Tag Archives: Grace

It Isn’t Supposed To Be This Way

In case some of you don’t watch what’s going on with my Dad. Here is what I just posted on http://www.psalm20seven.wordpress.com

In the beginning Adam & Eve enjoyed perfect communion with each other and with God. The idea of cancer, death, sickness, or mourning was not found anywhere. Sin entered into the picture fracturing all of creation, and we live with these consequences daily. It isn’t supposed to be this way.

But yet, it is.

Dad is at peace.

How?

Grace.

Even though sin crushed our world, causing pain and suffering, yesterday we celebrated the defeat of that death. Romans 6:9 states that death HAS NO DOMINION over Jesus. Titus 3:7 explains that we became heirs along with Christ BY GRACE. Dad and Christ are heirs. Dad was adopted to become a child of God and lives looking forward to his next level of inheritance – ultimate healing. Do I pray that God miraculously heals my Dad tonight? – YES. Do I also believe that God, not wanting to see his creation destroyed, sent his Son Jesus to live a perfect life and be killed for it? – YES. Do I also believe that God raised Jesus from the grave, miraculously defeating death and allowing my Dad to get a taste of that? – YES. When my Dad dies, no matter when that is, it will be miraculous when he stands face to face with his one and only savior. Either way it’s a miracle.

People have been making music since the beginning of time yet it was not until recently that this song was written and released to the public. The song is Worn by Tenth Avenue North and it has a few lines that are speaking to me these days.

I know I need to lift my eyes up, but I’m too weak, life just won’t let up. And I know that You can give me rest, so I cry out with all that I have left.

Dad meets with the hospice nurse tomorrow afternoon and we pray that they will be able to come up with a plan of action that helps him. Please take this opportunity to leave a note here. If you have been wanting to send a note of encouragement and prayer but have been waiting, wait no longer.

 

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Baby Steps?

My youngest has been singing ever since gathered worship this morning. Power, power, wonder working power; of course it’s the Sean Dutton version not your typical piano/organ combo. It makes me happy to know that she is paying attention but it also is quite scary. You see, I am pretty sure that it the first time we have sung that song since she has been staying out with us before Sunday school. This means that she learned something after one hearing.

What does this mean for me? How many times has she heard me apologize to her after acting selfishly toward her? How many times has she heard me pray for our family? How many times has she heard me tell L that I love her? How many time has she heard so many of the things that will teach her more about the Gospel than any of the different versions of Daniel and the lions den. What she hears from my mouth regarding God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the Church, the Gospel…all these things matter much more than buying her the newest kids Bible, or sending her off to Bible class, or even when she gets older – shipping her off to Youth Group. We sometimes think in terms that would label this as baby steps but in actuality they are the very steps that will be with you for your entire life. If you ever get to a point that you do not need to do this, you have actually retarded your understanding as opposed to strengthened your understanding. Live the Gospel in front of your children.

Why does she need to hear this from me? I am her father. This comes with great responsibility as well as the opportunity for great blessing. If you can’t remember the last time you apologized either IN FRONT of your child or TO your child; consider that a reason to go do it right now.

Being a parent is not able being perfect, it’s about sharing God’s grace in your life with your children.

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New Job?

Since I last posted, 7+ months have passed and it is quite fitting that it referenced something big about to happen.

I started my new job with AAA as an insurance salesman. I am close to being considered a tenured agent in property and casualty and I throw up in my mouth a little every time I think about it. My dad is doing well with his cancer and my wife is still a miracle. It has been a challenge with so much happening in my life at such a fast pace, I am finding it hard to get used to normal. Well, it happened, something big. 

As a result of Laurie’s aneurysm, we have been told that it is not safe for her to carry another child. Since we both were/are interested in more children we had to turn to other methods. We were presented with an opportunity to adopt two children out of Haiti and things fell into place in less than a 24 hour period. Something big did happen and so far there HAS been coffee.

To think about everything that has happened in 2010 is overwhelming but it doesn’t seem to look as big as what is coming. 5 children. Two that don’t speak english. I hope to update more as God reveals Himself to me in this process and I learn more and more about who He is. The Gospel has been more real to me now than in years past and I thank Him for His grace and mercy. Not too much to say her other than wow. I look forward to continuing this and picking up the pace a bit. There is a lot going on and I would love feedback as I chronicle this process of the Gospel changing my life through adoption.

-orevwa

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Stress? What Stress?

I have written and rewritten the first line of this post 3 times and I can not come up with a sentence that does my thought justice. On Saturday my bride of 8 years almost died. Next thing you know, she’s taking a stroll around the hospital. I am sure that God is doing amazing things both here in Southern Maine and in many other places. There are people recognizing their need for something more. There are people recognizing their need for community. There are people who are taking this opportunity to live their lives to honor our creator God in all that they do.

