Sunday Scripture Day (Hebrews 4:1-3, 11-13)

"Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said,
'As I swore in my wrath,
"They shall not enter my rest,"'" - Hebrews 4:1-3

"Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account." - Hebrews 4:11-13

But of the Son He says, "O God" - Jesus IS God (Hebrews 1:8)

"But of the Son he says,
'Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.'" - Hebrews 1:8

The next class I will take for seminary is Hebrews to Revelation and I've written some on Revelation as a result of one of the books I read in preparation. One of the books we're required to read is a 740 page commentary on Hebrews-Revelation which, apart from being completely absurd, is teaching me some interesting things.

Part of the problem with a commentary is it's so dense you can't really skim and still know what the writer is talking about. This has been my problem, I read dirt slow unless the author repeats himself frequently. This commentary is not so.

All this to say that I read this verse for the first time really focused in on it rather than just getting through this first section so as to get to the rest of Hebrews. This verse is significant because it very directly says that God calls Jesus 'God'. And yes, this would have been a shock to people.

We're okay with Him being a man (even today most people are willing to acknowledge this), and maybe even a bit spiritual. But it's absolutely absurd to think He was also God. THE GOD. The creator and savior and everything that we claim Jesus to be. It is a little over the top if you think about it.

Unless you believe in an almighty, all loving, awesome God. Then it's not quite so shocking.

But Jesus was, and IS God. Forever and ever. And His scepter is righteousness.

p.s. The scripture quoted is Psalms 45:6

The most sensational story ever told... (part 2) - and an update

First an update. My internet died for about 36 hours, not all of the internet only random parts including my access to this blog - which was interesting. A life without internet even for just a little while makes me wonder how I was possibly born before this thing was normal. How I possibly lived without it?

But now we're firing on all cylinders and I'm happy.

That said, I need to update you on my friend Steve. (See the original post here)

I went up to see him this Tuesday and try to share with his girlfriend and mother. It was a fascinating trip, I really enjoy getting out even if its a long ride to get there. I've only been to his place once before and last time the neighborhood was dead because it was in the middle of winter and so very very cold.

This time all the neighbors were out and playing and interacting with Steve (who seems to know just about everyone). It's always interesting to see people who really understand community in a way that people like me (who grew up in the suburbs) don't. The love each other, watch out for each other, play with one another's kids and are up in everyone's business. This sounds annoying but keeps people accountable in a way I would argue is Biblical.

I asked Steve about reading to his girlfriend (fiancee?) and mother from the comic book Bible I had given him. He shared a bit with me about what they'd been reading and how his girlfriend always wants to hear more (he'd told me this before). So then I asked if they believed it, and he said his mother did. Right then his mother came into the room and so I asked her if she really did believe in Jesus and she said she did (praise the Lord!). I then asked about his girlfriend and he said he wanted me to ask. When she came back into the room I asked her what the thought of Jesus, she laughed a little bit and said, "The Romans were so mean to Him!" I then asked her if she believed in Him and she said she did.

I helped to clarify a bit about what the Bible said regarding believing in Jesus according to my understanding of Romans 10:9 and told them if they really did believe this and had just confessed it like they had then they were Christians.

I don't know if the name rubs them wrong. The girl definitely comes from another religious background and this would have been awkward for her, but the mother had no background at all and I think she was probably excited about it. In retrospect telling them that they're officially Christians was probably not as important as telling them they had a Savior who had gifted them with eternal life - but you win some you lose some.

It was a great meeting and then we had lunch. 1/2 of which was edible and 1/2 of which was not. Again, you win some you lose some.

I did not choose to press the issue of them living together because I don't think either was ready to hear it. My other goal in going to see Steve was to try to get him reading the Bible. The translation I thought he had was something really old and difficult to understand (especially for someone with only a 5th grade education) probably something similar to what a KJV would be. But turns out he has a slightly wordy modern translation.

I explained to him about how old the Bible was, how it is all about Jesus but more than half of it was written before Jesus came. I had him read a passage from Isaiah 53 and then some sections from the Gospel of John. Then I explained to him about who Paul was and told him Paul's conversion which he got excited about, then I showed him where it was in the Bible. I tried to bookmark a few sections and make it seem more realistic to tackle. I think he's excited about it but we'll see.

All this to say, it appears (and time will tell) that Steve has shared his faith enough with his mother and girlfriend that they're both believers now. Praise the Lord! This is awesome! And it appears he's doing well and getting excited about getting married soon and becoming a father. Also he may begin to be reading his Bible and hopefully figure out for himself what he should be doing in regards to how to treat his wife/girlfriend. I still wonder about what my role in this situation is. I don't think he's been a believer long enough to understand much and it was such a messy situation.

But the Lord seems to have been faithful to use him in the lives of others this far, which I am thankful for.

If you think of it send some prayers the way of Steve and his family. They're wonderful people. I look forward to introducing ya'll in the next life.

Scripture written for our instruction - that we might have hope (Romans 15:4)

"For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." - Romans 15:4

The Scriptures were written to bring us hope and instruction. I wonder how many of us still read the Bible as a list of dos and don'ts. Or rather read it as an obligation rather than a book of freedom and hope giving encouragement.

Instruction is less about dos and don'ts than it is about wisdom. When someone older and wiser is giving you instruction it is hope filled, useful and exciting. When I seek advice from someone I'm at a loss for what to do and any direction is extremely encouraging.

Today I was helping a new believer understand what the Bible is. I was fascinated because I hadn't said these things in a while. Telling him about Isaiah and how he was a prophet and wrote about who Jesus was a LONG time before Jesus came. Sharing about how this book was written 2000-3000 years ago and maybe even parts of it were written before that.

We have fascinating Scripture. But not fascinating in the way buddhist scripture is, because this is THE inspired word of God. Written for OUR instruction.

That we might have hope.

Do. Okay? Work. - But not for salvation (Proverbs 10:4-5)

"A slack hand causes poverty,
but the hand of the diligent makes rich.
He who gathers in summer is a prudent son,
but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who brings shame." - Proverbs 10:4-5

There is something very comforting to me that while much of the Christian is counter intuitive, there are parts which just make sense. Here is a wonderful passage in Proverbs to remind us of why we should have a work ethic.

The problem arises really only when people cant tell the difference between the importance of doing and the necessity of doing. Because they are different. Work is important. But overwork is a problem like over doing anything (including overcooked marshmallows).

Some people talk about the importance of just being instead of doing. While I think there is an importance in being good at being (that is, living life in a way that mimics our savior and loving people by who we are in addition to the intentional things we do), doing should not become our priority.

Do. Okay? Work. Because if you don't you'll end up in poverty. But diligence is of value, of worth. Be prudent, but don't be a prude.

This sounds like a lot of "Do," and admittedly it is. But Jesus died for you whether you work a day in life or not. Whether you're a burden to those around you or not. Doing will not make you any more or less saved, but it might help with your hunger.

Sunday Scripture Day (Joel 2:26-27)

" You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
and praise the name of the Lord your God,
who has dealt wondrously with you.
And my people shall never again be put to shame.
You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel,
and that I am the Lord your God and there is none else.
And my people shall never again be put to shame." - Joel 2:26-27

Be watchful - Your adversary is on the prowl (1 Peter 5:8)

"Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." - 1 Peter 5:8

As opposed to steeped in entertainment. Numb. Lukewarm. Unaware of your surroundings. Unaware of the battle being waged for souls and eternity every minute all around you.

I wish I had some sort of grasp on this. I wish I wasn't from the most comfortable nation in the world. A nation preaching to the rest of the world that their lives can be good if they seek comfort too.

When I was a kid I would imagine another spiritual realm and the angels and demons that prowled around it and sought to fight one another over our souls. The sad thing is I was probably closer to the truth then than I am now completely unaware of what happens and choosing more often then not to simply ignore it or not think about it...

I wish I was aware of the war, but I also imagine if I had any idea of the magnitude of the fight I would live in fear instead of fighting.

What will it take to wake me up? What will it take to wake you up? What will it take for us to be watchful and do what it takes to keep the devil from devouring those around us?

Abide in God's Love - That your joy may be full (John 15:9-11)

"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full." - John 15:9-11

John 15 is a defining chapter for me. It helped me understand my utter inability apart from God and my fascinating life through Him.

I wish I could say this loud enough. I wish I could say it frequently enough. I wish I could drill a hole in your head and insert this into your brain so I could know you would not miss it.

Abide in God's Love. That your joy may be full.

