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Showing posts from June, 2012

Person and Choices, Part 2

I'm preaching through the book of Luke and have gotten to the passage in Luke where Jesus tells a story of a Samaritan who reaches out to be a "neighbor" - literally, "one near to you" - while the others who happen to be Jewish religious leaders ignore the robbed and beaten man's plight.  It had got me thinking about the way in which we view persons and the choices we make in relation to them.

Here's the issue:  We know that our position before God is not a matter of "working for our salvation".  Christ Jesus has come to pay the penalty for our sin(s) - I say "Sin" overall...that we are infected by the disease called "Sin"; and "sins", because in fact the outworking of our Sin nature is the individual acts of sin that we do in life.
So, what do we do with that?  We know that the grace of God brings the mercy of God to bear on our sins even before our need is realized.  But, let's not be deceived by the assuran…

Person(al) Choices

Let me start this blog out with a thought:
"The Church is a community of persons...it exists to make the entire process of self-justification irrelevant".   Not an exact quote, but the idea comes from a book I'm reading on the Desert Fathers.  The point is scriptural.  Paul said it this way.

2 Corinthians 5:12-21 (NIV)
12 We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart.
13 If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you.
14 For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.
15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we d…

Mystery, Pt 2

I started some thinking out-loud about mystery after having some conversations with a young man who was struggling in his faith and ministry.  If you need to, I'd suggest you go back to the previous blog and read that so that this one might have more context.

Mystery is the recognition that while not all things can be explained, or even comprehended, they are not therefore untrue, or contradictory.  What's important about that is that each of us needs to learn how to live in the "TENSION" of our faith in Christ that requires nothing more from us, and our faith in Christ that calls us to live out the gospel in faithfulness and obedience.
I call it tension because it is somewhat unresolvable - it is not like the faith in Christ ends at one spot and our faith in obedience and faithfulness carries on.

Paul said it like this to the Philippians:
Philippians 2:1-13 (NIV)
1 If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fell…

Mystery

I have been having a series of exchanges with a young man in ministry.  He came to me upon recommendation, and although I'm not reaching out to individuals, I could feel the "angst" of ministry in his heart and mind.  Like most disciples (remember disciples are learners) of Jesus, he's looking for answers to some difficult problems of life in ministry.  What I don't do, and won't do, is answer his questions for him.  That would be unvaluable to his own needs.  He needs to wrestle with MYSTERY.

Now when a lot of believers think about mystery they think of something that can't be known.  That is only partially true.  The nature of mystery is that there is something that can't be completely comprehensible; but it does not mean that it is unintelligible.  An example is the Trinity.  Yesterday I spent some time in teaching on the nature of the Trinity.  The Trinity is not completely comprehensible; but it is intelligible.  Mystery doesn't mean somethin…

To All Dads: Happy Father's Day

This morning I sat down to write a note to each of my "dads" in the family.  Chris is my oldest son and dad to Jack and Leo;  Peter is married to Lindsay and dad to Raewyn and Theo; and Greg is married to Kelly and dad to Iris.  Their families are young...Jack will be five this next week, but three are 2 and 1/2, and Iris is just 7 months.
What to say to dads?  Here's what hit me and I pass it along for all you dad's out there:

Happy Father's Day to you all.  As one with you I celebrate you in one of the most important roles of life - being a husband and dad. I have great memories of kids growing up, even if at the time it didn't always seem to be great. There are a lot of things on your mind as a Dad.  I know, and that is why I commend you to trust God and seek him for all that needs to be done.
I think I was about 25 or 26, Kelly was a baby, Chris was inside of Linda's womb and I ran across a verse from Genesis that stuck with me - has stuck with me al…

In Honor of Encouragers

Today in the church calendar is the day set aside to recognize Barnabas.  Do you remember him? Acts 4:36 36 "Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”)," When the early church in Acts was first being established, all who came to Christ had a big decision to make.  "Coming out" to say Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, usually meant being kicked out of the synagogue.  Those who did choose to make that decision began the nucleus of the early church.  
The church grew as more and more found the truth of life in Christ.  Barnabas was named Joseph at birth, a common Jewish name, but along the way became known as "Barnabas" which mean the "son of encouragement", and that is what he was.  What made him an encourager was his generosity...on many levels.
For example, vs 37, immediately after the verse above, says:  37"(he) sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ …

Journey through Perseverance

James 1:2-8 (NIV)
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.
6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
7 That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord;
8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.


I was talking to an individual yesterday about the difficult place in life this person finds them-self in.  We've all heard the old saying:  "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade".  It's a lot easier to say it than do it.
Most of us "hate" bad situations.  We want to get out of them as fast as we can.  The longer it…

Our Journey in Life

Here's some verses from Psalm 90, about life...beginning to end:

Psalm 90:1-17 (NIV)
1 Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.
2 Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
3 You turn men back to dust, saying, "Return to dust, O sons of men."
4 For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.

10 The length of our days is seventy years-- or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.

12 Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

14 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. 


And, here's another perspective from Ecclesiastes...
Ecclesiastes 12:1-14 (NIV)
1 Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach…