FNB WIRe 9.12.09

September 14, 2009 at 2:10 pm (Biblei-Octopi, Sports) (, , )

Flesh & Blud – Week In Review [09.12.09]

>Items That Grabbed My Attention This Week<

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>>I was exposed to a proverb that I was previously unaware of, speaking in regards to the Seattle Seahawks signing aging Safety Lawyer Milloy and releasing Safety Brian Russell, the author concludes, “This could be the proverbial poop in the birthday cake.” I’ve never heard that one before, but since it is proffered as a well known axiom I shall look for my opportunity to impart it’s wisdom. PS – I am ready for some Seahawks!

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>>Church structure (eccesiology) continues to be a front running stream of thought. The principle that we serve a person (Jesus), rather than a purpose, and He has instructed us to declare a unique message (the gospel), continues to cleanse my mental temple. We labor for gospel clarity and gospel transformation in our families, our churches and our community.

Gospel Clarity – Gospel Obedience – Gospel Transformation

Our practical approach must be to labor for gospel clarity, seeking God’s Word to know WHO God is (right theology/doctrine) and WHAT God wants us to do (right action/doctrine). As such, God’s Word will take center stage, we will look to His Word to have the first and final say in how we live our lives and the practices of our churches. What we believe about WHO God is and WHAT God wants us to do can be very liberating (the truth will set you free – My burden is light) or it can be very dangerous (errant theology). Josh McDowell emphasizes the importance of just how much what we believe affects how we act (see Beyond Belief to Convictions).

The pursuit of gospel clarity must flesh itself out in gospel obedience (aligning ourselves to the revealed will of God) in the lives of every individual, every family, our corporate gatherings (churches) and our community (gospel overflow!). Right doctrine is a right pursuit and right doctrine is not a concept but a shaping of our heart and actions in accordance with God’s instructions that we might know the fullness He has designed us for.

As we labor for gospel clarity and raise the standard to gospel obedience, we will see the Holy Spirit work gospel transformation in people, families, church and communities. The relationship of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is one of undisturbed intimacy, a relationship we are designed to share (see John 17 and Philippians 3:20,21). The intimacy of our right knowledge and faithful obedience is part of a greater work of gospel transformation.

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>>The next time someone says, “We need to see people as Jesus sees them.” I want to say, “We do need to see people as Jesus does – broken, filthy and dead in their sins. But we also must embrace them as He does – with the power of the gospel to save and transform their lives.”

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FNB WIRe 9.5.09

September 7, 2009 at 5:13 am (Biblei-Octopi, Words (Not Mine)) (, , )

Flesh & Blud – Week In Review [09.05.09]

>Items That Grabbed My Attention This Week<

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>>Church structure (ecclesiology) is fresh on my mind because we are going through team development and principles of recruiting/developing people into followers of Christ. In thinking through this, some clear principles come to the forefront to guide strategy:

:: The Command (our foundation for life) – Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength…love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:29-31)
:: The Commission (our focus/process for ministry) – Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. (Matthew 28:18-20)
:: The Tool (God’s breath of life for all we do) – All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God many be adequate, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16,17)
:: The Mechanism (our obedient service) – Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction. (2 Timothy 4:2)
:: The Application (our relational approach) – We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us. (1 Thessalonians 2:8)
:: The Gospel (clarifies our message) – See 1 Corinthians 151-9

It is incredible how much information and “this is the way” material is out there. Another point that seems clearer to me now is that we do not serve a purpose, we serve a person (person obviously in the sense of a being not exclusively corporeal – although Jesus is 100% God and 100% Man and ascended bodily into heaven). As in all of life, we must guard against improper extremes wherein our good intentions override our clear calling. Jesus made things incredibly simple – Love God with your all. Love people as you love yourself. Everything God commanded is pretty much summed up in these two. (paraphrase) We love God by living out the gospel and we love people by showing and declaring the gospel. The church serves to uphold, instruct and equip the body of Christ Love God and to Love People, thereby fulfilling the mandates of it’s commission (Matthew 28:18-20).

