meet the taters

The Tater’s family are a memorable family. I was introduced to the highly dysfunctional Tater family and their ongoing saga through Travis Huseby at Checkpoint Bible Camp. Here is a glimpse of the Tater Family:

Uncle Common Tater

He is no common Tater!? Common has the gift of gab. He makes a living in broadcasting and is good at communicating. He is certainly a chatter box outside the press box. He always has a story to share, and people are interested in hearing him ramble about random happenings.

When you get to know Common you will quickly observe that he does a lot of talking, but not a lot of walking. His bark is louder than his bite. In fact, he is a Sweet Tater, never saying anything bad about anyone. He is certainly a people pleaser. Common could be a mighty spokemen for God’s glory, rather he is ashamed of the gospel of Christ [Romans 1:16-17; 10:14-17].

Speck Tater

Speck is the father of the family. He is intelligent, dedicated to his job, pays the bills, but is not particularly outgoing on the home front. He is the dad you see on the sidelines. Speck is not doing much to support his Tater’s, much like his father Hesi Tater. He is one dud of a spud.

Speck, as Pa-Tater, needs to get off the bench and into the game before time runs out and life has past him by. His family is his most important responsibility. His greatest impact as a father is to train up his children in the ways of God [Proverbs 22:6], and modeling Christ’s through his loving and committed marriage. This cannot be done by passive spectating [Ephesians 6:4], but by active husbandry and priority parenting.

Ima Tater

Ima is the decorated daughter of the family. She is no darling. She models and mimics the world. Her friends often sway her opinions. Roe Tater, her best friend, switches boyfriends weekly, complains about not having enough, and brags about spoiled habits. She is swoon by current fads, trends, and teen idols [aka: Idol Tater].

An idol is anything you worship, and what we worship we become. An idol can be a material possession, a feeling, a person of interest, a place of comfort, or anything that captivates your heart. The Bible says to imitate Christ [1 Corinthians 11:1], and to destroy all idols before they destroy you [Isaiah 40-49].

Agi Tater

Agi is the always angry son who must have inherited the spicy Irish Tater genes. He tends to mash, scalp, or fry any Tater that gets in the way of his plans. His parents blame his bad behavior on Iri Tator, a bullish friend at school.

Agi is self-centered, never wrong, and a big-headed boaster. When things are not going his way you will surely hear about it. Can Agi gain control of his anger? Anger itself is not sinful [Ephesians 4:22ff]. In fact, anger is a God-given emotion that can be used for glorious means in defeating sin and choosing righteousness. Followers of Christ can learn how to control their anger [Titus 2:11-15].

Regurgi Tater

We all call him, Reggie. He is the younger brother [aka: Tater Tot] who tends to tattle tail. He hurls up information quicker than a baby spews up their bottle. Reggie’s feed off of gossips and lies for his own satisfaction [1 Peter 2:1]. The tongue is like a wild fire. A little spark can do a lot of damage [James 3:1-12].

In the Scripture the word often referring to regurgitation is meditation. The Bible says as followers of Christ we must meditate on God’s Word by: reciting it [Psalm 119:11], reviewing it [2 Timothy 2:15], and renewing our minds by it [Romans 12:1-12]. When we think about God’s Word and chew on it we are reminded that other people are created in God’s image and defaming them offends God.

Gravi Tater

Gravi is the mama of the spud bunch. She is large and in charge. If mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy. Big mama has control and stay out of her way. Everyone agrees that she takes after her father, Dick Tater. She can certainly be a Sweet Tater when she wants to be. Even as her family is falling apart, she finds a way to contribute by butting herself into everybody’s business. She could be using her magnetizing clout to bring everyone together in unity [Ephesians 4:1-16].

The Tater family does have serious issues. If we were honest we probably see some of the Tater family in our families. My suggestion is that the Tater’s go to Counsel Tater [aka: Pastor Ed U. Tater]. Their they will discover the root issue is sin. Sin is like a bruise or spoil that needs to be cut off or it will infect the the Tater if not the batch of Tater’s. Unfortunately our sin affects others around us, especially those in our immediate family or church [cf. Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12]. Deal with sin swiftly by lovingly confronting it and helping in the change process. Through God’s grace the Tater family can begin to learn from their Creator how to live in His image [Genesis 1:26-27].

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are you a murderer?

small_img-1Have you ever seen the America’s Most Wanted on TV? It can be frightening to know that the person staring at you in the wanted ad is on the loose, armed and dangerous. Most of us probably don’t know a person who is armed and dangerous. However, you might be more of a murderer than you think.

The Sixth Commandment simply states, “You shall not murder.” (Exodus 20:13) In other words, we do not have the right to take the life of another human (that is wrong). Only God has that right. We are not to take the place of God and decide who will live and who will die. We are made in the image of God; we are the crown of His creation, therefore we are not to diminish the value of human life as to the killing of animals.

The 6th Commands are particularly destructive because there is no real restitution can be made for murder. A murdered human cannot be brought back to life. Even if you have not committed murder don’t sit to comfortably yet. You see, the 10 Commandments are not only to be obeyed in action, but also in attitude. Sin is not only external (actions), but moreover internal (attitudes).

