Tuesday, October 27, 2009
I'm tired, I'm busy and I just had a baby, I just don't have time for Jesus and I can't find time to read. I'll go to church but I can't stay for fellowship because the NFL is on.
These are thoughts that have been flying through my head recently and they are starting to stamp out my fire that once burned inside of me. Crazy to think that my fire can die out all while having a 1st kid, getting a new (good) job, feeling healthy, etc... It's crazy because by the worlds standards my life is rich. I have been struggling with trying to understand what has been happening. Then it occured to me tonight that this is a problem with my thoughts, I am allowing these thoughts to determine my feelings and ultimately what I do. It really isn't far different from the voices I used to fight when I was on the mound competing. I couldn't help but think that we all struggle with this to some degree. It really can be a pivotal issue to tackle, if we let it go and fall out of our righteous habits and pursuit of truth our light will begin to dim. It's a battle worth fighting. The battle is thought captivity, monitoring our thoughts can be a powerful thing.
Monday, October 26, 2009
"Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won't need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we each are responsible for our own conduct." -Gal 6:4
PUT YOURSELF IN A POSITION TO BE BLESSED.
"So let's not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't give up." -Gal 6:10
If anybody needs to know just write and ask Jules about how I used to come down to California and flat out dominate all athletic activities. Waino your next.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy
pleasure they are and were created."
Revelation 4:11, KJV
I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is
there any that can deliver out of my hand."
Deuteronomy 32:39, KJV
Friday, October 23, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Imagine the uproar from the masses if I decided to write and direct a movie thats entire theme pushed a Christian agenda by totally mocking anyone and everyone that does not believe in our Lord. I would be a wanted man that's for sure and bring on the protestors. I actually have very little confidence that I would actually have any success at all in getting that movie to play anywhere in this country. Well scratch that and reverse it and you get the new film written and directed by Ricky Gervais (also writer and director of The Office).
Gervais's new film "The Invention of Lying" poses as a romantic comedy but soon into the film the cat comes bursting out of the bag and we come to find that the movie is a religious satire that specifically attacks Christians and our belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Basically, set in a world of complete and full honestly, Gervais's character is the only man in the world who can tell a lie. The movie is entertaining and full of clever humor up until the point where Gervais drops the atheist hammer to Christianity. Gervais's character makes up a "lie" about a "man in the sky" who controls everything and determines whether people get to go to a happy place with mansions or to a bad place with no mansions. He goes on to make up 10 rules apparently given to him from the "man in the sky" and places them on two pizza boxes and reads them to the people gathered in his yard. This in the end leads to Gervais's character transforming his miserable life into becoming very popular and wealthy. There are many more Christian references throughout the movie, but I think you get the point.
Now, my initial response to viewing this movie was to express my anger and bring the house down with a one-two punch of Biblical truth and destructive raging rebuke for such a film. However, upon further examining my motives behind something like that I realized what a tremendous waste of everyone's time that would turn out to be. So now I've moved on to a state of sorrow for the lost man behind this movie and the lost country that has kept this movie in the box office top ten over the past few weeks (granted most people probably didn't know exactly what they were getting into). This reminds me of Paul's words to the Corinthian church.... "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God" (1 Corinthians 1:18). How true this is today in our society. Basically, for those who are not being transformed by the power of God, the message of Jesus Christ is considered silly and foolish. Well sadly, the cross of Christ is absolutely no laughing matter.
Here's my message to all true followers of Christ who are angered by such mocking of their Lord and Savior. Be encouraged! Yes, be offended but also be encouraged. Why you might ask? What's so encouraging about living in a country that is desperately trying to remove a 75 year old War Memorial Cross from California's Mojave desert but has no complaints for "Good Without God" advertising? (google those please to learn more). So what's so encouraging? Because there is a reason why the masses always single out Jesus Christ as the one to be mocked and ridiculed. In fact, Jesus said it Himself, Jesus Christ is the stumbling block! Paul explains this in his letter to the Corinthians... "but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Gentiles foolishness" (1 Corinthians 1:23). Seriously, when was the last time you viewed a direct assault on Mohammed, Gandhi, or Buddha? Why does Jesus Christ frustrate people so much? Because that is the way He intended it. How many people who came in contact with Him left HIs presence saying simply "what a nice man"? Nobody. People either fell in love with Him and embraced Him and His message or hated Him and mocked Him and His followers. So be encouraged that your hope is in a Savior that causes so much controversy! Be encouraged that your hope is in a Savior that makes people so uncomfortable! Be encouraged that your hope is in a Savior that stirs the soul! Be encouraged that your hope is in a Savior that is mocked and hated by this world! I tell you the truth.... I'd be very uneasy if I served a Lord that this world was simply okay with and tolerated. No thanks, I am proud to serve my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ whose name alone demands attention, good or bad. So be encouraged!
