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Sin

Feature Friday (10/06/17)

Conflict. Debate. Battle. Disagreement. War. All of these words bring to mind the idea of struggle. While none of us like the struggle, conflict, and battle, it is part of our world and existence. The truth is, while we say we don’t like conflict, inwardly we are all wired for it and at times enjoy it. Think of the last movie you saw, TV show you watched or sports game you were entertained by; every one of those forms of entertainment thrives and exists because of conflict. One team versus another. The good guy versus the bad guy. The hero versus the villain. Just like every good story, life is a constant struggle.

The Christian life is no different. We are in a constant battle, a daily conflict. Two weeks ago I posted about “8 Characteristics of Believers who Don’t Give up in the Battle“. But a question remains, who is the enemy? What is it exactly the Christian is fighting against? With whom is the follower of Jesus’ battle counteracting? In other words, what is “The Great Enemy” of the Christian life.

Check out the article and as always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

Feature Friday (5/20/16)

Broken…what is the first thing that comes to your mind when you see, hear, or read this word? One of the first images in my mind is my junior year of high school. I was in spring training for my upcoming track season. Having already done my sprint workout, I was working on my field event…the pole vault. Heart racing, feet pounding the ground faster and faster, until upward I went hanging onto a fiberglass pole. Eight, nine, ten feet into the air over a rubber band practice bar, then I came down and CRACK. I heard it and felt it. I have broken my ankle.

If you have played sports, went to school, or have any kind of relationship then you have felt it. We live in a broken world. However, are we broken people? Or is there something more going on? Has some outside force caused us to become broken? Or is there a deeper systemic problem in our world?

Broken Bad is a great article pointing out some needed areas in which we may use the word broken when in reality there is a better, more fitting word to be used.

Enjoy the read and be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

God’s Will: First things First

the will of godWhat will I be when I grow up? Where will I go to college? What type of job will I have? Where will I live? Who will I marry? All of these questions and more were ones I remember asking myself all throughout my teenage years. But amongst all of the questions that I pondered during those years, there was one that I just could not shake…”What is God’s will for my life?”. That question was one that I dwelt on an awful lot. And to be truthful, from time to time I still think about it. However, I have recently once again realized I am not the only one who has asked or is asking this question. So what is the answer? Well, stick around the next few weeks as we work through this question and flesh out an answer that is both biblical and practical.

Before diving headlong into this series, we must first understand three truths: God’s Dominion, Man’s Dependence, and Our Desire.

When truly asking God about His will for our lives, it is important to stop and remember whose will it is…God’s. And by definition God is the ultimate authority and ruler of the world (Job 38:4-7); He is the One who has Dominion. God possesses dominion first and foremost because He is the Creator. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). As Creator He made everything good (Genesis 1:31). Being the good Creator means that God is also the Sovereign over all of His creation. In other words, God owns everything and needs nothing (Psalm 50:10-12). God is the only eternal, everlasting, and independent being of the universe. More

If God is the independent Creator, that means man lives in constant dependence. We live in dependence upon God for our existence. God is the one who made and gave authority to man (Genesis 1:26-27). In other words, the life we have and the authority we have is from God. However, we are not perfect supervisors. We only get to chapter 3 in Genesis before man messes up the responsibility he has been given. And as a result of that sin, sin and death spread to all mankind (Romans 3:10-18, 23). That is right–every homo sapien that has, is, or ever will walk the face of the planet is a sinner deserving death (Romans 6:23). Therefore, the fact that we live and have being simply shows the dependence we have on God each and every day (Acts 17:25, 28). In light of this, there is a great chasm to be spanned between our desires and God’s.

God’s desire is for good in all of His creation, but our desire is always for something other than God’s goodness. This creates the first problem when pursuing and wishing to know God’s will for our lives. Truth be told, our desires do not match the desires of God. Therefore, we must cultivate in our hearts the desire to be cooperative and to be submissive in order to know God’s will. Because we are sinful at our core, our desire is to do things our own way; however, Jesus teaches us that our will and desire must be for God’s will to be done (Matthew 6:8-10). In order for us to desire to be cooperative with God and His will, we must be submissive. The only way we can truly pursue submission is to recognize that it is God who made us and teaches us, not the other way around (Isaiah 40:13-14).