There are so many people who I have come in contact with this past week that I have never met and I am sure that I never would have met them had this not happened. There are people who have been drawn to the waiting room as if pulled by an unknown force. There are people who have been drawn to contact me who I haven’t seen or talked to in years. This is the work of the Holy Spirit who has been sent to minister not only to me; but to anyone who would humble themselves and realize that there is something bigger than themselves in control of everything.

 I can not help but wonder how many people will end up being touched by this one occurence. In truth, I know that it will not be until Heaven that Laurie will fully see the impact that she has had on not only this community but others as well. This is where it gets tricky. We so badly want to lift up Laurie as a wonderful Mother/Wife/Person without recognizing where her help comes from. Milton Vincent says, “Outside of heaven, the power of God in its highest density is found inside the gospel.” The gospel is called the power of God in Romans 1:16 – For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God to salvation to everyone who believes and in 1 Corinthians 1:18 – For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. Nothing else is called the power of God except Jesus Christ Himself in 1 Corinthians 1:24.

When we realize that we are not center of the gospel but that God’s glory is, we can truly live in the power that is promised to us. We do not live for our own glory but for the Glory of God. We realize that it is because God first loved us that we even have the opportunity to love others. 1 John 4:19 says it plainly when we read – We love because He first loved us. I want to make it clear that the only thing you’ve seen when I don’t look stressed is God. You may think I’m handling it, that I am being a wonderful husband and father but I assure you that it is because of God’s grace and mercy that I am able to continue day-to-day.

I pray that you would learn about this gospel and seek God in all you do…ALL you do. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says – So, whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. There isn’t anything you can do any day of the week that can substitute for getting involved in Christian community and seeking God in all His glory. There also isn’t anything you can do to disqualify yourself from Christian community. We are all sinners who need a savior. We all need to hear the gospel on a daily basis both preached to our selves and from others in community.

I would love to chat with you sometime about why this is so important to me and why it is the center of my life. Let’s grab a beer sometime.

-Cheers

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Grace

What? Grace? We don’t need no stinking grace. It happens in churches all across the country…right living. I’ve seen it first hand and I’ve even been a part of it unfortunately. I pray however, that I would honor God and stop it. You see, people all over are living their lives to please God. That is the end…not honor…not glorify…please. There is a specific nuance that corresponds to the word please. Trying to earn something…or make God like us.

We’re told every day of our lives that we are special…no we’re not. We’re told that we can be whatever we want to be…no we can’t. We’re told that if we work hard enough, we can succeed at anything…not necessarily. We live within grace. Grace is given to us when we are allowed to wake up even after we have sinned against God the day before. We’ll have none of that however; we will please God with our actions, we will please Him with how we conduct ourselves, and we will please Him with what we do not do as much as what we do, for that is the Christian way.

OK, I’m not trying to sound angry, or mean, or even bitter…just saying what God has been teaching me in the last few years/months. What am I? …nothing without Him. That doesn’t sit well with me though. That doesn’t sit well with most people. We want to know how to make God an offer He can’t refuse. We’ll even do nursery…just kidding…if you do nursery you are a saint.

In 1936/7 a book was written by Dale Carnegie called How to Win Friends and Influence People. This book has become scripture to the world today. In fact, I would say that the principles have been practiced in the church for years. The premise of the book is, how to treat people so that any reasonable person couldn’t possibly say no to you. We constantly try to put God in a position where He couldn’t possibly say no. How on earth could God look at us and not appreciate the things we are doing?

Ancient pagans would do this by offering mounds of sacrifices. They would offer humans, money, food, animals…you name it they would offer it. Modern pagans offer their churchiness and values…their lifestyles. Ancient religions taught that god was bound to their worshipers because they needed them. The God of the Bible however, does not need us. We are alive to bring glory to Him…not the other way around. The fact that He didn’t just wipe off the earth and start over after Adam and Eve is grace. He had the power…he could wipe it clean faster than the UPS whiteboard guy…but He didn’t…and He didn’t for His glory. He extended grace to us that while we were yet sinners…Christ died for us.

Yeah I know…another bitter Xer trying to change everything. Well, the first thing I would like to change is my heart…I pray that God would grant me repentance for my actions. I would rather be a hypocrite than be seen as one. I would rather show up to church and look like I have it together then show up and seek His face and ignore everyone else. Yeah I know…I can seek Him anyplace…but if I can’t do it in front of my brothers and sisters…do I mean it? If I am not willing to show people I am sinful…will I be willing to admit that to God?

Ecc 7:6 says that only an idiot laughs when he is on fire…look it up…it may be worded differently in your Bible but that is what it says. Let’s let people see what is under the button up shirts and khakis…everyone knows that is the church uniform. It’s the christian’s mullet. Showing that we are both casual…and also bringing our ‘best’ to God.

