Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunday Recap-This too shall pass

Today's message was about that phrase we have heard so much that we think it is scripture, "this too shall pass". Well maybe I should say I heard it alot coming up from my Dad. Maybe it was just in the Hill house I am not sure. Trial after trial I would hear my Dad say. This too shall pass.

Well my Dad happens to be going through one of the biggest health trials he has ever gone through. He had rigorous prostate surgery which led to him have a stroke just yesterday. Lack of speech and lack of use of his right arm are a few of the by products. I talked to him before he lost all his speech and guest what he told me. This too shall pass.

Actual as I started to prepare for this joint church service we had with Grace and Glory Church. I fealt the Lord telling me to simply lead the people to HIM. That was broad enough, so it left me pondering...then all this happened with my dad and that phrase just kept ringing in my head. As I began to study I discovered these things:
  • This too shall pass, is not in scripture it is a Hebrew folklore about King Solomon...but it does have application in a believer's life.
  • That phrase can comfort the burdened or sadden the all depends on what happens after the passing takes place.
  • That phrase can instantly cause you put things in proper perspective.
  • Heaven, earth, and riches will pass away but God's word will abide forever.
  • All that we consider urgent and emergencies now will become memories and lose their potency with time.
  • All flesh is grass and it withers and all flowers fade. Isaiah 40
  • All of man's glory moments, glory projects, glory accomplishments, glory appearances will eventually fade.
  • The majority of things we do in life are temporary.
  • All things will not pass away.
  • God's word is promised to abide for ever
  • God's glory is promised to radiate for ever.
  • Although we may be grass and grasshopper in comparison to God in his magnificent glory, he made the sacrifice of his son to put within us a mystery.
  • That mystery is Christ in us the hope of glory. Colosians 1:20-28
  • So we can have an eternal hope because there is a God in us that will not pass away.
  • He has designed His church to radiate his Glory and proclaim Christ preeminence in our lives.
  • So this too shall pass means I take my eyes off of all my earthly circumstances and fix them on Jesus who has the preeminence over all.
  • Having a heavenly view of earthly circumstances lessens the edge and places faith, hope, and trust where it should have been all along.
  • We must live for eternal things while we abide in the temporal.
I love the hymn "Turn your eyes upon Jesus"
Turn you eyes upon Jesus,

Look full on his wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of his glory and grace.

Sunday Recap-Churches completing not competing

Churches in the same city need to complete one another not compete. Pictured here are two happy guys. William Noel and myself after a great joint church fellowship. He is the Pastor of Grace and Glory Baptist Church here in Oklahoma. The funny thing is we met on the basketball court. He coached my sons team to a national homeshool championship this year. So I met him yelling at the players and he met me yelling at my boys. Then when we realized we were pastors, we of course started whispering to the boys and controlling our emotions. Jokes :-). We had joint worship services at their building. There was vibrant praise and worship and he graced me with the privlege to share the word.

It would be a wonderful homework assignment for any pastor to scan his city and see if God wants them to fellowship with another church and bring completion in areas. When you have a one stop shop mentality in leading a church that can equal worn out leaders and worn out members. But being open to who God leads you to, could be an open door for the completion of some ministry assignment God wants you to accomplish. There are so many benefits in working together. The body of christ must connect outside of our own local four walls.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Daddy Time Pt. 2

Jude's turn for Daddy time. Jude is four, he is still at the age where he is not that opinionated about where we go and what we do on Daddy time. But one of his favorite places is the park. We played a little Frisbee, fed the ducks, and did some swinging.

I have done a variety of things with the children over the years on Daddy time. We have gone to parks and acted like spies while we watched a rec league softball game behind rocks, trees, and bushes. We have gone to park in the dark and played hide and go seek. We have played nerf gun wars. We have taken our bikes and road until we were tired. We've gone to entertainment places and played put-put and select video games. We have gone to book stores grabbed a book and drew the same picture together. We have locked ourselves in a room in the house and built forts with blocks.....and on and on and on.

There is something we always start with rather we are in the car, walking, or riding bikes and that is the Daddy song. Especially when we are in the car we sing it at the top of our lungs.

Well it's daddy Jude time! It's daddy Jude time! Hi-ho-a-merry-O it's daddy Jude time. Turn down your speakers. :-)

There are some light ground rules for daddy time. I typically don't take or make calls on my cell phone. I limit my conversation with other people while we are out so I can give my child my undivided attention. I sit and listen and basically do what ever they want within limits. Sometimes we go have a cheap snack sometimes we don't. I hold their hands, carry them, hug them, whatever I can for them to feel my physical strength. Yes, even the boys! Boys need to feel the physical strength of their fathers, it breeds security in their inner most being.

We always end with reading something out of the book of Proverbs in the Bible. Since Proverbs was a book written from a father to his child, it is full of wisdom nuggets to pass on to my children. We are only on Proverbs chp 8 after all these years. The quantity is not important but the content and discussion is where it really gets good. We have discussed subjects from loaning money to avoiding sexual impurity. THE BIBLE HAS IT ALL! It is the the instruction manual for parenting. Like I said in Part 1 of this blog, God desires all Fathers to turn their hearts to their children. Malachi 4:6 "And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers..." I am learning that in order to have my children's heart they must have mine.

I love Daddy Time it is a great way to start off the week. I get the opportunity to tie relationships strings that can never be seared. Since my wife and I have multiple children this tradition is a must for me, because I have the tendency to lump all the children together and their individual personalities get lost in the crowd. This gives the child freedom to open up without feeling they have to compete with another sibling. We are typically together for at least 2 hours, so the child gets time to bring up all types of things to talk about. So what are some of the things we have talked about?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Daddy time Pt. 1

I love daddy time! Seeing my daughter smile, with her snagga tooth and all, joys my heart. Daddy time is a time where I go out one-on-one with each child and spend some special time. I rotate one child a week. Currently we go on monday evenings.

I sat down and thought for a moment and realized it has been about 4 or 5 years since this tradition started. This tradition was started because of my own neglect. I noticed that I started getting into that mode where my children kept asking me to do things but I was "too busy" to comply to their request. My desire was to be a family man and get the quantity and quality time with my children, but I was allowing ministry, work, and all the other things get in the way.

I would pray and ask God to help me, then have good intentions and look up and realize one week has gone by, then another and I still was not consistently spending the time I thought was neccessary. UNTIL in just dawned on me. You schedule everything at work. Why don' t you just schedule some time with each child. I had four children at that time so I figured I would get twelve special times with each child a year. Ever since then my children and myself look forward to this uninterupted time to talk, play, and tie relationships strings that can never be broken.

God desires all Fathers to turn their hearts to their children. Malachi 4:6 "And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers..." I learned that in order to have my children's heart they must have mine.

Above you can see what Liberty and I like to do on daddy time Laugh, giggle, chase, and talk. So what else happens on Daddy time?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friendship-Strengthened Hands

I tell you friendship is something I highly esteem. My parents named me Jonathan from the famous Bible character who was the son of King Saul and the best friend of King David. As I studied Jonathan's life in the Bible I saw some strikingly similar characteristics with myself. Jonathan was a faithful friend, look at some of the quotes from I and II Samuel in regards to Jonathan and his unique friendship with David:

  • 1Sam. 20:17 And Jonathan caused David to swear again, because he loved him: for he loved him as he loved his own soul.
  • 1Sam. 18:1-3 And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. (2) And Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father's house. (3) Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul.
  • 2 Sa.m 1:26 I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.
  • 1Sam. 23:15-16 And David saw that Saul was come out to seek his life: and David was in the wilderness of Ziph in a wood. (16) And Jonathan Saul's son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God.
Now, I have to admit since marriage I have never expressed my friendships as one "that passes the love of women" but I can truly relate to Jonathan and his dedication to his friend David. I love people! I have this crazy view, that absolutely every person I meet is for a purpose. When I first meet someone I ask myself a question. "How can I strengthen their hand in God?"
When Jonathan met David out in the wildereness of Ziph and strengthened his hand in God it was in the middle of David's distress. David was running for his life. I love to meet people with problems, issues, or heartaches. When God directs me to such people I see such an opportunity. I understand why Jesus came to the lame, the rejected, and the despised because there is such an opportunity.

You may ask what is this great opportunity. Is it an opportunity for me to show off my friendship skills? Is it just an opportunity to solve all of their problems? Maybe it is just an opportunity for me to counsel them? No, it is an opportunity for them to see Christ in a way they had not seen Him before in their current circumstance. Oh the joy to see the light bulb come on and see people find God's strong hand in the midst of their trial. That is so exciting.

One component of friendship is networking and introducing others to your friends that may have something they need. Well I know I have one friend who is my best friend that knows everything and has everything. He gives me the confidence to meet absolutely anyone that has blood running through their veins. He helps me see people how HE made them not how they are acting. This friend is the one and only, Jesus Christ. I can call Him friend because he 1st called me friend . I want to introduce him to everyone I meet. John 15:12-15 talks about our friendship with Jesus.

"This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. (13) Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (14) Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. (15) Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you."

So my purpose in friendships is to reflect a walking manifestation of Christ's love here on earth. God desires such a close relationship with us that he doesn't want to just call us servants but also friends. Since God desires friendship with us, I too desire to be everyone's friend. I know that is not possible to be everyone's friend, but the power is in my hand to choose who I love, to choose who I sacrifice for, to choose who I listen to. Friendship is one of the best investments on the earth.

My dad asked me once, "Son do you know what one of the greatest things you have in your life?" I pondered the question and said proudly, "God". He affirmed that my answer was true, but outside of God he exclaimed, "People, Son..People!". Simple answer, but a forgotten answer. The God of all heaven put His stake in one aspect of his creation..people...human beings. I strive to be a friend to people just like Christ is a friend to me. It says in the proverbs and Galatians:

  • Pro 17:17 A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
  • Pro 18:24 A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
  • Pro 27:17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.
  • Gal 6:2 Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Gleaning from Jonathan and David’s friendship I learn the following:

  1. It is to knit to somone and have a blood covenant. I Sam 18:1-4

  2. It is to strengthen each other in God. I Sam 23:16,17,23

  3. It is to help bring reconciliation in broken relationships with God or people. I Sam 19:4-7

  4. It is to provide protection for each other. I Sam 20:1-4

  5. It is to have a person to love as I love myself. I Sam 20:17; II Sam 1:26

I love my reminds me of my purpose on earth. To strengthen people's hand in God. Jonathan risked the relationship with his own father for his friend. Jonathan selflessly aided the man who would eventually take the Kingship from his family in the name of friendship. Jonathan stood in the gap for David when it was not a popular thing to do.

In my world investing in friendships is where life finds it's riches. God hard wired me for friendships. I need bone to bone relationships in my life. I just got reconnected with a childhood friend I hadn't seen since I was 10 yrs old. We met in a KFC in Columbia, MO. I sat across from the table thinking to myself whoever would of thought that our childhood friendship was purposed for such a time as this. God has a purpose in everyone you meet. I have some friends (they know who they are) who are irreplaceable in my life. I need each and every relationship God has put in my life.

Search for the value in your relationships. Don't just look for a friend! BE A FRIEND! Hallelujah.

Jonathan... Strengthening your Hand in God

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sunday Recap

Well this Sunday my heart was pricked. My brothers third part of his series on the Gospel of God.
Act 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? What was it they heard that pricked their heart? It was the COMPLETE gospel that Peter had preached to them.

What can prick a man's heart?...the unadulterated, raw, uncompromising Gospel of God. I tell you I have been saved since I was 6. But I can't hold back the tears and my heart gets twisted into contortions when I hear the true Gospel preached. Today the true complete message of the Gospel is being lost in the name of feeding itchy ears. There are certain things such as eternal judgement, wrath of God, and repentance that are easing there way out of our Gospel vocabulary. It is being replace by the acknowledgement that all man is generally good and God is all loving so we are all OK to a degree. This philosophy is stripping away the personal responsibility of sin in a persons life. Our talk shows, book writers, and counselors are causing us to look in our past to find a reason for your actions. Then when you discover that thing...transfer the blame of your actions on that thing. Therefore leaving your conscience void of your own actions that are contrary to God. Clarence put it as the Gospel of excuses. The question you must ask yourself is when I stand before the throne of God what legitimate excuses can you give before a holy God for not taking personal responsibility for your sin and seeking a savior.
The bumper sticker says COEXIST that is a bold statement saying...your view can exist and my view can exist but don't you dare make any arrogant absolute statements like your way is the ONLY way. Well the true Gospel of God teaches does teach that very thing; Christians are being backed in a corner, muzzled, and intimidated into not expressing one of the fundamental elements of the Gospel...Jesus Christ is the only way...only truth..and only life. Those that don't believe this will go to a place of eternal fire and torment. Just saying this seems narrow doesn't it? A few years back it was understood and didn't sound so "old hat". What has changed? The gospel most are hearing is changing...we must earnestly contend for the truth and not be ashamed to state it. A blog can't give the message justice. I applaud all preachers that continue to preach the truth even if it will bring persecution.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Child Personality-Jayden and the Dishwasher

Notice in the picture all of the excess bubbles inside of the dishwasher. Believe it or not this was caused by a future genius and innovative thinker that has no fear of failure. Our third son decided to enhance the powdered dishwasher detergent by mixing in some of the liquid dishwashing soap (typically used for washing dishes by hand). This created massive bubbles that poured out the door of the dishwasher onto the floor around it.

