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Archive for February, 2010

II Corinthians 5:17

                                        “Anyone in Christ is a new creation, the old has gone the new has come”

After listening online to a David Platt sermon yesterday from Southern Seminary’s chapel service, I am convinced Jesus is out to destroy lives.  This may sound strange, and perhaps it is to the fallen mind, but we as believers have the mind of Christ and because we have his mind and his spirit I agree with Dr. Platt’s message (you can access his sermon from Denny Burk’s blog @ dennyburk.com  I highly, highly recommend it to you).  As I consider my own on life in light of Jesus and His word it is clear to me that Jesus has in fact destroyed my life and any previous conception or notion I had about it.  How you ask, how has Jesus destroyed my life?  Simple, he saved me, and as Paul said in Galatians 2:20 20I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.  And again in I Corinthians 6:19-20 19Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.  Friends, through Christ we have died to our old lives and are saved through the shedding of his blood while being transformed into His likeness.  Our lives we can no longer consider our own…they belong to Christ.  So, any notion, idea, conception you or I previously had is now under the authority and rule of Christ.  We belong to Jesus, we are his willing slaves and he is our good master.  We are not to take lightly his statement regarding the cost of being a true follower of him,  “Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it” (Luke 9:23-24).  We can’t come to Christ and live the way we formerly did.  We can’t receive Jesus and live any way we choose.  When we come to the Savior we give up the right s to our former life, we are now his and his alone.  Many times in the gospel’s individuals are confronted with the reality of following Jesus, whether it is the rich young ruler, the man wishing to bury his father, and the ,man wishing to say good-bye to his wife.  Jesus deserves and demands our all.  He does not require what we can give, he demands our very lives.  John Piper likes to say “Jesus wants all of you all of the time”.  Jesus must be our Savior and Lord, the two are one and can never be separated.  It’s true, Jesus will turn your life upside down, and he will also turn your life right side up.  He will cause you to look a lot less like your cultural Christanity…and alot more like himself.  Remember, Jesus was not a well dressed, middle class, suburban dwelling, business man.  Jesus was a poor carpenter who ate with sinners, identified himself with the societal outcasts, and healed the sick.  The question me must all ask ourselves is, do we as Christians in our culture look more like Jesus or more like the person sitting next to us at church?  Do our own lives bear the painful scars of a destroyed former life, one in which we experienced a powerful and violent rebirth (John 3).  Or are we good Christians who pay our tithes, say our prayer, attend our churches, yet we never get out of our holy huddles and our places of comfort?  I am right there friends, pondering these very questions.  I have been shaken by this sermon from Dr. Platt from the Word of God to the very core of my being and existence.  How much of the “old me”  is still around lingering, influencing my new man?  I want a life completely destroyed by Jesus, so that all I have and am is in, and through, and because of him.    The possibility before me of following and trusting Jesus with my whole heart, whatever the cost, whatever the price.  This truly scares me to death, and captivates me at the same time.  I guess that’s a cost of following Christ.

Matthew 13:44

44“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

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Make Today Count

So often, if we allow ourselves we can look ahead in our lives and miss the significance of today.  Whether your in the work force and simply live for the weekend, or you might be a student and just can’t wait to get through this semester, it is common to look ahead.  Some want winter to be over, some just can’t wait til Christmas.  But what if…what if we treated each day as a gift from God and the most important day of our lives.  It’s not bad to plan for the future to some degree.  We have already begun saving for Perry Rose’s college, we try to save to put money back for a home, I have even committed to work Georgia Tech summer tennis camp for kids in June.  It’s ok to plan for the future, we have to in many instances, it’s just not ok to live there. It is not fruitful to our own lives nor the lives of others if we only look forward and not in front.  Right now in front of us all are opportunities to glorify Christ, to witness by word and deed to his greatness, and today is the only today that will ever be.  James writing to believers that are being oppressed by the rich says,   13Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. 17Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins. (James 4:13-16).  A sobering reminder that non of us are promised tomorrow.  All we have today could be taken from us, we could be taken from the world.  All we have for certain is now, Christ, and eternity.  We would all benefit from living our lives in the now, through and for Christ, with eternity in our minds.  Our lives are short compared with eternity (which is like forever), but they can be significant.  Lets all comite to live significant lives by making everyday count for the kingdom of Christ.  Try not to look to far ahead into the future and think, when I make it to that position in the company, or have that kind of salary, or meet the right guy or girl, then I will be happy or fulfilled.  It’s great to have dreams and goals, but there is something very spiritual to be said for being content in whatever place God has you right now…in much or plenty (Philippians 4:11-13).  That is not to say you don’t aspire for more in Christ, it just means that you realize Christ has given you just what you need for today.  And if Christ has given you just what you need for today, why not make it count?  Because if you don’t make today count for Him…it will forever be lost to the past. Focus on  Today+ Through  Jesus+Eternity in mind=a successful today.

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Honestly ask yourself this question…do you ultimately determine person’s worth on the basis of who they are (value) or what they do (performance)?  It is an important question we must ask each of ourselves honestly and thoughtfully.  One example I see regularly is the performance of an athlete on the field of play and the fans who in their own minds seem to be able to determine their worth as a person from their seats high in the stands based solely on the individual or team’s performance.  That athlete, coach, or team based on how well they play and coach will be assigned a position of worth by on looking fans and spectators.  If a player plays well he is considered great.  If a coach wins games he is seen as smart, intelligent, hardworking, and of good character.  Any of these things may or may not be true, but simply based on performance alone that individual is seen as great.  And as long as that individual or coach is meeting the expectations of the fan base, then they are in good graces in regards to the fans’ view of them.  But if and when that player fumbles, gets DQ for a false start, misses a free throw to win the game in OT, or that coach  that can’t do anything wrong his first few years on campus, looses a few mid-season games and now non one is wondering whether he might be genius, but totally incapable of making any good calls, and his game plan preparation is not what it used to be.  This is the nature of sports sadly at every level in our culture.  If someone performs well, then they are great and important.  If someone performs poorly then they suddenly not so valuable or important.  It’s so funny that fans (lets say of college football) will pass judgments on individuals based on their performance on the field, and from that determine what their worth is.  All the while not even beginning to consider that this individual has a soul, has dreams, and fears, loves to play the piano in his spare time, and volunteers down town at an afternoon big brothers program once a week.  All that, matters very little compared to how fast the athlete can run, how high they can jump, and how well they drive a golf ball.  They love you when you perform great, and when you don’t meet “their expectations” for you, you are no longer so important.  At work as a boss do you ultimately determine your employees worth by performance or by their value as a human being created in the image of God?  Is a salesman suddenly worth less to you because his sales are down significantly over the past three months, even though no one has worked harder that he?  Are people disposable in your mind because of how they  perform, what service they can provide, or much money they do or don’t make fo the company in the upcoming quarter?  Do instances like these change your opinion of an individual or persons?  Or are you and I able to see that greatest athlete on campus  is just like you and me in that he/she need Jesus today and everyday after.  What if fans,  let’s say Christian fans were more concerned with the souls of the athletes as compared to their performance on the field.  What if fans actually cared about some of their difficult family lives back home, or their classes that seem so overwhelming, and all the other pressures that are under from others as high-profile student athletes.  Sure they players get patted on their backs after the game for a game well played.  When have you ever heard a fan pat a player on the back after a game, and say “just for being you”.  Is that not the source of their real worth…being wonderfully and uniquely made by their creator?  It’s easy to love and praise someone for what they do…it’s much harder to praise someone for who they are, that takes having to actually know the person on a relational level.  So, next time before you render your starting QB “worthless” because he threw thee picks in the first half, and before you start booing him please remember this…you don’t know him, you don’t know what internal struggles he might be dealing with at that very moment, you don’t know what his home life is like, and you don’t know his heart.  He is and always will be more important than his performance…to Christ anyway.

I Samuel 16:1-13 (emphasis added)

1 The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.”

 2 But Samuel said, “How can I go? Saul will hear about it and kill me.”
      The LORD said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.’ 3 Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate.”

 4 Samuel did what the LORD said. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town trembled when they met him. They asked, “Do you come in peace?”

 5 Samuel replied, “Yes, in peace; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD. Consecrate yourselves and come to the sacrifice with me.” Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

 6 When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’s anointed stands here before the LORD.”

 7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

 8 Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The LORD has not chosen this one either.” 9 Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, “Nor has the LORD chosen this one.” 10 Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The LORD has not chosen these.” 11 So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?”
      “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered, “but he is tending the sheep.”
      Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down [a] until he arrives.”

 12 So he sent and had him brought in. He was ruddy, with a fine appearance and handsome features.
      Then the LORD said, “Rise and anoint him; he is the one.”

 13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power. Samuel then went to Ramah

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Way to go Dabo!

This article comes from Ray Melik of the Birmingham News.

While we wait to see if America’s No. 1 prospect, St. Paul, Minn., lineman Seantrell Henderson ,ever signs with Southern Cal (he’s reportedly waiting until USC’s meeting with the NCAA in late February), it was nice to see Clemson’s Dabo Swinney decide against waiting on Anderson, S.C., linebacker Jake Nicolopulos.

dabo.jpgClemson head coach Dabo Swinney accepts scholarship of player who will likely never play a down. (The State)Considering that Nicolopulos will likely never suit up for the Tigers, that’s saying something.

Nicolopus committed to Clemson in February, 2009. But this past December, he suffered a stroke that left him unable to talk, walk, or write.

But after massive surgery and two months of therapy, Nicolopus had regained the ability to sign his name – and last Wednesday he did, on a National Letter of Intent that Clemson said it will honor.

“He’ll be a part of this family,” said Swinney, the Pelham native who played and coached at the University of Alabama.

Nicolopulos has started his second stage of rehab – six-to-eight weeks of outpatient physical therapy – in Atlanta. He might need speech therapy after that, his father said, before returning to Anderson, S.C., and a future at Clemson.

“This realized a dream for him that he achieved, that he earned,” Swinney said. “God had a little bit of a different plan for him. But I don’t have doubt at all Jake Nicolopulos will make an impact at Clemson.”

A great coach and even more a godly man.  Thankful for men like Dabo in the faith-Taylor

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