Who Knows Where We’ll Go From Here

So I can’t really sleep right now for some reason. That stinks, but what are you going to do. I was just thinking about something that my wife said as a comment on my blog from the other day. It was random, but it got me thinking. She suggested that her and I start doing a blog together. I personally think that it is a great idea, so look for a link to it soon. But more so than that, the next thing she said is what got me thinking. She suggested that we do a blog together, because we might be more productive in writing if we work together. Okay follow me here. I think that it is such a perfect way to look at marriage initially and ultimately the Christian life. Of course, Kim and I are more productive when we work together, but I think that we are also more creative when we work together as well. This makes for great innovation in the way we parent the girls, and it makes for less dull time in our relationship as well. The work for the Kingdom of God would benefit greatly if we could follow this simple way of living. If we work together, serve together, and love God together we can accomplish so much more for Him. The Lone Ranger mentality truly has no place in the realm of Christianity. However, it has come to the point now where pastors and lay people alike feel they have to one up each other in order to get people to “their” church. Seriously?! I am pretty sure that is not what God had in mind when Jesus gave the Great Commission. Why does it matter if people you meet and serve in your community go to specifically your church. Just the fact that they enter any church, so long as it is a Bible believing, God serving church, is a good thing. So much cooperative community outreach ministry is hindered by the fact that each of the churches involved is too concerned with who will get the prospects from the event.

I did not mean to go on a rant, but I think that it is unhealthy, and unbiblical for that matter, for each of us to think that we have the corner on the outreach ministry market. Think of what we could do if we were willing to put aside the idea of growing “our” church and focused on growing His kingdom. This is the point that I currently find the American church, and I think these are questions that must be answered if we desire to continue to be relevant in the world.

Be encouraged to make alliances with other Christians in your community, and infiltrate your city with the love of Christ.

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Published in: on December 12, 2009 at 4:10 am  Leave a Comment  
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You are holy, great and mighty. The moon and the stars declare who You are.

Have you ever thought about the fact that worship is not about us?  It really isn’t, you know?  It has everything to do with God.  We are pouring out ourselves so that we can be filled with Him.  Our worship is a response to all of the things that God has done for us.  When we weigh out all of the things that He has done for us, we truly have no other response than a genuine, biblical worship that involves thanksgiving, praise, and adoration.  I wonder if any of you have taken to time to think about what we are actually doing when we worship.  Worship should be an engagement between mankind and God, between the finite and the infinite, between humanity and deity.  It is an opportunity for us, as humans, to thank Jesus, as God, for the many things that He has done for us.  There are no rituals that must be performed or special words that must be said, only there must be a heart willing to connect with the eternal greatness of the Creator.  Think about that this week as we are inching ever closer to Christmas.  It is the point where the eternal God intersected with temporary humanity in order that we may have life.

Published in: on December 8, 2009 at 4:35 pm  Comments (1)  
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On your mark, get set, GO!

So I have been listening to and watching the CDs and DVDs from Catalyst ’09.  I am remembering all of the great things that I heard at the conference, and I cannot help but have the question rattling around in my head, What is keeping me, or anyone for that matter, from being on HIS mark?  I us the word HIS purposefully.  Anyone can make a mark for themselves, but only a few can truly say that they can make a mark for the Lord.  In the opening session, Andy Stanley made this statement, “My mark is something far too small to spend my life working for, but God’s mark is worth everything within me and all my energy.”  That idea has caused me to think a lot over the past few days.  Am I wasting my life trying to make a mark for myself, or have I truly committed myself to letting God make His mark in and through me?  I believe that I have committed myself to God’s direction and His mark, but at times I know that my sinful and selfish nature shine through in doing things for myself.  It is the constant struggle between my flesh and my spirit.  I have the desire to live for God, but at times I stifle it in order to serve myself.  I hate it that that has to be a struggle for all of humanity, but I know that it is so that God can be glorified.  Therefore, I leave you with this question: Are you spending your life striving to leave your mark, or are you surrendering your life so that God can make His mark through you?  I would love to hear your responses.

