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Monday, March 10, 2014

What Is Family? From The Jackson 5 to Miley Cyrus, What Happened?


Even if "Pop Culture" is to blame for an egregious shift in the definition of family, what happened. As dysfunctional as it may appear years later, the pop sensation of my youth understood and promoted family. Yes, the Jackson family and celebrated "The Jackson 5" ruled my musical world and desire for family as a child and teenager. Many of us (a bit older, hint, hint) have even greater points of references. In this era, my children have to hear of Miley Cyrus (former Disney icon) on a worldwide stage, half naked, and displaying obscenity with a married man. I could go on with a variety of examples from politics on through to the causes and effects of poverty. However, no need because the buck stops at this question for us all. What is Family?

My wonderful wife and I were invited to a pre-screening of the upcoming Focus on The Family film "Irreplaceable" last Thursday. You can see the trailer below. This is a powerful and absolutely must see film if you seriously want to ask yourself the question "What is Family?" If you desire to be an effective part of the solution, rather than simply sit back and point the finger, go and see this film on May 6th. Focus on The Family has reserved over 700 theaters across the nation for this one night only. So, save the date now, and don't miss it!! Get Your Tickets Here and no the creators aren't paying me to say that.

How do I keep from ruining this for you? I will choose to say it this way...  There aren't many ways the creators of the film have failed to approach this dialog. There is the international consideration and not just American. There is the political, higher education, pop or hook-up culture, fatherhood & motherhood, pressures of families with disabilities, Christian, race & other demographics, and more. There is even the multi-generational consideration which we applaud greatly at The Firstborn Son, Inc. Best of all, this is just the beginning of a more extensive dialog yet to come with additional post movie resources designed to engage the culture long term. In short, to make a restorative and lasting impact we must proactively and consistently engage the culture with this question.

So, what is family? Do you know anymore what your honest definition is? Are you even aware how much of the current culture has infiltrated your thoughts about family? Irreplaceable gives you a historical journey literally across the world to help you re-establish a safe and secure definition where necessary.


Friday, February 14, 2014

How Do You Save Those Who Follow The Trouble of Your Severe Life Mistakes?


How valuable to you is it to have a family life which minimizes dysfunction and estranged relationships? How much does it mean to you to save your children and grandchildren someday from the severe mistakes you have made? Are there others you know who could likewise benefit?

Take a look at this video please. It the first in a series of three videos as we build a momentum towards 13-week online webinar offering. At the bottom of the video there is an option to add your comments, as well as give your recommendation on a topic to cover in our last video of the series.

You may know of a few people who will benefit significantly from such a series. Please do not hesitate to kick out the link for the video to a few folks in your circles as well. As you would expect, we would love for you to join us the webinar series slated for an hour and half a week, beginning in mid March.

CLICK HERE  for the video!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Propaganda and Homosexuality No Match For Healthy Family Legacy

For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline (2 Tim. 1:7).

Far too often we face intimidation from those in authority, or others in support of immoral behaviors. The intimidation frequently comes in the form of propaganda through the mass media. It is an attempt to portray dominance, a characteristic they truly do not possess. Such is the case with the recent comment by the Obama administration via the words of Attorney General Eric Holder. However, as Christians we are indeed "Dangerous Together" in prayer. Our success ultimately requires more of us also. We must believe that and live accordingly. If not for ourselves, we owe it to the generation which follows us. It is our absolute responsibility to secure a culture of morality for them.

It is my prayer that we are all actively involved rather than standby as spectators while intimidation runs rampant. Here is my most recent contribution to The Christian Post on this subject. Enjoy...but most importantly live it out well please. CLICK HERE

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Healthy Families Influence Culture With Successful Family Legacy!

The family unit must naturally influence the culture by the completeness it generates and holds. That completeness originates from an intelligent Designer and Creator of family; God. His design and creation are orderly.  Family was created for God's glorification. Its attributes display His power and effectiveness through the generations. Why should we allow an unrighteous and materialistic culture, primarily through government mandates and Christian complacency, to redefine His rules? The Successful Family Legacy seminar realigns our understanding and purposes for family.

