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

What a Waste!

Do you agree with the following statement: Christians should care about what God cares about. 

If you would answer yes, then consider the follow-up question below…

Do you actively care for the environment? creation

There’s an area that doesn’t get a lot of press in Christian circles, more specifically, in evangelical circles (or rows, cause that’s how we do).

If I had heard a sermon on caring for creation a few years ago, I probably would have scoffed. Why? Because questions of ecology tend to be politicized before biblicized.

The sad generalization is that who you voted for in the last election is a reliable indicator as to where you stand on creation care. Of course there are exceptions on both sides of the man-made spectrum that is liberal and conservative. But generalizations help sometimes. I made one earlier, namely, that evangelicals tend to ignore environmental care.

Some of this attitude has been justified by saying, “Well, God’s gonna destroy it all in the end anyways.” Hmmm…so that means don’t care for it now? That’s like saying my body is going to die one day so I’ll trash it along the way. To rebut that one, just point to the reality that God is redeeming and resurrection physical bodies–> perhaps to inhabit a physical heaven?

Think of it like this (this helped me). When I hear dominion, I think of a king and a kingdom. In a way, God has called us to be co-rulers of the creation around us. Not in the “I’m a boss” sense, but in the managerial sense. God is the ultimate authority, but he chose to give Adam and Eve and you and me a piece of that pie.

So what, then, is our dominion to look like? Back to the king. Imagine a king (or president) who looks over his kingdom and says, “It sure is nice to have this dominion.” And he then proceeds to use and abuse the people to enhance and advance his own comforts, profit-margins, and agendas. We would say, “That’s a bad ruler.” In fact, this land has gone to war to dethrone such rulers.

But that’s the same thing we do as co-regents of the creation around us. God put Adam in the garden to cultivate it and care for it and see it thrive. When we trash it, pollute it, “roll coal”, take 45-minute showers, leave every light in the house on, take unnecessary jaunts around town in our gas guzzlers, use Styrofoam everything, buy insane amounts of plastic water bottles, and throw away all that paper advertisement in the mailbox, we aren’t cultivating or caring. And the land certainly isn’t thriving.

So I urge you, don’t get caught up in the political pandering about fracking, surface mining, and global warming. The better consideration is a personal one: Am I doing my part to help care for God’s beautifully complex creation?

Need some practical help?

Get out and enjoy nature. God’s presence abounds.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Help! I’ve Fallen Off My High Horse, and I Can’t Get Up!

high-horse-edit2You know how at certain points in life you’re more vocal about what you’re against rather than talking about what you’re for?

Like you are passionately against certain things or expressions of things or a means of doing something, which in general means you make those who do those things enemies…

I’m that guy. I have been historically. I think it comes with loving theology and the like. Unfortunately, when a love for theology doesn’t produce a deeper love for people then it’s bad theology.

Because fundamentally speaking, theology is the study of God. Knowing about God (which doesn’t equate knowing God).

Accordingly, the deeper my knowledge of God, the deeper my love should be for the things that God loves and cares about.

Now God certainly cares about right thinking and sound doctrine. Otherwise he wouldn’t have inspired Paul and others to write about it.

But what he seems to talk about more–and more pointedly and passionately and pervasively–is love for people.

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” ~Jesus

“If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” ~John

My rebuttal: “But wait, I don’t hate anyone.Okay. How are you actively loving them? “I’m not.” Soooo……….

If I have not love, I have nothing. If love doesn’t drive what I do and why I do it and how I do it, I have nothing.

Frankly, I’ve cared more about believing the right things and having the right convictions about how things should be done–and along the way I’ve been the guy known for what he’s against rather than what he’s for.

I’m tired of being that guy. It’s easy to feel superior atop the high horse. But it’s also quite lonely.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized