Thursday, December 28, 2006

Must Love Jaws

From Winter

Last week I got to spend some good time with two good friends from college that have been away for several months. Bailey (looks homeless) has been at L'Abri in Switzerland. And Looch (shaved head) is training to be a Navy Seal in San Diego. After some good times catching up with them, they showed me a few of these videos from this website. This one's called Must Love Jaws. It's hilarious!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Are you ready for Christmas?

As a bank teller, these last couple weeks I have been asked this question about 30-40 times a day. And I have yet to respond with any kind of confident answer. Frankly, I don't really know what people mean when they ask me this. I know it's a great opener to start conversation, but I'm not too big a fan of talking just to talk. I think I know what most people mean. They mean have you done all your Christmas shopping, or are you ready for the vacation days, or are you ready to get a bunch of stuff. Which, if that's really what they're asking, then no. That part of Christmas, the anxiety of shopping, of being caught up in the consumerism of America with Santa Clause and shiny new Lexuses, I really dislike.

But, if these people are asking me if I am ready to recall and celebrate the wonder of God entering the world on my behalf, then yes, I am very ready. But these last few weeks especially have been so full of the "holiday" vibe , that I have not adequately been able to do this. But to think on the thought (as Matt so skillfully pointed out this morning) that "though He was rich, yet for [our] sake He became poor, so that [we] by His poverty might become rich," is so liberating. It liberates me from being unloving, prideful, angry, jealous, bitter, despairing, and self-centered. All of which have filled the space these last few weeks where I haven't been blown away by the mystery of the gospel, God's loving me and choosing of me to be a co-heir with Christ as His son when I have done everything to prove that I deserve the complete opposite.

This Christmas, I pray that my and your heart would beat with the hymn "O come. O come Emmanuel" as we mourn in lonely exile here until the Son of God appears again.

Also, consider this Puritan prayer written 3 centuries ago to better understand what the incarnation means for us:
Christ was all anguish that I might be all joy,
cast off that I might be brought in,
trodden down as an enemy that I might be welcomed as a friend,
surrendered to hell's worst that I might attain heaven's best,
stripped that I might be clothed,
wounded that I might be healed,
athirst that I might drink,
tormented that I might be comforted,
made a shame that I might inheirt glory,
entered darkness that I might have eternal light

- "Valley of Vision", Love Lustres at Calvary

Monday, December 11, 2006


"Solitude is vital for training us to stand against the excesses of our culture. Whereas normal life puffs up our sense of self-importance and locks us into patterns of thought and behavior dependent on others, solitude liberates us from these entaglements by carving out a space from which we can see ourselves and our situation before the Audience of One." - The Call by Os Guinness

Sunday, November 26, 2006


"We are not made happy by what we acquire, but by what we appreciate."

I heard this statement earlier this week while listening to a podcast. That's profound isn't it? It seems like such a backwards statement, especially living here in the US, but I believe it's right on. Now the question is, what object of appreciation should satisfy us the most? Well...

I went to see a man by the name of Ravi Zacharias speak this morning at a local church. He spoke on this idea of worship. He talked about how there is a huge problem of boredom these days, especially among the younger generation. We all try to fill up our schedules with distraction after distraction. The problem isn't with our planners, but with our hearts. If our hearts aren't admiring the one being that we were meant to worship, namely Jesus Christ, then everything else ends up being empty.

But, my heart is an idol factory. If I don't spend time appreciating who Christ is, I find I easily move to anything else in my path.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


In reviewing a book I read recently, "How should we then live?" by Francis Schaeffer, I was reminded again on how important it is to understand the worldview that each and every one of us have. Living in America, we are shaped constantly by the idea that man is the center and that there is no absolute truth that give a foundation for the way we live. This book starts in Ancient Rome and travels to today's postmodern era. He points out how the philosophy held by the people of the time ended up spilling over into the arts (music, literature, and paintings), but most importantly into their own actions. Most people today don't consider how much their own beliefs really shape their life, so they do very little to try and align these beliefs with Truth. John Mayer makes a great statement that "everyone believes, from emptiness to everything." I want to live in such a way that reflects a deeply rooted in the Truth revealed in the Bible. Schaeffer points out that "as Christians we are not only to know the right worldview, the worldview that tells us the truth of what is, but consciously to act upon that worldview so as to influence society in all its parts and facets across the whole spectrum of life." But what does that look like? Please post your thoughts.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Joyful Tranquility