Having six children we have a broad spectrum of personalities walking around the house. It is a beautiful thing to behold. Jayden is our child who learned how to ride a bike at age three. He sees something done once and he has already reproduced it twice before you can blink an eye. In receiving instructions, he is five steps ahead of you and telling you what he discovered. He likes adventure; he can barely sit still, unless there is some body part moving he cannot think straight. Truthfully, at Hill Academy (the name of our homeschool) he has to hum, shake his leg, or tap his foot, to be successful in his schoolwork. These are personality traits that Jayden has shown since day one.

With all of the personality traits described above Jayden could be labeled disruptive, disobedient, wreckless, clumsy, noisy, and such like. Often children are pinned with these negative labels by teachers, friends, and family. Not in the Hill House! It is illegal to shape a person’s personality with negative words. As a parent you have to look at your child as God sees them. A parent can look and see and 8 year old snot nose child that has just ruined the floor and caused the dishes to need rewashing. God sees a future leader, inventor, or missionary.
As a parent I have learned over the last 13 years that you don’t discipline a child to the point of crushing their personality; but rather celebrate the personality trait and give correction to the mistake that was made. Jayden would say, “If liquid soap works in the sink washing dishes why wouldn’t it work in the dishwasher?” Can I punish him or yell at him for exercising a gift the Lord has given him to be creative and ingenuitive? God forbid. The floor can easily be cleaned and the dishes can easily be rewashed.

An expert could come along and say, “Mr. and Mrs. Hill you need to set better rules in your house.” To that statement I would say I can list rules from sun up to sun down and in the morning Jayden would have explored a new area we wouldn’t of thought about. One day he took several red ink pens apart and transferred the ink into a toy nerf bullet. With the bullet full of ink he used it as a stamp and a marker to create a wonderful red piece of art on a piece of paper. Did I forget to mention this was done on the brand new carpet in our brand new house next to my favorite chair. Jayden had it all thought out no stains on the carpet or the chair, this time, Phew! So of course I corrected his actions again but didn’t crush his God given personality.
My wife and I pray for the proper balance in creating an atmosphere for our children’s gifts and personalities to blossom. What are Godly boundaries and Instruction that go along with a child like Jayden? We have all heard that phrase your strength taken to extremes can become your greatest weakness. So far God has led us to the following items to protect the gifts that are dwelling in our developing Jayden and children like him:

Pray that the child is filled with the Holy Spirit at a young age. Until a child comes to an age of accountability for his faith, belief, and confession a parent works overtime providing external boundaries. But when the Holy Spirit comes on board he has an internal compass that will provide direction, wisdom, and conviction.
Teach him to ask for help and instructions. Proverbs 1:7b “…fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Jayden would rather figure it out on his own versus ask. I have to train him with God’s word as my tool that it takes humility to stop and ask when you need help or unsure about something. Pro 15:33b says, and before honor is humility.” It is honorable to admit you don’t know something and ask.
Teach him to Fear the Lord. The reverential fear of the Lord starts for a child with respecting his parents and elders. Proverbs 1:7a “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” Proverbs 15:33a “The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom…” With Jayden having close to no restraint or fear to try something, I have to train him to respect God’s natural laws, like gravity. Jayden has jumped into the deep in of the pool because all of the other kids did. The first time he did this, I thought in my mind what is this boy doing he can’t swim. After I let him struggle a little and pulled him up I asked him what was he thinking. He said he would just sink to the bottom push off the floor of the pool and come back up for air. LOL! No fear! He always thinks he is a few steps ahead of you. I think the water stinging in his nose taught him to respect water in that instance. Plus we enrolled him in swim lessons ASAP.
Work overtime to reinforce safety with him and take time to train him in things. Where other children will come to a cautious point and just stop…Jayden will come to that point and just press on even to the destruction of what he is trying to accomplish. Proverbs 27:12 A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished. Proverbs 14:16 One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless. Discernment of evil or trouble is a button we want him to have turned on so I will set up scenarios and ask him to tell me what he would do so he has an opportunity to exercise his senses.

Lisa and I have a challenge to instill reverential fear, wisdom, and humility in our son. These traits will be guardrails for my son as he matures into his gifts and personality. Oh the joy of parenting.