Published in: on November 19, 2009 at 10:42 am  Comments (2)  
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We hurts with those who are hurting

So all this week we have been trying to get our oldest daughter, AG, to feel better.  She has the flu, unfortunately.  No, it isn’t H1N1 or anything, but it is the flu none the less.  I absolutely hate seeing her in pain and not feeling well.  This has been going on since Friday evening.  As I sit and watch her either sleep peacefully or watch TV while she is awake, I cannot help but think of the way that God the Father watches us.  I know that it may seem like a stretch to some people, but my relationship with AG is a reflection of God the Father’s relationship to me.  I know that the Bible says that God hurts with us in our suffering.  I hurt with AG as she has been going through the flu.  I wonder how incredibly more upset God is as he sees us suffering in the world be it through our own miscues or be it because of something else in this sinful world.  I just know that, as a father, I simply cannot stand it to see my little girl hurting, and I also know that my love and concern for AG is dwarfed by the love that God the Father has for me.  Therefore, I know that God is concerned with the suffering that we experience while here on earth.

However, I also know that God’s grace is made new every morning.  We can rest assured in the fact that God is still in control, and He is still on His throne.  Just as our spiritual strength is renewed every morning by God’s grace, I pray that the morning will bring renewed strength and wellness for little AG.

Published in: on October 29, 2009 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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“Then we will see the glory of the Lord, all eyes will see…”

I have begun reading a book entitled “Engaging With God: A Biblical Theology of Worship” by David Peterson for one of the courses I am taking this semester at seminary.  I have been challenged and uplifted by this book in just the first few chapters.  I love the way that Peterson thinks and articulates his thoughts.  On page 100 he writes, “New-covenant worship is essentially the engagement with God that he has made possible through the revelation of himself in Jesus Christ and the life he has made available through the Holy Spirit.”  I love that thought.  So often we think about what we, as humans, can bring to the table in worship.  However, in all truthfulness worship does not even originate within us.  We worship because God allows us to do so.  We have nothing to offer on our own, and the only way that we ever have anything to offer back to God is because he gave it to us to begin with.  When we come into worship we have nothing of our own to offer back to God, but rather we give back out of the overflow of what God has filled us with.  On page 101 Peterson writes, “God’s presence and God’s glory…are fully and finally experienced in Jesus Christ.”  The Old Testament understanding that the presence and glory of God dwelt only in the tabernacle or temple was done away with in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  As Jesus is revealed to us, the very glory of God is revealed to us as well.  Think, then, of the implications of knowing Christ ever more intimately.  We begin to understand the glory of God more intimately as well.

Life is full of light and shadows, oh the joy, oh the sorrows

It has been a while since I blogged.  I just get so busy sometimes, and sharing my thoughts falls to the bottom of the priority list.  However, I am here now, and I will share.  A lot has happened since I last blogged.  We are starting a Hispanic service at Westside Baptist Church.  I am really excited about it.  A Hispanic service is something that is really needed in our community, and I really think that God is going to use this to change lives in the Hispanic population of our community.  We have felt as a staff that God has been leading us to this point for several months, and it is now actually going to happen.  I pray that God will bless and direct it.  Another thing that has happened is that the new David Crowder Band album has come out as well.  It is a great album.  I highly recommend that you get it if you do not have it already.  I think that it is one of the band’s most theologically deep works to date.  The title of today’s blog comes from the song “Shadows”.  One portion of the chorus says, “When all seems lost when we’re thrown and we’re tossed, we’ll remember the cost, we’re resting in the shadow of the cross.”  I love that!  No situation that we come into contact with in this life seem nearly as significant when viewed from the lens of the cross.  I think that we, as Christians, lose sight of that fact from time to time.  We can truly rest in the shadow of the cross.

I hope to bring a word of encouragement from several other songs from the album.  I hope that everyone has a great day.

The universe declares Your majesty….

It has been a while since I have written to the seven people who actually follow my blog regularly, so I guess I apologize.  Anywho…I have been leading the youth in a study through the Book of Titus, and last night we covered Titus 1:10-16.  We talked about false teachers, and what they look like.  I really want the youth to understand that they need to know what false teachers look like and how they behave so that they can point them out when they see them.  I made the statement, “Whether you realize it or not, and whether you embrace it or not you guys are the future leaders of the church.  And you have to decide if you are going to lead in the right direction or the wrong direction.”  My prayer is that through this study of Titus the youth will get a good understanding of what it means to be a productive member of the local church.

