Category: doctrine/ teacing/ theology


I have been spending the past few days in my Proverbs journal for my devotions then I read a chapter from Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson.  I am challenged all around right now.  While Provers gives daily wisdom Wild Goose Chase is challenging my to step out of my cage and go after the God-given desires of my heart – because no one else can chase them for me….only I can chase them for myself.  It has really been a great book.  I am going to recommend it to a few people (probably loan it out)  when I get done with it.  It’s so good.  The ‘wild goose’ is the Holy Spirit which is the English translation of what the Celtic-Christians call the holy Spirit  ‘An Geadh-Glas’ which translates ‘the wild goose.’  I love Marks candor in the book.  Mark is the Pastor of the National Community Church in Washington, DC.  Once I am done with the book I will give a full review on it – but for now I don’t want to spoil the book other than to say it is good – really good.

The one thought I have really been challenged with was when Mark was talking about the parable of the ‘Good Samaritan.’  Here is what he said;

Hurry kills everything from compassion to creativity.  And when you’re in a hurry, you don’t have time to get out of your routine, do you?  No room for Spirit-led spontaneity.  No time for Wild Goose chases.  Here is the great irony: the priest and the Levite were probably on their way to the temple.  They were so busy loving God that they didn’t have time to love their neighbor.  And that is when our routines become counterproductive.  Let’s be honest.  We can get so busy doing “ministry” that we don’t have time for ministry.

This is so true.  I’ve seen it in my own life over the past 6 months.  I have been asked to do things and have become so busy doing “ministry” that I have forgotten to do ministry.  God has really been convicting me of that big time.  So I made a phone call and apologized for not being as proactive as I should have been in some things that I said I would do.  There is freedom in forgiveness and freedom in seeking forgiveness.  How have you gotten so busy doing “ministry” that you haven’t been able to do ministry or have become so STUCK in your routine and so GUARDED with your time that you have blocked things that God wants for you?  I know I have but I am trying hard to undo those things.

I am looking forward to journaling through Proverbs and finishing the Wild Goose Chase over the coming weeks.  There is something more satisfying than pursuing spiritual fitness than physical.  Without both we will die though – that’s something to think about.

I joined our gyms ‘Winter Meltdown’ this past week.  It’s a 12 week contest to lose weight and get in shape for summer.  The winner gets the entry fees from four different Anytime Fitness clubs in the area.  Honestly even if I don’t win I’m already a winner.  It will definitely help keep me motivated to drop the rest of the weight I want to lose by summer.  I’m down another 4lbs this week.  That’s pretty exciting for me.

What’s even more exciting is pursuing God the way He wants me to.

How does the fact that the rapture is going to happen shape how we do things and treat people?  Would you do this?

Thanks Aaron for this video.

Just saw this news story from @YMTV on Twitter about how women can no longer distribute Bibles in North Korea.  This really saddens me and it is a reminder of the world in which we live in.  Here’s a clip of the article;

North Korea publicly executed a Christian woman last month for distributing the Bible, which is banned in the communist nation, South Korean activists said Friday.

Ri Hyon Ok, 33, was also accused of spying for South Korea and the United States and organizing dissidents. She was executed in the northwestern city of Ryongchon near the border with China on June 16, according to a report from an alliance of several dozen anti-North Korea groups.

Ri’s parents, husband and three children were sent to a political prison camp in the northeastern city of Hoeryong the following day, the report said, citing unidentified documents it says were obtained from North Korea. It showed a copy of Ri’s North Korean government-issued photo ID. It is virtually impossible to verify such reports about secretive North Korea, where the government tightly controls the lives of its citizens and does not allow dissent.

The question that comes to m mind is, “How far off are we until this happens here in the US?”  Will we ever get to this point?

This past week our pastoral staff went to the RHMA Pastors Conference.  The them was “Seeking Revival in Rural America.”  Overall it was pretty good.  I will be posting a few different posts on the pros and cons of the conference form my perspective.  The two heavy hitter keynote speakers were Dr. Henry Blackaby and Dr. Walter Kaiser.  Both men are amazingly brilliant – there is no doubt about that.  My favorite was Kaiser by far though.  I think that comes from the story I have from the conference about hanging out with him…I will share that in a post on it’s own.

The really cool thing about the conference was their bookstore.  Almost all of the books were 50% off and some 75% off.  It was amazing.  I walked away with some great books for $60!  Below is the list of books I bought for $60.  Seriously.  I still can’t believe it.

