Monthly Archives: January 2013

Gettin’ All Up in Their B’ness

Should parents get all up in their children’s business?

Or should they mind their own?

I grew up in a home where my business was going to be known – like it or not. My mom is known as the “Queen of Questions.” She was when I was 8. She is now that I am almost 36. But she REALLY was the years between 12 and 18. When I came home from playing golf, or school, or church, or a date, or a friend’s house, or taking out the garbage, or going to the bathroom, or taking a nap, or playing Nintendo, or feeding the dog – she was going to ask me at least 20 questions related to the event. Me and my sisters always knew – no matter what – it was coming. We either were going to have to tell everything or we were going to have to lie about it. Mom always got all up in our b’ness.

But the Pearson kids grew up before the internet hit. I didn’t send my first email or surf the web until college. The first cell phone I saw was a bag phone my older sister got for Christmas my freshman year at Auburn. [By the way, the bag phone was slightly smaller than a carry on suitcase that’s too big to put in the overhead container on an airplane. . . Remember those?] An MP3 was my initials with a 3 beside it, not a way to listen to music.

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Today access to information is TOTALLY different. Sharing stuff with friends isn’t done through a phone with a chord attached to it in the den of your home. Looking at questionable material isn’t done by flipping through the channels when no one else is in the family room watching TV. It can all be done anywhere, anytime. Laptop. Tablet. Phone. Kindle Fire. DS3’s. And on and on the list goes.

You know this stuff. Heck, you are probably reading this one on or more of the gadgets mentioned above. So back to my question. . .

When it comes to this stuff, should parents be all up in their children’s business?

I read this horrifying article yesterday about children in a culture of pornography (I encourage all parents to read it, but beware – it will cause you to need yesterday’s post on dealing with anxiety!). Reading it truly was a frightening dose of reality for this parent.

One (of many) quote that stood out related parents and their involvement in their child’s online interaction. The author writes:

“If your child was going out with somebody you thought was taking drugs, you would feel you had the right to              intervene. Somehow, we don’t feel we have the right to do that in the online world. We are on the back foot.”

This, of course, spawned the question. In my mind, nothing is off limits when it comes to our children and what they are doing. We should not only be the “Queen of Questions” or the “Prince of Probings” – but should NOW also be “Internet Nazis,”  “Phone Find-it-alls,” and “Text Tyrants.” I know what I was prone to when I was a teenager WITHOUT this stuff – I shudder to think what would happen if. . . . too scary.

I don’t have teens . . . yet. According to the article, I can’t be so naive as to think it will all wait until then. Other than pray for Jesus to come back, what advice do you parents have for parents like myself? How much should we get in their b’ness? How much trust should we extend? How many questions should we ask? How do you build a culture where ‘everything is on the table’?

Thoughts?

Counsel?

Advice?

Practical help?

Got a Xanax I can have? 🙂

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Tommy Nelson and Anxiety Attacks

Tommy Nelson’s article in this month’s Leadership Journal entitled ‘Anxiety Attack!’, an excerpt from his book Walking on Water When You Feel Like You’re Drowningis a MUST READ!!!!

A must read for pastors.

A must read for associate pastors.Unknown-2

A must read for lay leaders.

A must read for all followers of Jesus.

Here’s why:

First, his honesty about his journey with anxiety and depression is refreshing. Who doesn’t need to be reminded that they aren’t the only ones struggling with such things???

Consider this quote:

“I began to find out some things. Stress makes the body run on adrenaline, which is okay for a short time but not over a long period, because adrenaline produces cortisol, and cortisol inhibits the proper production and use of serotonin – a neurotransmitter that makes your brain function as it should. What has to be done is to locate the source of the long-term stress and begin to eliminate it.

In my case, it was easy to identify the problem – overwork – and then eliminate it by tossing everything off my schedule. But even when you’ve removed the source, the horrific symptoms of depression and anxiety continue. They must ebb away like flood waters – slowly and steadily – and that can be distressing.

It is terrifying when your mind – your very means of perception – becomes impaired. We sometimes think of the mind as some objective, free mechanism that floats outside of sensory data and informs us about the world we are in. The fact is, our mind operates within an organ – the brain – and is fallen like every part of our being. It can become impaired, and that is scary.”

 

Second, his honesty about the need for Christians to understand the physical causes/affects of these disorders is CRUCIAL.

Nelson writes:

“People in general and Christians in particular need to understand something important.Anxiety/depression is a hybrid condition – it is spiritual/mental/emotional in its causes but physical/medical in its symptoms and manifestation. It must be treated with this understanding to be effective.

If all you do is try to get at what caused the depression, then the treatment won’t work. You might as well exhort a diabetic not to be ill. On the other hand, if you merely administer medication and do not deal with what created the problem, then that treatment will also be lacking.