It's fearfully taking steps forward and knowing He has me in His care. It's enjoying friendship and conversation and being overwhelmed that He would grant me the grace to have such relationships. It's being blown away by mercies undeserved. It's Him causing fruit to grow, when I mostly feel like a useless dried up tree. It's seeing Him use this empty vessel in ways I could never imagine. It's being able to forsake self-centeredness and seeking approval, so to be free to truly love others as I am loved. It's seeing Christ as the great mediator, the loving Savior, the mighty King. It's enjoying and worshipping God in and through everything. For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Come Boldly

Come boldly to a throne of grace,
Ye wretched sinners come;
And lay your load at Jesus' feet,
And plead what he has done.

"How can I come?" Some soul may say,
"I'm lame and cannot walk;
My guilt and sin have stopped my mouth;
I sigh, but dare not talk."

Come boldly to the throne of grace,
Though lost, and blind, and lame;
Jehovah is the sinner's Friend,
And ever was the same.

He makes the dead to hear his voice;
He makes the blind to see;
The sinner lost he came to save,
And set the prisoner free.

Come boldly to the throne of grace,
For Jesus fills the throne;
And those he kills he makes alive;
He hears the sigh or groan.

Poor bankrupt souls, who feel and know
The hell of sin within,
Come boldly to the throne of grace;
The Lord will take you in.

What an amazing truth to be able to come boldy into His presence to find mercy and recieve grace in our time of need. Check out Red Mountain Music and be blessed.

Saturday, October 14, 2006


I listened to a sermon two days ago on 1 Peter 1:3-5. In hearing that God caused me to be born again and that He will keep me a Christian made me truly in awe of God's grace. The story was told when Jesus tells Peter that Satan demanded to have him in order that he might sift Peter like wheat (hoping to destroy his faith). But Jesus tells Peter that He has prayed for him, so that his faith would not fail. And He tells Peter WHEN he has turned again to strengthen his brethren.

As I was driving and listening to all of this, it hit me. I am in the same position as Peter. On my own strength I will deny my Lord over and over again. But because Jesus is my great Intercessor, I will stay a Christian. Also, I began praising God for even having mercy upon me in the first place to make me believe. If He had not in His sovereign, electing mercy changed me will, I would surely have continued on the road to destruction. Oh how these truths produced a humbling joy in me that day (and continually), and a longing for others to know this gracious God.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


My recent trip to London was a great experience. I went with the global outreach pastor from my church. We met up with two girls getting involved in United World Mission, the mobolization coordinator for UWM, and a 20 year missionary through UWM living there outside of London. This is a picture of us in a pub near Tower Bridge.

And in case you didn't know, this is what Tower Bridge looks like. Doesn't it look cool?

Most of our time there was spent meeting different leaders of different ministries and churches. We met up with a pastor with Hillsong London. We also met up with a pastor named Jonathan, who is at a megachurch comprised of mainly Nigerians. He's got a great story as he was once a Muslim who became a Christian in college. His church is in the borough that contains the highest number of Muslims in London.

We also visited a church that was really doing a great job at reaching out to the younger generation called Soul Survivor (where Matt Redman led worship for a while). And they actually got a license to serve beer (on tap) at various outreach events! They've found out that students are more willing to have meaningful conversations if they have a glass in their hand. Hey, whatever it takes to win the lost.

The highlight of the trip for me was to the city of Colchester. The city is full of history. The first Augustinian priory church was here. Also the first church in all of England was here. And many centuries later, a young lad named Charles Spurgeon was saved in small church here under the call to "Look unto Me, and be ye saved." Spurgeon soon after became one of the most amazing preachers of all time. His wonderfully reformed view of Scripture has opened my eyes again and again to God's splendor.

There's also a university campus here with 40% of it's students being international. God's beginning to do a great work here in the city, but the laborers still are few. And as I think about the need and the ripe harvest, I can't help but think that maybe God will lead me there one day...or maybe one of you...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Desiring God Conference

Briefly stated, this past weekend was great. Much enjoyed time with friends and much truth spoken. For those who didn't attend, I'll briefly sum up my thoughts on the conference. But, they are quite inadequate, so I highly recommend going straight to the sources. Pay particular attention to Piper (Joy), Keller (Gospel), Bauchem (Truth), Driscoll (Church), and the conversation with the pastors. You won't be disappointed.

