Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Salesman Selling Jesus

Matthew 28:19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. v20 Teaching them to observe all things which I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
2 Timothy 2:15 "...a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
1 Timothy 2:1 "Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercession, and giving of thanks be made for all men,"
Philippians 4:6 "Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication..."

I am convinced that by drinking half of my body weight in water each day I drastically enhance my bodies ability to function at an optimal level. Sure, sometimes I have to use the "head" at inopportune times but it is worth it for me being a professional athlete. I also believe that exercise is a great way to raise your self esteem and fight off common depression. I have knowledge and actions to back this up. I would have no problem going to bat in a conversation with anyone about this in order to sell them the benefits. Likewise I would also argue that as a kid eating peanut butter and jelly sando's with a large glass of milk before you go to bed will make you jacked, since my brother did this and was super buff and I didn't and I was a stick figure. But that is another story...
Point is we are salesman of Jesus Christ, constantly selling His truth and the worth of a relationship with Him. Hawk said "be ready for opportunities because people are watching", Waino said "onlookers should know exactly who we worship and why", and everybody has been saying "we need to spread the word and share the good news of the Gospel". This all makes sense but now we are sitting at our computers saying "wow... I'm no salesman, matter of fact I hate sales." This is how I felt when I got hit with this idea but it is easy so please plug in and listen carefully. We need to take action!

1: Surrender the idea that you do anything for God, He does it through you, all you do is be and listen to the Holy Spirit.
2: Know your ministry. Is it your best friend, parents, co-worker, in-law, etc...
3: Put them on your prayer list (be intentional). Pray for them to desire the truth and for God to intervene in their life so they may have salvation. Pray for an opportunity to share Jesus with them.
4A: Have intentional conversations with them where you ask a lot of questions and constantly gain information for which you can pray about, this will show them you genuinely care about them.
4B: Don't spill your candy in the lobby. Don't try to share the gospel with them before you know they want it, this usually is our flesh acting trying to notch a save. Wait for God to deliver the conversation to you, you will know.
5: Keep praying, pray without ceasing, multiple times a day. This stuff matters more than your paycheck this is eternity we're talking about.
6: When necessary use words to share the Gospel. Our actions should be doing most of the talking.
7: Be prepared. We labor in vain if we try to do it on our own or on our time, the flesh is constantly trying to take credit for anything and everything, keep that dude at arms length (not to close, not to far).

We're salesman whether you like it or not so embrace your role and get those prayer lists going, this can be a powerful life changing thing if we actually take action. If we don't it will go in the box with all the other great ideas that never impacted our lives. Remember God does the work we just have to be obedient to be used as a vessel.

Be Ready

As I was walking to the field today, I was stopped by a guy who wanted an autograph. At this point I'm prepared to tell him I'm not who he thinks I am because that happens to me a ton these days. Tonight I was Nate Shierholtz!? Come on. Anyway, so this guy breaks out one of my cards and asked if I had any new scripture for him? I was caught totally off guard and just said "no I'm still on that Philippians brother" (PHIL 4:13 is my go-to signature scrip))... signed the card and told him to be blessed. Not 30 seconds later I hear the Holy Spirit nudge at me and say, your not doing your part Blake... You weren't ready to give another scripture! Off the top of my head I wasn't, but I could have given him a half-hearted one to save face. If he were to ask me who was pitching for the Giants that night I could tell him with no hesitation.

My point to this is memorizing and meditating on God's word is ESSENTIAL for our walk. That moment was God using that man to tell me that people are watching me and you better come correct! Don't be like everyone else and play that Christian card. LIVE IT, AND WALK IT. It was very humbling to me but also it pumps me up to see God work in front of my eyes. I feel so blessed to be motivated and excited to memorize scripture and get dialed in for my next encounter. That's what's on my heart tonight.

"All scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives." -2 Tim 3:16

Monday, June 29, 2009

Trading the Eternal...

Jacob and Esau: Trading the eternal for the temporary…

 In Genesis 25:19-34 the story of Jacob and Esau is told. The story plays out with Esau selling his birthright to his brother Jacob for a bowl of soup. For the longest time I read this story and thought that Esau was an idiot…I mean who sells his birthright for a bowl of soup, who gives away something eternal for something temporary. I thought of Esau as a moron until I really laid my life on top of this scripture and let it read me. Then I was able to answer my own question…who would trade something eternal for something temporary…ME!

