Father and Sons Campout – Priesthood Fireside

This weekend, our ward had a Father and Son’s Camp out. I drove myself and my three sons over 90 miles to our destination on a Friday afternoon. I had tried to get out of work early, but it didn’t work out that way and by the time we left my house it was already 6pm.

I was worried that there wouldn’t be any light left to set my tent up but didn’t worry too much, having faith that things would work out. It was dark and overcast at my house when we left and by the time we reach our destination, there was literally a column of sunlight gleaming down from between the clouds. Just as I had trusted would happen.  It had shed enough light to set up the tent without difficulty.

There was already a group playing kickball, but I decided to just sit by my tent and relax while my three sons would squeal and cry over the red kick ball that I had brought. Besides, if I had played kickball it would have been completely unfair to the opposite team!

The fireside seemed to be exactly what I needed. It was, of course, about the Priesthood and service.   There was a great lesson presented.  In a nutshell, those successful people around us that were known to give generously had done so before the fact that there were successful.

They were also great leaders, but not for the reasons why you would think. They were kind and generous, which in turn had people gravitate towards them. Their genuine willingness to help and give their time, money and talents had brought them blessings of true happiness. True happiness is being in the service of your fellow men. The Priesthood brings happiness by its sole purpose of serving others.

This has had me pondering the whole weekend about the things I can do to help those around me.

My Family
I can be a more loving husband and patient father.

My Friends
I can be more bold in bringing up the gospel in day to day situations.

My Ward Family
I can get over my habit to float to the side and stay unnoticed and make a better effort. I can find ways to serve them. I can try to take my callings to the next level.

The Blessings from service are evident as I had arranged to go visit a family today with my home teaching companion.  I had received good news upon my visit that the father had received a great job offer, ending a period of worry.  I was uplifted to hear about the blessings they had received through prayer, obedience and faith in Heavenly Fathers.

I am excited and filled with enthusiasm as this month, I am going to concentrate on service to my fellow men.

Remembering and Recommitting

April has been a month of recommitting and remembering.

Let’s all face it.  When we’re following the straight and narrow path, you are the most happy.

This is done by following the commandments, daily prayers throughout the day, following family home evening, putting effort into your callings, giving thanks and remembering Christ.

Heavenly Father knows our hearts and our needs and he listens to our prayers.   When we are weathered from the world and feel that we are not 100% and yearn to be, he will bless us and give us a way.

Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.  (Matthew 21:21-22)

Throughout the Book of Mormon we consistantly see the word “Remember.”   Searching on scriptures.lds.org for “Remember” shows us at least 88 results.

Recommitting is remembering.

Remember the baptismal covenant.

Remember the plan of salvation/happiness.

Remember to pray.

Remember the scriptures.

Remember Heavenly Father and his love.

Remember Jesus Christ and the atonement.

Remember and be blessed with peace and happiness.

The 178th Annual General Conference

The First PresidencyThis weekend was the 178th Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I could remember it like it was only yesterday that it was General Conference in October and it was all new to me.  This time around it felt like old hat.  I actually woke up at 9am to watch the conferences.  I enjoyed all the messages that were given and I have found a new appreciation for our first presidency.  I really didn’t know anything about the first presidency a year ago and I didn’t know Gordon B. Hinckley.

I’m glad I got to know Hinckley during the last conference before he passed.  I’ve come to appreciate all that he’s done for the Church.

It was the first time I’ve seen the calling and sustaining of a Prophet and his First Presidency.  I felt the Spirit as Utchdorf read off the names of our new leaders.  Even though I was at home, watching in my bedroom at 9am in the morning in my t-shirt and shorts, I was engaged enough to stand and sustained each and everyone of them by raising my right hand.  It was a wonder to me knowing that members around the world must be standing as well raising their right hand to sustain as well.

I am so impressed with the new First Presidency!  I never really knew Thomas S. Monson before this general conference.  He had also surprised me with his humor and his stories.  I remember Henry B. Eyring from before and loved hearing what he had to say.  And Dieter F. Uchtdorf is so likable and has such a friendy and welcoming characteristic about himself.

