Tuesday, September 29, 2009

New Blog Series: 10 Things That Increase My Love for Christ

My favorite preacher, Matt Chandler, often says that the Christian life can be simplified into the commands to do whatever stirs your affections for Christ and avoid whatever robs you of your affections for Christ. He gets this idea from Piper, who gets it from Jonathan Edwards, and on and on all the way back to (I believe) the New Testament and Old Testament. The idea is that Christians should be living very intentional lives and should pay attention to how their actions and habits affect their love for Jesus.

This advice has had a large impact on my walk with Christ and my joy found in him. For the next few weeks, I will be doing a blog series on 10 of the things that increase my love for Christ. I hope you will learn something about me, be challenged and convicted, and be spurred on to deeper intimacy and joy in your own walk with Christ.

Coming tomorrow: #1- Passionate Music

Saturday, September 26, 2009

God The Source of All Good

Here is one of my favorite prayers from a treasured book I own entitled "The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions."

God The Source of All Good

O Lord God, Who inhabitest eternity,
The heavens declare they glroy,
The earth they riches,
The universe is thy temple;
They presence fills immensity,
Yet thou has of thy pleasure created life, and communicated happiness;
Thou has made me what I am, and given me what I have;
In thee I live and move and have my being;
Thy providence has set the bounds of my habitation,
and wisely administers all my affairs.
I thank thee for thy riches to me in Jesus,
for the unclouded revelation of him in Thy Word,
where I behold his person, character, grace, glory,
humiliation, sufferings, death, and resurrection;
Give me to feel a need of his continual saviourhood,
and cry with Job, 'I am vile,'
with Peter, 'I preish,'
with the publican, 'Be merciful to me, a sinner.'
Subdue in me the love of sin,
Let me know the need of renovation as well as of forgiveness,
in order to serve and enjoy thee forever.
I come to thee in the all-prevailing name of Jesus,
with nothing of my own to please,
no works, no worthiness, no promises.
I am often straying,
often knowingly opposing thy authority,
often abusing thy goodness;
Much of my guilt arises from my religious privileges,
my low estimation of them,
my failure to use them to my advantage,
But I am not careless of thy favour or regardless of thy glory;
Impress me deeply with a sense of thine omnipresence,
that thou art about my path, my ways, my lying down, my end.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Fc3: The Launch, 1 John, and Baptisms

So, I know that many of you who read my blog but are unable to attend my church (Fc3 - www.fcccdoc.org) have been wondering how our “Launch” went on the 9/13... It was so awesome!! When I got hired on as Pastor last January, we were getting on average 35-40 people a Sunday- on the 13th we had over 90 people across two services!! I am not one to lust after numbers, but it was definitely exciting to have our building full and to have so many people present to worship with us and hear the Gospel.

Yesterday, Fc3 started what will be for us a long series on the book of 1 John- a series that I am ridiculously excited about! We started it by talking about koinonia (fellowship) with each other and God- and the resulting joy (1:1-4). This next week we will be digging into the topic of sin, the Christian (and non-Christian) approaches and struggles with it, and Christ’s beautiful cross.

On October 4th we will be baptizing a few of our people!!! Being privileged to participate in baptisms is something that is indescribably energizing and encouraging to me. It is so awesome to see and hear about what God is doing in and among us! I say this here often, but if you are looking for a church home you definitely need to come and check us out!! As the fall is officially underway and the kids are back in school, we are striving into the future at about 50-55 people and have big hopes to grow (numerically and spiritually) and reach out in love to those around us in the name of Jesus.

Coming Next- - One of my favorite prayers out of my beloved Puritan Prayer book “The Valley of Vision.”

Friday, September 11, 2009

Aristotle, Emotions, and Discipleship

Aristotle, in his “Nicomachean Ethics” (1104b), states (roughly) that “we ought to have been brought up in a particular way from our very youth, as Plato says, so as both to delight in and to be pained by the things that we ought; for this is the right education.” C.S. Lewis, in “The Abolition of Man,” interprets this to teach that “the aim of education is to make the pupil like and dislike what he ought.” The basic thought is that education, or the training up of a youth, consists primarily in teaching the young one to like that which he should like and hate that which he should hate.

This plays itself out in almost every home with a child under the age of 3. When a child is torturing the family dog, the parents (through tone of voice and possible physical action) emphatically try to communicate to the child that they should feel bad about what they are doing. When a child is being sweet and gentle to the family baby, the parents (again through tone of voice and body language and possibly rewards) try to communicate that the child should feel good about what they are doing. The goal in all of this is to develop “correct emotions” in the heart of a child/youth as they grow up. As another example, the reaction to the direct disobedience of a child is one of disappointment and anger, while the reaction to obedience is one of happiness and reward.

It intrigues me to think about this view of teaching/training alongside the thought/command of discipleship. In many ways, I see discipleship and Christian maturity as a teaching and growing into “correct emotions.” Whereas my fallen heart would rejoice in evil and shy away from good, I am slowly being transformed into a person that correctly hates evil and rejoices in good. Thus, one of the main goals of sermons, community, and prayer would be to develop in our people a heart that rejoices in justice, beauty, grace, and forgiveness- as well as hearts that cringe at arrogance and injustice.

What are your thoughts? Please comment and share!!

Monday, September 7, 2009

What Bible translation do you use?

It’s a simple question: What translation of Scripture do you prefer to read and/or work out of? I am a huge proponent of the ESV- and when I am not working in the original languages I feel most at home there. I am also partial to the very helpful notes that the NET bible provides on the syntax issues of the Hebrew/Greek. I am fairly confident with my grasp of the different translations as I am a Hebrew-Greek student, grew up on the NIV, was a manager at Lifeway (HCSB), preached out of the NASB (shortly), and have been preaching/teaching/reading/working out of the ESV for almost a year now.

I found the following “translation guide” extremely funny:

HCSB - For Lifeway store buying Southern Baptists
NIV - For complementarian evangelicals
TNIV - For egalitarians
NASB - For those who want straight Bible, forget the English
Amplified - For those with no idea what a translation is but know that if you try enough words one of them will hit pay dirt

(I laughed particularly hard at the NASB and Amplified ones... haha).

So, let me know, what translation do you read out of, work out of (if there is a difference), and why?