Monday, April 20, 2009

Cutting Ourselves Off at the Knees

A common desire among Christians is to be more like Jesus Christ. I guess that should be an obvious statement, or should be reworded as all Christians should desire to be more like Jesus Christ. Why don't more Christians have the desire, or why isn't the desire stronger in us?

I've noticed an interesting trend as I have been eating healthier the last few weeks - the less candy I eat, the less desire I have for it. Oh, that's not to say that I wouldn't love to eat a Hershey's bar (or two or three), but the longer I go without one, the less the thought of a Hershey's bar comes into my mind.

What does this have to do with being Christlike? Well, Romans 7:11 talks about the deceptiveness of sin: "For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew [me]." Sin is deceptive: it tries to get us to think that we are missing out on something. "If you stop watching CSI, you're not going to know what happens to the characters." So What! "If you don't see this movie, you're missing out on some great entertainment." "You don't know what you're missing out on." Sin's lie from the beginning. Satan told Eve that she didn't know what she was missing out on by not eating from that one tree. He neglected to tell her all the negative aspects she was also missing out on, just as sin neglects the negative today. Sin doesn't tell us "CSI will make you have a cheaper view of human life, of marital relationships, of holy living in general." Sin doesn't tell us "That movie will strengthen your flesh and weaken your relationship with God." Sin doesn't tell us that we are 'missing out' on many things we would like to miss out on.

As we listen to the deceipt of sin, it dulls our senses for the spiritual. It dulls our appetite because we've filled ourselves up on spiritual junk food, and don't have the hunger for God that we should have. By filling up on junk, we can easily sabbotage our efforts at godly living. We can effectively cut ourselves off at our knees.

"The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding" Proverbs 9:10

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Serving God on His Terms . . .

Have you ever noticed that many times in life, there doesn't seem to be enough to go around. I mean, you look at what you have to do, and how much you have to do it with, and you come up short.

I've always been a bit of a budget person (ok, since graduating from college), and I remember when Jen and I were anxiously anticipating our wedding day. We had plans to get jobs and start off on our own. I got out the budget, and started figuring how much money we would need to live on - tithe, housing, car, food, insurances, gas, clothes, gifts, and added it all up. It came to slightly more than I was currently making as a waiter. Then, we made our job search trips and applied for jobs at two Christian Schools, and got offers from both schools for each of us. The problem was, my income was not quite up to the level I had figured I needed. Jen's income was going to pay off her student loans, and we were going to live off of my income.

I've come to learn that God enjoys these moments in our lives - those moments when we look and say "I can't do it!", because God likes us to know that He is the one who 'does it' and makes things work in our lives. Think of Gideon with his 32,000 men. God said "The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own had hath saved me." (Judges 6:2) God reduced Gideon's 'army' to just 300 men, a group that could easily fit in most church sanctuaries, against a foe that were "like grasshoppers for multitude."

Knowing this is helping me in learning that when we don't have enough, it should not discourage us, it should encourage us that God is looking to do a work that we cannot deny His hand in. When it comes to serving God on His terms, cherish those times when "you can't", because those are the times that "He will!"

"And he said unto me, 'My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.' Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
- 2 Corinthians 12:9

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Opening Blog

Hi all! (Yes, both of you)
OK, I realize that may be a bit presumptuous, but "Hello Me" sounded rather pathetic. At any rate, Jen and I are just a pretty average couple, living in a pretty average town (that we absolutely love, by the way), serving a great God. We understand that this world sometimes leaves something to be desired, and want to remind ourselves (and both of you) that those who have received forgiveness of their sins through Jesus' work on the cross should be looking up, because we're moving on up! (My apologies for those who now can't get the Jefferson's theme music out of their heads)
I'm the pastor of a small, country church, the husband of a wonderful woman, and the father of 6 (presently) wonderful children that God has blessed us with. I suppose I am a lot of other, different things at different times, but everything I am always comes back down to the fact that I am a child of God and am seeking to please Him!
Well, I hope this isn't my first and only entry, but it is definitely the first.
"this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." Acts 1:11b