Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Science (9/28/04)

The psalmist wrote "… the heavens declare Your glory …"

I was 31 before I really started taking a look at the bible and what it has to say. I wouldn't say my public education was intentionally atheistic but I came away from school with an ingrained notion that science and faith were tragically juxtaposed. And I don't think I'm alone. In fact there are millions of people out there with the same notion. It keeps them from exploring the claims of Jesus because they think it flies in the face of modern science. The problem here is that these same people only have a small understanding of modern science. Darwin's assumption that life rose from pond scum has been challenged and shown to be statistically impossible. In the book "The Case for Faith", the author speaks of a theology professor who says if he needs an atheist for a debate, he has to go to the philosophy department because the physics department all believes. Physicists are declaring an amazing design and underlying plan to the universe which obviously points to a designer. And they have only scratched the surface of understanding. I see a parallel in this to my own understanding of the word of God. I only understand a little of the bible and I've taken even less into my heart, but… as I learn more and internalize more, it only serves to strengthen my faith. Similarly, as science advances, it seems to be pointing directly to God. And this is something that the masses seem to not be aware of. In fact, the masses think we need to suspend belief for the sake of our faith. In reality, it is the masses who are suspending belief to go on without faith. … the wisdom of the world is foolishness in the eyes of the Lord.

So as we fast this Wednesday, let's pray for science. We know science is going to continue pointing to God.

Have a great week and a great fast.
Your brother,

Monday, September 20, 2004

Too busy (9/20/04)

A couple months back, a list member e-mailed me the following - "Do a topic about 'Busy' being a four letter word". It's a great topic and one I need a lot of help with. If you're like me, you're busier than you'd like to be. In fact, some of you are so busy that it's stressing you out to think about reading this whole message. You opened this up, saw the length of the topic, and thought "I don't have time for this"...

Luke 10:38 - 42 reads: As Jesus and His disciples were on their way, He came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to Him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me! "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

Jesus says "only one thing is needed". It's so easy to let the small details of life crowd out the one truly important thing. And, just like Martha, it's easy to fool ourselves into thinking those small details are the important thing. We need to slow down, converse on a regular basis with God, and let Him prioritize our day. I can't recall who said the following but I think it might have been Saint Francis - "I have so much to get done today, I better spend an extra hour in prayer this morning". The author of this quote knew that the Lord is the answer to widdling down the to-do list. And in some cases, it isn't the to-do list that is stealing our time. It may be the TV or the internet or some other thing in our lives that crowds out the only one thing that is needed.

So this week we are praying about our busy-ness. We are praying that we regularly turn to God for help with our priorities. Let's all slow down and fast this Wednesday as we pray about this topic.

Have a great week and a great fast.
your brother,

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Transformation (9/12/04)

I am beginning to like country music. For those of you who don't know me very well, this is actually a pretty big change. I was always more into harder rock. I'm not sure what brought on the transformation. It might be the wide open space out here... Or the abundance of country music stations... Or the fact that many of my classmates during sales training really liked country music. Whatever the reason, I now see my kids rolling their eyes the way I used to when my Dad and step-mom played country music. I guess perhaps they were right all along.

The topic for this week is transformation. When we accept Christ as our savior, our new found faith is not just something to be assimilated into our lifestyle. It is to be the core of our new, re-born lifestyle. Said another way, our salvation is not an add-on. It is a transformation. In Matthew 18:3, Jesus tells us to become like little children. We are to be transformed like a child learning for the first time all over again. And, it is to be a lifelong transformation. An emptying of self and a filling with Him. As we walk with Him... As we study the word... As we disciple others and are discipled by others… We realize new depths of His truth. We become more and more like a child with utter dependence on our Father. You've probably heard a pastor say "Nothing in my hand I bring… Simply to the cross I cling". I want to learn how to cling to the cross in all situations.

Look at Luke 5:1-11. You'll see that Peter thought he had to be transformed before following Christ (you can probably see the parallel in many modern religions). Also, look at Luke 18:18-25. Here you'll see that the rich young ruler wanted his salvation to be an add-on to his current lifestyle.

A couple questions to think about this Wednesday as you fast and pray about transformation:

1. Has your salvation been a transformation?
2. If so, does your walk continue to be a transformation?
3. Is your transformation leading you down the path of utter dependence… Emptying yourself of your self and replacing it with Him?
4. Are you starting to like country music :-)

On second thought, don't give #4 too much thought.

Have a great week and a great fast.
your brother,

Monday, September 6, 2004

Addiction (9/6/04)

1 Corinthians 10:13-14 reads

"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry."

Giving in to temptation leads to idolatry which is another term for addiction. Do you know someone who is addicted to something? Are you addicted to something (perhaps more than 1 thing)? There are the addictions we commonly think of such as drugs or alcohol. But things like money, shopping, poor eating habits, Television, sex, pornography, or even attention are also addictions. An addiction is an idol. It is something we worship and it carries a certain amount of control over our lives. God gives us the direction that we are to have no idols before Him. He is to be our one and only addiction. But how do we go about getting rid of the addictions? I heard a sermon last week in which the pastor was emphasizing that the process is to "decide and lean".

Decide - The first step is deciding that we want to be rid of the addiction. In this step, we need to recognize the addiction and decide we don't want to be a slave to it anymore. It's important that we don't wait until we feel like doing it. Our feelings are probably what put us in bondage in the first place. Remember, we are not tempted beyond what we can bear.

Lean - Once we've resolved to be rid of it, we need to lean on Him to carry it out. He may put others in our lives to help. After all, the verse above says our temptations and idols are common to man. Others have been in the same boat before. Likewise, through the process, God may be preparing you to be the empathetic guide for others in the same boat. He tends to take our weaknesses and turn them into blessings for others.

This Wednesday, let's pray for our own addictions as well as the addictions of those around us. Let's pray to decide to be rid of these addictions and to let Him help us do it.

Have a great week and a great fast.
Your brother,