Saturday, December 17, 2011

My Struggle with John 14:15

So I am at the point where I want to keep the Law as an expression of love for Jesus, to imitate Jesus, and to obey God's commands (1 John 2:3-6).
Keeping the Law doesn't save you, make you righteous, or to make God "happy" with you (aka you cannot manipulate God through obeying Him).

So I looked at several passages in Romans regarding the Law's proper place in the life of a believer today. Here are my thoughts, then a description of the Law's relationship to the godly one before & since the Messiah came.

Romans 3:19-22- The Law does not save us, it shows us how sinful we are. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus the Christ.
Does this mean we can forget about the Law? (v. 31), No. Of course not. Having faith activates our ability to fulfill the Law.

Romans 4:16- Law =/= save
Romans 6:16- Law shows us HOW to obey God & live right
Romans 7:6- In the context, we must remember that Paul followed the Law. I will write my thoughts in this verse in the description section. This was the tough one.
Romans 7:7- Law shows us what sin is and what right living is
Romans 7:12- Law= holy, right, good, spiritual
Romans 8:4- Follow the Spirit =/= wrath & guilt

Description of the godly one's relationship to the Law before and after Messiah (Romsns 7:6 & other passages)-

The Old Ways, pre-Messiah
Law was a tutor
It was over us
Created an attitude/perspective of work & guilt & can be called the Law of Fear
It was like an anvil hanging over the heads of the people until Messiah would come to redeem them from the weight of conviction.

The Messiah comes
Brings us freedom from the guilty standing & weight of our sin
Changes our relationship & gives us freedom to approach God
Purchases our salvation & fulfills the requirements of the Law, thus He is our propitiation.

The New Ways, since Messiah
Our relationship and attitude is now understanding the Law as a law of love. Because of Messiah's work, we can rest & enjoy living for Him.
The Spirit leads us to understand & follow God's Law.
The Law, Torah, guides us to live holy lives.
The Law still shows us what the mark is. And Jesus is in the center of the Mark.
The Law is good, holy, right, spiritual. It is a path to guide our steps, and be obedient to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.

In my mind, the Law shows me how to live & how to express the love I have for Jesus. He followed the Law, Paul did, the early church did, because it is God's fence of holy living.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Should we keep the "613"?

Here are my semi-random thoughts on this from over 3 weeks of exhausting/awesome contemplation on John 14:15 (the Cadet verse), "If you love me, obey my commandments."

My questions:
1. What commandments does Jesus refer to here? Just His teachings? Does this include the 613?
What would His disciples understand this to mean?

Surely, He observed the Mosaic Law (613ish). Surely, His disciples kept the 613. The word for commandments here is entolas, which can refer to either.
In Matthew 5:17-19 Jesus teaches the importance of keeping & teaching others the commands of God. In 1 John 2:4, 3:24. So this is important for me to know. Looking at the sentence structure, it can be either. But what did Jesus SPECIFICALLY mean? I wish this were easy, but it isn't. At least for us, in a world +2k years later. There are many filters, cultural differences & mind differences between us & Jesus. May the Spirit of God break through those filters & shine His pure light of truth into our eyes & soul!
When all is boiled down, I believe that He is teaching to keep his teachings, the things He was to teach them. I believe this because Jesus is the "end" or telos of the 613. He completed the purpose of what it was set out to do, and that is that He was finally one who could keep the 613 perfectly & therefore was found worthy of saving souls...THE unblemished lamb, THE perfect, worthy sacrifice. His teachings summarize the intent & purpose of the Law. So to keep His teachings (gospels) is to fulfill the Law, and is enough for us to focus on. See below for thoughts that further develop this.

2. Does keeping the 613 save us or even make God "happier" with us? No, no, no.
3. Do we, as children of God, through faith in Jesus, need to keep the 613?
No. We are free in Christ. When Jesus comes to be our savior, the chains of sin are broken & we are free to live for Him.

Jesus fulfilled the intent of the 613, kept the 613 & taught His students to do the same. However, it also says that Jesus is the "end" or telos of the 613. He completed the purpose of what it was set out to do, and that is that He was finally one who could keep the 613 perfectly & therefore was found worthy of saving souls...THE unblemished lamb, THE perfect, worthy sacrifice.
Scripture teaches that THE commandment that we are to follow is to trust Jesus as our savior, our Messiah, and to love one another (1 John 3:23, Galatians 5:14).

So, do we print off a copy of the 613, then strive to follow them, as a reflection of our deep love to our savior? We can if we want to. Or we can simplify & trust Him for our salvation, and love people (which is hard enough to do as it is).

