Thursday, September 27, 2012

Behold Our God

Verse 1
Who has held the oceans in His hands?
Who has numbered every grain of sand?
Kings and nations tremble at His voice
All creation rises to rejoice


Chorus
Behold our God seated on His throne
Come, let us adore Him
Behold our King—nothing can compare
Come, let us adore Him


Verse 2
Who has given counsel to the Lord?
Who can question any of His words?
Who can teach the One who knows all things?
Who can fathom all His wondrous deeds?


Verse 3
Who has felt the nails upon His hands?
Bearing all the guilt of sinful man
God eternal, humbled to the grave
Jesus, Savior, risen now to reign

Tag
You will reign forever
Let Your glory fill the earth


Credits:
Jonathan Baird, Meghan Baird, Ryan Baird, and Stephen Altrogge
© 2011 Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP)/Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Alcohol

I just read a great blog post by Pastor Chris Anderson.  He's the pastor at Tr-County Bible Church in Madison, OH, and Author of the "Gospel Meditations for Men/Women/Missions" devotional books.  His post was on Alcohol...I wanted to share it, because I think his message needs to be heard...especially amongst many questions about whether Christians should or shouldn't drink that I've heard quite often lately...especially among disgruntled former "Fundamentalists" who were taught many things were wrong, with often no explanation as to why...click here to access it.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Should Christians seek victory?

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
2 Timothy 4:6-8

This week we had "Focus Week" here at Northland.  Dr. Timothy Jordan, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church (my previous church when my family lived in PA) in Lansdale PA was the speaker.  The whole "focus" of the conference was clearing up old misconceptions about passages of scripture.  The above passage was one of the passages he took us too during the sessions.

As can be seen at the beginning of this passage, Paul talks about being "poured out as a drink offering" and the fact that the "time of [his] departure [had] come."  This is an allusion to his execution which would take place soon.

The misconception he addressed in regards to this passage was the fact that it is usually preached to us that Paul lived a victorious Christian life, and so too should we!  Paul "won" the Christian race, and we should strive for the same victory!  This leads us into hopelessness, because, first of all, we don't know what victory looks like, and if we can contrive what it looks like, we know that we can never attain it...or at least we don't believe we can.

The first thing that Dr. Jordan pointed out was the fact that the word "win" is not even mentioned in this passage.  Paul does not say he won, it says he "fought a good fight."  This reminds me of Paul's "thorn in the flesh."  Paul pleaded with the Lord to remove it from him...but it wasn't.  Paul struggled with sin, he fought a good fight against it.  God never tells us to seek victory...in fact, the best we have is filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).  Even when Paul says, "I have finished the race"...this says nothing about winning.

Dr. Jordan even suggested that to seek victory is to seek ones own glory.  We want to look good, because we have "conquered" sin...but we can't.  This is not to say that we do not fight...because this passage impels us to fight...but we must acknowledge that we will fail, and fail often...we still must fight sin, by God's grace.

This passage also impels us to keep the faith.  This Christian race is hard, and there will be times we want to give up.  Especially in times of intense struggle with sin, and trails...but we must constantly be reminding ourselves of the goodness of God, and the fact that He's so much better than our struggle and sin.

When we view this passage in light of these truths...that "crown of righteousness" seems much more attainable, doesn't it?

There's one more thing I want to share that Dr. Jordan said, that was very encouraging to me in regards to this passage.  He said, that our idea of when we see God, is that He's going to say something like this, "well, you didn't do a very good job, but I guess since you're saved, I have to let you in."  I admit that this is the way I have thought about things being when I get to heaven.  That is not how it will be at all...for any believer...much like the Prodigal son's Father eagerly awaited the return of His son, so too is our heavenly Father eagerly awaiting our return to Him.  Also...just like the father in the parable of the prodigal son embraced his son with joy when he arrived...so too will our heavenly Father joyfully receive us when we meet Him face to face...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Missions?

As many of you saw with my post about God softening my heart toward missions.  The question for me now becomes, "what do I do with this?"  Is God preparing me to be a "missionally" focused pastor?  Or is He trying to tell me He wants me to go into missions work?  I haven't figured out the answer to this question yet...I've been praying about it quite a bit though...

I've found myself doing a lot of research lately on Christian persecution in foreign countries...especially in North Korea...which has the greatest levels of Christian persecution in the world.  When Christians are discovered they are put in internment camps where they conduct forced, hard manual labor without hardly any safety equipment.  Often times enduring torture and being put to death.

My heart goes out to these people and so many other persecuted Christians through out the world...the thought even of those who are hurting and have never heard the gospel of Jesus' loving death on the cross for the world...

