Sunday, June 30, 2013

Celebrating an Ordination

Today we were honored to be present for the ordination of our son--in-law, Zane Hartfield, to the ministry at Grace Temple Church. (Twitter @gracetemple) We were totally impressed by the instructions and charge given by Pastor Dwayne Higgason.

May Zane's sphere of work and ministry be wide and broad, but may his walk with God be even deeper still.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Coffee Shop Service

Sign on the wall at one of my favorite coffee shops. Just one more reason I really like this place!

"Whatever you do, do your work with excellence as for the Lord rather than for men." (Col. 3:23) 


Friday, June 28, 2013

Resolutions for Christian Husbands

  1. I will tame my tongue. When it comes to my wife, I need to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger.
  2. I will talk to my wife the way I would if a special and important person were visiting my home.
  3. I will always be upbeat and positive in my interactions with my wife. I am not called to critique her. I am called to love and accept her.
  4. I won’t use my words to try to take from her. I will just give and bless, thinking about what she needs, not what I need.
  5. I will strive to serve my wife every day.
  6. I will win my wife’s heart so she, in turn, will want to be mine.
  7. Just as divorce is not an option with me, I want that same reality to be true for negativity or harshness with my wife. It is not an option for me to be harsh with my wife. Not under any circumstance. Ever.
  8. I will sow seeds of righteousness by consistently committing to walk with the Lord. God will give me the power to bear this fruit and love my wife wholeheartedly.

Hat Tip: Kingdom People

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Perspective on Marriage Rulings

The Supreme Court's rulings yesterday on marriage were a disappointment to me - Expected, but still disappointing. However, these two tweets from Ray Ortlund put things in some perspective:
26 JunThe Supreme Court did not rule today that you and I cannot have Christ- honoring marriages. So let's get after it!
26 Jun
A prophetic statement we can make today: flaming hot life-long heterosexual marriages to make the world stand in awe.
So Christians, let's live it and demonstrate it to proclaim it!

Community of Fractured People

"We've seen how beautiful it can be to follow Jesus into this new way of being human. But one of the things I like the most about Jesus is how much He loves humanity in its brokenness. If He was surrounded by fractured people then, why would we expect it to be any different now? I actually think it is a larger mistake when we Christians attempt to pretend that our lives are more together than they really are in order to 'manage our image' before the broader culture. Come look at our perfect church and our perfect family. And if you join us, maybe one day you, too, can have a perfect life. That kind of spin is a breeding ground for disappointment."

- Jonathan Martin in Prototype: What Happens When You Discover That You Are More Like Jesus Than You Think, page 190

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Our Identity Foundation

"The Christian life is built upon the foundation of (1) facing who you really are and (2) trusting who Christ truly is. Everything you do will be shaped by the degree to which you act on the blessings that are yours in Christ.

If you only look at yourself and carry around a load of guilt, you will hide, excuse, blame, rationalize, and cover up your shame rather than enjoy the freedom of confession and the joy of forgiveness. You will not enjoy the lasting fruit that comes from following the wisdom that is already yours in Christ! Instead, you will reduce the Christian life to a simplistic list of rules and behaviors that never touch the real problems, and you will be blind to the gaps in your relationship to Christ. "

— Timothy S. Lane and Paul David Tripp, How People Change,, page 65

The Communion of the Broken

"When Jesus offered up His own body and blood for the world, He spread a table for the outcast and the broken. We come to the table not because we are holy, but because we are in need of His holiness. We come to the table not because we are strong, but because we are weak and in need of His strength."

- Jonathan Martin in Prototype: What Happens When You Discover That You Are More Like Jesus Than You Think, page 165

