Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Importance of Doctrine

I thought this was a good article about the importance of teaching theology/doctrine in our churches:

Take this as a challenge to go beyond the surface learning of the Bible.

The Importance of Doctrine

I thought this was a good article about the importance of teaching theology/doctrine in our churches:

Take this as a challenge to go beyond the surface learning of the Bible.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Blog News for June 21, 2011

An Excellent wife is Forged, Not Found

The Cello Song (I thought this was cool!)

What the Sermon on the Mount Does Not Mean (great reminder)

All Out of Whack (how we talk about secondary issues)

While style of music may be an element of the worship experience that can be done better or may need to change, I wholeheartedly agree with this post. There is much more to it than just worship style and music. - It's Probably Not the Worship Style

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Things that are Sharp

Cameron and I have been watching a show on the History channel called “Modern Marvels: World’s Sharpest”. They have been looking at different contexts to find the sharpest “blades” in the world. They have looked at razor blades, Japanese swords, wood chippers, shredders, lasers and other machines.

It made me think of God’s Word, the bible. Particularly, I was drawn to several passages of scriptures:

2 Timothy 3:16-17 - All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

Hebrews 4:12-13 - For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Ephesians 6:17 - and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God

When we are confronted about sin, oftentimes, we readily admit those things that are “surface” and easy to see. However, the Word of God as the sword of the Spirit, cuts much deeper than the surface and goes deep into our soul.

It goes beyond the surface to the motives and hidden parts of our heart. It cuts deep. It “lays us bare” before the Lord so that nothing is hidden. All is exposed.

Then it brings us to the gospel, to the cross—truly the only answer for our sins…

“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Presence of God

In Exodus 33, God commands the people of Israel to leave Sinai, but he makes what is termed a "disastrous word" in v. 4. That is, "but I will not go up among you, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked."

The "disastrous word" was the threat of the removal of God's presence from their midst on their way to the Promised Land.

Later on Moses responds to God by saying, "If you presence will not go with me, do not bring up from it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth."

Also in Exodus 33-34, Moses would meet with God in the tent of meeting, the dwelling place of God's presence. Every time he went to the tent, the people would worship outside their own tents. Then in Exodus 33:11, it says that Joshua, the son of Nun would not "depart from the tent." Another translation says that he "lingered" at the tent--in the presence of God.

Though I believe the presence of the Lord is specially present when God's people meet together, we no longer have to "linger" in a particular place to experience the presence of God because Jesus has replaced the "place" and sent us the Holy Spirit who is the very presence of God indwelling all believers.

The particular "place" we meet is really irrelevant. What matters is the presence of the Holy Spirit among God's people as we exalt Christ and turn our attention toward his person and work in expressions of worship with clean hands and pure hearts (John 4:1-26).

Vacationing to the Glory of God

1 Corinthians 10:31 - "whatever you do, whether you eat or what you drink do all to the glory of God"

I suppose we must conclude that the application of this verse includes vacationing. I thought about this earlier this morning while walking along the beach and listening to a sermon by Mark Driscoll on my iPod. He was preaching from Luke 18 about Jesus' statement that the whole bible was about Him. And, I'm walking along the beach that Jesus created and told that ocean "you can only come so far."

Worship--to think that the God of the universe who created all this loves me; yes, "the wonder of it all!"

That began my first morning of vacation today, by God's grace.

I humbly desire that my family and me will vacation to the glory of God, but how?

Here are a few suggestions offered humbly:
1. Spend a little extra time in God's Word

2. Make sure you love and enjoy your family (whoever you are vacationing with), they are gifts from God to be enjoyed for his glory

3. Rest - the rhythm of life in creation (Genesis 1-2)

4. Be wise in your entertainment choices (This is wise for all time, but especially on vacation. we tend to "indulge" ourselves on vacation because we think we deserve it.)

5. Be sure not to neglect the body of Christ - If you are away on a Sunday morning, I would encourage to find a local church to meet with. If you are at the beach, find a group of Christians having their service on the beach.

Please don't take these suggestions as hard-fast rules. They are offered by someone who is on a journey to discover more fully how to live all of life to God's glory.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Consumerism in the Church

Consumerism is a mindset that is pervasive in our culture. Many times, unfortunately, it makes its way into the church. Instead of “having this mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus”, many people consistently “look out for their own interests” instead of the interests of others.

