Monday, January 19, 2009

Prayer for Obama

Check out this great prayer offered by V. Gene Robinson at the opening of Obama's inagural events. Simply sickening.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Red Headed Stepchild of the Trinity: Knowing God Chapter 6

Is the Holy Spirit this red headed stepchild in your theology? For many people, including myself, we neglect the study of the Holy Spirit, thinking of Him as someone that is not worthy of our thinking. Packer says that we think of the Holy Spirit like we think of the spirit of Christmas. Is that all he is to us?
We must remember that the Spirit draws us to the father. We must remember that it is the Spirit who convicts us of sin. We must remember that without the Spirit's work we would never understand the bible. However, we tend to think that spirit thoughts should be left to Pentecostals or better yet ghost busters.
Spend some time right now reading back over how the spirit works in our lives. This book only begins to touch on his amazing work in us. Could you be saved if the spirit did not exist? Stop living out your salvation then acting as if that is true.
For next week, read chapters 7-8, and I will post about them next Friday. God bless, and have a great weekend.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Ephesians 3:14-21

I am so blessed to be able to proclaim the unsearchable riches of Christ. I can not begin to put into words how God spoke to me through our passage last week. The reality is, as believers, we will rejoice in the great love of Christ for all of eternity and never grasp how deep, long, wide, and high it actually is. Let us not wait until eternity to begin the task of understanding God's love though, let us be working steadily at this task now.
Let us be praying that the spirit would move in us and strengthen us by helping us to be filled, to be rooted, in the love of Christ.
Let us move toward knowing God's word. The Lord has dealt with me about memorization for a long time. I have memorized a lot of verses over the years, God is now leading me to memorize an entire book. I was challenged during my time in seminary to try and memorize books instead of just small passages because it was a much more worthwhile effort, however, I did not see how memorizing a book would ever be feasible, until I started running into normal everyday believers who had memorized books. The writings of Andy Davis, pastor of First Baptist Durham, have challenged me to undertake a memorization of Ephesians over the next six months, I challenge you to do the same. I have linked his manual which leads you in a method of how to memorize books, may this strengthen us in Christ as well. Please be in prayer for our message next Sunday as we move into the practical portion of the letter and examine the priority of unity. God bless.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Knowing God chapters 3-6

I pray that you were blessed this week as I was after reading chapters 3-6 in our ongoing book study of Knowing God. Below I will post my thoughts and synopsis of these chapters and ask that you will interact with the text as well and post your comments accordingly.
Chapter 3
I loved the way Packer began the chapter by asking questions of our ultimate existence, all of which was for the reason of knowing God. Passages such as John 17, Jeremiah 9, and Hosea 6 all affirm that our main business is to be knowing God. It is a goal that will never prove to be mundane and that will never be exhausted, we will never fully know Him. It should provide excitement to us.
As you read you saw that knowing a person is dependent upon them. If they are unwilling to disclose information about themselves then it is a fruitless exercise. This, however, is not the case with God, He desires that we know Him. He has provided His word that knowing Him may occur in our lives. He has given His son, that we may know Him. Above and beyond this, we may know Him as believers, because He knows us.
How well do you know God? I am not speaking of mere intellectual assent, but a deep knowledge of the Father who gave His son so that you might be adopted into His family.
Chapter 4
In a somewhat obscure chapter Packer speaks about idolatry, especially in the area of visual images of God. I would not say that I am as staunch an advocate as Packer is of having no visual pictures of the cross or perhaps other symbols of our faith. While I will not be placing a statue of Jesus out in my yard next to the yard gnome, I see nothing that dishonors God in looking at the cross and visualizing the death of our saviour, remembering also that He rose again. How did you react to this chapter, what are your feelings about these visual images?
Chapter 5
Following the obscurity of chapter 4, chapter 5 is one of those chapters that makes the book worth buying in and of itself as he speaks about the incarnation.
I pray that as we have just celebrated the birth of the saviour, you realize that He was born to die. We can never grasp completely every aspect of the resurrection, but Packer systematically analyzes much of what we can understand.
His greatest contribution is in dealing with the kenosis presented in Philippians 2. What does it mean that God emptied Himself to become a man. Packer asserts that God did not lose any of His deity, but He was now God plus all that He had made His own by taking manhood upon Himself. How do we explain that there are some things that Jesus appeared not to know and to be unable to do while on earth, while at other times He performed miracles and fulfilled prophecy with His words. The explanation is in that He fully placed Himself under the will of the father, doing only what the father's will allowed Him to do. Being fully submissive to the Father was His course, and as we see, it led Him ultimately to the garden to cry out, and to the cross to die in the place of a world of sinners. What is your view of Jesus' deity, was He fully God in your eyes? Read and reread chapter five in order to get what he is saying here.

For Next Week
Read chapter six, I will post on it next Friday. God bless, and have a great weekend.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Knowing God Book Study

Let's pick our book study back up on Friday when I will post on chapters 3-5. If you have not read these do not lose heart, just try to catch up. Remember, this book study is not done so that you may impress others with the fact you are getting your reading done on time, it is done so that you may grow in holiness and understanding of our great God.

Blog Hiatus

So it has been a few weeks since the blog has been active. I hope this has not hindered your ability to function on a daily basis. A few quick things.

Sunday Morning
What a blessing to be back with you after being in Greeneville during Christmas. You don't know how thankful I am to God for placing me in this ministry at Shiloh. I pray that God really blessed you Sunday morning as we looked at Ephesians 3:1-13. Did you grasp that Paul, as a believer, did not let his circumstances dictate who he was? Paul is secure in the fact that he is in Christ. Do you find your security in that fact? How about v.2 where he says he is a steward of God's grace? This hit me hard last week. I have been granted an unsearchable, or unfathomable(if you can say that), amount of grace, that means I can never measure or fully deplete the grace I have been given. How am I handling that grace? How am I in dispersing that to others? Both essential questions we must ask ourselves. This Sunday we will look at one of the most powerful prayers recorded in scripture, a prayer that you should be memorizing and praying for yourself and others, pray that God would move in the study of His word.

Sunday Night
In James 3 he really hits us where it hurts, in the tongue. He emphasizes that we are held accountable in a great way for what we say, and it is one of the primary ways we are able to tell if we are in Christ. How is God convicting you in this area? For me, it is primarily in joking with others and giving them a hard time. All of this is done as good natured fun, but there are a lot of times that the good natured fun does not promote Godliness in myself or others.