>>An brutal post by Phil Johnson in which he quotes JC Ryle, speaking on pastors:

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Those who think that unsound ministers ought never to be exposed and held up to notice, and men ought never to be warned against them, would do well to study this passage. No class of character throughout our Lord’s ministry seems to call forth such severe denunciation as that of false pastors. The reason is obvious. Other men ruin themselves alone: false pastors ruin their flocks as well as themselves. To flatter all ordained men, and say they never should be called unsound and dangerous guides, is the surest way to injure the Church and offend Christ.

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>>Francis Chan popped up on my radar, surprising that we were that close (I used to live in Ventura, CA and he has been pasturing in Simi Valley, CA) and I was ignorant of his presence. He challenged me with two things: 1) to pray the prayer uttered in Proverbs 30:7-9; 2) his message Lukewarm & Loving It (link to video here – WARNING: This message is brutal as it will transform certain passages of Scripture from, those guys to, “He’s talking about me!” I don’t yet know much about Chan, but this is worth the 40 minute investment.

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Caution – I am rich…

September 3, 2009 at 6:32 am (Uncategorized)

Perhaps the most convicting message I have heard recently…what Jesus says to the rich, He speaks to me. Not because I am rich by American standards, but I am rich and spiritually this is a dangerous place to be. Jesus shreds the layers that inhibit intimacy and that can be painful – blessedly painful. This message from Francis Chan is refreshingly brutal.

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Tools for Intimacy: Prayer

September 2, 2009 at 4:41 pm (Biblei-Octopi) (, )

After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone (Matthew 14:23 NIV)

Jesus set the example of purposefully carving out time in His day, often early in the morning, to spend time with The Father. Jesus practiced an intimate and robust relationship with God. Jesus calls His disciples, those who follow Him, to pray and teaches them how to do so. We see Jesus’ commitment to this discipline as Christ nears the time of His crucifixion, removing Himself from all else to again be close to The Father.
Something that should ring in our ears, is the same question that Jesus posed to His disciples in the garden of Gethsemane: “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” (Matthew 16:40 NIV) We can hear in this interaction that:

1) There is a sense of diligence and discipline in prayer – Jesus set aside time to pray, He didn’t squeeze it in, He would wake up early and even retreat from the crowds when needed.
2) There is a sense of importance and intimacy in prayer – Jesus didn’t treat prayer as a good idea, He practiced a disciplined and intimate daily retreat with The Father.
3) There is a sense of consequence when we disregard prayer – Guilt alone should not be our motivation, but there is a reality to intimacy lost when we do not carve out time to be with God.

When we look at the example and teaching of Jesus on prayer, there are a few key foundations we must understand in order to exercise this tool of intimacy properly.

Prayer is not a vending machine – While Jesus taught that we bring our requests to God because He is our loving Father who enjoys to give us good things, we must understand that He gives the good we need in accordance with His plans for us rather than the good we want and think is best for ourselves. In the prayers and instructions on prayer from Jesus, the consistent phrasing is that of, “Your will be done,” even while He is at His deepest struggle in preparing for His death upon the cross.

Prayer is intimate – The address that Jesus instructs is, “Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name.” God is above us but He is not detached from us. We approach God with the proper respect and love of a child toward a loving and holy father. In Christ we are heirs to a promise, we are sons of God, as such we come in confidence before our holy God and our foremost desire is to honor our Father.

(Controversial) Prayer is not powerful* – God is. We come in loving submission, in a time set aside for intimacy with our heavenly Father. We come to submit and appeal to the holy will of God. As we abide in His presence and walk in loving obedience, His power and blessing go before us. His kingdom fleshes out in our lives, our needs are met, Satan is defeated and our love for God is shown in our love for others – this is the power of God transferred through the intimacy of prayer.

Take some time to read and/or recite the Lord’s Prayer (aka The Model Prayer, found in Matthew 6:9-13) – pray through what Jesus is teaching us about where our hearts should be directed when we set aside time for intimacy with God.

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*Powerful and effective as described in James 5:16, it is powerful because it brings man under submission to the instruction of God and effective because God answers righteous prayers – prayers that are consistent with His revealed will. The verse does not teach that if we are righteous we can ask for whatever we want and God will bend to our will, a righteous man is walking in step with God and by that intimacy his requests are in accordance to God’s will (no more clearer than Jesus in Gethsemane).

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