Tag Archives: Christianity

Is Jesus Center?

I’ve really been enjoying this book over the last month. Some terrific theology can be found in this book which takes deliberate steps to restate Christ as the center of our faith. While reading this book, I have been very encouraged and affirmed, as I’m reminded of who I am “In Christ.” I remember being told as I grew up in the church that, because of Christ, God no longer sees my faults and shortcomings when He looks at me. Instead, He see the righteousness of His Son, Jesus.Jesus Manifesto also does a great job of glorifying Jesus as the “Firstborn of all creation.” It reminds us that the whole of Scripture points to Jesus, just as Jesus says to the pharisees in John 5. Jesus, addressing the pharisees in John 5 says these words.

“You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life.”

Reading Jesus Manifesto has reinforced this lesson; that the purpose for which we study the Word is to know Jesus. Sometimes in my life I have been guilty of looking to the Bible for a quick fix or a “How To.” But the Bible is not a “self help” book, it is in fact quite the opposite, a “deny self” book.

As of today, I’m 2/3 of the way through this book, but I have read enough that I would highly recommend it to anyone who is looking to put Jesus back at the center of their world.

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The World is Worshipping. Are You?

Something occurred to me over the weekend. I’m sure that I’ve tried to think this thought before, but a combination reading tweets and reading bloggers takes on the Oscars over the weekend caused me to have an epiphany. This is what the world worships; ENTERTAINMENT. At least, it is one of their idols or false gods.

Actors and Actresses on a “silver screen” or on the “idiot box” getting our love.
Athletes and Ballplayers on a court a diamond or a field getting our praise.

I am under the same self condemnation as Paul spoke:
1 Timothy 1:15
“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all.

Yes I love the movies and tv shows. I watched “True Grit” and enjoyed myself immensely. Our whole family watched Toy Story 3D this past year and it was a great entertainment experience. And I’m seriously considering talking my wife to see “The Kings Speech.” I am a huge fan and follower of baseball and devote more time than I should at studying the stats and reading the scouting reports of players who might not even make it to the big leagues. (Yes; I’m a nerd!)

I confess all this for 2 reasons:
1. Confession is Biblical and yes it is good for the soul.
2. I trust that I am not alone in at least one of these categories.

Now, please remember that I offer these blogs as a chance to get myself thinking and hopefully those of you that read it… (hi mom) So remember this isn’t a condemnation of any one of us, but perhaps we may find ourselves rethinking the worth of our worship to the Father who is worthy of far more than any earthly treasure.

For your comparison.

The International Mission board approved it’s Annual budget for 2011;
$308.5 Million dollars for global missions 5,000 Missionaries.

The Combined Yankees and RedSox 2010 payroll;
$380.5 Million

Remember that even with a budget like that those ball teams make a profit, while IMB is had to 600 missionaries out of its budget for 2011. That is a cut of almost 11% of missionaries; taken out of the mission field! This is our responsibility? What do we do to change it.

Of course money isn’t the only measurement of giving ourselves to God.
You fill in this blank:
Time I spent talking to friend about my favorite show or sports team _____?
Time I spent bragging to friend about the greatness of God in my life______?

Trust me I don’t even like asking these questions, so I don’t want to answer them either.
So the last one is a question of our testimony, what about giving God our attention.

If you evaluate your own worship to God by your enthusiasm; what are you more enthusiastic about?
A. Christ in You the Hope of Glory (Col 1:27)
B. The Big game
C. A night on the town
D. Payday

I won’t reveal to you my answer; trust me… it wasn’t A. I wish it was. God forgive me when it’s not.

I better wrap this up, lest I go put my own head in the sand. How much attention does God get compared to the world?

_____ hrs spent in scripture and prayer versus ______hrs spent being entertained?

Do I evaluate the worship service by how I’m captivated or by what I bring to God?

Do I look for a worship SERVE US?
Do I offer SURFACE worship?
Do I come to SERVE AS the worship offering and gift to my God?

Dear Father, as I answer these questions in my own life, please guide me toward the unselfish. Forgive me when you have looked upon my so called worship offering and found me doing something else. Nothing but Your presence and glory in my life will truly satisfy me. Help me not to look elsewhere. Amen


Feeling Enriched

…And yet I/We have so much work to do!

