Author Archives: Robert Dailey

About Robert Dailey

I'm a husband, father, woodworker, small business owner, and follower of Jesus. I run Dailey Woodworks, a small woodworking and carpentry shop in West Texas. I showcase my work at www.daileywoodworks.com I also blog about the business side of Dailey Woodworks at www.bluecollarstartup.wordpress.com

Animated Parables for Your Lessons

I’m teaching on the calling of Matthew-Levi this week.  I like to incorporate short videos into my lessons from time to time.  I remembered from Son of God the Movie that they combined the calling of Matthew with Jesus’s Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector.  I thought it was a masterful “artistic liberty,”  in fact it was probably one of the most moving scenes in the movie.  So I thought I would incorporate the scene into my lesson this week.

During my searching I found “RodTheNey’s” Youtube Channel.  He does animated shorts of Jesus’s Parables.  They are great.  I’ve embedded a few.  (I don’t know RodTheNey and am not being compensated in anyway).

The Pharisee and the Tax Collector

 

The Parable of the Lost Sheep.

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Gearing up for VBS

It’s only two weeks away.  I have a love/hate relationship with Vacation Bible School.  I love that you get children and families into Church that otherwise wouldn’t attend.  I hate the prep, the stress, the always-never-enough volunteers, and the hectic week that VBS is.  Don’t get me wrong all of the headaches that come with VBS are worth it.

Recently, We got brand new padded chairs for our fellowship hall.  We had the metal folding chairs; about three different colors, uncomfortable, and half broken.  A member of our church decided that enough was enough and bought nice new stackable black padded chairs.  It was a welcome improvement.

Knowing our VBS theme would be “Colossal Coaster World”  I saved the boxes.  I  could see that they would make great looking roller-coaster cars with some paint and imagination.  Yesterday (Wednesday) we had a small group of only five youth, it’s summer and as a whole we’ve been hurting in the numbers department since graduation.  I decided that after our lesson we would make a quick trip to the store and get some spray paint and have the youth decorate the boxes to look like coaster cars.  They loved it, and it was an easy way to get them involved in something outside of the youth program.

 

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Year to date: Wrapping up Spring and Heading into Summer

We’re halfway through Revival.  Surprisingly, I have extra free time this week.  We’re not having our Youth’s Wednesday Night service tomorrow, so other than running sound I don’t have much to do.

That seems to be the thing with ministry.  Leading up to Revival I was busy promoting, making posters, etc. (Youth Ministers in small churches are the default IT/Advertising/Promotions guys).  That’s done, so now I wait.  I finally extracted camp forms and releases from my students, and mailed it in.  VBS is coming in August.  We’ve got our materials, set the schedule yesterday, and some new members have stepped up and said they would work!

I’m running sound again with my wife for Revival, so I’m making sure that we have all the tracks, songs lyrics in our presentation software, etc.  We have the same man leading worship this year, I think he read my Tales from the Church Soundbooth post.  This year he’s been much better letting us know what songs he’s doing before worship starts.  [He also has a Corvette that was a blast to drive!]

Basically, in the boom and bust cycle of ministry, I’m about to hit a bust after Wednesday (the last night of Revival).  Yay.  About the middle of June we go to camp #1, then July is camp #2, finally VBS is in August.  Then vacation to the Grand Canyon.

Overall, Spring was better than Fall in attendance.  Many of our kids that were uninvolved have come back, and we’ve added about 4 new regulars.  Our association does what we call “Teen Evangelism Nights” (TEN) where students share there testimonies, or whatever God has led them to say.  These are refreshing events, last time 6 students accepted Christ during a student led invitation.  How awesome is that!?  I didn’t do a Disciple Now this spring, but I think I’m going to plan one next spring.  Now we’re just gearing up for VBS.

We chose to do VBS at the end of Summer this year.  This is mainly to build momentum heading into fall.  If we have the numbers last year we can incorporate this kids and their families into our Fall ministries.  My thought process is that when you do VBS at the beginning of summer you get people into church, but then they go on vacation, they visit relatives, and since they didn’t really have the habit of coming to church they don’t pick it back up in the Fall.  At least that’s my theory.

So now it’s just the calm before the storm of summer.

Thanks for Reading,
Robert

Categories: General | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Joy to the World! The Temple is Destoryed

Destruction-of-JerusalemAll of it is gone.  The Ark of the Covenant is lost. The line of priests is broken. The Veil in the Temple is ripped in two. The Temple has been destroyed.  (Well, OK, we all know the Ark is stored in a government facility with all the other cool stuff Indiana Jones has found during his extraordinary career.)  Seriously think about these facts from a theological perspective.  Every marker of the Old Covenant is either lost or destroyed.  I just recently came to the realization that God intended it as such.

