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!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Francis Chan - The new middle road - RightNow Conference

Watch this video dealing with the temptation to not be radical. This is well said.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Why do we like to be deceived?

You know, I have thought about not posting my thoughts here on what I 'm about to say partly because I was not present when said words were spoken and partly because I don't want to be the ass who always seems to be coming down on everything.

Oh well, let's give it a go, shall we?

I have received reports from students and faculty about a certain speaker who spoke at length about blessing with our words. It's true, the tongue has great power, the writer of the Proverb said. We can kill and heal with our words. If I speak lies about someone I can hurt their emotions and damage their reputation, and that is a powerful position to be in. If I encourage with truth and speak true things gently to a hurting person, I can bring life to them. Truth makes people free, Jesus said.

However, I become concerned when people begin to speak of blessing as having some power become I say things and want or desire them to come true. There are hundreds of worldview issues at stake here, but this is not the point of my rant. I'll hit that, perhaps, on my next post.

Why must it be taught that I have power? See, the point of the text is not to communicate that I am innately powerful. The power is not in me, but in the eternal words I speak. Jesus defined the very nature of "blessing" in the series of "blessed" statements he made about the status of people in his Kingdom (see the Beatitudes). The power is not in words or the speaker, but the eternal truths communicated through the fragile words carrying the eternal meaning.

I can tell a hurting person a hundred things that will make them feel better but they might not be true, so did I really help them? This person might perk up and go on and be happy, and it appears that I spoke powerful words that blessed. But, what happens when what I said is proven to be false? My words and I turn out to be pathetically weak.

Blessing is carried in the eternal God (Jesus and his Gospel work) and his fixed truths that are revealed in his Word spoken to and applied rightly to people.

We should bless people, but with eternal truths properly applied from the only source of eternal truth.

One example was given that a person can call to themselves things they have lost and they will magically reappear. Really? Where is that written? That one smells like the pit. That concept is often a misinterpretation of Matthew 16 along the lines of how Native American Religion played with the micro-macro principles that are often found in Voodoo. It interesting to note how false religions play on eternal truths but contorted and backward and false.

Jesus made clear that what happens here and is realized by us on this earth is a result of God's control of it in the heavenlies. It's not controlled by me and my words here and somehow let loose to come my way.

Would such "good luck" BS ever preach to the persecuted house church in Indonesia? I don't think so. Try telling some shell shocked pastor who has buried most of his church because of persecution and their faithful endurance to just call security down and claim his protection. He will preach Hebrews 10 to you and invite you to be saved.

Why don't these people ever write books or lead talks on how to die well? Why don't they ever talk about how to suffer with Christ and endure to the end while keeping the faith? The reason? That will not sell to materialistic consumers who want their magic charm and assurance that Jesus will secure them from any suffering.

2 John has some harsh words for people who depart from the Gospel and wander off from the teaching of Christ and his Gospel work. Anyone want to go and quote it in the comments section?

If the message will not preach or apply to the persecuted as well as the comfortable, it's not truth.

I'm glad I was not at the event. I stayed away on purpose. If I were there, I probably would not have handled it as classy as some. I might have made myself out to be the table turner overer.

I'm sure to post more critique of this event soon. Just know that many deceivers have gone out into the world (2 John 7).

Watch yourselves. Know the text of Scripture. Test the spirits to see whether they are from God. If it's not written and properly handled, run from it!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

What is it to be blessed?

In Joel a most devastating locust plague has been levied on Judah for her sin, and it has been at the hands of Father that the locusts have devoured everything in a sharp rebuke moved out of love for his people and a passion for his reputation. There is a call issued for a solemn assembly to publicly repent of idolatry and injustice and on and on. The people and even the animals are languishing for food, and it is in this context that Joel 2:14 comes. Through chapters 2 and 3 there is the promise of three future days (Pentacost, the Day of the LORD, and the Day of the Messiah).

If read over without thought Joel 2:14 just gets passed and the implications missed.

Read it and see if it lands on you:
"Who knows whether he will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him, a grain offering and a drink offering for the LORD your God?"

Do you see it?

See, when I say "I am so blessed." What I mean is that I have such an abundance or that I have such pleasant things.

