Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Marinating in the Word

"This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success."
(Joshua 1:8 ESV)

The Word of God possesses powers that transform character. Meditating on what God has to say to us through the Scriptures can radically transform our vocabulary, thoughts and behavior. I often like to use the phrase "marinating in the Word". Tanner (my wife) is not a fan of ordinary grilled chicken. "It taste to chickeny" according to her. But when I marinate the chicken in some honey barbeque sauce with brown sugar then she really enjoys the flavor. Allowing yourself to marinate in the Word of God adds flavor to your life that makes you pleasing to God and to those around you.

By marinating in the Word, our speech may be gracious and seasoned with flavor. (Col. 4:6)

By marinating in the Word, our mouth may proclaim the abundance within our heart. (Matt. 12:34)

By marinating in the Word, our behavior may be pleasing and tasteful to our God. (Psalm 19:14)

What you marinate yourself with will always reveal itself in your speech. If you saturate your mind and your thoughts with the Word of God it will come out in the things you talk about. If you saturate your mind and thoughts with other things, they will come out in your conversations as well. So what do you talk about? May we all marinate ourselves with the sweet flavor of God's Word.

"How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!"
(Psalm 119:103 ESV)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Penn St. Protests

A 24 year old aerospace engineering student at Penn St. was asked by the New York Times about the riots taking place on campus at Penn St. This is what he had to say....

"Of course we're going to riot. What do they expect when they tell us at ten o'clock that they fired our football coach."

This controversy at Penn St. has really got me speechless right now, but there are two things about this particular comment above that I have to address.

1. "Of course we're going to riot" - Since when is rioting so widely accepted as the appropriate response to inconvenience? All over the country we are now seeing more and more demonstrations of violent temper tantrums over anything and everything.

2. "they fired our football coach" - This is worth rioting over? I recently read the indictment against Jerry Sandusky which stirred up a cocktail of emotions such as pain, sadness, hurt, anger, rage and disbelief. There are eight known victims in this scandal, and Joe Paterno is not one of them. I have no intent to accuse or defend Joe Paterno. I am just shocked that given the recent circumstances, the firing of Paterno was the thing that enraged these students to protest and not first and foremost the abominable accusations against Jerry Sandusky. Have we become so misguided in our perspective of the world around us? Can we please open up our eyes and redirect our attention and sympathies on the actual victims in this controversy - the eight young men who were victims of horrific sexual assault as young children. May appropriate justice be served.

- Terry Evans

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

No Escaping a Fathers Love

Tell me if you're like this. My wife, Jenny, and I love the opportunity to get out of the house for a real date every now and then. We have two little girls, and a third little girl arriving any day. When we get tired and towards the end of a week when the kids have been tough, we call the babysitter. Here's an example of what we might say. "Man, I just need a few hours to re-charge my batteries. The girls have been wearing me out, and i can't believe she did this, or she did that, etc". We were encouraged years ago at a PAO conference to always make time for at least 1 date night a week. The logic is simple. We get so caught up in being mommy and daddy that we sometimes forget to be husbands and wives. So, we do everything in our power to make it at least once a week. But here's what happens. We rush out the door, get in the car headed towards a movie or dinner, so grateful for our time away. Then what do we do? We spend the whole dinner talking about our kids! We talk about how cute they are, and how we can't wait to watch them grow up, and all kinds of stuff like that. By the end of our dinner we're rushing back home to see the kids, because we feel like we've been gone so long. This happened to us again the other night on our anniversary. While on the way home from dinner I started thinking about my role in my daughters lives. There is nothing that my kids can do to lose the love that I have for them. They can't mess that up. They're stuck with me. I am their father, and no matter which direction they go in life I will remain their father. No matter how many times they disobey me, and no matter how many times I have to punish them.... I will still be their father. There is no report card, strikeout, or little white lie that will make me stop loving my daughters. Nothing. So, here's what i'm getting at. If you can relate to me about how much you love your kiddo's I want you to think about something. Our God in Heaven, has one Son. His Son's name is Jesus. Do you think that God loved His one and only Son less than we love ours? I can't even fathom how much God loves us. All I know is this. Our God loves us so much that He sent His one and only Son to DIE for us so that we could have eternal life in Heaven. After all we have done....He is our Father and He loves us. As followers of Christ we cannot escape His love. We may move away from Him, but He isn't going anywhere. No matter what happens, He will always be our Father. We don't deserve this awesome gift from God. I'm blown away by this, and just wanted to take a minute and reflect on this because as a believer I should know this already. Yet, somehow, I always need reminders. And, for some reason, God keeps reminding me. Thank you God for the reminders. Thank you God for loving me when I don't deserve it. Thank you God for your Son........Thank you God...............

- Adam Wainwright

Starbucks and Jesus

Tanner scheduled a play date at the house this morning so I made the conscious decision that this would be a good time to make a Starbucks run. Rather than playing zone defense for the next two hours trying to defend my house from 4 children under the age of 3, I am sitting quietly on the outside patio of the Starbucks down the street. True application of wisdom taking place. Anyway, as I sit here and cherish my Tall Italian Roast coffee, the Spirit takes a seat next to me and takes advantage of this quiet time to offer His wisdom aimed directly at my heart. I'll share with you our time together.

I am a drink person. I love coffee every morning, tea in the afternoon, and a nice glass of wine or cold Sam Adams in the evening. I have a coffee maker with a timer on it so I can prepare the coffee before I go to bed and wake up with a fresh pot brewed for me each morning. I love my morning coffee time. As you can see, I even took careful consideration as to what kind of coffee maker to buy in order to enjoy it even more. I love sitting at a coffee shop and enjoying various kinds of coffee from all over the world. Coffee is something I desire and something that I go out of my way for each and every day to enjoy. If I go a day without a cup, I miss it. Quiet time with a cup of coffee, I desire, but what about quiet time with my Father in heaven? Do I desire communion with God each and every day and pursue Him with the same consistency that I pursue Starbucks? Is a day without a cup of coffee a bigger bummer to me than a day without conversation with God? I may sound silly (thats debatable) but there's some truth here.

"But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you." - Jesus

I, personally, do not know how to pray as I ought. I am currently reading a great book titled, With Christ in the School of Prayer (Murray), and it encourages me to be taught by Jesus as to how to pray. Jesus never taught His disciples how to preach only how to pray. Jesus tells us to seek God in the secret places and that is where He awaits for us - basically, to seek out quiet time with God. To shut out the world and to shut yourself in with God. I find a way to make time for a cup of coffee every single day, but I fail to make time for a conversation with God each day. Father, free me from the thought of prayer as a duty or burden and may my secret place be my most treasured piece of earth. Yes, may my secret place with God be more treasured than Starbucks.

A humble student in the school of prayer,

- Terry Evans

Friday, November 4, 2011

Not of this world?

"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world- the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions- is not from the Father but is from the world." -1 John 2:15-16 ESV

"Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." -Matthew 10:37-39 ESV

"But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ..." -Phil 3:20 ESV

Heavyweight verses here that make me feel pretty worthless. Perfect! I love God's word for this exact reason. The moment I realize how bad I need Jesus and how messed up Blake Hawksworth is the better i'll be. To hit your knees and say "Jesus, I need you, I can't do anything alone." That's not weak, that's strong. God is after that very thing... YOUR HEART. Lets jump back to the first verse and see how it ends...

"And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever." -1 John 2:17 ESV

The world is marked for destruction (John 12:31) and it's man that jacked up the system. Living for the now is short sighted. You want to be satisfied and honored now.

"Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry." -Luke 6:25 ESV

In contrast, those who love the Father have a long-term perspective and wait for God's reward. Listen to what Jesus said to his disciples...

"Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.... Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven." -Luke 6:21-22 ESV

Rejoice!!! I need Jesus and I don't deserve His grace. Me, get rewarded? Wow. I'm down here sinning and trying to make sense of everything, and yet He makes it so clear. So what are we going to do? What are we going to do with this Jesus?

Lord I need you, ALL of You. Help me see this world through your eyes!

- Blake Hawksworth