Sunday, February 28, 2010
Part VII: Omar and the Sacred Vine
"A new morality has burst upon us with some violence in connection with the problem of strong drink; and enthusiasts in the matter range from the man who is violently thrown out at 12:30, to the lady who smashes American bars with an axe. In these discussions it is almost always felt that one very wise and moderate position is to say that wine or such stuff should only be drunk as a medicine. With this I should venture to disagree with a peculiar ferocity. The one genuinely dangerous and immoral way of drinking wine is to drink it as a medicine. And for this reason, If a man drinks wine in order to obtain pleasure, he is trying to obtain something exceptional, something he does not expect every hour of the day, something which, unless he is a little insane, he will not try to get every hour of the day. But if a man drinks wine in order to obtain health, he is trying to get something natural; something, that is, that he ought not to be without; something that he may find it difficult to reconcile himself to being without....... Hence comes the fact which every doctor knows, that it is often perilous to give alcohol to the sick even when they need it. I need hardly say that I do not mean that I think the giving of alcohol to the sick for stimulus is necessarily unjustifiable. But I do mean that giving it to the healthy for fun is the proper use of it, and a great deal more consistent with health.
The sound rule in the matter would appear to be like many other sound rules - a paradox. Drink because you are happy, but never because you are miserable. Never drink when you are wretched without it, or you will be like the grey-faced gin-drinker in the slum; but drink when you would be happy without it, and you will be like the laughing peasant of Italy. Never drink because you need it, for this is rational drinking, and the way to death and hell. But drink because you do not need it, for this is irrational drinking, and the ancient health of the world.
"Wine," says the Scripture, "maketh glad the heart of man," but only of the man who has a heart. The thing called high spirits is possible only to the spiritual....... Dionysus made wine, not a medicine, but a sacrament. Jesus Christ also made wine, not a medicine, but a sacrament. But Omar makes it, not a sacrament, but a medicine. He feasts because life is not joyful; he revels because he is not glad. "Drink," he says, "for you know not whence you come nor why. Drink, for you know not when you go nor where. Drink, because the stars are cruel and the world as idle as a humming-top. Drink, because there is nothing worth trusting, nothing worth fighting for. Drink, because all things are lapsed in a base equality and an evil peace." So he stands offering us the cup in his hand. And at the high altar of Christianity stands another figure, in whose hand also is the cup of the vine. "Drink," he says, "for the whole world is as red as this wine, with the crimson of the love and wrath of God. Drink, for the trumpets are blowing for battle and this is the stirrup-cup. Drink, for this is my blood of the new testament that is shed for you. Drink, for I know of whence you come and why. Drink, for I know of when you go and where."
Friday, February 26, 2010
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
We have to speak love to the people in our lives whether it be encouragement or rebuke, we have to do it in a loving manner. I heard a Christian CEO say today that when he has to fire employees he makes sure to do it in love like Jesus would. That's a next level type of thinking that I need to get with.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
1. So if God knows everything, which we know he does, did He know Adam was going to sin when He gave adam free will. The obvious answer is of course, but I just wonder why He created us to have free will if he knew we wouldn't obey. If God
knew Adam would mess up it seems that He came down kinda hard on adam... When I'm reading this in Genesis it sounds
to me like God is surprised to hear Adam and Eve screwed up.
2. If God knows everything before it happens, and we know He does, why in the wide world of sports did He create Satan. He had to have known that satan would betray Him.
3. If God has already planned a big war where we smash satan and create the new heaven on earth then why not just go ahead and smash him now. Or better yet why didn't He crush satan before instead of locking him in an abyss or pit or whatever.
4. It might sound wierd, but I wonder what the Holy Spirit and Jesus were doing while God was walking with Adam in the Garden. The whole Trinity thing is impossible to completely understand....for me at least.
5. I sometimes struggle with the idea of God being in complete control but us not being puppets and having free will.
6. Mosquitos........couldn't He have created an insect of like size that didn't want to chew my face off
7. I wonder what manna looks, tastes like. Can't wait to find out either.
8. i know He gets joy out of people choosing to accept Him based on faith and not just seeing is believing....just wondering if theres anyway He could make a brief appearance somewhere so that everyone would know what I know even if they didnt
have the faith.
9. Even though I know theres biblical proof of dinosaurs living with humans...it's still kinda hard to grasp. Cant wait to see the
museum in Cincy.
10. I wonder why, after all the miracles God has performed for me, do I continue to have doubts of every little thing He does.
11. I know there must be a lesson involved, but I do wonder why God allows great spiritual leaders to be stricken with cancer
like matt chandler. Seems like those kinds of people could bring a lot more people to Christ if allowed to live rather than sent home...i know its mans own fault but I'm writing this and I wonder about it....so there. Oh, and the second part to that is I wonder if God is just building his front line for battle and needs soldiers of that caliber to start filing in rank.
12. I wonder why I won't just let go and let God take the reigns of my life
13. Why is it so hard for me to improve my prayer life....
14. The arc thing is pretty tough to think about. Imagine putting every living species on a boat together and keeping things calm
for 40 days and 40 nights.... were there dinosaurs on the arc? maybe the flood killed em all. i wonder that...i'm wierd
15. I often wonder about the calendar year of the Bible. I know I know...a day is a day and a year is a year. But i always catch
myself wondering whether God created the earth in 6 24 hour days or 6 different days.
16. On the 7th day He rested...so we know He sleeps or rests. I wonder how much He does that now-a-days?
I could keep this going and going, but you get the point. No matter how much you read, or how many podcasts you watch, you're fleshly, doubting brains are always gunna have doubts about things relating to God. He is beyond our comprehension, and all these things we wonder about will one day be revealed to us.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
On my computer, I have a button for my internet browser that allows me to "reset" the browser therefore erasing my history and all the junk that I have collected on my journeys surfing the web. Now, if I have spent any amount of time viewing explicit material, I may wish to hit that reset button in order to "clean up" my viewing history. However, what is my motivation for hitting the reset button? Do I hit the reset button in order to cover up my history in hope of avoiding any consequences that may come from my actions? Or do I hit the reset button because I no longer desire to ever look at the explicit material?
Do you desire to escape the consequences of sin or desire to escape sin itself? Do you ask to be forgiven of sin as well as asking to be rid of the intoxicating pleasure of sin?
Do you ask to be forgiven of your lack of charity and then proceed to indulge yourself or do you desire to love the neighbor, stranger, and danger as you love yourself, friends, and family? Do you desire to get on your knees as well as to do unto the least of these (Matthew 25)?
Repentance is not merely asking for forgiveness. Asking for forgiveness is the act of coming to a stop in your southbound journey in order to be refreshed (or reset). The problem here lies in the fact that although you stopped, you are still facing south. It is inevitable and only a matter of time that you will once again start to journey in the direction you are facing. It is one thing to stop for refreshment and quite a great deal more to turn around and march northward.
Don't accuse me here of searching for fruit. It is not the duty of man to be a fruit connoisseur. My questions are more on the lines of not "do you have any fruit?" but first "do you desire to be a tree?"
