Thursday, July 23, 2009

Idolatry: Worshipping the God Who Isn't

A few notes on our study of idolatry at The Deep End last night.

Exodus 32

-Starts with following a man instead of God (v1)
-Demonstrates peoples’ willingness to sacrifice greatly for the worship of a false god. (v2-3)
-Strongly influences what and how people worship, often aided by a spiritual leader (v4-6)

God Hates Idolatry because...
-Idolatry is corrupt worship (v7-8)
-Idolatry is evidence of refusal to repent (v9)
-Idolatry gets in the way of God’s purposes (v10)

-Appropriate response to idolatry is Immediate & Definitive (v19-v20)

The Typical Response of an idolator
-Point out someone else’s sin to take the focus off yours (v22-23)
-Assume an “innocent” role (v24)

The Eventual consequences of idolatry
-Physical Death (v27-28)
-Spiritual Death (v33)

Idolatry is like a frontal assault on God. It’s like looking at him and saying “you’re not good enough, at least in this area of my life, so I’m going to put my trust, hope, love, joy, and excitement here instead of in you.” Idolatry can creep into any area of our lives.

Are you an idolater?

What are some objects of idolatrous worship in America today?
-people (girl, guy, celebrity, boss or leader)
-a sport or hobby
-a job
-a sports team

Basically anything that stands in the way or redirects passion for God and glory, honor and praise from God and places it on another activity or object. Idolatry is one of those things we are all involved in on a regular basis.

Anytime we refuse to witness to someone because of our pride, that’s idolatry.
Anytime we let a sport or hobby get in the way of worship or ministry, that’s idolatry.
Anytime we set aside discipleship for work or a girl/guy, that’s idolatry.

Exodus 32:11-14-God’s love for his people
-God is patient
-God is faithful to his promises
-God is passionate about his name

Thankfully God is patient and will not immediately destroy us for our idolatry, but he does want us to recognize it, repent of it, and get rid of our idols. This doesn’t mean we can never play sports, watch tv, hang out with a girl, or work a job. It just means we need to have priorities...and our priorities will show what we worship.

So, what do you worship?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Joey Update Vol. 20

Hey everyone. I just wanted to let you know that our Father is so good! It
was not 10 minutes after the request for rain was sent to you all, that it
rained over the whole area for about an hour! His timing is impeccable!

Be encouraged.


Funny or Not? Vol. 23

Well, marching season, football season and cheerleading season are almost here's a little something to get you ready (and worried?) about the upcoming season!

Disciplines for LIfe Part 6: Confession

Confession has been called the "Painful Discipline" and it is just that. Confessing your sins to a friend can be embarrassing and difficult. So why do it? The Bible commands confession in Matthew 5:23-24 when you have wronged someone but what about private sins. Do we have to confess those? If not, why should we confess them?

There are plenty of activities we find ourselves involved in or encourage others to be involved in that are not required or mandatory. For instance we see benefit in eating healthy, exercising, carrying life insurance, bathing on a regular basis, wearing sunscreen, brushing our teeth, cleaning our rooms and many more. Why do we do these things or think they are a good idea? Because there are negative consequences that may be associated with NOT doing these things. In the same way, NOT confessing can bring dangerous negative consequences.

Proverbs 28:13-14 shows us 3 Dangers of not confessing:

Those who do not confess:
1. Will not prosper (v13)
2. Refuse mercy (v13)
3. Brings more trouble (v14)

“If we fail to use this door we’ll find ourselves stumbling around in the deceitfulness of our own souls” John Loftness

Just as those other "un-mandatory" activities in our life can have negative effects they can also bring blessing into our lives. Confession is the same way. In David's famous confession of Psalm 51 we see quite a few blessings he expects to experience as a result of his confession:

1. Removes sin from your conscience (v3)
2. Acknowledges the offended (v4)
3. Restores joy (v8)
4. Renews Relationship (v10-12)

“Confession alone makes deep fellowship possible, and the lack of it explains much of the superficial quality so commonly found in our church associations.” Dallas Willard

5. Encourages Proclamation and Praise (v13-15)

“The confession of evil works is the beginning of good works.” Augustine of Hippo

Confession also helps us to overcome several obstacles in our lives:

We overcome condemnation (Romans 8:1)
We overcome pride (Genesis 3:8-13)-having a hard time recognizing that we really have sinned
We overcome sickness (James 5:16)

If we are going to confess (and I think the benefits show us that we should) then how should we confess? Is it ok to be vague and flippant in our confession? Here are some thoughts on how we should confess.

True confession is specific
True confession includes motive (goes deeper than the action to the why/heart)
True confession is sorrowful (2 Corinthians 7:5-11)
True Confession is accompanied by repentance (2 Corinthians 7:5-11)
True Confession is made in light of the cross

Finally, if we need to confess, who should we confess to?

It is important to confess your sins to God, but I often find that it is easier to confess to God instead of a friend, family member or pastor. Why is this? Possibly because our fear of man is greater than our fear of God. When we confess to God our attitude shouldn't be "well, God, I did it again. I need your forgiveness again." We need to remember that in any sin God is the first, and MOST, offended party. He is holy and perfect and died for that sin, so don't take your confession to him lightly.

