Monday, February 1, 2010

Another Video Link

Life has been crazy and i am taking a break from posting, but a good friend posted this link and i can't help but pass it on. It is a cover of David Crowder's "How He loves us" by Kim walker

Monday, November 30, 2009

Our Kinsmen Redeemer

So it has been a while since my last post. Life has been crazy but, this rocks my world!

There are arguments that say the God of the Old Testament is different from the God of the New Testament. I beg to differ. The Old Testament shows many prefiguring’s of the New Testament Savior. My case in point will observe the book of Ruth. This is the same true One and Only God who has always been displayed. The kinsmen redeemer named Boaz was a prefiguring of the redeemer to come. There are several aspects that enlighten one to see this resemblance. Culturally there were certain criteria to be met to ensure that the kinsmen could redeem a particular piece of property. If a family member died another member of the family could take ownership of a particular piece of property to ensure that it did not leave the family. The same is true today when a family member leaves something in their will, but back then they did not have such a thing. Instead a piece of property could be claimed by the closest member of the family without a contract.

The same is true with God and His redemption of His property that was cut off from Him by sin. God owns this universe and it was put do death by sin. He had to have a kinsmen redeemer that could claim the right to His property. Several things must be taken into consideration for this to happen and we see this from the story of Ruth.

The kinsmen redeemer must be -

Related to the individual by blood (Mat 26:28 represents the blood of Christ which represents His poured out life. Rom. 3:25, 5:9) Jesus had to be related to us or connected to us by blood that is why He took on human form. It was not a heritage identification it was a human blood connection. Just as OT sacrifice needed and unblemished animal to sacrifice, we needed His perfect blood.

Free, not a slave – Jesus was not in debt to sin and He was not a slave to sin (John 8:46, Heb 6:15) this is why we can’t save ourselves. (Romans 3:23, 6:16)

Able to pay the price of redemption – (Mat. 28:18) Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth. His perfect blood could cover the cost of sin. (1 Cor. 6:20) Tells us we were bought at a price and Jesus paid that bill. He even tells us that through Him is the only way to redemption. (John 14:6)

Willing to pay the price – Back in the story the first redeemer didn’t want to pay the price. (Mat. 26:42) Jesus cries out to the Father for another way out and how does He respond? Not my will but yours. In other words, I’ll do it if it is the only way. Jesus was willing to pay the ultimate price.

Prepared to marry the widow – (Rev. 19:7) prepares us for when the bride (church) and the bridegroom (Lamb) will be united. This was the reason that the closer redeemer in Ruth didn’t want to redeem the estate. He didn’t want to endanger his own estate by marrying a foreigner. Christ has taken the final position of bridegroom and fulfilled the requirements of the redeemer.

Christ was not a physical redeemer that allowed us to keep an earthly estate. He is the redeemer that allows us to claim our heavenly estate with the Father. The thing that blows my mind more than anything is that Christ didn’t have to redeem us if He didn’t want to. This is what makes this so meaningful. He could have backed out at anytime. But Mat. 16:23 shows us where His heart is. Jesus Christ was willing to lay down His life and pay the ultimate price for sin. I don’t think that we will ever be able to fully comprehend the love of God.

So who do you belong to? Are you willing to accept the kinsmen request to be brought back into the family? Will you venture out on your own and see where it lands you? God is willing to take you back, are you willing to enter into His offer?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Living Parable

When Jesus taught His disciples He often spoke in parables. This is a parable that God used to teach me with an encounter I had with Him. Years ago I was trying to figure out what God wanted for my life and what I should do career wise. I was praying and asking God what He wanted for my life, but never heard anything back. I had graduated the police academy and was looking for a job with an agency and was also being offered a job in the church as a student pastor. I wanted to make the right choice career wise so that I would be in the center of God’s will and direction for my life, but was not sure what to do so I decided to go on a prayer walk for my quiet time and seek God.

