Tuesday, June 22, 2010

God is...Holy

Our new question that we are dealing with is who is God?  Obviously, this is going to take us a little while.  We started off by dealing with God's holiness and what exactly that means.  We throw the word holy around, but I wonder if we really understand it?  Being as we are not holy and since we do not have anything tangible that is holy, it is hard, I think, for us to really grasp holiness.  We know that it means things like: perfect, separated, other, whole, pure, clean, sinless, etc.  But since we are not those things it can be hard for us to grasp.

When we looked through some Old Testament passages that talk about God's holiness, it portrays him being angry at disobedience.  We lose our perception of God in the New Testament and some have mistakenly thought that God changed from Old to New Testament.  It is obviously still the same God, though now after the life, death and resurrection of Christ, God has put his wrath all on Jesus.  So when we are saved, we are saved from our sins, yes, but we are ultimately saved from God, because he hates sin.  God, in saving us, demonstrates his great love for us.  And that is a love that is not deserved, but certainly deeply cherished.  Speaking of love, that will be the topic for next week.

Before our Bible Study we were getting ready to sing together and a guy that I have talked with a few times grabbed my guitar and sat down to play.  I was amazed, he put me to shame.  It was pure blues that I could only hope to play.  He talked about how when he plays it just helps him to mellow out and connect with God.  It made me think of what a great gift music truly is.  God gave it to us as a way of connecting with him and my new friend gets that. 

We stood outside and talked after the study.  He expressed to me his feelings of confusion and emptiness about his life, his purpose and where he was with God.  He said that he felt tired, tired of all the struggles and consequences of his actions.  He said that he is ready to get his life on track and he wants to quit running back to the same old stuff that used to trip him up.  We had a good conversation, prayed together and he had to get inside to check in.  I kept thinking about him though as I waited in line for my raspberry italian soda at the trendy coffee shop across the street.  I like to eavesdrop on people's conversations in there, because they are just plain interesting.  What an eclectic group of people!  But as I continued to think about my guitar playing friend from the shelter and the despair that he is living through, the coffee shop was full of affluent young kids who sipped their coffee, dressed in odd, trendy clothes and poured over their Macbooks.  What an interesting world we live in!  Just across the street about 40 guys are laying their heads down in a humid, damp room full of bunk beds, focusing on the day behind them and the one yet to come, hoping for a change in their seemingly hopeless situations.  Jesus Christ died for the trendy kids and the lost men.  Both are in need of the saving blood of Jesus which was shed for them while they were still in their sins. 

God can do great things in a life that is surrendered to him, but we have to, in faith, surrender.  How hard that can be!  We take small steps and God meets us with each step.  My friend in the shelter, the trendy kids and the idiot typing these words are all loved by He who spoke the very creation into being.  That's something to surrender to...that is something to have faith in...He is someone you can trust...because He is holy.

Questions, Pt. 6

We finished up our series on answering questions that the guys wrote down on these small pieces of paper.  The last question dealt with what to do and/or how to deal with family members, friends, etc. who seem to be straying from the path.  In addition, we also talked about our own experiences with weak points in our spiritual lives.  It was a very good discussion.  We wrestled with the idea that if someone appears to be falling away, one naturally asks the question if they were ever truly in Christ in the first place.  We talked about how easy it would be to act the whole religion thing out.  As scripture tells us, only God knows the heart.  Therefore, the solution we came to, whether it be someone else who seems to be slipping in their walk or ourselves, we start with prayer.  Yet, the only way that we start with prayer is by making prayer an instinctual reaction to life, be it good or bad.  And how do we learn to pray?  By praying!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Refuge Interns

Check out this story about some friends at the Refuge who are seeking to get their lives back together.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Coram Deo

Latin...isn't it great!!  What the heck does this mean?  Simply, it means "before the face of God".  Our friends during the Reformation coined this term and it refers to how we should live our lives as Christians.  Everything we do is before the face of God; all that we say, all that we look at, all that we think about and all that we do or don't do.  I want to get this tattooed to the inside of my eyelids so I don't forget this.  When I think about this, it gives me chills.  But don't confuse my chills as terror, instead I feel an immense sense of reverance and awe to know that God sees not only my life in this way, but all who live.  That means you too!!  Whether you "believe" in God or not, you are living your life before the face of God.  I pray that this phrase has the same impact for you as it does for me.  Have a blessed day! Jesus Christ loves you deeply!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Questions, Pt. 5

Two weeks ago we talked about God's plan for us.  We spoke about his plan for our salvation.  God desires for us to come to faith in Christ.  In terms of God's plan for our own personal lives, that is a harder question to answer.  The thing is, God does not give us a road map, he doesn't tell us all the things that our lives will entail and each detail along the way.  Why?  Because what if I knew I was already going to get the job that I have, do you think that I would have worked hard to get it?  What if, in high school, I would have already known how my life was going to turn out, what would have been the point of trying, of living?  God gives us a little at a time, because that is all we can handle.  He gives us what he knows we are able to be responsible with.  That can be a hard truth to swallow, but take a look back at your life.  I'm sure there have been times where you had no idea a few months prior that a certain something was going to happen.  What if God would have came down and told you that thing would have happened?  Would you have been able to handle that?  Think about it...

The cool thing about that night was our time of singing.  We sat out on the street in a circle and worshipped together in song.  It was one of the many great moments of worship that I have been able to be a part of.  As I sat and tried to keep up with the guy's singing with my minimal guitar skills, I thought about the quality of singing that I was hearing.  It wasn't about the notes, the melody, how expressive they were, if they had their hands up in a showy manner or anything else that we think worship is.  These men were singing from the depths of their souls.  Singing loud, singing to their God who was smiling and enjoying the praise that was rising to him in that moment.  I wonder if you sing in this manner when you attend church to worship together?  Or is it all about wanting to sound good, not feeling like singing, not liking the song, only liking a certain song, not being impressed with the guitar player today, feeling tired of the organ, or maybe you just aren't the singing type...  It is our privilege to worship our Lord and we don't just do it in song, that is just one way.  Do you see it as a privilege?  Do you know that you were created to worship?  Did you know that your purpose is to make much of God?  That night on the street, I think those guys knew that...