Tag Archives: sin

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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Almost Sin

Is gluttony still a sin? From what I can tell, most people wouldn’t say so. In many cases in the Bible where we find the word glutton, we find it’s partner drunkard. In many ways I see this changing our perception of the word glutton. We know, well most of us know, that it isn’t the alcohol that is a sin. The sin involved is the allowing of the alcohol to lead us as our master. In many, if not most cases, this doesn’t even involve being drunk. Have you ever heard yourself say, “What a rough day, I need a glass of wine.”? It is so easy to say and convince yourself that you aren’t a slave. Here’s a question…when you say ‘need’ do you mean it? Relax…the same thing could be said about a piece of pie or a video game. If you need something other than Jesus to relax…it owns you.

As off the subject as that seems, it is still the picture we have in our head. Drunkards are the people who obviously have a problem. We think the same about gluttons. Gluttony only describes people other than ourselves. Merriam Webster defines gluttony as 1 a : one given habitually to greedy and voracious eating and drinking b : one that has a great capacity for accepting or enduring something <a glutton for punishment>. Ah, voracious…what a great word to get us all off the hook. We would never say that we are a voracious eater.

Here in the U.S. we have decided that we want what we want, therefore if I want to eat ice cream every day that is fine. It isn’t gluttonous because this is the U.S. and I have the freedom to eat whatever I want. If others were not able to eat because of my ice cream habit/addiction that might be an issue but that is not the case. I do not have the goal of attacking capitalism here but I will say that it does foster the gluttonous lifestyle. Excess. Everything is excess. I sin here like all of you do. I want, I need, I covet. Whether it is a new TV or a coffee that actually tastes good…I want.

I have been burdened with an understanding of my own gluttony. This is a sin. In the US we call it many things but mostly we call it our “freedom”. Blech…

As I look around I see many people who are gluttonous. Is that judgemental? Probably. I am hurting for others who do not see the excess in their lives both specific people and people in general. I continue to pray most specifically for my own forgiveness and sanctification as I seek to allow God to take away my gluttonous and drunkardly ways and lead me to repentance.

-Cheers

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Toilet Water

The world has a lot to say about sin. Sure they might not call it sin, but they have a lot to say about it. The self-help section of bookstores is usually one of the largest, and many worldviews are brought together in this area of life. We hear different ways to kick bad habits from patches that adhere to your skin and medically remove or dull that which is pulling at you from within. There are many agents of change that play on your ability to use this fictional force called will power. Today I heard a few more ideas that were quite pragmatic in their approach such as, putting a rubber band on your wrist and snapping it when you had a bad thought or wanted a cigarette. Another way that we try and use a pragmatic approach is when we try and replace ‘bad’ behavior with ‘good’ behavior. Another I heard today was the ammonia plan. When you are about to sin (engage in a bad habit) you should sniff ammonia. Seriously? The first thing I thought of when I heard that was Pavlov’s dog. So here I am sniffing ammonia every time I get tempted to think a lustful thought. Am I eventually going to start getting turned on when my wife washes the floor? Not sure that is the best option.

Mark Driscoll speaks of this wisdom regularly in a very clarifying way. This wisdom of the world is water. Toilet water. Yeah you’re thirsty…yeah the toilet has water in it…but I don’t think that is what Jesus had in mind though when He spoke of living water. When we use the wisdom of this world we are drinking from the toilet. It is water that we have contaminated with our sin. Some sinner thought about something long enough and came up with an answer. SMELL AMMONIA! Wouldn’t you rather have the true living water?

The Bible (aka the living water) speaks of the truth of our “bad habits” in Matthew 15:18-20:

But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man unclean. For out of the heart comes evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what makes a man unclean; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him unclean.

