Tuesday, October 25, 2011

How Big is your God?

Unconditional Election. Predestination. 
When you read or hear these words how do they make you feel? do they make you feel:
- uneasy?
- awkward?
- angry? 

- confused?
- uncomfortable?

Why do you feel those feelings?
Is it because these ideas don’t fit into the tiny theological box that you’ve put God in? Is it because you think that God wouldn’t do something that you wouldn’t do? Or maybe God would not think or act in a way in which you do not think or act?

Do we ever think that maybe the creators plans are more developed then our own and that maybe his nature and character is perfect and it is us who is flawed? So often we put Gods actions into our reasoning. We tend to put God into a box and are tempted to only believe the things the we can understand or comprehend. The things that we don’t understand or do not like; we get rid of. 

For many of us, our God is too small. Our tendency is to make him reflection of who we are and what we understand rather than us being a reflection of him. We can come to places that tell us things about God that go way beyond what we can understand or comprehend, and instead of accepting things by faith and believing them despite whether these things are true about God, we tend to dismiss them, sweep them or under the rug, or get rid of them in our minds altogether.

There are things about God that we will never understand because God is God and we are not, God is big, we are small. God is infinite we are finite. God is knowable and we don’t have to guess who he is, because he has showed us. What we do know about God is true and real as long as it corresponds with the scriptures. What we know is true, but it is only partial. How can it be that God has ordained everything and yet we are not robots?- this is a good question and we may never know. Scripture tells us things about God that are gloriously true but way beyond our ability to understand. If we don’t dismiss them but wrestle and take God at his word, we will grow and mature. 

The book of Romans, paint a depressing, and sad portrait of the condition and depravity of humanity. One does not have to read far into the first chapter before learning that  humans are so spiritually corrupt, prideful, rebellious and wretched that we would never choose God (Rom.1:21,3:9-10, Psalm 14:1,3) In fact, not only would we never chose him, we actually actively reject him. (1:21,32)

Further more, we also have the audacity to take God and put him on trial (1:28) We decide that this is not the kind of God we want, we reject him as God, do not see him fit to be worshipped, in so turn and worship the creature, rather than the creator thus God gives humanity over to its rebellion and he lets humanity to worship, pursue and obtain the very things that lead to destruction (1:18-32) Because we are in rebellion, everything we do is sin, good works and bad works alike (Rom.14:23) Our inability to submit to God or make changes to ourselves is total, and we are therefore totally deserving of eternal punishment. If God waited for us to seek after him, the point is that he would be still waiting. Naturally we run from him. And if God waited for us to move towards him, we would have no hope at all. We are Dead.(Ephesians 2:4–5) Blind. (2 Cor 4:4) Hopeless people. Every single person.(1:20) Period.

But along with being perfect, holy and just God is also compassionate and loving. So before the world ever existed, before there were stars, a moon, the sky, before their were grass and goats. There was God. In that moment, God had you in mind and, in His unfathomable, electing, shocking, ruthless, scandalous and unconditional love, He decided to redeem you in Jesus Christ. He really did. He chose to save you (Ephesians 1:3) His love for you is eternal and not based any merit. God chose you to be his child before the foundation of the world, despite you.(Romans 8:29-30, 9:11, 11:5-7, Ephesians 1:4-6) While you were still dead in your trespasses(Romans 5:8. Ephesians 2:4-5) spitting in his face, jamming nails into his wrists, thorns into his head, he did something shocking. God took you, his will overrode your will, he gave you faith, HE saved you, HE embraced you, and HE accepted you. Then he substituted your cold dead heart with a new and regenerated heart and then sealed you with the Holy Spirit. Because God is faithful to complete the work he began; he promised to sustain you, and to hold you back from sin that leads to death. You are you eternally secure (Ephesians 1:13, 2Corinthians 1:22, 5:5)

‘Wait Chance you mean to tell me that God unconditionally elects?’

How dare he:
- trade me his righteousness for my sin
- come uninvited into my life.

- force his will to over ride my will.

- make a choice.

- give me something I don't deserve(grace)
- not give me what I do deserve (wrath)

How dare he:

- he save me.

- give me faith.
- secure me.
- give me a new heart.
- a new mind.
- a new path.

(sound ridiculous?)

praise God.

How does this fit into the post modern thinking in which you are saturated in?
is this offensive? 

Well, you or I do not get to comment on how God saves. He is God, we are not. We are just pieces of clay, trying to tell other pieces of clay, about who the potter is. His thoughts are not like our thoughts and his ways are not like our ways(Isa 55:8) 

The Doctrine of Unconditional Election is a comforting doctrine. In understanding that God saves sinners, and sinners don save themselves, it frees us to approach evangelism with confidence and boldness. It assures us of our eternal security. God Loved you before you did anything good or bad, and you can be confident that he loves you after.

The Doctrine of Election isn’t a topic to be debated, but embraced and bring overflowing passion and worship to our Sovereign, omnipotent God. It should challenge us to be Christians;
"Radical, full-blooded, Bible-saturated, Christ-exalting, God-centered, mission-advancing, soul-winning, church-loving, holiness-pursing, sovereignty-savoring, grace-besotted, broken-hearted, happy followers of the omnipotent, crucified Christ. At least that’s our imperfect commitment.’’- John Piper

Well how do I know if I am elect?

