Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Thoughts from my devotions...

"...Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."
Philippians 1:18e - 21

Am I willing to die for my Savior? As we come up on Missions Conference...I'm reminded of missionaries in other countries who have died for preaching Christ. Would I be willing to do the same?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

O Mighty Cross

by:  David Baroni and John Chisum

O Mighty Cross Love lifted high
The Lord of Life raised there to die
His Sacrifice on Calvary has made the mighty cross
A tree of life to me

O Mighty Cross what Throne of Grace
He knew no sin yet took my place
His Sacrifice on Calvary has made the mighty cross
A tree of life to me

O Mighty Cross O Christ so pure
Love held Him there such shame endured
His Sacrifice on Calvary has made the mighty cross
A tree of life to me

 O Mighty Cross my soul's release!
The stripes He bore have brought me peace
His Sacrifice on Calvary has made the mighty cross
A tree of life to me

O Mighty Cross O Mighty Cross
O Mighty Cross A tree of life to me

 © 1994 Integrity's Praise! Music

Monday, March 26, 2012

Stained Glass Masquerade

by: Casting Crowns

Is there anyone that fails?
Is there anyone that falls?
Am I the only one in church today feelin' so small?

Cause when I take a look around
Everybody seems so strong.
I know they'll soon discover
That I don't belong.

So I tuck it all away, like everything's okay.
If I make them all believe it, maybe I'll believe it too.
So with a painted grin, I play the part again,
So everyone will see me the way that I see them.

Are we happy plastic people,
Under shiny plastic steeples?
With walls around our weakness,
And smiles to hide our pain.
But if the invitation's open
To every heart that has been broken
Maybe then we close the curtain
On our stained glass masquerade.

Is there anyone who's been there?
Are there any hands to raise?
Am I the only one who's traded
In the altar for a stage?

The performance is convincing.
And we know every line by heart.
Only when no one is watching,
Can we really fall apart.

But would it set me free
If I dared to let you see?
The truth behind the person
That you imagine me to be.

Would your arms be open?
Or would you walk away?
Would the love of Jesus
Be enough to make you stay?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Radical Christian Center!

I know I've posted on this topic before, but God has put it on my mind a lot lately, and Dr. Olsen preached on it in chapel today.

The pendulum in Christianity is constantly swinging back and forth. A group of Christians will become upset about the lack of Holiness among another groups of Christians, so they will go in the opposite direction and become extremely focused on rules. Then the people who get upset about the legalism this creates, go in the opposite direction and they become very liberal.

We should pursue the radical center of what God's word directs us to do...nothing more, nothing less.

As far as separation goes...we have our focus all wrong on this, usually. Dr. Olsen says our doctrine of separation should "be defined by what we are separated to [God], not what we are separated from." So many churches these days are so focussed on separation, and who they need to separate from, that they completely disregard all the verses that talk about unity among Christians. We're good at separation, because it appeals to our fleshly desire to hurt those around us. This sounds harsh...but in reality, it is true. It takes less energy on our part to separate, than it takes to genuinely go to someone in love, and try to figure out why they are doing what they are doing. We are so divisive, and condemning. A decision to separate should be made with much prayer, and many questions should be asked before separation happens. Don't just assume because everyone else is separating from someone else, that that means we should...we Christians are far too "bandwagon" when it comes to separation.

Allow me to address something else that Dr. Olsen talked about today that is related to these things I have talked about.

So think clearly and exercise self-control. Look forward to the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”
I Peter 1:13-16 (NLT)

We take this command to be Holy in two directions normally. You have the liberal side who take this command, and disregard it because they say "I'm not under the law, but under grace."

Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace?  Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?  Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death?  For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.
Romans 6:1-4 (NLT)

This passage condemns such a practice. We should not use the grace given to us to make us sin all the more. This is sinful and of the flesh!

The other tendency is for us to become self-righteous when we hear this command to be Holy. This is just as bad, because this is of the flesh as well! And it's easy to fall into this trap and stay there, because it feels so right to us. We feel spiritual when we fix up our outside. But we can become self-righteous and have a heart that is so far from God.

We as Christians must pursue the radical center!

How do we do this? I've talked about this before too...pursue God. Pursue a right relationship with Him...seek to know and understand Him better! This renewing of our mind to think on our Holy God will clean us from the inside, and then when we change our outward actions because of this...it will be for the right reasons. It will be because we realize that those fleshly things are displeasing to Him...we won't be doing it because it pleases man...

We complicate our Christianity so much...because our flesh tells us that we need to "do!" We need to step back and let God "do!" When we let Him truly work in our lives, and in our hearts...He will do the cleaning of our lives that needs to be done!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

How Deep the Father's Love for Us

by:  Stuart Townend

How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Charity Rose Richards

All of my followers who know me on Facebook already know this, but yesterday I started a relationship with the girl whose name is the title of this post. She's a fellow Ohioan, which makes her pretty legit. We've been "friends" since soon after school started, and have had a lot of fun together, and I look forward to what God has in store for us ahead.

Please be praying for us, as we embark on this journey. Where will it lead us? I don't think either of us knows...but if y'all could be praying for us, that we put God first, I would appreciate it!