 One of God’s attributes is that he is eternal…his blessings, promises, provisions, etc. are ultimately pointing towards eternity. One part of the Godhead is the Holy Spirit…when the Holy Spirit dwells among us and when we live deeply in Him a result is what Galatians 5:22-23 describes the fruit of the Spirit. So the fruit of the Spirit points and gives description to eternal things…the Spirit is eternal so so are it’s fruit.

 Let’s take a look at a few of them and see if we trade eternal things for temporary ones.

 Love: Have we ever traded love for hate? When your coach laughs at you when you tell him your dreams of playing college basketball…your attitude turns to hate very quickly. (Haha… A little personal example) Can anyone relate with hating?  Love for murder even???(Matthew 5)

 Peace: Has anyone traded peace for revenge? It’s hard to let a conflict go even if we are right…anyone ever not let an argument go? Anyone ever poked or brought something up from the past because you thought you were right? Arguments with your parents, spouse, brother, sister, etc. often don’t end when they should because of this reason.

 Self-Control: How often do we trade self-control for instant gratification? Ever gotten drunk, gotten high, or slept around with someone to fulfill their instant desires?? Ever looked at a girl walking by and get a quick fix in your head?? Does this lead to lust…adultery?? (Matthew 5)

 You can pretty much make this point with every one of the fruits…

 So when you read the story of Jacob and Esau and think about Esau being a numbskull…don’t get to self-righteous because we do the same thing all the time.

 Our response to this should be the same across the board…REPENTANCE. It is an insult to a perfect, eternal God when we respond to him in this way. He wants our satisfaction to be in his eternal nature…not in trading them for temporary fixes. Daily repentance is the only way to restore our relationship to the way He designed it to be.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Standing Together

What's up studs?  It looks like this e-fellow list is growing and praise God for that.  I'm thankful for that and pray that each of you is finding some good word from this group.  I see that on the list we have some guys who are teammates and there's something I wanna say about that.  
  After we become saved and learn the essentials (Jesus being lord and dying for our sins, etc), we dive into the tougher matters.  Such as predestination and revelations end of times stuff.  In this group we've also had our homosexuality and alcohol debates.  But lets be clear about one thing....when we are studying together privately its great to have those talks.   Those debates can lead to some major spiritual growth.  But, when we are with a group of non-believers or skeptics it's important that we stand together on the core issues.  Those onlookers should know exactly who we worship and why.  But lets not let the non-salvation issues get in the way of our witness.  Let the debating go on behind closed doors so that the skeptics see confidence in our beliefs.  They see guys who love each other and want to help others know the Lord.  Its important for us to do this because non-believers are watching us constantly hoping we mess up. And that's not just in our acts...it could also be two Christian brothers contradicting each other in an argument.   This past week a good friend of mine pointed this message out to me as me and "the knife" were asking questions.  But last year i had to listen as the entire clubhouse broke out into an argument over homosexuality.  It did not do any good and more than anything just ticked almost everybody on each side off.  So, studs, stick together and don't be pulled into arguments where the peanut gallery can hear.  Good day

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Trying to Give to God

Psalm 50:12 "If I were hungry, I would not tell you; for the world is Mine, and all its fullness."

We have talked about how God is in control and how God has made all things etc.
How is it then that we in our sins try to please God with our efforts, like we can actually give something as a gift. Why did we originally come to God? I came to God for salvation, peace, and understanding. However once I felt the grace of God my selfish nature thought that I needed to give back. Why? Because that is what I expect when I give, I feel that whomever I gave to should pay me back. Think about how brutal that is, I should be giving to enjoy the delight of serving just as my Lord and role model Jesus did amongst other reasons. I shouldn't do it for my own gain and in order to feel this way I may have to break myself of the selfish habits I have created. So wouldn't it be helpful for us to build our foundation on the idea that our relationship with Jesus is one where we get, get, get so we need to stop thinking we can give, give, give. By doing this we will help keep our sinful pride under our foot and off the pedestal that he tries to stand on when we do something that we see as worthy of praise. I also think this will alleviate the pressure of trying to be righteous and good. We need to delight (Psalm 37:4) in our faith and relationship with the Lord not begrudgingly slave over it.

Romans 4:4-5 "Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness."

Our exercise of faith will be counted as righteousness not our works, so let us grow our faith not our good deeds. Works are the fruit that follow the growth of faith.

"the one who actually sets himself above God is the person who presumes to come to God to give rather than get." - John Piper

Be blessed this Tuesday!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Short side

Typing this post on my phone because I didn't want to pay $15 for Internet. Had a great week of fellowship with Adam and Tim Cash. Learned that I put a ton of pressure on myself to please God by doing things that aren't really pleasing him anyway! Forcing that late night bible read when I'm obtaining none of it, or serving someone else when my heart isn't in it. I'm seeking authentic worship and real service for God.

Quick story... I got called out today before the game by a veteren pitcher in front of a few guys you DON'T want to get noticed by! So after that humbling experience I was sitting in the bullpen thinking this is a time I can rejoice and medidtate on God's word. Submiting to authority and esteeming others better than yourself came into play today for me. Intially my pride wanted to give excuses and fight it, but I was wrong and needed to be corrected. Praise God! Little things like that are huge blessings I over look. Chances to put scripture in play are valuable for our witness to others. Thank you Lord!

Forgive my tardiness and length of the post.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Cool Conversations

   What's up E-fellas?  Over the past couple of weeks i've had the chance to meet with some really influential men of God.  I want to tell yall about several things that those men had to share....
   Today myself and e-fellow soldier Blake "the knife" Hawksworth had a meeting with a close friend named Tim Cash.  Tim is the chaplain for the braves and head of a ministry called UPI...look it up, they do some cool things.  Anyway,you know the old saying "live for Him (obviously referencing God)?"  Well, he shared with us how we shouldn't live for Him we should live from Him.  At first I was like wait just a second...with kinda like a "could you explain that" reaction.  Not for Him...from Him.  Here's an analogy.  Fruit, he said, doesn't live for the tree...it lives from the tree.  I'll tell you what happens with me.  I get my spiritual checklist out and cross my to-do's off to make me feel better. My checklist stinks anyways... I thank God for the food and give Him a shout when he blesses me....y'all that's weak, bland, and not from Him.  What do you think God thinks about our checklist?  I bet He's like "that's all you got?" He wants us to rejoice in Him.  We're created in His image, how cool is that?  Y'all, just sit back and to quote "the knife" "stop being so anal about it."  We should keep the lines open when we're talking to God.  We should recognize our blessings and just be in awe of the One who saved us from the wretched beings we used to be.  Can you believe the amazing stuff God has done for us?  How great is our God?!  Can you believe we get to spend eternity with Him....I can and it is awesome!  As your reading this are you reflecting on just how amazing God is?  I'm blown away ...
   Another convo I had was a few weeks ago.  This man was a pastor in San Fran.  He was telling me about how he came to Christ.  He tried to read the Bible and knew a lot about it but it just wasn't clicking.  There was a family friend of his who was 90 years old.  I wish I could remember her name because it was like "mama something" and it made her sound like she was everyones Grandma.  He said she had an awesome presence of holiness when she walked into a room.  Anyway, she came to him one day and said tell "me what's wrong."  He told her about how he tried reading the Bible and going to church but wasn't sure he believed in everything.  And what she told him next blew me away at first...I was kinda mad actually.  She told him "The Bible aint nothin."  And he was like what are you talking about?  She said, "First you gotta get Jesus,  then you get the Bible."  Thats when I got the message.  So many times I want to tell someone to read this and read that, but actually, if that person hasn't been touched by The Holy Spirit then what does it matter.  Here's what i took away from that...nothing that happens to us in this lifetime matters without Jesus.  Period.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Matthew: The Wilderness Test

"Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil." - Matthew 4:1

Jesus was led into the wilderness to be tempted and to put His faith in the Lord to the test. God isn't the one tempting Jesus since God is never the agent of temptation, but He does allow Satan to tempt Jesus in order to test His faithfulness. This is a direct mirror image of when God led His people out of Egypt and into the wilderness, to humble them and test them, to know what was in their heart, whether they would keep His commandments or not (Deut. 8:2). Let's get to the 3 temptation's Satan threw at Jesus and see how Jesus responds and then how His response relates to the testing of the Israelites.

