Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Turkey Bowl Photos

Congrats to the Ewoks for their 61-27 blowout win over the Warriors on Sunday. The Ewoks scored the most points in the history of the Turkey bowl. Enjoy the pics!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Contemplate & Consider Vol. 3

From Living the Cross Centered Life by C.J. Mahaney, on the Crucifixion:

It would be necessary for Him to die even if it were for your sin alone or my sin alone. That's why you and I are fully responsible for this tragic death. As John Stott wisely observed, "Until you see the cross as that which is done by you, you will never appreciate that it is done for you."

Luther said that we all carry in our pocket His very nails. Are you aware of those nails in your possession?

Mahaney, C.J. Living the Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel the Main Thing. 2006. Sovereign Grace Ministries. Page 90.

Funny or Not? Vol. 9

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Proverbs Part XI-Generosity (Proverbs 3:27-28; 22:22-23)

Do you find generosity easy? What do you relate generosity to: giving money to those in need or passing off some of your rarely worn clothes to Goodwill? Is the generosity you display a biblical generosity or a selfish generosity? Is generosity really that important for the church.

Jesus describes the actions of the righteous in Matthew 25:31-46. Generosity is an EXPECTED CHARACTERISTIC of the followers of Christ. Generosity is an illustration of the faith we have in Christ. But what does real generosity look like? Is generosity only necessary when it's convenient for us or when we feel like it or should it be more consistent? Proverbs 3:27-28 shows us three characteristics of true generosity:

1. Real Generosity is Simple (v27): Real generosity does not have to be a big deal or require some sort of special insight, knowledge or grace. Real generosity keeps it simple and can be accomplished "when it is in your power to do it." Real generosity can be as simple as helping someone load their groceries in their car and returning the cart or giving someone a quarter when they are a little short on change at the newspaper stand. Generosity is simple and the opportunity for generosity is all around us.

2. Real Generosity is Immediate (v27): I remember a poster I once had that said "Don't do today what you can put off until tomorrow." This is how we often live our lives, in a cycle of procrastination. This procrastination bleeds over into our generosity. When we see an opportunity for generosity we make excuses or say, "I'll help later." True biblical generosity is immediate, setting aside our selfishness for the sake of another and for the name of Christ.

3. Real Generosity is Indiscriminate (v28): To whom do you find generosity easy? To whom do you find generosity difficult? What about an enemy: could you be generous to them? What about generosity toward someone who seems to have every advantage this world has to offer? True generosity does not discriminate based on need, race, or relationship.

True generosity is beneficial to the giver. Proverbs discusses several ways that we benefit from living generously:

1. Reap what you sow (Prov 11:24-26)
-Giving to the poor is giving to God and he will repay (Prov 19:17)
-Ignoring the poor is ignoring God and we too will be ignored (Prov 21:13)-we will have provision when we are in need
2. Generosity Honors God (instead of insulting him) (Prov 14:31)
3. Even simple everyday generosity will be blessed (Prov 22:9)
4. No lack or want (Prov 28:27)

So, what opportunities do you have to be generous? What is your potential generosity? Think beyond money and clothes and examine your talents, your time, your space, your abilities. You can be generous to your classmates with your knowledge on a subject by offering to help them study. You can be generous to your church family by sharing your talents and gifts in serving the church. You can be generous to your neighbor with your strength by helping them with yard work or moving furniture. You can be generous with your time by offering to help mom clean the house instead of watching TV.

How can you put the potential generosity into practice TODAY?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Joey Update Vol. 5

Sesigeh lunjemge!

This last month has been passing more than pleasantly for the most part. There have been many changes with people coming and going, and yet other things, like language learning, have been chugging steadily along.

There are certain costly lessons that will come from living here. These for the most part are rather harmless but still they are things that would not be wise to repeat. One such instance here is the costly lesson of clothing. Clothes make the man here. It is a lesson I for one have particular struggles with. One day I decided to wear my kaptani and kadamul, the normal clothes of those living here. The kadamul is a long strip of cloth to be used to wrap into a turban. I’ve been experimenting with various styles and one day I wrapped the whole thing up on my head close to the Indian style, I’d guess. However, here it is how people in the Sud. wear their turbans and our house guard called me the president of the Sud.! He has continued to call me this jokingly even though it happened only once and that weeks ago.

The main lesson this taught me is that the impression I make on people will last far beyond when I have long forgotten it. When I walk down the street, what do people think? What do they see in me? It serves to remind me of why I am here and helps broaden my scope of the work I am doing here. It would be a good thing, after two years or so, to have a finished product that is getting used widely, but perhaps this will not be my main impact here. It might be that my friends and neighbors will remember, “that time we sat under the ligdabi and drank tea together” and this might have more far reaching implications than even the finished product.

