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“Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need.

(Matthew 7:7 MSG)

“Two for five”

When my family and I had the opportunity to spend time as missionaries in Liberia, West Africa each day we would hear “Two for Five” from the bread man who was selling bread two loaves for five Liberian dollars.

Being in another culture you quickly understand the value of bargaining. Everyone does it different, there are those who are quick to name a very low price and then there are those who ask then stand quietly.

What I love about Matthew 7:7 is it’s straightforwardness. When you are placed in a position to talk with God this verse gives us a great insight into how God thinks. “Don’t bargain with God…” You know that when you bargain with someone neither of you shows his or her hand. With God it is foolish to think He is not aware of what you have, so don’t bargain, and at the same time remember what He has. Be BOLD! don’t be timid, be direct “ask for what you need”.

I challenge you the next time you come to a place to talk with God write it down on a 3 x 5 card as simple and precise as possible and read it out loud! and place it on a mirror, fridge, a well traveled area.



Guest post by Gary J. Oliver

Is there a difference between a family in which everyone is a Christian and a Christian family? Yes. It takes more than every family member being a born-again Christian to make a Christian family. A Christian family is a family where relationships with each other are patterned after the way God communicates and relates to His children. It is a place where truth is lived out, not merely talked about.

In a healthy family, the parents provide an observable model of what it means to be made in God’s image. Family is where we learn the importance of a growing love relationship with Jesus Christ; what it means to be a man or woman; how to relate intimately to another person; how to form strong, lasting commitments; how to acknowledge and express emotions; how to have constructive conflict; how to have physical, emotional, and intellectual boundaries; how to communicate; how to cope and survive life’s problems; how to be self-disciplined; how to appreciate oneself and love others.

A healthy family provides an atmosphere of support, encouragement, and positive opportunities for growth, that includes helping each person to come to a knowledge, understanding, and acceptance of God and Jesus Christ, and a knowledge, understanding, and acceptance of himself/herself as a unique person made in the image of God. It is a family in which biblical truth is both taught and caught.

Headache vs. Heartache

“If we never have headaches through rebuking them, we shall have plenty of heartaches when they grow up.” Charles Haddon Spurgeon, speaking of children and parental discipline

“One-third of people in their 20s move to a new residence every year. Forty percent move back home with their parents at least once. They go through an average of seven jobs in their 20s, more job changes than in any other stretch. Two-thirds spend at least some time living with a romantic partner without being married. And marriage occurs later than ever. The median age at first marriage in the early 1970s, when the baby boomers were young, was 21 for women and 23 for men; by 2009 it had climbed to 26 for women and 28 for men, five years in a little more than a generation.

 We’re in the thick of what one sociologist calls “the changing timetable for adulthood.” Sociologists traditionally define the “transition to adulthood” as marked by five milestones: completing school, leaving home, becoming financially independent, marrying and having a child. In 1960, 77 percent of women and 65 percent of men had, by the time they reached 30, passed all five milestones. Among 30-year-olds in 2000, according to data from the United States Census Bureau, fewer than half of the women and one-third of the men had done so.”    What Is It About 20-Somethings?

What Spurgeon said is now a reality to so many in our culture. We as a culture have traded our role as parents from ones who equip to those who enable our children to be passive, lazy, and selfish. No wonder many young people have an “entitlement” perception. What we viewed as a helping hand by being a friend to them is really lazing parenting. Many parts of parenting is spelled W.O.R.K.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-92) was England’s best-known preacher for most of the second half of the nineteenth century. In 1854, just four years after his conversion, Spurgeon, then only 20, became pastor of London’s famed New Park Street Church (formerly pastored by the famous Baptist theologian John Gill). The congregation quickly outgrew their building, moved to Exeter Hall, then to Surrey Music Hall. In these venues Spurgeon frequently preached to audiences numbering more than 10,000—all in the days before electronic amplification.



Guest post by Gary J.Oliver

Given the significance God places on healthy relationships, a logical question is, What is the role of the church in building strong marriages and families? One vital life sign of a healthy church is the health of its marriages and families.

