The devil and failing at what he does.

"The devil has had so little success in persecution, that if I did not
know that he and his children, according to this verse, could not but
persecute, I should think he would count it his strength to sit
still." - George Whitefield

Awesome.

p.s. the reference here is to the fall and the devil being bound to
strike at the heel of the seed.

you can read more of this sermon here:
http://hardwords.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/the-seed-of-the-woman-and-the-seed-of-the-serpent-the-promise-of-christ/
(although the full text isn't at that link).

Light is sweet (Ecc. 11:7)

"Light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to see the sun." - Ecclesiastes 11:7

My wife says this should be my life verse. I'm obsessed with sunlight for my mental stability. Unfortunately we live in one of the grayest places on earth. Although we did just get permission next summer, and it's a mental stability move to a place with sunlight. It'll be good for the family.

Anyhow, it's true. It's pleasant for the eyes to be reminded of the light that is a mere shadow of what will light the world to come. The sun is brilliant, but when we depend for light on the Son instead we will be blown away. And there won't be gray places anymore. I'm also pretty certain we wont have to make mental stability moves.

The spirit praying through us (Romans 8:26)

"Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words." - Romans 8:26

Say what you will.

I read 'tongues'.

Remember? We are dust. (Psalm 103:14)

"For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust." - Psalm 103:14

Do you remember this?

Man how easy I forget. I begin to think I'm stone as in a statue, as in Mt. Rushmore, that will last until the world ends and leave a mark on humanity... until the world ends. But I am but dust. I will not remain on this earth forever. I will outlast this earth and Mt. Rushmore. You will too. Remember the quote about how we will outlast the greatest civilizations in history. We will outlast the earth a thousand years, and then another thousand, until our lives on earth were but a brief glimpse. A passing memory compared to the eternity we've lived and yet to live.

But for now? But dust.

Don't forget you frame. Your creator does not. If you forget your frame you forget that you were not made for this world and you will start to live for it instead of the Kingdom in which you belong.

But whatever you do. The Lord will have patience. He remembers you are but dust.

Dead forums

It's been forever since anyone visited theologer forums. Until a few days ago... someone hit it on Nov 6 and even posted.
Craziness.

I just would like to say for the record that I still love the idea and wish it didn't die. I went and looked at it again and would have loved for it to have lasted, but alas.

If anyone has a more active website and would like to transfer the forum to their subdomain let me know... but no pressure. Others have voted to let it die, so I understand.

Update:
This post has become the most hit post on my blog. Curious if most people come here looking for death. Whatever the case, here is my suggestion for those looking for life.

Babby

Yea I know that's not how you spell it, but I love how many people online spell baby this way.

I'm pretty stoked. I have two little girls now. A week ago Tuesday my wife gave birth to a beautiful gigantic 10 pound 10 ounce baby (4.83 kilos for your weirdos). I love it... but I am tired.

Her hips are slightly dislocated and we're going to be spending a good amount of time with doctors over the next six weeks or so to get them corrected. But better a fixable hip condition than an irreparable heart problem or something. Praise God for children, I never fail to be amazed at how much capacity I have for love.

Thank the Lord.

I'd post pictures, but given the anonymous nature of my web presence I think it a poor choice. Sorry eh.

Spend time with Christ. Become like Him. Desire what He desires (Ephesians 4:15)

"Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ . . ." - Ephesians 4:15

I've been wrestling a lot lately with what is important in life. In my life I suppose I should say. God has called me to a few very specific things but I'm a very ambitious person with lots of hobbies and it's easy for me to get distracted. There is only one cure for my distraction.

Time with the Lord. So that I become more like the Lord. So my desires become more like His desires and the non-important fades away.

We are called to specific things in the Lord. I cannot be everything, I am called to my role, but it's only when I grow up into Christ that I become like him and begin to have my priorities right. I've been begging the Lord to bring me to Him so that I can remember what matters.

What's hard about it? A new baby. Two children under a year and half is hard work. Trying on my sleep patterns, which means trying on my waking times. Which unfortunately I allow to affect my quiet times. It's difficult to be as intentional as I need to be to have time with the Lord.

But think of all the people you are most like. Your parents, and perhaps your spouse, your best friends, etc... You're most like them because you spend the most time with them, you become like one another the more time you spend together. I know I will be more Christ like the more time I spend in His presence. It just takes being intentional. Ah... I'll keep you posted.

2 Timothy 2:2 as a basis for church planting

"And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also." - 2 Timothy 2:2

Raising up others to enable them to do what the Lord has called them to do. Entrusting faithful men with the work of the Lord.

This more and more feels like a calling. I want to teach at a seminary, but I more and more think preparing people to lead big churches is the wrong way to go. Are there seminaries teaching people to plant movements instead of mega-churches? I want in.

This is the verse often quoted by church planting movements. They follow this as a model of expansion instead of leaning more and more heavily on the vision of a single church leader. Please someone help me understand why so many people disagree with that...

Church Planting Movements


Holy Crap, are any of you reading this?
This book is just getting me pumped about everything I'm doing, everything I've been thinking/hoping/praying for months. I haven't been this gripped by a book since Harry Potter.

iPhone Bible app

How is there still no iPhone app that uses the sword project
repositories so we can have ESV and many many different languages.
It's bewildering to me that the iPhone can do everything better but
windows mobile still has e-Sword and we have nothing.

Drives me nutty.

You're a soldier, not a civilian (2 Timothy 2;4)

"No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him." - 2 Timothy 2:4

I'm sure I've written about this before, probably almost two years ago now because this is a life verse for me. I read this section again today and was really chewing on it particularly because verse 7 says, "Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything." So I read this and the verses around it and then began to pray for understanding. Now having said that I don't want you to think that now I'm saying, "So this is the word of God," because I'm not. I'm merely going to tell you what I've been pondering since then.

First of all I remember reading this written more like this, "Therefore as a soldier of Christ do not be caught up in the affairs of this world, you are to please Christ your commanding officer." Okay I don't know why I remember this way, I cant find a translation that writes it this way but this is how I remember it. There are some subtle differences and some large, but the biggest is the difference between "the affairs of this world" and "civilian pursuits."

See if I'm not supposed to be concerned with anything in this world then I'd be so "So heavenly minded" that I was of "No earthly good." But that's not what we're called to be. God left me in the world and called me to be IN but not OF it. If I live my life only for heaven then I miss the opportunity I have here and now to bring redemption to all of creation.

So what does "civilian pursuits" mean? I think this is the things that the non-kingdom minded people are pursuing. That means money, fame, lust, (insert your idolatrous sin here). For me the biggest thing is fame. My civilian pursuit that I get caught up in is wanting to be known. I don't know why I have this longing as strongly as I do. I want to be published, or at least well known in the blog-o-sphere (which is sort of like being published by a loser). I don't know why but I begin to pursue this instead of pleasing my commanding officer.

As soon as life becomes about something other than the battle (namely ME), it falls apart. I can't take it, can't process it. I'm supposed to still be involved in this world in a practical way, but I'm not supposed to be OF it. Pursuing the things the civilians are pursuing.

Because I am not a civilian. I am soldier of Christ. "I'm in the Lord's army. Yes sir!" My concern is winning the battles, focusing on the fight, with my eyes on the war which is already won. I have the privilege to fight, I don't want to be sidetracked and taken out of the battle because I forgot what the role of a soldier is.

Anyhow. These are my thoughts. Still a life verse, but now I have a different take on it.

haiku meme

Seems like it's been forever since I was tagged in a meme (that I know of) so I thought I'd hop in. Seeing as how my other love is poetry (and by that I meanthe sieve and the sand) I'll jump right in.

First, here is the original post by Jeff.

weightless winds brush drops from
leaves of intricate design
screaming You're awesome

i feel bad tagging folk because i don't read hardly anyone else's blog these days... but don't think just do.

The Bible on being effective and fruitful (2 Peter 1:5-8)

"For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. " - 2 Peter 1:5-8

You already have faith. Add to that virtue and knowledge. Self control is an interesting one though because it's you who is lacking the control. How can you who lacks control just go and control yourself?

The concept of self control is a joke outside of a higher-power and really our God. Because something outside of us has to give us the strength to control ourselves when we lack it.

Steadfastness - Standing firm. Being fixed, steady. Do you know why you live? Are you living for Christ and are you doing so steadily? Are you holding fast, firmly to God? Are you constant in your battle for the expansion of the Kingdom of God?

Godliness, brotherly affection, and love.

All of these could take days to talk through,

But if these qualities are yours and you're advancing them, increasing them, working on them, you will be effective. You will be fruitful.

Want to know how to succeed at what you do? The scripture tells us VERY clearly.

And don't forget that because godliness is in there by it's very nature you're not going to accomplish these things if you're doing something ungodly.

But take a minute to think about your life, your work, your ministry and your family. Which of these needs the most work?

Be in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Fear like I don't fear. And giving it up to the Lord.

I dislike airplanes, I think I've mentioned that. But there is one thing that stresses me out much more than any airport problem can. And that is my family having health issues.

