Friday, November 30, 2007

B-R-O-K-E-N

After going through the Beatitudes, I feel like brokenness is one of the big holes in our churches today. People - in my observation - just aren't broken over sin or souls much anymore. They are sorry for consequences. They even care for others, but they don't mourn for others. Jesus said, "Blessed are those that mourn." I think when the church gets back to hurting over sin and soul, we will see Revival.

Paul was truly broken in Romans 9...

Romans 9:1 I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit— 2 I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, 4 the people of Israel.

Did you hear that? A Penn paraphrase would sound something like this:

"I'm serious about this - God knows how serious I am - I am broken. -B-R-O-K-E-N-

If by going to Hell, my brothers could know Chirst - I would go. I want them to know Him. They must know Him!"

When is the last time you were broken? Lord, help us to mourn.

If you want to read more about this passage check out "Damned for the Beloved" from DesiringGod.org

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Condemnation

Condemnation.

What you might expect from someone who was better than everyone else. I don't just mean better; I mean perfect.

And yet...

Romans 8:31b If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?

Jesus will not condemn us. He will and is interceding for us.

His purpose was not condemnation, but salvation.

John 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.

Why is it so easy for us to cast the first stone? We are not without sin. Jesus was. And yet again he says "I do not condemn."

John 8:10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" 11 "No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."

Lord forgive me for every moment that I think I'm better, and that I should bring down judgment on someone else's mistakes and sins. Help me understand what it means to desire mercy and not sacrifice.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Trust Me.

Trust Me. That's what God is saying to me from Romans 8:28-30.

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

The whole end of chapter 8 is so uplifting, but it can also be very challenging.

God is working good... My nephew dies.
God is working good... My cousin has cancer.
God is working good... My good friend is struggling just to get by.
God is working good... I can't seem to do anything right.

God is making us into the likeness of Jesus. He will accomplish this task. Here's where the 'trust me" part comes in. I don't understand so many things. Some of them can hurt like crazy. Why does God allow them? I'm not gonna go into all the theological ramifications of God & Evil. But practically speaking, it's just plain hard to deal with sometimes.

The hope goes back to that "Glory Revealed" thing. The present suffering - it doesn't compare. God says, "Trust Me."

I guess what I'm saying this morning is "I'm trying." I believe, help my unbelief.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Glory Revealed...

No - this isn't a post about the album - though I would love to hear it sometime. :)

Tonight I'm reading Romans 8:18-21 and listening to Crowder singing "Stars" and "How Great".

18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

If only I could get a glimpse of what is to come. The Glory to be revealed. Creation will be liberated and so will we. Do I really grown for my adoption as a Son and the redemption of my body? Paul was so hungry. Oh I wish that I would be so consumed with the beauty of Christ that I would hunger like that.

How Great Your Love for Us, How Great our Love for You that Grace would Cover Us. What a Glorious Day!

Afraid of Nothing but God.

It's easy to fear. Fear often surrounds us. But this verse in Romans 8 really encouraged me about this.

Romans 8:6 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;

When the mind of the sinful man steps in, we begin to live in light of death instead of life. We live out of fear. We fear dying. We fear people's opinions. We fear everything and instead of risk-taking, we crawl into our shell of fear.

If we have the Spirit our mind should be about life. Real LIFE!. Eternal Life. Peace that surpasses understanding. Pray that the Spirit of God would control your thinking, and that you would be afraid of nothing. Nothing but God that is.

Lord, please forgive me when my fear controls my life rather than your Spirit. You have been so gracious to me!

P.S.
After posting this item, I found a great story that sums up the point. You can check it out here...

Thursday, November 08, 2007

A Powerful Video Clip - Lifehouse's Everything Skit

I saw this one last week and it has really stayed in my thinking. You can click an view the video here or watch the embed below.


2 Incredible Quotes

Two quotes that really got me to thinking today...
"Fidelity is a virtue; fidelity as an act of self-justification is obnoxious." -- Scot McKnight. http://www.jesuscreed.org/?p=3056


"Excellence in the Church is not a means to an end, it is an act of worship." -- Steven Furtick. http://www.stevenfurtick.com/elevation/god-deserves-excellence/


Pretty powerful stuff. I think I've been around some folks, and I myself sometimes have used fidelity as an act of self-justification. We have been faithful to point out the flaws in others that we might look better -- that people might know we are in the right. I think the Biblical picture of this is the Pharisee. Most of us would decry anyone who would label us this way, but when we speak of purity without love and pointing to our own righteousness, this is exactly the label we deserve.

This second quote was so good I did a quick check on google to see if it was original with Mr. Furtick. As far as I can tell, he's the first one to word it this way. I love this idea. Excellence isn't a program to reach more people and get more money and be more efficient. Excellence is an act of worship! Think about that one for a while. The cathredal that took 300 years to build -- not a statement of the glory of man, but an act of worship given for the glory of God. Demanding excellence in every aspect of church life can be a good thing when it is not a goal for building a better business, but when it is viewed as an act of worshipping the Almighty.