Whose Approval and What I Approve

The apostle Paul writes to the churches of Galatia, “Am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or a I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10).

It’s only one verse.

But in that one verse, Paul shreds his hearers to the core, namely, me.

I can’t seek the approval of man AND the approval of God.

Well, I can, but in the end I’ll favor the people around me.

So as you look at your own life and consider what you’re approving, that is, what you accept, enjoy, turn a blind eye to, refuse to address/confront, whose approval are you seeking?

Whose approval you seek will ultimately determine what you approve.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Christian, One Question For You Today

I am nearly done with Francis Chan’s Forgotten God, a book on the neglect of the Holy Spirit (I’ve enjoyed it in a ‘you have to go to the dentist for your health but it may hurt in the process’ kind of way).

The Holy Spirit indwells those who’ve believed and repented and confessed.

This is the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead. He is the Comforter and Helper who Jesus said is better to have present than Jesus himself. That’s insane.

So here’s my question to you…

Ready?

Here it is…

Is your present life explainable apart from the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit?

I’ll ask it this way for clarification: Could you live the exact same life without the Holy Spirit?

How you answer that question should tell you a lot about your walk with Jesus.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Don’t Argue for a Literal 6-Day Creation and Not Do This…………

You can’t

argue for a 6-day, 24-hour

creation

and not….

observe a Sabbath day. A day of rest. A day to be. A day to recover from your six hard days of laboring as unto the Lord.

If God, who needs no rest, took it upon himself to establish a day of rest, a holy–set apart day, then how is it you justify not resting one day?

Well if I don’t work the overtime we won’t have enough…

–That’s what Israel thought in the wilderness even though God already said he’d provide enough for the 7th day if they were faithful in the 6.

Jesus observed Sabbath. Even he rested. So what’s your excuse?

Perhaps Sabbath and taking a day off to refocus and refresh is really a matter of trusting God.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Does Hell Know Your Name?

It’s a weird question for sure, but a necessary one.

Is there an active, ongoing conversation amongst the devil and demons (yes, I believe) regarding the fact that you’re making their job harder?

In other words, is hell concerned that you’re making it too hard for darkness and evil to reign supreme around you?

Are committee meetings being held to talk about how you will be slowed down, put down, or cut down?

There’s an incredible account in Acts 19:11-20 from which I gleaned this question, does hell know your name.

Paul and others have been preaching with Spirit-empowered boldness and courage. It’s said in Acts 17 that they’ve “turned the world upside down.” They had positioned themselves to be used by God in crazy ways.

And some who were familiar with the likes of Paul were capitalizing off his name and fame. In particular there were seven sons of a Jewish high priest going around town and casting out demons, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” So basically, “We don’t know this Jesus, but we like what he can do!”

These seven men come across a demon possessed man who isn’t impressed by their religious posture. And he certainly isn’t having any of their presuming on Jesus.

So when the seven feed this evil spirit their one-liner, he responds, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” Don’t you love that?!?

    Jesus we’re well aware of. We thought killing him was going to be enough, but turns out he really is the Son of God. And Paul, well we had him on our side for quite   some time, but then Jesus knocked him off his horse one day, and we’ve been trying to stop him ever since. But who in the heck are you?

Even hell can tell the posers from the real deal.

What’s most fascinating is that after the possessed man beats the seven guys bloody and sends them running away naked, people all around start repenting of their wicked ways and burning their Harry Potter books (sort of…witchcraft books).

God is going to use the faithful and the imposter, the proclaimers and the posers. You’re going to be used by God to spread the good news of the gospel. It’s really a matter of whether you do that on his side or if you’re the one who ends up bloodied, naked, and that’s how you point people to Jesus.

So, the question remains. Does hell know your name?

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Courage, Leadership, Spiritual Formations

Israel Didn’t Choose Slavery, But I Did

For 400 years the people of Israel were subject to hard labor and unsympathetic taskmasters. They were slaves.

They didn’t choose it. I guess you could argue they did because of their disobedience. Not to mention, God warned them. But nonetheless…they weren’t checking the ‘Slave’ box on the application.

And yet, I did. And you probably have. We check the box and sign on the dotted line.

“The rich rules over the poor, the debtor (ME) is slave to the lender (faceless company who owns me).Proverbs 22:7

I have to believe Solomon chose his words carefully here. He knew the s-word would make Israelites pause. “Did he just say what I think he had said?”

Yep. Slave. And you choose it when you sign the dotted line or swipe the card or have the cushy couch delivered to your house and pay it off five years later.

Now that couch isn’t as comfy…but the payments are just as high.

Or the car. The car you couldn’t live without. For us (read: MEEEE), it was a new Honda Odyssey. It’s mostly new still. But as time goes by, the seats will crack, the paint will get chipped, the body dented, but the payments will remain the same. I’m a slave. I chose it.

Point being? Don’t get into debt. “But it’s good debt!” Yeah, like there are people checking the mailbox and upon seeing that bill exclaim, “OH JOY! THE GOOD DEBT BILL HAS ARRIVED!!! I’ve been waiting for this ALL month!!!!!!”

It’s debt. The only argument you can make is that your house will increase in value over time. Yes, let’s hope so. But even there, it’s possible to overextend oneself and then your house goes on sale for a miniscule amount during the next recession because you’re over-under on it by a bajillion pesos.

Be wise. Be slow to swipe and slow to sign. Save. Make little payments to your bank account, and then make one cash payment to the guy who wants to be your taskmaster. When you hand the wad of cash to him, feel free to say, “You will not enslave me good sir.”

Lord help us live small and give big.

3 Comments

Filed under Family, Miscellaneous, Religion and Culture

From Hater to Quoter–My Favorite Verses from The Message Translation

I used to hate The Message.

I learned that posture from true “Bible” preachers and teachers. I heard it trashed, bashed, and smashed.

So necessarily, if I didn’t like the translation, the translator must be weak, shallow, etc…

Some folks–pastors especially–still think Eugene Peterson is less than for writing The Message. Or, they poo-poo him because he didn’t grow a megachurch.

But one scan of the other books he’s written, for pastors mind you, and it’s clear that there’s the deep end of the pool, and then beyond that there’s Eugene.

A scholar of ancient languages who gave up what was sure to have been a lustrous career as a professor in the field of Ancient Near Eastern studies, Peterson chose the mantle of pastor–or, as he would surely say, it chose him.

Now allow me to quote the man whom God has used to give me hope on dreary days and water in the dry seasons.

This passage informs ministry at every level, both corporate and personal.

1 Corinthians 9:19-27

19-23 Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!

24-25 You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally.

26-27 I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.

God’s grace be upon you as you train, persevere, and press on for the sake of pointing people to Jesus.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

REBLOG: A Tale of Two Mars Hills

A constructive look at Rob Bell and Mark Driscoll’s respective Mars Hill churches…thanks Eric Geiger

A Tale of Two Mars Hills.

Leave a comment

Filed under Leadership, Ministry, Spiritual Formations