Top 5 Christian Acronyms that will Inspire You

1) ICHTHUS (Christian Fish). You see these on bumper stickers and car emblems. It was the ancient symbol Christians used to identify one another. We are called to be “fishers of men.” The Greek Letters form an acronym that speaks to Jesus as the Christ, God, only begotten son, and savior. So when you see the icthus symbol know that is represents our Lord. Early Christians would draw half the fish on the ground and then a Christian passerby would see it and complete the fish and they would connect. They did this because if they were open about their faith then they faced persecution. This symbol was a powerful one for the early church.

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I- Iesous (Jesus)

CH- Christos (Christ)

TH- Theos (God)

U- Uios (Son)

S- Sotier (Savior)

 

2) HOPE– hope is the culmination of our faith. it was what we lean all in on. Hope can serve as an acronym to remind us of what is our hope. Life becomes meaningful and fulfilling when you have strong hope.

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H- Holding

O- On to your

P- Promises

E- Each Day

 

3) FAITH– there is no salvation without faith. There is no abundant living without faith. Faith is the one action every Christian has to be about. Faith is what it is about for a Christian.

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F-Forsaking

A- All other things

I- I

T- Trust

H- Him

 

4) PRAY– if you are like me, your prayer life could uses a boost. I tend to pray quickly and ritualistically at certain times. We need to see prayer as having several functions in speaking to our God.

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P- Praise

R- Repent

A- Ask

Y- Yield

 

5) GRACE- Because of our sin God could have responded in a lot of ways. He could have wiped us out or judged without any hope. Instead He gave grace. Grace is unearned and undeserved favor. I love this acronym to remember what God has done for me.

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G- God's

R- Riches

A-  At

C- Christ's

E- Expense

 

 

 

How I Met My Dream Woman

***Warning- this story contains sappy, cheesy elements mixed with loads of the dramatic. You were warned.

Christi and I have a rather unique story of how we connected. We both attended Union University. She was one grade ahead of me but I knew who she was. Who didn’t know Christi Byrd! She was friends with everyone. She was the Baptist Student Union President and she was Homecoming Queen at Union. Not only did she love Jesus, she was gorgeous. She was godly and beautiful, a perfect mix.

Christi and I were acquaintances at best. I taught a Greek lab (that’s Greek not Geek), where students practiced their Greek vocabulary words. She was in the Greek lab I taught. We also had a few classes together but never really spoke besides a quick hello. I had my own friends and dated a few girls throughout the college years but was always frustrated with the dating scene. It felt so foolish to me. I always felt like a child playing grown up. I mean I had no real clue about love and commitment and neither did they.

With the influence of my youth pastor and my own frustrations, my junior year of college I pushed dating aside. Now I am not saying girls all across campus wept in grief that I was no longer available. I mean I could get a date. The ratio was 4 girls to 1 at Union so every guy had a chance! I just didn’t want to go the dating approach anymore to find the one. I was ready for something more supernatural.

I remember clearly praying to the Lord that I was sick of the effort of dating to find the one. I was 20 years old and I was ready to be single as long as the Lord willed it. I was determined that if I were going to get married, He would need to intervene. Did I want to get married? Absolutely! I just became convinced through my own trial and error that I would probably make the wrong draft pick out of all the potential prospects. I was the Cleveland Browns of dating!

So for a little over a year I stuck to my commitment. I focused on the Lord and enjoyed the mess out of my junior year. Sure My friends worried that I was going to become a monk with my no dating plan and though she has never admitted it, I think my mom worried I had quit liking girls if you know what I mean. Come on mom! That definitely was not the case. I just couldn’t do the games anymore.

In March of 1996 I applied to work as a support staff for the summer for Centrifuge camp. I applied to be the Resident Assistant at the dorms on Union’s campus. It was an extremely competitive job to get and when the list of the thirty or so students who were chosen was published I was on it. I was pumped! I came back to my dorm room and ran into Robert Grisham. Robert and I had been friends since high school and had roomed together a couple of times. I showed him the list and he stopped on a name and said, “Christi Byrd.” I knew who she was as I mentioned above and asked what he was meaning. In a very matter of fact way Robert proceeded to tell me that he thought her and I would get together and I would marry her. It’s like my roommate told me I would be going out to buy a lottery ticket and would win the jackpot. Yeah right! I am pretty sure I told him he had lost his mind.

