Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 06/10/2012

For starters, I must say:

HAPPY 29TH ANNIVERSARY, MOM AND POPS!

My parents have been through quite a bit in their lives together. There have been times of joy and happiness, but there have also been times of pain and struggling. Most married people will tell you this is true for them.

So it is fitting to have the poem for today:

struggling through

i want to serve God
but it is so hard
this life call i have
seems like way too much

Your strength is needed
throughout every day
help me to serve You
my days seem so tough

i am getting through
God the Father helps
His grace is enough
and i feel His Love

Taken from deeper words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m  klem, page 84.

Marriage Flow Chart

Any thoughts?

This is just a great poem that is only about 1000 years old. I thank Bob Blincoe from Frontiers for making this available to us!

Bob Blincoe

The Flightiness of Thought

Shame to my thoughts, how they stray from me.

I fear great danger from it on the day of eternal doom.

During the psalms they wander on a path that is not right.

They fash, they fret, they misbehave before the eyes of the great God.

Through eager crowds, through companies of wanton women,

Through woods, through cities–swifter they are than the wind.

Now through paths of loveliness, anon of riotous shame,

Without ferry or ever missing a step, they go across every sea;

Swiftly they leap in one bound from earth to heaven.

They run a race with folly anear and afar:

After a course of giddiness they return to their home.

Though one should try to bind them or put shackles on their feet,

They are neither constant nor mindful to take a spell of rest.

Neither sword-edge nor crack of whip will keep…

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Bad Teacher

First of all, do not forget to get some wisdom from Proverbial Thought!

Today’s post is not about a movie starring Cameron Diaz. Rather, true to this blog, today’s post is about theology.

The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience(and a sincere faith.Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.
1 Timothy 1:5-7

To tell you the truth, this passage scares me.

I am a big believer in God speaking through dreams (but not all dreams). I am big believer in God speaking through visions. I believe prophecy still happens.

I have had dreams and visions in which I speak to a large audience (perhaps blogging will be that realization?). I have had others (both Christians and non-Christians) say or speak over me (either specifically as prophetic or “in passing”) that they see me one day leading ministries and/or a congregation (or congregations) or speaking to large groups.

This scares me simply because I know my past and how I have treated theology and teaching. What if God eventually calls me to be a pastor/priest over First Church of Hometown, USA?

I hate to break it to you (tongue-in-cheek), but there are many teachers and preachers today who simply should not be. These are men and women who replace love of God and/or people with a love of money, power, influence, or popularity. These are men and women who either do not have or have lost a pure heart and good conscience. These are men and women may or may not have a sincere faith, but the question becomes where that sincerity or where that faith truly lies.

I may step on some toes and perhaps offend here, but here are some examples of things people teach and confidently affirm without really knowing what they are talking about:

  • God wants you happy and financially rich in this life. There is never a biblical guarantee that all godly people will have both or either of these in this life. In fact, there are promises of the opposite for the believer in Christ.
  • There is no Trinity. Quite frankly, Christianity falls apart without the Trinity. My Catholic brother Richard has begun covering this over at CatholicBoyRichard.
  • Women have no place in ministry. Let me just say that people who believe this are complete idiots. They may be very intelligent, but they really stupid.
  • Jesus sinned. The faith falls apart if this is true. I cannot express enough how important this is and how false and straight from the pits of Hell this is.
  • God hates ... This one is taken specifically from Westboro Baptist Church, the people who say “God hates fags” along with many other people. It is this kind of “christian” (not just those who blatantly call for the destruction of others, but also those who promote hatred through favoritism, indifference, and bigotry [misunderstanding mixed with fear]) who gives the Church the bad name we seem to see and hear about today.

There is a long, long list, and I know I have been guilty of at least all of these at one time or another. Paul listed a few others to Timothy:

As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God’s work—which is by faith.The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk.They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.

We know that the law is good if one uses it properly.We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.
1 Timothy 1:3-11

How can we – how can I – know we are staying true to good teaching? How can we know our teachers and preachers are staying true to good teaching?