Honestly, I got here tonight after our youth Bible study.  I typically teach through books of the Bible.  For the last year and a half I’ve been working through the book of Hebrews.  I finished up chapter six tonight, which was leading into chapter seven which is all about Jesus being in the priestly order of Melchizedek, which is greater than the priestly order of the sons of Aaron (the line of High Priests from the tribe of the Levites).  The Book of Hebrews is all about this; Jesus and the New Covenant established by his blood, is superior in every way to the Old Covenant.

This is what Easter is; the end of the Old Covenant and the triumph of the New Covenant.

But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. (Hebrews 9:11-12 ESV)

Jesus has done it, it is finished.  The more I think about it the more I start to see a deeper meaning behind John 2:18-19, “So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” (ESV, emphasis added).   Now, we mostly interpret this as his body, and rightly so, but I see more.  I think that Jesus meant “I am going to destroy this old, useless temple, and establish an eternal, better temple that can truly save sinners.”  And that’s exactly what he did.  

When Jesus died on the Cross, at that moment there was an earthquake that ripped the veil in the Holy of Holies.  This effectively desecrated the Temple and “destroyed” it’s purpose.  With the tearing of the veil all that was symbolized and meant by the Temple and its chambers was rendered useless.   That’s a good thing.

It’s a good thing because Jesus was doing something greater, “securing an eternal redemption” (Heb. 9:12b).  The Old Covenant and its Temple were destroyed the moment Jesus Christ became the ultimate atoning sacrifice by his death.  The New Covenant and it’s Perfect Temple, The Body of the risen Lord Jesus, was established three day’s later on Resurrection Sunday.

Christ is risen, he is victorious over sin and death, we have forgiveness through his blood.

Joy to the world! Our Lord has come! The Temple has been destroyed by the power of Jesus!

tomb

He is not here: for he is risen!

 

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Where is God?

 “Since Evil and Suffering exist, a Loving God cannot.”

After watching God’s Not Dead and doing a post about it, I’ve refocused on my personal study of Apologetics.  I recently picked up The Case for Faith by Atheist turned Christian, Lee Strobel.  The subtitle reads “A Journalist Investigates the toughest Objections to Christianity”  The table of contents is lain out with what are considered the eight strongest arguments against God.  The first chapter and the chapter I’m on is “Since Evil and Suffering exist, a Loving God cannot.”

The Problem of Evil

Greek Philosophers debated this thousands of years ago, and is the primary reason Charles Templeton, contemporary of Billy Graham and fellow evangelist, abandoned the Christian faith, and spend the rest of his life writing and speaking against Theism.  Strobel tells his own stories of travelling as a journalist, seeing starving families in his home town of Chicago, while he lived in comfort in is townhouse, and seeing abandoned and diseased boy while travelling in India.  Why? Where is God?  Those are legitimate questions.  When you look at all the pain in this world it’s heartbreaking, but sadly we then go back to cute cat videos on Youtube to ease our empathy, forgetting about those whom God has seemingly forgotten.

Why Doesn’t God do Anything?

Why doesn’t he?  Why don’t we do anything? I’m not writing today about defending God against “the problem of evil” argument.  There are plenty of well written responses; Lee Strobel being one, Ravi Zacharias being another.  You either find the Christian response reasonable or you don’t.  I write today because we, as followers of Jesus Christ, are supposed to be his hands and his feet (1 Corinthians 12), Christ’s ambassadors to this world.

Templeton said that the moment he gave up belief in a loving God, was when he saw a picture of an African woman, holding her dead son in her arms.  The reason was drought.  A drought had devastated that region.  Templeton’s thought was simple, “Rain! All you had to do was send rain!”  I don’t care how strong your faith is, that shakes it.