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
I have compiled here a list of many references from many different peoples, tribes, and cultures that all have one common theme in their writings... A Great Worldwide Flood. Now of course each legend and story has different explanations for such an event but don't let that distract you from the point that they all view a global flood as an actual event that occurred during the history of the earth. Why is this important? Because a global flood throws "Old Earth" theories upside down. A global flood would completely nullify the idea that the geology of earth took millions and billions of years to take formation. Instead, one huge catastrophic event such as a global flood would transform earth's geology in a extremely brief time frame. However, that is a point we can discuss later because the purpose of this message is just to prove that there once was a great worldwide flood. So check these out:
In the ancient Chinese’s "Book of All Knowledge", because of man’s sin, “the earth fell to pieces and the water in its bosom rushed upwards with violence and overflowed the earth.”
The Teutonic tribes of Scandinavia remember this cataclysm through their folklore: “Flames spurted from fissures in the rocks; everywhere there was the hissing of steam. All living things, all plant life were blotted out. . . . And now all the rivers, all the seas rose and overflowed. From every side waves lashed against waves. They swelled and boiled and slowly covered all things. The earth sank beneath the sea…Then slowly the earth emerged from the waves. Mountains rose anew . . . Men also reappeared. Enclosed in the wood itself of the tree Yggdrasil…the ancestors of a future race of men had escaped death.”
The Michoacan tribe of Mexico has a similar flood legend: “When the floodwaters began to rise, a man named Tezpi entered into a great vessel, taking with him his wife and children and diverse seeds and animals. When the waters abated, the man sent out a vulture, but the bird found plenty of corpses to eat and didn’t return. Other birds also flew away and didn’t return. Finally, he sent out a hummingbird, which returned with a green bough in its beak.”
One legend is very common among the tribes, like this one from New Guinea: “Once a great flood came which covered the whole earth and wiped out everyone on earth except for the ancestors of the Biami people. Those ancestors climbed up into the Gobia Tree, the bark of which they make into string for their string bags. They took up into the tree their planting materials for crops, all their animals, their dogs and their pigs and every-thing else necessary for life. As the floodwaters rose up on the face of the earth the people climbed further up the tree. They were safe in the branches of this tree because the tree grew up above the waters as the waters rose up. When the waters went down from the surface of the whole earth, the people were able to climb down the tree. The ground was very muddy, but eventually they planted their crops and their animals began to reproduce. They moved away from the tree and began to repopulate the earth. Those who had climbed down out of the tree were the ancestors of the Samos, the Kubos, the Gobasis, and the Etoro.”
Over 270 tribes have been documented to be proponents of the notion that the whole world was once inundated by water. Here is one from the Greenlander tribe of Canada: “The world once overturned. Some people were turned into fiery spirits, all the rest drowned but one. Afterwards, the survivor smote the ground with his stick, a woman sprung out, and the two of them repopulated the world. Proof of the flood is found in the form of sea fossils on high mountains.”
The ancient Assyrians knew of this flood: “The gods, led by Enlil, agreed to cleanse the earth of an overpopulated humanity, but Utnapishtim was warned by the god Ea in a dream. He and some craftsmen built a large boat (one acre in area, seven decks) in a week. He then loaded it with his family, the craftsmen, and ‘the seed of all living creatures’. The waters of the abyss rose up, and it stormed for six days. Even the gods were frightened by the flood’s fury. Upon seeing all the people killed, the gods repented and wept. The waters covered everything but the top of the mountain Nisur, where the boat landed. Seven days later, Utnapishtim released a dove, but it returned finding nowhere else to land. He next returned a sparrow, which also returned, and then a raven, which did not return. Thus he knew the waters had receded enough for the people to emerge. Utnapishtim made a sacrifice to the gods.”
In Africa, the Pygmies (Central Africa), the Kikuyu (Kenya), the Yoruba (southwest Nigeria), the Mandingo (Ivory Coast) and the Kwaya (near Lake Victoria), among others, have ancestral knowledge of the Great Flood.
In North America, the Eskimos and the Innuit (Alaska), the Yakima (Washington state), the Chippewa (Great Lakes), and the Choctaw (southeast U.S.), among others, have generational awareness of a global flood.
In Asia, the Kamchadale (Siberia), the Bahnar (Cochin China) and the Miatso (southern China), the Chingpa (Burma), and the Andaman (Bay of Bengal), among others, know by oral tradition of a cataclysmic flood event.
In Europe; the early Greeks, Germans, Celtics, Vikings, and Welsh, among others, noted the Flood in their lore.
In Central and South America, the Yaqui (northern Mexico), the Nahua (central Mexico), the Maya (Guatemala), the Ipurina (upper Amazon), and the Coroado (southern Brazil), among others, speak of a worldwide deluge in their ancient histories.
In the Pacific Islands and Australia, the Kabadi (New Guinea), the Maori (New Zealand), the Mangaia (Cook Islands), the Gumaidj (northern Australia), and the Polynesian Hawaiians, among others, know the Big Flood.
In the Middle East, the Zoroastrians (Iran), the Egyptians, the ancient Babylonians (Iraq), the ancient Hittites (Turkey), and the Hebrews (Israel), among others, have recollections of an historical catastrophic flood.
