Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Transformed Generation: Don't Back Down

Hello all,

In connection with Monday's post, Jennifer has posted some great thoughts on how to overcome Satan's attempts to turn us from sweet fellowship with God on her "transformed generation" blog.

I'm sure you have experienced it before. I have on multiple occasions. It happens whenever I have had an amazing few days/weeks/months with God. It happens when I feel like nothing can shake my relationship with my Savior, and it happens when I feel like God can change the world through me.
My sister says something that isn't even rude and I blow up at her. The time is ticking by so slowly and I get impatient and angry. I watch the news and feel depressed, wishing I could just leave this world now. At those times--those times of lashing-out, impatience, and depression--Satan is trying to push me off the track.

I won't re-post the entirety of her post but do encourage you to read the entire thing. For the purpose of this post I would simply like to share three simple principles shared by Jennifer from the Bible for staying "on track" in our walk with God.

1. Flee from him and he will flee from you.

At the first sign of trouble, run! James tells us, "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7).

2. He has already lost.

"And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever" (Revelation 20:10).

3. If you stand strong, you will be rewarded.

David said, "The Lord rewards every man for his righteousness and faithfulness" (1 Samuel 26:23a).

"Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does..." (Ephesians 6:7-8)

God "rewards those who earnestly seek him" (Hebrews 11:6).

An additional promise from scripture relating to Jennifer's third point that comes to my mind is I Corinthians 10:13.

13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:13, New King James Version)

Jennifer closes her post with the following inspiring resolution taken from the scriptures.

When Satan attacks, run to the arms of Christ and find refuge there. He will help you fight against the devil and come out victorious.

I, for one, want to stand strong knowing in my heart that "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:7).

Amen and many thanks to Jennifer! Please pop over to her blog and leave her a comment if you are blessed by her post. :-)

God bless!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Counter Cultural: Fixation

Hello all,

Camden, of the Rebelutionary blog 'Counter Cultural', has once again posted a thought provoking and Rebelutionary post. In this newest post he speaks to the issue of focusing on Jesus in place of things of "much less worth than God" and it seems an appropriate post to kick off a new week.

Camden has this to say:

If I'm going to blog an honest journey though my life, I have to honestly admit that I'm not perfect. Recently I've just felt a pull away from God -- not by anything big and striking, but in the small mundane things of life. My affections are directed to things of much less worth than God. When I'm not focused on God, I can almost feel it. I don't know if you know what I'm talking about, but it seems that a physical feeling, like a headache or an uneasiness.

It's frustrating, because it's not where I want to be. I want to say that my passion and love for Jesus grows every day, but some days I don't feel any closer. I want to fix everything in my life on Christ, but some days I just don't.

Perhaps this isn't the perfect example, but I think of a relationship with Jesus like looking at the sun. The longer you look at the sun, the more it's imprint will stick in your mind, even when you look elsewhere. If you take your gaze from the sun (or Son, if you will), eventually it will fade from your view. If we hide in the dark of our sin, the sun (like righteousness) seems invading and piercing, and we try to hide from the flares of the sun. It's when we keep our gaze focused on the sun that we most feel it's light.

Now, I'm not suggesting that we all go stare at the sun. I am suggesting that we fixate our minds on Jesus. I told you that I'm not feeling as focused on Christ right now as I'd like. But how can I fix this? "Fix your eyes on Jesus," is great (Hebrews 12:2), but what can we practically do to make Jesus our greatest fixation?

I suggest that we make tangible changes. In the past I've noticed that computer video-games tend to be a draw-point to keep me from God. Instead of merely trying to avoid these games or only play them only at certain times, I get to my computer control panel and uninstall the game. Computer games aren't wrong, but it's when we are consumed with them beyond the point of Christ that we fall into sin.

If anything, this post is more for me than for you. Whether your stumbling block is electronics or not, I pray that you would consider your life, what takes your time, and who deserves to take your time. Changes aren't always simple or easy to make, but they're always worth it in the end. Jesus is the greatest fixation we can have, so why give our primary focus to anything else?


This post also serves as a great reminder to us of the importance of small things in living a Rebelutionary lifestyle and reminded me personally of this article on the subject by Alex King. A key section of the article says..."doing hard things that are large consist of doing many hard things that are small. Without doing these small things, we can’t achieve those huge goals. Look at this line from the parable of the talents in Luke 19:17, “And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.”

This isn’t simply a kingdom principle that Christ is talking about; it’s also a logistical principle. Yes, for our own good, God will hold back the cities until we can handle the little. But we should also realize that if we didn’t do the little, then we’d never accomplish the cities anyway."

A closing thought...remember that "if you always do what you've always done you'll always get what you've always got." Let us purpose to address needed change in our walk with God not just with "desire", "good intentions" and talk, but also with actions and structural changes both large and small.

22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.
(James 1:22-25, New King James Version)

Many thanks to Camden and Alex for their timely and timeless exhortations and wisdom! If you are blessed by Camden's post as I was, please pop over to his blog and leave a comment. :-)

God bless!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Winston Smith -- Is There a Plan B for my Life?

Hello all,

The question posed in the subject line is a big question for all people, but especially for the young and Rebelutionary. In the time of our youth, our launching pad years if you will, we will often face situations and decisions that will prompt us to consider plan B. Nothing is necessarily wrong with that to my mind, but there seems to be a defeatist mindset that our culture has inserted in the question. But, should we have a defeatist mindset in evaluating the matter? Winston Smith offers excellent insight into that question in this short video.

Many thanks to Mr. Smith for his insight!

God bless!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Transformed Generation -- Only a Moment

Hello all,

Jennifer has posted an excellent reminder over on her "Transformed Generation" blog that we wanted to pass along to you for your benefit. Be sure to follow this link to Jennifer's post and leave her a comment if you like her post and feel so led. :-)

only a moment

It takes only a moment for your world to be washed away.
It takes only a moment for your world to be burned away.
It takes only a moment for your world to be blown away.
Only a moment...
Only a drop...
Only a spark...
Only a breeze...

