Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Satan, Go to Hell

**Warning**

The following is a new piece I wrote. Before you read please know that it is graphic and it will offend those with stricter sensibilities. It's probably the most heart felt piece I've written about struggle with the despicable nature of my sin and more importantly the One who is my over-comer.

Also, while this poem is directed at Satan and demonic forces, it could also be addressed to my own sinful flesh as well. And as Michael the archangel said I presume no judgment outside what God has willed for Satan and his demons and ultimately my best response is "The Lord rebuke you." (Jude 9)

So you've been warned before you read.

Here you are again, appearing as an angel of light

You start out your offer by inciting me to flight

You want me to run, run and flee from Christ

But like Jesus in the dessert I won't let you entice

You come up behind me and whisper in my ear

You tell me of worldly pleasures hoping I will hear

You tell me how I should return to my old man

And you're so willing and give me a helpin' hand

You tell me that if I'd just turn back to the world that says it's okay to be gay

That I'll be so much happier than I am following the Way.

And you say that if i simply go back you'll make sure I have all I ever wanted

No matter how much I refuse your attacks continue undaunted

To Christ you said turn the rock into bread

And to me you say go on you know can give great head

You offer Jesus to give up the cross for a life of ease

And for me you tempt go on and just stay on my knees.

And when I say that I don't mean to be in prayer

For back then for me to know any truth was really quite rare

Eventually, when your attacks of pleasure don't work

You'll change your tactics from trying to get me to jerk

You'll start your attacks on my character next

Doing what you can to get me anxious and perplexed

It's no longer a whisper but a shout in my face

"You've fallen too much and there's not enough grace."

Or "You've not really changed you're just a fat faggot,

Your God will send you to Hell you pathetic little maggot."

Well Lucifer its true you've tricked me before

And you're right when you say I've been a great whore

You've even tempted me to end my life

And I've often held my wrist to that knife

But here is something you so often forget

You can say all you want but my eternity is set

You can speak all your lies and even half-truths

But I'll thank the I Am like at the Feast of Booths

You may know who I was but you don't know who I am

I'm no longer my own for I've been bought by the Lamb

You may think you have power

But it's your coming hour

When You will be chained

By the king who will reign

And you'll spend your days in a pit

With all the He will spit

Out of His mouth for being lukewarm

So let make sure to inform

You think you know me so well

Well Satan you can just go to Hell

So come on up Apollyon if you really want to fight,

I will not be afraid of you for I know my God is right.

I hold fast to the King's armor of salvation

And cling to the Sword, from the God above creation

And one I'll stand and cheer as I see your final defeat

I have need no to fear you for God's plan He'll complete

You and your demons will have no where to run

When the day finally comes for the return of the Son

So Satan you still think you know me so well?

Think all you want but you can still go to Hell


Video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8JKTAT_8Dc video

Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Tale of Two Marriages

I had the great opportunity to witness two of my best friends and
brother and sister in Christ join together in the union of marriage.

I love weddings. I used to consider them boring and sappy,
but since repenting and trusting Christ that has changed greatly.

Why?

Because marriage is such a beautiful picture of grace and Christ and the Church.

The Bible actually begins and ends with a wedding.

The very first wedding is found in Genesis 2.

Gen 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife:
and they shall be one flesh.

This is the only covenant between man that was created before sin.
So now this is a perfect union between imperfect people.

But not only does Scripture begin with marriage. It also ends with a marriage.
In Revelation 19 we see the ultimate marriage feast. For there we see the feast of the Lamb.

Let us rejoice and be exceeding glad, and let us give the glory unto him:
for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
And it was given unto her that she should array herself in fine linen, bright [and] pure:
for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. And he saith unto me, Write,
Blessed are they that are bidden to the marriage supper of the Lamb.
And he saith unto me, These are true words of God.
And I fell down before his feet to worship him. And he saith unto me,
See thou do it not: I am a fellow-servant with thee and with thy brethren
that hold the testimony of Jesus: worship God; for the testimony of Jesus
is the spirit of prophecy. And I saw the heaven opened; and behold,
a white horse, and he that sat thereon called Faithful and True;
and in righteous he doth judge and make war. And his eyes [are] a flame of fire,
and upon his head [are] many diadems; and he hath a name written which no one
knoweth but he himself. And he [is] arrayed in a garment sprinkled with blood:
and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven
followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white [and] pure.
And out of his mouth proceedeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations:
and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness
of the wrath of God, the Almighty. And he hath on his garment and on his thigh a name written,
KINGS OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
Rev. 19:7-16


Here we see the great wedding as Christ finally comes and takes His Bride, the Church.

This is the culminating celebration of the gospel.

Christ comes clothed not in a tuxedo, but a white robe dipped in blood.

Whose blood?

First, it is His own blood that He shed upon the cross. It is His blood that bought His Bride out of the wrath of the Father. This blood is our propitiation of His bride who sold herself into whoredom go after other gods. This is the blood that covers the Bride in crimson to make her pure before the Groom.

Second, intermingled with His own blood there we will also find the blood of the martyrs of the Bride. Those who stood before wicked men and were told choose your Lord or your life and they, through the power of the Holy Spirit, declared the choose Christ and in Him Life everlasting. And as they were cut down and their blood flowed freely they built up the great foundation of the Church.

So there stands the Bride Groom in His robe dipped in blood waiting on His Bride (actually we as the Bride wait on Him but you get the idea).

And the we see the Bride entering. Her beauty is extraordinary! She is strong an full of grace. She has weathered many attacks from other would be suitors. She even at times had left her Lover for others, but His kindness drew Her back.

There she enters clothed in purity. She is dressed in "righteous acts of the saints." All those deeds done on earth simply out of a loving obendiece to her Lover. Those deeds that were hidden in are shown not in pride as bright reflection of her love.

But her clothes are not in truth her own. They belong to her Groom. They are clothed in His righteousness.

This is the great hope for Christians. For the Bride who has seen her sin and repented and turned to Jesus Christ, her Lover and has trusted in Him alone. Just as any bride would submit to her husband and trust him to provide so also the Church trusts Christ alone for her salvation.

Oh Christian, as we wait upon our Lover to return let submit now and do all that we can to serve Him and build up the Bride.

Come, Lord Jesus, Come

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Failure of the Pro-Life Movement

This is probably going to be one of those notes that get me in trouble. At least that might mean it got you thinking. Either way please comment. I'm keeping it short so you can read it all quickly and we can discuss in the comments.

I'm at the point in life where a lot of my friends are getting married (sadly, so far that does not include me). With marriage of course comes children or at least the discussion of children.

I realized my life is really changing last week when a couple other men and I went out with one's baby girl. Seriously had "Three Men and a Baby" flashbacks.

I go to a very family oriented church. There are several families with 4-8 kids and personally I love it. The "full quiver" is truly awesome for those God blesses in that manner.

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
(Psa 127:4-5)

Many in these families look forward to marriage for their children and pray for pregnancy even on the honeymoon. This happens to have happened twice in the last year with a very "Loving" family.

Others though that have recently gotten married or are looking to get married hold a complete opposite view. They plan on waiting a year or more before they begin having children. They have a variety of reasons for this decision. Some desire to do so for financial reasons. Others want to do so because they desire time to get to know their spouse in a more intimate manner before becoming parents. I'm sure others come up with a variety of reasons.

Now I love my dear friends and won't say there are not reasons to wait to have a child I fear that for many the challenge is really how they view children. Our society has become hostile to children in many ways. Whether it be that they believe the world over populated or simply because of the responsibility of children.

Many people who would loudly proclaim abortion as murder still have a mentality that views children as a burden.

This is the area where I think the pro-life movement has failed. For the first time in recent history the majority (52%) view abortion as murder, but at the same time many still view children as a nuisance.

As much as it burdens me to say this I fear many pro-lifers see children as President Obama who claims that should his daughters have sex he doesn't want them "punished" with a baby.

