Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Blogging Bugs

Hey everyone,
I'm sorry that I haven't blogged in a while, but this time it has not been entirely my fault. I've been having some internet issues and today is the first day in weeks that the internet has brought up my blog page. Its not fixed yet, but I am working on it, so please don't give up on me. I'm planning on changing my blog address and making my own page instead of the OBC youth page. Stay tuned for more details.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Fighting for Joy

There is no grey area in the Scriptures when it comes to whether or not we should serve the Lord with our good works. In fact, God prepared beforehand the good works that we would do for the purpose of His fame, glory and the gospel (i.e. "For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God had prepared beforehand so that we may walk in them" Ephesians 2:10). However, the question is whether or not it contaminates our motives if we seek pleasure from performing those good works. Some would argue that our only agenda must be to do the work, but not to seek a reward such as joy from said work. The reality is that Christ placated Himself, not only to secure our salvation, but to secure our joy (among many others reasons). The divine joy, as opposed to temporal joy, that we experience has been purchased through the blood of Christ and given to the church as a gift. To deny ourselves of joy is to say no thank you to the cross. Sadly, many are leading joyless lives and although their (the Church) joy has been purchased, they fail to receive the gift. How do we fight for a Joy that's ours? Here is a list of 15 ways to fight for joy that Desiring God posted on their website in 1995. Be challenged and enjoy.

1. Realize that authentic joy in God is a gift.
2. Realize that joy must be fought for relentlessly.
3. Resolve to attack all known sin in your life.
4. Learn the secret of gutsy guilt - how to fight like a justified sinner.
5. Realize that the battle is primarily a fight to see God for who he is.
6. Meditate on the Word of God day and night.
7. Pray earnestly and continually for open heart-eyes and an inclination for God.
8. Learn to preach to yourself rather than listen to yourself.
9. Spend time with God-saturated people who help you see God and fight the fight.
10. Be patient in the night of God's seeming absence.
11. Get the rest and exercise proper diet that your body was designed by God to have.
12. Make a proper use of God's revelation in nature.
13. Read great books about God and biographies of great saints.
14. Do the hard and loving thing for the sake of others (witness and mercy).
15. Get a global vision for the cause of Christ and pour yourself out for the unreached.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The God of our Pulpits

"The God of many a present day pupit is an object of pity rather than of awe-inspiring reverence. To say that God the Father has purposed the salvation of all mankind, that God the Son died with the express intention of saving the whole human race, and that God the Holy Spirit is now seeking to win the world to Christ; when, as a matter of common observation, it is apparent that the great majority of our fellow-men are dying in sin, and passing into a hopeless eternity: is to say that God the Father is disappointed, that God the Son is dissatisfied, that God the Holy Spirit is defeated. We have stated the issue badly, but there is no escaping the conclusion. To argue that God is "trying His best" to save all mankind, but that the majority of men will not let Him save them, is to insist that the will of the Creator is impotent, and that the will of the creature is omnipotent. To throw the blame, as many do, upon the Devil, does not remove the difficulty, for if Satan is defeating the purpose of God, then, Satan is Almighty and God is no longer teh Supreme Being." A.W. Pink "The Sovereignty of God"


Monday, January 25, 2010

What matters most

Recently, I've been confronted with the issue of what matters most and becoming what matters most. The confrontation was met in the book of Genesis as I read of Abraham being told to offer up his son, Isaac, as a sacrifice to God. As a father, with a 1 1/2 year old son I can identify with the turmoil that must have come over Abraham (Abram) when he was asked to do what God asked him to do. However, my son wasn't promised for many years before He arrived; Abraham, on the other hand, not only had to give up a son, but was told to give up the son that he had been promised and waited for for many years. In our day and culture if we were asked what matters most to us, we could quickly respond with "our children" or maybe "family". Abraham was asked, by God, what matters most to you? What do you value most? Do you value your child or do you value your King? Fortunately, this story has a happy ending, but the ending is not necessarily happy because Isaac's life was spared, but because God was valued more than anything by Abraham. What a tremendous perspective this gives us as we read through the pages of scripture and hear God saying "I am of the utmost VALUE"!!!!!!!
The challenge that screams out through the voice of God's word is to be and pursue what matters most. Its a sobering gut-check when I ask myself if I value Christ enough to offer up my son, my unborn daughter, my wife, hobbies, etc... all for the glory of God. Do I value my King enough to forsake it all? I would submit to you reader, if you're going to be what matters most in life, you must be willing to forsake it all for the one who matters most. The world says that you are a great dad if you do this or that, but if what you do is not for the glory of God than you're fatherhood is wasted. If what parents do and how they teach their children is a cultural norm but a transgression of God law than their parenthood is being wasted. If you're a student and your primary concern is to make the best grades, but your efforts are all self-centered rather than Christ-centered than you've wasted it. Suffice it to say, that in all that we do, we should do for the glory of God.
One indictment on Christianity today is the fact that we suffer from displaced value. We value our net worth, our social status and all other idolatrous indulgences more than we value the King. If the Lord asked you to give up your CEO status for His glory would you do it? If the Lord said stop looking for love in your high school dating scene and find true love in Me, could you do it? What if the Lord said pull your kid out of athletics on Sundays so that he/she will understand that I am more important, could you do it? What do you value most?
Do what matters most, be what matters most and pursue the one who matters most.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Post state of the reunion

