HEY! I Just Read On Facebook That Your Wife Is “HOT!”

flameIt’s inevitable…here comes the picture and post from one of our friends on social media telling us that their significant other is HOT! (For effect, be sure to use the “flame” icon.)

While I expect such commentary from our sexually saturated culture that values beauty, busts, brawn and butts; it often gives me pause as to why a Christian would do their spouse such a disservice by branding them with this comment.

Some things to consider, from a “mans perspective,” before you tell the world about your “burning hot babe!”

 

  • The moment your post lands and declares, “she’s hot,” every guy will inspect her to see if those claims are true..instead of “protection” you have now opened her up to “inspection.”
  • Maybe you feel the need to tell everyone that “she’s HOT” because she is insecure with who she is.
  • Maybe she’s not “HOT,” but this public declaration will boost her confidence.
  • Maybe she’s jealous and you need to prove to her “and the world” that you are not ashamed to declare her “hottness.”
  • Doing spiritual stuff for Jesus does not make her more “HOT.”
  • If a guy remembers your “HOT” post, they will be sure to size up your wife the next time they see her in person.
  • You would never introduce your wife to someone as, “This is ________, my “HOT wife,” but on Social Media, nobody blinks.
  • I’m sure you can think of a few more…

Declaring the “hottness” of your spouse does them and you more harm than good. And while most would say it is light-hearted fun, and most will comment, “You’re blessed,” for these reasons and many more, such improprieties produce critique, comparisons, and  confusion.

Tell your spouse that she is “Hot” in the intimacy of your marriage… bless God for the gift of love and language in your marriage…speak tender and exciting things out of your love and passion for your spouse, but spare them the public inspection that will naturally arise from your “HOT” post.

 

Grace and Peace….

Pat Tharp

(C) 2017 Pat Tharp

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

My New Years Resolutions

It’s January 8th; how’s that “New Years Resoltuion thing going so far?” I always have great ideas to make changes and stick with it but I usually slide back into the same old habits that I promise to change.  I’m trying to change that this year. Instead of making great promises of eating better, reading more, and exercising daily, I’ve decided to make changes incrementally…gradually…slowly…day by day…decision by decision.image

I was reading about Jonathan Edwards Resolutions and I really appreciated the background and insights I found here. Mine are not as lofty and spiritual as his, but in my modern context they are nonetheless just as important “for the glory of God.”

Since the majority of our social interactions happen on digital platforms, I’ve set up some boundaries to help better navigate my interaction in those areas. These are not in any particular order, just things I’m trying to do.

  • Have more self control on Facebook. I do not need to jump into every argument, correct every distortion of scripture, or rebuke everything that I disagree with, taken out of Biblical context or think that I have total knowledge on. I will show more kindness and patience to all those who are spiritually spooky, (God spoke to them) the over saved, (The Jesus-jukers) or the politically polarized and easily agitated person.
  • Spend less time on Social Media. Getting the latest updates on everyone else’s “perfect life” can be exhausting. Being consumed with my or anyone else’s”digital life” instead of the real life around me robs loved ones, opportunities, and the precious time I have left on planet earth.
  • Read my Bible more. Not for information, but to know Jesus more. Read larger chunks of scripture, not just a chapter or two. Get the total context of the Book.
  • Read more biography, business, and history books. I love these kinds of things.
  • Eat healthier and not roll my eyes when my precious wife says she’s making a “healthy dinner.”
  • Turn my phone off when I get home. If it’s an emergencey, they can call my wife.
  • Turn the TV off earlier, so we can all have “reading time” before bed.
  • Laugh more at myself… live more in the moment and love like Jesus does.
  • Get more sleep so I can be more productive and useful during the day.
  • Not let fear, regret, would-of’s, should-of’s, or could-of’s ruin my day, determaine my tomorrow, or crush my future.
  • Do all that I do, by God’s grace and strength, for the glory of God.

How about you? What are you doing to change this year?

Pat Tharp

(C) 2016

Posted in Business, Church, Culture, Faith, Fear, Leadership, Life, Missions, Resolutions, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When everything changed in 2015

 

Original Picture ©Pat Tharp 2016

Original Picture ©Pat Tharp 2016

Sometimes I battle with this thought,”Did I totally blow up my life by dropping a bombshell on the things I was doing and royally screw it up?” (I’m sure you’ve never thought that.) Life, and what comes to us and through us is often like being on an emotional roller coaster. There are “ups” where everything is awesome, hands are in the air like you really don’t care, there are downs where you are white knuckling and holding on for dear life, and there are curves that come and can throw you for a loop.

