Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Day late, Again!

At least I'm not a dollar short! I was trapped at home again yesterday with our kids and Owen takes possession of my laptop once I walk in the door. All I could do was helplessly look on while he watched the same DVD about 40 times.

Anyhoo, today I want to go back to the comment section from last week. The scriptures that Pastor Keith posted are powerful (and I am going to add one verse for good measure):

The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living. Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don't participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don't let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.
(Romans 13:12-14 NLT)

First, I'm struck with how many times in scripture that the old us and the new us are compared to outfits that we can take on and off. This isnt the only passage that tells us to "put on the Lord Jesus Christ".

Have you ever found yourself to be picking up those old clothes again? I have. And it looks like I have much to say about what outfit I will put on.

Yes, I need the Holy Spirit to fill me and give me power to live, but at least part of it is my decision to take off the old clothes and put on some new ones. For sure, the first passage that Keith quoted from Galatians 5 shows that our choice without God's Spirit empowering us is going to cause us to lose that battle that is constantly going on with our flesh, but am I determined to cooperate with Him?

I particularly like Keith's closing thought - "don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires."

The Greek literally means to not give forethought, care or supply to fulfill a longing that is forbidden.

For me, this is powerful. I have talked about radically amputating things that would cause us to sin. I had to cut off all chances of access to pornography, because if i were to fall to any sin - it would be that one. That meant internet reporting software and filtering of not only the internet but the tv, too. We are careful what movies we go see or rent and it has become such a part of our routine that we don't even think about it any more. We just do it. And the result is that, not only am I protected, but my whole family is too.

But this scripture takes it a step further. It says don't even give forethought of how you would fulfill that longing. It means that as soon as I find myself even thinking about ways that I could work around the blocks that I have put in place to protect me, I am in trouble. The first round of defense is exactly what Keith said - in our heads.

I feel like I am somewhat of a broken record on these things. I keep talking about the same things. But christian leaders are way too passive about it. A combination of the church's inability to hold people in leadership to a higher standard and the ability of people to keep their sin private has led to people teaching others when they themselves have yet to take off their dirty clothes.

God forgive us for being so callous and dismissive of His commands. God help us to put on the shining armor of right living and right THINKING (because the battle for right living starts there).

What do you think?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sobering Thoughts on a Dolly Morning

Hey Everyone!

As we prepare to get rained on for the next couple of days, let me rain on your parade a little bit with a meditation that has been kicking my rear end lately. Take a look at this partial list of the sins of the flesh listed in the book of Galatians:

When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
(Galatians 5:19-21 NLT)

Okay, Okay, I know that you haven't dusted off your sorcerers hat in a long time, but, if you are like me, some of the other ones nailed you right between the eyes.

*Impure thoughts, anyone? That is still a battle I fight everyday.

*Hostility? Only towards people who drive slow...or fast, and have 25 items in the 20 or less lane at Walmart. Oh yeah, that's everyone in New Braunfels.

*Jealousy? I struggle with jealosy and envy with other ministries who seem to be succeeding more than I am.

*Outbursts of Anger? Hello, I have kids. And my fuse with Amy is way too short.

*Selfish Ambition? As much as I would love to think this isn't true of me...

*dissension, division? This was the problem for the church in Galatia. Every church struggles with it to a point.

Okay, now here is a list of the fruit of the Holy spirit that are suppossed to be evident in our lives:

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
(Galatians 5:22-23 NLT)

Alright. Now, with both lists in mind (and dont shoot me - I don't write the mail, I just deliver it), which list describes you more accurately?

Is that not a humbling revelation? For those of us who teach and lead it has even stronger implications:

Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly.
(James 3:1 NLT)

In the past, I would have said the solution was to "do better" and be more like the second list than the first. But I am realizing that the second list is only reachable through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit in my life. Where is it? Why don't I experience it more fully? Why don't you?

What do you think?

Song of the Week

From the Lead Singer of Mercy Me

Aparrently he has two hymn solo projects out. I love the treatment on this song, so I may pick up the others, too.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Late Post!

Sorry, I haven't had time to post the usual Tuesday stuff today. And since I am off to a board meeting, it's not going to happen today...

But one thing that you can do is post an encouraging comment to Kathryn and Tina on our Peru mission trip. I am sure they are discouraged because Gina got denied entry into Peru because of some brewhaha between Peru and Panama. The Peruvians don't know what they are missng! So,Gina needs our encouragement, too. You can get all the details and post a comment here:

See you tomorrow

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

One for the family in Michigan

Sydney was baptized on Sunday and I just happen to have the video. This is so her Grandparents can see her, so indulge me on this one...