You may consider this a “cop-out” answer but I believe that God created this world to run like a clock.  Sin fundamentally broke this clock.  This is where, hurricanes, earthquakes, droughts, and all types of disasters come from.  It’s not necessarily God’s wrath smiting a godless New Orleans (As some have said about Katrina), but rather God’s continued judgement against a world full of sin.  You see, in scripture you have almost a paradox between God’s grace and God’s wrath.  In God’s love and grace, Jesus Christ absorbed God’s wrath on the cross.  So when you hear people say “God is Love” you must also remember “God is Wrath.”   An uncomfortable and unpopular concept, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

Human Responsibility

Now, it’s easy for me to sit in my nice office in front of a laptop and say this, but I’m going to do it anyway.  Why didn’t Templeton with all of his influence that he had as one of the leading evangelicals in the world, use his influence to bring relief to those suffering in Africa?  Isn’t that the Christian thing to Do?  The Bible says from the beginning Mankind was given primary authority and responsibility to govern this world. Think about it, how is the Gospel spread?  Through people sharing?  Why didn’t Jesus just appear to everyone after his resurrection?  Because this is our world, God expects us to play a part in fixing it.  If we are “God’s Children” and he is our father it makes since.  You can pick up your child’s room for them, fix their mistakes while they play video games, or you can teach them how to do these things and help them.  I think this is part of why God doesn’t just automatically fix every evil, how else would we learn?

So next time you or I are presented with the evil of human suffering, instead of “asking where is God?” Why don’t we ask ourselves “How should I as a follower of Jesus bring about healing?”  Didn’t Jesus come to save, heal, and restore?  If he is our example shouldn’t we do the same?  Maybe God wants to use us to fix the evil in the this world.

Personally, I’m selfish.  I lack compassion.  Our recent Sunday School lesson was over generosity.  To begin this lesson everyone was given a piece of paper and told “You’ve just been given 1 Million dollars, what would you do?”  I listed several things, nothing frivolous (Pay off debt, buy a car with less than 150,000 miles on it, etc). Nowhere on my list was giving money away to help people.  The truth is if most of us were given 1 Million dollars we could give every dime of it away to those in real need, and never miss a meal, never lack shelter, never lack clothing, never lack anything.

So in the light of human suffering
Where is God?
Where are you?
Where am I?
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God’s Not Dead – My Take

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Right off the bat, let me just say that this is one of the better “Christian” movies I’ve seen.  It had a great story line and had a clear message.  Unlike some other films in this genre it presented Christ and the Gospel clearly without sounding forced and preachy.

Let’s get a few things out of the way.

I’ve taken philosophy classes, read both atheistic and theistic philosophy but spend most of my time in the study of Theology.  Philosophy literally means: Philo (Love) sophy (wisdom). Theology means: Theos (God) logy (study of), “the study of God.”  I’m a Christian and I’m a Pastor, so I believe Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. (Proverbs 9:10 ESV).”  So for me Theology is the highest form of philosophy.  Now you know my bias.

Next I will concede that a college freshman would not be able to debate an experienced college professor.  The level of experience and knowledge on the subject just makes this impractical.  As a side note I enjoyed “debating” my philosophy professor in college, he also was my Theology professor.  Let’s just say he’d heard all of my brilliant arguments for years and knew how to put me in my place.

Also, while possible, I doubt that any College professor would coerce a student into signing a paper denying the existence of a God, or a “debate” being set up in this format.  Do some Atheistic philosophy professors attack Christianity and theism in the classroom?  Yes they do, some border on militant, some are militant against Christianity.  There are even documented cases of this hostility.  You can click here to view some legal cases involving religious liberty on college campuses.  The plot of this movie was chosen because it made a better, faster, and more exciting story.  All movies do this so get over it.  (Tom Bombidil anyone?!)

Let’s Get Down to Business

Believing in God doesn’t make you an idiotic redneck who is scared of learning anything.  Not believing in God doesn’t make you stupid either. Although, “the fool says in his heart, ‘there is no God'” – Psalm 14:1 (sorry, I couldn’t resist).  I’ve met very smart people with “alphabet soup” behind their names from prestigious universities, are tenured scientists, and devout Christians.  I’ve also met some fairly ignorant people who are also devout Christians.  And I can say the same for Atheists.  I think we’d get a lot further in our conversations if both theists and atheists would stop stereotyping each other as idiots.  Maybe this is just my bias, but it often feels theists are more often portrayed as the idiots and atheists are the “intellectuals.”

In the movie, Professor Radison says, “most of the most devoted atheists were once Christians.”  I wonder why?  Maybe it’s just that our culture has been primarily influenced by the Judeo-Christian worldview.  But I’ve never heard of a former Muslim who is a militant atheist, or a former Hindu who is a militant atheist.  That’s something to think about.  Radison then tells the student, Josh Weaton, about losing his mother to cancer when he was 12.

