How to Pray - The Object of Our Prayer

In our College & Career Sunday school class this week, we started a series titled, "How to Pray."  I plan to try to and share the lessons each week in case anyone wants to follow along with us here...or you can come join us Sunday mornings at Tabernacle at 10 AM in room 218.

Any good speaker, teacher, or presenter knows that the #1 rule of public speaking is to know your audience.  You don't want to prepare a discussion about retirement for preschoolers and a presentation themed with Disney princesses most likely wouldn't spark the interest of a group of businessmen.  In order for someone to prepare a dynamic and engaging presentation, they must know their audience, who they're preparing to talk to.

The same is true in our prayer life.  The Point of this week's study is: "A right view of God fuels how we pray."  The conversations we engage in with our friends about are often focused on topics that interest them: their favorite team, favorite cel…

Authentic Joy - Be an Example (Part 3)

If you've been following along, you've seen what authentic joy is and the foundation that it comes from.  But what does it look like in our everyday lives?  How do we live our lives in such a way that others can't help but see our joy and faith?

Read 1 Thessalonians 1:7-10

True authentic joy is infectious.  People can spot someone who has true passion, true care, and true desire to be doing what they're doing.  This goes from the girl waiting on you at the fast food restaurant to the boy bagging your groceries.  If they are joyful in what they're doing, you can tell it because real joy is set apart.

True joy does not ebb and flow with the environment around us.  It doesn't matter if your team won, your new car got a dent in it, or your favorite show got cancelled.  True joy goes beyond the trivial things that make us "happy" to the point that we are joyful in what God has given us - nothing else is needed. 

The people in Thessalonica saw that the chu…

Authentic Joy - What is it? (Part 2)

It was a good thing that the church at Thessalonica was strongly rooted in its faith in God.  Its founder and leader, Paul, had been run out of town by mobs and attacks leaving this new church with new believers to wade through its early days without its top leadership.  If you want further proof that God does things bigger than us, consider how many businesses would survive, let along thrive, if you removed their CEO shortly after their organization.  But that's exactly what was happening here.

Read 1 Thessalonians 1:4-6

Just like the early Thessalonian church, our foundation should be built on the salvation that we have through faith in Christ.  Having that confidence, we should be filled with an authentic joy that spills over into all of our actions and emotions.  So what does authentic joy look like?

"Authentic joy is deeper than emotion."  Our joy must come from somewhere.  Remember my earlier statement that true joy isn't manufactured from within.  So as we gro…

Authentic Joy - Faith, Hope, and Love (Part 1)

Working at a bank, we occasionally have counterfeit money that comes in.  Some of it looks and feels very much like real money.  With its color, size, and feel, it's understandable how it passed initial inspection by a cashier. However, some of it barely looks better than Monopoly money and really leaves you wondering what the cashier was thinking when they accepted it.  But no matter how good the counterfeit, eventually, it is found out to be fake.  "Inauthenticity will always be revealed - even when it's in a Christian's attitude.  We can tell the difference between a fake smile or handshake and genuine joy and compassion.  This joy cannot be manufactured, but we can be filled with it when we are filled with the love and truth of Jesus Christ.

Read:  1 Thessalonians 1:1-3

Paul and his companions begin these verses by sharing how thankful they are for three very specific traits of the early members of the church at Thessalonica.

First, is that their works were produ…

The Case for Millennials

Millennials are categorized as people born between the years 1982 - 2000.  This would put us somewhere between the ages of 18 - 36 (and makes me one of the senior members of this group).  I've read, seen, and heard many different trains of thought on millennials over the past few years as we've become the largest group of members in the workforce in America.  Some has been positive, but some not so much.  Like any other generation, we aren't perfect, but we do have potential.  We just need you to give us a chance, and here's why?

Consider this - If you are a 50ish year old individual with a business, how much longer do you plan to keep working?  Based on the current social security rules and typical retirement ages, I would guess another 20 years give or take.  Would you want a business partner who was only planning to work another 5 or 10 years?  Certainly not.  You would want a partner who is going to be there for you and with you the rest of your career.  If you beg…

The Accuser, the Accused, and the Accusation - A Father's Perspective

I haven't typically followed Supreme Court nominations very closely.  It's not that I don't appreciate what they do, the power they possess, and the decisions they make, I just hope that I never have a personal matter escalate that I don't have a lot of influence in that level (or any) of politics.  But since the media continues to push this story and people are asking questions, I want to look at it from three different perspectives.

First, what would I do if I was the father of the accuser - how would I respond if Dr. Ford was my daughter?  I would cry.  I would feel sadness, pain, anger, and likely some hostility.  I would want to bring justice to whoever had caused my daughter this type of pain and agony that she had suffered with in silence for so many years.  I would talk with her, I would pray with her and for her.  I would seek counseling and help and do whatever I could to help her move past this terrible experience.  But eventually, we would all be…

Banking - It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog.

My job, like most everyone else's, can be frustrating at times.  I have friends, clients, or random potential customers who contact me about a financing need or a loan product that they've heard about through some ad on the radio, online, or on TV.  Sometimes, what we have to offer may be much better (or at least much simpler) and other times the larger company is simply able to offer something that a bank our size isn't equipped, capable, or willing to offer.  I like the way one of customer (and now friend) put it:  "A community bank may not be able to do everything, but they can do some things that other banks can't."  He unknowingly nailed what sets community banks (and other small businesses) apart - their ability to see more clearly what a customer wants and needs, and the willingness to customize a solution for their particular need (without all of the ridiculous corporate approvals that are sometimes required).

For people who do a lot of traveling, hav…