The Havasupai Indians of the Grand Canyon recall the formation of this canyon in the aftermath of the Great Flood in one of their legends: “Before there were any people on earth there were two gods. Tochapa of goodness and Hokomata of evil. Tochapa had a daughter named Pu-keh-eh, whom he hoped would become the mother of all living. Hokomata the evil was determined that no such thing should take place, and he covered the world with a great flood. Tochopa the good felled a great tree and hollowed out the trunk. He placed Pu-keh-eh in the hollowed trunk and when the water rose and flooded the earth she was secure in her improvised boat. Finally the flood waters fell and mountain peaks emerged. Rivers were created; and one of them cut the great gushing fissure which became the Grand Canyon. Pu-keh-eh in her log came to rest on the new earth. She stepped forth and beheld an empty world.”
And last but certainly not the least of these is the Biblical account in Genesis: "Now the flood was on the earth forty days. The waters increased and lifted up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. The waters prevailed and greatly increased on the earth, and the ark moved about on the surface of the waters. And the waters prevailed exceedingly on the earth, and all the high hills under the whole heaven were covered. The waters prevailed fifteen cubits upward, and the mountains were covered. And all flesh died that moved on the earth: birds and cattle and beasts and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every man. All in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, all that was on the dry land, died. So He destroyed all living things which were on the face of the ground: both man and cattle, creeping thing and bird of the air. They were destroyed from the earth. Only Noah and those who were with him in the ark remained alive. And the waters prevailed on the earth one hundred and fifty days."
So obviously, a global flood was never the thing that should be questioned. The only questions that could be raised from all of these references is which one is fact and which ones are myth? That is for the reader to decide but the one thing that every reader should with no doubt agree on is the fact that there was at one time in Earth's history a huge catastrophic worldwide flood.
*** Note: CS Lewis offers great encouragement when discovering parallels between historical mythologies and the truth of the Bible. He says, "We must not be ashamed of the mythical radiance resting on our theology. We must not be nervous about 'parallels': they ought to be there - it would be a stumbling block if they weren't."
We sinners can't do anything to gain eternity, we are as filthy rags (Isaiah), our hearts are desperately wicked (Jeremiah), and we always fall short even on our best day (John Bunyan, christian contributor).
John 6:44 "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him,..."
We don't save ourselves by a choice (I used to believe that we chose), we are or have been elected, God called our name, it wasn't anything we did. There are so many scriptures that speak to this, download Johnny Mac's (John MacArthur) podcast "The sinner neither willing or able" to get the scriptures. It is clear as day.
The problem is that many churches and organizations are bent on numbers, "How many did you save", this is missing the point. We don't save anybody, at the root of all our efforts tends to be a self-glorifing motivation that God see's right through. Yet He still loves us and saved us in Jesus Christ. We can only hope that our loved ones who aren't saved will see the light (God) shine in our lives and desire to know the truth. Praying that God calls them in for a huddle to elect them to learn the playbook and receive a championship invitation. We all need to check ourselves when we feel that work motivated mentality start to creep, it's not going to get it done only the Savior can close down games and get saves, not us.
Monday, October 19, 2009
1) Martin Luther, the sixteenth century reformer, coined these two phrases in the mist of one of the most electric, paradigm-shifting times in church history. Luther, an Augustinian monk, was a tortured soul for a large part of his young adult life. He was haunted by the righteousness and holiness of the God that he read about in the Scriptures. He was all too aware of his sin, and couldn’t see any hope of earning the favor of this all-powerful God who poured out His wrath on sinners.
At this time in church history, in Germany where Luther resided, there was only one church, the Roman Catholic Church. Tragically, the doctrine of justification by grace alone, through faith alone, was nowhere to be found. Priests were selling indulgences to the common people to pay for the building of St. Peter’s Basilica. Indulgences were kind of like get-out-of-jail-free cards for people’s relatives who were in hell, or trapped in purgatory. You could pay a traveling priest who sold indulgences and he would forgive the sins of whichever relative you desired. Here is an excerpt from a sermon of John Tetzel’s in 1517, who was the adversary of Luther:
Don't you hear the voices of your dead parents and other relatives crying out, "Have mercy on us, for we suffer great punishment and pain. From this, you could release us with a few alms . . . We have created you, fed you, cared for you and left you our temporal goods. Why do you treat us so cruelly and leave us to suffer in the flames, when it takes only a little to save us? [ Die Reformation in Augenzeugen Berichten, edited by Helmar Junghaus (Dusseldorf: Karl Rauch Verlag, 1967), 44.]
This was a world of works- driven righteousness, but by the grace of God, Luther was set free. While teaching the book of Romans to his students his heart was set free. That glorious doctrine of justification by grace alone through faith alone took hold of him. He was a man set free.
What Luther saw in this context were two different theologies; the theology of the cross (TOC) and the theology of glory (TOG). The TOG is about victory for the Christian right now. No suffering, no pain, just success. The TOG looks for the successful Christians; the powerful, pretty, and popular. In Luther’s day, priests were looked at, for the most part, as the anointed one’s because they had money, power, and authority. They were the victorious ones. In this view, it was “do this, this, and this, and God will love you.”
