Thursday, March 31, 2005

How Does Christ See You!

Thanks to Scott Williams for posting this story on his blog. Link.

Tony Campolo relates a story about himself.

Once he asked a class of students "What do you reckon Jesus would have said to a prostitute?" Campolo was apparently preparing himself to be able to speak about Jesus' compassion and understanding. At one particular point in the discussion a Jewish student responded: "Jesus never saw a prostitute." Campolo began to sensitively suggest that Jesus in fact related to a number of prostitutes. The Jewish man interrupted him and said: "Dr. Campolo you didn't hear me ... Jesus never saw a prostitute." Campolo responded again with a situation from the Gospels. Again the man said: "You're not listening to me ... Jesus never saw a prostitute." Suddenly, Campolo understood. When Jesus looked at someone he looked beyond their situation and he looked beyond their own perceptions and societies' configuration of them. He always saw the whole person. The salvation of self and society is the goal of Biblical conversion and it becomes possible with God through Jesus Christ .

What a great picture of our Savior.

Romans 8:1-4

1 Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus, 2 because the Spirit's law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3 What the law could not do since it was limited by the flesh, God did. He condemned sin in the flesh by sending His own Son in flesh like ours under sin's domain, and as a sin offering, 4 in order that the law's requirement would be accomplished in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Praise God we are no longer under the law, but under grace!

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Wisdom Like a House

From Proverbs 24:

3 A house is built by wisdom, and it is established by understanding;
4 by knowledge the rooms are filled with every precious and beautiful treasure.

Working for Riches

From Proverbs 23:

4 Don't wear yourself out to get rich; stop giving your attention to it.
5 As soon as your eyes fly to it, it disappears, for it makes wings for itself and flies like an eagle to the sky.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Highlights from Today's Proverb and Psalms

From Proverbs 19:

17One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD, and He will repay him for his good deed.

Praise God for his concern for the poor even when so many of us ignore them.

23The fear of the LORD leads to life, so that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil.

The fear of the Lord brings peace to our lives.

From Psalm 19:

1The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.

7The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
8The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
9The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether.
10They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.
11Moreover, by them Your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.

Praise God He takes care of me and His law is perfect!

14Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.

My daily prayer.

From Psalm 49:

13This is the way of those who are foolish, and of those after them who approve their words. Selah.
14As sheep they are appointed for Sheol; Death shall be their shepherd; And the upright shall rule over them in the morning, and their form shall be for Sheol to consume so that they have no habitation.
15But God will redeem my soul from the power of Sheol, for He will receive me. Selah.

20Man in his pomp, yet without understanding, is like the beasts that perish.

We must look so stupid to the Lord! But, He still loves us

From Psalm 109:

21But You, O GOD, the Lord, deal kindly with me for Your name's sake; because Your lovingkindness is good, deliver me;
22For I am afflicted and needy, and my heart is wounded within me.
23I am passing like a shadow when it lengthens; I am shaken off like the locust.
24My knees are weak from fasting, and my flesh has grown lean, without fatness.

David sure had a wonderful heart

From Psalm 139:

I had to post the entire Psalm. It is one of my favorites whenever I think of how much value our lives have

1O LORD, You have searched me and known me.
2You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar.
3You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
4Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, O LORD, You know it all.
5You have enclosed me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me.
6Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is too high, I cannot attain to it.
7Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?
8If I ascend to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
9If I take the wings of the dawn, if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
10Even there Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will lay hold of me.
11If I say, "Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, and the light around me will be night,"
12Even the darkness is not dark to You, and the night is as bright as the day darkness and light are alike to You.
13For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb.
14I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.
15My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
16Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.
17How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
18If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand when I awake, I am still with You.
19O that You would slay the wicked, O God; depart from me, therefore, men of bloodshed.
20For they speak against You wickedly, and Your enemies take Your name in vain.
21Do I not hate those who hate You, O LORD? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?
22I hate them with the utmost hatred; they have become my enemies.
23Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts;
24And see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.

