Ten Indictments

You must watch this.

Published in: on October 28, 2008 at 9:43 pm  Comments (1)  

Itching Ears

Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. – 2 Timothy 4:2-5 (NIV)

Who says the Word isn’t relevant to today? Seems pretty spot on if you ask me. I was looking at a review of Joel Osteen’s book “Your Best Life Now” and saw that it has about 500 reviews and has been given four out of five stars. People are eating this junk up. I looked to see what all the hype was about and checked out an excerpt of the first chapter. This is what I found:

“Too many times we get stuck in a rut, thinking we’ve reached our limits. We don’t really stretch our faith; we don’t believe for anything bigger. But God wants us to constantly be increasing, to be rising to new heights. He want to increase you in His wisdom and help you to make better decisions. God wants to increase you financially, by giving you promotions, fresh idea, and creativity.

The Scripture says that God wants to pour out “His far and beyond favor.” God wants this to be the best time of your life. But if you are going to receive this favor, you must enlarge your vision. You can’t go around thinking negative, defeated, limiting thoughts.” –Your Best Life Now, Joel Osteen 

I’m not even sure where to begin and this is just from one page of the book. God wants us to constantly be increasing? He does? Hmm…interesting that we are told in Philippians 2 to be humble. And where exactly is it found in scripture that He wants to increase us financially? What? I don’t think so. What about the widow who gave all she had? How about the rich man who had good things during his life? Or how about the rich fool

Then in this second paragraph we see that Joel has used scripture….scripture that I cannot find located anywhere in the bible, in any translation. So I googled this phrase to see what might show up…and I found a sermon by Joel titled “Favor Far & Beyond.” Here are some things I heard him say during the first five minutes: “God wants to promote you.” “God can turn any situation around, but we have to do our part and take the limits off of God.” Then he quotes Isaiah 30:18…Friends, I encourage you to read that verse in context. 

Here is the thing: Joel is dumb. It is beyond apparent. I can be upset that he is ‘preaching’ this junk, but the fact of the matter is that people are responding to it. These people are just as much responsible for taking this stuff as truth as Joel is for proclaiming it. Why are they believing it? Because its what they want. Romans 1 does a great job of explaining just how crappy ours hearts are. If God let us just have what we wanted, we’d all be condemned to hell. Praise God for His grace!

So as we find our world in this situation (and who said the bible wasn’t relevant to today?), let us remember the words Paul wrote to Timothy. “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction…keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry” (2 Timothy 4:2-5).

Published in: on October 27, 2008 at 11:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

Sovereign Grace o’er Sin Abounding

Sovereign grace o’er sin abounding!
Ransomed souls, the tidings swell;
’Tis a deep that knows no sounding;
Who its breadth or length can tell?
On its glories,
Let my soul for ever dwell.

What from Christ that soul can sever,
Bound by everlasting bands?
Once in Him, in Him for ever;
Thus the eternal covenant stands.
None shall take Thee
From the Strength of Israel’s hands.

Heirs of God, joint-heirs with Jesus,
Long ere time its race begun;
To His name eternal praises;
O what wonders love has done!
One with Jesus,
By eternal union one.

On such love, my soul, still ponder,
Love so great, so rich, so free;
Say, while lost in holy wonder,
Why, O Lord, such love to me?
Hallelujah!
Grace shall reign eternally.

-John Kent

Published in: on October 26, 2008 at 8:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

Dating Christian Bookstores

I’ll be honest. There was a time in my life when this was my favorite place to go. I felt this urgency in my heart for guidance. I had never been one for much dating, never been in a serious relationship, mostly just went out a few times with guys I considered to be good friends. Why is this? Number one, I’ve always considered relationships with the opposite sex something not to be taken lightly. I had this plan to not ever get serious with someone unless I thought there was a pretty good chance that they were husband material. How I thought I could decipher such a thing, I am not sure. This thinking kept me from ever being in a serious relationship for some time, which I am very grateful for now. The heart is not something to mess around with. And number two, I never met any guys whom I thought were really all that great. I had ridiculously high standards. Hear me out, high standards are good, but mine were unachievable. Thinking back on it now, I believe that this happened thanks to my former best friend, Mr. Christian Bookstore.

