Showing posts from May, 2011

The Upbeat of Job

No doubt, Job dwellers have increased in the aftermath of two horrific tornado outbreaks, one that pounded Alabama on April 27, and a second that cut Joplin, Missouri in half on May 22. In wake of these tragedies, relief and response strategies have become spotlight topics again, and people across the country have begun investigating various calls to action: how to react, encourage, help victims emotionally process the ‘what nows’ and how to quench unbelief and apprehension, etc.

In times like these, numerous doors are opened to Good Samaritan hearts, which can reach in and reach out to an ailing community. With mobilization materials and deployment discipline, hope will ultimately win the war, even if preliminary battles are lost. But the greatest tool concerning the grief journey is a double-edged sword, known as the Word of God. Meditating on a book like Job can stir us to appreciating God’s master plan, even in light of great tragedies.

We often do not view Job and Psalms in the s…

Decreasing to Increase

Before church this morning, I asked the Lord to help me understand what it means to "decrease", while allowing him to "increase". Although the broad definitions haven't been difficult in recognizing (see Acts 17 and Mark 8), the current crux has come in applying the inherent details (i.e. What does the art of losing myself specifically look like today? Are the core AND surrounding mantles of each spiritual blockade in my relationship with Christ being identified?) Recent conviction has taught me within discipleship and freedom prayer arenas, Christians are perhaps overfocusing on the root of sin, and missing the bigger picture (a.k.a. the root-taproot-stem combination, to speak in plant anatomy terms). What this means is we're not thoroughly connecting the dots to the factors that strengthen the root of each sin. I believe many of us can determine the home base of our own personal iniquities, but there's that challenge of going taking the extra step (th…

Rob Bell - "Love Wins" Dialogue (Part 2)

This week, I’ve been pressing further into Rob Bell’s ‘Love Wins’ and have been appalled with his distorted doctrine. The more I read his controversial best seller, the more I disagree with the message. Combined with his Monday night session at the Curb Center, I’ve started to wonder if Bell has crossed into the ‘false teacher’ category.

After digesting his heaven and hell ideologies, Bell appears to twist scriptural truths to satisfy an attempt to create a universally appetizing gospel. But this stance is a total 180° from Christ’s approach. Jesus never bowed down to gratify what the Pharisees, Sadducees, and all other religious owls wanted to hear. In each circumstance, he stood firm and stayed connected to the flow of God’s heart. Although Bell provides stirring questions and a solid analysis on God’s compassion, any positive output is overridden by his covert defiance concerning the cross’s significance.

In a world marred by indifference, partiality, stubbornness, rebellion, and …

The Sweetest Fragrance

Last Easter, I found great meaning in Paul’s teaching on the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5): the redeemed redeeming the lost in Jesus’ name by way of the cross. This year, I’ve backpedaled several chapters to 2 Corinthians 2 and have basked in Paul’s charge to live as ministers of the New Covenant.

First, what is the relationship between these two segments? Applying “passage unification”, we denote reconciliation as the pulse of the New Covenant minister. We are all Kingdom agents, whether we realize it or not, for the cross’ power cannot be denied; however, the choices we make influence our evangelical effectiveness. So the question is not whether we are Christ ambassadors, it’s how will we carry our respective crosses. What is our cross? It’s our callings, purposes, burdens and struggles between spirit and flesh.

Secondly, Paul offers a unique comparison between commission and fragrance that grips me. To be like Christ is to be like sweet perfume. Mary, in Mark 14, de…

The Gospel in Motion

Yesterday, at the 1 By Youth Outreach, Stacey Hildner and I took Legacy members to Burger King during lunch break. Sweaty and sweltered, we sauntered into the restaurant, needing a reprieve from the morning’s work. But what started as a respite would turn into something far greater.

Ten minutes into our stay, an elderly man limped to a seat right across from Stacey and I. Immediately our attention connected with his apparent pain. Without hesitation, Stacey and I begun a conversion with him. As we carried on the dialogue, we soon discovered the real brokenness came not in his body, but in his heart.

William had just lost his wife. He lacked a car, connections with eight children and a physical remedy. The one daughter who lived locally had a house on the other side of town. However, his multiple leg conditions were only worsening with time, so he simply did not have the strength to walk the miles to visit her.

William’s demeanor was sweet and sincere. The tears streaming down his fac…