What I have discovered in this past year are that there are seasons in life for everything. Those seasons are not permanent, like the changing of our weather cycles, our seasons of life ebb and flow, and come and go accordingly. What I’ve also discovered is that what we do does not define “who we are.” It’s a part of us, but as life changes, it doesn’t define us.

For the first 12 years of my “working life” I worked in a Property Management Company. Dealing in apartment rentals, repairs, leasing, and obtaining my Real Estate license I was on track to own and run my own business one day. But through God’s providence and some connecting situations the door opened up for me to come on staff and lead the Music Ministry at my one time home Church, Koinonia Fellowship in East Rochester, NY. It was a dream come true. My heart had been stirred for full-time vocational ministry and I dropped my real estate “nets” and accepted this position.

Over the next 12 years I was privileged to see the music, media, and our TV program grow. We recorded 3 all original worship CD’s, which are still some of my favorite music. For 3 of those years I taught the Youth Group and was able to see a generation grow in their faith and go on to serve Jesus in their lives. As an Elder I was given the humbling opportunity to teach God’s Word to the congregation on occasion, and start and lead a very vibrant men’s Ministry called B.A.M.M. My family and I  grew up spiritually in this amazing Church full of solid leadership, sound doctrine, and loving people. Barring all the typical things we broken sinners deal with, it was and still is a great church.

But something in that last year started to change in me. I started to be weary of the multitude of programs…events that I was expected to attend because I was “in leadership,” and the lack of real and intimate close friendships that seemed to elude me in the fast paced rhythms of Full-time ministry. I had no space for such things because I was too busy “doing ministry.”

Maybe it was all the Francis Chan and The Verge Network materials that I started reading. Questions I began to ask myself like, “Is this all there is to my Christianity?” “Is there a simpler and more biblical way to be and make disciples?” “Why is Church life so busy?” Why don’t I have enough margin in my life to reach my neighbors and non-Christian friends?” “What do I want  the legacy of my life to be?” “Am I doing what I am called to be doing in life, in this season?”

While on vacation, I dreamed of and drafted an idea for a new model of a Church. One that was relational not locational (where everything only happens in a building); one that made space for discipleship, fellowship, and Christian maturity (the calendar was not packed with “stuff” to do); one that sent men out regularly and intentionally to plant churches (reaching unreached areas of upstate NY and the world); one that had deep, rich, and robust theological training and equipping  (similar to the Koinonia School of Ministry in India); one that you could invite a non-Christian to and they wouldn’t drown in “Christianese” and Christian cultural slogans. This was a big step…

Shortly after I went to my Pastors and fellow Elders and shared my desire to start a new work, a new church. (We even put our house up for sale and desired to move into the Village of Webster and minister to a growing community of diverse ethnic groups and families.) I received complete support for this vision and plans began to be considered for transitioning me out of the Worship Ministry…but something happened.

Out of the blue about a month later we had a family issue occur. (Does it really matter what it is? We all have stuff in life that happens and you just need to pray and deal with it.) After going to the Leadership Board and explaining what happened, I still had their support to go forward, but Colleen and I were uncertain if this timing was a good idea to launch a new Church. Our house never sold and I was given the gracious opportunity to stay on board and try and do some of the things “there” that I wanted to do outside of Koinonia.  I agreed, and in God’s great grace and design all things worked out well and we had a great season of stability and provision.

After about a year I realized I was trying to put “my vision” and “my expectations” upon a Church that is wired in a different manner.  Kind of like David trying to fight Goliath in Saul’s armor, 1 Sam. 17:38-39, it just doesn’t fit. I realized that it wasn’t Koinonia that needed to change, but me. I was the one who was restless and longing for things that  I wasn’t experiencing there.  So I went to the Pastors and Leadership again and shared my desire to move on and help in the transition for the various ministries that I led or was a part of.  They were as always gracious, prayerful, understanding, and supportive. We scheduled a time on a Sunday morning where I was able to address the entire congregation on my plans to move on and there were many tears, hugs, and “we’ll miss you guys.” I have heard of many horror stories of Church staff leaving their position, and all I can say is that I was treated with the utmost respect, support, honor, and grace in every way; more than I could have hoped for or expected.

During our transition period we started visiting a Church that I was familiar with and had heard the lead Pastor before called Grace Road Church.  We felt at home, welcomed, and ready for a fresh start. All the things we longed for in planting a new Church were being done already in this young Congregation; and we have been well fed, loved, and growing there ever since.

