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Archive for August, 2010

In the first installment of the Lord Of  The Rings trilogy, The Fellowship of The Ring, the ring of power has come to Frodo Baggins a lowly hobbit from the Shire.  It is a parting “gift” from his uncle Bilbo Baggins.  Gandalf, the gray/white wizard has growing concern that this very well could be to one great ring thought to be lost.  He places the ring in the fire and asks Frodo to hold his hand out and see if there is an inscription on the ring that can only be revealed by flame.  At first Frodo says there is no inscription on the ring, Gandalf  sigh’s in relief.  Then, Frodo says wait, its in Elvish (the language of the Elves), Gandalf interprets, “The One Ring To Rule Them All”.  While in Seminary I attended a lecture series on The Lord of The Rings presented by Dr. Joseph Pearce.  He brought to life for me much of Tolken’s symbolism beautifully woven throughout his epic.  Uncovering what the ring symbolizes is essential to understanding the book/film.  It’s like for the Christian, understanding what took place in the garden is essential and connected to every other matter of our faith. 

 The Ring in the LOTR symbolizes sin, and quite clearly, the thing you desire to posses always ends up possessing you.  There is a direct parallel here, sin looks good, and promises pleasure and power with only a small committment.  The ring could be viewed as just a piece of decoration fit for the finger, but that would be unwise.  Once given over to wearing the ring the ring bearer with  have great and unparalleled powers, but he/she will also be owned by that ring.  He will cease in controlling the ring, and the ring will control him.  This ring has an agenda, and it’s not morally neutral, its evil and so is it’s master.  You may want to even use this ring for good, but the ring will use you for evil!  

Does this sound about like sin, and the Father of sin?  We are good at underestimating our enemy, and over estimating our own abilities to fight against the sin in our lives.  The problem for us is, the sin we thought looked so easy and good has/is now attempting to own and destroy our very lives.  Satan and sin have but one mission, keep the lost ones lost by making them think they are found, or unworthy kingdom candidates.  While tempting believers with sin, and sin, and more sin in a full on, full court deceptive press where the defense lulls you and I to sleep and then at the most opportune time, attacks us at our most vulnerable point.  It is but one ring, one lowly ring…but if you believe that then you have been deceived.  Many in LOTRs’  thought they could carry the ring of power and use it for good, but few if any can resist its power.  Even our beloved ring-bearer struggles to part with the “precious”.  Most are tempted, some passed the test, but all can never assume they are above the rings influence. 

We must never believe that we have arrived spiritually and are no longer vulnerable to past sins.  We can be especially arrogant of past habitual sins we have overcome through Christ.  We do not laugh in the face of sin, we must respect sin by keeping our distance and being ready and on guard when we are attacked.  Attacks from the enemy are not a question of “if”, but ”when” and “how”, and through prayer we might discover the “why”…see Job. 

The ring of power is not what it seems, and is yet more than it appears.  It is after all, the greatest of all formed kingly rings.  Satan is the greatest deceiver, and his aims are the crafty and precise.  The ring is beautiful beyond compare, in value no others even enter the conversation.  It is the greatest ring of all…and it is sin!         

Sin in our lives is never what we tell ourselves it is.  We cozy up to it, justify it to ourselves and others because the sin makes us feel good, well at least for the moment.  But then the sin begins to turn our hearts dark, we lose the desire to honor God in all things, love family and friends with a pure passion, and we become completely self-absorbed, self-reliant, and are ashamed to be anywhere near God, because we know we have gone astray.  Our destruction is nearly complete.  Satan has set out to destroy every good/God thing in our lives, and he has used subtle temptation and slight deception.  And our only hope is for Christ to rescue us before we are lost an eternity forever.  This is where Christ comes on the scene…..

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One of my favorite seminary professors, Dr. Russell Moore has penned a spot on article over at his website regarding Glen Beck and his “American Revival”.  It is definitely worth your time.    http://www.russellmoore.com/2010/08/29/god-the-gospel-and-glenn-beck/

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If you or I say we are to busy to talk with (i.e. return a phone call) or spend time with family and close friends, we most likely don’t have a time management problem, but an honesty and ego problem.  I have always, always believed in the saying “you make time for the things/people who are important.”  I would rather someone tel me (and one time a coach did) that I am just not that high on their priority list right now…At least I know where they truly stand.  Also, it’s an ego issue.  If we love our ministries, our jobs more than our family and friends, then we are idolatries.  Say what we like, but our time is telling of our hearts.  How we spend our time, and who we spend it with reveals our hearts desire.  In seminary I learned, Ego stood for Edging God Out,  When we allow our vocations or hobbies to become our self assessed worth or value we are not allowing God to take his rightful place in our lives as leader, sustainer, and supreme satisfaction of all things. I also was convicted personally by Chip Ingram on this issue when he spoke to the fact that we sometimes like to tell other how busy we are, so we can stroke our own ego’s.  I know for me personally, the more I have going on, the more important I sometimes feel, and vice-versa.  It is true we are al biased to some degree when we examine our own hearts.  Virtually all of us are all better justifying sin in our own lives, and condemning it in the lives of others.  Lets trust our hearts only chiefly to the one who fashioned them with his purposes and glory in mind.  Lets stop pretending we are busier than we actually are, and be the friend and family member that God expects from his flock and our friends and family deserve.

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Keep It Simple

When coaching tennis, I always remind those I’m teaching to keep their volleys simple.  I tell them to keep their backswing short and “punch” the ball.  I tell them “strings to the target”.  I remind them that if they don’t do these simple things  their volleys will suffer.  In our faith as believers are we doing a good job of keeping it simple?  What I mean is, are we devoting ourselves to the most important aspects of our faith, the fundamentals if you will?  The Word of God is all we need to nourish our inner man.  We don’t need any other book, any other, blog, all we need is the word.  Now, of course other sources like blogs and books can be helpful, but the Bible is the only Word from God we have to have, it is also the only Words God promises to bless.  Secondly, communion with God though prayer is essential to our walk of faith.  Prayer is chiefly about communing with God.  Prayer is about having dialogue with God, which involves both listening and speaking.  The Word of God is our power source, without it we are powerless.  Prayer is our faith in action, we speak to a God we have never seen, we trust and hope in a God we know through the creation, The Word, and The Holy Spirit.  I need to be reminded often that the Word and prayer are the two most important components in my relationship with Christ.  Where I am currently is, reading through the Bible on a plan that takes up to a year, and looking for more opportunities to pray.  My problem is not that I don’t have time for prayer, more like I don’t make enough time for prayer.  I am just being honest here, please pray for me, that I may be more devoted to prayer.  I hope this will serve you in the way it serves me, a simple reminder to keep our days, our lives simple, simply devoted to prayer and the Word.

Acts 2:41-43

41Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

The Fellowship of the Believers

 42They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 

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Be a Mentor

Just got back from “Man Church” tonight at Johnson Ferry Baptist (hope I don’t need to explain what man church is to you), and received some great wisdom on being a mentor/having a mentor.  My encouragement to you is, no matter how old you are, be a mentor to someone younger than you (of the same-sex), and find a good mentor who is older than you.  You need it, others need it too.  Or, perhaps better put, old people need young people, and young people need old people.  So, here is what you don’t have to be to be a mentor…(Per the speaker at Man Church tonight)

1.  All knowing…you don’t have to have all the answers to life or eschatology.

2.  Perfect..it is prefered that you not be perfect.  Others will benefit greatly from your mistakes.

Here are a few things you will need to be a mentor…

1.  Available…for one on one, or one with a group time either weekly or monthly.

2.  Honest…The person you are mentoring does not need you to be a super saint, just real.

3.  Seeker…You need to seek out and identify those individuals whom you would like to mentor.  

Common excuses for not being in a mentoring/mentoree relationship…

1.  I don’t have time…Yes you do, make time.  What are you gonna tell God the father on the day he asks you to give an account for your life, “I didn’t have time for another person.” 

2.  Not equipped…You don’t have to be a Bible scholar or Dr. Phil (not that he is really that wise), you just need life experiences and the willingness to be honest.

3.  Fear of being rejected…Yeah, some will tell you they don’t have time or other.  Don’t worry about that, God will bring you the right person/people.  

Friends, you will be blessed beyond belief if you reach out to another life and encourage, share, teach, listen, and grow with them.  Please do this, not for yourself, but for Christ and others.  People need more of you in their lives…trust me I am there!

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