Posts

Showing posts from June, 2011

Uplift of Bust

Image
I'll be out of pocket for a week. I'm taking a group of teens down to Harding University for Uplift, a week long camp. I won't be updating during this time, but I'm sure I'll have much to talk about when we return.

Until then, keep us in your prayers. Pray that God will use this time to move and work in the lives of these teens.

"Okay, I love you, buh-bye!"

Saints and Sinners

In my teen class last night we were discussing holiness. What is holiness? What things/people are holy? What's the opposite of holy? Questions like that.

And then I asked, "Do you feel holy?"

As I looked around the room at all the shaking heads, it hit me. If we don't buy it for ourselves, how can we possibly convince others of it??

If we don't believe that we are holy and that we share in a holy experience through Jesus, how can we possibly take that message to others?

Peter reassures us that we are "a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." (1 Peter 2:9)

When Paul addressed his letters, he often addresses them to the "saints" in a certain place (Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Ephesians 1:1; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:2). This word "saint" literally means holy one. These letters…

Murderers and Human Traffickers - The Gospel is for Them, Too

Psalm 19 is a beautiful Psalm. In its 14 verses we see three distinct movements:

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands."

The opening verses describe what some call God's "general revelation." What can be seen and known about God just by looking around at nature? Paul says in Romans 1 that God's divine nature and eternal power are clearly displayed in the creation around us. God has revealed a part of himself to the entire human race.

"The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple."

The middle verses (7-11) describe God's "specific revelation." The Lord had specifically revealed himself to a certain people at a certain time through a certain medium: the Law. If you wanted to know more about the one who created everything, you would then turn to the Law of Moses. God reveals his character - his love, his mercy, his compassion, …

(De)Constructive Criticism

[Seeing as I am a new, young minister, I am going to be studying a bit deeper into Paul's pastoral letters -- 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus. I'll be sharing some of my thoughts throughout the study]

1 Timothy 1:3-7

When I was in 8th grade, I had an English teacher who was brand new to the school. She was also new to the type of English curriculum we were used to -- the good ol' Shirley Method. To make matters worse, she had somehow lost the teacher's manual (I think it was actually stolen...). So the entire year she was following along in a student book without the answer keys...and she was often wrong...and I often pointed it out.

Yes, my little brainiac, smarter-than-the-teacher, 8th grade self would correct the teacher often. So often, in fact, that she sent me out into the hall for correcting her! Ha.

As I got older I was not as quick to point out the mistakes made by my teachers, and when I did, I was much more polite and considerate. My concern became less about showin…

Where God Is

Image
We've all been there. Standing on the beach, watching the sunset cast its brilliant reds and oranges across the sky. The sea breeze gently kissing our face. Gulls singing in the distance. The pulse of the waves as they roll in and then back out again.

And then we think, This is the closest I've felt to God in a long time.

This is exactly the type of place and time we expect to find God. But what if we were wrong?

In the story of Jonah, the prophet decides to ignore God's command to go to the people of Nineveh. Who could blame him? That was the capital of Assyria, the largest empire ever known at the time. It was also home to the most ruthless armies ever known. Think Mos Eisley Spaceport: "You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy." But worse. Much worse.

Anger, violence, and death were a way of life for these people. If there were any place on earth where God would not be, it was Nineveh.

Rather than walk into what he considered to be a suici…

Why did God do that?

Image
In our Sunday morning youth class we've been walking very slowly through the opening chapters of Genesis. It's been 6 Sundays and we're just now into chapter 3. There's just so much there!

Anyway, it's incredible how we often have those aha! moments in passages that we've read and read and read and have even taught and written about.

I had one of those last week.

I have often heard the question: Why did God put the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" there in the first place?

The assumption is that the tree itself was bad. The first humans were not allowed to eat of it. Ever. Never ever were they supposed to touch or eat of this tree because it was bad. God must have put it there because there could be no free will where there was temptation, i.e. God created temptation...?

But throughout the first chapter of Genesis, EVERYTHING God created was declared "good." In fact, the only thing that was labeled as "not good" was the fact…

Greater Things

Image
Who was your favorite teacher?

Think back to your high school and college years. I'm sure there are 2 or 3 teachers/professors who had a profound impact on you. They didn't just tell you what to think, they taught you how to think. They shared their stories, their insights, their knowledge, even their lives with you. You view the world differently because of them.

You wouldn't be the person you are today without them.

Their influence doesn't stop in the classroom. Their influence reaches the farthest reaches of the world because of you. You take their teachings with you wherever you go. Their influence is in fact greater now than could ever be while you were still in the classroom. I'm sure there are things they taught you that didn't even make sense until later in life. Now that you have more experience and understanding, you really get what they were trying to do.

A good teacher's influence is only constrained to the white board, the worksheets, the tests,…

You don't know me?

On Monday I will be celebrating my third wedding anniversary with my wife. It's crazy how time flies. It's even crazier how much has happened during those three years.

But even before we were married, we dated for 4 1/2 years. So really, we've been together for 7 1/2 years. We've been friends for 8 years.

And I would say we know each other pretty well.

We may not be able to read each other's mind every time. And I still drop the ball on what she really wants sometimes. But she knows me better than anyone else on the planet and vice-versa.

And I definitely know her well enough to know she's not a killer.

A couple years ago a guy known as the "Craigslist Killer" was arrested for murder, robbery, and some other charges. All the while he was living with his fiance in a small apartment in the city. They had been together for over four years, and she didn't have a clue. She swore that he was the sweetest man she knew and that he could never hurt a fly.