Understanding Faith!

30 05 2011

Over the past few of weeks I have been teaching on the very interesting – yet, complicated subject of FAITH. And after studying this topic in depth, I have become acutely aware that in our society there seems to be many words spoken but very little understanding about it. It would seem that even in the realm of church leadership (especially from the pulpit) there are those who declare many things about faith — while not really grasping the issue themselves.

One of the books I read recently is entitled: Small Faith, Great God, by N. T. Wright. In the second chapter he describes the function of faith in this way. He writes, “Faith in the Bible is always determined by its object…what matters is not so much the faith itself as what it is in.” The way he describes this in greater detail is worth repeating. It provides a mental picture which I believe is most helpful to this somewhat complicated subject. He says, “Faith…is like a window. It is not there because we happen to want one wall of the room to be made of glass. It is there for the sake of what we can see through it–and in order to let light into the room.”

Faith then, is the resource given to us to help us see and understand God better. The writer of Hebrews states, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” And that is true! But so is the converse of that statement. With faith we can please God.

I think maybe it is time that we look again at God through the window of faith He has provided. For when we do, our eyes shall be opened to His power, His majesty, and all of His glory!

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Seeing Greenville On It’s Knees

22 02 2010

I have really connected to a very popular song lately. And I’m sure you’ve all heard it played on the radio…or maybe you’ve even downloaded it and have been listening to it on your iPod. Well, whatever the case, the words of this song depict the hunger and passion of a desperate heart; a heart which longs for the power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit to take place TODAY in their life and in that of their community.

Just yesterday I began leading our LIFE GROUP (a small group within our church) through a study by Francis Chan entitled “Forgotten God!” The premise is that it is very possible for the people of God to find contentment in living and operating without the presence of God in their lives. What a tragic moment! My prayer is that we would not settle for anything less than more of God’s power and presence in our lives…and that we would regain our passion, hunger and thirst for His work in us and our communities!

The song I mentioned earlier is“City On Our Knees”, by Toby Mac. I can’t think of anything more exciting than to see my city (Greenville, SC) submit to God’s leading in our lives and find our place of comfort on our knees before His presence. Well, here’s a version of that song and a video to accompany it done by the artists at Fellowship Church in Grapevine, TX. Enjoy!





Control Freaks!

4 02 2010

Simple truth: As much as we may try, we will never really have total control over anything in our lives!

I ran across a funny story about a woman who experienced a winter traffic accident. As the police filled out the report and her testimony of the account, this is what she said. And I quote,

“I hit a patch of ice, and then my car began to spin counterclockwise. I then hit the curb at which point my car began to spin clockwise. After that, I narrowly avoided hitting a house and then a telephone pole. And it was at that point that I lost control of my vehicle.”

What? Am I the only one who thinks she probably lost total control the first moment she hit the patch of ice? The truth is, she never had control.

You know, the more I think about it…neither do we. Oh, we try! But the reality of our lives is that we never really have control over anything. Think about, we can’t control our children or the decisions they make. We have very little control over our investments or our retirement portfolios. We can’t control the housing market or the value of our home. And we can’t even control our health. Oh, we might be able to eat right and exercise regularly…but even healthy people get sick and some times discover they are facing battles with cancer or some other major disease. These things simply reveal that we have very little control in this life. And yet, we spend the majority of our time striving to gain control over these things that we will never really master! It’s unfortunate to say the least.

That being said, I have discovered that I can trust the sovereignty of God, because even though I may be “out of control” — He never is! Let me sum up my thoughts today with this: Though I can’t control my future or those things around me — I can control my habits and my responses.

We can try to control all those elements within our lives regarding our relationships, our future, our finances and the rest — and end up facing the same cycles of disappointment, frustration, fear, anger and blame. Or we begin to trust God and His sovereignty and focus on the one thing that we can control…ourselves! I know this sounds like a paradox, but when we fully surrender our lives and the control of our lives to Jesus we are then able to really live at peace knowing that He has our best interest in mind!

Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

So here’s my suggestion – let’s trust His plans for our lives and live more peaceful and more productive lives…and let’s let loose of that endless pursuit of trying to “get control” of those things which will always be out of our reach!

Be encouraged today – God is still in control!





Amazed.

12 04 2009

And it happened again. This morning God surprised me yet again by doing the most amazing thing ever. He showed up, encouraged, offered freedom and forgiveness…and saved 7 people from an eternity apart from Him. It is the beauty of the message of Jesus. He came, He lived, He died, and He lived again! It’s what Easter is truly all about – Jesus overcoming death and in return, offering all of humanity “everlasting life”. Wow! What an amazing act. It is extraordinary…almost unbelieveable. It reminds me of a song we used to sing when I was a little boy. “God is so good! God is so good! God is so good–He’s so good to me!”

Today, Easter 2009 — I am celebrating the extravagant gift of God in Jesus. He is the Messiah, my Savior, my Lord…my soon coming King! In the words of the ancient church…”He is Risen – He is Risen Indeed!”

Happy Easter everyone.





Defining Moments

11 04 2009

Alright, earlier this week a friend sent me a link to a YouTube video about a highschool student in New York. I really didn’t have any expectations except that the young man must have some talent. When I watched the clip I was amazed to say the least…not because of his skills but because of his heart. Well, the young man is autistic and doesn’t play – he fills the role as the manager. But as his season came to an end, his coach allowed him to dress out for the last game. Not intending to play – but really just allowing him to feel the excitment of the game up close. As the game draws to an end, the unthinkable happens. The coach has a defining moment…and chooses to play the boy. What happens next coupld only be described as a “fairy tale ending”. Watch the clip below and tell me what you think.

My advice to you…seek out opportunities in your own life and relationships which could also be descibed as “defining” as well.

Be blessed!





Re-Thinking Our Approach

14 11 2008

Have you ever noticed how the church seems to operate on a totally different level than the rest of the “Real World?” Now, before you get a little hot under the collar – let me explain what I’m talking about. Sometimes it seems as if the church just does things without really thinking things through. For instance, we have catch phrases that we us which no one except churched people would ever understand. It’s like we have these code words that are expected and if you don’t know them code word – then somehow you are kept on the outside of “Church Life”. Or, maybe it’s the songs we EXPECT everyone to know – and yet profess to be concerned with reaching those outside of the “Christian Faith.” And yet, by expecting everyone to know our songs…we somehow push the very people we long to reach further away. Well, I am not suggesting that we throw out our traditions — just that we share them in a better way.

Just today a friend sent me a video about such things — and though it is a bit extreme in it’s opinions, it sure gets a message across. Maybe it’s time we (as the church) rethink how we promote Jesus and adjust our approach to better connect with those who need Him most. Just a thought. Hope the clip below makes you simle, laugh and maybe think at the same time. Enjoy!





Our Amazing Designer

26 08 2008

Wow! I don’t know how else to describe what I am about to show you in this video clip below than “Wow”! 

Now, I know there are probably many of you have have seen this and researched this and understand the depths of the molecular structure of our body. And I know I am probably way behind the 8-ball here…but this is simply amazing. For those of you who haven’t yet heard of this molecule within your body called “laminin” – you are about to be blown away. 
The video clip I am speaking about was taken from a message that Louie Giglio preached earlier this year. It is based on a psalm that describes all things created. It is a message which gives the glory to God for all he has done. In this short clip he references the fact that in built into our bodies cells and molecular structure is evidence of our creator and the way of salvation – the cross of Christ. I want you to take the 8 minutes necessary and view this clip from Youtube…and then write me back and let me know what you are thinking! I promise you it will strike to the core of your being and cause you to say – “Yeah God!”
Enjoy…