Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Acting in Faith with the Holy Spirit

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

I have really been enjoying the passages we have been reading. It has been a great discourse of Paul’s theology on faith, grace, salvation, and justification. Today’s reading (Galatians 3) is another strong reminder of some of those things.

Over the past two weeks, Marty, Larry Holmes, and I have been working on a sermon series we are going to be doing at the first of next year. I am really excited about the series we will be doing and the life transformation we hope comes along with that. While we have planned out the first part of the year, we have continued the planning and have the majority of 2011 planned out. There are two different camps out there that believe differently on sermon planning.

Some believe that you should just get up on Sunday morning and wing it, allowing the Holy Spirit to guide you where he wants you to go. Others believe that the you should plan it out, pour yourself into study and allow the Holy Spirit to work through that. There is even a third camp. Marty shared a story with me he had heard long ago. A traveling preacher shared with one of the men before preaching that he writes half of his sermon and lets the Holy Spirit work on the other half while he is preaching. The man who that tactic had been shared with approached the preacher following his sermon and said, “I liked the part you prepared better.”

Here’s my deal friends … I am the type that loves to plan things out. I love the fact that I know what we will be preaching on in the upcoming year. I love the fact that as I read stories, as I watch things on TV, as I serf the web, I can be filling away illustrations that might fit with the upcoming messages. And I also know that none of this is set in stone. The messages aren’t written, just planned, they can be changed if something changes. But you know, I believe that when planning these things out the Holy Spirit is right there in the planning. This past Sunday Marty preached on “Why do bad things happen to good people.” As he was writing one of his points, he received a phone call from his daughter with the diagnoses of his 3 year old grandson’s problems. It was then the Holy Spirit revealed to him his participation in the planning of that sermon some ten months before.

Here’s the deal, in today’s reading Paul opens up by asking how we received the Holy Spirit; was it through faith, or through observance of the law. The answer is it was through faith. When we practice things in faith, God will allow the Holy Spirit to work things out according to his purposes. My illustration of sermon planning shows that. When we plan in faith, God knows what going to happen, and he uses that planning to meet the current needs of the congregation. When we act in faith utilizing the Holy Spirit, God will work in ways that meets our current needs. We may not see it, we may not understand it, but God is allowing our faith and the work of the Holy Spirit to do great things.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

“Will Work for Food”

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

I know I’ve seen it, and you probably have to. You’re driving down the road, or leaving the parking lot of a shopping center, and there one the corner is a man or woman standing with a sign asking for help because they are out of work and out of money. I know my reaction to that is to do nothing. I sit in my car looking forward, thinking the whole time I cannot wait for this light to change. And when it does, I pull away trying my best to not think about it anymore. Why do we do that? Maybe it is because we have had a bad situation happen when trying to help.

When I was in high school there was a man who would stand on two different corners of the same road holding the familiar sign “will work for food.” One day a colleague of mine with another lawn service asked the man if he wanted to run one of his weed eaters for a couple of hours and the man replied, “Well I cannot do any physical work because I have back problems.” Now I do not know if that was the truth and I am not here to judge the man, but that response to his sign can be something that turns people away from helping.

Another time I was in Washington D.C. with some friends. For our Western Civics class we had to pick an art museum to go through and then write a report, so my friends and I selected the National Museum of Art to. Our hotel that weekend was several blocks from the National Mall in DuPont Circle. So to get from the hotel to the Mall we decided to ride the subway. All we had on us was $20 bills and at that time they would not work on the subway. So we went into Walgreens to make change. As we were going in there was a man outside the door asking for a handout. The cashier could not open her drawer to make change without a purchase so we bought a box of snack food and gave it to the man outside. When we gave him the box of food I remember his reaction all to well. Instead of thanking us he began to curse at us and complain about what we gave him. Now I realize we were in the wrong. We should have bought him something with substance, but his reaction would have been enough too cause one to never help again.

So why do I say all of that? Well today’s reading (Galatians 2) reminded me of something I as a Christian need to do a better job of. Paul is being sent out by the Elders and Apostles in Jerusalem. They are blessing him on his mission to go to the Gentiles and preach the gospel. As they do, they asked one other task … “All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.” From this we learn two things … remember the poor and be eager to do it.

