April 27, 2010

How Are You Living Your Life

Dr. Ken Boa, in his Handbook To Spiritual Growth, compares our lives here on earth to eternity in the following way. A man is planning on moving from Dallas to Atlanta to live the remaining 50 years of his life. He plans every detail of the two day drive; where he will eat, sleep, stop for gas. But he has no clue as to what he will do for the remaining 50 years. Sounds ridiculous, but the point that life here on earth and eternal life are the same way. We plan the details of a short life here, trying to control it all (there is that control thing again) yet let the eternal consequences slide, pushed back in our minds because we do not want to think of death in this life, even if it means life eternal in the next. But at that point, the consequences of our choice are irrevocable, so make the right one now. Accept Jesus as the Savior of your life, the only way to your eternal salvation.

We are all going to live forever in eternity. That is not the question.

The question is where.

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April 26, 2010

Someone's Gotta Be In Control

A few days ago I was reading from Dr. Ken Boa's book, Handbook To Spiritual Growth (he has a really great series of these handbooks, which are fantastic to use in your walk with Christ, I highly recommend them, I have them all and keep getting the new ones as they come out) when I came across this sentence, which I posted as my thought for the day on Facebook:
Because of our security and significance in Christ, we do not need to be controlled by the opinions and responses of others
It really got me to thinking about control in my life, what are the options and who really has it. It made me think who I am wanted to be in control of my life.

As a child, it is our parents because we are not in a position nor do we have the ability to do so (yeah, like anything really changes as we get older). There are various authority figures in our life as we approach adulthood, and we chafe to get to out from under that control. We finish our schooling and the thought might enter our heads that we are free. Then we get jobs (if you had really known what a job was, you would have stayed in school). Soon, it is family obligations; spouse, kids, home mortgages and car loans. Through it all there is control over your life, control points that rub up against you and are, quite frankly more or less painful to us. Because they are all man made, even the ones we put there ourselves. And the human race has shown it has a miserable track record at properly controlling things, starting with Genesis 3.

I was that way for 40+ years until I came to Christ. And even then, there was a struggle for control of my life as I fought with my own nature to give up control to the One who gave me my life, who has given me eternal life. It is still a struggle, but at least I focus on it daily and try to turn it over to Him. (OK, I keep trying to grab it back, but hopefully less often and with a less vehement lunge at self control).

So I try each day to be secure and significant in Christ alone, and all others stand aside. It is work, but it is so worth it when I do. I would much rather have real significance and security in my life. The only way to be truly in control is in the Lord.

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April 25, 2010


Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.
Micah 7:18-19 (NIV)
I love this imagery. The Lord drowning our old sinful nature. Treading it underfoot, tossing it under the waves. Getting thrown into the depths of the sea. As I think about how I cannot get rid of all that is in my nature that is abhorrent to the Lord, how glad I am that He will make it so.

Just a short note today, as I get ready to go worship the Lord.

And to thank Him that He threw my old self overboard.

April 19, 2010

When We Will Know

I have been thinking about the post I put up Saturday for a bit of time. The thread of that story, and how the Lord let me piece it together. And it made me wonder how many other stories like that there may be in my life, in the lives of people around me, in the lives of everyone. I did not know Dean, who discipled Gordon; I am not sure whether he has gone to the Lord. He would be in his late 90's at the very least by now. Dean probably didn't know the thread of his life was connected to mine through several men. At least I do not think he did.

But I am sure he will know that in heaven. In my limited mind, that is one of the really cool things about heaven (the very presence of the Living God for eternity definitely the coolest thing about heaven) is that these connections become clear, like crystal rods of light connecting us to people in His divine will.

And we will have all the time in the world (or is it all the time out of this world?) to explore these connections, laugh about them and love on all the people who are connected to us. Every once on a while I think the Lord gives us a glimpse of the infinitely eternal. A small crumb, precious and profound, is all our finite minds can grasp. That is all our minds can handle.


Then it will be glorious.