4. Practically, what about things such as, "Should we keep the Sabbath", one of the 613?
Well, with this, the Sabbath is a shadow of what was to come. Christ is the reality. Therefore, HE is our rest, in which we rest from our work. We CAN keep a Sabbath & I think it is good for us to do so. On it, we rest our bodies, let God be in control, refuse to worry, and enjoy a "chill day". But we are not required too, in order to have God's favor. We have His favor already through Jesus, our propitiation.
I recommend keeping the Sabbath, but if you cannot, then make sure you get a chill day in. And remember that ultimately, we have rest in Jesus.

5. How many of the 613 do I keep by following Galatians 5:14, on a great day?
Well, many we cannot keep because a) some require a temple in Jerusalem, b) some are for the Israelite theocracy, c) I am not a Levite, d) I am not a farmer. I naturally observe the Law for the most part, except for the Sabbath (see #4), I don't have corner tassels on my clothes, and I sometimes I have mixed fabrics in my shirt, and eat pork.
My goal is to keep as many as possible to express my love for Jesus, while not neglecting the greatest commands of loving God & loving people.

6. What was the point of the 613 anyhow?
To show us that we are screwed without a savior saving us. In other words, that YOU and I need saving. To deny this is to be in pride. It is a mirror to show us that we cannot perfectly keep God's standards & that we have all fallen short & are guilty before a holy God. Therefore, we each need salvation. We all need to admit to God that we have fallen short, that we cannot save ourselves & then turn from our former way of living & turn to follow Jesus as our savior and our lord.

7. What about the other physical type laws? Are they done away with?
(examples are mixing fabrics, wearing corner tassels, mixing seed in your field, celebrate the Jewish festivals-seeing that I am ingrafted in, to observe Sukkot) These things Jesus observed, but we don't see Him verbally teaching on this. So do we sin if we do not keep God's commands here? Or is the purpose of the Law fulfilled in Christ & it doesn't matter if we do these things? We can keep them, if it is not too big a burden. Better though, is to understand who God would make these laws/ these laws of love and care. These verses, even these "lesser" laws are useful to equip us to love people.

8. So should we, as believers, ingrafted into the Jewish faith through the Messiah, keep the 613 today? To earn salvation, to keep salvation, to earn God's favor, no. To express love for Jesus, I think this would be awesome and totally acceptable, why not? Jesus kept the Law, so if we want to we can do it as an expression of love toward Jesus also.

Anyhow, I could have said this in the beginning, but I love Jesus, and want to express my love toward Him. I can keep the Law, if I desire to do so, as an expression of love. But more importantly, He wants me to express that love for Jesus by loving & caring for people. Time to love someone.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Who deserves to go to Hell?

Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Muammar Ghadaffi, Osama Bin Laden, Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, and you.

The reason why is because God's standard, His measuring stick, His lowest denominator, His minimum requirement of morality & goodness is Jesus. If we measure up short compared to the righteousness of Jesus at all, we fall short of the glory of God & deserve the punishment for our bad, evil choices.

Quick facts from Scripture:
1. Jesus didn't even refer to Himself as good (Mark 10:18).
2. Jesus taught that unless our righteousness surpassed the holy leaders, we couldn't dwell with God (Matthew 5:20).
3. James, the one sent out by Jesus to teach, also Jesus' brother, taught that if we obey God in every area yet stumble in one part, we are guilty before God, as if we broke every law (James 2:10).
4. The Bible teaches that there are none righteous, not even one. We have all turned aside, we all ignore God. We all have done evil & have fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:10-20).
5. We can never do enough good, pay enough penance, say enough prayers, go to church enough, give enough money, help enough old ladies, to get out of the evil we have committed, the law we have broken. Our best efforts are like filthy bloody menstrual rags (Isaiah 64:6).

Do those listed above deserve Hell more than you or I? No. Now what they did was especially destructive, evil, and hurt many many many people whom God loves. No doubt what they did was very damnable, according to Scripture. But let's be honest, don't we all break God's law?

Here is a test, from Scripture, to see if you stand guilty before God or innocent:
If you have done any of these you are guilty (this list is not exhaustive)-
1. From the line of Adam.
2. Ever looked at a women to lust after her?
3. Ever hated someone in your heart?
4. Ever called someone an idiot?
5. Ever disobeyed your parents?
6. Ever stolen anything? Then you are a thief.
7. Ever put anything else in your life besides living for God's glory?
8. Ever treated someone without love?
9. Ever lied? That would make you a liar.
10. Ever talked negatively about someone to someone else?
11. Ever made up a hurtful story about someone?
12. Ever bragged about something you've done & taken the credit for yourself?
13. Ever walked past a needy person without helping them?
14. Ever cheated on your taxes?
15. Ever not loved God with all your heart & soul?
16. Ever not loved God with all your resources?
17. Ever been discontent with what you have?
18. Ever initiated a divorce?
19. Ever hoarded wealth for yourself?
20. Ever done something that could have gotten someone else killed?
21. Ever ripped on a leader God put in place (a president, etc)?
22. Ever bullied someone?

