Friday, September 26, 2008

Where Do We Go From Here?

This passage from Ephesians 5 really troubled me...

3 But immorality (sexual vice) and all impurity [[b]of lustful, rich, wasteful living] or greediness must not even be named among you, as is fitting and proper among saints (God's consecrated people). (Amplified Bible)

Paul says this stuff is not even supposed to be named among those who follow Christ. But in most of these areas in the American church, it appears that we are no different than the world. How do we get out of this mess?

How do we balance the idea that we (church) should be a place for messed up people, with the idea that people who love Christ should not even have vices like these named in our presence. This reminds me of an old post -the Local Bar or the Local Church.

To some extent all of us are messed up. But here I'm reminded that we need to leave the mess. Again our Lord's words about acceptance and repentance from John 8:11 ring out here...
"Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."

Afraid of the Wrong Things

The economy is a mess, and the war on terror looms, but who should we really be afraid of?
Isaiah 51:12 “I, I am he who comforts you; who are you that you are afraid of man who dies, of the son of man who is made like grass, 13 and have forgotten the Lord, your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth, and you fear continually all the day because of the wrath of the oppressor, when he sets himself to destroy? And where is the wrath of the oppressor?

Lord, please forgive me when I fear others more than I fear You.

Friday is for Photos - Needing a Caption

How would you fill in the negative space?
(Click on the image to see a higher resolution picture)


I was trying to see what kind of shot I could come up with today. I know that I can't use this because of the branding, but I still like the shot. What would you type on the side? It looks like it's begging for some sort of title.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Scottish Prophet?

I really enjoyed this quote and the discussion over at Boundless Line.

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasure. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's great civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage. -- Alexander Tyler (A Scottish professor) - 1897


HT: Boundless.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Show Mercy or Preach the Gospel?

I know...you don't have to choose. D.A. Carson has an outstanding article on this very topic. I'll go ahead and spoil the conclusion for you.

Still, we returned again and again to this pointed question: Granted that we ought to be engaged in acts of mercy, what safeguards can be set in place so as to minimize the risk that the deeds of mercy will finally swamp the proclamation of the gospel and the passionate desire to see men and women reconciled to God by faith in Christ Jesus and his atoning death and resurrection?


1. Realize the difference between the activity of the church as a whole vs the church as individual believers.

2. Preach about Hell.

This one is worth your time.

HT: JT

Music Tuesday - Aaron Keyes - Psalm 62

Hymns are making a comeback. I found this from New Song Cafe on Youtube. This song has a strong melody and it sticks with you. The words are tremendous and I love how Aaron brings in the old hymn O Praise Him.

This song is a "cracker." Watch the video clip - then it will make sense. We hope to be singing this song very soon. I actually have a chord chart that I made in G if anyone needs it, send me a note. What other "modern" hymns have you found that you like?

By the way - Aaron has a bunch of chord charts for his songs and other songs on his website. You may want to check it out.






Tuesday Giveaway
First person to reply can have Psalm 62 as an iTunes gift song.

Winner:
Conway.

Calvary Setlist for September 21st, 2008
Here I Am to Worship
Love the Lord
Worthy is the Lamb
How Great Thou Art

Save Us From Us

From today's reading...

Isaiah 43:11 I, I am the Lord, and besides me there is no savior.

Our God is a jealous God. He alone knows the future and He lifts up and destroys at His desire. He is salvation. Alone. There is no other.

Lord, forgive me, when I think I can be part of salvation. Forgive me for not totally relying upon you. Lord again, make me desperate - make us desperate for you. Save us from us dear God.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Did Hezekiah Play a Strat or a Les Paul?

This past week I've been learning about some of the differences between the Fender Stratocaster and the Gibson/Epiphone Les Paul. I really like the tone of the Les Paul by the way. Maybe someday I'll get to use one on a regular basis.

Tonight I found this passage from Isaiah that speaks about Hezekiah's joy in his life being extended...

Isaiah 38:20 The Lord will save me, and we will play my music on stringed instruments all the days of our lives, at the house of the Lord.

I wonder what kind of stringed instrument Hezekiah used? I'm glad I get to work with a church that likes to hear many different kinds of stringed instruments. (And even a little percussion too!)

What is Permissible?

I'm getting really excited about our upcoming series - Don't Waste Your Life. One of the ideas that John Piper conveys in the book is about the "permissible things." Some people want to know what is permissible. They want to know what they can get away with and still be a Christian. That IS wasting your life. What I want to know is... What makes Christ look like the treasure He really is? That's how Piper words it and it is really starting to resonate with me.