Often, consumerism in the church shows up when we treat the church as a restaurant instead of a family. When we go to a restaurant, we expect to be served by the wait staff, for the food to be cooked just to our liking, our glasses filled all the time, and absolutely no wrong orders or mess ups. We order what we want, and if we don’t like it, we complain to the manager and refuse to give a tip (in most cases). And, that may be the proper way to view a restaurant, but not the church, not the body of Christ.

With family, it’s different. Everyone in the family is important and is expected to contribute to the total well-being of the family. It’s about give and take. It’s about “looking out for others’ interests and not our own.” It’s about serving each other for their good. It’s about sacrificing for each other. It’s about what is good and healthy and right for the whole family—not just one individual. The whole family—the whole church body—looking out for each other, serving each other, sacrificing for each other, esteeming others as more important than ourselves.

At the heart of consumerism in the church is self-centeredness and the perversion of the American Dream that says, “I have the right to my life, my liberty, my pursuit of my happiness in the church” regardless of others’ needs and interests. Jesus said that finding our life would be losing it and losing our life for his sake would be where we would truly find it.

At the root of this heart attitude ultimately is idolatry. The idol? Self. It becomes all about our preferences, and making sure our wants are met—at the expense and to the exclusion of others.

How do we view the church—a restaurant or a family?

Blog News for June 9, 2011

Celebrity Pastors (good counsel)

Cost of Discipleship

Precision within Idolatry (very good article in thinking about our idols)

Putting on Christ/Putting off sin

When the bible calls you stupid (interesting & worth the read)

College Education and Discipleship

I just read this article over at Church and Culture by James Emery White about college education.

I was struck by this paragraph as he quotes some researchers commenting on the waywardness of colleges to fulfill their primary responsibilities as academic institutions (please read the whole article to get the context):

The dilemma, says Arum and Roska, is that schools have come to care more about such things as “admission yields, graduation rates, faculty research productivity, pharmaceutical patents, deluxe dormitory rooms, elaborate student centers and state-of-the-art athletic facilities complete with luxury boxes” than a quality education. Or more succinctly, “Colleges have abandoned responsibility for shaping students’ academic development and instead have come to embrace a service model that caters to satisfying students’ expressed desires.”

It's that last sentence that caused me to think about many churches today. Maybe we could change a few words and it would read like this: "[Many] churches have abandoned responsibility for shaping [church members' spiritual maturity] and instead have come to embrace a [consumer/customer] model that caters to satisfying [church members'] expressed desires."

May God save us from our consumer mentality.

What do you think?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Friday, June 3, 2011

Blog News for June 3, 2011

5 Questions on The Mission of the Church

Why Apple is Doomed (interesting)


Leadership Questions to Ask

11 Things Repentance is Not (good, considering we are in the book of Jonah)

The Word of God

I read the following paragraph in John Piper’s book Finally Alive this past week on pg. 171:

“What will it take so that thousands of Christians in our churches become passionate about telling the gospel to unbelievers? One of the reasons we don’t do it as much as we should is that life in America is so entertaining that thoughts about desperate, eternal, spiritual need are hard for us to fell, let alone talk about. The world is just too interesting and entertaining. It feels awkward to make ourselves of others uncomfortable with thoughts about perishing people. It’s heavy. But life in America is light”

Though he is talking about personal evangelism, I believe his words can also be applied to the reason why many Christians are apathetic and indifferent to spiritual things, particularly toward the intake of God’s Word and the application of that Word to our daily lives.

The absolute essential nourishment for our souls is the Word of God. When we neglect it, we do so to the detriment of the health of our souls.

Deuteronomy 8:3 says, “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

1 Peter 2:2 says, “like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation.”

Psalm 1:1-3 tells us, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.”

May God grant to us, his people, an insatiable hunger for His Word—to love it and to live it.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Confession and Repentance

Confession and repentance are on-going acts of obedience in the lives of true Christians. The deeper we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, the more aware of the depth of our sin we become. Subsequently, the more aware of our sin we become, the more aware of our desperate need of the gospel we become. Therefore, the more consistent we confess and repent of our sin as we dive deeper into the gospel of grace.