The word blessing is barakah, and here is it's definition:
"Bless, Blessing. Pronouncement of the favor of God upon an assembled congregation." The word is also in places translated "pools" "liberal" "present".

So, I do use the word correctly. I noticed my problem is not a misuse of the word. It is an outright abuse of the point of blessing.

Notice how the word is used. The blessing (grace in provision from the LORD in a time in which there is not enough) was considered a blessing NOT because they could then eat, but because they could then offer a sacrifice!

Wow! It is considered blessing if one could offer a sacrifice and go hungry because the created end had been achieved.

The difference is what one views as the ultimate goal in all things. What is their reason for existence? In Joel 2:14 the text presupposes that one's chief end is to make much of God and honor him as their created purpose and that is fulfilling even if one does not eat. After all, they were to bring all their first fruit to the LORD. If they had something to sacrifice, they were living! They were alive! They had met their life's aim!

I presuppose that if I'm abundantly supplied and all things are pleasant I'm blessed, oh, and I do give a little too. Not too much because my comfort level would be threatened, but I give some.

I'm blessed if it's all good first and I throw God a bone at the end of the day. I assume my created end is to be taken care of then worship when I'm happy in my abundance. The text considers me blessed if I'm giving first and foremost back to God as worship because that is my created end regardless of what I have or don't have because my created end is to make much of God not make much of me.

I'm most definitely blessed. I'm given much, a generous abundance. What am I doing with it? How do I view Father's provision? Do I view it as goods to be given back to the source, Father, as worship? Do I view it as stuff to be consumed on my perceptions of comfort?

I believe it's the latter and want it to be the former, so there is repentance needed.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Response to Dr. McKenzie's Argument Made at Berry College

What is the problem?
There are those who want to broaden the scope of salvation through means other than Jesus and they are within the church. They presuppose some wrong things about the Scriptures, and therefore, they appeal to sources outside of the Scriptures to make propositional claims that fly straight in the face of the propositional claims of the Bible.

There is an obvious problem. There is an appeal to a time in history as a reference point for determining ultimate truth because that time in history was a revelation of God that brought about respect for other religions.

In the context of this communication respect equals acceptance as equally valid. Keep reading.

The hint is given in the notion that it is above the moral mandate to “tolerate” other of another religious background (in the proper sense of tolerate), to humble oneself and accept that God has revealed himself, obviously in a salvific manner, beyond Jesus.

In other words, people can get to God through other means than Jesus.

The reason that I say the problem is wrong presuppositions about Scripture is that the Scriptures, called the Bible, will just not allow any person who believes them to be accurate revelation from God to make such assertions.

Lets look at some possible belief systems regarding the Scriptures that feed ideas like the one we just looked at.

Neo-evangelicals hold that inspiration is limited to redemptive truths and does not guarantee the correctness of all scientific and historical statements. The neo-evangelicals feel comfortable with the term infallibility, but most evangelicals insist on the word inerrancy as well.[1]

C.S. Lewis believed in a fallible Bible that manifests varying degrees of inspiration. He saw a process of development whereby myth becomes history. God providentially guided the natural and errant literary productions of the past. Then, at the appropriate moment, God adopted that natural myth and elevated it into the service of the Word of God. He now speaks through it to the edification of believers.[2]

Neo-orthodox holds that the Bible becomes God’s Word.[3]

The Bible is simply a witness to Christ. Christ is God’s revelation; the Bible is only a fallible human record of that revelation. [4]

One of the most popular of the old liberals was the famous preacher of the Riverside Church in New York, Harry Emerson Fosdick. He is forthright in declaring that “the liberal emphasis rests upon experience; we regard that, rather than mental formulas, as the permanent continuum of the Gospel.” The Bible is not an absolute guide, for “any idea of inspiration which implies equal value in the teachings of Scripture, or inerrancy in its statements, or conclusive infallibility in its ideas, is irreconcilable with such facts as this book presents.” What makes it necessary to reject the Bible? “The vast enlargement of the physical cosmos, the evolutionary origin of man, materialistic theories which endeavor to explain him, brutality of social life involving low conceptions of him, the innumerable masses of men such that old cynicisms gain new force … tend in many minds to undo what the Hebrew-Christian development did.” However, “we are saved by it [biblical criticism] from the old and impossible attempt to harmonize the Bible with itself, to make it speak with unanimous voice, to resolve its conflicts and contradictions into a strained and artificial unity.”
Fosdick acknowledges the source of the modern liberal rejection of the Bible. “Get back to the nub of their difficulty and you find it in Biblical categories which they no longer believe—miracles, demons, fiat creation, apocalyptic hopes, eternal hell, or ethical conscience.” This should be no surprise to us. For “it is impossible that a Book written two to three thousand years ago should be used in the twentieth century A.D. without having some of its forms of thought and speech translated into modern categories.”[5]