Continuing the dialog... An earlier article was titled "OppositionalDefiant Disorder, Relationship Advice, or Dysfunctional Family? The experts' solutions naturally point to implementing a Successful Family Legacy but refuse to be direct." It established Successful Family Legacy as the answer to social instability. I speak of troubled youths, dysfunctional families, and more. Family legacy is the process of strategically transferring healthy family values to our children. The transfer allows them to live moral and productive lives. Society excessively medicates rather than healthily engages challenging family responsibilities. Click on the title above to read that article please. Today's article furthers thoughts and opinions on the family legacy dialog.

The Order of The Day, & for Generations to Come
There is a fundamental consistency evident through all of God's creation. It is an intelligent and consistent design. It is not the "big bang" or random occurrence. He is a God of order and "everything" He does exudes His signature. His might and grace are also highly evident. When He speaks of various aspects of His manifold wisdom His order is evident. The unmistakable appearances of His consistency is written on our hearts. Even in our rejection His order and consistency is still obvious. Such is the case also when He speaks beyond some of the more popular (Ephesians 6:1-4, Colossians 3:18-21) family relationship scriptures.

In Ephesians 3:8-10 the apostle Paul writes:
To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; 10 so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.

The apostle Paul is effectively expressing God's prominence, order, and creative design. Paul also confirms God granted him authority to reveal His mystery to the Gentiles. To cut to the chase, God's order specifies a hierarchy or administration (oikonomia in the New Testament Greek). It denotes management of household affairs or the overseer and stewardship.

Paul, is commissioned with informing us the church (God's body and family) of our responsibility. We are responsible for teaching the rulers and authorities (government, etc) of God's manifold wisdom and order. The instruction and exemplification of God's order for family must begin with the church. The verse's reference to rulers and authorities includes supernatural beings as effected by "heavenly places". Seeking guidance on family building from the government and political authorities is a grave error. As much as government institutions think they have the know-how, they do not. A rising number of cases continue to prove this fact. The politically driven motives for building family are reactionary and disorderly. A reversal of God's order will always produce the chaos and failure we see (statistical trends). It must begin with the church; bible believing family principles.

Your Successful Family Legacy is Complete when...
Paul (Eph 3:14-21 nasb) provides a blueprint of God's order which may be easily overlooked by the unassuming reader. He begins by stating in the section's first two verses, 14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. Society's core component the family originated with God the creator. Family (patria in New Testament Greek) was created for God's glorification. It uniquely displays His power and effectiveness through the generations. The promise of blessings for "all" the families of the Earth was given through the seed of Abraham. Allowing an unrighteous culture motivated by materialism to redefine God's rules is unacceptable.

Secular rulers and authorities are incapable (blinded) of intrinsic family needs. That fact is repeatedly echoed in the political despise and attacks on family. Governmental and political institutions hide their antagonisms behind the mirage of fairness and equality. They suppress the obvious immoral and statistical evidence of our familial and cultural demise.

Paul further displays (Eph. 3) unmistakable truths of God's order for family. These are also keys for implementing your successful family legacy. He uses the context, structure, and principles of family to deliver a worthy admonition to his audience. Every family requires:
  • A source of strength and power.  The spirit and soul of the family provides inner fortitude, from within.
  • A source of conscience.  The faith of the family provides a measure of integrity and unbreakable truth.
  • A source of stability.  A family grounded and rooted in authentic love may be shakable, but is truly unmovable.
  • A source of unity.  One purpose, a common understanding provides totality and reveals the breadth, length, height, and depth by which we may be stretched but never broken.
  • A source of wisdom.  We need discernment as a family to provide guidance during the discovery process of the unknown. Wisdom provides perception in the absence of judgment as it pertains to upright living.
 In the fullness of these characteristics of family which come from God through Jesus Christ we discover familial completeness.  It allows the implementation of a successful family legacy which lasts multiple generations.

The Successful Family Legacy seminar provides tools for building healthy families.
Healthy families which impact the culture rather than be impacted require planning. The successful family legacy seminar provides strategic guidance for building Godly legacy. Family legacy takes on a multi-faceted role regarding our assurance of a healthy family unit. It becomes our tool for gathering the right information at the right time on proactive establishment of purpose. Family legacy serves as a thermometer and barometer, air traffic controller, oral historian, surveyor or boundary enforcer, and more.