The truth is for some that they view children as an inability to live life on their terms. It means they might be able to go out every night or buy what they want to buy. It means they can't remain adolescent little boys.

And that is true. But that is not a punishment. It is indeed a GLORIOUS opportunity. You see when you become a father you have the great privilege of understanding God as a Father. You see the role He has in our lives. You see what a great sacrifice it was for Him to send His only begotten Son.

Fatherhood is another reflection of the character and nature of God. Yes, you may indeed give up much, but consider instead what you gain.

My goal is not to convince you to pray as some do for pregnancy on a honeymoon. Nor is it to say that godly families will have many kids.

Truthfully, I pray God will bless me and my future wife with a couple of our own and graciously allow us to adopt several orphans into our family (as He so graciously adopted me into His).

My goal instead is to encourage you to consider how you view children completely. Do you see them as a blessing of God to be longed for and understanding that any gift He gives He will also provide a way to be cared for, or do you see them as something that crushes your freedom, style, and finances?

I have many plans and prays for my life, but whether it be in the case of children or anything else let us cry out "Lord, your will be done." Trusting Him in all manners especially His great gift of children.

Friday, September 04, 2009

With the announcement that Ben & Jerry's Ice Creme known as Chubby Hubby will now be known as Hubby Hubby some dear friends are stating their boycott of the company.

I complete understand and repsect their decision to do so. I don't share those feelings because I expect no less of a secular company. Though if you're going to truly hold to such convictions then I encourage you to at least be willing to boycott all the companies that are outspoken concerning gay rights and marriage.

Here is a list of some of the more known companies:

3M Co. St. Paul, MN 1AAA Northern California, Nevada and Utah San Francisco, CA 4Abercrombie & Fitch Co. New Albany, OH 3Alaska Airlines Seattle, WA 1Allstate Corp., The Northbrook, IL 2American Express Co. New York, NY 5Ameriprise Financial Inc. Minneapolis, MN 3AMR Corp. (American Airlines) Fort Worth, TX 7Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc. St. Louis, MO 3Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA 7AT&T Inc. San Antonio, TX 4BBank of America Corp. Charlotte, NC 3Barnes & Noble Inc. New York, NY 1Bausch & Lomb Inc. Rochester, NY 6Best Buy Co. Inc. Richfi eld, MN 5Boeing Co. Chicago, IL 3Borders Group Inc. Ann Arbor, MI 4BP America Inc. Houston, TX 4CCampbell Soup Co. Camden, NJ 1Capital One Financial Corp. McLean, VA 6Carmax Inc. Richmond, VA 1Charles Schwab Corp., The San Francisco, CA 5Chevron Corp. San Ramon, CA 4Chrysler LLC Auburn Hills, MI 4Cisco Systems Inc. San Jose, CA 5Citigroup Inc. New York, NY 5Clear Channel Communications Inc. San Antonio, TX 3Coca-Cola Co., The Atlanta, GA 3Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. Atlanta, GA 1Continental Airlines Inc. Houston, TX 1Coors Brewing Co. Denver, CO 5DDell Inc. Round Rock, TX 5DuPont (E.I. du Pont de Nemours) Wilmington, DE 3EeBay Inc. San Jose, CA 1Estee Lauder Companies New York, NY 4Esurance Inc. San Francisco, CA 2FFannie Mae Washington, DC 3Ford Motor Co. Dearborn, MI 5GGameStop Corp. Grapevine, TX 2Gap Inc. San Francisco, CA 4Genentech Inc. South San Francisco, CA 2General Motors Corp. Detroit, MI 3GlaxoSmithKline plc Philadelphia, PA 4Global Hyatt Corp. Chicago, IL 4Goldman Sachs Group Inc., The New York, NY 5Google Inc. Mountain View, CA 3HHarrah’s Entertainment Inc. Las Vegas, NV 2Hartford Financial Services Co. Hartford, CT 2Hewlett-Packard Co. Palo Alto, CA 6HSBC - North America Mettawa, IL 2IIntel Corp. Santa Clara, CA 7JJ.C. Penney Co. Inc. Plano, TX 2J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. New York, NY 7Johnson & Johnson New Brunswick, NJ 4LLevi Strauss & Co. San Francisco, CA 6Lexmark International Inc. Lexington, KY 4Liz Claiborne Inc. New York, NY 3MMacy’s Inc. Cincinnati, OH 2Marriott International Inc. Bethesda, MD 2MasterCard Inc. Purchase, NY 2Merrill Lynch & Co. New York, NY 4MetLife Inc. New York, NY 6Microsoft Corp. Redmond, WA 4Morgan Stanley New York, NY 3Motorola Inc. Schaumburg, IL 5NNationwide Columbus, OH 5New York Life Insurance Co. New York, NY 1New York Times Co. New York, NY 5Nielsen Co., The Schaumburg, IL 1Nike Inc. Beaverton, OR 7Nordstrom Inc. Seattle, WA 4OOrbitz Worldwide Inc. Chicago, IL 1PPepsi Bottling Group Inc., The Somers, NY 1PepsiCo Inc. Purchase, NY 5Pfizer Inc. New York, NY 5PG&E Corp. San Francisco, CA 6Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP San Francisco, CA 3PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP New York, NY 3Progressive Corp., The Mayfield Village, OH 1Prudential Financial Inc. Newark, NJ 6SS. C. Johnson & Son Inc. Racine, WI 6Sears Holdings Corp. Hoffman Estates, IL 4Shell Oil Co. Houston, TX 1Sprint Nextel Corp. Overland Park, KS 4Starbucks Corp. Seattle, WA 2Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide White Plains, NY 3Subaru of America Inc. Cherry Hill, NJ 2Sun Life Financial Inc. (U.S.) Wellesley Hills, MA 1Sun Microsystems Inc. Santa Clara, CA 4SunTrust Banks Inc. Atlanta, GA 4Symantec Corp. Cupertino, CA 1TTarget Corp. Minneapolis, MN 1Texas Instruments Inc. Dallas, TX 1Time Warner Inc. New York, NY 2Toyota Financial Services Corp. Torrance, CA 1Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc. Torrance, CA 3UU.S. Bancorp Minneapolis, MN 2United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) Atlanta, GA 2US Airways Group Inc. Tempe, AZ 4VVerizonViacom Inc. New York, NY 4Visa Foster City, CA 3Volkswagen of America Inc. Herndon, VA 3WWachovia Corp. Charlotte, NC 3Walgreen Co. Deerfi eld, IL 4Wal-MartWalt Disney Co. Burbank, CA 3Washington Mutual Inc. Seattle, WA 3Wells Fargo & Co. San Francisco, CA 5Whirlpool Corp. Benton Harbor, MI 5Wyndham Worldwide Corp. Parsippany, NJ 3XXerox Corp. Norwalk, CT 7YYahoo! Inc. Sunnyvale, CA 2

So if you really want to boycott then I suggest you get rid of your car, your, mortage, computer, cell phone, washer and dryer, savings and checkings, all credit cards, and prescription drugs.

Also you should never fly, stay at a hotel, ship a package, or drink any beverage other than tap water.You see my point is that all this goes way beyond Ben & Jerry's. These companies are run by sinful men and women just like us, but most do not know Christ. They don't need a boycott, but instead they need men and women of God to continually teach and preach the gospel in truth and love. We're called to proclaim truth, not become hermets. If you want to boycott fine, but at least be honest and boycott all companies that push the same agenda. Its easy to say that I'll give up Ben & Jerry's, but not all these other companies we use and depend on.

Don't be surprised when non-Christians act like non-Christians.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

All Star Outreach

I had a blast today. God was extraordinarily gracious in allowing me to go out and proclaim the gospel at the All Star Game today.

At first I didn't think I could do it. I have an upper respiratory infection and sound like Darth Vader breathing. I'm winded walking down the steps, but I made it through.

It started off as a great blessing because my friend Jeremy went with me and since the last few times I've gone it has been alone that was a great encouragement. We were also able to get really close parking for only $10.

