Monday, August 20, 2007

Another "wow" moment

Please take a second to read the following verses from chapter one of the book of Job and what happened to he and his family when Satan asked for God to test him:

"One day when Job's sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother's house, a messenger came to Job and said, "The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, and the Sabeans attacked and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!" While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, "The fire of God fell from the sky and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!" While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, "The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!" While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, "Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother's house, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!"

So I'm just casually reading the above Scripture and begin to try to imagine what it would be like to have been Job. What would I do? How would I respond? The next verse began to tell me how Job responded:

"At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in..."

Now I can relate to that - getting up, tearing clothing, shaving my head (well, maybe not that), but generally grieving for my losses. That makes sense. But what follows the dot dot dot? Job fell to the ground in grief? Despair? Anguish? Anger? Complete misery? What did Job do?

"Then he fell to the ground in...worship."

Wow. Not what I was expecting. That's amazing to me. In all that was happening to him and his family, he fell to the ground and worshipped. Wow. Job really did love God. And he knew all things came from Him. And he trusted God. He knew that God was good, righteous, holy, just, loving, etc. He knew that God was worthy of worship - no matter what. It is so easy to "praise" God when things are going well. But do we really love and worship God, or do we love and worship blessing?

God - you're worthy of my worship. Thanks for the example of Job. I hope to worship you in all things. And as Job said, "Blessed be you name."

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Evel Dick and Hypocrisy, Quote from Knowing God and thought from INDEED

Confession - Courtney and I are watching Big Brother 8. We are not religious about it, but it has sucked us in. It fascinates me to see these people, locked in a house, forced to live with each other, and then voting one person out of the house each week. There is so much that is objectionable about the show and most, if not all of the people, but it is fascinating. It's fascinating to watch the dynamics of these human relationships. Anyway...Evel Dick is one of the guys in the house. If you don't know the show and Evel Dick, I can't succinctly explain it, so this may make no sense to you. Anyway...Evel is an instigator and tends to berate the one outspoken Christian (who happens to be a black female) on the show. His biggest insult to her is that she is a "hypocrite." Which, she probably is. No, she is. Because we all are. All of us Christians anyway. Your opinion may differ, but don't hate me for mine. I KNOW I am a hypocrite. I break my own standards and God's as well. Pretty much everyday. Only people who have standards can actually break a standard and thus become a hypocrite. The fewer standards you have, the less likely you will be to break them. Following after Christ comes with standards - standards no one can keep perfectly, but we strive to keep. God tells us through the Bible that "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. " (1 John 1:8-10, 2:1-2) Fact is, Christians will sin. We strive toward a standard - Jesus. He was and is perfect. He is no hypocrite. I hope that people will be able to see Jesus in me. That my life will reflect a change that points people to Him. But sometimes it won't. I'm a hypocrite. Maybe the world's biggest. So, look at me. Maybe you'll see Jesus. Maybe you'll see a hypocrite. But better yet, look at Jesus. Read about His life in the Bible. Consider Him, not me. And then, hopefully, you will want to follow after Him. So, Evel Dick, if we ever meet, know that I am a hypocrite. I'm not proud of it, and I hope and strive to be less of one everyday.

Anyway...from the book Knowing God by JI Packer - In chapter 8, Packer is dealing with the subject of the majesty and greatness of God. He is pointing out how small our view of God in modern society tends to be. He writes, "But this is knowledge which Christians today largely lack: and that is one reason why our faith is so feeble and our worship so flabby. We are modern people, and modern people, though they cherish freat thoughts of themselves, have as a rule small thoughts of God. When the person in the church, let alone the person in the street, uses the word God, the thought is rarely of divine majesty." I hope that you and I are pursuing greater thoughts of God and less of ourselves. As Jesus cousin once said, "He (Jesus/God) must become greater, I must become less." (John 3:30)

And finally, from Indeed devotional - the additional reading today was Hebrews 7:25 which says, "Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them." Jesus intercedes for us. He speaks to/prays to the Father on our behalf. Wow. Jesus prays for me, and you. I know I need all the prayer I can get. It helps to know that the Son and the Father are having a conversation about me. And you. And, as the Indeed author puts it, "the Son of God does not have unanswered prayers."

Friday, August 10, 2007

Wow Moment

When I use to take students on a mission trip called "WORLD CHANGERS", they had a thing they called "WOW" moments. The students were encouraged to keep their eyes open during their week of mission for times when they would say, "WOW! That was God at work!" Since our church started a little over a year ago, we've had a lot of WOW moments. Recently, I've been wowed by God in how He has worked in the hearts of our church staff. Two of our staff are seminary students, studying to get their Master's degree to better serve God. Generally, as is the case here, seminary students don't have a lot of income. Usually, it is in their best interest to live in seminary housing that is cheaper than most. Both Cary and Matt (two of our staff) were living in seminary housing until recently. Both they and their wives felt that despite the added financial burden, they should move to the Morrisville area to better serve our church and the community. Their hearts are burdened for the Morrisville community. They want to live here and build new friendships here and share the love of God. They want others to experience the life change that they have! WOW. I thank God for these guys and their wives (and baby Ethan). They are all amazing people who love God and people. I hope you get to know them.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Books on Apologetics

I promised in the message yesterday that I would post some books that you can read on apologetics. Here is a short list:

More Than A Carpenter by Josh McDowell
Evidence That Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell
Evidence That Demands a Verdict, Vol. 2, by Josh McDowell
The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel
The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel
The Case For a Creator by Lee Strobel

I'll see about adding some others in the near future.

Quote of the Day

Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of."
- Benjamin Franklin

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

White Dad

Every Tuesday afternoon for about the past 8 years, I play basketball with young men from the Cary community for about 2 hours. These guys are between the ages of 16 and 24. Some of the guys are in high school, some have dropped out of high school. Some have jobs, some don't. Some are black, some are white. Some are young fathers - none are married that I know of. Some of the guys smoke pot (I smell it on them) and some even come to play smelling of alcohol. Many have been in trouble with the law, a few with jail or prison time. Bottomline, I love these guys. And I try to tell them that every so often and remind them of that fact. I respect and appreciate each one of these guys and pray for their success in life and hope that one day they will know, as I do, what it is to have a new life and connection to their creator.

Anyway...this past Tuesday, as I often do, I gathered the guys together between games to inform some of the newcomers of the rules of the gym and to share a quick truth about God. After this week's little talk, one the guys, who is about 6'2", and an athletic young man, who just minutes before had blocked another guy's shot and nearly pinned it to the backboard said, "Mike is like my white dad." We laughed and moved on and another game of hoops started. I thank God that he has given me the opportunity to invest in a small way into the lives of these young men and I hope you'll say a prayer for them. God bless those guys and I hope they will respond to His amazing grace and find new life in Him.