Monday, February 11, 2013

Doxology

Doxology. Not a word you probably said today...well, if you just read this, you did, but do you know what it means?

A doxology is a formation or formula of praise words. Hopefully it's something we utilize every day.

There is also a song called Doxology. I grew up singing it every week and I can't think of the song without the sound of an organ.

 
Here is how the song starts:

"Praise God from whom all blessings flow."

It is so easy to look at the negative in our lives. I'm sick. I'm broke. I can't believe my kids did this. I can't believe my spouse did that. Pretty sure my boss hates me. The negatives keep coming...but so do the blessings, if we chose to see them.

I'm sick, but I'll recover. I'm broke, but I have what I need. My kids got in trouble at school, but they are learning from their mistakes. My spouse did something wrong, but I am blessed to have a spouse to love and be loved by while we, together, practice mercy through forgiveness. My boss may hate me, but I have a job that allows me to provide for my family.

"Praise Him all creatures hear below."

Do others hear your praises or are they more in tune with the negatives?

"Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts."

It's not a competition, but I don't really want anything to give God more meaningful worship. It's about respect and recognizing who God is to me. So, do I worship God with a fervency of the angels or beyond?

"Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost."

It's easy to sing praise to the Father once we recognize His everyday blessings. It's easy to give praise to the Son when we recognize the death, burial, and resurrection showing us the extent of God's love and the forgiveness of our sins. But that last one, the Holy Ghost...don't forget Him! I love the term "ghost". It comes from the German word "geist". You've probably heard the word polter"geist", but did you know we also get the English word "guest" from "geist". He is our Holy Guest on a day to day basis, sustaining us, leading us, guiding us, correcting us, and when necessary convicting and rebuking us.

We have so many reasons to praise God. Brian and I don't often get multiple comments, so let me ask you to share your doxology below...your words of praise for God. Let's encourage one another in this!

all about Christ,
David

Friday, February 1, 2013

Just the front gate...

It tough to wrap our minds around what heaven is going to be like...We've all seen cartoons, movies and TV cast their view of what it will be like. We've also heard every "St. Peter @ the pearly gates" joke. But it's hard to even imagine heaven...right?

Well...How about just looking at front gate...Rev. 21:21 says "The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each made of a single pearl." 

Mark Bourne, last summer @ The Event, shared that according to size of the gates recorded in the Bible, one pearl, for just one of the front gates of heaven, would be worth $9 Octodeillion, or 9 to the 57th power. Still not getting it...that's a 9 with 57 zeroes behind it...(just look at the picture)...

And that's just one of the front gates!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Focus

The new year is now 22 days gone.

68 days till Easter. 163 days till July 4. 337 days till Christmas. 344 are left in this year.

Time goes by pretty fast and I'm sure you are already thinking about an upcoming date this year. Maybe it is Valentine's Day or an anniversary. My daughter's birthday is just days, really hours, away.

As we focus on these points in time, other things slip up on us. We forget to make a call, forget to go somewhere, forget to meet someone, forget to pick something up. We lose focus.

This happens at work, at home, politically (I can't believe it! I know, right?), and yes, even at churches across this globe.

As for the church, our focus and our chase needs to be Christ. Anything else will distract and pull us away. We chase our rabbits and our squirrels to the point of forgetting what we are supposed to be chasing after.

But what is the church? The church is a community of individuals gathered together because of Christ. Maybe those individuals understand a phrase like "the sacrificial lamb who takes away our sins" or maybe they are individuals who just want to know how to live a better life (which is a great starting point!). If we lose our focus, if we lose sight of Jesus Christ, we have lost our direction, our way, and our effectiveness.

It is my prayer that we may find our focus and sustain it daily.



1 Corinthians 2:2 "For I decided to be concerned about nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified." (NET)

all about Christ,
David

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Moving Past Lewis


One of my favorite Christian authors is C.S. Lewis. His apologetics are, in my opinion, life changing. I have read Mere Christianity several times and cannot tell you how much The Screwtape Letters impacted my developing faith in college and beyond. Whenever I contemplate the workings of temptation, I remember the correspondence of Wormwood and Screwtape. As a kid, I loved The Chronicles of Narnia and checked them out from our church library every summer. A thing to note in regards to the often quoted and referenced Lewis, the world has changed. For me, Lewis's apologetic typically speaks to those who struggle with the existence of God because of the problem of evil or suffering. Today, I believe many non-believers come from a desire for personal or experienced "logic" and "philosophy". It has nothing to do with God. While I hear people still say how can God be real if there is so much evil in the world, I more commonly hear quotes or restatements of men like Dawkins and Hutchins. Their disbelief in God is not from the problem of evil in the world, but rather from their belief in the superiority of man.

The voice of the world has changed and if the message of Christ is to remain relevant and impactful, we must listen and answer the questions and accusations leveled today, not yesterday. Let me encourage you to read and study and listen...even if you don't agree. If I may recommend a few resources check out Stand to Reason and apologist Ravi Zacharis. And while you are at it, NEVER skip a chance to read and reread C.S. Lewis!

all about Christ,
David

Friday, May 11, 2012

Pack Your Bags, We're Going on a Guilt Trip...



