Hebrews 12:1-2

"..let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith..." - Hebrews 12:1-2

Monday, August 30, 2010

What's Next For Francis Chan?

I have found these three men to be great teachers and preachers of the Word and have learned a lot from listening and reading their thoughts on a wide variety of topics.

In this video, Mark Driscoll and Joshua Harris sat down with Francis Chan and asked why he resigned as senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, California, and what he plans to do next.

(HT: Justin Taylor)

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Work of Sanctification

On the inside, in the deepest parts of who we are, we are the sons and daughters of God. The righteousness of Christ. Saints. That's our identity; our fundamental definition as saved people. But there are many areas of our loves that haven't caught up yet. Sure, our hearts have been changed, but there are still those pieces of the person we used to be hanging on with white nuckles. That's where the work comes in, because we're ina continual fight to pry those hands loose.
While we work to have faith in who we are as God's redeemed children and to act in a manner that reflects that, God's busy doing the actual prying of those white-nuckled fingers from around our hearts. Sanctification is about work - the work of God in us, and our work to have faith in His ability to do that work.
- p. 90 "Holy Vocabulary" by Michael Kelley

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Cost of Redemption

"... one of the key truths about redemption: There is always a price to be paid. And it's expensive. However, when it comes to our personal redemption, which the New Testament describes, we aren't the ones left to cover the cost. In God's economy, He took care of the pricefor our redemption with one huge payment. Through the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross, we're bought back from the slavery of sin and death."
- p. 75 "Holy Vocabulary" by Michael Kelley

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Cross Takes Us Beyond Forgiveness

I think sometimes we look at the cross and think of it exclusively in terms of forgiveness. We should do that, because that's where our forgiveness for sin has it's basis. Without the cross, we would still be cursed for our sinful nature and sinful acts that come from it. But the cross takes us beyond forgiveness. We aren't just forgiven. We're righteous, free from the sinful nature that once bound us and the guilt that accompanied it. Because of Jesus' work on the cross, when God looks at us He sees the righteousness of Christ. The cross is the place where sin is exchanged for righteousness.
- pp 65-66 "Holy Vocabulary" by Michael Kelley

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Gospel Song

Holy God in love became
Perfect man to bear my blame
On the cross he took my sin
By his death I live again.
(HT: Bob Kauflin)

A Crutch For the Weak?

Christianity isn't a crutch for the weak; it's a stretcher for the dead. We are so spiritually dead that we aren't even aware that we need to be saved. We need God to step into that deadness to make us aware of the peril.
- p. 49 Holy Vocabulary" by Michael Kelley

Monday, August 23, 2010

Repentance is Valuing Jesus Above All Else

But we can only walk away from something for so long. Eventually, just walking away wears us out. We get tired. We get bitter. We get angry. A moment must come when we aren't just walking away from something. At some point, we have to catch a vision, a breath, a taste of something that turns our attention and focus in a new direction. Only then can we truly leave things in the past and get excited about the future.
In order for repentance to hold, for it to "stick", we must be convinced that we're choosing something better than what we're leaving behind. Our motivation has to be turning toward something rather than just walking away from something else.
And this wraps it up:
Repentance is about choosing life with Christ over life with anything else. So repentance isn't about stopping what we're doing; it's about valuing Jesus more than what we're doing. That's why we turn; not just because our old ways are self-destructive, wrong, or immoral, but because of how much we value Christ. And how much we believe He's better than anything else.
- pp 45-46 "Holy Vocabulary" by Michael Kelley

Friday, August 20, 2010

It's About a Change in Being

That's why the Gospel is so much more than an attempt to change our behavior. The Gospel is about a change in being. In condition. In who we are. Because sin runs so deeply into the very core of who we are, the solution for sin can be nothing less than an absolute change of that same core.
- p. 38 "Holy Vocabulary" by Michael Kelley

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ultimate Catch

As a fan and infrequent player of Ultimate Frisbee, I find this video to be absolutely amazing.

We are Reminded of Our Identity by the Spirit

So the Holy Spirit reminds us, again and again. He reminds us in the midst of our pain and when we try to be self-reliant.  He reminds us when we are in the throws of temptation. Time and time again comes the echo of the Spirit in our hearts: We are children of God.
- p. 32 "Holy Vocabulary" by Michael Kelley

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Parable of the Sea

Sea Parable from ilovepinatas on Vimeo.

