Category Archives: Ministry

Too Much On Our Plate

Imagine for a second that you enjoy golfing (for some of you that won’t be hard).  One day Phil Mickelson calls you up and says that he is in the area and was wondering if the two of you might play a round of golf together at a local course.  My guess is that you would immediately begin to clear your schedule to make it happen, no matter how busy you might be.  After all Mickelson is one the most famous golfers in the world!

Or let’s say you are really into leading worship music and one day you receive a text message from Chris Tomlin who says that he is giving a concert in the area and thought he might stop by the church and sit in on your practice session.  You would immediately call the entire team and tell them to come no matter what , right?  After all, it’s Chris “the Godfather of Contemporary Worship” Tomlin!

The truth is that whenever we get an opportunity to personally meet someone who is at the absolute top of their field we try to do so.   It doesn’t matter how busy we are or how cluttered our calendar is, we find a way to meet them.

And yet…

Whenever someone challenges us to deepen our commitment to God, or spend time in prayer each day, or get into the Word more, many of us often respond with that familiar lament “I just don’t have time.”  There have been many occasions  where I’ve been a part of a small group, Sunday school class, or other gathering of believers and the leader has given a challenge to put more energy and effort into being a better spouse… or more involved parent …or a more devoted follower of Jesus.  Many times someone will reply that they want to do those things and know that they should, but they are just really busy right now and once things slow down they are going to really commit to it (sometimes that person has been me).

We would gladly drop everything to meet the “heroes” of our areas of interest, but we claim that we don’t have time to connect with the God of the Universe, the Creator of heaven and Earth, our Heavenly Father.  For some reason we just can’t find the time.

Huh?  Doesn’t make much sense does it?

I’ve fallen into this trap as well.  I feel like I’m too busy for God.  I can’t manage to find time for devotions (though I manage to find time to watch football or the Phillies).   There are times when I’m tired when I get home, so I’d just as soon have the kids play by themselves.  Sometimes I know Mary and I need to talk about something, but it seems easier just to put it off until the “perfect moment” arrives.

Somehow many of us have let our lives become so filled with “stuff” that  we feel we don’t have time for what is really important.  Some of that “stuff” is good “stuff,” to be sure.  But even good “stuff,” when it comes at the expense of our relationship with God, our spouse, or our kids needs to be removed from our lives so that we have more time for our most important relationships.

Mary and I have started getting up a little earlier than usual in the morning so that we can each spend some time connecting with God before our days begin.  It’s been a really good thing for both of us, but it has at the same time shown me just how much growing I need to do as a husband, father, and follower of Christ.

I don’t have all the answers here, but over the next few weeks I’ll be offering some thoughts as to how even the “busiest” of believers can find time for spiritual disciplines in their life.  If you can relate to what I’ve shared here, I invite you to check back and join the conversation.

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Filed under Family, Family Matters, Marriage/Family, Ministry, Parenting

House on the Rock Receives Space in the New Family Center of Gap

We have been given a tremendous opportunity to expand our ministry.  This fall we will be part of

what will become the premiere family ministry center in Central Pennsylvania and maybe in the entire

Mid-Atlantic region.

 

Jonas and Anne Beiler, founders of Auntie Anne’s, have an intense passion for marriages and families! 

Back in 1987 Jonas had a dream to create a center that would provide family oriented services to their

home community of Gap.  His dream is being completed right before his eyes!  In September the Family Center of Gap will hold its Grand Opening; and House on the Rock Family Ministries is privileged to have

an office on the third floor!

 

We are thrilled to be a part of this regional family resource center!  The synergy of working with Jonas

and Anne and the other family organizations will be fantastic!  While checking on the progress of our

space, I was privileged to meet the International Director of Focus on the Family who was also inspecting

the facility and donating some library resources.  That is the caliber of folks involved in this project; and

why we are so excited to be a part of this ministry venture.

 

In another meeting with the Executive Director of FRCC we talked about how we can partner with them

to provide biblically based family life education to the churches and clients in their network.  We will have

a significant role in the family life educational program of this center!

 

We’ll keep you posted on the details for the Grand Opening.  They are expecting over 3000 visitors and

we would love to see you there!  So plan to come on down and see this beautiful new ministry center! 

Visit it online at:  www.gapfamilycenter.org

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Filed under Christianity, Church, Family, Family Matters, HOTRFM, Marriage/Family, Ministry, Religion, Uncategorized

Powerful prayers for fathers …

Today I was part of the Lancaster National Day of Prayer Celebration.  50 of us met in a pristine 1870 vintage sanctuary in Mount Joy PA.  We had a number of folks from the community lead us in prayer for their assigned areas … the mayor was there to pray us through “government,” the president of the local Chamber of Commerce to pray for businesses … you get the picture.

 

Well in the middle of this litany … an ensemble of young ladies from the local middle school got up to sing two songs they had written.  They were great in both performance and power of lyric. 