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Robes, Incense and Baptists

Baptists with bishops, robes and incense? From an interesting article at CT Magazine........
"There is a solemn procession to the altar. The choir is chanting. A bishop in a long, black robe and a full, gray beard swings an incense burner back and forth. We bow. We cross ourselves. It's a typical Sunday service at the Evangelical Baptist Church of Georgia.
"Yes. Baptist."
That is how Cuttino Alexander, an American pastor, recently described worship at the Evangelical Baptist Church of Georgia (EBCG), a denomination famous for its unusual method of contextualizing the gospel. The man behind those efforts: Malkhaz Songulashvili, archbishop of the EBCG.
For many citizens, being Georgian means being Orthodox; 82 percent of Georgia's 4.5 million citizens identify as Orthodox. Songulashvili, a Georgia native, says he could have created "a Baptist church for Baptists, or a Baptist church for Georgians." He chose the latter. Call it the seeker-sensitive approach in the former Soviet state.
Songulashvili claims a total community of 17,000, making it the largest Protestant denomination in Georgia. [Editor's note: According to the East-West Church and Ministry Report, statistics from Operation World give 2010 figures of 5,796 Evangelical Christian-Baptist members for Georgia, with a larger number including affiliates of 15,600.] Brian Wolf, a dissenting Georgia missionary with International Gospel Outreach, puts the number much lower, at about 2,000 adult members. Yet its contextual model is powerful. "I know of no other Baptist union or convention in the world that has exegeted its context for ministry as brilliantly and powerfully as [the EBCG]," claims Baptist theologian John Sundquist....

Empowered to Touch

"...The same Spirit that rested on Him [Jesus} is now available to us -available to touch through us. The Spirit was not given to make us private mystics. The Spirit wasn't given to help us escape the world. The Spirit was given to empower us to become God's touch for His creation, right here, and right now. Paul's language that we are the body of Christ was not an elegant metaphor, but a statement of fact. When we touch the splendid shambles of the bodies around us, they receive a touch from Him."

- Jonathan Martin in Prototype: What Happens When You Discover That You Are More Like Jesus Than You Think, page 148

Monday, June 24, 2013

Interesting Bible Facts You Should Know

1. The English word Bible is derived from the Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία (ta biblia - "the books"). While Christian use of the term can be traced to around A.D. 223, the late biblical scholar F.F. Bruce noted that Chrysostom in his Homilies on Matthew (between A.D. 386 and 388) appears to be the first writer to use the Greek phrase ta bibliato describe both the Old and New Testaments together.
2. The word "testament" (Hebrew berîth, Greek diatheke), means "covenant." The term "Old Testament" refers to the covenant which God entered into with Abraham and the people of Israel, and "New Testament" to the covenant God has entered into with believers through Christ.
3. The practice of dividing the Bible into chapters began with Stephen Langton, an Archbishop of Canterbury in the early 13th century. Robert Estienne, a 16th-century printer and classical scholar in Paris, was the first to print the Bible divided into standard numbered verses.
4. The first complete Bible printed in the Western Hemisphere was not in English or other Europeans languages. The "Eliot Indian Bible," published in Cambridge, Massachusetts, between 1660 and 1663, was a translation in the Natick dialect of the Algonquin tribe of indigenous Americans. There were no English language Bibles printed in America until the late 1700's, mainly because they were more cheaply and easily imported from England up until the embargo of the Revolutionary War.
5. The first red-letter New Testament (i.e., words of Christ printed in red) was published in 1899, and the first red-letter Bible followed two years later. The idea of printing the words of Christ in red originated with Lous Klopsch, editor of Christian Herald magazine, who got the idea after reading Jesus' words, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you" (Luke 22:20).
6. The Bible is not only the best-selling book of all-time, it is consistently the best-selling book of the the year, every year. (Even in 1907, the New York Times noted that the "daily sales of the Bible, 40,000 copies, exceed the annual sales of most popular novels.") Currently, an estimated 25 million copies are sold or distributed in the U.S. every year, approximately one new Bible for every 12 Americans.
6. According to the Christian Booksellers Association, the most popular versions (ranked based on dollar sales) are: (1) New International Version, (2) King James Version, (3) New Living Translation, (4) New King James Version, (5) English Standard Version, (6) Common English Bible, (7) Holman Christian Standard Bible, (8) Reina Valera 1960, (9) New American Standard, and (10) New International Readers Version.
6. There are two general approaches to Bible translation, formal equivalence and functional equivalence. Formal equivalence seeks to reproduce the grammatical and syntactical form of the donor language as closely as possible in the receptor language, making only such changes as are necessary for intelligibility. Functional equivalence focuses on the meaning and attempts to accurately communicate the same meaning in the receptor language, even if doing so requires using different grammatical and syntactical forms. As Rodney J. Decker explains, all translations include both formal and functional equivalents and thus fall on a different part of the translation spectrum (e.g., KJV, and ESV are more formal while the New Living Translation is more functional).
9. All the books of the Old Testament except Esther, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon are quoted in the New Testament. Jesus quoted or made references from Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Psalms, Proverbs, 1 Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Amos, Jonah, Micah, Zechariah, and Malachi.