This took me far far too long to learn. No one beat it into to me. I might have heard it but it just didn't sink in. And now, on this side - knowing what it's like to live a life abundantly - I feel so bad for people who don't get this yet.

Abide in God's Love. That your joy may be full.

There is life. There is life worth living. Worth hoping for. Worth screaming for. Worth fighting for. A battle worth waging and a joy, satisfaction, love, reason, faith, hope, EVERYTHING - in Christ.
And nowhere else.

Abide in God's Love. That your joy may be full.

The day the Lord has made - Rejoice! (Psalm 118:24)

"This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it." - Psalm 118:24

For me this means rejoicing not at the troubles my friend is having in his marriage but rather, the opportunity I have to speak into it. Not having to get up early in the morning, but getting to go for a bike ride with friends when I do.

It means love my daughter and delight in her. Bless my wife and delight in her. Pray for my friends and enjoy them, bless them.

For me it means remembering that time, while occasionally annoying, is still a gift from God. That while death may be gain, to live is Christ. It reminds me that I cant have this hour back. I cant have this day back. I need to make the best of them.

And rejoice and be glad through all of it.

I can do all things through Him. He strengthens me (Philippians 4:13)

"I can do all things through him who strengthens me." - Philippians 4:13

Today this meant week three of my 100 push up challenge (29, 19, 19, 15, and then 29 - whew!), then a good long run on my day off between bike rides.

It meant riding across town for something I wanted to complete at 10:30 but had to wait until 2:30 to do. This entailed far too gross of a lunch and then several hours of sitting and sleeping in a local tea house. It meant coming home and having energy for my daughter, my wife.

It meant meeting an old friend to catch up and to encourage him in his walk with the Lord. Challenge him in his personal life. Lose to him in several games of chess.

Today it meant a lot of things.

As I turned my last corner on my run tonight I thought, "Wow, I really have time for so much more when I make time for a quiet time with the Lord."

When I make time for Him, I have an overflow. It's physical, it's spiritual, it's mental - and it's very very worth it. Because He strengthens me, I can do all things. Today that meant making it through today, with a little extra left over.

On Abiding (part 2) - an amazing God we serve (1 John 3:23-24)

"And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in him, and he in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us. " - 1 John 3:23-24

While this is something I've learned before, I'm re-learning it and it's bringing me great joy and I'm thrilled to be sharing it with you.

This is our God. Our savior and creator. The same God who made the laws of physics such that we get a rush out of mountain biking, four wheeling, rugby, or whatever it is that pumps you up. This is the same God. He made the laws of gravity, and centripetal force so that I can ride my bike out in the farm land near my house and praise Him for the beauty of His creation. This is the God that lets us abide in Him.

He gives us the privilege of dwelling in Him, and choosing to dwelling in us. And we know it by the Spirit whom He has given us!

This compels me to believe his in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and to love my neighbor and friend.

An amazing God we serve. Big enough to create the cosmos, and loving enough to dwell inside each of us.

On Abiding - If you're saved, you're doing it just fine (1 John 4:15)

"Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God." - 1 John 4:15

I wrote a post just recently about abiding. I've been reading 1 John and been impressed with how much it addresses the topic. I realize that I missed the point in my last post and this is something that in learned has impacted me before.

If we confess that Jesus in the Son of God (basically if we're saved) then God abides in us and us in Him. That's it. That's all it takes. And if that is all it takes then we as believers are abiding, right now. And there is nothing more we can do to abide in God.

Again for me this was made clear in Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret where he talks about abiding in the Lord. Someone asked him if he had to always be aware of his own abiding in the Lord in order to continue abiding. His answer was something along the lines of, "If you stay in a friends house overnight and for a while forget where you are, does that mean you cease to be in his house? Of course not."

Basically it's the same thing. We don't have to work hard at abiding. We are. We are in God and God is in us. Awesome.

I'm gonna go relax a bit in God.

The most sensational story ever told...

Normally I don't share much about my personal life. I know it is often to my detriment as people would probably be more interested in reading my stuff if they had some idea of who I was. Unfortunately this is rather unavoidable about most things, but this story is just too sensational (and I pick that word carefully) to keep to myself.

So I work in a city focused ministry and as a part of such a ministry we are encouraged and sometimes required to be involved in mercy around our city. Now mercy is tough for me. We frequently visit orphanages and the such and often I'm simply too overwhelmed by it all to process it and so I began to pray for opportunities to do mercy that I could handle.

Along came (well... lets just call him) Steve. Steve got polio when he was one year old and due to where he lived it wasn't diagnosed until it had spread and paralyzed him up to his neck. His parent's sought medical treatment and they were eventually keep the paralysis to his waist and below. From there he spent a relatively normal life until 5th grade when the school said they simply could not make special provision for him anymore.

So I met Steve pushing himself around the block near where I live on a little wooden board and immediately my heart went out to him. I began to talk with him when I saw him and eventually invited him to lunch. At the lunch appointment he shared with me much about what he understood of Jesus and he understood quite a bit, but then he opened up and asked "Can a man as old as me (he's 20) still see God when they die?"

I helped him to clear up his misunderstandings and that day he accepted Christ as his own personal savior.

So fast foward to last week. I've been gone for 4 months having a baby and just got back home a few weeks ago. I met with Steve one for lunch and he didn't tell me much about what was going on in his life. But then I met with him again and this time asked him what he's been up to. Staying in he said. And so I pressed as to why he hasn't been out and about.

"I've been staying in with my girl friend," he said.

"Girlfriend or friend that's a girl," I asked.

"No no, girlfriend. She's pregnant."

"What!?@# Is it yours?" I tried to not act too shocked and rather more excited, but I think I failed.

"Of course. Our baby is due in March. We will get married in October."

Wow. I had tried to go through some basic doctrinal things with Steve after he had become a believer and one of the things I normally cover is healthy relationships with the opposite sex. But even had we made it that far, I probably would have assumed that the topic was a mute point for a man who is paralyzed from his waist down...

Anyhow, so now I will go meet with him this week. I'm confused as to what I should challenge him with, or even if I should at all. I think I've decided I'll help him to understand the Biblical model for marriage and sex outside of marriage and living with his girlfriend etc, and then let him decide what to do. He lives in a one room home with his mother and then now this girl. She is from a place a VERY long ways away and her mother is dead and her father doesn't care for her, so she does not have a home to return to. I would get them plugged in with someone in the local church, but she is not yet a believer.

To Steve's credit, he has been reading to her from a comic book (sort of) Bible I gave to him a while back. He says every time he wants to quit reading she makes him continue because she is so fascinated by the story.

Anyhow, there is more I would share. But it would probably reveal a bit too much about all three of us... so I'll just leave it at that. This week when I go to see him I'm excited about the opportunity to share with his family again (I've shared with his mother before briefly) and to do ministry with them and hopefully bless them. I also hope to do what Jesus would do in this situation and handle it appropriately. This is BY FAR the most ridiculous thing that has ever been a part of my ministry. But I love that I get paid to do this stuff.

I'll try to keep you posted on any progress made...

When Jesus comes back, will you shrink from Him in shame? - On abiding (1 John 2:28)

"And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming." - 1 John 2:28

I feel like abiding is one of those Christian things we all know we're supposed to do but aren't really sure what it means. From the context of this verse in 1 John, I would almost assume it means that by not sinning we are abiding in Him. But that seems odd as we're also told in this passage that if we deny we have sin then we make God out to be a liar.

I suppose the paradox is answered in the gospel where we are sinful but washed of it by the blood of Jesus. Seems easy enough. And a good reason to have confidence when He comes.

To be confident when Jesus comes back would mean a pretty close relationship with the Lord. I've considered it, and I always figured the minute I see Jesus riding on the clouds I am very likely to freak out. I always imagine myself trying to repent of any sins I hadn't yet repented of while Jesus is flying in and the whole world is going silent as the spectacle.

Given my talent for freezing under pressure I can probably be sure I wouldn't be able to mumble a single word, let alone self examination and an whole prayer of confession. So if I believed the Lord could come back at any second then I imagine I would be slightly more motivated to be closely watching my relationship with Him so that I could be confident, not fearful. But this still isn't something I've wrapped my head around.

Jesus is coming back, and I know that. But I still just always think a lot of bad stuff would have to happen first, and I would know it was the end times right? I could worry about my relationship with the Lord then...

Alas, I ought to go repent of this right now...

Scripture Sunday (John 21:3-4)

“Now God make house wit da peopo.
An he goin live wit dem.
Dey goin be his peopo,
An God goin stay dea wit dem fo real, an be dea God.
God goin wipe away all da tears from dea eye.
Nobody goin mahke no moa.
Nobody goin stay sore inside, o cry, o suffa,
Cuz da way tings wen happen befo,
All dat goin pau.” (Wat Jesus Show John 21:3-4)

Quoted from Da Hawai'i Pidgin Bible

Being deceived by the beast and the wrath of God (Revelation 14:9-11)

"And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, 'If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink the wine of God's wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.'" - Revelation 14:9-11

I pretty much just wanted to comment at how freaky it is just how many people will be deceived by the beast. Apparently this guy (or whatever it is) is going to get seriously injured, like the point of death or perhaps beyond, and then be miraculously healed. People will then follow him because of his amazing recovery - which seems almost reasonable enough. He is after all, an imitation of Christ who DID die and three days later was risen from the dead.

Okay, so thats freaky in itself. But then what's MUCH more scary is what God's wrath is towards those who follow the beast and receive the mark of him on their hand or forehead. Let me just list it out for you...

God's wrath,
poured full strength into the cup of His anger,
tormented with fire
tormented with sulfur
in the presence of the holy angels
in the presence of the Lamb.
the smoke of this torment will go up forever
no rest
by day
or by night

Whew. I'll pass thanks.

This verse is helping me to realize the significance of frequently reading the book of revelation lest I forget these things and be deceived by the miraculous signs and wonders which are to come....

Finally some Google lovin'

So lately almost ALL of my traffic has come from google. In fact only about 1 in 30 visits is a direct referral from another blog, which is a HUGE change from what it used to be.
Anyhow, I'm excited to see that now I am pageranked (even a few weeks ago this still said 0)
Google PageRank Checker - Page Rank Calculator

America is Babylon the great, fallen (Revelation 14:8)

"Another angel, a second, followed, saying, 'Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who made all nations drink the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality.'" - Revelation 14:8

I'm just now starting into the commentary I have on Revelation, but I wanted to comment myself even though it may not apply. I read this and thought America.

I'm sure someone smarter than me has applied this better to something else. But the way I see it, America is really the modern Babylon - it is definitely the world power, and dominantly so (though we're probably on the decline to China). And if the sexual immorality is the lack of faithfulness to our Bridegroom the Lord, then it seems a good fit.

We have worshiped money and comfort. And now in a truly unique era of globalization we have passed that sentiment on to the world. The whole world can have a taste now of our comforts, our wealth, and we teach it can be theirs if they just work hard enough.

America has made all the nations drink the wine of our idolatry. We turned away from the Lord to money and then we brought it as a god to the rest of the world and forced them to take part.

Just a thought. Agree? Disagree?

Worthy is the Lamb - My learning to adore (Revelation 5:12-13)

"saying, 'Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!'  And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, 'To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!'" - Revelation 5:12-13

I just thought this was an awesome proclamation of the awesomeness of God.

Lately I've been trying to figure out how in my prayer times to 'adore' God. I realize I'm not very good at it and can't quite figure out what to say during my time with this as it's focus.

I can adore my daughter. My wife. Even some of my things I find I adore, saying things frequently about how sweet they are or how much joy the bring me etc... But I want to start saying of the Lord, "Worthy is He who was slain. Of Power, wealth, wisdom, might, honor, glory, and blessing forever and ever."

After all, it seems this is what we will all be saying in the end anyway. Worshipping and praising.

God's wrath will be finished (Revelation 15:1)

"Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and amazing, seven angels with seven plagues, which are the last, for with them the wrath of God is finished." - Revelation 15:1

I read this and my thought was actually one of surprise. Recently I've been learning a lot about God's love for the institutions of society. That is, His love for Cities, or His love for the internet. These are things that aren't inherently evil, but we as sinful people have mucked up.

God loves people first and foremost - I believe that, and since He demands perfection and we cannot provide that without His Son we are damned to hell unless we believe. This is retribution for a God who demands retribution. Now He has lovingly provided a simple way out for us. But I always figured when people died that's when they paid in full for their sins (as we all have consequences for our sins in this life as well).

So here is a summary of my thought process. We were created clean and good. We made a mistake and now are sinful, and this sin has even tainted the ground we walk on. Jesus paid for our (believer's) sin's on the cross. Non-believers will pay for their sins with an eternity of fiery hell (I know it sucks, but remember there is an easy solution if this is you).

