Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Funny or Not? Vol. 7

Just a little joke in honor of Halloween:

One dark night two guys were walking home after a party and decided to take a shortcut through the cemetery. When they got to about the middle of the graveyard they were startled and stopped moving.

There was this terrifying noise, “TAP-TAP-TAP” coming from the shadows. Trembling with fear, they spotted an old man with a hammer and chisel, chipping away at one of the headstones.

"Holy cow Mister,” one of them said after catching his breath. “You SCARED us half to death. We thought you were a GHOST! What are you doing working here so late at night?"

"Those fools!" the old man grumbled. "They misspelled my name!!"

Proverbs Part VII-I'm Glad I'm not Like that! (Or am I?) (Proverbs 6:16-19)

Two things I hate:

1. Lights left on in an empty room
2. Dryer sheets falling out of a clothes pile and left lying around the house

Those are two of my biggest pet-peeves and I "hate" them.

Isn't it interesting how we use the word "hate" to describe the way we feel about certain pet-peeves? Those pet-peeves usually don't illicit any more than a grumble of complaint under our breath. If the pet-peeve was truly worthy of hate, then wouldn't it be worthy of a much harsher response?

In Proverbs 6:16-19 we are given a list of 7 things that God hates:

1. Haughty eyes
2. A lying tongue
3. Hands that shed innocent blood
4. A heart that devises wicked plans
5. Feet that make haste to run to evil
6. A false witness who breathes out lies
7. One who sows discord among brothers

Your initial response to this list may be, "Phew! I'm glad that's not me! I don't do those things." But don't you? Don't I? Doesn't everyone?

Let's generalize a little bit and in that way get more specific:

Sins of Attitude-Haughty Eyes
Sins of Speech-lying tongue and false witness
Sins of Action-shed innocent blood, run to evil
Sins of Thought-devise wicked plans
Sins of Influence-One who sows discord among brothers

Think about all of the specific sins that could be categorized under these topics. When we see the seven things God hates what we are being told is:

God Hates Sin!

Period. Exclamation point.

But why does God hate it so much?

The word for hate in verse 16 is defined as "intense hatred which alienates" in Hebrew. God hates sin as much as he does (with a perfect hatred) because it alienates us from him stealing from him the glory, honor and praise he is due.

God hates sin because it destroys our relationship with Him.

Look at the last example of what God hates. "One who sows discord among brothers."

God hates sin because it destroys the church from within.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Joey Update vol. 4

Sesigeh lunjegema! Peace to you all indeed my friends! It has been a while since I wrote and much has happened so far this month. Where to begin? Aye, at the beginning.

I took a MAF flight out to the village at the end of last month. It was a small Cessna type plane (which I’d never ridden before) and I got to see much of the countryside. I rued that I lacked a camara and also my position in the middle of the back seat, far from any windows. Still, it afforded me with a good view of the desert and assorted villages. I also saw Lake Fitri which our people live around. We traveled with two gentlemen who were to work on our house electricity and lights. It was a good travel out.

When we arrived, a welcoming committee was there to greet us and it did my heart good to see such friends after nearly a year absence. Our house was quickly wired and worked fine- for a few days. The nature of electricity here is not of an exact science, but more like alchemy really. That is it takes a bit of sense and a lot of faith! Except instead of turning common metals into gold as was the goal of those alchemists of yore, our electricity turned a working phone charger into a fried phone charger, as my friend and partner here can attest.

All this aside, good things have indeed been happening. Good things indeed! One day I had the privilege of going to a distant village with the doctor and helping a woman who had been in labor for three days to no avail. We went to bring her to the hospital in town and prayed for her a lot on the way back- the doctor said he couldn’t find the baby’s heartbeat and feared that it was dead. We got to the hospital and I prayed for her again. The very next day, I hear that within 3 hours she gave birth to a healthy baby girl! Al hamdu l’llah!