Summer came and our first day of work we were split up in pairs to do towel laundry. Guess who I got paired up with: Christi Byrd. Now as romantic as doing towel laundry can be, nothing really magical happened that day but we did get to talk. I didn’t think much of it besides what my crazy roommate had told me a month back! As the days went on Christi and I found ourselves in the same spaces more and more. I came up with a brilliant idea for us to study Greek together to get ready for the coming semester. When I told Nathan Joyce, my other roommate, about it he had a field day with the info. He would ask me constantly, “how is studying Christi, I mean Greek, going??”

I enjoyed our time studying together to say the least. The summer was about half way over and by this time my mind was racing. I had Christi on the brain 24/7. We were barely friends and I had no idea what she thought about me. I would have been content to just keep my growing attraction quiet until the night we played Speed.

Speed is a card game you play where you try and get as many cards as you can by having the higher number when you both flipped a card. It goes really fast and you have to pay careful attention. A lot of us were playing in the commons area (we couldn’t go to each other’s rooms because we weren’t allowed to have girls in the room) and Christi and I found ourselves matched up to play. We played and I don’t remember who won but what I do remember was the jolt of lightning that happened when our hands touched while picking up the cards. I know what you are thinking right now. “Dax that’s called static and it happens all the time!” No this was so much different. That hurts! This was like a jolt of lightning that hit us both and it felt magical. I could tell she felt it too. It was a powerful energy that hit me as I touched her soft, inviting hand. It confirmed everything for me in that moment. I knew she was the one or at least I knew I wanted her to be the one. Now how to convince her to say the same about me!

I went home that night in a daze. I had met the girl of my dreams and touching her was like holding on to electricity. I decided that night that I would ask her out. I would break my dating fast because this one could be the one! A few days later I finally saw an opportunity but what I did was nothing like I had planned.

It was a Friday night and our shifts for work at the camp were over. Christi was a lifeguard and she was walking back from the pool and I had just finished playing ping pong with some of the Fuge campers. I saw an opportunity to walk with her and decided this was the moment I would ask her out. We talked all the way back to the common area and sat down and continued to talk. I was getting up the nerve and I finally decided to reveal my feelings.

I saw a moment in the conversation and I took it. Here is how I planned it:

“Christi, it has been fun getting to know you this summer and if you wanted to we should go grab lunch sometime.”

What I actually said:

“Christi, you are going to be my wife. I love you.”

What in the world did I do! It just came out. I knew I had hoped it but I didn’t mean to say it out loud yet! Nothing i could do now. It was out there. Christi just stared at me. She didn’t say anything! I was convinced that I had completely scared her away! When she finally spoke she said: “I absolutely believe the same thing. You will be my husband. I am in love with you too.” It was a joyous moment. I didn’t do a dance but my heart lept and my dreams were being realized in that moment. We had never been out and already proposed our desire to marry each other. No games in this for sure!

Two weeks later we went to Nathan’s wedding. It was at that wedding we began to talk seriously about wedding plans. All this before our first date. When we got back we left to go home for a few weeks before fall semester started. We talked on the phone some but we didn’t see each other being three hours away from each other.

When school started back I couldn’t wait to see Christi. The second week of school Christi spoke for a BSU worship night and I was to do the closing prayer. When I went up there I asked her to come back up. I dropped to a knee, pulled out a ring, and proposed to the girl of my dreams in front of those 300 people. The question I got all that night was: “I didn’t even know you two were dating!” We weren’t! We didn’t go on our first date until after we were engaged! Five months later I married Christi and we have now been married 21 years and counting. She is still the girl of my dreams and God gave her to me! I asked him to provide and He knocked it out of the park! Thank you Lord for bringing us together.

