Psalm 10

April 13, 2013 — Leave a comment

With everything that went down over the past couple days with Dr. Kermit Gosnell and his abortion trail I was comforted by Davids words in Psalm chapter 10 last night as I lay in bed thinking about all the horrific events that had happened.

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Why, O Lord, do you stand far away?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?

2 In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor;
let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised.
3 For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul,
and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the Lord.
4 In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him;
all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”
5 His ways prosper at all times;
your judgments are on high, out of his sight;
as for all his foes, he puffs at them.
6 He says in his heart, “I shall not be moved;
throughout all generations I shall not meet adversity.”
7 His mouth is filled with cursing and deceit and oppression;
under his tongue are mischief and iniquity.
8 He sits in ambush in the villages;
in hiding places he murders the innocent.
His eyes stealthily watch for the helpless;
9 he lurks in ambush like a lion in his thicket;
he lurks that he may seize the poor;
he seizes the poor when he draws him into his net.
10 The helpless are crushed, sink down,
and fall by his might.

11 He says in his heart, “God has forgotten,
he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”
12 Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand;
forget not the afflicted.
13 Why does the wicked renounce God
and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”?
14 But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation,
that you may take it into your hands;
to you the helpless commits himself;
you have been the helper of the fatherless.
15 Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer;
call his wickedness to account till you find none.
16 The Lord is king forever and ever;
the nations perish from his land.
17 O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted;
you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear
18 to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.

 

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2 Years with Nya

April 8, 2013 — 3 Comments

It is crazy to think that 2 Years ago today I loaded up my boys into the van and headed to Boston to greet their mom, new sister and become a family of 5. It seem like just yesterday we walked into that orphange and met our daughter for the first time. The past two years have been crazy, hectic, hard, frustrating and much much more. Yet they have been a blessing, and I would not trade them for the world.

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My two beautiful girls!

Below there is a video of us greeting my wife and daughter at the airport. Here are some thoughts from my wife about the past two years.

2 years ago today I stepped foot onto US soil with my baby girl. We waited for her for almost 3 years. We prayed for her before she was even born. I spent 5 weeks in her beautiful birth country with her until I was given permission to bring her home. Adoption is a beautiful thing, a beautiful thing made from a sad, unnatural, tragic situation. I will never know why Nya’s bio mom gave her up. I could never fathom what this precious woman had to go thru, had to feel to have to give up her gorgeous baby girl, but I am so grateful to her for choosing life for Nya. Adoption is not easy. It’s actually quite challenging & painful. It hasn’t been easy for me nor Nya, but she is my baby girl. God has made her perfectly for our family, & we love her oh so much. No matter how hard our days are sometimes, I am still so thankful & blessed that God chose me for her to call Mumma.

TGC13 Bound

April 7, 2013 — 1 Comment

I am excited about this coming Monday – Wednesday and TGC13 (The Gospel Coalition National Conference in Orlando FL). There are many reason that one would attend a conference of this caliber. The speakers are top-notch, the content will be out of the world, the deals on books are worth the pice of admission and its in Orlando FL (it was 29 out last night at my house, and it will be 79 there). Apart from all of these reason, one of the main things I love about these types of large events is connecting. Now if you know me at all you will know that I am a networker. I love connecting with people.

If I am to be totally honest I would say the number one reason I attend these types of events is to connect with people and build kingdom relationships  I can’t even begin to tell you the different blessings and things I have gained from the friendships formed by these types of connections.

The reason for this blog post is two-fold. One if you will be at TGC13, I would love to connect with you. Hit me up on Twitter and lets grab a coffee, or a meal (if you want to treat!) The second is I will be speaking twice at TGC13 and would love you to pray for my sessions. The frist one will be a youth ministry sessions on Gospel Centered Youth Ministry: Building on Jesus not on JokesThe second session will a youth ministry panel moderated by Tim Challies Wednesday at 7:45am at the RTS stage, come check it out. Thanks for the prayers not only for me, but for my wife as she cares for our four children and fess me to do this trip.

Who We Are?

April 3, 2013 — Leave a comment

I believe it was Jonathan Edwards who said the two great motivators for humans are fear and pride. When we are motivated by pride, we do what we do so people will see us do it, and they will be happy, proud, or more impressed with us. When we are motivated by fear, we are worried about what people will think if we don’t do something or don’t live up to their expectations. Over the past couple months the Spirit has been continually working in my heart is that people are motivated best when they are motivated not out of who we aren’t but who we are.

Who are you

Many times even in the Christian world we use these two harmful motivators, to move people to doing stuff. Often a plea will come from the pulpit for workers in an area within the church and the way we promote it is not pray about if God is leading you to do this. Usually it is more like, ‘if no one signs up, then we will not be able to continue doing _____ anymore.’ See the difference. We can also use fear and pride to cause people to practice their spiritual disciplines. Sometime this is unintentional, yet it is still a reality. Telling people that, ‘if they don’t read the Bible, then____ will happen’ induces fear.

