Posted by: thirstnomore | March 31, 2009

Death

I often hear people say: “Death is natural and a normal part of life.” While it is true that all have died and will die… only Jesus overcame death. But, biblical speaking death is not normal. Death was a result from the Fall in the garden. Adam and Eve were to live their entire lives with God forever, until they rebelled and decided to worship self instead of God. Death came into the world and all of us being in the family of Adam deserve death and will die. We typically don’t associate sin and death. Or death as a result of sin.

As we watched my daughter die I was very aware that she was not supposed to die. She was supposed to live with God forever, and so was I, and so were all people. Sin was the culprit of her passing. This does not make it easier to walk this tough road. But, it forces me to cling to Jesus because he has overcame death. Anyone who puts their trust in Jesus will not die and will be with him forever.

I was amazed as I listened to a debate with two Christians and two non-Christians (Deepak Chopra and Carlton Pearson a cult leader) check it out: http://theresurgence.com/abc_nightline

The non-Christians had no answer for evil, death, and afterlife. They had no hope because their god was not personal, knowable, or worthy of worship. It saddened me and drives me to take every opportunity to tell others about Jesus. The only one who gives Samantha hope, me hope, Christy hope, and all humans hope. 

Romans 8:2 says it this way: For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

Being good, being religious, being self-righteous will never lead us to Jesus, or overcome sin and death. It is only through clinging to Jesus in his death and resurrection, and we will be raised as Jesus was raised.

1 Cor. 15:56 says: The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
2 Cor. 1:9: Indeed, we felt that * we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make * us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.

We can’t rely on ourselves because we are not worthy to stand before a holy God. But, thanks be to God who has died in our place and we have full access to him, now and forever! We must take sin seriously.  Our culture is blind because we actually think people are good and deserve to be in heaven and never suffer and will be rich and have perfect kids, etc.  Sin is a bastard (pardon my french), it has wrecked everything from the enviorment, to our health, to our minds, to our salvation. Embrace Jesus the only one who has overcome sin and the one who gives us the Holy Spirit so we can day-by-day not fall prey to sin. Fall at the feet of the one truth, the one way, and the only true God…Jesus!

As we journey towards Easter I am filled with hope and expectation again.  That all is not lost.  Thank you my Lord, my Savior, my God, for overcoming death, sin, hell, and the Enemy.  I now stand free in you and only because of you. May we celebrate well this Easter no matter what we might be walking through right now…

That is what I will stand on…

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Posted by: thirstnomore | March 13, 2009

Plans…Proverbs 19:21

It has been some time since I posted. The 4 people that actually read my blog were getting antsy…so let me share what is on my mind and heart.

Proverbs 19:21 (ESV)
“Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.”

I have been thinking about plans. In the middle of our economic turmoil it reminded me of plans and planning. People put away money away for retirement, put money into stocks hoping to get it back and more for retirement, luxuries, vacation, etc. What might God be teaching us about money and security during this recession?

Proverbs 19 seems to make fun of man’s desire to plan. We have all kinds of plans of how things should play out in our lives. We have the ideal portfolio, family, and maybe this year the broncos will win more than they lose. The problem is that Pr. 19 seems to say having plans is great and all…but, the only thing that will last is God’s purposes.

If I claim to walk with Jesus…I should be constantly praying and asking God to shape me in such a way that I desire his purposes more than my silly plans that he probably laughs at most days. If my security and faith rests in my plans it could be possible that I will get those plans and miss out on the purposes of God that will last for eternity.

I don’t always understand God’s purposes in my life and the world but I do know one thing that is true…God is always after his glory and our joy.

If it takes ripping away all our finances so that we would get more of Him…give it to me. If it means having a loved one pass away so I get more of Him…bring it on. If it means losing a job so that I get more of Him…please give it to me. If it means attempting something that seems irrational and impossible to get more of Him…let’s go. If it means getting laughed at to get more of Him…that is probably what I need.

I pray I can go to the King when I have my “master plans”, when the laughter dies down, I hope I can say: “your will be done…your will be done”. Have a great day!

Posted by: thirstnomore | February 16, 2009

Ephesians 4 vs. Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12

We had a good discussion on gifts last night in small group. I added a comment about gifts that I hope you will find helpful in discovering your gifts.

The gifts listed in Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12 are addressed to specific churches. The gifts listed in Ephesians 4:11-14 are addressed to a region of churches, which assunmes all these gifts should be represented in us and churches.

Why is this important? The gifts in Ephesians 4 are what could be called “base-line gifts”. Every person operates out of one of these 5 gifts or a combination of them.

Here is what they are:
Evangelist: you love sharing your faith, training people to share their faith, apologetics, can articulte the gospel clearly, and help people embrace Jesus.

Prophet(Prophetic): you tend to see things that are broken in the church and the culture. You are a social activist type, you hate to see people suffer unnecesarily, and want to do something about it. You can speak the word of God to people and help them see a better way for life.

Pastor: you are the shepherd. You lead people, care for people, show acts of kindness and mercy. You hate when people are hurting.

Teacher: you have a good understadning of the scripture. You love to explain scripture through teaching and preaching. You love doctrine and can explain and articulte to poeple the ways of God,
and you love to study scripture.

Apostle: we don’t have apostles anymore, they ended with the 12, Paul, and early eyewitnesses of Jesus. But, an apostolic gift is someone who pionners new churches, ministries, businesses, loves to create things, gain new ground, push the barriers, etc.

Look at these base-line gifts and see how these might flesh out in your life. Where do you see yourself? Where have you seen this gift at work in your life? Once you find these gifts you will see how others mentioned in Romans and Corinthians will work together.

Remember that these gifts are given to the church so that she will be built up and mature into the fullness of Christ.

Hope this helps…

Posted by: thirstnomore | February 12, 2009

2009

I have not written anything in 2009, and I repent… It has been a tough year so far. We found out that our precious baby girl Samantha has some physical problems that will not allow her to live very long outside the womb. Without going into details it will not be likely that she will live for longer than a few minutes, or maybe a few hours. Only God knows.

It is times like these that you begin to take an inventory of what is really important in life. I have to say that many times I don’t trust in God like I should. I cling to what is seen instead of what is unseen. There is no hope in the seen, and only in the unseen. Look at the economy and you know that you can’t trust in what is seen especially when it is gone (jobs, money, retirement, stocks, etc.).

I have become extremely aware of how I spend so much time on what is trivial and trite and perishing. Samantha has forced me to examine my heart to see if my faith is in Jesus or something else. I have to admit I have not liked what I’ve seen. But, thanks be to God that because of Jesus and his shed blood and broken body and resurrection he is still working on me.

Suffering is a funny thing because we hate it, but know we need it. Non one has ever grown or learned anything from victory, it has only come in the purifying power of God’s grace in suffering (See James 1). We deserve nothing and yet Christ gives us everything. We still have this tendency to think that God “owes me” because somehow I lived a good life and have done the right things. That is “older brother thinking” see Luke 15. We deserve the worst and God gives us the best. We are more evil than we know and more loved than we know.

It is the gospel of Jesus Christ that I find rest, peace, hope, and joy. We have yet to walk through the hardest part of Samantha’s journey. I find much hope in these words of Psalm 139:16 “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”

None of us deserves even a single day so enjoy every moment. A life lived for 70 years can be just as beautiful as a life lived for 70 seconds. We have no say in this reality. A life lived for 70 years without knowledge of Jesus Christ and his Kingdom is a tragedy. Don’t mistake the American Dream for kingdom living.

Samantha will meet Jesus before I do and that makes me jealous. It should make us all jealous as we live with the tension of the “now and the not yet”. Oh what a day that will be when we see Him face to face and we become all that we were meant to be.

Posted by: thirstnomore | January 6, 2009

Bible and Prayer for Kids

Here is a resource for kids and families for prayer and Bible reading.  Thanks Lori Miller!

 

 

http://www.kidsprayer.com/01-kids/images/tick_tock_prayer_clockx.jpg

Posted by: thirstnomore | January 5, 2009

Unanswered Prayer

I mentioned briefly in my sermon that there are many reasons for unanswered prayer.  I used a metaphor as to how we see God.  We should see God as a perfect heavenly daddy.  A good dad tells us yes, no, and not yet.  A good dad does not give us everything, but still loves to give us good gifts.  Unanswered prayer is not because God is mad at us, but might be trying to teach us to be dependent on Him, or other purposes for God’s glory.

Here are some other reasons from scripture that our prayers might not be answered.  Take some time to reflect in your heart where these sins might be present:

Prayer is answered: 

  1. Through the grace of God (Isa. 30:19)
  2. Sometimes immediately (Isa. 65:24, Da 9:21, 10:12
  3. Sometimes after delay (Luke 18:7)
  4. Sometimes different from our desire (2 Cor. 12:8-9)
  5. Beyond expectation (Jer. 33:3, Eph. 3:20)

Prayer is received by those who:

  1. Seek God (Ps. 34:4)
  2. Seek God with all the heart (Jer. 29:12-13)
  3. Wait upon God (Ps. 40:1)
  4. Ask in the name of Christ (John 14:13)
  5. Fear God (Ps. 145:19)
  6. Keep God’s commandments (1 John 5:14)
  7. Humble themselves (2 Chronicles 7:14, Ps. 9:12)

Prayer might not be answered if:

  1. Ask amiss (Jas. 4:3)
  2. Regard iniquity in the heart (Ps. 66:18)
  3. Live in sin (Isa. 59:2, John 9:31)
  4. Offer unworthy service to God (Mal. 1:7-9)
  5. Forsake God (Jer. 14:10, 12)
  6. Are deaf to the cry of the poor (Pr. 21:13)
  7. Are idolaters (Jer. 11:11-14)
  8. Are hypocrites (Job 27:8-9)
  9. Are proud (Job 35:12-13)
  10. Cruelly oppress saints/church (Mic. 3:2-4)

There are many others, but take some time to reflect on these scriptures.  Please post any questions you may have related to prayer or any other things that come to mind for the series.

Posted by: thirstnomore | December 31, 2008

Bible Reading Plan

Here is the Bible reading plan I use for my daily time with God.  It will help you as you pray to have a plan for reading the Bible that will not bore you.  It takes you though the OT one time, Psalms two times, and the NT two times in a year. 

The goal is to read daily and journal what you see, think, feel, are convicted by, and what questions do you have from the text? If you miss a day don’t worry about going back until later.  The point is not legalism, the point is communion with God.  Get the big picture of the scriptures and let it read you. Have fun!

rpdailyreadingbible2

Extra help on prayer from message:

1.  Plan a time to pray.  If you don’t schedule a time it will not happen.  Be consistent with time and place.

2.  Read the Bible while you pray.  Your mind will wander and it gives you things to pray about and reflect on in prayer.  The Bible will also help you pray more consistently with God’s will. Pray a little, read a little, pray, read, etc.

3.  Pray in concentric circles:  start with inner (self) confession, holiness, praise, humility, etc.  Family, church, mission of church aorund the world, others, and needs in the world (politics, war, famine, etc.).

Hope this helps…

Posted by: thirstnomore | December 19, 2008

Last Sunday: Rebel…

It was encouraging to read all of the notes that were dropped in the vases on Sunday.  The honesty of wanting to live for Jesus and live differently this Christmas was very encouraging.  I saw things like:  “Get out of debt” “Spend less” “Give More” “Spend time with God and less shopping” “I want to be less angry” “I want to spend time with my family” “I don’t need to be a perfectionist” “Help the poor” and many more…

Keep pursuing our Great King and He will give us the desires of our hearts.  I look forward to Sunday as we unpack “Give” looking at John 1, when Jesus moves into the neighborhood.  How would are giving be different if we grasped the greatest gift of all: Jesus?

Posted by: thirstnomore | December 9, 2008

Hebrews 5:8

“Although he (Jesus) was a son he learned obedience through what he suffered.” 

I find so much comfort in this text.  If Jesus, God, the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, needed to learn obedience through what he suffered… obscurity, poverty, mockery, stabbed side, thorn-crown, nail-pierced hands and feet, death, rejection… why don’t I?

The road of obedience is suffering.  The road of the Christian life is suffering, taking up our cross, dying to self, and following Jesus.  Why do I run from suffering, medicate suffering, buy off suffering, as if it is random and useless?  What if this Christmas we embrace our suffering knowing that God, our good, heavenly daddy, is after our obedience and joy through our suffering?

God is more concerned with our holiness than our comfort.  I hope we can see things differently this Christmas as we receive our risen King!

Posted by: thirstnomore | December 2, 2008

Advent Conspiracy

Starting this week we will enter into a new series called “Advent Conspiracy”.  The word “Advent” is one you typically hear around Christmas time.  Advent runs through the four Sunday’ before Christmas.  The word is Latin and means “arrival” or “coming”.  It is a time of waiting and reflection on the arrival of Jesus (his first coming) and the arrival of (his second coming).  During this season we should be reflecting on Jesus and how our lives relate to our great King.  If we don’t begin now there is a good chance we will get lost in the busyness of the holiday.

Our series is an attempt to do something that is counter-cultural in nature to go against the typical consumerist mind-set of Christmas.  We want to show the world what the true meaning of Christmas is all about by giving our time, treasures, worship, and presence to people.  We want to give gifts that are meaningful this year.  Not junk that will end up in a drawer, or in the back of the closet.  We want to simplify!

We are going to focus on 4 words this series:  worship, rebel, give, and recieve.  To get us heading in the right direction I have given you a website that has a daily devotion for the Advent season.  http://www.followingthestar.org/  Take some time each day to reflect on the devotion and scripture.  It will hopefully keep us focused on God this season and not lose sight of the big picture.

The second thing:  I challenged the church on Sunday to think about one thing they could do this Christmas season to be counter-cultural.  Example:  Buy less gifts, give more, spend time with people who are lonely, fast from media and meals/food out (when you give up one thing you take that money and give a gift to an organization), or:  CCR will provide an opportunity for you to give to:  possibly “Hope International School” (Joel and Marvels ministry) to get it going next year. Make a gift for someone, give a meaningful gift, etc. If you need more ideas go to www.adventconspiracy.org

I hope this will be a good start to your Christmas and you will find Jesus to be enough for us as we journey together towards our great God and King!

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