The TOC was diametrically opposed to this view. The TOC was about “taking up your cross,” and following in path of Jesus. Suffering is going to happen. If Jesus suffered than so will we. According to this view, being a follower of Christ doesn’t guarantee you comfort and success on this earth. The way up, is actually down. Humility and service are actually signs of greatness in this theology. Instead of telling people, “believe in Jesus and you can be like me, or have what I have, or be successful,” you share the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is to repent of sin, and trust in Christ for the forgiveness of sin. You explain that this could cost you everything, but that God will be faithful.
2) Now looking at these two theologies, which one do you think prevails in the world of sports? I worked for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes for 3 years and saw this TOG first hand. I felt extreme pressure for fundraising events to bring in celebrity athletes. What was their theology? Were they a mature believer? Is their character on the same level as their talent? These questions don’t matter! Do you know why? Because we want the most successful, good-looking, popular athlete we can find because they will have the most influence. We want the middle school and high school kids to think, “Wow, I want to be successful like him.” “He says Jesus helped him get where he is, maybe I should give my life to Jesus.” Do you see the ramifications for this theology? What kind of Christians do you think this produces? What will they do when none of the things they think they will get from this deal happen? What if instead of becoming a professional athlete, they become a plumber? Will they still love Jesus?
Wouldn’t it have been awesome, when I was working for FCA, if I would have invited someone who was a bench player in the NBA (for the Clippers), and had just gotten released, to be my keynote speaker!? How about this? When is the last time you have seen a player who made an error to lose a game get interviewed and give thanks to God?
3) I want to finish up, by giving you three reasons why we need to be proclaiming, and living, the theology of the cross:
1. It’s biblical! Just look at the lives of our Lord Jesus, and His disciples. They all suffered greatly in living their lives for God’s glory. Re-read the Gospels. Look at 2 Corinthians 11 and see what Paul endured.
2. It brings the most glory to God. In my church history class we have read eyewitness accounts of Christians being killed for their faith in horrendous ways. But do know what they all had in the midst of these horrible acts of persecution? Joy and peace. Do you know what that does in the eyes of the world? Bring glory to God.
3. It displays our reliance on the Lord, who then supplies us with power. God told Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” As we acknowledge our weaknesses, and depend on the Lord, we will be strengthened by the Lord.
Could it be said in better than how Paul, inspired by God, says it in Philippians 3:7-21:
7But(A) whatever gain I had,(B) I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8Indeed, I count everything as loss because of(C) the surpassing worth of(D) knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I(E) have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having(F) a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but(G) that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10(H) that I may know him and(I) the power of his resurrection, and(J) may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11that by any means possible I may(K) attain the resurrection from the dead.
Straining Toward the Goal
12Not that I have already(L) obtained this or(M) am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do:(N) forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14I press on toward the goal for(O) the prize of the upward(P) call of God in Christ Jesus. 15Let those of us who are(Q) mature think this way, and if in anything(R) you think otherwise,(S) God will reveal that also to you. 16Only(T) let us hold true to what we have attained.
17Brothers,(U) join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk(V) according to the example you have in us. 18For(W) many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you(X) even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19(Y) Their end is destruction,(Z) their god is their belly, and(AA) they glory in their shame, with(AB) minds set on earthly things. 20But(AC) our citizenship is in heaven, and(AD) from it we(AE) await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who will transform(AF) our lowly body(AG) to be like his glorious body,(AH) by the power that enables him even(AI) to subject all things to himself.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Sometimes we get tired and start to slip into old habits, some of us have the benefit of being in close proximity to other brothers who are really living this thing and their fellowship can pull us out of the mud. However most of us don't have that or even though we may we delight our flesh by not reaching out for the support that can save us much pain (caused by our sin). Let's take a look at symptoms of ill-health which can be red flags to our spiritual state.
1) A low temperature
Revelation 3:16 "So because you're lukewarm, neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth."
2) A contracted heart
There can be people in our lives who we get so eerked at that it consumes us into thinking about them throughout the day and even having thoughts of harming them.
3) A failing appetite
Deuteronomy 8:3 "... to teach you that man does not live by bread alone but every word that proceeds from the mouth of God."
4) A difficulty in breathing
It has been said that prayer is to a christian what breath is to a man.
5) A craving for unhealthy things
Self-explainatory, we can all relate.
Let's take a look at some remedies...
1) Seek good food
2) Do not restrain prayer (prayer is the gymnasium of the soul)
3) Exercise yourself unto Godliness (1Timothy 4:8)
4) Return to your 1st love
5) Remind yourself of God's sufficiency
I just wanted to quickly focus on #4, first love. Remember when you 1st fell in love with Jesus and you loved to read His word and you loved to learn about Him? Remember when you were so on fire that people sparked up at the sight of you? Wow! Maybe you haven't experienced that yet and are still wondering if this Jesus thing is worth your efforts, or if this christian thing is real. I can assure you it's real and so is Jesus what we all need to do is press in, pray for God to reveal Himself to you and read His word then we will start to experience the open arms of God calling us into a huddle.
"My son, oh how I wish you would come back to Me."