The Messiah In The Old Testament – Kaiser

Revive Us Again – Kaiser (he actually gave us all this one for free)

What Does The Lord Require: A Guide for Preaching and Teaching Biblical Ethics – Kaiser

Is God on America’s Side – Lutzer

Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire: What Happens When God’s Sprit Invades the Hearts of His People – Cymbala

Fresh Encounter: God’s Pattern for Spiritual Awakening – Blackaby & King

Future Israel: Why Christian Anti-Judaism Must Be Challenged – Horner

Future Grace: The Purifying Power of Living By Faith – Piper

Your Ministry’s Next Chapter: Restoring the Passion of the Mid-Career Pastor – Fenton

I’m pretty excited about reading them all.  Man it’s going to take me a while to get through these.

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About a month ago we were in our staff meeting and Jay (our pastor) asked Gary and I  if we would mind preaching in series with him as we are going through Ephesians.  I really liked the idea so I agreed to it.  He then told me I would be preaching on Ephesians 2:4-7 on March 8.  So I jokingly said “We should just make it a youth lead service.”  Everyone agreed and the panic set in for me.

That week I began getting the word out to the youth that we would be leading the service in everything.  They were pretty excited and nervous about it – but they all signed up to fill spots to help serving in the service.

Our youth service was this past Sunday.

I was so prooud of our students.  Everyone showed up and filled their spot and did a great job.  They greeted, ushered, did the call to worship,  announcements, the prelude music, the offertory, lead worship with a full youth worship band.  I did the sermon.  It was funny to hear comments from the older people as they came in, “Wow.  It looks like they are doing everything this morning!”  We didn’t announce that this was going to happen so no one really knew until they that the youth were leading in everything.  It was great to see the reactions.

After the service we went to Godfathers and had pizza as well.  All in all it was a blast.  The kids did a great job.  I am very proud of them.

This weekend we went to Dare 2 Share and had an amazing time.  Our students had a blast as we learned about becomin ‘invincible’ and putting on the armor of God.  They used a lot of the imagery from ‘Iron Man’ throughout the conference and it was awesome.  I think all of our students are taking the 5 Friend Challenge – in trying to share their faith with at least 5 of the non-believing friends.

One of our girls was at Wal-Mart today with her mom and her mom ‘dared’ her to go over to this random guy and share the Gospel with him.  So she did AND he accepted Christ right there in Wal-Mart!  How cool is that?  God is already using our students to reach Buena Vista County one life at a time.  So cool to see this happening.

Of course the highlight of the weekend for me was the youth leader training by Greg.  He talked about how we can help our students live out and share the Gospel with their friends and how it HAS to start with us as leaders.   If we aren’t actively sharing the Gospel then our students won’t either!  That is so true.   After the training I went up and talked to Greg and introduced myself to him as the guy who wrote a post about having a ‘man crush’ on him.  It was great to meet someone that I really admire.  The cool thing is that I have a few friends who know him so we talked about our connections with them as well.  The coolest thing about Greg is that he is down to earth.

I am excited to see what God does with our students as we move from here.

This is my second post in a 2 part series on ‘God’s holy temple.’  You can read the first post here.  Now obviously these aren’t exhaustive in depth on the topic, but hopefully I have built enough of a ground work and have used Scripture correctly to relay – in a Biblical context – what constitutes as God’s holy temple.

In the first post we saw that the Holy Spirit resided within the holy of hollies in the tents and temples n the OT but when Christ came he said he would ask the Father to send us a Counselor – the Holy Spirit – and that the Father would.  When we accept Christ we receive the Holy Spirit and are baptized by the Spirit.  The interesting thing is that now we have the Spirit living within us – not a building.  There is no doubt that God wanted the temples built with great attention to detail.  I think the same application is still valid for us today.  When we build something it should be the best because “… for our God is greater than all gods…”  We should pay a great deal of attention to detail in building our churches.  I think God’s Word supports this.

But what is God’s holy temple?  This is the question we need to answer.  Lets look at what God says about man-made buildings.  Acts 7:46b-50 says this,

“So it was until the days of David,  who found favor in the sight of God and asked to find a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. But it was Solomon who built a house for him.  Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made by hands, as the prophet says,
“‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord, or what is the place of my rest? Did not my hand make all these things?’