Also, a team came through from Liberty Baptist in a town near mine in VA and it was good fellowship that week. Now, perhaps the best news of all, a friend of mine accepted the Lord! This took place just this weekend and just after a training session some in the kanisa here. Our Father is doing some work in this family so please lift them up. Which brings me to the next thing.


-For the mother and her baby girl that lived (this was her eighth and the only one which gave her trouble incidentally)

-For the new Brother

-For the team which left one of its members here for a few weeks to see the country and work in the clinic

-For continued language learning

-For the opportunities I’ve had to share the Story


-To keep walking close with the Father

-Continued building of relationships between team members here

-Language learning and yet more opportunities to meet people and invite them over to our house

-Taking advantage of opportunities to share

-And finally for the other teams that will be coming through in the next weeks and months.

His kingdom advances and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. Indeed darkness must flee before light. This I’ve seen here already and I long to see more. Our Father takes back His land one person at a time. Thank you all for your support in these days. I thank the Father that I am able to write to you in this way and to share with you good news.

Peace be with you all!


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Funny or Not? Vol. 6 (Part I)

I Love These!

Funny or Not? Vol. 6 (Part II)

Here is Part II!

Proverbs Part VI-A Look Inside (Proverbs 3:13-24)

Psalm 139:23-24 is a prayer of David asking God to search him and know his heart and see if there is any wicked way in him.

How often do we let God search our hearts? How often do we take the time to look inside and see what is there that needs to change?

The same question applies when we think about applying wisdom in our lives. We need to look inside and truly see whether we are actively responding to the call of wisdom or continuing to ignore what wisdom has to say.

Verses 13-18 once again show us characteristics of wisdom and the profit that comes from actively responding to wisdom: honor, riches (maybe not money), peace, understanding, and security.

As we move out of chapter 3 and into the rest of Proverbs we will begin to see the nuts and bolts of wisdom; the practical advice Proverbs has to offer us for our lives. Before we can even begin to study this life giving advice we have to ask ourselves if we are ready to receive it. We have to allow the Holy Spirit to search our hearts and show us where we continue to ignore wisdom in our lives.

I pray that we are all ready to receive the wisdom that is in Proverbs and that we are all ready to apply this wisdom to our lives; a wisdom that, as verses 19-24 tells us, set the foundations of the earth and placed the heavens in the sky: the Word of God.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Proverbs Part V-Practices in Biblical Programming (Proverbs 3:1-12)

A basic tool of computer programming that helps the program know what to do based on user input is the "If/Then" statement.

Let’s say you are writing a computer program where the user will get to guess a number between 1-100. The user types a number in and then clicks the “guess” button. The “guess” button would have several If/Then Statements applied to it. Such as:
“If ‘user input’ > ‘number’ Then print ‘Too High! Try Again!’”, or
“If ‘user input’ < ‘number’ Then print ‘Too Low! Try Again’”, or “If ‘user input’ = ‘number’ then print ‘Great Guess! You’re Right’”

There are quite a few places in the Bible where God gives us "If/Then" type statements as it relates to our life and relationship/response towards Him, His commands, and His Word. These If/Then's are great promises, but promises that require some commitment from us.

Here are 6 If/Then's from Proverbs 3

1. IF keep the word THEN long life and peace (v1-2)
2. IF faithful and loving "dress" THEN view with favor and success (v3-4)
3. IF trust THEN right directions (v5-6)
4. IF recognize lack of real wisdom THEN healing and refreshment (v7-8)
5. IF honor God first THEN plenty (v9-10)
6. IF accept God's discipline THEN treat as a son (v11-12)

What about you? Which of these “If’s” seems the hardest for you? Is the “then” worth some added effort? Just like last week we learned we cannot expect protection and deliverance if we are on the wrong paths, we need to remember that we cannot expect real peace, real success, real plenty, real direction and real relationship with God if we do not trust in, lean on, and honor Him above all others.

She Must and Shall Go Free Part VI: Wedding Dress

Sorry it's taken so long to get to this post...crazy past couple of weeks!

Here are the lyrics to "Wedding Dress" by Derek Webb

If you could love me as a wife
and for my wedding gift, your life
Should that be all I’d ever need
or is there more I’m looking for?

and should I read between the lines
and look for blessings in disguise
To make me handsome, rich, and wise
Is that really what you want?

I am a whore I do confess
But I put you on just like a wedding dress
and I run down the aisle,
and I run down the aisle.
I’m a prodigal with no way home
but I put you on just like a ring of gold
and I run down the aisle to you.

So could you love this bastard child
Though I don’t trust you to provide
With one hand in a pot of gold
and with the other in your side?

I am so easily satisfied
by the call of lovers so less wild
That I would take a little cash
Over your very flesh and blood.

Because money cannot buy
a husband’s jealous eye
When you have knowingly deceived his wife.

The chorus of this song refers to the writer, and the listener, as whores in the eyes of our husband. As the church, we are the bride of Christ, but we often whore ourselves around showing desire and seeking satisfaction in "lovers less wild". I realize the word "whore" may be a little strong for some of you, but take in what God says to the nation of Israel in Hosea 1:2 and 4:12:

Hosea 1:2-When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, "Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great woredom by forsaking the Lord."

Hosea 4:12-For a spirit of whoredom has led them astray, and they have left their God to play the whore.

If we are honest with ourselves we will admit that we also have "played the whore" when it comes to our relationship with God.

In "Wedding Dress" we see 4 characteristics of whoredom that may be in our lives. Remember that this in in context of the church (Christians) as the bride of Christ. The following points are based on that imagery.

1. No Satisfaction in the gift our husband gives. ("Is there more I'm looking for", "to make me handsome")

2. Lack of Trust
towards our husband. ("should I read between the lines")

3. Splitting of Affections
between our husband and other lovers ("one hand in a pot of gold and the other in your side")

4. More Appreciation over lesser gifts given by other lovers ("take a little cash over your very flesh and blood")

Despite all of this Jesus cries out for us to throw on the wedding dress and the ring of gold and come running down the aisle to him. Will we admit the "less-wild" lovers and run down the aisle toward Chirst?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Road Runner

Watch this and think about how we are just like Wile E. Coyote when it comes to our response to the enticement of sin and our ignoring of the obvious call of wisdom.

No more excuses for our sin. We are just as stupid as the coyote when we take those dead end paths instead of the promised protected paths of righteousness, equity and justice (Proverbs 2)

Proverbs Part IV-Warning! Dead End Ahead! (Proverbs 2:5-22)

Scavenger hunts are great, especially when there is a prize at the end for finding every item on the list. But what if every item on the list could not be found? You might find yourself upset with the creator of the scavenger hunt for putting impossible items on the list. You might return to them with your list and say, "there is no possible way I can find Ming Dynasty era armor in your back yard."

When it comes to actively responding to the call of wisdom by searching for it like you would hidden treasure God we will not return disappointed.

Proverbs 2:1-5 gives us a promise: if we will search for wisdom, we will find it and there will be great benefit to our lives when we do find it. Proverbs 2:5-12 describes the outcome of our active response to the call of wisdom.

1. Understanding (Proverbs 2:5-7a)-Have you ever stared down a road only to find out that the only outlet from that road was blocked? This happens to me more than I'd like to admit (even in a small town like Clarksville) where I'll be heading down a back road only to find traffic cones set up at the other end for some sort of road work or utility work. My first thought is always "why didn't they put a sign up at the other end of the road. I would not have come this way!" Then I think, "how am I going to turn around on this small road." God promises that when we find wisdom we will also find understanding. But what kind of understanding. In verses 9-10 we are told we will understand "every good path". What do the good paths consist of? Righteousness, justice and equity. We are promised that we will not have to go down the dead end roads anymore. There will be a clear sign telling us that we are not heding down the "good paths" of righteousness, equity and justice.