Now the news, an Am. team came into town to work in the clinic and some were dentists. All the time the were here, word had spread around the town here that there was a “tooth doctor” in town and people flocked to the clinic. The lines were so long that the doctors often worked into the night after the clinic had officially closed. They are still the talk of the town even though they have since returned home.

More on our side of things, we had a visitor stay with us who has studied our language for years. It was a good time spent with him and we both got to meet lots of people in our neighborhood and create a stir in the market. After all it is not everyday that three white guys show up who can speak a language that not even everyone in our village speaks! It was a fun time had by all and very enriching too.

The Hamdu’s:

-We have steady power! It was just installed yesterday in fact and all is well. This means I’ll be able to check and send emails and updates more frequently.

-My camera arrived safe and sound. Thanks John for getting that for me.

-That many more relationships seem to be opening before us after this week. Relationships are key here.

The Dua’s:

-We will be traveling to the capital at the end of next week so please Ask for good travel

-Harley, has almost finished paying back the money that he took, but Ask for repentance and restoration for him.

-*Please lift this up and keep it in continual practice: Please consider giving an extra gift of support this month because in the village I have to take all the money I’ll need for the next couple months from the capital at once and in cash. Specifically, I need to buy a ticket to AMS for Feb, while I am in the capital next week. This might be around $2000. Then I will need to withdraw about that much again to stay in the village until then. I will only be in NDJ for a week, so I’ll be spending Christmas in the village too. Also, on this request, please also ask for my good stewardship of this large amount of cash (curtailing theft by friends, etc.).

In looking over my last update, I find, as I have found in times past, that all the Dua’s of last month have turned into the Hamdu’s of this month and more! Our Father is being wonderful to me and is enriching our time here and pouring out the blessings as fast as we can receive them. Thank you all for joining me in this excellent work of transforming the Requests into the Praises! I hope to hear back from each of you to touch base after what seems a long absence. I long to hear how our Father has been with you all and what big things He’s gotten you into.

Shekarisigeh! Kanisage salaamkisigeh!

(Thank you all! The chur(hes greet you!)


She Must & Shall Go Free Part IX: Beloved Part I

Why do we continue to put on the old-self even after Christ has freed us from our slavery to sin and dressed us in royal robes, the new-self? One major reason we choose to dress ourselves in the "old-self" comes from the way we deal with scripture in our lives.

3 Ways we Deal with Scripture

1. Ignore it altogether: One way we deal with scripture is to not deal with it...just ignore it completely. When this happens we have no basis for understanding what the old-self is or how to keep from dressing ourselves in it. This way of dealing with scripture, for Christians, is completely unacceptable and totally removed from who we claim to be in Christ.

2. Filter Scripture through culture: In this way of dealing with scripture we compare what the Word says to the culture around us and the way we live our lives and remove or ignore the parts of the Bible that don't match with the way we want to live. We remove the parts that make us uncomfortable, that offend us or the people around us, or the parts that we just don't like because they keep us from doing what we want.

3. Filter culture through Scripture: This process involves examining the culture we live in and the way we live our lives in light of scripture and removing the parts of our life that do not match with the Word of God.

We do this everyday. When we decide to gossip we are filtering scripture through culture. When we choose to honor the purity of the girls around us we filter culture through Scripture. When we respect those in authority over us we filter culture through Scripture. When we help others just for what we may get out of it we filter Scripture through culture.

But, why does it matter how we deal with scripture? The more we filter scripture out of our everyday life, the further form Truth we will be and the less we will be tied to the life producing vine, Jesus Christ.

So, maybe you have a question about something in your life; whether you are filtering scripture through your culture so you can continue in that activity. Here are 5 questions you can ask yourself regarding that activity to find out if it is something you should continue in.
(Thanks to Dr. Keith Eitle for this information during seminary classes in 2001)

5 Questions to See if we are Filtering Culture or Scripture:

1. Does it violate any clear teaching of Scripture? (2 Timothy 3:15-17)

2. Does it destroy any part of your body (physically, mentally, or spiritually)? (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

3. Does it cause someone around you to be hindered from coming closer to Christ?
(1 Corinthians 8:8-13)

4. Does it violate the express will/desire of someone who has Biblical authority over you?
(Ephesians 6:5-10)

5. Does it glorify God?
(Can you honestly ask God to bless your actions, relationships, attitudes, etc.?) (1 Corinthians 10:31)

If the answer is "yes" to any of these questions then you need to rethink your involvement.

