Wednesday, December 14, 2005
So here is the question…
What is wrong with the World?
That is the question. I would love to hear from you and I would love to respond as well. So please take the time to think about the question and please take the time to respond as well
God be with you.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
This post is in memory of Emma (Emmadorable) the most loving little dog there ever was. She gave all the love she had everyday to anyone who would accept it and sadly I am sure she still had more love to give. I will miss her attacks on the vaccum and the windshield wipers. I will miss the way her whole body trembled because she was so excited you were finally home. I will miss her running throught the yard full tilt trying to catch the squirrels and then barking at the wrong tree that she was sure they had run up. I will miss her cute growl. But above all I will miss her love and kisses. Without a doubt Emma had the cute's.
Monday, October 17, 2005
Speaking from a Christian perspective: I am finding the need to recapture the understanding of the meaning and devastation created by the sin of mankind. I go to church and hear these types of statements "it is only the blood of Jesus that forgives us", "what can wash away my sin, nothing but the blood of Jesus", "we have to call sin sin and not compromise to the world in our preaching." Those are great things to say, sing and think, but without taking time to reflect on the true meaning and consequences of sin they are empty words. Too often I hear words without the depth of reflection. I can't remember the last time someone preached a sermon about the depth of mankind’s sinful depravity. For this I think there are few reasons which do have some merit.
First, the objection by so many to a sharp edged sermon on sin is the fact that people will claim "we have been set free from sin", "we are washed in the blood of Christ, our sin is gone". Which is true of all the sins for which we have repented of, but what about the sins we find ourselves stumbling into everyday since we believed in Christ?
What about the doctrine of progressive sanctification? I would rebut that while all of the previous comments about the forgiveness of God through Christ are valid, I think most people don't want to be reminded of their depravity, previously or currently, and this is a good way to avoid having the conversation. All people get good at avoiding situations that are uncomfortable. We all want to think of ourselves as good people. But, we are not good people and that is why Christ, Fully man and Full God had to sacrificially die a vicarious death for all of mankind of to have any hope of restoration of full relationship with our Creator.
I have come to think that recapturing the understanding of the incredible depth of our depravity b/c of sin is a very good thing. When we stop to remember how bad we have been and how much more we need to be changed by the power of God it makes God's grace and forgiveness come fully into the light of Truth. Romans 5:8 tells us that while we were still "sinners", literally translated it means God Haters, God commended His love toward us and sent Christ to die for us. Amazing Grace! That is some kind of love. Even with all of my sins after believing in Christ as Lord and Savior I still have assurance that he is with me, to change me not to overlook my yet existent sins. I must acknowledge to Him how depraved I am. How weak my faith is. How unworthy I am of any of His attention or care.
In this state I see myself for who I am and who God really is. “What is man that you should be mindful of him?” The answer from a just, merciful, and graceful God seems to be this, “Man is my creation, made in My image, a reflection of Myself.”
Remembering our sinful depravity only makes the goodness of God shine brighter and an ever darkening world. Reflecting on how much forgiveness God has had on your soul. Then try not to praise Him.
Monday, October 03, 2005
Blessings from God are not to make us happy. Well, at least that is not to be there primary goal. However, it sure seems like when I pray or others pray for each other that we ask God "to bless us" which seems like a great thing to ask. I wonder though if the under current of that prayer is not some thing more like this, "Lord I want you to make me happy and comfortable and to make sure that nothing goes wrong in my life or the lives of my friends and family."
Now this is not a bad thing to want in itself, but too often Christian are so theological weak that they equate trials and tribulations with judgment from God. There is an old saying that attempts to answer those thoughts like this, "God is good, you are bad, now stop it." Is this not what Job's friends told him and incidentally were only saved from God's wrath b/c of the intercession of Job?
So really, I think I have this right before God, when we pray we should ask God to bless us according to His will for our lives as they are lived to fulfill the kingdom of God. No matter what comes we know we are living for the glory of God. Whether we are persecuted and imprisoned or have all the finest things on earth of our entire existence in the flesh we can know that we have the blessing of God.
As examples I think of John the Baptist, Paul and of course Christ himself. When they faced hard times, even death, they never wrote "woe is me God has abandoned me." No they kept their focus on the higher life, that of eternity. That is where the never ending blessing is, that is the finish line, that is the land of true blessing. This, here and now, is not the land of blessing. This is not the promised land, we have to cross the Jordan, whether that is the return of the Lord or death, we have not yet reached the land of blessing. So when you pray don't pray for good things to come your way, pray that you will be able to build the kingdom of God on Earth and reflected his love and goodness to all you see and all who hear of you. I call this living for the higher life.
Keep the end in mind. Live not for blessing on this Earth live for blessing in eternity.
"Live such a good life among the pagans that they may see your good deeds and praise your father who is in Heaven." - Mt 5:16
"For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain." - Philippians 1:21
"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." - Rom 8:18
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places: A Conversation in Spiritual Theology
by Eugene Peterson
Think about those two sentences. talk to me
Thursday, September 15, 2005
God Bless ya 'eh
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Today i wanted to share a brief passage from a old Christian text. Below is a short history of the Canons of Dort, and following the history is one of the most beautiful passages of theology I have ever read. Enjoy. mark
The oldest of the doctrinal standards of the Christian Reformed Church is
the Confession of Faith, popularly known as the Belgic Confession, following
the seventeenth-century Latin designation "Confessio Belgica." "Belgica"
referred to the whole of the
divided into the
Guido de Bres, a preacher of the Reformed churches of the
died a martyr to the faith in the year 1567. During the sixteenth century the
churches in this country were exposed to the most terrible persecution by the
Roman Catholic government. To protest against this cruel oppression, and to
prove to the persecutors that the adherents of the Reformed faith were not
rebels, as was laid to their charge, but law-abiding citizens who professed
the true Christian doctrine according to the Holy Scriptures, de Bres prepared
this confession in the year 1561.
Article 1: Belief
We all believe in our hearts
and confess with our mouths
that there is a single
whom we call God
and the overflowing source
of all good.
Article 2: The Means by Which We Know God
of the universe,
since that universe is before our eyes
like a beautiful book
in which all creatures,
great and small,
are as letters
to make us ponder
the invisible things of God:
his eternal power
and his divinity,
as the apostle Paul says in Romans 1:20.
All these things are enough to convict men and to leave them without excuse.
Second, he makes himself known to us more openly
by his holy and divine Word,
as much as we need in this life,
for his glory
and for the salvation of his own.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Have you seen her? Panacea I mean. The daughter of Aesclpius (Greek god of healing) and Epione. She is the goddess that can cure all, with herbs, and solves all difficult problems. Surely you have seen her?
At least I am assuming a lot of people have seen her b/c their answers to difficult questions are, to them, the cure for the question. Clearly if all of humanity would listen to them then their would be no need for such petty arguments. Ever.
Clearly, and sadly, she does not exist. There is no cure for all disease and no one person that can answer with adept wisdom the toughest questions ever.
So why do you fight and argue like madmen to be right. Why do we tear entire churches and families apart in our desperate attempt to be the final authority on an issue? Clearly we need to see, as the Bible teaches us to see, that we must love one another even if we disagree. And if we have no love we have no God.
There is great need for discussion and passionate debate about real, meaningful, weighty issues. This is part of why I write this blog, so people can help me see things from their point of view. But at the end of the discussion, dialogue, debate we all need to hug and walk away realizing Panacea does not exist. There is no perfect way of doing things. In fact there is rarely a best way of doing things. There are just ways that work and ways that don't work so let's try to find the best in everything and love each other even though it may not be what we wanted.
Monday, August 01, 2005
Monday, July 18, 2005
In life it seems as though we search and search. We find truth and then we find more truth. This never enough thought we want more. In the search for God we turn our selves around, inside out and every which way. We go to churches we talk to people, but seldom do we find or stay in the state of freedom that comes from true surrender to Christ. To often we are looking all over for the truth and yet it is right with us all along.
Lately the thing that is recapturing my heart is the simplicity of sitting in a room a talking to God, simply reading the Words of God slowly. Maybe only a chapter at a time or even better just one story at a time to get the full meaning and maybe reading it again the next day and the day after that. Too often I, and many others, make the mistake of thinking that if I go to church the pastor will miraculously say something that will solve all my problems, answer all my questions, take away my hurts. Then week after week we leave church having never found what we really wanted.
You see I think the key is turning simply to God and not expecting man to have any answers. We are all weak and poorly informed on the mind and ways of God. We can see far too little to be authorities. Daily we need to turn all of our attention to God. We need to realize it is He alone who is the "I am." Another way to look at this statement by God would be if he had said "Whatever you need, I am. Wherever you are, I am."
This is a key to life, turn to God as your greatest need and deepest source. God is near, always. God is with those that love and serve him, always.
Thursday, July 07, 2005
What a terrible event. What a barbaric act of terrorism. Let us all continue to stand for Truth, Justice, and Freedom.
God be with all the soliders around the world who preserve and protect our freedoms. Thank you and God Bless you all.
Monday, July 04, 2005
Maybe this was the inspiration to the following song by St. Francis of Assisi written sometime between 1181 - 1226.