We're in northern Thailand because we (like most people who live a third-world country in this part of the world) flea the country when we need to do something big medically, like have a baby. So we'll be here for two months. Well, Sunday night my wife and I went to church at an international fellowship here (we don't speak any thai so this is a good fit for the two months). My daughter was running and playing and came running toward me and then tripped. Except this trip was a little different, she went face down and didn't stand back up. I went over to look at her and she was seizing.

To say that fear that struck me was overwhelming would be an understatement. I don't process that well. And seeing my daughter do that was absolutely terrifying. Thankfully there was a doctor nearby who knew what to do. Apparently she was having a Febral Seizure. So once we were able to cool her off the seizure stopped (only about 2-3 minutes). Then it was off to a hospital and gripping fear for hours until we knew what had happened. Later just about the time we calmed down she seized again as her fever spiked again.

Take my word for it, if you have kids this is not something you want to see no matter how much the doctor tells you that it wont have lasting side effects.

My daughter is doing well now and she and my wife just went home from the hospital an hour ago or so. I'm waiting around for them to solve all our insurance issues and then pay the bill.

But in all of this I'm faced with something anew. Something I hate. And that is God asking me, "Do you trust me with your family? Will you stay here even if your family is not healthy?"

I want to say yes. I don't want to leave the mission field because of health issues. But that said, if this had happened while we were home in a place where I do not trust the doctors to know what to do anymore than the insects, I would have panicked even more, and I would begin to question God.

Again, that said, I wasn't at home when this happened. I was in a country where I trust the medical care. I was standing 25 feet from a doctor because I was at a church. If that's not the Lord's hand taking care of my family I don't know what is. But this is the hardest thing in the world for me to give up.

Would you be able to live and serve in a place with little to no medical care? Many people have lost family in the field. Is that a sacrifice you would be willing to make? I am still trying to answer this one myself. I hope I never have to.

Update: After discussing this with my wife it feels much less like God asking, "Would you be willing?" and much more like Him saying, "I've got you, and your family is in good hands with me."

Life priorities



Sometimes I feel like I'm not clear enough on what my priorities are. So I wrote them out quickly to order them and remind myself what's important. It's encouraging to see the things that excite me.

Thoughts on "How To Find Time For… Everything!

"How To Find Time For… Everything! - Smashing Magazine"

An interesting article on time management by Smashing Magazine. What's interesting about this is as a believer I have found that I have the most time when I'm walking closest with God. I think what it is is that I'm focused, I have extra energy (grace), and I don't burn out because I'm walking in the spirit.

I know it sounds a little cheesy, but this has been my experience. If I haven't been walking with the Lord my time starts to feel crunched more and more and pretty soon I don't feel like I have time for the Lord. But if I make the time, then all of a sudden I feel like I have much more than I should.

An interesting paradox.

Is anyone out there?

I actually hoped to create a bit of a stir on my last post and there was basically a pin drop. I recognize I haven't been commenting on anyone's site in a while. Nor have I been posting regularly. I'm getting substantial traffic from google, but thats about it and I'm wondering. Is anyone reading this anymore? Or is everyone just coming via google searches and new content is all but a lost cause?

Just curious.

Leave your pulpit, start a podcast

A plea for church movements instead of church heroes.

Today I sat and listened to a fantastic sermon on 2 Timothy at a church of about 500 or so in a city where I will be visiting for the next two months and thought to myself, "This is a waste of my time."

Because the truth is I can stay at home and listen to a podcast that will have just as great of teaching (although it was a fantastic sermon) and have about the same amount of people interaction as I got from going to this church.

Then the service was over and on the way out I was able to talk with one man for five minutes. It was a great conversation but I was easily as encouraged by my talk with him as I was with the whole hour and half stiff-formal-service.

Why have we taken church - a gathering of believers for fellowship and sharing - and turned it into a place for intense Christian education and awkward liturgy? We can't raise up people who feel equipped to lead a church because they cannot reproduce something that has taken an entire team of people to do. If our churches were lunch meetings, or even brunch meetings where we shared wine, food, and dessert slowly over the course of a few hours while people shared, sang, and prayed it would be reproducible. In fact it would be so reproducible people would be excited about doing it themselves.

I'm not saying we should form our concept of church around what is easily copied. But I am saying a church was supposed to be something that WAS easily copied.

Your church service looks like this:

10:00 AM start
From the pulpit:

Opening 2 worship songs (10 minutes)
Announcements / Welcoming new people (5-10 minutes)
3-4 more worship songs (15 minutes)
Prayer (5 minutes)
Teaching (30-40 Minutes)
Benediction/Wrap up (5 minutes)

But what if your church service looked like this:

10:30 AM start
Around the table:

Catch up and eat snacks (20 minutes)
Eat and that week's appointed person share on what they've been learning or whatever verse has been assigned (15 minutes)
Discussion (15-20 minutes)
Wine and singing/prayer worship (15 minutes)
Desert, hang out, individual prayer time for those who need it (until people leave)

This sort of meeting would be manageable for just about any believer. Of course you would still want a leader whom you could trust to keep the discussion from veering into heresy. And you would encourage people to be learning outside of church and sharing what they're learning. Church would become a place for fellowship and growth rather than a one hour school lesson. It would be a place where friends gather rather than hundreds of strangers. And where you can find community when you need it, prayer when you're hurting, and it could be something you enjoy because you're encouraged by the body of Christ. And hey, on the drive home you could listen to the theologically/seminary trained guy's podcast.

I grow most when I see and share in the lives of other believers. I don't know the life of my pastor. I don't grow because of the relationships I have at church, they're for the most part shallow. I grow because of the relationships I have outside of church and the ability I have on days other than Sunday to go deep in those in relationships and talk about what God is doing in such people's lives. A great teaching on 2 Timothy is great for about two hours until I forget it. No matter how great of a sermon it was, it would be much better if I had a personal relationship with the speaker, and understood why these things were important to him, so I could understand why they should matter to me.

If you're doing this sort of church soon you could raise up a leader within your group who was capable of doing the same thing at his house. He would invite a few friends and you would give him some of your people to help start it. You could invite new friends and begin thinking again about who to raise up to split.

This would lead to movements rather than hero speakers who mass more and more people around them to hear a "perfectly formed 3 point sermon" or "Bible teaching that's not boring." I think our churches would look more like the early church (which isn't necessarily THE reason to do it, but I think they had some things right) and bringing a non-believer would be like inviting someone to a friend's house for lunch rather than an uncomfortable 1.5 hours of liturgy.

The hard thing about this is that most pastors are longing to be the best speaker they can be and have the best and biggest church around. No longer would this be the case. Soon you would be seeking to lead the pastors and then help them to lead the other pastors and you would have movements on your hands rather than one big church you could control. It is my opinion that this is the model we should be seeking.

If you are a gifted speaker, please by all means continue to try to reach a large audience, start a podcast. We need all the great teaching we can get so that we can share at church about what we've been hearing in your great podcast.

Thinking about missions theory

I'm still in the field. Albeit on a nice 2 month furlough to have another baby. But still very far from my motherland in America. The longer I'm in the field and doing ministry the more I think about how much I would love to teach missions at a seminary level. I've been pursuing my MDiv (I'm a depressing less-than-half-way through) but still making progress and not having to leave the field, which is my passion still.

Whenever I think abut what I'd like to teach someday (you know in like 15 years when I finally finish a PhD) I keep going back to missions but getting stuck on the idea of teaching missions history - a topic I'm interested in but would hate teaching. I'm much more interested in the theory. But then I'm realizing that theory is a field in itself. And now my lips are watering.

I love that all day long my job is to think about furthering the Kingdom of God and figuring out how to do that practically. I love thinking about how to plant churches. How to raise up leaders. How to properly do evangelism. How to depend on the spirit. Where to stretch and let go and where to hold on. I love these things more than anything else I've studied... And I cant wait to teach it.

Anyone out there study missions theory. Have any good places for me to start? I just picked up "An Introduction to the Science of Missions" by J.H. Bavinck. And I'm stoked to see where I can get started.

rubbing shoulders with giants

i've been friggin busy lately
pursuing two graduate degrees in two hemispheres as my "side job" and keeping ministry as my focus has kept me busy. joyfully busy as its all stuff I love... but so as to not neglect the family this blog has seen more neglect.

anyhow. i'm on furlough in a wonderful 2nd world country (yea i know those don't technically exist) nearby where we live. i'm staying in a place specifically designed for folks in my line of work to have babies and get some rest from the craziness. i'll be here for two months as my wife is due for baby number two in no time.

anyhow i'm meeting people who are in ministry in the most awful parts of the world and God is working. i love hearing these stories. our God is a powerful God. and he works among people who have never heard his name. who have difficulty pronouncing the word jesus or even anything similar to it. who cant read and write. who are still without electricity, running water etc...

God works. Jesus' name is being made known. and i'm getting to meet these people.

love it. it's so encouraging.

and if any of it was legal i would share it with you.

Whose glory do you love?

John 12:43 for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.

Oh snap was this convicting today. I find um nearly incapable of doing anything fully for God's glory. My motives seem to be, at the very best, mixed. 


Gaping leg wound.

My wife and I were in the pharmacy yesterday at around 5pm when a man
walked in and sat down on the windowsill looking for some medicine for
a large gaping bloody wound on his leg. My wife pointed him out and
the ladys at the pharmacy simply told him they could no nothing for
him and left him alone.

I insisted he needed to go to a hospital but he explained he could not
afford it. We walked to the community hospital down the street at my
urging and they said they could no thing for him. I raised my voice
and finally got a doctor to help us find a taxi and point us in the
right direction. We then went a big hospital a few miles away. They
were also insistent that they could do nothing for him as they do not
have a center for skin or burns. So they sent us in an ambulance to
the main hospital downtown to get checked out.

Finally on arriving at the main hospital they seemed to know what to
do and put the man in a bed and at cleaned the wound a little bit
before the doctor who would know what to do could come down and take a
look. It turns out the man burned himself 9 days before but because he
had no money had done nothing about it. He is a widower and his son
lives in another town a long ways away and he has no contact with him.

Today I was told the wounds are third degree wounds and he will need a
skin graft. The hospital insists the cheapest they can do this is in
two operations for a total of $3,500. During that time he will need to
stay in the hospital for around a month which could be as much as
another $3,500 (as its around $150 per day to address his wounds
etc...).

He needs the operation ASAP for the skin graft. The doctor says the
longer they wait the more difficult it could be to do the operation
and have the new skin take.

I don't know how to process this. I cant process this. I don't have
the money to give $7000 away by tomorrow. I'm talking with some local
channels to try to bring the money together but I have no idea how
this is going to work. Please be praying. I'm overwhelmed and its not
like we can just not help the guy. And if we don't pay they will just
put him back out on the street. I don't want that to happen.

Pray for another that you may be healed (James 5:16)

"Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another,
that you may be healed." - James 5:16

That you may be healed. I have a number of reformed friends who
frequently say things along the lines of "If I need prayer for healing
I go find a charismatic." But can't we confess our sins to one another
and pray with hope of healing no matter what we think?

Even most major non-charismatic types that I know accept an occasional
miraculous healing. But I read "May be healed." Not "Might be healed."
I think there is a certain amount of appropriate anticipation we lack.
Why cant we get together with our friends and when we pray expect that
God will show up, and if He doesn't in the way we expect or want, no
big deal.

Asbo Jesus on


It's funny because it's true.

But Twitter is better.

Chief and highest end of man (Westminster Larger Catechism)

"Question 1: What is the chief and highest end of man?
Answer: Man's chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy him forever. " - Westminster Larger Catechism

Even if you're not reformed (I wouldn't consider myself so... even though I am a student at RTS), you have to love this.

I've been spending a lot of time lately pondering this... its a seriously profound thought. I have a local friend who can tell you this in his own language and in English. He is studying the Shorter Catechism and he's got his ducks in a row. God loves these people so much, and I'm so stoked to be a part of their lives.

I love that our call in life is to glorify God and to fully enjoy Him. Are you enjoying God?

Man am I.

Smoking mountains (Psalm 144:5)

"Bow your heavens, O Lord, and come down!
Touch the mountains so that they smoke!" - (Psalm 144:5)

And show us your glory.

Do we fear asking God to show His glory because we feel like it's testing Him or what? Our God is magnificent, and delights in our delighting in Him. When we see His glory we should glory in Him. And rejoice and long to see Him even more.

Passing from death to life (John 5:24)

"Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life." John 5:24

You could be living in death rather than in life. But the decision you made, or I hope you'll someday make will give you life like you never imagined. Don't wait until you're old to figure this out. Don't wait another day.

500th post

That's a lot of writing. At least to me it seems like it. I guess when its spread out over almost 2 years its not all that impressive, but still. I'd like to commemorate this moment with a haiku:

edible delicious
frothy beer meets theology
luther made it so

mmm.... how often I tell my wife that she is perfect, but she could improve in one area - she could brew me beer...

A friend of mine's daugther died today

She was almost the exact same age as my own little girl. She had been having some health issues since she was born. What makes this death particularly hard is that if she had lived somewhere else (another country, or even another city in this country) it is likely that this could have been avoided.

Please pray for the family. God knows their names. Pray that I would know my role in comforting them. I just spent the last week writing a paper on the doctrine of death. I don't feel any better equipped to deal with something we all will someday face but none of us will ever understand.

Please keep these friends in your prayers.

Cheap beer

I've been home just about a week now. And while I love many things this country does, it's beer is not among them. For some reason they are incapable of creating anything better than pee water. I normally get used to it by not drinking any import for a while, but wow.

Whats sad is when they export it it's actually not that bad. If you buy this beer in America you'd love it. Why cant they serve the same thing to their own people?

We do not control our own destiny (Jeremiah 10:23)

"LORD, we know that people do not control their own destiny. It is not in their power to determine what will happen to them." - Jeremiah 10:23 (NET)

So when you're laying around at night determined to do something about tomorrow, or the next day or whatever. Remember your dependence on the Lord. It's only by His will that you'll even wake the next day.

I far too often depend on my own skill, my own abilities, my own strength to get me through things I have no business doing on my own. God has grace with my stupidity and pulls me through despite my not deserving it.

God help us to depend on your power to control our own destiny and yield to you. We admit that we do not know best, even when we'd like to think otherwise.

Best Vacation Ever

I just got back from a 5 week trip to the America - which by the way
is WAY underrated as a country. Probably the best food, people,
language, beer, and potty habits in the whole world. Did you know that
almost EVERY toilet in America is a sit down toilet (as opposed to
squatty potty). Anyhoo, I drank beer, I took seminary classes, I spent
a LOT of time laying around being useless. The first 3 weeks were
classes and family stuff, the last week and half straight up vacation
and thats where I got most of my laying around in.

Couches in America are soft. I don't care what you think. Also, the
television is light years away from anywhere else. I watched the tour
de france almost every morning - just the end of course. And did I
mention donuts? Donuts are about the best thing that ever happened to
anyone ever, and in America you can get them anywhere.

Okay, well enough about the most wonderful country on earth. 30+ hours
after leaving home on Thursday early morning I landed here on a
Saturday... Sad sort of, just to skip a day altogether. The trip was
the most awful of my life, I've never more in my life just wanted to
die. But it's over and its good to be home. Although the snack options
are lacking here, if you live stateside and you haven't yet tried the
organic cheetoes (I'm not an organic guy but these are friggin
amazing) then you're seriously failing at life.

Also, internet is slow. I've forgotten how slow internet can be. It
takes me almost 20 minutes to load a facebook page. Which is like load
and leave and come back sort of thing.

Anyhow. I had a good time. It was a time of refreshing. This next year
is gonna be crazy as there is a kid in October, and probably a move to
another city sometime next summer. Between now and then there is a
boatload of ministry and we're expanding to 2 new cities, which is
exciting but is going to take a lot of work. Praise God that I love
life as much as I do. If I could just figure out how to get sunlight
here life would be perfect...

I'm looking into happy lamps.

Schlitz

I realized I've been neglecting the beer part of this blog. My bad. I'm drinking schlitz because it was $9.59 for a 12 pack. And I have to say. Not too shabby for an inexpensive beer.

Schlitz and A Generous Orthodoxy by McLaren. Beer and theology. See how well they go hand in hand.

The trouble with being 'self-aware'

One thing people have said of me for a long time is that I'm self aware. It's true in the sense that I know who I am, what I believe, why I do what I do etc... But there are some pitfalls.

For example. Today I was reading a book on the Holy Spirit's role in our ministry, particularly preaching. And the author of this book keeps putting forth the idea that the weak are the heroes in God's kingdom. Not the strong. Because they are incredibly aware of their need for the Lord. So follow me if you will into my thought life as I read this:

Okay, this is a bummer because I'm good at a lot of things. I do not consider myself weak. I consider myself able. This is a bad thing in the Kingdom of God right? So maybe I should make myself weaker? No... that's probably not at all what it's saying. Probably what it is is that the heroes in God's kingdom may by all means be considered able by other's standards, but they still recognize their worthlessness when compared to God (the only one I should be comparing myself to anyhow). Okay so I need to recognize my worthlessness when standing before the Lord. If I see how useless I am without the Lord then I will be aware of my weaknesses and then know my need to depend on the Lord.

Alright. I can do that. Right?

Actually, maybe I do already do that. I feel like the Lord has overwhelmingly blessed my ministry even though I've been bumbling through like an idiot having no idea what I'm doing. Oh, then maybe I HAVE been depending on the Lord aware of my weaknesses and aware of my need for God. Wow then I'm doing pretty great.


You see how quickly I come full circle? Pondering -> pride -> awareness of my pride and need for humility -> humility -> awareness of my humility -> pride in my humility.

Ah. What a retched man I am.

A prayer (Isaiah 50:4)

"The Lord God has given me
the tongue of those who are taught,
that I may know how to sustain with a word
him who is weary.
Morning by morning he awakens;
he awakens my ear
to hear as those who are taught. " - Isaiah 50:4

Oh Lord that we would hear your words with clarity. That you would give us clarity of mind and wisdom of speech to preach, reprove, correct, and train in righteousness those you've called us to shepherd. That we would know your word clear enough to follow you with supernatural understanding.

Heavenly father you alone by your spirit speak truth and we need your truth every day. We ourselves are weary Lord and how can we hope to sustain "him who is weary" without the daily necessary grace that you provide. Lord give us what we need and give us an overflow as we approach today knowing full well we cannot do it on our own.

Bless the ministry that you have given us, and make us men after your heart, your mind, and your will. Help us to seek your Kingdom and not our own. To call men and women to be who you have called them be and not who we have called them to be.

Awaken our ears Lord to hear those who are taught. Give us the tongue of those who are taught. By your grace alone we live today.

Amen.

My power and my might have not gotten me this wealth (Deuteronomy 8:17)

"Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’" - Deuteronomy 8:17

This is a fantastic verse. It's surrounded by a reminder to the Israelites about who their God is. They have no reason to become haughty thinking they've accomplished anything on their own because it is only by God's grace they have anything.

Recently I was talking about something similar to this with a friend of mine. How often I read the Old Testament and just shake my head in awe at how dumb the Jews were. They were the chosen people of God, and yet they complain when their God saves them from slavery. They forfeit a whole generation in the Promised Land because they cant trust the God who had literally just parted the waters of the Red Sea so they could cross on dry ground. The list goes on and on, including walls falling down because they walk around a city for 7 days. It's absolutely absurd the visibility of God in their lives and yet they cant follow Him. They look again to their own strength.

You read this and it's just bewildering how big of idiots they can be. And then you look at your own life and how often you lack trust in the Lord even though He ALWAYS comes through for you. And you look again to your own strength.

The Lord has worked in my life in some absurd ways. Many of them as blatant as the walls of Jericho falling before my very eyes (though few as awesome). And yet I look to the Lord in the morning in prayer as though He's absolutely impotent. Powerless. As though who He is has nothing *really* to do with my life. If I need help I need to do it myself.

But then I remember, my power and the might of my hand have NOT gotten me this wealth, have NOT gotten me this joy, this satisfaction in life. God's power and the might of His hand are the only reason I have any hope in life. Let alone this overwhelming joy I can't help but share with others.

Lord help me not to forget.

p.s. As a side note, I just got back to the lovely U.S. of A. two days ago. I not only survived the flight I did quite well. I've been praying for courage in flying for about six months. The Lord has power to overcome even irrational fears.

To obey is better than sacrifice (1 Sam 15:22)

"Behold, ​to obey is better than sacrifice." (1 Sam 15:22)

This morning I'm wondering how many Christians out there are doing what they do because they believe it is a sacrifice to the Lord, but are in fact living in disobedience. I wonder how many people have been called to Africa and have said in their hearts, "Lord, I don't really want to do that, so how about I volunteer to do Sunday School instead?"

The numbers may be small, but given what I know about my nature as a sinful man I wouldn't be surprised if they were great. All these people everywhere sacrificing instead of obeying.

Its interesting to see some of the other things that are quoted as better than sacrifice too, for example take a look at these:

"Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil." - Ecclesiastes 5:1

"For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings." - Hosea 6:6

"Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners." - Matthew 9:13

"And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless." - Matthew 12:7

"And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices." - Mark 12:33

Life. Trips home. And why

Today I challenged a local friend of mine to take over the work I've been doing here. I'm excited that he's interested although it's at least a year in the figure yet. He's a good guy and will likely do an excellent job. Unfortunately the way I've crafted the position makes it near impssible for a lay person to take over (as opposed to a full time worker). So there are kinks to work out. But whatever the case this is without a doubt a step in the right direction.

In less than four days I'll be on a plane back to America. And that's always exciting. You know they have donuts, Mexican food and delicious delicious beer there? (the second delicious added for good measure)

A week from Monday I'll know if my next kiddo is a boy or a girl and in just over 4 weeks and trips to 4 states I'll be back here.

If you think of it keep me in your prayers. I don't travel too well. Which means I chose the wrong description. But whatever.

Today was our last ministry event for the year and included a trip to the country side, peaches, a mountain hike, sweat, and my baby throwing up all over the car on the way there. Some blessings come in the strangest packages and smell of the oddest things. My God loves me good.

P.s. This is my first post from my iPhone and may have some formatting issues.

What is the point of our lives, what is the great commission, and do "people groups" have special significance? (Matthew 28:19-20)

It feels like I've asked this before, but since I believe it was not avail here it goes again.
I'm really annoyed lately by some friends of mine who are die hard believers that:
1. The point of our lives is to fulfill the great commission
2. The great commission will be complete when there is someone from every "people group" who is a believer
3. Then the end will come - and this is a good thing.

My thoughts are this:
1. The point of our lives is to live a life of enjoying our savior and creator. This will include fulfilling the great commission.
2. The great commission is to preach the gospel to EVERYONE (that is, ethne in Matthew 28 means EVERYONE, not "people group" in whatever way we may describe that, but any people group is made up of PEOPLE which are included in EVEROYNE).
3. None of us have any idea when Jesus will come back, we cannot "bring it about" by seeing if we can get one believer in each "people group." And it will be a good thing when it happens, because God will be ready - not we've made Him ready.

Am I missing something? Is there a good reason for the Joshua project if this is the case?

Now don't get me wrong, some people have a heart for unreached people groups. Great. Go get em. EVERYONE needs to hear and how will they hear if we don't tell them? But that doesn't mean evangelism to a small tribe in the mountains of central Asia are more important than your neighbor Joe (unless God calls you to said tribe). God loves people. God wants EVERYONE to know Him. Not just every language so the songs in heaven are pretty enough.

Help me out. What do you think?

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them min the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you." - Matthew 28:19-20

Does your heart tell you to pray? (Psalm 27:8)

"My heart tells me to pray to you,
and I do pray to you, O LORD" - Psalm 27:8 (NET)

I was reading this verse this morning in the NET. I normally blog on the ESV but the ESV version is substantially different. Anyhow I'm writing a paper on Jesus' prayers in Luke. It's just been interesting doing the reading through Luke and look at all the times Jesus prayed.

He seemed to always be praying. He saw life as something to be spent in constant conversation with God. I wish my heart told me to pray, or rather that when it does (because it probably does) I would hear it and then I would pray.

Lord teach my heart its need to pray. Teach me to hear my heart telling me to be in conversation with you.

The eye of the needle ridiculous argument (Matthew 19:24)

"Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter ​the kingdom of God." - Matthew 19:24

For some reason in reading through the gospels for my most recent class I was annoyed by a sermon I heard on this verse years ago. Many of you may have heard the "a needle was a small gate that a camel could get on its knees and barely squeeze through" argument. I actually heard a guy preach this sermon. I was young at the time and I remember thinking the guy was a total maroon[sic].

Anyhow. Verse 26 clearly states Jesus' intention "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

If Jesus is talking about something that can be done it's just really really hard, why does he then go on to say "With man this is impossible?" Simple. Because Jesus is actually talking about a very large animal fitting through a needle used for sewing.

With God this is actually possible.

Cool. While preachers can sometimes be morons (I'm sure I'll make my doozie of mistakes in my time), God can do anything. Among with is that God can use dinkus pastors with their dinkus understandings of the Bible to speak things into our lives that change us. Don't ask me how. It seems impossible to me.

If pot were legalized would you smoke it?

This video was posted on digg or some other site that popped up in my RSS reader. It was actually pretty amusing.

I've always wondered if I would do pot if it was legalized. I think my answer is no. But not that I have any problem with the drug inherently, I more fear being rejected at a job I feel like I'm supposed to take when they ask me what weird drugs I've done.



One of the things this video addresses is whether or not marijuana is a gateway drug to other hard drugs. I kind of think its a ridiculous argument. If anything a kid goes from pot to harder stuff because he's already outside the law and knows drug dealers. If pot was legalized it would be harder to make the jump because it would be from within the law to outside of it.

People don't consider cigarettes or tobacco a gateway drug to marijuana even though its much more similar and that's because one is legal and the other just isn't.

Anyhow, I'm curious of any of you have thoughts on this.

And would you teach us? (John 9:34)

"They answered him, 'You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?'" - John 9:34

This is a fear that I have. That as soon as I get done with seminary and the other degrees I'm working on I'll suddenly no longer value those who have seen Christ face to face and what they've seen. Not everyone's experience is perfect, or even truth, but that certainly doesn't mean you need a PhD to be able to discern the spirits and the works of our father.

Seems like a lot of the most educated people I know are the most blind. I fear in my education I'll replace truth with knowledge.

If you're educated is this a ridiculous fear?

Me? An evangelist? (Ephesians 4:11-12)

"And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ . . ." Ephesians 4:11-12

I've been in full time ministry now for about 5 years. I've been sharing my faith as part of that relatively regularly all along.

But yesterday was the first time I ever felt like I might be gifted as an evangelist.

For some reason it's all of a sudden coming a lot easier to me. I enjoy drawing people out and questioning their worldview. I love pressing people to think through where they find their hope and joy. And I'm always impressed how few non-believers even claim to have hope. They live in fear, depression, or discouragement. Yesterday a lady told me her only hope was that no one had hope - so she wouldn't be alone.

Wow.

I've always seen myself as the teacher in this verse, but I suppose it was never meant to be that you picked what you figured and ignored the rest. And I suppose the Lord can equip me now to do one and later to do another. Interesting I think.

Rejoice in the Lord (Philippians 3:1)

"Finally, my brothers, ​rejoice in the Lord." - Philippians 3:1

My Mac dictionary says rejoice means to "feel or show great joy or delight."

I'm remembering about a year and half ago I went to meet some guys for an Octoberfest beer. I've never celebrated Octoberfest and that night didn't turn out to be my first. In fact they had some special on food and beer that was like 40 bucks more than the 5 dollars I hoped to spend. So my friends and I headed to wine bar down the street.

It was quiet and we were the only customers. We ordered a bottle of wine and smoked some cigars and talked about things dudes talk about. At one point one of my older friends (mid 40's maybe) raised his glass of wine and held it up to the light as he swirled it around his glass. He said, "I'm giving glory to God, I'm worshiping by enjoying this part of His creation. Wonderful enjoyment of the Lord's gifts is amazing worship." Then he took a sip.

I remember thinking, "I can worship God while drinking wine?!@!@ My God IS awesome."

Now again I don't want to argue for alcohol uncontrolled. But the Lord did give us wine. Heck He gave a whole wedding party some amazing wine (I'd love to know what that tasted like). And if we're responsible He takes joy in our rejoicing in his creation. How do you rejoice in the Lord? Do you rejoice in the Lord?

Praying for people in a "Let them through the roof" kind of way (Mark 2:4)

"And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, ​they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay." - Mark 2:4

I think this is a relatively familiar verse for most of us. Some friends get together to bring their paralyzed friend to go see this guy they hear can heal people. It seems like a good idea - especially to us because we know how it ends.

But when they arrive they see there is a huge crowd and they aren't going to be able to get their friend up to the feet of Jesus. If Jesus doesn't ever see him he wont be able to heal him. So these guys don't just give up and go home, instead they buckle down and climb the roof, they cut a hole in the roof and let their friend down on a mat and sure enough Jesus heals him.

I was thinking about this zeal in reference to a friend of mine who are sick. One has some kind of muscle disease where she is having a harder and harder time walking or controlling her body at all. She walks around our neighborhood shaking. One time I approached her and told her I was a believer in an all powerful God and I wanted her permission to pray to ask that God for healing. She then told me she was a Christian and would be blessed by that.

So I prayed for her that day and I wrote down her name so I could be regularly praying for her. I did for weeks and I still do. But after a few weeks I started to get frustrated with the Lord in my prayers. Why isn't he healing her? And I realized how I've been praying. Sort of standing outside the crowd unwilling to push through to see Jesus. If I really wanted her to get healed I'd push through the crowd, I'd cut a hole in the roof and press hard for the Lord to heal.

I read this verse and was encouraged that if I really love these people and want to see them healed I cant mess around. I need to love them in prayer like these friends did in real life.

Lord I'll cut a hole in the roof and set my friend before you if you'll heal them.

I just wish God's will in healing was so obvious. Just because it's my will to see them healed doesn't mean it's the Lord. Something I think I'm learning to understand, but still not sure I like.

Meat offered to idols -> Wealth (1 Cor 8)

I was over at Matthew Malcolm's blog Cryto-theology and saw this post. Basically he went through 1 Corinthians 8 (he's doing is PhD on 1 Cor, its an interesting blog) and changed "meat offered to idols" to "wealth."

You end up with a pretty fascinating read.

Concerning wealth, we know that coins are just metal and notes are just paper and credit cards are just plastic – and that God is the creator of all of these. We know that “the unseen hand of the market” is not a real deity: For us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and for whom we exist; and one Lord, Jesus Christ; through whom are all things, and through whom we exist.


It's worth reading the full post.

I will glory in my Redeemer (and you should too)

"I will glory in my Redeemer
Whose precious blood has ransomed me
mine was the sin that drove the bitter nails
and hung Him on that judgment tree"

I was playing this song this morning as part of my quiet time (not altogether so quiet I guess when a guitar is involved). I played through it probably 5 or 6 times and then came back to this first verse to finish. I was moved the last time playing through and really pondering the truth of this gospel.

We should glory in our Redeemer because it is only by his blood that we have hope of being ransomed. We do not deserve another to die in our place to cover our sins. We do not deserve anything but death ourselves. We worry, we fear, we sin, we covet, we worship idols, we fail and we fail and we fail. But our Lord poured out His precious blood to ransom us.

Ours was the sin that drove the bitter nails through His hands and feet, that kept Him hung on the cross, that caused agony on agony. That cut off His breath and killed Him. That sin was ours! But by that sacrifice He crushed the power of sin and death.

"I will glory in my Redeemer
Who crushed the power of sin and death
my only Savior before the holy Judge
the Lamb Who is my Righteousness"

I'm glad to be reminded of the wonderful truth of the gospel. I wish I remembered how awesome this is more often.

Giving a cup of cold water (Matthew 10:42)

"And ​whoever gives one of ​these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward." - Matthew 10:42

Okay I just got done reading this and laughing because this seems like Biblical evidence to drink cold rather than warm water. I live in a place where everyone drinks warm water (no matter how warm it is outside) and thinks it's downright bad for you to drink cold water. So HA!

But that aside. I'm thinking about giving. A friend of mine (we'll call him Steve) has a wonderful story of trying to give to a friend of his. Steve is an American guy who has lived here a few years longer than me. A while back a Christian friend of his had his bike stolen and it was his sole means of transportation - and expensive to replace.

Steve had another friend who had recently left the country and left behind his brand new beautiful and expensive bike. Steve decided he wanted to give this bike to his friend because he had no need for it. Unfortunately in this culture it's just downright bad form to give an expensive gift to someone who could not afford to pay you back. They would feel obliged to pay you back and then always feel at your mercy.

So Steve took the bike and rode it outside the city to a big construction site. He picked it up and threw into the dust, rubble, and cement. He picked up rocks and threw them at the bike and purposefully scraped a good portion of the paint off it till the bike looked old as though it was falling apart even though it was new. Then he rode the bike to his friends house and asked him to come out.

Steve said, "Here, I have a friend who just left the country and left this bike behind, it's not a very nice bike, but I thought you could use it since yours was recently stolen."

His friend stood there and stared at the bike and walked around it inspecting it and then finally said, "What happened this bike?! Something terrible must have happened, I have never seen a bike look so bad in my whole life."

Anyhow, he accepted the gift and I'm sure never felt the need to repay Steve. This is that gift of a cold cup of water. I'm sure Steve "will by no means lose his reward" for giving generously even though there were weird cultural things that got in the way.

My prayer is that we know how to give those in need good gifts. Lord open my eyes to know where I can help my friends and those in need.

(p.s. this all of a sudden seems odd in light of my last post, but I assure you it was mere coincidence that this is what I was reading and pondering this morning)

Get to know the real Roger - asking for Prayer and Support

So here's the deal. Maybe you've been reading my blog for a while. Maybe you used to read my blog and then when I switched to tumblr you stopped reading my blog and you're not reading this right now... in which case you wouldn't be you... so never mind you.

But, if you've always been curious about why I blog anonymously and what I do this post is for you.

This may fail miserably but I saw BibleDude pull off something similar for his kid's diabetes deal, so I thought it worth a try. We're in the process of raising more support for kid number 2 on the way. If you would be interested in finding out who I really am, where I really do ministry, and then sending prayers our way or if you would be interested in giving to us financially (monthly or one time) send me an email at rogermugs at gmail dot com, and I'll get back to you with details.

We send out monthly updates of what's going on, this generally includes pictures as well as all the interesting stories I'd love to share on this blog but anonymity keeps me from doing so. For instance this month's includes a story of a teacher of mine talking about skinning and eating rats as a child.

Keep in mind if you're just interested in praying for us you are also welcome. We need all the prayer we can get in what we do.

All creatures of our God and King - some thoughts on worship

"Thou burning sun with golden beam,
Thou silver moon with softer gleam!
O praise Him, O praise Him!"

"Thou fire so masterful and bright,
That givest man both warm and light,
O praise Him, O praise Him!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!"
- Francis of Assisi, "All Creatures of Our God and King"


This morning I was playing this on my guitar and really enjoying the worship. But it struck me as a little odd asking the sun and the moon to praise God. Asking fire to praise God. At first I couldn't quite pin my finger on what seemed strange about it. Everything should praise God. We know God's creation is praising Him, so why was it weird?

Then it occurred to me. Moon, sun, fire. All of these things have been worshiped themselves in the past and very very wrongfully. Why worship the creation when you could worship the creator? Not everyone understood the creator I suppose.

But how right it then seemed that Francis of Assisi would then turn and write this song. Saying basically, "Look, even those things you worship give their worship to our God and King."

What wonderful worship. I'm going to go back and sing this some more.

What God has prepared ​for those who love him (1 Cor 2:9)

"What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared ​for those who love him." - 1 Corinthians 2:9

A friend of mine cited this to me today. He's from a small minority hear where I live and almost everyone in his people group is polytheistic and worships trees, rocks, mountains, etc... All that to say, he is one of the few believers from the town he grew up in. In fact now he is in full time ministry working with athletes - he's incredibly gifted and by far my favorite person whom we support to be in ministry just because he's so good at what he does.

Anyhow. He cited this to me today in relation to a few things. First of all, in swapping prayer requests I told him life is just going really stinking well for me. I'm doing well, I'm happy, my family is healthy, my wife is doing well 3 months into pregnancy with our second kid, ministry is great, etc... He was excited for me and had similar sentiment.

His one problem though is his burden for his parents - neither of whom know the Lord. He recently found out his mother has gallstones and is unsure what to do about it. It's not one or two big stones but many many small ones. She's in a lot of pain and he was asking for prayer for her. He told me he's praying for her but he feels like the Lord is going to use this in her life. He says one of his good friends also felt like he heard something along these lines from the Lord about his mom. He hopes this means this might lead her to the Lord.

Then he quoted this verse. His bus pulled up right as we were finishing the conversation and he yelled the verse to me as he jumped aboard. But his meaning was clear. We love the Lord, look at how the Lord has blessed us, and how he'll continue to bless us in the future hopefully by leading his mother to Jesus.

He doesn't know for sure that his mom will believe, what he does know is that God has something prepared for those who love Him. And he loves Him.

Hunger and thirst for righteousness - On satisfaction (Matthew 5:6)

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst ​for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." - Matthew 5:6

I was talking with a friend who just started reading a new book. I want to say it was by Piper but I cant remember for sure. Apparently the opening of the book is something along the lines of how we can never find satisfaction in what we do. We can find it in seeking God for his attributes, we cannot find it anything we desire except for God Himself.

It's difficult to desire God Himself simply because He gives us so many good things. So we end up desiring His gifts instead of Him.

In a brief look through the NASB this verse (and the equivalent in Luke) seem to be the only places the New Testament talk about satisfaction in a way other than "they ate and were satisfied."

I think it's interesting that satisfaction comes to those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. At first I figured this probably meant that we would be satisfied in the sense that we would find righteousness. But that's probably not where it ends. If we find righteousness then we will find satisfaction because we will be right before God. This is what we're called to do and what He has offered.

Now in my search for satisfaction I have looked to fame, internet fame (which I'm still embarrassed about), alcohol, sex, respect among peers and elders, and just about every other human desire you can imagine. So how often do I hunger and thirst for righteousness? Not too often.

Lord I want to seek righteousness. I want to desire YOU and not all these other things that don't satisfy. Lord the only desire I can be sure of that isn't sinful is my desire to desire something not sinful. For that I need you.

we Christians

we're comprised of some of the weirdest, ugliest, most socially awkward
people, but by God we're loved.

(feel free to add)

Back to Blogger

Alright,
This is bad form for someone to switch twice like this. But I decided the problem I had with tumblr was losing my permalinks and therefore a lot of traffic. When people don't find my site through Google they tend to not find my site. That is, I'm not spending much time commenting on other blogs these days so about 95% of my traffic comes from Google. When Google fails because of confusion after a switch... well... my hands were tied.

I really did like tumblr a lot. I also thought if I waited it out Google would link to my old posts on tumblr and traffic would pick back up. But I was wrong. I dunno if I've lost it forever or if it will return in my switch back to blogger but what can you do?

If you're considering starting a new blog. I highly suggest tumblr. But if you're stuck and need your permalinks. Welp. Stick to that. I actually want what I write to minister to people, and it does when people read it. But not so much when they dont.

Anyhow. I'm back on blogger and my tumblr imported posts have abnormal spacing, so they're ugly. But soon they'll be off the front page. So bear with me, and leave me a note if you notice a blaring hole/error in something in this new layout. It's not sexy but it gets the content across and that's whats more important to me these days.

So here's to hoping my undying (okay sort of wavering) confidence in Google soon pays off and Blogger gives me some decent updates. This is starting to feel like XP... wow did I just say that? Blogger you're OLD.

I've been in meetings without internet for some time. Here's some thoughts on Christ teaching with authority (Matt 7:28-29)

I’ve been tweeting a lot more these days than I have been blogging. Mostly out of time issues. Life has been a little nutty as I’ve been in meetings for almost two weeks straight. Including two days of meetings during a three day holiday. I’m not bitter. Nope. Not bitter.



Anyhow. It’s been a slightly richer time for me in the word than it has been in a while. Although that’s really not saying much. The Bible’s been dry as dirt or me up until recently. I’m picking up my guitar a little bit more and worshiping which has been great.



“And when Jesus finished these sayings, ​the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.” - Matt 7:28-29



So I’ve been killing myself in school. Anyone else doing this? I guess this is what I get for doing two grad schools at the same time alongside a full time job. It takes it out of me. But I am really enjoying getting to contrast the VERY secular school with my seminary classes and seeing both views on Christ and the church.



I’m amused at how both sets of teachers teach with authority. It’s just a half of them don’t believe a word of the Bible or that there is even a God. I do appreciate my seminary teachers who seem to know what they’re talking about and ACT like they know what they’re talking about too. I can’t imagine what it would have been like for the scribes to stand and read the word but not interpret. Not teach. Not really preach with authority.



Albeit this is the very thing that makes me fearful of preaching. The better I understand it the more I realize you have authority when you preach. And you’d better stinkin’ know what you’re talking about.



I love that our God stood up and interpreted the scriptures unabashedly. Preached and preached and preached some more as one who had authority. Because He DID have authority. I wish I could just once attend a class taught by an infallible teacher… that would be fascinating I think. I doubt I’d be tempted to play Solitaire or Snood during class if Jesus were talking.



Whew… that’s why I cant tweet everything on my mind…

He remembers that we are dust (Psalm 103:14)

“For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.” - Psalm 103:14



I’m on burnout day 12… when I run and run and run - although by run what I really mean is sit in classes and meetings and trainings all day long for 15 days and still have 3 more to go.



The Lord knows I’m not strong enough for this. He knows my frame and knows my limits. Much more than I do. He remembers that I am but dust.



But he gives me strength to make it through every next day.



Lord I pray for grace enough to make it one more day with enough left over to still love my family out of an overflow. For that to happen I need you. I need you. I am but dust.

Idol or firewood? (Isaiah 44:16-17)

“Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, ‘Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!’ And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, ‘Deliver me, for you are my god!’” - Isaiah 44:16-17



Foolishness comes in many forms. I like the simplicity of this verse and the stinging truth of it. A man builds his god out of wood and bows down to it, then takes what is left of the wood he used and makes himself dinner by burning it.



We probably do similar things all the time with our idols, though they may not be quite as absurdly obvious. But the situation is the same, our idols are worthless. And more than that, laughable.



How can we honestly believe these things will save us? How can possibly believe money, fame, beauty, will make us happy when they’re worthless, powerless?



And then we have a God in heaven not bound by human limitations, who can do anything. Making His creation satisfied is probably amongst the easiest things he has to do.



Just think next time you’re saying, “Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire,” where is your all powerful God?

reBlog: Quisling President of the World

Reblogged from via: Musings of a Pertinacious Papist

Victor Davis Hanson, “President of the World” (NRO, April 15, 2009):

The globe is hearing a deeply pessimistic view of what America was and is.

Given Obama’s performance on his recent trip, three developments were quite astounding.

First, despite this fresh climate of atonement, there was a complete absence of a single apology from any other foreign leader — odd for the new shared spirit of multi-polarity and reciprocity.

First, despite this fresh climate of atonement, there was a complete absence of a single apology from any other foreign leader — odd for the new shared spirit of multi-polarity and reciprocity.

Not a word came from Britain about colonialism. Nothing from Germany on the Holocaust, or its trade with Iran. Not a peep from France about Algeria or Vietnam.

Turkey was mum on the Armenian killings and its own tough anti-Kurdish policies. Russia said nothing about the 30 million murdered by Stalin — or its present assassinations abroad, much less its leveling of Grozny or its destruction of Afghanistan. Nothing came from China about the 70 million who perished under Mao or its present role in subsidizing North Korean nukes — or its violation of global copyright laws. We won’t hear anything in the “New Asian Hemisphere” about Muslim Uighurs or Tibet.

Second, there was no other example of “He did it!” about supposedly inept predecessors. Mr. Medvedev said nothing about Putin’s brutish rule. Sarkozy and Merkel did not trash the shady Chirac or Gazprom’s bought lobbyist Schroeder, and their role in harming the Atlantic alliance. Gordon Brown was quiet about Tony Blair and Iraq. China did not mention a reset button. The new Berlusconi did not trash the old Berlusconi.

Third, we saw no concrete evidence of any help — or hope and change — from any foreign leader. Zilch. There were expectations of American concessions, but nothing new or helpful from anyone else.

Instead I think a number of astute foreign leaders — rivals, enemies, and friends alike — have already drawn the following conclusions….

In summary:

1. An Obama visit: A vast entourage will descend on your capital in campaign mode.
2. “I’m sorry”: Obama will apologize for almost anything one can imagine.
3. “You’re Right!” Differences that your country has with the United States will be resolved in your favor.
4. “Them”: Then comes the “separation.” Obama makes it clear to any host or foreign leader that both he and his vision of America are strangely exempt from America’s past, from Bush, and from our innately arrogant nature.
5. What’s Next? [The world] has already concluded that Obama is nourished by applause and will work to maintain it … because he realizes that [it] is essential to his perpetual candidacy … Meanwhile, the contours of the new world order are clear. Iraq’s democrats are snubbed; Iran’s cutthroats are courted. A Saudi royal receives a bow; the British queen … receives unplayable DVDs…. Iran is adding to its centrifuges. North Korea will ready ever-more missiles…. Israel gets a Charles Freeman nomination; Gaza a billion U.S. dollars in aid.

“… For 40 years we have had well-meaning moral equivalence, utopian pacifism, and multiculturalism taught in our schools, and we are now learning that all that was not just therapy, but has insidiously become our national gospel…. [emphasis added]

“President Obama will get his much-needed praise and adulation abroad, and Americans will finally be somewhat admired for a while. And thereafter, there will be real hell to pay — either abject U.S. appeasement as the world heats up, or some sort of frantic eleventh-hour hyper-response to restore stability and lost deterrence.

“Just watch.”

[Hat tip to J.M.]

How Susan Boyle won over the world » BBC NEWS | Entertainment

How Susan Boyle won over the world » BBC NEWS | Entertainment

preciseandtowering:




We first saw Susan Boyle flatten the judges of “Britain’s Got Talent” last week (bringing my wife to tears). I have not smiled so widely in ages as when I saw the judges and the audience gaping in awe of this 47-year-old woman singing. The judges’ reactions and statements were very honest and very humble, and has helped turn this situation into something very good. 


This piece at the BBC brings up some important issues, but not the one in my mind. Susan Boyle is a wonderful illustration (or, better, a parable) of the way God works in this world. It is better known as the “theology of the cross” and comes to us mainly from Martin Luther. 


The BBC article reveals the truth of Luther’s assessment of natural humanity: “‘I’m sorry because we did not give you anything like the respect we should have done when you first came out. We thought you were going to be a bit of a joke act, to be honest with you.’…A star has been born. Whether she will she leave a dent on our prejudices about age and appearance remains to be seen.”


Of course they thought she was a hapless joke, of course they had a prejudice against her appearance: they are all theologians of glory. Ms Boyle gives us a grand demonstration of 1 Cor. 1:18–31 and the fact that God was most gloriously revealed when that almighty divine being was hidden in sinful flesh, spit upon and mocked, hanging on a tree to die. I hope all of us who were amazed by the beauty coming from that person from Scotland will begin to deeply question the way we look at everything in this age. 


“God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God.” (1 Cor 1:27-29)





» I’d just like to a add a big Yup. Indeed.

Freedom (Galatians 5:13a)

“For you were called to freedom, brothers.” - Galatians 5:13a



I know some folks who are trying to reach Muslims by becoming like them in almost every way. They’re argument is that through this method they can create a Christianity attractive to a Muslim and they’ll be more likely to convert because it’s less threatening.



Since I heard about this (and it’s much more complicated than this) I’ve been thinking about it off and on. There seems a lot of advantages to this approach and I definitely see how they’ve arrived at seeing this the way to go. The issue I have is freedom. Muslims are not free.



They live by 5 pillars or rules they must follow if they’re to be a ‘good’ Muslim. Now don’t get me wrong. Many - perhaps even most Christians aren’t free. But they’re at least supposed to be. We cannot sanctify ourselves. We cannot sanctify ourselves. There is absolutely now ay that we could possibly sanctify ourselves. We can do nothing to make ourselves worthy of the Kingdom.



It is only by Christ’s blood that we live. And because of this we are called to freedom. Not slavery. Not legalism. Not rules.



We are called to freedom brothers! When will we start living like it?



Anyhow my thought is, our freedom should be THE reason Muslims want to be Christians. They shouldn’t desire our religion because we fast the same way, or dress the same way, or pray with the same frequency. They should desire our God because our God gives freedom.



If we would live like we were free people would have a lot less of a problem with Christianity. Instead we live as slaves to rules.



Be free. For crying out loud Lord make us free. We are called to be free.

Thoughts on the Holy Spirit's words and authority (John 16:2)

“When ​the Spirit of truth comes, ​he will ​guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but ​whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.” - John 16:2



I’m just thinking about the authority of the Holy Spirit. One of these trinity things I don’t get I suppose… Interesting to think about how the Holy Spirit speaks not on his own authority but on the authority of Christ, which are both just two of the three parts of the Godhead.



I’m also thinking about how Jesus speaks to us through the Holy Spirit. And how I should be more in tuned to listening.



Lord speak to us. Speak to us through your Holy Spirit. Through your word. Through your people. And help us to hear, knowing it comes from you.

Remember how you're a completely new person? (2 Corinthians 5:17)

“”Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” - 2 Corinthians 5:17



The group I help to lead discussed this idea last night. When we believed in the Lord our lives completely changed. Every aspect of our lives and that’s because the Lord came to dwell within us.



No longer do we live for ourselves. We live for the Lord. He does not need us to accomplish his purposes but he chooses to use us nonetheless.



No longer do we live for the things of this world. The Kingdom of God is within us and we are a part of it. Our citizenship changes from citizens of this world to citizens of the Kingdom of God. A place here in part but not in full.



So instead we set our eyes on the things above. The things eternal. Loving or God first and foremost. Loving those around us. Trying to live like Christ.



Now that we know our creator we can finally know how He created us to live. And in that we can find contentment, meaning, love, joy and peace.



If you are in Christ the old has passed away. Behold the new has come. Do you live this way? Do you feel this way?

He is risen! (1 Corinthians 15:20-22) - Happy Easter!

“But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.For as by a man came death, ​by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” - 1 Corinthians 15:20-22



This is no little thing. Conquering death.



Today at church our speaker pointed out that every other religion is a guy who came and was wise and told us how to life. Then he died and people thereafter tried to do what he told us. But Christianity is different. Our God came, and lived, and his death was the reason he came. Then he rose again and is alive today.



This is no little thing. Conquering death.



He is risen!

(via chvnx) Welp. I guess that was that. And then there was what happened after…



(via chvnx)



Welp. I guess that was that. And then there was what happened after…

Sin's solution -> keeping eyes on Jesus. Keeping eyes on Jesus solution? (Colossians 2:23)

“These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in ​promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.” - Colossians 2:23



I wont use this as fodder for my “everyone needs one or two good vices” argument. Although I’d like to. Rather what I’d like to argue is that mere legalism - “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (vs. 21) - is no solution to sin.



Think about those people who win so many outward battles but lose the battle in their minds. This has always been a struggle for me, in all areas but lately more than anything with anger. I imagine running my electric bike into the cars that drive stupid (see the subtle objectifying of the people?). Then I imagine attaching large spikes on my bike AND THEN running into the cars so as to do more damage. Because I’m a moron. Simply not running into the cars does not make me want to teach them a lesson any less.



“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek ​the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. ​Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” (3:1-2). Ah… here it is so clearly stated. Set your eyes on Jesus.



Now I feel like I’ve found the secret to not sinning - keeping your eyes on Christ. I’ve mentioned this before several times. And when I succeed at keeping the Lord the most important thing in my life I see this freedom from sin.



So now my question is, how do we keep on our eyes, minds, hearts, on the things that are above? Anyone have a solution?

Mormons and angels (Colossians 2:18)

“Let no one who delights in humility and the worship of angels pass judgment on you. That person goes on at great lengths about what he has supposedly seen, but he is puffed up with empty notions by his fleshly mind.” - Colossians 2:18 (NET)



I read this, and like the first the chapter of Galatians I just wonder what the stink the Mormons do with this.

Nothing compares to Christ. Nothing (Philippians 3:8)

“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of ​the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I ​have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ” - Philippians 3:8



Today I had a fantastic lunch with one of my friends. We ate this dish called literally a big pan of chicken. It just chopped chicken pieces (the whole chicken, beak, feet etc…), potato, green and red pepper, and noodles piled on this metal pan and smothered in a spicy red sauce. It is fan-freaking-tastic.



But that’s not the point. This friend of mine has been walking with the Lord for a long time and has always been a great encouragement to me. Today when I asked him how I could be praying for him his response was just to walk closer with the Lord. Sort of a Sunday-school-ish answer but still, it’s simple in its necessity.



Then he quoted this verse to me. He said, “I know that nothing compares to Christ. Nothing. And I want to believe it, live it, and really know it. I want to know Christ better.”



Again simple, but true.



So often I’m concerned with doing this better, or that better, or whatever. But am I just seeking Christ?



All to often the answer is no. But He really is better than everything else, and therefore quite worth it.

On interpreting tongues - e.g. your own

I just read an interesting post at Peter’s blog Gentle Wisdom where he’s talking about the interpretation of tongues. If you want to know more read his post. But the thing that got me thinking was this:



“Nevertheless 1 Corinthians 14:13 seems to suggest that one should pray for understanding of one’s own tongue, without restricting this to public meetings.”



Something I’ve never thought of before. People have asked me if I know what I’m praying for when I pray in tongues. I can only say that I thought I had an idea on a few occasions. But the thought of knowing what the Lord would be praying through me is fascinating. It would be like being able to see what the Lord has a heart for in prayer.



I’m gonna begin to ask for this I think. If you speak in tongues are able to interpret what you’re praying?

It’s funny when you’re so numb to an idea you no longer know why its funny.



It’s funny when you’re so numb to an idea you no longer know why its funny.

my first experience on Omegle - amused

Stranger: frodo?

You: almost

Stranger: billbo?

You: but no hair on the toes just yet..

You: getting there.

You: and you?

Stranger: gandolf

Stranger: and gimli

Stranger: :)

You: ah... I suppose no place for a missionary in middle earth eh?

Stranger: yup

Stranger: canadian?

Homosexuality - nature or nurture?

I had an interesting discussion with a friend of mine recently on the topic of homosexuality that I’ve been thinking about since and I’m curious for some feedback.



First of all I would like to say that I don’t have a lot of question about it being a sin. That can be addressed elsewhere but I think the Bible is pretty clear on it and I do take the Bible as authoritative. Now that said, I don’t see it inherently as any different from any other sexual sin. For example I relate it to most men’s struggle with pornography. In my opinion both are simply wrong outplays of something the Lord has created to be experienced within the bounds of marriage. The only difference is if a person chooses to live out a homosexual lifestyle it is like a person choosing to indulge in pornography.



So that said, if a person has homosexual tendencies its the same a person who is interested in pornography. Both (in my opinion) should be seeking sexual wholeness and healing in understanding why they have these desires and where to have the rightly fulfilled.



Okay but that’s not what I want to talk about. Actually I’m interested in the nature vs. nurture argument. I’ve always been a firm nurture believer and a lot of that has to do with a man who works for Focus on the Family who lived a homosexual lifestyle for like 30 years and then was saved out of it. He tells the story of his father calling him a pansy etc… and only finding acceptance from an older male in a sexual relationship with an uncle or a friend or something.



He argued that the scientific work for nature has never been well corroborated and he is a firm believer in it being a nurture thing. So I stood by that argument for a long time, thinking that the Lord never intended anyone to be born with homosexual tendencies.



But that changed in this conversation with my friend who said very simply he believes someone could be born genetically to be homosexual - as a result of the fall. His argument is his daughter who was born without a left hand. He says God never intended for her to be born without a left hand, but as a result of the fall she was born that way. Could it not happen that in the same way as a result of the fall someone could be genetically different in the womb to simply desire the same sex instead of the opposite?



And so that’s had me thinking ever since. I think I’m starting to agree with the argument. I’m not saying it would be any less wrong - just that it could genuinely be a result of the fall and genetically this could be the way their wired.



What do you think?

Idols the root of all evil (1 John 5:21 and Wisdom of Solomon 14:27)

“Little children, ​keep yourselves from idols.” - 1 John 5:21



Yesterday my reading was covering the Apocrypha and I found it pretty fascinating. I’ve only heard of a few of the books of the Apocrypha and the Psqdopigrapha and I know almost nothing about them. Now don’t get me wrong - I am a firm believer in the canon we’ve received and do not consider this books canonical or inspired in whole.



That said, there could be some valuable things in them. By book pointed out that the book Wisdom of Solomon had some verses pointing to idolatry as the root of all sin. Here are the ones it quoted:



“For the devising of idols was the beginning of spiritual fornication, and the invention of them the corruption of life.” - Wisdom of Solomon 14:12



“For the worshipping of idols not to be named is the beginning, the cause, and the end, of all evil.” - Wisdom of Solomon 14:27



I found it interesting being this well and clearly stated just because I so agree with this. Especially the second verse. I feel like in our lives we’re just worshiping wrong things and thats what leads us to sin the first place and then further and further down those paths. Those idols may be money, fame, sex, alcohol, etc… but they’re all things that we worship before the Lord and thereby break the first commandment.



I’ve talked about this before but I have a picture for you - which I wont draw because I cant draw. Imagine us bowing down to an idol called Money, or Sex. And we want to not worship it - we know that the real God is over there somewhere, but we just stand before this idol and keep looking at it and telling ourselves “Don’t worship that, don’t worship that, don’t worship that. Only God satisfies, only God satisfies, only God satisfies.” But we don’t leave the foot of our idol. We just stand there instead of walking away or choosing to turn around and face God.



Fascinating really.



I like these clearly stated verses about the root of sin. The Bible definitely makes it clear but not AS clear in AS straightforward of language.



Interesting stuff.

The Holy of Holies was empty - are you?

“Pompey entered the Holy of Holies and was amazed to find only emptiness.”*



Yesterday I started the reading for my next seminary class which is on the Gospels. It was a pretty interesting beginning just because it already seems like a long time since I’ve read about theology in English, its really nice to understand every single word. So much so that my reading has slowed down substantially because I just enjoy the comprehension…



Anyhow, yesterday I was reading and got to this section. In 63 B.C. Pompey took Jerusalem, and even though people locked themselves in the Temple they didn’t last long. The temple priests apparently went on with what they were doing as though it was just a normal day. But then Pompey comes in, and even has the audacity to walk right into the Holy of Holies - the very place that a priest would be struck dead by God if he didn’t enter according to God’s regulations - and nothing.



Zip, zilch, nada. Fascinating really. Especially when you think about the glory of God coming down from heaven into Solomon’s temple in such an awesome way.



I wonder how many non-believers look at our lives. Look at the lives of Christians, get under our skin to see what’s going on inside of us and find emptiness. If your body is a temple to the Lord and someone gets to know you will they find the Lord under there? Or will they be amazed at the emptiness?



Have you made your body a place for the Lord? You cannot justify yourself, you cannot sanctify yourself, but does the Lord live in you or not? Have you asked yourself? If you’re curious take a look at 1 John (especially around vs. 24).



This is the God that we claim is all powerful, awe-inspiring, worthy to be praised, and able to save. But when people come to meet him, they look close because they’re curious if such a God does exist, what do they find?



Just a thought.



*Backgrounds of Early Christianity by Everett Ferguson, third edition (page 412).

My flesh is fascinating - Some thoughts on sin, temptation, desire, fame etc...

I just went for a run. One of the things I love about running is the absolute absurdity my mind goes through while I run and how well I’m able to focus in on it.



Today I began to dwell (as is often the case) on how great of a runner I am (I’m not a great runner) and on how famous of a writer I’ll be (I’ll likely not be a famous writer). And then it occurred to me and I asked the Lord, “Why do these things seem so desirable to me? What is it about fame that I desire so much?” And as I thought this it led me to,



“Lord I really find satisfaction in you, so why I don’t I desire this real satisfaction in the same way I desire fame, sex, money, etc…?”



Then it occurred to me that I am very satisfied in my marriage. I love my wife more than anything ever and I’m exceedingly attracted to her. Yet while this is the case I am still occasionally tempted by the idea of a woman outside of marriage. Now why is that? Why do I experience what I could consider the fullness of a promise from the Lord in marriage and still desire the broken, sinful, fallen, things of this world?



I guess it’s the flesh. We’re told again and again that we’ll struggle with our flesh, I’m just fascinated by my struggle with it. It’s fascinating to me that I know the Lord’s plan is the only thing that brings satisfaction. I can find that satisfaction - and actually BE SATISFIED (I know that’s redundant but I’m trying to say it clearly), and yet still sometimes desire something that will ruin this satisfaction forever. My flesh is fascinating!



Something I discussed a while back is how sin seams to rear it’s head in new and interesting ways every time you begin to get past an old sin. It’s like the devil brings up gambling and then when you finally begin to conquer that he brings in sex, and then when you’re getting an edge on that in comes alcohol and so on… the problem is that you never fully conquer these old things, so you just build up a repertoire of old sins you “almost” have gotten over…



It’s got me thinking about how it seems like it would be nice to just stop at a comfortable one like alcohol. Just sort of never really get the hang of it. I don’t mean to turn to alcoholism (in fact I’m not condoning what I’m talking about here at all… just processing it) but dabble with alcohol. Alcohol seems a lot more pleasant sin than adultery doesn’t it?



But the problem is we’re unable to dabble with sin. We have to fight or lose the battle. Ah… again… My flesh is fascinating! And in all the wrong ways.