Category: thought of the day


A good friend reminded me this weekend that if we focus on what we don’t want we will always end up there. If I focus on not being like my dad I will end up being like him or if I focus on the ditch while driving I will end up in the ditch. People do not set goals to not do or be something, they set goals in the direction they want to go.

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“…every organization eventually becomes a direct reflection of its leadership, whether for good or for bad.”
Larry Osborne, Sticky Church, Pg. 123

Knowing what we don’t want is great however one must focus on what is to be achieved. What is the purpose of Christianity and why do we believe what we do?

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winter fieldFarming is a major analogy in the bible. Seeding, growing, and harvesting. The harvest is what farming is all about. In the Church harvesting is seen as people responding to the Gospel and believing in the work Christ has done for us. In farming the harvest is what brings the food to the table. The harvest for the Church is what brings people to the great feast in heaven.

Where is the harvest?

Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matthew 9:37, 38). This idea of harvest has been miss placed and misinterpreted in the Church today. Where was Jesus when he harvested? Where were the disciples? The Bible tells us clearly where the field is that needs to be harvested. We have many promises that working the field will bring a plentiful harvest. “Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense” (Proverbs 12:11).

Where should we be if we are looking to be a worker in the plentiful harvest?

In the church?

Not all, but a majority of Christians today do not look at the harvest. Is the harvest meant to be an altar call at the end of a church service or some event that you brought a friend to? Today we, pulling the log out of my own eye, tend to be dependent on these alter calls and crusades to reach out dumping the harvest on our pastors and those brave enough to say that evangelism is one of their gifts, but is this what Jesus was meaning?

Seeker sensitive churches come at the expense of discipleship and in an effort to make the Gospel understandable we lose theological understanding. Instead of being driven by our understanding of who God is we become driven to just increase our numbers or serve physical worldly needs.

These are good things, but we have become reliant on the “church” to do all the harvesting instead of the way God has chosen to use us all and send us out into the field. “The  Lord  had said to Abram, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you” (Genesis 12:1). God calls us into the field, so where is the field?

The Field!

The synagogue is not typically the scene of the harvest. We are called to action, to serve those around us, and as we go to make disciples. Interestingly Matthew 9:37-38 is sandwiched between Jesus being out in public and him sending his disciples out into the area villages. When he is talking about the harvest he is not in a church but in the world. He is where the sick are and he is among them seeking them out (Romans 3.11) and being the great healer. You look at the story of Zacchaeus and see a similar thing. “Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through.  A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy…  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:1, 2, 10). Christ was there to seek and to save. He does not sit on the sidelines waiting for people to seek him out for he knows that they cannot. And if we call ourselves Christ’s disciples then we must follow him into the field.

We must be willing and able to share the Gospel with the people we meet Monday to Saturday, with the people we spend 40 hours a week with, the parents who we see every practice, the kids we play with at recess. The key is to be open about what you believe. Acknowledge the tragedies of this life, big and small, it all starts with the brokenness we all share.

Where are you?

The church is a great place to grow and can serve as a place to harvest, however the bible clearly calls us to get out into the world around us. We must leave our homes and seek out the sick. “Then Jesus came to them and said,  “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:18, 19). While we are going are we harvesting?

So Abram went, as the  Lord  had told him; and Lot went with him… Genesis 12:4

“The distance between the cradle and the cross is slight”
Reverend Terry Lee

 

Over the Advent season at church we have been looking at the words of Isaiah and reminded that even though we celebrate the birth and resurrection at different times in the year they are not that far a part. Together they are the fulfilled of God’s plan to rescue the lost. Over the last few months I have not really blogged, I left part way through a series I was putting together on the two kingdoms of the already and not yet. The last few months have been some of the most stressful I have ever experienced and through this time have had many
already but not yet moments. This series has reminded me that many parts of this world remain broken and that there is something more, something eternal that needs fixing.

nativity

Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this.
Isaiah 9:6-7
 

 

Part of the sermon today Pastor Terry looked at how Christ fulfilled the promise of being the prince of peace when the world seems to be so broken. The world is broken, we see that all over the news, in our homes, at our jobs, but the peace Isaiah is looking at is something more, something eternal. The world is not our enemy, God is. Our relationship was broken when man bit into the forbidden fruit in the garden. The peace that Christ brings now is peace with God. Through Christ we are reconciled to Him (Colossians 1:19-22).

This Christmas don’t forget that the baby that came from God also went to the cross for our sins.

It has been a while since my last post but I have not forgotten about it. Life has been far more busy lately and to be honest I have felt little desire to write. Sad day, thankful that desire is starting to return.

Working in the social service field is rewarding, you see lives changed because someone reached out. It is easy to become comfortable in thinking that one is on the right track because we are helping people. Feeding the poor, helping the widows, befriending the friendless. WWJD right?

It is easy to mix ones views of social justice with ones views of soteriology. Social justice is important however it is not what saves. As disciples we are called to follow and imitate Christ which is where social justice comes in, however, the work of Christ that saves us involves him dying for our sins and that is not something we can replicate but only lead people to. The delicate balance is that we are called to do both together. We cannot forget those who are suffering even if they do not accept the work Jesus did for all, just as we cannot forget that we are called to preach the Gospel.