We started by going and visiting my pastor's wife and daughter at Hardee's. They won tickets to the game and were wandering around. After a brief stop with them we went and met Bill and some on other preachers from Sports Fan Outreach International http://www.sfoi.org/ Most of them are from Atlanta.

All of those guys were a blessing. They were all older and most had been evangelists for years. Some were retired and had become full time since their retirement. they make me think of John Piper's "Don't Waste your Life" message. I pray that should Christ tarry that I should be allowed to preach until I'm dead and be an encouragement to others as they were to me.

I'm still praying more older men and women from my own church would join me on the streets.

We handed out a total of 350 tracts. I hand 250 or so Obama millions and some "round tuits." People loved the Obama Millions and it was a blessing to watch them read the true gospel.

(Side note: I completely understand some people not liking the Obama Millions. Bill and his team had some tracts I wouldn't want to pass out. But the main thing is that the gospel goes out. I urge you to find a tract you like that presents the gospel of Christ and pass those out fervently. The Word of God will not return void.)

Sadly, we quickly ran out of tracts. I just put a large order in for more so hopefully we'll be back with those soon.

I got separated from Jeremy for a while and wandering trying to start up some conversations without much luck. I did manage to get some free stuff though.

I met back up with Jeremy and we went and met some other street preachers. the first one we saw was this sassy black lady (I say that with due respect) who said her name was Evangelist Turner. She cracked me up. She was very bold in sharing the gospel of Christ.

Then we saw Chap, Zachary, and Franklin. I'm pretty sure all this men were retired. They were all street preachers Atlanta. Zach actually used the phrase "Turn or Burn" while open air preaching which made me laugh. He was a "unique" brother. I also heard Chap preach a bit as well. Chap's son is a missionary to Peru.

My voice has been hurting all day, but I was really inspired by these mean and wanted to get one message out. The DJ had momentarily stopped so I presented the gospel.

Then my favorite part of the day happened. Zach and Chap encouraged (they were a little pushy, but they're age allows them to get away with it) Jeremy to preach. Jeremy had never open aired before and his personality isn't one that leads itself to being out front alone, but with they're encouragement and more importantly with the power of the Holy Spirit Jeremy agreed to read in the open air and I would close with the gospel. Jeremy shared from the Sermon on the Mount.

I ain't going to lie. I was about in tears watching and hear my brother read. He was obviously nervous and he spoke softly, but God was glorified.

I preached one more time after my brother read and my voice was shot.

We then went around and got pictures with all the other evangelist and exchanged info. It is a great blessing to know there are others sharing and proclaiming the gospel out there.

We had to leave about 6 to make it to my apartment for what was suppose to be Bible study, but several guys were out so we watched Ee-Taow a story about the Mouk tribe coming to Christ and taking the gospel to other tribes. Yep, I cried like a baby thinking about the Word going to people who had never heard it.

To close the day I watched video of my last trip to Honduras. Amazing how my heart still longs for that foreign country. Perhaps God will allow me to lead a short term trip there some day soon.

I used to think that we were to share the gospel as a blessing to others. While that may be partially true I can't help but realize what a great blessing it is to me. Ever since I started street preaching my heart is more full than ever with the joy of the gospel and while I'm still nervous each time I proclaim the gospel it cannot compare to the comfort of Christ. I long for more to know that feeling.




Tuesday, January 20, 2009

World's largest balloon arch

Greg Arrigoni of Unique Balloons constructs massive Helium Balloon Arch, 340 feet tall 600 feet wide next to Mississippi river in St Paul, MN 7-3-04



If you're interested in a balloon arch or other decor at your next event. Please call 314-346-2241. Who knows maybe we can even break Greg's outstanding record one day.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Its not about sincerity

Many people today think that as long as they truly believe in something that even if they're wrong God will not hold them accountable for it. Catholics even have the doctrine of "invisible Christians" where they believe people that are good Muslims or Buddhists or anything else are saved.

Please hear me today. This is an absolute lie! As Paul headed down the road to Damasscus believing he was doing the very will of God by killing and imprisoning Christians Christ appeared to him and changed his faith.

This is why doctrine is important because doctine is faith. Doctrine and faith change how we live just as it changed how Paul lived.

So how then do we gain proper doctrine and grow in faith? By studying the Word of God. Rom. 10:17 tells us that "faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God." The foundation of our faith is the Bible.

Many people walk around so sure in their faith. They have complete confidence in where they are headed. I fear that many, even those professing Jesus, are headed into God's eternal wrath.

"The object of our faith is more important than the sincerity of our belief. The man who thinks he is right but is not sure may be far better off than the one who is “sure” but is absolutely wrong. The credibility of our faith begins with objective truth and ends with internal trust." -Elmer Towns

Examine yourself. Is you God one of your own making or is He the God of the Bible?

Hearing the glorious gospel

Back when I was in college I used to be continually frustrated in chapel services. This is for a few reasons, but the one that bugged me constantly was the "invitation" and gospel presentation at the end of their sermons.

At the time, I thought it bothered me because we were at a Christian college so why did we need to hear this multiple times a week. I just want some more meat.

Now as I look back I realize how wrong I was. The real challenge I was having and didn't realize it was that the gospel most of the people were sharing was a weak and pathetic gospel. It wasn't a call to repent and believe in Jesus. It was a call to "pray this prayer" and "accept Jesus." Like Jesus was the nerdy kid at recess that needed friends desperately (trust me I know the feeling).

It was like some voodoo for salvation. The magic formula or words (abrakadabra pull the savior out of the hat). To prove how weak it was, people were to close their eyes and raise their hands because no one was looking around or to bring a friend down front with them if it made the more comfortable. How is this the radical life changing gospel of Jesus Christ?

I'm not saying that if you said this prayer you weren't saved. I'm saying you weren't saved by the prayer, but by repenting and turning to Christ.

The real way I came to understand this was that I heard the real, powerful, true gospel. I heard the gospel that was not about me and what I was to do but about God and what He had done for His glory to reconcile a people to Himself.

It was no longer about a God that was helpless and begging me to come Him, but about Christ who had DEMANDED that I come to Him not of my own power of will because it is completely sinful, but by His sacrifice and Spirit.

This is the true gospel. That we daily seek after Christ by His power and He brings us continually closer to Himself.

Salvation is not a one time thing. Its not a "I done did that" deal. It is a continual looking to Christ for only He can save.

Examine yourself to see if you are truly in the faith.

The gospel is gloriously and never can one who know its power tire of hearing it.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

You will be Judged!

I was listening to a pastor from my church's Grace Camp Meeting and he made some great points concerning how we will be judged when we stand before God at the end of days.

1) We will be judged for what have done.
For every deed and every thought we will be held accountable to a holy God.

2) We will be judged for what we didn't do.
For every time we dishonored God by not doing what He commanded of us we will be held accountable.

3) We will be held accountable for everything we would have done if not for the grace of God.
We are completely evil, but yet even as bad as we are we would be infinitely worse if God's common grace were not on us. The "good" we do is still only from God's grace. If not for His common grace each of us make men such as Hitler look as though he were a boy scout.

So here is the point: Are you ready to be judged for all of this? How will you stand before God when it is over? If you say it is by your good deeds then know you still owe the little good you've done to God.

The only way to stand before a holy God in the end is with Christ. Seek after Christ. Know that if you do He will save you and when He saves you He will send the Holy Spirit into you crying Abba Father! And then you will stand before God not as an enemy standing before a judge, but as a son standing before his father.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Privilege of Preaching

In my last note I posted a letter in order to present the gospel to people I know. While, as I said in the note, I know the gosepel is offensive to those who do not know Christ, but I was surprised at to see the I received more Christians offended for the preaching.

I think there are a great deal of people in my generation who have bought in to this social gospel idea. The idea that our main person as Christians is to make this life better. Or that the only effective way to share the gospel is after building relationships.