What a great Marriage Enrichment Workshop at FSBC family. Thanks to all the team who worked so hard today so that other couples could relax and take it all in and focus on their spouses! Also, thanks to the team from West Side Family Church for their great leadership and all the break out classes.
It helps all of us to take an honest look at ourselves in regard to all walks of this Christ life but even more so in this most precious gift of God… MARRIAGE. I think we can easily get weary of continually trying to compromise/get our way/give in/give up, that we take so much of the simple wisdom for granted. Jesus is the center – period. There is no other way. We honor Him to work hard at unity. Here is the the list of things I’m trying to apply from this weekend. Remember this is just me, not Melanie. She has her own take away which will also benefit us both.
  1. Be the Lamb and/or Owl (the other animals don’t work)
  2. Compromise sometimes means the other person gets their way. (and it’s okay!)
  3. Communicate at level 5 always (even when you don’t feel like going upstairs)
  4. When you come to an agreement keep it (and forget the other options you passed over – they are no longer relevant or helpful)
  5. Talk about your budget (yeah that means together)
Well, If I can do these things and keep Jesus at the CENTER of 1-5 and all the rest that well follow, then our marriage will keep getting better and better. It’s what we wanted when we said “I Do” and we want it more than ever now and for tomorrow. I’m so happy I have a godly, patient and growing wife! It was a great time for us to stop and refocus.

BROKENNESS

Today’s word is… “BROKENNESS”

One of the things that make me more than a little OCD is my idea that the phrases or words we use have an effect on how we think about things. The more we speak negatively on a subject the more strongly we will feel, well, negative about it.I want to tread lightly here because sometimes we will dwell on an unbiblical idea such as “God helps those who help themselves,” hear it then say it and start to believe that it is a biblical principle.You get the idea.

This happened to me and Melanie once back in the day when we were young(er) worship leaders.Singing a song about brokenness being what we long for, you know the song, we received an “unpleasant” anonymous letter pointing out to us how wrong it was to make such a statement because God doesn’t want us to be broken, he wants to heal us.I can say that I get where mr/mrs anonymous is coming from, but they missed the point regarding brokenness.The kind of brokenness we were singing and speaking about was a (Psalm 51:16-17) version where David says this…

16For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;

you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.

17The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;

a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Until we change the way that we think about our sin, God can not change the way our hearts view it.We must seek to be truly broken about our sinful state as well and about specific, recurring sin in our lives so that He can start over with us and make us into something beautiful, more like His Son, Jesus.


Soups On!

Each January for the last several years, we as a staff, have made soup and served our Senior Adults the lunch at their monthly fellowship here at First Southern in Lawrence. (We mooch off them the rest of the year) They, of course, provided many desserts which we were only too happy to help eat.
I LOVE serving these great members of our church. So many of them have been extremely kind and encouraging toward me and my family over the many years we have served FSBC. It is my delight to give back to them every opportunity I have.
I hope and pray that they know how valuable they continue to be to their staff and to this church. These dear ones aren’t just our churches history but our present as well. These are Bible Study Teachers, Deacons, Choir Members, Accompanists, Prayer Warriors, Missions Givers, Missions Goers, and part of the heartbeat of this church.
Providing the soup meal today was our way of saying that you are a part of the very important ingredients in the substance of this church. Thanks you for all you do.

Please leave a comment below in appreciation for the senior adults in your life.


Am I A Simpleton?

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ‘tis the gift to be free.

Have you ever heard that before?It’s a refreshing mindset needed in this day and age of “always on/always on me” living.You know… “My cell is always on and it’s always on me.”We have a deep need to keep things simple.God meant it to be that way.Remember, He created the Garden of Eden…(Simple) but we create things like the IRS (Complicated).

Why do we always seem to fall into the trap of thinking “more is better” or “busy equals productive?”I submit that we are just WRONG!If we truly believe that God’s ways are better than ours, then let us remember that he says “Be Still and know that I AM God.”

It’s getting more and more difficult to appreciate the “simple” things in life because they seem to be going the way of the dodo bird.Let’s not merely appreciate the simple things, let’s also advocate for them.


Revolutionary

I just finished a book by George Barna and I have to say it is one of the most inspiring reads I have come across in a long time. I want to be a Revolutionary Christian!

This is the statement of the common Revolutionary (according to Barna);

“I am a Revolutionary in the service of God Almighty. My life is not my own; I exist as a free person but have voluntarily become a slave to God. My role on earth is to live as a Revolutionary, committed to love, holiness, and advancing God’s Kingdom. My life is not about me and my natural desires; it is all about knowing, loving, and serving God with all my heart, mind strength, and soul.”

I pray that I will so live.