So, do you do a good job at remembering the poor? Do you help those standing on the corner as you drive by no matter their reaction? I know I need to a better job of this. It is funny; lately this has been something really on my heart as I have seen more and more people in need. So how can we do a better job? What are some ways we could help those in need? What are some ways we could bring a little light to those who are in darkness?

The above image was borrowed from the blog Heart of Campus Ministry

Monday, May 24, 2010

Check, Check is this thing Working?

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

So lately I haven’t been as diligent on this daily Bible reading as I would like to be. The days that I have been struggling with this are the ones where I do not come into the office. While I am getting plenty of sleep each night (Crystal is breast feeding and there is not much I can do at night), I am still worn out because everything else that needs done around the house I am doing it. Now I am not complaining at all, or even trying to make an excuse, but for some reason I cannot force myself to read my Bible and then sit down at the computer and type. Friends, that should not be!

So, as I was reading today’s passage (Galatians 1) I became convicted. Paul is addressing his friends, the church in Galatia. Paul has helped start the churches in that region and can be credited with bringing the gospel there first. Recently Paul has received word that the churches there have seen some visitors … visitors that are preaching a slightly different gospel. Paul pleads to them to ignore even a heavenly host who is preaching a different gospel than the one he preached. Why can he do this? … because he was called by God through Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus. Paul’s gospel is directly from God himself and can be confirmed as that.

Why was I convicted this morning? Well because I know how easy it can be to stray from correct doctrine and teaching. I know how easy it can be to get out of the habit of study. I know how easy it can be to let other things in my head when I am not firmly planted in the word of God. Have you ever been convicted like that? Do you let other thoughts into your head that sway you away from God? If so, how do you correct it?

The above image was borrowed from G1Wallz.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Walking Hand in Hand through Unity

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

I have been around the church my entire life. There has only been one period in my life where I was not as dedicated as I should have been, and that was missing a Sunday night or Wednesday night here or there. With that background being shared, there has been a church situation that has bothered me for years. If you have been around for a while you have heard the things that cause churches problems … “Choosing the color of the carpets,” “choosing the style of the worship,” “the clicks that form in a church,” and the list could go on and on. These things are not important, and are things that should be considered disputable (Check out yesterday’s post to see my thoughts on that).

So how should we interact as the church? Today’s reading (Romans 15) really demonstrates that for us. I want to focus on the following verses in today’s reading …

Did the message of those verses wring out to you? We who are strong should bear, have patience, have endurance, and have encouragement for those who are weak. We are there to build them up. We should not be doing things to please ourselves; that is where the fights over carpet color and style of worship come into place. When we focus on the weaker brother, or even the person far from God, we are not thinking of ourselves, we are thinking of them, so that they may be built up. How do you do at that? Is your focus on yourself or on the ones further from God?

You see we have been given a spirit of unity from the one who provides the strength and encouragement so that we can bring him praise as one united front. We are called to accept one another, so that we can bring praise to God. What is the highest form of praise? Bringing people further from God through a maturation process to where they are close to God walking with him day after day.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

How Do You Handle Yourself?

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

It has been a long time since I have read the book of Romans the way I am doing so now. I am almost kicking myself for not studying it like this in the past couple of years. Today’ reading (Romans 14) really reminded me of that.

I love how this passage begins with the word of Paul … “Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.” Sometimes I think many of our arguments in the church are over disputable matters. Friends, we all come to church at different levels in our Christian walk. Some of us have been in the church our whole lives, we have spent years studying the scripture, and some of us might even have some college background in our study of the word. Others have come to the table at a completely different level of maturity. Some may have come from a background that was weak in teaching the scriptures’. Some may be new to Christianity and have little knowledge of God’s word and his teachings.

We must remember to accept the brother or sister who is weak. It is our job to teach, guide and correct. That is how you more than likely became a stronger brother. But when it comes to areas were there is disputable knowledge, those are areas we must learn to not pass judgments, where we must act out of love towards others.

A couple of weeks ago in our small group we got into a discussion about eschatology. Myself and one of the group’s members are on completely different sides of the table on that particular subject. However, because of the love we have for each other we did not get up demanding that one of us was correct, on the other hand we discussed peacefully and without passing judgment on each other. Why was that? Because it is a disputable matter! It is not something we should wage war over. In the end while we did not agree that friend and I enjoyed a nice time of fellowship afterwards.