Shine Through Me

A prayer of Mother Teresa:
Dear Jesus, 
Help me to spread Thy fragrance everywhere I go. 
Flood my soul with Thy spirit and love. 
Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that all my life may only be a radiance of Thine. 
Shine through me and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel Thy presence in my soul. 
Let them look up and see no longer me but only Jesus. 
Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as you shine, so to shine as to be a light to others. 
From The Life and Prayers of Mother Teresa, by Wyatt North

Sunday, June 23, 2013

A God Who Can Be Touched

"The scandal of God in the flesh is that, in Jesus, we behold the God who can be touched....Yet the same apocalyptic terror, the same blinding holiness that was present on Mount Sinai is present on the Mount of Transfiguration, where Jesus for only a moment reveals to His disciples the same Sinai glory of the Exodus narrative. Once again, there is thunder, lightning and smoke. Once again, God's people cower in terror at the sight of it. But unlike the ancient story, that same Sinai presence reaches out and physically touches the disciples. 'Don't be afraid,' Jesus says. In Moses' story, you might die simply by touching the mountain. When the sensuous God is fully revealed in Jesus Christ, you now touch not only the mountain, but the God who formed it."

- Jonathan Martin in Prototype: What Happens When You Discover That You Are More Like Jesus Than You Think, page 144

Friday, June 21, 2013

Doubting in the Direction of Jesus

Some thoughts on "Doubting Thomas" from Jonathan Martin in Prototype: What Happens When You Discover That You Are More Like Jesus Than You Think:
"...there are many reasons to be cynical, and more than enough reasons to choose not to believe. Believing in a love that overcomes death is not soft and sentimental; it will always be a hard thing. Luckily, we aren't required to have perfect faith. There is more than enough room for hopeful doubters who, like Thomas, are drawn to reach out and grasp, to touch, rather than to just walk away. Perhaps the difference between 'doubting Thomas' and a 'cynical Thomas' is that Thomas doubted in the direction of Jesus, rather than away from Him. That makes all the difference." (page 137) 
"...We take our fears and our doubts and our dreams, and we toss them in the general direction of Jesus to do with as He sees fit. That's close enough." (page 139)

The Loudness of Soul That Deafens

Below is an excerpt from a poem entitled Trial's Cry by Sheryl Fowler, based on Job 29:2  -“Oh, that I were as in the months of old, as in the days when God watched over me."

Oh, how we long for yesterday, when in the midst of the test
and Trial; we cry for the days of yore
If we could only go back to when the Lord was close, the
tears were dry, and the pain was no more
The test is a desert so hot and dry, loneliness is our companion
and a stillness of the hovering heavens
It’s a place where we come face to face with our inner being, a
loudness of our own soul that deafens…

Please read the rest at the link. Her phrase "a loudness of our own soul that deafens" haunts me. I'm currently going through something - a searching of my heart and soul over the need for quietness and silence to be able to hear the voice of God more clearly.

My world is loud - and it is mostly my fault. The noise of radio, TV and music, and the silent noise of on-line connectivity, is overwhelming. 

Help me, Lord, to learn quietness so that I can listen and hear.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Ask Yourself These Four Questions

Thought provoking questions to ask yourself - from Pete Wilson:
Years ago I did a message in a series called “Dream Job” that was entitled “Your Path to Purpose”. Walking the path of purpose  requires you to answer four very important questions. These questions were inspired from a fabulous book I read years ago by Dr. Dan Allender entitled “to be told”. I highly recommend it.
I believe to really find the deepest purposes for which you exist, you must be able to answer the following questions.
1. Who Am I To Serve?Your deepest purposes must bring good to someone who is without justice, reconciliation, or hope. It might be abused women, orphans in Africa, or business men who don’t know Christ.
2. Where Am I To Be?What is the primary context where I will serve the people I’ve been called to love?
3. What Burden Am I To Bear?This is so important!! Everyone of you reading this right now is called to battle some unique effects of the Fall.  Don’t just blow by this. Stop for a moment and think about this… there’s a problem in this world that brings you to tears or makes you downright angry. What is it?
4. How Am I To Engage?Your engagement to the problem might be to pray, administrate, teach, serve, lead, paint, sing, confront, repair or nurture. EACH of us will do what we do with a style which reveals something about God in a way that no one else can.
This is not meant to be a guilt inducing question but I’m wondering…
How far are you down the path of purpose? Can you answer these questions?

The Divinely Commissioned Orchestra

"The gospel isn’t meant for just me in my room. The beautiful music that comes from God’s people gathered in worship and united in service isn’t meant to be performed by one person in one place. The declaration that Jesus is Lord sounds most glorious when it is proclaimed through his church. When we tailor the gospel only for individuals and make the message solely about a private religious experience, we wind up with a “cassette-tape gospel” that captures a sliver of the message but cannot do justice to the glorious melody of Christ’s lordship playing all throughout creation. It is true that the church is made up of individuals who believe that Jesus is Lord. But together we form the called-out community of faith: the church—an orchestra divinely commissioned to play the music that proclaims salvation in Jesus Christ alone. "

            -Trevin Wax, Holy Subversion: Allegiance to Christ in an Age of Rivals

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Accountable to Enjoy

"There’s an old rabbinical saying that never ceases to challenge me. 'God will one day hold us each accountable for all the things he created for us to enjoy but we refused to do so.'"

Wayne Cordeiro, Sifted: Pursuing Growth Through Trials, Challenges & Disappointments 

Scars a Resource for Healing

"As the prototype for a new way  of being human, and as the one who awakens us to our true selves, Jesus shows us how our scars can become a resource for healing, instead of a source of shame. That's not to say that whenever we bring our suffering to Jesus, everything is easily or magically healed and we will never feel the pain again. But it does mean that even in the darkest moments there is yet a blessing - a deep revelation of our belovedness that is as profound as the hurt that we feel."

Prototype: What Happens When You Discover That You Are More Like Jesus Than You Think, by Jonathan Martin, page 109

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Presence of the God Who Suffers

"When we have suffered profoundly, we are given something much better than answers for 'why.' We are given the presence of a God who suffers and who makes His own wounds a resource for our healing."

Prototype: What Happens When You Discover That You Are More Like Jesus Than You Think, by Jonathan Martin, page 97

Embrace Your Scars

"..that's the beauty, or genius, of Jesus' whole new way of being human - in Him, our scars are no longer a source of shame. In fact (and this is perhaps the most revolutionary part), our scars, in a sense, authenticate us. After Christ's resurrection, the disciples were able to recognize Him by His scars. the wounds inflicted on Him on the cross told a story that the world needed to hear.

This is part of what it means to follow Jesus in becoming people from the future: We become the kind of people who no longer have to hide their scars. Our scars reveal who we are. The fact that we have experienced profound suffering in life- the fact that we carry what may seem to be unsightly scars,- does not disqualify us from following Jesus,. It may be precisely what qualifies us."

Prototype: What Happens When You Discover That You Are More Like Jesus Than You Think, by Jonathan Martin, page 89

"There is no wound so grotesque that it cannot become a resource for healing. That's the way of the future. The world we live in tells us to hide our scars, to pretend we are stronger and more beautiful than we are. The new world God is creating through us is one in which scars are displayed like merit badges instead of hidden under makeup. We don't conceal our scars because our scars are our story, and our story, however broken, is a story of the tenderness of God."

Prototype: What Happens When You Discover That You Are More Like Jesus Than You Think, by Jonathan Martin, page 107

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Journey Continues on Facebook

All the content from this blog can also be found on Facebook. Just "like" The Journeyman's Files page... and you don't even have to "friend" me to read it.

Seeing Beauty

"...You can spot people who don't know Jesus very well because the world they see is always ugly. Even if they use all sorts of religious language, don't be misled - people who get touched by Jesus don't ignore the hurt and pain in the world, and yet they see so much beauty in it. They see beauty because they see the future breaking into the present. They see both the beauty in the broken people around them and the beauty that is yet to come when they know their identity as the beloved...."

