Saturday, January 31, 2015


by Tim Howard

Love songs abound! No matter what age you are or what decade you were born, lyrics have been put to music and songs of love have been sung. Do you remember some of these love songs from a top 10 list?

I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You – Elvis Presley 
The Power Of Love – Celine Dion                                              
Eternal Flame – The Bangles                                                      
Can You Feel The Love Tonight? – Elton John                    
As Long As You Love Me – Backstreet Boys
Unchained Melody – Righteous Brothers                                
How Do I Live – LeAnn Rimes                                                     
Hero – Enrique Iglesias                                                               
 I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing – Aerosmith    
Then there’s the song by Tina Turner, released in 1993 which addressed the abusive relationship she experienced in the early years of her marriage. “What’s Love Got To Do With It?” 

The Bible tells us that LOVE has everything to do with everything we do! If you turn to 1 Corinthians 13 you will read these words: “If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.” MSG

Defining true love is difficult but we must try – If you merely look and listen to our culture you may very well have a distorted view of love and live a very dysfunctional life. When you look at the rate of divorce in our society, love doesn’t seem to last, it fades. At times love seems blind because people make foolish decisions based on an emotional counterfeit love. Then we hear of individuals talking about falling in and out of love as if love is something that happens by accident rather than choice. 

Since 1 John 4:7 tells us that: “God is love” He needs to be the beginning point for understanding love in its truest sense.  Paul the Apostle talked about God’s love. He said: “love never gives up. His love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. Love doesn't strut, doesn't have a swelled head, doesn't force itself on others, isn't always "me first," doesn't fly off the handle, doesn't keep score of the sins of others, doesn't revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts up with anything. Love trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end.”

Paul goes on to give us three keys for living life to it’s fullest. You will succeed if you have faith, hope and love but love is the greatest. 

Faith so you will be able to fulfill your purpose. Hope so that tomorrow will bring you closer to your destiny. Love for God and mankind so that you will be connected to those who can strengthen you.

If you commit yourself to loving God first and loving each other God’s way, you will rediscover the power of God’s love. The answer to “What’s Love Got To Do With It?” is EVERYTHING!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The List

by Andrew Cromwell

All of us work with lists. Some love to write their lists down on paper (or their phone). Others are more free-form in their list making. These people don’t like to write things down, but instead keep their list in their mind somewhere. The physical list makers are always judging the mental list makers and say they are disorganized. The mental list makers are always judging the physical list makers and say they are inflexible and no fun.

Whether your list is physical or metaphysical, you have one. And there are always more things on the list than it is possible to accomplish.

There is a very important question we all need to ask concerning our list. How do we decide to order the list? Some of us just dump everything onto the list, and then allow the tyranny of the urgent to determine what gets done. Changing the oil in the car is added to the list along with taking the spouse out for a date. The order in which those two items are accomplished is purely dependent on whether the engine or the spouse makes more noise.

Perhaps a better strategy is to decide how to classify things on the list. There are things we must do, things we should do and the things we want to do.

The things we must do are the basics. We must buy groceries if we want to eat, we must pay our rent if we want to have a place to live, and we must work if we want to have resources to do these things. We generally get these things done because if we don’t then life takes an ugly turn.

The things we should do are the things that we all know are a good idea. We should brush our teeth, we should change the oil in the car, and we should be nice to the people in our lives. We can skip these things for a while, but if we ignore them for too long then we are going to have to pay down the road.

The things we want to do are, well, the things we like to do. The problem is, sometimes these things are not good for us or they keep us from doing the things we must and should do.

My challenge for you is to really think about how you decide what comes next on your list and how you categorize things. Too many of us have put things like, invest significant time in my family or grow in my relationship with God, on the ‘should do’ list and we simply never get around to them. Instead, we fill our times with the ‘want to’ dos—the Netflix binges, the parties or hobbies we enjoy, or whatever escapism is your cup of tea. 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Change Agent

by Tim Howard

I don’t know if your parents did this or not but my parents tracked my physical growth progress. No, they didn’t use computers or the latest technology. Their method was Old School. They had me stand up straight in one of the doorways and made a mark on the door jam at the top of my head. As I grew, you could see many marks indicating the changes taking place… I started of at 22” and ended my journey at 5’9.” I wasn’t always aware of the changes taking place because change often is imperceptible. 

Most people have a desire to change and alter their lives in some way. They may say things like:  I’m ‘too’ short, my nose is ‘too’ big or my cheeks are ‘too’ fat. I’m ‘too’ young or I’m ‘too’ old. I have ‘too’ little money or ‘too’ little time. I’m ‘too’ fearful. I’m ‘too’ stupid, it’s ‘too’ hot or it’s ‘too cold’… Have you personally had a few of those ‘too’ thoughts? 

You might be interested to know God’s Word offers some insight and instruction that will help you make positive changes in 2015. Here are four truths that are important.  

1.   God’s priority is to change the internal and not primarily the external. The religious people back in the days of Jesus were interested in looking great rather than becoming great. They were famous for asking the “How Do I Look” question. Jesus, however, teaches that real life is expressed from the inside out. He wants to change the heart and attitudes of a person first. When the attitude changes the actions follow. 

