Friday, August 29, 2008

An Open Door?

This week I am teaching on Revelation 3:7-13 and Jesus' letter to the church at Philadelphia. In this passage it says that Jesus holds the keys of David and the door He opens, no one can shut. What a great statement. It displays the power, majesty, and activity in our world. On the surface this statement seems pretty understandable. I mean, it seems logical that the doors that God opens for us have good things behind them. I wonder if God's perspective of an open door is different from ours.

In Acts 16 Luke describes a scene where Paul had really wanted to go to Asia to preach the Word, but the Spirit of God had kept him from doing so. Finally, in a dream God tells Paul that its time to go to Asia and preach... there is an open door! Behind the open door there is a woman who responds to gospel, but there are also a few other things waiting for Paul and Silas. They were: stripped, beaten, severely flogged, and thrown in jail. Sort of makes you wonder if you want to walk through the "open doors" that God provides.

Here is the kicker. They are in jail singing (?), and there is an earthquake that shatters the jail walls and they walk out. One of the things that I think we need to remember about open doors is that God calls us to walk through them, to trust him in the midst o the hard parts of life, trusting that he will be faithful. As followers of Christ we are called to see the beauty breaking through the brokenness. We can only see that if we are willing to walk through the open doors that he provides.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

healer faker

In my previous post I talked about how cool it was that this guy sang the song 'Healer' with oxygen tubes in his nose... turn out he is a faker. He faked the whole thing - 2 years of faking cancer... not even his family knew. Issues! You have to wonder what was going on inside his heart to amke him want to do this. As I have thought about this a little bit over the past week, I think there is something a little deeper that God would want us to see through this.

I would love to say that I am surprised, but it seems as though Christian leaders (not that he was a leader, but a prominent person) have a habit of letting us down. I guess this should serve as a reminder that only God is worthy of our worship. Often times we elevate people to that status, maybe unknowingly or unintentionally, but in case you haven't notcied there are definitely Christian celebrities. I guess in that sense it's a good thing that people continually remind us that they are unworthy of our worship. May we fix our gaze on the only one worthy.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Healer - Hillsong

The song “Healer” appears on the new “Hillsong Live - This is Our God” album (i highly recommend it). The story behind this song is amazing. The song was written by Mike Guglielmucci from Planetshakers (another australian chrisitan band that I also like). He was diagnosed with a blood disease, some kind of cancer, that kept him in a wheelchair for a long time. While suffering he wrote this song:

I BELIEVE YOU are all I Need
I BELIEVE YOU’re my portion
I BELIEVE YOU’re more than enough for me

You'll see on the video that he is still singing - even while still on oxygen. While we know that God doesn't always heal our physical aliments (anybody who believes that he does must be ignoring the staggering statistics on the % of people who eventually die), at times he does still choose to heal. Better yet, he is constantly healing and softening and drawing the hearts of people... an even greater miracle. Anyway, check out the song and video. They removed the best one (the one about the story), but this still gives you a great idea. It's a great song!

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Office: Can't wait!

the olympics are killing me...

Last night I told myself things would be different. Yesterday I had three people tell me that I looked tired. I was tired! I had been up until 1:30 watching the olympics. They are like heroin. No matter how hard you try, you just can't tear yourself away. So last night I told myself that I was going to go to bed early... well, 1:00am rolled around and I was still watching gymnastics. Evidently I have little to no self control. Go USA!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

D.A. Carson quote

"People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord.

We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated."

- D. A. Carson


I am currently doing a series in our college group called "Postcards from the Edge." The series is on Revelation 2-3 and Jesus' letters to the churches. These letters are just jam packed with relevant encouragement and correction. This week I am teaching on the letter to the church in Pergamum. I think it's one of the most cryptic letters out of the seven, but after some study I feel like I have wrapped my mind around what it's saying.

This whole passage is about compromise. It references the Nicolatians in Rev 2:15. There is a lot of debate about who these people were and what they believed. What I found was that early church tradition held that the Nicolatians were formed by Nicolas who is mentioned in Acts 6 as one of the men chosen to help lead the church at Antioch. Revelation 2:12-17 tells the story of a slow slide. Attrition. Drifting.

It's so easy to do isn't it? Especially in a culture that values busyness and constantly having something going on. I mean, when was the last time that I turned my cell phone OFF? As I studied and read this passage (and looked into the background), I am convinced that God would have something to say to his church through this passage today! It's easy to drift and not know it. Maybe we aren't even drifting yet, but you can see your eyes are starting to wonder.

The other night I was watching the men's 4x100 relay. Awesome. But the things that stood out to me was how France faded in the end and the US finished stronger than they started. I want to keep growing... I don't want to fade.