Monday, June 30, 2014

Keeping the Journey Alive with Terry Briley

Hazelip Series #2 with Terry Briley - Keeping the Journey Alive  - Joshua 3-4
"The Need to Engage the Next Generation"

The following was written by Ashley as she organized her notes from the Lipscomb Summer Celebration class
here for you. 

The Israelites prepare to cross the Jordan and set foot in the Promised Land for the first time as a nation.  The ark is to lead the way, from a distance of about 3000 feet in front of the people. We often assume that the great distance is because of the holiness of God, but for this instance another reason is given: that they might know the way to go since they have not been this way before. God is leading the way, showing them the path. It brings to mind the question: do we let God take the lead today, or do we make plans and then ask God to bless them?

When the Israelites crossed the Jordan, God instructed them to set up memorial stones. The stones were erected so that future generations of Israelites and "all peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God." (Joshua 4:24) Briley used this part of the story as a springboard to talk about what he called "active memory" versus "passive memory". How many of the things we remember truly shape us? The Israelites who took the Promised Land were faithful for a generation, but after that another generation grew up who "knew neither the Lord nor what He had done for Israel." (Judges 2:7) We know the Israelites had knowledge of the  events that took place because the stories survived and Gideon references the exodus from Egypt in Judges 6. When the text says that they did not know the Lord, it means they didn't know Him or the events in any meaningful way. They simply had the historical knowledge instead of active memories that would shape their behaviors and attitudes. 

It has been said that God has no grandchildren. Although we originally come to know God through others (such as our parents), we can only know God directly to be His children. We must not let the powerful realities of God become passive in the next generations. We must re-engage a generation and actively pass down the teachings and memories of God, as the Israelites were to do.

Do you want to know more about Terry Briley, one of our favorite Bible teachers during our time in college?  Click here to go to the Lipscomb Faculty Page.

Ashley and I are taking notes and sharing them here for the primary purpose of benefiting our church family at Washington Church of Christ, yet we won't limit God to just using these insights there.  May they be a blessing to all who read them.  Feel free to ask us questions about anything in our Lipscomb Summer Celebration notes.  

Is our sin finding us out? with Jeff Walling

On Sunday evening Ashley, Micah, and I attended the Lipscomb Summer Celebration
Lectureships "Insights from Joshua" Keynote #2. Jeff Walling, minister at Providence Road church of Christ in Charlotte, NC has been laboring in speech to be God's vessel of inspiration for young and old alike.  Here are a few notes from his message tonight giving an overview of Joshua and a push to me about "Our sin finding us out."

  • "Be sure that your sin will find you out." (Num 32:23) may have less to do with your grandma's rebuke of you leaving a trail of hastily dropped cookie crumbs and more to do with reaping what we have sown generations down the road.
  • Believers in Christ have been shifting from having masses in America and the western world to experiencing booms in Africa, South America, and China.  Could it be that the former generations of the western world are finding that the moral decline of the church is due to their "sin finding them out?"  
  • No matter the religious group in America, the gray haired are looking around in their churches and wondering "Where did all the young'ens go?"  Colleges of ministry are asking, "Why don't we have many ministry students?"  Churches are asking, "Where are the motivated young deacons, the elder prospectives, the young preachers and song leaders?"
  • Numbers 32 is about the Reubenites and Gadites (also in Joshua 1) who didn't want to go in and fight for their promised land because they had great wealth and possessions and didn't want to lose it. 
  • Moses responds with "Shall your brothers go to war while you sit here?"  They weren't supposed to sit on their possessions while others went to war.  If they sat on their possessions, their sin would find them out. 
  • Walling suggests that our older generations may be sitting on our possessions of lofty church buildings, retirement rest, and nonbiblical traditions.  We looked around the lectureship and sure enough, the masses had gray hair and the Wiles family felt like the youngest around.  So Walling said, "I'm speaking to all of you sitting here with gray hair or no hair!"  We've been the ones for too long to sit back on our wealth and possessions like the Reubenites and Gadites.  If you want this promised land for the youthful generations to come after you, you've got to go out and fight for it!
  • In the end, the men left behind their lofty possessions and fulfilled their promise to the Lord to fight. If we are going to have a "promised land" of faithful inheritance, we're going to need to keep fighting, not against our young ones, but for them. 
  • Because we haven't fought in the past, the lack of youth in faith today is due to our sin finding us out. 
See what you think.  Go read Joshua 1 and Numbers 32 to see if Walling's message of "our sin is finding us out" is applicable today.