Five Christian Sayings You Need to Think About Before Using


I like Christian sayings. I like them when they maintain their meaning and don’t become cliche or just empty words. Here are five such phrases to consider:

1) I am praying for you- when we tell someone we will pray for them, we should definitely make sure that we actually pray for them! In fact, we should pray for them right then and there if we can. I don’t want to stand before God one day and He ask me why I kept telling people I would go to Him on their behalf and never did!

2) I don’t feel led– is it possible that this more times than not ends up being an excuse for what we really mean: Idon’t want to. We should be very careful to use God as our excuse not to serve. There might be times He directs us away from a specific role but be sure it is the Lord leading you.

3) I said the sinner’s prayer- in case you were not aware, there is not a specific prayer in the Bible for salvation. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pray and ask God to save you. We need to make sure it comes from the heart and is in our own words, confessing our sin and crying out to God. When I became a Christian, I didn’t have any script to pray. In fact, I wasn’t sure what to pray! I just cried out, “Jesus.” I am confident God saved me in that moment.

4) I’m forgiven, not perfect– of course this is true but when it is used as an excuse to justify your wrong actions, it is hypocrisy.  If you have to use this phrase then be careful you are not using it to justify your actions.

5) God is in control- again, no doubt that He is in control but when we use this only when things are overwhelming and believe we are in control the rest of the time then there is an issue. Also, God is in control should not be an excuse for you not to do what is right or what you are called to do. Or when we use this when we are in agreement with God but would never utter this phrase when God is calling us to do something we don’t like, then it is hypocrisy.

Ashley Judd Represents What’s Wrong with our Culture

If you haven’t seen the crazy rant by Ashley Judd, I recommend not bothering. It was uncomfortable and sad to watch. It was shocking and purposeless. It had no value for any real cause.

Many will judge what Ashley Judd said but reality is she represents the current climate of our American culture. There is an increasing boldness and brashness to our culture’s justifications of shocking and immoral actions. The pattern is quite traceable. It starts out subtle. Decades ago, media started putting more and more sexual innuendos in their shows and commercials. Magazines start showing more and more skin in publications not called Playboy or some other adult entertainment. The line keeps getting pushed further and further. The line keeps getting blurred more and more. Our moral senses become further desensitized.  Sin gets bolder and more shocking. Homosexuality goes from taboo to the norm, a culture demanding that it be readily acceptable, all in the name of progress. Feminism becomes an excuse to be rude and crude. Rated PG today used to be rated R  years ago. It is like drowning slowly not realizing you are sinking until too late.

The attitude in our culture that is prevalent is one of tolerance. “Do whatever feels good and don’t you dare question me because it is my right,” is what Ashley Judd and millions more proclaim in this time. All the while our culture loses its moral decency and slips slowly down a slippery slope of debauchery and filth.

What will be the end result? Eventually the culture will break down under the force of its own immorality. The church will be ridiculed and God will be shunned. The people will be turned over to the gods of their making and it’s own demise will become inevitable. Those who love sin will loathe statements like this, will revile it as preachy and paranoid. They will rave against it as judgmental and close minded. Yet, anyone who takes a moment to look can see the instability of what we have witnessed in Ashley Judd’s rant. There is no hope in that message. There is only ignorance: “I am my own master and I will say and do what I want and no one has a right to tell me otherwise.” That is the message of the day and it will lead our culture to what it wishes: a godless, immoral, chaotic heap that will come crashing down.
Those who love Christ must take notice and stand firmer than ever before. No compromise must be our stance; yet not allowing our moral stand to result in isolation but rather, reaching out to the Ashley Judd’s and offering them a better way, a way of hope and purpose. We can’t join in and we can’t isolate. We must see the devastation of the moment and fight to rescue those caught up in it. We must be a voice in the darkness. We can’t be scared of it or run from it. We must engage it with light and hope.

There will be many more shocking moments like Ashley Judd’s to come. Be prepared, prayed up, and ready to engage this culture with the only hope it has, Jesus Christ.

