Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Root of Worry

Anyone out there struggle with worry? It is one of those ugly sins I have to come face to face with very often in my life. I came across a wonderful article by Paul David Tripp. I pray it will be food for your soul. My favorite quote within the article:

"Worry and rest always reveal the true treasures of your heart. You will rest the most when what you treasure the most is secure, and you will worry the most when what you treasure the most is at risk. What does your world of worry reveal about the true treasures of your heart?"

Check out the article at:

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Today was a very exciting day.  This morning Andrew woke up first and was quickly demanding his chocolate milk.  So we were the first ones up.  As I carried him into the living room his first word was "presents".  I then looked out the window and was shocked to see snow!

It was a wonderful day.  The kids had a blast and are worn out.  It is hard to believe it has come and that it is almost gone.  I was sitting here just thinking about another Christmas night and what that night must have been like.  Bethlehem was a small obscure place.  Think of all the residents of this small town who were busy doing their normal evening activities.  That night, however, was unlike any other night.  Grace had come.  The baby in the manger would release us from our captivity.  I love how Galatians 4 describes this:

 4 But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law,
 5 so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
 (Gal 4:4-5 NAU)

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Christ Gave Himself Up for Our Sins

Jumping into the book of Galatians has been really exciting.  The more we can reflect on the wonder of the gospel the better off we will be.   Galatians is a book of grace. A grace that is truly free.  We learn over and over that if we try to mix grace and works we no longer have any grace.  We often are good at pointing out works based religious systems, yet at times fail to see how we can fall back into a “works” mentality in our day to day lives in Christ.  This is exactly what Paul is dealing with in the churches of Galatia.  Those that "preached Christ", yet wanted to add a little more to it.   The false teachers would say, “We preach Christ” yet they emphasized circumcision, obedience to the law, and observance of the feasts. The problem was that they didn't preach Christ, but preached works.
One thing I love about the intro to the letter is how Paul emphasizes the foundation of the grace of God in Jesus alone.  In verse 4 he says, “who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us out of this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.”  Did you catch that?  Jesus gave Himself up for us!  This is the message of the Gospel!   It is finished, paid for –done.  I need not nor I cannot add to His perfect work on the cross.  It is completely by grace through faith.  This is where it really hits me.  If we can just see how our sin put Christ on the cross we are closer to realizing the futility of adding anything to grace.  Isaiah 64:6 tells us all our righteousness deeds are as filthy rags.  There is nothing we can bring to somehow complete our justification or somehow aid our sanctification along.  It is truly all by grace through faith.  By grace alone, let's walk in this freedom.  Have a great Wednesday!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Earthen Vessels

Alright, I have been horrible at this blogging thing. I am picking myself up and back at it again. It has been a crazy summer. I can't believe it is already July. We had an amazing youth camp where it really seemed God worked in a tremendous way. As a church we continue to study through Judges and I am learning a ton. Maybe it's just me, but it seems like the simplest most foundational truths are the ones I have to constantly come back to. In the last two months we have seen God raise up judges like Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar, Deborah, Gideon, and we are getting ready to jump into Samson. One theme that has constantly been coming up with each of these leaders is the amazing thread of God's grace. God raises up the unlikely, the unworthy, the one who wont compete for His glory. What a great reminder in our day to day lives. It is not about us, but it is about Christ in us. Othniel appears to just be a normal guy only known for who he was related to. Ehud was a left handed apparently insignificant man. Shamgar (I still love this guys name) was an unlikely man with an unlikely weapon. In the story of Deborah we see how God takes a woman and uses her for His glory, and in that day to many men this would have been a shock. Gideon was afraid and hiding in a wine press when he heard God's call. Over and over we see how God loves to take the weak to confound the strong, to take the foolish to confound the wise.  When I take time and look over each of these people I am once again reminded of the insufficiency of man, but I am then pointed to the amazing sufficiency of Christ.   I think 2 Corinthians sums it all up.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; (2Co 4:7 NAU)

Hope everyone has a great Thursday!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Conformed or Renewed?

Happy Cinco de Mayo!  I dont know about you but it blows my mind that it is already May.  Time is flying.  As time flies by it is imperative to live for what truly matters.  Living not just to live but living in light of His grace.  Living in light of His grace calls us to daily abide in Him.  Daily abiding in Him involves allowing the Word to renew our minds and shape the way we think and operate.  The book of Judges is filled with examples of people who drifted away from the authority and truth of the Word.  A couple of weeks ago this really hit me when looking in chapter 2.

Then the sons of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD and served the Baals, and they forsook the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed themselves down to them; thus they provoked the LORD to anger. (Jdg 2:11-12 NAU)

 As a consequence of turning from the Word that God had called them to hold so diligently, they began to compromise and became conformed to what was around them. What really hit me when looking at this is that simple phrase, "who were around them." Isn't that the way it always works? When we choose to do it our own way it will always result in conformity to the culture around us. I pray by God's grace I will embrace His renewing Word, and live for what truly matters.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Rom 12:2 NAU)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Bochim or Gilgal?

Well its Monday morning.  I love Monday's cause I stay home and right now Ann is at the gym and the kids are playing.  Controlled chaos for the moment.  I am even on the computer.  Judges 2:1-5  really hit me these last few days.  I had never seen this contrast between Gilgal and Bochim.  Gilgal was a place of triumph, blessing, memorial, victory, and joy.  Bochim on the other hand was indicative of a people doing it their own way in their own strength.  It was known for forgetfulness, deception, and sorrow.  Sadly, the people of Israel had moved from Gilgal and all it represented to this place called Bochim.  So often I find myself in a place in my life much like Bochim.  Just like Israel when I choose to do it my own way it will lead to forgetfulness, deception, and sorrow.  By God's grace it doesn't have to be this way.  All the people of Israel were called to do in this early section of the book was to take God at His Word and possess the land He had given them by faith.  While its different for us as New Covenant believers, the principle holds the same.  We haven't been given a land, but we have been given a life.  Ephesians 1.3 says, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ."  2 Peter 1:3  says that we have been given everything we need for life and godliness.  The key thing becomes realizing how God calls us to appropriate this life He has given to us.  Just like Israel we are called to appropriate it by faith.  This type of faith calls for a wholehearted yielded obedience to Christ and His Word.  It reminds me of Paul's prayer in Ephesians 3 when he prays, "that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith."   This is really what it comes down to, although the comfort is that it is only by God's enabling grace we ever abide in Him.  God calls us to simply say yes to Him, a wholehearted response of submission.  By God's grace let's walk in Gilgal.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Daily Looking at the Gospel

Well it has been about three weeks since getting back from Israel. It was an amazing trip! One of my favorite parts of being in the land of the Bible is to see geographical connections from place to place. It really helps you get familiar with different locations. So it was very exciting to start the book of Judges this last Sunday. So many of the places that are mentioned were places we had a chance to visit or travel through. I have never taught through the book so I am excited to study it more in depth. The one thing you consistently see throughout the book is disobedience. Over and over there is the same cycle. One of sin, slavery, supplication, salvation, and silence. My dad once told me if you want to get a good picture of the flesh just look at the nation of Israel in their disobedience. It is easy to point the finger at Israel, yet we all relate don't we? Every day I am faced with my weakness, my inconsistencies, and my failures. If it turns to nothing more than a selfish introspection it can lead to overwhelming despair. This is where the gospel comes in. Two weeks ago on Easter it was such an encouragement in my own life being reminded of the truths of Romans 6. Daily we need to be reminded of the gospel. In that reminder we see that by the grace of God we are now identified with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. We are also enabled to even consider these wonderful truths to be true. These realities become the very foundation of how we are now called to live. The wonder of this new identification is that it is a full identification. I am fully identified with His death and with His life. It not only identifies me with the amazing benefits of His death, but it identifies me with the wonder of His resurrection. I don’t know about you, but I desperately need to be reminded of that daily. So as I relate with the people of the book of Judges in their weakness I pray it will give me even greater appreciation for the marvelous grace that is only found in Christ. At the core of the gospel is the wonderful truth, "Jesus for me". I pray by God's grace I will be reminded of that all through this Wednesday.

 11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts, 13 and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace. (Rom 6:11-14 NAS)