Archive | January, 2011

That’s why I couldn’t be happier No, I couldn’t be happier

27 Jan

Yep some Wicked song lyrics…gotta LOVE them right?!  I was thinking of going the ugly route for the title buttttttt Fiona Apples Ugly Girl song just didn’t speak to me today. Today’s post is about the game “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly”. Ever play it? You choose what in your life that week, day, month whatever is good, bad, and ugly. Ex: The Good: this week we’ve had some good family time watching a little Netflix and Hulu+, the Bad: dealing with some issues with the Wee-woods and attitudes (yes I know this never ends) and the UGLY: dealing with a ridiculous amount of my students who missed class last week…and now having to give grades and work through all this. Okay see not so bad it’s a decent icebreaker game and can help learn about people…BUT why do churches play it in youth group and stuff. See I have a 1.5-2 hr commute to get my produce and deliver some to the inlaws during this time hopefully the wee-woods sleep and I can think. I thought of this today about how it’s 1 positive and 2 negatives. As Christians we should focus on the positives so I’ll change it to the Good, the Great, and the Godly. How bout that. In the words of Jon Acuff that might qualify as a Jesus Juke. So I’ll go: The Good: spinach alfredo pizza, the Great: He-wood’s new job that we’ve survived the first month when financially we didn’t know what it would look like, the Great: Lowering our car insurance $200

See I’m focusing on good and things that only God can do instead of being negative, which if you know me….isn’t me. My cup is always half empty and contaminated by ebola!

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You think it might be….might be a tumor

23 Jan

Bear with me on the Austrian Death Machine lyrics they’re aren’t many lyrics that talk about tumors or cancer that are rated G. And I have to stick to my song lyrics…because well it’s what I do. I google a work and the term lyrics to get something halfway pleasing for a blog title.

A tumor is defined as an abnormal mass of tissue that serves no purpose. Woah…this cuts deep and may need rereading. You can have benign and malignant tumors but for today’s post it doesn’t matter that much what type of tumor it is.

In church this morning a few of us were going over being a member of the church, a covenant member and our place within the church. How we are to serve not come to be served in church. How we get more when we are invested in ministry. Well the whole time all I could think of was cancer and tumors and some members can be like tumors.

A tumor takes nutrients from the body but doesn’t provide a purpose many times wrecking the body of vital nutrients, energy, and can bring about ruin to the body itself. How true is it that some non-invested members expect things from  church, like taking all the nutrients? They want it to serve or please them. They complain about the music being too loud or of one type of genre, the preaching isn’t applicable, or the vision of the church is wrong, when in reality they are doing nothing to invest to keep the body growing themselves. A growing, maturing christian will take nutrition (worship, godly instruction, and preaching) but then perform a function just like the human body. Feed it and it can work for us…unlike a tumor that steals nutrition to grow and perform no function but maybe cause heartache and ailments.

Does this analogy work for you? It really hits home for me. Reread the definition now in light of what I’ve discussed. I pray I am not a tumor Christian. I encourage you to get involved but make it something you love. Granted help out where necessary but if you have to start a new ministry to use your passions go for it.

Come to the water’s edge all you who know and fear the Lord

18 Jan

As I am preparing for worship this Sunday, I am reading in Matthew 3:11-12 and Luke 3:15-17.  I am intrigued by something that John the Baptist says in those passages.  He tells the crowd around him that the One who is coming after him is much mightier than he is, and that John is unworthy to even carry his sandals.  It is important to note that in the Jewish culture of the day it was considered very low to carry, or even touch, someone’s shoes.  So John is saying that the Messiah’s shoes are so holy, that he can’t even carry them even though that would be considered an extremely dirty thing to do.  The thing that I am wondering is do I revere Jesus like that?  Do I live my life and relationship with Christ in a way that demonstrates that I believe He is the Almighty Creator of the Universe and everything in it?  I think that I struggle with this from time to time.  I have become so influenced by the “Jesus is my homeboy,” and the “Jesus wants to be my friend” rhetoric that I don’t, at times, ascribe the holiness to Jesus that He deserves.  Now I know, that Jesus wants to be in a relationship with me where He is closer than a brother. I understand that to some extent He does want to be my friend.  However, it does not end there.  He wants to be my friend, but there must also be a sense of fear present in my relationship with Him as well.  I am not trying to make you scared of Jesus, but rather I think that we need to keep a healthy fear and reverence of Jesus in the forefront of our minds. My prayer is that I live out my relationship with Jesus in a way that shows others how much a fear and revere him.