May I make it clear that that is lie from Hell that has perpetuated the Church. While yes there is a great deal of merit to showing love as we are commanded to do (first to the Church and then to the world) and there is merit to relationships they can never take the place of preaching the name of Christ.

Throughout Scripture not only are we commanded to proclaim through preaching but we are given example after example.

And what are we to preach?

As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all), you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. And we are witnesses of all that He did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put Him to death by hanging Him on a tree, but God raised Him on the third day and made Him to appear, not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with Him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that He is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To Him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name."
(Act 10:36-43)

We are to preach that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation and that He is the Judge of the living and the dead.

I hear very few preachers talk about Jesus Christ as Judge. Yes, He is a loving God and that is why we can preach that all who come to Him receive forgiveness of sin and rest for their souls, but whether you come to Him or not know that He will be your judge.

So let us follow His example and go about doing good, but may we never forget His command to us is to preach and to testify.

If we only were to do good without proclaiming Christ it would be as if we went up to a prison cell. In the cell there is a man that is captive, thristy, and starving. And we stand there desiring to do good so we offer him a crumb of bread. In one hand we hold out this crumb for him to take, but in our other hand we are holding the keys to that cell and yet we never even present them.

The world is hungry and thirsty and may we lovingly care for them and feed them, but there hunger and thirst is in no way their primary problem. Their ultimate problem is that they are captives to their sin. They love their sin and hate God. But we know the answer. We know the truth. And we must present it.

The world's ultimate need is not bread, but the bread that is the body of Christ broken for the world.

Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
(Joh 6:35)

And He took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me."
(Luk 22:19)

The world is thirsty and so let us offer them water is springs up from eternal life.

Jesus said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
(Joh 4:13-14)

This is world's true need. How can we dare offer them any less?

Thursday, January 08, 2009

I must offend

Recently some friends became very offended due to a post I had made concerning the gospel of Jesus Christ. One is Jewish and the other and atheist. Due to the note I created (actually it was a repost from a friend I called "a note from a friend to all my friends) I have now lost their friendship, but while I hate that it bothers me much more that they're eyes have yet to be open to Christ.

Below is a modified (for spelling errors and to conceal identities and minor changes to clarify my thoughts) reply that I sent to them. It is the say reply I would have to anyone that the gospel has offended.

I post this hear because I desire my friends first off to know my God, but secondly to know where I stand. I cannot bear to think that I go another day and not tell each of you about my amazing God and King. I beg you to read. If we were to never speak again this is the only thing I would desire for you to know.

_________________________
Dear friends,

My heart is screaming for relief. I have so many emotions as I read your letter. Know that I truly do hate that I hurt you, but I think you must also know that I am in no way sorry for the truth that I have written and shared.

Know that as long as you have known me I have known that Christ is the only way to salvation, and my regret is that I had not let you know sooner.

Please know that I do indeed love you and that is why I must not keep quiet concerning the Lord I know and serve.

Understand that I by no means believe that you are going to hell because you are an atheist or because you are Jewish. I believe you are going to Hell because you are a sinner and you have sinned against a Holy God. A God that created you and of you demands perfection, but your sin has made you an enemy of God and He will continue to seek to destroy you as such unless your relationship with Him changes.

Truly all people who are not in Christ are Enemy's of God because of their sin.

All men are alike this and that includes me. Of myself I am nothing but evil. My most righteous of deeds is like dirty rags to a Holy God. The fact that I and all people did not make Hitler look like a boy scout is due to the grace God has so mercifully bestowed. Had God not changed my evil heart and called me to Himself I would suffer His eternal wrath in Hell.

Yes, this Hell is indeed the destination of all men for their sin. But God did indeed have a plan from before the world began and that was to send His Son, Jesus Christ.

God demands punishment for sin but because He desired to save His people we needed a substitution. We needed one who could take upon Himself God's wrath and that sacrifice had to be perfect. So God became man. He walked among us and was tempted by all things, but yet He did not sin. And then just as God had planned Christ was killed by those He came to save.

Yet it was not merely Christ death that paid for us, but it was that all of God's wrath that was let out upon Christ. The pain of the cross was nothing compared to this.

Christ is so great and so glorious and so worthy that His momentary stay under His Father's wrath was enough to pay for all those that would come to believe in Him and repent of their sins.

But Christ did not stay dead. No, three days in the grave and He rose so that He may reign above all creation.

By His death we were cleansed of our sin and by His life we are counted in His righteousness.

But we must come to Him. We must cry out repenting of our sins continually and serving Him completely as Lord of our lives and of all things.

So no I do not think you are going to Hell because you are Jewish or atheist or Muslim or any other religion, but I do know that without coming to Christ you will go to Hell for sinning against a Holy God.

How much more evil would I be had I not spoke this? How cruel would I be to know the truth and not share it? I say these things because I love you more than you could ever know. I love you with the very love of God and beg you to seek christ. I weep that you do not.

I know this is offensive. It is so offensive that they killed my savior over it. If only I had offended you sooner for if I have not done so until now then I truly have done a great disservice to you for I must have never fully spoke the truth to you. By love I must offend or I do not know love.

I will continue until I die to speak these words and if I must lose your friendship then so be it. I wil not not stop speaking truth, I will not stop loving you, I will not stop respecting you, and by no means will I stop urging you to seek after Christ until He changes your heart and forgives you sin.

Call out to Christ for He alone can save you.

I desire in no way to lose your friendship, but if you cannot accept my faith then I wish you all the be stand will keep you in my prayers.

Love,
Jason

Monday, January 05, 2009

The Christian's Paradox

I cannot think but what a paradox in which the Christian lives.

The more I see my sin the more I see His grace.

The lower I find myself in distress of my sin the great joy He gives.

The more I see the world's need for Christ the more He reveals His sovereign control and plan.

But yet it is never in equal portions. No, what Christ gives many times more worthy and valuable. He continually gives me more grace in sanctification.

Oh God continue to cleanse us. Continue to heal us. Continue to sanctify us and bring us to you.

Praise Him, Praise, Praise Him for "Holy, Holy, Holy is Lord God Almighty"

The sorrow of my soul

I have found myself weeping multiple times today.

This morning as I was preparing for church I received an e-mail from someone I considered a dear friend. In this e-mail I was called harsh words and even compared to Hitler.

Why was this person so angry? Because I had written a posted a note on facebook that stated all those that do not know Christ are going to Hell for their sins.I cannot and will not stop sharing this message. For those that come to Christ it is the most beautiful message they will ever hear and for those that do not it is truly a horrifying message.

Because of this message I have lost 2 people I loved dearly. They have even removed me from their facebook friends. But that is not why I weep though it does sadden me.

I weep for 2 reasons and when I say weep I truly mean weep. Multiple times this day a strong sorrow has welled up in me and lead me to near convulsion in tears.

The first reason for this sorrow is that it has caused me to look at myself and wonder why has it taken such a long time for this gospel I believe to offend them. It has led me to realize that had i truly been as bold and as truthful to those I love most of them would have grown to hate me long ago. The gospel of Jesus Christ is offensive. It is sharp. It will separate those that love God from those that hate God. Oh Lord that I had spoken your truth sooner and more directly. May God give me the stregnth and courage to do so.

The second reason is that these people I love are still bound to Hell. They have heard the truth and rejected it and by their sin they will be condemned. I am weeping over their souls. Longing that they come to Christ and repent. Not just them, but so many more that I love and are going to suffer under God's wrath unless He changes their hearts.

Oh God I thank you for showing me the truth. I thank you that you are mighty and merciful and you have a people you are calling to yourself. I ask that you would call my friends out of their sin and unto your Son. I ask that you would give me the boldness to offend when I must, but the compassion to do so in love. Lord, I ask that in the midst of this pain I feel that you would make the joy of my salvation known. You have broken me this day and I thank you, but may you now rebuild my heart to be more like yours.