 2.   Anything can change but not everything should change. It’s a human tendency to desire comfort and convenience. Some of the things that shape and develop character, however, are not always pleasant or easy. In the Bible, the book of Romans chapter 5 reveals that God uses adversity to make us stronger. When we seek to remove all difficulty and pain from our lives rather than persevere, we rob ourselves of an opportunity to grow stronger, deeper and ultimately higher. When you experience difficulty, it would be wise to pray that well-known prayer: “God grant me the serenity 
to accept the things I cannot change; 
courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference.”

 3.   Your priority is to see change in yourself. Jesus said to us in the New Testament book of Matthew chapter 7 these words: Why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?” First get rid of the log from your own eye; then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye. 

 4.   God wants to help you change because He has designed you to be a change agent. You can go it alone – reading self help books, acting on your own understanding and ability or you can discover the Creator’s divine design and ask Him to help. 

When these 4 truths are understood and acted upon – your growth will become evident to all. There will be marks that indicate your progress. God will use you to bring about positive change in others. After all – It’s not all about you… You are called to be a change agent and help others.

Saturday, January 10, 2015


by Tim Howard

I like NEW! New cars, new clothes, new houses and new places to visit, but none of these compare to the new things offered by God to those who will receive.

In 2 Corinthians 5:17 The Apostle Paul explains to us that we can be transformed from the inside out – We can become a new person. When God changes you – old things pass away and new things come into being. 

The old lifestyle gives way to a new lifestyle. Motives for self-advancement give way to a new sense of purpose, which involves others. 

Rather than spending all their time, efforts and money on things that don’t satisfy or last – people who make God a priority develop a new set of goals to pursue. 

As you move through this New Year, don’t miss the new things God has for you!

1.  With each New Year, God makes a new beginning available to every person who calls on Him. 

2.  There are new relationships that God has pre-ordered for you. Some of your best friends may still be in your future. Don’t underestimate the impact of any and all new people you will encounter.

3.  New opportunities await those who pursue a desire to love God and people. Opportunity knocks and it will be knocking on your door this year. Don’t close you eyes and mind to new possibilities. Don’t be so ensconced in your routine – making it difficult to take a risk.

4. New victories will come your way. Those old habits, addictions and patterns will give way to new hope when you learn how do battle with your giants. God wants you to win. He wants to be on your side and help you grow stronger with each passing day.

5.  New life rather than mere existence awaits those who exercise faith in Christ. Someone said: “It’s sad to live and then die but it’s even more sad to die, having never lived.” The Bible calls this: ‘Eternal Life.’ It is more than existence – it is a quality of life that lasts forever. The good news is – you don’t have to die to receive it. It can start right now.

Solomon said there is nothing new under the sun. He said: “What will be – has been.” Even though this is true when speaking about humanity it is not true individually.
There are surely new things awaiting you and me in this New Year. Things we have not yet experienced in fullness.

1 Corinthians 2:9 “…no eye has seen – no ear has heard and no human mind has conceived —the new things God has prepared for those who love him.” 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

New Year, Fresh Start

by Andrew Cromwell

Every new year brings new opportunities to begin again. Of course, we could say that the turning of the new year is nothing more than the calendar resetting. We are all just one day older and December 31st is not really much different from the next day — you are still in the same family, work at the same job and have the same old problems. But there is something different about a new year.

The new year is a line in the sand. It is here that we can definitively say last year is over and the new year begun. We close the books financially on December 31st. Old laws sunset and new laws go into effect. 

Personally, when the ball drops, we have the opportunity to begin again. Sure, the past doesn’t disappear, but the potential for a different future begins right here, right now. Over the coming weeks and months, there will be much said about how most new year’s resolutions are abandoned quickly in favor of the old routine. And if you are not careful, you will be discouraged before you begin. But don’t be, just because we try and don’t succeed, doesn’t mean we should stop trying!

So in this new year, let me encourage you to take some time to imagine a future that is better than the one you are currently living. I’m not suggesting you make a new year’s resolution to win the lottery and make all your problems disappear. Rather, that you set your sights a little higher and a little farther than where you currently are.

First, take some time to look back. Look back at the last year. What was the good, the bad and the ugly? What was accomplished? What was not? Are you a better, more giving person now than at the beginning of the year? Are you closer to God or farther away? What about the people that make up the fabric of your life—your spouse, your kids, your parents, your close friends—have you taken steps to deepen the quality of your relationship or did you throw stones and damage it?

Second, in light of your reflections, think about where you’d like to be at the end of next year. Where would you like to be spiritually? Where would you like to be relationally? Where would you like to be financially? 

Third, think about what kind of things a person would do who had those character traits. For example, what would a person do who was close to God? Would they pray more (maybe talk to God like they had a personal relationship with Him), go to church or attend a Bible study, or look for opportunities to give themselves to others? How about a person who was an excellent spouse or parent? What would they do in order to maintain those relationships? 

After you have a few examples of what these types of people would do, then pick a few of those actions to do yourself. Begin to do the things and you might be surprised to find that you become the person you desire to be.