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The End of the World

Tomorrow night there will be “End of the World” parties.  Friday night there will be even more.  Unfortunately, this is something that society has embraced.  The idea that “life is short, live it up” has taken over our culture.  It has even crept into Christian culture.  It has inspired individuals to present the Gospel as “Your Best Life Now” and “Everyday a Friday”.  It is a deeply saddening situation, and one that I wish to combat.

December 21, 2012 has become a really big deal.  People will be celebrating, they will be living their lives up to the fullest, and there will be much indulging in sin.  But, there should be no surprise.  This is exactly what I would expect from the world, because they are separated from the truth.  However, my surprise lies in the Christian community.  We should be living every day as if it is the end of the world!  Why?  Because nobody knows the day when Christ will return (Matthew 24:36); and who says that day couldn’t be tomorrow?  For that reason we should be living our lives as if Christ is coming back tomorrow, because he is returning at a time that we don’t expect (Matt 24:44).

It’s almost funny to me how the church has responded to the Mayan calender.  While much of the world has recognized the potential threat, the church has fallen asleep.  We have grown numb to the possibility of the world ending so abruptly.  We have neglected Christ warning in Matthew 24:42, “Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.”  Because of this, I want to urge you to wake up!  Do not become lethargic in your walk with Christ.  

Finally, I will leave you with this thought.  If Christ were to come back tonight, would you be satisfied with your last day on earth?  Would you be pleased with how you lived your last 24 hours on earth?  Did you spend that time glorifying God, and celebrating Christ?  These are the questions that we need to answer every day.  We don’t know when Christ is coming back, but we need to be ready.  God bless.

 
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Posted by on December 19, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Being Rooted in the Word

Colossians 2:6-7 

“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”

What does it mean to be “rooted in the Word”?  It’s an expression that is commonly used among believers; however, it is not one that I have given much thought to.  I guess it’s one of those sayings that Christians just say.  But, have you ever considered what this message conveys?  What does being “rooted in the Word” really entail?  I believe that the answers to these questions help show us, in many respects, how we are to approach our lives as Christians.  

I don’t know about you, but when I hear the expression, “rooted in the Word”, my mind immediately thinks about trees.  I would imagine that this is most likely an appropriate response.  Due to this assumption, I will be relating our interactions with Scripture in a way that resembles a tree’s interactions with it’s environment.  By making such a comparison, it is my hope that you will long for a deeper understanding of God’s word, as well as a desire for tighter community with the believers around you. 

Now, before we really dig into this, it is important to understand the role of roots.  Roots are what connect a tree to the earth.  Roots are underground; therefore, they are not seen.  Roots are the tree’s anchor to the earth.  Not only that, roots take what is good and nurturing from the soil, and provide it to the tree.  Such nourishment is what allows the tree to grow, develop, and repair itself as needed.  Roots are an essential part to the maturation process of a tree.

Comparatively speaking, the roots of a tree are much like the faith and knowledge of a believer.  Faith and knowledge connect the believer to God.  Both are inside the believer and go unseen.  We are saved by grace through faith; therefore, it is our anchor to God.  Through faithful study of Scripture we are nurtured by God, and we begin to grow, develop, and repair as needed.  So, in similar fashion to the roots, faith and knowledge are an essential part of the maturation process of the believer!

Another purpose of roots is to keep the tree strong and sturdy in the midst of rough conditions.  Likewise, our faith in Jesus Christ is meant to keep us stout, and help us endure during times of trials and tribulations.  As I looked into different ways that tree roots achieve this sturdy quality, and I found two ways that they obtain it.  

First, is by shallow roots that are interwoven with the roots of many nearby trees.  These type of roots are found most commonly in Giant Redwoods, the tallest trees in the world.  Secondly, is by deep roots that penetrate far into the crust of the earth.  The deepest roots in the world are found stemming from a Wild Fig Tree in South Africa; it’s roots extend over 400 feet into the earth surface.  

As followers of Christ we should seek to develop our faith in a way similar to both of these trees.  We should have a faith that is supported and held up by those believers around us, but we should also wish to develop a deep faith and understanding of Scripture on our own.  By doing this, the Lord produces a strong sense of confidence in His Word and makes it extremely difficult for the enemy to uproot us in times of struggle.  

James 1:2-4

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

My main purpose behind writing this post is to encourage you in strengthening your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and not to wait until hard times hit.  Just like a tree with weak roots is prone to fall over in the midst of a storm, it is just as easy for a Christian with a weak faith to fall away in the presence of adversity.  So, I urge you to build up your relationship with Christ, and your faith in His Word.  That way, when your faith is tested, you will be able to endure and stand firm!