Monday, October 27, 2008

An Open Letter to All Christians

I wrote this letter in response to something that happened at my church, but after finishing it I thought it would be good to post more publicly.

Dear family,

I'm trying to guard myself on politics this year as I have a tendency to go overboard, but I feel I must say something.

There have been several attacks on Barack Obama's faith made public on this list. I do not think this talk is helpful to any one or to the campaign. Personally, I highly doubt that either he, Joe Biden, or John McCain have any real relationship to Christ, though they all probably think they do.

So what are we to do about it? Well may I strongly encourage all of us to study 2 Timothy 2:1-4 and Titus 3:1-2. And hold fast to 2 Chronicles 7:14.

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
(1Ti 2:1-4)

Oh how guilty I am in this arena. So quick to judge and yet so slow to pray. Are our hearts in line with God? Are we praying and interceding for those in high positions? Do we desire men to come to Christ even those we disagree with? How much greater is our God to change the hearts of sinful men and how much more effective in bringing about godly leaders. Pray, pray, pray for each candidate. Pray so much more than you fight for it is such a greater blessing and of such great benefit.

Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.
(Tit 3:1-2)

Are we being gentle? Are we being showing perfect courtesy? In our political battles are we yet ready for every good work? I must admit that I am not able to let both "curses and praises flow" from my mouth. I cannot constantly speak rumors and gossip of someone and yet submit to their rule.

if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
(2Ch 7:14)

We are people called by His name. The greatest name in all existence. A name that has given us great power to be humble. What a mighty promise God gave Israel. And what a greater promise for those that have the Holy Spirit dwelling within them can cling.

With just a few days left in this election I close with this. "Seek His face." Stand in the beauty of His presence and seek Him. bow before His throne and pray for all our leaders. Pray not only that they would lead righteously, but that they come to know the one who died on a cross for the sins of His people. Pray that those who have been called by Christ would continue to grow in wisdom and knowledge of Chirst.

Campaign on truth and facts, but do more importantly pray. Pray that we would be humble servants, speaking evil of no one, prayer warriors for our leadership, servants of Christ, and ambassadors to a lost and dying world.

In Christ,

Jason Vaughn, a lowly servant undeserving of the grace bestowed.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Leaping for Christ!

Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, "Look at us." And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, "I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!" And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God, and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
(Act 3:1-10)


I'm always amazed at what the Holy spirit Brings to mind when I read God's Word. In my last post I wrote that I think we are missing out on some of the power of the Holy Spirit. I think that we are so afraid of sensationalism that we have fled from it completely to an equally unscriptural point, but in this passage we see evidence of this power in two ways:

1. We see evidence of this power in the healing of the lame man.

2. We see evidence of this power as this man turns immediately from a beggar at the gate to a man that is praising God.

I find the power of God amazing. Not only did he heal this man, but it says he began to "leaping." God didn't just make this man able to walk. He made him able to leap.

When you look to God what are you expecting from Him? Are expecting Him to leave you as you are? Perhaps you're just praying He'll let you crawl.

That is not who our God is. Our God doesn't just heal, He causes His people to leap.

I'm not just referring to physical healing, though I do believe that our God is still the same today and does heal. I'm talking about healing your lame heart. Your dead decaying evil heart. He can make your heart leap to life and cause you to praise Him.

Think about it. This man wasn't looking or expecting to be healed. He just wanted another hand out. He had no faith in himself. His heart was as lame as his legs. But God had something for this man. God did a work first to physically heal him and then to regenerate him that he could praise God.

All of this was a work of God. The man had nothing to do with it. Peter and John had little to do with it themselves other than being simple vessels.

But when God got a hold of this man He gave him more than he dared to dream. God gave the man Himself (and as a side note He healed the man's legs).

So what about you? Are you leaping for Christ? Or are you still a lame beggar at the gate?

If you are still waiting at the gate then I urge you seek Christ. Cry out to Christ. And don't stop crying out until He causes you, just as He did the lame man, to leap with praises for who He is.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Power and Passion

Act 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."

I have read this verse many times throughout my life, but as I was considering it tonight God brought to mind some interesting thoughts.

First He led me to consider the placement of Acts. Have you ever realized that God led those that canonized the Bible to place Acts right after the gospel? So immediately after God through His Word teaches us the most spectacular truth in the universe He then goes on not to teach theology as found in Paul's letters, but instead we a history book (full of theological truths, but focused on history). And what is this history book about? Two things: The church and it's beginnings and the spreading of the gospel to the nations.

I think his is truly an amazing picture of the heart of God. First we see the vehicle through which he intends to fulfill His plans, the people of God filled with the Holy Spirit, and then we see what that vehicle is to do, share the gospel and disciple the nations.If you've ever considered leaving the church or the purpose of the church then I strongly encourage you to read Acts.

A couple other thoughts on Acts 1:8.

1. What is this power we are given? I know who it is from and how it is received, by baptism in the Holy Spirit (which I believe occurs at conversion to all believers), and I even know what is if for, to be a witness, but I am still unsure about is what exactly is that power really.

2. The other thing I was thinking about when reading Acts 1:8 is that when Christ says "Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth" I don't think he is merely giving a pattern for missions as I have always been taught. I was taught that you do missions locally and then you spread out. While this is not necessarily a bad method I do not believe it is the primary function of this text.

It seems to me that Christ is truly excited ans as he is speaking he just lets more and more intense. It reads almost like a football coach that is overly excited. Its not a pattern, but a passion. A passion to be a witness. A passion to see the glory of God exalted in all the earth. I believe that through this power that we receive we should have the same intensity and desire for the gospel to be taken to all people as Christ does.

Those are just a few thoughts from reading first part of Acts. Please comment and share any additional insight you may have on Acts in general, Acts 1:8, or simply what God is doing in your life.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I know that I can make it!

I was just writing a letter to my church family and the Lord brought immeasurable joy to my soul. In my need He is there. He is mighty. He is true. And I am His!

I haven't sung this song in a long time, but what a blessing that Lord brought to me. It is Kirk Franklin's "My Life is in Your Hands" Praise His name!

You don't have to worry
And don't you be afraid
Joy comes in the morning
Troubles they don't last always
For there's a friend named Jesus
Who will wipe your tears away
And if your heart is broken
Just lift your hands and say

Oh
I know that I can make it
I know that I can stand
No matter what may come my way
My life is in your hands

You don't have to worry
And don't you be afraid
Joy comes in the morning
Troubles they don't last always
For there's a friend named Jesus
Who will wipe your tears away
And if your heart is broken
Just lift your hands and say

Oh
I know that I can make it
I know that I can stand
No matter what may come my way
My life is in your hands

With Jesus I can take it
With Him I know I can stand
No matter what may come my way
My life is in your hands

So when your tests and trials
They seem to get you down
And all your friends and loved ones
Are nowhere to be found
Remember there's a friend named Jesus
Who will wipe your tears away
And if you heart is broken
Just lift your hands and say

Oh
I know that I can make it
I know that I can stand
No matter what may come my way
My life is in your hands

With Jesus I can take it
With Him I know I can stand
No matter what may come my way
My life is in your hands
3x

My life is in your hand 4x

And while this song brings peace and strength to my soul I must remember that it ultimately is not about my life but about Him and please also join me in this brief old chorus to magnify our God.

What a mighty God we serve
what a mighty god we serve
Angels bow before Him
Heaven and earth adore Him
What a mighty God we serve.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Lead feet of sinfulness

Rom 13:1-6 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. (2) Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. (3) For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, (4) for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. (5) Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. (6) For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing.


This verse has continuously come to my mind lately. I hear many of my friends constantly bring this verse up, but usually only on laws they agree with like not drinking until you're 21.

But this verse encompasses all laws not just some. I have been experiencing "the sake of conscience" lately concerning some laws. For me it has been concerning speeding. I've heard it said that a Christian's right foot is last thing to be saved.

How can we as Christians hope to live by the law of Christ and continually break His authority He has placed over us?

