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Archive for September, 2008

Here is what John says:

16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

Here is what I have seen. People travel high and low on blogs to debate about theological issues and war over which doctrine is right and wrong. Many have strong convictions about God’s truth and for that I am estatic. Those who want to uphold Orthodoxy are a critical part of keeeping the Church of Christ pure. However, there is more to the Christian Faith than Orthodoxy and that is Orthopraxy. As a matter of fact Orthodoxy-Orthopraxy=False Religon. I will go on record for that statement. Read the verse above then read what is below:

Here is the link . John says “lets us not love in word and talk, but in deed and truth”. How do we do that? By meeting the needs of other believers. I don’t know Josh from a can of paint, but what I do know is that I will spend eternity with Him in heaven. Thus he is more by brother than my physical brother. We have the same dad, though we never met. So Josh has a problem and it is his mom’s sickness and here is what he says:

The bad news: My mother, Carol, must be on an oral chemo daily for the next 7 years which we unexpectedly found out insurance will not cover. Although we fought hard to get it covered, insurance will not cover it. Currently she is paying $5,000/year out of pocket for her medications alone. And now, in addition, she needs this oral chemo which is $300/month for the next 84 months. That’s $8,600/year out of pocket with insurance just for the medicine.

I am not writing this for any type of pity party. I am just stating the facts. We need help. I have sold my vehicle to help with her previous expenses and now this. Also, my father became disabled and now earns only a fraction of what he used to.

I am asking those of you that would like to help to possibly donate $5 toward her medications. If we could get 1000 people to donate, that would take care of almost an entire year’s worth of medication. Although she must be on this medication for 7 years in total, she wants to take things one year at a time. 100% of all donations received will go directly toward her medical expenses.

I know the economy is tough, but $5 is a cup of coffee or a value meal. And it is time that we in the West stop talking about Jesus and start being the hands, feet, and body of Jesus. We can put into practice what we preach here. By sending $5. I pray that you will take this seriously as the blog is a good place to communicate truth, it also can be great tool of communicating God’s love for His family.

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Here is another thing I was talking with BLD about. I adhere to the Doctrines of Grace, but I also read my bible and I won’t let (or at least I will no longer let) theological presuppositions hinder my hermeneutic nor exposition of a text (that is why I posted the last post). So as you read the previous post here is another. I was reading through Peter and I came to this verse

17 These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm. For them the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved. 18 For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. 20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21 For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”

Now my Greek isn’t good enough to read this (hey Dr. Black I am in the verbs and stuff so I can read it I just don’t know what the heck it means LOL) or anything else for that matter and know what it means at least. So given the versions of the bible I have all of the translations pretty much translate this the same.

So my questions are:

1. What does escape mean?

2. Exactly what type of knowledge is this? Was this a knowing without faith? It is the same word used quite frequently to know for certain and sounds pretty salvific.

3. What does it mean to become entangled.

4. Finally why will it be worst than before? It seems like they were bad off, then they escaped “through the knowledge of Jesus Christ” and then they were entangled again, this second entanglement being worst that the first.

It seems if I am to take this verse seriously it is saying something that I disagree with. I appreciate the interaction.

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I was talking with BLD and Tyris the other day and today. I am again trying to reconcile what I have been taught with the Holy Scriptures (or at least what I thought I was taught). My question is this. I understand that God is Sovereign and His attributes consist of but are not limited to: Omniscient, Omnipresent, Omnipotent, Immutable and Eternal. But I want to know how are behavior, namely our faith move God.

Here is what I mean, given my current position. I would say that yes, we pray but our prayer doesn’t change the heart and mind of God because, well… umh… He is Sovereign.  Really what happens is that God changes us through prayer but because of the attributes of God (especially His Sovereignty) that means that rather I do it or not God will accomplish His will.

Throughout the Gospels, we see that Jesus says “by your faith” you were made whole. He says this quite frequently. He even says the reason the disciples couldn’t cast out the demons was because they didn’t have the “faith” to do it. Here is something even more shaky for me. In Exodus and Numbers God is going to destroy Israel a few times.