Ten Things Every Church Member Likes To Hear From His or Her Pastor

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I am super blessed to serve at Heartland Worship Center. Like all churches, it is made up of infected saints, but it truly is a family. They love their pastors well and trust them to lead. Not only that, they are a joy to lead.

Most pastors feel like I do, but are they saying it? Here are ten things every church member would like to hear from his or her pastor:

  1. “I love you.” Whether the budget is in excess or deficit, attendance is high or low, or whatever good or challenging times are about, the church needs to hear their pastor say the words. It cannot be assumed. It needs to be said and said often. The people need to know pastors care for them.
  2. “I want to be here for a long time.” It is so common today for pastors to have a short tenure. The average is less than five years. With such a short stay, it is hard for churches to fully follow their pastors as they wonder when they will leave. Churches need to hear from pastors that they desire to stay long-term. If you cannot say this as a pastor, then you need to find somewhere you can for the good of the church.
  3. “I will provide a vision that is biblical and obtainable.” People without vision perish, the Scriptures tell us. The people of God need to know what they are called to do. They need a compelling vision to unite them. A pastor needs to inspire them to follow a vision that makes the name of Christ famous and glorifies the Father.
  4. “I will say the hard things even if it offends you.” Pastors should not set out to offend their people as some kind of spiritual marker, but there are things that need to be said that will not always sit well with sinners. Pastors have to stand against abortion, abuse, sexual sin, immodesty, immorality, homosexuality, and anything else that is offensive to God. It matters not if it is popular to say or not. A pastor’s standard is not the will of the people but the will of God.
  5. “I will put my heart and soul into my preaching and teaching.” The people of God are desperate to hear God’s Word. Every week, they need to be confronted by its truth in their lives. The pastor must use every opportunity to bring it with passion and clarity, depending on the Holy Spirit to take the Word and penetrate the hearts of the people.
  6. “I will not cater to a few.” Pastors cannot give preference to their buddies in church. They serve all the people, even the ones they disagree with or whom annoy them. It hinders the church if pastors cater to the powerful, wealthy, or popular of the church.
  7. “I will pray for you daily.” How can a pastor be effective for his people if he does not pray for them daily? They need to hear often that he is interceding for them. A praying pastor is an effective one.
  8. “I will share my faith with the lost.” Pastors must lead in evangelism. It is crucial we share the faith outside the walls of the church. Pastors must be on the front lines of this. This means developing relationships with lost people and not just Christians.
  9. “I fail often in my walk with Christ.” Pastors need to be vulnerable with their people about their failures. We are all infected saints. It is crucial the people don’t feel preached down to but preached in to. This will only happen when the pastor shares his own convictions brought on by the Word of God. Good shepherds are honest about their struggles with their people.
  10. “I will communicate with you what is going on in the church.” Church members desire to know what is going on in the church. This means clear and consistent communication. There is no way to get the word out on everything perfectly, but the people should feel the pastors take the time to let them know what is going on.

Pastors are called to people, and those people need to hear the above from their pastors. It is an honor to serve the Lord and our people. Let them hear it.

When Men Lose Their Backbone at Home

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Husbands, in the same way, live with your wives with an understanding of their weaker nature yet showing them honor as coheirs of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.  1 Peter 3:7

Men can be two different people. The man you see at work, with his friends,  or on the ball court is not necessarily the same man you observe at home. At the work place men can be driven and assertive, engaged, leading, and high energy. In their element they are confident and strong, like a lion. Conversely, when they get home many men transform into a passive invertebrate. Assertive and vocal with their friends, coworkers, and teammates, they are reduced to a passive blob with their wife and children. Sound a little extreme? Maybe so but there seems to be an epidemic among men where the wife is the leader and strong voice in the family instead of him. The results don’t seem to be better among Christian men. Christian men often remain passive at home, yielding to their wives to make decisions, direct the family, and train the kids. Christian men often leave it to their wife to handle the spiritual things of the family. God is not ok with this.

