>Was Our Lord Just Having Fun?

>Colossians1.16 declares, “For by Him (Jesus) all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through Him and for Him.”

Pictured is a transparent sea cucumber captured 1.7 miles beneath the Gulf of Mexico. Yikes?

Jesus created this? Yup. Why? Beats me. But I wonder if He had a grin as He molded this together….

>Answering the "Hypocrite" Excuse

>The often-raised “excuse” for not going to church is “There are too many hypocrites there.”

A classic, though not kind answer, “That’s okay, there is plenty of room for another one.”

But a while ago someone played that excuse on me, and I responded, “Don’t you like the NFL?”

“Well, yeah.”

“Of course you know there are a lot of scum bags in the National Football League?”

“Well, yeah.”

“But you still like the NFL, right?”

Not sure if I made my point, but it works for me!

>Permissible Versus Beneficial

>Here is great stuff from Mark Batterson:

Everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial.”

Your future is found in I Corinthians 10:23. It reveals two options: permissible or beneficial. And your destiny will be determined by which option you choose.

Who we become is determined by whether we settle for what is permissible or strive for what is beneficial. It’s so tempting to live down to what is required. It’s so tempting to live in our comfort zone. It’s so tempting to take the path of least resistance, but the path of least resistance never takes you where you really want to go!

What am I getting at? Well, are you setting for what is permissible? Or are you striving for what is beneficial? Are you giving God leftovers? Or are you seeking first the kingdom of God? Where are you compromising? Where have you become comfortable with what is permissible?

Don’t let short-term comfort short-circuit God’s long-terms plans for your life. Spiritual short-cuts always turn into detours! Take the hard way. Take the high road. Strive for what is beneficial.

>The (U.S.) Mission Field

>Though I remain convinced that the Spirit-powered Word of God is bigger than statistics and surveys, the following video (thanks to my friend John Gilberts for pointing me to it) is stunningly convincing that, first, our nation is a HUGE mission field (as opposed to those who declare it “gospel-saturated”) and that we need to seize the technology available to supplement the “foolishness of preaching”
http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=2301882&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1

Our Mission Field from City on a Hill Productions on Vimeo.

>Living Broken in Brokenness

>
This is taken from an article titled “The Gospel-Driven Organization” by James Tonyowich, PhD in the “Christian Leadership Alliance.” It is well-worth a slow read:

“We ourselves are broken. When God called Isaiah, he responded, “Woe is me! I’m ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips … ” (Is 6:5). Peter’s initial response to Jesus was, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man” (Lk 5:8b). St. Paul counted himself “the worst of sinners” (1T 1:16).

“The Gospel frees us to know the truth about who we are: broken, sinful creatures.

“As former Westminster Seminary professor Jack Miller used to quip, “Cheer up, my friend! You’re far worse than you think. And God is far more loving and kind than you ever dreamed or imagined.”

“If we do not have an understanding of our brokenness, it is an indication that we do not understand the Gospel and we and our organizations will probably do more damage than good.

“Not only are we broken, we work in a broken world filled with broken people — many of whom are Christians. Years ago, Richard Lovelace, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary professor and long time church renewal figure, taught me what I consider the most valuable lesson I have ever learned for ministry. “It is very difficult,” he said, “to tell the difference between wolves in sheep’s clothing and very confused, very broken, very angry sheep.”

I added the “bold” to the sentence that slapped me in the side of the head…

>Lord, Help Me to Be "Easily Edified"

>Justin Taylor’s blog is at the top of my “must” reading – check it out HERE.

What follows is a recent entry that really has me thinking…and praying:

“A mature Christian is easily edified.”

Chip Stam cited those words by Harold Best in the first video I linked to earlier. Those words have been rolling around in my heart and mind for the past couple of days.

Easily edified.

Isn’t that a wonderful goal–a sign of good mental health and genuine obedience of faith?

I’m afraid that far too often an accurate assessment of myself would reveal:

* easily annoyed
* easily irritated
* easily impatient
* easily hurt
* easily angered
* easily distracted
* easily arrogant

But wouldn’t it be great if those who knew us best could honestly say, “It is so easy to edify him. It doesn’t take much. It doesn’t need to be the best sermon ever preached or the most excellent song ever composed or the most powerful book ever written or the most theologically eloquent statement ever uttered. Just the simplest truth was enough to refresh his heart in Christ.”

Not a bad way to pray–for ourselves and for others.

>Stomping on a "Sacred Cow" phrase

>”Sadly, it is commonly said among Christians that “God hates the sin but loves the sinner.” This is as stupid as saying God loves rapists and hates rape, as if rape and rapists were two entirely different entities that could be separated from one another. Furthermore, it was not a divinely inspired author of Scripture but the Hindu Gandhi who coined the phrase “Love the sinner but hate the sin” in his 1929 autobiography.

The love of God is in fact true but sadly has been so overly emphasized in most Christian teaching that one wonders if God is love or if love is now God.”

– Mark Driscoll, Death By Love, p. 128

>The Danger of Respectability

>”Your danger and mine is not that we become criminals, but rather that we become respectable, decent, commonplace, mediocre Christians. The twentieth-century temptations that really sap our spiritual power are the television, banana cream pie, the easy chair and the credit card. The Christian wins or loses in those seemingly innocent little moments of decision.

Lord, make my life a miracle!”

Raymond C. Ortlund, Lord, Make My Life A Miracle, page 151.