Pray with me that we would be granted repentance from our burning laughter.

-cheers

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Look!…There’s Nothing

It is interesting how things transpire most of the time. We try our best to do what God wants. This is done either with a grateful heart or with a needy desire. We either want to earn His favor or we just want to be counted as faithful. I was thinking about the difference between the two and I was caughtby the similarities. How often do we start with the right motive but land in the same place as with wrong motives. Soren Kierkegaard says that becoming nothing in this world is the condition of becoming something in the other world. Without beating this quote too much, I think it is clear to see the truth here. The last shall be first…kinda…I guess. That isn’t what got me thinking though…here goes.

Luke 10:20 – Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.

His boys just got back from their life changing, mountain top, short-term missions trip and were amazed at all that had been accomplished. Then Jesus then throws a ‘nevertheless’ at them. Punch in the gut. God has blessed some of the things that I have offered as sacrifice to Him. Some with the right motive…some without. It was always His work and it as always His blessing. I am not suggesting a fatalistic approach to ministry where we do whatever we want and let God figure it out, however, I am suggesting that God can do more with our bad attitude then we think.

Either way, we have a tendency to get excited about things happening. People start following Jesus, people give up long held addictions through grace, marriages are restored…we tend to get excited about these things; and rightfully so, when God works it is great. The problem comes when we think that is the end. When we see someone who turns from their sin and turns to Jesus we get excited knowing what has happened. We get excited that we were ‘there’ when it happened. What Jesus is saying here is almost selfish on first sighting. He says that we always need to remember that having OUR names written in heaven is IT.

He is not discrediting the effort, the heart or even the end result; He is saying that we need to be thankful that our face mask is on. (Remember that my Hollis people?) No matter which John you follow (W or C) if you have a saving faith in Jesus you have a face mask on. Think to a plane…what do they say? If the plane should lose cabin pressure, put YOUR mask on before helping others. Bottom line…you are useless if you pass out! Jesus says to be thankful that grace has been extended to you and that you have your mask on.

Whether you lead a youth ministry, lead gathered worship, or lead your family or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Do this by understanding your mask as the greatest gift you have and the greatest blessing you will see.

Becoming nothing in this world is the condition of becoming something in the other world – S.K.

-Cheers

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My good buddy Soren

So I am trying to chew on this one…a quote from Kierkegaard. Here goes.

When a lark wants to pass gas like an elephant, it has to blow up. In the same way, all scholarly theology must blow up, because it has wanted to be the supreme wisdom instead of remaining what it is, an unassuming triviality.

Seriously this makes me giggle every time I read it. I know, I’m a guy but c’mon…

At first I was thinking about the action of blowing up an in a direction…up. Now I am starting to think that he intended to mean blow up as in explode. (If someone knows this please let me know) I know that my good buddy Soren wasn’t a huge fan of studying doctrine and theology and when one considers the time in which he lived, I can see that many people were thinking the same things. They just weren’t as flowery as he was. It is interesting to see that out of this quote we could get a view of this man that is not as accurate as would seem. Is he trying to say that people who study theology should just blow up? Well, yes. The point I am seeing however, is that when we make that which is for honoring God into something of an idol of God, we see a false god. We do not see the real thing when we look at theology instead of God. Theology comes OUT OF our gaze on God, it doesn’t lead us to God. His Word does this. Psalm 37:4-6 says:

Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.

The line that has struck me today is vs 6 that says He will bring forth your righteousness. When we I delight in Him, not books about Him or even sermons about Him, but delight in Him…HE will bring forth your MY righteousness. Theology comes out of His giving of righteousness. His giving of righteousness comes out of our delight. Our delighting of Him…grace. We can not delight in Him outside of grace. So…God’s grace leads to theology. When we lift that which is ultimately a gift of grace up as our god…we have idolatry. This continues to be my sin…not my only one mind you…but a sin. I love reading books. I have suggestions for you no matter what the topic. I love to learn stuff and know that there are times when God is glorified by that stuff. When I preach, teach, share with someone…even *gasp* take it to my own heart. Ah but alas this does not happen as much as should. I am more like those in 2 Timothy 3:7 that were always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. I have a hard time doing something about what I read.

This year has been a big change for me so far. Through the constant encouragement of good friends to let the Scriptures read me and the DA Carson book I rave about,, I am slowly coming to an understanding of how to allow the gospel to change my life through His Word. I encourage you to be more purposeful in your reading of Scripture. Don’t read just to read. I’ll let you in on a little something…I have read the Bible in a year…I’d still go to hell if it wasn’t for the gospel. Course that may be cause I read the Message one of those times but who’s counting?

-Cheers

Holy Father…cause me to desire and delight in You. Bring forth righteousness in  my life and give me the desires of my heart.

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