Faith without works is dead. Are you even in the boat?
Check out these words from Mike, the current guest blogger over at Ebs and Flows.

Ebs and Flows...

 

Today we have a new writer but a familiar face. Anyone who has followed the blog from the start may remember Mike who drew some pretty awesome artwork for the blogs. He has now written a number of blogs which will be appearing over the coming weeks. It appears he is as good with words as he is pictures!

There’s a well known phrase in Christian circles that references Jesus’ miraculous walk on the water and goes “if you want to walk on water then you’ve got to get out of the boat.” Whilst I agree with the sentiment of this statement, I think that we could take it a step further back and say that you first need to get into the boat!

View original post 306 more words

Believing and KNOWING

In recent decades there has been a dangerous trend of youth leaving the Church, most of them leaving after graduation or in the first year or two of college.

Barna tells us that it is about two-thirds (approximately 66%) who leave.

Answers in Genesis tells us that most teens are already gone before high school even starts, but they wait until after graduation to physically leave.

Barna tells us one reason is because 84% of young adults within the church (18-29 years old) do not know how the Bible can relate, in effect, to real life.

Answers in Genesis says the main reason for all of this is that the message of churches for a very long time has been “Believe in Jesus! The rest does not matter!” Yet, our schools tend to teach students, primary/elementary through college, that many of the claims within the Bible have been refuted by science. (Just a few months ago I talked with a teacher who believes archaeology has proven King David never existed, though four years ago evidence of a united Israeli kingdom from 3000 years ago was found near the site where David fought Goliath according to the Bible.)

(Not) Giving Up the Fight

It would seem, then, that Christians have by and large given up on growing believers to love the Lord their God with all of their heart, soul, mind, and strength.

Answers in Genesis may be written off as crazy by some, and I admit that I think there are a few things they push that are not exactly what I would push as important as other things, but they exist for the sole purpose of training up believers to know what they believe and why. They want to see a church not ashamed of the Gospel and able to properly defend it.

Our youth group is right there.

Therefore, I will be doing a series on what our youth group, The CORE, teaches.

These are:

The CORE Facts:

The CORE Values:

  1. Desperate pursuit of God
  2. Diligent prayer
  3. Consecrated heart
  4. Focused life

Which lead to The CORE Mission:

The Core exists to make a worldwide impact for Christ through fervent prayer and by living consecrated lives.

I trust you are intrigued and will come back for more!

I know our youth enjoyed the lessons, and I pray I can do justice and bless you with the information.

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 07/29/2012

Do not forget to check out David’s commentary today over at Proverbial Thought!

In the middle of the hottest months of the year, I offer a humble look at what our Lord has done for us.

I do not pretend to understand why God loves us so much. I only know that He does and proved it through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ!

Why Us?

Would You look at us.
We are unscrupulous,
We are blasphemous,
All too often callous,
Living lives that are unjust,
Sending each other back to the dust.
For these reasons You sent Jesus.
Why do You love us?
Though we’re dangerous
And live perilous,
Your love is vigorous,
Your will ingenious,
Working with the tedious
To make us prosperous.
Though we are ruthless,
And we are vicious,
Your mind is tireless,
Your arm knows no weakness.
Your will ferocious
With loving kindness
Seeking the baseless
And the soulless,
The overly ambitious,
And the barbarous,
Spiritually delirious,
Of these You’re envious.
You come after us,
Show us You’re glorious,
For our attention, jealous.
Your actions are momentous,
Your love miraculous
Also continuous,
Informing the oblivious
And taming the ludicrous.
You change the obvious
Into the outrageous,
Make the serendipitous
Part of Your purpose.
You are so splendiferous
Taking the rebellious
And reigning victorious!

Taken from deeper words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m  klem, pages 105-106.

What Love Do You Have?

Today I offer part two of the devotional time from the recent trip to the Desperation Youth Conference. Again, it has been adapted for the blog.

This devotion is taken from 1 Kings 3.

Have you read that?

Good.

Seeking Wisdom

Many Bibles title that chapter “Solomon Asks for Wisdom” or something like that.

I now invite you to read the entire book of Proverbs. (You can also head over to Proverbial Thought for some excellent commentary!) If you do not read it all right now, I understand.