Family legacy empowers us to protect the following necessary components for a healthy family:
ü      Communication (support and affirmation, mutual respect, trust, problem solving, conversations)
ü      Recreation and Leisure (together as a unit)
ü      Mutual Accountability (shared responsibility; rather than individual decision, boundaries)
ü      Unified Core Values (moral absolutes, multi-generational intentions and planning, faith)
ü      Sense of Community Beyond Family
ü      Structure (essence and roles)
ü      Marriage (most foundational cultural component)


We must be deliberate in fulfilling our God-given roles as families. It involves bringing much needed order to a chaotic culture. Implementing a successful family legacy provides our greatest safety and assurance. Learn what is required for biblical impact rather than being culturally impacted by attending an upcoming Successful Family Legacy Seminar. The next event is February 1st, 2014.

If you aren't already, please consider donating $8.99 per month to our non-profit organization (Family Legacy Builders), and very strategic work for such a time as this.Click Here To Donate!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Relationship Advice, or Dysfunctional Family?

The experts' solutions naturally point to implementing a Successful Family Legacy but refuse to be direct.

(Edited version of this blog (article) was published by The Christian Post)

How often have you gone seeking assistance from health and psychological professionals about your troubled youth, dysfunctional family and heard the solution to your problem rests in your implementation of a Successful Family Legacy? Yes, I know the answer is "Never!" No professional has ever said those words to you because it is a concept deeply lost in translation and understanding. However, the truth is successful family legacy is the answer.

Unwarranted Societal Complications
Read this expert definition by the Mayo Clinic for the term "Oppositional Defiant Disorder" commonly found in early childhood. "Even the best-behaved children can be difficult and challenging at times. But if your child or teen has a persistent pattern of tantrums, arguing, and angry or disruptive behavior toward you and other authority figures, he or she may have oppositional defiant disorder (ODD)."
As surprisingly as it has become a severe medical condition requiring treatment by trained professional medical staff, to the rest of the world beyond America that definition effectively describes a regular disobedient child requiring structure. Dysfunction and failed relationships appear eerily similar.

It is very apparent how our culture, on a greater level refusing to take healthy responsibility for our negligent behavior, will quickly default to blaming someone or something outside the realm of personal control. As such we have effectively "medicated" rather than healthily engaged issues such as relationship advice, dysfunctional family, and other similar concerns. However, when taking a deeper observation into the causes, treatments, and solutions of these "prescribed" conditions we notice such professional & instructional (scholarly) content:

Causes

There's no known clear cause of oppositional defiant disorder. Contributing causes may be a combination of inherited and environmental factors, including:
·         A child's natural disposition
·         Limitations or developmental delays in a child's ability to process thoughts and feelings
·         Lack of supervision
·         Inconsistent or harsh discipline
  • Abuse or neglect
  • An imbalance of certain brain chemicals, such as serotonin
Treatment and Drugs
...However, medications alone generally aren't used for ODD unless another disorder co-exists. The cornerstones of treatment for ODD usually include:
·         Individual and family therapy
·         Parent-child interaction therapy (PCIT)
·         Cognitive problem-solving training
·         Social skills training
·         Parent training

Lifestyle and Home Remedies
·         Recognize and Praise
·         Model the behavior
·         Pick your battles
·         Set limits (structure)
·         Set up a routine
·         Build in time together
·         Work with your partner
·         Assign your child a household chore
These are causes and solutions respectively addressed and harbored in the security of successful family legacy. The healthy family structure rejects ills remarkably and naturally heals wholly.
In essence, every medical or psychological expert on this topic points back to the components I term as "implementing a successful family legacy" when providing a remedy to these problems. This is where the diagnosis should begin in the first place.

The Firstborn Son, Inc (non-profit Family Legacy Builders) exists first and foremost to address the problem immediately and specifically at the root through our products, seminars, community development, and much more. Our culture does not have a medical epidemic. What we have sadly is a society which has severely lost its order of priority as it pertains to healthy family, and the multi-generational development of children who will one day be responsible adults. The more effective approach to the problem is realigning our priorities by changing the family dialog to emphasize the components of successful family legacy. It will serve us all well and accomplish everything desired or detailed by the medical, professional, and social powers-that-be regarding symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder, relationship advice, or dysfunctional family.

The Current Landscape
We have fast become a society which accesses and consumes information at an extremely rapid rate with regard to the Internet. A simple search of our most powerful search engines quickly presents the most popular, accepted, and sought after dialogs on this topic. Sure enough some of the most shared professional content on this topic, and highly visible for our culture's teen and parenting connoisseurs, as well as academic authority figures quickly rose to the top of the list of offered and available advice.