Here's a passage from my recent devotions that works with this very idea...

Galatians 5:13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Lord, help my life to show what a Treasure You really are.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Requirement for Comment.

While reading another post about voting and pro-life I came across this requirement for posting a comment...

Also, please feel free to comment below. After initially thinking I would not open comments, I have decided to do so. However, I would ask one thing - if you wish to offer a critique of Obama's views on abortion, you must list at least one concrete step you have taken besides voting to end the scourge of abortion in our nation.

While I don't agree with a lot that the writer had to say, I thought his comment procedure was pretty sharp. This could be useful in a lot of situations. Before you can share your opinion, list something concrete you have done towards solving the problem.

I think I have said this before, but it is worth repeating. It's great to vote for what you feel is important, but even better to really invest yourself in helping to bring the "change" that is needed.

I hope that God will help pro-lifers on both sides of the aisle to put an end to abortion, and to bring courage and hope to the mothers who face these situations.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Friday is for Photos - St.Croix Friends

St. Croix Friends
(Click on the image to see a higher resolution picture)


I've had almost zero opportunities to take some pictures. I going through withdrawals. :) But I love looking through my St. Croix pics. So here's another one of the friends we made while we were there. Brooklyn even used her face painting skills she learned from this event on our own Family Fun Night just a few weeks ago. Thanks again to everyone in the Islands for such a memorable time.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Heroes

No this isn't about the show - though it does premiere next Monday. :)

I have some people in my life who have impacted me greatly. People like my grandpa, Wallace Malone. People like my friend Rick, who has shown me how to love in difficult circumstances. People like Tom Johnson, who has shown me what faith is really about. And I have another one who is teaching me to enjoy every day, every breath, every beautiful moment. Her name is Stacey, and she is my cousin, and I am amazed at her hope.

She reminds me how valuable every day is and how to find joy in each day. You can follow her story at CaringBridge. Check it out, I know you'll be blessed.

Good Days Ahead...

Who can wait for a day like this one?

Isaiah 25:7 And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. 8 He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. 9 It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”

Lord, we long for the day when you will swallow up death forever. May your kingdom come.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

One Issue Voting

Josh Harris has a great story about a couple thinking about joining the church who were disappointed in a sermon entitled "Don't Waste Your Vote."

I think it shows the complexity of the discussion we highlighted yesterday.

Also, Piper has a pretty strong article on one issue voting.

HT: Challies.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Obama, Abortion & Young Evangelicals

There is a pretty heated discussion over on Tony Jones blog about this very topic.

If I understand the commentators correctly...

The Obama supporters think that his presidency will actually reduce abortions even though Obama is a strong Freedom of Choice Act supporter. They feel that Bush has done nothing to lower the amount of abortions and that by not developing a stronger economy and by not helping the poor he has contributed to more unwanted pregnancies.

The McCain supporters think that McCain will continue to nominate conservative justices and will eventually overturn Roe v. Wade. They believe that Bush has helped the cause by appointing conservative justices and has taken a strong stand on stem cell research.

Again, I'll ask a question I asked all the way back in February about Obama and abortion.

How can a person who believes that abortion is morally wrong justify voting for a person who believes abortion can be morally acceptable?

This is an honest question. I really am interested in people that are holding to this view.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Music Tuesday - I Will Rise

Sorry for the lack of posts this past week. We were offline for a few days...

I haven't heard all of Tomlin's new album, but I have heard the song I Will Rise. Our song leader let me hear it on Sunday afternoon. I was immediately impressed. This song will be such an encouragement to the church. We are already trying to figure out how we are going to use it.

You can check out the song at Youtube



And here is the video about how the song came about.




Tuesday Giveaway:
First person to reply will get I Will Rise as an iTunes gift song.

Calvary Setlist for September 14th, 2008:
He is Exalted
Mighty to Save
How Great is Our God
Our God Reigns

HT: Scott.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Music Tuesday - Delirious

My neighbor put me onto a song by Delirious called Majesty. I don't listen to much Delirious, but I do like a lot of their popular songs. Recently I heard My Soul Sings on New Song Cafe with acoustic guitar. I really like that song.

I would encourage you to check out both of these songs. You won't be disappointed.

Tuesday Giveaway:
This week the first two people to email me will get their pick of any Delirious song on iTunes. (I'm likin' that Genius Bar in iTunes 8 by the way.)

Winners:
1.
2.






Calvary Setlist for September 7th, 2008:

What a Mighty God We Serve
Everlasting God
I Stand Amazed
I Stand in Awe

Every Thought..

This is pretty tough...

2 Corinthians 10:5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,

Every thought.

Is my every thought taken captive to obey Christ?

Lord, I need your help here.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Happy to Suffer?

We just started our new Sunday lesson using The Brink from Randall House at our church. It was a good lesson about courage. While I was reading it a familiar question came to mind... Should Christians desire suffering? I sent off an email to Jacob Riggs about this topic since he was the one developing the lessons. (By the way - this is pretty cool - to interact with the people who develop your curriculum. Kudos to Randall House for having their staff write blogs!)

Anyway, Jacob posted some of our conversation over at AfrayedKnot. He makes some pretty good points. I'm sure that balance is a key here.

As I look at the scripture I'm not so sure that we should desire suffering, but that we should rejoice in it, when it is for the Name of Christ and the Glory of God. Please don't get me wrong, I'm not saying this lightly. Suffering is very hard to understand sometimes. Even I have had some pretty hard questions for the Lord on this topic. I think your approach to this topic will probably depend somewhat on your personality. And seeing how that I preached a message on Smyrna - the Suffering Church - for last year's Thanksgiving sermon, you might have a clue into mine. :)

But here are a few texts to consider...


Matthew 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. 17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; 18 And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.

John 15:18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me.

John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

1 Thessalonians 3:1 Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone; 2 And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith: 3 That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. 4 For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.

2 Timothy 3:10 But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, 11 Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. 12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.



Acts 5:41 The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.


What's your take on the Suffering Saints in the U.S.A? Do the godly here suffer? Are we not suffering because we have been blessed by so much freedom? Are we not suffering because we really aren't following the steps of the Master? Maybe a little bit of both? And yet some are suffering even here for their faith in Christ.

Feel free to comment here or even better comment at Jacob's blog.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Maybe You're Not So Smart...

I am amazed with technology. This week I've been playing with Google Chrome and Unity through VMware fusion. Some really amazing stuff. But this isn't a tech post. What amazes me is that for all of the smart people in this world, when God wrote the word a few thousand years ago he knew what we would never know.

We can try to define when life begins, and we can break things down to a molecular level. But here's a reminder that God is God and we are not...

Ecclesiastes 11:5
As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.

When does the spirit invade the body? Only God knows. Literally. On this side of heaven, this is something that we will never know - no matter how smart we get. This is a reminder that God is great and glorious and worthy of our adoration.

Lord, let us revel in Your power and knowledge and bring the nations together for Your adoration.

Observing the Wind

From today's reading...

Ecclesiastes 11:4 He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.

I think this is a hard saying for me. Sometimes we spend so much time thinking, planning and analyzing, that we don't get the work done. Sometimes we just need to do it.

Have you ever known someone who was going to purchase a computer, but every week there was a better deal on a faster machine? So what happens? They never buy. They are so afraid of buying something that next week will be out of date or so much cheaper. They are observing the wind and regarding the clouds. Sometimes you just gotta do it!

Lord, thank you for all the people in my life who remind me to just do it. Help me to not overstep your leading, but help me to act as you lead.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Wide Open

From today's reading...

11 We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide open. 12 You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. 13 In return (I speak as to children) widen your hearts also.

As ministers of the gospel our hearts should be wide open.  I guess that's part of the reason Jeff's blog is named Wide Open.  Sorry Jeff, I'm a little slow sometimes.


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Music Tuesday - Noise Trade

I'm not giving away any music today. NoiseTrade is doing it for me. That's right - you can download Andy Gullahorn, Derek Webb, Sandra McCracken, Justin McRoberts for FREE! So what's the catch? There always is a catch by the way..

You can pay whatever you want, or you can submit 3 email addresses of friends who like music. I'm really into free - so if you get an email from NoiseTrade from me, you'll know what's going on! I really like Andy Gullahorn. I would be sure to grab Reinventing the Wheel if you don't get anything else. I also like Justin McRoberts too.


Calvary Setlist for August 31st
We Bring the Sacrifice of Praise
Holy is the Lord
Made Me Glad
Shout to the Lord

Slow Down...Read This Again.

Sometimes I just read too fast. I was looking at this verse tonight, and when I slowed down it really began to hit me...

2 Corinthains 5:14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

Who am I living for? Am I really living for the one who was raised for me? Exactly what does it mean to live for Jesus?

Are you living for yourself or really living for the one who died that you might really live?

Read it again, but slower this time. I bet it will hit you too!

Monday, September 01, 2008

What are You Proclaiming?

Sometimes our pride gets in the way of our service. Here's a good reminder...

2 Corinthians 4:5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake
Lord, please let my words and my service to others proclaim that you are Lord.