I realized a couple of days ago that in a single moment life as I know it can change.

In one solitary moment,
floods can remove houses,
fires can burn fields,
tornadoes can uproot trees.

What you have in this life--your clothes, your laptop, your iPod, your "treasures"--will disappear one day. Eventually, everything you own will be gone, nothing more than a few pieces of rubble.

It's humbling to consider that.

Think about losing everything you own, all of your possessions. For myself, I hope that I would be wise enough to realize that none of it really matters. But what if you were to lose your best friend, or your mom and dad, or your sister? What then?

I don't want to instill paranoia in you, but sometimes I think we live our lives in an ignorant fashion. All too often, we think we are invincible and inhuman. We think we can't be touched by loss, death, or disease. But when we think that, we are lying to ourselves. Bad things happen in this world. Turn on the news and you'll see it.

Don't think you're untouchable.
It only takes one moment.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,
where moth and rust destroy,
and where thieves break in and steal.
But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
where moth and rust do not destroy,
and where thieves do not break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also
(Matthew 6:19-21)

Reading Jennifer's post brought several additional scriptures to mind.

 12 So teach us to number our days,
         That we may gain a heart of wisdom.
          (Psalm 90:12, New King James Version)

15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
(Ephesians 5:15-16, New King James Version)

5 Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. (Colossians 4:5, New King James Version)

16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. 17 And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ 18 So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’
21 “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:16-21, New King James Version)

What a challenge it is to read these passages, coupled with Jennifer's admonition, and realize more fully how wisdom is related to a redeeming of time, and how empty it is to devote our time to things of this world and not of God.

Many thanks to Jennifer! My prayer today is that we would number our days so that we can gain a heart of wisdom!

God bless!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

BibleX - Science and the Bible

Hello all,

This post is a little more "technical" than most of our posts and deals with a controversial subject. So, at the onset, let me say that this post is coming from three philosophical premises: 1) Mankind is finite and has an understanding more limited than it realizes (the saying "the more I know the more I know how little I know" is a true saying in my book). 2) God draws us to Him and evidences Himself through grace, faith and the spirit...not science. Science can be a powerful tool in "giving an account" for our faith (from a Christian worldview God evidences Himself very powerfully through nature...see Psalm 19) but faith and worldview determines our earth and science view. 3) It is important that we, as Christians, evaluate "science" with a humble recognition of our fallibility and not build "our house" on the sands of science.

There is a danger to shutting off the part of our brain that asks and answers the important questions of life. There are indeed fundamentals of the faith of which we should be fully persuaded of and from which we should not ever, for even a moment, budge, but there are a million and one questions beyond those fundamentals towards which we would do well to keep an open and humble mind.

That said, enough prefacing!

Charles Savelle, a man I admire and whose teaching and ministry I have been blessed to sit under (some of you may have seen the 'BibleX' blog on the "Fellow Thinkers" sidebar) has posted thoughtful commentary on a similarly thought-provoking article. For simplicities sake, I'll simply post Mr. Savelle's commentary and link the article in question, but I highly encourage you to read the article (it's not long) and give it some thought. Whether you agree with it in its entirety is somewhat beside the point...the point being that it offers a thoughtful perspective on the role of science in faith.

Science and the Bible

I am not anti-science. In fact, one of my earliest ambitions was to be a scientist and the field in general still fascinates me. But, I am not comfortable with the way the science card is sometimes played in biblical studies. An example would be how science (e.g., the theories of evolution, age of the earth, etc.) is sometimes used in the debate about Creation (e.g., Gen 1-2). While I agree with those who state that the Bible is not a scientific text book per se, I would also suggest that science is not an infallible evaluator of what is found in Scripture. One reason for my skepticism is simply that the assured results of the scientific enterprise is not as assured as many think it is. Read this.

So what’s the point of this post? Good question! Beyond sharing some good thoughts/resources, I would say the point I would like to make in this post is as follows.

I Peter 3:15 has an interesting phrasing that I believe offers insight here. In prefacing the well known phrase quoted in the previous sentence, Peter challenges us to "sanctify" or "separate" Christ in our hearts (The NIV uses "separate" while most of the other major translations I looked at used "sanctify"), and then to be ready to give an answer for the hope that is within. I find this both interesting and noteworthy because it demonstrates a priority.

For Christians, when trying to understand how and if to use science to glorify God and advance His Kingdom on earth, the first priority is to hold to Christ and the Gospel, to live a life of faithful righteousness and obedience (read the entire context of I Peter 3) and to keep a clear conscience.

It is by and through those things that we can and should give an account. Using our human “knowledge” of things of this world is the second priority. As pointed out in the linked article, human knowledge and understanding of such things as science can and has consistently changed over time and must therefore be mistrusted. Human knowledge can therefore not be relied upon but Christ and the Gospel can and it is from them that our “account” or “answer” should flow...not science…not our finite human understanding. If we are faithful disciples, we can have confidence that no matter what battle field we are called to in defense of the Gospel God will enable us through the leading of His Spirit to faithfully and effectively minister His Word.

God bless!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Redefining Femininity - It Makes Me Happy

Hello all,

Last week, we featured a post from Rebeka Fry at her 'Redefining Femininity' blog on "The Heart of Materialism". Since then she has posted another excellent and thought provoking post titled "It Makes Me Happy," in which she shares thoughts on the false promises, common or inherent, to a materialistic worldview.

It Makes Me Happy

While the initial purchase an item may instigate a trifling feeling of pleasure, does our stuff really make us happy?

“The incredible rise in living standards for
the majority of Americans and Western Europeans has made them more
affluent, healthier, more comfortable, more free, and
sovereign over ever taller piles of stuff –
but has not made them any happier.”
~ Gregg Easterbrook ~

Certainly there’s nothing wrong with enjoying new things. But like the spoiled brat who surveys his vast collection of presents and screams out the one thing on his Christmas list he didn’t get, the more and more we look for pleasure in material objects, the more we will lack and our true joy will be sabotaged by the pithy things of the world.