It is not just about following the laws, but following Him. Striving for holiness. Striving to find a greater joy and thrill.

Let us all examine the Scriptures (I was about to write hearts, but the heart is deceitful) and consider how we truly view the laws. Let us remember that the authority is ultimately from God alone.

Monday, August 25, 2008

His Name - Councelor

I finally recorded the secod part of Spurgeon's sermons on Isaiah 9:6. The tile is His Name - Councelor. It is a fantastic sermon and I pray it blesses and encourges you.


Part 2:
http://premium.fileden.com/premium/2007/11/28/1612427/spurgeon.mp3

In case you missed the first one since its been 9 moths since I did it. you can listen to it too. I apologize but the sound quality is much worse on this one.

His Name-Wonderful:
http://www.fileden.com/files/2007/11/28/1612427/his%20name%20is%20wonderful.mp3

Friday, August 22, 2008

Genesis 1-20

I figured I'd share my pondering and what I wrote down as I read through. This way if I lose the notebook I'll still have the information. Don't expect it to always makes sense.

1:1 What hope there is in these first four words. "In the beginning, God" Our creator has always been there. He created the beauty of the world and ordained its fall.

1:2 God calls light out of darkness. Prayer: Lord call my soul out of darkness into light.

1:26 "Us" For all eternity God has existed in perfect unity as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit without any need or want.

1:28 Man is the first creature that God blesses. The first blessings are children and dominion.

1:30 All creation was created as vegetarians.

2:3 The next blessing of God in on the Sabbath.

2:23 Man's first poem is about his bride.

2:24 this marriage decree gives the reason for the law against adultery.

3:3 Eve is dumb.

3:6 Adam was with Eve when she was deceived. He let her lead and when he stopped leading the fall came.

3:10 I want to hear the sound of God in the Garden!

3:14 The first curse of God was against the serpent.

3:15 Promise of redemption is shown.

3:16 the harmony in marriage is broken.

3:17-19 Because of Adam's sin, God curses the ground and he is told of his death.

3:21 First reference to animals dying (use of skins)

3:24 Cherubim traditional protect the holiness of God. Here the protect the garden.

4:1 sex, conception, ad birth

4:2-4 First example of God's demand for sacrifices.

4:4 God knew the heart of Abel be that of a worshiper.

4:7 First use of term sin.

4:7 God tells Cain sin is after him. Shows the aggressive nature of sin. Sin is not passive.

4:8 Cain kills Abel.

4:11 Again the ground is cursed.

4:14 Obviously society is forming with many more people being born than those mentioned.

4:13 Cain responds with self-pity not repentance.

4:19 Lamech celebrates his sin in song. (This is only the second use of verse and it is already corrupted to glorify sin rather then God)

4L19 Lamech is the first polygamist mentioned.

4:26 Seth and his son Enoch start the first revival as people begin to call on the name of the Lord.

5:3 Seth is the likeness of Adam and Man is the likeness of God.

5:21-28 are there two genealogies with Enoch, Methuselah and Lamech?

5:32 Noah is the old father at 500.

6:4 Nephalim not the "sons of God." The are probably spiritual offspring of Satan with demonic powers.

6:4 Nephalim are possibly around after the flood (?)

6:5 Total Depravity-EVERY deed was evil

6:15 Why did Moses include this detail for the ark?

6:19 "of ever sort" not all

7:3 God desired more clean animals for food and sacrifice.

7:4 Noah was on the Ark seven days before the rain began.

7:16 God shuts Noah in the ark.

8:20 the first altar is mentioned.

8:21 God promises not to curse the ground again because of man.

8:21 God proclaims the evil of man's heart from his youth.

8:22 God promises never to destroy everything again as long as the remains.

9:1-2 God give Noah and his sons the same blessing as Adam and Eve - children and dominion.

9:3 God gives animals to be eaten

9:6 God demands the life of a murderous man.

9:9 God establishes the fist covenant.

10:5 people spread and languages change.

10:8 Nimrod, a mighty man, hunter before the Lord. Seems to run rebellious kingdom

10:25 Peleg - the earth was divided.

11:1 Babel seems to occur before the spread since there was only one language.

11:4 "name for ourselves" shows their pride and arrogance.

11:4 The purpose of the tower to keep them from dispersing, caused their dispersion.

12:3 God plans redemption through Abram.

12:7 Abram builds altar consecrating the promised land.

13:4 Abram returns to the first altar.

13:6 We move from famine to such great blessing that the land can't handle it.

13:15 God promises all the land to Abram "forever" hence Israel 1949

13:18 Abram builds a third altar consecrating the land.

14:12 Lot, who keeps moving closer to Sodom, is captured.

14:18 El Elyon - God Most High

14:18 Melchizedek (meaning king of righteousness) has come to know the true God

14:23 Abram did not desire that the king of Sodom could say he gave Abram his wealth.

15:1 First of many "fear nots"

15:1 The Lord is Abram's shield.

15:13 God tells Abram of Egyptian enslavery for 400 years.

15:14 God plans great possessions for Israel.

15:15 Abram is told he will dies peacefully and old.

15:18 Abram sleeps as God makes His covenant with him.

16:3 Sarai (like Eve) takes leadership and Abram sins.

16:5 Big surprise Sarai is upset that Hagar is pregnant.

16:12 The future of Ishmael and those that come from him is told. How clear is this prophesy seen in Islam today.

16:13 A God of seeing - only use

17:1 God Almighty

17:5 Abram becomes Abraham. This barren aged couple is the father of a multitude of nations.

Note: There is no if...then statement in either the Noatic or Abrahamic covenant. It is all God's work of redemption by His grace alone.

17:10 circumcision('m not sure if circumcision of the heart is less painful, but it sure makes me cringe less)

-this covenant is made in the flesh even though it is "everlasting"

17:14 The uncircumcised are cut off from the people of God.

17:15 Sarai becomes Sarah. Both names mean princess. Sarai might mean the nobility she came from and Sarah is about the nobility that shall come.

17:18-19 The Lord sovereign elects Isaac and not Ishmael.

17:23 Ishmael receives the sign of the covenant through circumcision.

18:1 The Lord appears to Abraham (Christ?)

18:3 Three men are there, but Abraham refers to them as "O Lord"

18: 9-10 The term "they" is used, but in the next verse "Lord" is used.

18:12 Sarah laughs.

18:14 "Is anything to hard for the Lord" NO! Amen

18:24-33 wondering if this is where the phrase "jewed him down" begins (I hate that phrase)

19:1 Two angels-perhaps of the three men, the other was the Lord that spoke to Abraham

19:2 Lot invites the angels in

19:4 "To the last man" everyman in this town was wicked.

19:8 Lot offers his daughter instead of the men (maybe this is why they are so screwed up)

19:10 angels rescue Lot "shut the door"

19:11 the men are struck blind.

19:14 Lots sons-in-laws would not heed the warning and were destroyed.

19:16 Lot lingers but the angels "seize him" (God's determination to save Lot)

19:21 Lot flees back to Zoar

19:24 God rains sulphur and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah and all the valley

19:26 Lot's wife turned into a pillar of salt (Lord give me faith to believe)

19:29 Abraham's faith saved Lot.

19:30 Lot goes from abundance to living in a cave

19:31 Lot's daughters are messed up!

20:2 Abraham lies about Sarah again. This woman is over 90 and still got men wanting her body.

20:6 God keeps Abimelech from sinning.

20:14 though Abraham lied Abimelech offers gifts to Abraham.

20:17 After the gifts are given to wombs of the women of Abimelech's family are opened. Apparently Abraham and Sarah were here for a while.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Returning to the Light

I feel as though walls are closing in around me.

With entertainment and decor jobs drying up.
Loans and bills flooding in as a tidal wave.
My dad's latest betrayal of my step-mom.
My mother's constant worry and nagging about returning to school and finding a "real" job.
The enemy's attempt to corrupt God's revelation of my sin. Flaunting it in m face trying to hide the grace that Christ has taken the sin upon Himself.
And the feeling of uselessness that constantly haunts me.