Prototype: What Happens When You Discover That You Are More Like Jesus Than You Think, by Jonathan Martin, page 76

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Our Portion Among the Saints

May God the Father,
and the eternal High Priest Jesus Christ,
build us up in faith and truth and love,
and grant us our portion among the saints
with all those who believe on our Lord Jesus Christ.
We pray for all saints,
for kings and rulers,
for the enemies of the cross of Christ,
and for ourselves we pray that our fruit may abound
and we may be made perfect in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

    - Polycarp (Bishop & Martyr, 2nd Century AD)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

He Will Fulfill His Purpose for Me

He is with the lowly, and He will fulfill His purpose for me.

One of my favorite Scripture passages.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Links Worth a Look

Three list links worth checking out:
Man of Steel: 20 Reasons Why Superman Isn't Jesus
The 7 Most Important Things to Know About Money
9 Things You Should Know About Father's Day

Like Moths to a Flame

"..its seems as if everywhere Jesus went, the same people showed up: those who had no where else to go and nothing better to  do. In the Gospels, Jesus is called the light of the world. Apparently, whores and thieves and the sick and the demon-possessed are the moths He attracts."

Prototype: What Happens When You Discover That You Are More Like Jesus Than You Think, by Jonathan Martin, page 69

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Where God Sends His Favorites

"You may think your in obscurity right now because you've done something wrong.You may think you're in the wilderness because you've been cursed or abandoned by God. But if you're in the wilderness, I'd like to suggest it's because you are so desperately loved. What if you are living in obscurity because God is so intent on showing you things about yourself that you would not otherwise see and revealing things about His love that you would not otherwise know?

Obscurity is where God sends all of His favorite sons and daughters. Our society tells us that if and when we get 'there' - the job or position or degree we've always wanted, the notoriety we've always dreamed of - that's when all the important stuff will start happening. Not so. 

All the good stuff happens in obscurity."

 Prototype: What Happens When You Discover That You Are More Like Jesus Than You Think, by Jonathan Martin, pages 64-65

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Advantage of Weakness

From J.D. Greear:
...Before God can use us, He must first break us. God was breaking Elijah as a way of preparing to use him, and he is often at work in the same way in our lives. Someone we trust betrays us; or we lose our job; or we have a sudden decline in health. In all of this, God is at work—removing our idols, those areas of false trust, false joy, and false hope. Because if dependence is the objective, weakness is an advantage.
Paul said it like this: “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that power of Christ may rest on me” (2 Cor 12:9). On the face of it, that is just crazy. We do not naturally boast about being financially weak (poor), or occupationally weak (unemployed), or relationally weak (alone). But Paul boasted in his weakness because he knew that God’s miracles and his glories are found there, not in our strengths.
So rejoice in your weaknesses! And on the flip side, beware your strengths, because those are the areas you are most likely to forget God...
More at the link.

Texting While Driving  Copyright © 2011 The Zondervan Corporation

HT: Thinking Out Loud

The Gift of Wilderness

"In my attempts to go into the wilderness on my 'spiritual retreat,' I had not yet gone deep enough.I thought the object of the time was to immerse myself in prayer and Scripture. I forgot that the object was actually God, that real prayer is what happens when my head and heart are fully exposed to Him.

God hadn't drawn me into the wilderness so I could attempt to prove myself to him with religious activity (instead of the more secular activities I indulge in to prove myself to everyone else). He hadn't brought me away from the hustle and noise so I could demonstrate my spirituality to Him. He brought me out to allure me. He didn't want my performance. He wanted my attention. And at that point I don't believe He was drawing me to a place where I could talk to Him. He was drawing me to a place where He could talk to me.

Obscurity is not punishment. The wilderness is the place where our identity is solidified. the wilderness has its perils, to be sure; yet in a sense, there is no safer place. In the wilderness we find out who we really are. We find out what we are afraid of. We find out who our enemies are."