The simple answer:

We must continue studying together. We must not give up on the traditions from Church history (and before some complain, where do you think our Bible and even most of our liturgy, keeping in mind I currently attend and serve in a non-denominational church, came from? Why do we know many of the facts we know about the early Church? From what did Christianity arise?). We must always strive to express the love of God to all people.

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 06/03/2012

Here is a friendly reminder to head over to check out Proverbial Thought and Pastor Baker’s amazing post today!

Have you ever been confronted with strange circumstances, you might even say they were attacks? Not necessarily from people so much as circumstances that seem too coordinated to be random.

I remember when my parents had started attending church, and, in 2001, less than a year later, things just seemed to be going a little crazy. They climbed into the minivan in the middle of all of this, and my dad sat on his cell phone making a long “beeeeeeeeep” sound. He pulled it out of its case, and he read on the display “666”. My parents decided to rebuke Satan in that moment: “Satan, just leave us alone!”

Things actually got better!

It was not because they told Satan to go away. It was their faith in Jesus Christ. That is the clincher.

I tell you all of that as the introduction to today’s poem. It was written after I read about Jesus’ rebuke of Peter in Matthew 16 and Mark 8 to “Get behind me, Satan!”

I bind you, Satan!
Get away from me!
I am no longer yours,
But belong to God.
Your power over me
Is gone from you.
I submit to God
And flee away from you.
I trample over you!
I cast you aside!
Attack me if you will,
But my God protects!
You were defeated!
The cross set me free!
Through Jesus’ blood
You lost control!
So, back off!
Get behind me!

Taken from deeper words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m  klem, page 79.

Traveling Mercies

For most of the month of June (already started!), my wife and I are traveling around Illinois and Wisconsin to visit family and friends.

This has reminded me of a few things.

  • Youth trips in high school, when we would pray before setting out on each trip.
  • Driving around with the youth leader and praying as we got in the car.
  • Big family trips which would start out with a prayer.
  • Going to Morocco and praying with the church before we set out.
  • A particular message the pastor shared about seven years ago.

A new church was going to be launched out of our church. He led up to the announcement by sharing about Ezra taking Jews back to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple. I am sure you can see the connection: Ezra went out to rebuild the Temple; some of us were going out to build a new congregation.

Something he said really stuck with me, however. It came from Ezra 8:21-23:

There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions. I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road, because we had told the king, “The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.” So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.

 The first part that stuck with me was the call to a fast.

We need to remember that God is the one in control, but He wants to hear from us. He desires to hear us ask Him for things.

The second part that stuck with me was that even in our shame and pride, God listens.

Ezra pointedly says “I was ashamed to ask the king . . . because we had told the king, “The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to Him.” This pride was not one of a personal nature. Oh, no! This was pride in the promises of God, of which Ezra knew to be true.

Therefore, Ezra prayed, and “he answered our prayer.”

The final part that stuck with me was that this was a “biblical institution of praying for traveling mercies!”

This one may not be the most holy, per se, but that is a direct quote from Pastor Scott. “And here we see the biblical institution of praying for traveling mercies!”

This reminds me that God wants us to ask Him for anything and everything. To be fair, though, we need to remember that His answer is yes when we pray according to His will (see John 14:12-14, and really all of John 14-16). (He may say yes to things “outside of His will,” but that is a matter for another day!)

So, on this fine day, I remind you to take prayer seriously, believe that God will answer, and do not be afraid to ask for His protection on your journeys.

Also, please pray for us as we travel!

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 05/27/2012

The Bible is full of events in which angels fight, celebrate, mourn, and proclaim (perhaps even sing). Today’s poem is about one of those moments when … not much happened … while the greatest miracle in history was happening.

When Heaven Was Silent

Throughout time

God has spoken

Angels celebrated

Or they mourned

New believers

Brought them joy

Satan winning

Made them cry

There was a time

They were silent

All forgiven

One Man spent

This one Man

Was the reason

He is the one

To silence Heaven

For this Man

Gave His life

And in the moment

That He died

There was no noise

To be made

During the time

Our debts were paid

This was respect

Shown for Him

The only time it was

Silent in Heaven

Taken from deeper words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m  klem, page 68.