Friday, April 30, 2010


Below is the daily Bible reading I am doing for the West Side Church. Please feel free to follow along.

When Paul wrote the book of Romans he had yet to visit the city of Rome. He had spent a lot of time traveling throughout their empire but he had not been there in person to see the church there. That is evident in today’s reading (Romans 1). We also see today the reputation of the church in Rome had … “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all you, because your faith is being reported all over the world.” The church in Rome had a famous faith known throughout the churches of the world.

So how is your church known? Would outside churches, people in your community, people across your state know and brag about the faith of your church? From today’s reading we see this as a noble thing for other churches to see in us.

What about the way we view other churches where we do not attend? Paul also prayed for the church in Rome even though he wasn’t a part of their gathering. Do you pray for other churches? Do you view them as your churches competition? Or do you see them as partners in carrying out the gospel of Christ? I know in my own life I admire the work of several different churches. The ministry and the work they are doing is just through the roof. In many ways I pray for the continued success of these churches … Savannah Christian Church, Southeast Christian Church, Laurel Avenue Church of Christ, North Terrace Church of Christ, Philippi Church of Christ, Towne South Church of Christ, Verve, Forefront, and Momentum Christian Church.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Little Annoyed

Below is the daily Bible reading I am doing for the West Side Church. Please feel free to follow along.

At the end of today’s reading (Mark 16) we get another rendition of Jesus’ famous great commission. In this one he shares “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” Last night we had in one of the missionaries we support to speak to our congregation.

We had with us Mike Flinchum who ministers in Chang Mia Thailand. Mike is living out the great commission by going into parts of the world were the gospel does not have as strong of a hold. In his presentation he showed us pictures of several baptisms, the life transformation of the people there by Christ, and a lot of the daily living. I really enjoyed hearing Mike share the work and ministry he is doing in Thailand.

Last night since he was here I cancelled my Wednesday evening youth group and wanted the teens to sit through the presentation. However, the guys mowing our grass at our apartment complex hit a gas line and I went home to check on Crystal who was not feeling to great. When I got back the presentation was started and many of the youth of the church were wandering around. With their parents there I did not say anything. But after the service I continued to think about how so few of them did not listen to the presentation and just wandered around the church grounds. The more I thought about it the more vexed I got.

Here was a guy who is doing ministry in another part of the world, and our teens were not in there to hear it. I know some of the responsibility is mine for not saying anything, but I also am saddened by the parents for not making their children go listen to something that could be life changing. They had them participating in praise team practice that was going on, let them leave because it was not “Youth Group,” or just let them roam outside. What Mike and his family are doing is living out the great commission in a powerful way, and our parents did not encourage their children to hear that message.

So where have you failed to be encouraged by another brother in Christ? What teaching opportunities have you missed sharing with your children? I hope and pray we do not continue missing those opportunities.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Veil

Below is the daily Bible reading I am doing for the West Side Church. Please feel free to follow along.

Today’s reading (Mark 15) paints a gruesome picture of what happened to Christ as he fulfilled his earthly mission. What a noble task he undertook so that you and I, people full of sin, full of filth, could have the privilege of spending eternity in the very prescience of God.

Towards the end of the reading we read this account of what happened when Jesus died:
“With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom”. We also know from another gospel that a mighty earthquake rocked the ground.

I love the image of the veil tearing. The veil in the temple was what separated the Holy of Holies from the outer courts. The Holy of Holies would have originally housed the Ark of the Covenant, and would be a place that one priest would enter once a year to offer sacrifices of atonement. This was the place that God resided within the nation of Israel. But now the veil has been torn, God has departed the temple, no longer is he residing in an earthly structure. For a while God was looking for a new home.

It is not until fifty some days later that God finds his new home. In Acts 2 we learn about the pouring out of the Holy Spirit. It is then God finds his new home, his new temple. He is now living inside of all believers. What an amazing God we serve. The veil is torn, and God has found a new home, inside you and me, walking with us wherever we go.