So how do you handle being in the prescience of a weaker brother? How do you handle yourself when in a discussion on matters that is not set in stone, matters of opinion? Continue reading the rest of Romans 14 and Paul gives some pretty good answers.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Challenging Words

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

Today’s reading (Romans 13) brings some challenging words in today’s political climate. Paul commands us to submit to the governing authorities. We know this is not a suggestion but a command because of his use of the word “must” in verse one. Paul also tells us that he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and thus we can assume rebelling against God.

Now you might be asking, or even screaming … “What is going on in Washington and in political circles all around the country is not right.” Maybe you sit on the other side of the fence and are pleased with what is going on in political circles. You might also be saying … “Paul does not get what we are going through, if we are going to change things back we must rebel.” Friends, Paul’s words were probably just as challenging to the people of his day as they are to you.

The world Paul lived in was ruled by the Romans. Now if you were a Roman citizen things were pretty good. However, corruption ran through the political realm then just as it does today. The group Paul is writing to is a group of Christians living in the capital city of the empire … Rome. At this time the Christians are not well liked. This is near the time Nero, the present Emperor is accusing Christians of burning down the city. Persecution and heat is coming on the Christians from their rulers and authorities. Paul’s words to submit would have had the same challenge to them as they may to you.

So, if you are unhappy with the government, or you become unhappy one day, what can you do? Well you can begin by thanking God that he allowed you to live in a country where you can still makes changes to the law without rebelling. At this time there is still a process that we can go through to disagree, to change laws, and even the constitution if you are unhappy. But what would be wrong is rebelling. What would be wrong is refusing to pay your taxes. What would be wrong is harming someone, lashing out, or doing something illegal to make your point. Rebelling against the authorities is rebelling against God, even if you are doing it in the name of Christ.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Timely lesson

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

In today’s sermon Marty referenced part of today’s reading (Psalms 51 & 52). Marty told the story of why we hold up our right hand when being sworn into a testimony in a court setting.

The practice can be traced back to the Middle Ages. When someone was standing trial before a court and all the evidence was staked against them, they had one option left … They could appeal to a clergy. What would happen is a clergy man would come in and ask the defendant to read Psalm 51. Psalm 51 is what David writes following his encounter with Bathsheba:

David has had an affair with a woman he caught bathing on her roof. The woman was married and her husband was one of David’s best fighting men. It was the time of war and he was out fighting for his king. David soon learned that the woman was pregnant with his child, so he summoned home her husband in hopes he would sleep with her. But this fighting man was too noble and would not sleep with his wife. So David decided to have him killed in battle. The plot plays out, the husband dies and David makes the woman his wife. When the baby is born, Nathan the profit comes to David to tell him a story. David is troubles by the story and rules that the man in the wrong in the story should be punished. Nathan then tells David the man in the wrong in the story is David. Soon the baby created out of lust dies, David mourns, and then writes this Psalm.

So, the defendant would have to read this psalm, and if he could get through it without any mistakes, without slipping up, without stuttering on one word, the person was free to go. If they slipped up, they would then be sentenced. However, a person was only allowed to appeal to the clergy one time in there life. To mark whether a person had done this, they would brand the palm of their right hand. If a person was accused again and brought before a court they would ask them to raise their right hand to show whether they had appealed to the clergy or not.

So what does this have to do with our Bible study and our reading? Not a whole lot. It was more of a fun story to tell. However, let me remind you that the grace and love of Jesus is not a one time appeal. When you slip up, if you mess up in life, Jesus does not hold it against you that you have already been branded. In fact Jesus looks for the mark and is gland when he finds that you have already been branded. Jesus is all about creating in you a pure heart and renewing your steadfast spirit. What an amazing God we serve.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Maybe Another Soapbox

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

Sunday’s can give Christians a bad reputation. Why do I say that? Well drive by a church sometime during their worship services. Sometimes the nicest cars in town are sitting in the church parking lots. Now there is not anything wrong with that, God does bless us and we are allowed to spend it, but here me out. Another reason has to do with restaurants on Sunday. Church goers are known as especially poor tippers. Now I do not think it lies within the people of the church, but waiters and waitresses know who has gone to church on Sunday and who has not and then they see the tip left behind.