Psalm 23:4

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.”

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Serving Christ and the Chicken Sandwich

Judging by the title of this post, you could probably tell that it has to do with Chick-fil-a.  For those of you who haven’t heard about the Chick-fil-a “controversy” I don’t know where you’ve been lately, because it has been one of the hottest topics in America over the past week.  The “controversy” stems from President Dan Cathy’s remark “guilty as charged” in an interview where he was asked if he supported a traditional family opposed to gay marriage.

But, this isn’t the only time Mr. Cathy has made such remarks.  In a recent radio interview Cathy directly addressed the issue of gay marriage: “I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.’  I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think we can try to define what marriage is all about.”

Those are strong words, but they speak a great truth.  However, by speaking such a truth, Mr. Cathy has received much disapproval, as well as much hatred toward his company.  I’m sure this hatred is hurtful to Mr. Cathy, but I am also sure that his attitude is much like the Apostle Paul’s in Galatians 1:10.

“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God?  Or am I trying to please man?  If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

By having that attitude Mr. Cathy has taken on much scrutiny.  The mayor of Boston promised to deny any building permits requested by Chick-fil-a.  Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of Chicago, said, “Chick-fil-a values are not Chicago values.  Also, gay rights groups such as GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), have encouraged people to boycott the company.  Chick-fil-a has even been labeled as a hate group.  All of these comments and reactions are a result of Mr. Cathy’s remarks.

But, unlike some people, I find this acts against Chick-fil-a very encouraging.  They are, in fact, refreshing to my soul. You might be wondering why I find the persecution of another Christian refreshing.  It is because I see the scriptures coming alive through this.  In particular Philippians 1:27-30.

“Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents.  This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God.  For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.”

Mr. Cathy did not fear what those who were opposed to him might think when he said what he did.  And as a result he is suffering in the name of Christ.  This should not be something that sit back and marvel at.  It should not be something we just discuss.  Rather, we should strive to live boldly for Christ in response to Mr. Cathy’s example.  He took a tremendous risk for Christ, he basically put his company’s business in jeopardy.  But, he understood that Christ was more important than anything this world could offer him; and what Christ thought of him was more important than what people thought of him.

So, as you go on through your daily life, recognize the stand Mr. Cathy took for Christ.  Strive to set a similar example in every conversation you have.  Regardless of what people might say about you, or the opinions they may form about you.  Live to please Christ, and don’t be afraid to suffer.  Because your life in Him is more significant than anything this world can offer.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 5:11

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Desiring the Word

As many of you have probably noticed, this is my first blog in quite a few days.  So what I am writing about is something that I personally struggle with at times.  Desiring God’s Word can be very difficult at times.  We can get caught up in how busy our lives are and we simply forget to dig into scripture.  This is a very common problem.  But, it is, without a doubt, a problem.  Isaiah 43:6-7 may help us better understand how big of a problem not desiring God’s Word is.

“I will say to the north, Give up,
and to the south, Do not withhold;
bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the end of the earth,
everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for glory,
whom I formed and made.”

As the scripture says, we were created for glory.  We were designed to seek out and desire God, and all his glory.  Part of His glory is His Holy and inherent word.  The Bible is God revealing himself to us, and in my opinion that includes a substantial amount of glory.  So, we are, as Christians, inclined to desire God’s Word.  Because of this, when we fail to desire God’s word we are in rebellion against God, and that is a fairly large problem.

But, you shouldn’t feel like this is a problem only you have.  As I said, I personally struggle with desiring the word, and when we look into scripture we also find that David struggled with it as well.  However, David prayed passionately to desire God’s Holy word.  We see this in Psalm 119:25-32.

“My soul clings to the dust;
give me life according to your word!
When I told of my ways, you answered me;
teach me your statutes!
Make me understand the way of your precepts,
and I will meditate on your wondrous works.
My soul melts away for sorrow;
strengthen me according to your word!
Put false ways far from me
and graciously teach me your law!
I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
I set your rules before me.
I cling to your testimonies, O Lord;
let me not be put to shame!
I will run in the way of your commandments
for you set my heart free!”

So, as you consider these things, I urge you to long to desire the glory of God revealed to us in His word.  Remember that you were made for glory; God formed and made you for that purpose!  It is my hope that you already have a tremendous desire to study God’s word, but if you don’t then pray like David.  Pray that God would teach you his statutes, his law, and his rules.  And pray that He would also give you life and strengthen you according to His word! Through this I hope that you may grow closer in your relationship with Jesus Christ, and that you may long to be in his word daily.

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

The Power of Words and the Nature of Sin

The Power of Words and the Nature of Sin.

Check out this blog post by The Gospel Coalition.  This is so true.

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Who do you serve?

One of my pitfalls as a human being is that I am a big people pleaser.  I don’t like it when people are upset with me; I just want to make people happy.  You may think that’s a good thing, and I’m just keeping other’s best interests at mind.  But, being a people pleaser can have a serious down side.  At times I can be tempted to twist the words of the bible, use them incorrectly, or just leave a verse or two out in order to make people happy.  However, in Paul’s letter to the Galatians he makes it very clear that this is wrong in ch. 1, verse 10.

“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God?  Or am I trying to please man?  If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Paul is doing much more than solidifying his ministry.  He is calling the reader to evaluate their heart.  Is your heart seeking to please man, or God?  Do you seek to serve man, or Christ?  Paul wants you to see where your heart is.  He wants you to step back and look at who you are trying to please.  If you are pleased by man, then you will seek to please man.  However, if you are pleased by God, you will seek to please God.  The one who wishes to please God is who becomes a servant of Christ.

Serving Christ can be quite difficult though.  It’s not like people are going to be so happy that you’re seeking to please God.  In fact, they will most likely get offended.  They’ll say you’re “taking things too far”, or that you’re “being way to radical”.  But, this should not surprise you, it should actually be expected.  Paul makes this clear in 2 Timothy 4:3-5.

“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.  As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill you ministry.”

Paul makes it evident that people don’t want to hear what the Bible really has to say.  Instead, they want to hear what makes them feel good about themselves.  They want to hear about how they can have all the pleasures of the world and of heaven, and telling them otherwise can create some tension.  That tension is one that will also breed hatred.  And it is a hatred that we should rejoice in, because in that hatred we fulfill Jesus’s teachings in John 15:18-19.

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.  If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”

So, as you go throughout your daily life, strive to be a good steward of God’s word.  Treat it with great care and respect.  Be careful to remain true to the text, and teach sound doctrine.  Do not fall into the temptation of teaching a people pleasing gospel.  For a people pleasing gospel is not a gospel at all.  Point people to Christ.  And finally, embrace the hatred that comes from the world; because that hatred means you’re doing something right!

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Are you LOVE?

One of my favorite movies of all-time is “A Walk to Remember”.*  It’s a great story of a bad guy who falls for the good girl, and he turns his whole life around to be with her.  In the movie Mandy Moore plays a character named Jamie Sullivan.  As the movie goes on, we learn that Jamie is captured by the whole concept of love.  The whole idea of love is so meaningful to her, in fact, her favorite scripture is 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.  It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

Jamie knew what love was, and she taught Landon Carter (the bad boy, played by Shane West) what love is.  But, she didn’t necessarily teach him what love is by getting him to read the scriptures.  Landon learned what love was, because Jamie was love.  She was a pure expression of the definition of love.  The way she portrayed 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 is how we are called as Christians to live our lives!

Actually, the way Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13, he makes it out as if love is the very centerpiece of Christianity.  In verses 1-3 he says without love we are worth nothing.

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.”

This is where I get around to the question; Are you love?  This is a very important question to answer.  Paul is saying that without love, if love is not in your heart, if you do not reflect the very essence of love, then nothing you do on this earth is worth anything.  He basically says that without love you are a noisy and worthless creature that is without gain.  He even says that love is above both faith and hope in verse 13.

“So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

So, as you go through your daily walk with Christ, I encourage you to not only love everyone, but to be love.  Be a reflection of the definition of love.  Strive to be patient.  Strive to be kind.  Do not envy others.  Do not boast in your own achievements.  Don’t be arrogant or rude.  Don’t insist in your own way (don’t be that guy that’s always right, even when you’re wrong).  Don’t be irritable or resentful.  Don’t rejoice in others wrongdoings, but do rejoice in the truth.  Bear all things, believe all things, hope in all things, and endure all things.  By doing this, it should become much easier to walk in the great commandment given to us by Christ in Matthew 22:37-39.

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it:  You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

*I understand that by admitting “A Walk to Remember” is one of my favorite movies, I may have lost respect among the male population.  However, I will not waiver in my opinion.

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2012 in Uncategorized