Showing posts from March, 2013

Praying for Power

If there's one thing the church needs right now, it's an extra measure of God's power. But how often do we actually ask for it?

To find out more, watch my sermon from Sunday night:

If everyone in the church prayed the following prayer on a regular basis, I believe God would show up in an incredible way, a way that has never been seen before in America.

Glorious God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
   May You pour out on Your church the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that we may know You better.
   May the eyes of our hearts be opened so that we may know the hope to which you have called us, the riches of Your glorious inheritance in your holy people, and Your incomparably great power for us who believe.
   May we experience first-hand the same power that raised Christ from the dead, seated Him at Your right hand, and placed Him above all rule and authority.
   By that power, may we learn what it truly means to be the body of Christ.

Pray for power. See what happens. God…

It's More Fun If You're Good

Think about that one thing that you just absolutely love to do. Maybe it's a sport, maybe it's hunting or fishing, maybe it's playing an instrument, or maybe it's creating works of art.

Now think back to the time when you were just starting out. How much fun were those first few months of guitar lessons? It's not really that much fun to stretch your fingers all sorts of weird ways. It's not so cool to have to suffer through the pains of developing callouses. But isn't it worth it once you finally learn how to play well?

Or what about conditioning for your sports team? Two-a-day football practices in late July/early August in Tennessee were no fun. But when it came time for kick-off under the lights on that first Friday night of the season, all that hard work was just a distant memory. And without putting in that work, there's no way you could make that touchdown-saving tackle or make that catch for a first down.

Think about all the areas in your life tha…

Wearing Christ

Today, March 14, is my re-birthday. In other words I was born again through the waters of baptism fourteen years ago today. With that on my mind, I always like to sit back and reflect on the significance of that moment in my life.

One of my favorite illustrations of baptism comes from Galatians 3:26-29
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. When you are baptized you are clothed with Christ. And if we are clothed in Christ, then our former identities don't matter anymore. When God sees us, he sees his children.

There is an Old Testament foreshadowing of this in Genesis 27. It's not a pretty story. It's really one of those "Why is this in the Bible?" …

True Worship Will Unite, Not Divide

Pardon me while I think out loud. Sometimes it helps me to write my thoughts down in order to sort them out.

I've been thinking about worship a bit lately. Specifically, I've been thinking about the passage in John 4 where Jesus is having a conversation with a Samaritan woman alongside Jacob's well. It goes like this:

The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 
Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:19-24, ESV)

Sunday Best or Weekday Worst

There's something I've been wrestling with for a while, and I didn't even know it was an issue until lately.

I think we all agree that there is an alarming lack of genuineness in our churches. No matter what kind of week we've had, no matter how rushed we were just to make it on time, no matter how upset we got at our spouses that morning, no matter how insane our kids are driving us...we're still expected to take a deep breath, throw on a smile, and enter the foyer like nothing is wrong. Everything is "fine."

So we find ourselves adrift in a sea full of mask-wearing, Sunday-best-attired people.

And that's a problem.

...Or is it?

I completely agree that the church needs to be a place, a gathering, a group where people can tear down their walls, remove their masks, share their sins and their struggles with each other. We need more of that. But is the corporate worship assembly the best time and place for this to take place?

There have been a few times …

Who's the Boss?

It doesn't take an expert sociologist to realize that we live in a very reactionary society. We react, and often overreact, to just about everything. When someone does something to us, we react by taking revenge. They got us, we have to get them back. Just turn on any competition-based reality show and you will see exactly what I mean.

This type of action-reaction is pure entertainment to most people. Some of us out there love watching middle-aged women bicker and argue and fight like school girls. We love to watch people get into shouting matches and fist fights. It's funny. It's entertaining. It's amusing to us.

Unless we encounter it in real life.

Now there are some out there (some females especially) who live for drama. If there's not some catastrophe or crisis in their lives (real or imaginary) they begin to get bored and actually seek it out.

I don't understand this.

Is it any wonder that self-control is listed as a fruit of the Spirit? We don't live …

Life Above the Sun

Why am I here?

What is God's will for my life?

Does life have any meaning?

I wish God would just tell me what he wants from me!

Ever had these thoughts? Yeah, me too. Wouldn't life be so much easier if God just told us everything we needed to know about our lives and the future? Maybe. Maybe not.

You see, I believe that the future is not set. I don't believe in predestination. I don't believe that God has only one path laid out for you that you will end up following no matter what. That's not biblical. That's not our God. Our God has chosen to limit himself in this regard. Is God omniscient (all knowing)? Yes! Is God omnipotent (all powerful)? Yes! But is God omni-controlling? No. He let's us choose.

When God created the world and put mankind right in the middle of it, he gave us both freedom and responsibility. The universe is ours to fill, to explore, to shape, to cultivate. It is also our to care for and protect. But we are not automatons bound by Asimo…

It Has to Drop

Take a couple minutes to watch this clip. It's from the 1999 movie She's All That, starring Freddie Prinze Jr. and Rachel Leigh Cook.

It may not be your Oscar-caliber film, but this one scene has stuck with me. For one, I loved playing hacky sack in high school. (Still do, actually. Whenever I'm at a youth event and see a group of guys circle up, I like to join in and be that cool "old" guy who can still pull off all the tricks.) I also like that scene because of the message. "Eventually, it has to drop."

Why do bad things happen? Because eventually, it has to drop. This isn't heaven yet. No matter how good we are at managing this hevel life, eventually the mist, the breath, the wind escapes our grasp.

Read what Qohelet has to tell us at the end of Ecclesiastes:
Remember your Creator
in the days of your youth,
before the days of trouble come
and the years approach when you will say,
“I find no pleasure in them”—
before the sun and the light