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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Revival? Reformation? Either way, it's God's power!

I just had to make sure to have this documented on my blog:

TIME Magazine's "10 Ideas Changing the World Right Now"

Number 3

Better to lose sleep.

Yes, it's 2:23 AM right now, and I have to be up at 7 to get ready for the next person to take over for me after this shift so I can go get ready for work. I am actually delighted to be up this late knowing the anguish that I'll be experiencing tomorrow at my other job because of the reason that I'm still up. The reason is because I've been having a Gospel conversation.

I recently posted my status on Facebook as me being ecstatic about being in the world rather than secluded from it in The Middle of Nowhere, WI. I can't think of anywhere else I'd rather be than in the city, working 2 jobs with a bunch of complete unbelievers and a Jehovah's Witness (whom I just got through witnessing to). I have had so many opportunities to witness to just about everyone that I work with, and the ones I haven't been able to witness to have heard me talking to others. God is bringing the Good News to my Jerusalem through me.

I just wanted to take the time to praise God publicly while at the same time adding to my blog since it's been suffering since I've been working. And while I'm here, I want to ask for prayer for those to whom I've been able to share my faith with. Please take a second right now to pray that God will save Jacob, Leonard, Brad, Carla, Rashaun, Doug, Dennis, and Steven. Also pray that I will be able to speak specifically with Steven since I haven't yet been able to directly. Pray, as Paul asked, "that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel...that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak." (Eph. 6:19-20).

To God alone be the glory!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Wouldn'tcha know it?

Ya know what? I decided to ask yet another friend to go ahead and post on the blog. We're gonna have quite the crew once everyone gets involved. The next author on the list's name is Johnny Fiecka, and he is one who thinks practically and deeply and is serious about edifying those whom he comes into contact with. I'm sure that all of you (2? maybe 3?) who regularly read this blog will be encouraged and extremely edified by what my brother will be sharing with you all in the days to come...

A New Perspective?

Recently, I've been keeping up on my blog much better than I ever have in the past. I think a big part of the reason is because I'm not going to school right now. Be that as it may, I have still asked a good friend of mine to go ahead and post some of his own thoughts on whatever topics he feels he might want to share, and I think that the mass of you should enjoy it.

This friend's name is Scott Cline, and maybe someone remembers a post that I put up on here when he first became a daddy. If you don't, this is the one: HERE! Scott and I may not share the same views on every little detail of theology; and that will be evident as he comments on my posts with the intention of rebuking me for my lack of sense (haha, just kidding--i think). No, but we will have some good discussion to start off some posts and here and there some Amens for good measure.

So, look for Scott's first post. I'm not sure when exactly that will be because he's still in school, but he is still a productive writer whom I don't expect to see a shortage of posts from...

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Because of HIM

I was thinking earlier about how some Christians may look at unbelievers as people without any sense since they continually disregard the claims of the Gospel. I admit, I have a tendency to look at others with a certain level of disbelief even though I know perfectly well the state that they’re in. This is actually the reason why I’ve decided to post this.

I know that we, as Christians, have a tendency to look at the behavior of the unbelievers around us and wonder what in the world could be going through their heads. My friend and I were talking earlier, and he mentioned the fact that the thinking of the world is, in fact, backwards. He actually gave a list of the ways in which the people of the world have demonstrated this, but I don’t really think it needs repeating. It is obvious. Romans 1 gives a clear presentation of the way that unbelievers look at the world and how they love the sin that they are so saturated in. Paul even goes so far as to say that they applaud one another in their wickedness.

Well, the reason for my writing this is because of the thought that unbelievers should be expected to act or think in any way other than the way that they do. You cannot expect them to reverence God in the least. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be offended by their irreverence. I actually think that it’s a good thing to be zealous for God’s glory to the point that hearing His name profaned stirs up a righteous anger in you. The thing is, we shouldn’t expect anything from them but this kind of behavior and worse.

The more specific reason I decided to post this thought was because I was thinking on this verse:

And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,
(1Co 1:30 ESV)

If you consider the fact that it had nothing to do with you, you should really appreciate the fact that they are not to be held in contempt for not seeing things your way. They absolutely WILL NOT see things your way (I’m assuming that your way is the way of thinking God’s thoughts after Him) until God acts by changing their hearts. They will not see things the way that you might be tempted to argue with them about until God sovereignly gives them the gifts of faith (Phil. 1:29; Eph. 2:8) and repentance (Acts 11:18; II Tim. 2:25). And I say all that to say this: you can be patient and persistent with the unbelievers you are trying to reach for Christ because you are merely the instrument in the hands of the one who will give that person the understanding necessary in His perfect timing if it be His will.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Paul Washer on the Wrath of GOD

Whoa. This is some POWERFUL preaching. I'm out of breath. The reality of this message is breathtaking. How many people do you know who need to hear this message? Wow. This is truly powerful and extremely heavy.

I plan to bring a message to some people in a nursing home later this month that includes a section at the end on this subject, and I pray to God that He brings the full weight of the reality of the situation to bear on each and every person in that room.

Does your Gospel presentation include this essential element?

Dancing in the eternal state

Ok, ok. So, I like the videos, ok? This one was shown to me by a friend a few months back, and I just love it. Try to take a look at it through the lens that I'm seeing it through:

One day, after the Lord comes back to gather in His own, He'll perfect us all. When that happens, we'll all be living with people from every tribe, tongue, people and nation as brothers and sisters with nothing keeping us from enjoying one another's company as we praise God together for all of eternity. We won't have any impure motives for gathering together and dancing to God's glory. We won't be trying to show off for the camera or dance seductively in order to draw attention to ourselves. No, we'll just be dancing as one body of Christ, perfected, and enjoying every moment that we can praise our God.

That's what I think of when I watch this video. I hope you like it too.

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

And THAT not of yourselves...

I'm gonna share another video, but this one has more to do with a Scripture passage that I believe everyone should take the time to examine. Most people who have any familiarity with the Bible know this verse, but not as many people have taken the time to think through it long enough to benefit from its true meaning. I say this assuming that most people had the same understanding of it that I had. Allow me to explain...

I would always read Ephesians 2:8 (For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,(Eph 2:8 ESV))as teaching that salvation is not by works and use it as an argument against those who incorporate works into their understanding of how to be saved. This is certainly valid, but there is so much more here to be understood. The thing that set me into a deeper study of the verse was my college English class. I was learning about demonstrative pronouns (this/these, that/those), and I learned that when these are used they usually refer to the word that immediately precede them. Taking our passage as an example, this would mean that faith is the word that this (or that, depending on your translation) is referring to.

This initial thought is what set me off into a study that included checking commentaries and the Greek that (notice the usage?) I had also been learning. I recall the pastor in this video saying something like "I don't know Greek, but I know how to listen to people who do." Well, I do know some Greek, and I can vouch for his presentation.

I figure that I couldn't possibly have been the only person to stumble upon this reality, but I don't think that many people let themselves take it for what it means. I think that many people probably do what I did and shrug off the sneaking suspicion that faith itself is indeed a gift (which inevitably leads to further complications in one's set of theological presuppositions). And if you are like I was, I'd say that the only reason you haven't let yourself take God's word at face value has everything to do with a concept that you thought didn't affect you...tradition. I'd like to write more, but I don't think I need to detract any more from the video. Enjoy!

Dramatized Exegesis