Fenton's Friday Five

Fenton's Friday Five - March 29, 2013

5. Redemption always requires a sacrifice.  Just as the death of Jesus on the cross was necessary to redeem humanity, we must, through Jesus, put to death our pride and arrogance as we minister to others who need redemption.

4. A loving God will always judge and condemn sin.  If we worship a God who does not condemn sin, we are worshipping a God who does not love; and therefore, we are not worshipping the true and living God.  The cross was God’s judgment on sin.

3. To speak of the cross without the resurrection leads to a forgiven but despairing life. To speak of the resurrection without the cross leads to optimism without the possibility of change.  The cross and the resurrection are really one event.

2. Best quote I read this week:  “Grace is not opposed to effort, it is opposed to earning.  Earning is an attitude.  Effort is an action.  Grace, you know, does not just have to do with forgiveness of sins alone.”  Dallas Willard, The Great Omission

1. Hype is convincing yourself and others that something good will happen.  Hope is living with the knowledge that a loving, all-powerful God will be victorious in all that does happen.  See you Sunday morning at 8:30, 9:40, and 11:00, and we will talk more about the difference between hype and hope.


Fenton's Friday Five - March 22

5.  Prayer is conformation, transformation and rebellion. When we pray we are:

  • conforming to God’s desire to be in relationship with Him
  • being transformed into what God created us to become.
  • rebelling against the prevailing materialistic view of life that says that only matter is real.

4.  A prayer I read this week: “Dear Lord, put your arm around me today and your hand over my mouth.”

3.  The best way to live the focused life and to not be continually distracted is to know your purpose in life.  If you do not know your purpose in life you will not only tolerate distraction you will seek it.

2.  Arrogance is a form of ignorance as arrogant people are ignorant of their own faults.

1.  A prayer paradox: Praying and working for authentic spiritual unity may cause some folks to avoid you.  We will talk more about this Sunday morning 8:30, 9:40 and 11:00 at Dawson.

For more on these five go to www.characterpath.com.


Fenton's Friday Five - March 15, 2013

5. People who appear to be inconsistent in the way they live often are consistently true to their value system.  Their value system is doing whatever benefits them the most at any given time. If you value you more than anything else you will tell the absolute truth when it benefits you; but, you will also lie when it benefits you.  You will be faithful to your spouse if you think it is beneficial, and you will be unfaithful if it is beneficial.  Very few people are actually inconsistent.

4. Atheists believe there is no God. Agnostics believe it is impossible to know if there is a God.  Egotheists believe there is God who is just like them.  You will not find many religious atheists or agnostics, but there are many religious egotheists.  Unfortunately, they are no more Christian than the atheists or agnostics.

3. Praying for others reveals three things.  You reveal your love for the person for whom you are praying, your love for God, and your acceptance by God as you accept His invitation to pray.

2. The answer to “why?” will help you to know the answer to “what?”  Another way of saying it is the leadership principle “purpose precedes plan.”

1. The motivation to live the holy life comes from knowing the “why” and “what” of Holy Week.  I invite you to participate in the Holy Week activities at Dawson.

For more on these five, please visit www.characterpath.com.


Fenton's Friday Five - March 8, 2013

5. The promises we break keep us awake at night; the promises we keep help us to sleep.

4. Church membership is not about getting your name on the roll but about being in the servant role.

3. Creeds without conduct create chaos.  We explain with words what we believe.  We develop carefully worded arguments in attempts to persuade people to believe the Word of God.  We have correctly been taught that we need to be able to put our Christian testimony in words.  Yet, if our words are never translated into corresponding deeds, our words create chaos in the minds of the people who are listening to our words.

2. Quote of the week:  “Next to running shoes, a training diary is the most important piece of training equipment a runner owns.” (quoted from the VeloPress website)

1. Praying for God to change the attitude of others requires us to ask God to examine our attitude toward the person for whom we are praying.  We will talk more about this on Sunday morning at 8:30, 9:40, and 11:00 at Dawson.

For more on these five, please visit www.characterpath.com.


Fenton's Friday Five - March 1, 2013

5. Patience is not so much about waiting on God to act, as it is moving at God’s speed.  Both slowing down and speeding up can be a form of impatience.  Both actions may suggest that we trust our rhythm rather God’s.  Godspeed to you today.

4. Spontaneous praying reflects the pace of our culture.  Daily disciplined praying reflects the pace of Christ.

3. Is forgiveness overrated?  It is if you think that forgiveness is the end of redemption rather than the means of redemption.  Forgiveness is necessary for us to be in relationship with God and to be transformed, but the transformation is not completed at the point of forgiveness.  Forgiveness is only the beginning.  When God forgives us, He creates the opportunity for us to engage Him.  Forgiveness is a wonderful step in the journey of redemption.

2. Most disturbing metric of the week:  “Nearly half of males 18 to 34 play video games on average of just under three hours daily according to Neilson Media” (Books and Culture, March/April).  The issue is not the “video” aspect but the games.  Watching ESPN SPORTSCENTER each night, watching one basketball game each night, and listening to Sports talk radio on the way to and from work often adds up to more than three hours a day; so, it isn’t just the techies.   In 1985, Neil Postman warned of “amusing ourselves to death” as he wrote of western culture’s addiction to amusement.  We now have so many more toys to play with than we did in 1985.  We can’t blame technology; we can blame our lack of discipline.

1. The key to answered prayer is not praying harder but trusting more.  The prayer you think is unanswered may have already been answered.  You didn’t recognize it, however, because you expected God to answer your way rather than trusting Him to answer His way.

For an expanded version, visit  www.characterpath.com.


Fenton's Friday Five - February 22, 2013

5.  It is not enough to take stands against evil; we must also take steps toward godliness.  The failure to take steps is a contributing reason to why folks don’t take Christian protests seriously.  They appear to be Christian grandstanding.  You will never move forward by just taking stands; steps are required.

4.  How about this for an idea for a new Christian television reality show:  “Spiritual Hoarders.”  Christians who go to Bible studies and worship, read Christian books, and listen to Christian music but never serve would tell their stories.  Then, a group of believers would perform an intervention.  You could hold auditions in almost any church on Sunday morning.  This show, of course, would be a “take-off” of the popular A&E show “Hoarders.”  But, then, we Christians do not appear to be too concerned about patterning ourselves after the world.

3.  You will not find patience without wisdom.  Patience without wisdom is just procrastination.

2.  The best quote I read this week:  “Reputation is for time; character is for eternity.”

1.  One reason Christians often feel guilty even after praying for God’s forgiveness is their unwillingness to forgive others.  We’ll talk more about this on Sunday morning at 8:30, 9:40 and 11:00 at Dawson.

For more on these five, visit www.characterpath.com.


Fenton's Friday Five - February 15, 2013

5.  Prayer is adoration and submission before it is petition.  Before you “ask from” God, you need to be aware of the character of the One from whom you are asking and know the nature of the relationship you have with Him.

4.  A desire for spiritual clarity is more important than a desire for spiritual depth.  Just because you can’t see the bottom of the lake does not mean that you are in deep water.  It may only mean that the water is muddy.  Some spiritual subjects appear very deep; however, on more careful examination they appear deep because our understanding is not clear.  Seek clarity and depth will be added.

3.  To be “saved” is to live in the eternal state of accepting God’s provision in both the present and the unending future.  (from K.E.Y. Bible Study, February 13, 2013)

2.  Quote of the week:  “Love creates discipline.”  (from John Calipari, the head coach of the University Kentucky Wildcats basketball team, when interviewed this week on a national radio sports show)

1.  Praying for your daily bread may mean you are asking God for less than you have.   Are you okay with God taking the “more than you need” and giving it others?  We’ll talk about it at Dawson on Sunday morning at 8:30, 9:40, and 11:00.

For more expanded thoughts on these five, visit www.characterpath.com.

Fenton's Friday Five - February 8, 2013

5. Thoughts after listening to 15 minutes of talk radio:  Opinions should be shaped by information and truth and not just our feelings. When our opinions are formed too quickly, we are usually emotionally reacting to something we don’t feel good about or to something we do feel good about.  A Christian's opinions should reflect faith rather than just  feelings.

4. And in a separate but related matter: This week I read a passage of the Bible that I did not like. If I were writing the Bible I think I would have left it out. I did not feel good about myself after reading it. But I plan to read it everyday this week because it was true. It pointed out a sinful attitude in my life that I like to ignore. Not only should we read the Bible, but we should allow the Bible to read us and the Holy Spirit to work on transforming us.

3. Best quote of the week. “Grace is more than some benign, sweet syrup poured over us by a God who only says, "I love you just as you are; promise me you won't change a thing." Holiness of heart and life demonstrates to the world that Christ is able to not only love us as we are, but also change us into what He would have us be. Holiness is Christ not only forgiving our sin, but also redeeming us and utilizing us for his work in the world.”

~ Will Willmon the retired bishop of the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church as quoted on 01/28/2013  www.christianitytoday.com

2. If you live by the creed. “minimize your risks and liability,” you will not extend grace and you will not love. Failing to extend grace and choosing not to love are two of the most ungodly things you can ever do.