You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Amen! Maranatha, Come quickly Lord Jesus. I want to be with You.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Passing the Book Stick

Thanks Erin for passing the stick on to me. As we used to say flying the C-130 Hercules, "I've got the stick."

Erin,or Biscotti Brain blog fame, passed the responsibility over to me to answer hard questions about what I am reading. It is more than just what we read, it is about who we are. Anyhow, here are the questions and my answers:

1. You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451. Which book do you want to be?
I guess I am showing my age because I remember reading Fahrenheit 451 in Junior High School. What a great book. If you are not as old as I am here is a quick refresher. 451 degrees Fahrenheit is the temperature at which paper burns. The novel Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury who was an old neighbor of mine in Southern California, is about controlling a society by banning and then burning the books it reads (sorry for the short and inaccurate summary, but it has been a few years since I have read the book). So, which book would I like to be?

Answer: It meand that I would have had to be banned by society because of insubordinate values, so I can't think of a book that enrages more people than the Bible. Sorry if this sounds like a canned answer for many of you. Jesus lived the most radical life ever and if we are truly following his example we should be considered radicals ourselves.

2. Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?
This one is easy!
Answer: James Michener's novel Centennial is my favorite all time fiction work. And I'll have to say that that I have always had a weak spot in my heart for "Clay Basket". If not her it would have to be "Stands with Fist" in Dances with Wolves. I guess I like my women with strong ties to nature.

3. The last book you bought was...?

Answer: I'm in the middle of writing my PhD dissertation on The Grapes of Wrath and want to create my own maps of the Joads journey using a Geographic Information System (GIS). The last book I bought is called Past Time, Past Place: GIS for History, by Aanne Kelly Knowles. It is a collection of essays on how GIS is used in historic research.

4. The last book you read was...?

Answer: Actually two electronic books by one my favorite old pastors, Chuck Smith called What the World is Coming To and Charisma versus Charismania. It is located along with some other wonderful electronic book resources on the Calvary Chapel website here. Link. Electronic books in Word format are awesome. I download them on my Palm Pilot and read them on the Metro on the way to work or whenever I have downtime (Working on a military base means that you are always waiting for something).

5. What are you currently reading?

Answer: I am Re-reading Planting New Churches in a Postmodern World, by Ed Stetzer because it was so good. I am finishing up Past Time, Past Place: GIS for History as mentioned above. And I am in a constant state of devouring The Grapes of Wrath for research. I also am reading Proverbs (a chapter a day for about 25 years now), Psalms (5 Psalms a day), Romans, and Acts every day. I guess I like to read!

6. Five books you would take to a desert island?

Answer: Thompson Chain Reference New American Standard Bible. My Hongul Bible (Korean) because I would finally have time to learn more Korean by reading the Bible. I started when I lived in Korea and would like to continue, but no time! Grapes of Wrath. South Pacific, by James Michener (life on an island can't be all that bad), and The Treasury of David, Charles Spurgeon's commentary on the book of Psalms.

7. What three people are you passing this stick on to and why?

Answer: Sudarsun because I am so impressed with his spiritual growth in such a short amount of time. It is so incredible that a person who was raised a Hindu can have such a super relationship with Christ now.

Allison Stout because she is always wired for Jesus and is such an outstanding sister in the Lord.

Rob of the Orangejack blog because his blog covers so much ground that he must have some voracious reading habits.

Thanks Erin, this was fun. The stick is now officially passed on to Sudarsun, Allison, and Rob.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Why Pastors Should Blog

Here's a great article by Tod Bolsinger on why Pastors of all people should be blogging away. Tod makes some wonderful points, I think the best of which is that blogging is an inexpensive way to reach a mass audience with your message. Please read. Link.

Thanks for the link go to Andrew Careaga.

Highlights from Proverbs 11

Here's my favorite parts of Proverbs 11:

14Where there is no guidance the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory.
One of my favorite verses. This is why I never want to be surrounded by "yes" people. I don't like complainers, but I seek the counsel that comes from having a diverse group surround me.

22As a ring of gold in a swine's snout, so is a beautiful woman who lacks discretion.
I would much rather be in partnership with those of substance than those who simply look good.

30The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who is wise wins souls.
Lord help me produce fruit that is pleasing to You and endures through eternity.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Selected Highlights From Today's Proverb

Proverbs 10: Selected verses from one of my favorite Proverbs. Words in blue are mine.

12Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all transgressions.
Lord help me to be more loving to those I cross paths with

17He is on the path of life who heeds instruction, but he who ignores reproof goes astray.
Father, help me to seek, not despise, the constructive criticism of others

22It is the blessing of the LORD that makes rich, and He adds no sorrow to it.
Lord, help me to spend less time worrying about where my next meal comes from. I am so bad at it.

23Doing wickedness is like sport to a fool, and so is wisdom to a man of understanding.
Father, help me to practice being wise like I was preparing for a marathon

27The fear of the LORD prolongs life, but the years of the wicked will be shortened.
I want to fear the Lord like my life depends on it because it does!

29The way of the LORD is a stronghold to the upright, but ruin to the workers of iniquity.
Lord, help me to be a stumbling block to the wicked.

32The lips of the righteous bring forth what is acceptable, but the mouth of the wicked what is perverted.
Lord, my lips are your instrument.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

A Community of Bloggers

I have been lucky to come across a network of bloggers that keeps me on my toes. I read their blogs every day and they always bless me, sometimes in unusual ways. I have seen God through their blogs in ways that I never would have expected. One of my favorites is the Off Shore Fisherman blog. I can't read the blog without being overcome with a sense of awe on how God can use this servant's choice of visual media to illustrate simple passages in scripture that I have read many times and simply passed over, kind of like Seinfeld's "yada yada yada". Thanks Off Shore Fisherman for bringing new meaning to many of the old familiar passages.

Today's entry is especially awe inspiring. Link. The entry really illustrates what Christ did for us on Calvary and what God endured watching His Son hang on the cross.

God bless you all.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

By The Tree and Disciple Now

We went to a wonderful concert last night. Our youth department at church had a Disciple Now weekend this weekend. Friday and Saturday night the music was provided by By The Tree. Our church has been partnering with By The Tree for Discipleship Now weekends and other conferences for a few years now. They are always incredible. They have such awesome hearts. It was very heartwarming to see my two kids worshipping the Lord with about 200 other young people as By The Tree played last night. Praise God! Bethany added another poster to her band photo and signature collection. And Matthew, who has been a little bored in his walk with the Lord lately bought a By The Tree CD and has been singing My Glorious all day long. I completely understand, that song puts me in a mood for worship also. What a great weekend!

Friday, March 04, 2005

2 Points!

Thanks to Rob at the Orangejack Blog for sharing this website. That girls has real courage. What an incredible shot! Link.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Help Has Arrived

Most of you are tired of hearing about how I am inundated right now with lots of things going on in my life. I know you are tired of hearing about my new full-time job, running the ministry (I have been doing a rotten job of running it lately to the point where I don't think I have lead it, but just run it), going to 5th grade basketball games, attending elementary school and middle school district band and solo contests (Matthew received a 1st in his French Horn solo and Bethany received a first in voice solo, flute solo, and flute duet), and trying to prepare myself emotioinally and spiritually for the possibility of planting a church, and working on my dissertation. I am not whining, but I am overwhelmed with great things happening right now.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a proposal for an Internship at the McKendree College Baptist Collegiate Ministry (The Gate) that I direct. This week I was notified that the funding proposal I submitted was approved. Andy Rains will be the first intern at The Gate. He will start as soon as possible. Andy is a great man of God who is one of the most dynamic students I have met. He will be tasked with turning The Gate's facility from a place to host our Wednesday and Thursday night Bible study to a place where college students enjoy hanging out. I have another proposal submitted that includes outreach money to remodel our building to make it more comfy and to set it up to host a monthly concert. So far, so good. Please pray for us and specifically for Andy as he becomes an even more important part of what we do.