Come on baby make it hurt so good…

12 Jan

Ahh nothing like a little John Cougar Mellancamp to start a blog off right!  This title will make perfect sense shortly.  I am reading Craig Groeschel’s book “The Christian Atheist” currently and a quote from chapter 1 has been working in me for the past couple weeks so I thought I would blog about it.  Right at the end of the first chapter Craig writes, “Knowing him will make you ache to tell others about him.  Get to know God. When you do, you will never be the same.”  At first read I thought that sounded good.  Little did I realize that a bomb had been implanted in my brain that would not go off until several days later.  I continued reading through the book, and there are many other great blogs to be written in response to what I have read, but nothing has messed me up like those three little sentences have.  Let me explain.

God has brought those sentences to my mind on more than one occasion since I read them initially.  On one of those occasions the brain bomb exploded.  Don’t get me wrong I love to tell others about Jesus and the many things he has done for me, but the thought entered my mind, “When was the last time I actually ached to share the gospel?”  When was the last time that it actually “hurt so good” for me to get out and tell the world about Jesus?  I have been struggling with this over the past few days, and this morning I have felt pressed to deal with it.  This made me turn my thoughts back to the Bible.  Where was there an example of someone hurting for the gospel.  I thought immediately of Paul.  He writes in Philippians from prison.  In Phil. 1:12-14 he writes, “I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that is has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ.  And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.”  Paul was not in any way afraid of hurting for the gospel.  He knew, and lived out, the phrase, “Knowing him will make you ache to tell others about him.”

So now I’m back to the question, “Do I ache to tell others the gospel?”  I am praying that God will help me in this desire.  I want to tell everyone I see about Jesus, but at times I feel so inadequate to do so.  It is at those times that I must remember how God uses people in amazing ways despite their inadequacies.  I can be a tool in the hand of the Father that he uses to spread the gospel.  It will hurt at times, because I will be stretched and bent into His mold, but the end result is that it truly “hurts so good.”

So I’ll blame it on bad luck and I’ll shake responsibility

11 Jan

Don’t hate me if those lyrics by Bayside are bad…I don’t know the song just glanced at the lyrics because they were so fitting for my blogpost.

We live in the south and have been experiencing Snowpocalpyse or whatever silliness you want to term it. One thing besides snow that we’ve had is a ridiculous amount of news coverage. Along with this coverage is everyone blaming someone else for the trouble we are in…citizens blame the government for not clearing roads, cities and counties blame the state, and the state says it hit worse than we though (if they say anything at all). I’m not looking for anyone to blame but isn’t just like people to always pass the buck…try to blame others. As Christians even in church we try to blame others to save our butts. Take being prepared for a Sunday school lesson…we say oh well the kids were sick or I had a big meeting at work this week. Or if you were told to read through a passage in preparation for Sunday and failed to do so you might blame the teacher or pastor for not reminding you or for not making expectations clear. If we were to step back we would see that we were to blame.

2 Cor 5: 10 reminds me of when I will have to stand before God and account for my deeds. I realize it isn’t a perfect fit for what I’m talking about but if we are going to do this one day in front of God why not practice in front of people. People who like to call us hypocrits or better yet Christians who think they don’t measure up to other Christians, that appear to have it all under control.

I’ve loved the guy who was transporting cows and said because of GA he was going to lose the cows. Hello…he’s the goob that drove into this mess and caused himself trouble. See how often do we blame someone else for our mistakes or bad “luck” when we put ourselves in harm then get into some kind of trouble. Maybe we’re struggling to make ends meet but we decide that financing furniture for 3 years with no interest will not hurt but then we forget to save so we try and blame our boss that didn’t give us a raise or what about hanging out with certain friends where the conversation leads to ungodliness instead of building each other up. 2 Timothy reminds us to flee from things and this fleeing is supposed to protect us from getting into trouble.

We all blame but given that we are going to account for what we do in the end maybe we should work on it. Treat it like gossip or an addiction. It’s a lack of maturity and basically I need to flee and stop blaming…I’ll stop my blogvomit now.

How long oh Lord will You forget me? How long oh Lord will You hide, hide Your face from me?

10 Jan

This morning I was reading through Psalm 10.  The title to today’s post actually come from Psalm 13, but they have the same meaning as in Psalm 10.  In the Psalm the writer is lamenting the woes of everything that is going on around him.  Initially the writer believes that God is standing far off from Israel and simply letting anything and everything happen to the nation.  He speaks of the fact that there is rampant wickedness and evil in the land, and that it seems like there is no avenue of recourse against these people who practice evil.  It is generally not a fun time to be in Israel.

However, none of this had taken God by surprise.  The situation in Israel was never out of God’s control.  The writer in exclaims in verse 16, “The LORD is king forever and ever.”  Even though the situation around him was dire, the psalmist knew that God was in control and that He would be glorified through this situation.

I think there is a very strong parallel that we can draw from this as well.  The situation described by the psalmist is not drastically different from the national situation that we find ourselves in currently.  However God is still on his throne.  The fact of the matter is that at all times throughout history believers have lamented the evil, violence, criminal activity, and ungodliness that they witness around them.  But God is the hope for the hopeless, and He knows our troubles.  He is not a God who is unfamiliar with trials of his creation.  He knows the anguish that comes from living in a hopelessly broken world, but he also has the big picture in mind as well.  He knows that in the timeline of God the victory is already won.  He will return one day and establish an earthly kingdom where He will reign and believers will rule with him.  Oh how glorious that day will be!

So until then we may think at times that God has forgotten us, and it may seem like all hell literally has broken loose.  However, we must keep reading through the psalm and cry with the psalmist, “Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted…O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of earth may strike terror no more.”

All Along the Watchtower

7 Jan

I have been reading through Habakkuk over the past few days, and I have only made it to the beginning of chapter 2.  However I think that the way chapter two starts has had a profound effect on me this morning.  Habakkuk 2:1 ends a second complaint that Habakkuk has made to God about the way He is working in Israel at the time.  His first complaint at the beginning of the book is really more of a request for clarification than a complaint, and God answers him.  Habakkuk’s second complaint is more of a true complaint in that he speaks as though he disagrees with God’s methods of judgment for other lands.  You see God was using a wicked nation to destroy other wicked nations, and Habakkuk did not agree with God’s methodology.  However, the aspect of the complaint that impacted me was Habakkuk’s final statement.  In 2:1 Habakkuk says, “I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint.”

Habakkuk’s relationship ship with God was one of extreme intimacy.  He makes his complaint before God, an let’s his opinion be heard.  However, instead of making his complaint and then turning and running as I often do, Habakkuk stands firm to hear whatever response God has to his complaint.  The impact this had on me is this:  there are going to be times when I do not understand God’s methods, and there will be times when I may even disagree with God’s methods.  However, once I voice my concerns and disagreements, it is my responsibility to wait for God to respond to me.  His response may be one of explanation or it could be similar to the response that Job received when he voiced his concerns with God’s methodology.  Either way I must wait for the response before I run off as if I were the correct one in the situation.  Because if we are being truthful with ourselves, we know that our opinion is not the one that matters.  God is in control and sovereign over every situation.  Although, I think that it is important for us to seek understanding from God when we are struggling with a given situation.

It is my goal from now on to strive to take my place on the watchtower and wait for God to speak in stead of jumping to conclusions of my own.