Another Tuesday!

Wow, the weeks are going by fast! Our passage study today is James 4:7-10:

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
(James 4:7-10 NIV)

That is the version that I have always known, but the NLT is good too:

So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy.
(James 4:7-9 NLT)

This goes along with what the sermon was about on Sunday. So many Christian's loyalty is divided between Christ and the world. So many Christian LEADERS are this way as well. If you want a list of them, look in the mirror. This passage tells us what to do if that has happened to us. Also look up James 1:5-8 (yes, you will have to open your bible)because it directly applies to this and it tells us the result of having divided loyalty.

Remember, the purpose of this is to help us become better disciples of Jesus - not just to give our opinion. So, let's respond from the viewpoint of how it affects us, not how we would preach it to others. I think that will be more helpful.

Song of the Week

To help us focus on the most important things, instead of just good things. As a tip, if you let it play after the song is done, you can hear the previous songs of the week, too (there are a whopping 3 so far). Btw - these are all legal to download too.

An Oldie but a Goodie

That's all for now,


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Happy Tuesday!

Thanks, Charles and John for participating in last weeks bible passage study. Let's spread the word and get more people involved! Any of you who just stumbled on to this page, feel free to join in. Pretty soon we will all be on a first name basis.

Many people are surprised to find out that Dayspring belongs to a denomination. The Wesleyan church just revised their membership requirements and some of us at church have been discussing it. Today's post will be on that line - on the subject of being set apart. Where do you draw the line between holiness and legalism?

I want you to read this post I found by a Free Methodist pastor (very close to Wesleyan theology and practice). He gives some excellent insight. Tell me what you think...

Open Arms and Cross Bearing

Also, if you are new to the blog, please join in on last Tuesday's conversation. I would provide a link, but why do that when you can just scroll down a couple inches?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Other Worthy Blogs

There are a couple of blogs that I am sure you are going to want to visit as a favor to your LOVING PASTOR! If you could visit and leave a comment for them, they would think they had just won the Lotto:

Sydney Count's Blog

Bailey Count's Blog

I know that my readership is in the tens, so I would hate to hoard all of those for myself. Thanks for indulging me and my kids need to be noticed.

Great Song of the Week

This has been out for a while but I just heard it for the first time a couple of weeks ago. It made me wish for the day that I will see God face to face.

Glory by Selah

Again, you'll have to download the clip because I am far too cheap to upgrade my account so that you can save 3 minutes and just play it on a web player. Enough with the instant gratification!!

Edit: Scratch that. Instant gratification is back! The player is working now.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

It's Tuesday!

Good morning peeps! (What does that mean anyway?)

It's Bible study time!! Every Tuesday morning I am going to post a passage and, through the comments, we will apply it together. This is just another way for us to push one another on to greater levels of obedience and service to Jesus.

Our very first passage is one that the Gs (General Superintendent) of the Wesleyan Church used in the ordination service at District Conference. It has stuck with me ever since He shared it. I am going to post just a couple verses but i recommend that you read not only the whole chapter, but the previous chapter as well to be able to pull as much meaning out as possible. Here are a couple of good resources for getting as much out of it as possible:

Inductive Bible Study Cheat Sheet

Same idea, different ministry site

There is plenty there to keep you busy for a long time. Too often we glaze over a passage and take the most obvious application (or the one we've always heard) and move on. So, let's take a week and let one passage really sink in, and see what we get from it. ok, here is the passage:

So Elijah went and found Elisha son of Shaphat plowing a field. There were twelve teams of oxen in the field, and Elisha was plowing with the twelfth team. Elijah went over to him and threw his cloak across his shoulders and then walked away. Elisha left the oxen standing there, ran after Elijah, and said to him, "First let me go and kiss my father and mother good-bye, and then I will go with you!" Elijah replied, "Go on back, but think about what I have done to you." So Elisha returned to his oxen and slaughtered them. He used the wood from the plow to build a fire to roast their flesh. He passed around the meat to the townspeople, and they all ate. Then he went with Elijah as his assistant.
(1Ki 19:19-21 NLT)

Ok, I'm anxious to hear your comments and applications - I better not hear crickets! I will add my thoughts on Friday.