Archive for September, 2013


Heaven on Earth?

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There are so many things in life that I find perplexing. Deep things like-

Why do we drive on the parkway and park on the-nevermind, that’s too cliché….

Other things, though, are more distressing than perplexing. For example, we listen to celebrities who tell each of us to be ourselves and embrace our individuality. Then, the more we pay attention to them, the more we begin looking, talking, and acting like them.

Or, why do we think that throwing a couple nickels in a bucket before splurging on a new HDTV will somehow make the world a better place? Why do we spend weeks scheduling a 4-hr movie marathon when we can’t seem to find a way to “fit” God into a 20-min slot on our busy schedules?

It all comes down to priorities. What do we live for and care about? I realize as I write this that I may be upsetting some people. That is not my purpose, and I hope you hear me out. I don’t say all of this because I have it all together. I say this because I have struggled with misplaced priorities myself. I know in my heart what is the right thing to do, but it is very tempting to be “cool” and relevant.

So, where are our priorities? What are we living for?
A good time?
High academic excellence?
Popularity?
A mansion and yacht?

What will these things all matter in the end? “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?”(Mark 8:36 ESV)

Problems start when we begin pushing God out of the highest place in our lives. We forget that we are “sojouners and exiles” on this earth (1 Peter 2:11). We then quickly lose sight of the fact that “…our citizenship is in heaven…” (Philippians 3:20 ESV) In his book, Just Do Something, Kevin DeYoung states

“If you think God has promised this world will be a five-star hotel, you will be miserable as you live through the normal struggles of life. But if you remember that God promised we would be pilgrims and this world may feel more like a desert or even a prison, you might find your life surprisingly happy.”

(pg. 29)

If we are indeed pilgrims headed to a better place, we should be excited about it! People should be able to tell that this earth is not our real home. We need to stop being more excited to go to the mall than the morning service. While you hesitate to keep reading because “Chris just condemned mall trips” (which I absolutely did not), let me ask

Where are those bold Christians who are “unashamed of the gospel of Christ”? (Rom 1:16) Let us not get complacent in our comfy suburban churches. I thought of myself as a pretty strong Christian, then heard of

The woman who was arrested for over 3 years in Pakistan, on “blasphemy charges”

The SC high school valedictorian who boldly tore up his pre-approved speech and instead, gave his testimony and quoted the Lord’s Prayer at his graduation (until his mic was muted)

The pastor arrested yesterday in Scotland for open-air evangelizing.

The countless other men and women of history sacrificed all, including their lives, for the sake of Christ.

This is what I long to be. How often do we loudly sing, “Dare to be a Daniel” as a child, only to sit in silent terror when a neighbor or classmate asks us if we actually believe in Jesus?

We are called to be a witness. We are to speak of “what we have seen and heard.”. May we live and speak in such a way that others would see that Christ is everything to us.

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Suspenders

How do you view the elderly? Is it with compassion and respect? Or contempt and scorn? I hope and pray you may love and appreciate those who have gone before us.

From the Laundry Room

Age does not seem to be celebrated in this country.

Which is odd because we covet old things, just not people. Vintage is hip, as is antique or distressed furniture. We like our wines and our cheeses aged. Old buildings and classic cars are held in the highest esteem. My son collects old comic books and the woman who cuts my hair buys old estate jewelry.

We like old things and yet we don’t see value in aging or old people. We don’t want to show them off to our friends and often times lovingly restoring them takes too much time or effort. It seems in this country people just get old, put out to pasture, past their prime. Some will blame this on the fact that we are a visual society and old people are simply no longer firm and perky and pretty. We tend to look back at…

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This is a great treatment on the issue of the importance of being part of the local church. Do not underestimate the importance of being part of the body.

The Wanderer

Brief, wise words from Joe Thorn:

Of course it’s possible to be converted and not be a part of the local church. Possible. And dangerous. You see, the goal–the mission of the church–is not to see converts, but to make disciples. Conversion is but a part of that process. The making of spiritually mature disciples who obey Jesus Christ can only fully happen inside the church. It is in the church where we discover and exercise our spiritual gifts; where we bear one another’s burdens, exhort, encourage, and rebuke one another; where we share in one body, one Spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one Father.

Preach the gospel. Preach the hope of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection for sinners. Preach it with the aim of reconciling people to God and receiving them into the fellowship. The local church (in all it’s ministries and meetings) is “where it’s at,”…

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Have you ever played the “Telephone Game”? I used to enjoy it as a child. Someone would whisper a word or phrase into a neighbor’s ear, with the goal of having that phrase make it all the way around the circle. But it would never take long for the original saying to turn to a hilarious jumble of meaningless words! While this game is immense fun for children of all ages, it has recently struck me how often we as adults play “Telephone” in our own lives.

We are told in James 1:19, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger…” We are to be quick to hear, and slow to speak. However, the reality is that all too often we talk far more than is necessary, and don’t listen nearly as much as we should. We hear rumors and spread them like wildfire, not taking the time to see if they are true, or considering the implications of what we are doing. Even in the news, we often hear, “There are reports of…”, “It appears that…”, or “There is speculation that…”. And isn’t it telling that there is an ever-growing audience for gossip magazines? There is a drop in the value of truth and facts in our society. While fact may be stranger than fiction, it’s often not as interesting.

This brings a whole new significance to what the apostles Peter and John said when they were arrested and told not to preach. “…but they answered, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.’” (Acts 4:19, 20 ESV) They weren’t spreading rumors, but speaking of what they had experienced. They were witnesses to the power and glory of God. As Christians, we are blessed to have experienced God’s power in how He changed us from the inside out. What is it, then, that keeps us from spreading more than empty gossip and rumors? Let us boldly speak of “what we seen and heard”!