Thursday, March 26, 2009

Choose Life.

Upcoming Book Review...


13 For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother's womb.
14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
Psalm 139: 13-14

Max Lucado, with the help of a caterpillar named Hermie, and his friends, does a superb job of illustrating this point for children.

Skeeter is a mosquito that is ashamed of his crooked stinger. His brother has a straight stinger, and is a great adventurer. When Skeeter's brother, shows up, as the hero, in the garden where Skeeter lives with his friends, things get a little tough. Skeeter has always felt that their father looked down on him because of his crooked stinger. However, throughout the story it is discovered that, Skeeter's brother cannot fly due to small wings. The brothers are led on a treasure hunt that their father had left them.

They are led to a treasure that reveals to them the truth of Psalm 139:13-14.

I would highly recommend this video as a tool for teaching young children the truth of God's Word. And for illustrating the point that we are all unique, and made in the image of God.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Culturally Contextual

In striving to share Christ with others we must connect with them culturally, Don Richardson (author of Peace Child) demonstrates it like this:

From Preaching Magazine:

"When Caroline and I lived among the Sawi and learned their language, we found that they honored treachery as a virtue. This came to light when I told them the story of Judas betraying Jesus to death after three years of friendship. They acclaimed Judas as the hero of the story. It seemed as if it would not be easy for such people to understand God's redemption in Jesus. But lo and behold, their way of making peace required a father in one of two warring villages to make an incredible sacrifice. He had to be willing to give one of his children as a peace child to his enemies. Caroline and I saw this happen, and we saw the peace that resulted from a man's sorrowful sacrifice of his own son. That enabled me to proclaim Jesus as the greatest peace child given by the greatest father. In Lords of the Earth, the Yali tribe had places of refuge. That was their special redemptive analogy. In other words, there's something that serves as a cultural compass to point men and women toward Jesus, something that is in their own background, part of their own culture."

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Fan Into Flame

2 Timothy 1:6, "Therefore, I remind you to keep ablaze the gift of God that is in you through the laying on of my hands."(HCSB)

Oxygen is one requirement to have fire (heat and fuel are the other two). If a small fire begins to smolder in an enclosed space (a closed up room, aircraft cockpit, etc.) it will smolder for a while, then when all the oxygen is burned up, it will extinguish. However, if, during the smoldering phase, additional oxygen is introduced to the fire (a door is opened, etc.) the fire grows rapidly. A danger for firefighters is that when we arrive on-scene we sometimes, do not know, how long a fire has been burning so we must be careful when making entry, if oxygen is introduced to an almost oxygen depleted fire atmosphere, and explosive backdraft could result (as demonstrated in the movie of the same name).

In the same way, we are to introduce oxygen to the fire that God has placed within us.

We all have God given talents, abilities, and purpose. However, if we do not work on these, do things to enhance our talents, skills, abilities, and further God's purpose in our lives, the smoldering fire with in us will die, and we will live a non-fruit bearing life.

If God has given you a musical talent, you must use it. Study music, listen to music, read about music, play music, sing, do music. Or the music God has placed with in you will die.

If God has given you the gift of preaching/teaching, you must utilize it. Preach, teach, learn the art of public speaking, read about preaching/teaching, increase your knowledge of the material to be preached (God's Word).

Often times people come to Christ, but they are only Christians for a short time. What has happened is that they have had insufficient amounts of oxygen, fanning their flame of salvation. New Christians need to be surrounded with other Christians, they need to be led to Christian resources, and spend considerable amounts of time with God (in His Word, and prayer).

As "seasoned" Christians we understand the value of constantly applying the oxygen of God's Word, and time spent with Him, to the flame of salvation that is within us.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Awkward Worship

What's with raising of the arms in worship? It feels awkward.

It is supposed to feel awkward. In military time if a soldier keeps his head down, and stays in his foxhole he is safe. However, if he pokes his head up or raises his hand it is certain death...or surrender.

That is the reason for awkward worship. It is us, poking our head out of our little, insignificant lives, and telling God, take me, I surrender. I surrender my life to you. I am dying to myself, my desires, my plans, my goals, my ambitions. I am surrendered to a life in Christ.