Men convince themselves that their primary purpose is to provide monetarily  for the family. Yet, no adult I have ever met has felt the greatest thing their father did for them was bring home the bacon. Men give much of themselves to their work  and hobbies and little of themselves to their family. Being masculine to most men means working hard and not being romantic, being sensitive to his wife’s emotional needs,and being vulnerable with his children. Many men are insecure and are not willing to be vulnerable and emotional, even with their family.

Why do men turn passive in the home? Most likely they just want to keep the peace. They are emotionally spent from work and they just want to do as little as possible emotionally at home. They avoid issues, tiptoeing around potential “landmines.” When they do finally voice their opinion it is ignored or steamrolled because the wife knows for better or worse, she is in charge.

Some men would read this and think they are giving their wife just what she would want, to be in charge. Most women I talk with tell me the opposite. Recently a lady in my office lamented: “I would love to be able to follow my husband’s lead but he prefers to let me lead. When I ask his opinion he tells me whatever I want to do.I not only want to follow I need to follow him. Yet, he will not lead.” Men opt out. They take the easy road and they are misguided into thinking that their wife is ok with that.

Adam was passive with Eve. When God calls Adam out for their sin He rebukes Adam for “yielding to his wife.” Adam is a wet noodle. He just goes along with what she desires. He doesn’t take a stand even though when God rebukes Him He is quick to mention He didn’t agree, that it was she who did it!

When men are passive at home, their wives respect for them erodes over time. They feel isolated and alone in overseeing the family and raising the children. The sons are robbed of an example of what it means to be a real man, one who is sensitive, vulnerable, and engaged. Their daughters often marry passive men because they have watched mom run the roost all their life. This is not how God intended it to be.

Now I am not saying that the husband is ruler and the wife and kids need to act like slaves. I am saying that men need to be present in the home in a direct and influential way. They need to be carrying the bulk of the load. They need to stand up for their wife and children where needed. They need to have the “hard talks” with their children and not just leave it to mom. They need to be a shoulder for their wife to cry on. They need to be quick to listen and slow to try and fix it. Men need to be engaged spiritually and emotionally with their family. It is not the woman’s job to take care of those things.

Families need men to grow a spine at home and stop just taking the path of least resistance at home. Men need to step up and lead their families. I find that most women are willing to let their husbands lead if they will just do so.

Here are a few things that would be great steps towards being the leader God has called the man to be:

  1. Pray over your wife and children.
  2. Be a good listener to your wife and do not try and quickly fix the issue
  3. Engage your wife and children in emotional subjects
  4. Be vulnerable and admit your faults and failures to your wife and kids
  5. Show your wife affection in front of the kids. Teach them how a man should treat a woman.
  6. Take your kids out on dates and listen to what they are going through.
  7. Do devotions with your family at the dinner table or before the children go to bed.

Step up men. Let’s be the leaders God has called us to be in our families.

A Great Friend Is Priceless


One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin,  but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.  Proverbs 18:24

A great friend is priceless. How can you put a value on a relationship that adds so much to your life? That friend you do life with… that friend who you know has your back and you have his or hers. You cannot put a high enough price on that.

I have been blessed with good friends. Friends I can trust. Friends that are safe. Like all things priceless, these types of friends are rare. To get one you have to be one.

With a good friend of mine leaving our church to go to another opportunity, I am reminded of the value of friendship. I have many, many friends. I only have very few that I can be completely real with. It is those friendships I treasure the most.  Those rare friends help shape me into the person I am.

Are you a good friend? An invaluable friend to someone else? Here are qualities I see in this kind of friend.

  1. They go the extra mile when you need help.
  2. They always make you feel wanted.
  3. They tell you they have your back and mean it.
  4. They don’t project their negativity on you.
  5. They listen to you and don’t just share their own thoughts and passions.
  6. They accept you as you are, faults and all.
  7. They don’t try to one up you.
  8. They find humor in things and make you laugh.
  9. They really do pray for you.
  10. They are safe in that you can trust them with your deepest pains and feelings.

I pray you have at least one of these friends. I pray you are this friend to someone else.