Sunday, June 28, 2009

John Piper on Being Radical

“Find the hard stuff, get satisfied in Jesus, find him sufficiently motivating and enjoy the fellowship of his sufferings.”1


1: Radical Risk without Relocation at C.J. Mahaney's Blog

Thursday, June 25, 2009

God's Chisel

I'm posting this because it soooo reminds me of ME! and how I tend to react many times, after I've prayed to God that he would "chisel me" to conform me more to Jesus Christ:


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Challies: Don't Take Your iPod to Church! (Part 1.5)

"I know a lot about my wife. I know what she likes to wear around the house, what she likes to wear to church and what she likes to wear when we go out for dinner. I know what she likes to eat and what she hates to eat. I know what books she likes to read, what movies she likes to watch, what web sites she likes to browse. I have all of this accumulated knowledge about my wife. But I think I could have this same level of knowledge about whoever the latest Hollywood heartthrob happens to be. This is exactly the kind of knowledge that you might find in those newspapers and magazines that clutter the checkouts at the grocery stores and it is the kind of knowledge that I might find on the hundreds of gossip blogs that pollute the internet.

I also have knowledge of my wife, knowledge that goes far beyond the facts of preferences, likes, dislikes, hobbies. I have an intense and intimate knowledge of my wife—a kind of knowledge shared by no one else in the world. She and I enjoy intimacy that transcends mere bits of information.

A trend we see today through today’s digital technology is the exaltation of this kind of knowledge, cold facts, at the expense of more intimate knowledge. This is true, I’m convinced, when we take our iPods to church. Quentin Schultze says that we have become like tourists who are so enamored by our mode of transportation that we cruise through nation after nation largely indifferent to the people and the cultures around us. We have our passports filled with the little stamps telling people just how many places we’ve been, but what is the purpose of being in places if we have not experienced them? And what is the purpose of knowing people if we do not care to know them on anything more than a surface level? The trend today is toward these fleeting, surface-level interactions...Click here to read the rest of the article

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Of Hymns and Things: I Surrender All

"Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:33



Words: Jud­son W. Van De­Vent­er, 1896:

The song was writ­ten while I was con­duct­ing a meet­ing at East Pal­es­tine, Ohio, in the home of George Seb­ring (found­er of the Seb­ring Camp­meet­ing Bi­ble Con­fer­ence in Seb­ring, Ohio, and lat­er de­vel­op­er of the town of Seb­ring, Flor­i­da). For some time, I had strug­gled be­tween de­vel­op­ing my tal­ents in the field of art and go­ing into full-time evan­gel­is­tic work. At last the pi­vot­al hour of my life came, and I sur­ren­dered all. A new day was ushered in­to my life. I became an evang­el­ist and dis­cov­ered down deep in my soul a tal­ent hi­ther­to un­known to me. God had hid­den a song in my heart, and touch­ing a ten­der chord, He caused me to sing.

Music: Win­field S. Weed­en, 1896**



All to Jesus, I surrender;
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.

Refrain

I surrender all, I surrender all,
All to Thee, my blessèd Savior,
I surrender all.

All to Jesus I surrender;
Humbly at His feet I bow,
Worldly pleasures all forsaken;
Take me, Jesus, take me now.

Refrain

All to Jesus, I surrender;
Make me, Savior, wholly Thine;
Let me feel the Holy Spirit,
Truly know that Thou art mine.

Refrain

All to Jesus, I surrender;
Lord, I give myself to Thee;
Fill me with Thy love and power;
Let Thy blessing fall on me.

Refrain

All to Jesus I surrender;
Now I feel the sacred flame.
O the joy of full salvation!
Glory, glory, to His Name!

Refrain



I especially love this hymn because of its sobering words of surrendering all to Jesus, how can we not when Christ surrendered all for us undeserving sinners? and yet we still struggle holding on to so many things, when singing hymns like these I pray to God that it may be a reality in my life and not just words to a tune in my lips, and in this case I pray that I may be able to daily die to self by surrendering all to Him, my precious Savior!


**Lyrics and Hymn details compliments of: Cyberhymnal.org (now known as Nethymnal.org)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Being Ungrateful

"In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

1 Thessalonians 5:18


I should plaster this all over my room, my books, my things, my everything; because I obviously still have not learned this verse in all its profoundity and yet simple and truthful demand, to give thanks in EVERYTHING. I realized today thanks to the wisdom words of my good friend Tomassetti that I am such and ungrateful fool. It was one of those moments one of the youth leaders from my church described a few Saturdays ago, when the little things in this life can completely throw us off focus. Instead of setting our eyes/minds/hearts to Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith, we set them on this earth, on our pride, on ourselves. Suddenly we are all puffed up, we are the victims, we are the wronged ones, and now the world has to serve ME. And oh how it hurts when with the Sword of Truth we are popped like a balloon and we fall right back down to realize that:
"All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away." - Isaiah 64:6
"So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.'" Luke 17:10
And why these two realities? Because both of them, our righteous acts and our obedience, lead us to think that we are somehow deserving of any of the blessings God bestows upon us.
And finally another, extra-scriptural I might add, word of wisdom to mortify the pride in all of us, especially in me:
"Beggars can't be choosers"

But even in this hurtful, pride-mortifying, sin-convicting moment I must be thankful to God for He answered last night's prayer that he would work on my pride, and because He as my Heavenly Father loves me enough to discipline me.