"And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, 'If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.' But He answered and said, 'It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'" - Matthew 4:2-4

Jesus responds to the first temptation by quoting Deuteronomy 8:3 which is basically saying that God will ultimately provide. Jesus has complete confidence and trust in God as the ultimate provider. Jesus knows God will sustain Him. This verse in Deuteronomy refers directly to when the Israelites were tested through their hunger in the wilderness. "So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord" (Deut. 8:3). This was a lesson in faith and trust that the Israelites had to learn in the wilderness. God "allowed them to hunger" and fed them only with manna which was a mysterious food from Heaven that was completely unknown to them. The manna would appear each morning, but would quickly mold and melt if stored (Exodus 16:20-21). This meant that the Israelites could only gather enough food each morning for just that day and then had to trust that God would provide more the next day since nobody could store any of the manna for later. The Israelites were humbled and forced to trust in God's Word that He would provide their nurishment each morning by literally providing them with their daily bread (Exodus 16). The Israelites struggled with their faith and trust as most of them continued to try and store the manna, but Jesus' faith and trust in His Lord is proven in His immediate response to Satan. Jesus - 1, Israelites - 0

"Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him. 'If you are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: He shall give His angels charge over you, and in their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.' Jesus said to him, 'It is written again, You shall not tempt the Lord your God.'" - Matthew 4:5-7

Jesus responds to the second temptation by quoting Deuteronomy 6:16 which is a direct reference to when the Israelites tested and questioned the Lord at Massah and Meribah (Exodus 17:1-7). Even though when they were hungry and questioned what they would eat and God provided, in chapter 17 of Exodus we find the Israelites hitting the panic button and questioning God again once they became thirsty. They end up "putting God to the test" by asking "Is the Lord among us or not?" (Exodus 17:7). Which meant, if God is truly with us like He says He is then show us a sign and give us some water. Basically, prove Your presence by giving us some water. However, Jesus refuses to test God by jumping off the roof and letting God prove His presence by saving Him. Satan tries to turn scripture around on Jesus, but Jesus' faith cannot be shaken.

Jesus - 2, Israelites - 0

"Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, 'All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.' Then Jesus said to him, 'Away with you, Satan! For it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.'" - Matthew 4:8-10

Jesus responds to the third temptation by paraphrasing Deuteronomy 6:12-14 which is a command to the Israelites to remember "the Lord who brought them out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage" (Deuteronomy 6:12). This is another temptation where Jesus succeeded in a situation where the Israelites had previously failed. In Exodus 32 we read that while Moses was atop Mt. Sinai getting the "two tablets of the Testimony", the Israelites made a golden calf that they began to worship as their god and even stooped so low that they claimed that this golden calf was their god that brought them out of Egypt (Exodus 32:4). Jesus, on the other hand, never turned to worship anyone or anything other than the Almighty Lord and served Him only.

Jesus - 3, Israelites - 0

Jesus' experience in the wilderness relates directly to the Israelites' wilderness experience. Jesus, just like them, was led into the wilderness to be tested. Unlike them, our Lord and Savior and King withstood every aspect of the test. The Chosen One passed the wilderness test that the chosen people failed. Praise Christ the King for His perfect righteousness.


Some people argue that since Jesus was perfect, He cannot completely relate to us when we fall into temptation. Some say that Jesus does not know how hard it is to fight temptation. CS Lewis provides an excellent case for why Jesus actually knows better than anyone about the battle against temptation.

"No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. After all, you find out the strength of the German army by fighting against it, not by giving in. You find out the strength of a wind by trying to talk against it, not by lying down. A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it: and Christ, because He was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means - the only complete realist." - CS Lewis, Mere Christianity

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Can't Live by Bread Alone

Luke 4:4 " It is written. 'Men shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.'"
Deuternomy 8:3 "...that men shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord."

How are we living, or are we living at all? I have fallen out of the habit of reading my bible in the mornings and I have been constantly been going out into the world each day with my flame/fire at a minimal level. Can anyone relate? I am going to get back into that habit and see what happens. I might just get blessed with some kingdom building opportunities who knows. I know that when I'm in the word consistantly I feel more alive and the Spirit burns inside of me more passionately than ever, I love that feeling. The sad reality is that I have been undisciplined and lazy which has given way to a new habit of not coming to God and feeding on His word in the mornings. Life is tough enough why would I choose to go it alone each day with out the Lord burning inside of me? Time to get back on track and I'm not going to wait for New Years!

