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Is It Time for You to Be Baptized?

In the book of Romans, the apostle Paul said, "And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives." (Romans 6:4b, NLT) I very clearly remember the day I prayed, "God, I have everything the world says I need to be happy, but I am miserable. I give you my life." He responded very quickly by having an old friend call me out of the blue to invite me to church. What I received that weekend was a NEW LIFE. I had hesitated to make a commitment to follow Jesus previously because I was afraid I would have to give up a bunch of stuff that I liked. What I discovered instead was that I wasn't asked to give up ANYTHING, but instead I was GIVEN

What Gift Do You Need this Christmas?

It won't be long now. A few more days and we will all be celebrating the birth of Emmanuel -- God with us. The Bible tells us that Emmanuel is Jesus Christ in Matthew 1:22-24. This little baby is God's gift to mankind to save the world, the Messiah, the hope of the world! The gift of Jesus can mean different things to you depending on whether you find yourself full of joy this season, full of gratitude for all God is doing in your life, or desperate for a fresh understanding of His grace and love. The perfect gift is here, today, for you. One of my favorite verses of all is Isaiah 9:6, a prophecy that was written describe the coming Messiah. Let's take a look and then unpack this to see what

RESPECT, What It Means in Families

A key issue that often divides husbands and wives is how to have responsible, enjoyable children. One parent is almost always more strict than the other, and one is almost always more lenient. With this natural split in most homes, children can exploit this and cause chaos in the home. I recently wrote an article about Cultivating Order & Structure in Families, and I heard from many of you that you would like to know more about this! Click the link in case you missed it. So begins a new series of articles about the Five R's (Respect, Relationship, Rules, Responsibility, and Resources), not necessarily in that order. I hope you and your spouse find these helpful in creating a home of order an

What the World Needs Now

As we approach Christmas, I am often saddened by how little people know about what "Christmas" represents. Even if we acknowledge Christmas as a day we celebrate the birth of Christ, there is so much more to the story. I find a great deal of hope in understanding, even partially, the true significance of who Jesus is and what he ultimately did for us. Join me in doing a short little study in your Bible to prepare for this season. I recommend Colossians 1:15-20. I will use the New Living Translation (NLT). Let's look at the passage together, or you can click HERE for an online Bible tool. Colossians 1:15-20 15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was cr

Cultivating Structure and Order in Families

I was talking the other day with a young man who was having trouble in his family. The children were not behaving and were causing all kinds of problems for their parents. I suggested that one of the ways to help his children was to bring order to that relational garden. In my understanding and experience, there are five elements that are needed to bring structure and order to families. They all start with R, so I call them the 5 R's: Relationship, Respect, Rules, Responsibility, Resources. Almost every week when my wife, Dana, and I had kids in the home, we had a "staff meeting" to go over these 5R's. We monitored how we were doing in these areas and how our children were doing in these a

Please, Lord. Give Me an Extra Helping of Peace!

​​Is anyone in need of an extra helping of peace during this advent season? If you are anything like me, your list is long and likely filled with lots of events and tasks that mostly bring you great joy. You might be cutting down Christmas trees and decorating the inside and the outside of the house. You're sure to throw in a little shopping, baking, attending a few parties, and making lots of lists to reassure yourself that you haven't forgotten anything or anyone! But those lists may also be causing you stress, exhaustion, crankiness, impatience...(can you say crazy drivers!)...need I go on? Lately, I find myself reciting the fruits of the Spirit on a frequent basis (Galatians 5:23). My pr

Who Do You Turn to as Your Source of Happiness?

When I was growing up with my two older sisters, my Mom sewed many of our dresses and enjoyed seeing her daughters looking clean and pretty. She taught us manners and proper English. She loved us well and gained a sense of pride in our good behaviors and appearance. When we excelled, she beamed. When we failed, she was ashamed. In the 50s and 60s, it was probably the norm, albeit a dysfunctional one. In these decades, we call it "co-dependency." Whenever an adult's sense of wellbeing depends on the behaviors of any other person, that's a clue that what you have there is an unhealthy relationship. And more importantly, it's idolatry -- putting someone or something else in the place where God

Growing Joy in Your Life

I think we would all like to experience more joy in life. Do you agree? What would God have you do about growing joy in your life so that you can enjoy others and others can enjoy you? I believe that God does it by focusing our gaze; by focusing our attention on the good things. Everybody we meet is an amalgam of good, bad, weaknesses, strengths, negatives, and positives. In order to have joy, we have to narrow our focus on the good, the positives, and the strengths. Think about it. If you went to a football game and your favorite team is winning, but you couldn't escape the knowledge that there are people being hurt, oppressed, and wounded all over the world, then you would not be able to e

Is Peace Possible this Christmas?

December always ties me in knots. With one massive holiday down, I'm slightly in denial that another looms ahead, this one even more extravagant, more labor-intensive, more crazy, more expensive, and more overwhelming than I'm typically comfortable with. Every time I go out, the frenzied pace and energy can take me from relative calm to high anxiety in minutes. Since for the sake of my family boycotting Christmas is not an option, I wonder, "Is it possible to maintain peace during the holidays?" The other day on my walk, I asked God to give me a new perspective about how to handle the pressure and stress. I asked Him questions like: "God, what do you think about how I should prepare for this

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