How to be a Christian

Below are links to 3 videos from one of the most powerful sermons I have heard in a long time. It is from Glenn Packiam. This sermon is about how to live like a Christian. If you live like a Christian… then you are living in opposition to the world. You don’t need a sign to show people that you are different. If people know you, they should be able to tell by the words you speak and the things you do that you are different.

I really identified with the NFL metaphor he uses. There are times as a Christian, that I feel like a Bronco fan… sitting at an Oakland Raiders game… in Oakland. I feel like this because I am a graduate student, and if you are in academics then being a Christian means “I automatically lose 50 points off my IQ and that I hate everyone.”

But honestly, I don’t hate homosexuals (but I believe homosexuality is a sin). I don’t hate people who drink (because I also drink) but I believe alcohol in excess is a sin. People who know me know that I am a Christian… but it is not easy to live the life of a Christian because it immediately puts me in opposition to the “world.”

If you have time, I sincerely hope you will check out some of the videos below from Glenn Packiam’s sermon. To me it was one of the best messages I have heard in a few years. I saw it live when I when I was in Colorado.

If you enjoy the message below… share it with others!

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Wife of the Year

So, today is my one year wedding anniversary. I have been so busy with graduate school that I have had little or no time to blog. But today is a special day because of my amazing wife.

We moved here last August. My wife quit her job, left her house, her church, her friends and drove an awkward Penske moving truck (which had repair issues twice with the car trailer) 1600 miles to the Northwest. As I approach the end of my first year of graduate school, there are a lot of things my wife has done to make life easier for me. If you have never been to graduate school…here is a brief sample of my life:

  • I typically read 400 to 700 pages of “intense reading” every week. No cool pictures or anything, it’s all words.
  • I typically write one paper every two weeks. These are double-spaced and are normally 10 pages or longer.
  • I grade papers, tests, and other homework.
  • I teach
  • Plus, allegedly, I am supposed to use my extra time to focus on my research.
  • Sometimes it feels like I study 36 hours a day, eight days a week. If you are considering grad school don’t let this scare you. It is perfectly doable… it’s just A TON of work.

During my first year of grad school my wife has been very supportive of my insane study load. The two main reasons we haven’t had a major blow up are communication and communication.

We have a budget that we discuss every couple weeks because we use the cash system advocated by Dave Ramsey. Being a graduate student I do not get paid millions… and my wife is still unemployed so living on a shoestring budget has been a challenge. But our communication has helped keep the budget under control.

Our communication has also helped us eke out a few of our goals. We had discussed that we wanted to have a backyard farm, which is not easy. My wife does most of it… and I am happy to say that we have 21 hefty cornish cross chickens. Well, we did have 21. Twelve of them have already found their way into the freezer because of the hard work of my wife.

My wife and I pray together… although we do not pray as much as I would like because I study a lot and I’m tired a lot. We attend church together and volunteer together (when I have time).

I reserve one day each week that I devote to her. We sometimes hang out around the house, sometimes we go to Portland or Seattle. We are hoping to go out fishing for the first time within the next couple weeks. She likes fishing, how cool is that!?

My wife is amazing, and I am training her to like football : )

With me poorly estimating how much time grad school would actually take, I am very fortunate to have a wife who does so many things to help… errands, drive me to school, cook, laundry, butcher the chickens, grocery shopping, manage the budget… there are probably many other things I am forgetting. What do I do around the house?

  • I fix things around the house
  • I help feed the chickens
  • I do the dishes
  • I empty the kitty litter boxes
  • Sometimes I go with her to do the grocery shopping just so we can spend some time together.
  • And, that’s about it… I do basically nothing to help around the house. She does a lot.

I love her. I would not trade her for $1.5-Trillion dollars. She is clearly Wife of the Year … and I hope this next year allows more time to be with her!

NFL DRAFT Curse: “Money”

I love the NFL. I will not be shy about it. The NFL is my first, second, and THIRD favorite sport to watch. That being said, I will be studying for classes while watching the NFL Draft this weekend (grad school keeps me busy). When watching the draft I like hearing stories about the rookies although it will be hard to top the story which inspired “The Blind Side.” I also like trying to figure out each team’s strategy when they are drafting.

One of the things I keep in mind is that these are still young men. Yes, they are giants. Some of them could probably crush my skull with their hands. But they are still REALLY, REALLY young. And if they are taken in the top three rounds of the draft, they are going to make a lot of money. If they are drafted in the first round they are going to make a ton of money… millions.

NFL DRAFT CURSE: “MONEY”

But a storyline that the NFL (like other pro sports) is trying to avoid is the pro-athlete who ends up bankrupt. Believe it or not, an athlete can make millions of dollars and still end up bankrupt. How? Various reasons.

But one of the key issues for athletes, as is the same for winning the lottery, is that many people did not grow up with a lot of money. If a person doesn’t grow up with money then he/she doesn’t know how to manage it. Normally this person may get help from dad or friends (who did not grow up with money either).  So no one in his/her immediate contacts has experience with managing a lot of money.

Going from being poor to being a multimillionaire IN JUST ONE DAY is like going from being unable to swim to trying to win 8 Gold Medals in Olympic swimming. It doesn’t work.

My wife and I went through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University to help us get our money management skills under control. My wife is amazing, but she is also my second wife. My first marriage ended in divorce. One of the key reasons my first marriage failed was because of finances. Financial issues end many marriages.

We have switched to Dave Ramsey’s cash system. It is hard, especially considering that we are living on the income of a graduate student because my wife is still unemployed. We do not use credit cards. In fact, we paid off the last credit card this month. The cash envelope system has worked well during our first year of marriage. We have had some tense discussions about money. But in general, because we use the cash system and because we have a monthly budget… the discussions are usually short, and we aren’t mad at each other. We are frustrated because we don’t have more money… but the discussions have never been about one of us spending money without telling the other (which could result in both of us spending money from the checking account and then the checking account becomes overdrawn).

My wife and I talk about our money. We pray about our money. We do our best to be accountable for it. It has worked well for us.

If people who inherit millions, or win it in the lottery, or who make it into the NFL Draft this weekend… if they took more accountability in managing their money accounts, there would be less issues with pro athletes going bankrupt after making $50-million.

I don’t remember the exact quote, but Dave Ramsey said something like: Money is called currency for a reason, because it moves. Most people don’t understand the “moving” part of money… and when they stop taking accountability for their money… they don’t know where the money moved to, and thus end up bankrupt.

There is no Fear in Love

1 John 4:18

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

King James Version (KJV)

Do Not Be Anxious

Philemon 4:6

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.