just as loving, if He decided to take Travis home. May He allow you to gaze at the cross every day of your life. No matter what happens, come what may, may our God open your eyes, loosen the grip of your hands, and loose your tongue to say, “Father, you make beauty, even out of ugly things. You do all things, you do all things, you do all things well.”

Hear ‘You Do All Things Well’ at TheOverflow.com

Follow’ 12 Sermon Series

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Posted below are the four sermons from our Wesleyan Youth Convention in Louisville, KY on December 28-31 called Follow12

Here are the four messages currently available:

Friday, December 28th | General Session 1 | John Vermilya
Working with Kingdom Building Ministries, John Vermilya travels the world sharing messages that focus on the call to authentic Christianity.

Saturday, December 29th | General Session 3 | Troy Evans
Serving in a community where prostitution, drugs, and gangs are common, Troy Evans is the lead pastor of The Edge, a hip-hop church in Grand Rapids, MI.

Sunday, December 30th | General Session 4 | Keith Loy
In 1999 he and his family moved to Sioux Falls, SD to plant Celebrate Community Church. As lead pastor, they have grown to over 4000 in attendance. Keith endeavors to nurture others talents of leadership, creativity, and excellence.

Sunday, December 30th | General Session 5 | Derek Idol
Derik Idol is a gifted communicator who loves seeing people far from God come to Jesus, knowing that their life will never be the same.