Tuesday, December 1, 2009

When You Don’t Feel Like It, Take Heart

Encouraged by this article by Jon Bloom. Enjoy!

Did you wake up not feeling like reading your Bible and praying? How many times today have you had to battle not feeling like doing things you know would be good for you?

While it’s true that this is our indwelling sin that we must repent of and fight against, there’s more going on.

Think about this strange pattern that occurs over and over in just about every area of life:

  • Good food requires discipline to prepare and eat while junk food tends to be the most tasty, addictive, and convenient.
  • Keeping the body healthy and strong requires frequent deliberate discomfort while it only takes constant comfort to go to pot.
  • You have to make yourself pick up that nourishing theological book while watching a movie can feel so inviting.
  • You frequently have to force yourself to get to devotions and prayer while sleeping, reading the sports, and checking Facebook seems effortless.
  • To play beautiful music requires thousands of hours of tedious practice.
  • To excel in sports requires monotonous drills ad nauseum.
  • It takes years and years of schooling just to make certain opportunities possible.

This goes on and on.

The pattern is this: the greater joys are obtained through struggle and pain, while brief, unsatisfying, and often destructive joys are right at our fingertips. Why is this?

Read the rest of the article here.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Can a True Christian Believe the Prosperity Gospel?

I had never really posed this question before but it is entirely appropriate to ask. Listen to Pastor John's response, a response that humbled my perspective.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Maturation is an inspiration

One of the greatest thrills of working with youth, for me, is getting to see them mature in their walks with Christ. I've been particularly encouraged by my middle school girls who moved up last September from the children's ministry to my Sunday School class. Some of them started off as quite a handful. I butted heads with them a few times and even reduced a couple to tears...but I genuinely love these girls. I'm so happy to see how they are growing and stepping out in obedience to Christ. They did a wonderful job leading in our recent Backyard Bible Club and they'll soon be heading out to Arizona for our church's mission trip. I pray that this mission trip is a challenging time that brings about growth in them for God's glory. I can't wait to see what happens!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sending and Going

Many people criticize the effectiveness versus the cost of sending missionaries from the West to other places in the world, particularly Short-Term Missionaries. These brief trips are painted as glorified vacations by their detractors. That's a whole other topic, though I'll say briefly that I am wholeheartedly in favor of appropriately planned short-term mission trips. The DG blog gives a brief rundown of why we should still be sending and going.

If you can't sufficiently counter each of their five points, why aren't you sending and going?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Stem Cell Research

I haven't posted in a while because of my position change and just the general busyness of ministry, school, and fulltime work. I did want to share this article that I read this morning. It is a telling sign of our future under President Obama. Please pray for our President, that he will make wise decisions that honor God and promote respect for and appreciation of human life.

The telling article from the Wall Street Journal

Monday, January 5, 2009

I'm a horrible blogger

My recounting this entire lesson below has two purposes. First, it helps to further explain why I'm a horrible blogger and second, I hope it is a quick encouragement to you from a Jr. High SS lesson to spend daily time with God.

Yesterday in Sunday School, the Junior High class addressed the question of why we should spend time with God. I modified the curriculum a bit but here's a quick run-through of the lesson. We began the lesson by discussing the statement, "If something is important to us, we will make time for it." All the students agreed with this statement and we talked about examples of eating, spending time with friends, brushing our teeth, showering, etc. We discussed how God is the most important thing in life and thus, we should make time for Him.

To address the question of "Why spend time with God," we talked about how God wants to be our friend (John 15:13-16) and then moved into how a friendship with God is different than any other sort of friendship. He's always truthful, never lets us down, always does what is right, and unconditionally loves us. The main difference between our friendship with God and our friendship with anyone else is that He's the omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, holy God and so, unlike any other friend we might have, He deserves our worship and our obedience. Verse 14 (I believe it was...I don't have a Bible in front of me right now) talks about how if we are His friend, we'll follow His commands. We looked at Psalm 23 and discussed how God is not only our friend but our shepherd and so He guides us, provides for us, and protects us.

We wrapped up by talking about how, if God is the most important thing in life, we must be intentional to spend time with Him. The students said it was hard to find time for God because they are so busy, at which point, we alluded back to the opening statement of "If something is important to us, we will make time for it." We discussed ways to help us purposefully spend time with Him, not just give Him the spare moments we might have throughout the day. Those ways included things like
  • having a specified time to set aside and read God's Word and pray
  • following some type of Bible reading plan
  • having accountability from friends and maybe even following the same reading plan so the passages read can be discussed
  • writing notes on the mirror as a reminder to spend time with Him
  • making associations between things we do everyday (like brush our teeth or shower) and spending time with God so we are sure to be reminded of it

If we spend time with God, who is our friend and desires to guide us, we will grow to mirror more of His character and less of the world's. The entire month's series involves studying this topic in its various aspects. It's a great way to start off the new year with the right focus and perspective.

So, I summarized all of this to state the obvious at this point: blogging is not a priority in my life and so I haven't made time for it. I am sorry to those handful of readers we have out there. I'll try to post brief updates for those friends and family who do not live in the area.

The way we spend our time reflects, in large part, what is most important in our lives. What is your time reflecting?

Oh, and a quick update on a previous blog. I might have to go back to "hovering" because these girls are not exhibiting the maturity they so boldly claimed to have. Awww....the joys of youth work. :)