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So before seeing God’s will for our lives, we must recognize God’s Dominion, Our Dependence, and where Our Desire must be. But the problem is we cannot desire cooperation and submission to God on our own. That is why God had to create a way to transform our hearts and desires. The only way He could do that was to eradicate the sinful way we relate to Him. In other words, a payment had to be made for our sin. But the only acceptable sacrifice was perfection. (Insert, climactic music here) Bad news: no human being could be a perfect sacrifice, we all have sinned. So what did God do? He paid the penalty Himself, by sending His Son Jesus Christ in our place (2 Corinthians 5:21; John 3:16-18; Philippians 2:6-8).

It is only when we see that God has Dominion, we are utterly Dependent, and that our Desire must match His that we can begin to know and pursue His will for our lives. Stay tuned for the continuation of this series next week!

Feature Friday (9/13/13)

ImageHelping Little Hearts Overcome Sin – As a new father this was an encouraging and challenging article. Too often in our culture, and unfortunately the church as well, we excuse children’s sinful habits with excuses and justifications. Good article on practical steps to help disciple and nurture those little hearts away from sin and toward the Savior!

As always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

Feature Friday (7/26/13)

word-balloonsSin might make people stupid (or maybe a bit more accurately, it makes the intelligent foolish), but grace will make us wise.” Great concise article on why sin is stupid, no matter how smart you are.

As always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

Freedom

braveheart_freedomFREEDOM!!! This word was probably made most famous by Mel Gibson in his line from the movie Braveheart. But in America, every 4th of July, it takes on great meaning. Here in the United States of America, we have become accustomed to, expectant of, and proud of our freedom…and we rather enjoy it. But have you ever stopped to ask yourself “Why?” Why do we enjoy our freedom so much? Why does it bring so much joy? Or another way of asking it…why does slavery and oppression upset us so much?

Because slavery and oppression, not freedom, are foreign to our world’s design. Genesis 1-2 record for us the creation of the heavens and the earth and everything in them, including mankind. Throughout chapter one we see God say over and over again,”It is good”. Essentially God, the perfect Creator, is putting His ultimate stamp of approval on His creation. What we see throughout Genesis 2 then is the outworking of that “good” creation. Adam and God enjoy a perfect relationship without shame. Adam and the animal kingdom get along and recognize the role they have with one another. And finally Adam and Eve (the first man and woman) relate harmoniously (Gen. 2:25). So the question that lingers concerning freedom is: “If that is how our world was created and designed, why is there suffering in the world?”

Suffering entered the world through man’s disobedience. When Adam and Eve chose to disobey and thus rebel against God, their fate was set and their slavery began. Genesis 3 records the tragic choices that led not only to their punishment but to all of mankind’s death and separation from God, and thus separation from the freedom that we were designed to have in perfect union with one another and the heavenly Creator. But Adam and Eve arre not alone. In John 8:34 Jesus says, “Everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin”. Therefore, because of Adam and Eve’s sin they became slaves to it; but all of us since then have chosen slavery as well (Rom. 3:23). And for that choice there is a consequence, that consequence being death and separation from God (Rom. 6:23). So if we were designed for freedom, but have become slaves to sin through our own choices, is there anyway to return to freedom? Can we become free once again?

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I heard it said once, “For freedom to become a reality the greatest sacrifice must come from the just”! And this is how freedom came for us as well, the just had to sacrifice. The only one who is ultimately just in all His doing is God. Psalm 146:7 states that it is God who “executes justice for the oppressed…the Lord sets the prisoners free”. Jesus reiterates the way to freedom in John 8:32 stating, “The truth will set you free”. So what truth is it that can set us free from slavery to and oppression from our own sin?

It is the Just who sacrificed Himself for us so that we might regain the freedom for which we were created and designed. Philippians 2:6-8 references this regarding Jesus Christ, God in flesh, “Who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled (sacrificed) himself by becoming obedient to the point of death even death on the cross”. This is how we can regain the freedom lost in our slavery to sin. It is by Christ and Christ alone, through His sacrificial blood and death that we can be saved and set free from the wages of sin. It is only because, “He became sin who knew no sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God”, that anyone can be set free from their sin. So how does we become free once again?

Simply by recognizing our enslaved condition to sin in which we have no power or authority to overcome by ourselves. We must believe that Jesus Christ is the only Savior. As Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved”. It comes down to recognizing two truths: who we are as slaves to sin and who Jesus is as Lord and Savior of the world.

So do you need to return to freedom? Are you still a slave to sin?

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While we celebrate this 4th of July and our freedom as citizens of the United States of America, don’t forget: the Just made the greatest sacrifice for you–not to give you freedom in America, but to give you freedom from your sin!

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