I love the words of David Crowder in his song “The Veil:”

"This is a love
Deep in the soul
O when you love
O when you love
The veil is torn
Mystery pours
Down from above
Down from above

And yet we are under benediction
So there is grace

Hallelujah, we rejoice
What a Savior
What a King
Hallelujah, lift your voice
To our Savior
To our King"

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

New Look and New Features

So you may have noticed the blog has a different look. I am looking to expand it and make it something a little more. The daily Bible reading will still be posted, and I will still be giving my thoughts. However, I am beginning to add some pages. As my life changes in the next couple weeks I want to be able to document it in a new way. Stayed tuned for the changes.

The additional pages I have added as of now are as follows:

About me - This will give my bio - not that it is anything overly great.
Links - These are just some of my favorite places I visit each day on the web

Thank you for checking in and reading the bible post each day. I hope you all getting something good out of it.


Below is the daily Bible reading I am doing for the West Side Church. Please feel free to follow along.

Today’s passage (Mark 14) was fairly long. In my estimate they could have added another chapter to the book of Mark, however, the organizers may not have wanted an uneven amount; who knows. Actually it is all one chapter because there is one main theme.

The story begins by a woman pouring a years worth of wages of perfume over Jesus. Those eating dinner rebuke this woman, Jesus praises her. Following this Judas enters his agreement to betray Jesus. Jesus is then eating the “Last Supper” with his disciples. During this meal he institutes the very thing we celebrate each Sunday morning with each other. Jesus then shares how two of his disciples will react; one will disown the other betray. Following dinner they make the trek to Gethsemane. Here Jesus’ soul is overwhelmed and he needs to spend time in prayer. He knows his final hours are upon him, and asks his disciples to keep watch. At this they begin to fall asleep. Physical need has overcome their spiritual need. Finally after hours of prayer Judas shows up with his mob to arrest Jesus. At that everyone deserted Christ and left him in his chains with the Sanhedrin. After his arrest he appears before the Sanhedrin. It is during this scene we see Peters own betrayal of Jesus. It is here that Peter denies knowing Jesus three times before the rooster crows.

Did you get the theme of this chapter? It opens with Jesus being honored in a magnificent way and his disciples not getting it. Throughout the chapter Jesus disciples rejected or betrayed Jesus for physical needs … Judas for money, those at Gethsemane for sleep, Peter for pride or even possibly to save his life and reputation. If the men Jesus spent three years with could not stand up to Jesus at a challenging time, what chance do we have? I think we might have an even better chance, because we have the help of the Holy Spirit. So my question for you today, when your faith is rocked or your God questioned, do you rely on the Spirit to pull you through or do you succumbed to the things of the flesh and deny your creator?

Monday, April 26, 2010


Below is the daily Bible reading I am doing for the West Side Church. Please feel free to follow along.

Today’s reading (Mark 13) is one of those highly debated subjects in Scripture. There are many ideas out there as to what Jesus is talking about. Some believe it shows how thing are going to take place when the time is ready for Jesus to return and call his children home. Other believe that this is talking about the beginning of the tribulation. Still other believe this has already happened in the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in A.D. 70. I tend to stand on the last statement that Jesus is talking about the destruction of the temple and of Jerusalem.

Since we were not there we may never fully know, however, there is still something we can learn. No matter what view you hold about eschatology (The study of end times) there is one constant theme you see in all the theories … we do not know when it is going to start. That being the case we must always be prepared. Jesus ends the discussion here with this “What is say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!” That is something we must all do. Watch for the day and the hour is unknown. Watch for Christ return will be like a thief in the night. Watch for the end will be sudden and abrupt. Watch that your life and doctrine are in accordance with God’s will. Watch that you have received the grace and forgiveness that only comes through faith in Christ. No matter where you stand on your understanding of this passage, it is certain that you must continually watch!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Bleak Reminder

Below is the daily Bible Reading I am doing for the West Side Church. Please feel free to follow along.

Today’s reading (Psalms 43 & 44) gives us a bleak reminder. 44 opens reminding the readers of all the wonderful things God did as they entered into the Promised Land and how he delivered them from the hands of their enemies. Now the page has turned and God is no longer blessing them. Through the course of their history, which you can read about beginning in Joshua, through Ester, you can see the nation weave in out of times of persecution.