Here is the incident in Exodus 32:

And the Lord said to Moses, “Go down, for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. They have turned aside quickly out of the way that I commanded them. They have made for themselves a golden calf and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it and said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’” And the Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people.10 Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them, in order that I may make a great nation of you.”11 But Moses implored the Lord his God and said, “O Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? 12 Why should the Egyptians say, ‘With evil intent did he bring them out, to kill them in the mountains and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from your burning anger and relent from this disaster against your people……14 And the Lord relented from the disaster that he had spoken of bringing on his people.

Now let me ask a serious question. Was God bluffing the Moses? Was he just making pretend to see how Moses would respond? Was God just saying to the Trinity “hey I am going to call Moses bluff to see If he really is my servant or out for himself”? Given the seriousness of the charge and Moses response this section of scripture makes me say that God was really going to kill them and that Moses really interceded, thus changing the heart of God.

Some of you may have already worked through this but I see too many instances in scripture where faith and prayer changed the predicaments of others. Peter was released from prison, the faith of the Centurion, the faith of the women with the issue of blood, Hezekiah’s extension and many other biblical examples.

So my question is this given God’s sovereignty how does prayer and faith effect change with God? Can God’s heart be changed and can He not move because of a lack of faith, or are things the way they are? So I am trying to fit a square into a circle, my theology doesn’t match up with what I read.

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I have the privilege of working in Corporate America and I have had the displeasure of working with people like the woman in the picture above. If you don’t understand it is simply micro-managing.  Micro-managing is a direct result of a lack of trust.

This is my fifth installment of this series and I realized about a week ago that it would take me much longer to complete this so I will have the honor of teaching this in my local fellowship (the first time I have ever taught at this capacity at my current assembly) this weekend. The fourth letter in Leadership is the letter “D”. To make the acrostic work Calvin used the word delegate, I want to say this word is synonymous with “entrusting” which we should be doing. Lets look at an history changing delegation or entrusting:

All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

We all know the story, we all know this verse, but I want to pull out the entrusting element of this. Jesus says “all authority has been given to me” and in turn He says “and I am entrusting this authority to you”. Plain in simple this was the task they were faced with. To take the Gospel to the world. The most important event in human history had taken place and God (Jesus is still God right?) entrusts 11 men to make sure the message reached everyone (remember He only appeared to a few of them). God entrusts them with a priceless diamond for the entire world to see. They in turn entrust each of us as priest of God to continue to spread this message to the whole world and to make disciples of the whole world.

However, something happened early in the history of the Church. So men got a wild hair and said “no, no, we can’t entrust the Church in the hands of laymen, we must make a separate caste, and this special group of men will ensure that this priceless gem is handled properly”. So they reversed the charge. All disciples are to do all ministry and now only special men in a special position, with a special education (no pun intended), from a special school are qualified to handle this gem.  I guess Jesus’ didn’t know what He was doing.

You see as leaders if we can’t entrust ministry into the hands of the ministers, we then circumvent the all priest ministry handed down by God Himself. The purpose of the gifts listed in Ephesians 4:11 is for this purpose:

12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

Now I asked a question a few weeks back and it was this “Is the Minister Full of the Church or is the Church full of Ministers”. This question now becomes relevant in this small exhortation. Only one man possessed all of the gifts and He was the God Man Jesus the Christ. Going forward the scriptures says “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”  God in His great Wisdom and Providence, decided to scatter the gifts that were exhaustive in Jesus throughout the entire Church in order for us to depend on one another for the building up of the “whole church” as we “grow up into the head” who is Christ.

Okay here comes the practicalness of this conversation. Today, leaders tend to Lord it over the Church of Christ. They control which programs are started, they control what type of bible studies and lessons can be taught, they control what kind of outreach can be done in the name of the church, they control who teaches (namely by only allowing themselves to teach), they even control small groups and other things done in the name of the church. I am not saying you shouldn’t visit or be involved but I am saying that the approval must come through the leaders and if they don’t like it they shut it down. I ask what type of entrusting is that. It is funny that Jesus gave total freedom in how they were to minister. His command was to “go and to teach” and “to make disciples”. They had some leeway (and we see a 100% dependency on the Spirit) to how this was to be flushed out.

Leaders guide as Alan always says. There is a lovely post he has on Decision Making and Leadership also. As leaders we are to lead by example, maturity and service, not by holding tightly to the ministry as if we own veto power. Entrusting takes courage and if we are doing what Paul charges in Ephesians 4:11 I think we could do this more easily and with greater peace of mind. I think our lack of entrusting speaks volumes of us as leaders. I would change the motto to a bit and say “Let Go and Let Them” the “them” being those who are not considered leaders. Thanks for reading if you made it this far.

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Its the Remix Baby #12

Hebrews 9:1-3

9:1 Now even the first second covenant had has regulations for worship and an earthly place of holiness. For a tent  building was is prepared, the first section, in which were are the lampstand pews and the table and the bread of the Presence congregation. It is called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain up on the stage was is a second section Pulpit called the Most Holy Place, (TSV, Traditional Standard Version)

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Here is the verse:

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Given the current market turmoil, there has been an unprecedented amount of economic anxiety, not seen in the last 20 plus years or so. One week we started out with 5 investment banks (independent) I think we are down to one (Goldman’s I think). Everybody is rushing around trying to make their investments secure, many are losing much of what they had. The Mortgage crisis caused the Government to intervene with the Freddie’s and a welfare plan (it is funny how welfare is fine for the rich but not the poor) in the amount of 85 Billion for AIG is one of the biggest interventions since the Chrysler crisis a few years back.

It is funny that Jesus tells His disciples this. Before I paste the verse into here, I really want to know, do we take Jesus seriously, or better yet do we think Jesus takes us seriously? Do we? Are those red words to be taken literally or figuratively, are we to have some subjective hermeneutic that takes some of Jesus words literally and others as mild suggestions or best practice? I struggle with this so I ain’t tossing stones, I just wonder if the turning of the cheek, or the walk the extra mile, or to give without asking in return, are imperatives or suggestions. Okay back to the verse:

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

Is this a command or a suggestion? When Jesus says “do not be anxious” what exactly does these phrase mean? Is it emphatic? Given our current economic downturn “how then shall we respond”? Like the pagan with no hope for anything past this life? Or should we have the peace of God that Paul talks about?

But back to the 401K issue. I have a bone to pick with Crown Financial. It is a hermeneutical bone. As I read their material, and had the utter displeasure of going through this at my church, I noticed one thing very quickly. They avoided some verses like a plague. Things such as 2 Corinthians 8-9, Acts 4, and especially Matthew 6 (the part of storing up) were avoided. Let me ask when Jesus says “don’t store up” what exactly does He mean? Does He mean store up retirement but nothing else? Or store up enough to cover your kids college tuition because that would be wise then don’t store up anymore? Does He mean store up enough for you do all the things you want, then don’t store up?

I am not attempting to be legalistic but I also don’t want to ignore my Master. What exactly does Jesus mean? I ask because of this. Dr. Black talks quite a bit about the work in Ethiopia, many other brothers and sisters are trying to get clean drinking water and vaccinations to third world countries, while we in America don’t even worry about stuff like that, we store up more than they even have access to. So while we are planning to retire early, they die at alarming rates. Is this the Gospel that we proclaim? Lets see the words of James:

14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

Technology is a curse and a blessing depends on how you look at it. We get emails there are thousands of organizations and they send emails, have websites are on radio programs and they are showing the grave needs of many and we say “go in peace” while we store up for our “future” (it is funny that we say Jesus is our future, until it comes to this area of our lives). We say “I must keep my retirement account at a level that is coherent with “my” goals”. While many won’t eat tomorrow.

So I am not writing this because I have it together. I haven’t emptied my bank account, but I do see the early church meeting the needs of each other in an incomparable economy. To be honest I am scared to give like they do, or to cash in my funds to feed the poor and I wonder if James is asking me the question “can your faith save you”? I don’t know but what I do know their faith turned an Empire upside down and they were sacrificers, we have passed the buck to our government and we are storers. Just some food for thought.

 

 

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One of my favorite MC’s Muze One has released a new EP. My neck is hurting listening to it (that could because I have an over-sized head) from the persistent bobbing. If you don’t know who he is, he is one-half of the duo Redeemed Thought the other half being Stephen the Levite of Lampmode Records.

Review

Dope beats, dope lyrics, short album! If I could give it 6 stars I would but since the parameters are 0-5. I will give him 5! My favorite track being “These Words” (the track gives me chill over serious wordplay). I know Jesus will be my portion in heaven (just as He is in on earth though I will enjoy Him without the hindrance of sin), but I pray that Holy Hip Hop is there also!

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