Are You a Fan of Murder? Since the beginning of time humans have been carried knives, spears and guns for the purpose of killing another life. Hollywood spends billions of dollars into movies than make murder an entertainment. We act out killing in video games for pleasure (now I’m a Halo 3 and Call of Duty freak!?). We are fascinated with blood, gore and death. This is all confronted in the 6th Command.

Murder is not only physical, but verbal and mental [Matthew 5:21-22]. When Jesus says we “Raca” someone we are essentially murdering them with our words. “Raca” was an Aramaic term of hatred. If you say that another human is worthless you are essentially saying that they do not deserve to live, they are better off dead. Hateful words are murderous.

The slippery slope of hateful words is sure: unchecked anger leads to rage, rage leads to an out of control tongue (hurtful words, gossip, slander, etc), an out of control tongue leads to out of control actions. These hurtful words are like emptying a feathered pillow from a mountain top. It is easy to let the feathers go, but practically impossible to pick up the damage afterward. Eventually your hateful words will destroy someone.

Have you ever been slain by a slanderer? Have you ever murdered someone with the words that come out of your mouth? Are you are a serial slanderer?

Slander = telling hurtful and hateful words about someone else (usually a lie).
Gossip = telling hurtful and hateful words about someone else (usually a truth).

How do I stop being a murderer with my mouth? We are to put of hurtful words and put on godly ones [Eph.4:22-32; Col.3:8, 12-17]. Hurtful and hateful words can kill a relationship quickly. The Bible says that out speech is a gift from God. Your words can praise God and curse God. They can honor Him or tear relationships apart.

Truth be know, I can say hurtful things to say without thinking about it (little sarcastic comments), for these I need to apologize and change. Some practical steps for changing my murderous mouth are:

1. Confess your murders to God and the person to whom you murdered.
2. Keep you mouth shut and pray (Ps.19:14 “May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to Your eyes…”).
3. My Motto: Jesus, the Word, is the only hope for our words! (John 1:1)

Are you a fire starter or a fire extinguisher?

extinguisher-fire.jpg

There is an assassin in almost every group. This assassin is trying to kill relationships. It is trying to get you to close your cool, to get you to fall off your rocker, to get you to prove that you are not the kind of person very one thinks you are. The assassin is…Gossip. Are you an assassin?

What is Gossip? Telling another person something about someone without permission that may or may not be truth.

How can gossip be disguised? Gossip can be disguised as truth. Just because it’s true doesn’t give you a right to spread it. It can be a call for help. If so ask the source if they need assistance, then go to a wise friend. It Christian circles it can be a prayer request. This can be very dangerous and not only hurt someone emotionally, but also spiritually. And it can be disguised as sarcasm. A mixture of truth wrapped in humor at someone else’s expense can be a hurtful means of gossip (Prov.26:18-19).

Why gossip? People gossip for many different reasons such as revenge or jealousy, often to get back at someone for a wrong done to them. Sometimes is a fight for power because of insecurity in an effort to show how one is better than someone. Primarily gossip is rooted in the sin of pride, possibly to show how much you know about someone else. Do you ever wonder why the tabloids and gossip columns are so popular? Pride lies to us and makes us believe that you might make more friends because of the dirt we know about another, but instead it leaves us with more enemies. Some stoop so low as to make a hobby out of gossip because of the joy they receive from it.

What is the damage of gossip? As the apostle James says, “the tongue is like wind in a forest fire.” Gossip can tarnished a reputation, ruined families, wreck your job, split a church, and break relationships. The cost of gossip can be immeasurable.

A woman repeated a bit of gossip about a friend. Within a few days the whole community knew the story. The person it concerned was deeply hurt and offended. Later, the woman responsible for spreading the rumor learned that it was completely untrue. A courageous person confronted her by telling a simple story. A few days ago I went to the marketplace and purchased a chicken. On my way home I plucked its feathers and drop them one by one along the road. That night after I making some good fried chicken I was thinking to myself, “I wish I would have saved all those feathers”. So the next day, I tried to go back and collect all those feathers I dropped. However, the wind had blown all the feathers away. After searching for hours, I returned with only three feathers in my hand. You see, It’s easy to drop them, but it is impossible to get them back. So it is with gossip.

What does the Bible say about GOSSIP? Ephesians 4:29-32

WHAT IS THE “G” WORD: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs.” (v.29a)

WHY SAY “NO” GOSSIP: 1. That it may benefit those who listen (v.29b) – you have the power to build up or destroy someone with your words.  2. That it may not grieve the Spirit (v.30) – your words not only hurt others, but God too.

HOW TO BE GOSSIP-FREE: 1. Get rid of bad communication (v.31 bitterness, rage, brawling, slander, and every form of malice).  2. Have good communication (v.32 kind, compassionate, and forgiving)

There are 3 components every Fire: Burnable substance, Flame and OxygenThere are 3 components to Gossip: true or untrue facts gossip or lie-story, and pride What should I do if I am a fire starter? Stop it immediately. Ask forgiveness. Be truthful from this point on. How to be a fire extinguisher? Confront in love by asking the gossiper: How do you know that? Do you have actual personal knowledge of the event or situation? What is your motive? Why do I need to hear this? Stop a gossip/lie before it starts by saying, “I don’t want to hear what you have to say about…” Pray for the person being wronged. Encourage both the doer and receiver. Speak the TRUTH.