Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Thursday, August 22, 2013
I don’t think I could cut it as an Old Testament prophet. I’ve eaten too much McDonald’s.
Read this from 1 Peter 1:10-12:
“…the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ was indicated when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have not been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look”.
These prophets saw the gospel. They knew that a Rescuer was coming that would suffer and then be brought to glory. They didn’t see it fully but they saw it. And they wanted to know when. 5 years? 10 years? 20 years? Nope. A future generation that they will never see.
That’s why I say I couldn’t hack it. I’d have questioned my calling. My abilities as a prophet. My message. Everything.
A Prophets Death Story…
When I picture prophets I picture guys with long beards, dressed up dead camel, and eating weird food. And in my minds eye I see them preaching—hard. Sweat rolling off their brows as they call people to repent. Tears streaming down their face urging fellow Israelites to return to Yahweh and find refuge in Him alone.
And I picture people ignoring him. But only for a season. Eventually, towards the end of his life, he gets to tell an amazing story to his grandkids. He tells them about the time he told everybody what was going to happen but nobody listened to him. Then it happened. And everybody realized he was correct and now they’ve got a book with all of his writings in them. He’s a difference maker and he dies knowing it.
In reality he probably just died without an “I told you so”. Because the story was still not finished when he breathed his last. People were still rejecting his message and running from Yahweh. The Deliverer had not yet come. And the world went on mostly as it did before—but now with a dead prophet.
But he did die in hope. And that’s probably the story that he told his grandkids. Not of a completed mission but of a Rescuer that was still to come. One that would set all things right. As his eyes closed for the last time they died in hope that he’d be delivered into the hands of this Rescuer that he’d been waiting for. And someday…someday…people would get it…they’d see this suffering Servant and be included in His glory.
Comes to Life
He never saw that day when some 2500 years later a young man in rural Missouri bowed a knee to this suffering Servant. He never saw his life changed and transformed—him captivated by words long written down by this dead prophet. Words that somehow—miraculously—spoke the Living Word. And words that this young man would one day preach. Yes, he too would preach in the hope that someday, someone, somewhere, would get it, and they too would bow a knee to the Rescuer.
Maybe as a preacher of the risen Christ I’m not so different from the camel-clothed prophet that proclaimed the coming Rescuer. So may I preach and teach and lead in the same hope and humility that maybe the good news I preach will serve a generation that I’ll never see.
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Day Twenty-One: That she would be self-controlled
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. –Psalm 43:5
In this Psalm, David is talking to his soul. He is not letting his weary soul dictate his worship. He is exercising self-control. Brothers, our wives need this self-control. They must talk to their emotions instead of letting their emotions talk to them. They need to have the Spirit-driven self-control to say no to the crafty serpent. Let us pray today that our wives would exercise self-control.
Lord, I thank you for a new heart. The only way that any of us can exercise self-control is because of your work. We know that self-control is a fruit of the Spirit. Father, I pray today that my wife would have self-control. Make her a woman that talks to her soul, with biblical truth, rather than the other way around. Give her the grace to hear your voice and to heed it. Help her to tell her emotions “no” when they run out of their proper banks. May she be so deeply anchored in You and Your Word that she exercises self-control. In Jesus name, Amen.
I’ve written in the past about my dislike of Facebook. I still don’t like Facebook…no I loathe Facebook. And yet this post will appear on Facebook. It will be read by people on Facebook. And I’ll still be a sucker in Mr. Zuckerberg’s world.
Here is why I haven’t left. There are a few advantages for me as a pastor/writer that cannot be found elsewhere:
- It’s great for blogging. I get several hits per day from people reading and sharing my articles on Facebook. I’m grateful for that.
- It helps pastors see people as they really are. People have a tendency to be a little more unfiltered on Facebook. Not that a pastor wants to be a creeper but your news feed can tell you some of the things that your members are struggling with.
- It’s a great resource for making announcements. People pay more attention to Facebook than they do that 5 minutes at the end of service when we share announcements.
- It can lead to decent discussion. People sometimes feel more free to ask questions and engage. Though Facebook can be a terrible place to discuss theology—for some it’s helpful to be able to think and type out your thoughts.
- It’s great for things like the 31 Day Prayer Challenge. Pastors and writers can create groups of people all around the world for things like this. It really is a great tool for networking that can be used for Kingdom growth.
- A great way to publicly encourage. Tons of people read through Facebook updates. How awesome would it be if we used this tool to encourage people and share their accomplishments.
Here is why I would really like to leave and continue to detest Facebook:
- It’s a passive/aggressive Dreamworld. With one somewhat vague status update I can have a world of people come to my defense, ask me questions, give me attention, and better than anything else stick it to the person that has made me mad.
- Facebook venting. Same thing as above only more obvious. (See here).
- A poor excuse for pastoring. Knowing what is going on in people’s lives through Facebook, leaving comments, writing messages etc., is not pastoring. This can make it feel like you’re doing your job—but it doesn’t replace the face to face. Or putting your hand on their shoulder as you pray for them.
- Circumvents real relationship. Facebook is a mock community. You can’t hug on Facebook. You can’t cry on another persons shoulder. God created us for community—and not so much the online variety.
- Three earlier reasons are still around. I posted awhile back 3 reasons why I’m seldom on Facebook. These are still true. Too many bikini’s, too many silly pictures telling me that I don’t love Jesus if I don’t forward it, and far too much time wasted.
How about you? Why do you love/loathe Facebook?
Should we continue to use it for its benefits? How can we minimize the damage? Does your church do anything to disciple people in how to display Christ on social media?
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Day Twenty: That she would know her calling is high
An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. –Proverbs 31:10
As a stay at home mom, my wife can struggle with feelings of insignificance. Changing diapers, settling arguments, teaching colors and numbers, and playing with children does not seem like that significant of a role. The same probably goes for your wife no matter where the Lord has placed her. Brothers, our wives will struggle with knowing that their calling as a woman (and all the roles that encompasses) is a high calling. Ultimately we know that her significance is found in Jesus Christ alone. Yet we also want our wives to know that their calling is high.
Father, I thank you for my wife. I thank you for all of the significant things that she does that might appear to be insignificant. She is far more precious than jewels. Help her to ultimately find her worth and significance in you. But also help her to know that her calling as a woman is a high calling. May she be found faithful in the roles that you entrust to her. Strengthen her and encourage her to be the woman that you have crafted her to be. Amen.