And this verse sort of brings to light to me the fact that the wrath of God will eventually be finished. Fascinating. Finished. His wrath remains for me, but is poured out on His Son. But someday it will be finished.

p.s. I already have a list of other verses I intend to blog through related to Revelation and I haven't even begun to read the commentary... This is fun.

People will butcher one another (Revelation 6:4)

"And another horse, fiery red, came out, and the one who rode it was granted permission to take peace from the earth, so that people would butcher one another, and he was given a huge sword." - Revelation 6:4 (NET)

I know I normally quote from the ESV, but this morning I was reading this in the NET and I think the image of people butchering one another is much more graphic and terrifying than the ESV's "slay."

My next class in on Hebrews - Revelation and I've started to read the book assigned on Revelation. The introduction goes through a series of stories about the uneducated being able to understand while the educated try to pick it apart so much they end up missing the point. The point is God wins. And since we're on God's side we win too.

So with this in mind I've picked up Revelation and I'm reading through it quicker than I normally do a book because I'm trying to get a feel for the whole thing before I plow through the commentary on it. And my initial impression is, yea - God does win, but there's a lot of scary things that are going to go down first.

I'm reading about the financial crises and how much a quart of wheat could cost (a day's pay - verse 6). I'm reading about peace being taken from the earth. And what strikes me is how much we seem to teeter on the edge of these things.

Now I'm an optimist and so I don't fear living in the current world. In fact as many things as are wrong with it, I know that if I'm walking with the Lord then there is nothing to be concerned with. I know that God protects and loves even when things fall apart. But that said, I see financial crises and I tend to think this is the last financial crises ever (because it will be the worst, and lead to the end). I tend to think there are so many problems in this world it's only by God's grace it hasn't fallen apart already.

I hope my children don't grow up in a world where people butcher one another, but I know I'm not supposed to live in fear. Hopefully I sort through this stuff. I'm curious if a more in depth study of Revelation than I have ever done will put my heart more at peace (knowing God wins) or freak me out (seeing what might happen before that). Does Revelation creep you out?

Walk by faith - our God is more sturdy than shaky cinder blocks (2 Cor 5:7)

"For we walk by faith, not by sight." - 2 Corinthians 5:7

When I was in college I lived in the dorms. My second year I took my bed and stacked it on top of cinder blocks. Two under each leg of the bed. Then every night before I bed I would stand by the door and look at the room, mapping my way to the bed before I turned off the light and stepped up the back of my couch and on to the bed - gently - so as not to disturb the delicate balance of the legs on the blocks.

This was walking by faith, not by sight. Albeit it was felony stupid. In retrospect it's truly amazing my bed never fell. Nothing fastened my bed on the cinder blocks and they were up on end one atop the other. I had faith that I would make it into bed every night and sleep through the night with no problems, awaking unscathed and still atop 8 pieces of stacked cement.

Again - stupid.

But I take joy in knowing the one in whom we place our faith (assuming we place our faith in God) is worthy of that faith. He isn't shaky cinder blocks and we're only lucky if we don't fall. Rather - He's firm, unshakable, and trustworthy. When we walk in faith we're actually better off than when we walk by sight. Because our eyes can trick us, and we can make stupid decisions.

But God is bigger than the things that seem obvious, and following Him sometimes looks crazy, but he knows better. And it's worth it. And we won't stumble, or fall.

My bed is nice and firm on the floor these days. I place my faith in something more sturdy. I like to think my faith has grown like that as well... I hope it has, and continues to.

Sunday Scripture Day (Jude 5-7)

"Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire." - Jude 5-7

Paul to Timothy "Get your hands dirty." (2 Timothy 4:5)

(I wrote a very similar post in April at some point on this passage... but I was pondering it anew and decided to post it again anyhow)

"As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry." - 2 Timothy 4:5

First of all I would apply this verse broadly saying that it isn't only intended for Timothy. Secondly I'll admit that its hard to be sober-minded. Not that it's difficult to be sober, but rather sober-minded. I'm a man driven by dreams, ambitions, hopes, and often delusions. If you've been reading what I say for long then you know I'm often trying to rid myself of my overwhelming pride. Attempting things too great for myself. Attempting to build my kingdom, not God's.

And I don't want to endure suffering. I have before, and I know it's made me a MUCH better person, but I sure hope I don't have to again - at least much.

Evangelism is hard. Sharing my faith is often awkward and unnatural. I'm getting better at it, but it's not always easy. I have to set aside times for myself that I will go out and do evangelism. I know people that are ready to hear, and I frequently meet others, but it's still not easy for me. The more I do it the more rewarding I think it is, but it still isn't easy.

Finally my favorite - fulfill your ministry. On the surface to me this is easy because I hear, "Fulfill your dreams." But you see that's not what it says. My ministry is not always easy. My ministry is to the Lord, my family, my wife, my friends, my work, and even the guy who cuts my hair. This is my ministry, and more often than not it's messy, because people are messy.

This is a serious charge from Paul to Timothy. Have you considered it? Getting your hands dirty is hard, and when you're doing ministry, enduring suffering, evangelizing, and attempting to keep sober-minded - you wont be able to stay clean. Not for long. People are dirty, dirty, business.

3 Questions Meme

It's been a while since a good meme has gone around. I'd like to change that. So here's the deal, answer the following questions and then tag 5 others.

Q1. If you were to be in ministry 10 years from now (whether you're in ministry now or not) what would you like to be doing and where?

Q2. If you could wake up tomorrow with a degree and all the learning that would have gone with it from any seminary which one would you pick and why?

Q3. What's your poison: donuts, beer, wine, pizza, chocolate, twinkies, key-lime pie?

My answers:

Q1. I would like to be teaching at a seminary - which is only loosely ministry - but I'm not exactly sure what I would like to teach yet. My hope is that I can help equip people for the ministry in some capacity. It may be at a seminary or a more informal institution.

Q2. I'd have an ThM from Dallas Theological Seminary - I'd like to have the languages under my belt without having to work hard at it. Other places do it well, but Dallas is infamous for it.

Q3. Donuts, and beer. Together. For breakfast or dinner.

I tag:
Nick Norelli
Tim Richuittamaster
Matthew Malcolm
Michael Flynn
Amy Sondova

Overcome evil with good duh (Romans 12:21)

"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." - Romans 12:21

It seems obvious but it includes showing your mastery over things you'll be unwilling to.

It seems easy but it means giving up things that are sometimes fun. Satisfaction that is temporary (even if temporary means this whole lifetime).

It seems simple but involves an active life of prayer, meditation on the word, seriously seeking your Creator.

It seems short but will take a lifetime and even then you will fail.

But He wins.

It's blood afterall that makes atonement (Leviticus 17:11)

"For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life." - Leviticus 17:11

I have shared recently that when I give a gospel presentation I tend to offer too much information. But blood is just so fascinating.

When I share when someone I often go from sharing about the garden to God being a perfect God and demanding perfection. I'm glad we worship a perfect God. I'm glad God demands perfection. If we had a God who was alright with second best then I can personally say I would probably be ashamed to follow Him; not to mention few of us would give our best knowing that our 'almost' would suffice.

Then I share about what had to be done for sins. Blood had to be shed. God said kill a lamb, and they did. God was content to look on the blood of the lamb and forgive the sins of those for whom it was slaughtered. But it had to be repeated. It was not sufficient.

But Jesus, He was the ultimate lamb. And His sacrifice was sufficient. And so goes the hymn, "For God, the Just, is satisfied to look on Him and pardon me."

I don't have any modern day application for the first part of this verse. Many of you probably enjoy your steak nice and juicy (still mooing as some say). But remember the significance of blood in your life.

Every time you drink that cup and eat that bread - I am a firm believer that while we take communion as a sacrament He really meant EVERY TIME we eat bread and drink wine - we remember Him.

For it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.

Roger update

Wow. Life caught up. And quick.
I'm home and work has picked back up, albeit not as much as it will in about another month, and I'm already having to juggle to keep up. I've enjoyed blogging so much. I'll definitely keep at it, but lately I've been writing less out of an overflow and inspiration than out of obligation and to keep up.
I'm alright with that. I know that writing will always have its down times. I'm just sad that my walk with the Lord has suffered as I try to figure out where to get in my quiet time. I try to wrap my head around early wake ups... like really early.

Anyhoo. I'm hanging in there. I hope my posts stay interesting, or at least useful. And I'll try to throw in a good joke here and there.

Like... um... okay I got nothing right now... but I'll be back.

In other news the forums have picked up a little bit of steam in the last few weeks even with my more and more infrequent visits. We've surpassed 30 members (50 is what I figure it will take to be going good and strong).

Everyone surviving the new comment system? Or is it too difficult to figure out?

Who am I? Empowered by God (Exodus 3:11)

"But Moses said to God, 'Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?'" - Exodus 3:11

Reading this verse makes me realize just how prideful I am. I think if the Lord appeared to me and asked me to do something significant like this I would likely respond with an "Alright, I can handle it." Not a "Who am I?"

I'm picturing God asking me to lead the Broncos to the Super-bowl as his anointed quarterback. Or asking me to lead the march of believers further into places unreached. But this task was more monumental than any of the things I could ever picture God asking me to do or lead. And Moses rose to the challenge (albeit with a good amount of resistance and eventually passing part of it off to Aaron).

But should the Lord ever ask me to do something ridiculous, I am HUGELY comforted by this:

"Then the LORD said to him, 'Who has made man's mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.'" 4:11-12

Meaning, if the Lord should ever ask me to lead a team to the Super-bowl, he could be my passing arm, and my agility, and my skills in general. After all, who made man? Who made football?

Okay, the cheesy football idea aside, our God is empowering. Seriously empowering. And can use even the bumblers to set an entire nation free from slavery and oppression. He can use you to do big things if He calls you to them, and small things to make big impacts on His Kingdom.

Baptism, your agreement that you do not belong to yourself.

I find that my chief tendency is to view myself, my gifts, possessions and skills as tools for my own advancement. When I spend something on myself I think, "well, it is mine to begin with." But in Paul's proto-trinitarian view of church life he says some things to my situation that incidentally gives a powerful message to anybody who made the mistake of being baptized.

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good...
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--Jews or Greeks, slaves or free--and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many.
1 Corinthians 12:4-7, 12:12-14

Apparently we do not belong to ourselves, as we were baptized into one body. So, any resource I have and use without love for the rest of the church around me constitutes a failure to remember my baptism. So, we have gifts, spiritual or other wise, that are given us by God to use for the common good of the church. Let us use them for such, remembering any time we're around water, "I don't belong to myself, I have been baptized into one body."

Sunday Scripture Day (Philippians 3:18-21)

"For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ.  Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.  But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,  who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself." - Philippians 3:18-21

Our feet be blessed - sharing the gospel (Isaiah 52:7)

"How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of him who brings good news,
who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness,
who publishes salvation,
who says to Zion, “Your God reigns."
- Isaiah 52:7

One of things I like best about sharing the gospel is that it really is good news. When I begin to share with someone I go through a series of steps. The first is I ask myself if this is really necessary for them to believe. If people don't need to believe it then there is no reason for me to share it.

Next I ask myself if I really do indeed believe this stuff. If I don't really believe it then why am I hoping others will?

Finally I reach a point where I am completely convinced that I believe this, completely convinced that this person is utterly without hope apart from Jesus and then filled with joy that I get to be the one to share with them.

I get overwhelmed as I remember what life was like before I fell in love with the Lord and then how much better it is now. And I want SO badly for this person to understand.

Sharing the gospel is bringing good news. And doing it makes me feel blessed beyond my understanding. Because, our God IS good news. Our God reigns.

Its a blessing to share the gospel, and even more a blessing when someone accepts it, simply because you know just how BIG of a decision they just made...

Lest you be impaled upon a beam from your own house (Ezra 6:11)

"Also I make a decree that if anyone alters this edict, a beam shall be pulled out of his house, and he shall be impaled on it, and his house shall be made a dunghill." - Ezra 6:11

I want to argue that poetry has been around for some time. Poetry thats not just warm, cozy, and about love, but fascinating words of the Lord.

Men spoke and things happened. Fascinating things. In the same way decrees were spoken and then were law, the Lord spoke and through it He created. A decree, a law, to govern physics and the whole world. A fascinating, poetic God.

"that they may offer pleasing sacrifices to the God of heaven and pray for the life of the king and his sons." - verse 10

I'm thinking, God is zealous for His house, and now we are the temple in which He chooses to dwell. Think twice before you keep His temple from being built. Take care of the temple you have been given, the Lord is zealous for it.

Lest a beam be pulled from our house on which we are impaled, and then our houses are turned to dunghills.