“Christian”, huh?

•April 7, 2008 • 2 Comments

It seems everyone wears the name “christian” nowadays. I have a hard time even using the term at all, because it’s become so muddy now. There’s the guy talking about having sex with multiple women at once…yeah, he wears the name. And the woman who professes to be a christian, yet constantly degrades her husband and is leaving him because he’s not the same man she married. She’s out clubbing and enjoying herself with all kinds of other men and yet still calls herself a “christian”?

I think you’re supposed to capitalize the name, but that’s because it’s supposed to have some pride to it. It’s a title. It’s an honor. Right?

Honor? Where’s the honor? I mean seriously, what does it mean to be “a chosen people”? Peter said in I Peter 2:9:

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

Sadly, this problem runs crazily through the “body of Christ”. I could name numerous problems in the people around me, but I don’t have to look much farther than myself. I sympathize so much with Paul in Romans 7 when it comes to this discussion. The things I know I shouldn’t be doing or thinking, I just keep doing and thinking them. But, the things I want to do so bad, I don’t do them. I lust. I’m prideful. I’m foolish. I feel his Spirit moving me to boldly proclaim his saving love and I stop.  I am such a wretched man.

I’m missing it. Haven’t we all? We, as the people of God, have really lost sight of what it means to be called out. We’re saved by grace. But, what has changed?

“God, please purify me. Purify all of us. I’m sick of all this back and forth. Out of the same mouth come blessings and cursing. You are such a loving God and I am such a wretch. I just want to do what I say I’m going to do. I am so thankful that your grace is sufficient. I’ve been made in your image, but totally lost sight of what that means in how I live. I’m still in that darkness Peter was talking about, Father. I want to be in the light. Help me to stop comparing myself to the sinners around me and to compare myself to Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith. He wasn’t just righteous, he was the very essence of righteousness. Let his righteousness dwell within me. It is no longer I who live, Father. Christ, live in me. Let your name mean something in me.” 

Confession

•March 31, 2008 • 2 Comments

I don’t know how you feel about this, but confessing my sin has to be one of the most liberating experiences of my life. Laying my sin, sorrow, and wretched position as a man before my God brings me greater pleasure than you could ever imagine. I’m not perfect and God knows that truth. He loved me enough to die for me and to think I’d hold it all in after that, is simply pitiful.

If you’re hiding from your past, give it up. Lay it at the feet of Jesus and allow your story to heal the wounded and hurting around you. You’re a sinner and so am I. There’s nothing God doesn’t already know and nothing to be ashamed of in front of men. The writer of Ecclesiates, Solomon, says there is “nothing new under the sun”.

 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  

Don’t hide from your past. Confess it. 

Rise of the Home

•March 30, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Today, God has opened the doors for a new part of Lisa and I’s ministry as a couple. We’re being asked to share our story. If you’re interested, you can find it here:

Rise of the Home  

Life Abundantly

•March 29, 2008 • Leave a Comment

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

 John 10:10

Go Light Your World

•March 26, 2008 • Leave a Comment

  What kind of impact are you and I having on the world around us? How many people are dying without the love of Jesus around us?Go light your world.

A Penitent Heart

•March 24, 2008 • 1 Comment

While attending our home fellowship yesterday, I was watching my son playing with several other kids his own age. Myself and a couple of the other fathers were watching several of the younger kids specifically, Malachi included. Malachi will be two on April 1st and most of the kids there are similar in age to him.I had very specifically asked him to not touch something and he disobeyed. I pulled him aside and began to talk to him about his actions:

“Malachi”, I said, “I just told you not to do that and you disobeyed me. When Daddy tells you to do something, he expects you to do it.”Without hesitation, he looked at me and said “I sossy (better translated ‘sorry’)”.  

You can just imagine how I felt. The pride. The forgiveness. The unfailing love. I could go on and on.The more I’ve thought about this, the more I’ve realized just how much God, our Father, loves us. Scripture say that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us”. When was the last time you told him you were sorry? Go read the story of the prodigal son and tell me the Father doesn’t ache to forgive you. Bring it before him. You weren’t meant to remain in the darkness.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”   

 John 3:16-17

“Jesus answered them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but the sinners to repentance.”

 Luke 5:31-32

“Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is near”

 Matthew 3:2

The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth

•March 21, 2008 • 2 Comments

We continued our study this week in the beatitudes, captured in Matthew 5. After two great weeks discussing the “poor in spirit” and those who “mourn”, I was really excited to take things into the next stage of Jesus’ teaching here. 

By stages, I mean the stages of progression that you can find within the text. The first two beatitudes focus on the heart. Who are you before holy God? Of what value are you? But verse 5 begins the journey into the Christian mans attitude. He moves on to how we live what we believe. So, what in the heck does verse 5 mean?

“Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.”

Matthew 5:5 NASV

Gentle? Jesus wants gentle? Wasn’t it Jesus who overturned the tables in his anger over how the house of God was being misused? And what about the names he called the Pharisees? Brood of Vipers? White washed tombs? Why would he want gentle people, when he himself seemed to have quite the candid, and at times, very uncomfortable approach? I definitely see Jesus as being gentle at times and would never want to take away from that aspect of his character in the slightest. But, I find it interesting in context of this teaching.

A study into the Greek term “gentle” will bring you to a totally different place of understanding on this particular word. The term is better rendered as meek, as used in the NIV.

A lot of good that does most of us though, huh? Meek? What the heck does that mean?

It doesn’t mean weakness or someone who has no strength. That’s a common misconception. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I’ll let Paul explain what it means to be meek in his own language. When talking about Jesus, he said:

“Have this attitude, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondservant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.” 

Phil 2:5-8 NASV 

Scripture says that although being the Son of God, Jesus did not consider equality with God something he could grasp. Instead, he emptied himself, taking the form of a man and died. Though having the ability to conquer those who were killing him, he let go to serve a far greater purpose. He was the King, yet did not need to prove it through exercising authority. He proved it through suppressing his power and ability while submitting to the will of God. He became a willing sacrifice for people who beat him and mocked him. That’s being meek.

Can you imagine the strength it took to stand face to face with Pilot as he is being tried and to restrain yourself? You have the power. Why not use it?

“‘Where do you come from?’ he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. ‘Do you refuse to speak to me?’ Pilate said. ‘Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?’ Jesus answered, ‘You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above.’”

 
The word meek obviously doesn’t mean weak. Rather, it appears to mean incredible power under total control in this case. Being meek requires letting go of what ability and power you have within yourself.We see another great example of this in Job. After having lost all of his livestock and his children, he’s faced with incredible temptation. His wife, bitter and angry, said:

“Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!”  

Jobs response?

“You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”

He was even found respond before this point with great poise, doing nothing to consider his own feelings when he said:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.”

Given incredible circumstances, Job knew it wasn’t about his own desires. He was more concerned with the glory of God than he was his own well-being. As a result, what did God do?

“The LORD made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before…The LORD blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first.”

Job, like Jesus, understood it wasn’t about glorifying himself. It wasn’t about Job’s own desires. He gave himself completely to God and as a result, he “inherited the earth”.

The same holds true for you and I. Once we’ve submitted our lives to him, we can be used as he knows best. Once we’ve given up our need for mans acceptance or wealth or great experiences in this life, God can use those things for his own glory.

What are you withholding? What in your life is for your own glory? What is for Gods? I think it’s time we all reconsidered who we are and what we have. It’s time for Christ-centered living.