Examine areas of your life where an improper dealing with scripture may be leading you to "put on the old-self" and a return to the slavery of sin. Maybe it's your relationship with your girlfriend/boyfriend. Maybe you just do enough to get by in school instead of working to the glory of God. Maybe you are illegally downloading music from the internet or illegally making copies of friends' music. Maybe you are using your computer in a way that is disobedient to your parents' desires. Maybe you always speed on a particular road because "there are never any cops." Maybe you live with bitterness, anger, or discrimination in your heart.

Whatever it is for you, filter it through scripture and throw out whatever doesn't match with the Word of God.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Contemplate & Consider Vol. 2

From Living the Cross Centered Life by C.J. Mahaney

Have you ever considered how thoroughly most of us live by our feelings today--how feelings-focused we are? IN a typical day, how often do you make decisions and evaluate reality based primarily on your emotions at the moment...

Our common tendency is to habitually begin with the internal, the subjective, the experiential, then use those feelings and impressions to determine what we'll accept as being objective fact. We let our feelings tell us what's true, instead of letting the truth transform our feelings...

We even explain our daily choices by saying, "I feel good about this, or, "I had a bad feeling about it." It's the fundamental mindset with which we approach practically everything. It's how we live.

We're conditioned to this approach not only by our sin but also by our culture, which incessantly entices us to "follow your heart" and do whatever makes us feel good--along with the flattering assurance that nonstop feeling good is something we absolutely deserve!

It would be fine to follow our feelings if we could always be sure they're faithful to reality. But they aren't; their perspective on reality typically has huge blind spots. As a result, our emotions are flighty, fickle, and far too easily dominated by any number of influences--spilled coffee at breakfast, a traffic stall when you're running late, a cutting comment from a coworker. Our feelings cannot be trusted.

Even when it comes to our spiritual life, at any given moment we direct and locate our faith in our emotion state rather than in clearly objective truth...

It happens frequently, for example, in our corporate worship. As people around us sing words expressing profound gratitude to Jesus for His death on our behalf, we may disqualify ourselves from truly entering into this adoration of our Savior because our "passion" is absent this morning.

It can happen also when we open our bibles. Before us is a passage with words like redemption, Savior, gospel, justified. But if those words evoke little response in us, we unthinkingly pass over them to find something else that might light our fire. If the enthusiasm doesn't come quickly...well, we may just forget the whole thing. After all, who wants to spend the mental energy it takes to think carefully and intensely about the Scriptures? Who has time to study? Who has time to meditate?

And this is how serious it gets: In our arrogance, we invest our feelings (or lack thereof) with final authority rather than recognize that our emotions tend to be unstable, unreliable, often governed by pride, and riddled with lies--lies that "feel" like the truth.

I've watched people yield to such lies repeatedly. It's a frightening experience to sit with individuals who actually insist that what they feel is ultimately more authoritative to them than what's written clearly in Scripture. They even somehow assume God is sympathetic to this attitude. But He is not. He would, in fact, identify it as the height of arrogance--which is something He's unalterably opposed to: "God opposes the proud," His Word declares.

That's the bad news. But in the same verse there's also good news: "God...gives grace to the humble."

Mahaney, C.J. Living the Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel the Main Thing. 2006. Sovereign Grace Ministries. Page 32-35

Proverbs Part X-One Step Away (Proverbs 6:20-7:27)

What a disturbing weekend. I wish I could go into details, but I just don't think that would be appropriate here. Just understand that the truths you are about to read not only come from Proverbs 6 and 7 but were experienced first hand in the life of a great friend...well, at least the reality of the enticement and the consequences. The last part, the way out, was offered but never accepted until it was too late.

Here are just a few points to think about as we get into this section of Proverbs:

-This discussion takes place just before after the “things God hates” section where we talked about God’s general hatred of sin.

-Here is a specific sin that is talked about at length, probably because of its pervasiveness. Maybe because so much of what is described as hated by God is found in this particular sin.

-All 7 of the things that are described as hated by God can be seen in my friend's story: the pride, deception, outright lies, devising of wicked plans, haste to do evil, hurting other people, and the possibility of causing discord in the church (may not have been his intention, but it is happening)

-None of us are immune to this...even you ladies!

