Archives For Theology

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.

What if 2013

February 5, 2013 — 1 Comment

I know we are now over a month into 2013 but there is still time to make 2013 different. I actually wanted to wait to post this until the majority of us had forgotten about new years resolution, and many of us had failed at those we made. I wanted to wait mainly so this would not just become another failed resolution.

2013

 

What if 2013 was the year…

You started making disciples who make disciples.

Your church cared for the orphans and widows in your town.

You fed and housed the homeless.

Your church raised its giving to missions church planting and brought down its expense.

Your church committed to seeking the Spirit before making a move.

You became a people of prayer.

You and the people of your church were Word saturated.

The people of your church were broken for the lost in your community.

The people in your church started to look like the church and stopped attending the church.

Those within your church looked at each other as family, not acquaintance.

You read the Bible and allowed it to change you.

 

I think you get the idea. Think for a moment what your life would look like if the gospel shaped all aspect of your life and the life of your Church family.

 

The other day I had an interaction that was enlightening and convicting. It happened after I had preached a message. I was talking to different people, as most pastors do after a message, when a lady came up to me and started talking to me about the problems her son had been having, and how she was concerned for him. I listened, asked some questions, and gave some advice. The only thing I really told her was to trust Jesus. He loves her son more than she does, and He knows what is best for her son. After this I said, ‘mind if I pray for you and your son?’ to which she replied, ‘oh thanks.’

Prayer

It didn’t seem like much different of an interaction to me. It seemed like one that pastors have every week, and every day. However I found out later from a friend of mine that this lady had started to talk to him right after she talked and prayed with me. She told him about her son, the struggles he was having and how she felt about it. Yet, she pointed out that I had just prayed for her, which blew her away. She was floored that I would pray for her.

Now my gut reaction to my friend was, ‘well that’s what pastors do, we pray for people.’ In my mind, it was the best thing I could do for her son, and that is what I told her. Yet I got to thinking, and I quickly understood that prayer is not always our first course of action. Many times it isn’t even in our top ten. Often I run to other things; my own advice, my own thoughts, or my own ability. Or maybe I will point them to a biblical principle, or a technique which has proven helpful in the past. Now none of these things are harmful in and of themselves, but should they be the first line of defense when we are in the midst of struggles? If so, then we are missing the point.

Our first line of defense has to be pleading at the feet of Jesus on behalf of those in need, or those who are struggling. We should be knocking on the door of God, seeking His will and His power to come into the midst of need. If we go anywhere else, other than to Jesus, we miss the point of the Gospel. The Gospel not only redeems us from our sinful ways, but it also gives us the ability to go to God as Father! This is an amazing and astounding truth, one that if properly understood would revolutionize the way we lead people.

Since we are fallen beings, since we will naturally look unto ourselves for the answer when problems arise, there is only one thing to do. Pray. We are to plead at the feet of Jesus that we would daily grow in our trust and dependency on God our Father, and not our self.

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A [slow] Praying Life

June 13, 2012 — 1 Comment

Just over three years ago, A Praying Life: Connecting With God In A Distracting World by Paul Miller came out to much fanfare. I remember Twitter was alive with quotes, and it seemed like everyone was reviewing the book. It seemed as if it was a game changer when it came to prayer for so many people. The publisher and marketing team did exactly what they were supposed to do, sell the book. They had tons of people talking about it, and rightfully so. The book has some amazing, challenging stories from Miller’s prayer life. I also challenged many of us to  see that prayer was merely as an add-on to our Christian life.

With all of this said, I wonder how many people who read the book, were moved by it, were challenged to commit more time to prayer are actually doing what their hearts desired as they read the book? I wonder how many of them still feel extremely dry in their prayer life, because they have moved on. Now I am not saying that I have the answer, and I am not saying don’t read the book, I am simply attempting to make an argument for a new reading method of A Praying Life.