HELPGUIDE.ORG in its discussion of "Normal Teen vs. Troubled Teen Behavior" had this to offer. "...Your sweet, obedient child who once couldn’t bear to be separated from you now won’t be seen within 20 yards of you, and greets everything you say with a roll of the eyes or the slam of a door. These, unfortunately, are the actions of a normal teenager."
The above text was offered in describing the behavior of a normal teen. In my opinion, no child who is raised sweet and obedient ends up behaving in such a manner. Let's be honest, such a transformation as offered by Helpguide.org above takes many years of disobedience to attain. If deemed acceptable, we have been duped into buying a bag worthless black coal while expecting a sac of precious gold. Honestly, many adults have done just that as a culture by severely lowering our expectations of what is considered normal of our precious teenagers. Contrary to that belief teens are capable of, and worth much more than to expect normality is a collection of spoiled and disobedient brats. We in effect encourage social dysfunction in our agreement to buy that lie.

Family comparisons between normal and trouble teens also uncover these additional comments from industry experts and professional:
Normal Teen Behavior:      Changing appearance. Keeping up with fashion is important to teens. That may mean wearing provocative or attention-seeking clothing or dyeing hair. Unless your teen wants tattoos, avoid criticizing and save your protests for the bigger issues. Fashions change, and so will your teen.

Warning Signs of Troubled Teen:      Changing appearance can be a red flag if it’s accompanied by problems at school or other negative changes in behavior, or if there’s evidence of cutting and self-harm or extreme weight loss or weight gain.
               
Normal Teen Behavior:        Experimenting with alcohol or drugs. Most teens will try alcohol and smoke a cigarette at some point. Many will even try marijuana. Talking to your kids frankly and openly about drugs and alcohol is one way to ensure it doesn’t progress further.

Warning Signs of Troubled Teen:      When alcohol or drug use becomes habitual, especially when it’s accompanied by problems at school or home, it may indicate a substance abuse issue or other underlying problems.

It is a sad state of affairs when what should resonate to a parent as a critical limit (indicator) in behavior of their child is considered "normal" by our "so called" experts. Consequently, what is in effect a destructive and often by far an addictive condition in the behavior of the child to these experts is merely a warning sign. Folks the bar is set far too low and might as well be buried. These are the philosophies and attitudes which govern the majority of our schools, therapist, and even churches. Is it a wonder we have a society with criminally egregious statistical record on the family and child behaviors?   

In as much as these outrageous advice are being offered by individuals considered high-level family experts, their remedies and solutions continue to point to the rich components of successful family legacy. They continuously petition struggling parents and families to pursue awareness and solutions as improving relationships, biological teen development (brain science), anger management, rules and consequences (structure), personal boundaries, family connectivity, healthy lifestyle choices, parental self-awareness, mentoring, experienced support structure, and more.

Even the popular Dr. Phil McGraw comments, "Negative events that happened at ages 2, 3, or 4 help to shape children's personalities. By the time these toddlers become teenagers, they've been living with the resulting pain for most of their lives." He goes on to say, "This is all the more reason that you must be a positive, reliable person in your child's life... Even though they're often reluctant to admit it, they seek approval, love, and a "soft place to fall" in their parents." The question remains, are you implementing a successful family legacy which will innately and naturally address all of these concerns and more for your family?

The Indisputable Answer is Successful Family Legacy
I will admit, it is a bit refreshing to hear these same experts comment, "...there are many things you can do at home to help your teen and improve the relationship between you. And you don't need to wait for a diagnosis to start putting them into practice." That comment actually lends incredible credence to my claims of the work I seek to do by the instructional content and products on implementing successful family legacy. It is in fact an effective reference to the innate and natural power of a purposeful family legacy. Too often we inappropriately utilize the biological and scientific information or advancement we have garnered as a civilization to our detriment. We far too quickly justify our flaws, rather than provide an unyielding case for effectively implementing successful family legacy as needed in this topic.

One may ask, "Why are you so adamant about this thing you call successful family legacy? What exactly is it?"

Let's begin with this thought. We are going to leave a legacy behind for our dependents by design or default. When we are dead and gone, we will be remembered for something; good, exceptional, horrific, or non-existent. Maybe we will even be remembered for a combination of several of those characteristics. Many of our friends and acquaintances will quickly forget the essence of who we were in a few short years following our departure from the land of the living. The one cultural unit which we forever leave an imprint on is our family, regardless of being absent or present. Especially when it comes to children, God created us in such a way nothing short of God Himself can ever fill the gaping mother or father size hole left in the absence of a parent. No matter how old we become, especially in the absence of a father, it is a wound we tend to carry forever. In many cases that wound remains an unbreakable cycle of bondage upon the family for many generations to come. Our culture with regards to teen pregnancy, gang violence, drug abuse, suicides, divorce, educational successes and failures, incarcerations, and many more realities bears the imprint of the fatherless generations.

A successful family legacy is the process of utilizing the healthy societal, emotional, and religious (sacred) attributes purposefully handed down to us by our parents (ancestors) to live currently in a manner above reproach. It also involves living an exemplary life that allows our dependents a similar or enhanced success for generations to come. Better yet, even without having one handed to us by our parents and ancestors, with God's instruction manual we can begin and propagate our own. In Genesis 1:26-28, God the father handed down to us His original intent and design for a successful family legacy from a Father (Creator) to His children. He said, "Let Us [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit] make mankind in Our image, after Our likeness..." The word "image" (Eikon) in its original intent and definition translates and involves the ideas of representation and manifestation. In just those three short verses He ushers (transfers) to us characteristic traits such as creativity, authority, cultivation (relationships), occupation (work), blessing (approval, exalt), empowerment, instruction (teach, parental hierarchy), reproduction (creation of life), and more. All of these traits are critical for the development of the healthy individual as it pertains to the transfer of life from parent to child.

In short, the propagation of our healthy family legacy enables our children to effectively represent, and authentically manifest by their lives and actions the beliefs, core values, and purposes we have deliberately transferred to them. It is carefully done in the same manner by which God the Father transferred His legacy to us who came before them as parents. When that chain of events or order is broken we in effect usher chaos instead into their lives, and subsequently destruction into our society.

In general, as a society we have failed miserably at this task of transferring God's family legacy. There are some families who are battling fiercely against the epidemic of complacency with regards to defending against destruction. The symptoms of the destruction we have allowed is evident in the form of societal ills such as cohabitation, divorce, abortion, fatherlessness, drug abuse, work ethic, sexual revolution, poverty, homosexuality, injudicious faith, parentless, forms of modern media, amongst others.

In light of the negative statistical changes that are evident in today’s families and youth representations, as well as the obvious exercise of social engineering which seeks to render irrelevant the virtues of the traditional family, it is no longer a matter of simply pointing out the factual destruction to promote change in behavior. We must now guard and protect the minds of our children by insuring they understand the core foundational truths of our beliefs. The greatest and most effective way to accomplish such a task is to live exemplary lives that bear a living testimony to our family beliefs which they will one day possess as their own with convictions. We accomplish this task by creating an affinity within their souls as early as possible to those individuals who have held the greatest positions of power and commitment in their lives since birth: parents. (As put by Dr. Phil McGraw, " Even though they're often reluctant to admit it, they seek approval, love, and a "soft place to fall" in their parents.") It is the innate and natural order harbored in successful family legacy. In the practice of loving and unconditionally committed parenthood, if we can gain their preferences through authentic relationships, they will enduringly resist the cunning words of society and cling to the endearing actions they have lived and experienced in us. As such, our personal value systems, our faith, moral absolutes, and healthy societal statistical facts must align.



Questions to Consider regarding your successful family legacy:
·         In business and marketing terms, “Are we first to market?”
·         Will our children hear about the critical and decisive matters of life from us first or the predators waiting to wow them and steal their hearts?
·         Did not someone say “The greatest defense is an early and effective offense?”
·         Have we identified the pitfalls they will experience long before they encounter them, removing the awe factor?
·         Have we taken the time to learn what those pitfalls are firsthand in order to have a knowledgeable dialogue?
·         Have we deliberately and decisively fought to win our children’s hearts by leading exemplary lives above reproach?
·         What indicators do we have to verify that information?
·         Have we assured them it is “family first,” as such family transcends the individual?