It should not be this way. As Christians we have the privilege to be able to daily live out of the motivation of who we are not what we do or do not do. When we are motivated by who we are, we put to death both pride and fear as a motivating factor.

Who Are We - 

The Bible says much about who we are. We are broken sinners (Rom. 5.8). We are abandoned orphans (Gal. 4.1-7). We are helpless children (Eph.4.14). We are wanders (1 Pet. 2.11). We are dead with no hope (Eph. 2.1-3). We were slaves (Gal.4.7). Yet in the midst of all of these negative adjectives, we have been met with good news. The good news is not simply that we can try harder to not be broken or an orphan. No, the good news is that there is One who came to fix us, One who came to live the perfect life that we could not live, all so He may die the death that we were unworthy to die. This good news is the gospel. It is that Jesus was all that we could not be! All so we could become what we were meant to be.

For those of us who have been clothed in Christ’s righteousness (Phil. 3.9), we have a new identity. When we talk about our identity in Jesus, it is who we are. It is a truth about us, not something we seek after or attempt to be. Because of what Jesus did for us on the cross and the empty grave, we are now new creation (2 Cor. 5.17). Again, this is not something we strive after, it is something that is imparted unto us, a gift that we simply receive and can call our own (Eph.2.8-9). This new identity will change us and make us new.

Since we have been given this new identity by Jesus, our whole life has changed. This means that we don’t simply live like we used to.  Now we live out of the new standing we have, our new identity. Those who were abandoned orphans are now children of God. We now, because of our new identity, are also able to live in relationship with our perfect heavenly Father. We can now cry out to our heavenly Father, “daddy I need you!” when life is hard, money is tight, or sin is overcoming us. The reason is not because we have become good people in ourselves, but because in Christ, our perfect elder brother, we can be adopted into the family of God.

New Motivation - 

Because of our new identity, we no longer need to rely on the motivation of fear or pride. If we are truly living out of our new identity, fear and pride should no longer be part of our motivational toolbox.  Reading our Bible can be often be a chore. One we will do, but we do it because we know it is what a good Christian does, not because we really want to. We are motivated by fear of a couple of things. It may be that we feel like if we don’t read the Bible, God will be upset with us. Or that if the people in our church family were to find out they would think less of us. Both of these ways of thinking will cause us to read our Bible, but the outcome will be a lackluster devotional life that looks more like a roller-coaster than a steady ship. However, when we start to understand that God is our Father, and the Spirit empowers us to love and know our Father better, over time the Bible become more like sitting down and having a cup of coffee with a good friend, not going to the dentist to get a tooth pulled.

When we start to understand that our motivation must be who we are not what we do or do not do (fear and pride), then and only then will we start to live in step with the gospel (Gal.2.14). Only when I understand I am no longer an orphan can I start to live like a child of God. This is freeing because if I am working out of fear, I will do everything a child of God should do, because I don’t want God the Father to think I am not a good child. Yet, if I am honest I am not doing these things because I deeply love my Father, I am doing them because I fear Him. Understating who I am in Christ frees me just be a child of God.

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Yesterday pews, bleachers, chairs, and seats were full of people who would sit through a retelling of part of the greatest story ever told. Of all the heroes and villains in human history, the story of the death-defying man named Jesus is bar none. There is an astounding power in this message. There is hope for a sinner like you and me. There is joy for those who weep. There is healing for those who are broken. This is the glorious news of the resurrection – Satan was defeated, and Jesus was triumphant! The greatest part of this story is that it is true, all of it.

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However, today is Monday, so what does it matter? For some who occupied the seats of their local church service, very little. For them yesterday was simply another day to appease a wife, mother, husband, or grandparent. For some it was their moral requirement to go to church, if not God would have been mad at them (which is a lie). For some, they went because it was Easter, and it is what you do. Yet for others, those who put their faith in the one who was the star of the story, yesterday was totally different. Yesterday was a reminder for today, tomorrow, and every day.

It’s Monday, and the resurrection is as real, powerful, special, and useful today as it was yesterday. It could be said that we are a people of the resurrection, but often we are simply people who remember the resurrection once a year. However, the Apostle Paul paints a very different picture of the importance and applicability of the resurrection.

But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. - Romans 8:10-11 ESV

This means that the same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead on Sunday is the one who dwells in you on Monday. He is the same Spirit who dwells in us, empowers us, leads us, and guides us into all truth. Today, you and I (if we have placed our deepest hope in Jesus) are able to live in the very same power that rose Jesus from the dead.

Whatever sin, struggle, frustration, or annoyance may be pressing in on you today, remember the power you heard proclaimed yesterday, the one that rose Jesus from the dead, did not end its work in Jesus, but is now dwelling within your life. Live in the power of the resurrection.