Why did the Israelites sees time of blessing from God as well as times of persecution? I believe it was because of their covenant with God. Their covenant was conditional. If they followed God then he would protect and bless them. If they did it on their own, then he would have nothing to do with them. We see both of these acts in the history of the people. When they needed God the most, they turned to him, but when he had blessed them then they forgot about him and tried it on their own. Today’s writer of the psalm is living in one of those times where they had forgotten about God.

So what does this have to do with us? Well, I think our covenant with God is very similar. Now there is nothing we can do to save ourselves, it is by the grace of God, the work of Christ over the grave, and our faith in Christ that saves us. There is no way that we can earn our salvation through living lives of righteousness. However, God still calls us to live lives that develop a deep relationship with him. He calls us to grow each and every day. He calls us to live righteous lives because of the grace that we have. We live under a new order of things, but he still asks us to live in him just the way he asked the Israelites to follow, trust, and honor him.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


Below is the daily Bible reading I am doing for the West Side Church. Please feel free to follow along.

We have all experienced separation from loved ones. It is a wonderful time we are living in that when we are separated by loved ones we can pick up our cell phones or log onto our computers and be directly connected with them. We talk and share about our busy days while separated. We hang on every word they share about their day. We just love hearing the sound of their voice.

The writer of today’s second psalm (Psalm 41 & 42) talks of the way they long for God. Here on earth we are separated from God. The beauty of heaven in my mind is not the streets of gold, the pearly gates, the sea of crystal, or even being reunited with love ones (All these things to me are a bonus of heaven), but the real joy of heaven is being in the very prescience of God himself. So do you long for that day when you will be with God?

Is God such a force in your life that he lives out the psalmist words?As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirst for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” If you understand the real joys of heaven, than this becomes the desire you live each day with. My hope and prayer is that it is.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Right Mix

Below is the daily Bible reading I am doing for the West Side Church. Please feel free to follow along.

In today’s reading (Mark 12) the overall theme is the opposition Jesus sees from the Pharisees, Sadducees, and other Jewish leaders. While the original role of these men was not overly horrible, through the course of time, they became wicked men. Jesus confronts their hearts time and time again.

I think there is a valid lesson we can learn from the Pharisees. This group was concerned with two thing: making sure everyone followed the law of Moses to an extreme, and making themselves look good. Now I think following God’s words and directives are very important, but there is a line we must draw. Legalism can be very wrong. Legalism pushes things to the extreme just the Pharisees did.

I think what we must find is that happy balance. We must be concerned with things like doctrine, correct living, but at the same time not forgetting the grace that we live under. When we get into trouble is when we consider things absolutes when in fact they are more matters of opinions. So what are you thoughts? Do you see your self as a border line Pharisee or someone living on the other extreme; not concerned with doctrine at all? If you feel you have a happy blend, how have you achieved that?

Examine yourself in this way …

Watch out for the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes
and be greeted in the marketplaces, and have the most important seats in the
synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and
for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

What did it do to Him?

In today’s reading (Mark 11) we find Jesus doing something very odd. It is the day after Jesus’ triumphal enter into Jerusalem. He has been exalted by the people as he made his way into the city. He has spent the night in the suburb of Bethany, and is now making his way back into Jerusalem. Jesus hears his stomach growling, sees a fig tree in leaf off in the distance, but once he arrives to pluck a fig, realizes that there are no figs present. So he curses the fig tree.

The day continues on with Jesus arriving at the temple, getting upset at the sights he sees he begins running people out and turning over tables. Jesus is not happy with what his temple has become and he is no longer going to stand for it. At the end of the day they returned back to their place of rest in Bethany.

The next morning Jesus and his disciples are making their way back to Jerusalem from the suburbs. While walking along the road Peter notices the tree that Jesus cursed the day before. He notices that it is withered to the roots and points this out to Jesus. Jesus then goes into a discussion about faith and having the proper amount of faith, but more importantly, the right type of faith.