I also want to write today about the latest Hubble space telescope press release that came out yesterday.  You should definitely check it out, click here.  These images are completely amazing.  There is no question in my mind that God has His hand in every corner of creation.  He is the masterful Creator of all the universe.  These images that have been released are breathtaking. My personal favorite is the butterfly nebula.  It is beautiful.  I encourage everyone to go check out the images.  God is amazing, and the universe is screaming it out at the top of its lungs.

You and I were made to worship…

We are created in the image of God to be His representation here on earth.  This is not something that should be taken lightly by anyone.  When we have this understanding of ourselves and what we were created as, it necessitates that we live a certain way.  Wayne Grudem wrote,

Every single human being, no matter how much the image of God is marred by sin, or illness, or weakness, or age, or any other disability, still has the status of being in God’s image and therefore must be treated with the dignity and respect that is due to God’s image-bearer.”

I truly believe that if people could get this concept into their minds, then the world in which we live would be drastically different.  There would be no problem between races, classes, cultures, or economic levels, because we are all created in God’s image and deserve respect as being His image bearer.  This fact should cause us to break out into worship, because we get the specific privilege of bearing God’s image.  The creator of the universe chose to impress His image onto us, and we truly have no other response than unadulterated and unhindered worship of that Creator.

How do I love her?

I really think that this blog corresponds directly with Kim’s Blog. I begin today’s post with a passage from Ephesians:

“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.” – Eph. 5:22-24

I begin with this because many people know it, and men have used this passage for centuries in order to lord over their wives in every way.  I am not in any way insinuating that this is not the way God intended it to be.  I think that this is the perfectly ordained order that God would have.  Wives should submit under the leadership of their husbands as equals in essence, but different in substance.  This is the way that God created it to be. However, many people, women included have an improper view of what this means.  I think that for too long people have laughed their way through the discussion of these three verses.  It think that the problem lies in the fact that people do not continue to read past verse 24.  Beginning in verse 25 we find:

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor , without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” – Eph. 5:25-27

Yes the wife is to submit herself under the leadership of her husband, but the husband in turn is to love her with a Christ-like love.  This does not mean that he laughs about the fact that she is to be made subject to him or that he treats her as if she is a slave to do anything for him.  I just think that it is time that men quit laughing their way through discussions about their wives’ submission.  Although the wife is submitting, the husband must love her in return the same way that Christ loves the church.  This really puts a huge amount of responsibility on the husband.

I guess what I am trying to say is that it is time for men, Christian men, to stop treating women as if they are inferior in every way.  Men and women are equal.  God has simply placed men in the position of leadership in the family.

I would love to know what people think about this subject.  Please comment and let me know.

Published in: on August 23, 2009 at 10:29 pm  Comments (2)  
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I been gone so long, I almost can’t remember…

I know it has been forever since I blogged.  I have had a really busy month of August so far.  It has been a productive month though.  I have started back to seminary this week, so all of that is getting under way.  I think that it is going to be a great semester.  I am taking four of the last six classes that I have to take for seminary.  It is exciting, but crazy at the same time.  At times over the past three years I have thought that I would never get finished, but it is actually here already.  I will be graduating in May with a Masters on Divinity with a Specialization in Worship Studies.  I cannot believe it.  I will have a masters degree.  How crazy is that?  I am excited though.

Things are going great with the family.  Both of the girls are doing great, and they are growing and developing so quickly.  AG is so incredibly smart, and she remembers everything. (And I do mean everything.)  But they are doing great.  Kim is doing great as always.  She is as beautiful as ever and as wonderful as ever.

Last night I started a new series with the youth about the book of Titus.  I think that Titus holds some things that will truly benefit the youth and me as well.  I just introduced it last night and we talked about Paul’s greeting to Titus.  I think that it is time that youth get a better understanding of what it means to be a young man or woman for Christ.  It does not mean that they float through life until they graduate high school or college, but rather they can make an impact for the name of Jesus even now.  I think that it is important for our kids, and us for that matter, to understand that we are not really of that much consequence in the grand of the scheme of things.  As teenagers, and as adults, we so often think so highly of ourselves, but really we are tiny people on a tiny little orb called earth floating through the vastness of space.  However, we have a God who knows us by name, and He wants to have a relationship with us.  He also wants us to shine Him to everyone that we come into contact with.  I think that the series is going to be great.

I hope that everyone feels up to date.  I hope that everyone has a great day.