Jan 25, 2009

Given Up, Passed On, Looked Over...

I have an older brother. He grew up in a different family and never knew me or my younger brother personally. About ten years ago we all reunited, and I have a relationship with him now that is one you could hardly tell was ever severed. Often when he is introduced to people who never knew of his existence, especially by our mother, it is often, "He was given up for adoption."

I can't but think of how sadly true this often is for many children. They are given up on. They are given away, only to become distant thoughts in the back of a parent's conscience only to resurface when guilt weighs them down for a passing moment. Then there are those who have done this to give a child a better life as they were unequipped or unprepared to take care of that child.

In principle though, I experience discomfort when I hear that some are "given up" as if it is surrender, or they are forgotten. It could be far worse, it could be abortion. But is the relinquishing of parental responsibility similar to that of terminating the life of the child? Ever grow up knowing you have a father you don't know, or mother you never have seen with your own eyes?

No sermon illustration intended here, but I am grateful for the Lord. For His word says,

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ"
(Eph 1:3-9)

Those who are of God have hope in the love of the Father, who adopts us away from abandoned families, hopeless futures, disparaging lives, and eternal damnation.


Jan 18, 2009

The Definition of Prayer

From E.M. Bounds, "Thy Will Be Done" p.23

"Prayer is no petty invention of man, a contrived relief for imagined ills. Prayer is no dreary performance, dead and death-dealing, but is God's enabling act for man, living and life-giving, joy and joy-giving. Prayer is the contact of a living soul with God."

I've often been concerned when we are told to bow our heads, as opposed to lifting our faces. Or when we are led instead of mutually interceding. And most troubling of all, we are told "let's pray" and only one person prays.

Sup with that?

Jan 17, 2009

In Loving Others and Giving of Ourselves

We have a hard time and more often than not are more hard hearted toward those less fortunate than us because of skepticism. At least, this is what I tell myself. I've come to see that more oft than nought, the issue is not an uneasy feeling toward the consequences of what might come from helping a drifter, crack addict, or street junkie.

The problem lies within my own heart that causes my restraint. This restraint stems from an uncertain foreknowledge of whether or not my actions will be justified and I will receive gratification, praise from men, or thanks from those that are helped. When in all reality this motivation is tainted and dripping with evil, for we ought to seek out and help others not for the reasons of self gratification and praise, but for the glory of God. For whether or not we feel justified in our actions, we act on behalf of the grace given to us and live as a breathing testimony of the love of Christ. In turn, we preach the gospel not just in action, but in deed and word.

Jan 14, 2009

Authoritative Church Planting?

There are more schools of thought regarding this topic than I am familiar with, and then more knowledgeable sources than myself to speak on it. But in my study I've observed some things that often have struck my curiosity regarding our modern practices of church planting. Even more so, how do we do it authoritatively? Some have said that we must have a sending authority or apostolic commission given from a governing/leading entity. Some call this a mission board, some call it the elders of a sending church, and some say that there is no clear cut definition.

Honestly, the only examples I've heard rendered are based upon traditional impositions of the texts that imply a church being planted or founded. These practices are then defended by church history and the foundations of those very same traditions.

I just ask a question, is it really necessary to ignore the fulfillment of the great commission, the result of it becoming a gathering of believers, and those believers becoming a local body? Or, do we request permission of an established body to go into a demographic, neighborhood, or community to begin making disciples? The example I've seen is one that's made these observations much more interesting for me. In Colossians we see Paul indicate a greeting sent from Epaphras. The native city of Epaphrus is cited as being Colossae, and it is also implicated by the text that Epaphrus may have been saved through the ministry of Paul at Ephesus (Acts 19:9-10 see also notes on Colossians, ESV Study Bible). The common link between the two is that Epaphrus would've took the message of Paul; the Gospel, back to Colossae. And behold, a church was born.

He was sent by the grace that was done in him, and he spoke of the things he had seen and heard. True regeneration and conversion wrought in the believer motivates preaching of the cross. Preaching of the cross falls on the ears of those whom He has drawn, they are redeemed, and they seek to know him daily in fellowship, prayer, and supplication. Granted, the Colossian church was coming being infiltrated with false teaching, Epaphrus had enough sense about him to seek apostolic advisement. But, he didn't deputize, garner support, or wait for board approval to go.

What say ye?

Jan 12, 2009

Getting to the Point.

How to understand making points peacefully can be summarized as this,

To make a point sometimes takes just being the point.

'nuff said.

Jan 11, 2009

Quoting a Notable

E.M. Bounds,"Thy Will be Done, Teach Us to Pray", pp. 20-21

"Additionally, the tendency of these times is to an ostentatious parade of doing what enfeebles the life and dissipates the spirit of praying. There may be kneeling, and there may be standing in prayerful attitude. There may be much bowing of the head, and yet there may be no serious, real praying. Prayer is real work. Praying is vital work. Prayer has in its keeping the very heart of worship. There may be the exhibit, the circumstance, and the pomp of praying, and yet no real praying. There may be much attitude, gesture, and verbiage, but no praying."

Me, right about now, under no special circumstances, know this to be oh so true. Inevitably, I find the outcome or inability to pray truthfully is due to a lack of acknowledgment; rooted and born in my flesh, of the Father's presence. Speaking aloud, or even praying silently is an acknowledgment of the Lord, His sovereignty, and His Lordship over my life. My lack of prayer is simply an abundance of my own personal pride.


Jan 8, 2009

Passing On

I received a phone call this morning from my mother. She had been in Florida taking care of a friend who had become terminally ill and facing many health issues. Mother has for the greater part of her life, and the majority of it I have known her, always had a thing for taking care of those less fortunate, ill, or dying. This circumstance was not any different then the rest, and without hesitation, she placed her life on hold for the betterment of another.

Her sacrifice is noble by cultural and ethical standards. It even could be said that she has done a great thing. Indeed, this man's passing was more comfortable than it would've been without her help.

This man and I have conversed on many occasions, and I've known him since my youth. I know this man's life did not represent that of a Christian, nor did he profess the Christ of Scripture. But we discussed it several times, and as of late, we spoke in detail regarding the Gospel of Jesus Christ. While I'll not know the result of our conversations, or whether or not he came to faith, I do know that he listened, and I do know that he had valid questions that seemed to offer hope to the gospel preacher, but his heart condition is only known by the creator God.

This man has passed from life to eternity and now knows the answers to his questions. Pray he had the right questions, and that the Lord gave the only answer man will ever need. Salvation.

Pray this witness goes forth to those around him, mourning him, and straightening out his affairs. Please pray this witness cuts to the quick of the hearts of all those who have been effected by the passing of yet another soul into the judgment of God.

Jan 7, 2009

Dug Up From The Dust

If I were to have ever sought, would it be that by You I may have been bought?
Is there any sound louder than that of the idols being smashed?
Everything I've ever known to be real has suddenly been dashed.
What of my hopes my dreams, the plans to make loads of cash?
Stardom, celebrity, red carpets and a gold sash.

Prominence, confidence, and self-esteem,
psychologists and counselors to tell me what I mean?
No matter the outcome what judgment would it deem?
Guilty born and guilty living,
even knowing this we go on sinning.
but hope would have it as faith in Christ
through the shed blood of Him who has made us right.

Jan 6, 2009

Five Reasons for Not Making New Year's Resolutions

5. I will not keep them
4. If I do make them I will procrastinate fulfilling them
3. I stress enough about one day of living, let alone looking ahead to another
2. The resolutions I need to make are not ones I could probably keep
1. There is only one resolution that really matters anyway, living righteously for the Kingdom of God and crucifying oneself daily.

Jan 5, 2009

The Most Difficult Words to Say

are "Forgive me Father..."

but so much more meaningful when empowered by the "Spirit"

to say "Thank you Jesus..."


Jan 4, 2009

New Song From Christ Our Life

It is called "I Will Wait" and like every other song they've done, it's awesome!

Visit their website here,"Visit"

and hear the new song here, "Listen"

And of course, queue up the "Worship Player" that cycles through every single song they've ever done in fellowship, in studio, or on recording by clicking the "Christ Our Life" link in the right column.

Jan 3, 2009

Worthy of a Hearing

A friend shared this song with me some time ago. I only heard it on the surface initially. But, through the Spirit of God and a truthful reading of His Word, it has taken on a more meaningful sound. It makes sense, and quite simply; I relate.

It's titled "Stained Glass Masquerade" By Casting Crowns

Is there anyone that fails
Is there anyone that falls
Am I the only one in church today feelin’ so small

Cause when I take a look around
Everybody seems so strong
I know they’ll soon discover
That I don’t belong

So I tuck it all away, like everything’s okay
If I make them all believe it, maybe I’ll believe it too
So with a painted grin, I play the part again
So everyone will see me the way that I see them

Are we happy plastic people
Under shiny plastic steeples
With walls around our weakness
And smiles to hide our pain
But if the invitation’s open
To every heart that has been broken
Maybe then we close the curtain
On our stained glass masquerade

Is there anyone who’s been there
Are there any hands to raise
Am I the only one who’s traded
In the altar for a stage

The performance is CONVINCING
And we know every line by heart
Only when no one is watching
Can we really fall apart

But would it set me free
If I dared to let you see
The truth behind the person
That you imagine me to be

Would your arms be open
Or would you walk away
Would the love of Jesus
Be enough to make you stay

Chorus x2

Well if the invitation’s open
To every heart that has been broken
Maybe then we close the curtain
On our stained glass masquerade

Is there anyone that fails
Is there anyone that falls
Am I the only one in church today feelin’ so small

Jan 1, 2009

An Open Letter to Those Who Choose Sides

I received a forwarded message from a muslim friend in Jordan today. It contained images with sarcastic subtitles that depicted the injustices done to Palestinian Arabs in Gaza. I'll admit the tragedy and it's grave nature, but I will not select the side of men or nation in this matter. This was my response to him, and others like him, who choose to point out the injustice of one and overlook the injustice of others.

My friend why is it that you only see one side of the story. Why is it that you only choose to expose one sides injustices? Is it because the justification of the Palestinian mind is right? Does the Palestinian perspective trump that of the Israeli perspective? The Palestinians call Jews scum, the Jew calls Palestine scum....There is no innocent party, yet all parties claim innocence.We all are just as guilty as those who aim their weapons at innocents and take the lives of others in the name of Allah, or Buddha, or any other name of religion. And the same is said for those who take innocent life in the name of Jesus.

But there is no such truth as an innocent life is there? We are all guilty before God, we are all going to give an account before Him on the day of Judgment and we will be found wanting if there is no mediator to pay for our sin. I am no westerner, I am no Israeli, and I am not democrat or republican. I am a follower of Jesus Christ and the only blood shed that has any redemptive power is His that was spilled on the cross. My Lord, My Savior whom was crucified by Jews, and suffered beatings at the hands of westerners (Pontius Pilate), and if that is reason enough to hate then I could say I have enough. But I don't, and yet I align myself with no NATION, I do not align myself with any sect or political power. I align myself with the One True God, Jehovah-Jirah.

So join what side you will, and remember my friend, that all men will bow their knee one day, and it will not be at a temple laid in Jerusalem, or a reclaimed strip of land in Gaza, it will be at the threshing floor where God will sift the chaff from the wheat, and that which is not of Him will be laid waste and burned in the fire.

And while you choose sides and justify wrongs to be right because they are right in your own eyes, "innocents" lose their lives around the world at the hands of men from Arab decent, American decent, African decent, better yet, of Adamic decent. Every son of Adam has shed innocent blood, because his sin is the sin that Christ died for on the cross, therefore placing him in the crowd shouting "Crucify Him!" that day in Jerusalem when Christ was sentenced to death.

Today is the day of salvation my muslim friend. Today is the day you must repent and place your faith in Jesus Christ, for He will rule all of creation and the only border that matters will be the one separating the redeemed and the condemned for all of eternity.

In Love and Peace, today I will choose to align myself with Christ and to follow God, not men.