To many this is a very strange story. If you read just about the fig tree without the incident of the temple cleansing you may miss the point of what Jesus is doing. This is one of those times it is very important to get the context. In fact the context goes back to the triumphal entry scene. Jesus is bringing in a new order of doing things. Something different is going to take place. No longer is it the outward sings that will save a person. No longer is it righteous living that brings you into the good graces of God (Disclaimer: this does not give a free pass to not live righteous lives). In this new order of things entering into the good graces of God will be because of the content of your heart, the faith you have in Christ.

The temple was supposed to be a place of worship to God. It was a physical place where God was said to reside. They have took the true heart and nature of it and turned it into some devious, something that it was never intended to be. So what does this have to do with the fig tree? Keep reading

Many people get upset with Christ because the Bible says it was not the season for figs, and here he is cursing it for not having fruit. We are given a context clue to why Jesus cursed it … the tree was in leaf, but there were no figs. You see, when the tree is in leaf there should be figs on it. Now that does not mean they are ripe and ready, but there is at least something edible. So, if the tree is in leaf, and there are no figs on it, that means there will be no figs that year. The tree was being deceptive … it screamed I have good fruit, but on closer examination, it had no fruit, not even bad fruit.

Jesus has come to separate and change the order. Jesus is concerned with what is on the inside. He is concerned with the content of the heart, not necessarily what the outside shows, just like the fig tree, and just like the temple.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Doing the Hard Thing

Below is the daily Bible reading I am doing for the West Side Church. Please feel free to follow along.

Have you ever been asked to do something that you knew was going to be difficult. Maybe it was an assignment at work or school. Maybe it was helping a friend in need. Maybe it was looking after a family member during their cancer treatments. Maybe it is a project you are working on with your church. You have seen things like that play out before and you are fully aware of what you are going through. Today’s reading (Mark 10) highlights an event in Jesus life that he knew was going to be difficult.

Jesus is nearing the end of his life. He knows what is going to happen to him and that is displayed in what he says … “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priest and teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentile, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.” Jesus described in eerie details what was soon going to happen to his life. We see him later in the garden of Gethsemane praying that cup be taken from him, but since that would not be the Fathers will he was willing to go through with it. Jesus had a difficult task that he was going to go through with no matter what.

How do you handle difficult tasks? Do you dread them and put them off? Or do you do stand up, take action and nip them in the bud? I remember in elementary school when they taught us good techniques to study homework, they always taught us to do the hardest thing first. Get it out of the way, take care of it, and all of the frustration will be gone. I think we can apply that to many situations in life. Get the hard, difficult, challenging, undesirable things out of the way. Rely on the strength of God, just as Christ did in the garden and plug on through. We serve an amazing God who has promised to see us through. Rely on that promise.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

From the Mountain to the Valley

Below is the daily Bible reading I am doing for the West Side Church. Please feel free to follow along.

There have been many times in my life when I have been on a Spiritual mountain top. Many of those times have come from conventions and conferences I have gone to. At the conferences I have been recharged through workshops, worship, and the messages that were preached. I have also sent to the mountain top through times of great spiritual growth. Those have been times when I have been studying and something has really clicked in my understanding of God and who he is. Other mountain top experiences have come after the conclusion of something great our church has done. Whether it was a successful VBS program, to a neighborhood block party, or to just a really great Sunday service, the mountain top has been experienced. However, with each mountain top experience there has always been a valley lurking just around the next bend.

After a long stint of ministry, convention, or even a great Sunday service, I almost always experience that valley. Sometimes it happens immediately after and sometimes it takes a few days to sink in. When those days happen I am almost useless. I want to lie around, I have no drive or work ethic, I have a complete lack of personality, and I am just not pleasant to be around. I am sure you have experienced times like this in your life as well.

In today’s reading (Mark 9) we see the both ends of the spectrum with Jesus. The reading opens up telling about the transfiguration of Jesus. Here Jesus is once again blessed by God in his mission of salvation. Jesus is reminded of the glory he had and will soon have when he is home again with the father in Heaven. But when this event is over Jesus is thrown right back into the real world; the world he came to save.

