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Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Gospel

I love my husband.  I love how I see God's grace in his life.  God is so good.

I absolutely loved the sermon that Kristian preached this morning.  Hearing the Gospel fills my soul with joy, peace, and hope--it never fails.  Thank you Jesus!

The Usual Suspects

“The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist” is a famous line from the 1995 film, “The Usual Suspects”. While I am not sure this was the Devil’s greatest trick, I agree that it is a big one. In John 8, Jesus calls Satan the “father of lies”. I was just thinking about this. Below are just some examples of Satan’s LIES:

1) God does not exist.

2) It doesn’t matter whether God exists.

3) God is not good.

4) God does not care about the day to day concerns of your life—He is too busy and important for that.

5) God only cares about the day to day of your life and is waiting on standby like a genie in a bottle until you need Him next.

6) You don’t need God.

7) You really only need God for the big things.

8) Whether or not you get to heaven depends on whether you are a good person.

9) If you don’t kill or rape or commit any “big sins” then you are a good person.

10) You are a good person.

11) You are too bad for God to ever want you or to ever be able to save you.

12) Going to heaven is about avoiding hell.

13) You will have time to settle things with God later.

14) The primary objective of life is to fall in love, reproduce, amass wealth (at least enough to be comfortable), build a home, do something by which to be remembered, seek pleasure in any form and avoid pain.

15) God needs you.

16) God needs.

17) The Bible is for academics.

18) God is whoever you want him to be.

19) The Gospel is for unbelievers, not mature Christians.

20) Christians do not sin.

21) Fruit is about numbers and fame.

22) The Christian life is just about you and Jesus.

23) The Christian life is just about you and your Christian friends.

24) You are only called to love the people you like.

25) God is not in control and He is surprised by the direction of the world today.

26) God is scratching his head trying to figure out how to “fix” things now.

27) God doesn’t care about your un-reconciled relationships with other Christians.

28) When it comes to serving God, the ends justify the means.

29) You can’t forgive.

30) You can’t persevere with that person in genuine love.

31) 1 Cor 13 love is just a pretty poem that has nothing to do with the Gospel and how we live out the Gospel.

32) You will never be able to do what God is calling you to do.

33) Sometimes you have to use people to accomplish a greater good.

34) Some people don’t matter as much.

35) You are alone.

36) God doesn’t care about you.

37) God has left you.

38) Reality is only what you see.

39) The bad now is not worth the good later.

40) There is something more important for me to do today than to get to know who God (which primarily comes from His Word), to thank Him, to ask Him for direction, to ask Him for strength to do as He calls, and to love others by interceding for them in prayer.

I might elaborate on some of these (from Scripture) in an upcoming blogpost. If you would like to see me elaborate on any particular ones, please write me a comment and let me know. If you have any comments or questions on the ones I have posted above, I’d love to hear them. Also, if you have some other good examples of Satan’s lies, feel free to post them in the comments section.

We are lied to on a daily basis. Scripture calls Satan an accuser, a liar, and a deceiver. Oh, that we would be watchful for this! Oh, that we know the Word, meditate on the Word, seek to understand the Word, pray through the Word, believe the Word, so that we can recognize Satan’s lies against God’s truth which is found in the Word! Oh, that we would discipline ourselves to silence Satan’s lies. How different would my life be!! I would certainly have more joy, more strength, more hope, and more peace!!

1 Peter 5:6-11 “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 8Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 10And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.”

Ephesians 6:10-20 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Food For Thought--Chan, Driscoll, Harris Discussion

What's Next for Francis Chan? A Conversation with Mark Driscoll and Joshua Harris from Ben Peays on Vimeo.
I am intrigued and moved by what Francis Chan says in this interview. In the last couple years especially, I have had trouble reconciling what I see in my own heart and in American Christianity with what I see in Scripture. Worldliness, selfish (often ruthless) ambition, comfortable apathy, arrogance, materialism, legalism, vanity, partiality, and plain old lack of love are plagues in the American church (and in my heart). A really sad part of this is that many unbelievers often see these as defining qualities of the American church--they see us as "jerks for Jesus" and too often they have good cause to do so. This picture does not fit with the sincere, geninue, devoted, Spririt-produced, Spirit-powered, pursuing, sacrificial, inconvenient, difficult, and humble love that is modeled by God, poured into us by God, and ought to pour out of us to our spouses, families, church family, brothers and sisters in Christ (near and far), neighbors, unbelievers (even the ones who mock us), the poor, the broken, the opressed, the nobodies of this world, and even to our enemies. This IS the cross we are called to carry. This call inevitably involves suffering--not as an end, but as a necessary means to something infinitely greater. From what I was hearing in this interview, Chan's willingness to step back from a high profile position that garners praise, wealth, and influence sounds like it is coming from sincere, God-glorifying love for God and for his church. He sounds like a shepherd concerned for the sheep entrusted to him (and for himself)--that their hearts (and his heart) would be captivated by Jesus himself rather than the glittery distractions of this world. Chan's position also recognizes, that while God uses charasmatic preachers like him, the God of the Universe is dependant on no one.  He will advance His mission period.  Don't get me wrong--I am not saying that there is anything wrong with large churches or dynamic and popular preachers. God frequently uses these men in mighty ways.  That is not my point. I don't think that is Chan's point either. The heart reflected in Chan's words remind me of the heart behind this quote attributed to George Whitfield, who was a dynamic preacher who drew large crowds:

My brother [John] Wesley acted wisely. The souls that were awakened under his ministry he joined in class, and thus preserved the fruits of his labor. This I neglected, and my people are a rope of sand.
I hope this conversation will continue to inspire those of us in churches to consider what it is that draws us to a church, what it is that keeps us at a church, how we steward our ministry gifts while living as disciples, and how our answers to these questions fit with true love for God and true love for others.