Right before these verses in the beginning of chapter 15 we have the Pharisees coming to Jesus and complaining that Jesus’ disciples aren’t acting right. “Don’t they know how to act in church”, they say! “Don’t they know that you aren’t supposed to wear a hat when you pray?” (wait, that’s not the same thing…ummm…yeah it is) Jesus rolls his eyes and says, “Seriously? This is the best you can come up with? What about this corban thing?” He then goes on to explain their lack of washing by explaining where filth comes from…within. In a recent sermon Barry Murry said that we are already primed for our actions. When we sin, that is a release of what is already in us…we didn’t get tricked or duped. We were already primed and ready. This is what Matthew 15 says. It is that which comes out of the heart that makes us unclean.

So back to the original idea. What can we do about our sin? Fix the heart. How can we fix the heart? See my last post. Psalm 37 says: Delight yourself in the Lord…and he will bring forth your righteousness. When we delight in the Lord and He grants us repentance…that will change the heart and what comes out will not be unclean. Pull your rubber bands, smell your ammonia, and find your happy place. Just be ready to drink from the Kohler cup.

-Cheers

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Book Review

Been thinking a lot lately about alcohol. Some people do, some people don’t.

It all started with the book Drinking With Calvin and Luther! and what it had to say. It was a good history of alcohol in the church but it wasn’t much more than that. The title was exactly what it was. Which is actuallyrefreshing to see something was what it was advertised as. It was a bunch of quotes and stories from back in the day about good christian folk used to drink up regularly…to the point of saying it wasalmost a sin not to. What followed was a trip down the other side of the coin by reading Should Christians Drink?: The Case for Total Abstinence. I was, and still am, so disappointed.

The introduction starts with the author claiming that his argument is beyond dispute and doubt. At that point I was trying not to throw the book away. I understand that you are writing a book based on your opinion in the first place, however, let the argument speak for itself. If it is truly beyond dispute and doubt then you don’t need to state that in your opening statement.

Chapter One gets right into it by comparing drinking to…get this…war, slavery, and dancing. Seriously? At that point I finished the book for the sole reason that I have a problem with starting a book and not finishing it. Wow, quite a read.

So, if you want a good explanation of the abstinence view, check out John Piper’s view on alcohol.

Otherwise…have a great day. And do NOT pick up that book. Too many trees have died already for it.

-Cheers

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MLK

Yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday. Years ago his “I have a dream” speech sent chills through the spines of millions of people and continues to do so today. His vision is with us all and we continue to fight for that ultimate brotherhood of man. We got the house and the senate to put it on paper but are we any closer to what he dreamed today than we were those many years ago? One of my good friends is always saying that we need to change lives not laws. I couldn’t agree more. This plays itself out every day of our lives when we are faced with discontented, angry, and hopeless people. We scream about abortion laws, marriage laws, tax laws…but we never even whisper about Jesus.

Rhetoric does not satisfy the soul. New laws will not feed people who are starving for purpose. Only Jesus does. Two thousand years ago He proclaimed that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. (Matt: 4:4). Are you hungry? broken? dispossessed? searching for meaning? purpose?…Do you thirst for truth? God wants to speak to you straight from His heart. After hope and reason have failed, faith conquers.       -Wellington Boone-

As much as I admire MLKJ for what he said AND for what he did to back up his words; I can’t help thinking that he would be saddened to see where we are…yeah sure we’re about to place a black man in the white house. I understand the historical nature of that, not as much as others, but I understand. I can’t, however, help but think that he would say that we still have it all wrong when we focus so much on the color of the skin and not the color of their heart. People need Jesus. Whether Obama is black or white does not change the fact that people need Jesus. (Note: do NOT cue People Need The Lord by Steve Green)

Maybe I’m all washed up…forgive me if I am. I dunno, I guess if we want to honor him we should use this coming Monday to introduce people to the One who can give them a better dream…wow that sounded much better in my head. That was horribly cheezy. Ugh.