Coming down from the mountain he finds the remaining nine disciples trying to cast out a demon. Here there is an argument going on about their ability and Jesus ability/authority to cast out demons. He is thrust right back into the real world dealing with the petty arguments that come from human minds. Jesus has gone from the mountain top to the valley in a very short period of time. Jesus though handles it well. He keeps plugging along. He keeps teaching and he even helps this father who wants his only son to be removed of this wicked demon.

How do you handle the transition from the mountain top to the valley? I know there are times I do not do it well. The valleys do not last long, but man I am no fun to be around. My wife knows just to steer clear of me on those days. However, that should not be the case. I need to work harder at preparing for the valley, the return to the real world, and handle it much like Christ did.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Patience with Struggle

Below is the daily Bible reading I am doing for the West Side Church. Please feel free to follow along.

It took Jesus disciples a long time to understand who he was. In fact it was not until he conquered the grave, ascended into Heaven, and poured out the Holy Spirit that they finally understood all he had taught. They had spent a considerable amount of time with Jesus but still did not understand his true identity and purpose because they were looking for the same political Messiah that everyone else was. Today’s reading (Mark 8) reminds us of that fact.

The disciples have witnessed Jesus feed 5,000 with five loaves of bread and two fish and feed 4,000 with 7 loaves of bread and a few fish, but now they are a in a boat with only one loaf and are worried about their next meal. Jesus begins to talk to them about keeping away from the yeast of the Pharisees and the disciples immediately think he is talking about physical food and physical yeast. Jesus then looks at his disciples, probably shaking his head at their complete and total misunderstanding.

I think we receive stories like this one to help us when we are trying to spread the message of Christ. If the disciples, men who had been living with Jesus for a little over two years … who have heard him preach, heard him teach, saw him turn water into wine, heal the multitudes of their diseases and afflictions, and cast out demons … if these men do not understand who Jesus is right away, how can we expect someone we are witnessing to understand their need for grace right away?

We must remember to be patient with those who do not understand and even scoff at the thought of salvation. We must continue like Jesus did to share and teach, to shape and to mold, as they learn about the wonderful grace of Jesus. So, how is your patience when sharing the message of the cross? Do you get frustrated when people do not get it right away, or are you prepared to take the long road so that your family member, your friend, your co-worker has the same grace and salvation you have?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Fire from Within

Below is the daily Bible reading I am doing for the West Side Church. Please feel free to follow along.

I want to begin by apologizing for not getting the post up the last couple of days. I hope you have done the Bible reading. I also want to give an update on Crystal. She is doing great. They kept her overnight to monitor her blood pressure and to do a urine collection. Her blood pressure was great so they sent her home to finish the test. From now on we see the high risk doctor. However, this should only be for a few more weeks because then the baby should be here. Thank you all for your patience.

Today’ reading (Psalms 39 & 40) begins in an interesting way. Re-read these words of David:

I said “I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth as long as the wicked are in my presence.” But when I was silent and still, not even saying anything good, my anguish increased. My heart grew hot within me, and as I meditated, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue:”

I think there are valid lessons we can learn from this short passage of scripture. The first; watching our ways and keeping our tongue from sin is a good thing. Doing so will allow you to honor God in many more ways. Watching our ways and our tongue will allow us time to think, time to act, and time to move positively. However, while we guard our tongue we must be careful.

There is a time and place to share what is on your heart. Guarding your tongue means that you are calculated. But we cannot keep silent. When someone hurts you, you cannot just harbor that hurt in your heart and never say a word. If so you will fall into the problem David saw: A fire will burn inside and your heart will grow hot within you. What it means to guard your tongue is to watch what you say. Saying nothing is not good while saying the wrong thing is even worse. By guarding your tongue, you are choosing the right words to say at the right time to resolve whatever situation has sprung up.

