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Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Monday, December 24, 2007
Secondly, to bring glory to God for His kindness, patience, goodness, mercy and power demonstrated at the cross. It was the Savior who came to man, and so it is in salvation that God always takes the first step because we could not and would not go to Him on our own. The correct response to the coming of the Savior is to, by faith, bow before Him submitting to Him as being right and true.
And finally, this Gospel is not a maybe, probably, hope-so Gospel. It is a certain Gospel that will not disappoint. The One who was sent from Heaven to save always accomplishes His purposes and so the New Testament says, “These things are written to you who believe on the name of the Son of God that you may KNOW that you have eternal life.”
Monday, December 17, 2007
It appears that the majority of Christians, if given a choice of working on a chain-gang or walking across a swinging suspension bridge with no handrails, would opt for the chain-gang labor. It is tiring and monotonously predictable, but you can't fall off. It may kill you, but it's a methodical way to go! The swinging-bridge of grace is scary. It is as unpredictable as God Himself. Security is only found as we "fix our eyes on Jesus" (Heb. 12:2) and are "led of the Spirit" (Rom. 8:14; Gal. 5:18), trusting Him to keep us standing by His power (I Pet. 1:5). That requires faith! Many there are who will choose the chain-gang of religion over the swinging-bridge of grace.
How often do we see Christian's try to put God into a neat little box; to try to and construct a God of their own choosing who is tame and predictable...a God who is safe. Their God is one who expects nothing more of us than to slavishly follow a prescribed ritual regardless of the attitude of our heart. But this isn't the God we serve. The God we serve is a consuming fire that leaves nothing that it touches unchanged.
Our God causes the comfortable to be shaken and the shaken to be comforted. He causes the proud to be humbled and the humble to be exalted. He causes the strong to be made weak and the weary to stand tall. He causes the mouths of the bold to be made silent and the mouths of the timid to speak with power. He confounds the wise with the foolish and gives mercy to the sinner and sorrow to the self-righteous. It would seem that our God is a God of opposites, a God of contrasts. On the surface that would appear to be the case, but each of these “contrasts” all have one thing in common…they bring glory to God.
It seems that the fear of falling has kept too many Christian’s working on the chain-gang. There is a certain amount of comfort there. But God isn’t interested in our comfort and He is unimpressed by how well we do the “religion thing.” God wants us fearlessly abandoned to Him. Fearless of what man can do to us! Fearless of what tomorrow will bring! Fearless even unto death! Fearless of stepping out and living in the freedom He has given us! But this will never happen while the fear of falling has us in its grip. It’s a scary thing, this fear of falling. It keeps us off the swinging bridge, it keeps us off the ledge, and it keeps us safe. This isn’t what the “God of Opposites” desires for us, for God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and discipline.
To be continued…
Friday, December 14, 2007
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
If the Spirit of God detects anything in you that is wrong, He doesn’t ask you to make it right; He only asks you to accept the light of truth, and then He will make it right. A child of the light will confess sin instantly and stand completely open before God. But a child of the darkness will say, "Oh, I can explain that." When the light shines and the Spirit brings conviction of sin, be a child of the light. Confess your wrongdoing, and God will deal with it. If, however, you try to vindicate yourself, you prove yourself to be a child of the darkness.
What is the proof that carnality has gone? Never deceive yourself; when carnality is gone you will know it-it is the most real thing you can imagine. And God will see to it that you have a number of opportunities to prove to yourself the miracle of His grace. The proof is in a very practical test. You will find yourself saying, "If this had happened before, I would have had the spirit of resentment!" And you will never cease to be the most amazed person on earth at what God has done for you on the inside.
Saturday, December 01, 2007
The lump of clay, from the moment it comes under the transforming hand of the potter, is, during each day and each hour of the process, just what the potter wants it to be at that hour or on that day, and therefore pleases him. But it is very far from being matured into the vessel he intends in the future to make it.
The little babe may be all that a babe could be, or ought to be, and may therefore perfectly please its mother, and yet it is very far from being what that mother would wish it to be when the years of maturity shall come.
The apple in June is a perfect apple for June. It is the best apple that June can produce. But it is very different from the apple in October, which is a perfected apple.
God's works are perfect in every stage of their growth. Man's works are never perfect until they are in every respect complete.
All that we claim then in this life of sanctification is, that by a step of faith we put ourselves into the hands of the Lord, for Him to work in us all the good pleasure of His will; and that by a continuous exercise of faith we keep ourselves there. This is our part in the matter. And when we do it, and while we do it, we are, in the Scripture sense, truly pleasing to God, although it may require years of training and discipline to mature us into a vessel that shall be in all respects to His honor, and fitted to every good work.
Indeed, God's works are perfect in every stage of their growth. Why is it so hard to rest there? Why do we get so impatient with where we are in our spiritual growth? Is it pride? Are we trying to live up to the expectations of others or up to what we **think** God expects of us? Yet how many parents can you think of who are actually in a hurry for their children to be grown?
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
When we complete the study of Genesis, we will begin a new study; we will do a verse-by-verse study of Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians. We use the acrostic Go Eat Pop Corn as a tool to memorize the order of the books. I am excited to begin the new study, as with all new studies. For the first class we are going to make popcorn. We typically have 8-10 men attend class each Sunday, which to me, is at the upper limit of what a Sunday school class should be. There are some classes that have as many as twenty people, which is too large to have good interaction. Hopefully when we get in our new building we will be able to break up into smaller classes. I do have a question, however. Does anyone know of any grace-based commentaries or study guides for the books we will be studying? They can be in print or on the Internet.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Here I am Lord,
And I'm drowning
In your sea of forgetfulness
The chains of yesterday surround me
I yearn for peace and rest
I don’t want to end up where you found me
And it echoes in my mind,
Keeps me awake tonight
I know you cast my sin as far as the east is from the west
And I stand before you now as,
As though I've never sinned
But today I feel like I'm just one mistake away
From you leaving me this way
Jesus can you show me
Just how far the east is from the west
Cause I can't bear to see the man I've been
Rising up in me again
In the arms of your mercy I find rest,
Cause you know just how far the East is from the West
From one scarred hand to the other.
I start the day the war begins
Endless reminding of my sin
And time and time again your truth is drowned out
By the storm I'm in
Today I feel like I'm just one mistake away,
From you leaving me this way
Jesus can you show me,
Just how far the East is from the West
Cause I can't bear to see the man I've been
Come rising up in me again
In the arms of your mercy I find rest
'cause you know
Just how far the East is form the West
From one scarred hand to the other.
I know you've washed me white,
Turned my darkness into light
I need your peace to get me through,
To get me through this night
Can’t live by what I feel
But by the Truth your work reveals,
I'm not holding on to you
But you're holding on to me,
You’re holding on to me
Jesus you know
Just how far the East is from the West
I don't have to see the man I've been,
Come rising up in me again
In the arms of your mercy I find rest
'cause you know just how far the East is form the West,
From one scarred hand to the other.
Just how far
The east is from the west
From one scarred hand to the other
Monday, November 05, 2007
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Based on what I read of the LDS view of whom and what Jesus is, I agree that they shouldn't be considered a Christian religion. I am not exactly sure what the definition of a cult is. Is it a religious group that believes different than you or does it also have to be formed after a certain date? I have always considered the LDS church to be a cult, but I am not sure why. Then there is this little nugget:
"I consider it the fourth Abrahamic religion--Judaism being the first, Christianity being the second, Islam being the third and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints being the fourth"
I suppose that assertion is based on the LDS claim that "ancient writings on golden plates that record God's dealings with indigenous Americans, who, according to the book, are actually former Jews from the Lost Tribes of Israel."
