Thursday, November 27, 2008

Is The World Out Looking For God?

"For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God."
(Romans 8:7-8, ESV)

"This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned."
(1 Corinthians 13:13-14, ESV)

"For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation."
(Romans 5:6-11, ESV)

Test Yourself

"Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!" (2 Corinthians 13:5, ESV)

"Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." (2 Peter 1:10-11, ESV)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

No Comment


I was listening to music today and heard a song that really spoke to some thoughts going through my mind. It is hard to explain and this is not the place to put the thoughts about it at.

But...the song below really has spoken to some areas in my heart. I think I am slowly moving on. Slowly, but surely.

I won't be the circus for you to star in
I won't leave you roses to watch them die
You won't be the heartache that keeps me sleepless
You won't be the songs that I could never write

I don't want to stay, I don't want to fall
I don't want to have to see you leave me
I don't want to stay, I don't want to fall in love
Maybe I'm a fake, maybe you're a lie
Maybe our last chance died with last night
I don't want to stay, I don't want to fall in love with you again

I won't be a fortress for you to hide in
I won't be the first one you think to call
You won't be the regrets that I can't live with
And we won't be the last ones to ever have to lose it all

When we're scared and lonely
We will tell ourselves we're only
Just a word from what we needed
But we know that this ain't right

I don't want to stay, I don't want to fall
I don't want to have to see you leave me
I don't want to stay, I don't want to fall in love
Maybe I'm a fake, maybe you're a lie
Maybe our last chance died with last night
I don't want to stay, I don't want to fall in love with you again

I can't stay
I can't fall for you again

- Needtobreathe


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Praise God!

There was a not so surprising (at least to me) surprise today at the River Church. Today the River Church recognized that God has raised up and consecrated Justin Luckett as an elder. I have felt the LORD raising up Justin to be an elder for many months in my spirit. Praise God for His working at the River Church and especially in the lives of the elders at the church. I really sense that the LORD is going to do a mighty work in the lives of the elders and their families. God has done such a work already but am excited to see all that will come forth. I may have to wait until I am in heaven to see all of the fruit that has come because of all that He is doing in the lives of people at the River Church.

Please pray for Justin and Betsy and their little girl Salem. They have a really neat family and your prayers would be appreciated. I praise God for them and see such a strong presence of Him in their lives.

May God continue to sustain them and give them grace. Amen.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Deepest Thing I Know

"The word of the LORD came to Jeremiah a second time, while he was still shut up in the court of the guard: "Thus says the LORD who made the earth, the LORD who formed it to establish it—the LORD is his name: Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. For thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city and the houses of the kings of Judah that were torn down to make a defense against the siege mounds and against the sword: They are coming in to fight against the Chaldeans and to fill them with the dead bodies of men whom I shall strike down in my anger and my wrath, for I have hidden my face from this city because of all their evil. Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them and reveal to them abundance of prosperity and security. I will restore the fortunes of Judah and the fortunes of Israel, and rebuild them as they were at first. I will cleanse them from all the guilt of their sin against me, and I will forgive all the guilt of their sin and rebellion against me. And this city shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and a glory before all the nations of the earth who shall hear of all the good that I do for them. They shall fear and tremble because of all the good and all the prosperity I provide for it."
-Jeremiah 33:1-9, ESV

There has been a lot on my mind the past two weeks. Perhaps more than is usually on my mind. I have been praying and thinking through the limits of knowledge, the nature of eternity, the essence of God, the Holy Spirit as a person and not as a "force", the Trinity, anthropomorphisms in general, anthropomorphisms in regards to heaven and hell, and today there has been a revelation in regards to theomorphism's and also how we can distinguish between anthropomorphisms and theomorphisms in the Bible to better under who God is.

I was listening to a class online for Covenant Theological Seminary and one of the things Dr. William's mentions is that we really only know about God from the Bible in terms of relationship and covenant. There is a TOTAL "otherness" to God that if we could grasp, we ourselves would be God.

But getting back to Dr. William's mentioning that God is known primarily through relationship and covenant...

In the past two weeks God has given me some very powerful and deep insights into who He is. With everything I have learned I find one thing the most amazing. It is perhaps the deepest thing I know about God: His grace.

