Friday, July 30, 2010

Why are we so conflicted???

A piece by Christopher Ryan in CNN's opinion section grabbed my attention today. It was titled, "Monogamy unnatural for our sexy species". What I find completely remarkable when I read articles like this is how they isolate one thing. If you look at humanity we are not just in conflict over sex. We are in conflict over just about everything. We want to look good but we want to enjoy our food. We want to help others out but we want to have our free time and recreation. We want to be dedicated to our jobs and to our families. The list could go on and on. The secular world comes up with one solution after another. The solution of not having any sexual commitment was tried in the '60's and found to be bankrupt. Ryan seems to be proposing that that sort of freedom is what we need. The problem we really face is that we sense something is not quite right. We lack a certain level of expected fulfillment. The natural man (because he still thinks he can be a god unto himself - Genesis 3:5) looks for answers of his own making everywhere. There is one place he refuses steadfastly to look. He will not look to God. Yet there is the real answer to the lack of fulfillment that men struggle with. There are a lot of people in the church that still struggle aren't there? Yes and in almost every case the struggles we have are in areas that we are growing to trust God in. Many who attend church struggle with even knowing how to pursue God in a personal manner. This very problem is one of the key reasons that I wrote the book, "The God Focused Life". I am just tired of seeing Christians who are no different then the world. We should be different. I know that my life is very fulfilled and that is because of the person and work of Jesus Christ. He is a living Lord who takes our burdens and gives us His peace that passes all understanding. The only reason that humanity finds all of these things unnatural or conflicting is because we are born in sin. Our sin nature is self-desturctive. It causes us to do things and long for things that are detrimental to us. Do you want peace and rest for your soul then turn to Jesus for His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:29-30). He will give you true rest for your souls. But you will never find that rest until you want Him more than you want anything else. When the desire for personal peace or affluence or anything else eclipses our desire for God our souls feel the bankruptcy of the substitute longing. Jesus is not a means to an end. Jesus is the end of our seeking. The relationship available to us in Him will satisfy the most hungry and thirsty soul. To know Him repent of your rebellion and sin against Him and seek Him with all that you are. This God focused pursuit is the only true answer to our conflicted natures.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Looking for love in all the wrong places

A headline on CNN this week read, "18 killed amid panic at Germany's 'Love Parade'". The Love Parade started in Germany in 1989 a few months before the fall of the Berlin Wall. It has been held every year since. It was created to be a political statement. They were calling for international understanding and peace. The creators thought they could do this through love and music. So this big music festival that attracts hundreds of thousands of people has continued until this year when 21 people died at the festival in a crowded underpass. People came looking for peace and love and found death. Things like this exult in man's ability to solve his own problems. Seeking peace in man whose biggest problem is sin is a futile enterprise. There will never be peace as long as there is sin. Jesus was the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). He told the disciples that He was leaving them a peace that was different from the world. He said that He was leaving His peace with them (John 14:27). The world's peace is an empty promise that it never delivers on. God's peace is available to anyone who repents of their sinful ways and trusts Jesus as their Lord. The peace that we receive from the Holy Spirit is one that the world cannot understand (John 14:16-17). Why does the world not understand it? Because they have not received the Holy Spirit and they are not interested in keeping God's commandments. I am not talking about developing a legalistic righteousness. But Jesus Himself said, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments" (John 14:15). Was Jesus calling us to be legalist? No! If you love someone don't you do things that will please them. If God has placed a love in your heart for Jesus and His kingdom you will find yourself longing to keep His commandments. This is not to make you more righteous but this is simply to take you to the feet of Jesus. Those who desire to live a God focused life will find their hearts embracing and seeking after God's law as a means of knowing Him better. become like a child

This last Sunday we celebrated our 3 year old son's 4th birthday a couple of days early. He told us that he wanted lots of presents. Of course to a soon to be 4 year old the number of presents is more important than the type of presents. So balls and cars and bubble's and little planes were all the order of the day. Lots of activity preceded the gift giving part of the day as more and more of his older siblings slipped away to wrap something or slip an item into a gift bag neatly concealing it with tissue paper. Our two year old daughter watched in silent wonder at the energy being expended creating colorful boxes and bags for her closest brother. The excitement mounted until we gathered in the living room to begin the process of discovering what was inside those wonderful boxes and bags. As the gift giving proceeded our two year old slipped away. She soon returned with a bag of her own. We all watched in anticipation and she beamed with excitement as her brother began to take the tissue paper out of her bag. Piece after piece of tissue come billowing out of the container as our son proceeded to liberate one paper after the other from its secret hiding place. Our two year old had managed to stuff an amazing amount of colorful tissue paper into her gift. She pumped her little legs up and down with excitement as one piece after another hit the floor. Finally he got to the bottom of the bag and there was nothing in it but tissue paper. He turned to the next gift to look for something of more value to him. But what he failed to realize is that he had received the best possible gift from his little sister. Our two year old in an amazing moment of selflessness took the time to try and bring joy to her brother. She had nothing to give but her effort at building a better relationship with him. I'm sure she did not think of it this way she just loved her brother and wanted to be a part so she made herself a part. Her Dad saw the best gift in the empty bag. You see what she gave was her. She gave the attempt at bringing joy to him, and it totally came from her. No one helped. She did it all on her own, and it was beautiful. I believe Jesus was thinking of things like this that little children do when He told the disciples that they needed to become like a little child (Matthew 18:3-4). You see God calls us to come to him just as we are. If we bring our good works we are not acceptable. If we bring our intellect and understanding that will not do. We must come empty handed depending entirely on the great work of Jesus on our behalf to make us perfect and acceptable in God's eyes. We must come to Him and rejoice in Him empty handed because that is the thing that will bring us and Him the greatest joy. You see He did not die for the works that we do...He died to take the penalty for our sins and make us righteous. Jesus died to found and perfect our faith (Hebrews 12:2). Jesus died so that we might know Him. So when we embrace Him with all that we are that is the best thing we could possibly do.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The importance of corporate prayer

At our church we have a prayer meeting every week. Without fail the night of the week that has the most problems and delays is that night. The one thing that has the lowest attendance that our church does is our prayer night. Yet this night is perhaps the most important thing that we do in terms of the kingdom of God. It is during our prayer time that we consistently seek God's hand of blessing on the work that we seek to do for the sake of His kingdom. Without His blessing all that we do is as nothing. It is during this time as well that we lay requests of all sorts at His feet. We do not think that we are changing the mind of God, but rather that when we pray we are simply laying requests at His feet. He may answer no and He may answer yes. When God does answer yes we rejoice because this simply means that we were praying in accordance with His will. When God answers a prayer we realize that He ordained that we pray for those things so that when He answered it we would know that He ordained our prayers as well as His answer. When He answers in a positive manner we know that He has seen fit to ordain our prayers and use them as a means by which He has chosen to overcome the kingdom of darkness and bring glory to His marvelous name. But more than anything else the most important thing about corporate prayer is it brings all of our hearts to a place of focusing entirely on God. There is nothing more important than that. Prayer is one more means God uses to develop within us a God focus and longing. If your church has a corporate prayer time make a point to go and join them. Consistency at this meeting will help to cultivate a deeper embrace of your savior in your heart because it is here that you will see Him responding to those that seek Him (Luke 11:9, 1 Thessalonians 5:17).