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
I will never forget this dude for the rest of my life. I can still pull up an image of him from the vaults of my memory (2002). I forgot his name the night he introduced himself to me because I pegged him as a dork from "jump street" (the beginning) and after the conversation we had, I never wanted to see that "series 7 jackal" again anyway. I use these derogatory terms to describe this individual because I need you to feel the way I felt about him back in ‘02. This guy called me out onto the mat and he had just met me! Who did he think he was? I was a professional athlete coming off a year where I led the league in strikeouts…. I was on my way to the big leagues (in my mind). (By the way, I finished second in the league in strikeouts, but it sounds way better claiming that I led the league. Oh, how my ego needs to be fed!) A series of events led me to a dinner gathering, during spring training, in a Florida home of a family I knew from San Francisco. They had three kids who were all around my age, one, of which I used to hang out with. I knew them from church back in the Bay Area and I just happened to have spring training close to the town where they lived. Oh, did I mention that I had lost contact with them when they moved to Florida and randomly stumbled into a gym (on the other side of the country) where the son was working, only to have us look at each other and say "You look familiar!"? Is that God's sovereignty? Back to the dinner; they had invited a random kid (4 years or so younger) over to hangout, he didn't really fit in. So the evening moved along… a nice home-cooked meal was like gold and then it happens. I'm in the living room, (away from the pool table where most of the people are hanging out), trying to enjoy a college hoop game by myself and this young buck approaches me with, "So where you at with Jesus?" I look at this dude like he just asked me if I like burgers and fries topped off with a tasty shake. "What do you mean?" I replied, in a stabbing tone. He explained "How long have you been a Christian? What is God doing in your life?" I stumbled over some answer trying to mix in some “christianese” that I picked up over the years from an occasional church service. He stopped me half way through and said, "Dude, it doesn't work like that! You have to come to Him and be saved!" He proceeded to press me up against the wall with biblical truth and I stood there defenseless! I had no clue about anything. I'd never really read the bible. I just went to church sometimes to check it off the list of things to do and feel like I was better than most people. This guy shook me, or better yet God shook me that night. Less than a month later, I found myself in a hotel room on my knees at a bible study praying to receive the King. That conversation with that young kid changed my life. It played a pivotal part in my personal journey to faith! Truth is, that kid has no clue that he was used the way he was! He is probably working a normal desk job and is a member of a local church. He might have a wife and a kid, but he is probably an ordinary guy…. not somebody you would remember meeting. I disliked that guy for weeks until I accepted Jesus and the Spirit made things clear to me about how that conversation led to my salvation. Now I love the dude! I can't wait to see him in heaven! Is God sovereign? Yes; he can and does use small things to cause waves. Are you allowing God to use you? Have you come to grips with the fact that God is totally in control and has purposed all things for His eternal glory? Unfortunately, pain can be a big part of His plan because it sets up the stage for God to do the impossible. Let's show a little faith next time we get dealt a bum hand. Thanks for listening.
Monday, February 15, 2010
I want you to understand the power you can have as a Christian who practices what he preaches in a fallen world. There will be times when the devil will throw his best ammo at you to prove to non-believers that you are weak. The best ally that chump satan has is a Christian that doesn't walk the walk. A Christian that makes no stand when faced with temptation. Our teammates should not be surprised to hear that we are Christians after months of knowing us... it should be obvious. Fellas, we are heading into a season that will be filled with every kind of temptation. I, in no way, expect any of you or myself to pass every test on that this season. But, if we try to live a genuinely Godly lifestyle I believe we can have a lasting impact on a lot of people who need Jesus in their life. We should let our actions be reflections of what we believe. Once everyone in camp knows you're a believer the pressure is on.... or is it? Is Tim Tebow feeling the pressure because the entire world knows what he stands for? I don't know. I'd like to think that there is no pressure because the power of Jesus is always present. Jesus seems to dictate his life on and off the field. I don't personally know him but seems like a warrior for Christ to me. One of our good friends at home gets up every Sunday with her son and googles what scripture Tebow put on his eye black that week. They find the passage and then go over it together as a kind of Bible study. That, to me, is awesome and a platform un-waisted. Here's what I'm getting at. We might not all have that kind of publicity to broadcast our faith, but make no mistake...someone is watching. So here is a great piece of scripture all of us could use going into this spring as we plan to dominate in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. Eph 6:10
Men, let's not be ashamed to live the life God has called us to live. Our teammates will respect that lifestyle, and you, if it really is genuine.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Okay, so we've slugged our way through 1 Corinthians now what?
"Watch" - be aware of what God is asking of you, spend time listening.
"Stand fast in the faith" - get grounded, stay in the Word, reading, listening.