So as of May of 2015, I officially stepped out of Full-time vocational Ministry. Leaving behind 24 years of deep rooted friendships and relationships has been the hardest thing to deal with. Not that you’re “not” friends anymore, but when you leave things do change; not that you want them to change, but it is just the reality of it all.

God has been more than gracious to us through this all; when you leave a full-time job that provided income, health insurance, dental insurance, retirement and stability, it can be a little scary about how you will survive.  Having been a closet entrepreneur, I expanded a side business I started called, The Chai Guy.  We are a mobile Chai Tea Company serving homemade and slow brewed Chai at the Rochester Public market every Saturday and we serve local cafes, Coffee Houses, and Farmers markets with the same amazing Chai!  (We plan on taking over the Chai Tea world)! At  the same time people started calling me for home repairs; handyman stuff that I’ve done for a long time. So I started “Patrick’s Property Services.”  God has provided well beyond what I had hoped or asked for. It has been lean sometimes, and sometimes I’m not sure where the next $1 is coming from, but we trust Him and all His goodness has never failed us yet!

If you’ve read this entire blog I just want to thank you…you are a true friend. I figured that enough time has past to get this off my chest and maybe help some people get over some of the rumors and half-truths that they’ve heard, believed, or simply felt uncomfortable asking. I’m truly excited for the future and look forward to what Jesus has in store for us in this coming year.

If you are at a crossroads, a season of uncertainty, or simply need to make some big decisions, I would encourage you to pray, seek wise counsel, seek trusted advisors and make a plan of action. Things  never turn out how you’d expect them to, but you can trust that they will turn out for our good and God’s glory!
Thank you for all your prayers, support, friendship and encouragement to me and my family. I pray that you will experience the grace, mercy, and peace of Christ as we go into this “unwritten” New Year!

Pat Tharp

(C) 2016 Pat Tharp

Posted in Business, Faith, Leadership, Life, Random, Uncategorized, Worship | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

St. Patrick Still Teaches Us Today

Original Photo by Garath Wray

When I was growing up, I always told my Mom , that St. Patrick’s day was “my” day.  It is special to me because of my Irish heritage, but now as a Christian, I treasure not only the heritage, and the man, St. Patrick, but most particularily, his mission.

St. Patrick will be Googled more times than we can imagine; parades have come and gone, pints of Guinness will be poured in local pubs, flags raised, folk-lore repeated, songs sung, and today “everyone is Irish.”

But the man we attribute this day to was much more than an excuse to drink a little too much and eat corned beef and cabbage. This man was a missionary. A more excellent article than this on St. Patrick can be found here, but St. Patrick is still teaching us today.

What can we learn from his hardships, life, and legacy? We surely learn something about ourselves…

Today we are more comfortable with our Christian Community than those outside of our four walls…how many non-Christian friends do you have and spend time with? Today we draw political lines and confuse patriotism with Christianity…our Kingdom is not of this world. Today we build walls to keep people out because we need to be “not of this world,” and in our separatistic mindsets, people are going to an eternity without Jesus that we have an opportunity to reach.  Today the great commission is a “good idea,” not a Gospel life rhythm that breaks our hearts for a world that still that not heard the glorious Gospel of Christ yet.

If that is “broad-brushing,” search your own heart… When I say “we” I really mean “me,” because the life of St. Patrick rebukes my complacency, coldness of fervency, and warm comforts that I so often treasure more than the discipleship and mission I am called to pursue.

St. Patrick was wronged and yet he went back to bring a Gospel to people that were pagan and against his message. Like St. Patrick, like Jesus, we who are Christians are called to be Missionaries. You may never be sent over seas, but you can support someone who is…but how about we start being missionaries in our homes, to our neighbors, and in the workplace and market place?

“Daily I expect to be murdered or betrayed or reduced to slavery if the occasion arises, But I fear nothing, because of the promises of heaven.”
St. Patrick

Having this heart is not only being like St. Patrick, but it is following the greater missionary, the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ.

So raise a toast, enjoy that Corned beef, but above all else, pray that you and I would be used as a missionary today where ever Jesus sends you!

St. Patrick Tharp

Posted in Church, Faith, Life, Missions | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Worship Lessons from Isaac Watts

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 9.14.17 AMThe debate over “modern” church songs and the “classic hymn” is nothing new. It seems with every generation in the church a new style or genre emerges. For some; new sounds, arrangements, and the artful poetic verbal imagery are welcomed as fresh and contemporary… for others there is a sense of loss for the “classics” which they are so familiar with. While the worship wars have for the most part ceased, we are still faced with music and lyrics that may be “different” than what we grew up with or are use to. This debate is nothing new, it goes all the way back to the late 1600’s.