I have been powerfully convinced and convicted that without Christ I have absolutely nothing. God owes me nothing and everything that I have, I have only because He has first given it to me. I deserve to die a million deaths and burn forever in hell because of how I have lived. I continually sin against the LORD in thought, word, and deed both by what I have done and what I have left undone. I cannot do ANYTHING without Him.

I have felt the powerful revelation of His grace covering me and knowing that grace is truly something that is freely given to us by God. God could have not created the world and He would be fine; He lacks nothing. But He has chosen to freely give us His Son before the world even began and called me into a covenant with Him. He has not only called me into Covenant, 1 Peter tells me that He is KEEPING me in covenant with Him as well until the ages end.

God has revealed to me that He loves us so much and that we are so undeserving of that love. Perhaps us not deserving it makes it that much better; or rather, perhaps knowing that we don't deserve His love makes it that much better.

I cannot really say all that the LORD is doing in a perspicuous manner, but I pray that He continues to reveal who He is to me in deep life-changing ways and that His Church experiences this as well. We, the Church, need a deeper understanding of who God is.

A lot of times it seems that "God has made man in His image and now man is returning the favor." Brothers and Sisters, this will never do. We need to encounter the Living God. Without His revelation, we have no hope.

May God richly bless you with eyes to see and ears to hear this day and may He continue to sustain you in His Grace that was given to us in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Thoughts on Who/What God is

These thoughts below are from a professor at Covenant Theological Seminary. I have been praying through and thinking about how the Bible uses anthropomorphisms to describe who God is and theomorphisms to describe who we are. The link to the classes lecture's is below these blurbs from his lecture on "God and Gender Language".

“God is not all things to all people. He is who He is, and He demands that we deal with Him as He is. That is not a terribly provocative statement, because it is also true of me. I am who I am and I demand that you deal with me as I am, and so do you. You see, persons are not plastic; persons are not negotiable. Any person who has been married for a very short time knows that. At some point you find that you cannot turn that other person into the ideal person you would like him to be. You are going to have to live with him just as he is…God’s identity is not about us. God’s identity is about Him.”

“We should not use the Word of God to serve our biases. One of the very purposes for His Word is to adjust our biases, crush our biases, and replace our biases with its bias. Remember that we have talked about this before: the biblical God will and should offend us. He calls every human self-absolutization a lie.”

“One might point to the inherent difficulties of language, and here I want to return to our discussion about metaphors and our discussion about transcendence. Many people will say that it is impossible to describe God in human language. It is commonly asserted that the biblical language describing God is analogical in character. Remember, an analogy says, “This is like that.” But analogical language presupposes a degree of equivocation, a degree of dissimilarity. An analogy says, “This is like that,” but it is also saying, “This is not that.” That is an important distinction. While these two things might share some attributes, they are not the same. Thus it is suggested that mere human language cannot do justice to the infinite. The reality of God’s transcendence means that any attempt to describe God will be, at best, a vague approximation of God’s own reality. When we fail to recognize this, we inevitably fall into the idolatry of what is called “Biblicism.” Thus, when the Bible tells us that God is a King or a Judge or a Father, these descriptions are to be understood as metaphors rather than as actual depictions of who and what God is. And since metaphor only approximates correspondence or establishes a purely semantic or functional correspondence, these declarations are not to be taken too literally. Some theologians say that if metaphors are really imperfect ways of talking about things, we can help our analogies with other analogies, or we can trade off analogies. If God is not actually a King or a Father, but is only somehow king-like or father-like, we might want to use other analogies of our own making. God is mother-like as well. But this entire line of discussion, I think, is faulty, and it is faulty because it is based upon the view of God’s transcendence which is intentionally meant to cast doubt upon Scripture’s ability to speak truthfully and meaningfully about God. If I could summarize the argument, I would put it this way: the infinite cannot be captured in the finite, and therefore all language about God is equivocal. That may be true to a point, but it is also false, and it is false at least to the extent that it is true. Is that what we find when we go to the Bible? No. We do not find a deity who is vaguely judge-like. We do not find a God who merely approximates some characteristics of kingship. We do not find a God who is said to be fatherly in some contexts, as if God is none of those things, but only appears to be something like them. What is a king? A king is a person who exercises dominion over subjects or a realm. God does the things a king does. God is an actual king. What is a judge? A judge is a person who makes critical decisions about guilt and innocence. God does the things a judge does. God is an actual judge. What is a father? A father is a person who gives life to another and then cares for, protects, nourishes, directs, and exercises authority over that other person in a familial context. God does those things. God is Father. He does not merely appear to be or appear to do these things. Scripture’s proclamation of God as King, Judge, and Father are not metaphors. They are actual declarations. Now to be sure, God transcends those declarations. Even God’s fatherhood infinitely transcends our idea of fatherhood. The point of biblical language is that God is always more than what is written about Him, not less.”

