Saturday, February 21, 2009

Cool Blog/links for "Lost" fans


For those of you who like the show "Lost" I have posted some links you might enjoy.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A few nuggets


I just got through listening to a teaching from one of my favorite pastors, Mark Driscoll. He taught a good lesson on the "9 Distinctions Between the Gospel and Religion" while visiting the campus of the Southeasten Baptist Theological Seminary. It's over 40 min but worth the time .

The other gem for today is fellow Blogger, book reviewer and Author Tim Challies is starting a scripture memorization program with his fellow bloggers visit his site for more details.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Love for My Bride!


While reading Ed Stetzers book “Compelled by love” I came across a quote that made me think about my Church and how I feel about the people I worship with. The quote goes like this “Can You Love Jesus and Ignore His Bride?” I have to admit I never really gave that too much thought. Then when he explained how Jesus thought of the Church as his Bride it all made sense. Ed also writes in his blog “if you consider yourself a Christian but don't love and enjoy a covenant relationship with a local body of believers, you are essentially saying "I love Jesus, but I don't love His wife.". I have to admit I do love my Bride. I love all my Brothers and Sisters in my Church family and really enjoy worshipping with them. But last night during a business meeting I was sad to learn that a number of members have left our family. I then wondered why.

In a recent survey about people leaving a church( conducted by Life Way)it was concluded that 58 percent of those studied said they stopped coming due to relational problems. For example, 26 percent said Church members seemed judgmental or hypocritical; 20 percent didn’t feel connected to people in the Church and 15 percent said churches were unfriendly, unwelcoming, or cliquish.

Wow! I have heard some of these comments from people who not attended Church regularly or nonbelievers, but not from members. I know we have had some problems in our Church but not to the extent listed in the Life Way survey. But I have to wonder how much the individuals contributed to the experiences they had with the Church. Were they judgmental themselves? Were they friendly, welcoming? Did they even try to connect with some people? Friends I feel there has to be some give and take here. I believe we have to come out of our shells and make the first move sometimes.

We need to go up to that person we don’t know and shake their hand. One guy came up to me just last week and ask how long I have been going to Westwood and I told him on and off for 5 plus years. He said he never noticed me there. But come to think of it I have never noticed him neither. That’s what I am talking about. That tells me I need to go to some of these folks I see every week and greet them. I need to stick around a little bit after Church or come in early and just start up a conversation with someone I don’t know. It’s funny I do that all the time when I am waiting in line at Wal-Mart or out somewhere so why not do it at Church?

Friends like I said before I love all my peeps at Westwood and every weekend is like a family reunion. We have a group of older ladies who are like grandmothers to me; I have some other guys and gals who are just like Brothers and Sisters. I can just go on and on about them. But the whole point is we have to love the Bride and this means we have to love the Church just as Jesus did and everyone in it. Ephesians 5:25 (ESV) gives us instructions “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”

Father God,

Thank you finding my family and I a Church that we can call home, a place where we can share our love for you and our love for one another. Father please continue blessing our extended family and help us reach people who feel unloved and unwelcomed in your home. Father we love you and are thankful for the many blessings we have received from you. It’s in your name we pray Amen!

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Sabbath? Who needs that?


If you’re like me you might think the same thing. For the longest time I never understood what the big deal about this day was. Even after being saved I never really knew what this Commandment was all about. Like a lot of folks I always thought that you couldn’t work on that day and you also had to spend all day in Church. Well my friends today I have a different opinion of this day.

According to Wikipedia “A Shabbat or Sabbath is generally a weekly day of rest and/or time of worship that is observed in several faiths. The term derives from the Hebrew Shabbat , "to cease", which was first used in the Biblical account of the seventh day of Creation.

In the Old Testament the Sabbath was observed on the seventh day, which of course was Saturday. During those times the Jewish leaders added over 1,500 rules dictating what you could and could not do on this day. They even questioned Jesus for healing on the Sabbath. But Jesus had the perfect answer. Mark 2:27/28 (ESV) And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath”, “So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.” So there you have it, Jesus said “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” and he also said he was “lord even of the Sabbath”

The Sabbath is a gift from God. It is something that God thought was so important that he included it the Ten Commandments. It is something that God instructed us to do for our own good. Now it was the Pharisees who decided to add conditions to this Holy day and it was Constantine who officially changed the day to Sunday.Now I know a lot of us will say that the Sabbath is part of the “Laws” of the Old Testament and that we have been freed from these laws by Grace, there is even scripture that could back that up.

Galatians 3:22-26 (ESV) tells us “Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.”

Yes it is true there are a lot of the “Laws” from the OT that we are free from like Circumcision and observing the Sabbath but we have to ask ourselves do these Laws really help or hinder us. In the case of the Sabbath I believe it could only do us good.

The internetmonk (who has a really good blog site) wrote “Christians can greatly benefit from Sabbath keeping as a personal discipline, but it isn’t a new covenant command. We should always be careful when using any OT practice. It can be done, but only with the Gospel as the controlling principle” he also said “But it’s not a command to keep Sunday as the Christian Sabbath. It’s a worthy imitation of the old covenant to honor the Sabbath as Jesus did by honoring God as the God of Sabbath whenever we take it”.

So now that we are free from this law do we still need it? I say yes. We all need a break from the daily grind. No one can work for any long period of time with out taking some kind of break. God even rested on the seventh day, even though he didn’t need it. He did so to set an example for us to follow. So here are some of my own thoughts and some I borrowed from J. Johns book “Ten”

So the question is when do we take this day? Well Sunday would be perfect and you could start off by worshiping our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. What should we do on this day? Well I just mentioned one but J. Johns says we should spend time with our families and other believers and fellowship. We should sleep in, watch a movie, take a walk in the park, and have a picnic, any kind of recreation that doesn’t require work and stress. “But I have so much to do, I am so far behind on my house work” Well I say take care of that stuff during the week. Do a load of laundry every night, clean as you go! How about getting your grass cut, your clothes ready for the following week and vacuum your house on Saturday? We need to make the time! Prioritize! Cut off the branches in our life that doesn’t bare fruit

It’s up to you to organize your time so you can enjoy this day. I tried this last week and have really benefited from this day. I felt very refreshed mentally and physically and was ready to start the work week. Plus I got to have a great day of worship with out stressing about things I needed to get done. How many times have we had the Monday morning blues? A lot if you’re the average person but this is because we don’t give ourselves a break. We all need the Sabbath!

Father God thank you so much for giving us the Command to take a day of rest and spend it worshipping your Son and enjoying the things you have created for us. Father please show us ways to make the most of this day and keep our lives free of stress and distractions. We love you Lord and thank you for your many blessings its in Jesus name we pray. Amen

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Just walk it off!


Have you ever heard the old expression “Just walk it off”? Of course that is an expression used when we are injured and are encouraged to walk or move the injured area to ease the pain and get back into the activity we were doing. Peyton Manning has been quoted as saying “just rub some dirt on it”. These are some funny expressions that can be used by your smart-alecky co-workers or friends who seem to be entertained by your current discomfort. I was thinking about this while working out this morning. It seems like every time I start my workout my muscles tighten up in my legs and it causes a great deal of discomfort. Then I have to will myself to keep going and work through the pain. Eventually they loosen up and I am able to finish my workout but it’s those first couple of minutes that really test my dedication to getting in to shape. So where am I going with this?

Well I feel the same thing happens when we try to grow (exercise) spiritually. You know how it goes. You buy all the latest Study Bibles, you get the Bible on cd/mp3, get the daily Bible podcast ect.ect..ect. Well at least that’s what I have been doing, but when it is time to use all of these great references we start feeling a little discomfort or we get side tracked. You set out with good intentions and even get a good start but as soon as you start feeling a little tired or unmotivated you stop. That’s when I suggest we “walk it off” and push through what ever it is that’s keeping from our devotional time. That’s what I am trying to tell myself. I need to walk through those moments and stick with the program. But first I need to get a program going. Last year I was able to read through the New Testament and a few Christian living books but I think this year I need a routine to help me maximize my time. So what kind of suggestions do you all have? What time do you set aside for your daily devotions? Morning, noon, evening?

Father God,

Please help me get more organized in my life so I can make living for your Son a priority in my life. Father bring to light the things in my life that waste my time and keep me from learning your inspired word. Father thank you for all the people you have put in my life that have been an inspiration and have helped lead me to your Son. It’s in Jesus name I pray Amen.