Up until that time John Calvin had urged his followers to only sing “metrical psalms.” English Protestants followed the same advice. Each Psalm would have a certain number of syllables. This is how the church sang, only Psalms and only one way.

Then in 1674, a little boy was born… Isaac Watts. His father was an imprisoned Pastor because of his sympathies with the Nonconformists, and was later freed. Isaac learned Latin by age 4, Greek at age 9, French that he used to converse with his neighbors at age 11, and Hebrew at age 13. With an opportunity on scholarships to go to Oxford or Cambridge which would have led him to the Church of England, he choose rather to study at a Nonconformist academy.

Isaac was not very impressed with the songs that were sung in church at his time. His father told him that if he didn’t like it, to write his own music…and he did. The first hymn he penned as a teen was “Behold the Glories of the Lamb!” This first song would launch him into writing over 600 hymns, 52 books on theology, and a textbook on logic that would be used in universities for the next 100 years.

Isaac wanted to see more passion and modern connectiveness with those who were singing. He once said, “Where the flights of his faith and love are sublime, I have often sunk the expressions within the reach of an ordinary Christian.” He wanted all people to be able to sing, not just the pious and educated of his time.

By composing hymns that while rooted in scripture, were not “exactly” scripture as was the Churches tradition of his time, he was harshly criticized. Someone once said, “Christian congregations have shut out divinely inspired psalms and taken in Watts’ flights of fancy,” protested one detractor. Others dubbed the new songs “Watts’ whims.”

While Watt’s never rejected the metrical Psalms of his day, he sought to bring a modern view and vocabulary to the common people for congregational singing. This is a great lesson for us. Worship is not better because it is old, and it is not better because it is new. We need both. We should honor our roots and foundations, as well as reach forward with new songs of praise, Psalm 33:3, Psalm 40:3, Psalm 98:1.

As Worship leaders and song writers, we should strive to write and share songs that are worthy of singing again and again, and have a longer shelf life than the “latest hit worship song.” Isaac surely did this.

He would go on to Pastor London’s Mark Lane Independent Church, but would battle with psychiatric problems towards the end of his life, and would die a life long bachelor, who was once rejected because of his “homely” and frail appearance. Isaac’s life and ministry was not in vain. He would leave lessons and a legacy.

Isaac would leave us over 600 hymns, 52 books on theology, and a textbook on logic that would be used in universities for the next 100 years. He would write the first ever Children’s Hymnal, would have his works published by Benjamin Franklin in the United Sates, and would be called by John Wesley, “a genius.”

Whether we are singing the “hymns” of old or hymns of our day, as long as they sing of the glories of the gospel, the worth of the Son, the promise of forgiveness, the cross, and the blood, and remind us of our home in heaven, we will do well to sing with all our hearts!

May Isaac’s observation of some churches in his time, not be said of ours…”To see the dull indifference, the negligent and thoughtless air that sits upon the faces of a whole assembly, while the psalm is upon their lips, might even tempt a charitable observer to suspect the fervency of their inward religion.”

The next time you sing, “When I survey the wondrous cross,” “Alas, and did my Savior bleed?” or “Joy to the world,” remember from whence these songs were wrought and savor the Savior to whom we sing!

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Faith, Random, Uncategorized, Worship | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

FEAR NOT!

IMG_3757

Original Picture ©2015 pattharp.com

I don’t know about you, but sometimes one of my greatest enemies is…”fear.” It can come with many different masks. Sometimes it’s the unknown…sometimes it’s the future..sometimes it’s failure…sometimes it’s frustration..sometimes it’s the what ifs..and the would-a, could-a, should-a regrets.

Fear never reminds you of past victories, it only stamps a question mark on your eyes. Fear never has an answer or a good result, it only brings the worse case scenario to the forefront. Fear is like a bad song stuck on repeat that never ends. Fear always drives you into a corner with no way out and no hope available. Fear never stabilizes, it only paralyzes.  Fear doesn’t create, it stagnates. It’s like a led anchor that won’t let you go. It’s like a chain that has no key. It’s like a door that is always locked. Fear is controlling and sucks all life and light like a black hole. Fear can be a monster that continually grows.

The reality about fear is that it is a lie that either we tell ourselves or someone else is trying to convince us of. The only way to kill fear is to fight it with the truth.

As a Christian, I can choose to believe lies or believe what God says about me. I can believe in the hope, power, love, forgiveness, help, and wholeness Jesus brings, or I can lean on my own limited resources and strength.