 Prototype: What Happens When You Discover That You Are More Like Jesus Than You Think, by Jonathan Martin, pages 61-62

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Narcissistic Bible Reading

From Tullian Tchvidjian at Liberate:
We often read the Bible as if it were fundamentally about us: our improvement, our life, our triumph, our victory, our faith, our holiness, our godliness. We treat it like a book of timeless principles that will give us our best life now if we simply apply those principles. We treat it, in other words, like it’s a heaven-sent self-help manual. But by looking at the Bible as if it were fundamentally about us, we totally miss the point — like the two on the road to Emmaus. As Luke 24 shows, it’s possible to read the Bible, study the Bible, and memorize large portions of the Bible while missing the whole point of the Bible. It’s entirely possible, in other words, to read the stories and miss the Story. In fact, unless we go to the Bible to see Jesus and his work for us, even our devout Bible reading can become fuel for our own narcissistic self-improvement plans, the place we go for the help we need to “conquer today’s challenges and take control of our lives.”
Contrary to popular assumptions, the Bible is not a record of the blessed good, but rather the blessed bad. That’s not a typo. The Bible is a record of the blessed bad. The Bible is not a witness to the best people making it up to God; it’s a witness to God making it down to the worst people. Far from being a book full of moral heroes to emulate, what we discover is that the so-called heroes in the Bible are not really heroes at all. They fall and fail, they make huge mistakes, they get afraid, their selfish, deceptive, egotistical, and unreliable. The Bible is one long story of God meeting our rebellion with his rescue; our sin with his salvation; our failure with his favor; our guilt with his grace; our badness with his goodness.
So, if we read the Bible asking first, “What would Jesus do?” instead of asking “What has Jesus done” we’ll miss the good news that alone can set us free.
As I’ve said before, the overwhelming focus of the Bible is not the work of the redeemed but the work of the Redeemer. Which means that the Bible is not first a recipe book for Christian living, but a revelation book of Jesus who is the answer to our unchristian living.

No Need to Prove Anything to Anyone

"...there's one way we can identify the devil's voice. It always plays to our fears. It is the voice that tells us we must do something to prove who we are, to prove that we're worthy, to prove that we are who God has already declared us to be. When we know we are loved by God, we don't have to prove anything to anyone. There is nothing we can do to make ourselves more beloved than we are."

-Jonathan Martin, Prototype: What Happens When You Discover That You Are More Like Jesus Than You Think, pages 53-54

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Gift of Obscurity

"In our culture of constant access and non-stop media, nothing feels more like a curse from God than time in the wilderness....

...If only they know that God draws people into obscurity - into the wilderness- not because He's angry with them or because they are not 'successful enough,' but because He wants to go deeper into His relationship with them. Far from being punishment, judgement, or a curse, the wilderness is a gift. It is where we can experience the primal delight of being fully known and delighted in by God."

-Jonathan Martin, Prototype: What Happens When You Discover That You Are More Like Jesus Than You Think, page 50

Friday, June 7, 2013

Links Worth a Look

Some links worth a look:
Our Unhealthy Obsessions With Pastors
John Chrysostom &  Justification by Faith
What Did Jesus Mean When He Said "Judge Not"
Weakness is an Advantage
Confession of Sin aa Idle, Lustful Babbling
A Primer on the Southern Baptist Convention, Part 1 and Part 2

Living in His Pleasure

"His [God's] voice of affirmation is not the least bit contingent on how we perform in any of our tasks, whether we are good at our jobs or even at spiritual practices. That's why it's so significant that God the Father spoke into His Son's identity before Jesus did any of the miracles or good works among the poor and marginalized. The Father's voice of love was the source from which the work of the Son would come - loving and accepting others as a natural extension of the love and blessing He had received. It could not work the other way around. He was the beloved Son in whom God was well pleased, not by whom He  was well please. That distinction is critical"

-Jonathan Martin, Prototype: What Happens When You Discover That You Are More Like Jesus Than You Think, page 49

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Love This Passage

2 Corinthians 5:17-21 - So much truth packed into one litle paragraph!

Sent from my LG Escape™, an AT&T 4G LTE smartphone

Just As If I'd....

“Even though my conscience accuses me of having grievously sinned against all God’s commandments and of never having kept any of them, and even though I am still inclined toward all evil, nevertheless, without my deserving it at all, out of sheer grace, God grants and credits to me the perfect satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ, as if I had never sinned nor been a sinner, as if I had been as perfectly obedient as Christ was obedient for me. All I need to do is to accept this gift of God with a believing heart.”

The Heidelberg Catechism   Q&A 60

HT: Of First Importance

The One Who DId Not Forget

"..But now, for the first time in human history, a man had come who really believed that He was the beloved of God, one who would always remember and would make every decision of His life based on the truth of those words.