If you are an Atheist and are reading this, I would honestly like to know your story on how you became an Atheist.  Please share in the comments.

I’m a Christian, so obviously we disagree.  I ask for your story not to tear you down or have a debate that leads to name calling.  I’m curious.  From my bias and experience, most of the Atheists I’ve met became Atheists because of some trauma or tragedy.  That has little to do with “scientific proofs” and more to do with emotion than “facts.” What happened?  This movie paints a picture that Atheists, especially those who are “former Christians” are actually so angry at God, or hurt from some past trauma that they decide that God simply cannot exist.  I find that an interesting concept.  There seems to be a correlation, so is this true for you?

For the Christians, you can have all the clever arguments in the world for the existence of God and the truth of Christianity and still be a complete Jerk.

I enjoy the mental exercise of defending Christianity.  This is called Apologetics in the Christian world.  Apologetics is not apologizing for you beliefs, but goes to the Greek root which means “to give a defense.” I enjoy science, and like learning.  For me it’s very important to know not only what I believe, but why I believe it.  But as the Apostle Paul says “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-2 ESV).”  Christians should be defined by love.  I don’t believe that people are “won over” to Christianity by clever arguments for the existence of God, I think they are won over by love, compassion, and forgiveness.  The Holy Spirit brings about change and salvation in a person’s life, not you not me, we are just called to bear witness.

I think the study of Apologetics is more for believers than for non-believers.  Faith is a fickle thing, look at the life of Peter, he had enough faith in Jesus to walk on water with him, if only for a moment.  Then he denied even knowing Jesus, after all he had seen all Jesus’s miracles.  I’ve seen and experienced Jesus do powerful things, I’ve even devoted my life to teaching others about Jesus Christ, but there are times when my faith is weak.  Apologetics, studying all the evidence for God, and seeing his Majesty as Creator and King of this universe builds up my faith.

I share this verse with my youth often: “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,”(1 Peter 3:15 ESV).  There are three things that I like to point out in this verse.  The first is that Jesus is Lord.  Jesus is the ruler of our lives as his disciples and as Christians.  Second, we need to be prepared to share our faith and hope in Jesus.  This means knowing what we believe as Christians and why.  This involves sharing the Gospel, and the field of Apologetics.  The Greek root for apologetics is the word translated “to make a defense” in this verse. The third thing to notice, is the emphasis on both gentleness and respect.  If we’re not going to be respectful and loving to people we have no business calling ourselves Christians.  There is a big difference in speaking the truth of scripture and disagreeing with someone’s chosen beliefs and lifestyle, and being hateful, belittling, and unloving.

Jesus came to save you from your sin

To the Atheist reading this, to the agnostic, to the whatever you are.  I believe that there is a God that created this entire universe. I believe that He created mankind in his image and likeness.  I believe that God gave mankind freewill to obey him or disobey him, and that we chose disobedience (ie sin).  I believe that sin has broken this world, sin is the root cause for death and all the evils that are in this world.  I believe that God is just and will punish sin.  I believe that God is loving and merciful and offered up his only Son, Jesus Christ to die on a Cross in your place and my place to pay the price for our sin.  I believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, and is alive and is ready and able to forgive our sin, and give us a new life if we ask him.  I believe that no matter how screwed up you think you are, the power of Jesus can save you, all you have to do is ask him.  This is what I believe

GOD’S NOT DEAD

[It’s 1:40am, I don’t feel like proof reading this, I’ll fix any typos tomorrow. Forgive me]

Categories: Apologetics, Theology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Imitate Christ – My Sermon from Last Sunday

It’s rare that I get to preach on Sunday morning, but I had the opportunity last Sunday.  It was Spring Break and our pastor went to see his parents and grandchildren that live in Oklahoma.  This gives me the opportunity to preach to the entire congregation, and have access to recording software.  My parents always like to hear my sermons, they’re proud.  I honestly can’t stand listening to myself.  I make no claims to be a great preacher, and this probably isn’t the greatest sermon ever.  But nonetheless here it.

The scope of this message is based on Ephesians 5:1-2 “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (ESV).  From this verse I do a type of overview of Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians.

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Grieving California mom takes down cross on road after Atheist’s protest

This is so incredibly sad and encouraging at the same time. One thing I just can’t understand is why some people so adamantly hate Christianity that you have to protest a grieving mother’s attempt to honor the loss of her son, and their faith.

But I’m also encouraged by the support that people showed in exercising their right to “free exercise” and defying the hatred of this group. Good job guys.

VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

Fox News

Atheist’s focus on AnnMarie Devaney, grieving mother Atheist’s focus on AnnMarie Devaney, grieving mother

A grieving California mom who, under pressure from an atheist group, went to the site where her son was killed to remove a memorial cross was met at the scene by a throng of supporters who planted crosses of their own.

“They said they have to take that one down,” Doug Johnson, a Riverside resident who traveled to the site with his daughter and six home-made crosses, told The Riverside Press-Enterprise. “But they didn’t say anything about putting another one up.”

AnnMarie Devaney agreed to remove a 5-foot cross she put up on the side of a road in Lake Elsinore to honor her 19-year-old son Anthony, who was struck by a car and killed two years ago, the paper reported. The American Humanist Association in Washington, D.C., caught wind of the cross and sent her a demand letter dated March…

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I am afraid of this indisputable pro-choice argument

This is a brilliant answer to the most disturbing argument for abortion I’ve ever heard. – from Matt Walsh.

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How to Engage Students in Their Natural Environment…School

schoolLogoWhen I first entered youth ministry, my pastor wanted me to go up to the schools and visit our kids during lunch and things like that.  Well going to their plays, sporting events, graduations, 4H and FFA Livestock shows, is easy enough, getting permission to go up to the school during school hours is almost impossible.  Having your pastor or youth pastor come visit during lunch is a thing of the past, it ain’t gonna happen.

This is do to both political correctness (If I let you up here I’ve got to let the “church of satan” guy up here to, and the atheist mom gets really mad about a Christian coming up to the school, she’s ok with the Imam though), there’s also the issue of safety and liability.  Today teachers and school personnel have to go through background check, and be put in a fingerprint database (at least in Texas).  Also, with all the psychos out there, do you really want a school to just let anyone off the streets come hang out with your kids?  Also, I have nightmares of being the Pastor from “That 70’s Show” I D.O. N.O.T. want to be that guy, what a loser!

How I make the school pay me to hang out with students.

So how do I engage students when they are at school?  That’s super easy, in fact I devised a cleverly orchestrated scheme in which the school pays me to be with students during the school day.  Here it is…I [wait for it] signed up [wait for it] to [wait for it] sub.  That’s my secret.  I just applied to be a substitute teacher, I even have a name badge!

My youth minister in High School subbed and it was cool having him up at the school from time to time.  I was reminded about this during our spring revival when our speaker and I where talking and he said it subbed at the local schools so that he always had an idea of what was going on in students lives.  LIGHT BULB!  So I talked to my pastor about it and we agreed that as long as it didn’t interfere with my duties at the church I could sub once a week (I subbed 3 days in a row last week but it was a special circumstance).

I’m going to brag on my pastor for a second.  Sure he’s old, sure he doesn’t get today’s youth, sure it’s just awkward and funny with he tries to talk to our youth, but he has taught me the importance of being a shepherd that’s involved in the life of your sheep.  He’s said many times that you can spend all day, every everyday, in your office reading and studying theology, but that’s not nearly as important as visiting a sick church member, or getting ice cream with a student.  We actually still physically visit guests and church members that have been lagging in attendance.  On one occasion a church member had been in the hospital and didn’t tell anyone at the church.  We had the opportunity pray and minister to a family that we’d never known about if we spent that time studying.

Back to Subbing.  I have an advantage of being in a small town we have three campuses in our district, the Elementary (1-5), Jr High (6-8), and High School (9-12).  There are only about 400 total high school students in the district.  Every time I sub at the high school I see at least 3-4 of my youth, if I make an effort to find them I can see about 10.  I now know there teachers, have an idea of their schedules, and I am much more aware of their work load.  And they see me, I’m in a small enough town that most of the students are starting to recognize me as the youth minister of my Church.  That’s a good thing, but it also means that I’ve got to be careful that I’m always representing myself, my church, and my faith well (shouldn’t I be doing that anyway?).  

And I really enjoy it, you learn a lot about what students believe, and where they are spiritually.  OK, that part’s depressing, but I really like teenagers.  So here is my recommendation to my fellow youth pastors in smaller towns.  APPLY TO BE A SUBSTITUTE TEACHER.  Most school districts are always in need of subs, and they should be able to work with you on when you come in, I say “no” to subbing as much as I say “yes.”  Do get permission from your pastor, he is your boss.

And did I mention you’ll get paid to hang out with youth, isn’t that the whole reason we entered youth ministry in the first place?

Peace be with you,

Robert

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