exchanging GLORY for worthless idols

Originally posted on Declare His glory Among the Nations:

A major shift occurred in my life when I learned the true definition of idolatry. The day I realized idols weren’t merely objects carved out of wood or stone was a monumental day. This epiphany changed the way I read the Old Testament. It opened my eyes to the idols in my own life. It allowed the Holy Spirit to begin to work graciously and relentlessly inside of me to replace my worship of idols with worship of Yahweh.

Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones gives a helpful definition: “An idol is anything in my life that occupies a place that should be occupied by God alone. An idol is something that holds such a controlling position in my life that it moves and rouses and attracts me so easily that I give my time, attention, and money to it effortlessly.”

An idol is whatever or whoever you and I give central value…

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Why Your New Year’s Resolution Will Fail

So recently, the Twitter account for Amazon declared, “Today is Ditch Your New Year’s Resolution Day” and unfortunately, they are right. The average amount of people that will actually stick to their New Year’s Resolution is 10%. 90 people out of 100 will not follow through on their New Year’s resolution. For Christians, a lot of the time our resolution have to do with our faith. “I am going to attend Church more”, “I am going to pray more.” or maybe, “I am actually going to read my Bible this year.”

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There are three problems with making resolutions that I see as the major stumbling blocks to achieving faith related goals. The first is that the majority of resolutions are about the person and not about God. Let me explain:

Throughout this article, I will be using the resolution of reading the Bible more. The idea of reading the Bible more is should not be that you get to brag, “I read the Bible in a year”, but rather, “I got to know the nature and character of God better this year.” Many resolutions fail because we make them about ourselves, rather than make them about God. The Bible is the story of God, not the story of us, and as Christians who have given our lives over to God, everything, including our resolutions, should be about that.

The second reason that resolutions fail, is because often there is no accountability. We tell no one that we have made that goal, and if we do tell people, we are usually boasting about it rather than asking someone to help keep us accountable. We need people to hold us accountable to the goals that we set in our lives, people who are not afraid to ask us questions that are uncomfortable.

The third reason that we often fail our New Year’s Resolution is that we choose obscure goals that are simply not manageable. Take our example of reading the bible more. That in itself is not a manageable, measurable goal. Instead we should choose, “read the bible in a year”, or “read a chapter per day”. We need to make our goals something that can be measured and managed, rather than obscure and easily brushed aside. After you have made your goal more specific, you should endeavor to make it manageable. What does it take to ready the Bible in a year? Don’t just sit down and read, instead find a reading plan that has set, daily goals.

Resolutions are a good thing. But if they are not handled in the right way, they can themselves become a stumbling block in our lives. They can quickly become an area of failure as opposed to an area of growth. To help us achieve our New Year’s Resolution, we need to have God at the center of them, be accountable for our goals to someone, and ensure that they are measurable and manageable goals.

Advent

The Coming Of Christ

The Coming Of Christ

As they say, “Tis the Season!”

The Christmas Trees are up with their twinkling lights, the baubles are hanging reflecting the moments that pass beneath them, and the dreaded Christmas carols are playing in Malls, stores and on the radio.

This is the season where many denominations of the Christian church, including The Salvation Army, celebrate Advent.

Advent is the English version of the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming”. This is the season where we celebrate the first coming of Jesus Christ. The Christmas story almost needs no reminder: 2000 years ago, in a little, sleepy town in Bethlehem, an unwed girl (probably in her teens) named Mary gave birth to a baby boy whom she named Jesus. His birth was foretold hundreds of years throughout what we now call the Old Testament (the first part of the Bible). Shepherds where watching their flocks during the night, when angels announced to them that the waited for Messiah would be shortly born. They traveled to Bethlehem where they found the baby, wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

That was the “coming” or the advent of Jesus Christ. A story that is so familiar that we can perhaps overlook some really interesting details.

In this short little story, the birth of Jesus fulfilled several prophecies from the Old Testament. The most important two, were, ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’ found in Micah 5:2. In addition there is also this prophecy, “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” found in Isaiah 7:14.

The Jewish people had been waiting for the Messiah to come for hundreds of years. They had not had a prophet from God for four hundred years alone, the anticipation is amazing. The Messiah would come, from the line of David and become the warrior king that Israel needed to get out from under the thumb of the Roman occupation.

But they had missed the point.

They were enslaved, enslaved to sin and death. Instead of being freed from sin through the ritual of Temple sacrifice, they had instead become slaves to sin by relying on a process rather than the God that had provided that process. The advent of the Messiah, was so that there would be one sacrifice for all time. No longer would there be an endless ritual of killing animals, but instead the Son of God would die on the Cross of Calvary so that all people could be free from sin and live in a relationship with God (John 3:16).

2000 years later, that same freedom is still offered through the grace of God. Any person, anywhere in the world can have access to God  through the Cross of Christ.

That is why we celebrate Christmas. Because Jesus Christ, the Son of God was true to His Word and came into this world, not with the fanfare or glory that He deserved, but instead, came into this world humbly, through an unwed mother, born in a dirty, dank stable. Instead of the kings and nobles of His people, he was instead greeted by lowly shepherds, sharing His birthplace with animals. Thirty three years later, He died on a cross so that He could save the world. His name, Jesus, means “God will save His people.”

Praise God, that He keeps His promises! Praise God for the advent or coming of His Son Jesus Christ.

Direction

ImageHold up a minute, I know that I have neglected this blog, but I am thinking that I may get more post done. The first year of being an Officer has been challenging, not necessarily difficult, just challenging. Now that I am in our second year of Officership, things are a little easier.

I intend to begin developing more content for the blog, and figuring out how to deliver it in the most easiest, economic, and user friendly way possible. Stay tuned!

What People Expect From Pastors In Sermons

“Be vulnerable and personal but not too personal because this isn’t a therapy session and we need lots of Bible but not too much because it has to relate to what’s happening in our lives and in the world today but it can’t be political and it has to be challenging and deep and significant and at the same time easy for everyone to understand and it has to be funny but not too funny because you’re not a comedian you’re a pastor and while you’re at it mix it up and try new things and don’t get it in a rut but make sure to be consistent and talk about your own struggles but not too much because that’s depressing. And we love stories about your family, but not too many because that can be weird, just be vulnerable and honest and…” – Rob Bell

Little Struggles

So today as I was trying to get some work done in my office, my laptop computer just would not cooperate. I mean it was just a pain in the neck, first I started getting an error message saying that I could no longer use Adobe Reader to open PDF files, then my CPU started running at 100%, then the web browser that I had open froze, then my Microsoft Word program froze. It was just problem after problem after problem.Then a verse came to mind.

One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.” – Luke 16:10 (ESV)

Now I know that I am taking this a little out of context, but stay with me here. Perhaps, just perhaps we are tested with small trial after small trial because God knows exactly how much at any one time we can handle. Not only that, but if we are faithful in the way that we respond to those trials, it shows the inherent nature within us to be able to cope with larger trials through the power of the resurrected Christ within us. Let us show people that we will be faithful in all the small things first, so that there is no question that we will be faithful when the larger trials  come our way.

Expectations: Part Two

Last week Captain Young preached on “Expectations”. This week I am following that theme and preaching “Expectations: Part Two”! From the book of Deuteronomy, what expectations were laid on Joshua after the death of Moses! Pray that the Spirit moves and that hearts are softened for the Glory of God!