Solomon made the right choice. Wisdom is the ultimate thing you can get. If Proverbs 8 is compared to John 1, we understand that Jesus Christ is the Wisdom of God.
Wisdom helps us understand what God is doing in our life: Wisdom guides us to God; Wisdom helps us understand when the Holy Spirit is working in us or God is working in our circumstances

The usual theme for this passage is Solomon’s wisdom shining through.
It is a good example. Imitate Solomon in this regard!
But this is not the theme of our lesson today.

These two women are prostitutes. This helps explain why they were living together, they both had children, and there are no fathers mentioned.
In a previous devotion we discussed crazy things: Things that happen to us, things that we hear about hapening to others, and things God calls us to do. Imagine being labeled a prostitute, kind of like being called a slut in school or the workplace. Everyone knows you have this reputation. Would you be willing to go before anybody, let alone a king, to fight for your rights if everyone thinks you are practically worthless?
These women going before Solomon would be like school bullies going before the principal saying one stole the other’s stolen lunch money. Society did not look very highly on them! This is a crazy or even silly situation (at face value).

The real point of this devotion, however, is this:
What is your most favorite thing or person?

Would you … could you give that thing or that person up? Would you be willing to let your worst enemy take it? Would you be willing to let your girlfriend/boyfriend go to another person? Would you give up your child?

“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
Matthew 10:37-39

One of my favorite definitions of hate is that it means you love something more than another thing.

And the Wisdom that leads us to God, is Christ Himself. If you claim to love Jesus Christ, are you willing to give up your life for Him? Do you love Him enough to give up your life?

Just like prostitute who cried out to let her baby live with the other woman if it would spare his life, are you willing to say “Lord Jesus, take my life and do with it as you will!”?

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 07/22/2012

A simple one is all I have for today, and do not forget Proverbial Thought!. Today’s poem is a message of hope and encouragement from our Lord and God.

Do not be deceived, my child.

All that happens in this world
That is bad is not of my will.

I can make it all work for my plan,
And I do, but it is not of me.

Turn to me and I will help you.

Taken from deeper words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m  klem, page 104.

Destroyed and Renewed

During the trip to Colorado Springs for the Desperation Youth Conference we had daily devotionals with our kiddos. It was a blast. Here is the second one we did with them (with a few modifications for the blog!):

God’s Fire

There are two parts to fire: Destruction and Renewal. We throw a piece of paper into a fire to get rid of it, but crews will go into a forest and purposely burn swaths of land to create a barrier to stop a forest fire from spreading. God has one fire, but it can both purify and destroy. Trusting in God tempers us so that we endure and are refined. Without trust in God, all one can expect is destruction.

1. The recent wildfires destroyed tens of thousands of acres (hundreds of square miles) of forest and several hundred homes. Overall, though, that destruction provides nutrients to and restores the soil, and this can help forests grow stronger in the long run.

2. Do you know how a silversmith knows when he has removed most impurities from silver?

This third I will bring into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.
Zechariah 13:9

God will put us in the refining fire to work out impurities. This can be through circumstances and conviction by the Holy Spirit. There will be pain involved, but it is to make us better (like a forest being burned to create more and sustaining life).

3. Many people lost everything: homes, mementoes, belongings. Most will realize they still have their lives. Like the forest, they may rebuild and even become stronger. With insurance they may even get new and better things. As we go through life we will endure many trials and suffer many losses, but we shall be rewarded for our faithfulness.

Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?”

Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.”

Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put rich garments on you.”
Zechariah 3:1-4

How does the silversmith know when the impurities have been removed from the silver?

After putting the silver in the fire, all of the impurities float to the top and are scraped off. This is done until the silversmith can look at the silver and see his (or her!) reflection shining back.

John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
Luke 3:16

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
Galatians 3:26-27

Jesus baptizes us with fire to purify us. The Holy Spirit both pushes us through that fire and strengthens and encourages us as we pass through. When we come out on the other side, the Father can look at us and see His Son Jesus Christ shining back!

I think this is pretty cool. You should, too!

300 words a day

(This post was first published May 9, 2009.)

Lots of people are wondering what God is calling them to do. And that is a good question. But on the way to the answer, we fill in many answers. So let me suggest some of the things that God did not call you to.

You are not called to be me.
You are not called to be your mother.
You are not called to be your pastor.
You are not called to be happy all the time.
You are not called to be rich.
You are not called to be as organized as the neighbor on the right.
You are not called to be as disorganized as the neighbor on the left.
You are not called to be as ___ as your uncle dave.
You are not called to be your sister.
You are not called to be the guy…

View original post 180 more words