Ashley and I have a full day planned of classes and meetings.  We'll send more posts out tonight with what was shared.  Keep checking back here on for more info.  

P.S. All the live acapella singing shared late into the night and waking us this morning in the middle of campus has definitely been a boon to our spirits!

Ashley and I are taking notes and sharing them here for the primary purpose of benefiting our church family at Washington Church of Christ, yet we won't limit God to just using these insights there.  May they be a blessing to all who read them.  Feel free to ask us questions about anything in our Lipscomb Summer Celebration notes.  

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Second Generation Leaders with Joseph Shulam

Tonight Ashley, Micah, and I attended the Lipscomb Summer Celebration Lectureships "Insights from Joshua" Session #1. Joseph Shulam immigrated to Israel at 2 years old in 1948 when the state was established. In 1969 he established a church of Christ in Tel Aviv and is the only Jewish (by bloodline) Christian (by faith) that I know.  His view of Christianity is challenging to our western culture and his insight is a blessing to me.  Here are a few notes from his message tonight giving an overview of Joshua and a push to me about "Second Generation Leaders."

  • "Be strong and courageous" is a common theme for Joshua and mentioned three times in the first chapter alone.  
  • Moses was a pioneer, first generation leader.  Joshua was a second generation "trained" leader.  How did he become a leader?
    • He was called by God. (Joshua 1:2) Shulam talks of our leaders today as only being "office holders instead of heroes" if they aren't called by God.  
    • He was called to fight and be a warrior by God. (Joshua 1:5) In the same way we are to fight.  Shulam states "The biggest victims of the 20th century were family & truth."  We need to be fighting in our country to hold together God's family and fight for the integrity of God's truth!
    • Joshua is called the "servant of Moses" many times. (Joshua 1:1) A second generation leader must first be a servant under someone, modelling their life after someone, following someone.  Who did Israel want to be like and serve?  Every other nation and their gods.  Who did Joshua want to be like and serve?  Moses.  
    • Joshua was obedient.  (Joshua 1:10) Shulam said strongly in his very Israeli accent, "Grace is only valuable for those who tried but failed.  It's not for those who never put forth the effort to try."  While Joseph's preemptively led with "Grace is what gets us to God," his words about the need for obedience can be abrasive to the current culture of "grace alone forsaking all commandments."  Joseph's words are worth us thinking about.  How many people do we know who don't care a lick about obedience, because they've claimed they've got God's grace? We need to be trying and fighting to be obedient everyday.  Grace is definitely valuable to all of us who keep trying and fail. 
    • Joshua learned how to deal with sin / conflict as with the history of the family of Akin.  Sadly, we rarely deal with sin today.  We've got to remove the sin from the camp, because it affects the whole camp.  Joshua 7.
    • Joshua finally had to proverbially draw a line in the sand and declare that whoever is for God, come join me on this side of the line.  (Joshua 24)  A leader has to be able to draw a line.  
In the end, Joseph Shulam let us know that we are called to be second generation leaders like Joshua to accept the calling of God to serve, be obedient, deal with sin, and stand on the Lord's side.  We need to be training the next generation to do the same.  

Do you want to know more about Joseph Shulam?  You can find out more here:

Do you want to know more about the free lectureships our family is attending?  You can find more here:

We plan on taking notes from our classes and sessions each day and sharing with our church family via this blog.  So come back and see what else we've got to share. (We may not post a lot of information publicly from the "Sex in marriage" class :)

Here's a smidge of our singing tonight from those of you who have never been a part of unified harmonious acapella singing.  This is what we do every time we gather for worship!

Ashley and I are taking notes and sharing them here for the primary purpose of benefiting our church family at Washington Church of Christ, yet we won't limit God to just using these insights there.  May they be a blessing to all who read them.  Feel free to ask us questions about anything in our Lipscomb Summer Celebration notes.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Archive of Hondo Info Newsletters

So you've accidentally deleted the old Hondo Info emails right?  Maybe you've misplaced them.  Maybe the email monster (akin to the sock monster) came at night and gobbled them up.  Whatever the reason, here is a link archive of the informational emails that have been sent out. 