Here we see God declaring that the Heavens are his throne – where he dwells.  Steven hits on an interesting thing in saying, “Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made by hands.” So God doesn’t live in our buildings.  The Holy Spirit doesn’t live in our buildings.  Are our buildings sacred?  Not at all.   So what makes our buildings special?  The fact that we meet in them.  And it’s not us that make them special – it’s the fact that Christ is living within us.  ALL of his righteousness – he has taken up residence within us.  WE are God’s holy temple.

The thing is that our buildings are going to get dirty.  Our buildings are going to get broken.  They will get stained and that’s ok.  God doesn’t live here.  He doesn’t take offense when there’s a stain on the carpet or a broken window.  I’m not suggesting we let our buildings go to ruins but what I am suggesting is that it’s ok when these things happen.

What should concern us more is what we do with God’s temple – our bodies!  How do we treat them?  Are we lazy?  Are we gluttons?  Do we participate in sin?  How do we view these things in the light that WE are God’s temple and are polluting God’s temple far more than any stain could ever damage carpet or a scratch could damage a pew?

Buildings are tools that are meant to get used and they show signs of wear and tear.  This is a good thing – it shows that ministry is happening.  Our buildings aren’t sacred or holy.

Our bodies are.

I have been thinking over how to write this post for a while now.  I think it is ironic how bent out of shape when something is broken or dirtied within the church and say, “It’s God’s holy temple.  We shouldn’t do that here.”   Yet I wonder that when they are out of the building living life on their own and they may be participating in sin – do they ever stop and say to themselves, “This is God’s holy temple.  I shouldn’t be doing this.”  Keep in mind this post isn’t aimed at anyone in specific – but it is aimed at a mindset that is off base and Biblically wrong.  The thing is that sometimes I even fall into this way of thinking.  This leads us to a simple yet profound question;

So what is God’s holy temple?

Lets take a look at Scripture and see if it can be defined as to what it really is.  In 2 Chronicles 2:4-6 it says this,

“Behold, I am about to build a house for the name of the LORD my God and dedicate it to him for the burning of incense of sweet spices before him, and for  the regular arrangement of the showbread, and for burnt offerings morning and evening  on the Sabbaths and the new moons and the appointed feasts of the LORD our God, as ordained forever for Israel.  The house that I am to build will be great, for our God is greater than all gods But who is able to build him a house, since heaven, even highest heaven, cannot contain him? Who am I to build a house for him, except as a place to make offerings before him?”

We know that the author of Chronicles is unknown although some believe it to be Ezra.  We do know that these are Chronicles of Solomon’s reign.  Here we see Solomon preparing to build a temple to burn incense to God and make offerings in.  Throughout the Old Testament we see temples used for this purpose.   At times there are even tents when the Israelite’s were in the wilderness.  Tents were portable but also maybe tents were used because the Israelite’s couldn’t enter the fullness of the temple because they weren’t allowed into the Promised Land.  God’s Spirit resided within the temples and tents…within the ‘holy of hollies.”   The question we have to ask is, “Why did God’s Spirit reside in man made temples in the OT?”

God’s Spirit resided in the temple because Christ hadn’t yet come. In John 14:15-16 it says this,

“If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”

Jesus tells us that when he asks the Father to send us another Counselor that he would.  That Counselor is the Holy Spirit.   In Mark 1:8 we see John the Baptist saying this,

“I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

In Mark we see John telling the people that Jesus would come and baptize them with the Holy Spirit.  So how are we baptized with the Holy Spirit.  It’s pretty simple.  Jesus says that he will ask the Father to send us a Counselor – the holy Spirit – and he will.  So when we accepted Christ we were baptized with the Holy Spirit.  So why didn’t people in the OT have the Holy Spirit living in them?  Jesus hadn’t come and asked the Father to send him to them.  This is a benefit we have of fulfilled prophecy.

One of the major differences we have now is that the Holy Spirit no longer resides within the ‘holy of hollies” but resides within us.  So what does this imply about God’s holy temple?  I’ll write more on that in Part 2.

Bible Study Magazine and Mars Hill are giving away 20 copies of Mark Driscoll’s new book, Vintage Church. Not only that, but they are also giving away five subscriptions to Bible Study Magazine and a copy of their Bible Study Library software! Enter to win on the Bible Study Magazine/ Mark Driscoll page, then take a look at all the cool tools they have to take your Bible study to the next level!

I’m entered – how about you?

I had an interesting conversation about the difference of the Judgement Seat of Christ and the Great White Throne Judgement today…so I decided to do this poll.  Please vote.  If you feel so inclinced leave your reason for how you voted in the comment section.