I'm trying to continue to be open to the Lord's direction in this area...Lord...lead me where you will...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Tears of the Saints

This morning I went on Twitter and did my usual scanning of what those I follow had posted.  One of the people I follow is Northland's student body girl president.  She's always posting very encouraging things that I'm often reposting.  I noticed this morning that she posted about the fact that we were going to have a mission focused student body chapel today, and that she was very excited about it.  I wasn't surprised...Northland has a huge emphasis on missions...but I must admit, to my shame, that I wasn't very excited about it.  I am far too comfortable in my easy life of a college student...I don't like feeling guilty about not witnessing...I don't like feeling like I need to give money to missions...it's uncomfortable...

What a fool I am...God used todays chapel to break my heart...not completely...because I know I will slip back into my complacency and apathy...at times...but I'm thankful that God worked in my heart today...

I'm far too apathetic when it comes to missions...I often ask myself...would I be willing to go even into North Korea...a country that is probably the most hostile to Christianity...would I be willing to go into that country to preach the gospel?  I don't really want to answer the question...but it's compelling...would I give all for Him?

Before I get too cliche by talking about missions, and give you all the statistics...I'll just share the video they shared in chapel...click here to access it...and the lyrics to the song that's playing on it I've posted below...

Tears of the Saints
by:  Leeland

There are many prodigal sons
On our city streets they run
Searching for shelter
There are homes broken down
People's hopes have fallen to the ground
From failures

This is an emergency!

There are tears from the saints
For the lost and unsaved
We're crying for them come back home
We're crying for them come back home
And all your children will stretch out their hands
And pick up the crippled man
Father, we will lead them home
Father, we will lead them home

There are schools full of hatred
Even churches have forsaken
Love and mercy
May we see this generation
In it's state of desperation
For Your glory

This is an emergency!

Sinner, reach out your hands!
Children in Christ you stand!
Sinner, reach out your hands!
Children in Christ you stand!

And all Your children will stretch out their hands
And pick up the crippled man
Father, we will lead them home
Father, we will lead them home

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Northland Campus Cause 2012

Some of my followers may remember that last year I did a post about the fact that at Northland we were raising money to renovate our dining hall. Well, those renovations were successfully completed this year. If you want to see the Facebook album with the pictures from that, you can see it by clicking here. You do not have to have a Facebook account to view the pics.

This year we are raising funds to build a new recreation hall. This building serves as a place for students to wind down, partake in fellowship, and to do homework. During the summer it also serves as a place for campers to hang out and have a good time.  It is still in good shape at this time, but it is about 50 years old, so it is in need of some updating.

Please, don't feel pressured to donate.  I know I can't stand it when I feel pressured to donate to a cause I don't want to donate to.  So please, don't feel pressured.  If you, however, feel led to donate and have the financial ability to do so, you can access the page to donate by clicking here.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Search Me, Know Me

by Kathryn Scott and Mildred Rainey

Search me know me
Try me and see
Every worthless affection hidden in me
All I'm asking for is that You'd cleanse me Lord

Create in me a heart that's clean
Conquer the power of secret shame
Come wash away the guilty stain of all my sin

Clothe me in robes of righteousness
Cover my nakedness with grace
All of my life before You now I humbly bring

Monday, September 3, 2012

Humbled...

When I first got to Northland to fill my room leader position, I found out I had a guy in my room who can be a bit "crazy" at times.  He will openly admit this quite often.  We had a lot of interactions with one another last year, specifically when working with one another on security.

I was excited to have him in my room, because he IS such a fun guy to be around, but at the same time I had some concerns.  God, however, just revealed to me that He has a specific purpose for putting me in this room with these roommates.

As a part of my responsibilities, I'm supposed to ask my roommates how they are doing in their bible reading.  It's a good way to help with accountability.  I'm often humbled by the fact that my roommates are doing better than me...

The roommate that I have alluded to, humbled me greatly in his response to my question.  He was completely open and honest with me about how he was doing.  I admit, at the beginning of our conversation I was taken aback by his struggles, and I was immediately judging him in my mind.

Only after hearing him expound on his struggles did I realize that he's struggling with these things because God's teaching him some tough lessons because he's willing and ready to listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.  God is working on him, and has brought him to a point that far surpasses my level of openness and spiritual walk with God.

So right now, I'm just humbled...I'm humbled before God because He revealed to me my own judgmental arrogance...and I'm humbled and motivated to seek the intimate relationship with God that my roommate has...I'm humbled especially because my idea of a room leader, is a spiritual leader as well...how am I in a position over this guy?  To tell you the truth, I know why I am, and that's only because I happen to be older, and possibly a little more self controlled than this guy...and while such an attribute may get me in a position of leadership...it does not help me so much in my spiritual walk...I can be completely self controlled...and yet have a heart that's so far from God...

I just wanted to share this with my followers...we will often in our lives interact with people who we judge...we exalt ourselves above them because we think we're better...but..."Be careful if you think you stand.  You just might be sinking..."