August 2007


Here are a couple quotes that I’ve read in the past couple of days. I’ve briefly addressed one of them at my other blog, but was wondering if any of the faithful here would want to interact with these quotes.

Here’s another indispensable basic truth you must know and understand about healing: It’s never God’s will for us to be sick; He wants every person healed every time. That’s nearly-too-good-to-be-true news, but that’s the Gospel. Most Christians don’t know or believe that. They think the Lord makes them sick, or at the very least, He allows Satan to make them sick to either punish or correct them. That kind of thinking will get you killed; it’s not what the Bible teaches. Full article here

If a person really believed that God is the one who put sickness on them because He is trying to work something for good in their life, then they should not go to the doctor or take any medicine. That would be resisting God’s plans. They should let the sickness run its course and thereby get the full benefit of God’s correction. Of course, no one advocates that. That is absurd. It is even more absurd to believe that God is the one behind the tragedy. Full article here

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For those of you interested I’ve started a new personal blog.

Even with the new blog, I still plan on blogging here (as the groans come-a-flying). Lord willing, I would like to post something on here about once a week, maybe more.

Anyways, feel free to stop by my blog and say hi!

This may be old news for most of you, but I have recently discovered a very handy and useful feature on ESV Bible Online.

Whenever I do an in-depth study of a text I like to read it without headings, chapters, and at time verse numbers. This makes it easier for me to focus on the text and connect the thought flow of the writer.

Before, I would copy the text into a word file and go off and delete all the headings, chapters, etc. This process, at times, proved cumbersome. Now, I have discovered that you can do this on-line all by the simple click of a couple buttons.

First click on the options ling at the upper right hand of the page.

.ESV Opt

Next, it will bring you to an option menu, where you can customize the text that you’re reading or searching.

esv-opt2.jpg

I have found these options to be very helpful for studying the Word.

Mark Driscoll has a short message on idolatry in America.  I’ve found it encouraging and a place for introspection to be done in my life.  In the video, an Indian woman, beside an altar to a chicken god, blasts America as the land where people build shrines to their sports teams and to their restaurants. 

Idolatry in my own life- I’ve always loved football growing up.  I felt God tug on my heart in college and barely watched football and specifically did not watch the Super Bowl in college.  Spending time with Jesus in the Word was better and that has not been taken away.  Many have much better examples and experiences, but I have found Jesus 10,000x better than the biggest sports game of the year.  May we continue to find Jesus better than sports or anything else. 

Idolatry to be done away- Driscoll hammers it with the restaurant and food illustrations.  Paul warns in Philippians 3, “many walk as enemies of the cross of Christ, their God is their belly, their end is destruction, with minds set on earthly things.”  It is a severe thing to seek first after food.  Where do I cross the lines in living to eat rather than eating to live?  I get up and am lethargic until I start to eat.  May I (and we) seek to eat to the glory of God (I Cor 10:31) with what he’s given, and not make an idol of food.

How do you deflect criticism and harsh words?  What do you do with the comments you receive, some about yourself some about your beliefs, that come across very bluntly? 

Each of us needs a model to process and deal with criticism.  We need to be able to process that which is true on the one hand while filtering out that which is bad and does not define us.  The Bible’s words to “be slow to speak and slow to anger,” are good to remember in moments of criticism.  There may be a grain of truth or a heap of truth in what we are being told. 

In the end, here are a few things to process comments.  First, we should remember that Satan means Accuser and he continually stands by to accuse Christians, BUT his power is gone.  The blood of Jesus, being washed in and refreshing your mind in what it means to be washed in the blood of Jesus means more than just we’re not condemned, but that we have a right standing with God (Rev 11:12, II Cor 5:21, Rom 8:1).  So if the comment is paralyzing you, plead the power of and refresh your mind on what is the power of Christ’s blood, repent of unrepented sin, and trust in God to justify you.  Study the Armor of God (Eph 6).  Are you saved from Hell and for Heaven (helmet)?  Are your words and actions girded with truth and integrity (belt)?  Study the rest of the armor!

So that is first.  But keep a few other practical notes in mind when being criticized.  How important is the comment?  Is dismantling something central to your beliefs, or is it rebuking a word of sarcasm, stylistic preference, or something else?  One of the above may have to be reconsidered, one may have to be repented of, and one can be shrugged aside and personal preference.  Next, consider the source- who is providing the criticism?  A close friend will require a much more thorough answer than a stranger off the street. 

With these as a few notes, may we be able to press on in heavenly journey and receive, process and throw off those criticisms which prod, pain, and paralyze and follow Christ as ones who have been set free!

            Interning with the senior high this summer has made me reflect on one word.  Discipleship.  Jesus made disciples.  He told his disciples to go and make other disciples.  When a man starts to follow Jesus, he is told he should find someone to disciple.  But what does that mean?

            Last year when I tried to lead an 8th grade small group, I found the boys were not often interested in what I had to say.  They were interested in kicking sand into a cloud of dust that blocked them from my view, blowing air horns when I talked, and turning their memory verse bookmarks into anything from aeronautical instruments to New Year’s Eve confetti.  How could I break through to them?

            The answer was easy but challenging.  I needed to step into their lives.  I went to one and then another one of their basketball games.  The tone changed in the small group and they started to listen and interact.  I needed to step into their lives, to see what they were passionate about, and to start to know who they were

            That time spilled over into this summer as they have gone into high school.  On a trip back from Colorado one of them asked me, “Larry, can we have small group tonight.”  I knew he was serious and I started to laugh and give thanks as we gathered and they led conversation discussing what changes they wanted to make and what they wanted to apply from experiencing God at camp.       

            Since a real faith is a practical faith and impacts those around thus, discipleship has meant leaving church for Bible study and getting something that will brighten someone’s day immediately after study.  It has meant accountability in setting goals- physical, social, and spiritual- each week.  It has meant pressing into the lives of students and seeing if and where there are areas they need to reconcile with a sibling or parent and to exhort them to do that.

            I could have talked about so much with the senior high ministry, from the garage sale where we raised over $4000, to the trip to Colorado where the power of the worship left several of the boys in tears, to the trip to New Orleans where strangers bought groceries for us in gratitude they had not been forgotten, to the service of students in anything from vacation Bible school to picking up trash at the Taste of Tippecanoe.  But as I review our work with them, discipleship, stepping into their lives, has been a crucial bridge to direct them on the Christian journey.

I am in gratitude to David Wells for his concise summary of postmodern epistemology.  Certainty itself is hacked away.

“The dichotomy which postmodern epistemology wants to force is one between knowing everything exhaustively or knowing nothing certainly at all.  And since it would be arrogant in the extreme to claim to know what God alone knows the only other option, it seems is to accept the fact that our knowledge is so socially conditioned, so determined by our own inability to escape our own reality, that we are left with no certain knowledge of reality at all.  This is the epistemological position accepted by Richard Middleton and Brian Walsh. All attempts at `getting reality’ right, they say, have proved to be failures and Christians should concede as much.”  Above All Earthly Powers, p. 158 (footnote 46)

For encouragement that we can be certain in what we know about God, see I John 2:26-27, “I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you.  But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you.  But as his anointing teaches you about evreything- and is true and is no lie,  just as it has taught you- abide in him” and also I John 5:20, “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ.  He is the true God and eternal life” and Luke 1:3-5 “it seemed good to me… to write an orderly account for you… that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.”

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