Where's the Justice?

Typically, when we say we want justice, what we really mean is that we wish things were better for someone, either ourselves or someone else. Our desire for justice is birthed by our perception that things in our lives or the world are unfair. Because we sense unfairness, we want the opposite. That's what we mean when we talk about justice...
But if God loves justice so much, and He's qualified to determine and dispense that justice, how do we explain the incredible amount of humn suffering in the world?... Are these evidences of God's justice?
The answer is no. The issues in the preceeding questions aren't examples of justice; they're just a few of the world's injustices. And rest assured about this: The Lord is angry about them. But they do remind us that any discussion about true justice can't be had outside of eternity. We are limited by time and space; we only see the realities of our present, and what we know to be true of the past.
God, on the other hand, doesn't have the same limitations...
I have a feeling that God's justice looks little like the American Dream.
- pp 26-29 "Holy Vocabulary" by Michael Kelley

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Standard of God's Love

The cross is the very definition of love:
"Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (1 John 4:10)
Unfortunately, we are often taught to look upon the cross with guilt and shame because of the role our sinful nature played in putting Jesus there. But that couldn't be a more inappropriate response. The cross was a provisionary and self-sacrificing act; one in which God, in His benevolence, met our deepest need. This makes the cross the standard of God's Love.
- p. 24 "Holy Vocabulary" by Michael Kelley

Monday, August 16, 2010

Holy Vocabulary - Book Review

In “Holy Vocabulary”, Michael Kelley prompts us to explore the words that are so often used to describe the Christian faith. To facilitate that adventure, Michael has placed five such words into each of the following sections: God, humanity, Jesus, Holy Spirit, Church, End Times and Scripture. Each word is explored over the course of 4 or 5 pages, thus making it easy to use as a daily devotional. If you were to read a word every weekday, you would finish this book in 7 weeks.

While it would be possible, and profitable, to use this approach to facilitate small group discussions, some participants might find it to be too fast of a pace to keep up. To avoid this, a small group could work on 3 words a week and finish the study in around 12 weeks. Regardless of the approach used, I believe that there would be a lot of value in using this book as a small group study, as at the end of each word it prompts the reader to reflect upon possible application on a personal level.

I have found “Holy Vocabulary” to be a valuable investment of my time. It has helped me to focus on the words that I find myself all too often saying or reading without much thought to their meaning or implication. I found the footnotes and sidebar comments that are sprinkled throughout to be humorous, helpful and made the book feel more personal in nature. If you, or your small group, are looking for a book study to focus on in the coming months, I would whole-heartedly recommend this book.

Over the course of the next week, I will be posting some of my favorites snippets of "Holy Vocabulary". You can read them all here after they have been posted.

Michael Kelley has done a great job in creating a resource that is conversational in nature, yet Biblically sound in its content. To learn more about Michael and to read his absolutely wonderful blog, visit his website at http://www.michaelkelleyministries.com/.

Official Internet Poll - Walker Baby #2

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Reflecting on the Unchangeable

From my friend's blog:
I am thankful that amidst all of the transition and change, we can count on the One who is unchanging. It's such a comfort to know that God is good, God has plans for me and for my family, and He is completely in control over every harried detail of my life. So what if my projects didn't get done? His purpose in my life is so much bigger. And that's worth getting excited about.

This resonated with me when I read it. Lisa and I are in a season of change, and I have a list of projects that "need" to get done. It can sometimes be frustrating to not be able to check something off that list. I can become focused on myself and my activities and miss opportunities around me to serve others, love others and glory in the wonder of who God is and what He has done and is doing in my life.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Money Answer Book - Book Review

Dave Ramsey's "The Money Answer Book " aims to help you answer specific questions you may have about your finances in short, one or two page responses. This book is a quick read, with real world questions regarding real world problems. It provides answers to common problems in such a way as to make the reader believe that changing their spending behaviors is possible. Having already read two of Dave Ramsey's books previously (Financial Peace, Total Money Makeover), I didn’t find much in the way of new information provided.

With that being said, I would wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone who is not ready to dive into the “deep end” of the literature on handling finances that is out there. The advice given is fundamentally solid and will help someone get out of debt, set up a budget and learn to live on less than they earn. This would also be a great high school graduation gift.