I consumed books on relationships. I ate them like they were Krispy Kreme donuts, tasty and unhealthy, feeling a little shameful. I read books on being Dateable, being Marriable, and just about every Christian Chick-lit book written. Some of these books I am very grateful for (Robin Jones Gunn‘s writing about teenage girls played a major role in who I am today. Thank you Robin for being obedient to God’s call on your life!), while other books now make me want to gag a little. I learned that if I wanted to find the perfect man, I needed to be beautiful, an amazing Christian, and I needed to be totally in love with Jesus.

So I put forth a plan and I did what I could. I diminished my self-worth a little everyday when I fell short of what I considered to be beautiful according to Christian culture. In all these books, the women were the most beautiful girls in the world. Flawless. I’m looking to the Christian world…not even the world, world where beauty is hardly ever truly beautiful. I could not meet the standards I had gathered by these fictional Christian men. This was a total blow to my heart. I mean, there is only so much I can do in attempt to make myself more beautiful without undergoing the knife and completely transforming the person I was molded to be. This sucked.

Then came my failure at being an awesome Christian girl. This is what an awesome Christian girl is:

  1. Wake up at the crack of dawn and read half of the bible.
  2. Post scripture all around your house, in your car, in your bathroom, and hand out scripture to strangers on the street.
  3. Talk in a sweet voice as a Godly woman would, always saying the nicest things and lifting one another up in encouragement.
  4. Talk about how much you are in love with Jesus and call him your boyfriend.
  5. Never go out of the house without having perfect hair and makeup.

Obviously, NO. These things do not make you an awesome Christian woman. I’m pretty sure there is no such thing as an awesome Christian. There are, however, people who fear God and keep His commandments. This is what you want to be, not some fake person trying to live up to an unattainable stereotype. 

Then came the loving Jesus part. How do I do this? How do I love when I don’t even know what love is? The answer was easy. Everyone directed me to 1 Corinthians 13, but always summarized it up for me as love is kind. Be kind.

So after many years of wallowing in failure, I decided that maybe, just maybe a good place to go for guidance would be scripture. And this is what I found:

Here is the thing. I consumed book after book on this topic and the knowledge I have today is still the bare minimum. I never looked at the real source. Never looked to the truth. I wanted these books to tell me what to do and make it easy for me. Here is one thing that I am certain of: a Godly woman is not lazy. We got work to do! I recommend we spend a little less time trying to satisfy our emotional needs by filling our hearts with junk and spend more time fulfilling His purpose for our life in sharing the Gospel, reading the Word, and edifying one another.

Published in: on October 25, 2008 at 4:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

When We Should Pray

On Wednesday of this week I found myself hiding under my desk at work. I’d worked at my university for four years and this was the first time I’ve ever seen the underside of my desk. I was terrified. I’d received a phone call from the office on the third floor saying that I needed to make sure everyone stayed inside while “all of this” was going on. I didn’t know what “all of this” entailed. I checked the window to see if by chance a storm had suddenly approached but the sky looked clear. I asked the person on the other end of the line what exactly was going on and I heard words I never thought would be associated with my university’s campus- “Shots have been fired.”

After fretting over what to do, I stepped across the hallway but my boss’ office was empty, as was her boss’ office. I needed to tell someone what was happening. Then the yelling began. First the professors started yelling from their offices to get inside and lock the doors. Then there was yelling outside. Run. Hurry. Get inside now. Run fast. I quickly got back inside my office, pulled the door closed and turned the lock. What now? I moved myself so I could still see the computer screen and reach the keyboard, away from windows but never far away enough from the anxious yelling. I began contacting everyone I could on AIM to pray. I didn’t know what the next hour of my life would bring, but I knew the most important thing I could do in that moment was pray.

So when should we pray? Seems like a dumb question if you ask me. Is there ever a time when we shouldn’t pray? Anytime fear and a threat of danger are involved, why would you not pray?

My point is this: Prayer is essential. It displays our humility before and dependence on God. A person who prays realizes their inability to accomplish anything apart from the sovereign grace of God. 

It seems as though some people believe they have the authority to discern the true endangerment of others and what is worthy of prayer and what is simply “nothing to worry about.” And how dare someone say that your petitions to God mean that you don’t have enough faith. HA! How dare they be proud enough to think that they don’t need God and that they are outside of His sovereignty. These are self-proclaiming Christians I am talking about, who ironically enough will share their testimony with you and say that it was through saying a prayer that they were saved. Strangely, after “accepting Jesus into their hearts” they no longer feel the need to pray. I can’t follow this train of thought.

Jesus taught us how to pray. He even gave us an example. I’m pretty sure this means that prayer is important. If you continue reading in chapter eleven of Luke, you will see the commonly misused phrases that Vacation Bible School instructors like to use in their evangelizing to children (think the door to your heart into which you invite Jesus to enter). However, this passage is talking about the importance of prayer. He sums it up in verse 13, saying “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Paul talks about prayer as well saying to pray continually, pray on all occasions and pray for the saints, and to not be anxious about anything but to pray.

I am so grateful for all of those who did pray for me and my campus Wednesday. Everyone was safe and God was glorified through our petitions to Him. Let us pray for one another continually, not making light of any situation we may find ourselves in. God is faithful and good. Soli Deo Gloria!

Mass Media outside of Mass Media and Technology Hall. What a crazy day.

Published in: on October 24, 2008 at 3:32 pm  Comments (2)  

Wait. And Wait Patiently.

It is a wonderful thing when God blesses a woman with a husband. That special someone who is “just perfect” for her in that he has been carefully and thoughtfully designed by God to be united as one with her. It is such a joy for the woman to look back and remember how God enabled her to wait on Him and that He was faithful to bless. It is still an even greater joy for her to know that her time as a single woman was also a time of seeking God and being faithful to Him and His purpose. That she did not for one moment wish to flee that state, but desired only to trust in God and wait upon His gracious sovereignty.

Becoming Esther, Charo Washer

Too often in our youth group circle of life, girls experience the pressure of trying to find “The One.” I think it may even be more hardcore than dating when you aren’t a Christian. The Christian Culture has forced this concept of finding the one, but not waiting on God. We’re forced into wringing our hands in worry over why we haven’t found him yet or what’s wrong with us. We never learn to wait. We waste away our time of singleness with worry and find that when God does bring us together with our husband, we aren’t ready or we feel like we’ve wasted time meant for serving. 

We tend to view singleness as something that needs to be corrected. Growing up in the church, as I was graduating from high school and entering college, I was asked time and time again about my relationship status. “When are you going to find someone? Have you met someone yet? You’re getting to be about that age, you know.” Tell me, how do these sort of questions reflect a belief in the sovereignty of God? Never once was I encouraged in my youth to become a Godly woman. I was encouraged to find the right man and since I wasn’t doing anything about it, something was obviously wrong with me. This troubled my heart so much, hearing from the Christian community that I wasn’t doing something right since I was single. I looked to my other Christian girlfriends. They were getting married and having children. What was wrong with me? Didn’t God care about me? The message I was getting was that God must not care about me and want me to be alone and miserable.

We as believers need to cherish singleness and appreciate it like the gift that it is. This is a time in your life when you are completely open to serve God. This is precious! The possibilities during this time of your life are priceless. When you are married and have a family, the former independence you had will be gone. Yes, serving God will have just as much importance as it did when you were single, but your mission field will be drastically different. As a wife and mother, your mission field will be your home. As a single woman, you have the opportunity to go anywhere in the world, whether that be to Africa or across town to Starbucks. You can go anywhere and do anything! Do not wish this time of singleness away!

Be content. Wait on God. Be patient. Use your time as a single woman to serve God. Trust in His sovereignty. He has a purpose in all things. Rest in this.

Check out Charo’s entire article about being a Godly woman. 

 

 

 

Published in: on October 23, 2008 at 2:12 pm  Comments (2)