I know I sometimes face moments when people around me can get under my skin, things they do bother me, things I think are annoying. Stuff like the way people act and the way people talk. Until I have some good quiet time and dig into the word a little bit, its then that I realize and remember all those times I prayed stuff like, "God, please help me to grow...please help me to develop Christ like character" well maybe God lined these annoying people up with me and actually answered my prayers. How? Well maybe I can grow to be more patient with them, learn to love them even if I'm not too fond of them, learn to repent of my attitude and judgments toward them even though we don't see eye to eye. For you it might be something else like the way a pastor did or didn't do something or the way a bible study might of been run that bothered you. Maybe some of these things are less about us trying to say "I don't like that" and more about us saying "Ok God, what are you doing here?" There is another part of this idea that comes from our culture.
Our culture has and is teaching us to be great consumers. Lets go over to Starbucks. I'm an amazing consumer at Starbucks, I know exactly what kind of drink I want and so do you (if you like Starbucks)...you know "your" drink, I know "my" drink. There a million different drink combinations offered. Why? Cause they try and cater to the consumer. We have been taught in our consumer driven capitalistic society that consumerism is the way of life, and we've been taught that "I am the consumer, I am KING". Too often what we've done is taken that consumer mentality and walked it right into church. We sit in our chair and think, "hmmmm, I don't really like that guy, he doesn't dress right", "this music was alittle weak", "I don't like this, I don't like that", "the lights are too dim or too bright", "this place is too big or too small". All of a sudden your evaluating church through the lens of consumerism. Instead, we need to walk into church with a different lens. Engage the body of Christ with a different lens than the one you walk into Best Buy with. In Best Buy we walk in and say, "Alright, I have the money...who is gonna serve me?", "who is gonna take care of my needs?", "who's gonna help me?" If we walk into church with that kind of mentality then at some point we are going to be disappointed. The church we go to isn't going to meet all our needs, they're not going to make you happy all the time, but if you look at the life of Jesus, he didn't either. He didn't really spend his time trying to meet the consumer needs of everyone, he spent his time meeting people's eternal needs. Sometimes meeting our eternal needs means discipline and rebuke, and sometimes it might mean him saying something crazy like, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. Those are not consumer driven ideas, those are God driven ideas. The church is not a consumer driven place, don't treat it like one. Instead of, "how are you going to serve me, make me happy, meet my needs, tell me what I want to hear" maybe it should be, "God, what do you want to do with me, what part do I play in the body of Christ, how can I serve?"
I have always felt like most of my problems with the way I think have to do with the habits I developed, and the way I came up in this world before Jesus Christ became my Lord and Savior. Even now I still find myself being "of the world" a lot of the time. What other ways is our culture and society jacking up our way of thinking today? How can we better defend ourselves and our thought processes? Open for comments.......
Monday, October 12, 2009
One group is all about the experience. They love feeling there faith. They tend to pick a church based on the worship, not the soundness of the preaching, or the doctrine of the church. If they don’t feel like they love God, then something is wrong. They think a preacher is good if he tells a real emotional, inspiring story. They love books that make them feel good as well. If you challenge them about the bad doctrine of a certain preacher, or book, they get real defensive. These individuals are highly susceptible to being led astray by false teaching. This type of individual finds it almost impossible not to go forward after a very emotional altar call to “get saved” again.
The other group is all about the intellectual pursuit of God. They love gaining knowledge, they love debating, arguing, and defending the faith. They normally choose a church based on the content of the preaching and the doctrine of the church. Feeling is not that important; emotion is something to avoid. They love theology, and believe that knowing the truth is all that matters. This group is susceptible to becoming hard-hearted towards those who disagree with them on minor theological points. They are always finding what’s wrong in others theology.
Now I know this is over-simplified, and an incomplete list, but I think you can see the difference I am trying to show. What needs to happen in our lives is a merging of the good things in both views. We need to have a passion for God that truly effects our emotions. We need not fear expressing our emotions in worship as long as they are rooted in truth, not just a sentimental feeling. We also need to love truth, study God’s word, and let our devotional life be shaped by biblical doctrine. Affection for God that is not rooted in truth is not true affection. We must worship God in Spirit and truth.
Which one do you gravitate towards? My prayer for all of us is that we would merge the best of the two to cultivate a true biblical spirituality.
Friday, October 9, 2009
So I am reading this book online titled, "Old Earth, Why Not?" written by James Nienhius. Its an informative read that was written to refute many claims made by evolutionist. I wanted to share with you some of the things that I read in the first chapter. The author lists several references to prove that large reptiles did in fact walk the earth with humans and not millions or billions of years ago. Check it out......
Claim 1: Dinosaurs Died Out About 65 Million Years Ago
"If you accept this premise, there should be no known human contact with dinosaurs in history. You judge if there has been recent interaction between humans and “dinosaurs.” The word “dinosaur” was not used until 1841, when a British scientist, Sir Richard Owen, while studying the fossils of large reptiles, decided they were a new order of animal, and named them dinosaurs (which means terrible lizards).
From The History of the British Kings, we learn that King Morvidus (who ruled around 330 B.C.) was devoured by a large reptilian monster. The account states that the creature “gulped down the body of Morvidus as a big fish swallows a little one.”