I'm going to need some accountability who is going to help me?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Pay the Piper

"It is not that we are all trying to please ourselves, but that we are all far too easily pleased. We do not believe Jesus when He says there is more blessedness, more joy, more lasting pleasure in a life devoted to helping others than there is in life devoted to our material comfort."-John Piper

"Don't lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal." Matthew 6:19

"Devoting a life to material comforts and thrills is like throwing money down a rat hole. But investing a life in the labor of love yields dividends of joy unsurpassed and unending."-John Piper

"Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. And thus provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail."-Luke 12:33

"Come to christ, in whose presence are fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore. It is more blessed to love than to live in luxury." -John Piper

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Matthew: John the Baptist

Matthew: John the Baptist

"In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!' For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying 'The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord; make His paths straight.'" - Matthew 3:1-3

Matthew describes John the Baptist as a man "clothed in camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist". This seems like a pretty odd description of someone but there is great significance in this particular attire of John's. You see, 700 years before John's arrival the prophet Malachi had written that the prophet Elijah would be sent to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah (Malachi 4:5). Elijah in his day was described as a "hairy man wearing a leather belt around his waist" (2 Kings 1:8). The term used here for "hairy man" actually translates into "possessor of hair" meaning that Elijah wore a coarse wool garment with a belt around his waist. The prophet Zechariah actually describes "a robe of coarse hair" as the traditional clothing for prophets (Zechariah 13:4). Therefore, John the Baptist was the Elijah-like prophet who was to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah.

People from all around Jerusalem and Judea were coming to be baptized by John. Baptism, according to Old Testament purification rituals, was administered to Gentiles converting to Judaism. Therefore, John's baptisms were huge signs of repentance because Jews were basically admitting they were as unclean as Gentiles and needed to genuinely become true people of God. This is amazing considering how much hostility Jews held towards Gentiles.

John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus Christ our Savior by proclaiming the message of repentance. So what exactly does is mean to repent? Repenting is not simply changing your mind about what you believe to be true. True repentance is a radical turning away from sin that inevitably leads to the fruits of righteousness. It is a desire to turn from sin and restore your relationship with God because of a genuine sorrow over your sin (2 Corinthians 7:10). Repentance is at the very heart of and proves one's salvation. Unbelievers repent of their sin initially when they are saved, and then as believers, repent of their sins continually to keep their relationship with God growing. John preached that believers "bear fruits worthy of repentance" which is simply stating that true repentance will inevitably lead to good works which are clearly visible for all to see. John was demanding to see "fruits" of repentance which outwardly proves your true inner commitment.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Consistency (Sam)

Whats the main difference between a career minor leaguer and a big leaguer? How bout musicians? Or maybe even those weirdos my wife forces me to watch on "so you think you can dance?" Its not really their talent level, or luck, or any other excuse we give because they may be where we want to be. The main difference is they do it day in and day out. It means they consistently work their stinkin tails off at honing their skill. They consistently step up when the games on the line. I will be the first to admit, as a player, I couldnt do that. I couldnt stay locked in long enough to repeat my good performances every time I took the mound, I was weak! One reason I couldnt repeat it was because I wasnt prepared, and I knew it. I knew I didnt run enough, lift enough or train my mind enough. Deep inside my heart I had doubts, and that was why I couldnt be consistent.

Whats the main difference between spiritual giants and immature, thumb suckin, blanket draggin, snot nosed babes in Christ? You guessed it, CONSISTENCY! Ever wonder why your relationship with your wife is strugglin? Well I do, and its either because Im not walkin stride for stride with God or He is not the pivotal point in our marriage. She can be on fire and I could be on fire, but if we arent on fire as a couple then our logs are gonna get wet. Why are you fallin back into your old ways of partyin, or cussin, or chasin the tail? Cause you aint consistently spendin quality time with t he Lord. You wanna know your in Gods will, be blessed by Him, have peace, joy and contentment? Heres some things you could do to consistently deliver when God calls your number.

--- Pray without stopping, that means in the mornin, afternoon, evening and in between.
With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints Ephesians 6:18
They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Acts 2:42

---Study Gods Word
Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Joshua 1:8
But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. Palm 1:2

---Surround yourself with Godly men that will hold you accountable.
He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm. Proverbs 13:20

---Clean up the crap that goes into your ears and eyes. Movies, music....or anything else that is not pleasing to God. I promise, the less garbage you take in the less will come out.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your s piritual act of worship. Romans 12:1
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

Fellas, its real easy. Dont get bitter get better. Dont make excuses why you cant, step up and deliver. God doesnt want mediocrity or inconsistency. He wants to use men that are out on the lines every single day! Men that are willing to get cut wide open for the cause of Christ. I often wonder why of the 55 people on this list do only a handful ever comment? Maybe the nuggets are stale, maybe we got the wrong addresses or maybe you are just one of those guys that sit in the cut and let everyone else do the work. Do you know what its like to share and hear crickets? Let me speak for the other few men that step up and share their hearts. IT AINT EASY BEING TRANSPARENT! It aint easy bein a member of a 10,000 member church and seein the huge amount of need. It aint easy hearin folks say "round here 20% of the peolpe do 80% of the work." Sorry, just makes me wanna puke. God blesses us all with spiritual gifts, unfortunately I dont have the compassion gift.