At The Firstborn Son, Inc. (non-profit Family Legacy Builders) via our collection of products and services such as public speaking, successful family legacy seminars, books, audio content, video content, radio broadcasts, online resources, ongoing support (community), life coaching, we are committed to educating individuals, families, and our communities as a whole on the powerful process and impact of implementing a successful family legacy. Our efforts are evident in schools (middle, high or college), churches, business association meetings, juvenile detentions centers, prisons, community centers, conferences, and wherever we are invited. The foundational truth of the matter is best said this way, "Every soul longs to be molded in the security of a gratifying family experience."


For now, I will close with this biblical truth of 1 Peter 2:12-22 (NIV), "Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices..." To transform our society we must live what we know is true.

If you aren't already, please consider donating $8.99 per month to our non-profit organization (Family Legacy Builders), and very strategic work for such a time as this.Click Here To Donate!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Tribute to Dr. Thomas Lloyd Garrison & Dr. Kenneth "Hutch" Hutcherson


In case you haven't figured it out yet, life is an incredible journey that has little to do with you and me, especially as a Christian. It has left even some of the greatest individuals; God's direct instruments pondering (Luke 2:19,51). He baffles the wise by human terms, and executes His greatest monumental actions through culturally irrelevant individuals. Yet His fingerprints and handiwork are unmistakable. Our effectiveness requires authentic selflessness.

Merry Christmas to all of my friends and supporters of The Firstborn Son, Inc. and non-profit Family Legacy Builders. Your existence is an incredible gift to us, never mistake that fact.

I sit here in the Alaskan frontier on this wonderful Christmas day 2013 in the midst of the whitest Christmas I have seen in a long time. The short Alaskan days barely allow the sun to touch the tops of mountain peaks approximately 7000 feet above our heads, and it quickly dips back into the night shadows. I share this scenery with my family and some wonderful family friends as a warm fire burns, twinkling lights, and Christmas is surely in the air and eyes of  the children. I am amazed by how Christmas has represented diverse defining moments in my life.

At the sovereignty of God I have been allowed to see a vast variety of Christmas settings in my life time. Here are a few...
·         As a boy ('70s & '80s) in Liberia and 100 degree weather, Santa (Old Man Beggar) did not fly his sleigh delivering presents (sorry Westerners). Instead, little boys would dress one as a mask dancer and it was more a "trick or treat" approach, gathering gifts (food and money) and never tricking patrons. Definitely not the jolly old boy.
·         In the early '90s and latter teenage years Christmas bore more of an aroma of death and evil. We sat homeless in the palava hut (gazebo) of a little village, doing our utmost to prayerfully remember the celebratory birth of Jesus Christ. Yet the stench and aroma of death and lawlessness by the existence of a vicious civil war and drug induced rebels ruled the days.
·         My college and early adult years in the USA found me a great distance from my immediate family in Africa, and praying for the funds to make that once a year Christmas phone call. Yet as the commitments of college basketball would allow, I drove through the snow packed roads for hours to spend the time with my guardians Lloyd & Marge Garrison and family.

Humble & Irrelevant Births; Incredible Gifts
Luke 2:7-8 And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a [d]manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night.

This Christmas also bears another significant and monumental time of reflection in my life. I find myself forced to reflect upon and honor the lives of (to this date) two of the top three significant men in my life. Both Lloyd Garrison & Ken Hutcherson have gone to be with the Lord (2003 & 2013 respectively); Hutch departed within the last week. Here are excerpts from my book (The Firstborn Son: a Curse, aGift, or a Calling) about these men:

Dr. Thomas Lloyd Garrison
Dr. & Mrs. Thomas Lloyd Garrison in 1944
" I have to interject and tell you how great a man of faith Lloyd Garrison was (he has since passed on). Lloyd was an old Texan that moved his family to the northwestern United States without a whole lot of promise of material gain that man could offer. But he was amazingly influential in the planting of over twenty-five to thirty northwest churches throughout his years because his promise was from God. He would go out daily and knock on the doors of people in his community to genuinely tell them about the love of Christ and his desire to have them come and visit his church."
Marge (wife) & a part of the family at a grandson's wedding

Dr. Kenneth "Hutch" Hutcherson
Dr. Kenneth "Hutch"Hutcherson
"In that time, I have watched Hutch live the Scriptures uncompromisingly literally for the world to see. While other pastors are content to live inside the four walls of their comfortable churches and allow biblical values to be politicized and eroded, I have seen this man stand up and hold firm to the unchanging Word of God. I have seen his vision for no-charge or free adoption take up root against the big business that it is. I have seen the life of my friend and brother effectively producing lives and soldiers for God’s kingdom repeatedly.