Now the reason I mention both of these things stems from some of the passages in Proverbs 14. Re-read some of these verses … “He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God” … “He who despises his neighbor sins, but blessed is he who is kind to the needy.” Now before I said there is nothing wrong with having a nice car, or working hard and having a good retirement fund. That is wonderful. However, let me ask you this, are you sharing the blessings of God with those who are in need?

Now I am not talking about people who are unwilling to help themselves. Paul writes in 2 Thessalonians … “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” But how do you do with helping those in need. That is why Christians can get a poor reputation. If the parking lot is full on Sunday morning with expensive cars, but that church is not pouring love out into the community, the reputation is tarnished. If a family walks into a restaurant after church dressed in their Sunday best and leave a measly tip no message of love is being shared with the waiter or waitress.

We have been called to be generous and helpful to the needy. We have been called to share the love and grace of Christ. We have been called to be the hands and feet of Christ here on this earth. How are we doing at that? Maybe you are not finically well off and you struggle to scrape by, how do you show love and compassion on those who have hit rock bottom? Do you do well at being generous to those in need? If not, why not?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Check the Heart

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

Something stood out to me in today’s reading (Romans 10). I might be taking this in a different direction than many of us have thought about so please be patient and follow along.

In our culture today there are many things being debated in the political realms. Whether it is health care, immigration, terrorism, or taxes, there is probably something that gets your blood boiling. In the past couple of weeks our terrorist awareness has been on heightened watch because of the Times Square failed attack. The other night I was watching CBS’s NCIS LA with my mother-in-law. They were trying to track down some Muslim terrorist that had escaped federal custody. When they caught them they were on a bridge surrounded by the authorities. When one man looked into the van through binoculars he noticed that they were doing something … that something was praying. He knew what that meant and ordered everyone near to get back, and soon after the van exploded.

Something caught my eye in today’s reading that made me think about those two events … one true life and the other fictional. In the reading Paul writes … “For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge.” Here Paul is talking about the rejection of Christ by his fellow Jews. Their rejection of Christ is based on their faith in God as they have always known it. They were not willing to accept the coming Messiah. I think we can learn a great lesson in the way we approach people who want to do harm to America and its citizens (This does not make right what they do or have done, and it does not change the punishment they should receive).

One thing we must remember when dealing with people, whether they are Christian, Jews, or even Muslims, they are zealous for their faith. The man in Times Square, the men praying the in the ticking time bomb, were zealous for their faith. They believed they were carrying out a mission for their god. My heart goes out to people like I described today. They believe what they are doing is right, that they are following their god. But I know they are wrong. I know they are way off the mark. I know what their eternity is. I know they need Jesus Christ. So when we remember that people of faith are zealous for their faith our approach to evangelism must change.

 So my question for you today is … If you believe faith in Christ is the way to true salvation how does your approach to evangelism change from someone with no faith to someone who is zealous for their faith and their god?

Above image is taken from the website of BBC NEWS

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Broken Heart

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

Have you ever wanted something so bad for someone else that you would be willing to take the punishment so they could have it? There have not been many times in my life where I have desired that. Maybe as a new father those days will be closer and closer. In today’s reading (Romans 9) we see Paul wish just that. Paul writes …
I speak the truth in Christ-I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit-I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel.
Paul’s race, his people, the people of Israel had rejected Christ. Not all of Israel had done this but most, and the ones who had Paul’s heart goes out to. He knows the pain and suffering that is coming their way. He knows and understands that eternity without Christ will be Hell. He knows that the only way to avoid that and have the opportunity to spend eternity with God is to accept Christ. But many of the Jews have rejected Christ as Lord and Savior. Their hearts have been hardened. And for that, Paul’s heart is full of great sorrow and unceasing anguish.

Paul’s heart is so broken that he wishes he could trade in his salvation, be cut off from Christ, and take the punishment so that his race, his people would know Christ. Friends, Paul understands what is at stake and if he could he would trade it all so that more people would spend eternity with God. Do you long for people’s salvation that way? Do you pursue evangelism with that same heart and mind? I know I do not. Why do not we? When we answer that question evangelism in our lives might take a radical turn.

The above image was borrowed from the blog Rantings of the Superlative1

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Alive In Christ

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

Thank you for being patient with me. On Thursday morning my wife and I went to the hospital to begin the delivery process. I tried to do the Bible reading but my mind had to many things on it to focus properly. I hope you did the reading and plan to pick up with today’s reading.

Today’s reading (Romans 8) is packed full of some awesome information shared by the Apostle Paul. Paul reminds us that when we are in Christ there is no condemnation, when we are in Christ we have the gift of the Holy Spirit, and when we are in Christ we are more than conquerors.

You see friends these all tie together in an amazing way. Christ came and defeated death when he rose on the third day. No longer did sin bind him to the grave, and because of that he has the ability to bring us along. No matter what eschatological view you hold to, in the end, if you are in Christ you have conquered death. When you stand before the judgment throne of God Christ stands on your defense. There is no condemnation when in Christ.

Also when you are in Christ you have the Spirit living inside. That spirit helps to guide and direct. That Spirit helps to keep you from sin and show you the love of God in a deeper and awe inspiring level. I love the way Paul ends this thought when he says…

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

My Mind is not Focused

So today is delievery day for baby Dawson. I have tried reading the Bible reading (Romans 5) several times and nothing is comig to me, my mind is not as focused as it normally is. If something pops into my mind I will try and post something later.

Hopefully sometime today we will have the priveldge of meeting Baby Dawson. I ask that you keep Crystal in your prayers as labor begins.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


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

Today’s reading (Romans 4) is a continuation of yesterdays reading. Obviously the people of Rome whom Paul wrote this letter to were struggling with the proper observance of the Law of Moses. Paul has heard about this and is trying to help them in their understanding of the Laws place. You see many Jews who became a Christian believed that they had to still follow the Law of Moses, and they even tried to force Gentile Christians into following it. Now there is nothing inherently evil about the Law, in fact it is very good for us to know. The Law reveals what is detestable in the eyes of God, which points to sin, and shows us whom God desires us to be. However, when we seek salvation through the Law we are wrong.

So Paul uses Abraham as an illustration. You see Abraham lived somefour hundred years before the Law was even given to Moses. He was not saved by the Law, he was saved by his belief in God … “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Basically what Paul is trying to show the church in Rome was that their observance of the Law, while a good thing, was not a saving thing. Paul is saying … “There is nothing you can do to save yourselves. It is the power and work of Christ that brings you salvation.” Remember yesterday’s post on Justification.

So what does that mean for us … we must remember that there is nothing we can do for salvation. Salvation is a gift from God that we are able to freely accept from him. It is our choice to accept it. It does not matter how good of a life you live, unless you accept Christ as your Lord and Savior there is not salvation. But that also does not mean that because we have been justified we should live a life less pleasing to God. If we are truly grateful for the Salvation we have that should spur us to please God in a form of thanksgiving for the salvation he has offered. Let me ask you this, does your life reflect a heart of thanksgiving for the salvation you have been given by God for you faith in his son as Savior? If not then maybe you need to reexamine you heart!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

You Have Been Justified

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

I love today’s reading (Romans 3). Today’s reading really lays out a great picture of what God has done for us through the work of Christ on the cross. Paul writes … “We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin.” Did you get that? Everyone is under sin. Everyone has sin in their lives. We know that we have sin because “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.” The law shows us that we are sinners. The law shows us where we slip up, where we miss the mark. But the law does not save us. The law does not bring us into an eternal relationship with God. No, that work was done elsewhere.

If we keep on reading we see were salvation comes from …

“But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
Friends, it is our faith that saves us. It is our faith in Christ as Messiah, as King, as Master that allows God to justify us. So what does it mean to be justified? Well I like to explain it this way … to be justified means at the time of our confession, at the time of our repentance, at the time of our acceptance of Christ, at the time of our baptism into Christ we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, the forgiveness of our sins, and ultimately justification. That means when we are justified God views us as 100% righteous. When he looks at us it means he sees no sin, just the blood of Christ covering that sin. Jesus has entered into the picture and spoken for our sin.

I have included a chart I like to use. On this chart there are two lines. The dot marks our baptism into Christ where salvation takes place. From here one line goes strait up. That is justification. When God sees a person who is justified, he sees a person who is considered a 100% righteous. However there is still a process to work out. In the lives we live we never become a 100% righteous. We still slip up; we still have our moments of weakness. However, our goal should be to continually improve. We may still fall into a valley from time to time, but when we look at our lives from year to year hopefully we see a continual improvement. This is the process of sanctification. This is the refining we go through as we strive to be more righteous each day. But the beauty of it all is in the eyes of God we have still been declared Justified!
If you have any questions about the chart please leave a comment in the section below with your email and I will do my best to answer them. The image of Jesus was borrowed from the site Annabanan's Blog.

Monday, May 3, 2010


Today's Bible reading is down below.

My friend Greg emailed me a link to this video. This is what is all about - check it out.

Cardboard Testimonies 1/10/10 from Biltmore Baptist Church on Vimeo.

I have seen several videos like this one produced by this church. Each time I watch one I sit in my chair wiping away the tears streaming down my face. Man, this is what it all about ... life change. I hope this video touched you like it did me.

You Hypocrite!

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

There are several reasons people give for not attending church. Some say that their parents drug them to church as a child and they hate going now. Others say that the church is full of hypocrites and they do not want to be around a church full of hypocrites. This is the excuse people give that really sticks in my craw. Why is that? Well it has several reasons. One is that we have done such a poor job of sharing with others what the church truly is. Because of this many people view the church as people proclaiming one thing and living another.

When I hear this excuse I want to scream out … “I am totally cool with the church being full of hypocrites. Jesus did not come to save the righteous but the unrighteous. It is not the healthy that need a doctor it is the sick. The church is not for perfect people it is to perfect people.” Friends, the hypocrite reason is not a reason at all, it just shows the failure of the church to truly evangelize people and share what it is all about.

Now having said all of that, we must also take into consideration Paul’s words in today’s reading (Romans 2). Paul writes…

Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and brag about your relationship to God; if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, and instructor of the foolish, a teacher of infants, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth – you, then who teach others do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who brag about the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law?

In that section Paul says a lot. But basically what he says is this … “If you claim to be a teacher, a person leading the blind, you must also teach yourself.” Now in that he does not say that we must be perfect, but we must examine our life. When people say the church is full of hypocrites I personally hope they are right. If we were all righteous I would be out of a job because Jesus work on the cross would be useless. The church is to bring people into a life changing relationship with Christ. We are not perfect people, but people who should be working to perfection. If we preach and teach against such things, we must examine our lives closely.

Remember who Paul said would inherit eternal life … “To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immorality, he will give eternal life.” If you are a hypocrite then that is ok if you are seeking by persistence the glory, honor, and immorality that only God can provide.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Majesty

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

In today’s reading (Psalms 45 & 46) we see the splendor and majesty of God. Isn’t it wonderful to see that when one is living in the graces of God things tend to look really majestic? Now this doesn’t mean that everything goes right and that everything is perfect. But when we live in God’s graces, when we seek him in all we do, when we allow him to bless us, true splendor can shine through.

Maybe that splendor isn’t always seen on this earth, but just imagine the eternal splendor we will see in eternity living in the very prescience of God. Maybe the question we must ask is, what glasses are we using to see the world. Do we look through glasses with a tint of filth, or do we look through glasses with a tint of sunshine and God’s grace? The answer to this question might change the way you view your life.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Keep it in Check

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

Today’s reading comes to us from Proverbs 13. In many of the proverbs in the reading there is advice about money. When you take some of those as stand along passages they might give the idea that money is an evil. Proverbs such as … “A man’s riches may ransom his life, but a poor man hears not threat” … or … “One man pretends to be rich, yet has nothing: another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth.” By themselves these passages can make wealth and money seem like they are evil. However, if we take the passages surrounding these and throughout the entire chapter we have a completely different picture.

Look at these verses … “Every prudent man acts out of knowledge, but a fool exposes his folly”“He who ignores discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored”“A poor man’s field may produce abundant food, but injustice sweeps it away”“Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.” Now these passages stand in contrast to the ones quoted before.

So where should we stand on the issue of money? Money is must in our society. Without money we cannot function. Without money we cannot participate in society. Money is how we purchase homes, food, clothing, and transportation. Without money we would not survive. However, we must have a proper understanding and appreciation of money. I love what Paul writes in 1 Timothy 6:10 … “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil." Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” Money is not evil, did you read the words of Paul … the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.

Money is evil when it drives you. Money is an evil when it consumes your life. Money is an evil when you have lost the prudence, wisdom, and righteousness it takes to handle it. So when you examine the way you handle money how do you measure up? Hopefully it won’t be a hard pill to swallow.