The weekend was all about the supremacy of Christ as we live in our postmodern world. There is much thought going on in our world today, most importantly in the church, that is trying to downplay doctrine and theology and concentrate more on friendly relationships. Our postmodern worldview that we live in constantly feeds us the lie that Truth is relative to the person. And this idea has come into the church more or less stating that a high view of God's inerrant Word will not allow for relevancy and love among people.

Driscoll's talk summed up in a lot of ways our role as Christians in this world. There are two hands. One hand must be tightly closed around timeless, biblical Truth. We are to contend for things like the Sovereignty of God, substitutionary atonement, doctrine of hell, and the exclusivity of Jesus. These ideas are all being thrown away by many in the church. This hand must not waver. But our other hand should be open and willing to change with the culture (timeless ministry). It is the hand of contextualizing the gospel. To be seeker sensible, not seeker sensitive. To be relevant, not relative. We are to become all things to all men. These two hands work together to bring the Truth of the supremacy of Christ to a lost world.

So much is lost when we began to downplay theology and doctrine, for the sake of being relevant and friendly. I have had many conversations recently with fellow believers about setting aside theology in order to love people. We must fight this incredibly postmodern way of thinking. We must fight for a biblical worldview by soaking ourselves in the richness of God's revealed Truth in the Bible. If we bring our finite brains to the Bible and try to shape the Bible in accordance to our own thoughts, we lose. We can't truly see the beauty, majesty, sovereignty, and benevolence of God. Therefore, we can't effectively be used as an empty vessel to bring God's love and grace to others. So, join me in the fight to know the God of the Bible and fight for Truth. And as we see Him, our hearts will beat with Jeremiah saying "if I will not mention Him, or speak any more in His name; there is in my heart as it were, a burning fire, shut up in my bones, and I am weary of holding it in." to London for the week...

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Future Events

I'm heading out Thursday to Minneapolis to attend the Desiring God Conference. Activities include a Q & A time with John Piper, great messages by Piper, Tim Keller, Mark Driscoll, and others, coveting hundreds of great books in their massive bookstore, and spending some quality time with some good friends. Here's a pic from last year's conference.

Also, I found out yesterday that I'll be going to London with Tom Mullis a week from today until that next Sunday. So many cool things came together for that to happen and I am pretty pumped to say the least. I don't know much of what we'll be doing, but I know it involves hooking up with a church over there and getting to know the Muslim culture over there. In fact, when my work told my I'd be able to go yesterday, the rest of my day was significantly altered. In view of my trip I couldn't help just smiling the rest of the day, serving my coworkers better, encouraging them more, and overall working harder.

And then it hit me. There is one other future event that should cause me to live every day of my life that way, namely my eternal inheritance of perfect fellowship with God in heaven. But I often forget about this one. I often complain, often have a sour attitude and disposition, often am slow to help and encourage others. In light of my imperishable, undefiled, and unfading future inheritance, I should be to face any and all setbacks and hardships with joy knowing they are all light and momentary afflictions. Didn't Christ do the same for me?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A Query

The latest Time magazine cover story is "Does God want you to be Rich?". Click here to read the article (Click on the Bentley commercial to be able to view the whole article). The main point of this article to awareness to the theology running around in church today that God does in fact want to bless us with material wealth while living here on earth. The article spotlights on Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar, TD Jakes, and Joyce Meyer who all fall into this line of thought, and who all have many people following them. Their thoughts are contrasted against many different opinions from people of all different denominations who comment on how dangerously infective this teaching can be.

It seems that the main verse harked on among adherents to the prosperity teaching is John 10:10: [Jesus] came that you might have life, and have it abundantly." It might be a great verse to use, except a joyful abundant life does not come from material possession. And that is a very clear teaching of the Bible. Consider these thoughts. "He who loves money will not be satisfied with money (Eccl 5:10)". "Do not toil to acquire wealth (Prov. 23:4)". "Keep your life free from the love of money (Heb 13:5)". "For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil (1 Timothy 6:10)". "Do not love the world or the things of the world (1 john 2:15)".

