Sunday, June 06, 2010

forget not…

1Praise the Lord, O my soul;

all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

2Praise the Lord, O my soul,

and forget not all his benefits—

3who forgives all your sins

and heals all your diseases,

4who redeems your life from the pit

and crowns you with love and compassion,

5who satisfies your desires with good things

so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

6The Lord works righteousness

and justice for all the oppressed.

7He made known his ways to Moses,

his deeds to the people of Israel:

8The Lord is compassionate and gracious,

slow to anger, abounding in love.

9He will not always accuse,

nor will he harbor his anger forever;

10he does not treat us as our sins deserve

or repay us according to our iniquities.

11For as high as the heavens are above the earth,

so great is his love for those who fear him;

12as far as the east is from the west,

so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

13As a father has compassion on his children,

so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;

14for he knows how we are formed,

he remembers that we are dust.

15As for man, his days are like grass,

he flourishes like a flower of the field;

16the wind blows over it and it is gone,

and its place remembers it no more.

17But from everlasting to everlasting

the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,

and his righteousness with their children’s children—

18with those who keep his covenant

and remember to obey his precepts.

19The Lord has established his throne in heaven,

and his kingdom rules over all.

20Praise the Lord, you his angels,

you mighty ones who do his bidding,

who obey his word.

21Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,

you his servants who do his will.

22Praise the Lord, all his works

everywhere in his dominion.

Praise the Lord, O my soul.


Saturday, June 05, 2010

love wins

"Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

I Corinthians 13: 12-13

"Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;

if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.

In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

Romans 12: 9-21

I wrote a song a couple months back, called "Love wins." It is based on Romans 12 and I catch myself singing it quite often as of late. The chorus of the song goes:
"I am a sacrifice; I'm a sacrifice.
Conform me to your will...."

There are three verses:
1. May my life always be: pleasing
May my heart always be: discerning your will....

2. May I never think of me: too highly.
May I always want to be: serving in faith....

3. Love must always be... sincere.
And I pray that good will always (will always). Win out.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


“Every Christian is a theologian, not just academically trained Christians, … but every Christian. ... Part of Christian maturity is doctrinal sophistication…”
– William Lane Craig

Ephesians 4: 13-15: “…Until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the son of God to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro… by every wind of doctrine…”
Galatians 1:6-9: “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and turning to a different gospel, not that there is another gospel, but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preach to you, let him be accursed …”
Titus 1: 9: “… [the elder] must hold firm to the sure Word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to refute those who contradict him.

The above quote and Scripture references are taken from a Sunday school lesson given by William L. Craig. I’ve been listening to Craig and others in online lessons/sermons as a means to broaden my horizons.  I really appreciate the theme of this particular lessons, since it admonishes that we should all be theologians.  Not that I am called to pastor a church, nor do I have any designs on taking over church leadership, but I do feel called to be as knowledgeable as any one of the pastors in my (or any other) church, since that is what God expects from me, from all of us who are Believers.  This is necessary so that I can stand on my faith and trust in the Lord rather than leaning on my own understanding.  I believe that the more I know of Christ, the more He will rule my life.  I do not want to negate prayer as I emphasize the importance of knowing sound doctrine. Prayer is an integral part of the life of a Believer, and I believe I am called to live a life full of prayer and study of the Word.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Romans Doxology

33Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
34“Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?”

35“Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay him?”

36For from him and through him and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.

……………………………………….. Romans 11:33-36

I love how, in this doxology, Paul weaves together words from the Old Testament as he closes out one part of his letter and begins another.  (Paul has just been speaking on the grace and mercy of God who has ordained, justified, and sanctified the Saints but who has turned his back on those who will not have him.  Beginning in Romans 12, the message takes a new course—a lesson in living a life of worship and of love.) 

As I was reading chapter 5 of Book I in C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity, I was reminded of this passage.  When I looked it up, I read the whole of Romans 11 (for context), and had to stop and read, and re-read verse 32: “For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.”  It is with THOSE words ringing in my soul that I must read verses 33-36. It is with THAT verse echoing in my mind that I must read the much-studied, much talked-about Romans 12. 