Again:
"In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

1 Thessalonians 5:18

I leave this now as one of those examples in the Bible of what NOT to do: never be ungrateful, never think that just because the Lord has chosen and saved you and blessed you with His Holy Spirit and working in you that in any way shape or form you deserve any of it because you know what? It's by Grace that you have been saved through faith and this not your own doing, it is the gift of God not a result of works, so that no one may boast."
If all you wanted were lemons and God gave you a lemon tree seed, GIVE THANKS!

Grace Gems: I would teach you a way to be never be disappointed

I would teach you a way to be never be disappointed

(The following is a letter of John Newton

to his 13 year old adopted daughter, who was away at school)

"The LORD does whatever pleases Him--in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths!" Psalm 135:6

My dear Betsy,
How vain are all things here below! "Vanity of vanities!" says the preacher. And you, and I, and your mamma, may say so likewise; for we all counted upon seeing you last Sunday. We listened at the door--and peeped out of the window--but no Betsy came! Now we will venture to expect you next Sunday.

Indeed, it is not amiss that you should now and then meet with a hindrance--that you may learn, if possible--not to count too much on what tomorrow may do for you--and that you may begin to feel the impossibility of being happy, any further than your will is brought into submission to the will of God. In order to learn this--you must have your own will frequently crossed. And things do and will turn out, almost daily in one way or other--contrary to our wishes and expectations.

When such disappointments happen--most people fret and fume! They are angry and impatient! But others, who are in the Lord's school, and desirous of being taught by Him--get benefit by these things, and sometimes find more pleasure in yielding to His appointments, though contrary to their own wills--than they would have done, if all had happened just as they had desired!

I wish for you my dear child, to think much of the Lord's governing providence. It extends to the minutest concerns. He rules and manages all things; but in so secret a way, that most people think that He does nothing. When, in reality--He does ALL!

He appointed the time of your coming into the world. And the day and hour of your coming home from school to us--totally depends upon Him likewise! Nor can you safely travel one step of the road--without His protection and care over you!

It may now seem a small matter to you and I, whether you came home last Sunday--or are to come home next Sunday. But we know not what different consequences may depend upon the day--we know not what hidden danger you might have escaped by staying at school last Sunday. The Lord knows all things! He foresees every possible consequence! Often what we call disappointments, are really mercies from Him to save us from harm!

If I could teach you a lesson, which, as yet, I have but poorly learned myself--I would teach you a way to be never be disappointed. This would be the case--if you could always form a right judgment of this world, and all things in it.

If you go to a bramble-bush to look for grapes--you must be disappointed; but then you are old enough to know that grapes never grow upon brambles. So, if you expect much pleasure here in this world--you will not find it. But you ought not to say you are disappointed, because the Scripture plainly warned you beforehand, to look for crosses, trials and hindrances, every day. If you expect such things--you will not be disappointed when they happen!

"At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: Naked I came from my mother's womb--and naked I will depart. The Lord gave--and the Lord has taken away! May the name of the Lord be praised!" Job 1:20-21

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Of Life, Church, and other issues...

A few months back I began to struggle with a situation, to leave or not to leave, that was/is the question. I had even played around in my mind to be torn between these two worlds because I grown fond of one dearly, and yet the other is where I felt I would be better serving God for a lot of reasons. But after prayer and a lot of thought to the matter finally I had chosen to stay at the one I had grown fond of. It wasn't until I read this from Frank Turk's post on The Tombstone of a Wife, part of his series on why he left his church:
"Let me put it this way: if I was attending a church where I was teaching Sunday school and having serviceable worship on Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night, but I found that all my fellowship time and discipleship and real acts of public service for the sake of Christ was under the umbrella of another church, I'd seriously consider changing churches – even if I couldn’t teach at the new church. And the reasoning would be this: I am fruitlessly ministering to this body of people, and I am fruitfully ministering with these other people. My Christian life is actually a life in one circumstance, and no so much in the other."

At no given point was I even hoping for this to happen or praying for this to happen until last year when I began attending this evangelistic Bible study on Mondays. There I met brothers and sisters from another church whom soon enough I began to love dearly. Then when this year began something incredible happened, I had been praying for nearly a year that the Lord would grant someone to be my fellow worker in spreading the gospel, and not only did the Lord answer my prayers, but he provided a whole team of my brothers and sisters to join me in this cause of spreading the gospel. Who were these people? my brothers and sisters from the other church.
What began with a desire to preach the gospel turned into an evangelism ministry to reach out with the gospel a group of women on a certain street who have spent their lives selling their bodies in order to survive. My sister V had shared with my and J her desire to reach out to these women and we found out that the three of us shared this common passion.
Months have passed and what started with me going to this Bible study on Mondays, has turned to me having all my fellowship/ministry/discipleship/accountability with these brethren from the other church: "My Christian life is actually a life in one circumstance, and no so much in the other."
What is the next step? 1. Continue to pray, 2. Seek advice from my pastors and even from the pastors/leaders from the other church.
Please pray for me as I deal with this, not so easy situation.