I opted to do what I like to call walking in God’s garden. I love nature and am completely amazed by how creative God is in the creation of the universe we live in. I decided to take the day off work and go to Honeymoon Island and walk their nature trail. On my way there I meant to stop and get bug spray because it was the middle of the summer and I knew that the mosquito’s would be out, but forgot to do so. As I began to walk the trail I started to get bit by mosquitos. I walked faster but could not get away from them. I was now frustrated not only by the fact that I was getting eaten up but was itchy, sore and mad because they were distracting me from my time alone with God.

I was fixated on the idea that I came to get close to God but could not because of the bugs that were biting me. I became even more frustrated because this was supposed to be a solemn time alone with me and God and could not understand why God would allow these pesky bugs to attack me when I was trying to spend time alone with Him. I finally made it through the trail and was pretty mad and found a picnic table out of the woods alone and sat down and opened my Bible thinking this would be the time when I would be left alone to hear God speak to me. I was not there for a minute when I got bit again. Frustrated, I slammed my Bible closed and left to go get bug spray so I could concentrate.

After dousing myself with bug spray I entered the trail again hoping to be left alone so I could admire God’s creation and hear him speak to me. I begin to walk the trail again and it is late afternoon and the sun is going down and the bugs are really starting to come out. I stopped to watch this owl family up in the tree for a minute. There was a baby with the mom and dad. It was a pretty cool scene. But before I moved on I looked around and it was like a mosquito wall surrounding me. I reached my arm into the wall of mosquitoes and they would move away. I was as if I had a force field around me that they couldn’t penetrate. This is when God began to speak to me. He said I have been trying to talk to you this whole time but you couldn’t hear me because you have not been protecting yourself from sin like you knew you needed to. Just like you knew you needed the bug spray to protect you from the mosquitoes and didn’t and got eaten alive. You also knew that you should be protecting yourself from sin and you haven’t and you have been letting yourself get eaten alive by sin.

This was like a punch right between the eyes. I remember thinking “wait a second God. I didn’t come here so that you could call me out on my sin. I came so you could give me direction.” This was a very harsh reality for me to come to and to this day I will never forget it. There much more to this story but the question I have is what are you doing to protect yourself so that you do not get eaten alive by sin. What is it that you know you need to do but are not doing and is this hindering you from hearing God speak to you? For me I honestly say that it was. Are you in the same boat? If so what will you do? God spoke to me clearly and I heard His voice of direction when I finally put the defenses back up His voice was not muzzled by the world. Maybe you have been there or maybe you are there now. Stop and put on the full protection/armor of God so that you can hear Him lead you where He wants you to be.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Honesty... it can make or break you... stepping out on a limb

So my grandmother had a heart attack this week and can no longer live alone. She needs supervision, but she owns a house that is close to Orlando FL. My parents asked me if I would like to live there for security purposes to make sure the house does not get broken into. My first reaction was heck no! But is this a new opportunity for me to reach a new community? Is this what God wants for my life? Can I honestly say I am confused? Can I post all the questions revolving in my head?

I don’t think I can, but the question is what does God wants for me? So confused! Anyone ever been there? I think I may be a missionary overseas. I also think I may be a missionary to my Jerusalem. I wish God was clearer and didn’t rely on faith. Life would be so much easier.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Retribution Theology Fails

In my years of schooling I have become all too familiar with retribution theology. The idea says that if something bad happens to a Christ follower it is because you are out of bounds with God and that is His punishment on you. The only problem with that is it is not a Biblical concept. It is easy to come to the conclusion that bad things happen to those who are at odds with God but scripture does not teach that at all. While sometimes it can mean punishment for a repetitive action that is not always the case. Those who are strict legalists say that when something bad happens it is because you have done something wrong, but that does not answer the question as to why bad things happen to people who are chasing after God with all their heart.

The Bible does teach that when a Christ follower is in sin they can expect punishment from their Father. The bible says that Christ followers are adopted into God’s family through Jesus Christ and we are His children and just as a parent disciplines their children, so does God. But is that always the case? I beg to differ. I think of Job who was considered righteous in God’s eyes yet, he went through a very rough time that cost him his family. Job was confronted by three friends who said that he must have sinned against God and this was his punishment. They persisted to patronize him and tell him to confess this hidden sin so that God would redeem him.

