Archive for the ‘ Orthopraxy ’ Category

VerseD: Colossians 3:2

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
Colossians 3:2, ESV

It is impossible to rightly serve God if we are not focused on Him. Loving others will fall apart if we are not rightly loving Him, even if we are trying to help others but stay focused solely on physical needs and worldly issues.

VerseD: 1 Corinthians 15:58

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:58, ESV

May we never say “Do as I say, not as I do” as Christians.

We have the Word of God, but our faith is so much more than words. We must interact with our world in real and physical ways! And He will empower, strengthen, and move through us!

VerseD: Psalm 32:8

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
Psalm 32:8, ESV

God desires to teach us in how to live, and He has given us to primary sources:

  1. His Word (the Bible, but also Jesus),
  2. His Church.

Listen to both to live rightly.

Running Around in Circles with Everywhere To Go

Get yourself over to Proverbial Thought for some wise exposition!

I will keep this short, and hopefully you get the point!

I used to regularly update an online journal called DanDantheGodman, which was a nickname given to me during my year working for McDonald’s. My tagline for this journal was “Running around in circles with everywhere to go.” I eventually used it on my MySpace page, as well (another thing I rarely ever think about let alone visit or update).

As a Christian, it occurred to me that it might not be the best tagline.

At the same time, it occurred to me that might be the best tagline to describe much of Western Christianity (though by no means all!)

Think about it for a moment:

The Church is supposed to fulfill the two-fold mission issued by our Lord.

  • Go into the world making disciples and teaching them all the things He taught (Matthew 28:18-20).
  • Promote justice and help those in need (Matthew 25:31-46, and Isaiah 58 is the most beautiful expression of this).

Yet, we see so many churches, congregations, and ministries that seem to promote taking care of ourselves more than taking care of others. Promoting this means they are teaching self-preservation and gratification rather than the things that Jesus taught.

In other words, many Christians in our culture are “running around in circles with everywhere to go.”

Put another way, many Christians are not putting their faith into action. They attend their churches, give donations and tithes, and attend small groups, but they rarely if ever teach the Word of God or reach out to non-Christians.

Are you running around in circles or stepping outside of your circle?

20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.
James 2:20-24, NIV

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 01/19/2014

Act on the call of wisdom and head over to Proverbial Thought!

Lepers have always been cut off from society. Almost no one wants to touch them, and they can become social outcasts from the idea that they can transmit their disease to others.

Jesus was the only one who would touch lepers. His touch could make them whole and able to rejoin society. The change He made in them then changed how people thought and acted.

In many churches today, there is another form of leprosy that must be healed. We are a people who need to have our thoughts and actions changed.

We must turn to Jesus for this healing and change!

______

leprosy

 leprosy

numbness

 have we become a nation

a people

a world

of emotional leprosy

“I don’t feel God in my life”

“I got nothing from the service”

“I cannot love anymore”

we cannot seem to feel

we cannot seem to feel God

are we emotional lepers

there is a cure

we must cut ourselves deep

we must cut ourselves to get clean

this is by doing

stop reading about acts of faith

act

stop wishing for miracles

be the miracle

stop praying for the world to change

change

and change the world the Bible

do Jesus

do God

and

heaven will come down

God will move in power

your leprosy will be healed

Really?!

Get a taste of wisdom over at Proverbial Thought!

Big and Newborn Bros

Big and Newborn Bros

My Wedding with Nick

At my wedding 2.6 years ago

Yesterday was my little brother’s 28th birthday. I still think of him as a junior higher, perhaps 13 or 14 years old. That is now half his age! I can barely believe it!

This past Thursday, January 9, was my 14th Re-birthday. It was 14 years ago I first knelt down and declared I believed Jesus is my Savior and the Son of God. I was only a couple years older than how I still view my brother when that happened.

This all got me to thinking about something.

Some friends and I had a conversation about conversations a while back. It was all about the exclamation “Really?!”

The full context of this conversation was focused around what one of us had heard about friendly conversation and this one word. Asking this word after a friend or loved one makes a statement is the same as casting doubt on the validity of the statement.

It is one thing if the conversation goes like this:

“I just won a million dollars!”
“Wow! Really?!”

Winning a million dollars is not a typical occurrence in daily life. Shock and amazement with a little bit of doubt makes sense.

But when the conversation is more like this:

“I lost my phone today.”
“Really?”

In this context, it can said as any of the following:

  • Anger: “How could you do that again?”
  • Sarcasm: “This is such a surprise coming from you!”
  • Astonishment: “This just happened?”

And many others.

The underlying theme is that saying “Really?!” denotes disbelief or mistrust, or at worst it denotes aggression or animosity. And to be fair, most of us use the term in such a way as to say “Tell me more!”

In Jesus’ Name. Really?!

You are probably thinking about how often you say “Really?!” to people, and, if you are like we were, you are attempting to justify your use of the term and explain that you usually mean “Tell me more!”

Let me then ask you this, Christian believer: How do you live your life?

Do go around claiming your connection to your church and as a good Christian, yet those outside the Church look at your example of love and light and think “Is this person really ‘blameless and innocent, [a child] of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16, ESV)

Put another way, do they look at your life and say “Really?! That’s a Christ follower?” And they want to stay away from God because of your example?

Or do you go around sharing the good news of Christ as you live out His commands of love and sacrifice? Do those outside the Church look at your example of love and light and think, “Really?! This kind of thing is true? Tell me more!”

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test.
2 Corinthians 13:5-6, ESV

Engine Change

Firstly, here is your regular reminder to get some good ol wisdom from Proverbial Thought.

Perhaps you have heard the line – or even said it yourself – “I believe I can get to heaven, because I am basically a good person. I do a lot of good things, at least way more than the bad I do!”

There are a few reasons why this is wrong, and I will explain this some a little later.

First, a story:

Engine Change

You are a car. You were built with the modern combustion engine, and you run on gasoline. As you drive around, you occasionally speed or roll through a stop sign; but overall you follow the rules, let people merge ahead of you, let people take the closer parking spot at the store, and do your best to keep your engine running well.

One day, you realize that the way you are living is actually harming your surroundings and causing some issues within your engine, because it runs ever-so-hot and fills the air with corrosive and poisonous gases. You decide to clean up your act! You switch to a biofuel, like E-85. You still live much the same way, but now you have much less of an effect on your surroundings. Good for you! You are now the envy of so many other cars who wish to live the same way as you!

There is still one problem: No matter what kind of fuel you use or how well you drive, you are still polluting your environment even just a little. No matter how well you drive, even if you follow all of the rules of the road and let every one else get ahead of you on the road and in the parking areas, you still pollute your environment at least a little. Your good intentions will always stain your environment and hurt the air.

One day, you learn of the Master Mechanic. When you choose to let the Master Mechanic work in your life, he offers an upgrade you can not get on your own. He switches out your engine for a fuel cell and tells you to obey all traffic laws and offer your spot on the roads and in parking areas. He tells you that you have to come to Him regularly to ensure your engine is running smoothly. In the process, you will no longer pollute the air or run too hot. Instead, all you produce clean, pure water. You may still drip the occasional break fluid or wiper fluid when you forget to check in with the Master Mechanic, but He fixes you right up and helps you clean the spills when you remember to spend time with Him.

Did you get it?

Perhaps this was a little too straight-forward, but here is the explanation:

Our hearts are like the engines. While we eventually come to realize that our actions have consequences, that we can do many things to make our bodies run efficiently and healthy by changing habits or diet, we still have a problem. We may occasionally do truly selfless acts, but we all have selfish motives at one time or another. We all deny God in some way at one time or another. We all put ourselves in the place of God at one time or another.

This is called sin. One sin is enough to taint every part of our lives. No matter how good our intentions, we all will fail in the end to live perfectly pure and clean lives. A car that runs on biofuels will still require oil to help the engine run smoothly. A person doing good works will still do many things with selfish intentions, or make something (including their good works) more important than God, or they may think they might have the control that God alone has to decide who suffers and who does not or who lives or dies.

Good Intentions

What a person like this fails to realize is that even good intentions can lead to horrible results. I know of someone who once was told by his dad not to let anyone touch the car in the driveway. It seems like a simple enough request. His friend called and said, “I need a ride to the store, can you help?” He thought, “Sure. What could be the harm of a quick five-minute drive?”

His friend came over, and they pulled out of the driveway. At the stop sign at the end of the block, they rolled through the stop sign and were struck by another car. His friend was killed almost instantly.

You see, his dad wanted no one to use the car, because his dad had gone to find new brakes having taken the ones from the car to match.

This young man had good intentions, but his desire to do something good at the sake of disobeying his father led to drastic repercussions.

It must be remembered that even our good intentions may have unintended consequences. Think of the age-old cliché “Be careful what you wish for!” As the show Once Upon a Time … puts it, “Magic comes at a price.” There are countless ways to express this.

The Whole Point

Here is what it all means:

Apart from the work of Messiah Jesus through the Holy Spirit living in us, we can do nothing on our own to get us to Heaven. While we are capable of good works on our own, they are meaningless without God. We must believe in the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus, that He brought us grace, forgiveness, and peace for our sins.

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
Isaiah 64:6

As it is written:

“There is no one righteous, not even one;
there is no one who understands,
no one who seeks God. All have turned away,
they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good,
not even one.”
“Their throats are open graves;
their tongues practice deceit.”“The poison of vipers is on their lips.”
     “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”“Their feet are swift to shed blood;
ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know.”
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

. . . for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God . . .
Romans 3:10-18, 23

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

2 Corinthians 5:17, 14-15