Christ Jesus lived the most perfect, full, and glorious life ever to be lived on Earth. Yet he was a "man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief...He was despised and we esteemed Him not." He was poor yet making many rich, He had nothing yet possessed everything. And this is exactly how Paul exhorts us to live. When others look into our lives, can they easily see that material possessions aren't what drive us and make us happy? Or are they confused? Let us be like Moses who considered the reproaches of Christ greater wealth than all the treasures of Egypt. Why? Because he was looking to the reward. There's the key. Fullness of life is coming. Let us be bold in standing up for that Truth.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Human Body

I recently went to see the Bodies Exhibition down at the Atlanta Civic Center. What a treat. For those of you who still haven't seen it, it's open until September 10th. Check it out. There were so many different ways the human body was displayed. For those of you unfamiliar with the exhibit, it is a visual walk through of the human body. It is catergorized into all the different systems of the body and it displays the intricate details of how it all is put together and sustained. Coming out of that time makes me wonder how anyone who really contemplated the complexity of it all could really talk of random atoms bumping into one another to create the human body.

Also, the display of fetal development will stop any pro-choice person and cause them to reconsider their philosophy. Models and well as real fetuses were displayed to show the progressive development that goes on within the womb. At week 6...the heart, liver, and intestines are forming. At week 8... fingers and toes. By week 14...muscles and sex organs are formed. In this country alone, 4,000 babies a day are aborted. Internationally, 46 million a year. An overwhelming majority do it as a means of birth control. And about half of the abortions occur after the 9th week when most vital organs and tissues have developed. I bring this to light to make us all aware of this tragedy. Let us love those who have gone through it, and take a stand to preserve life as we are provided the oppurtunity. And let us give glory to the God who thought of and designed our bodies, and who sustains our every breath and heartbeat.

"As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything" - Eccl. 11:5

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Depth of Christ's Love

In my 30-35 minute drive to and from work I have the oppurtunity to listen to some great sermons by a handful of different people. John Piper is probably who I listen to the most during these drives. The past week I've been listening to a series he did in 1995 on Love. There were four incredible sermons in the middle of this series focusing on the depth of Christ's love for us. Check out one or all of these manuscripts. They will do much do enrich understanding in the incredible sacrifice and gift of Christ. Or go here to get the audio versions.

The Cost

It's Undeserving Objects

It's Lavish Benefits

It's Freedom

Sunday, August 13, 2006

What do we deserve?

Last Friday, at the bank that I work at, there was a very upset person who was trying to cash a check. She was upset becuase we as employees were following procedure by making sure the check wasn't fraudulant. And the funny thing was, she wasn't a customer at our bank. (For those of you who don't know, banks are not obligated to cash checks for non-customers). So, she eventually comes storming in and complains to every one of my superiors that she was treated like a criminal because we didn't cash the check immediately.

All that to set up the point of this post. I began, she really has such a deserving mentality. She comes into a bank that she does not even bank with and demands that her thoughts are heard by others. She demands respect. She demands an audience. She demands change in policy. She demands that we have to cash her check. It really is upsetting to me that most Americans have this mentality that somehow because we are born, we have a right to certain things. People think they deserve their nice houses, nice cars, good jobs, and a healthy, fun, care-free life. WHY?!? Because our society teaches us this idea. But it is certainly a flawed, and destructive way of thinking.

So after much outward critique, I moved inward as I felt convictions rising to the surface reminding me of all the things that I also think I deserve. Don't I my friends and family? Don't I deserve money to be able to buy things? Don't I deserve at least to be able to drink clean water? To breathe? The answer is NO. Everything in this life is undeserved grace given from above, from the Father of lights...God. We only deserve death. That's it. We rebel against and reject the God who made us. We despise the God who sustains our very life. We ignore HIm. But yet He continues to show us favor.

How much sweeter the gospel becomes when we actually get to the place of seeing how desperately undeserving we are of God giving us eternal life with Him. I did not have one ounce of goodness in me. I was dead. God made me alive. Let's help each other with this marvelous Truth, and thus give God His due glory.

Monday, June 05, 2006

First Post

I've been meaning to get a blog for a while. The title of the blog comes from one of my favorite quotes by Martin Luther (found in the hymn "A mighty fortress is our God"). "Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also. The body they may kill, God's truth abideth still. His kingdom is forever." It's a great reminder to me that there is something more abiding than these few years I have here. I desire to live in light of this truth daily; though it is one of the hardest things to do.