So when your feelings get hurt or your temper flairs, when and how do you respond? How you tend to respond will show the level you watch your ways and keep your tongue from sin.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Crazy Day

I apologize for now Bible reading today. My day has been turned upside down. Crytal called early in the morning and said they wanted to send her to the Hospital to check her for pre eclempsia, and possibly induce. She has not been induced, but they are screening her for the next 24 hours. I am exahusted and going to bed. I will be back to do a proper Bible reading tommorow.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Chucking Seeds – Preparing the Soil

Below is the daily Bible reading I am doing for the West Side Church. Please feel free to follow along.

Today’s reading (Mark 4) talks a lot about seeds. Seeds are very important to all life that moves on this earth. Seeds grow best in soil that is perfect for planting. Today’s reading teaches us a lot about the growth of seeds. Today’s reading is not about physical seeds but spiritual seeds. The seeds Christ was talking about are the seeds of hope and love that come through the message of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. We can learn two great lessons from Jesus story about seeds.

The first is this: we have the responsibility to be casting out seeds to all who hear. We must continually be sharing the message of the cross, the message of hope, the message of salvation with all people. Whether this through words or deeds the gospel must go forth. This type of evangelism takes place with people we may only have a few moments with, like the lady at a supermarket in a town we are visiting, or the gas station attendant on your trip to Florida. We might only have a few brief moments with them so we must continually be chucking out seeds not worrying were it lands. In this manner of evangelism we partner with God to allow him to grow the seeds in the soil they fall.

However, we must also learn this second lesson: the best crop is going to grow from good soil. Seeds grow best when the soil is perfect. While we have the responsibility of chucking seeds, we must also take time to prepare the soil. This is where we begin to do evangelism with friends and neighbors; people where we can invest time and energy. When we plant seeds in fertile prepared soil, then the message of the gospel is going to take hold and produce an abundant crop.

So how is your seed chucking when you around strangers? Do they see something that is inspiring, something different that they might investigate later? Do you have people where you are preparing the soil? Are planting seeds in people where the soil is getting more and more ripe to grow and abundant crop? If not, what are you going to do to change that?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Family Issues

Below is the daily Bible reading I am doing for the West Side Church. Please feel free to follow along.

In today’s reading (Mark 3) we see Jesus family enter into the picture. There is one verse about his family that really stood out to me … “When his family heard about this, they went to take chare of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”

Jesus own family did not understand exactly who he was. Now they must have known that he was someone special. I mean Mary was visited by an Angel and through that visit found out she had been chosen by God to deliver the son of God. She then conceived without having sexual relations with any man. Within Jesus family it has to be known that he is there for something special. But they still do not get it.

Jesus is teaching things that are different than what Mom and Dad raised him to know. Jesus is performing all of these miracles and wondrous acts. Jesus is doing things that invoke the rage of the ruling classes. And now his family is scared of what the consequences might be. They have come to take charge of him, to calm him down and protect their relationship with him.

Families play a vital role in the lives of people. They help us make decisions, they help us vent, and even protect us when times get tough. However, sometimes family can harm us. Jesus family did not want him to continue down the path he was going, even thought it was the God ordained path. There may come a time in walk with Christ that your family does not want you to continue. It is during these times we must react like Christ, continue walking the path of righteousness, seeking God’s leadership and guidance, so that you can say in all things you sought to please God.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Below is the daily Bible reading I am doing for the West Side Church. Please feel free to follow along.

When I was in high school my FFA chapter would go to the Farm Science Review each year. The first year we went our Ag teacher Mr. Daniels caught wind that some of the students had chewing tobacco on them. When we were getting on the bus Mr. Daniels questioned each student. There was a group of us that got on and because of our character he didn’t even question us. None of us were the ones breaking the tobacco rule, and thus are integrity remained intact.

Today reading (Proverbs 11) discusses this very topic … “The Lord abhors dishonest scales, but accurate weights are his delight” and “The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.” I think these are words that we need to use in our lives each and everyday.