The dialogue goes back and forth for quite some time before a man named Elihu comes on scene and rebukes Job’s friends. (With friends like that who needs enemies) In Job’s frustration of his friend’s accusations and his redemption from Elihu he demands God give him an answer for his problems. A long story short, God puts Job back in his place and restores him with a new family. How often do we do this with members in the church today? “Oh something bad happened; you must have done something wrong…” Not so much in my opinion and my studies of what the Bible teaches. While this may be the case it is not an absolute truth.

I say all of this because of a horror story I heard from my dad who recently conducted a funeral and was confronted by a person who challenged as to why he could offer hope to people because this was clearly God’s judgment on the person and family who lost a loved one. The victim was an infant that slipped and fell and died. It absolutely rips me apart to say this, but this person said that this was God’s judgment on the person and family because they were not living a life that brought God glory. It hurts me even more because I know them personally.

If retribution theology is indeed God’s judgment on those out of bounds with Him then I am in bad shape and you might be too. My truck died recently and I had to replace the engine, I had to shut down my business because the economy went south, I work at a job that I can barely get by, I broke my toe last week and missed some work, I feel numb in my relationship with God, He seems so distant and I want to yell at Him… I could go on but I kinda feel like Job. I want to scream and yell at God and demand an answer. He owes it to me, right? Not so much. Is it because I am out of bounds with Him? Or simply something He is putting me through something like He did Job?

The problem with retribution theology is that it is based on actions and Jesus says that it is not what you do but what you believe that gives you hope. Those who focus on actions are Pharisees. They focused on what you looked like and not what was inside. Jesus even called them out and called them white washed tombs full of dead men’s bones. We cannot impose the doctrines of man on people and expect them to live up to God’s standards. Jesus said follow me. That means even in the hard times but that does not mean that when bad things happen you are not following Him.

We must stop this pharisaic attitude and stop judging people by what is happening in their life. If you do then you are one of Job’s friends and you can expect God to call you out for your wrong accusations. (hopping off my soap box)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Being Mission's Minded

I spent two 2 days at the mission’s conference at Trinity College Of Florida talking to mission’s organizations and missionaries. I love hearing about what God is doing around the world and opportunities to partner with people who are reaching out to those who have never had a chance to hear the Gospel. There were different workshops to go attend from various organizations all talking about different ways they were reaching out to the lost, the particular people groups they were focusing on and how God was working through them to break down ethnic/racial/cultural barriers to further the Kingdom.

The main speaker was Gary Peterson from Wycliffe Bible Translators. Their goal is to translate the Bible into every language so that all have the opportunity to hear and read about salvation through Christ. He is an amazing man of God and unfortunately put some things out there that are true about Christianity today. Not all Christians share this same passion to reach out to those who have never heard the Gospel. They are selfish and fixated on themselves and their own circumstances. Gary said that he could not count the times that he has heard people say “I just wish Jesus would come back today and get us out of this mess so all the problems would just go away.” Essentially saying “It’s all about me and how bad I have it, I don’t care about the rest of the world, and I want my life to be rainbows and sunshine.”

Don’t get me wrong. I look forward to the day Christ returns. That is the hope I live for and the promise that He gave us. But until that time comes I want to make the most of every opportunity I have to share the Gospel with those who are lost and doomed to judgment on the day Christ does return. I don’t want to think about how bad I have it because I know what my eternal destiny has in store for me. I want to be focused and centered on those who have no hope and offer it to them. I actually don’t want Christ to come for a while because we have a lot of work to do in taking the Gospel to every tribe and nation. There are also friends and family that I want to see in the Kingdom. Until everyone has a chance to hear and respond I don’t want Christ to come.

