Thursday, July 22, 2010

I got that passage nailed!

Have you ever heard a preacher or seminary student say something like that? Slap him next time he does. He deserves it. We never have passages nailed. This passage I am studying is kicking my butt...and I love it! I am working on my sermon manuscript for Sunday, Ephesians 1:15-23. Basically the point of the text is that Paul is praying for the Ephesians to have true understanding of the hope we are called to, the glorious inheritance of the saints, and the power of Christ working toward us. WOW! I mean, could you have any more power packed statements? I don’t think so. So I am sitting here meditating on how to talk about the hope we have and there is just so much that can be said about it but the problem with everything that can be said about it is that none of it fully grasps the concept. So I say I will come back to hope. I will just move on to the next one. Oh great! The glorious inheritance we have as saints! Ok. I will go back to working on hope for now. And as I look forward to the power of Christ I think that one will be easier because that is the one that is expanded upon in the text. The other two are just stated and then Paul moves on. But the expansion of the idea of Christ’s power working toward us only makes me more aware of how huge that concept is! It is like th power of the resurrection, ascension, every name bowing at Christ, everything being under his feet, and Christ being the head of his church which by the way is his literal body on earth. Wow! Well, if this doesn’t bowl me over as a preacher and show me how small I am in the midst of God’s big ocean of knowledge I don’t know what will. This is an awesome text filled with so much. I am so glad I am spending time digging into it.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Holding My Fears or Being Held By My Father?

One thing we have been emphasizing at Tapestry and on Tal Prince Live lately is that the enemy has a three fold plan (to steal, kill, and destroy) and he never sleeps. As I was reading today, I came across the story of David and Goliath. Like many of the biblical stories I have known since I was a little kid, there are some important details that I never really thought about.

Today the thought that jumped out at me was how for forty days Goliath came out every morning and evening and took his stand (1 Samuel 17:16) And I love Peterson’s translation of 1 Samuel 17:11. “When Saul and his troops heard the Philistine’s challenge, they were terrified and lost all hope.” When Satan taunts you do you feel terrified? Do you loose all hope? That is how many of us have felt in our addiction. What do you fear? Have Satan’s taunts made you think you can never give up this addiction to God? Have you worked step four and inventoried your fears to see what they really are? Charlie, an alcoholic with a lot of days of sobriety, said your fears basically fit into three categories. You are afraid of loosing what you have, you are afraid of not getting what you want, or you have done something wrong and you are afraid of what’s going to happen when you get caught. When I see my fears fitting into those categories I also see it fitting into one big category. I am not God and I am afraid God can't do as good of a job at being God as I think I can. Idolatry. Misplaced worship. Unbelief.

Here is the hope we have. First, remember that “although my conscience accuses me that I have grievously sinned against all God's commandments, have never kept any of them, and am still inclined to all evil, God, without any merit of my own, out of mere grace, imputes to me the perfect satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ. He grants these to me as if I had never had nor committed any sin, and as if I myself had accomplished all the obedience which Christ has rendered for me, if only I accept this gift with a believing heart.” Now, remember that our Lord was tempted in the desert for 40 days. That's the exact number of days Goliath taunted Israel. Satan went after him with attack after attack…………and Jesus was victorious! If we are in Christ we don’t fight this battle without hope!

Are you trying to defeat Goliath on your own so that God will be proud of you? Remember, if you are his adopted child he has given you all of the holiness of Christ. That is better than any holiness you can muster up on your own, which is actually no holiness at all. When God sees you, He sees Jesus. You cannot be any more loved by God or pleasing to God than that. Max Lucado said, “God loves you just the way you are but he doesn’t want to leave you that way. He wants to make you just like Jesus.” God will fight for you if you are willing to give up the fears to him, give up the fight to him, and rest in his arms. Are you holding your fears or being held by your Father?

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Numbers 9 thoughts

I love the interaction going on in Numbers 9. Some people approach Moses asking him some “what if” questions. I am a “what if question” kind of guy myself. I love to have all of the details to some situations. The people wanted to know what could be done for them if they were ritually unclean on account of a corpse on the day for offering Passover sacrifices. Moses seems to be stumped by their question and does what any good leader does when he doesn’t know the answer. He told them to wait while he asked God and he would get back with them. Wow…quite the humble Moses here. After reading how everything had to be just so in every situation through Leviticus and the beginning of Numbers I would think God would say, nope…if they are unclean on that day they just have to wait until next year. But that is not what he comes back with at all. He tells them they can offer the sacrifice in the second month if they are ritually unclean on the 14th day of the first month and even adds another circumstance that would allow someone to offer their sacrifice in the second month. Wow…God is sounding pretty lax here huh? Well, just when you start to think that, you are confronted with verse 13.

13 “But a man who is ritually clean and is not off on a trip and still fails to celebrate the Passover must be cut off from his people because he did not present God’s offering at the set time. That man will pay for his sin.

That man will pay for his sins. WOW. I begin to think, what if I had to pay for my sins. This is where I recall 2 Corinthians 5, stop reading, and lift my head to God and thank him once again for Jesus being my once and for all sacrifice. My Passover sacrifice has been offered, he was perfect, and he counted for all of the sins of all of God’s children for all time! I do not have to worry about ever having to pay for my sins because the highest price possible has been paid already. I may have consequences of my sins but that is God disciplining a child he loves in order to make me more like Jesus. God is not lax on sin. Payment must be made and payment has been made, once and for all in Christ. So today, God does not count my sins against me and he has even gone a step further to give me the righteousness of Christ and made me an ambassador of that message.