It seems that the SBC is doing a soft sell of Romney. For those who might be reading this, is it important for you to vote for a candidate who has the same religious affiliation that you do? The SBC/religious right has actively supported candidates that have "Christian Values," and if you look at the surface, the SBC and the Mormons share many of the same values. Are those shared values enough for you to overlook the fact that the Mormons are not Christians? Or do you vote for the person whose view on the issues most closely lines up with yours, regardless of religious affiliation? For right or wrong, I tend to do the latter.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Saturday, October 20, 2007
I have heard several messages from Adrian Rogers in the last few months that I thought were excellent. I don't know when they were preached, because he has went to be with the Lord. The first two messages were from a series on the fruits of the Spirit. Enjoy!
War between the Spirit and the flesh
Friday, October 19, 2007
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
First, since the Bible requires me to tell the truth (Proverbs 26:28), I must confess that part of the reason is to write this book. A couple of years ago, I came out with a book about reading the Encyclopaedia Britannica, all of it, from A to Z — or more specifically, from a-ak (East Asian music) to Zywiec (a town in southern Poland known for its beer). What could I do next? The only intellectual adventure that seemed a worthy follow-up was to explore the most influential book in the world, the all-time best-seller, the Bible.
(I don't have a problem with book writing, I would like to write a book.)
Second, this project would be my visa to a spiritual world. I wouldn't just be studying religion. I'd be living it. If I had what they call a God-shaped hole in my heart, this quest would allow me to fill it. If I had a hidden mystical side, this year would bring it out of the closet. If I wanted to understand my forefathers, this year would let me live like they did, but with less leprosy.
(John 14:6 comes to mind.)
And third, this project would be a way to explore the huge and fascinating topic of biblical literalism. Millions of Americans say they take the Bible literally. According to a 2005 Gallup poll, the number hovers near 33 percent; a 2004 Newsweek poll put it at 55 percent. A literal interpretation of the Bible — both Jewish and Christian — shapes American policies on the Middle East, homosexuality, stem cell research, education, abortion — right on down to rules about buying beer on Sunday.
(I don't think he has a good handle on the topic yet)
Saturday, October 06, 2007
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Friday, September 28, 2007
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Evangelical Christians are more skeptical than other Christians and American adults overall about the severity of global warming, a new study showed. Only 33 percent of evangelical Christians view global warming as a "major" problem facing the country compared to people of other faiths or of no religion in which over half say it's severe, according to The Barna Group.
While I agree with the article that Christians should be good stewards of all that God has given them, I resent the implication that not buying into "global warming" is contrary to that. Well, maybe resent is too strong a word. It's hard to deny that there is evidence to suggest the climate is getting warmer, but no one has proven to me that human activity is the cause of it...or even a contributor. Maybe part of my reason for not getting too excited about it, at least subconsciously, is that I am utterly convinced that Christ is coming soon.
What do you think?
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
The gospel says: Live, and you will do.
The law says: Pay me what you owe.
The gospel says: I forgive you all that you owe.
The law says: Make yourself a new heart and a new spirit.
The gospel says: A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you.
The law says: The wages of sin is death.
The gospel says: The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The law demands holiness.
The gospel gives holiness.
The law says do.
The gospel says done.
The law says: If.
The gospel says: Therefore.
The law was given for restraint of the old man.
The gospel was given to bring liberty to the new man.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
This is how we begin our walk with the Lord. We’re big in pride, large in ego and large in personal ambition and to our ‘bigness’ we expect God to add his beautifying graces thus making us larger still. But we soon become angry when we find out that God doesn’t plan to add to or bless our flesh - instead, He begins to chip away at it. If we live fully for Christ, we will more than likely end life smaller in the eyes of the world, but with far more beauty and meaning as a result of the Sculptor’s hand! All through your journey, God is chipping away everything that doesn’t look like His Son which includes everything that is obscured by our granite-like will. This is what John was talking about when he said in John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” And like the mountain, we don’t get to choose the tools the Sculptor uses to complete His project. And I’m sure if the mountain could speak, I dare say Stone Mountain would say it didn’t like being picked at for half a century, but I also suspect that in the years since and the years ahead, it would confess to rather enjoying the pleasure it brings to those who stare at it and gaze upon it. But we differ with the mountain in that we have a choice as to whether or not we submit to the hammer - the mountain had no say in the matter. The decision to be made into a work of art all rests in our hearts. Will you give the Sculptor the freedom to start His masterpiece? Before you answer that, count the cost and consider the time it will take. Accept the fact that this could take a lifetime to complete and then ask God to give you a glimpse of what you’ll look like when He’s finished. Now THAT’S a work of art!