"Be brave" - be bold, don't try to be better just be different (as Jesus preached) than this dying world.
"Be strong" - lean on Jesus not yourself.
I hope God was in this study and it wasn't just me half-heartedly tossing scripts around. I'm growing lazy and I can use a kick in the pants.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
This scripture is one of the accounts where we see someone proclaiming that Jesus was seen by over 500 eye witnesses after having been buried. It is just crazy to think that this could have happened. Jesus was massacred and left for dead, nobody has ever argued that. In fact it is one of the most well known truths all around the globe (that Jesus lived, claimed to be God and was beaten to death). I have heard people argue that Jesus never came out of that tomb, saying "it's not humanly possible". To that comment I agree, it's not humanly possible, those people are correct. God isn't confined to human boundaries.
-If Jesus never came out of the grave then why did people die for Him after He was dead?
-How could the Word of God (bible) have spread so quickly and passionately after Jesus died and how did the church form if it was based on something that was unproven?
-Who convinced the 500 eye witnesses to claim to see a lie, how much did they get payed off, how come none of them ever came clean and confessed that it was all a lie if they were bribed?
-How come nobody has found the bible to be inaccurate if it's based on all these lies?
-Why do churches flourish everywhere regardless of socioeconomic status?
These are all questions I've asked myself, helping to make sense of my faith and ground my belief. There is an experience that comes with knowing and surrendering to Jesus. An experience that rocks your world and instantly eliminates the doubt we previously had. Unfortunately I'm so sinful that the doubt occassionally creeps back and it needs to be checked by prayer/reading the scriptures/fellowship/etc... I really believe that being seen by 1 wouldn't have been good enough, being seen by the 12 would have been called a hoax. However being seen by 500 random people is just enough to hold up in the court of law. The crazy part is that we generally don't believe some things until we see them. That's why faith is the link that takes us to the next level.
Is it ironic that Paul points out that even some of the people who saw Him after being buried and rising from the tomb have fallen asleep (or fallen away from the faith) ? Shows you how sin-serving we can be.
Monday, February 1, 2010
So as I'm reading through chapter 7 of Paul's letter to the Romans, I'm again just blown away at how much truth Paul preaches. Paul begins by describing how true believers view the law and then dives into how the law brings sin to life. Paul explains that before the law was revealed to him, he was simply going through life unaware of the sin that was hidden within him. However, "when the commandment came, sin sprang to life"(7:9). I'll give you an example of what Paul means by this...
As soon as we are aware that we are not to be jealous people, the sinful nature springs to action in an attempt to make us jealous of something. This can be more clearly seen through small children. As soon as you tell a child, "NO! you can't have that", they begin to want it even more. That is the sinful nature coming to life.
Therefore the law reveals the sin hiding within us making the law holy, righteous, and good (7:12). According to Paul, we are to uphold the law "in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code" (7:6). The new way is service to glorify God out of gratitude rather than out of obligation. If you are a true believer, you desire to uphold the law rather than upholding the law because we feel that we have to in order to please God. When we become true believers, we begin to delight in God's law even though our sinful nature prevents us from consistently acting the way in which we now desire to act. This is evidence that we know the law is good because in our minds, we desire to obey the law. It is the sinful nature within us that wages war on this desire and corrupts our bodies to act in ways we wish that we didn't act. And so, it is a non-stop battle within the believer between the things we want to do and the things we actually do.
Paul says it best, "For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate to do I do....... So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin" (7:14-25).
Praise God that He has given us His commandments in order to reveal and bring to life the sin hidden within us so that we may recognize our wretched state and look to Jesus Christ our Lord for rescue from this body of death!!!
Note: A non-believer isn't fighting this same war because they have no true desire to uphold the law. That is in no way declaring that non-believers are immoral people. I am simply stating that perhaps a non-believer is not completely aware of any battle being fought at all. The sinful nature is winning that war without drawing any attention to itself. And this subtle approach is Satan's most dangerous weapon (read Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis). However, that is a whole other discussion.