It is not worry or anxiety.
It is different. As I wrote yesterday it is a darkness.

And so I retreat into the Light.
Psa 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

As I feel useless I go to the most useful book in all of creation.
2Ti 3:16-17 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, (17) that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

Over the next few weeks I will embark deeply into the Word of God for the nourishment of my soul.

I ask you prayers as I read through His Word. I pray for the strength and discipline not to be distracted by trivial notions. I pray that I only take time for fellowship, teaching and sharing that which God shows me.

Thank you for your prayers.

Culmination

I just got the official word that my dad and step-mom were splitting up. He mentioned it in passing as he screamed at me about insurance that isn't due for 10 more days. Apparently, he cheated on her. Again.

What else can I expect from an unregenerate man?

I pray God will bring both of them to Himself in Christ.

I think the posts from the last two days have been a lead up to this. Interesting.

On top of that looks like I'll be alone most of the weekend. No plans.

This really sucks.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sovereign Depression

2Co 4:8-12 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; (9) persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; (10) always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. (11) For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. (12) So death is at work in us, but life in you.


From time to time I suffer from depression. It is not just that I'm sad, but its as though a deep emptiness or darkness just comes over me and I cannot fight it off.

I pray and read and worship and it still refuses to lift.

I sit in the dark at times just sobbing and sometimes I can't even figure out why. Its similar to being in a crowed room and yet being all alone. It can hit without warning or reason.

I am thankful that in this suffering their is one constant. God.

I've heard people say that Christians do not get depressed, but I believe that this depression comes from God.

I serve a sovereign LORD who not only creates, but controls all things.

That is my one constant beam of hope in this darkness.

It is what allows me to continue to worship. For every trial and sickness brought upon me is from the LORD and in that the depths of my heart rejoice.

Is God fair? and Rejoicing in Trials

Every now and then I hate the fact that God has forgiven me. I look at my sin and grow to hate it so much and understand that Holy God must hate my sin infinitely more. And sometimes when I think that He allowed Christ to take on the punishment for that sin it makes me hate my forgiveness.


The fact that I am forgiven is completely unfair. The fact that I'm not suffering in Hell today is unfair.

No God is not fair at least as I see it but He is just. My forgiveness is not fair yet it is Holy. It is righteous. The one who had no sin took my sin upon Himself and while it is true I don't in anyway deserve it God in His compassion and for His glory has called me out of my sin and forgiven.

My forgiveness is not a subject to be despised, but one in which I should constantly rejoice.


That is one of the challenges with growth in Christ. The more we grow the more we see our see sin. The more we despise our sin. But in seeing and despising our sin we grow in understanding how truly gracious and merciful God is toward His people.


This topic makes me think of my Sunday School class discussion this week. We are going through James. And after three weeks we made it to James 1:2 :) (studying this actually takes us throughout the Scriptures so its truly a blessing and while we might not make it far in the book I think the knowledge is more important than speed).

James 1:2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds

Now how do we count it all joy? Do we say to ourselves: "Well the Bible says we'll have trials so we might as well take them with a smile"?

No, I think their are many reasons we have to be joyful through trials.

When facing trials we can continually bring the following to mind.

First, we know that the trials themselves can be considered a joy to the Christian. We understand that while it may be hard to see at the time God is going to work these trials for our good. I personally believe this is one of the greatest blessing in understanding the complete sovereignty of God in all things. We can know that He cannot fail in His promises.

Rom 8:28-29 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (29) For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

Secondly, we know that some trials are tests from the Lord.

Tests to show His righteousness and cause people to fear and honor Him so that we may not sin.

Exo 20:20 Moses said to the people, "Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin."

Tests can also help us discern the will of God.

Rom 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Finally, we know that at the end of testing is a great reward.

Jas 1:12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

When we understand that this world and its trials are not the end of all existence then we are truly free to rejoice as the believers in Hebrews rejoiced.

Heb 10:32-35 But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, (33) sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. (34) For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. (35) Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.

When we truly set our heart on these things, on the things above, then we will know how we can rejoice in our trials and we truly can count it all joy.

Now join me in rejoicing our glorious savior. If you do no wish to sing or know the tune then just read the words and worship in verse.

____________________________________________
O for a thousand tongues to sing

1. O for a thousand tongues to sing
my great Redeemer's praise,
the glories of my God and King,
the triumphs of his grace!

2. My gracious Master and my God,
assist me to proclaim,
to spread through all the earth abroad
the honors of thy name.

3. Jesus! the name that charms our fears,
that bids our sorrows cease;
'tis music in the sinner's ears,
'tis life, and health, and peace.

4. He breaks the power of canceled sin,
he sets the prisoner free;
his blood can make the foulest clean;
his blood availed for me.


5. He speaks, and listening to his voice,
new life the dead receive;
the mournful, broken hearts rejoice,
the humble poor believe.

6. Hear him, ye deaf; his praise, ye dumb,
your loosened tongues employ;
ye blind, behold your savior come,
and leap, ye lame, for joy.

7. In Christ, your head, you then shall know,
shall feel your sins forgiven;
anticipate your heaven below,
and own that love is heaven.

________________________________________________


It is well with my soul


When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Refrain

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

Refrain

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

Refrain

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

Refrain

But, Lord, ‘tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh trump of the angel! Oh voice of the Lord!
Blessèd hope, blessèd rest of my soul!

Refrain

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

Refrain

Monday, August 18, 2008

My Favorite Hymn

I joined the Jacksons tonight for their family worship. It was a great blessing. I got to teach them my favorite hymn.


My Lord, I Did Not Choose You

My Lord, I did not choose You,
For that could never be;
My heart would still refuse You,
Had You not chosen me.
You took the sin that stained me,
You cleansed me, made me new;
Of old You have ordained me,
That I should live in You.

Unless Your grace had called me
And taught my op’ning mind,
The world would have enthralled me,
To heav’nly glories blind.
My heart knows none above You;
For Your rich grace I thirst;
I know that if I love You,
You must have loved me first.

John 15:16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.

What a Family!

Praise God for an amazing evening in Christ. After a great concert from First Baptist of Fenton's Youth Choir several of us sat in the parking lot talking. After a while it dwindled down to just five of us.

We began to share questions about life and from Scripture. Then we started to share our testimonies and the amazing work o God in our lives.

What a blessing it was. We shared and rejoiced (at times with tears) in the Lord until 12:30am.

We shared stories of screwed up families and our messed up sinful lives and we praised God for giving us a greater family in Christ and that His grace is sufficient to cover and change even the greatest of sinners among us.

God is awesome. I doubt my parking lot crew will ever really know what tonight meant to me. It truly was of the Lord.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Desiring to know Him

1Co 2:2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

How can we desire any thing else after we have seen Christ for who He is?

I constantly find myself saying I want this or if only I could have that. How meaningless any thing is when we compare it to the beauty of Christ.

What fleeting joy we find in the lowly pleasures of this world are nothing when placed near the glory of Christ. How true it is that "the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace."

Amen

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s a light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!

Refrain

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
Over us sin no more hath dominion—
For more than conquerors we are!

Refrain

His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!

Refrain

Thursday, August 14, 2008

To know His Grace is to know His wrath

Joh 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

For many years I believed that Hell was the absence of God's presence, but in truth Hell is the holding place of torment until the wrath of God being poured out on sinners at the day of judgment. A wrath that they will suffer under for all of eternity.

I believe it is very important that we understand Hell and God's wrath. It is a key point in understanding His grace.

We cannot only know that we are saved, but we must know what we are saved from.

The more we understand our sin and God's hatred of sin, the more we understand what how marvelous His grace is that called us out from that sin. The more we understand what the true payment for our sin is the more we understand what Christ went through on the cross of calvary as the wrath of God was poured onto Him for the forgiveness of His people.