As my life has unfolded, and new paths have been cut, I have found the most practical way I fight fear is to do the very thing I am fearing most, and trust the results into Jesus’ hands.

Things will never turn out the way we expect, BUT, the majority of our fears that we face never come to pass either.

Fear is a daily battle, it’s not a one time fight. It’s a choice we have to make every day. Having a spouse or a close friend to cheer you on does wonders for your heart. Praying through fears and taking the next step will help you cut those monsters down to size.

What fears are you facing? Take the step forward to face fear with faith and move forward with assuarnce. Isn’t it time to do something about it. I dare you to move.

Pat Tharp

©2015 pattharp.com

Posted in Faith, Fear, Leadership, Life, Random, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Setting Sail

IMG_1165

Original Picture (C) 2015 pattharp.com

Well it’s 2015 and there are a lot of changes going on.  I  thought I’d take a moment to share with friends and ministry partners some of the changes that have taken place in my own life going into the new year.  People will believe what they want to believe for good or bad, and some will come to their own conclusions despite even what I say here, but that is something I have no control over. For those who care, here is what I have to share.
Sometimes in life you come to crossroads…you look at where you’ve been, what you’ve done, and as much as you can, where you are going. As a Christian, I know my life and my plans are in God’s hands, Psalm 31:15, and I know that our lives are vaporous and vanishing in light of eternity, Psalm 39:4-5, and yet God gives each of us minutes, moments, days, months, and years to steward as best we can. While there is no guarantee of tomorrow, we still need to pray, plan, and persevere.

While reaching the half way mark, yes I turned 46, I started to reevaluate my life and ask some hard questions. What will I have to show for a life lived?  Spiritually, vocationally, financially? What kind of legacy will I leave my children (and grand children?) Where do I feel God wants me to be, where do I want to be, and what will it take to get there?

There are a lot of pieces to this puzzle. I started by asking close friends for wise counsel. I opened up my heart to see if it’s “just me” or is something cooking that I need to act upon? I experienced a “holy discontentment” with where I was and where I wanted to be; I sensed that there was something more, not better, but more that I needed to do. I turned over a lot of rocks and had a lot of self- discovery that revealed a lot that I didn’t realize about myself. I was feeling under challenged and creatively dry. There were still some things that I wanted to pursue. There was still some mountains to climb,  ground to take, and dreams to dream.

 “You are never too old to set a new goal or to dream a new dream.”
C.S. Lewis

After a year long process of conversations with my wife, close friends and trusted counselors I prayerfully decided to change a few things:

  1. I am going from my full time position as Worship Leader at my church to a part-time position. Eventually, I hope to simply volunteer like everybody else.
  2. I stepped down from my leadership position as an Elder at Church.
  3. I’ll be returning to my part-time position with a Real Estate Company as their maintenance manger for a few years to help them rebuild the company and grow their business.
  4. I also started a new business venture which I am extremely passionate about. The Chai Guy. After going on a mission trip to India and getting addicted to Chai, I started making it at every occasion and event that I could, someone suggested that I “sell it,” and so we launched this company. We are currently at the Rochester Public Market on Saturdays and we hope to partner with local coffee shops, restaurants, and caterers to bring them some awesome Chai! (We are booking weddings right now!)
  5. In addition to my personal blog here, I also started a new Business blog, The Entre Business Blog. This is aimed at small business owners and leaders to help them in their launch and provide ridiculously over the top customer service, and grass roots encouragement and instruction.

Why did I do all this?

I wanted more control over my time, my finances and my future. As a Christian I know that I am responsible for using the time, talents, and treasure God has given me to steward in the best way possible. I know I will be accountable for my life before a holy God. I want to make more space in life for the most important things to me.

I hear so many people complain about the economy, the culture, and they face the future with fear. I’m not ignorant of how dark the days are, but I know God is greater, stronger, and more faithful than anything else in this world. If we will take the time to pray, ask hard questions, seek wise counsel, and take personal and spiritual inventory, you may need to set a new course. Don’t be bound by fear…regret is a greater enemy.

Someone once said this…

“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation
and go to the grave with the song still in them.”

I for one choose not to be among the silent, desperate, joyless, and directionless drifters on the sea of life. I do not have it all figured out, but I choose to launch out, trusting and  believing, that there’s still more to come in the last half of my life.

How about you? If you feel stuck in a rut…if you feel there is something “more” that you should be doing, not better, but different, maybe you need to start preparing for a journey.

Sail on my friend…God speed.

Pat Tharp

(C) 2015 pattharp.com

Posted in Business, Faith, Leadership, Life, Uncategorized, Worship | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments