Sunday, September 20, 2009

Oh, how He loves us...

"Oh, how He loves us, oh - how He loves us..."

... the chorus of a beautiful song that sings the heart of those that know the risen Christ, who have have been forgiven a debt that could never be repaid, who know peace from accepting a pure and holy grace matched by none, offered freely by the One and only one capable of offering such a gift.

So often, we fall into patterns of thinking that our salvation in Christ is associated by our performance of doing the "do's" and avoiding the "don'ts". And though we may have seasons of seemingly "good performances", our flesh will inevitably remind us that we are sinners to the utter core, incapable of living a sinless life.

In these moments, when we are reminded of our humanity, we tend to drown ourselves in remorse, so ashamed of our inability to do that which we are incapable of doing apart from Christ. At times, we may even wrestle with God - though we know that there is no quantity or qualitative sin that He can't and won't forgive, our flesh tries to convince us that we have some how disqualified ourselves from His grace.

I believe this song captures the moment when we finally realize that His grace is sufficient, that it is more than enough for us. When we stop trying to get our life cleaned up, carrying the baggage of guilt, trying to earn God's grace and forgiveness, we experience a freedom that the world cannot understand. We have been forgiven, just as we are, and then we remember that the Lord of heaven and earth, the lover of our souls loves US - EACH of us, uniquely, individually - again, Just..................As....................We.....................Are.

Have you let go of your guilt, your shame, your bondage? The Lord Jesus is able and wants to free you, to forgive you, to save you, to sanctify you, just as you are. Will you let Him? Click on the link below as you consider His amazing love for us...

Monday, September 14, 2009

1 Corinthians, Chapters 2, 3 (NTDRC-3)

NTDRC-3: New Testament Daily Reading Club, Day 3!

Catching up here on 2 days' worth of reading through the New Testament, continuing in 1 Corinthians. Deep and heavy stuff here, but don't let that keep you from discovering what a gem these two chapters are!

Chapter 2 continues the theme from chapter 1 of contrasting worldly wisdom vs wisdom from the Holy Spirit. This is one of those passages that you have to read over and over again to see the beauty of what God is saying through the apostle Paul... Wisdom is simply applied knowledge. Worldly wisdom speaks from worldly knowledge. Though there is much knowledge in the world, it is OF a fallen world, and is incomplete and corrupted by sin. Apart from Christ, we will all revert to humanly wisdom. It is important to note that this passage is NOT a passage that is pinning "hyper-spirituality" against the rational application of knowledge. Rather, it is showing how inept that worldly wisdom is! Paul says it best in verses 10-16.

Chapter 3 deals with the worship of our spiritual leaders. This includes those spiritual giants in our day like; those that we aspire to become, those that lead us to be fully devoted followers of Christ. But these are no different than any believer - they have simply been found faithful with what they were called to do. These are our brothers and sisters in Christ, but are nothing apart from Christ. "What, after all, is Apollos: And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe - as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God mad it grow." 1 Cor. 3:5-6.

Much more could be said... what about verses 10-23? Did you see a connection between these verses and the previous verses in chapter 3? What stood out to you in chapter 2? Click the comment button below and share your thoughts!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

"I'm just not being fed..."

"I'm just not being fed..."

Unfortunately, this is a complaint being expressed by far too many Christians in churches today - the message isn't deep enough for me; I'm not being taught the Word of God; my pastor isn't teaching me the Bible verse by verse...

I believe that these complaints are serious, and should not be taken likely. The church plays a critical role in developing the Body of Christ - no doubt about it. The topic of discipleship is worthy of numerous separate posts dealing with this issue. For the purpose of this post, however, I would like to submit a question to those that share these dissatisfying feelings about their pastor:

Why is it someone else's fault that you are not being spiritually fed?

I would lovingly yet firmly state that if you have a Bible and you can read, you are responsible for feeding yourself.

Never before have we had access to more Bibles, more personal devotion materials, and more means to get the Word of God into our hearts. We now have the ability to receive daily bible verses emailed or twittered to us, daily reading plans - we even have access to view the Bible for free on our cell phones ( With all these things available - not to mention that some in other countries can't get enough Bibles - why is it that we are not taking more responsibility for our own spiritual growth in Christ?

I used to share this critical sentiment against my pastor. For a season, instead of "feeding" myself, i would spend much of my time and energy criticizing my pastor and church because they didn't teach me the Bible, verse by verse. Looking back, I failed to realize that it wasn't my pastor's responsibility to feed me. His job is to equip the saints to do the work of proclaiming the gospel to the world through the spoken and lived lives of the Body of Christ, who live in submission of Holy Spirit's leading.

And there was no doubt that he was doing exactly that - comforting and confronting, bringing the application of God's Word deep into our hearts so that we would be moved, challenged and convicted by the Holy Spirit, and mobilized in to the faithful ministries that God has called each of us to. He simply was operating on the understanding that every believer was feeding themselves, and that he was simply helping the body connect the dots, drawing biblical application, and confronting us with a call to action.

What's more, I had DAILY access to pastors that were gifted to teach the Bible verse by verse, via my radio (, bible study groups, life groups, and about a dozen Bibles and commentaries laying around my house to help me get God's Word into my heart!

To be clear, I believe that the church has a role in the spiritual development of every believer, and there is a season in the beginning of every believer's life where they need spiritual milk, where they need to be spoon-fed. But at the end of the day, when we should already be well beyond milk, when God calls us to give an account for our stewardship of the resources that were plainly available for our spiritual development, every believer is responsible for "feeding" themselves.

There are numerous resources available to help every Christian get the Word of God into their hearts, to help them in their growth and understanding. I would love the opportunity to help anyone needing some help to get started - please leave your questions or comments and I will gladly offer any assistance that I can to help move any honest seeker move towards being a "self feeder."

Saturday, September 12, 2009

1 Corinthians, chapter 1 impressions

"Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength." 1 Cor. 1:22-25

This is a snap-shot of the apologetic that Paul is making to the Corinthians regarding the wisdom of God. I don't fully know the situational context which prompted Paul to write on this issue, but regardless, there is much for the church today to learn from.

I believe that he is writing in part to challenge the perception that God only does what he does if it passes thru the filter of our humanly wisdom. Point taken: the depth and bredth of the wisdom of God is complete and perfect; we make human judgements from finite view points, seeing only in part.

Much more here... what did you find significant to you in this passage? This chapter? What is God challenging you with here? Does this give you peace or discomfort with God's wisdom vs. your own?

Share your thoughts, questions, comments!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

fruit happens

Upon doing a word search on of the word "fruit", I found that there were tons of references of fruit in the Bible. Though the context in which the word is used varies, one of the common reoccuring themes is the idea that our lives bear fruit. Reading in Matthew, I found several references made by Jesus about fruit (Matt. 7:17-18, for example).

As followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we desire for our lives to bear "good" fruit. If we have good fruit, that means we are a good tree, and that we will be pleasing in the sight of God. Jesus said that every tree that bears bad fruit (or no fruit at all) will be cut down and thrown into the fire. So how do we bear good fruit? What do we have to do?

Let me try to answer that question in this way: fruit happens - fruit is not the point, Jesus is. Fruit is merely the result of living out of the overflow of what God is doing in our hearts.

Don't focus on the works of a Christian, but the heart. Abide in Christ our vine, for apart from Him, we can do nothing . When we abide in Him, our heart aligns with His, and we are enabled to do good works which he prepared for us in advance (John 15:4-5, Eph. 2:10).

How do we abide in Christ - and what does that even mean? My defiinition is a continual condition of remaining in Christ, to know the heart and mind of the Lord Jesus through the revelation of His word and to follow His teaching.

The normative process is found through hearing, reading, studying, memorizing, and meditating on the Word, and comes to fruition by the personal application in our lives. But we need help along the way. We need those Paul's of the faith to come along side us Timothy's who are yearing to grow in Christ, but just need some help - this is the process of discipleship.

As we walk with Him, we grow, and are all the more focused on Jesus, so much that we don't even realize that we are bearing fruit. Fruit happens along the way when we are seeking God and being transformed into His image. Fruit is not the point, Jesus is.