How many of these have you done? How many do you do every day? Now let me be curt, how many times a day do you break God's law & become a guilty law breaker?
See how guilty we really are? We are all guilty, and the punishment for sin is Hell, eternal separation from God's blessing in a place of great pain. That is how serious sin is to God.

Now let me ask the question again. Who deserves to go to Hell?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Refuting the L in Calvinism's TULIP "Limited Atonement"

"Jesus died only for the elect. Though Jesus’ sacrifice was sufficient for all, it was not efficacious for all. Jesus only bore the sins of the elect. Support for this position is drawn from such scriptures as Matt. 26:28 where Jesus died for ‘many'; John 10:11, 15 which say that Jesus died for the sheep (not the goats, per Matt. 25:32-33); John 17:9 where Jesus in prayer interceded for the ones given Him, not those of the entire world; Acts 20:28 and Eph. 5:25-27 which state that the Church was purchased by Christ, not all people; and Isaiah 53:12 which is a prophecy of Jesus’ crucifixion where he would bore the sins of many (not all)."


I hope this is not the defense, or the argument used for this view. Here is why-

The person who wrote this agrues that these verses teach that Jesus died for His sheep and for the Church. While this is true, these verses do not limit His death being for the sheep or Church. The writer goes beyond the teaching of scripture here by concluding something that is not concluded in the passage.

To lay it out clearly the verses teach:

1. Jesus died for the sheep, for the Church.

2. The veses do not LIMIT Jesus' death to only the sheep and Church.

3. The verses that talk of Jesus dying for the "many" includes the many, but does not limit it to only the many. It is not ethical to make such a jump.

That being said, the only verse I see here that merits interest, or holds any amount of water is John 17:9 where Jesus says that He is not praying for the world but for the elect. But even with this verse, while He is praying for the elect here, I cannot conclude, exegetically, that this verse teaches that He only died for the elect.

Therefore, if this is the argument for Limited Atonement, I cannot ethically support this, based on an exegetical understanding of Scripture. Also, it seems that John Calvin refutes the L in TULIP- here is a website that has a lot of information on this:

In conclusion- God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whosever trusts in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life. God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world (people) may be saved through Him.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Curriculum Writing

So I am officially writing curriculum to use in youth group. I am making "Talksheet" formatted lessons. I am pretty excited about this, and hope to get them published. Anyone know a good printer who can do a book format?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Teaching Like Jesus

So, I have been wondering about how Jesus taught. Here are some questions I have been wondering:
1. Did Jesus frontload the discussions or did He teach & then backload the practical aspect?
2. What type of illustrations did Jesus use?
3. Who was Jesus primary target audience?

Monday, October 3, 2011

My Child Doesn't Like Church

Here are 3 videos, I made, for you to think through-

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Christian in Darkness?

The one who says he is in the Light and hates his brother is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

So I know a few church-folk who claim to be Christians yet hold grudges & refuse to reconcile with people. Look at this verse above & see what it says.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Funny kill wasp story!

I had to post this. I read it on-
And almost died laughing.

One early July morning my breakfast on the porch was ruined by... wasps.

I found out that there was probably a bad*ss nest of wasps under a board on my porch. After pinpointing the exact board with and educated guess I armed myself with two cans of wasp spray.

I quickly unscrewed the board from the frame using an electric drill. I then proceeded to flip the board over, exposing a massive wasps nest clinging to the bottom of the board.

I then, Akimbo style, began firing both cans of spray wildly at the wasps nest like an angry soviet in a room full of Finns. Not only did this do very little to the nest, it also resulted in my face and head being stung around 20 times. So of course, by reflex began spraying all around my head with the wasp spray to try to clear the wasps and prevent my face from looking like that of a teenage macaulay culkin. Not only did a lot of the spray get in my face, it also didn't burn or hurt a single bit.

I then proceeded to do many things to the nest, including firing a 10/22 ruger at it, shooting it with a flaming arrow and shooting a can of spray paint while it was sitting next to the hive.

