IF Update – December 14, 2016

Sam Warren

They say that the holidays, especially Christmas, is especially hard for those who have lost love ones. I must admit that this is true, at least for me. It’s been many years since I lost my father and sister, but recently I lost my mother. She was a wonderful lady in so many ways. So, I know that when Christmas arrives, which was always a special time for our family, there will be some strong emotions. I will miss her but I am thankful for the many wonderful memories that I can carry with me for the rest of my life.

While this time of the year can be hard for many, it should be an amazing time for those who follow Christ as Lord. Just think of all the songs we sing at this time of the year. Many of them are filled with such joy and hope. There’s something about this time that causes most of us, if not all of us, to act better, be more joyful and treat others with kindness.

IF Update – December 7, 2016

Sam Warren

Sam Warren

The apostle James wrote some amazingly simple, yet powerful words in his letter to the twelve tribes in the dispersion (James 1:19). It seems that he had discovered a way to find success in the economy of God’s kingdom. What is that secret? Well, it’s threefold: … be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger (v. 19). I must say, this exhortation is much easier to read or say than to do. If we want to produce the righteousness of God, these three characteristics must find their way into our daily lives. Later in the text, James puts it this way: … Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your selves (1:22).

A friend of mine (Deborah Moncrief, whom I met through the Great Commandment Network), recently gave me a book, which she had written, on this very topic. The book title makes a strong point: “The HEAR PROCESS: The Secret to Healing, Hope, and Peace in Relationships.” Her book focuses on the process of how we hear and process information. If we hear it inappropriately, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to move toward a healthy solution.

IF Update – November 30, 2016

Sam Warren

Sam Warren

I hope you made it safely through the Thanksgiving season, especially “black Friday.” During our brief vacation in Vermont this year we decided that we would pop into one of the stores many people visit quite often. I’ll just say right now; I don’t think it’s worth trying to find a “hatchimal.” If you located one without getting hurt, congratulations. And that’s only the beginning. After securing the most coveted toy of the season, you then must wait in a very long line to pay for your prized possession. During our trip to Walmart in Burlington, Vt., we encountered a mob-like crowd trying to find a specific gift or whatever they could put in their carts. We literally could not navigate the crowd with ease. It was loud and confusing as the lines meandered throughout the clothes, electronics, toys and other parts of the store. When we tried to exit, we had to duck under yellow tape that prevented you from going out the normal way. Everywhere we turned, we had to wait.

IF Update – November 23, 2016

Sam Warren

Sam Warren

The year 2016 has brought many blessings and challenges. Through it all, I can truly say that God has been present and leading me in every situation. I am aware that I need God in my life and that without him things would be a lot worse.

For all that he does, and because of who he is, I am thankful. As I write these words and as we approach what we call Thanksgiving these things mean even more. Too bad we often save our expressions of thanks to a holiday that only comes once a year.

The Bible is very clear on the topic of thanks. We are to magnify the Lord with thanksgiving to pray in a spirit of thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6). These types of passages are scattered throughout the Bible and worthy of consideration when we think about giving thanks.

IF Update – November 16, 2016

Sam Warren

Sam Warren

I have read this passage of Scripture perhaps a thousand times or more. This morning I read it again. “And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age’ ” (Matthew 28:18-20 ESV).

As I share with you today, I want to point out the obvious. I have written these words in bold in order to emphasize my thoughts. I have read these words so many times, but today it hit me that if Jesus has been given ALL AUTHORITY, which means ALL authority, what is it that we cannot do? At the minimum, we should be able to do what he tells us to do in these verses. In this case, we have the authority of Jesus backing us as we GO and MAKE DISCIPLES.