What a great and gracious God and King. That he would save a wretch as I.

Read and sing the following hymns that speak such truth.
__________________________________________________________________
Lord, I deserve thy deepest wrath.

Lord, I deserve thy deepest wrath,
Ungrateful, faithless I have been;
No terrors have my soul deterred,
Nor goodness wooed me from my sin.
No terrors have my soul deterred,
Nor goodness wooed me from my sin.
My heart is vile, my mind depraved,
My flesh rebels against Thy will;
I am polluted in Thy sight,
Yet, Lord have mercy on me still!
I am polluted in Thy sight,
Yet, Lord have mercy on me still!

Without defense to Thee I look,
To Thee the only Savior fly;
Without a hope, without a friend,
In deep distress to Thee I cry,
Without a hope, without a friend,
In deep distress to Thee I cry.

Speak peace to me, my sins forgive,
Dwell Thou within my heart, O God,
The guilt and pow’r of sin remove,
And fit me for Thy blest abode,
The guilt and pow’r of sin remove,
And fit me for Thy blest abode.
____________________________________________________________
Amazing Grace.

"Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me....
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.

T'was Grace that taught...
my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear...
the hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares...
we have already come.
T'was Grace that brought us safe thus far...
and Grace will lead us home.

The Lord has promised good to me...
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be...
as long as life endures.

When we've been here ten thousand years...
bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise...
then when we've first begun.

"Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me....
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Help! I'm going to jail!

Okay not real jail, but MDA jail. I've been recruited on Aug. 27th to spend an hour in jail and I must raise $2008 to get myself out. I've been a huge supporter of MDA Jerry's Kids for many years now and love the word they do. This year is especially important though as last November I lost a dear brother in Christ to Muscular Dystrophy.

So in his honor I'll be raising the funds. If any of you would be willing to help raise donations at your work or elsewhere it would be greatly appreciated. The event is at the Ameristar from 9-5 on Aug. 27th and I'll be in jail from 2-3.

You can make donations and find out more about the event at:

https://www.joinmda.org/stcharles08/Jason

Please pass that along to others that could help.

BTW my friend's name was Joseph Dennie and his wife was pregnant when he died. Little Joseph was recently born and could very likely have MD as well (I'm not sure on the heredity though). Please pray for Leanna and Joseph Dennie Jr.

As I said Joseph was a dear friend in Christ and I wanted to share the note I posted on facebook in memory of him soon after his death. I pray that my life may touch others as his did.

As some of you may have noticed from my status I lost a good friend this week. This is a note to remember him. Some of you knew him really well but others of you I just wish would have.My friend's name was Joseph Dennie. He was 23 and he had muscular dystrophy. Most people would look at the guy and the wheelchair and think that defined him, but anyone that knew Joe at all would know that wasn't the case. The only thing Joe was ever defined by was Christ and Christ alone.

Because of the MD he couldn't carry a Bible around easily so he had decided to do as David said and "hide it in his heart." He had memorized five books by the time we graduated high school. He was also a phenomenal speaker/preacher.

I remember one time when he spoke of having to overcome his anger at God because of the MD and there was not a dry eye in the room. Joe was a guy that was just full of joy because it didn't come from his circumstances it came from his God. He was also a guy that was always full of hope. I think it was that made him so memorable and why he went farther than the statistics said he would.

The statistics said he would never graduate a normal high school. He did and that day we gave him a standing ovation. The statistics said he would never graduate college. He did and went on to start his masters. The statistics said he would never fall in love and marry. He did. Unfortunately, like most people we grew apart after high school but the last time I spoke to him all he could talk about was Leanna. Apart from Christ I don't think anything made him happier than her.To Joseph congratulations bro. You endured to the end. With you I rejoice.To Leanna thank you loving my friend. For your lose I will weep with you.To those of us who had any time at all with him we were blessed by his life.As I said the only thing that ever truly defined Joseph was Christ. I've seen people post that a great way to honor his memory is to donate to muscular dystrophy research. While that is great aspiration and a worthy cause I believe that its better to remember Joseph by reminding others of the God he loved. The God that called Joseph out of his sins to Himself. The God that would sacrifice His own son on a cross to adopt Joseph as an heir. The God that would keep him by His grace until the end. And the God that welcomed him into paradise when we lost him. That is the God that Joseph spent his life serving and preaching. I pray you know this God just as Joseph did. That you would believe and hope and be joyful and impact others for Christ just as Joseph did. Remember him by by remembering his God. May God comfort us all in our grief.


Thanks again for those that can help raise funds. Remember the funds do not only go research but to help families and camps.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Praying for the kings

1Ti 2:1-2 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, (2) for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.

I have been highly involved in politics since I was 16. Every two years I have gotten involved in a campaign. While I have primarily worked on republican candidates I have worked for a couple conservative democrats as well.

I have realized something that I should have many years ago. I complain a lot.

I complain and gripe about their policies, their speeches, and even their wives. This year I'm an equal opportunity complainer though because I cannot bring myself to support either candidate of the two major parties.

In all this complaining though do I ever stop to pray for these two candidates? No.

I have no challenge complaining even though it does no good, but I never take time to ask God to change the hearts of the candidates or politicians.

I'm asking God to change my heart in this matter and I'm asking you to join me.

Please begin praying that each candidate will come to see God's Word as the ultimate authority and base their positions on that.

More importantly, pray that God would bring each of these candidates to salvation. Their is no fruit of Christ that can be seen in either of their public lives and so before anything else pray they come to know Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and savior. That God opens their eyes that they may know Him.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Annual Picnic and Departure

What a phenomenal day in the Lord! I was so blessed today. We had an amazing worship service with on our elders, Bob Schembre, sharing the testimony of what God has done and continues to do in his life. Giving all praise and honor to Christ for the work of regeneration of his dead heart.

This brother at 52 will not only be heading back to college, but he will be playing football as well (he even admits it may be a mid-life crisis, but at 52 I think he is really optimistic to call it mid-life). He will be helping his sons start a ministry on this very secular campus. Please be praying for them as they work to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Our missions moment today was from Johnny Parker. Johnny and his wife Joyce (and soon to be born baby Abby) are officially leaving for Southern Seminary this week. I must say I had tears as they said good bye. I really have only known them a short while, but what a blessing they have been in my life. I so desire to have brothers in Christ that I can lean on and worship with. God I think you for bringing the Parkers into my life even for such a short time. Bless them in their work and studies that they may continue to be tools to your glory. Amen.

Please pray for this family as the move, find jobs, begin seminary, and have their first child.

Today was also Rockport's annual picnic after the service. What a great time! I must say the highlight was that John Weber and myself beat Cyndi Loving and Amy Lee in horseshoes and it was the first time either of us had played. These are two of the most skilled women I know so even though we were knocked out in the next round I was satisfied.

There was also washers (A Missouri thing), swimming, volleyball (my team won three games, even WITH me on the team), and BBQ hamburgers (another Missouri thing).

I must say it was exhausting. I praise the LORD for a great day and a great week. I have so long been praying for godly companions and He in His mercy and grace has seen fit to bestow them upon me. Even in this though He continues to challenge and teach me.

With all the great worship and fellowship I hadn't yet had time to spend time in God's Word. As we were leaving the picnic I was invited to my friends Brady, Jeremy, and Jesse's house. Now, I am never won to turn down such an invitation, but as I was getting a ride back to the church to pick up my car I began to feel the LORD speak to me. It was though He was saying, "I've given you the friends you desired, but do not forsake your creator to spend time with the creation." By the grace of God I listened and thank Him for bringing me to His Word.

I think that is one of the greatest temptations we have as Christians. God will bring us to our knees in prayer with a desire for something and while we desire it we are constantly calling out to Him. Then when we receive it we abandon our relationship so quickly and forget anything Him might have taught us while we sought our desire.

Be ware oh Christian that you hold your face to Christ and cling to His grace and mercy.

Rom 1:24-25 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, (25) because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.