If truth doesn’t work inside of the home, why are we surprised it doesn’t work outside of the home? If we can’t help two people to function biblically in their marriages, how can we expect those same two people plus their children to function biblically as a family? If they aren’t functioning biblically as a family, how can we expect them to come to church on Sunday morning with hundreds of other families and magically function as the Body that God designed? If it’s not happening with individual couples and families, it’s virtually impossible that it will happen when the corporate body meets.

The church has been called to be a lighthouse, the source of solutions for what ails a lost and dying society. Developing a comprehensive family ministry is one of the most effective means of helping our people learn what it means to “become conformed to the image of his son” (Romans 8:29) and of outreach into our communities.

A strong marriage and family ministry serves as salt and light in a world characterized by confused, disoriented, and disintegrating families. It says that truth works, truth makes a difference. By offering tools, resources, support groups, and programs it also says that we care about our community.

People are beginning to realize that the world’s solutions haven’t worked and are once again looking to the church. Charles Sell writes, “When people make enough of a mess out of their lives and when the chosen answers in a society are seen not to work, portions of that society begin asking the ‘God’ questions once again.”4

The church has a unique opportunity to impact the entire family as it moves through the various stages of life. People turn to the church during significant life events such as baby dedications, baptisms, marriages, and death. Ministers perform approximately 75 percent of marriages in the U.S., and over 60 percent of Americans prefer to see clergy about personal problems. The most frequently presented problem is marital difficulty.

Thank you President Lincoln

October 3, 1863

“The year that is drawing toward its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watching providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and provoke their aggressions, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battlefield; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised not hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People.

I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.”


—Abraham Lincoln

Get UP and Go

Acts 22:10 “And I said, ‘aWhat shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Get up and go on into Damascus, and there you will be told of all that has been appointed for you to do.’”

“Get up” and “Go”

When we find Jesus we have many of these moments where He reveals Himself to us and it knocks us to our knees’ and He is always faithful to say to us “Get up” and “Go”

Many times we get stuck at the get up and look back at what has just happen… making excuses, blame shifting, being critcal of others or simply give up. God is asking more of us then just to “Get UP” He is commanding us to “Go” take from the lesson that you have learned and share it with others.

Paul’s life up to this point was one of great focus, passion, and proud. Yet God in His wisdom brings him to his knees, but does not leave him there. When God does a work in all of us He does not leave us there. I believe it is God’s passion to build you UP so that you can “Get UP” and “Go”.

He is a God who is into establshing us on a firm foundation which is Jesus. Therefore it is not acceptable to God to have us just “Get UP” we are getting up for a purpose and that is to “Go”


Biblical Basis for Family Ministry


The starting place for any family ministry is to see what the Bible has to say about the family. Throughout Scripture, God provides instruction related to marriage, the family, and parenting.

Relationships are a core part of who God is and who He would have us to become. The priority of relationships in God’s plan is seen from the very beginning of His written revelation. In Genesis we see God in relationship with himself; God in relationship with man; male and female in relationship with each other in marriage; parents and children in relationship in the family; groups of families that made up the 12 tribes of Israel in relationship with other tribes.

In the Old Testament there are numerous insights into the nature and function of the family. The Hebrew family was noted for its unity. This cohesiveness developed quite naturally, as the nature of that society placed children and parents in close contact. The majority of activities centered around the home and often included children, parents, grandparents, and other relatives.

Many functions performed by social service agencies or the local church today were performed by the extended family in biblical times. The Hebrew home was the primary educational, recreational, and social center for the children. Religious education was centered in the home. As a result, parents spent time with their children—working, teaching, communicating, and playing. This interaction helped produce a family unity that made it possible to pass on values from parents to children, from generation to generation (Psalm 78:4).2

Today, most of the functions that were provided for in the Hebrew home are now met outside the home. Education takes place in the schools. The majority of social and recreational activities take place outside the home, usually with nonfamily members. Even the bulk of religious education is left to the church.

2. Wayne E. Rickerson, Getting Your Family Together (Ventura, Calif.: Regal, 1977), 8,9.