Monday, September 10, 2007
Bob George has a wonderful illustration of this in his book, Classic Christianity.
Being made into a new creation is like a caterpillar becoming a butterfly. Originally an earthbound crawling creature, a caterpillar weaves a cocoon and is totally immersed in it. Then a marvelous process takes place, called metamorphosis. Finally a totally new creature - a butterfly - emerges. Once ground-bound, the butterfly can now soar above the earth. It now can view life from the sky downward. In the same way, as a new creature in Christ you must begin to see yourself as God sees you.
If you were to see a butterfly, it would never occur to you to say, "Hey, everybody! Come look at this good-looking converted worm!" And it was "converted." No, now it is a new creature, and you don't think of it in terms of what it was. You see it as it is now - a butterfly.
In exactly the same way, God sees you as His new creature in Christ. Although you might not always act like a good butterfly - you might land on things you shouldn't, or forget you are a butterfly and crawl around with our old worm buddies - the truth of the matter is, you are never going to be a worm again!
This is why the usual New Testament word for a person in Christ is "saint," meaning "holy one." Paul for example, in nearly all his letters addressed them to the "saints." Yet all the time I hear Christians referring to themselves as "just an old sinner saved by grace." No! That's like calling a butterfly a converted worm. We were sinners and we were saved by grace, but the Word of God calls us saints from the moment we become identified with Christ.
Some people ask, "But I still commit sins. Doesn't that make me a sinner?
I answer, "It depends on whether your identity is determined by your behavior what you do or by who you are in God's eyes." Do you see how we have continued to do as Christians what the world does by determining a person's identity based on his behavior? The only way to get free of this is to do what Paul wrote in Colossians 3:1-3:
'Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.'
Saturday, September 08, 2007
We have to be very careful how we go through our gate, because if we’re not on our toes Tojo will fly through the gate like a bolt of lightning. He has done this for years and our first inclination was to go after him, calling for him to come back. The more we chased him the farther he would run. What would cause him to do this? He has a good life and he isn’t mistreated. The problem is the fence. It takes from him the one thing he doesn’t have, his freedom.
At least from our perspective the fence is a good thing. It protects him from danger. When was the last time you heard of a dog being run over by a car while he was in his fence? It also keeps him from destroying other people’s property. From his perspective the fence represents bondage.
Another thing we noticed about Tojo is that when we stopped chasing him and went home he would come back within a few minutes and we would find him waiting at the front door. Now, when he escapes, we don’t bother to chase him; we just go inside and wait. In a few minutes he will be sitting at the front door wagging his tail and wanting to come in. It’s kind of humorous in that when we force him to stay in the fence, the only thing he wants is to escape, but when he has his freedom the only thing he wants is to do is come home.
Isn’t this a wonderful picture of the difference between Law and Grace? The Law is a fence; it defines the boundary of what is permissible and not permissible, what is evil and what is good, but the problem with the Law is that it puts us in bondage. (Galatians 5:1) Not only does the Law represent bondage, but the power of sin is in the Law. (1 Corinthians 15:56) The Law stirs up within us the desire to sin. Look what Paul said in Romans,
Well then, am I suggesting that the law of God is sinful? Of course not! In fact, it was the law that showed me my sin. I would never have known that coveting is wrong if the law had not said, “You must not covet.” But sin used this command to arouse all kinds of covetous desires within me! If there were no law, sin would not have that power. At one time I lived without understanding the law. But when I learned the command not to covet, for instance, the power of sin came to life, and I died. So I discovered that the law’s commands, which were supposed to bring life, brought spiritual death instead. Sin took advantage of those commands and deceived me; it used the commands to kill me. Romans 7:7-11 NLT
Not only does the Law stir up our desire to sin, it is faulty. (Hebrews 8:7) It is important to understand that I am not saying the law is faulty in content. God's Law is perfect in content; it is holy, right and good. (Romans 7:12) The fault of the Law lies in its capability. It’s assessment of our shortcomings are right on the mark, but its ability to lift a finger to help us is nil. The Law does not have the ability to produce righteousness. It is like a mirror in that it shows us that our face is dirty, but it can’t wash our face for us.
Thanks be to God, Jesus tore down that fence (Law) when He died on the cross. He has lifted the veil that separated us from Him and has given us the privilege of being called His children. We have been given our freedom and have been set free from the chains that bound us. The Law that binds has been replaced with a new law, the Law of Liberty.
Since the Law stirs up our desire to sin, what does the Law of Liberty stir up within us? It produces same thing that freedom produces in my dog; the desire to return home. Look what the bible says,
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. Titus 2:11-14
The grace of God produces in us the very thing that the Law could never do. It teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly and to do good deeds. These are the very things that were required of us by the Law, but they were only accomplished after the Law was “torn down.” Isn’t that good news? You're free! Free to live your life in complete abandon to Him. Free to run barefoot through the fields of grace. Why would you want to rebuild the fence only to spend your life plotting your next escape?
Sunday, September 02, 2007
Friday, August 31, 2007
But what about the internal features of the house? Here is where the shadow provides very little information. The shadow cannot tell you the color of the carpet in the foyer or how many bedrooms there are. No matter how closely you examine the shadow, it will provide you with very little information about the internal workings and depths of the object that cast it. The Word of God calls the Law a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, but not the good things themselves.
The old system under the Law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship. (Hebrews 10:1 NLT)
So what is the good thing to come?
Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day-- things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. Colossians 2:16-17
So many spend all of their time focused on the shadow called the Law and pay little mind to the One who cast it. It is like spending all of your time looking at a portrait or reading a biography, when the subject of the portrait or biography is right there in the room. The Jews in Jesus’ day studied and memorized the scriptures in an attempt to be right with God, but what did Jesus say to them,
You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life. (John 5:39-40)
I think that we are, for the lack of a better word, defined by our focus. It’s what sets us apart from everyone else. It seems that we religious types are always latching on to something, some special piece of knowledge that sets us apart from those unwashed heathens down the road. Things like baptismal regeneration, keeping the Sabbath, tongues as evidence of salvation, predestination, etc. And since that is our focus, it is pretty much all you hear us talk about.
What about Jesus? Are we willing to come to Him so that we may have life; not just for salvation, but are we willing for Him to be our life? Are we willing to take our focus off learning about Him, and focus on learning from Him? I think this is what Paul was talking about when he wrote,
And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:1-2)
We spend much time trying to persuade others of the superiority of our revelation and the wisdom in our understanding. We become so arrogantly convinced of the “rightness” of our position that we label those who disagree as false teachers or heretics. Heavenly Father save us from being like Martha; from being so intent on what our sister Mary is doing or not doing, that we miss the blessing of choosing the better part, which will never be taken away from us. Let nothing, not knowledge, nor doctrines, nor pride, distract us from the simplicity that is devotion to Christ Jesus.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:5-7
Monday, August 13, 2007
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Friday, August 10, 2007
Monday, August 06, 2007
Sadly, those trapped in legalism see themselves as having reached a level of maturity that the rest of us haven't achieved. The truth is that they are still babies. Paul wrote in Galatians 3:25 that we don't need the Law as a "nanny" anymore. We have Christ and He is enough!
We can determine something about the level of our Christian maturity by how connected we still are to religious rules in our lifestyle. When I was a young child, I had to be told to brush my teeth and bathe. Nobody has to tell me that now. The same is true as we mature spiritually. Some churches are nothing more than child-care nurseries where Christians are treated like babies, being told exactly what they should do and not do in every area of life.
Sunday, August 05, 2007
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
You don’t have to leave your beliefs at home. In fact, some employers see the value of integrating religion and work in meaningful ways.
My first thought was, "Well Duh!" Why would a Christian leave his beliefs at home? I mean besides the obvious contradiction of someone who professes Christ on Sunday, but lives like the world the rest of the week. Don't get the idea that I am pointing my finger at all "those" hypocrites, because it is an easy trap to fall into. I find myself at times going along just to get along. You know the drill, laughing at a particular joke, talking about someone because everyone else is, losing patience when people don't act like you think they should, the list goes on.
I was more focused on the aspect of employers sanctioning the practice of religion in the work place. I guess that I have never needed permission to be who I am, a child of God. I have prayed when I have felt led to pray, I have led a lunch time Bible study, and I have even talked to my boss about Jesus. He didn't get saved, but he didn't fire me either. Maybe it is a byproduct of where I live. I am not one of those who talk about God in every other sentence, nor do I try to tell people how to live their lives, and nor do I try to witness to everyone I come across. Maybe if I did all of those things I would have more of a problem keeping a job. I don't hide the fact that I am a Christian, but I also don't wear it on my sleeve.
Does that make me a sub-par Christian? I don't think so. I think that our lives are a testimony to the power of God working in us, not what we put on for show. I think that if you are surrendered to God and trusting in Him, then your life will show it, but if you are living in rebellion and trusting in yourself, then your life will show that as well. A nice thing happened to me at work one day not long after I was saved. A co-worker came up to me and said, "There is something different about you." I told him I got saved and he said, "That's it!" It would seem to me that the worst thing a Christian could ever hear is for someone to say, "You're a Christian? I never new that!"
Monday, July 30, 2007
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Monday, July 23, 2007
I wouldn't have thought that I would have been worth all that much to the medical research industry. They must be pretty hard up.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Saturday, July 21, 2007
How about this illustration? You are a loving father who buys your son a new bicycle. You are excited about giving him the bicycle and can’t wait to see his face when you give it to him. You anticipate all of the hours of fun he will have riding his new bicycle. However, when you present him with the bicycle he seems indifferent, maybe even fearful. He resists all efforts to be placed upon the bicycle. You might be disappointed, but you know that someday, when your son is ready, he will get on that bicycle and ride it. Do you think that a loving father would withdraw from his son and refuse to have anything to do with him until he rode that bicycle? I don’t think so. He would continue to do other things with his son. He would still play ball with his son, read him stories, and take him for ice cream. Every so often he would remind him of the bicycle and when his son was ready he would teach him to ride it.
I know that the second illustration has a definite human perspective, but I also believe it accurately describes my experience in my Christian walk. Let me share a little testimony. Several years ago, I felt like God was telling me to go and talk to someone and tell them about something that had happened. Who that person was and the thing He wanted me to tell him isn’t really that important to the point, so I will leave out the details. Even though I definitely felt God telling me to go to that person, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I had all sorts of rationalizations. I tried to apply logic to it, thinking that there was no logical reason for me to go. I imagined all sorts of consequences to me going to that person. I simply couldn’t see the point.
Over the next couple of years, God continued to grow me in grace and knowledge. I grew closer to Him and He called me into different ministries within our church and I obeyed those calls. He revealed His love for me to greater and greater depths and taught me truths about His grace. Yet, all during that time, God would remind me of what He had asked me to do. It wasn’t a continuous reminder, but from time to time, when I was still and quiet and prayerfully listening, He would speak to my heart. Each time, the same fears and rationalizations and logic would be applied to the issue. Finally, I came to the point where I said, “God, I am not able to do this, but I am willing for You to make me able.” I think it was at that point God began to work in my heart to make me able.