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April 17, 2010

The Thread of a Story

Yesterday I was listening to a chapel pod cast from Dallas Theological Seminary. It was a chapel service at which Dr. Gordon Johnston spoke. During the course of his talk Gordon mentioned a chain of events that showed how God can work in our lives. As you will see, this story connects for me:
  • Gordon was discipled by a man named Dean while in college. Dean made it a point to try to share his faith with someone every day
  • Dean was instrumental in Gordon deciding to attend DTS after college
  • While a student at DTS, Gordon was pastor at a small church in Carrollton, TX and invited Dean to come speak on evangelism
  • Dean spent a week with Gordon and having not shared his faith since he got to Dallas, prayed to God one morning that he would do so before his stay ended
  • Thirty minutes later Dean answered the phone, a wrong number. The same guy called right back, having dialed wrong again
  • Dean shares the gospel with the guy, a fellow named Rafe, over the phone. Rafe stays on the phone and accepts Christ
  • Gordon disciples Rafe after Dean goes home, helping him in his walk
  • Rafe leads his parents,, his sister, his sister's boyfriend, a guy named Bernard Bourque, to Christ. He also led the guy he was trying to call when he dialed wrong and got Dean on the phone, twice.
At this point Gordon tells about Rafe and a buddy who played for the Eagles, who also came to Christ around the same time as Rafe. Good story about someone coming to faith. An interesting, interwoven story of God at work. If you listen to all the circumstances as to how the story comes together, you know it can only be God doing it. But there was a thread to the story that Gordon did not talk about that I would like to:
  • Gordon also disciples Bernard (Rafe's sister's boyfriend) and influences Bernard when he was choosing to attend DTS.
  • Years later, Bernard is preaching in a small bible church in Colleyville, TX that my wife and I walk into on a recommendation from an acquaintance. We hear the gospel like we had never heard before, and shortly thereafter, both of us come to a saving faith in Jesus. Bernard now pastors a church, Telos Bible, in Branson, MO. He is and will always be a dear friend and mentor. As we developed our friendship in late 2003/early 2004 I remember Bernard telling me about Gordon and the impact he had when Bernard was new to his faith, how Gordon now taught at DTS
  • Bernard helps influence my decision to attend DTS in 2008 (OK, that isn't going as smooth as planned and yeas I am on a leave this semester, but I got my reasons and stick to the main story, will you?)
  • My wife and I attended an orientation session a couple of months before I started seminary where they have one of these get acquainted with the faculty at lunch deals. We grab a box lunch and head for an empty table. A guy, obviously one of those seminary profs we are supposed to make kissy face (that is from the original Greek) with walks over at the same time and sits down and introduces himself to us.
  • "Hi, I'm Gordon Johnston. And you are?"
  • "Friends of Bernard Bourque"
  • He almost fell off his chair. (OK, it didn't happen just that way. It took a few minutes for me to make the connection between Gordon and Bernard, but I really wish that had been my response. And Gordon did almost fall off his chair when I mentioned Bernard. This version sounds better, don't you think?). We still smile when we talk and think back on that first meeting and how God made us connect.
Hearing him talk about part of that story was a great reminder that God is at work in my life, at times in ways that are not apparent and may not be for years. What a comfort I get from knowing He is in control.

We are all threads in the divine tapestry He is weaving.

I cannot wait to see what it looks like when He is finished.

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April 10, 2010

How Still His Voice

Then he came there to a cave and lodged there; and behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and He said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" He said, "I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away." So He said, "Go forth and stand on the mountain before the LORD " And behold, the LORD was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave And behold, a voice came to him and said, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"
1 Kings 19:9-13 (NASB)
I love this passage as it summarizes for me a struggle I often have. Listening for and hearing the voice of God. Yes, when I seek to know the direction to take, I want God's voice loud and clear; a strong wind, an earthquake, a fire. Elijah takes off, fearing for his life from the threats of Jezebel. He is in a panic even after seeing how God dealt with the prophets of Baal and Asherah. So panicked, God has to gently ask him twice what he is doing. I am often like that, wrapped up in self worry and doubt, listening to my own rumbling so intently that God has to ask me a couple of times what is going on. Not because He needs to know, but because I need to focus. On Him.
"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."
Psalm 46:10 (NIV)
But it is often only in the stillness of myself that I can hear what He has to say to me. I like the NIV rendering "Be still" more than the NASB's "Cease striving" in this case, although I am a big NASB fan. I like the concept of stillness before the Lord. Stop watching wind and earthquake and fire, stop heeding the tumult of the world and of the mind and be still.

Sure God could thunder an immediately capture my attention. But He is a serene God, one of peace and calm, surety and assurance. And that is how He would have me behave.

Stop right now and try to be still before God and listen to the quiet power in His gentle voice inside you. Right now. That is what I am trying to do.

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April 8, 2010

Past Easter Poem

An Easter poem, a little late is better than never (maybe not):

Job 19:25

My Redeemer lives
He has strode forth,
He rose in grace and glory.
Some thought the end
Had come and gone,
But beginning is the story.
And will one day
Be His to make,
Stand upon a weary earth.
So amazed I am
That on His way,
He stopped for my rebirth.

April 7, 2010

It's So Easy

The heart of salvation is the Cross of Christ. The reason salvation is so easy to obtain is that it cost God so much. The Cross was the place where God and sinful man merged with a tremendous collision and where the way to life was opened. But all the cost and pain of the collision was absorbed by the heart of God.
Oswald Chambers - My Utmost For His Highest: April 6 Devotional
The ease to which our salvation can come to us is often the hardest thing to grasp. We borne nothing at the Cross and gained everything. It may be hard in our pride to accept the fact that we are insignificant in our own salvation, the hard work was done without us even being a part of it. How much more a salve to pride to think we accomplished it through great struggle and significant accomplishment on our part. Our salvation is not accomplished through our great struggle but despite our great sin.

That we grasp what is so freely offered, and so painfully won to hand over to us in an incredible ease. Grace pours out of the heart of God,, the heart that absorbed the pain of our sin and freed us from it.

The collision occurred, but we get to walk away from that crash, unscathed and saved. We get to come off of His mountain because He climbed it for us.

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April 6, 2010

All Come Back

This past Sunday we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the most glorious of days on the Christian calendar. It was a day to reflect on our Savior, to thank Him for what He did for us upon the cross, what He assured for us with He rising in glory on the third day. But that is not the end of the story, not by a long ways. There is still eternity to face, and the choices one can face in eternity. Because there is someone else who is going to be resurrected: you. And me. And for that matter, everyone else as well:

Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.

John 5:28-29 (NASB)
There will come a day when everyone will face a resurrection and come face to face with the risen Lord (except those believers who are alive at His return, who will not face physical death and resurrection but that is another story for another day). Jesus rose from the dead and we will rise one day and come to face Him. If we are His followers, it will be a joyous day:
Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.
Revelation 20:6 (NASB)
Those who do not follow Him face quite a different future:
And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
Revelation 20:12-15 (NASB)
The choice is simple yet profound and eternal. You either are born twice and die once, or you are born once and die twice.

Trust Him today.

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April 5, 2010


The word "reconciliation" in the Scriptures means "to cause to conform to a standard, to be adjusted to a specified standard." According to the Word of God, the world is out of balance. The world does not conform to the standard which God has set...It is very important that we should realize that God Himself is the standard by which He tests men...If we have a flexible standard, then all need for reconciliation disappears, for every man becomes a standard within himself...God brings us to Himself and causes us to be adjusted to His standards...God, in Christ Jesus, was changing the relationship of the world to Himself so that men in the world are now savable...It was Christ's death that reconciled the world to God, and made it possible for individual sinners to be reconciled to God.
Dwight Pentecost - Things Which Become Sound Doctrine
We need to conform to God's standard, which is God Himself. We cannot do it ourselves, we can only be reconciled to God through Jesus. He reconciled the world to God; He reconciles each and everyone who comes in faith and trust to Him as the only way to salvation to God.

You reconcile your checkbook every month, to keep it conformed to the standard of the bank's records. You only need once be reconciled to God, through faith in Jesus. From then on, none can pry you from His grasp.

Aren't we blessed?

April 4, 2010

The Bare Essential

The Gospel is characterized by its simplicity...Sinners, confronted with their need of salvation, frequently stumble over the very simplicity of the salvation which God offers. Since Satan cannot take away anything from the conditions of salvation or the plan of salvation - for God has already reduced it to an irreducible minimum - if Satan is to confound the minds of the sinners he must do so by addition, not subtraction.
Dwight Pentecost - Things Which Become Sound Doctrine
Today is the day of the risen Lord. But the message should be made so simple that anyone can grasp it immediately. Make the Gospel simple for the sake of sinners, for you were such a hopeless and lost sinner until you grasped this simple message yourself.
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures
1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (NASB)
Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead. Trust in Him alone as your eternal salvation. That's it. he is merciful, He is gracious, He is loving.

Take His hand and step into His kingdom.

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April 3, 2010

No Box Big Enough

But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You, how much less this house which I have built!
1 Kings 8:27 (NASB)
Solomon built a temple, and spoke these words upon completion. Humanity may try to erect a temple, a structure, even a concept that can contain God. We cannot. He is within all creation, yet He is outside it, for He created it. We cannot put God in a box, but we can take him out of a book, the Bible. We can bring Him into our minds, hearts, thoughts, deeds and actions. Because He permits us to do that through His love, His grace, His mercy.

We can open a book, open a door and enter into a place He has chosen to reside, although that place can never contain Him. I take great comfort from the fact that God is bigger than anything I can possibly conceive, that He is sovereign over all. I especially like thinking about it as the day we worship the resurrection of Jesus is right before us.

Open a door, open your mind. Climb out of the box of your own sin, face the fact that only through Jesus can you reach your eternal salvation. Stop trying to package God. The door to Him is open, but your box will not fit through it.

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April 2, 2010

Have You Given Your All?

I have not been blogging much the past few months, and I am not sure how much I will do this month or the next. Or the next. But once in a brief while I feel I can muster together a couple of hundred words in a semi-organized fashion and spit out a post.

Such is a day today.

I have been thinking, reflecting and praying on my relationship with Jesus a lot the past few weeks, it has been growing as Easter approached, and today I have already spent some time praying about what He gave today to set me free from my sin. And it makes me think about what I have been giving Him. Yes, I work full time in ministry now, yes I volunteer a bit at my church. Yet I know I can never give Him what He has given me, although I really should try harder. The mind too often gets distracted by worldly concerns, when I should be thinking about facing Him:

A Christian worker’s greatest need is a readiness to face Jesus Christ at any and every turn. This is not easy, no matter what our experience has been.
Oswald Chambers - My Utmost For His Highest: March 29th Devotional

Mr Chambers sums it up. it is not always easy, but i find it really is necessary. If I struggle to face Jesus, at least I am thinking about what it takes to follow Jesus. If I am not thinking about facing Him, I am probably not giving Him my all.

I find it very hard to face Jesus today, especially in the hours leading up to His death. Sunday will be so easy, as I join others in celebrating His resurrection. But today is hard. I think about what I did to put Him on the cross, and I struggle to face Him because it is so painful, not to look at Him, but to look at myself. He is glorious, even in His death on the cross. I am the one not worth looking at.

Face Him today, face Him now. Give Him your all in doing so.

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