Friday, July 23, 2010

Eclipse...of reason

There is a really insightful article on foxnews on the newly released movie Eclipse, called, "Conservative Imprinting In 'Eclipse'?" While the article is insightful in pointing out some trends and counter culture conservative morals in the movie it fails to realize the greater point of those morals. Morality is never just morality for moralities sake. Morality is rooted in something for a reason. Morality in western culture has been derived from the moral law of God as we find it in the Bible. This is one of the reasons why morals and law seem to go hand in hand. We see the opposite all the time because immorality often leads to unlawful acts. What we often miss though is that the goal of morals or the moral law is not to restrict us but to reveal to us what is pleasing to God. This is why David could say that the law of the Lord is perfect reviving the soul...and...the precepts of the Lord are right rejoicing the heart (Psalm 19:7-8). The idea of making the soul alive and causing a heart laden with sin to rejoice is not a picture of restriction. David says in the same verses that they make the simple wise and they are so pure they enlighten the eyes. So they give us understanding and they help us to see things more clearly. David sees them as so desirable that he paints them as valuable as gold and sweeter than honey (Psalm 19:10). How many people do you know that feel this way about God's law. The point of God's law is to bring us to God. We will never be more satisfied then when we are satisfied in Him. This is where the morality of Eclipse while it might be a good formal acting out of morals is totally bankrupt. The heros in the movie maintain their morality and virginity but to what end and for what reason. Simply love waits...I guess. But you see if the vampire gets the girl in the end she will be joining the undead who cannot give birth because that would be the opposite of what they are. We also know that vampires are the enemies of God because they hate the cross. So if the heros win and maintain their morals then they will be together forever damned. How is that supposed to be a fulfilling end??? The point of morals is to bring is into greater fellowship with God in the context of all of life. Because of morals all of life becomes an act that leads to worship of God. Maintaining virginity until marriage is so that we come into marriage celebrating and consummating the relationship in a way that mirrors Jesus own fidelity for His bride and His bride's fidelity for Him. The goal of morality is to truly engage in the most awesome thing that anyone has ever conceived of -- namely to stand in the presence of the most awesome being that has ever existed. So join with David and delight in God's law and meditate on it day and night (Psalm 1:2).

Thursday, July 22, 2010

How cereology conflicts with the Bible

There is a fun video on crop circles posted on yahoo's, Who Knew? section. The study of crop circles is called cereology. In order to be a cereologist I assume that you must take crop circles seriously or is that cereiously. Either way that means you believe that they are being done by aliens. The problem with the Bible here is found in Genesis 1:14-19. In this passage God claims to have made the sun, moon and stars for the earth on the fourth day of creation. The Bible tells us that the earth is the platform that God has created on which He has chosen to display His glory. Everything else in the universe is created to display God's glory on the earth. So what is the problem with a belief in aliens. Quite simply it assumes that the earth is not the central platform for the display of the glory of God. It sees the earth as one of many planets on which God created life for the sake of the display of His glory. This would mean potentially multiple deaths for Jesus as the Savior of multiple planets. It would also mean multiple potential fallen demons in different worlds. It starts to get ridiculous when you think about it. Cereously if you want to be a cereologist be my guest. As for me and my house we will continue to believe that God's word has been faithfully delivered and preserved by God and is accurate about what went on when He did His great work of creation.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Evolutionist depend on science which depends on God

On any given day you can do a quick search of most news websites and find a variety of articles with an evolutionary mindset. Today on FoxNews you will find the following articles

What is interesting about all of these articles is that they depend on science. As a matter of fact all evolution depends on science. You might be saying, " what?" Think about this with me for just a moment and I think you will get the point. Science by its very nature exist because things are repeatable, observable and testable. If every time you went to flip a light switch something different happened or every time you tried to use a hammer you might hit a nail on the head or the hammer might fall apart you would soon be locked in a life of uncertainty. There would be no cars, no houses, no certain jobs to do because nothing would be certain. But everything is certain. We live in a mathematical world of absolutes where 2+2 always equals 4 in the concrete reality of life. Science by its very nature depends for its existence upon a world of order and laws. Evolution postulates that everything is in a state of change or flux. They talk about animals making evolutionary leaps, of life spontaneously appearing 60 billion years ago. Yet all of their proofs are based on observations in a real world that does not change. This world is ruled by so called laws of nature. It is orderly and filled with beauty and life. There is something within us that loves to see and observe all the amazing and miraculous things that exist. We see them and observe patterns and similarities that point to an order that point to a creator of that order. You see evolution by its nature depends on chaos. If it truly is an evolutionary model that we live in then it should be impossible for science as a practice to even exist. Science and the evolutionist that so populate it depend on our God in order to be able to make the statements they make and practice the work of science they have come to idolize. God told us through Paul to expect this kind of thing from natural man (Romans 1:18-23). Because of man's foolishness and rejection of God he will someday face God's wrath. May this cause us more than ever to turn our eyes to our Lord Jesus the creator and sustainer of all things (1 Corinthians 8:6).

Monday, July 19, 2010

There is always something there to remind me...

Last week I was away with my family for a week of camping up at Lake Tahoe. It was beautiful and we had a great time. During the week there were a couple of times that my daughters fortitude displayed in dispatching one of our chickens was mentioned (see blog, "The Scar Death Leaves"). It was during a conversation with my daughter about the pain of death that it occurred to me what a great reminder death is.
Contact with real death is often avoided in our culture. Yet for the vast majority of us we depend on protein to live, and that protein is usually in one animal form or another. I find it interesting that God made us so that we cannot live without protein, but we can live without fruit and vegetables. This points us to an important thing that we all need to remember. Our life is dependent on death. Our spiritual hope for all of eternity with God is dependent on the death of Jesus the Christ. Paul reminds us that all of creation is groaning under the curse and waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God (Romans 8:19-23). What will happen when that happens? In that day God will dwell with His people and death will be no more (Revelation 21:3-4). So next time you scarf down a burger or sit down to a chicken dinner remember that because they died you live physically. But more than that remember that this animal death is a dim shadow and focus instead on our Lord Jesus. Because of His death we will live for all eternity.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Why would Steve Jobs and Apple care about porn

Interesting blog on Apple and porn can be found over at a fellow bloggers site. What intrigued me about the issue is the justification and reason that Job's gave for not allowing porn apps on the iOS line of products. He actually told a potential customer that if they wanted porn they could buy someone else's device. But the main reason is apparently the protection of children from porn. This has resonated so well in the marketplace that Microsoft has announced that Windows Mobile 7 will be porn free. What does this all mean? Everyone understands at a base level that this is the right thing to do. Why? Because God's moral law is written on the heart of men. They may not acknowledge that the source of their morality lies with God but they still adhere to His morality even if it is inadvertent (Romans 2:15). Jesus said that if we look at a person with lust in our hearts we have committed adultery with them already (Matthew 5:28). So while Jobs cites that he is protecting children and Microsoft just makes a declaration they are both bending their knee to the Lordship of Jesus who is the author of the law. Pray of the leaders of Microsoft and Apple that God may indeed bring them into His kingdom and cause them to be ambassadors for His kingdom. In the meantime lets be sure to maintain a covenant with our own eye's so that we are not led astray from a God focused life.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The scar death leaves

My oldest daughter and one of my middle sons have a bunch of chickens that they take care of. We have two roosters and have been talking for some time about killing one of them. Today was the day. I have been hunting and have killed several animals in my life. My daughter has never had to do that...until today. She took the initiative and started the process the way that her book said to do it. When I looked in her eyes I saw the pain that comes when you are suddenly faced with being responsible for an animals death. It took me back to a little boy with a new BB gun at the age of nine. He was headed out to scare the birds out of a cherry tree. Who wouldn't want to defend sweet juicy helpless cherries from the onslaught of vicious winged fruit eating birds. The problem was the BBs weren't scaring them off. So he took carful aim and an instant later a robin fell from the tree. Everything had been fine until that robin fell. Nothing could have prepared me for the knife of pain that stabbed my heart. I remember picking that little bird up and trying to get it to be OK. But it wasn't going to be OK. Tears flowed from my eyes as I asked God to bring it back...but it could never come back. Death and all of its pain and finality had entered my young world. That pain I felt as a little boy rushed back on me as I looked in my daughters eyes. She now understood that death is an abomination. There is something very wrong about death and we all know it. It stands as a blight on creation. Jesus even wept over its unholy impact on the world (John 11:33-35). John tells us that Jesus was troubled by what He saw the people going through as a result of Lazarus death. Now Jesus knew that He was going to raise Lazarus so what else could have been troubling Him except the impact of death on the world and its people. That impact continues today. It reminds us of how imperfect this world has become. For those who are seeking the Lord Jesus it makes one long for Him with a greater intensity. We know that when He comes He will put an end to death (Revelation 21:4). When we face death in the killing of an animal or the death of a loved one it should drive us to seek more fervently our Lord Jesus.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

God's pours out grace in abundance

Tonight we were able to share our faith for several hours at a local street fair where God has graciously allowed us to have a booth. Our goal in going there is to simply spread the seed of the gospel and pray that the Lord of the harvest will cause it to take root and bring souls to Him. God was abundantly gracious to us. A great group of like minded people joined us as we proceeded to share the gospel through tracts and personal evangelism. God brought many to hear. The number of people coming to us was so many and so continuous that we were looking at 9PM and tear down time and it really seemed like almost no time at all had past. I am amazed at the overwhelming number of people that He brought to us tonight. We did nothing to deserve this or merit it. We did nothing clever. There was no advertising gimmick. We simply have set up a booth at the street fair like we have for the last four years. God sent the people. All I can say is the we serve a God who does so much more than we could ever ask or think. He is magnificent and merciful. Pray for the many people who heard the gospel tonight. Pray that God will bring a great harvest to Himself for His glory. Pray that God will protect our souls from pride. That He will help us to keep our eyes on Him the author and finisher of our faith. Pray that He would be the apple of our eye and that we would remain focused on Him and His glory.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Ignorance is bliss!

We have all heard the phrase but for some reason it struck me today in relation to pride. Pride seems to lurk in every seam and corner of the fabric of life. You can be proud of just about anything. Proud that you have job in this tough economy. Proud that you toughing out not having a job better than your friends are. Proud that you were able to go out to eat. Proud that you saved money and ate in. You can be proud of your kids your parenting your spouse your hobby. You name it and you can be proud of it. I have a tendency to become proud of my writing or my thoughts or if God seems to really work in a persons life I can start to think that it was a good thing I was able to be there to help out. All of the pride that we store up and embrace is nothing but wood hay and stubble. There is not one thing that we have that we have done that is we should be proud of. Everything we have and everything that we are and all the successes we experience are from God and through God and are for the praise and glory of our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 11:36, 1 Corinthians 8:6). We were created for the glory of God not for our own glory. When God by His grace gives us the grace to rest in His presence and glorify His name--that is when we are truly most satisfied. The promise of satisfaction whispered into our souls by the perverted voice of pride  is nothing but a corrupting attempt of our flesh to take to ourselves what is God's. May God grant us the grace to pray that He will keep us focused on Him and away from our pride.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Sports director calls the God play

I read a lot of different articles staying abreast of what's happening in the world and always have my eye peeled for something that might be a good topic to discuss the way a God focused life would change or impact the outcome. (My goal here is to make this a practical discussion of a spiritual relationship with God impacts or should impact the physical life that we lead.) I saw what I thought would be an article to discuss on It was called, "Reviewing the video might be key to ending spiritual slumps..." I'll be honest my first thought was OK this David Burchett is a sports director. Given the title I thought he was going to talk about how we look back at our lives to see how to do better. I had my thoughts churning out a reply as I started to read the article. This was going to be an easy reply. Contrast David asking us to look at our own lives with the real answer which is to look at Jesus...And then as I got half way through the article I realized that I had just run across a brother who was living a God focused life in the real world. His article is great!!! Go read it (the title above is a link to it). His main point is that the good times in our lives are when we are living our lives looking to our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. The article is well written and short and well worth the read. So go. Go now and I will be back with more tomorrow.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Going with the flow?

Every now and then I am reminded of how much we as people tend to go with the flow. I'm convinced that this is one of the main reasons for transfer growth between churches. As a people we think the grass is greener on the other side. We begin to listen to the comments that people make that line up with what we want to do and then before you know it we find ourselves going with the flow. The interesting thing about a God focused life is that your attention is not on the grass on the other side of the fence. You don't care about what other people are doing or where they are going. What matters is that Christ is exulted and glorified where you are. This is primary. It supersedes going with the flow. Your attention is so firmly on Jesus that what others are doing fades into the background. You do what you do for an audience of One and no other opinion matters (1 Corinthians 2:2).