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!

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!