For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all. ….. Romans 11:32

Therefore my brothers, in view of God’s mercy, offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, and you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is, his good, pleasing and perfect will.  ….. Romans 12: 1-2

Monday, March 01, 2010


4Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. 5Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. 6He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
…………………………………………………………………………. II Corinthians 3: 4-6

Recently, as I have been discussing with friends the work set out for us – the Mission of Jesus, the carrying forth of the gospel—we have been reminding each other of the truth we find in II Corinthians 3 and 4. That is, we are called to boldly, fearlessly, and selflessly spread the love of Christ to those who do not have Christ and to disciple those who call upon His name.  However, in talking about the mission, especially the practical aspects, we find ourselves feeling anxious at the uncertainty of what lies ahead and at the weight of what we are feeling called to do. 

It is in feeling this uncertainty that I find myself searching the Scriptures for words of instruction and even of comfort.  As I was reading tonight through the Scriptures referenced in Sunday’s message, I felt the need to post the passage above.  These feelings of inadequacy or uncertainty are mere reassurance that I am, in fact, woefully inadequate to the task—and how blessed that this is true, that I might put off the old self all the more readily and put on the new self, the redeemed self, the self that has been justified and is now being sanctified unto that for which Christ took hold for me.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


5This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

8If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.
…………………………………………………………………… I John 1: 5-10

We were challenged at church on Sunday to read through I John this week, and I have done so a couple times through.  I really love how the words of I John 1: 1-4 echo the words of   John 1: 1-5.  Although those are not the verses I quoted above, I will mention them briefly in order to point out that John sets the tone in both these books: God is the creator; Jesus was with God at creation. Through him, and by him, and for him all things were made that have been made.  As the passage quoted above points out, we are made for one purpose: to love God—to walk in the light.

What does it LOOK LIKE to walk in the light. A friend of mine recently posed a question to a group of men: “What does it look like to live a truly missional life?” In other words, ‘What does it look like to live in the light and love of Christ, since Christ is the Author of the mission?”  While I was not privy to the chain of responses that ensued, the question intrigues me—what should my life look like? Are there things I should give up? Or is it more, what new ways should I adopt? Or is it a combination of both?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

heart beat…

I haven’t spent much time downtown since the end of summer—the end of crop growing season means an end to my Saturday mornings at the Community Market.  And by the time Friday rolled around—it had been a lame week at school-- I was raring to get out , stretch my legs, freshen my brain, and explore a little.  I first stopped by the conVergeSpace to check out some donated furniture (love craigslist!—I’m beginning to get a vision!), then stopped into the Kemper St. Flea Market to check out the wares--- ended up ordering a cheeseburger and Pepsi Throwback from the Kemper St. Cafe.  Since the food is cooked upon order, I had about ten minutes to stand and chat with the lady behind the counter.  I was able to share with her some of the ideas we are batting around for conVergeSpace, and it was neat to hear her oh-so-positive response to our church and the possibilities for youth outreach. After the cheeseburger, I toured Riverviews Artspace and despite being only mildly impressed with the exhibits, enjoyed about thirty minutes’ conversation with a local artist whose studio is in the Artspace.  He shared with me some of the art-related activities around Lynchburg, and actually made me want to go sign up for painting class—think of the networking possibilities!  I wrapped up my day browsing the cheap furniture on the third floor of Estate Specialists—oh the possibilities of those ugly $25 couches! 

The theme of my Saturday was, as I alluded: possibilities.  As conVerge has recently moved its main meeting venue downtown, I see the need—and truly desire—to BE downtown, to get to know the people of the city, and to (most importantly) reach out to the people in the downtown communities with the gospel.  How much of my free time will be spent in places outside of my house? I do not yet know, but I hope it is a lot of time, and I pray that the possibilities will make themselves real and evident…

Now the challenge: go downtown this week and meet one person, in any location. Talk for 10 minutes or more. Make sure you give your name, and get his/hers.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

may I never boast…..

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

His dying crimson, like a robe,
Spreads o’er His body on the tree;
Then I am dead to all the globe,
And all the globe is dead to me.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
………………………………. Isaac Watts

1Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. 2Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, 5for each one should carry his own load.

6Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor.

7Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

Not Circumcision but a New Creation

11See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand!

12Those who want to make a good impression outwardly are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13Not even those who are circumcised obey the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your flesh. 14May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation. 16Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule, even to the Israel of God.

17Finally, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.

18The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.
……………  ……………….. ……………. ……………….. Galatians 6