This past weekend I mixed and mingled with friends and aqaintances that I haven't seen nor heard from in 10 years or better. I will admit, that despite what I anticipated, it turned out to be an enjoyable event. I can't begin to describe the thoughts and emotions that rose like the tide within me as I reflected on what once was and to be honest, I couldn't be happier. There is no comparison when thinking of the life that God has given me now and the life God delivered me from then. What had I done to deserves such blessings? The answer is nothing. God is just making much of Himself by dispensing some grace, of which I am a gratefully proud recipient. However, in the midst of my joy I mangaged to find sorrow in the fact that many, if not most, had no recognizable difference in terms of spirituallity. Yet, I sat in my chair next to my beautiful wife and was humbled by the notion that God would rescue me from an otherwise inescapable path, give me a wife that has a desire to grow in Christ, be theologically sound, who supports me in my calling and He is allowing me to be a part of leading His church is all a bit overwhelming. I wanted to look out across the room and scream out "ITS ALL A WASTE....REPENT!!!!!" Oh how I wish for a revival to sweep our nation for the glory of God. I am forever grateful that God has given me grace and faith so that I could be saved. I pray for that same salvivic grace to fall on the lives of those who have made idols for themselves and who have exalted creation over creator. There is a sad indictment against humanity with regards to our idolatry. Jesus is not an accesory nor a trinket that adds certain flair to spiritual cosmetics. However, unfortunately, thats what most have made Him. Far to many are sacrificing the Lordship of our soveriegn King on the altar of idolatry. REPENT!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Ten Years and Counting

If you're the one or two people who usually subscribe to this blog, please be informed that this particular post is not any attempt to unravel the knot of theological debate. However, i do wish to reflect on the last decade of my life as I anticipate my 10 year high school reunion coming up this Oct. 1st-3rd. Looking back, I'm further convinced of a God who works providencially through His creation. If I actually took time to type out the depths of my depravity (especially 10 years ago) we would both have aged considerably, not to mention you would have to step away from the screen as if you were watching some overly gorry horror film. Don't worry, I will spare you those incriminating details. But I will say this; I have been brought from a disrespectful, self-centered, disloyal, disingenuine, two-faced idolater to a man who is slap dab in the middle of the Lord's sanctifying work and I can't take one ounce of credit for it.
I've been asked a number of times if I would ever go back and relive highschool. The answer is a resounding no. I can count on one hand the redeeming values that I walked away with from high school. The problem wasn't high school itself, but the choices that I made during it. Now that I've been an alum for over 10 years that whole hindsight concept is really prevelant. The worst years of my life have been spent as a teenager. Oddly enough, I spend my life ministering to those who are at the age that that was the most trouble for me. To this day, I am overwhelmed at the grace of God in my life. In the last 10 years, I've gone from those above mentioned characteristics to pastor, committed husband and father. Who would've thought. Not Me!!!! And do you think that for one moment I just randomly, in the midst of my pursuing the flesh, deciding to follow Jesus? Hahahahahahhahahahahahahahahha How ignorant is that? I didn't decide on a whim, Jesus broke me and interposed Hmself into my life; thats what happened. How dare I take away the workings of Christ by taking credit for something I could never do?
In few short weeks I will be seeing many old friends that only remember me as I remember them. That simply will not do. I've been upgraded and I want them all to know. If the Lord wills, I will get to share my story with many who, unfortunatley, are no better off than they were a decade ago. If you're reading this, please pray for me as I set out to make much of Christ among my former peers. For the glory of the Lord.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Ministry Idolatry

This is a sermon by Mark Driscoll who is the pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seatlle. This sermon was preached at the Advance 09 conference in North Carolina a few weeks ago. The basic premise is to exhort those who take good things and make them into god things which in turn, become bad things; namely, idolatry.