I eventually got rid of it by spraying it with lighter fluid and setting it ablaze.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Innocent Murderer

A man named Steven Ian Nichols murdered 5 people recently. He was actually caught murdering a sixth, chopping her up with a hand axe. He was caught literally "red-handed" and covered in her blood. However, the first words out of his mouth were words of denial. "I didn't do anything wrong." he Steven insisted.
Furthermore, when arrested, he was offended that the police thought he was a "bad" person. He maintained that while in past counseling, the counselors taught him the importance of self-esteem & that he was beautiful, no matter what people said. He firmly held that he was innocent because he is a beautiful, perfect person. When he appeared before the judge he kept his chin up with a wide grin. Maintaining great self-esteem and confidence that God looked down upon him with the same wide grin. Thanks to the counseling he too has good self-esteem and believes that he can do nothing wrong.

This reminds me of the song by Christina Aguilerra "Beautiful", or by Pink "Perfect" or modern culture in the USA that teaches that we are to believe we are good people, who don't have any darkness in us.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A conversation: Can you be a Christian and not follow Jesus?

Here is a conversation between "Fred" & me. This is a fun, faux conversation, that teaches. Enjoy.

Jeff: So Fred, what brings you in today?
Fred: I want to know if I am following Jesus.
J: Where is your heart headed? Your life?
F: I want to follow Jesus, but I keep screwing up.
J: We all stumble in many ways. Look at your direction. Who is at your finish line today?
F: Huh?
J: Who is standing there? Who are you or what are you running toward? What is on your heart right now?
Example- I was running a 100yd. dash once & at the finish line, I saw my dad standing. I ran hard directly at my dad. It was awesome!
What are you running at today?
F: Good?! It changes...all the time. Depends I guess.
J: Lets look at Luke 9:23-25
Jesus teaches 3 things for people who wish to follow Him:
1. Must deny self.
2. Pick up cross daily.
3. Follow Jesus.
Some questions to consider based on this passage are:
1. What are you living for? What's your primary passion?
2. It is a daily mortification of self, yes even moment to moment. It is a way of life, a decision we make. What is your decision? Will you pick up your cross and head toward Calvary today?
3. Do you strive to follow Jesus, without compromise? Or do you live assuming He doesn't really care if you follow?
F: Do you have to follow to be a Christian?
J: Absolutely!
F: What I mean is, do I have to follow Jesus/ be a Christian in order to be saved?
J: Saved people will strive to follow, out of gratitude (Ephesians 2:8-10, 2 Corinthians 5:17).
F: Good point. So, can I say, play sports and follow Jesus, etc...?
J: Maybe. Is that what He wants you to do?
Does it cause you to be disobedient or derail you from following (ex. Hebrews 10:24-25)?
And does it serve a greater purpose? To help others follow Him too?
Can you play a sport and follow after Jesus at the same time?
F: So, I can['t play a sport just for fun?
J: You can. But once again Christians live for a greater cause than self. We are to be about our Lord's business.
F: Which is???
J: Matthew 22, to love God & love people. Part of this is, "The Cause" found in Matthew 28, that Jesus called us to do. We are to obey Him & be all about His Cause (John 14:15).
F: So fun with a purpose?
J: A purpose greater than any national or international agenda!
[telemarketer calls & conversation ends]

Thursday, July 28, 2011

How to keep focused on Jesus

We all have drives, and the flesh to deal with. This is normal, this is good. However, when we give into these drives in a way that causes us to "dethrone" Jesus in our hearts, this is not good, it is bad, evil. It is to quit following and to head away from following Jesus.
The issue of frustration, therefore, is not our hormones, or drives, or physical "needs" but in our volition, will, choice. When we choose to give into the desires of our bodies (flesh, sarx), instead of following Jesus, it is then that we sin, error, go off the train, cease to follow Jesus, remove Him from being our Lord.
Paul addresses how to get control over our hormones & desires. In 1 Corinthians 9:27, he says, "I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that after I have taught others, I myself will not be disqualified."
Which explains why I have a picture of Rocky here. The word "discipline" is a Greek word (in the original), that means literally, "below the eye" or to punch below the eye. It is a boxing term meaning to give someone a black eye. Paul is literally saying, "I beat my body" or subject it to discipline/punishment.
Some people take this to mean, like Martin Luther, self-flagellation. However, this doesn't stop anything, seeing that my body cannot be disciplined because it doesn't have a mind. The arm doesn't stop and think, "If I do this again, Jeff will beat me." Instead, what it means is that Paul willingly allowed his body to suffer hardship in order to follow Jesus. He denied his body's drives in order to honor Jesus & follow after Him.
Example- running a marathon. There is a thing called "the wall". It is then where the body says, "that's it. I've had it. I am not going any further, I can't do it." Some people quit when they hit this, but marathon finishers push through "the wall". When our hormones are high, when our different drives kick in, we need to push through those things rather than turning aside from honoring Jesus. We should tell our body, "no, we're not going there", thus giving it a "black eye". And push on through that momentary conflict...until it subsides.