Always being a little late to the party, I did not start reading A Praying Life until last year, I think it was spring 2011. As I started reading through the book I quickly saw what everyone was talking about. Miller is a good author, he draws you in with his family stories and personal struggles to practice what he was preaching, or writing in this case. The content was also very helpful, but something was wrong. I was reading page after page, and the Spirit was calling me to do what I was reading. The problem was I wanted to get through the book. Yeah, I wanted to learn, but I also wanted to write a review, tweet out quotes, and knock this book off my reading list. In my effort to read the book, I was missing the point of the book. I was reading to get it done, not reading to bring about change. Some books can be read for reading’s sake, but many books need to be read differently. 

With this in mind, I made a mental transition. I started slowly, methodically reading through A Praying Life, actually applying what I was reading as I was reading. Since I have made that change, I have seen great growth in my personal prayer life. It is almost like what Miller is saying actually works, there is a heart that is changing and it is mine. I am not sure if you have read Miller’s book or not, but I want to point out three reasons why if you have you might want to again, and if you are why you might want to slow down. 

  1. The Content is Worth It - Miller packs this book with tons of great Biblical truth. Over and over again he causes my heart to delight in Jesus, and the good news that is ours through Jesus. If the content is that good, we should want to study it, spend time dwelling in and on it, and drink deep from it. It is a dishonor to blow through the book, unless the content is shallow, which it is not.
  2. Prayer takes Silence, Slowness and Commitment - Taking a slower approach to reading through this book is allowing me to actually practice what I need to do in my prayer life. Spending over a year in the book has helped me to slow down, not be all about my goals, and listen to the Spirit and what He is saying to me through the book, which is partly the point of prayer.
  3. Prayer is Important - Prayer is not a mere add-on to the Christian life, it is at the core of who we are. If God is our Father, and Jesus is our loving Savior, we should daily be spending time with them in communion with them and in conversation with them. This take time, and there are many different layers of excuses as to why we can’t pray. To peel these back takes a commitment, one that is worth it.

Now I don’t have a hard and fast plan as to how I am reading. Sometimes I read a whole chapter in one setting, sometimes a section within a chapter, or even a page or two. I am going into the reading process prayerful, and I am attempting to apply what I read, either as I am reading it, or within the next 24 hours. I am seeing some great growth, and I would love you to learn all you can from this great book. 

Interaction: Have you read a Praying Life? What did you think? If not, are you thinking about reading it? Pick it up from Amazon here (Paperback | Kindle) WTS Books (book)

Story of God

June 5, 2012 — Leave a comment

Do we tie our life into the story of God? Do we think about our days in light of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ? I know for me this is an ever-present struggle in my own life, and it is something I need to be intentional about. One person who got it was Spurgeon. I have been reading through his Autobiography (over the past 2+ years!). As I have been reading I have been blown away by how much Spurgeon understood how his life story was a part of the larger story of God. Here is a prime example,

When we used to go to school, we would draw houses, and horses, and trees on our slates, and I remember how we used to write “house” under the house, and “horse” under the horse, for some persons might have thought the horse was a house. So there are some people who need to wear a label round their necks to show they are Christians at all, or else we might mistake them for sinners, their actions are so like those of the ungodly. (pg. 25)

I thought it was interesting how Spurgeon understood the Bible so well that his mind interpreted the mundane everyday things as part of the story of God. He was able to draw truth, deeply needed truth, out of a simple interaction with his slate and homework, to unpack a biblical truth about sin and the life of a Christian. We are in dire need of this type of thinking in our own life. We need to have wider eyes for the gospel in our lives, and how it is applied to every aspect. The thinking must go beyond our daily reading of the word (but it must start there) or the teaching of a preacher on a weekend. We need to learn to see truth, God’s truth, in all of life.

If you haven’t read anything by Spurgeon, I would commend this read to you!

Questions: How have you seen God’s truth in your life? How has the good news of Jesus become more clear to you through your own life situations?