A monster at Buries in Suffolk, England is reported in a chronicle from 1405 A.D. “Close to the town of Buries, near Sudbury, there has lately appeared, to the great hurt of the countryside, a dragon, vast in body, with a crested head, teeth like a saw, and a tail extending to an enormous length. Having slaughtered the shepherd of a flock, it devoured many sheep.” After failed attempts by local archers to kill the beast, due to its tough hide: . . . “in order to destroy him, all the country people around were summoned. When the dragon saw that he was again to be assailed by arrows, he fled into a marsh or mere and there hid himself among the long reeds, and was no more seen.”
British government officials reported in 1793 A.D. “In the end of November and beginning of December, many of the country people observed…dragons, appearing in the north and flying rapidly towards the east, from which they concluded, and their conjectures were right, that . . . boisterous weather would follow.” *** Did you notice here that the government officials are speaking of the migration habits of these dragons as a sign of coming weather. The officials are speaking of these dragons in a very matter of fact common way.
Hundreds of sightings of the “Loch Ness Monster” have made news; but over forty sightings on Loch Morar, and other sightings on Lochs Lomond, Awe, and Rannoch have not made the news. Over 100 townships of Britain have reported dragons throughout their histories.
Apollonius of Tyana, traveler and historian from 2,000 years ago, noted that “. . . the whole of India is filled with enormous dragons, in marshes and mountains.” He said that the marsh dragons were 30 cubits (about 60 feet) long, sluggish, with black skin, and fewer scales than the mountain dragons. Apollonius chronicled these mountain dragons as being golden in color, of great length, fast as a river, and killers of elephants.
The Roman historian, Pliny the Elder, said that in India the elephants are constantly at war with the dragons. He noted that the dragons would leap from trees onto passing elephants, bite their trunks and eyes, and coil about them. The elephants tried to scrape the dragons off on the trees, but the dragons’ coiling constriction and venom killed the elephants.
Marco Polo, upon his return from Asia, reported of families raising dragons, yoking them to royal chariots for special occasions, and using dragon parts for medicinal purposes. Interestingly, the twelve signs of the Chinese zodiac are animals, eleven of which are everyday, extant creatures (rat, horse, dog, ox, rabbit, tiger, snake, ram, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.) The twelfth is the dragon. Why would the Chinese include the “mythological” dragon with these common living animals?
Herodotus, a Greek historian from around 400 B.C., wrote that serpents soared in the skies of Arabia. (This winged serpent, called by the natives “Kongamato,” apparently still flies in southern Africa.
The Sioux Indians of America tell of a 20-foot wingspan flying creature being hit by lightning, and made pictures of this creature; this may be is the infamous “Thunderbird” which has been in American Indian lore for centuries.
Two Arizona cowboys, as reported in the “Tombstone Epitaph” newspaper, killed a large flying reptile in 1890. The creature reportedly had an eight foot alligator-like head with a mouth full of teeth. The cowboys cut off its wing tip (which was a tough membrane, like a bat’s) for a trophy.
Nerluc, France was renamed in honor of a dragon killing. The animal reportedly was larger than an ox with long, sharp horns.
The well-known old European science book, “Historia Animalium,” says that dragons were not extinct in the 1500’s A.D., but were very rare and relatively small.
In South America, burial stones from the Ica Stones reveal creatures that look like triceratops, pterosaurs, and tyrannosaurus rexes coexisting with humans.
On Dec.11, 1999 villagers near Boboa, New Guinea saw a huge swimming lizard, as reported in “The Independent” newspaper of Papua, New Guinea. The newspaper also declared that the following day, a pastor and church elder saw the animal not far from the first sighting. The creature was described as having a body “as long as a dump truck and nearly two meters wide, with a long neck and long slender tail.” It was walking on hind legs “as thick as a coconut palms’ tree trunk,” and had two smaller forelegs. The head was similar in shape to a cow’s, with large eyes and “sharp teeth as long as fingers.” The skin was like a crocodile, and it had “largish scoops on its back.”
The Roman historian, Dio (also known as Cassius), wrote that one day, when Regulus, a Roman consul (third century B.C.), was fighting against Carthage (North Africa), a dragon suddenly crept up and settled behind the wall of the Roman army. The Romans killed it by order of Regulus, skinned it, and sent the hide to the Roman Senate. When the dragon was measured by order of the Senate, it turned to be an amazing 120 feet long, and the thickness was fitting to the length.