As followers of Christ we are to be people of high integrity. Whether we are working for a company, playing a board game or get involved in a minor traffic accident, one of the best witnesses we can have is our integrity. Friends, that is what God is looking for. He delights when we are honest. He honors those who hold themselves to a higher scale. How is your integrity? Do you keep it high at all times, or are there times where you allow it to slip a little?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Running to God

Below is the daily Bible reading I am doing for the West Side Church. Please feel free to follow along.

Today’s reading (Mark 2) opens with a familiar story where a paralytic is brought to Christ to be healed. There was a man that for some reason was not able to walk. He had four friends that strongly desired to bring him to Jesus. But the house he was preaching and teaching in was too full for them to get in. So they got innovative. They climbed up on the roof, cut a hole in it, and lowered their friend down to meet Jesus. (I wander what people thought was taking place when they heard all of the racket above them, and just how did Jesus continue teaching?) Jesus saw this man’s needs and took care of them. First he forgave him of his sins and second he healed his paralysis.

This man had four great friends. They saw the hurt and need in their friends life and they took maters into their own hands. They knew that he needed Jesus in his life and they accomplished the task. How many friends, family, co-workers, and associates do you have that desperately need Jesus? Are you willing to strive at everything so that you can bring them to him? Would you take the measures that these men did? This is definitely something we must ask ourselves, because, we as Christians are to make disciples and be salt and light.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

There was a Time

Below is the daily Bible reading I am doing for the West Side Church of Christ. Please feel free to follow along.

Jesus knew that there had to be a process in which he revealed himself. There was one verse in today’s reading (Mark 1) that made this very evident. This verse said … “He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.” The demons knew who Jesus was. They had seem him before. Jesus was the creator of the heavens. Jesus was the one who threw Lucifer (Satan) and his demons out of heaven. They understood who he was and why he was there.

However, Jesus knew there was a process. At this early stage, he knew that if people had an inclination he was the messiah, then the whole process could be thwarted. So he squelched the voice of them who knew the truth. He did all of this so that the time would be right to reveal who he was. He needed to build a following, and he needed to be rejected by that following so that he could go to the cross and save our sins.

When you read scripture do you see the subtleties of how God is working through the lives of his servants? What are some one line passages, passages you have read over many times with no thought, that suddenly you read it and they scream out to you God’s plan in a new way?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

You Want Me to do What?

Below is the daily Bible reading I am doing for the West Side Church. Please feel free to follow along.

Today’s reading (2 Peter 3) paints a gloomy picture of what is to happen after the judgment of the world. The world is going to be destroyed and purified by fire. People are going to come and make a mockery out of those waiting on Christ. Now that is something I do not desire to live through. But the great thing is it does not even scare me. Why? Because I know that I am saved by grace through faith, for a new life in Christ.

When you are in Christ you have the promise of eternal life. The horrors of the end times, the horrors of Hell should not even be something that fazes you. You have been justified by Christ, and have a promise in an eternal life that is truly grand. However, this outlook should also spur us to action.

Many of us know people who are far from God. If you are not a Christian, baptized into his wonderful grace, then you are far from God. The purification of earth and the heavens, as well as the punishment of an eternity in Hell should cause us concern for the ones we love who are far from God. Could you imagine your mom, the uncle you dearly love, and the neighbor who makes the wonderful cookies spending eternity in Hell because they are far from God? Their need of salvation should make us spring into action so that we can introduce them to the wonderful grace of Jesus. So with what kind of vigor do we attack evangelism? Is it a top priority or something you hope you will do? I pray it is a top priority.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

It Blew Me Away

Below is the daily Bible reading plan I am doing for the West Side Church of Christ. Please feel free to follow along.

I do not get to the book of 2 Peter much. For some reason I tend to be a Pauline man (The writings of the Apostle Paul). So today’s reading (2 Peter 2) was an amazing refresher for me. It has been a long time since I read that in its entirety, and it blew me away.

Peter’s sets a good case for those who have draw near to God, only to draw further away from him at some point. He concludes the chapter by saying …

“If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior
Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at
the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not
to have known the way of the righteousness, than to turn their backs on the
sacred command that was passed on to them.”

… Over the course of time I have heard many different arguments on what that passage is talking about. Instead of going through each one, I want to give you my interpretation. The promise of Heaven and having the privilege of spending eternity with God is just amazing. When you come to faith in Christ and you learn the way of the Lord, then you are given that privilege of spending eternity in Heaven in the presence of God. If you were to turn away from God, deny him as master, and then yourself become a slave to sin, you are removed from the book of life … Jesus is no longer your intercessor. To have a glimpse of Heaven and then have it removed makes your eternity in Hell that much worse. Eternity in Hell without the knowledge of God would be better than eternity in Hell with the knowledge of God. That is my interpretation of that passage.

Even though we live in a world ruled by sin, there is hope. Earlier in the reading Peter discusses what will happen to the righteous … “if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment.” Friends, if we are in Christ, considered justified by God (100% righteous) then we will be rescued by God and not have to worry about an eternity in Hell. What an amazing God we serve.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Effective & Productive vs. Ineffective & Unproductive

Below is the daily Bible reading I am doing for the West Side Church. Please feel free to follow along.

Today’s reading (2 Peter 1) gives a list of things that we as Christians should exhibit.

Brotherly kindness

Now while this is not the passage we normally look to for the fruits of the spirit, they are almost identical. In this rendition of the fruits, Peter encourages us to implement these things so that we will be kept from being unproductive and ineffective. So my questions for you are:

Do you live by faith?
Do you practices goodness in all you do and say?
Do you seek knowledge?
Do you have self-control when temptation is knocking on the door?
Do you strive to preserver through challenges, heartaches, and setbacks?
Do you practice godliness in all situations?
Do you show brotherly kindness to even your worst enemies?
Do you show love to people from all walks of life no matter how different?

You see if we live by these principles we will in return become very effective and productive witness for the kingdom of God. In essence we become living stones crying out Jesus is KING!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Righteous Style

Below is the daily Bible reading I am doing for the West Side Church. Please feel free to follow along.

I did not manage my time well yesterday, and failed to do the Bible reading. Please forgive me for my negligence.

There is an interesting theme in today’s reading. (Proverbs 10). The theme that I saw was the difference between the righteous and the wicked. Some of the characteristics of the righteous are: a hard worker, a wise son, speak nourishing words, integrity, joy, and wisdom. Some of the characteristics of the wicked are: ill gotten treasures, lazy, chattering fool, violence, poverty, and slanderous.

I love what Solomon writes when he says “What the wicked dreads will overtake him; what the righteous desires will be granted” “The fear of the Lord adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short.” These are some powerful verses of God’s holy word. What side would place yourself on? Do you live by these powerful words?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Speaking Righteous Words

Below is the daily Bible reading I am doing for the West Side Church. Please feel free to follow along.

I remember the morning well. It was November 1, 2003 and I was a freshman in college. A group of us were going from Mid-Atlantic Christian University to Roanoke Christian Service Camp to spend the day helping the camp. Several of us rode down to the camp with our class sponsor and professor Dr. Bob. Before we got started on our journey that morning we did what many Christian groups do before traveling, we prayed. Dr. Bob had the privilege to talk to God on our behalf and while he was praying he said something that really made an impact on my life. Now I do not remember the words exactly but what he said was close to this … “Lord today we ask that you be the guider of our words, and that our words praise you.” Man that changed my whole outlook on how we interact with each other.

Today’s reading (1 Peter 4) reminded me of that life changing day (By the way, I do not remember the date of the day because of that event; I just remember going there on my mom’s birthday which happens to be Nov. 1st.). Peter writes … “If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.”

So my question to you is, when you speak do you speak as if you are speaking the words of God? Is your language filled with words God would never use? Is your vocabulary one that changes depending on the group you are with? What about the way you serve? Do you grumble and complain your do you tap into the strength God gives you? You see, according to Peter, we do this so that we can praise God through Jesus Christ. Looking at the way we speak, looking at the way we serve, and seeing that it is a tool we praise God through, may just change the way you live your life. I know that day Dr. Bob helped shape my life.