Sunday, December 30, 2012
A great reminder for all those in vocational ministry. Our specific task of ministry may change repeatedly, for example in the last year I have transitioned from doing youth ministry to doing college ministry. Yet my calling has remained, seeing people's lives changed by the gospel. Of course most of us need to be reminded this important truth several times a week because we get so wrapped up in our ministry that we begin to place our self worth and value only in what we accomplish through ministry.
Excerpted from The Sacred Echo
Why use sixty-six books and thousands of years of history to say three simple words? Because "I love you" is not just a piece of information or one-time revelation but an invitation to transformation.
Amazing to think of the trouble that God has gone through and still goes through to express his deep, unconditional love for us. He stopped at nothing, even sacrificing his only son because of his love affair with His people!
She goes on to say the following:
With mere words, God created. except for the moment when Jesus spoke, "It is finished," never has so much been accomplished in so few words.
I have always been mesmerized by the power of words, especially when contemplating the creation accounts in Genesis 1 and 2. The sheer power and authority evident in God's ability to speak something out of nothing, creation ex nihlio. This is the same God whom we bow down and worship as the loving Father who redeems us through his son, forsaken on a wooden cross. Two very simple acts with profound influence on the course of human history.
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
In those final days, Dad became a living reminder of this verse, but more than that, he was a living reminder of the utter dependence we have on God and the gospel for life to have any meaning and purpose.
Monday, December 17, 2012
The naked truth about "getting saved" is that becoming a follower of Jesus will not make you richer, skinnier, or more prosperous. It will cost you everything--more than you can imagine--as you pour your life into causes that no one else seems to care about. But the rewards, well, I'm gambling with everything I've got that they're worth it. Like Lucy, it's worth believing and bringing everyone I possibly can along for the adventure (187).
I am so thankful to God for what he is doing in and through our students!
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Sermons are only noble when they are so "see-through" that the pastor's need for God is clearly visible through his words.
Good teachers teach what they are more than what they know.
Challenging words for anyone who leads, teaches or preaches. The best sermons, lessons, and classes are discovered when you find yourself being influenced by your knowledge of the person communicating and the authenticity of their life of faith more than any theologizing, exegeting, or pontificating. Although, believers will have parts of the first 2 mixed in with their life if it truly is God-honoring.
Thursday, November 8, 2012
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
"It will also mean that those who discover the living God in and through Jesus must be prepared to face up to the evil structures and powers that still dominate and control so much of God's world, and to challenge them in the name of Jesus and with the power of his victory on the cross." N. T. Wright
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Where is God when it hurts? God is in us--not in the things that hurt--helping to transform bad into good. We can safely say that God can bring good out of evil; we cannot say that God brings about the evil in hopes of producing good.Where Is God When It Hurts? (108-109)
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
This incredible hymn by John Newton has been a source of strength and encouragement for me over the past 7-8 months as I watched my Dad struggle with cancer. I have often asked the Lord these questions that Newton is unafraid to ask. It is a reminder that the sovereign hand of God gently guides and leads us at times even in difficult days all for the purpose of bringing us to the point where we "seek thou all in" Him alone!
I would tend to agree with much of what Rachel Held Evans says here about what the label "evangelical" means and doesn't mean. While I identify with this label for myself, I don't broadcast that to people outside of evangelicalism because the larger world seems to have a misconception about evangelicals. They believe that we are all narrow minded, Republican voting, gay-bashing, CCM listening people drinking cafe mocha's (but not in Starbucks because they support gay marriage) with our John MacArthur Study Bible opened to Romans 9-11. That certainly doesn't characterize me...for the record I don't have a problem with CCM, Republicans (I am one), John MacArthur or Starbucks for that matter.
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Raw emotions, raw emotions, and more raw emotions...
I had changed out some CDs in my car before we left so that I would have some that were in the car with us for the trip. One that I had in the changer when I got back was Springsteen's Greatest Hits. The song Badlands has stuck in my head in a different way today with these lines,
I believe in the love that you gave me
I believe in the faith that could save me
I believe in the hope and I pray that someday it may raise me above these badlands...If I had to express my thoughts on grief, suffering, and death it would be Badlands, a place of desperation, desolation, and in once sense hopelessness. As Christians of course, our hope is rooted in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, however that hope does NOT take away the feelings of pain and despair that accompany the loss of someone you love. But the lyrics are reminders that some day we will rise above these "badlands" and that the full power of the resurrection will be known to all of God's children who may mourn for tonight but trust that tomorrow will be a new day.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
I need Thee every hour, teach me Thy will;
And Thy rich promises in me fulfill
Thursday, August 30, 2012
Friday, August 24, 2012
Monday, August 20, 2012
Although I like John Calvin, my favorite Calvin is Calvin Miller. He was mine a nd Cyd's preaching professor at Beeson. His faithfulness to tell the Story is an inspiration to so many young preachers he mentored. This is a picture I keep in my office of the 3 of us on graduation day!
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
As with any Lucado book the reader finishes the book encouraged and renergized for their own faith journey.
Thursday, August 2, 2012
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Monday, July 23, 2012
Growing up in church, we were taught that Jesus was the answer to all our problems. We were taught that there was a circle-shaped hole in our heart and that we had tried to fill it with the square pegs of sex, drugs, and rock and roll; but only the circle peg of Jesus could fill our hole. I became a Christian based, in part, on this promise, but the hole never really went away. To be sure, I like Jesus, and I still follow him, but the idea that Jesus will make everything better is a lie. It's basically biblical theology translated into the language of infomercials. The truth is, the apostles never really promise Jesus is going to make everything better here on earth. Can you imagine an infomercial with Paul, testifying to the amazing product of Jesus, saying that he once had power and authority, and since he tried Jesus he's been moved from prison to prison, beaten, and routinely bitten by snakes? I don't think many people would be buying that product. Peter couldn't do any better. He was crucified upside down, by some reports. Stephen was stoned outside the city gates. John, supposedly, was boiled in oil. It's hard to imagine how a religion steeped in so much pain and sacrifice turned into a promise for earthly euphoria. I think Jesus can make things better, but I don't think he is going to make things perfect. Not here, and not now.
Wow! Miller slices open the ethos that permeates so much of American Christianity...simply visit a Christian bookstore. Jesus, counter to what Joel Osteen and others may say, didn't say that life with him would be easy, pain free, tear free and wonderful financial blessings would flow your way. Rather he said the exact opposite...if you want to take up your cross (an instrument of death) and follow me then you must lay down your life. Give up what is most precious to you for the sake of the kingdom... then you will be fit for service to the King of Kings! Jesus told his disciples that they would be run out of their hometowns, faced trials and difficulties, all because of deciding to follow him. I believe that the American church needs to reclaim this true calling of Jesus and stop selling the lie that Jesus fixes everything and is the answer to everything. As Christians we should realize that Jesus isn't the answer to everything but that the God who has all the answers is the one we serve and follow. As difficult as it may be, knowing the one who has the answers should be sufficient for us, rather than having to have all the answers ourselves.
Glad to get to minister to students at such a fine university!
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
"If you are thinking of becoming a Christian, I warn you you are embarking on something which is going to take the whole if you, brains and all....One reason why it needs no special education to be a Christian is that Christianity is an education itself."
I read this in a Donald Miller book this week..."If you aren't telling a good story, nobody thinks you died too soon; they just think you died."
Dad was telling a good story with his life. Not a perfect story but a story that found it's meaning in the larger story of God and His gospel!
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Friday, June 22, 2012
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Perhaps the one that has stuck out to me the most came from a mentor of mine. It says,
Whenever we experience the pain and sorrow and grief of loosing someone who has been with us all of our lives, it allows God to become more real, His Spirit more comforting and His presence more personal. Without feelings of emptiness there would be no space for God to fill, no tears for Him to wipe away and no reason to hope for the life that is to come.
Monday, June 18, 2012
This isn't really a new debate for Southern Baptists, at the roots of the denominations history are leaders including convention presidents and seminary presidents who embraced a Calvinistic view of salvation. Walter Shurden, a moderate Baptist historian (once a Southern Baptist) has stated in a few of his books that there is something in the DNA of Baptists that causes them (us) to fight. If there isn't a debate or topic swirling around then we will create one. I believe that the renewed interest in the Calvinism debate is just such a topic. The SBC has been quite for too long (the most recent major debate of course being the so called "battle for the Bible"), so therefore there needed to be a fresh topic and source of contention. Just one of the things I love about being a Baptist.
Sunday, June 17, 2012
It was a good day with my family. I'm so blessed with an amazing wife and wonderful children. We spent time in worship, lunch with friends and students, then some time at home watching the Cosby Show.
Strange not to be able to talk yo either of our dad's today. Trusting that they know how much we love them and miss them!
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Monday, June 4, 2012
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
yet now you completely destroy me.
9 Remember that you made me from dust—
will you turn me back to dust so soon?
10 You guided my conception
and formed me in the womb.
11 You clothed me with skin and flesh,
and you knit my bones and sinews together.
12 You gave me life and showed me your unfailing love.
My life was preserved by your care. Job 10:8-12
Job's story reminds me that my life is in the hands of God...a God who is sovereign over all of my life, good and bad. My life is formed by him, even in my mother's womb, and only he knows the days that are numbered for me. My responsibility is to live life to the fullest each day, not for my own gain, but for the sake of the gospel. For the gospel is the only thing worthy of giving our lives to completely.
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Sunday, May 20, 2012
Saturday, May 19, 2012
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Monday, May 14, 2012
Friday, May 11, 2012
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Monday, May 7, 2012
Friday, May 4, 2012
A great article on one of the dangers for younger evangelicals who inherited the "battle for the Bible" culture.
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
I love this song more and more the older I get.
May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
May your song always be sung
May you stay forever young.
Such a great prayer for future generations. Working with youth and college students now for more than a decade has taught me that young people have a way of looking at faith that can be a model for those of us who are older, usually in age and faith. They remind us to trust God in all circumstances and to totally rely on him. Sometimes as adults that can be a challenge because we rationalize and categorize our faith in so many different ways that we emasculate it to warming a pew and perhaps a Sunday school chair on Sunday mornings and nothing else.
My prayer for the students I work with now and the ones I have known through the years is that they would stay "forever young" in Christ...keeping that absolute trust and faith in Christ no matter what happens.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Bubba Watson's tweet may make Augusta National nervous