Purchase only breeds desire for another purchase. Browse through the mall and the eyes covet the dress. The dress is bought and covetousness calls for leggings. Having purchased the leggings, desire demands the shoes. The chucks are in the bag and the craving for new jewelry sets in (and on and on the cycle goes). Just as the addict can’t resist the drug, indulging in his destructive impulses while soothing himself with the all-comforting phrase of “just once more”, attaining more stuff can become an intoxicating poison, demanding greater “stuff highs.”

The root of covetousness – discontentment with what God, by His grace, has provided for us – is what forges this chain around our souls. Discontentment propagates the lie that happiness is just within the next purchase, always blithely dangling the carrot for which we strive and push to get, yet never attain. When we seek happiness in earthly trinkets, we find no amount of it to satisfy our desire. Life becomes earthbound and unfulfilled. But as we replace our passing joy in the things of the world and trade it in for lasting joy in the treasures of heaven, we will find that “the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”

Many thanks to Rebeka for that challenge!

God bless!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Finding Purpose in the Blur and the Stillness

Hello all,

Rebelutionary Musings own Hannah Marie has posted excellent and challenging thoughts on how to find purpose in our lives. I (Mark) was very challenged by her post and am sure that it will be a blessing to many of you as well.

I sit here late into the night (or more appropriately, early in the morning) just pondering life and what it will be like over the next few months. I am an odd person in general when it comes to life. The more things I have going on and the more stressful and aggravating deadlines I have coming up, the more efficiently projects and goals get accomplished. In fact, the busier I am, the more I get done. However, when I hit dead times in my life when my schedule is fairly flexible and is not run in a military and uncompromisable fashion, I actually get less done and want to do nothing. I get bored; I get slack; I get lazy. I deal with life the best when the next week's schedule is anything but predictable and when the schedule is filled with so many things that getting them done seems impossible. I thrive in an insane and impossible lifestyle. Without that insanity and commitment to things that are coming up impossibly fast, I get bored and slack off; I give up really pursuing those goals because I lose focus and purpose.

And what am I doing as I am thinking about this subject? Sitting here. How ironically appropriate to the coaching that I am about to give here. See, I have begun to realize that life is not a game where the events and problems come to your doorstep. Most of the time, we have to go find them. Yet, we spend so much of our lives pining away over what we could do and what opportunities there are out there and waiting for them to approach us before we can approach them. It is interesting how a lack of courage, commitment, desire, truth, heart, and spirit is displayed in such complacent actions within our lives. I will be honest: there is probably not a whole lot I can do outside of what is around me at the moment. However, I can definitely take that step of faith and action and make the most of what I have got right in front of me. That strict schedule that I have put off making for the past so many weeks (okay. . . maybe months or years is a better term) could actually be made and adhered to. Maybe those books on the shelf that I have been 'planning' to read for the last so many weeks will actually get read. Maybe the regular cleaning or exercise program I have been wanting to implicate will actually become reality this time. That is a lot of maybes.

The truth of the matter is that I am never really bored or lacking items to do; I am only lacking interest in what I could do. I spend my life wishing that things would happen and events would take place that would simply spark my interest in life. I sit back so many times and just look at life and ask myself, "What are we fighting for?" I look for purpose, need, response, impact, and eternal meaning in just about everything I do. I will literally slack off on tasks that I deem to be pointless or meaningless. I do not slack off on them because they do not have to be done; most of the time, they actually do have to be done. But, I lose sight of that purpose; I lose sight of what I am fighting for. And as I type this out, I just shake my head at my reoccurring need to always try and find that purpose when the purpose is right before my eyes. I became a Christian because I was looking for something that would keep my interest and something the would fulfill my desire for a purpose in this life. And I found so much more than that in the Lord; I found a love that replaces the need for anything and everything.

But, I forget, as I am sure we all do. I get so caught up in the lesser things of life that I lose my passion and my deep desire to continually fight. I get worn out deep down at heart, fighting against the feeling of inadequacy and pointlessness. And what do I do? I keep fighting, by myself. Instances like these just remind me of how much of a fool I can be at times, of how much I could lose at any moment as soon as my whole life fails to be based upon Him. One of my favorite song that just hits home every time I hear it is More Like Falling in Love by Jason Gray. The entire song speaks volumes of who I really am at heart. I will break rules; I will fight wholesome words; I will cross lines. I need something much more than a religion to satisfy my heart. I need something that is overflowing and something that I can give my whole heart to. I need a relationship the just destroys all needs for rules and boundaries. And so do you.

There is something so amazingly comforting, awe-inspiring, and joyous about Him being the solution to all my desires. Everything I do on this earth stems from the completely fulfilling relationship that I have with my Father. Though my heart is completely and utterly stubborn by nature, He is slowly but surely teaching it lessons through the everyday things of life. I do not need to be super busy or running around like an insane person to get things done and accomplish much in this life. Is it Biblical to work as much as we can with whatever we have for His glory? Absolutely! But, that does not mean that I am to go after life with an attitude of always overloading myself for the sake of having little free time. I will get tired and worn out and I will lose focus. I know that and He knows that. And no matter how often I look at my life and say there is nothing to do, I am wrong. There is always something to do, something to be done, and something to accomplish for His kingdom. I need to let Him be my balancing point. Only through honestly seeking to include Him in every daily decision can I ever find the balance point between busy and lazy. Laziness is not the lack of something to do; it is the lack of desire and effort to actually accomplish something that could be done.

Life is not about going after those things that interest you. Life is about going after anything that needs to be done so that it can be done in His name and His glory. The goal is to be able to lay down at night and say, "Lord, You have accomplished much through me today. While I feel like my free time was almost non-existent, I know that my definition of free time is not Your's. I thank You for all You privileged me with doing in Your name." We have six days of work and one day of rest. Let us not spend our days of work in rest simply because we are too lazy or too busy to actually complete and work on things.

Many thanks to Hannah for that challenge!