1. “Thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth” is rooted in the character of God.  Rather thinking “God, since you are all powerful therefore I surrender,” but rather, “ I trust your plan for this earth and my life. I know that your plan is the better plan and the right plan.”  We will talk more about this on Sunday at 8:30 a.m., 9:40 a.m. and ll:00 a.m. at Dawson.

More on The Five found at  www.charactherpath.com.


Fenton's Friday Five - February 1, 2013

5.  My problem is that people are plagiarizing my ideas before I think of them.

4.  Quote of the week:  “Authentic Christian hospitality is making people feel at home when you wish they were.”  ~ Neal Plantinga

3.  Authentic study of the Word of God will inevitably lead you to serve God through reaching out to those disconnected from the Kingdom of God.  Bible study which only leads to the accumulation of factual and theological knowledge is the result of reading the Bible as if it were a philosophy book. The evidence of your depth is not in how much you know or how well you can articulate what you know but in how well you serve.  ( See Matthew 7:21)

2.  Twitter is really not so much about self-expression as self-promotion.

1.  If prayer is just talking to God, then why do so many people find prayer difficult?  We will talk about in the new sermon series (Prayer: Simple But Not Easy) this coming Sunday morning at 8:30, 9:40, and 11:00 at Dawson.

More on The Five found at www.characterpath.com.


Fenton's Friday Five - January 25, 2013

5.  Saw an interesting advertisement, “How to use social media to change your image.”  This is how Internet pedophiles use the social media.  The pedophiles attempt to project an image of being an interested teenager when they are really dirty old men.  We should use social media to project who we really are, not to promote a false image.  Sort of like cutting and pasting Bible verses on tweets or posts without reading or studying the verses.  Enough said on this.

4.  The most popular creed of our day is, “Whatever you believe, I believe.”  When you allow others to determine what you believe, you will also allow others to determine how you will live.  Your actions inevitably follow what you really believe, not what you say you believe.  If you let the culture determine what you believe, your actions will match those of the culture.  No wonder many professing Christians do not live differently than everyone else.

3.  We still have to endure or ignore another week of Super Bowl hype.  My favorite Super Bowl quote of all time is by Duane Thomas, former Dallas Cowboy running back.  Thomas was asked, “How does it feel to play in the ultimate game?”  He responded, “If it is the ultimate game, why are they playing it again next year?”

2.  Best quote I’ve read this week:  “Satan is powerful but not omnipotent.  He can hinder but he cannot prevent.”  (from Guide to Effective and Powerful Prayer, by Beth Alves)

1.  A warrior enjoys the battle and endures the peace.  A soldier endures the battle in order to enjoy the peace.  Warriors are more interesting in destroying than building.  We will talk more about this on Sunday.


Fenton's Friday Five - January 18, 2013

5.  Hypercritical people are usually hypocritical people.

4.  Heard on a national radio sports show:  “The Denver Broncos would be in the AFC championship game if a defensive back would have focused on his assignment rather than trying to be the hero.”  Here is a faith application of this statement:  God does not need heroes, just believers faithfully fulfilling their God-assigned tasks in life.

3.  Criticism is best given and received in context of relationship.  To criticize a person you don’t know is a drive-by verbal shooting.

2.  This week, the media has been focusing attention on an athlete who is being accused of creating a fake relationship.  Seems like many people claim to have a relationship with Jesus but give no evidence of it in the ways they live.  Matthew 7:21

1.  The Apostle Paul never called himself or anyone else a Christian.  Instead of attaching the label to himself or others, he described the actions of those who faithfully follow Christ.  It is not about the label; it is about the life.  You will hear this again Sunday, January 20, at 8:30 a.m., 9:40 a.m., and 11:00 a.m.


Fenton's Friday Five - Friday, January 11, 2013

5.  Knowing that we have grace for the future does not excuse us from doing right in the present.  Misuse of God's grace is rejecting God.

4.  Insight from the BCS National Championship game:  It appears that, other than in Alabama, more people are talking about Brent Musburger's inappropriate comments than the Alabama victory.  Human nature is attracted to failure rather than success.  Doesn't Scripture address what we think about?  Philippians 4:8

3.  No one was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame (or to what is sometimes called baseball immortality) this week.  Apparently, the reason no one was elected related to the players' moral failures.  Sure glad that God bases our immortality on the grace we receive through His Son rather than our moral performance.

2.  On January 4, at 10:00 p.m. I decided that college football was overrated.  Do you suppose that had anything to do with my favorite team, the Oklahoma Sooners, being trampled by Texas A&M that evening?  It is amazing how self-centeredness impacts everything about us.

1.  Revengeful anger is not just destructive to others, it is spiritually destructive to us as we are trying to take the place of God.  "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. Romans 12:19b.  We will talk more about this on Sunday at 8:30 a.m., 9:40 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.