Psalm 95

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.

For the Lord is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.

Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.

Today, if only you would hear his voice,
“Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah,
as you did that day at Massah in the wilderness,
where your ancestors tested me;
they tried me, though they had seen what I did.
For forty years I was angry with that generation;
I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray,
and they have not known my ways.’
So I declared on oath in my anger,
‘They shall never enter my rest.’”

Morphologically, this thing is a jellyfish; functionally, this thing is a jellyfish; but genetically, it’s still a rat.

Kevin Kit Parker, Harvard University bioengineer
CBC Online article about bioengineered jellyfish from rat heart cells

Whether it is fabulous food at our favorite restaurant, the excitement of a great movie, or the life-changing impact of a church ministry, most of us can’t help but tell others when we’ve been well served – and no one needs to tell us to do so.

From Sticky Church by Larry Osborne page 31

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Swan River Baptist church now located at the Swan River Museum

Isaiah is not called to be fruitful but to be faithful. And, in fact, he’s told he will not be fruitful. The priority of God charges him with is not success but integrity. He is sent to proclaim a word to people who in the end can see but not perceive, who hear but can’t hear.

Matt Chandler – The Explicit Gospel page 74

For the next two weeks I am on vacation. During this time I am hoping to do some reading and a lot of picture taking so I will most likely be posting quotes and pictures for the rest of July.

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“When they say morals are all relative that’s fine until someone steals your wallet. And then they say that’s not right…People are only relativist when it suits them to be relativists. We shouldn’t surrender to that.”

R.C. Sproul on the May 26, 2012 White Horse Inn radio program – WHI-1103 | Growing in Grace & Knowledge


The Abyss of Hell
By: Sandro Botticelli
Status: Public Domain in the USA*

Hell seems to be a hot topic this year. Sorry I couldn’t resist. If one minimizes hell it can minimize the impact of our sin to our relationship with God and the necessity for Christ’s redeeming work on the cross. When we dig deeper into what hell is our view of it affects our understanding of the role of the high priest, the need for salvation, the idea of faith, and the urgency for spreading the Gospel. All these things can also be achieved by over emphasizing its role over the work of Christ. You better be careful with your view of hell or you can find yourself in hot water. Ok I’ll stop, here is a quote from the Explicit Gospel  with Matthew 18 as the preface:

 
So if your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one hand or one foot than to be thrown into eternal fire with both of your hands and feet. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.
Matthew 18.8-9
 

With these words of Jesus in mind, I can now know that it is better never to hold my children, it is better never to run my fingers through my wife’s hair, it is better not to be able to brush my own teeth, it is better never to be able to drive a car, it is better to be paralyzed and never feel anything from the neck down, and it is better to have stage III anaplastic oligodendroglioma [a form of brain cancer which Matt Chandler survived] than to find myself outside the kingdom of God.

The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler, Page 46

The meaning of life is more than 42 and more than random chance. After my post on time a friend pointed me to William Craig Lane who looked at the PBS show I mentioned in the post. I have since listened to a few of his Reasonable Faith podcasts and on my drive home today I listened to his thoughts on The New Philosophy of Cosmology. He has an amazing gift of dissecting complex ideas, making it easy to see the issues, misconceptions, and positives about different views.

Cosmology, a branch of astronomy that deals with the origin, structure, and space-time relationships of the universe (Merriam-Webster), Dr. Craig explains why probability denies the idea that we are just the lucky winners of existence. More than that he is really looking at a struggle going on about whether science can determine meaning and Stephen Hawking’s proclamation that philosophy is dead.

How does this apply to me?

For one, it shows that the debate between science and God is not as cut and dry as both sides like to claim. This kind of debate also shows that the secular community is also at odds about where exactly we came from. The Bible is not a scientific textbook, but the details of origin, structure, and time are in there and their place under God.

 
In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He existed in the beginning with God.
God created everything through him,
and nothing was created except through him.
The Word gave life to everything that was created,
and his life brought light to everyone.
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness can never extinguish it.
John 1.1-5

I enjoy listening to this kind of thing as it really shows the inextinguishable glory of God and the complexity of all creation. Humanity is just a part of that complexity.

 

I can’t comprehend / You’re infinitely beautiful

After All (Holy) By David Crowder Band
 
 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

Matthew 6.24

Randomly during the worship time at church today during the song God With Us I thought of the above verse which led to thinking about why we have money and its purpose. Money is really just a standardization of desire. Say I have 10 chickens, but I desire to have 5 cows. Without money we work under the barter system, but what if the guy with the cows doesn’t want chickens? I have to then find someone who desires my chickens and is willing to give me something that the guy who has the cows desires. And what happens when I can’t find a guy who desires chickens and has something the cow guy desires? Money allows me to simplify that process to sell chickens and buy cows. So now I desire money above all else because it allows me to fulfill any material desire I may have. Money becomes our master. God, however, calls us to desire Him above all else, we are to make God our master. Why? Because to God money is meaningless. He who made the universe is not contained by our need for money nor does my lack of money limit his ability to fulfill the needs in my life.

 
And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? 

Matthew 6.28-30

He will certainly care for you!

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