So what are to make of all of this? One thing we as defenders of the Bible use as evidence for its divine inspiration and Truth is the fact that it was written by so many different authors on several different continents over so many years with the same common theme. Well, look at what I just gave you. I gave you references to dragons and dinosaurs living with humans from several different sources on 5 different continents spanning over 2400 years! I know it may be a little "out-there" for some of you to believe in dragons living with humans but if you believe your Bible is the unflawed Word of God then you wouldn't even need these references. Just check out chapters 38-41 of the book of Job. In these chapters God is directly speaking to Job declaring His greatness and power through descriptions of His creation. God describes many different animals in these chapters and gives general descriptions of each one. In chapter 41, God describes the Leviathan. Read it and please try and convince me that the Leviathan is not a dragon. Don't come at me with talks of mythology or speaking metaphorically because God described every other animal here in general terms so why would we speak metaphorically about this one particular animal? Nope, not buying it. So did dinosaurs die out millions or billions of years ago therefore never walking on this earth with mankind? I'm going to lean towards a "no" on this one.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
So many times in my life I find myself motivated to fit in and please my peers all the while tucking my faith in my pocket and hiding it so I don't stand out as being different (or a dork). I have found myself so worried about being dorky that I do things that I wouldn't normally do just to persuade people to like me. I never thought that God might be offended by these actions (being that I am denying my relationship with Him by compromising my faith), I never thought about His feelings. Pretty selfish, but more importantly stupid! Who are aiming to please with our lives, God or men? Chew on this nugget for a minute.
P.S. Sorry for creeping into Wednesday, there was a miscommunication on my behalf. Be blessed!
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
One of you might say, "I don't have the gift of evangelism, so I just try to live like Christ, and maybe someone will be saved by watching my life." Is this a legitimate way for people to be saved? How do we share the Good News?
Here is what I believe is true: there is no Biblical method to share the Gospel and just living a godly life will not save anyone either. Paul, in Romans, says that faith comes from hearing, and hearing from the word of Christ. It is not through some slick technique that our buddy will be saved, but through hearng the word of God proclaimed. Our whole faith is centered on a Book! A text, written words translated into our language. It is through these inspired words that salvation comes to the lost. Your heart-warming testimony alone, will save no one. Your ability to persuade will save no one. Your great personality will save no one.
Only God can save. Only God can make a spiritually dead person come to life. How does He do it? Through his mouthpieces. Who are they? You and me. Our only mandate is to proclaim the Goods News of Jesus' death for our sins, burial and resurrection.
Take comfort in the truth that it has nothing to do with whether you are extraverted or intraverted. Or nothing to do with how well you think you know your Bible. It has to do with obedience and courage alone. Are you obedient? Are you courageous? Then go be a fool for Christ and give people the living water, the heavenly bread that will bring life to their souls.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Sunday, October 4, 2009
"This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we LIE and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin." - 1 John 1:5-10
John declares that if we claim to be followers of Christ but walk in darkness then we are LIARS. So what does being a believer who walks in darkness look like? Here's an example. When you know that the Word of God is the Word of God, and how you learn about the nature and character of God is through His Word, and that it is God's way of reproofing, correcting, encouraging, and empowering and yet you avoid it, refuse to get into it, find a billion other things to do, make up excuses about time and not being able to read good and on and on and on. When it comes to all of your hobbies and the thousand other things you have to do that you just can't find time to get in the Word, your heart just got exposed!! You do not in the end seek out God Almighty as your joy or as your purpose. If this is the case then you are not walking in the light but rather in darkness. So what should you do? When you, as a believer, find yourself in your heart saying, "I don't really want to be in the Word today" that reveals something about your heart. So you do not just pretend that this didn't happen but instead you get on your knees, you repent of it, you ask God to search your heart, and you even call your boy (brother in Christ) and confess that you heart is just not right today, and ask for him to pray for you and then you go get in the Word. That is how you walk in the light.
To walk in the light means that every time our heart wants to rebel against a command of God or does not want to conform to an image of God, we stop, we examine our hearts, we see the idolatry and the wickedness that is in our heart and we stop, confess and repent. This is walking in the light and this is what we are called to do continually until the day we die. Continual confession of sin is an indication of genuine salvation.
"If we say that we have no sin, we DECEIVE ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a LIAR, and His Word is not in us. My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, "I know Him", and does not keep His commandments, is a LIAR, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked." - 1 John 1:8-2:6
John has made it so black and white. Either you walk in the light, you confess your sins, you are continually cleansed from all unrighteousness and you are continuing to learn to walk in a greater way into the commands of Christ or..... you are pretending that you know Him when you don't know Him, you are not growing in His commands and at the end of the day, you have no intention of obeying His commands. However, for some reason you think that church attendance is what God wants from you so you attend regularly despite having no relationship with Jesus Christ outside of church which ultimately makes you a LIAR. If you have no intention of submitting your life to Christ, but you want to believe that you are a chirstian simply because you prayed some prayer that some speaker told you to repeat one day..... you are DECEIVED and a LIAR. If you have no intention of submitting your life to Christ, but you think that your attendace in church makes you alright with God..... you are DECEIVED and a LIAR. If you have a false sense that there is no need to examine your heart anymore because you don't get drunk, you don't sleep with people who aren't your spouse, you don't curse, and you don't watch rated R movies..... you are DECEIVED and a LIAR. Somehow we as believers have developed this idea of big sins and little sins and we seem to think that God is only concerned with the ones we label as the big sins. So God is happy with me because I don't drink but the fact that I am embarrassed of Him doesn't bother Him? Or God is happy with me because I don't curse but the fact that I am lazy in my pursuit of Him doesn't bother Him? No, it doesn't work that way and John makes it crystal clear that if anyone says that they do not sin..... they are DECEIVED and they make God out to be a LIAR. So examine yourself and ask yourself..... Am I a church going, morally upright liar who needs to repent?
Repentance looks something like this..... I sin and therefore fall short of God's standard. I hate my sin and am sorrowful. So I tap into the joy that I have through my union with Jesus Christ because my hope is in the cross of Jesus Christ alone who takes away my sin and throws it away so i can once again be on my way walking in righteousness. Therefore, I have nothing to hide from. This is a reason that we are called into obedience so that as we walk in obedience we realize how broken our hearts are. Following after the Lord in obedience is going to reveal in us where we need to confess and repent. Then, the more wicked we begin to see our hearts..... the more grand and awesome we see His grace. And the more grand and awesome we see His grace..... the less likely we are to walk in self-denial and hide.
Martin Luther begins his 95 Thesis with the following..... "Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ willed that the entire life of believers be one of repentance". Repentance is the means by which we continue to grow and is an indication of genuine salvation. So we don't begin to do less and less repentance as we grow in our faith, but it is the mark of a mature believer to do more and more repentance and confession. This leads us to a greater understanding and appreciation for God's amazing grace.
"When He had come to the other side, to the country of the Gergesenes, there met Him two demon-possessed men, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that no one could pass that way. And suddenly they cried out, saying, "What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?" - Matthew 8:28-29
In the book of James, James tells us that believing in God is all well and good but even the demons believe and know the truth about God (2:19). This is clearly seen in the two demon-possessed men Jesus comes across in the book of Matthew. The demons clearly recognize Jesus's Deity by referring to Him as the Son of God and they even are aware that there is an appointed time of judgement in which they will be judged by Jesus. So it is obviously clear that the demons are not ignorant of God's Word. They know that Jesus is the Son of God who has come to give His life in order to save a fallen, sinful, cursed world and that one day He will sit on the judgement seat and execute His perfect justice upon this world. They understand the gospel message. They know God's Word (Satan uses Scripture to tempt Jesus in the desert). They know all about Jesus and the things of God. However, it is one thing to know the Truth and quite another thing to love Truth and embrace Truth.
Michael Jordan is the best basketball player of all-time. He went to the University of North Carolina where he won a national championship. We went from there and won an olympic gold medal. He was drafted by the Chicago Bulls and eventually led the Bulls to three consecutive NBA championships. He was also on the greatest team ever assembled, the original Dream Team. After his father passed away, he decided to retire from the game of basketball and actually go play baseball. After a couple of not too successful minor league seasons, Michael Jordan decided to return to the NBA. He came back wearing number 45 but would later get his number 23 back. He then led the Chicago Bulls to three more consecutive NBA championships in which the last one he hit the game winning jumper. He retired again but would later come back and play for the Washington Wizards and ended his playing career there. He has his own NIKE logo and was in the movie Space Jam. I could go on and on because I know a lot about Michael Jordan but you know what? I don't know Michael Jordan. I don't have any kind of intimate personal relationship with him. In fact, I have never met him or have spoken to him. I can tell you all you want to know about him, but I have never known him personally. Are you starting to smell what I'm cooking? Knowing ABOUT Jesus is quite a different thing than actually knowing and loving Jesus. If you actually know Jesus, then you have an ongoing intimate personal relationship with Him in which you talk to Him frequently and you know what He desires from you and for you. Now think about this because there are so many people out there who have read Jesus' bio (the Bible) and can tell you all about HIm who don't actually know Him. And a lot of these people are probably leaders within the church community. They lead small groups, Bible studies, youth groups, who knows? It means absolutely nothing to have known a lot ABOUT Jesus, but to have never known Jesus.
Jesus said it HImself that there will come a day when people come to Him pleading their case about how they led Bible studies, they spread the Gospel, they shared with others about Christ, they pastored entire congregations and yet Jesus will say depart from Me because I never knew you. You knew a lot about Me but you never took the time to know me personally. We never had any relationship. I was just simply a subject that you knew a lot about and wanted to teach others. I was never your friend, your counselor, your mentor, and most importantly your Lord, King, and God. Depart from Me because I never knew you (Matthew 7).
So lets get this right because I personally feel this is a serious problem in the church today. I know that I wrestled with this whole concept early on when I was trying to figure out salvation. I personally feel that the church has squeezed everything it can get out of verses like John 3:16 and given it way too much air time. What I mean by this is that the whole idea of... "All you have to do is believe that Jesus is who He said He was and you will be saved" is a flawed interpretation of the Gospel. The reason that I am confident in saying this is that this idea of easy believeism doesn't flow with the rest of Scripture. To simply "believe in Christ" is not enough to inherit salvation. We have already made it perfectly clear that even the demons believe and understand God's Word. Just because you believe that the things about Jesus Christ are true does not mean that you are good to go. To "believe in Him" means more than mere intellectual assent to the claims of the gospel. Truly "believing in Him" includes trust and a commitment to Christ as Lord and Savior which results in you becoming a new creation which produces a change in heart and obedience to the Lord. Truly "believing in Christ" is to come to know Him and love Him through a deep personal intimate relationship with Him. Do you know Jesus Christ? Have you met my Savior, Lord, and King?