Go read 1 Corinthians 9:27 & consider these rich word pictures from God's word. You can do it.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A couple of thoughts on the advantages of Time Alone With God (TAWG)

(Print & Circle a few that grab your attention.)

  1. We follow our Rabbi today by reading His word, talking to, and doing what He says.
  2. To hide Jesus’ word in our heart so we don’t sin against Him.
  3. We allow the Spirit to be our counselor, we can share our problems, then listen for direction.
  4. It allows us to quiet ourselves & remember that God is God.
  5. It allows us to release our weights to the one who hears & loves us.
  6. God wants to hear from His children.
  7. God gives us the right to come to Him.
  8. God gives us the grace to help us in our time of need.
  9. Draw near to God & He will draw near to you.
  10. Abide in Jesus, and Him in you. Apart from Him, you can do nothing.
  11. People need us to stand in pray with them.
  12. God answers prayer.
  13. The effective prayer of the righteous is powerful & accomplishes much.
  14. God is quick to hear the prayers of His godly ones.
  15. The Spirit helps us pray, for often we don’t know what to say. just pray.
  16. Jesus prayed.
  17. The disiciples use to talk to Jesus face to face. We can still talk to Jesus today, and He is right in our midst.
  18. Life is heavy, talking to God, the one who loves us, helps us with our burdens.
  19. The prayer of the godly is like an arrow to Heaven.
  20. God will not reject those who seek Him.
  21. It is a time to help us realize our station in life.
  22. It helps us clarify who we are, what we are about.
  23. It helps remind us that we are dependent on God.
  24. Not doing TAWG, is like having a girlfriend without spending time with her.
  25. Jesus is our vine, we get our nourishment from Him.
  26. Prayer is a conversation, time to talk to Jesus, and also listen to Jesus.
  27. Prayer works.
  28. Cast all your cares on Him for He cares for you.
  29. Jesus will never leave you nor forsake you.
  30. It is a time to read & meditate on wisdom from One much wiser than our own mind.
  31. It is a time to read & meditate on wisdom from One much wiser than all the noise around us.
  32. Jesus read Scripture.
  33. The disciples use to hang out with Jesus, today we have His very words written down for us.
  34. It helps us to stay grounded on the Rock.
  35. It teaches us submission.
  36. It teaches us dependence.
  37. It can keep us from puffing ourselves up.
  38. Reading & trusting God’s words can save us from a lot of bad decisions.
  39. Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.
  40. When we do this, we start living eternity with God, now.
  41. Many people have said, “I wish Jesus was here so I could ask Him…” Well, He is, and His words are right here, available to you in book format, so you can go back again and again to read it.
  42. Disciples naturally spend time learning from their Rabbi.
  43. Disciples enjoy sitting at the feet of the Rabbi.
  44. Disciples model the life of the Rabbi.
  45. There is an unseen world that we do not understand and need God’s help to succeed.
  46. God’s children are saints, holy ones. We have direct fellowship with God.
  47. To live on the Rock, Jesus we listen to His words and then do what He taught.
  48. If you love Jesus, you will obey what He commands.
  49. We are called to love God & love people.
  50. Faith is command in action.
  51. Peter at least got out of the boat, when Jesus called Him too.
  52. Christians are known by their fruit.
  53. How can you know what to do if you don’t seek the one you follow?
  54. Applying God’s word accurately = wise living.
  55. What if a sheep remains distant from the Shepherd?
  56. What if a tree branch cuts itself off & decides to live next to the Tree? Christ is the Tree.
  57. Trees near the river are always stronger and healthier than the ones far away.
  58. We need God’s strength to make it through the day.
  59. We need God’s wisdom so that we can reach others for Jesus.
  60. Judas didn’t follow Jesus, look what happened to him.
  61. To obey is better than sacrifice. We can’t obey if we don’t know what Jesus says.
  62. Many people are emotion/mood driven. Setting a time for TAWG helps us control that.
  63. People in the flesh can never please God.
  64. Come as you are.
  65. You don’t need to be trained in prayer to pray. It is merely talking to the God.
  66. “Lord I want to believe, help me in my unbelief.” May be a great starting point for you.
  67. TAWG doesn’t have a time requirement.
  68. You do what is important to you.
  69. TAWG helps us to listen, learn, and be challenged from the Creator.
  70. Cry out, listen, do is a great way to enjoy following Jesus.
  71. We are to follow in the dust of our Rabbi, Jesus.
  72. A Christian is a follower of Christ.
  73. How can we follow if we refuse to listen?
  74. Obedience is faith in action. It is hearing what Jesus says, then actually doing it. It is not mere thought.
  75. We can never dry out the living stream of God’s word. There is always more to learn, always another level to go.
  76. God’s word is like COD, you never conquer it’s depth.
  77. I have read the Bible several times, some verses several hundred times, yet often I learn another surprising angle.
  78. God’s word cannot be exhausted, there is always something new to be discovered.
  79. Jesus is the way, the truth, the life.
  80. Where else shall we go? Jesus has the words of life!
  81. We live from the overflow of our time with God.
  82. God is the King, we are His servants.
  83. Jesus is our good shepherd, we are his sheep.
  84. Life is like follow the leader. Jesus leads, we follow.
  85. It is not a religious duty, though that may be a good place to start.