God bless!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Counter Cultural - God Doesn't Get "Spiritual Highs"

Hello all,

Fellow Rebelutionary, Camden, has posted an excellent and thought provoking article on his blog Counter Cultural'. It's well worth reading.

God Doesn't Get "Spiritual Highs"

I had one of those memory days again. Meeting someone who was at Challenge at a college ministry fair today, I was reminded of that awesome week. While I know that this may not be applicable for all you, I pray that it will be -- think of the time where you were closest to God. The depth and nearness to God I'm talking about isn't easy to forget. Maybe it was at a youth conference, maybe it was kneeling at your bedside, but whenever that moment was, keep it in your mind.

I don't know if I've mentioned this, but I was actually at the Challenge conference (a week long youth conference) four years ago when it came to Purdue University in Indiana. That week opened my twelve-year-old eyes to who God was and what He wanted to do in my life. However, while I felt connected to God in an amazing way that week, it was strange coming back to my normal church again. Suddenly everyone wasn't raising their hands in worship, and I felt weird if I raised mine. Life got back to the normal swing, and I had one of those "spiritual drops" you get often after a "spiritual high."

Coming back to the conference this year, I gave serious thought to how I could prevent myself from falling into another "spiritual low." Before mentioning my point, let me say that honestly, reading God's Word and prayer are the two best ways to maintain a fire for God. But amidst the situation, it was a single fact that really struck a chord with me. God is unchanging. As much as He was yesterday, He is today.

In other words, there's no difference between the God that I worship in a pulsating crowd of 5,000 passionate youth and the once a week church service I attend. God doesn't change, only my perception of God changes. As artist and speaker Eric Samuel Timm said, "What we call a 'spiritual high,' God calls 'normal.'" God always wants our hearts fully set on Him. It's both an invigorating and a highly challenging call. God is unchanging -- so should be our devotion to Him.


Thank you, Camden, for that encouragement! If you like Camden's post, please consider leaving him a comment (don't hesistate to comment here either!).

God bless!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

C.S. Lewis's Advice on Writing Well

Hello all!

Justin Taylor posted the following on his blog 'Between Two Worlds' with some great ideas for "Writing Well," and I knew right away that it needed to go up here on Rebelutionary Musings. :-) It really needs no introduction, so I won't bother with it and just cut straight to the chase.

C.S. Lewis’s Advice on Writing Well

C.S. Lewis’s last interview was on May 7, 1963—six months before he died. One of Sherwood Wirt’s questions was on writing: “How would you suggest a young Christian writer go about developing a style?”

Lewis responded:

The way for a person to develop a style is (a) to know exactly what he wants to say, and (b) to be sure he is saying exactly that.

The reader, we must remember, does not start by knowing what we mean. If our words are ambiguous, our meaning will escape him.

I sometimes think that writing is like driving sheep down a road. If there is any gate open to the left or the right the reader will most certainly go into it.

(“Cross-Examination,” in C.S. Lewis: Essay Collection and Other Short Pieces, ed. Lesley Walmsley, p. 555.)

Seven years earlier (June 26, 1956), Lewis responded to letter from an American girl named Joan with advice on writing:

1. Always try to use the language so as to make quite clear what you mean and make sure your sentence couldn’t mean anything else.
2. Always prefer the plain direct word to the long, vague one. Don’t implement promises, but keep them.
3. Never use abstract nouns when concrete ones will do. If you mean “More people died” don’t say “Mortality rose.”
4. In writing. Don’t use adjectives which merely tell us how you want us to feel about the things you are describing. I mean, instead of telling us the thing is “terrible,” describe it so that we’ll be terrified. Don’t say it was “delightful”; make us say “delightful” when we’ve read the description. You see, all those words (horrifying, wonderful, hideous, exquisite) are only like saying to your readers “Please, will you do my job for me.”
5. Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say “infinitely” when you mean “very”; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.

(C.S. Lewis, Letters to Children, p. 64.)

Many thanks to Mr. Taylor!

God bless!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Redefining Femininity - The Heart of Materialism

Hello all!

Redefining Femininity, a blog managed by one of our friends Rebeka Fry, has some great thoughts on "The Heart of Materialism" that we found quite challenging.

The Heart of Materialism

“The best things in life . . . are things.”
~ J. Paul Getty ~

That’s the mantra of materialism. The fundamental focus of materialism is on and a trust in what we can touch and possess. It describes the unchecked, unrestrained, and stockpiling of stuff. While this may be more apparent in others, it still pervades every heart.

But materialism is so much more than just acquiring junk we’ll never use. One journalist describes it this way in an article from The Washington Post Magazine:

“Consumerism was the triumphant winner of the ideological wars of the 20th century, beating out both religion and politics as the path millions of Americans follow to find purpose, meaning, order and transcendent exaltation in their lives. Liberty in this market democracy has, for many, come to mean freedom to buy as much as you can of whatever you wish, endlessly reinventing and telegraphing you sense of self with each new purchase.”
~ April Witt ~

This observation confirms the ignorance and rejection of the aforementioned statement Christ made: “One’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” We have a default tendency to link who we are with what we have. Christ rescued us from that. For those who believe, we are sheltered in the grace of God and clothed with His righteousness – we are His. By targeting materialism, Jesus isn’t just teaching a truism; He is addressing a sickness of the heart. The issue isn’t about the stuff without – it’s the stuff within. God loved us so much to rescue our coveting souls from materialism and to give us the grace to resist the seduction of a fallen world.

Coveting is replacing our delight in the Lord with our joy we find in stuff. Or, to put it in other words:

“Materialism is what happens what
coveting has cash to spend.”
~ Dave Harvey ~

In and of itself, stuff is not evil and wicked or a sin to consume. If received with gratitude, used in moderation, and stewarded in faith, earthly goods can actually become resources for the glory of God’s Kingdom. But through covetous attractions that stem from the heart, things can take meaning in our lives that is far beyond what God intends. Stuff can become an idol (see Ephesians 5:5 and Colossians 4:5). Idolatrous cravings avert our attention from the Giver of gifts to the pithy materials of this world.