. . . often Christians have a bias against doing anything medical. They feel guilty about taking drugs for a problem that was caused by an emotional or spiritual crisis. They need to realize that the medications are not some sort of ‘happy pills’ but rather necessary tools for bringing one’s body chemistry back to normal. They also need to realize that truly bad results can come from withholding medicine and trying to will oneself back to equilibrium. The symptoms of depression and anxiety will linger, and the inability to live goes right along with it.”

YES. YES. YES. YES. YES.

Suffice it to say here that I could not agree more and am incredibly grateful for his honesty. May his tribe increase!

If you think you are going insane and wondering what in the world is wrong with you and your mind; and/or if you simply cannot turn your mind off – IT IS OKAY. THERE IS HOPE. THERE IS HELP. You aren’t dying or turning into some wicked mass serial killer. Yes, there are spiritual reasons this is happening; but PLEASE ALSO KNOW – there are physical reasons this is happening too that need attention. Our great God has provided all things for mental health. He has provided a spiritual cure and will show His children the way; AND He has provided geniuses who have concocted amazing medical help for the most intricate details of brain chemistry.

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Now THAT’s a Good Question!

Unknown-2Being that I am one of those ‘preacher-types,’ I usually get some really good questions on Sundays – before church, after church, during church, etc. They come in the form of handwritten notes, emails, texts, tweets, and conversations.

I thought it might be beneficial on Mondays (or at least until people stop asking!) to pose a question that was given to me over the weekend and do my best to answer it here. Chances are, there are others who are wondering the same thing. Besides, oftentimes the questions have to do with something I said/didn’t say during my sermon – and I ALWAYS have more that I could say. 🙂

Here goes. . .

Yesterday, during lunch, I received a text message asking me why verse 21 is skipped in Matthew 17??? Now THAT’s a Good Question (especially since I preached from there during the morning sermon)!!!

If you notice, in most translations verse 21 is either omitted OR bracketed between verses 20 and 22. In the Bible I use, there is a footnote after verse 20 that reads: “Some manuscripts insert verse 21: But this kind never comes out except by prayer and fasting.”

WHY?

The simple answer is that some (if not most) of the earliest Greek manuscripts do not include verse 21. In other words, more than likely, translators added verse 21 later. Or to say it in yet another way, a bunch of really smart people (Bible scholars) do not think Matthew included the sentence we know as verse 21.

SO WHY IS IT THERE?

Most translations put the verse in brackets or include a footnote in order not to cause mass chaos on Sunday mornings when the preacher says, “turn to Matthew 17:22” or something similar. If some translations skipped and went on and others kept it in, there would be mass confusion on Sundays! It is skipped (with a footnote) or bracketed in order to keep some sense of uniformity for us. Make sense?

SO, WHAT IF JESUS DID SAY IT????

This side of heaven, we just won’t know for sure. Let me give you a piece of advice for when you come across similar situations in Scripture (there are several). It is ALWAYS BEST to compare it with other places in Scripture. Let me explain. The skipped verse in my translation records Jesus as saying, “But this kind never comes out except by prayer and fasting.” First, I would check to see if this story is recorded by any of the other Gospel writers. Sure enough, Mark and Luke also record it.  So I would read what the Spirit inspired them to write. In this case, they help some, but not totally.

NEXT I would ask myself, “Does Jesus encourage prayer and fasting in other places?” Sure He does. So even if Jesus didn’t say it, you can know IT STILL IS A BIBLICAL TRUTH.

WHAT’S THE TAKE AWAY HERE?

After you have done these, my conclusion here is though we don’t know for sure if Jesus said what is in verse 21, we DO KNOW FOR SURE that Jesus encouraged prayer and fasting in other places. SO, one way we can fight against demonic forces of evil in our lives is by asking Jesus to remove it (prayer) and expressing our desperation for Him to do so (fasting). This way I am sure it is a biblical ‘take-away’ AND it fits with what Jesus was communicating in the context of Matthew 17.

[You can listen to the sermon here.]

Does this make sense? What other questions come to your mind – related to this issue – having read this post?

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What On Earth Am I Here For?

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Hopefully most FBCers know by now that on February 10th – we are starting a 6 week campaign called “What On Earth Am I Here For?” It is, of course, based off of Rick Warren’s revised – 10th Anniversary edition – Purpose Driven Life and 40 Days of Purpose material.

Why do it?

Today, while eating at one of El Dorado’s local eating establishments, I told the waitress I was going to thank God for my food and ask the blessin’ (it’s what we do down South!) and that I would like to pray for her. I asked her if there was anything going on that I could pray for her about.

Here’s what she said (amidst holding back tears):

– She just moved here.

– Just started this job as a waitress.

– Her 1 year old child was just taken by DHS (for reasons she didn’t disclose).

– She got the news her child was taken by DHS her first day on the job.

– She desperately wants her child back.

– She is currently looking for a place to stay and a place to belong.

Let me spell it out for us: She is longing to know “WHAT ON EARTH SHE IS HERE FOR”!!!!! So I invited her to come and learn with us what God says about this.

FBC: There are men and women all over this city longing to know why God put them here. God has spoken and revealed His plan for us. Knowing it and trusting it brings so much freedom and peace and life and joy. Let me urge you to be intentional about inviting people to join us over the next few weeks leading up to this. So many want to know. The main obstacle between them knowing and not knowing is our inviting them to join us.

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If They Only Knew How Many Times We Wanted to Quit!!!!

That’s a quote from a woman in the church where I pastor.

I heard it over coffee with her and her husband in their kitchen on Wednesday afternoon.images

In May of this year – they will celebrate 54 years of marriage. That’s right. 54. 4 more than 50. 46 less than 100. Over half of a century. A LONG TIME.

When I heard that, I said (insert Alabama/Arkansas accent here): “Man, you sure don’t hear that much these days.” 

Husband’s response: “You sure don’t. Couples these days just get mad and want to quit and get out of it all together.” 

Wife’s comment – looking at her husband: “If they only know how many times WE wanted to quit!!!!”

I have thought about that all afternoon. There’s ALOT of wisdom there.

Here I was, looking at a couple who had been married nearly twice as long as I have been alive and they were admitting (laughingly now) how many times they wanted to just quit their marriage over the years. In other words, there had been times and seasons when they wanted out of the marriage. . . . But they were still married.

Implication? THEY WORKED THROUGH IT.

Couples who have been married 54 years didn’t make it that long because they never had a fight; or never had a rough season; or never had any major issues or problems; or never argued over finances; or never cheated; or never yelled at the other. NO. NO. NO. NO. They made it that long because they CHOSE TO STAY MARRIED AND WORK THROUGH THEIR PROBLEMS. The only other option is to  get out and try again with another.

Anybody can get mad and quit.

Committed people are committed to work through their problems and issues ’til death does them part.

Got marriage problems? Get in line.

Said something you shouldn’t have said? Done something you wish you hadn’t? Got a spouse that makes you want to punch the wall sometimes? Take a number. Wanna quit? Join the club. I don’t know of a marriage that doesn’t have seasons of stuff like this. The ones that make it do so because they are committed to do so.

After the visit, I sent a text to my wife that said: “Such a precious couple. They have been married 54 years!” Her text back? “I hope we can be precious when we are old ;)”

Me too, babe. Me too.

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And the Winner Is. . .

It’s an exciting day for the blog’s ‘And the Winner Is. . .’ Day!!!

Two firsts today:

1. MORE entries were turned in yesterday than EVER before – TEN!!!!!!!

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2. The winning entry – an ALL color drawing!!!!

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I have NO IDEA who drew this. The initials at the bottom are “B.P.” That’s all I know. Great work whoever you are!

I hope it’s obvious from the drawing, but yesterday I preached a sermon entitled “Dipping Doubts” from Matthew 14:22-33 where Jesus and Peter walked on water. It was part 3 in the ‘Where’s the Faith?’ series.

Thanks children!!!!!!! Great job! Keep it up!

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I’m Glad He Dreamed

“I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor’s lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.”  [Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Excerpt from speech given on August 28th, 1963)]

One man’s dream changed my life. As I type these words, I have four different nationalities asleep under the roof of my home.

Philippines. Uganda. Ethiopia. North America.

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Two of them (one boy from Philippines and one boy from Uganda) will only be with us two nights (Children of the World performed at FBC last night and we have the privilege of hosting a couple of the kids.).

But the Ethiopian is my daughter and the North Americans are my two sons.

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None of it would be possible had there not been a dream and a massive vision cast almost fifty years ago.

I’ve always appreciated and respected Dr. King – his convictions, his vision, his leadership, and his speech given at our nation’s capital. But this year is different.

I wonder what would have happened had he not dreamed? I wonder what would have happened had he not boldly proclaimed what he knew to be right and the will of God? I wonder. Thankfully, we’ll never know.

Dr. King never knew the impact that dream would have – on individuals; on societies; on churches; on families; on government; on Matt Pearson.

But that’s what good leaders do (great post for leader lessons from MLK here). They dream and work and strive and live and die to make others better – hoping that when their time is up, their little life would have made things a bit better better for those that follow.

I’ll be honest. . . I don’t know if I’ve ever really ‘celebrated’ MLK Day for MLK. But today I will.

I’m glad he dreamed.

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