Email Newsletter #05 - FAQ's

Honduras Hope Missions 2014

Email Newsletter #05 - FAQ's

Here we are nine days away from hopping on a plane to learn, grow, and be God's ambassadors to a people desperately in need.  In this time I encourage you to devote more time to prayer, study, and fasting as you are getting your physical, emotional, and spiritual bags packed.  To help you along the way, I'm listing a few questions I've received and answers.  Please send any more questions you may have.
1)  How will we communicate with home?
     I'm thinking "Prayer" as I'm singing "This world is not my home, I'm just a passing through..."  Since I know you mean "How do we communicate with family and friends?" Here are a few ways. - I will endeavor to post trip information and photos every couple days on this website.  Tell your family to book mark it or subscribe to an email update from it.  They can unsubscribe later.
     Cell Phone - I'm renting a Honduran cell phone while I'm there and paying for minutes.  The primary purpose is for our team to be able to periodically call home in the evenings.  We'll share it among the 17 in our group.
     Laptop - I'm renting an internet wireless card to go  in my laptop.  In the evenings I'll leave my laptop in the commons area so that some of you can send messages and updates on social media yourselves.
    Coffee Shop - A friend from Tennessee (Byron Sommardahl) owns the coffee shop called "Cafe El Gringo" located a few miles from our mission house.  He gives us the wifi password, and you'll be able to use your own wireless devices on our couple of visits there.
2)  Do we need to bring any tools?
     There's no need for anything other than your own sunglasses/safety glasses, earplugs, work gloves, etc.  Hammers, tape measures, chainsaws, and levels are available there in Honduras.
3)  How will we get around Honduras?
     The mission teams have bus drivers that are paid from our collective work fund.  These bus drivers are pretty amazing at navigating Honduran roads, which is quite an adventure by itself!  The school style bus will be our primary mode of transportation with minivans and trucks also if our team decides to divide and conquer.  It will all be handled for us.
    On a side note, we will be driving through mountainous terrain, please bring medicine for motion sickness if you struggle with mountain travel.
4)  How are we going to spend the night in the village of Guajire?
     Last year we built a two story dormitory behind the church building in Guajire.  The future plan for this dormitory is to use it to keep residents for preacher training camps in this beautiful area.  We will take our mission house mattresses and blankets with us to sleep on in the bunk house.  Men on one level, ladies on the other.
     I personally take my hammock and a small sleeping bag in a compression sack to Honduras.  Since I love backpacking this way, I have very lightweight compact gear.  I slept right outside the dormitory door last year in my hammock, and intend to do the same this year.  If you have that type of gear you are welcome to pack it too.

I'll answer a few more questions in an upcoming email in a couple days.  Be sure to send your questions.  We're getting excited!
Christopher Wiles

Thursday, June 26, 2014

How Do You Treat Satan?

Bulletin Study Starter: Sunday, June 29th, 2014
How do you treat Satan? - By Christopher Wiles
Study Starters are ideas from my personal study that are intended to get you thinking about a Bible topic by piquing your curiosity concerning spiritual things.  Hopefully they’ll inspire you to open your Bible and look into them more on your own. 

Jude: When was the last time?
A good friend and brother in Christ recently shared, “I don’t know if I’ve ever heard a sermon or done a study out of Jude.”  True, Jude, the brother of Jesus, doesn’t get the time and notoriety that Paul, John, Peter, and even his other brother, James, gets.  Yet there’s a lot we can learn from this follower of Christ and the one short chapter he writes to us.

After listing a bunch of sins of some specific unbelievers Jude names a sin that doesn’t get a lot of study time.  He says people are guilty of “reviling angelic majesties.” (v. 8) What in the world does that mean?  To illustrate the level of respect we should have for God’s created beings he shares that Michael the archangel respected Satan so much that even he wouldn’t directly rebuke Satan or pronounce judgment against him. (v. 9) Jude says these sinners revile things they don’t understand and by these things they will be destroyed. (v. 10)

When was the last time you considered your attitude toward Satan?  Sometimes preachers (myself included) are guilty of mocking and joking about this created being that even Michael won’t talk bad about.   Sometimes we’re guilty (myself included) of teaching kids lyrics to pep-rally-type songs that trash talk Satan saying things like “If the Devil’s in the way we will run right over him,” “If the Devil doesn’t like it he can sit on a tack,” and a more recent camp/VBS song titled “Little Square Box” which says:

“But if I had a little square box
to put the Devil in,
I’d take him out and STOMP HIS FACE (Kids yell while stomping the ground)
and put him back again.”

Have we been guilty of reviling, trashing, or goading someone we shouldn't?  I’m definitely not suggesting we not have fun, passion, and boldness in our preaching, singing, and children’s songs but I am wondering if we have forgotten the message from Jude to beware reviling angelic majesties that we don’t understand.  What do you think?

“Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31b

Why Sleeping Babies are Valuable

This morning I attended the DCOAD meeting.  The Daviess County Organizations Active in Disaster was formed after flooding struck our area in 2008 and was a great boon to our community in the aftermath of the 2013 tornado that hit our town.  It's made up of leadership from churches, benevolence groups, nonprofit organizations, the emergency management agency, the housing authority, and more.

At times life can seem burdened with too many meetings.  Balancing time in life between personal priorities and community needs is a challenge.  So why do I attend and participate in leadership and service in so many of those meetings?

EMA Director Paul Goss unintentionally reminded me why I choose to sacrifice time to be a part of community leadership as he was chatting fondly about his grandchildren.  This morning he rose long before his visiting young grandkids and lovingly watched them sleep in a beautiful moment of peace.  He commented on how they don't often wake with anxiety ridden dreams like we do but enjoy sleeping in peace knowing they are well taken care of.   My wife and I love to watch our children sleep too.

I serve in the community because it honors God to use the talents I've been given and it is my duty to be His ambassador.  I also serve because through the meetings and actions of these groups who prepare for and react to community issues my children do get to sleep peacefully at night.  I serve so that my wife and I can lovingly watch Gabriel, Ethan, and Micah enjoying sweet blissful dreams of fun and friends in their church and community without worry and fear.   So many good people serve in this community as the Lord's ambassadors so that all little ones may have the opportunity to lay their heads down in peace at night.

"In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety." - Psalm 4:8

These sweet children are valuable because the provide us with motivation to do the best we can to make our community safer and more prepared through serving God and serving others.

Are you involved in serving the community in ways that benefit it and make it a better and safer place for your family?  Are you interested in getting involved in the community?  I can personally recommend these groups that I am a part of that are actively making our community a better place.

Washington Church of Christ
Daviess County Organizations Active in Disaster
Healthy Homes Committee
Families First Home Educators Coop
Connections / Davies County Partnership
Washington Area Ministerial Association
Daviess Community Hospital Chaplains

There's a lot more out there worth spending your time with.  Shoot me a message if you're looking for ways to help.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Honduras Missions Indiana Itinerary

For those of you in Indiana, here is a proposed itinerary for our July 7th departure.  Thanks Allen for supplying a van and trailer for us to ride together. For those not in Indiana, I'd like to help you develop a leaving plan as well.  Please give your suggestions and feedback.   
July 7th Itinerary for Indiana Group
2:45am - Load up at Washington Church of Christ (Topher, Jason, Jaden, Elmer, Emma, Luke)
3:00am - Leave Washington Church of Christ
3:55am - Meet with Dan Kerr, Erin Deckard, and Allen Burris at Kmart in Bedford, IN
4:00am - Leave Bedford, IN
5:10am - Arrive at airport, say goodbye to Allen
6:40am - Be at gate to begin boarding flight Delta 1575
7:10am - Fly out of Indy
8:49am - Land in Atlanta
9:20am - Meet up with Chad Marshall, Emma Woody, Sadie Essig, and Bryan Cox at gate for departure
9:45am - Be at gate to board flight for Tegucigalpa Delta 849
10:15am - Leave for Tegucigalpa
11:52am - Land in Teguc to meet up with group(5) from Levelland, TX and eat lunch.

Honduras Missions Packing List

Here are a few items you might want to consider bringing on the mission trip. 