 

When it was my turn to lead us in a time of prayer for families I presented several requests … one was to pray against fatherlessness … dads who were either physically or emotionally absent from their children.  I then broke the audience into small groups to pray through one of the family issues I had listed … asking each group to pick a topic and pray.

 

I met with the young ladies who sang.  They were sitting in the front pew!  Do you know what they wanted to pray for?  Yes … against fatherlessness … they each prayed that men would be loving husbands and involved fathers.  Each one of those beautiful girls was in a home with no daddy.  What a powerful moment that was for me.  What a demonstration that our Heavenly Father is indeed a “Father to the fatherless!”  Pray for fathers!

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The “Unseen” Difference

Archeologists tell us that thousands of pyramids were built throughout Egypt … yet only a fraction of them stand today.  Why do a few remain standing while others crumbled in the desert throughout the storms of time?  Those scientists say the difference was foundations.  The pyramids built on massive stone foundations are the ones that have stood tall for thousands of years.  This discovery was made because they excavated these historical sites. 

 

This archeological fact unearths another powerful lesson for us.  If our lives are not built on a solid, well laid foundation … they are destined to fall … they will crumble … our legacies will blow away in the desert winds.  That is why we call our ministry House on the Rock Family Ministries!  We want to help families build their lives and homes on the “Rock.”  So the first priority in our pyramid of priorities is foundational and vital. 

 

The pyramid of priorities was derived from the inspired progression of thoughts of Paul in the letter he wrote to the church in Ephesus.  The first part of the letter (chapters 1-3) deals with ‘who we are’ in Jesus Christ … the second half of the letter (chapters 4-6) unpacks the ‘so what … how should we live?’ 

 

The foundation to our “Pyramid of Priorities” is built upon the inspiration of these words and thoughts by God’s Holy Spirit … who inspired Paul to write them in an orderly progression.  I believe that the order in which God inspired these words and thoughts is extremely significant in that they are His list of priorities in how we should live our lives as Christians.  It is the building of our lives on God’s inspired (the unseen) Word (the seen) that will cause our lives and legacies to stand the storms of time.

 

The Words of God given through the Bible are the foundation upon which all of us as Christ followers need to build our lives to stand the storms of time.

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The “point” of the pyramids

April 7th

 

Every culture is fascinated by pyramids … whether Egyptian or Mayan.  If they didn’t stand today in their own defense … we would deem them impossible for ancient engineers and contractors to design and build such massive structures thousands of years ago.  That’s why the Great Pyramid is one of the 7 Wonders of the World!

 

But I look at pyramids from a different angle.  Because they were built as eternal monuments to the persons they entombed, they were imagined, designed, and constructed while that individual was still living his or her life.  It took builders over 30 years to construct the larger pyramids … that was just about the lifespan of the future occupant.  That must have been just a little eerie … seeing your own tomb/monument being built before your very eyes! 

 

Yet the similarities are very sobering … we are building monuments too … our lives will leave a legacy for our children and their children’s children.  So … we need to be thinking and planning carefully as to how we’re building those legacies … those monuments pointing our ancestors heavenward.  It will take us a lifetime to build a lasting godly legacy.

 

That’s why I call my presentation on priorities the “Pyramid of Priorities” … because our legacies (positive or negative) are built on our choices … and our choices are made based on our priorities.  So developing a set of foundational priorities is extremely important.

 

But there is another reason I have chosen this title … each of the priorities … just like layers of the pyramids … are built one on top of the other.  If the foundational layer is not solid … the rest of the structure will crumble …

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Gender Neutral Priorities

I spoke to a group of young wives and moms this week … that’s a little unusual for me in that I regularly speak to men’s groups and couples.  But I learned that males and females both struggle with priorities … not the choices between good and bad … although we all wrestle with those issues … they rarely tax our taxonomy of more difficult choices categorized as good, better and best.   So to get us thinking I presented them with a choice:  “Do you go shopping all day with a girl friend who needs to talk and be encouraged … or stay home and do the laundry so your family has something to wear tomorrow?”  Neither is a choice between good or evil … but there is an element of good, better, or best choice.

The ladies were chuckling and quickly assured me that they … unlike men … can multi task and that they could easily accomplish both these “good and better” tasks in the course of a day. 

So much for my feeble attempt at a moral dilemma <smile>.   You see my “blue brain” thinks like a man … we do one thing at a time!  Multi tasking is drinking my iced tea while I am driving and listening to a CD …  the real main task is driving … the tea and music simply enhances the experience! … anyway … I quickly added another “choice” to my prioritizing scenario … “and prepare a nice meal for your family who has done fast food all week because of your kids’ hyperactive schedules.”  That threw in a little more challenge. 

After we discussed the factors and issues surrounding the choices … I presented what I like to call the “Pyramid of Priorities” … based on the ancient writings in the New Testament.  We’ll share more of that later …

 

 

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Fanning the Flames in Pittsburgh!

We have over 40 people currently registered for our Fan the flame Date Nite in Ellwood City next week.  That is a 100% increase over our start up there last spring!  Thanks to Rob and Tracey for their hard work in planning and promoting.

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