We have to get past ourselves and realize that it is our responsibility to bring reconciliation to this world. Christians have a hope that allows us not to be concerned with our circumstances because we know where we will be when it is all said and done. Let us leave this selfish attitude behind and begin to focus on the work God has called us to do. The problem today is no different than in Luke 10. The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Quit worrying about your earthly problems and focus on the eternal judgment that is coming to this world. Christ has come and He is coming again. Let us not hope for His second coming until we have completed the work He has given us.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Authorial Intent

When it comes to reading the Bible one has to be very careful not to use it as book of pithy statements that you choose from to offer comfort to someone who is struggling with something. Context is the key to understanding the Bible. The problem is that in order to understand context most of the time you have to read the entire book. The writers of the Bible were not writing random thoughts that came to mind. They were writing a story and the only way to understand a story is to read the entire thing. Let’s be reasonable. Imagine you picked up a 50 page book (very small for a book) and randomly opened it and read a paragraph and concluded that within that paragraph you knew what the book was about. That is complete nonsense. Yet somehow we do this with the Bible.

One of the best ways to understand context is as you read and you see a recurring theme or idea make note of it and trace it through the entire book. As you read the Bible you will see things being repeated over and over again because the author wants you to pay close attention to them. They are keys to understanding what he wants to say and you to understand. Once you have traced the theme through a book you will begin to see breaks in thought and transitions into other concepts or ideas. After you have done all this you can make a purpose statement about why the author wrote this book based on the themes you have traced through it. Once you have a purpose statement you can compliment it by emphasizing the reason you chose this purpose based on the themes you have seen throughout the book.

To help illustrate what I mean I have gone through the book of Mark and traced 3 themes, outlined it, and made a purpose and compliment statement. Since blogger will not let me insert rows and columns you will have to click on the picture to enlarge it.

Outline of Mark
Introduction 1:1-20
1. John the Baptist’s ministry 1-8
2. Jesus baptized and tempted 9-12
3. Jesus calls His first disciples 13-20

Beginning of Jesus’ ministry, His authority and majesty unveiled 1:21-3:19
1. Cast out demon and heal many 1:21-34
2. Jesus gets alone with the Father in prayer 1:35-39
3. Healing of leper and paralytic 1:40-2:12
4. Call of Matthew 2:13-17
5. Pharisees confront Jesus 2:18-6
6. The crowds come to Jesus for healing 3:7-12
7. Jesus selects the 12 Apostles 3:13-19

Jesus takes His message to the multitudes 3:20-6:56
1. Teaching with parables 4:1-34
2. Supreme power and authority revealed 4:35-5:43
3. Disciples sent on first mission 6:6b-13
4. 500 fed and walking on water 6:30-56

Jesus on His second mission to take His message to all 7:1-10:52
1. Rebuking of Pharisees for religious practices 7:1-23
2. 4000 fed and faith of apostles challenged 8:1-21
3. How to enter the kingdom 10:13-31

Surrender to God 11:1-14:42
1. Jesus ransacks the Temple 11:12-25
2. What are you willing to pay 12:1-44
3. The end is coming 13:1-37
4. Christ surrenders His life to the Father 14:32-42

Death, burial, and resurrection 14:43-16:20
1. Jesus arrested 14:43-51
2. Jesus on trial 14:53-15:20
3. Crucifixion 15:21-41
4. Burial 15:42-47
5. Resurrection 16:1-20

Epilogue 16:9-20
1. Jesus reunited with disciples 16:9-14
2. Jesus sends them to preach to the nations 16:15-20

Subject compliment statement for Mark

Purpose: To show the deity of Jesus through teachings and miracles and the faith required to enter the Kingdom of God.

Several times Jesus calls His disciples out for their lack of faith. These men traveled with Jesus and saw the amazing things that He did and they still lacked faith at times. (Mark 4:40, 16:14) Jesus emphasis on faith is shown clearly as to be the source of healing. (Mark 1:40, 2:5, 9:23) These verses show that the key principle to enter the Kingdom of God is faith. The people had to believe Jesus could do what they were asking Him to do. All this was done to show the deity of Christ and His authority to rule the earth. These miracles were the key to Christ’s deity. If He were not Christ He would not have been able to do or say what He did. Even the demons recognized who Jesus was and He shut their mouths as to not spoil His ministry. (Mark 1:24-25) Jesus came to show His authority, teach the way to Heaven, and show that the key to the door is faith.