Jesus was like us in many ways. Scripture says He was 'in all points tempted as we are.' But of all the ways He was different from us, perhaps this is the most crucial one. Jesus never forgot who He was."

-Jonathan Martin, Prototype: What Happens When You Discover That You Are More Like Jesus Than You Think, pages 43-44 (italics in the original)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

We Have Already Faced the Future

"..The world runs the way it does because we are a people of the present - people with so much to do and so much to be afraid of. When we begin to live like Jesus, people will perceive our peace as an indictment in their violence; they will see our security as an indictment on their insecurity. It is a fearful thing to behold someone who is truly human in all the ways that Jesus said we could be- precisely because we have nothing left to be afraid of. we have already faced the future, so the future is not intimidating to us anymore."

-Jonathan Martin, Prototype: What Happens When You Discover That You Are More Like Jesus Than You Think, page 19

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Noise and The Voice

The Noise & The Voice
(1 Kings 17:1, 19:11-12)

Noise is all around me,
sounds and lights, digital and real,
distracting mind and heart
with the banality of life.

Where is the Voice?
Does He still speak
even in the midst of chaos?

Speak, holy still small voice!
Enable me to hear.
Turn me from the cacophony
to the silence of your desert.

The Voice still speaks!
For you are the God
before whom I stand.

Free Audio Book - "The Explicit Gospel"

ChristianAudio.Com is offering a free download of the audio version of Matt Chandler's The Explicit Gospel. during the month of June.  I read it last year and thorougly enjoyed it. Go here to get it.

Did I mention it is FREE?

From the Future, Fully Alive in the Present

"Please understand, there are so many ways in which I am not yet like Jesus. But like Jesus, I now know my identity as God's beloved son. Like Jesus, I live with an awareness of God's presence that I didn't have before. Like Jesus, I'm now able to live unafraid of the future, because the future has already come barreling down on me. I'm learning to live more boldly, less fearfully, and less tentatively than I used to. I am more like a man from the future who is fully alive in the present."

-Jonathan Martin, Prototype: What Happens When You Discover That You Are More Like Jesus Than You Think, page 17

Monday, June 3, 2013

Want More Grace ?

..Here's a quick way to get it. From Chris Brauns: 
The Bible says that God gives grace to the humble.  Sometimes, being humble means saying “I am sorry” first. 
Think about it.  Don’t you find it relatively easy to apologize if the other person says, “I am sorry,” first?  Saying it first is sometimes hard to swallow. 
You would never claim perfection in marriage.  You just believe your spouse was more wrong; he or she ought to say “I am sorry first.”  Maybe you clattered your bowl into the kitchen sink and shut the door with a grumpy bang on your way to work this morning and left the milk out for good measure.  What silly games we play. 
Remember Proverbs 3:34 says, “God mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble.”  Let your pride go. God mocks mighty mockers, but blesses the broken. 
Do you want a special measure of God’s grace?  Here is what you do.  Flip open your phone and pound speed dial.  Follow this script, “I am sorry, I was wrong, will you please forgive me.”  Do not, I repeat, “do not,” find yourself continuing after the apology with a criticism of the other person. 
You may or may not get a corresponding apology in response.  But, you can be assured of the grace of God at work in your life.  God blesses the broken.
HT: Vitamin Z 

All Blemished in Your Eyes

                           With Empty Hands
After earth's  exile, I hope to go and enjoy you in the fatherland,
but I do not want to lay up merits for heaven.
I want to work for your love alone.....In the evening of this life,
I shall appear before you with empty hands, for I do not ask you,
Lord, to count my works. All our justice is blemished in your
eyes. I wish, then, to be clothed in your own jusice and to receive
from your love the eternal possession of yourself.
         -St Therese of Lisieux, from The Story of a Soul

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Loving Jesus More Than Theology

Mighty God,
Thank you for giving me eyes, ears, memory, and intellect. You have enabled me to see the wonder of your sovereign mercy throughout your Word. Had you not chosen me, I would not be your child. Had you not loved me first, never would I have loved you at all.
May I never be more enamored with the theology that helps me see these things clearly than with seeing you. Forgive me for the times when I have made my understanding of you and your saving ways an idol rather than an aid. When others see me, may they see a person completely captivated by your glory and humbled by your mercy.
For Jesus’ sake, amen.