I was recently driving through Louisville to pick my kids up and I noticed a sign out front of a building. It said something along the lines of "a portion of every dollar spent here goes to…"and they listed an organization. I'm not 100% certain what the organization was (check the P.S. below) but I was distracted by the "buy here and we'll do this good deed" attitude. What a horrible motivation! Were they suggesting their products are not good enough to sell on their own accord so they had to attempt to tug at our heart strings? Is this an attempt to manipulate people to buy?

Manipulation is wrong but prevalent...even in the church.

For example: Christians are to pray for others. I just spent several weeks looking at prayer in the New Testament and I noticed something. Jesus never said pray for your enemies SO THEY WILL COME TO HIM. Paul never said pray for your enemies SO THEY WILL GIVE THEIR LIVES TO CHRIST. In fact, we are never told in Scripture, but I'm sure you have often heard the "love-them-to-Christ" mentality. 

What a manipulated, sad, and twisted faith!

We are supposed to pray for and love others, period. Don't add to, don't take away. Love and pray for others.

When Jesus began teaching about praying for (and loving) our enemies, he was not intending it as a way to guilt them to repentance or salvation. He taught us to pray for and love our enemies because it was about doing the right thing. I'm praying today that you do the right thing. Love and pray for those who are against you. The power of the cross is strong enough without manipulation or guilt, do you agree?

all about Christ,
David

P.S. I believe the group they were raising support for was Wounded Warrior Project. I love what this group does. If you'd like to support them without being coerced into buying a product from some store, then just give here. Simple.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Alienated Turtles and A Mutated Gospel

As a child I remember reading a couple issues of a black and white comic book about ninjas. Teenage ninjas. Teenage ninjas that were mutated turtles! It was awesome. Then there was a full color animated cartoon. It was awesome. Then a live action movie. It was awesome! Then more animated cartoons, different universes, two more live action movies, video games, and a CGI animated film. The story was roughly the same. Radioactive ooze turns pet turtles into ninjas. They learn ninjitsu from a mutant rat (like the turtles) who was once either a man or a rat (depending on the story line you follow) until he came into contact with the ooze. Ahh, the ooze.

Recently, Michael Bay, director of the Transformers movies (who has been hired to direct a new live action Ninja Turtles movie), made a statement about the upcoming movie. He said that the turtles would be aliens and people would love the story. ALIENS?!?


Fanboys across the world took to the interwebs and blogosphere in an outcry. The problem: The fans were excited about a new live action movie (the method of telling/retelling the story) but they were upset about the alien roots (the message, the origin, had been corrupted).

Today the church faces a very similar situation. When the virgin birth is denied or it's importance is limited, when preachers teach Christ is "just one of many ways" to heaven, or hell isn't as bad as some people say it is or it isn't even real, we have strayed greatly. As Christians, we should be just as outraged as "fanbois" all over the interwebs at Teenage Alien Ninja Turtles. As Christians, we have the greatest story ever told and we need to tell it again and again in as many different ways and venues as we can but we cannot change the story! With the greatest story comes the greatest responsibility. In other words, the Gospel's just too important to mess with.

God created us. Our sin separated us from God. We don't like that separation so we do anything we can to fill it, typically falling into more sin. God doesn't like that so He puts into motion a plan to deal with our sin. Enter Christ, God the Son, born of a virgin. Christ teaches us about living for God the Father. Christ dies for us to make a reunion with God the Father possible. Christ rises again to ensure us everything will be just as He said it would. Christ ascends to Heaven telling us He will come again to, once and for all, reunite us with God. God the Spirit works in us today, guiding, teaching, compelling us to turn from sin and receive Christ. Those who receive Christ receive Heaven. Those rejecting Christ receive Hell.

It's the greatest story ever told. It's not our story to mess with. Let me spur you to share it with someone today. Share your forgiveness!

all about Christ,
David

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Titanic Mistake...


I was hoping we let go of the Titanic, even though Jack whispered "I'll never let go." The Titanic has re-emerged and is back in theaters and in 3-D no less. I know many are excitied, (James Cameron's bank account, and all most every female) but for myself it reminds me of the first huge mistake I made in youth ministry, an iceberg I didn't see coming and had no idea was there.  

I was in my rookie year of youth ministry at a loving and encouraging church in the small town of Milford, KY serving as their weekend youth guy while attending Bible College. I decided it was time for a blockbuster outing for our group so we set sail in our 15 passenger old school Dodge church van (which was the size of a boat) into town. We docked the van and walked up to the ticket counter and each said these words, "One for Titanic"...from then on the night began to sink.

My mistake was this: discernment. I had not previewed the movie, my college friends, the press and the media gave it glowing reviews. I added the reviews to the amazing reports and the box office numbers to equal this must be a great movie. It was for a while, but much like the captain I was in uncharted waters, not previewing the movie myself. Queue the steamy window scene in the car, and then the scene that sunk me Jack Dawson sketching Rose in the nude. I did not feel like "the king of the world", I wanted to jump over board.

I learned a lot about discernment that night. I learned that as a captain of the ship, as the leader, I must know where the boat is heading and the dangers that may lurk in the waters. Discernment in life and leadership is so very important. Take it from me you're not unsinkable.