Michael Williams
God & His Word class, Lecture 24
Covenant Theological Seminary

© Summer 2006, Michael Williams & Covenant Theological Seminary

Monday, November 17, 2008


“For where God built a church, there the Devil would also build a chapel.”

“Pray, and let God worry.”

“You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say.”“You should not believe your conscience and your feelings more than the word which the Lord who receives sinners preaches to you.”

“Whatever your heart clings to and confides in, that is really your God.” “I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess”

“Peace if possible, truth at all costs.”

“Anyone who is to find Christ must first find the church. How could anyone know where Christ is and what faith is in him unless he knew where his believers are?"

(Above quotes from Martin Luther)

“All the blessings we enjoy are Divine deposits, committed to our trust on this condition, that they should be dispensed for the benefit of our neighbors.”

“The most perfect way of seeking God, and the most suitable order, is not for us to attempt with bold curiosity to penetrate to the investigation of His essence, which we ought more to adore than meticulously to search out, but for us to contemplate Him in His works, whereby He renders Himself near and familiar to us, and in some manner communicates Himself.”

“Now we shall possess a right definition of faith if we call it a firm and certain knowledge of God's benevolence toward us, founded upon the truth of the freely given promise in Christ, both revealed to our minds and sealed upon our hearts through the Holy Spirit.”

“Scripture will ultimately suffice for a saving knowledge of God only when its certainty is founded upon the inward persuasion of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, these human testimonies which exist to confirm it will not be vain if, as secondary aids to our feebleness, they follow that chief and highest testimony. But those who wish to prove to unbelievers that Scripture is the Word of God are acting foolishly, for only by faith can this be known.”

(Above quotes from John Calvin)


Thursday, November 13, 2008


Gracious God,
our sins are too heavy to carry,
too real to hide, and too deep to undo.
Forgive what our lips tremble to name,
what our hearts can no longer bear,
and what has become for us a consuming fire of judgment.
Set us free from a past that we cannot change;
open to us a future in which we can be changed;
and grant us grace to grow more and more in your likeness and image,
through Jesus Christ, the light of the world. Amen.
(From the PCUSA Book of Common Worship, Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1993; p. 88)

Most merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned against you
in thought, word, and deed,
by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart;
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent,
for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on us and forgive us;
that we may delight in your will,
and walk in your ways,
to the glory of your Name. Amen.
-Episcopal Book of Common Prayer

Loving a Person

Loving a person just the way they are, it's no small thing
It takes some time to see things through
Sometimes things change, sometimes we're waiting
We need grace either way

Hold on to me
I'll hold on to you
Let's find out the beauty of seeing things through

There's a lot of pain in reaching out and trying
It's a vulnerable place to be
Love and pride can't occupy the same spaces baby
Only one makes you free

Hold on to me
I'll hold on to you
Let's find out the beauty of seeing things through

If we go looking for offense
We're going to find it
If we go looking for real love
We're going to find it

Hold on to me
I'll hold on to you
Let's find out the beauty of seeing things through

Loving a person just the way they are, thats no small thing
It's the whole thing
Loving me just the way I am, thats no small thing
It takes some time.
- Sara Groves

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Streaked Faces

calling out your name
like children wish for snow
rest your weary eyes
they're keeping me at home
early morning dreams
the ones you don't forget
its teaching you to feel
what you won't admit
when all that make up
will only burn your eyes
wake up
with all the tears that you cried
calling out your name
like children wish for spring
rest your weary eyes
they're keeping me awake
everywhere you are
hurts a little more
its teaching you to feel
what you're looking for
streaked faces
when all those tears have dried
-Josh Moore

Monday, November 10, 2008

By Grace Alone

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast."
-Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV)

The below quote is from John Calvin's Commentary on Ephesians. I was awake late last night in bed in great need of sleep and began to think about the relationship between time and the finished work of God. I had been reading about the concept of time being linear and how the ancient view of time was cyclic in its relation to eternity earlier that evening and was reminded of a passage in Ephesians about being raised up with Christ. I was looking at Calvin's commentaries today regarding the passage in Ephesians, since much of the Reformed tradition bases their doctrine on the eternal decrees of God. I found what I was looking for but kept reading to see what Calvin had to say about the whole of this section. I am not much on Calvin's writings but I found an amazing quote on the verses above that is starting to change my mind.

God declares, that he owes us nothing; so that salvation is not a reward or
recompense, but unmixed grace. The next question is, in what way do men receive
that salvation which is offered to them by the hand of God? The answer is, by
faith; and hence he concludes that nothing connected with it is our own. If, on
the part of God, it is grace alone, and if we bring nothing but faith, which
strips us of all commendation, it follows that salvation does not come from
us. Ought we not then to be silent about free-will, and good intentions, and
fancied preparations, and merits, and satisfactions? There is none of these
which does not claim a share of praise in the salvation of men; so that the
praise of grace would not, as Paul shews, remain undiminished. When, on the part
of man, the act of receiving salvation is made to consist in faith alone, all
other means, on which men are accustomed to rely, are discarded. Faith, then,
brings a man empty to God, that he may be filled with the blessings of Christ.
And so he adds, not of yourselves; that claiming nothing for themselves, they
may acknowledge God alone as the author of their salvation.

May we come to know that every good and perfect gift comes from God and His grace alone.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Hello. Lord

Hello Lord, it's me your child
I have a few things on my mind
Right now I'm faced with big decisions
And I'm wondering if you have a minute, cuz
Right now I don't hear so well
And I was wondering if you could speak up

I know that you tore the veil
So I could sit with you in person
And hear what you're saying but
Right now, I just can't hear you.

I don't doubt your sovereignty
I doubt my own ability to
Hear what you're saying
And to do the right thing
And I desperately want to do the right thing
But right now I don't hear so well
And I was wondering if you could speak up

I know that you tore the veil
So I could sit with you in person
And hear what you're saying but
Right now, I just can't hear you.

And somewhere in the back of my mind
I think you are telling me to wait
And though patience has never been mine
Lord, I will wait to hear from you
Oh Lord, I'm waiting on you
Right now I don't hear so well
And I was wondering if you could speak up

I know that you tore the veil
So I could sit with you in person
And hear what you're saying but
Right now, I think you're whispering

-"Hello, Lord" by Sara Groves

Thursday, November 6, 2008

God's Vision for the Church in the Political Arena

This is adapted from Justin Taylor's blog.

From what I have heard people saying when I have been out and about in the community about Obama becoming President I feel this is a necessary post. I have been deeply convicted about how Christ desires for us to respond to politics and the politicians that are elected or run for office. I have felt the shortcomings in my own heart with many sentiments I have expressed about politicians this year and feel a need for revival both in my heart and in the Church in America.

No matter who you voted for--or whether you voted at all--it's important to remember that, as President, Barack Obama will have God-given authority to govern us, and that we should view him as a servant of God (Rom. 13:1, 4) to whom we should be subject (Rom. 13:1, 5; 1 Pet. 2:13-14).

"Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed." (Romans 13:1-7, ESV)

"Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good." (1 Peter 2:13,14; ESV)

What is interesting is that both of these sections of Scripture were written to Churches that were suffering severe persecution from their government. Their governments were severely ungodly and did things that are unimaginably horrible and despicable. The Caesar's who governed Rome believed that they were God incarnate. Two of the most popular sayings of Christianity are taken from what was said about the Caesar's.

"There is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved except by the name of Caesar." (Compare with Acts 4:12)

"Caesar is LORD."

It would be unfruitful to say that God only meant for us to be obedient to our government if it fits our Christian ideals. There is a precedent of obeying God above obeying the government when there is a conflict between the two kingdoms but God still commands us to be in submission to the authorities.

Regardless of whether or not Obama is the person that you voted for, there are for things that God asks us to do on behalf of Obama.