  86. It is not a mere religious duty, it is a relationship with God.
  87. God want a relationship with us.
  88. God loves to listen to us.
  89. Jesus loves to hang out with us.
  90. We see through a dim reflection now, but then face to face.
  91. TAWG is the closest we get to heaven here on earth. It is active fellowship with God.
  92. TAWG- I start the morning getting perspective, which seems to help with the day as a it a pre-emptive strike.
  93. Prayer helps me to distress, without adding to it.
  94. Reading the Bible before bed helps me go to bed thinking of higher thoughts.
  95. My ways are higher than your way, and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.
  96. Whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good reputation, excellent, worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
  97. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in Jesus, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
  98. In everything give thanks.
  99. Rejoice in the Lord always.
  100. Pray without ceasing.
  101. Reading what is pure & good helps us to grow a distaste for what is vile and bad.
  102. Go from “Just do it.” To “Doing it.” Living.
  103. You are God’s son, enjoy a relationship with a dad who loves you.
  104. You are God’s daughter, enjoy a relationship with a dad who loves you.
  105. God knows you & your secrets, yet He still loves you very much.
  106. You need God.
  107. God is a crutch.
  108. Better to know how to seek God when doing well, so that when things go badly you can turn to Him without that guilt also.
  109. Sin is turning away from God to follow our own path. Coming back always requires carrying that bag of regret, guilt, and shame.
  110. You think you are smart enough to do life on your own? What are you God or something?
  111. Don’t call yourself a Christian (follower of Christ) and then not follow.
  112. Thinking about diets don’t work. Neither does thinking about doing God’s word. Do it.
  113. Jesus is a valuable treasure.
  114. God really does know what He is talking about…after all He is God.
  115. You are too busy not to pray. Read that one again.
  116. The busier life is, the more you need to pause to pray and let God direct the ordering of your day.
  117. Prayer is relaxing.
  118. Prayer is intense.
  119. Prayer is powerful.
  120. Prayer is reflective.
  121. Prayer is passionate.
  122. Pray when you are tired.
  123. Talk to Jesus until you fall asleep.
  124. Read the Bible until you fall asleep…better than not reading it to fall asleep.
  125. There is a lot of garbage out there, Jesus may be the only pure thing we enjoy each day.
  126. Commit your plans to the Lord, and they will be established.
  127. Plans fall from lack of counsel.
  128. Jesus is your friend.
  129. God is your father.
  130. The Spirit is your helper.
  131. God is an ever present help in times of trouble.
  132. Jesus is with us always, to the very end of time.
  133. Prayer can last 3 silent seconds, or several loud hours.
  134. Pray, read in the bathroom. It is not sacrilegious.
  135. Make TAWG energizing.
  136. Make TAWG relaxing.
  137. Make TAWG motivating.
  138. Make TAWG challenging.
  139. Make TAWG an intellectual pursuit.
  140. Make TAWG a conversation.
  141. It is okay to get distracted, just bring it back to you and Jesus.
  142. Better to fall asleep while praying than not pray at all.
  143. Make prayer conversational.
  144. Make prayer formal.
  145. Write down your prayers.
  146. Be like David and write songs to God.
  147. Draw pictures that describe the Scripture you are reading, or how it will look like when Scripture is applied to your life.
  148. Write a challenge statement a “To Do” after you finish reading Scripture.
  149. Use a psalm as your prayer template.
  150. Pray through the Psalms.
  151. Read a Proverb a day-there are 31.
  152. Read through the Old Testament in a year.
  153. Read a chapter of Scripture a day.
  154. Read a paragraph of Scripture before you begin your day.
  155. Read a chapter of Proverbs every time you…spend time in the bathroom.
  156. Ten minutes before bed: pray or read Scripture.
  157. Don’t forget application.
  158. Never read Scripture without thanking God for it, and asking God to help you see it.
  159. We are blind and need Jesus to restore our sight.
  160. Great people of the faith enjoy time with Jesus.
  161. A lot of problems are abated by simply spending time in prayer, reading, and applying God’s word.
  162. Use a prayer journal, and don’t make a lot of rules for it.
  163. Pray what is on your heart.
  164. As MCHammer said, “We’ve got to pray just to make it today”.
  165. God delights in you.
  166. You delight in God.
  167. You want to TAWG, so why not do what you want to do.
  168. TAWG is communion with God, your Heavenly Father.
  169. Light a candle during prayer time.
  170. Pray during Yoga.
  171. Pray while you are jogging.
  172. Bring your Bible to work, school.
  173. Bring your Bible on vacation.
  174. You don’t need a bunch of equipment to pray.
  175. Put a prayer time playlist on your iPod.
  176. Pray & commit your work to the Lord before you start it.
  177. Don’t be a slacker.
  178. If you have decided to follow Jesus, then follow Him. No mere talk please.
  179. Be extreme or be spit.
  180. Make war on the floor.
  181. Prayer is the work of the Christian, the rest is just follow up.
  182. A refrigerator unplugged will not work. A Christian unplugged will not work.
  183. A follower who refuses to follow is an oxymoron.
  184. There is no such thing as a non-practicing Christian.
  185. TAWG is a feast, eat until you are full.
  186. Man cannot live on bread alone, but by every word from the mouth of God.
  187. Do TAWG while commuting to work.
  188. Turn off the radio in the morning and pray.