Do you hate sin and love Jesus and been giving a regenerated heart by the Holy Spirit?
Then you are elect.

Unconditional Election. Predestination. 

When you read or hear these words how do they make you feel? How about:

- thankful?
- humbled?
- excited?
- passionate?
- worshipful?
- assured?
- comforted?

How big is your God?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Dear Future Chance;

You have committed to dedicating the rest of your life to loving and serving one woman. That is a high calling. What an honor.

I’ve decided to write this letter to remind you of something important. Something that by the grace of God you have not forgotten, something I hope you have not dismissed  or moved beyond, something I pray you have held fast to. It is something that radically has changed your life, something that you are addicted too, something that excited and fuels you, something that runs through your veins; that something is the Gospel.

I want to remind you that despite what you think, you are still a sinner saved by Gods grace. That has not changed, and it never will. I want to remind you that there is nothing impressive about you. To the core you are a wicked sinner, and rebel who’s hands have murdered the author of time.  I want to remember everything that your Savior has done for you. While you were still spitting in his face, and ripping skin of his back and legs, jamming a crown of thorns in his skull, nailing his wrists and feet to a tree, he pursued you, he loved you, he gave himself up for you. Jesus lived the life you could not live, he died the death should have died, and he gives the gift that you can not earn; grace. He did not do it because anything you do, not your good deeds, or your bad deeds, but because of his compassionate, holy, and unconditional sacrificial love. In your worst, he gave you his best.

I wanted to remind you of this, because in order to have a healthy marriage, you must be saturated in this. You can not possibly love her the way she ought to be loved if you have moved past the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. This needs to fuel you. Only then can you come home after a long day of work and give her your undivided attention, only then can you turn off the t.v and do the dishes, take the garbage out, spend time with her, listen to her, invest in her, love her and pursue her even when she is being selfish, stubborn, unfair, or even sinning against you . In his worst, he gave you his best.

I remind you of the Gospel  and in light of it I command you to sacrifice your life, for hers. Christ commands husbands to love their life like Christ loves the church.
How is that going Chance?
Are you loving her like Christ loves the church? Are you serving her selflessly? unconditionally? whole heartedly? Have you given your life for her? Have you given yourself up for her that she you might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word? are you patient with her are you kind? or are you envious, rude or arrogant towards her? are you irritable or resentful? do you rejoice at her wrong doing? have you become a coward like your father Adam? If so, shame on you from cowering from your responsibility to lead the family well. Shame on you for not giving your best.

Does this anger you? Whom am I to call you out on this? Im a single 20 year old past you, who does not know the first thing about women. Im like a dog chasing a fire truck aren’t I? I would not even know what to do if I caught it.

Ask me if I care.
If for some reason you’ve fell away from your responsibly of leading well, its time to put your pants on and repent of your stupidity and childlike behavior, become a man and give up your childish ways.

I pray and hope that you have stayed faithful and expect by the grace of God, you will. Keep loving well, stay rooted in his grace, and love that women well. Love endures all things...  SO endure for the sake of the promise and remember that in your worst, He gave you his best.
Lead well.

With much love from ESBS 2011
 20 year old Chance.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Christian; put some pants on and get a job.

What would you do if you ‘knew’ how long you had to live? How would you live your life? Think about it, because what you believe about the future, dictates how you live today.

Harold camping. 9/11. y2k. 2012. I am Legend, and the list goes on.
Our society is obsessed with end times. We can not get enough of it. There is something about it that is mysterious and exciting. From the beginning of church history to now, there are men and women who are sure that the end is here and the world will end in their lifetime. Each one of these people have something in common; they are wrong.

The secular world is obsessed with it, so they make movies and write books.
The church people are obsessed with it, so they make charts, and billboards because they read a unclear verse out of context, they make predictions.

In the world of the 1st century Christians in Thessalonica, the same obsession is common. The Thessalonians are so obsessed to when the 2nd coming of Jesus they forget about the present they are in.

They are so are sure that the return is in their lifetimes, they quit their jobs, and start having a lot of sex out side of covenant relationship. They get trapped in the idea that the spiritual and the physical share no commonality. What they believe about the future dictates how they live in the present. The problem is they have a poor understanding of what is to come and a false understanding of what it means to be spiritual.

In the Letter to the Thessalonians, Paul addresses this mindset. He explains to them that the spiritual and physical do have a commonality, in fact they are one in the same. The Thessalonians do not work because they  assume that the physical does not matter because Jesus is coming back ASAP. They start having a ton of sex with one another, because their mindset is that it is just physical and it does not effect them spiritually. Paul radically turns this mindset upside down.

One of the most spiritual things one can do, is work.
One of the most spiritual things one can do, is love their neighbor
One of the most spiritual thing one can do, is be pure with their body.

Thessalonians is not written TO us, the people in the 21st century. It is however written FOR us. It is amazing how a book written 2000 years ago, still speaks into our culture and society today.  Jesus is coming back, that is for sure. When? Well no body knows, but that should not motivate us to drop responsibilities.

It should challenged and fuel us to live in the now, in light of who Jesus is and what he as done.

It should motivate us to love on people, like Jesus loves on us, it should encourage us to fight for purity, and embrace sanctification.

It should break down the walls of living for the future and over spiritualizing everything and encourage us to put some pants on, get a job, and be faithful to what God has given us.