So, here are some things to remember about the enticement, promises, and consequences of sexual sin:

The Enticement:
1. Begins in an “innocent” way (6:25)
-as simple as a look
-a warning sign for you if a look from a girl/guy captures your mind/thoughts & heart
-”The Talmud (a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, customs, and history. It is a central text of Rabbinic Judaism, second only to the Hebrew Bible in importance) identifies the heart and eye as agents of sin. To permit your mind to become obsessed with lustful thoughts it to put yourself willingly in the way of temptation.” (The Woman’s study bible notes)
-why we need to check up lust from the very beginning

2. Rarely perceived as subtle (7:10-11)
-ladies, you may think your actions and words are subtle towards a boy, but they are not perceived as subtle...they are flashing with a big bright sign that says “SEX” all over it.
-your dress, your looks, your flirting, your words may not lead them to do anything inappropriate toward you but it will put tempt them sexually to then deal with that in an ungodly way. Ladies have a responsibility to the guys around them to protect their purity. Watch your words, your touches, your dress, your looks and know that what may seem like “innocent flirting” to you could be the starting point of a long path of sin and suffering for the guy.

3. Is easily compartmentalized (7:14)
-temptation may dissipate during retreats/camps but quickly comes back
-here we see the “prostitute” eager to get back to business after taking some time off for religious reasons
-The Peace Offering is sometimes translated Fellowship Offering. It came about voluntarily, as a desire was expressed to thank God and to seek for fellowship (communion) with God.
The blood of the Peace Offering was sprinkled at the Burnt Offering Altar, the fat and inward parts were removed and the remainder roasted. The fat and inward parts were burned; this was for God's satisfaction, as a sweet aroma. Because God had stated clearly what pleased Him, then a person who offered such a Peace Offering was truly doing what pleased God: that person was having fellowship (communing) with God.
The Peace Offering was an indication of a good, healthy, loving relationship between the offerer and God and between the offerer and the priests. There was peace with God and there was peace with fellow citizens.

4. Eagerly looks for the first opportunity (7:15)

Three Enticing Promises:
1. Promises the best (7:16-17)

2. Promises fulfillment (7:18)

3. Promises you won’t be caught (7:19-20)

When we believe these promises and live in these sins, a lot of times we look at sin and consequences in scripture and we think, “God would never bring that on me. He is gracious and forgiving.” In my friend's case, he has faced and is facing ALL the consequences in chapters 6 & 7 of Proverbs.

The Consequences:
1. Everything is taken away (6:26)

2. Self-destruction (6:31)

3. Wounds-public & private (6:33)

4. Great Shame-to himself, his family, his church and his God (6:33)

5. Loss of Reputation (6:33)

6. Sudden loss of Life (7:22-23)
-How many cows know what they are headed to? Why are we so often oblivious to the
“end-game” of our sin?
-there is significant risk involved in the activities of adultery/sexual sin and “wisdom dictates that such behaviors should be avoided” (The Apologetics study bible notes)

My friend had many opportunities to get out. God would have stayed some of these consequences, and in his grace may have and may will keep them from being as bad as they could be had he taken the way out when it was offered. The same is offered to you. The longer you stay in the deeper the consequences. Get out now! But how?

The Way Out:
1. Don’t even get close! (5:8; v7-9)

2. Recognize Your Vulnerability
-7:1-5-”What we think about regularly affects what we do, and what we do regularly produces habits, and ultimately determines our character. A regular focus on God’s truth provides protection against adultery and sexual immorality, while a regular focus on sexual images leads a person closer to the behaviors that Pr condemns” (The apologetics study bible notes)

3. Stay close to the lessons others have learned and taught you (6:20-24; 7:1-3)

4. Confess (James 5:16; 1 John 1:9; Proverbs 3:7-8)
-you may think it would be easier or better to keep it quiet and try to deal with it “between you and God” but voicing your sin is a much swifter path to life change.

Please take this seriously. When this pattern of life started for my friend when he was 15, he would have never imagined himself being where he is today...don't let it get a foothold in your life...talk to SOMEONE about the seriousness of the sin that is grabbing hold of your life.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Funny or Not? Vol. 8

Proverbs Part IX-I'd Like Life Please, Light on the Heavy (Proverbs 6:6-11)

Check out this video from the BBC show "How Clean is Your House".

One word to describe what has happened here is "laziness". It's really easy to recognize laziness when it looks like this house but do you think it possible that this man is actually quite diligent in other areas of his life?

In fact, diligence in some areas can actually lead to laziness in other areas. For example: diligence in playing video games can lead to laziness in taking care of yourself physically. Diligence in reading a lot of books can lead to laziness in developing personal relationships. Diligence in watching TV can lead to laziness in Godly character development.

Laziness not only impacts our lives physically but can also impact our lives emotionally and spiritually.

