Mar 29, 2009

Resolution of a Patient Heart

A reflection of the past can often stir a range of emotions. Venturing into this state can be positive or negative. In my personal experience I can testify of the struggle that occurs in my life and mind as a believer. The past plays a major part of how I’ve imagined the future, and ultimately has been a determining factor of how my future has played out. On a positive note, there can also be a positive resolve and hope for the future. Remembering the past, viewing the present, and seeing the future through the grace of Christ stirs the emotions of rejoice.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been reflecting on the tumult that came of a life that has long been dead to me, but still rears its ugly face from time to time to haunt or discourage me. I once heard an adage that said, “We get better, but the wreckage of our past will show up one day needing resolution.” In those times the most trying aspect of the experience becomes a battle with selfishness and lack of control over my future. These battles come as a result of my own heart’s desire to be the sovereign ruler of my life, and the ultimate judge of the direction it goes.

The proverbial phrase, “I wouldn’t trade that experience for all the money in the world” applies here. As I often cite this, I also often wonder if I could give the past back, would I? A resounding no often follows as I am grateful for the path I’ve had to tread in order to wind up at the foot of the cross. I trust my Lord would’ve brought me through any other circumstance and at His feet no matter the trial, but am glad that grace was the end result either way.

Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does. The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.
(1Pe 4:1-7)

As I’ve meditated on the thoughts provoked by this particular text, I’ve considered the freedom I enjoy now and see no point in sorrow over the disasters of the past that stir the brokenness of an old man and an old heart. Simply stated, no matter the former the latter is greater, for it is filled with the hope that is in Christ Jesus. The patience (Gal 5:22) provided from the Lord through His spirit has created the resolve that allows one to view the past with an optimistic lens and persevere forward with purpose, but only is that purpose realistic when its worked out through living and proclaiming the Gospel.

Mar 27, 2009

Love is not a Four Letter Word

It is…

a commandment of the Lord – Matthew 5:43

an admonition to do good to those who persecute you – Matthew 5:44

a practice of the Church toward each other – John 13:35

an indicator of one who follows the Christ, Jesus – John 14:15

a laying down of your life for others – John 15:13

consideration of your neighbor – Romans 13:10

a manner of proper correction – 1 Corinthians 4:21

and also a manner in which we must walk – Ephesians 5:2

There are so many other examples of love in the Scripture. Most notably the love of Jesus Christ who laid down His life for sinners, that they may come to God in repentance and granted salvation. I could be wrong, but it seems like this one characteristic of the Christian life is often taught, but rarely practiced. Let us remember these things in our reactions, interactions, and dealings with others today. And tomorrow as well.

Mar 25, 2009

Are You There?

This blog averages a few hits here and there, and if you've noticed on the right column, there's an icon that indicates how many are subscribed via feedburner. If you are one of those folks who read regularly through the feed I'd like to hear from you. Drop a comment tell me who you are, if you blog, what blogs you frequent, if you like what you read here, if you are diametrically opposed to what I write, either way, give a shout out eh?

Mar 23, 2009

New Featured Audio

1031 Sermon Jams has released Volume 5. You can visit the website at for more awesome compilations and direct links to the files. Feel free to burn them and distribute them. Be sure to check'em out!

Check out the audio player in the far right column. I have a funny feeling you might like it. If you don't, I still do anyway.

Mar 22, 2009

I'm a Little Legalist Short and Stout... is my law book, here is my clout. When the truth is spoken hear me shout, tip me over and knock my phylacteries out...

Gal 5:13 - For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

I suppose the safe assumption we must take when reading Galatians 5 is that it refers to the false gospel being perpetrated to the Galatians and the battle with the legalism being forced or taught to and upon them. As I read this text I could not help but to think about the practical implication this has on the swinging pendulum of Christian's and their preferred positions on doctrines. The perpetual motion of the pendulum remains consistent in its swinging to and fro and varies in its heights of degree.

One thing remains certain as I attempt to bear through this one, no matter what we understand about what is legalism and what is not, the Apostle Paul plainly states that we as believers are to enjoy freedom. But this freedom is not reckless abandon and overindulgence in the things of the world. It is freedom from the snare and death wrought through exposure to the Law's awful curse. The pendulum swinging to the degree of freedom allowing moderation of all things worldly is tough for me to justify as Paul states, "Gal 5:16-17 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do." In most cases the things that I want to do, even in my "freedom" are against the Spirit, and most times cause grievance of that same Spirit.

Going on to examine the self-control, as a fruit of the Spirit, and how it sets precedence of moderation instead of cessation of indulgence is another difficult task to face. Is this a matter of maturity and sanctification? Does one eventually come to a position, in this life, and in this flesh where they can actively and openly practice the things the flesh is weakened by in moderation? Does it make one legalistic if they choose complete abstinence from those very things that would cause the flesh to become weakened and in turn promote the same practice as safe practice? I face the task within myself and my state of ongoing sanctification to oppress these desires for the sake of bearing a testimony to the world. While I affirm that we cannot be removed wholly from the world around us (1 Co 5:10), we can bear a powerful testimony (Php 2:15) that exemplifies the love of Christ, the power of the Gospel, and the truth of the Cross, of which alone lies our ability to boast in anything.

As much as I'd like to further this discussion by examining the doctrine of separation, I feel enough is covered for now. In prayerful consideration of the ever growing gray area of Christian liberty I ask that we consider not what it is that we can profitably get away with, but what is holy, undefiled, and righteous in the sight of God, and convicting in the sight of the world without implicating human judgment upon them?

Gal 5:24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Mar 16, 2009

Living, Breathing, and Being Theology

Some hear the words "living theology" and immediately think of the emergent church. I've often expressed that I have sympathies with the emergent concept of community and togetherness for the Christian body, but would sharply oppose the separation that has occurred from biblical orthodoxy. That stated not as a disclaimer, but as a statement of purpose, that I wholly agree that our lives of transformation are to be not only necessitated and lived out in the context of the local church, but in our social constructs as well. After all, how will one know the love of Christ that is supposedly manifest in the believer if they do not experience that love through the life of one of His followers and their proclamation of His Gospel?

Mar 10, 2009

Ever Seen Something You Didn't Really See Before?

I don't have anything particularly clever to say here. And that's as if I ever do anyhow. But, I was reading in I John 1 today. I looked at the passage and have always taken it to refer to fellowship with other believers, but it doesn't say that. It says in 1 John 1:7 that if we walk in the light as He is in the light, then we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.

That means we have to first come out of the darkness. The best part of this scripture (its all great) is the implication of having fellowship with God (one another). This text says that walking in the light equates to walking WITH HIM! That's good news. No serious exegesis needed here, even if I were completely capable anyway. If you've seen this before why didn't you tell me? Wait, why aren't I telling everyone else? I think I will...Starting now...

You can have fellowship with God, you and Him. If you are in Christ, covered by His blood and walking in the light...YOU HAVE FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD... That's good news.

Mar 8, 2009

Resources, Tools, and Other Awesome Linkage

(last updated 12.5.2009)
One thing I love about the World Wide Web is the incredible access to so many resources. I have learned a great deal and have become enabled to store up a wealth of knowledge that has encouraged me, strengthened me, and convicted me in this awesome journey I've been on while walking with Christ.

This page will most likely be ever changing and you will find links, audios, videos, and other assorted tools that I come across regularly or have been using for quite some time. Please feel free to email me if you have any suggestions, additions, or would like to request something be added to the list.

For your edification and mine, and in Christ Jesus,

Bible Study Resources -


E-Sword Software and E-Sword Live: Some of the best things in life are free, and as the old saying goes, this is actually for real. This program is by far one of the best programs for students of the Word to become equipped, do word studies, compare translations, and even learn the Greek and Hebrew meaning of the scriptures. There is a plethora of add-on's available at the author's site. Some of these are free, and some require a nominal fee. Either way, it's worth it. If you like it, donate to the author and he will send you a copy of E-Sword on disc. Note: The live version is extremely convenient as it allows you to set up a personalized online account and gives you access to E-Sword from anywhere there is internet access. (This is also available for pocket-pc's running on a Microsoft platform)

Bible Explorer

Rich in resources, free tools, books, and commentaries, this program is also a must have for any student of the bible. There is so much to this program it could easily take an entire site to detail it's incredible value. But wait, there already is one here. You can also download it straight to your PC and be up and running in no time. Be ever watchful for the free books that are made available from time to time. Manage a library of theology and have instant access to topical studies, commentaries, and many more tools right from your desktop.

Greek (Koine) Language Learning Tools (Free)

Ted Hildebrandt's Video Introductions to Greek - Here

 (This one has become a personal favorite and is currently the one I am using)
  • Hildebrandt's Mastering NT Greek Textbook/Workbook in word/pdf/html - Here
  • Mastering NT Greek eSources (Greek mss., Books, and theses) - Here
  • Audio eSources for Vocabulary building, listening on your iPod/Mp3 - Here
Dallas Theological Seminary on iTunes U has released seminary course videos for free on iTunes. Some of which include Elements of Greek I and II - Here

Concordia Seminary also has videos from Dr. James Voelz (Lutheran) on Fundamental Greek Grammar - Here

(more coming soon)

Mar 5, 2009

One Good Reason to Consider Your Motives

A new friend gave me a book to read the other night. This book comes to my delight as it is something that I’ve been wanting to read. Considering that I have a new found freedom from homework (YAY!) I’ve started to read this book a little more closely than I would’ve any other over the past two years. This is awesome because I love to read.

The title of the book is “House Church” by Steve Atkerson. I’ve had some exposure to some of the teachings his circle of influence and constituents teach, and worse yet I’ve had some experiences with some of the adherents to this type of teaching that have embodied what the author warns against in the very first chapter. Here’s a quote.

Church renewal advocate Darryl Erkel has appropriately pointed out the “danger of making distinctive New Testament patterns a form of legalism wherein we begin to look down or distance ourselves from our fellow brothers because they don’t quite do it the way that we think it should be done.We should always be careful to not give the impression to others that their church is false or that God can’t use their church because they’re not following apostolic patterns as closely as we are. That is nothing but sheer pride. On the other hand, we ought to look for a better way – one which is more conducive to the spiritual growth of God’s people – for the function of the New Testament church is best carried out by the New Testament form of the church!”

I think this really goes back to touch on the issues of what to separate over and why we should even begin to think about distancing ourselves or excommunicate others over differences in doctrine. One of the things that many individuals are leaving traditional “churches” over these days is the problem of ungenuine fellowship and practices. Some downright running because the traditional settings are “unbiblical.” But in the response, the pendulum swings so far the opposing way that it never returns to a place of reason or honest perspective, but cultivates a new heresy. In the end, the response has become just as guilty as the cause.

Mar 4, 2009

Rejected by Rehab

Well, I can say that I'm hopeful to return to blogging more frequently again. The impending doom feeling I've been lugging around for the past year and half is finally lifted away from my shoulders. I can with rejoicing praise say that I've had my last "official" class for my undergrad. I am now only two papers and 400 internship hours away from receiving my Bachelor's of Social Work Degree. This comes as great news and a great relief. If you've ever been a student, you know the horrid feeling that lingers when you've got to get that paper done and you just can't seem to squeeze it out until the last second. I guess that primer they gave us in the beginning about managing the 168 hours in a week well didn't work out so well did it?

Speaking of rehab, I got rejected. Yup, you heard it right rejected by rehab. In case you didn't know, I had attempted to intern at a local drug treatment facility. It is well known for it's "Therapeutic Community" approach. This facility would've been ideal and was something I was very excited about. Due to extenuating circumstances I was turned down at the last minute (almost a month after being assured of placement by the director). This left me without an internship position less than three days away from my necessary start date.

I will be continuing to seek opportunities to work in the substance abuse and homeless communities and prayerfully pleading with the Lord for guidance and direction. I hope that you may have a minute or two to spare to intercede on my behalf for this as well. Five years ago I began a mission that would put me into a position to be used in the very communities from which I came, knowing that the compassion and help I was given will be of great use to the same folks who are often overlooked and unconsidered in many ways.