Hutch & family at daughter's graduation
Regardless of all those wonderful accolades mentioned above, nothing of Hutch’s has impacted and influenced me more as his life in the last couple of years. I have watched my brother go through a harsh and severe bout with cancer and display truly unwavering faith. He is very much aware to what extent the possible outcomes exist, including death. No man faces those possibilities without the thoughts. However, his countenance stays strong. He made a profound statement that has impacted my life forever. For those of us who have intimate dealings and understand the man that he is, as well as his passion for the Scriptures, we say “Wow!” He once said, “You’ve watched me live for Christ. If that is where the cancer takes me, I’ll show you how to die for Christ.” With Christ indeed all things are possible. I can’t wait to see the new and renewed Hutch as he beats this cancer.

That is a view into the circle of influence that engulfs me..."

These are both men in my life who came from extremely humble beginnings as I too am fortunate to be a product. Lloyd came out of the plains of Texas. Hutch was raised in Alabama, the hub of the racist southern United States in its peak era. He was raised as a child with rage against Caucasians and told "The only good white person is a dead one."

However, as He did in the reality of Christmas, the most significant event in all of world history, only God takes the most humble births and irrelevant characters or constituents in order to submit His most masterful offerings to mankind. God chose that Christ would be born in a filthy manger (regardless of how beautiful our nativity scenes), then He chose to make His initial disclosure on the arrival of such timely event to irrelevant shepherds in the field rather than lofty kings and nobles of that culture.

In my opinion, God has done the same with Drs. Garrison and Hutcherson. He has done incredible work, and made world renowned impact with men very few have had the true pleasure or privilege of knowing, or understood the magnitude of their lives on this earth. I am referring to the fact an athlete like Lebron James has close to 11 million twitter followers thirsting for his superfluous life events compared to the critically important life lessons offered by these great men. Both men deeply understood however while the work was surely their honor, never the glory. That is God's!

Glory to God...Peace among men...He is pleased
            Luke 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men [g]with           whom He is pleased.”

As I read the scripture and the words uttered by the heavenly host during the proclamation of Christ's birth, I am dumbfounded. It said God the Almighty is pleased with sinful men who He had to send a sacrificial lamb (Jesus) to save. As an emphasis to this proclamation, and with the common intent and expression of His pleasure, in Ephesians 1:9 "He made known to us the mystery of His will...purposed in Christ." In Christ God desires the best for men. We are His prime creation, and with whom he bears a key desire to restore righteous fellowship.

In examining intimately the testimony and lives of each of these men (Lloyd and Hutch), being sure to test it by the word of God, it is no doubt God is pleased. At the time of Lloyd's death, several years ago and similarly in recent days following the departure of Hutch from this life, the words and sentiments expressed by the many whose lives were impacted by them is absolutely phenomenal. It has left an incredible number of us awestruck as we observe the effectiveness of their ministries. Even arch enemies soul search for remarkable words of honor at the impact of losing them to the cold grip of death.

Despite the incredible evidence portrayed by their work on behalf of God and for the good of their fellow man, nothing speaks greater of their work than the legacy of life each man has left his family. That legacy is evident in the love for God, family unity, and more that was surely instituted by the lives each man lived. Yet everything they did, the glory of it all points to and belongs to God.

We ponder in our hearts
            Luke 2:19 But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.

We are all wondering why God will call home such effective instruments for His work on this earth, especially at such a time as this culturally. In my opinion, yes He is raising others to step in and fill the gap, continue the call. More importantly, a great observation in God's relationship and interaction with mankind centers on its disposition. We (humans) often have a need and urging to be the central and focal point of any activity we are engaged with. In far too many cases that sentiment drives us to a position of insecurity and feeling despised, or even rejected by God, or those we serve.

Mary was directly involved with the greatest event we choose to celebrate annually as Christmas. She had a personal conversation with an angel and messenger from God. Many of us would have felt God owed us the entire detail of His plan for mankind if He has chosen to involve us at such a level. Yet at multiple points through the scriptures it is revealed "Mary treasured...pondered them in her heart." A similar response from Mary occurs even as Jesus, her son, is in the midst of actions during His ministry she could not fully understand. 

Is this a question which haunts you at some level in your personal relationship with God? Are you wondering why God isn't providing greater details of His plan for your life, or the road on which He has you walking at the moment? Consider these two thoughts which will greatly enhance your effectiveness for God:
  1. The incredible sovereignty of God and how He works is greatly unlike human logic, temperament, and expectations. Quit fishing for logic.
  2. He does great work through us as individuals, but could choose to allow very few to know about it (as with Drs. Garrison and Hutcherson), because the glory is His, not ours.
It is amazing to see how each of these incredible individuals and critical male figures in my life, as well as the lives of many others understood so appropriately their purposes in God's mighty plan and work. It is my unquestionable prayer for you and I, as we celebrate this amazing Christmas of 2013 and New Year of 2014, would renew our perspectives on the humility God desires (Luke 2:7-8), God's pleasure & desire for man (Luke 2:14), and to Whom (not us) proper glory is due by our view of the story of Jesus' birth (Luke 2:19).

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

In America, Share Your Faith & Family Values; Go To Jail?


There are many families in disarray today simply because someone in that lineage took a slight and seemingly insignificant slant from the truth. The item of focus for that slant might have also seemed undoubtedly minor in the grand scheme of life. The cost paid by the family today (possibly multiple generations later) is downright unbearable. Does this description fit your family? Are you on the cusp of taking a similar slant? How would you know, or avoid such grave error?

A. W. Tozer wrote: "The essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him... [The Church] So necessary to the Church is a lofty concept of God that when that concept in any measure declines, the Church with her worship and her moral standards declines along with it... Though she may continue to cling to a sound nominal creed, her practical working creed has become false. The masses of her adherents come to believe that God is different from what He actually is; and that is heresy of the most insidious and deadly kind."


Although he speaks of the church, Tozer only a couple of paragraphs later invokes a view and similar fate for the family as it pertains to generational parental responsibility. Was he inaccurate? 
  • In recent weeks the United Nation continues to consider the "Defamation of Religion" resolution introduced in 2009 by radical Islam within the OIC, if I recall correctly, aimed primarily at Christians. With regards to free speech and anti-oppression which the UN advocates as a main charter, it is appalling the thought is even considered. Yet a vote on this resolution is pending and the dialog continues.
  • There is a long standing feud in the United States, a nation founded on Christ-like principles by bible believing forefathers, concerning chaplains and the "defamation of religion" within the military.
What is our response to these issues? Why do we allow these conversations to linger? Have we given it any credibility, or is it insignificant? The evidence is in our actions...

In my opinion, the answer is simple (obvious), yet it holds a magnitude of grandeur in its impact. The answer or our proper reaction is propelled by our view of God as depicted by AW Tozer's comments above. However, I wish to add a couple of more thoughts from the Bible (book of Galatians). Why? Because the only thing that is true about God is what He says about Himself. The Apostle Paul is also warning believers who know the truth yet run the risk of embracing the "slant". As such consider this please...
  • We have erroneously created worthless and unworthy (idolatry) views of God the Almighty. - Galatians 4:8 But at that previous time, when you had not come to be acquainted with and understand and know the true God, you [Gentiles] were in bondage to gods who by their very nature could not be gods at all [gods that really did not exist].
  • We must be acutely aware of the danger of the slant in our faith and family values. - Galatians 5:9 A little leaven (a slight inclination to error, or a few false teachers) leavens the whole lump [it perverts the whole conception of faith or misleads the whole church].
  • Christians are to view this issue in light of our submission to the flesh or Spirit. - Galatians 5:24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus (the Messiah) have crucified the flesh (the godless human nature) with its passions and appetites and desires.
  • We must know the evidences and understand what our adoration of the flesh looks like. - Galatians 5:19-21 Now the doings (practices) of the flesh are clear (obvious): they are immorality, impurity, indecency, Idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger (ill temper), selfishness, divisions (dissensions), party spirit (factions, sects with peculiar opinions, heresies), Envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you beforehand, just as I did previously, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 
At the end of it all this questions remains and will provide the answer and security we seek if answered correctly. Is our view of God grand enough and proper to ward of our natural (fleshly) invitations of destruction in our midst?

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