2. Protection (Proverbs 2:7b-8)-Who is this protection for? According to verse 11-12 this protection is for those who are walking down the good paths of integrity and understanding. Without the understanding that wisdom promises the protection that wisdom promises is not available. Just think. Someone tells you that a road is dangerous. You can accept that wisdom and understand it, not take the road and recieve protection. Or you can take your chances and head down the road anyway, spurning the wisdom, understanding, and protection. For some reason we like to "take our chances" even when wisdom is clearly warning us of the dangers ahead.

3. Deliverance (Proverbs 2:12)-Wisdom also promises us deliverance from the dead ends, not just protection. We used to watch the Road Runner all the time when I was a kid (see the "Road Runner" YouTube post for an example of this). As I have grown up I have come to realize that we are just like Wile E. Coyote. We are enticed by sin and we run after it no matter the consequences. There can be a clear sign telling us of the dangers but we easily ignore it (ignoring the call of wisdom!!!) and find ourselves running off a cliff to our doom. We beg for mercy from God but why should he give proteciton and deliverance when he has already warned us that the road is dangerous. His proteciton and deliverance is to keep us off that road. And we do it over, and over, and over, and over again, just like the coyote.

We know the dead ends. We run into them every day. The obvious sins. The secret sins. They don't suprise us anymore because we are very familiar with them. And still we blame God for the troubles in our life. Still we blame God for not "giving us the strength" to resist.

God has made a promise and will be faithful in it: if we will actively respond to the call of wisdom we will have understanding, protection, and deliverance.

This week remember the benefit of actively responding to the call of wisdom (understanding, protection, and deliverance) and remember what happens to those who chase after the dead end enticement of sin:

Proverbs 2:18-19, 22

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Funny or Not? Vol. 4

This week's Funny or Not is in honor of the baseball playoffs (which start tonight by the way).

Check out the guy in the lower left...Funny or Not?

She Must and Shall Go Free Part V: Lover

Luke 19:10 reminds us of the reason that Jesus came to earth: to seek and to save what was lost. This is something Jesus uniquely is able to do. He is the only one who can really set us free. How does Jesus set us free?

"Lover" by Derek Webb

Like a man comes to an altar,
I came into this town,
With the world upon My shoulders
And promises passed down.
When I went into the water,
My Father, He was pleased.
I built it and I'll tear it down
So you will be set free.

Yes, and I found thieves and salesmen
Living in My Father's house.
And I know how they got in here,
And I know how to get 'em out.
Well, I'm turning this place over
From floor to balcony.
Then, just like these doves and sheep
Oh, you will be set free.

'Cause I have always been a lover
From before I drew a breath
Oh, and some things I love easy
And some I love to death.
You see, love's no politician
'Cause it listens carefully
So from those who come,
I can't lose one,
So you will be set free,
Oh, you will be set free.

Go on and take My picture
Go on and make Me up
Oh, I'll still be your Defender
And you'll be My missing son
And I'll send out an army
Just to bring you back to Me.
'Cause regardless of your brothers' lies,
Oh, you will be set free.

Because I am My beloved's
And My beloved's Mine;
So, you bring all your history,
I'll bring the bread and wine.
Then we'll have us a party
Where all the drinks are on Me
And as surely as the rising sun
Oh, you will be set free,
Oh, you will be set free.

We see in this song 5 Ways that Jesus Uniquely Sets us Free

Jesus Sets Us Free...

1. By Bearing our Burdens (Colossians 1:16-17)

2. By Taking the Fight (Mark 11:15-19; 1 Corinthians 15:55-57)

3. By Securing the Victory (John 10:28)

4. By Taking the Initiative (Luke 15:3-7; John 6:44)

5. Through Forgiveness and Celebration (Romans 6:17-18)

Why bear your own burdens? Why try to take the fight out of God’s hands? You can’t win the victory! Jesus it he victor! You can’t bring anything good to the party. Trust Jesus to win it!