Thursday, December 31, 2009

My New Years Prayer

Oh God in Heaven;

Help your church in America…to wake up,

To struggle,

To strive,

To get down on our knees and seek your face and your will.

To teach your Word, not needing to be taught the basics over and over again.

To reach for the meat of the Word, not a bunch of strained baby food.

To turn off the anesthetizing affect of Television, and to actually meditate on your word and pray.

God please help us;

To actually take up our crosses and suffer for the sake of the Gospel.

Let us develop calluses on our knees and a worn spot on the rug from praying.

Brothers and Sisters in the Lord, let us stop being a “dysfunctional family” and put our eyes on Jesus; only He is the author and perfecter of our faith…There is absolute Truth and it is Jesus…the only way to the Father…not Opra, Obama, or Deepak Chopra.

Join with me this last day of this decade, at the beginning of a new year…not with revelry and idolatry, immorality and drunkenness…but humbly before God with fasting and prayer.

Remember what the Lord said to Solomon; “…I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now My eyes shall be open and My ears attentive to the prayer offered in this place.”(2 Chronicles 12-15)

Remember also what James wrote; “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” (James 4:8-10)

Oh God, have mercy on your people; we have not loved you with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and we have not loved our neighbor as ourselves. We have turned to other gods to worship and serve them. Forgive us Lord, for we repent. Cleanse us from all unrighteousness and create in us a new heart, a heart to strive after you and your will; for our lives, for our neighbors and for our country. Help us to serve you in newness of life. Help us to sacrifice for the sake of building your Kingdom. And in everything Lord, may you alone get the glory and honor, and praise.

In the name of Your Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

"Gratias"






I sit in the house of God;

Awaiting the music in celebration of your birth, Lord Jesus.
Wondering what the angels sounded like.

“When thou didst say, “Seek My face,”
My heart said to Thee, Thy face, O Lord, I shall seek.”

The music begins—rising in praise and then quiets…
All is still.

I wait, I hear my breathing and a rustle of programs,
A cough, a whisper…

Then the small sound, quite, tender;
Capturing my soul.

The blending of voices lifting to the heavens;
Soaring-
“Gloria in excelsis Deo…Et en terra pax hominibus.”

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given,
And the government will be upon his shoulders.”

Domine Deus, Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi,
Miserere nobis.

“Joy to the world the Lord has come!”
We all sing joyously,
The woman next to me, with rejoicing,
Wraps her arms around me, in an embrace saying “Merry Christmas.”

And the only sound is a baby crying.

Gratias

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Star

A couple of weeks ago I attended a showing of a DVD at the church I attend. It was about the Star of Bethlehem and the actual facts about it. The gentleman running the show is a PhD in information technology and has personally "back checked" the information presented in the program. His word is "It is accurate."

As we approach Christmas and hear claims again about the pagan roots of the dates we celebrate, I urge you to check out the web site or better yet, get a copy of this remarkable DVD. It will settle once and for all the questions. And for those drawn to Natural Theology, who are looking for a "bridge" into God's word and the revelation of our Lord, Jesus Christ; I believe that this is it.

The DVD is "The Star of Bethlehem" and is produced by Stephen McEveety of "Passion of the Christ" fame.

The web site is www.bethlehemstar.net

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

"The Real Thing?"

In our quest in the church in America for the next greatest experience…the best worship and non-confrontational preaching; keep the message simple to draw in the most new members and be “relevant”; I challenge you to carefully read this article on the “…Real Thing…” desired by most European Christians.
Definitely food for thought.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Wisdom or Foolishness?

Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not take pride in one man over against another. For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?...We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! (1 Corinthians 4:6-7, 10 NIV emphasis added)

(seems I cannot add my foot note here, so I will use a preface instead...I am making a presupposition that I am speaking to Evangelical Christians from within the reformed traditions--and within what is generally understood as "Orthodoxy"--and I know even there we can get pretty flakey)

You know that as we faithfully follow our Lord Jesus Christ, we will find that in study of the Word of God our minds will become “renewed” ( see Romans 12:2). We will have the Spirit of God reveal knowledge to us. But here is the tricky part—as we move in our circles in the kingdom of God on earth—where the vast majority (sad to say) do not read their Bibles—you will have, possibly, deeper insight into scripture than most Christians.

The immediate prideful temptation is to start thinking you are “something”, because the “special” knowledge that God is giving you.

This is a trap—and sad to say, I see some “teachers” of the Word of God, Christian Philosophy and Theology--falling into it. I see in reading some books the taint of arrogance. I understand if you are presenting a scholarly paper/book where your research has led you to a new conclusion or an interesting and important insight into the bible, you are excited to share your point of view—but not to the exclusion of all others . When I read commentaries, text books, or scholarly paper and see the attitude that, “My answer is the only answer—all others are wrong” or the other is “Only my university/seminary is teaching the classed that you need”; this is the most deadly trap of all. This prevents any growth, development or discussion—and causes stagnation. Then, as entertaining as debate can be, it quickly can slide down hill into name calling (heretic seems to be the most favorite choice). See this great blog by C. Michael Patton on “old school” advice on how dissention within the body of Christ should be handled.

This is the same trap that is going on right now in the scientific community over Intelligent Design. Because of the lack of real discussion, the actual scientific method is stymied, and possibly the next great break-through in medicine could be blocked—all because of a lack of discussion and openness to new ideas.

As all of us work hard to study, and develop our knowledge; we must always remember where all this ability between our ears comes from! IT IS A GIFT FROM GOD. If we give in to prideful arrogance, we become the stumbling blocks to others—ether by people seeking more knowledge and giving up, either by thinking they will never understand—or people who will put those of us with this knowledge on a “pedestal” that ONLY God should be on. You need to remember that it doesn’t matter how many books you have written, or debates won, papers peer reviewed, what university you teach at, how big your church is…Remember this…We all put our pants on one leg at a time, and we are all nothing but dust in the end…we will be gone and even the ground will not remember us. We are here to build up the Kingdom of God—not our own kingdoms.

If we are in any teaching position—we need to encourage and build up the confidence of our students with the express purpose that they can develop the wisdom from God for themselves through the guiding of the Holy Spirit.

We need to teach the sheep to become shepherds!

Romans 12:3 “For by the grace given me I say to every on of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”