1. We are to respect Barack Obama (Rom. 13:7).

2. We are to honor Barack Obama (Rom. 13:7; 1 Pet. 2:17).

3. We are to pray for Barack Obama (1 Tim. 2:1-2).

4. We are to thank God for Barack Obama (1 Tim. 2:1-2).

"First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way." (1 Timothy 2:1-2, ESV)

I pray that as the Church, we may learn what it means to love all men and pray for them, whether they be friends or perceived enemies. May we grow to see that we have a kingdom that is unshakable and that we have a King who will never be removed. Our King rules and reigns over the people in justice, mercy and grace in ways that no one else can. May we see our citizen as it really is, which is in heaven, and may we spurn all people to know Christ and put our trust in Him so much that they see that our hope is not in this kingdom but in Christ's. Grace and Peace.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Thoughts on Sunday and on The River Church

Every time I try to find you
Every road comes back around
Just another hoop to jump through
Another mile of covered ground

I am weary of the answers
More theory and cliché
They raise the letter of the law like a banner'
Til you're small and far away

All the questions in my head
Are from my heart instead

Be real to me now
That's all I'm asking
Be real to me now

Every scribe and every scholar
No winners in this debate
Everybody seems to stand up taller
When you're easy to explain

I don't need to know what I don't know
Just got to let it go

Be real to me now
That's all I'm asking
Be real somehow
More than anything
More than anything

So lay down the sword
And put away the doctrine
Love a little more, love a little more
'Cause everybody's broken
-Nichole Nordeman

He who has ears to hear and eyes to see: listen. Jesus Christ has purchased healing and redemption for His Bride and is eagerly waiting for His children to join Him and to taste and see that the LORD is good.

The past two days have brought up a lot of thoughts. Primarily, the topic of healing and needing healing has been coming up in my spirit. Not just in myself, but for all people; especially people in the Church. I say this not in the sense that "the Church" is the problem, but that many people need the touch of a Healer. Broken marriages, divorces, fear over everything imaginable, hopelessness over family situations, the list is endless.

This series that the River Church is doing now is a very prophetic series for our Church. Perhaps in ways that are much larger than any of us know. Just knowing a lot of the situations going on in the world and mostly in our small corner of the world with the people who are coming, the Holy Spirit was breathing through Joey in a powerful way today. I felt God speaking to me about how to pray for people in our congregation and could sense the strong hand of the Lord going forth to deliver His Word.

The elders and their families have shown a real sense of obedience to Christ in the time I have gotten to know them. I remember Joey many moons ago (when he still had hair) from a church camp when he was my counselor and remember that his presence had a big impact on me. I can't remember too much about that week but I just remember that God had stirred me through him. Our elders have by no means "arrived" but they lead in a humble spirit that is unified. I think it bothers me sometimes that our understand of the Gospel is probably a lot different on many levels from each other, but God has used them to speak the message of truth wrapped in grace in a way that is clear so that people can understand. There has been huge sacrifice from them to do a lot of the things that they do. Their wives have been amazing examples of what it means to be godly wives and what it means to serve and be the Church.

My spirit is really speaking to the LORD Spirit to Spirit in prayer on behalf of our congregation today. I am believing the LORD for a miraculous working through all that is going on and am praying for continued grace and favor that He may sustain us and use us as messengers of the Gospel of Christ.

River Church, God is beckoning you to His side. You are hurt and wounded in many ways. I feel it in my soul and see it on our faces every week. You have yet to experience the fullness that Christ will bring to you both on this earth and in the life to come. You are a miraculous work of the Holy Spirit and God has done much work in your lives. I praise God that He has brought us together as broken vessels and jars of clay and is teaching us about Him through each other. I don't know that anything but Christ would have brought us together in the way that we are sharing life together. We all are different in so many ways. Yet we have the only thing that matters in common: our need for Christ. I am praying for all of you and cannot wait to see what the LORD will bring to pass in our gatherings. We have the most amazing Church and the most amazing people in leadership. Through all of my time with you all, I am learning what it means to live as the Church and to feel again. For whatever reason, I got to a place where I kind of cut off any sense of real emotion and "human-ness" over the years growing up to protect myself from pain and hurt. The LORD has done a tremendous work in my heart and is restoring to me the years that the locusts have eaten. The past two years have been AMAZING. I have had many rough patches in this time and things finally began to come together when I joined you guys. I am learning what it means to love, to feel, to be honest with myself, with others and with God in ways that are much bigger than I would have ever guessed I would be. I praise God for you all. May God give us eyes to see each other and ourselves as He desires for us to. May we have eyes to see and ears to hear His Word to us and may he sustain us for all the rest of our days however long or short that may be.

g + p,