188 thoughts

Now that you got it, go for it. Start today. Heck, start right now.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

How to be a Spiritual Giant?

Being a Real vs. Fake Spiritual Giant: Smack Talkers & Over Achievers

Luke 17:5-10

What do smack talkers, over achievers, and religious people have in common? They all talk a big game or try to show they are accomplishing much for God, but are they?

Back to this verse- Matthew 7:22–23 (NASB95)

22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’

23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

Thought question:

Rather than being showy or talking a big game, what does Jesus really want us to be about?

1. An example of the type of person Jesus wants us to be like- Hebrews 11:32-40

2. Discussion: What makes these people different than the regular religious person?

Luke 17:5–10 (NASB95)

5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”

6 And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea’; and it would obey you.

7 “Which of you, having a slave plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come immediately and sit down to eat’?

8 “But will he not say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself and serve me while I eat and drink; and afterward you may eat and drink’?

9 “He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he?

10 “So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.’ ”

“We have done that which we ought to have done.”

Today many people talk a big faith, they wear Jesus t-shirts, they put a Bible on their nightstand, they don’t cuss, they are critical of dirty pagans, they attend church, they even do an occasional good thing. But are they doing what Jesus tells them to do? Are you obeying what Jesus has called you to do? (see John 14:15).

  1. What are the rules Jesus wants us to obey? Love God, love people.
  2. How do we know if we are doing this?

Reflective Questions- Do you have a passion to know Jesus more and more? Is it your desire to love God & love others according to how His word describes? Do you love His church, and look forward to being a part of the body of believers, or is it something your parents make you do? Do you have a desire to care for the people around you? And then are you actively pursuing/doing these three things?

Negative reflective questions- Do you consider yourself a “good” Christian, yet seldom, if ever, seek God or even think about how you can bring Him glory? Are you so involved in work, sports, drama, friends that His Bride, the body of Christ gets less of your passion and time (Heb. 10:25)? Is you commitment to the Church shrinking and are you justifying that it is okay? Are you always too busy to get involved in serving people, and caring for the needy and hurting? Do you rarely get involved in Church or youth group service projects or mission trips because of sports, work, it is too hot, or you just forgot?

You can’t be a real spiritual giant, or even call yourself a Christ-follower if, in the grind of life, He is low on the priority list. I guess you can talk smack, but Jesus sees right through it. He expects His followers to follow. This is the secret to being a giant in the faith. In fact, spiritual giants are made from obedience in the day to day.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Persecution 101: The City Gates

In many Jewish villages, there were "city idols" that stood at the city gates. In order to come into the city to buy or sell, you would have to pay homage to that city god.
Well, what would you do if you were a follower of Jesus? Would you pay homage so you can buy food? Would you pay homage so you could sell product to provide for your family?

The Christians did not, and many of them suffered because of it. They had to go outside the city to sell product, to buy product. However, the people bought & sold at the city gates, not outside the city.

This reminds me of sports, and other activities today. We don't see idols- things that sit on shelves or pedestals. We see things like, "I can't go to church if I want to play on a team". Where people give up, compromise their walk with Christ for the sake of being able to play sports and have friends on the sports teams. This is, in many ways, more difficult because there is no law that teaches that you have to be at all church events or church gatherings. Furthermore, enemies of the Word like George Barna, who are influential in Christian circles are teaching that being involved in the body of Christ is optional. "Personal relationship with Jesus" is taught, and taught that obeying Acts, Hebrews, and 1 John where we need to be gathering with the believers in an INCREASING manner, is optional.

