Sunday, November 30, 2008

Advent week one

Since Steve never taught us about advent in youth group, I had to read up myself. ;)

Just kidding.

I am serious about utilizing this season to make the holidays more meaningful this year.

An song for the first week of Advent (Steve never played this song in youth group either...)

Lo How A Rose E'er Blooming
Lo how a rose e'er blooming
From tender stem hath sprung
Of Jesse's lineage coming
As seers of old have sung
It came a floweret bright
Amid the cold of winter
When half spent 'twas the night
Isaiah 'twas foretold it
This rose I have in mind
With Mary we behold it
The Virgins mother kind
To show His love so bright
She bore for us a Savior
In half spent was that night
O flower whose fragrance tender
With sweetness fills the air
Dispel in Glorious splendor
The darkness everywhere
True man yet very God
From sin and death now save us
And share our human load

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Who is like our God?

6 years ago, I woke up knowing something was wrong. It had been a picture perfect 9 months. No morning sickness, no problems what so ever. But on Nov. 26, 2002 Naomi woke up having one huge non-stop contraction. Pretty soon there were numerous doctors, nurses and others swarming into our hospital room fretting over the fetal heart monitor and shouting to get her into the Operation Room.

In a blur, family and medical personnel were all around us. Some were praying, some were trying to get us to sign release forms. A grouchy anesthesiologist didn't help matters with his attitude. Then in one of the most surreal moments of my life everyone disappeared. They took my wife into the OR and everyone else left the pre-op area to the waiting room. I was totally alone.

I'll never forget the question that was delivered into my heart from heaven. "Am I good even now?" "Yes Lord, even if it all ends up terrible for me today, and I lose everything, you are still good." I have never been so close to my Creator than I was at that moment. I can't describe it now and never will be able to. All of the sudden I was filled with fire to pray and intercede for my family.

Shortly thereafter, a nurse came and asked me to come into the Operating room with my wife. They were just pulling the baby out. I looked at my poor, scared wife and she asked my why the baby wasn't crying. I didn't know. Then I heard it again "Am I good?"... "Yes Lord, you are good and your love endures forever..." In what felt like an eternity, but was probably only 10-15 seconds, Noah finally yelped out a cry and the nurse brought him over to us in kind of a sitting up position. I remember my first though was "Where did he get that cleft chin?!?!"

Later on, people were asking what his middle name was. I had a hard time trying to figure it out actually. But it came to me when I realized the name Michael means "Who is like our God". It would be a memorial of meeting God in that place. Kind of like Jacob and Bethel. It was chosen so I would never forget that day. (It also helped that is his grand fathers name!)

So today, I remember God's goodness to us that day. His grace over our family. His sovereignty. I believe if things had been different, or if they become different and not as planned, He demonstrates His faithfulness to walk through the fire, pain and terror with us.

Happy birthday Son!


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Discipleship does not = Negotiation

I just thought I would throw out a passage that really stopped me in my tracks the other day.

Luke 17:7-10
“Will any one of you who has a servant​ plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly,​ and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants;​ we have only done what was our duty.’ ”

This passage once again opened my eyes to how I often use my obedience as a bargaining chip with God. I foolishly act and think in such a way that if I can just build up enough of my own righteousness that I will twist God's arm into blessing my desires. This is both foolish and wicked and sadly when I do this I do not experience the benefits and blessings promised to me in the gospel.

We sometimes sing a song in Church that is difficult and humbling for me to sing but helps counteract this harmful attitude. The second verse reads:

Take all my cravings for vain recognition
Fleshly indulgence and worldly ambition
I want so much Lord to make You the focus
To serve You in secret and never be noticed

I want to have a heart like this, and I know I do not get there by negotiating with God using my own works.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Man this is so convicting.

My wife will crack up when she sees this. This is so... me.

HT:Crazy Christian Clips


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Brilliant wisdom.

I'm not even sure who this guy is but this is good stuff.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Influence part 3

I read this excellent post over at Matt Chandler's blog on inspiration & influence.

So I ask those who read and participate here:

What influences, deepens or inspires you in your relationship with Abba Father?

Or as Matt puts it, "what stirs your affections for Christ?"

Please comment, as I think we could all use some fresh ideas and perspective on this.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Brilliant thoughts on the election.

Thank God for John Piper. I can honestly say he wrapped up a lot of my feelings in this short interview he did on the upcoming elections.

He touches on these topics...

1. Womanhood (the only one that I squirm a bit about...)
2. Race
3. Abortion
4. Prophetic perspective
5. Sovereignty of God
6. Gospel

HT- Justin Taylor, Between two worlds blog

Posted by: Jason_73

Saturday, November 01, 2008

A mouth full...

Real life religious groups and organizations.

Not mocking, just observing...

Our Pentecostal friends:

"Fire baptized holiness church of the Americas

"The house of God, which is the church of the Living God, the Pillar & the Ground of the Truth, inc."

"International church of the Foursquare gospel..." Just kidding Steve... Kind of...

"Apostolic Overcoming Holy Church of God

"Praise All Day Church of the Redeemer Christ Our Everlasting King"

Their name says it all, kind of...

"True Jesus Church"

"The Christadelphians"

"The Exclusive Brethren"

Their site says "The Exclusive Brethren practice separation from evil, recognising this as God's principle of unity. They shun the conduits of evil communications: television, the radio, and the Internet. Their charter is 2 Timothy 2:19 "The Lord knows those that are his; and, Let every one who names the name of the Lord withdraw from iniquity."

And this is awesome! From a website dedicated to the Amish:

"Why is this site in black and white?

The Amish are known as the "Plain People" because they shun bright colors. Since this web page is about the "Plain People", it is also plain. You will find no javascript, brightly colored icons or anything else that would give these pages a gaudy appearance"

Then there are the "maybe we need a committee to think up something new" group:

Boring United Methodist Church, Boring, MD

Black Jack Missionary Baptist Church in Gore Springs, MS

And we end with Cowboy churches

Cowboy Church On Fire; Iraan, TX