The problem stated:
The problem seems to be that there is a view of the Bible that comes up short of being the full and final source of truth for salvation.

Why are the scriptures questioned or not valued as authority?
1. The primary reason is that the text is clear and leaves no room for one’s opinion to be shaped by any other influence. The text clearly exalts Jesus as the only God, the God of the Old Testament, who made clear he was teaching himself as the only way to know God, the Father, himself as God. This gave way to the church having to wrestle it’s way through the development of the doctrine of the tri-unity of God.

2. A secondary reason is that the world-view of many is that there is no super-natural, therefore, all things written are historical in nature only and all super-natural things are “myth” created to validate the claims of the writers, who are mainly second century writers who are writing to validate the claims of the church and therefore putting words in people’s mouths they did not actually say. This is the position of “Jesus seminar” “Scholars”.

3. Lastly, many just don’t want to believe because their god is themselves and mankind in general.

What is the solution?
Have the view of Scripture that it has of itself
Orthodox / Evangelical
The modern evangelical position on Scripture is heir of the traditional, orthodox position of historic Christianity from biblical times to the present.  Mainline evangelicals from all major denominations and smaller groups accept the verbal inspiration of Scripture, as well as its divine authority and consequent inerrancy. [6]

Verbal, Plenary, Inspiration (inerrancy)
Verbal (the very words of the Bible)
            - This does not deny the fact that God used men in their settings in life, with
            their distinct personalities to speak.
Plenary (every part of the Bible)
            - All of the Bible is inspired, not just the parts we like
Inspiration (are divinely inspired revelation)
            - That is they are from God and are true without any error. That is they
            do not affirm anything contrary to truth.

Scripture claims to be God-breathed or inspired
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16–17).

Peter says, “the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look” (1 Pet. 1:10–12).

Peter also says “no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1:20–21).

“Jesus summarized the Old Testament Scripture as existing in three parts: the Law, Prophets, and Psalms (Luke 24:44). He accepted the Old Testament canon as it exists today without any modifications and came to fulfill it (Matt. 5:17). As a rabbi, or preacher and teacher of Scripture, Jesus’ entire ministry involved the instruction and application of the Old Testament. Jesus’ public ministry even began with him reading from the Old Testament book of Isaiah and stating that his ministry was to fulfill the Old Testament promises about his coming (Luke 4:16–21). Jesus clearly stated that his ministry was an Old Testament ministry; it was to fulfill all of the Old Testament promises and longings that pointed to him.”[7]

“Christians believe that Scripture is our highest authority, or metaphorical Supreme Court, by which all other lesser authorities are tested. Practically, this means that lesser courts of reason, tradition, and culture are under the highest court of truth, which is divinely inspired Scripture. During the Protestant Reformation, the slogan sola scriptura (and sometimes prima scriptura) became popular to summarize this conviction; it means Scripture alone is our highest authority. ”[8]

Speaking of the New Testament writings of Paul, Peter actually calls his writing “Scripture”.

2 Peter 3:15, 16
And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.[9]

The solution stated
The Bible claims to be the very word of God, given by God to man so that man can know the way of salvation.

The Scriptures warn us of errors regarding the proclamation of Jesus
2 Timothy 4:1-5
“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” [10]

What do the Scriptures teach about Jesus regarding salvation?
John 14:6
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”[11]

Acts 4:12
“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” [12]

2 John 7-11
“For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.[13] Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. 9 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, 11 for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.”[14]

1 John 4:1-6
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. 4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5 They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.”[15]

1 John 4:14-15
“And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.”[16]

1 John 5:1
“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him.”[17]

How does the Bible speak to the one who denies Jesus as the sole way to God?
1 John 2:18-27

Other Resources

For Further Reading on Bible Translations


For Further Reading on How to Study Scripture


For Further Reading on Apparent Bible Contradictions


For Further Reading on Miscellaneous Bible Issues

[1] Geisler, N. L., & Nix, W. E. (1996). A general introduction to the Bible (Rev. and expanded.) (178). Chicago: Moody Press.
[2] Geisler, N. L., & Nix, W. E. (1996). A general introduction to the Bible (Rev. and expanded.) (177). Chicago: Moody Press.
[3] Geisler, N. L., & Nix, W. E. (1996). A general introduction to the Bible (Rev. and expanded.) (171). Chicago: Moody Press.
[4] Geisler, N. L., & Nix, W. E. (1996). A general introduction to the Bible (Rev. and expanded.) (172). Chicago: Moody Press.
[5] Geisler, N. L., & Nix, W. E. (1996). A general introduction to the Bible (Rev. and expanded.) (166–167). Chicago: Moody Press.
[6] Geisler, N. L., & Nix, W. E. (1996). A general introduction to the Bible (Rev. and expanded.) (180–181). Chicago: Moody Press.
[7] Mark Driscoll, Revelation,
[8] Mark Driscoll, Revelation,
[9] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (2 Pe 3:15–16). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
[10] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (2 Ti 4:1–52). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
[11] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Jn 14:6). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
[12] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ac 4:12). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
[13] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (2 Jn 7). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
[14] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (2 Jn 8–11). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
[15] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (1 Jn 4:1–6). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
[16] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (1 Jn 4:14–15). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
[17] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (1 Jn 5:1). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Luke 22 and being uncomfortable

I was reading Luke 22 this morning, and it is about Jesus’ betrayal and trial before the high priest. I’m fairly desensitized to violence as a former perpetrator of it through fighting and as an avid fan of watching it in MMA and the very good man movies I enjoy on WWII and good crushing evil type stuff. So the feeling I get from reading this text, always, takes me off guard. It is uncomfortable. It is hard to read. This time, as I’m reading, the thought occurs to me that the uncomfortable feeling is because of my sin. It’s my punishment he is taking yet he takes it for me. Isaiah is right; he was wounded for my transgressions. The chastisement that brought me peace was upon him and by his stripes I am healed. I, like a sheep, have gone astray; I have gone my own way, and God has laid on him my iniquity.

All I have to bring to the table is, “thank you”, you are worthy to receiver honor, glory and great praise.

Help me to be holy as you are holy. I can’t earn that. My righteousness is dirty rags. My prayer of confession and repentance is that when I fail, that he applies to me his never-ending righteousness and continue to take my sin, for in him do I trust. Glory to God for his acceptance in the Son revealed and proclaimed by the Spirit.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Father is good and gracious and I have to tell of his grace!

Dude, here is the deal. All, and I mean ALL that happens in, on and around me can only be attributed to one source. FATHER! Period.

Jesus' goodness never ceases to amaze me and make me stand in awe.

As the Executive Director of Youth for Christ, Rome Area, I am coming to my last Camp Discover. I become the Spiritual Life Director at Unity Christian School July 1, and will no longer be the XD for YFC, Rome Area. I'll still serve on the board helping raise funds, but my job as the XD is over, but I hope my days of seeing this kind of grace only increases.

My friend, Al Martiniello, and I met with a friend of mine to ask them to help fund Camp Discover this year. I was going to ask for a very large sum of money. So, we eat lunch and I make the ask. The response? "It's already done." I looked at Al with a puzzled look, then at my friend with the same puzzled look. He tells us that he met with his financial advisor on Monday (day before our lunch) to position the funds to be given in the amount I was asking for. He said he had been thinking about it and waited for 2010 so that it could be counted on his 2010 tax return.

What I felt compelled to ask for, Father had already prepared. All I did was hold out my hand and watch Father drop his known and prepared provision into my incapable and ill-deserving arms.

He did everything. I did nothing but respond to his invitation to have my faith made stronger.

All praise to Father!

He is the God who sees! Genesis 22:9-14

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Leviticus 10 and the job of the Pastor/Teacher

First, I do want to note that the parallel between pastor and priest is, perhaps, not that parallel, but nonetheless, there is something important here to note.

As I meet pastors and get acquainted with ministries, I note something that bothers me. Also note that I'm opinionated and getting more so yearly.

I just hope my opinions are formed by Scripture. I'm seeking to make sure that is the case.

However, the job in Leviticus 10, among others, was for the priest to "distinguish" between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean..." and "to teach the people of Israel all the statutes that the LORD has spoken to them by Moses."

Now I do believe inherent in this is NOT just lists of clean and unclean. The LORD says in Psalm 50 that right sacrifices are thanksgiving and that he does not need goats and bulls.

Somehow I don't think the heart of the job was teaching the list, but teaching the character of God that makes a distinction between who is holy and who is not. The point was God, not that people performed properly.

2 Chronicles 30 is an example of how the people were not clean, Hezekiah prayed for them, and the LORD healed the people although not clean by the law's standard. The point is that God is holy, they are not, and HE is the one who makes them clean, not their list keeping.

Why then so many pastor/teachers focus on pragmatism? Why do we teach "how to" without first teaching "who"?

Will "how to" make more sense if we know "who" and "why"? I think so.

I believe we create list keeping people who do not know God if we give them solutions to their problems without giving them the solution to their evil hearts, namely, Jesus. To help solve their problems without giving them the ultimate solution, the knowledge of God in Christ Jesus, is like putting a band aid on a broken leg. It does not ultimately help.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Jesus messes up everything (this is good)

The more dialogue that is had with folks over the issue of whether or not Muslims and Christians are praying to / worshiping the same God, the more I realized that Jesus messes up people's belief structure that want to integrate these two very contradictory truth claims.

Frankly, it makes my blood boil. My friend and compadre, Brad Hankins, is in a class in which this is the current discussion, and he with perhaps one or two others, hold the line of what the biblical text actually says.

I have been in discussions and forums about this issue and no one wants to talk about what Jesus says. Why? Because he messes everything up. He got murdered for (many other sovereign and salvific purposes as well) some of the things he said, like "before Abraham was, I AM". That one kind of stirred the pot a bit.

There are presuppositions in play here. One is that, although it would be denied, the Scriptures are not the foundation of authority, experience, emotion and opinion are the foundations of authority, and any quotation of Scripture is an angry and harsh response. Remember, Jesus got murdered for saying this stuff and told us they would hate us too.

That does not mean we have to be jerks. We should and must be gentle and winsome, but we dare not avoid the text of Scripture. It will offend and I am learning this more and more.

1 John 5:6-12 is enough without even quoting Jesus! Bring Jesus in and these folks arguments and emotions are blown up!

I'll close with this from 2 Timothy 4:1-5
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort with complete patience and teaching. For the time will come when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

I hate Valentines Day

Dude, the fact of the matter is that Valentine's Day as it stands is awful. After many years of wallowing around in my thoughts I propose a revolution to take the day back.
1. Saint Valentine was probably not a wuss, so let's go manly with the revolution.
2. Pink? What the heck? Can we get any more sugar in the tank? Really! Let's go with camo.
3. I hated giving Valentines cards to chicks as a kid that I feared would read too much into the goofy card and believe I was really asking them to be MY Valentine. How embarrassing. I propose we burn valentines cards for fuel for point number 5.
4. Chocolate... well, that's not so bad. We can keep the chocolate.
5. How about adding "feats of strength" events all day long. One such even could be with a bow and arrow, in order to redeem the combination from the sweet cupid, in which we shoot a moving target, preferrably something edible, and upon slaughter, field dressing the beast and cooking it on the spot on Larry's grill.
6. Beer. Enough said. If this one offends your conscience, then I meant root beer, seriously. Just have some fun with me and don't be a pink valentine.

That is enough from me for now. How about you post some of your thought on revolting against the current Valentine's debacle. Post them as comments. Come on people, let's get it done!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Sabbath is such a pointer to the person and work of Christ that it's hard to see how it is missed. I have spoken on this issue in greater detail. The link above is a link to that talk, but I read Exodus 31:12-18 this morning as part of my Old Testament reading for the day and a single line spoken from the LORD stood out that really did the job of my entire talk. Speaking of keeping the Sabbath the LORD says, "...that you may know that I, the LORD, sanctify you." WOW!

See, on the Sabbath they did no work as the LORD did no work after the sixth day of creation. The LORD did not need to catch his breath after creation. If he did, we are in some trouble. Did the Sabbath provide a physical rest for the people? Sure. Was that the point? NO!

The writer of Hebrews makes that clear, but so does this text. The point was that they see it is the LORD who cleans them up without any of their assistance!

God does not ask us to be effective at cleaning ourselves up. We seek to be righteous because we love Jesus, but he makes us righteous because he, as God, is the only one who can do that.

So, when you enjoy the Sabbath, remember, it is the LORD, Jesus, who makes you and I acceptable to God, not our actions, attitudes, behaviors, resting....

Praise be to God!

Friday, February 12, 2010

CH Spurgeon, Nehemiah 4:15-23 and The Sword and the Trowel

I love Charles Haddon Spurgeon. He is an apt hero for us Calvinist Baptists. I was digging today, this glorious gift of God's grace to me in a snow day in the south, while preparing for Sunday's talk on Nehemiah 4:15-23 and found a site that has some old articles from Spurgeon's magazine called "The Sword and the Trowel". I discovered that he took the title from the passage I'm preaching from Sunday, Nehemiah 4:15-23. It's the perfect title for a magazine that did the work his did. Here is a link to the site I found. Take a look at the cover art work on the left hand side of the page. Download the image and look at it closely. It is a great depiction of the work on the wall require "sword" and "trowel".

Click this link and enjoy!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

On the eve of something really cool

You know, tomorrow could either be a huge success for a huge failure, at least in these eyes. Father never fails, I know that. Just being honest with my thoughts.

When I first learned of the need for Christian parents to do James 1:27 for real I was confronted with a personal responsibility to do something. Enter my 4 year old son Daniel.

When I saw him for the first time he was sick, in shoes too small and with a lady he did not know and biological mother he did not know. Jennifer, being the always prepared one, asked the mother some questions and she answered. The mother did not even hold Daniel (that is his new name). He sat in the lap of the other lady who drove the mother to where we were. He was with no one he knew. Nothing familiar, sick and in clothes that did not fit.

He slid down off of the lady's lap when it was time to part ways and toddled over to me and put those arms up for me to pick him up. He had my heart. I still can't recall that moment without tears. Partly because he became my son at that moment and partly because I can't fathom walking away from my kid like the biological mother did.

That was just part of the journey that led to January 31, 2010. We will meet together with 5 other partner churches and a mix of people from other churches in the launch of Project 127 Rome. This is a licensed foster placement and adoption agency that is focused on mobilizing the church to be THE answer to the foster care problems in NW Georgia. At 6 PM tomorrow night we go. This is a chance for the church to become relevant to the culture, actually indispensable.

I'm not nervous, just fully of anticipation of what Father is going to do with such unity among brothers and desire to do the work.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Nehemiah is kicking my butt

You know what? Nehemiah is a journal of a man who took his passion for and knowledge of God and put it to work in a life long pursuit.

I hope that is what I have set my hands to.

Nehemiah records some of his internal musings, but he mostly records his work and what he said externally.

I, by no means, dwell fully in the world of internal musings and theory. I have my hands on too many things actually doing them as a result of what I say I believe. Too many. I actually must pare down some.

However, I often wrestle in communicating with my mouth the practice of what I am trying to do with my life to other people so that they can do the same things.

No doubt that doctrinal soundness and strong doctrinal moorings must be taught and adhered to, but they must be lived out. Nehemiah does this and he writes and tells you how he did it.

Communicating that how piece is my most difficult task.

My personality lends itself to self-starting and self-managing activity. I have no problem taking what I believe and going to do it from scratch and figuring out the best way along the way. Therefore, I default to wondering why all people just can't figure it out.

So, it's a challenge to get into the world of helping other people put the "how" to the "who and what". Nehemiah did that well, and it's kicking my butt.

Father is teaching me and I want to learn.

Help me Father speak the "how" better without forgetting the "who", "what" and "why".