I’m starting a new blog that will focus on my Christian journey. I want to be real and hopefully you can learn from my success and avoid my mistakes.
Monthly Archives: July 2007
Here is an update on the struggles and victories in my life. The victory has been a new ministry. On Sunday Mornings, I have been helping a friend do a truck stop service. I never realized how spiritually hungry truckers are for God. Last week was interesting in seeing a transsexual trucker. My prayer as I witnessed was, “God, let me see this person through Your eyes.” This coming week is my week to preach so please pray that I can share the gospel in a way that the amazing truth of Christ becomes a reality in the heart of every trucker there. As far as my struggles with my Baptist Identity, I have found peace. I’m thankful for my Baptist training. God used Southern Baptists to shape the minister that I am and I learned from them the most important principle is the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Living out the Lordship of Christ is a scary but adventurous life. The call of Christ is to abandon everything and follow Him. I’m not concerned about what label I wear anymore, I’m concerned about being faithful to the call of Christ. My prayer is that I can be apart of a movement of God that transforms the lost into followers of Jesus that change the world. I have shared a victory and a struggle, now in closing I want to share something I have learned. There really are only three areas of concern for every believer trusting in Christ. These three are faith, hope, and love. These aren’t theological ideas that have no practical application, but these are the roots that Christ waters to grow us into His likeness. So ask yourself three questions, where is your faith, where is your hope, and where is your love? This is where the rubber meets the road. Join me in making Christ the focus and making our faith, hope, and love the measure of our success.
I heard a sermon today that got me to thinking about the nature of what it means to be a Christian and how to live out this new life in Christ. The statement was, “If America is going to experience God’s blessing then people need to start living a Christian life-style.” I wondered what he meant by “Christian Life-style?” I was told growing up, “don’t swear, don’t chew, and don’t go with girls that do.” Surely the preacher meant more than that in his concept of a Christian life-style. So what is it? Is it being meek and mild and never doing anything wild? Is it attending church on Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, and Wednesday nights? Is a Christian Life-style one that has an early quiet time and prays five times a day in the direction of Nashville? All of these things fall short of what it means to be a Christian and live for Him. Matter of fact, I don’t think anyone can define concretely what actions make up a Christian’s life-style. What can be defined is the motivation or foundation of that life. The foundation for a Christian is a complete trust in Christ as the Lord of every area of your life. Without this foundation all good actions that could be defined as a Christian life-style are done in vain. The problem with talking of a Christian Life-style is we focus people on rules that can be accomplished if they only try hard enough. Our life in Christ isn’t focused on keeping rules; it’s focused on deepening a Lordship relationship with Jesus Christ. So the question is, “How do we develop a life that is just like Jesus?” The answer is awesome and we see it in Gal. 2:20. The answer to how to live like Christ is to have Christ living in you. Paul writes that he has been crucified with Christ and he no longer lives, but Christ now lives in him. God doesn’t want you trying to do good things for Him. God wants to do His work through you. The goodnews is when we came to Christ and surrendered to His Lordship, He came into our lives. Now through the Holy Spirit we have Christ present in our lives. The purpose of the Holy Spirit in your life is to make real the power, presence, and purpose of Christ. Therefore a believer who is surrendered to the Lordship of the Holy Spirit will experience Christ living through them.
So how do we know that are lives are becoming more like Christ? When Christ is living through you, your values change like your values on worship, time, ministry, family, and love. When Christ is living through you, your views change like your views on God, yourself, other people, family, church, job, and the world. When Christ is living through you, you will experience some amazing things like God’s love, His grace, people coming to Christ, a bond with other believers, and a desire for people to experience God’s mercy. Therefore I challenge you to surrender to the control of God so that Christ can live through you. This Christian life isn’t about a life-style, but about Christ living through you
John 11: 1-16
11:1 Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. 3 So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” 4 But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. 7 Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” 8 The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?” 9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” 11 After saying these things, he said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.” 12 The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” 13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. 14 Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, 15 and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 16 So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” ESV (The reason Jesus waited to respond to Mary and Martha’s plea for help was for His glory to be revealed in a greater way. Jesus knew that His glory would be revealed by rising a dead Lazarus from the tomb. Jesus also knew he could increase the faith of His followers and bring others into His Kingdom by allowing Lazarus to die and then raise Him from the dead. As a follower of Jesus I must understand His purpose in my life. His purpose is to glorify Himself through me. This may mean life or it could mean death, either way we trust that His glory means my good. Will you trust Christ and seek His Glory?)
Over the last six months I have been in a crisis of calling, identity, and faith. I and Mrs. OKpreacher left our church in Texas to move back to Oklahoma to plant a non-traditional Baptist church six months ago. I felt that being a Baptist was important because of our message and our commitment to missions and therefore this church had to be Baptist in it’s identity. I thought I had everything figured out for the support and partners we needed to begin this church, I wasn’t even close. As we experienced four months of consistent family sickness and long hours of work to just get by, frustration sat in. “Where is God?” and “How did we get here?” where the questions running through my mind. We were alone. Since I have been a long time blogger, I stayed up on reading what was going on in our convention and my heart was broken. To hear statements knocking a desire to work with other Christians around the world for the gospel of Christ because they weren’t Southern Baptist made me sick. There were other issues that caused me to oppose leaders of our seminaries. I disagreed with them on the issues of closed communion, a ban on private prayer language, a ban on teaching moderation concerning alcohol, and that women can’t teach theology at a seminary. Because I hold these views it is clear that I’m an outsider in the eyes of our seminary presidents and this lead to my crisis of religious identity. I need to mention the Biblical truths I stood upon as I went through this crisis. First, God is God and He is still in control. I held to the fact that God has no labels and my identity isn’t founded in being Baptist, but my identity is founded in Christ Jesus. I stuck to the fact that God is at work building His Kingdom for His glory. I can’t be concerned about what Baptists are doing, but what God is doing. Lastly, I held to the fact that, just like Abraham, God’s got the next step planned out.
Here are things as I see them. I can’t plant a church that would be supported by the Southern Baptist Convention. I have realized that if I’m going to be effective in ministry I need some supporters and teammates. I’m not a “Lone Ranger” minister. I see two options for me. Option one is I can pastor a Southern Baptist church that is in-line with my beliefs and passions. Option two is I can pastor or serve a church that is in-line with my beliefs and passions, but isn’t a Southern Baptist church.
God has me at the point of were I can let go of my Baptist Identity, so that I can do more for His Kingdom. If God wants me to stay Southern Baptist so be it, but my new direction is to stay focused on His Kingdom and His Righteousness. My call, identity, and faith are all in Christ Jesus as Lord.
Mark 2:1-12, 2:1 And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. 2 And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. 3 And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. 4 And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. 5 And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6 Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7 “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8 And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? 9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— 11 “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” 12 And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!” (Jesus shows His power and authority as God by doing three things in this event. First, He forgave the man his sins. Second, Jesus read the thoughts of the Scribes. Finally, Jesus healed the man so he could walk. All of these acts of Christ prove who He is, He is the Lord. I want to encourage you to come to Christ and ask Him for His grace to forgive you and heal you.)
Luke 19:1-10 19:1 He entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 And there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. 3 And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small of stature. 4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. 7 And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” 8 And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” 9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (The fact that always strikes me about this event is that Zacchaeus thought he was seeking Christ and the truth was that Christ was seeking him. The same is true for us. When we seek and receive Christ into our lives we realize that Christ had been seeking us long before we realized it. Zacchaeus responded quickly by calling Christ, Lord. The Lordship of Christ is the foundation of the Christian life. The proof of Zacchaeus’ salvation is that he is ready to make things right with the people he wronged. If Zacchaeus can be changed by Christ then so can you. Seek Christ and receive Him into your life.)
John 1: 1-18, 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. (ESV)
(Here Jesus is shown to be eternal and co-equal with God the Father. Jesus is the light, full of grace and truth. He is the Word of God who became flesh and He is the revealer of God the Father. No one knows the True God outside of knowing Jesus Christ.)
John 8: 31-36, “31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” 34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (ESV)
(True freedom is found in Christ. So have a great 4th of July, but remember true freedom comes throught the death and resurrection of Christ. Believe in Him and you will be free.)
John 1:19-34 19 And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22 So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.” 24 (Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.) 25 They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26 John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, 27 even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” 28 These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”
(Everyone of us has to come to the point of realizing that Jesus Christ is Lord and I’m not him. There is only one who has paid the price for our sin. There is only one who lived a perfect life of sacrifice. There is only one savior. It is Jesus Christ, Son of God, Lord Almighty.)