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Archive for September, 2010

This is a get to know your faithful blogger edition…

-I have a bulging disc in my back.

-My favorite band is the Dave Matthews Band (DMB).

-My favorite DMB song is The Stone 

-My favorite book in the Bible is Paul’s letter to the Romans.

-I have little patience or use for any types of preaching from the pulpit that is not expository.

-John Piper, Russell Moore, Tom Schreiner, and David Platt are my greatest theological influences.

-I struggle with being prideful, and selfish, daily.

-I have very few good friends.

-I am a self-proclaimed exterior illumination expert.

-Mexican and Bar B Q are my two favorite types of foods.

-I once hit a half court shot in basketball when I was 8 years old.

-I can sing…a little

-I walk on average  5 miles per week going to and from practices @ Tech

-I am a picky eater.

-I have a learning disorder that was not discovered until I was 17 yrs old.

-I don’t like flying.

-I am a pretty good fisherman.

-My dream place to live would be on a farm in Charlottesville VA.

-I write poetry, but mostly in the fall season.

-I am the most competitive person I know…ok you probably did know that.

-I have a better sense of style than my wife.

-I only wear v-neck sweaters…except for one.

-I hate the summers and the heat.

-I like being busy, but when its team to relax, I chill.

-I don’t sleep well, and I sleep extremely light.

-I don’t listen to much Christian music because most of it sounds the same and is focused on the individaul…there are exceptions though.

-I prefer hymns because of their high-christology and God-centered focus.

-My life is about God and people.

-My greatest passion in ministry is to be a disciple maker.

-I rarely get the chance to preach, but I love doing it.

-I have more friends from Kenya than any other foreign country.

-My roommate from college is from Australia.

-I could have played four different sports in college.

-I wish I were better listener.

-I can only do simple math.

-I don’t keep in touch with a single High School friend.

-I have migraine headaches periodically.

-I will tell you exactly how I am felling that day (if you ask).

-I need to pray more.

-I want to love God more.

-I want to be more like Jesus (this is also a great Keith Green song).

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The challenge of the regenerate heart is to be satisfied alone in God and nothing else.  This means, in a world of innumerable competing pleasures we desire God alone above all others.  And, not that we desire God alone, but that we love and cherish him for who he is in his being and not what he can and will do for us.  This is exactly the point A.W. Tozier makes in his book The Pursuit of God.  I highly commend Tozier’s book to you.  It is one you should not read once, but once a year for as long as you live.  The battle for our heart has been won by Christ.  He has rescued our heart of stone, snatched us from the enemy’s hands, and given us a new heart that now desires him.  This heart however needs to be constantly maintained.  Just as physical exercise is good for the heart, regular spiritual exercise is even better.  Tozier speaks to the fact that while are hearts a full of God, there is always room for me.  We will never grow tired of knowing and loving God.  We can however be distracted, and allow the light of Christ to grow dim in our very hearts and lives.  Sin always causes a disruption in our relationship with God.  We must first look to what sins are presently in our lives and do business with they and God.  But, many times it’s the good things that we cause become sinful that are so detrimental to our very lives.  Things like money, homes, friends, jobs, and even family.  Tozier give so much wisdom to this as he describes Abraham’s battle with idolatry over his only son, the son of promise. He explains that God asking Abraham to sacrifice his only son on the altar was not just an act of faith (though it were surely on of the all time greats), but also a way of purging Abraham of an unhealthy view of his offspring, which was surely the delight of his heart.  Both with Abraham, and ourselves we can look at many instances in our lives when we took the gifts of God and elevated them above the giver.  Our heart, as Jonathan Edwards has described, is the constantly beating pleasure factory of the body, and only finds its true rest and peace in the person of Christ.  For believers, Christ has captured our wayward heart, the challenge for us is making him superior in all our daily affections.  I urge you to join me in prayer and careful consideration concerning each of our hearts.  I need to examine my own heart and go much deeper with God in pursuit of him alone as the source of my salvation and unending satisfaction.  I know personally, I have some things, both sin and otherwise that need to be put in their place, and Christ exalted to his.  My heart has been won, but daily it is challenged.  Praying that you and I will meet the daily challenges through the strength of Christ in us, and for his glory.  He is the only reality that can keep the heart safe and satisfied from now until…                 

Pslam 13:5

5 But I trust in your unfailing love;
       my heart rejoices in your salvation.

Pslam 26:2

2 Test me, O LORD, and try me,
       examine my heart and my mind;

Pslam 33:21

 21 In him our hearts rejoice,
       for we trust in his holy name.

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You Don’t Need Money…

You don’t need money to have the things in life we all desperately seek; love, respect, community, productivity, or happiness.  You do however need God’s word to have these (and more) at their highest levels of enjoyment.  Ecclesiastes 4:8b says 8 There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother.  There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. “For whom am I toiling,” he asked, “and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?” This too is meaningless— a miserable business! (NIV)  Who has ever been content with wealth.  I have heard others ask and answer the question, “how much money is enough…just a little more.”  Yet people waste their entire lives pursuing  money only to come to the end and find out that they missed all the real treasures in life.  In Ecclesiastes the writer speaks on several occasions about the vanity of pursuing things that do not last, or have no eternal value, he calls them “chasing after the wind.”  This is an amazing concept, who can capture the wind?  Who does the win answer to?  Can we determine or change the direction of the wind?  No, we can not catch the wind, it does not answer to us, only God, and we could not change or determine its direction even if we tried.  It’s true we can use the wind to fly a kite, capture energy, fly faster across to Europe, or blow the trash from our yard into our neighbors.  But, we don’t tell it when and where to blow, it answers to no man. Money, like the wind can be used for many good purposes, but ultimately you will either have to spend it, or eventually die without out it.  I hope this recession we have faced has at least served those who trust in money and important and God-centered lesson…It ain’t about the money.  Life is about relationships, it’s about people, it’s about friends and family, and it’s chiefly about Christ.  I said earlier in a post, we most often don’t get to choose how we glorify God, but whether or not we will glorify him.  You don’t need money to glorify God, you simply need the love of Christ.  You can never catch the wind, but you can have all that you want in life, but only if you turn to Christ and give to all to him.

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This morning, while reading another blog I came across some great wisdom from John Piper.  He was dealing specifically with the issue of lust and one way he fights it.  He shared about adult book stores and night clubs, and how they typically don’t have windows.  He said it’s not just because they don’t want you to see in,  they also don’t want you to see out.  Why, because according to Piper they don’t want you to see the sky.  Piper says the sky is a great place to fight sin.  How, well when we gaze upon the shy, when relish we the colors of the day, or ponder the expanse of the night sky we suddenly don’t feel so big anymore, and we are not focusing on our selves.  When we sin, we focus on our selves, and fulfilling our own sinful desires.  We we look toward to the sky we don’t feel so big and important, we are reminded that we are in fact small by comparison.  Sin, whether lust, or  greed, or bitterness, or deception all take away from our enjoyment of God. Piper, makes a great point on this as well.  He notes that when we focus on self and sin, it takes away from our ability to worship God and contemplate his greatness.  We begin to see things only half-hearted, with minds filled with s much sinful stuff, we can’t think with clarity, and we end up missing some of God’s glorious beauty.  Like me, you may have never before considered how sin affects our view and experience of a sunset.  The truth is, while God deepens our view and experience of all things great in his creation, sin cheapens them.  I want to encourage you, as a fellow fighter against sins of all kinds to think and act upon this concept.  Don’t just look to the present, fleeting pleasure of sin that is presented before us, but consider how that sin will cheapen our relationships, lessen our ability to hear God’s voice on Sunday mornings and monday evenings, and cause you and I to half- heartedly appreciate the glory of God in his creation.  Pastor John Piper, has been an answer to so many of my prayer through his wisdom and teaching on all things God. I pray his wisdom will help you too, in our life-long battle against sin and the flesh. 

Psalm 16:8   

    8 I have set the LORD always before me.
       Because he is at my right hand,
       I will not be shaken.

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Let Us Mislead No One

I believe it is the tendency of many Christians to “sale” or present Jesus in a way that is not faithful to the scriptures.  We must ask ourselves if the Jesus we are preaching is in fact the Jesus of the Bible.  Today, we have many Christians who want others to come to know Jesus as personal Lord and Savior.  I believe this to be a very good thing.  However, the problem lies in the fact that many people are proclaiming a Jesus that does not exist.  Many are offering Jesus to others with “no strings attached”.  All you have to do is believe, he will make you happier, more successful, you will have better relationships, your marriage will not fall apart.  First, mere intellectual belief is not enough to save any one, the scripture never endorses that.  Salvation has never been about just “praying a prayer”.  Salvation is about confessing your sin nature as evil and repulsive in the sight of a holy God.  Repenting of that sin nature and making a change in mind and behavior to look more like Christ.  And lastly, exclusively identifying ourselves in with Christ and declaring our allegiance to him and no others, not even ourselves.  Jesus might make you happy, he might not. He may make you successful, he might not.  You can have better relationships, but some may get worse.  He defiantly can save your marriage, but you may have a lot to do with how that turns out as well.  The point is, we never should come to Jesus because of what he can do for us, but rather because of who he is…The Messiah King.  And as we are going and presenting Jesus, perhaps we should warn those who would desire to identify with and follow him.  Jesus own words,  25Now large crowds were going along with Him; and He turned and said to them,  26“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. 27“Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple (Luke 14:25-27).  Most if not all in that large group said, thanks Jesus it was nice hanging with you for a while, but this isn’t really my thing.  This is likely the same thing that happens to so, so many in our culture when we bring them to Christ under the pretenses that is something other than what we find here in Luke 14.  Most Christians would avoid this passage at all costs in sharing the gospel with others, but it is exactly the passage they need to hear upfront.  We need to let them know what they are getting into from the get-go.  Jesus is not a divine Tony Robbins who will motivate them with borrowed ideology.  Jesus must be presented faithfully and fully.  We ought to make it harder for people to come to Christ.  Not that we would hinder the work of the Holy Spirit, but we would ask them to carefully “consider the costs” of following Jesus on his terms.  We should ask people are you sure you want to follow Jesus…because if you do, here is what you will be confronted with.  Can you love Jesus so much that your love for your family and your self look like hatred compared to him.  Would you sale all your possessions and give them to the poor if he asked you to.  Would you take up his cross daily in identification and  devotion.  Instead, in our churches, in our relationships we run from texts like these and we recite John 3:16 as if it is the only verse about Jesus that matters.  Every verses about Jesus matter, which is precisely why the entire Bible matters.  We’ve got to stop giving people a chance to receive a Jesus that isn’t endorsed by scripture.  Let people know up front, it is hard to follow Jesus, but if you still want to he will give you the strength to do so, and it will be the greatest relationship in your life.  You will never regret giving yourself to him, but it will be the hardest thing you will ever do.   

Luke 9:22-24

22And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”

 23Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.

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New Post Coming Soon

Sorry for the lack of new post over the last 10 days.  I have an Old Testament 2 paper that is due this week, so as soon as I finish it, I will have something new.  Thanks for you patience.  Trust in God today to meet all our needs in Christ Jesus!  Proverbs 3:5-6, Ephesians 3:20

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