I’ve felt my testimony strengthened watching this conference and seeing the leadership of this Church.  These men are absolutely called of God.  Their words are divinely inspired without a doubt.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is absolutely the church of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  This is his Church.

Elder Ballard Encourages Blogging

According to an article in the Deseret Morning News, Elder Ballard addresses that the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints need to join the global conversation and use new technology to stand up for what they believe in.

“There are conversations going on about the church constantly,” Elder Ballard said. “Those conversations will continue whether or not we choose to participate in them. But we cannot sit on the sidelines while others, including our critics, attempt to define what the church teaches.”

This month has brought a lot of attention, negative and positive, to the Church and it is up to us as members to take the attention as an opportunity for missionary work. There will be a lot of people with questions about our beliefs and it is up us to answer them.

LDS faithful can change perceptions of the church “one conversation at a time,” through a clear and simple message of the Restoration. Elder Ballard said the Internet is a great tool to start these conversations. In his remarks, he suggested members consider the following:

  • Start a blog “and share what you know to be true.”
  • Download videos from official church and other appropriate sites and send them to your friends.
  • Comment on news media sites that report on the church “and voice your views as to the accuracy of the reports.”

Elder Ballard continues:

“Do not be afraid to share with others your story, your experiences as a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ,” Elder Ballard said. “We all have interesting stories that influence our identity. Sharing those stories is a non-threatening way to talk to others. Telling those stories can help demystify the church.”

I feel it is wonderful that the Church embraces technology to share the Gospel:

Members seem to be doing their part as well with the following:

Other Links:

Official YouTube Video:

 [youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=PEsjYm6Av4w]

The Gospel According To St Matthew: Seek First the Kingdom of God

For the past week I have been carefully reading The Gospel According to St Matthew of the New Testament in the Bible. There are mounds of knowledge and information from this one book alone. I find comfort in knowing that the wisdom of Jesus Christ contained in this book has been available to many before me. In this post and those to follow I will occasionally write about what I have taken from the Gospel According to St Matthew.

There are many temporal things in the world that are sought after by men such as: money, houses, cars and fame. You see the shows on MTV: “Cribs” and “Pimp my ride.” The next generation of men and women as well as the generations before have been programmed to want such worldly things. I admit, I too have been influenced to want such things.

In the New Testament, Matthew Chapter 6 reads:

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. (Matthew 6:19-20)

I have realized that before I seek after the riches of this world, I should seek the spiritual riches first. I should lay up my treasures in heaven. If I were a perfect person, I would not have any want for the temporal. I would not have any want for the things which are temporary. I would only seek the spiritual things, the things that would last forever.

In the New Testament, Matthew it reads:

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:24-33)

What I take from these verses are:

No man can both seek temporal riches (wealth) and spiritual riches (God) at the same time. It is wise to not worry about the every day needs of your temporary body. Heavenly Father knows our needs and will provide for our needs if we put him first.

An example is the Law of Tithing: Paying a full tithe which is 1/10th your increase. Even the concept of 1/10th your increase must be of divine origins-it is an easy number to discern! Move the decimal point 1 plays to the right. My belief is that tithe is necessary because:

  • It helps the Church grow.
  • It is a solemn act of consecration that proves your faith.
  • It humbles us and allows us to remain meek and obedient in other commandments and covenants.
  • It allows you to become more wise with your money; that you may do more with that 90% than you would have with the 100%.
  • You will receive blessings invaluable and definitely valued greater than that 10% given.
  • Your Heavenly Father has given us 100% of what we have, giving back a mere 10% is nothing in comparison.

As stated following in Doctrine and Covenants 130:

There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated — And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated. (D&C 130:20-21)

This says that obedience is a two way street between ourselves and Heavenly Father. If we follow the commandments Heavenly Father has given, Heavenly Father has no choice but to give the blessings which were conditionally promised.

In the Old Testament, Malachi Chapter 3 and in the Book of Mormon 3 Nephi Chapter 24 it states:

Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my house; and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it. (Malachi 3:10, 3 Nephi 24:10)

Heavenly Father promises that if tithe is paid, he will open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing.