Thoughts to build communion with God, community with the church and help collide with darkness

My desire is to post my thoughts with the hope that God's people can benefit from them and be prepared to work harder and and fight better. Our enjoyment of God is at stake. Father is anything but a boring, no fun, stick in the mud who wants everyone to wear a tie. He is the creator of the universe and he will blow your mind!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A prayer for blessing that God will answer!

Psalm 67:1-2 says, "May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, THAT your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations."

Here is the deal. I'm headed to Georgetown University for a series of meetings with Key leaders globally about the upcoming issues globally between competing truth claims. I'm being very vague on purpose in case you are wondering for very important reasons, and if you are a TRCC regular you know why. Anyway, I digress...

There is really only one way to be a church doing it's biblical mandate and that is by engaging the globe personally by taking the Gospel to the unreached people groups of the world so that people can be saved and a self-sustaining and multiplying church made up of that people group and looking like that people group in cultural distinction but having the distinct characteristics of Jesus' kingdom imprinted on their new lives as a redeemed people of God now taking that message to the unreached peoples of the globe themselves.

A church doing local ministry only and throwing a small percentage of it's budget to a missions agency is not doing it's job. Then they have the audacity to ask God to bless them (however that gets interpreted).

This Psalm is basing it's request for blessing upon the already understood and mandated Abrahamic Covenant that they would be blessed (with the knowledge of God) to bless the nations (Genesis 12:1-3 "families" is the Hebrew of the word nations that means something along the lines of distinct ethno-linguistic peoples) with the knowledge of this God, who is Jesus.

In other words blessing does not exist for the sole purpose of growing a local church ministry. Blessing is that the church would then, by it's very nature and mission take that blessing to the nations that have not heard! The Great Commission is the restating of the Abrahamic Covenant! Jesus knew this. He did not make up a new thing. He was re-instituting (if I may use those words) what he already spoke to Abraham back in Genesis (Remember Jesus said he was YHWH in John 8).

So, don't ask for blessing unless you intend to fulfill your mission as followers of Jesus Christ to make disciples of the nations in blessing them with the blessing you have received from the Lord i.e. knowledge of the Gospel and resources to bring it to them.

Don't be satisfied with a ministry to local communities. That is not the end game. Our hearts were made to go global, and they have been shrunk and withered by a local only mentality.

I grow tired of having supposed pastors ask why we do what we do among the nations. I grow tired of pastors volunteering their words of defense that not everyone (i.e. pastors and churches) are called to do what we do. What bible are they reading? What part of it does not apply to them?

If one does not want to complete the Great Commission, then don't come after Jesus! Jesus said not to begin a work one is not willing to count the cost and assess if they are willing to finish the work. Don't come after Jesus in repentance unless you are willing to die among the nations for Jesus' fame having spent all of your resources to make it happen. That IS our mission.

If you pray for blessing to do that, you are guaranteed to get it because Jesus said if we ask for things in his name (things that represent his mission and reputation) he was pleased to do it! When we ask for blessing to be showered on us that we might turn and shower it on the UPG's of the planet, then we will get all we need to do the task! If we just want more crap, then we might get it, but know that what you get and attain and sit on is not from God, but a work of your hands and the desire of your heart and thus your object of worship.

Oh that we would be prayer warriors asking for blessing to be showered upon us that we might turn it to the praise of the nations to make much of Jesus, the King.

If you want to know about unreached people groups and the one's yet to be engaged go to

Pick one and get started asking! We were made for this. We will either send by praying and resourcing or we will go short or long term or we will be disobedient.

Soli Deo Gloria among the nations!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Missing the text in fighting our flesh and the real answer to fighting our flesh!

Here is something I notice about man’s nature, even as followers of Christ is that when studying the bible and asking questions of the text such as, “what is the explicit instruction of the writer here to whom and why?” people have a tendency to raise their eyes from the text, look into the air (indicating that they are searching for the answer). See, there is the problem. What is wrong with that picture? You got it! They are looking into the air, indicating they are searching for the answer in their own mind. The answer is found in the text! The answer is not pulled from one’s own mind.

This absolutely amazes me. Is this a fallen tendency left over in man? Is this a funk brought upon God’s people by the evil one to keep them from seeing truth and learning that truth can and must be mined from the biblical text? Probably a little of both is right.

It’s this phenomenon that has led to one of the most putrid activities among Christians known to the church: legalism disguised as spiritual discipline.
First, I want to say that I believe in the exercise of spiritual disciplines, but not as actual means to ends. I believe they are effective as means to get us into the proper means that lead to the proper end. Notice I made end singular and not plural.

Here is what I mean. I hear, perhaps most often from people, that they have thrown out their televisions and cable because it is the source of filth and all despicable content and they do not want that in their homes. They then discover they have more time to do more things like read the bible and relate to their children.

Fair enough. If that is what you want to do, then do it. The problem comes when they begin to sell it as if it should be done by all and defend it as “the” thing to do.

The problem is Jesus! No, Jesus is not problem, but he is a problem to that mentality. Mark 7:21-23 21 “... For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

Do you see it? What is the source of filth and despicable content? The heart! Not television. The problem is that we actually think that external actions can actually help us grow. They can’t! They never will. Obviously, if an activity causes one’s conscience to be bothered, then the text is clear, avoid said activity. But if the avoiding of that activity is a means to the end of being a better person for Jesus, it is vanity of vanities!
Why might a person think that such external activities will help them and their children be better? They have lifted their eyes from the text and are searching for answers in their own minds to combat problems that they are powerless to conquer. This ends in frustration and confusion. Why do I still do these things? Why do I still think these things? Why do I still desire these things?

Jesus said to the Pharisees in Luke 11:37-54 that instead of washing the outside of the dish they should give as alms things that are within. Point? Externals will not fix the source of the filth. Only internals can fix the internals and then the externals will follow suit.

Again, Paul addresses this in Colossians 2 (whole chapter). Speaking of external attempts to gain control of the flesh he says, “These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.”

The point is to not let people trick you or force you through guilt to adopt externals as means to the end of getting rid of sin issues.

This begs the question(s): how do I fight sin issues? What is the end I’m striving for?

First, the end is simply stated in Ephesians 4 and alluded to Colossians 2. The end is that, through proper teaching, we grow up into Christ Jesus who is the head of the church to a mature manhood.

How do fight the sin issues that face me in order to grow up into Christ Jesus? Colossians 2:6ff states that as we received him continue to walk in him, rooted in him, established in him while abounding in thanksgiving. How did I receive Jesus? By faith. What does it mean to receive Jesus? Follow him, imitate him, learn from him and repent.

Here it is. Paul says that all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Christ Jesus (Col 2:3). In other words, bury yourself up in the person and work of Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, Yahweh come, Holy Spirit proclaimed, cross centered Jesus and learn and grow into him. Read the bible that preaches Jesus from Genesis to Revelation. Ask questions of the text like “why?” “who?” “what?” “when?” “where?” and “how?”. Learn how to read the Old Testament with an eye to the cross. Saturate your mind with the Gospels. Learn from the instruction to the early church. Practice what you read and you will make one hell of a war on your fallen flesh. Tedashii says in a song called “Make War” “I beat my flesh to the death every breath like I beat my chest.” This is how one beats their flesh into submission. It is done with the person and work of Jesus Christ on the inside not simply on the outside.

Disciplines, whatever you choose, only serve to bring us more into Christ, who is the means, to bring us fully into Christ in maturity, who is the end.

This is not pragmatic as pragmatics go (pragmatics being the exercise of means absent of the transcendent reality of God in Jesus Christ produces as a discipline during the Enlightenment). It is practical as the biblical text goes. Often our problem is that as Christians we are pragmatic atheists. If I just blew you out of the water, go read "Eclipse of Heaven" by AJ Conyers. It should clear it up for you. Another blog post for another time.

So, if you are looking up from the text and trying to figure out how to beat back the flesh and you come up with some good old external trickery, don’t be deceived. Look down to the text, follow the instructions, and bury up in Jesus, receive the Holy Spirit surgery, resist the evil one, love God, love your neighbor and go watch the game with him to the glory of God and the enjoyment of life and be salt and light to your neighbor not a stale breath of dead air condemning him for watching the game or in my case many games. God Dawgs! Go Falcons! Go Jesus! Thank you for the cross!

Soli Deo Gloria!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Link to Bakker renouncing The Prosperity Lie

I am posting this clip with the following caveat: I do not agree with everything Jim Bakker says. I do not agree with all that he does practically or with the philosophy behind it. However, I do admire and respect his humility following his imprisonment. I do admire his boldness in this clip to denounce the guys in the clip on the front end. I do not endorse anyone in this clip as representing my foundational beliefs or the foundational beliefs of TRCC or any organization I'm affiliated with.

My desire for all who would watch this is to take note of the teaching of prominent people on the world of televised Evangelical Christianity and take not of the rank filth that is propagated and believed by the masses who watch with admiration and without an ounce of discernment.

I would request that each who would watch this clip also listen to the Sunday morning talk at TRCC by yours truly on the teaching ministry of the church on 9/6/2009. This may be accessed on Itunes or the church website

With all that said, watch and prepare to be disgusted at the front. After all of the junk there is a lady with a blue screen who is right on in her assessment of these deceivers and then Bakker. Feel free to stop watching at the lady with the blue screen. The clip gets long and is not necessary for you to watch.

Please post your feedback. Copy and paste the link in your internet browser. Here it is:

Friday, August 7, 2009

Some thoughts on Isaiah 40:31

You know there are just some passages in the Bible that are bound to be abused by folks along the way. I don't believe it is their intention to abuse the text. I believe they are well meaning Jesus followers who have not been taught better by their pastors (supposed teachers of the text). If they have a pastor who teaches well and they just don't engage in the life of the church and they make such errors, perhaps they need to check the reality of their salvation (2 Cor 13:5). Jeremiah 29:11 is one of those, and Isaiah seems to be one that I keep hearing that is radically abused.

Just for reference, here it is:
"...but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."

I love it. But, the problem is that we westerners have a tendency to not read it in its proper context. We tend to superimpose our context on this text.

For example: As I go about my day doing my thing (continuing to be a workaholic, pursuing more material stuff at the stuff mart, bigger and nicer houses and cars, bigger and costlier toys, neglecting wife, husband and kids, not properly engaging the world through the vehicle of the church, etc.) God will cause me to have strength to do all that I need to.

In other words, because I say I am a Jesus follower, God will strengthen me to do my thing each day as it needs to be done.

It's subtle, but wrong.

From what I can tell, God's people are in exile in Babylon and languishing away in a land that is not home while enslaved by people who do not know the Lord and they are forced to comply with their captors while longing to return home and trying to remain faithful to the Lord.

In other words they are carrying a load that is humanly impossible to carry while in captivity resulting from not loving the Lord with all their heart, mind and strength.

The promise is this: when you are burdened so far beyond your ability to bear it with what God the Father in grace and love and placed upon you to train you to be his child because you bear his name and are forever adopted as his kid, when you are doing his thing, his way in his time, even if it means you are a freak to the world around you because of what you value and sacrifice for the sake of something better, their strength will be renewed, they will mount up on wings like eagles, they will run and not be weary, they will walk and not faint.

It what scenario are you? In which scenario am I?

Promises are not all that valuable when posh and luxury are present and pursued. Promises take on value when in deep and discomfort is the "soup de jour". This is such a promise that only makes sense when we are loaded with God's stuff and can't bear it unless he causes us to.

See 2 Corinthians 1:1-11 for how Paul experience a crushing from the Lord so that he could taste what it was like for the Lord to cause him to be sustained in the middle of the crushing.

That is where Isaiah 40:31 take flight.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Sobering Reflection

Perhaps nothing is as sobering as death. Yesterday I attended the funeral of my uncle on my Mom's side of the family. Jesse Lee Smith. Not even a year ago his wife, my aunt Carolyn, died. He did not even live a year after Carolyn's death.

As the family walked through the service and interment a particular Psalm assaulted my sense of youth and vigor: Psalm 39.

Psalm 39:4-6 "O LORD, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!
Behold, you have made my days a few hand breadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath!
Surely man goes about as a shadow! Surely for nothing they are in turmoil; man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather!"

For some reason I, and perhaps many my age (30 somethings), tend to approach life as if the next day is a fore gone conclusion. I assume tomorrow.

I am not a negative person and I don't want people to think I'm being negative. I'm not. I'm just trying to bend my life around truth.

The truth is that I am a blip on the radar screen of history, and I am a very minute blip at that. The truth is that I am going to die. The truth is that knowing that my end is sure and that my days are short in history has a sobering effect, but it also has a profound effect.

David prays to know his end for a reason: to protect him from wasting his life in turmoil that comes as a result of accumulating much wealth.

David wants to live wisely, not foolishly. I'm not sure he pulled that off, but kudos for caring and giving it a whirl.

I'm not sure most of us even care enough to even try that avenue. I know I don't.

Maybe I do now.

The truth is I can feel great today and discover I have massive cancer issues tomorrow and be dead in six weeks.

If this is the case, and I really assimilate this possibility, it could prevent me from wasting my life.

It is truly a waste to work in order to accumulate stuff and all of the resulting work to maintain stuff when my days are few and then my stuff gets passed on to someone else that did not work for it.

I believe the point of Psalm 39:4-6 is to keep us from wasting our lives.

The truth is that I could be buried in a few weeks. The truth is I have a limited time here before my appointed day comes. The truth is that I don't want to waste the time I have (this is due to God's grace to me not my being good; I'm a scoundrel).

All of life is not intended to be "happy place" time. Good and productive living has to contain sobering moments that push us to action.

Yesterday was such a day for me. My day is coming and when it approaches I'm quite sure I'll look back and wonder where it all went so fast.

I don't want to have to wish I had done something that lasted beyond my days. I want to look back and say, "Jolly, you failed a lot; you really screwed a few things up good; you were far from perfect, heck even good; however, you did all you could with what you were given as best you could and you did not waste life on getting and keeping more stuff."

Plainly I want to get to the end and return my one talent to Father with whatever is gained from using that talent in his service. I don't want to just return the talent that I hid because I was too busy doing stuff that did not put Father's resources to work. I fear that.

I want to hear, "Well done. Enter the joy of your Master."

O LORD, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Let my words be few

You know, I'm a talker. Those who know me know this fact. I'm a teacher / speaker / talker. It's built in (by Father my creator so it's all good).

The understanding of the Preacher in Ecclesiastes is that one is coming to the house of God because they know him. They have had the eyes of their hearts enlightened to see, understand and savor. So he says to let our words be few.

Words can be cheap. Words can be a replacement for action because words uphold our sense of self delusion while projecting a sense of significance to others. Delusion: trying to convince ourselves we are what we think we want to be. Significance: pridefully holding ourselves up to be more than we are so that others think we are really great.

Its like the disappointing fight in high school in the boys bathroom. The fight was billed as a great fight all day. They two talked trash all day. Fight time came and nearly all the 8th grade boys were in the bathroom hoping for a great show. The two combatants were ready. What did they do? They bumped chests and hurled insults at each others mother and extended family and even at each other. They even taunted each other to "come on", "jump". But that was it. The great fight was only words.

The Preacher says later on in Ecclesiastes 5 to pay one's vow because increased dreams and many words are vanity.

He seems to value action that backs up what the person believes rather than empty words.

Decisively put: faith produces actions. Faith is the result of seeing, understanding and savoring Jesus Christ. That faith results in action, not words.

Paul speaks of not seeing in 2 Corinthians 4:1-6 as man's lost state, and that at the work of the Evil One. The Gospel removes the blinding veil of the Evil One so that we can then see the light of the Gospel who is Jesus who is God.

Seeing Jesus (thus believing in and on him) is salvation and that results in following in his steps. Jesus says, "come follow me". James says this faith results in works.

If we have believed, then we must reign in our words and rev up our actions.

That is not to say that words don't have a place. They do. They have a significant place: preaching / teaching / encouraging / prayer / and on we could go.

The point is that our words should not be our actions.

It often seems like the church in Rome is like the 8th grade boys. We talk a good game, but we miss the nations and the local need.

The church is absent from the nations. Few know what UPG stands for. I'll say more about this in the next blog.

The church is absent from the social structure of our town in being an agent of healing to our city's issues. The church offers no viable solution to healing the social ills. The church has building funds for the people who are magically going to show up at our events. We have tons of money, but it is spent internally on people who already have plenty.

We say we believe Jesus can change the world but we, his ambassadors, are amazingly absent from it sequestered in our little kingdoms.

Let our words be few. Let us enter the fight. Let us throw the first punch at the needs of our town with the end that the Gospel would be preached to those who need to hear it.

Let our actions begin to outweigh our words and perhaps more will hear what we have to say.

Even better and more important is that our greatest audience is the God of all creation. Our actions are our worship (Romans 12:2). We do what we do because Father is glorified as we do in his name for the expansion of his kingdom.

Jennifer Scott (Open Door Home), Ross Collins (Director DFCS), and I are working on a model for the community to surround and support foster families to provide services for them with the hopes of recruiting more of them to the task from the local church. And the church serving these families. Do I need to tell you what the result of this work could be? This is huge.

I have pastor friends such as David Harper who are in with me. Others are coming along.

Let our words be few. Let our actions heal, then we can proclaim to a captive audience the Gospel.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

It is better to listen than to offer the sacrifice of fools

Often when we come to worship either privately or publicly we rush to "do" our part.

Now understand, I believe that worship is first and foremost a life lived not a song sung (See Romans 12:1-2 where worship is defined as being a living sacrifice and the following parts of Romans defines what that living sacrifice looks like in the context of church life).

So, when I say worship, I mean the life lived and not the song sung.

Now Ecclesiastes 5:1 was written in the context of going up to the Temple to worship. We don't have to go up to any temple to worship anymore because we are the temple of the Holy Spirit, and we can worship in Spirit and truth right where we are. We have constant and uninterrupted access to Father by the Son.

So the application is like this. Rather than seeing what kind of worthless babble we can manage to work up from our pathetic filthy rags, why not listen to and gaze upon the magnificence of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God, three distinct persons, who has brought us into that fellowship that we can know and love and be loved because of the work of Christ Jesus at the cross to justify sinners who come by faith because of the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit in the Gospel preached among the nations.

Perhaps if we listen to and see glory and splendor beyond what we can even imagine because we are too busy babbling, our worship might pay off in the salvation of the nations and our joy in seeing that happen.

Listening and watching...

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

What us preachers should be doing

OK, so I am about to finish Revelation. I'm reading in Revelation 19. Verse 10 stops me in my tracks. I've read it many times and, perhaps, from sheer familiarity I just moved on in times past.

Today I hit a wall and could not move on.

"For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."

Telling the story of the Gospel, which is Jesus, IS the spirit of prophecy.

How many men have claimed to speak for God in the holy place of proclaimer/pastor/teacher/prophet and spoken nothing relating to Jesus or anything he has taught?

Jeremiah had lots to say about that issue. He spoke to the prophets and priests and condemned them for their folly (see Jeremiah 2:8; 23:23-32).

The priests do not know God. The prophets prophesy lies.

James 3:1 is a warning about claiming to be a pastor/teacher/prophet (I'm assuming pastors and prophets understand their job is to teach).

What are we to teach? From Jeremiah is seems the message was to be God! The priests did not know God! Consequently they were not making him known to the people and they had exchanged what was ultimately great and perfect for that which was broken and could not stand.

They were teaching. They were not teaching what was right.

Have we sold out the message for the sake of the people and in so doing lost the people too?

I fear so.

The Scriptures are not rough on sinners. Sinners find great mercy offered from Father. Jesus was always merciful and compassionate, firm at times, but compassionate with the sinner. God offered warning to the sinner to come for mercy and repent.

Jesus was brutal on those who claimed to know God. See Matthew 23. See Jeremiah, Isaiah etc.

So, I feel that it's O.K. to be harsh on my own kind. Those who claim to know God and represent him to his people.

The problem I keep running in to is that people want pragmatic steps to solving their problems that have been created via their folly.

Many of the people are finding that in preachers.

This is not to say that the pragmatic is not good. It is if it is right. Hebrews 11:1 tells us that practical solutions come from the assurance we have in knowing God. So, pragmatism's place is found resulting from knowing God.

The question becomes: Are pastors knowing God and making him known and allowing their pragmatic "how to" messages to result from knowing God and making him known? I'm not sure this is the case.

I find very few men who are doing this. Driscoll, Chandler, Piper, Carson, Keller to name a few. There are a few in Rome. Not many.

What is marriage's purpose? Why do we marry people? What is our marriage policy as pastors? This is just one issue that seems to reflect that we do not know God as a group of teachers of what God says. We seem to favor the people not God. God's standard is so high that people and pastors bristle at what is right.

We have allowed pragmatism to replace knowing God. We have allowed the fear of people to replace the fear of God.

We should be knowing God and allowing our practical ministry to flow from that. That alone would repair some of our issues in the life of the home if we would teach God's standard, hold to it, enforce it, discipline because of it and withstand the criticism for it.

By the way if you don't know what marriage is for, ask your pastor and see if it matches the text. If you don't know the text(s) then begin in Genesis and read to Revelation and mark them and see if the pastor's answer matches up.

"The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."

My main function is to testify to Jesus in all that he is, says and is doing today. If I do this I can then address the issues with proper and practical solutions that are based in truth. The question is will I and the church do the practical that results from truth. There is a cost.

If anyone claims to teach or prophecy and Jesus' words, deeds or actions are not represented, then tune them out and find something else.

Is the testimony of Jesus what I do? Do my words as a teacher and my actions as a follower of Christ project the testimony of Jesus? If so I'm a prophet that is doing his job, a teacher fulfilling his mission. If not, I must repent.

Examining myself and my kind,


Monday, June 29, 2009

The indicative comes before the imperative and the order is not reversable

Again, as footnoted in my notes, I want to credit the author for the title of this blog and the notes from Sunday. Bryan Chapell is the author and I'm thankful for his insight that has helped me and allowed me to teach others as he has taught me from his writing.

What follows are some thoughts from what I said Sunday regarding the Scriptures reflecting Christ's person and work. We determined that when we see the pattern of Father stating the indicative that is the basis for the imperative we have the framework to handle grace and holiness.

That's what I want to write about just a bit.

I have been continuing to marinate on that statement since I wrote it down last week and only now has it produced something worth mentioning.

It's hard for most of us in the South to properly handle grace and holiness without becoming antinomian or a legalist. Our pendulum tends to swing far in the opposite direction of our raising.

The Scriptures are what bring balance to that swing in the other direction and must continue to hold us in the divine center on this issue.

If I were a legalist before I discovered the grace of freedom in Christ from a law, then I might become a drunk or glutton.

If I were antinomian in my behavior in the abuse of freedom before I discovered the grace of imitating God, then I might turn into a suit wearing, KJV swinging spiritual beat down waiting to happen on some poor unsuspecting soul.

What has to go is the misconception of grace and holiness being at odds. The Scriptures do this for us. We just truly have to become people of the book and not pretend people of the book making up our own stuff as we go to suit the notion of the day.

I am a child of God. I have been bought at a price. I am free to enjoy all things to the glory of God. Therefore, I must imitate the God who I am a child of, who purchased me and made all things to enjoy.

There seems to be tension there, and perhaps there is, but it's a holy tension. It's good and to be wrestled with.

Paul says things like..."all things are free for me but not all things are beneficial (loose quotation)."

He says things like..."I will not be mastered by anything (again a loose quotation)."

Paul enjoys the grace of being set free while imitating the holy character of God.

What is that tension we feel?

Paul makes much of the conscience, informed by the Holy Spirit, being how we determine what we as individuals do or do not do. He teaches this in the context of community and considering the other while not hindering freedom.

This is the tension of knowing God as his child, enjoying him, being family with others who are likewise children, and allowing them the freedom to be who Father wants them to be without looking down on them or reviling Father for allowing them to do something we think not quite right.

We are children. We are to act holy as Father is holy, but not according to law, but Holy Spirit conscience. We have to do this in community with others. We have to wrestle with the tension of being different from our other family members and being ok with it.

All of this because the indicative comes before the imperative and we can't reverse the order. We are children who are called to imitate Father and let each other imitate Father as they are compelled by Father.

Adopted and trying to imitate Dad, though not like everyone else.

Wrestle with me...


Friday, June 26, 2009

From Whom Will the Kingdom Come?

With all of the mess surrounding the South Carolina Governor and his adultery with the lady from Argentina some of us more conservative folks politically might have a tendency to fret. However, we must remember something vital: The Kingdom of righteousness does not come via kings, queens, rulers or authorities of the nations of the earth. That has never been God's plan and it never will.

The error has been in thinking that if we elect social conservatives to office God will bless us. Well, I think God can and certainly will bless those who do right if that blessing will be used to make his name known on the earth, but God is certainly not bound to bless a nation simply because they do something that happens to be righteous.

The next error has been in thinking that if a political party touts itself as "conservative" they are going to rally behind our values. That has been shown to be completely and utterly false. Example: the South Carolina Governor who was supposed to be a champion for our values. Hogwash!

Part of the Old Testament's job is to prepare us for the coming of Jesus who will bring the reign of God on the earth. When we look at the failed kings of Israel and Judah we are intended to look to one who will not fail morally, spiritually and doctrinally. We are to ask: who and when? We are to see and understand: Jesus! Prophet, priest and king.

The kingdom of God and Christ is advancing forcefully and will one day triumph at the completion of the Great Commission when King Jesus will return and rule forever the nations in peace and righteousness and we will have complete access to knowing him.

That is NOT going to happen via Republicans or Democrats. It IS going to happen through preaching the gospel to every tribe, tongue and nation. There is one God and he is Jesus. There is one kingdom, and it is God's kingdom.

We want our country to do well because we live here and have so much invested in here. We are to pray for and seek the peace and prosperity of our land because that peace and prosperity is used in the advancement of the cause.

But this is NOT our home country. Our home country is the Kingdom of God that is visible and yet invisible. Our allegiance lies to Jesus first.

Who will bring the kingdom we so desperately want to see? It will be Jesus.

So, do the best with what we have here, but do not lean on it or be down cast when it fails. Our system and political parties are bound to fail. Jesus is coming.

Lift up your head church for our redemption draws near!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Q & A What happens to children or infants who die?

This is a very difficult question that makes me nervous. It makes me nervous because the biblical text does give a direct answer to this question. The inquirer must apply their knowledge of God from the whole of the Scriptures to even begin approaching this subject. One must also take into account pastoral care. I will give you my conclusion is a simple statement and send you to an article that has helped me and continues to help me when I'm faced with this question.

One of my heros in the faith is a man named John Piper. I began reading Piper in college at the suggestion of a friend who Father graciously used to rescue me from the damning results of post-enlightenment liberal theology that was wrecking the fragile faith that had been birthed in me. Piper's obvious scholarly and intelligent yet pastoral and rock solid biblical method brought new life and bolstered my wavering faith. Therefore, I have found him to be a source for many of my own questions that I can't quite get satisfied with.

I will be the first to admit that my position, taken from Piper's, is probably not the strongest there is exegetically. However, I find evidence in the text to support this conclusion and find no evidence to deny it and it applies pastorally. Here it is: I believe that Father, in Christ saves all infants who die.

Now, are you curious as to how I got there? Good! Go read this article:

Remember that you must read well the biblical text, apply your knowledge of God and keep in mind pastoral application in ministering to God's people. Read, wrestle and rest that we have striven with God and he has blessed us in that!

Soli Deo Gloria!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Jesus and Math

Ok, I really stink with math. So, I do not claim to do well. Dyslexia has prevented me from being a math wiz. So, I suppose Jesus concept of math is good for me.

At Youth for Christ we are building a home for students in the foster care system, and we are doing it in an economically depressed season. Monthly income does not equal monthly expense right now. The need, however, only increases. Do you do nothing and wait out the storm or do you go and address the need?

Well, we have decided to address the need by building the house, hiring house parents and drawing on the reserves.

Needless to say this has caused some moments of doubt for me.

This morning I was reading Matthew 16:5-12. Jesus just fed 4,000 folks not counting women and children from 7 loaves of bread and a few small fish. Jesus sends the 12 across the lake and they forgot to bring bread. Jesus begins to instruct them to watch out for the "leaven" of the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the 12 start discussing whether or not Jesus was saying this because of their lack of bread or not. Jesus then pipes up, aware of their discussion, and asks them if they remember the miracle of feeding all those people with so little and all of the left overs. Then he interprets his words for them: "Beware of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees."

Jesus was not concerned with the lack of bread. He could, as the creator of all things, make bread for them. He wanted to preserve the 12 from misunderstanding who he was and missing the Kingdom.

I need Jesus view of math. He does not need a sufficient monthly income to equal outflow (it is nice from our perspective and the perspective of accounting). He can take lack and make it plenty. He is more concerned with what I think about him (not in a way that he worries if we like him). He is concerned that I think on him rightly and know him and trust him and do his work. He can alter the math to add up properly.

Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you.

Lord help me to know you well enough to trust you and love you and believe you can make income equal outflow.