Is bein consistant on the field, court, classroom, office, sales sheet or whatever field youre in more important than being consistant with your walk with Christ? Is your personal gain more important than His gain? Lets just end by sayin,20thats not where you really wanna be. Lets do some Kingdom building, not me building.

In His Grip right now,

Matthew: The Baby from Bethlehem

Me and some of the guys have recently started a study through the book of Matthew and so I figured each day that we hold a study and I write notes, I will share them with you guys as well. This is the first post of many more to come from the book of Matthew.

"But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not the least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you shall come a Ruler who will shepherd My people Israel." - Matthew 2:5-6

Why is this significant?

- The prophet Micah wrote that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem 700 years before Jesus was born (Micah 5:2).

- This is even more significant since Mary and Joseph were only in Bethlehem because of a new universal census decreed from Caesar (Luke 2:1-5). Jews had previously been excluded from each Roman census because they were exempt from serving in the Roman army. However, this new census was for numbering each nation and tribe so Joseph had to return to his ancestral home to register. This was the first Roman census in which the Jews had to participate. So Mary and Joseph leave their home in Nazareth and travel more than 70 miles to Bethlehem to register. Upon arriving in Bethlehem, Mary goes into labor and gives birth to Jesus. I am assuming that they had just gotten to Bethlehem because Luke tells us that there was no room for them in the inn which means if they were looking for somewhere to stay then they must have just gotten into town. This amazing prophecy being fulfilled is a prime example of how God is in complete control at all times and can even use unbelieving worldly rulers to accomplish His will and purpose. If not for that new census perhaps Mary and Joseph would have been perfectly content having baby Jesus in their hometown of Nazareth. Perhaps they were supposed to know to go to Bethlehem to have the Baby since they had already been told that Mary was giving birth to the the Savior of the world and they, being Jews, should have been familiar with Old Testament prophecies of the coming Messiah. Even still their inaction could not alter the Author's story. Either way, the Almighty God's sovereignty is clearly displayed in the fulfillment of this prophecy. The happy family would eventually return to Nazareth and Jesus grew up there (Luke 2:39-40).

*** It is interesting to note that in Matthew 2:4-5, King Herod inquires of the chief priests and scribes on the location of where this Christ was supposed to be born. These Sadducees and Pharisees were quick to answer with this prophecy from Micah. They were thoroughly familiar with the prophecy but lacked the faith to go and see the baby Jesus. They were professional scholars who despite their great wisdom lacked understanding and could not even recognize what was truly going on around them.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Monday Post from Dailey

I have been studying some things about the Bible and am so excited I had to holler... Check this out:Classical Literature used in many schools today include the works of Aristotle, Homer, and Plato. Let's take a look at the accuracy of these works. Aristotle- Written = 340BC Oldest surviving copy = 1100AD Difference = 1,450 YEARS Homer- Written = 800BC Oldest surviving copy = 1800BC Difference = 1,000 YEARS Plato- Written = 360BC Oldest surviving copy = 800AD Difference = 1,160 YEARS The accuracy of these works are rarely questioned, however the accuracy of the Bible is questioned frequently, so let's compare....Bible:New Testament- Written = 50-70AD Oldest surviving copy = 110AD Difference = 40-60 YEARS!!!!! Old Testament- Written = 600-700BC Oldest surviving copy = 200BC Difference = 400-500 YEARS!!!!*The oldest surviving copy of the New Testament is the 'Papyrus 52" document.**The oldest surviving copies of the Old Testament are the Dead Sea Scrolls.When these texts were compared to our current translations (Greek for the New Testament and Hebrew for the Old Testament) there was an accuracy of 99% found
One last fact: If all the Bibles were burned for some reason today, we could reconstruct the entire text by using quotations from ancient writers throughout history. The Bible has been quoted by such writer's over 80,000 times! It is safe to say that the Bible is will be here FOREVER!!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Opposition

Romans 8:38 "For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in creation, will be able to seperate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." ESV

Nothing can seperate us from the love of God - the 1st person of the trinity. Powers in this world war against us to pull us from His hand. These principalities and powers can't do anything without our consent, we make the choices unfortunately our flesh plays a heavy influence and our discernment has to be in tiptop shape. We talked last week about putting in a workmans effort, where are we at on that, have we made progress? This world wants to keep us and drag us down, we have to fight, we have to!

I'm currently trying to get guys together for a bible study and it is so hard, excuses, scheduling conflicts, timing issues, desire, long games, short nights, etc... I want to give up and I let somebody else try. That is a punks mentality.

Lord raise me up, strengthen this weak heart. I need you! We need you, we can do nothing meaningful with out you.
Nolan I know you have some to share.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Used v.s. Loved

USED Vs. LOVEDWhile a man was polishing his new car, his 4 yr old son picked up stoneandscratched lines on the side of the car. In anger, the mantook the child's hand and hit it many times; not realizing he was usinga wrench. At the hospital, the child lost all his fingers due to multiplefractures.When the child saw his father.....with painful eyes he asked, 'Dad whenwill my fingers grow back?' The man was so hurt and speechless; he went back to his car and kicked it a lot of times. Devastated by his own actions.......sitting in front of that car helooked atthe scratches; the child had written 'LOVE YOU DAD'.> The next day that man committed suicide. . . Anger and Love have no limits; choose the latter to have a beautiful,lovely life..... Things are to be used and people are to be loved, But the problem in today's world is that, People are used and things areloved...During this year, let's be careful to keep thisthought in mind: Things are to be used, but People are to beloved ... Be yourself....This is the only day we HAVE.Have a nice day and Best regards Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; theybecome actions. Watch your actions; they become habits.Watch your habits they become character; Watch yourcharacter; it becomes your destiny.I'm glad a friend forwarded this to me as a reminder.. God bless you; I hope you are having a wonderful day! If you don't pass this on to anybody, nothing bad will happen; if youdo, youwill have ministered to someone. The Will of God will never take you to where the Grace of God will not PROTECT you... Stay FAITHFUL and Be GRATEFUL

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Bible Study Q and A week 2

   This past Wednesday we had our second q and a study week.  The first week was a success as we had several non believers or brand new Christians ask some awesome questions.  The next week we let the day creep up on us without as much excitement and we failed to promote it like we should have.  Several of the guys that said they would be there failed to show and that kinda irked me...because we were having it for them.  But I realized I got as much out of the study as they would have probably so it was still good.   Its so hard for me not to come at guys hard when I'm talking about God...I just want them to get how great He is and i always feel like they could be missing their chance.  That's me thinking I have control over something i don't.   Anyway, i thought I'd share some of the questions we had throughout the week leading up to wednesday and after.  We had several good conversations with a few guys during bp and in the clubhouse...here it goes.   One guy says "man,  how can you believe the Bible when it says men were created first and not dinosaurs.   We got fossils hundreds of millions of years old and we don't have human fossils that old...how can you believe it?"   Another question was "do you feel like you are just taking an insurance policy out for heaven when you say you believe in God?"  One guy wanted to know all about the canonization and just finds that hard to comprehend.  And evolution is tough to get past for a few guys.   We had some good ammo on most of the questions but we never have all the answers.   One of my favorite comments  about the questions we were getting came from the reds team chaplain named Steve Sisco who was there.  He said..."You know one thing i learned when I was in the beginnings of my walk...one thing that I think frees you up more than almost anything?  The ability to say I don't know."  And I think that's so true.  As believers we're called to be prepared for any situation that may come up relating to Christ but if we don't know the answer its better to drop an I don't know than to butcher Gods word and turn people off.    Maybe a ...I don't know but I'll try and find the answer and get back to you.   And then there's those questions that can't be answered and that's when you realize how big our God really is....How big?   I don't know...he's unmeasurable.   


ps...for those of you who don't know...e-fellowshipper Blake "the knife" Hawksworth made his major league debut today.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Workmen's Effort

1 John 1:5 "This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.

If you continue reading this chapter you will come across one of the more moving scriptures (v 7 & 8) which leads up to 1 John 1:9 known as the "Christians bar of dove soap".
The reason I bring up this verse is to follow up on what Blake said on Monday - hard work is cool. We are part of this group because we are searching for truth some of us have found truth or at least somethings we know to be true (there is always more to be found). With that knowledge of truth there has to be a component of practice in each of our lives. For example I have found it to be an absolute truth that if I treat Christy (my wife) with love and respect and I serve her the way the Bible instructs a husband, my marriage flourishes and I experience how awesome it is to be married and in love. Another truth is that if I drive the ball to the hoop in basketball and prove that I can score an easy layup then it opens up space between my defender and I for me to rain three's on him for the rest of the game. The last example is that if I never throw heaters inside to hitters they lean out over the plate and smash my fastball on the outside corner like it was thrown right down the middle. Truth has to be put into practice for it to be relevant. What truth do we practice? We might think that the best players, workers, salesman, etc... all have luck and talent and get the brakes but I know that if we sift through their lives we will see that they worked at it tirelessly. Are you putting in an honest days work? Are you outworking everyone else? Do you have the strength to put in a full workmen like day? Do you want it bad enough?

More importantly are we practicing the gospel Truth that Jesus has revealed to us? Are we shinning like the lights of the world that God intended us be (Matthew 5:16)? Are we liars because we aren't practicing the truth? Is the reason we aren't practicing because we've grown lazy? Gutcheck, throw on that workmen gray shirt (the grey and white speckled shirt that is not quite grey but not close enough to any other color to call anything but grey) and get to work, we have got to stand out as hardworkers. I don't want to be a liar any longer.

The Power of Authority

   Today myself and three other teamates met with a man  for about three hours.  This man had an incredible spirit that you could just feel.  Isn't it awesome when you come across someone like that...that you just know is living the life God called him to.  He has been a pastor for years and the way he told his stories and broke things down was really amazing.  His faith in God is possibly the strongest ive seen.  He began speaking to us about the power delegated to us by God.  He told us that when we pray we shouldn't pray with doubt at all.  Pray and expect to receive.  Pray and don't be surprised when what you prayed about happens or is healed.  That's faith isn't it.  So many times I'll pray and then wait for the results hoping He came through instead of just knowing He did.  He told us numerous stories about the power of prayer when done correctly and one really stuck out.  There was a lady who was in a car wreck.  This lady had her neck broken but was still living.  She called him to the hospital and was talking to him.  Before the doctor came in, he prayed to God that there would be nothing structurally wrong with her neck.  The doctor came in and said "she's got a broken neck".  Immediately he started asking himself why hadn't God healed her.  Then it clicked...he had asked God to heal her (which we know he could have) instead of using the incredible power God has given us to do such things like that.   So that night before he left the hospital the pastor placed his hands on her neck and said "neck, i command you to fuse your broken bones back together right away."   That's probably where I lost you.   But lets look deeper....

Matthew 17:20 (New Living Translation)

 20 “You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.[a]

You see... sometimes we look at God and ask Him to do something not completely believing He will do it....and because we have such weak faith I believe He doesn't answer.  Oh we of little faith.   He wants us to use the power He's delegated to us to do such things.  So....the rest of the story goes like this.  The next morning the doctors brought the lady in to fit her for her neck brace that she would be wearing for some time.  They did another x-ray and whatta ya know...HER NECK WAS COMPLETELY HEALED!  The doctor had the two x-rays side by side...one broken neck and one perfectly healthy...God had healed her neck.  The pastor still has the x-rays and the lady sang in the choir that night....amazing.  
  Here's the kicker for all this....when he prayed and told that neck to heal itself he was using the power of the Holy Spirit that was living deep within him.  When he got done praying those words he didn't think twice about it.  He went home and when his wife asked what happened he said "she's got a broken neck but she'll be okay."  He didn't stay up all night wondering if God would heal her...he knew that God had already answered his prayers.  Moral of the story....when we pray...pray expecting and knowing that God will deliver.....that's faith.


Work Meditation Scrips (Proverbs)

"Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty." -Prov 21:5 NLT

"The wise have wealth and luxury, but fools spend whatever they get." -Prov 21:20 NLT

"Despite their desires, the lazy will come to ruin, for their hands refuse to work." -Prov 21:25 NLT

"Backsliders get what they deserve, good people receive their reward." -Prov 14:14 NLT

"Work brings profit, but mere talk leads to poverty." -Prov 14:23 NLT

Late night ammo for your Tuesday morning. Let's glorify Christ and work hard with the talents he has blessed us with. It's cool to work hard... Jesus did.