Arrangement and Additional Chorus: David Crowder
VERSE 1: ALL PEOPLE OF OUR GOD AND KING
LIFT UP YOUR VOICE AND LET US SING
O PRAISE HIM, ALLELUIA
THE BURNING SUN WITH GOLDEN BEAMS
THE SILVER MOON THAT SOFTLY GLEAMS
O PRAISE HIM O PRAISE HIM
VERSE 2: THE RUSHING WIND THAT IS SO STRONG
THE CLOUDS THAT SAIL IN HEAV’N ALONG
O PRAISE HIM, ALLELUIA
THE RISING MOON IN PRAISE REJOICE
THE LIGHTS OF EVENING FIND A VOICE
O PRAISE HIM, O PRAISE HIM
VERSE 3: LET ALL THINGS THEIR CREATOR BLESS
AND WORSHIP HIM IN HUMBLENESS
O PRAISE HIM, ALLELUIA
PRAISE, PRAISE THE FATHER PRAISE THE SON
AND PRAISE THE SPIRIT THREE IN ONE
O PRAISE HIM, O PRAISE HIM
VERSE 4: PRAISE, PRAISE THE FATHER PRAISE THE SON
AND PRAISE THE SPIRIT THREE IN ONE
O PRAISE HIM, O PRAISE HIM
Thursday, June 30, 2005
I serve a God, whom I believe to be the only God, of whom I have such an infinitesimal understanding it is boggling to think about the amount of knowledge that I lack yet “He”, possesses. Even the statement “He” is an expression of our cultural need to frame the Almighty God and Creator of all things in a category and context to which we can more easily relate. In reality near as I can humanly deduct “He” is a Spirit as I understand and believe “Him” to have been revealed through scripture and personal experience. Yet when I speak to others I speak as one who speaks for this God, which is in fact what the Bible tells me to do. So often I speak as though I have a perfect understanding of every thing about Him. I tend to act as though, because I have this belief in Him, that my understanding of the world in which all of us live is more precise than those who do not believe in him or at least do not appear to be trying to live the way “I” understand him to be directing us to live.
Maybe in some ways my understanding is more precise, but what if they have a better understanding of the world in certain other areas than I do? Who am I to say that they are always so far off? If we are all searching for the truth about the world around us are we not trying to find the same thing? Even if our beliefs about the world and its origins differ; are we really not still searching for the same thing? Truth is Truth is it not? As it has been stated somewhere “All truth is God’s truth”.
This struggle for truth can be illustrated by considering the subject of math. Mathematical rules are the same no matter what your religion, language, or culture. No matter where you live 2+2=4. Why can we, Christians, not stop and listen to and engage in conversation and critical thought the observations or analysis of all people. Maybe before we throw out all of their ideas, before we flag them all as destructive to our faith we could stop and say “Hey that is a provoking thought let me think about it some more. Are you available to get together to talk about it again sometime soon?” Maybe really other cultures religions and worldviews are not as destructive to our faith as they are to our religious institutions. This might just be the answer here to the why question.
What are we so afraid of? Why in recent history have Christians been so afraid to engage in meaningful discussion with the world in which we live? Are we afraid we might have to adjust the way we think about the Bible & God? Well I am sure that we do have to adjust the way we think about the Bible, God, and the world we live in! Just like the Jewish people needed to readjust their theology and worldview about God when God, Jesus, (just to keep things clear) came to live with them and restore relationship with them again. How ironic is it that the Church, generally speaking, has become the modern day parallel of the Pharisees. We condemn those ignorant, blind, stupid Pharisees, but who is to say we are not doing the same things right now with the ideas and scientific discoveries that surround us. The Pharisees’ world and ideas were being totally challenged by this Jesus guy from nowhere who claimed to be the “Son of God”. Think about that for a minute. Think about the ramification of claiming to be the Son of Yaweh in Jewish culture. Put yourself in their shoes.
So again why are we, Christians, so afraid to explore these ideas and discoveries with the world around us to determine what truth, if any, can be extracted from them for the benefit of society in general.
The Copernican Revolution is a great example of science turning the theological world upside down by claim that the Earth revolved around the Sun. The scientists and priest who believed in these new ideas, and often in God too by the way, were burned at the stake. Which is a simply the most polite historical term for saying they were tortured by being burned alive in front of the entire town. Maybe we are not burning people anymore, but do we ostracize them from our gatherings. Maybe there is no physical scarlet letter, but there is an unspoken stereotype and if we are all honest with ourselves we know this is the truth.
I am writing this to challenge us to think. To reconsider some long held, possibly unconsciously held, paradigms of thought. Why can’t we be more engaging with the world around us and listen to ideas instead of just trying to make it all fit into a framework of thought that I am sure is so skewed, b/c God’s mind is so immeasurable and ours is so feeble in comparison that we will be shocked by our ignorance at the end of this life. Why can we not engage people all of faiths and creeds, those with and without values, that are honestly looking for truth in all arenas of thought in an honest discussion instead of just trying to make them see the world the way we do.
My hope is that the church would become one the greatest institutions of discovery of truth. We do after all believe that we are created in God’s image and in the search for truth really we search for more and more ways we are similar to our creator.
Of this I am sure; I have so much to learn about the world God has placed me in that I have no right to be so arrogant as to think that b/c a fellow human creation of God does not believe what I do about God that they could not have any good thing to offer in the search for truth. As we search for truth I believe we find God.
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
This verse captures for me the reasons for creating this site. I am daily more aware of how great God is and how minute is my understanding of Him and of all of His ways. I have a dim understanding of him and I am as of right now i dim reflection of him. I await patiently the day of the full revelation of our Creator, Savior, God. Until that day I keep seeking to know Him, so I ask for your help in this endeavor. As I write please comment. Tell me your thoughts, ideas, or criticisms. I hope this blog will help you grow in God jsut as mush as i hope it helps me to grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
God be with you always by His Spirit