Well God did bring me to the point where I was able to go to that person. I told him what God had told me to share. Well that person just kind of scratched his head and told me that he didn’t know why God wanted me to tell him that either. He did share with me an instance where God had asked him to go and share something with someone else and his argument with God and the results of finally being obedient very closely lined up with my experience. I think that it all came down to pride. It was my pride that kept me from going sooner and it was that pride that God was dealing with throughout that process.
You might think that I should have been obedient right from the start and you would be correct. You might also say that, “I obey everything God tells me to do.” I would say, “Good for you,” but I would also suspect that it would just be your pride talking. It is more likely that God hasn’t revealed to you yet, the depths of your disobedience. There may be areas in your life that are completely yielded to God, but there are also areas where you are self sufficient, areas that you haven’t trusted to God.
That is what the Christian walk is all about. God, throughout our lives, opens our eyes to our need to trust Him in new areas. We may resist that revelation, but He is a loving father who continues to walk with us and take us through the process of learning to turn that area over to Him. Only once we turn it over to Him will it come to pass. It doesn’t have to take a couple of years for this process to occur. Apparently my pride runs pretty deep, but I have given that to Him as well. God never misses an opportunity to teach me humility and while this may sound like a bad thing, it is the most wonderful thing you can imagine. It is at the heart of His love.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Monday, July 16, 2007
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Sunday, July 08, 2007
Friday, July 06, 2007
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Were these things God’s judgment? Will He judge America? I don’t know. It’s up to God to say. What will be the basis for God’s judgment? I guess that if you asked Christians, more than a few would say, “They will be judged for their sins.” The Old Testament has many stories of God passing judgment on Israel and others. There is also the story of God being willing to spare Sodom and Gomorrah for the sake of a few righteous people.
Since a city or a country is nothing more than a collection of people, I think that it is helpful to look at the individual and then try to apply whatever we come up with to the whole. What’s true of the individual? His sins have already been judged, the verdict was guilty, the sentence was death…spiritual death that is. When Jesus Christ died on the cross, he took the penalty, the death sentence, upon Himself. He took the cause of our death (sin) upon Himself and became sin on our behalf. That was a wonderful thing, but unfortunately we were still dead. What does a dead man need? Well, he needs life. Jesus rose from the dead, so that He could give His life to us. When we ask Him to save us, we receive His life into us and are instantly transformed from death into life…spiritual life. Looking at it another way, our death sentence has been commuted into a “life sentence.”
What does that have to do with God’s judgment of America? Everything, or nothing! It seems to me that only thing that America can be judged for is sin and sin has already been judged. Every person that is born is born into that judgment and they all stand guilty. So where am I going with this? I don’t know, I am just kind of winging it. I guess what’s on my mind lately are Christians whose primary focus is making people behave through political action leading to legislation. Lord knows I hate a lot of the things that go on in America, but where some see a sin that needs to be controlled by passing a law, I see a lost person doing what lost people do. The same thing Christians would do apart from the power of God working in them.
The Bible tells us that the power of sin is in the law. Paul tells us in Romans 7 that the law rouses sinful passions within us. Human experience tells us the same thing. Try telling someone that they can’t have something; it just makes them want it all the more. The same thing happened during prohibition. So it seems that some Christian groups are trying to accomplish what the Bible they are thumping tells them won’t work. They are trying to make people behave by working to get laws passed.
I have a novel approach that they might consider. Instead of lobbying legislators and praying for laws to be passed or righteous candidates to be elected, how about trying this? Let’s pray for people to be saved. Instead of hitting lost people over the head with a bible, tell them about Jesus in your words and your actions. When people get saved, they no longer need the legislature to control their behavior; they will have the Spirit of God.
This rant has reached its terminus.
P.S. I just noticed the bible quote of the day:
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance.” (Psalm 33:12)
Monday, July 02, 2007
That's why I found this statement in the article kind of interesting:
The group is loathed by many mainstream Jews. Washington area Jewish organizations and the InterFaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington have condemned the campaign, saying Jews for Jesus proselytizes too aggressively and misleads potential followers by using Jewish symbols, portraying their places of worship as synagogues and referring to Jesus by Hebrew names.
When Messianic Jews use the names and symbols that they are most comfortable with, they are accused of being deceptive. The ironic part is that they are using the actual Jewish names, not the transliterated versions that I use.
I also found this statement rather amusing:
"You don't dress up fundamentalist, evangelical Christian missionaries in Jewish clothing and call it Judaism,"
Just another way of saying "wolves in sheep's clothing." Calling someone an evangelical fundamentalist has become almost a universal insult...not that some of the criticism isn't deserved. I am not sure if the people that play that card even know what an evangelical fundamentalist is, they are playing the card to get the desired knee jerk reaction from the reader.
Saturday, June 30, 2007
Friday, June 29, 2007
Jesus and his friends went on to the villages near Philiptown-Caesar. On the way he asked his friends, “Who do people say I am?” They replied, “John the Dipper, Elijah, or one of God’s speakers from the old days.” Then Jesus asked, “But who do you say I am”? Rocky answered, “You’re God’s Chosen.” Jesus gave them strict instructions to keep it quiet. At this point Jesus started to teach that the Complete Person would have to go through great suffering, be rejected by the various religious groups, and be killed, then come back to life after three days. Jesus was quite clear. Rocky took Jesus to one side and contradicted him crossly. Jesus turned round to face his other friends, saying to Rocky. “Get away from me! You’re a bad influence. Your get your ideas from people, not from God!”
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" And they said, "Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." And Jesus said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. "I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven." Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ. From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day. Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You." But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's."
God let them go on to pursue their selfish desires. Women use their charms to further their own ends. Men, instead of being friends, ruthlessly exploit one another.
Sounds like a bunch of politically correct hogwash to me.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Saturday, June 09, 2007
Friday, June 08, 2007
I think Micah Fries hit the nail on the head at the end of the piece:
"We've slapped a Jesus sticker on everybody who will raise their hand and say 'I do' in a church without questioning whether their faith is legitimate, whether they're making a real conscious decision, whether they're just emotionally responding," said Micah Fries, a 28-year-old pastor of a St. Joseph, Mo., church.
"I can whip a crowd into a frenzy and I can get response. ... I don't want response. I want changed lives."
I think that for too long preachers have talked people into coming down the aisle and making a "decision for Christ." I have heard of a preacher that claimed he could make such an emotional appeal to people that he would have them jumping the pews. Unless the Spirit of God convicts a person of their sin and their need for salvation, then what have you gained. You have a bunch of people who believe that they are saved, but live like they are lost. There has been no real transformation of their lives and no impetus to lead others to possess what they don't have to start with.
Salvation, from start to finish, is the work of the Holy Spirit. I think it is high time for preachers to take "themselves," and their powers of persuasion out of the way, and allow the Spirit to do His work.
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Thursday, May 24, 2007
|You scored as Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan, You are an evangelical in the Wesleyan tradition. You believe that God's grace enables you to choose to believe in him, even though you yourself are totally depraved. The gift of the Holy Spirit gives you assurance of your salvation, and he also enables you to live the life of obedience to which God has called us. You are influenced heavly by John Wesley and the Methodists.|
What's your theological worldview?
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Interesting, seeing that I have never studied Wesley and don't know any Methodists. Most people have me pegged as a fundamentalist. Some of the statements were ill posed, such as this gem:
The person of Christ, rather than the Bible, is the central focus of God's self-revelation
I'm also not sure who Bishop Spong or Karl Bath are or what they teach.