-Cheers

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Romans

So it has been quite some time now since I first realized my sin. As a child I knew that God was God and I was not, however, the sin did not eat at me. I did not have guilt before God, I only had guilt before man. I was upset that I had let someone else down. Later in my life, that sin that ‘so easily entangled’, was for the first time seen as between God and myself. I needed help. Jesus is the help I needed.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a guy, I can handle it. I grew up in an evangelical church that taught us the good way to live life in such a way that no one knows you are hurting. As M. Chandler says, “My friends all came up from being baptized quoting Romans while I just said…that was weird.” I didn’t however say anything about it since it was obviously my problem. People in leadership wore a cape…I wore a diaper. It wasn’t/isn’t about the heart, it is about knowledge and actions. We don’t talk about the heart much here in church. North or South it doesn’t matter. We don’t talk about the heart much. Jesus is calling us to a relationship with Himself and we continue to make it about what we can do for Him.

I was good at it. No rated R movies, no swearing, no TV past 9pm, no drinking the devil juice…I’ve even read Knowing God by JI Packer! I could do it all, and I still try to do it all, for the sake of pride. Romans 4-8 does not leave any room for pride.

Pride looks different from person to person. Pride takes on many faces depending on the situation and the company you keep. When the Pharisees would pray and thank God that they were not like the gentiles who surrounded them…they were merely using their context to act like us. Why do we call them lost, UN saved, UN churched, NON christian? With those very titles we are thanking God that we are not…lost etc. We look to them in the negative. Un, Non…

Romans 4-8 tells us that we all exist as one thing. Under God’s grace. The fact that people can breath God’s air, live on the earth God created, enjoy the sex God created…is grace. They can not enjoy any of these things however AS God intended, but they CAN enjoy them. Grace, what a powerful word.

I am convinced that it is because of a lack of transparency in my life that I am not closer to Jesus. I can fool everyone else, but I can’t fool God. Psalm 32:1-5 speaks volumes. Unconfessed sin decays the bones and kills your soul. Is this some sort of cleansing? No, you will not see me all of a sudden confess to killing a guy or bombing a bank. What I hope you see is some one who is starting to get it and who wants to find that place where it is ok not to get it but doesn’t let you stay there.

In his book Organic Church, Neil Cole makes a good case for bringing everything down. He takes many of his ideas a little too far, but the premise is solid. We need to get into a place where we meet with 2 or 3 people (same sex) and open our hearts. No more of this ‘small group’ stuff where we get together and do mini-church. We need life changing ministry form each other. We need to realize the power of the gospel, the power of Jesus, the power that the Holy Spirit can have on us and our relationships. The church needs to grow organically. We need to confess our sin (looking for another s word) in order to fertilize it.

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Spinning

So with all that is going on, the question is once again the same question that must be asked at all times. How can God be glorified in this? I am currently searching for an earthly future and this has lead me to various thought streams. I have dipped into the emerging thought and swam around enough to see that swimming is all that it is about. There is no firm footing. You need the Bible people…all of it.

I have chewed on what I has been termed ‘solo Scriptura’ and found that what we have is short sightedness. Solo Scriptura has been defined as Scripture alone…not first…but alone. So, since the Bible does not speak of open heart surgery, that can not glorify God. Many of the people in these churches would argue against that label for them, however, that argument does not by itself, disprove the theory.

I am scared for some of the Christians that I come in contact with who do not take their Biblical thought process seriously. They do not understand that their worldview shapes every decision of their life. So, when they need to make a decision, whether or not to attend an event, which books to read, which church to attend, how to live out their responsibilities…whatever the case may be. These decisions are made based on their worldview.

Whatever they choose, it shows what they truly believe in and what they hold up as truth. Some people will base their decisions on finances and some on relationships. Some might say, “I chose to make such and such a decision based on what is the best for my checkbook.” Still others might say, “I want to do what is best for my family.”

This last one is one of the most dangerous of all. We can fool ourselves into thinking that our families are the central theme of our lives. A case can be made that family is the center of society in general but it can NEVER be the center of our lives. God MUST be that center. Some will often disguise their selfishness ass holding their family in high regard but when our families are not laid at the foot of the cross, sin is the center of our lives.

Emerging, solo-Scriptura, family first…no thanks I’ll take Jesus. Jesus is all we ever need and when we can finally make all our decisions based on who He is and what He did for us; the church will see the spiritual awakening that we so desperately need.

the main thing

the main thing

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