“No one can serve two masters;
for either, he will hate the one and love the other,
or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and mammon [money].”
~ Matthew 6:24 ~

Covetousness is choosing earthy trinkets over eternal treasures. The sin is not having stuff – it's stuff having us. When we’re blinded by our things, we become just like Mr. Oblivious from our story in Luke 12. We find it easy to become numb to all things except that which we apparently lack.

Covetousness stalks the rich and poor alike. The mere availability of stuff provides covetous desires in our hearts. But we’ve been chosen for a higher calling – to combat our covetousness with the same intensity of our desires. Yes, I agree that financial affluence can make it harder to thrust complete dependence on the grace of God. Christ Himself said it quite simply and seriously.

“. . . ‘How hard it is for those who have riches to
enter the kingdom of God!’ “
~ Luke 18:24 ~

But God isn’t saying He’s biased against the rich – He’s driving the point that most often, the rich are biased against Him. Because their affluence meets their temporal needs, they often fail to see their eternal need to fulfill the lack of salvation in their hearts.

Covetousness isn’t a cause of our outside surroundings; it doesn’t begin with a shopping addiction or “an offer I just couldn’t pass up.” The root is sin. Indulgence won’t cure the bankruptcy of the soul and the emptiness which accompanies free-reigning covetousness. But God’s remedy for sin stands in the personhood of Jesus Christ. He has freed us, redeemed us, called us His children, and He seeks to unshackle us from a covetous heart and liberate us with a vision of freedom secured in the cross. Covetousness may be powerful, but it’s no match for a benevolent Savior.

What excellent principles that we should all seek to abide by! As Rebeka has said, materialism can be tempting, but we have something better; we have an eternal and ever-lasting relationship with the Lord. Let us not trade our devotion to the Lord for the things of this world, the temporary and materialistic.

God Bless!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Jim Elliot: Do Not Entangle Yourself with the Affairs of this Life

Hello all!

Our good friend and fellow Rebelutionary, Samuel Dye (who has an excellent blog, btw), sent us the following blog post, originally posted here. This is just the sort of reminder that all Christians need to hear frequently (if not constantly); so, we at Rebelutionary Musings heartily recommend the following to you and thank Samuel for bringing it to our attention.

Do not entangle yourself with the affairs of this life

Timothy 2:4: "No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please Him who hath chosen him."

I have started to read the book ‘The shadow of the Almighty,’ and there are many amazing verses which Jim Elliot talks about. This is one of them. His life is such a challenge and a call to live a life that is totally devoted to the Lord. This is far easier said than done. It is easy to say ‘I want to give my all to the Lord’ but it’s another thing entirely to put that into action. We need the Lord’s help with this.

In this verse (2 Tim 2:4), it is such a challenge to live a life that is devoted to God. We are in a battle. A battle against the evil one -- the devil. A battle against sin. A battle not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers and the rulers of darkness in this world. We, as Christians, are in a battle for the Lord. When we accepted Christ as our Savior, we joined the ranks of God’s Army. We fight for the souls of men. We fight to fulfill the Great Commission which Jesus gave to us.

Then, we come to this verse. It starts by clarifying who this verse is to. It is to them that are taking part in this war. This war to live a devoted life for the Lord and to cut off any influence of the evil one from our lives. Again, a very hard thing to do, but we have God on our side.

What an incredible thought. It says in this verse that in our lives as Christians not to ‘entangle ourselves with the affairs of this life.’ None of the things in this life should even get our attention, let alone sway us. Let us not entangle or get ourselves caught up in the things of this life. Fix your eyes on God. Fix your eyes on heaven. Fix your eyes on eternity. Not things temporal.

We should do this not so that we look like super-Christians or so that we look really amazing. All this is so ‘that he (the Christian) may please Him (God) who hath chosen him.’ We do all this for God. It is God that deserves all the glory, honour and praise. We need to have a singular vision. A vision or mindset that is set upon the Lord and things of Him. On things eternal, not temporal. A man with a singular vision was Jim Elliot. He coined the well known saying at the age of 22 ‘He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.’ Jim Elliot ended up giving up his life for the Lord, doing what the Lord had called him to do.
Don’t entangle yourself with the affairs of this life that you may please Him!

Amen to those wise words! This post naturally (and necessarily) begs the practical question of "what does this mean and look like when applied in everyday life?” That is an enormous question though and is, quite literally, I believe, impossible to fully answer in book or blog form. There is one certain constant though in seeking answers to the above question, and it is that a positive approach to the question (not, "what is worldly?" but rather, "what is of God?") will bring us back to the Gospel and God's Word. And that is never a bad place to begin searching for answers. :-)

God bless!

Friday, September 10, 2010

What would you do?: teen golfer disqualifies self and gives up medal

Sometimes doing hard things hurts...really badly. Such I believe we can assume to have been the case when Zach Nash, an accomplished 14 year old golfer from Wisconsin, disqualified himself upon discovering that he had unknowingly violated the rules.

Yahoo Sports has this to say of Zach:

Today, a classic "what would you do?" moment. Zach Nash is a 14-year-old Wisconsin kid who happens to be a fine golfer. So good, in fact, that he won a junior Wisconsin PGA tournament.

Problem was, he won it by violating -- albeit unintentionally -- one of golf's most straightforward rules. He had too many clubs in his bag. And the worst part? It was a total accident, discovered long after the fact.

Specifics: Nash's 77 won the boys' 13-14 division at the Milwaukee County Parks Tour Invitational, knocking off 31 other players. Afterward, Nash went to celebrate with one of his mentors, Chris Wood, head club pro at Rivermoor Golf Club. And that's where the troubles began.

Wood noticed an extra club in Nash's bag and pointed it out to him. Apparently, a friend of Nash's had left the club at his house, and Nash put it in his bag, not realizing it put him one over the mandatory limit of 14 clubs. Carrying an extra club is a two-stroke penalty per hole, but since Nash didn't account for those extra strokes, he signed what was, in effect, an incorrect scorecard, and thus would be disqualified from the tournament.

And from there, there really wasn't any choice. Nash called the Wisconsin PGA, explained what had happened, and sent back the medal from the tournament. WPGA officials plan to present it to the tournament's runner-up.

I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for Zach to make his decision. Rather, perhaps, I can only imagine how difficult it would have been for me to make the same decision in that situation. But, when we are fighting to make the sort of hard choice Zach had to make we would do well to remember God's promises in Proverbs 11:5-6.

3 The integrity of the upright will guide them,
      But the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them.
       4 Riches do not profit in the day of wrath,
      But righteousness delivers from death.
       5 The righteousness of the blameless will direct[a] his way aright,
      But the wicked will fall by his own wickedness.
       6 The righteousness of the upright will deliver them,
      But the unfaithful will be caught by their lust.
       (Proverbs 11:3-6, New King James Version)
  1. Proverbs 11:5 Or make smooth or straight

The Yahoo Sports article sums it up well, saying:

Now, it's easy to go and tee off -- pun very much intended -- on golf's drop-the-hammer rules, on Wood for bringing the extra club to Nash's attention, or to Nash himself for failing to count the club. But all that misses the point. This is a story about honesty and doing what's right, even when what's right makes zero logical sense. Sure, Nash could have rationalized away keeping an extra club, but where's the honor in that?

Congrats to Nash for standing up and doing the right thing, no matter what the cost. And hopefully there are much bigger medals waiting for him down the line.

We at Rebelutionary Musings applaud Zach for his honorable decision and hope it will serve as a challenge to all Rebelutionaries to pursue righteousness and honor God, even when it doesn't necessarily make sense to the mind and logic of man.

God bless!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Worldwide Window Washers

Hello all!

The following article/exhortation was written by Alina. Alina is also the author of an article previously published on Rebelutionary Musings entitled "A New Wardrobe and a Smelly Old Coat." And true to her passion for a Godly world-view, she has issued yet another challenge to the youth of her generation.

Here it is!

In this world, there are thousands of lives which need work and change. I may not be able to change the whole world, but I am able to change the faults in myself. So, I will start with the girl in the mirror, the one staring back at me.

She may not be completely bad, but she has many faults and is nowhere near perfection. There is always something I can find wrong in her before I go around looking into other people’s mirrors. Instead of taking out the Windex and attempting to clean off the speck on my neighbor’s mirror, I’ll pull out a mop and clean off the mud from my mirror because I believe Matthew 7:1-6 to be true.
 1 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
6 “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces. (Matthew 7:1-6, New King James Version)
As soon as I clean off the mud from my mirror, I am able to see how hard my neighbor had been scrubbing all along at his own, and instead of acting as a judge (which is not my place), I can help them carry their burden.
2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2, New King James Version)
I also see many others who are scrubbing and some don’t look like they need to scrub as much as others; yet in God’s eyes, He sees it all the same. We can encourage one another with truths that will only encourage us to keep scrubbing even more.

If we adopt this mindsent and by our example our friends learn to do the same thing, eventually the whole world could wake up and start the day with a paper towel and Windex in hand rather than spraying it in each others windows. We would first look at ourselves in the mirror and scrub ourself. If we all maintain cleanliness individually, the whole world just might change. Even then it will not be ourselves we name the heroes, for every ounce of credit goes to God alone for it is He who gives the grace and strength by which we can overcome our sin and draw near unto Him.

We can all be a part of a great campaign. We might even title it, “worldwide window washers.”

Amen to Alina's exhortation!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Speaking Truth to Self through Psalms and Spiritual Songs (Part 2)

This is a follow up post to yesterdays Part 1 of Speaking Truth to Self through Psalms and Spiritual Songs. I was tremendously blessed by Heidi's testimony of speaking truth to self through psalms and spiritual songs and pray (with confidence) that you will be too. :-)

So without further ado, let me turn it over to Heidi.

It is nearing midnight, back in the day when I was three or four years old and living with my family in a tiny apartment. My parents are still up, catching some quiet time alone together before turning in for the night. Would this evening be different? No, the scene replays itself as I roll out of bed and toddle over to my mom. "I can't sleep,” I complain for the third time that night. She gives my father an apologetic glance, and then gently leads me back to bed, kneeling beside it as I snuggle under the covers. "Blessed assurance" she sings, "Jesus is mine..." At the closing words, I plead for another song, promising to remain in bed until morning. I try hard to drift off as the words wash over me: "There is a place of comfort sweet, near to the heart of God..."

Fast-forward the years to when I was seven or eight. Now we are missionaries in Africa, working in an area so remote we fly in by helicopter. As I happily traverse the beauteous landscape, I spot my mother in the hammock shaded by cashew trees, her hymnbook in hand. Without hesitation I run over to the sanctuary and nestle myself between her arms. "Lest I forget Gethsemane, lest I forget Thine agony, lest I forget Thy love for me, lead me to Calvary." Many hymns I did not know, but I would follow along as best I could. There was no accompaniment except the wind in the trees and the occasional hawk's cry, as mother and child sang the truths echoed throughout the generations by saints of old. "Oh Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder consider all the world Thy hands have made.... then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee, how great Thou art!" The rolling hills surrounding us seemed to stand in magnificent agreement.

Then at 9 years old I suffered what is thought to have been Dengue Fever. Even though beforehand I had been down with several bouts of Malaria, this was the first time I pondered death as my joints turned weak and my fever continued through the days. As Mom entered the sickroom I tearfully explained my fears. She set me on her lap and we rocked back in forth in time to the melody of her song: "Be still, my soul...the hour is hastening on, when we shall be forever with the Lord". I was then comforted and no longer feared the possibility of death, though it would be years before I could hear the hymn without choking up.

We moved back to the states, and for a while I didn’t sing hymns with my mom again. But every once in a while I would walk by her room and hear the strains of her voice "Day by day, and with each passing moment, strength I find to meet my trials here..." and it would bring a smile to my lips. When I had a quiet moment, I would steal up a tree in our backyard, hymnal firmly grasped between my teeth, and then perch high above the rooftops to sing the familiar phrases: "Living, He loved me, dying He saved me, buried He carried my sins far away. Rising, He justifies freely forever. One day He's coming -- oh, glorious day!" I felt as if I could reach right up to heaven, so enraptured was I declaring truths in the heights. I would often stretch my eyes to the horizon and wonder at His coming.

Now I follow her tradition of singing hymns by myself; there need be no accompaniment, just a voice lifted in praise. Though I am rarely able to reside among the nature I so enjoy, I’m still blown away by the beauty of my Lord as words echo the tune of my heart. "What wondrous love is this, oh, my soul, oh my soul>? What wondrous love is this, oh, my soul?" Through the sufferings of my illness, and the storms of trials surrounding it, hymns remind me the ground I stand on will not falter: "How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in His excellent Word." As I carry on a struggle to withstand the whelming tide, I declare, "When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand."

And for the lingering moments in the stillness of night when sleep eludes me, the great cloud of witnesses observe a lone child of God softly repeating her bedtime hymn: "Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine..."

Many thanks to Heidi for sharing! As a note, C. J. Mahaney gave a great message on "The Troubled Soul: God's Word and Our Feelings" that I highly recommend. If you are interested in listening to that message just follow this link and look under the archived messages from New Attitude 2008.

God bless!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Speaking Truth to Self through Psalms and Spiritual Songs (Part 1)

I’m sure most of us have heard the phrase “speaking truth to power.” Doing so is considered noble and a mark of a person’s integrity because it often involves great risk to ones person. I have no doubt that speaking truth to power is a noble thing when done from a pure and God honoring heart, but there is another entity that we need to speak truth to first, if we are to speak truth to power -- ourselves.

The book of Psalms gives many illustrations of a Godly person speaking truth to self as they pursue God and reject the lure of sin and the flesh. Psalm 42 is a rich example of this. Verses 5 and 6, for example, say: “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed with me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.” (Psalm 42:5-6)

Here the psalmist combats his “downcast” spirit by speaking to Himself the rich truths of God. The psalmist closes the chapter saying “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

Paul Tripp puts it this way: “No one is more influential in your life than you are because no one talks to you more than you do. You’re in an unending conversation with yourself. You’re thanking to yourself all the time, interpreting, organizing, and analyzing what’s going on inside you and around you.

Martin Lloyd Jones poses the question “Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself?

Ephesians 5:17-20 says, “So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father.

Likewise Colossians 3:16 says “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

So, we see two things.

First, speaking truth to self is a key to combating sin, Satan, and the flesh.

Second, we are exhorted to speak truth to self through “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” It is then important that all our spiritual songs be full of truth, and not just truth but truth that is focused on God, and not self (wouldn’t focusing on self to the exclusion of God defeat the purpose of speaking truth to self?) but with thanksgiving and the richness of the Gospel. I say the richness of the Gospel because it is the Gospel that simultaneously builds us up, giving us the strength and hope to pursue Christ with all our “heart, soul and mind,” and shines its bright light into the crevasses of our soul and exposes the totality of our depravity by comparing our human condition to the holiness of God.

Understand that this post is not to condemn any particular genre of music - only to put forward a biblical vision for a Godly use and choice of “spiritual songs.” I believe God gives us liberty in our choice of music that allows for us to honor Him through a wide variety of “genres.” But, I do fear that many churches have allowed their worship music to contain more spiritual milk than meat and are perhaps more focused on self and man's plight than it is on God, His glory and promises and the Gospel. Again though, my purpose is not to specifically attack any song or songs – only to offer what I believe to be Biblical instruction on the purpose and power of music.

I love old hymns because, much more often than not, they achieve the objectives I’ve laid out.

I know this post is getting long so I'll stop, but please come back tomorrow because Heidi M. of the Rebelution Forum has an excellent testimony to the power of speaking truth to self through song, specifically hymns in her case, that I believe you will be very blessed by. I know I was. :-)

God bless!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Reasons for Expository Preaching and Studying

Jon Nielson, senior high pastor at College Church in Wheaton, Illinois, has written an excellent article on why churches and teachers should include expository teaching in their youth ministries ("Expositional preaching—moving sequentially through a book of the Bible, seeking to discover the main point of the text, and making that the main point of the message"). He specifically advocates expository teaching and preaching, but I would expand his words to include the equivalent in personal and small group study. The thing about expository teaching and studying is that it's not always fun and doesn't always seem beneficial. You have to wade through lots of scripture that do not make much sense instead of just getting to the punch-line verses. Sometimes you have to wade through chapters that don't even seem to have a punch line. It's just hard a lot of times.

Naturally, this is where I talk about doing hard things. :-P However, I will refrain from much exposition on that concept since "doing hard things" and "rebelling against low expectations" is a concept Rebelutionaries are very familiar with. But, we do need to remind ourselves to live that kind of a lifestyle in all ways and not take for granted that familiar and fundamental principles merit no mentioning. The study of scripture is no exception when it comes to doing hard things.

We must approach scripture study with the following three verses informing our perspective.

16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17, New King James Version)

The scriptures are God's revelation of Himself to us from beginning to end. If we are to understand the entirety of His revelation, we must read the entirety of His word.

25 Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. (Luke 24:25-27, New King James Version)

If we are to understand our human condition, it is an imperative that we study the whole of scripture.

11 Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:11-12, New King James Version)

Now would be a good time to make a more complete case for the importance of scripture study, but I'm keeping Mr. Nielsen waiting so I'll stop now. I would note though that this article caught my eye not just because of the subject matter itself but also the very Rebelutionary expectations Mr. Nielsen believes the church should have regarding the capacity of youth to learn God's word.

I won't post his entire article (follow the link if you want to read it all) but here are his points with edited commentary. I would encourage you to read his entire article though. It's not super long and the edited version I am posting here is missing a lot of the full article's wisdom and reasoning. :-)

So why expositional preaching for high school students?

1. They can handle it.

Adults in the church have pitifully underestimated the capacity of young people to grasp biblical truth revealed in the very structure of the biblical text. This failure has led us to summarize the message of biblical texts. We water down each passage and mold it into easily digested morsels that the students can take home and apply.

...In so doing we have stripped our young people of the opportunity to think with us as we take them through the logic of a text.

2. It helps them learn to read the Bible.

While topical teaching can be helpful at certain times, a steady and unbalanced diet of it undermines students’ understanding of God’s Word. God’s Word does not come to us in one-sentence blurbs, laid out under various topical headings, like an extended concordance. God’s Word comes to us in stories, parables, poetry, prophecy, and song. Students who have been fed a constant stream of messages on “What the Bible Has to Say About Relationships” will be in for a nasty surprise when they open up the book of Leviticus.

3. It protects us.

A commitment to expositional preaching protects youth ministers from students and from ourselves. Unless we commit to preach through a book of the Bible, we have two choices. We can poll the students and hear what they want to learn. Or we can teach a topic of our own choosing. Both of these options could be much more closely linked to a human agenda than to God’s agenda. Only by elevating the Word of God in our teaching, letting each passage along the way dictate what we teach our students, do we ensure that we consistently and faithfully teach the revealed Word and will of God for students’ benefit.

4. It makes you a model, not a celebrity.

It will not be difficult for a witty, good-looking, fashionably dressed youth pastor to entertain a group of high school students with dating stories and relationship advice as part of a catchy series on “Guys, Girls, and SEX!” The question is what such a pastor has modeled for the students. They may learn truth from a biblically based topical series. But do they learn how to handle the Bible for themselves? Or do they learn to cling to their pastor for the answers?

In closing the article...

In other words, a biblical goal for a sermon to youth might be to teach a passage carefully and faithfully, so that students listening say to themselves: I see what he did! I could get that from this passage! This model shapes the way the students do devotions, listen to sermons, and one day teach Sunday school and lead Bible studies on their own. As youth pastors discipline ourselves to teach the Bible in this way to our students, we take what we have learned and pass it on to faithful Christians who will be able to teach others also (2 Tim. 2:2).

God bless!

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Gospel of Everyday Life

Hello all!

The Gospel Coalition is a rich source of practical theology that I (Mark) have come to appreciate immensely. I visit the coalition members blogs virtually everyday knowing that I'm going to be blessed.

One of the most recent blog posts to really impact me is titled "The gospel of everyday life" and was posted by Ray Ortlund. It really needs no introduction or additional commentary, so I'm just going to post it here and hope that you are blessed by it. :-)

"The gospel of everyday life

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.” 1 Timothy 4:1-5

As Francis Schaeffer used to remind us, the devil rarely gives us the luxury of fighting on one front only. We see a monster over on one side wanting to devour us, and we back away in dread. But if we’re not paying attention, we can walk right into the jaws of the other monster waiting for us over on the other side. We often fight on two fronts at once.

Today we fight against materialism, especially the so-called Prosperity Gospel. But there is also the danger of asceticism, the super-spirituality that denies the goodness of God in all things. An almost endearingly absurd instance was Simeon the Stylite (c. 390-459), who lived in austerity for 36 years on top of a pillar, elevated above ordinary life. This “holiness” is attractive, in a way. It’s serious. But it’s also fraudulent. It tells an audacious lie about God and about us.

The truth is, everything created by God is good and is to be received by us gratefully. This beautiful truth includes marriage and sex and food and mowing the lawn and flying a kite and paying the bills and sharpening a pencil and sitting on the porch in the evening and playing Monopoly with the kids and laughing at hilarious jokes and setting up chairs at church, and so forth. There is so much divine goodness all around. To push it away, to be above it, would insult our gracious Creator.

Our very earthly human existence is where true holiness can thrive. How? By thanking the Lord for it moment by moment, and by applying the word of God to it moment by moment. It is written, “God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31).

Not ultimate, but good. Good enough for God. Good enough for us too."

God bless!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Justin Taylor: The Bible Is Not Basically About You

We live in a culture that can and has been aptly described as the "me" culture. Everything it seems is oriented to the indivudual and more specifically to the individual consumer. It has been taken to such a degree that many peoples whole worldview is centered squarely on themself and upon this "me" centric worldview is stood the idol of invididualism and self-centerded consumerism.

It is no easy task to combat this "me" worldview and to do so demands much of Christ Followers and the first and most basic demand placed upon Christ's disciples is to understand and exemplify a Godly focus (lifestyle) and worldview. To this end and point, Justin Taylor blogged about how "The Bible Is Not Basically About You" sharing thoughts and resources by and from Tim Keller.

Be sure to check it out!

The Bible Is Not Basically about You

God bless!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Forbearance of God Part 2 - 5 Ways We Take God's Mercy For Granted

Hello all!

This is a follow up to our previous post titled 'Charles Spurgeon: The Forbearance of God Part 1'. We don't really have comment to add beyond our comments on the previous post. We only encourage you to seriously consider the content of Mr. Spurgeon's thoughts and apply the truth of The Word to your life.

5 Ways We Take God's Mercy For Granted

Romans 2:4—"Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?"

God not only acts kindly to sinners, but when they misuse his kindness he labors to set them right (Isa. 1:18, Hosea 11:8). It is a sad thing that any who have seen God's judgments on others, and have escaped themselves, should draw from this special mercy a reason for adding sin to sin (Jer. 3:8).

5 Ways We Take God's Mercy For Granted
By allowing it to remain, unnoticed, ungratefully passing it over.
By claiming it as our due, and talking as if God were bound to bear with us.
By opposing its design, and refusing to repent (Prov. 1:24-25).
By perverting it into a reason for hardness of heart, presumption, infidelity, and further sin (Zeph. 1:12, Eccl. 8:11).
By urging it as an apology for procrastination (2 Pet. 3:3-4).

Adapted from Charles Spurgeon's sermon notes.