Archive for the 'thoughts' Category

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people.

People are all around us. Really. They are. Look around you if you don’t believe me. Does that mean anything to you? Do you even care about these people? Jesus didn’t walk around in a bubble. He invested in people… but more than that, He took the time to notice people around Him and talk to them. Do you do that? Do you ever talk to people? Do you ever care about other people’s lives, even a random strangers’?

I meet Wednesday mornings at 5:30 at Waffle House to just ‘do life’ with my best friends. We made a pact of sorts to ask whoever is serving us if there’s anything we can pray about for them. That way, someone has to ask or we end up with an awkward mess among ourselves. It was almost an experiment at first… nervously asking and not knowing what we’d get in return.

You don’t know what someone is going through until you ask. This morning, we asked our waitress if she had anything we could pray about for her. She quickly said “No,” then proceeded to tell us about how her friend had died two days ago and she’s been such a wreck that she can’t even cook without burning the food. Oh… and her grandfather has a brain tumor. Another server didn’t have the money to pay a ticket and was going to end up in jail if she couldn’t pay it in the next 48 hours. A cook who told us he didn’t believe in prayer. Another server who is going through a rough divorce from an abusive husband. The list goes on and on. All from the simple question, “Do you have anything we can pray about?”

People.
You’re one of them.
How many strangers have taken an interest in your eternity? Count them. Go ahead.
Assuming you’re in the majority and have one or two fingers up, this leads me to two questions…

  1. How would you know about Christ’s sacrifice if no one told you or if you didn’t go to church? You wouldn’t.
  2. Do you believe people are ok without Jesus? The easy answer is “No.” But seriously…… do you?

 

(My scathing rebukes are merely my own convictions in my heart.)

my wife.

I have been married to my wife for two years.

I don’t know why she decided to marry me, but I’m glad she did. And all of this gladness is not just from her presence, who she is, or her beauty. This joy and gladness that I have received from my wife is from the direction she has steered my life. If you mentioned it to her, she wouldn’t even take the credit for directing my life… because she did it indirectly through the third strand in our cord.

faith, hope, and lovenot in or for me…

My wife had faith in Jesus. Faith that, while I was wandering in confusion down a wide and paved road, He would guide me to a narrow gate and lead me down a narrow path.

My wife had hope in Jesus. Hope that, while I was struggling in sin and contentment with no end in sight, He was big enough to stop it.

My wife had love for Jesus. A love that, while I was unlovable and an empty cup, He would fill her cup to overflow into mine.

My joy in my marriage to my wife is rooted in the joy of salvation and redemption given by our merciful Redeemer.

My wife loves me. To be loved by my wife is to see the love of Christ. You want a good love story? Love like Christ… and you’ll find a love that’s so much greater than the stories of this world.

We are a body, part 1

We have to start challenging each other more as believers and the body of Christ.

Every day there is a story about someone who is suing for millions of dollars because they were offended in some way. “Gay white guy wins $1.2 million in race lawsuit,” “Former Medina police chief wins $2 million discrimination lawsuit,” “Man too terrified of frogs to leave his house wins $1.6M lawsuit.” These are legitimate headlines from a quick Google News search for “wins lawsuit for millions.” We have been inundated with these stories and “political correctness” to the point that we live with a fear of offending someone. But I would also be bold enough to propose that we live our lives seeking to be offended. Whether we have done it knowingly or not, we have decided that we are more valuable than our neighbor. Don’t believe me? We are daily up in arms about someone who cut us off in traffic, didn’t show up on time, broke in line, or spoke to us with a mean tone. WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? No… That question is not directed at the person that just offended you… It’s directed at YOU and ME. How do you find yourself to be of such great value that you can justify looking down on someone else?

We as the church MUST humble ourselves before our neighbors… and our brothers and sisters in Christ! Paul says, “The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers and sisters” (1 Cor 6:7-8). I see Paul as saying, “Look at yourselves! Quit it! What are you thinking?” We must wash ourselves of the worldly mindset we have taken on!

If I walked up to you and pointed out your sin, would you thank me? Or would you ask me who I was to judge you like that? Brothers and sisters! We must open our eyes to the depravity and severity of sin! We have offended a HOLY and RIGHTEOUS GOD who does not look upon our sin lightly! We have come to the point where we have trapped ourselves as believers. “I don’t want to point out his sin, because he might be offended.” Why do you think he would be offended? Is it because WE would be offended? Brothers and sisters! Whether it is you rebuking or you being rebuked, consider the severity of our sin! In that light, we must reconsider our position on both sides of rebuke. Someone has a word of rebuke for you? Accept it with open arms! Hopefully it will cut like a sword into your soul, but what a minimum price to pay to be made aware of your sin! Would you rather walk along blindly, unaware of your sin? Or would you rather be made aware of it so you can repent and turn to the LORD for redemption from that sin? If you have ever been rebuked, you know the beauty of the entire process. Hopefully, you are able to look back on rebuke with thanksgiving that someone would care enough about you to point out your sin! Welcome rebuke and exhortation!

On the other hand, brothers and sisters, how dare we not point out another believer’s sin? If we walk alongside another believer, continually blinding ourselves to their sin, then we stand in full acceptance of their sin. We have minimized sin’s severity and thus minimized God’s holiness. “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted” (Galatians 6:1). Of course we have to properly rebuke our fellow believer in love, but we must still rebuke! We cannot sit idly by as our brother or sister walks along with a poisonous snake crawling up their leg! JESUS said, “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you” (Matt 18:15). Would you not want someone to point out YOUR sin (As I discussed above, this is more than likely the root of our problem.)? There is too much at stake for us to continue to minimize sin in our lives and our brothers’ and sisters’ lives!!!

words too big

I wrote this many, many, many years ago and just found it on my computer…

Something I believe has been lost somewhere in time is the power and utter meaning of words, or even one word. C.S. Lewis sums up my thoughts:

“Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say ‘infinitely’ when you mean ‘very’; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.”

The word “love” is used in many more ways than any other word I can think of. For instance, a boy and a girl in middle school have some sense of love and care and they say, “I love you.” Two teenagers in high school have a better understanding of dating relationships and they say, “I love you” and probably mean it in some way. A guy and girl in college have been through relationships in the past and know what they are really looking for in a relationship. They say, “I love you.” A man and woman marry and live an example of Christ’s love for the church. The “the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one.” The man tells his wife he loves her. But what is the difference between his word “love” and the 7th grader’s infatuation? Looking in from the outside, there should clearly be a separate word that this man should use to tell his wife how he feels. Or should the word only be used to describe true love?

You go see a movie and when later asked your opinion, you reply, “It was awesome!” At church on Sunday you sing about an Awesome God. Again, looking in, these obviously should be separate words. This movie has no comparison to Christ, yet the same exact word is used to describe both.

It’s about lunch time and you are ready to grab a bite to eat. The conversation most likely starts with “I’m hungry” or “I’m starving.” Some child in a third world country has not had a bite to eat in “forever,” and they are hungry and starving.

“It’s been forever since I’ve seen that show.” “I’ll spend forever in Heaven.” Our use of the word forever to describe a period of a month to years turns the word into a finite period of time.

“I hate bugs.” The Lord hates sin. I would rather not have bugs and could live without bugs, but they are not a direct offense to who I am. God hates sin. I hate bugs. God’s passion is lessened due to my expression of how much I dislike bugs.

So consider C.S. Lewis’s words… and take your words into consideration.

oh, heavenly days.

Heaven.
A place where we can sing of God’s love forever! Oh to get my wings and float in God’s presence for eternity!

This is how I thought of Heaven. An eternal choir practice. I honestly was not looking forward to or seeking Heaven. “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above…” (Col 3:1) I knew that for it to be God’s presence, it couldn’t be bad, but I was not desiring or seeking it. The idea of singing forever gave me no joy. And now I am aware of how much joy I was depriving myself. Tom and Jerry need no longer define our image of Heaven! So, erase your image of Heaven (unless you have a Biblical image in your head!). (Most of the following points are from David Platt’s latest Secret Church entitled “Heaven, Hell, and the End of the World.” Take six hours and watch it!)

“One of the greatest things about Heaven is that we’ll no longer have to battle our desires. They’ll always be pure, attending to their proper objects. We’ll enjoy food without gluttony and eating disorders. We’ll express admiration and affection without lust, fornication, or betrayal. Those simply won’t exist.”
Randy Alcorn

“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”
C.S. Lewis

I think of Adam and Eve in Eden. God created them and their surroundings and it was perfect (Gen 1:31). Perfect harmony between God and His creation (Gen 2:15). They were without sin and were able to do whatever their heart desired (Gen 2:16-17). God created them in His image, so God knew the desires of their heart (Gen 2:18). He was gracious to fulfill Adam’s desires by giving him the entire earth and all the creatures to rule over (Gen 1:28) and a woman to be his companion. Why would we believe that a perfect God that created US to live in this same harmony with Him wouldn’t fulfill all of our desires in Heaven? My desire to build and feel accomplished, your desire for affection and companionship… all of these desires are from God and have been corrupted by sin. So in Heaven, without the presence of sin and temptation (Rev 20:10), we will be able to follow our hearts because they will be pure and not corrupted by the sin we struggle with today (Rev 22:17, John 6:35). “Love God and do as you please” (Augustine). HOW BEAUTIFUL AND GLORIOUS A THOUGHT!

“They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Revelation 7:16-17

We will be as priests in the temple (1 Kings 6:19-20), a bride with a husband (Rev 19:6-8), heirs of a King (Matt 25:34), and participants in a banquet (Rev 19:9)!

We will behold Him (Rev 22:4), worship Him (Rev 19:1-8), serve Him (Rev 7:15), be served by Him (Luke 12:37), reign with Him (Dan 7:27), and rest in Him (Rev 14:13)!




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