What to carry to the airport:
Suitcase - 50 lbs. or less
Carry-On Backpack (with change of clothes inside)
Bible (you may have a little reading time)

You will need to take care of 1 meal per day, usually lunch.  Breakfast and dinner will be provided.  You can prepack your lunches before the trip like I do, but we will also stop at a supermarket soon after we land to buy food.  Several people buy peanut butter, jelly, and bread in Honduras and make their lunch every morning.

I take snack foods, nuts, protein bars, jerky, fruit cups, peanut butter & jelly, and Gatorade mix.
Snacks and candy bars are available for purchase at the mission house for $1; purchasing helps support the children's home.

I carry two empty quart gatorade / nalgeen bottles and fill one up with water and I mix gatorade in the other for each day while working.  You want to avoid drinking the local tap water. We have purified water supplied every morning and evening at the mission house for you to fill up.  Make sure they are empty of liquids if you put them in your carry-on bag like I do.

Hand sanitizer (little bottle)
work shoes (tennis shoes are fine no open toe shoes for working)
work gloves
bandana for sweat
bug spray
ear plugs (if you use the chainsaw)
sun glasses

A person can easily get by on $50 or less.  We usually stop at two fast food restaurants and take one trip to the mall to eat and shop for souvenirs on our trip.  I usually buy something made by local Hondurans for my family.

Shampoo & Soap
Shower FlipFlops

Pepto Bismol
Imodium AD
Personal Meds
Your Vitamins
Cipro (antibiotic just in case, your family doctor will probably give you a prescription if you tell them about your mission trip)
There are pharmacies available in Tegucigalpa.
There is no need for extra shots as we are at a high elevation and not at risk for malaria.  Last year a few of our members got a  stomach bug for a couple days.

 (Our daily average High is 83 and DALow is 65 degrees.)
Laundry Bag (locals can/will do your laundry, I give them $5 to do a bag of mine.)
Sweatshirt or jacket for evenings
Running shoes (some of us like to run in the mornings)
Comfortable hiking/working shoes
Shorts (not too short)
Shirts (not to revealing)

I recommend earplugs for sleeping in case one of your bunk mates snores.
Alarm Clock
Camera (cheap one or cell phone is fine)
Little give-away items like toys / candy is fine for kids.  I bring a pack of balloons and a couple pumps for balloon animals.
Writing implements
Note pad

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Living Lesson: A Beautiful Bride

Living Lesson: A Beautiful Bride
By: Christopher Wiles
I've spoken about it before and today I'm sharing it again.  The MOST EXCITING passage of the Bible for me is Revelation 21:2. "I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband."

Through teary eyes I've seen the amazing births of all three of my sons.  I've thrown a no-hitter, won tennis tournaments, and won a 5k.  I've completed a Tough Mudder, a Spartan Race, and a Muckfest.  I've jumped from an 83 foot waterfall and spelunked in the deep dark recesses of Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee cave systems.  I've seen rainbows in Siberia and sat in solitude on a mountain top in Honduras. 

Yet I can't remember any one of those experiences generating as much excitement, passion, and an overwhelming sense of joy as the moment the doors in the back of the auditorium opened at Millview Church of Christ ten years ago on June 5th, 2004.  The sunlight danced and radiated around Ashley as she was exposed to my eyes for the first time in her wedding dress.  She was stunningly, weak-in-the knees, take-your-breath-away gorgeous.  Not a one of those amazing experiences mentioned earlier compare with the vision God gave me of my bride beautifully dressed for her husband on our wedding day. 
Maybe it was because we had anticipated and prepared for the wedding for so long, since the moment we started dating.  Maybe it was because we had saved sexual intimacy for the wedding night.  Maybe it was because I was about to kiss Ashley on the lips for the very first time ever.  Whatever the reason, I was ecstatic and exuberant at the sight of my soon-to-be wife as she floated up the isle to stand hand-in-hand before me.  I've smiled a lot, but I don't know if I've ever smiled bigger than that moment. 

If a momentary vision on earth can be that wonderful, then how amazing will it be to see something like it and even better in heaven?    John writes, "I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband." 

My faithful Christian family, we have a lot to be excited for.  Make sure you are looking toward, prepared for, and clothed with Christ on that amazing day in Heaven.  Then you too will read Revelation 21:2 and smile!