Think for a minute about laziness in your life. Do you recognize it? If not, here are a few characteristics of laziness as seen throughout Proverbs:


1. Has a lot to learn about hard work (Proverbs 6:6-8)
2. Is always eager for a break/rest (Proverbs 6:9-11)
3. Finds a way out of working when it's most needed (Proverbs 10:5)
4. Is an irritation to those who ask him to do something (Proverbs 10:26)
5. Has a low ceiling of success (Proverbs 12:24)
6. Always craves but not willing to do anything about it (Proverbs 13:4; 21:25-26)
7. Looks for the easy way-”get rich quick” (Proverbs 13:11)
8. Is fast talking but slow acting (Proverbs 14:23)
9. Does things halfway (Proverbs 19:24)
10. Expects something out of nothing (Proverbs 20:4)
11. Can’t understand how they got into the state they are in (Proverbs 24:30-34)
12. Is full of excuses (Proverbs 26:13-16)
13. Is busy with “something else” (Proverbs 28:19)

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal laziness in your life and then do something about it! Just like the ants, we know what we have been created for, so let's get to work and finish the task, trusting in His strength and His wisdom and accomplish what He desires.

Start rooting laziness out of your life TODAY! Don't be lazy about it!

She Must And Shall Go Free Part VIII: Saint & Sinner

"Saint & Sinner" by Derek Webb from the album She Must and Shall Go Free

If you want my glory you gotta take my sin
If you want my future you gotta take my skin
If you want my heart you gotta take my blood
If you want my bed you gotta take my lust

‘cause I’m not a half a man
I’m not a half a man
Lord knows I love you now
But a saint and a sinner is what I am

If you want my spirit you gotta take my booze
If you want my mystery you gotta take my clues
If you want my child you gotta take my kin
If you want my money you gotta take my rent

And it doesn’t get better once you see the light
You wake to find that the fight has just begun
I used to be a mess but now I look just fine
‘cause you dressed me up and we drank the finest wine.

The church is supposed to be full of redeemed people living differently than before they knew Christ. Unfortunately most if not all of the church is compartmentalizing their actions in one way or another, holding back certain actions and attitudes from the exhortation of 1 Peter 1:13-16, "Be holy for I am holy."

Ephesians 4:17-24 reminds us that we have been made new in Christ. We are new creatures. The old life is supposed to be gone and the new is supposed to be what we daily put on and demonstrate with our lives...every area of our lives. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 describe what this old life may have looked like for you. But then verse 11 reminds us that we USED to be that, but that we have been redeemed.

It is a problem that we do not perfectly put off the old self and put on the new self every day, but an even bigger problem is how little of the church even TRIES to fully put off the old self. We know we are wearing the old self and we are content with the dirty rags. We think, "It's too hard to give this up." This song expresses a desire for God to take those "old self" things that are continuing to cling to the royal robes God has dressed us in through the blood of Christ. This song expresses a desire to FIGHT!

Are you daily accessorizing the gloriously new and royal robes that God has dressed you in with the dirty, stained and ugly clothes of a pauper?

Spend time asking the Spirit to reveal to you the areas in your life that you are compartmentalizing, not allowing God to replace the old with the new. Then FIGHT for the new self, every minute of every day, until the old looks so old, nasty and dirty that you do not want to have anything to do with it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obamanation Domination

Well, the election is over and Obama will be the next president of the United Sates of America.

Whether you are excited about his victory or disappointed that he won we need to remember a few things:

1. TUST-God is in control (cue Twila Paris track...for those of you who know who Twila Paris is...man, I'm old). You may be thinking, "how could this happen". Well, it can happen, and it did. The great thing is that God is neither surprised by this election nor worried about what's going to happen next. He's got it. His plans will be accomplished no matter who is in office. God is the one who appoints kings and rulers and he holds them all in his hands. We do not need to worry or be fearful about what is going to happen next. Just continue to trust God and take this as an opportunity to step up and stand out in this nation as "a thousand points of light" (George Bush #1 refernce...again...old), reflecting the true light of the World, Jesus Christ.

2. PRAY! -Just think how much Obama has on his shoulders for the next 4 (maybe 8) years. Now, do we want him to make those decisions based on a Godly influence or a worldly influence? Pray for Godly wisdom and influence and integrity in decision making that will honor God and his plans. Pray that the best interest of the people of America and the glory of Jesus Christ will be the compass of his decision making. Pray the same thing for the largely Democratic congress. You might consider this an impossibility, but with God ALL things are possible. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords. He is the one who changes the old man into the new man. He is the one who takes hard hearts and makes thems soft to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Pray for a great revival among the leaders of this country, no just in policy and laws, but in heart.

Obama says it's time for change, I agree! But not temporal change...ETERNAL change. We have been complacent and comfortable with a president we considered "God's choice" for far too long. It's time to get off our tails and begin working for real change in our families, churches, communities, state, and nation.