Maybe Christians need to say, "On Sunday morning I get to be with the believers, and worship together, in obedience to God", "And I will go with the Church when they do different functions, and skip my practice. Therefore, maybe I cannot play sports in this culture." People are ditching the teachings of Scripture in order to gain the things of this world- friends, prestige, and to play on a sports team. May God forgive them. May Christians today be willing to sell outside the city gates & never bow to idols. May they follow Jesus, and not bend to the pressures of this world.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Findlay People are Wicked

There is a view in middle USA, that believes that we are pretty good people & God is not disappointed with us. We believe that we are moral & will enter God's good graces when we die, because we aren't bad.

In my opinion, people in Hancock county, Findlay are corrupt, and have committed terrible injustices. There is no one who does good at all.
God has looked down from heaven upon Findlay to see if there is anyone who is wise, who seeks after God.
Every one of them has turned aside; together they have become corrupt. There is not one Findlay person who I found who does good, not even one (Psalm 53).

So where does our idea of "we are good people" come from?
It is surely pride & depravity of heart. It is a total debacle of our understanding of what moral and good is. It is people... you saying you believe in God, but really you do not. You are of the same faith as the atheist, but even worse because you believe you are better off, more holy then they, and you deceive yourself. You hold to a made up idea of godliness, but deny God's real power. You do "good" deeds on occasion to feel better about yourself. You attend church "more than Joe" does, and use the most godless person you can think of to compare yourself, when all the while Jesus is the one we are to be comparing ourselves to. You give some money to charity, so you feel noble. You don't listen to that "bad music" and maybe even to Christian music, yet you devour your neighbors with your thoughts.

O that you would see that you are not as good, nearly as good as you think you are.

So what is the remedy for this? Is there any hope for you? There is, but I am pretty sure you are too busy to really care. And am I any better than you?

John 3:16, John 10:10. There is one who took up this monumental task, so that we could be declared righteous before God, so that we could be saved from God tearing us to pieces (Psalm 50:22). Sadly, you probably don't even care because somehow you still believe that you really don't need saving. Well, you will find out.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Saved vs. Lost people

The difference between saved people and the unsaved is simple.
Saved people admit that they are not perfect and need salvation.
Lost people do not admit that they have shortcomings and don't believe they need saving.

The former comes to Jesus, THE savior. The latter do not because they don't see the benefit.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

WTB God? Psalm 37:25-40

So I was reading Psalm 37:25-40 yesterday & saw that God said He would protect people from several things, most of which is not a reality least in my understanding of what He seems to be saying. It made me really struggle with some questions-I know that as a Christian I am suppose to have all my theological ducks in a row [eastern Christians laughing out loud, western Christians have the 'heresy' o-meter out], but if God is true, then we shouldn't have to cover for Him right? After all, you only have to cover for someone if they lie.
In order to see what is going on, you will have to read the Text for yourself. But here are my thoughts-
If God offers protection from the unjust, for the faithful-as He did for the Hebrews in Psalm 37, then why are Christians (those who trust Jesus) being slaughtered at the hands of unjust men today? Am I missing something? Maybe this Psalm 37 can't be applied to the Church today. In fact, in John 16:33, Hebrews 11:35-40 we see that part of being a Christian is suffering in the hands of the unjust. Therefore, what advantage is there in being under God's umbrella? What does God offer that an unbeliever doesn't have access to?

Here is what I see the actual advantage is-
1. Salvation from Hell- which means an eternal life with Christ & sharing His blessings. Hell=a place where God's hand of blessing has been removed, just like most people want.
2. Specific answered prayer (SPECIFIC), as we accomplish His will.
3. Wisdom- Coming under His umbrella/listening to His wisdom gives life & success here in life.
4. Hope of better things, when Jesus restores all things and deals with the problem of pain & suffering & brokenness.
5. The indwelling of God's Spirit, to help us.
6. God's occasional FELT help.
7. The Community of Saints.
8. Protection from spiritual forces (sorry Atheists, for me, this is one of the best proofs for God- the undeniable presence of evil spirits in this world).
9. Hope that God will do what He says He will do, which gives comfort in many many areas.
10. Believers don't really die. John 11:26, and based on what I have heard from nurses who have seen believers die- there is a clear distinction. I know some believers who have died with a smile, arms outstretched saying, "Jesus!" as if they were receiving Jesus. Strange? Maybe, but that is what happens.

Feel free to add more.