Confession to a friend, family member or pastor can be helpful because of the immediate accountability that can come from that. Here are some characteristics to look for in the person you confess to:

-Someone who listens first and speaks later
-Someone who is compassionate and will keep it in confidence
-Someone with a healthy view of sin
-Someone who will not react in horror
-Someone who will not smother you with mercy when you need rebuke
-Someone of the same sex

Confession will help keep your conscience sensitive and avoid the "seared" conscience that Paul talks about in 1 Timothy 4:1-3. Immediate confession will strengthen your relationship with God and strengthen you in your fight against future temptation and sin.

What about you? What sin is so easily entangling you? Confess it...TODAY!

Joey Update Vol. 19

I was walking in the wilderness, or so it seemed today. It was actually the
riverbed but it was dry as a bone. This is how the Batha usually lies most
of the year. The first time I saw it though it was a happy muddy river. That
was at the end of last rainy season and the new rains have not fully come
yet. There been sporadic showers but the hit and miss quality of them has
been such that the other night, a man on a loudspeaker has called for a
three day fast so that the rains will come.

It is now "a dry and thirsty land where there is no water" (Ps. 63:1) at
least not in sufficient quantity to water all the fields and cows and sheep
that need it. While you all lift up this request to our Father, please
remember that the souls here are thirstier than the land. As you petition
the Father for rain, remember to ask likewise that He would send that Living
Water (Jn.7:38) to quench the deepest thirst.

Last year, I remember I heard reports that the rains were heavy and while
they provided water for the fields and animals, they were so heavy that they
also brought down several of the mud brick (and there are considerable
numbers of these) houses and injured people. As you p'ay, trust that He who
you ask knows just how much to send and the exact places to send it. Lastly,
as you p'ay, please remember that He has said, "My glory I will not give to
another" (Is. 42:8) so ask that He send this rain in such a way that He
alone gets all the glory that is due Him.
He knows.

-Story work is still going ahead
-Continued positive responses

-Opportunity to meet the sultan of Yao soon
-Opportunity to go to Yao soon- again see Rom. 1:13
-Lift up a friend of mine named Ahy. He has been a great help (and seeming P
o'P- Lk.10:6) to the work. The other day I had the happy vision of him
becoming a leader in the Body. Lift him up to this end.

Thanks for p'aying for these things. I will soon share the good news of how
our Father answers!


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Joey Update Vol. 18

Hello and happy belated Independence Day to all my fellow Americans! My own
day was celebrated in fine style with friends- but alas no fireworks.

As far as project related things, I am learning the importance of
flexibility and must constantly remind myself that this is His project work
first. Through it He is shaping me exactly as He wants me, in order to more
completely do His will and preparing me also for future work with Him.
Needless to say I am learning lots from Him, but this lesson more than any
other: The great importance and necessity of abiding in Him. He said, "Apart
from me you can do nothing." (Jn. 15:5) I do not want to do nothing and so I
go on reminding myself that abiding is an effortless resting in His grace.

So, as I was resting in Him, things got done. At the beginning of last week
a friend who speaks our language came over to help us with stories. We
managed to get three stories crafted with him. While this is a lot and we
rejoice over it, there remains much work to be done on them. One of the
greatest needs we have now is find someone who is consistent (our friend
lives out of town so it is harder to meet regularly with him) and knows the
language to the extent that he thinks in it.

Also, the plan to get out into surrounding villages, specifically the plan
to visit the capital town where the sultan of a large part of our people
lives, has been frustrated by circumstances. At first there was a serious
problem where a man attacked and killed his former wife. The person was
arrested and sent to prison. However, due to connections here, it turns out
that one of the two men who was going to take us to Yao, the capital town,
was related to the killer and could not travel that week.
After a week of waiting, still working on other parts of our project, we
were ready to travel again. The brother of the man in prison was ready, but
our friend who first invited us to his home in Yao is not. His wife just had
a baby girl and he needs to stay in town until the naming ceremony at the
end of this week. It is customary to name babies one week after they are
born. My friend just last night gave us good news that she is doing well
(both his wife and his baby girl) and further that he wants to name his baby
Sue, after my mom! Mom, be honoured, you may shortly have a little girl
named after you here in my country! I'll let you all know how it turns out.

So, here we are, back to planning our next move forward. It is encouraging
that we ever move forward, even if we are slowly advancing. As always your
p'ayers are needed greatly:

-Three stories begun on their long process
-Positive responses to the testings of the stories
-Opportunities to travel to other villages

-For a consistent person who knows our language very well and who is willing
to work with us to tell the stories
-See above
-For the opportunity to visit Yao, the heartland of many of our people, soon
and for good first impression and connections
-For my friend's baby girl- health and strength in this critical time in her
-Continued encouragement in the work and steady progress

Thank you all for bearing with me again in the sometimes long silences from
this front. I am also eager to hear news and p'ayer requests you have so
write to me! Or, if you dare to brave the international phone charges and my
country which is especially thirsty for phone credit (as among other things-
Jn. 7:37) fuddal (bring it on). My number for you all to call from the
States is: 011 235 944 6349. Remember I'm five hours ahead of the Eastern
seaboard so take it into account. And don't worry for the international
rates; I'm well worth it to call. :)

Blessing on you all!



Well, we're home and (slowly) finding our way back into eastern standard time!

We had a great trip. Thanks to everyone for the prayers and the blessings when we got home!

Time to jump back in the saddle, move through the rest of this summer and blast into the start of the new school year!

Keep and Eye and Ear out of these plans:

Derek Webb Concert-July 29-Christie and I will be singing that night also, opening for Derek!

August 12-14-SBBS-Students, I'm going to need your help with craft, snacks and recreation! I'll let you know!

New Overflow Band sunday night rehearsal we have time to dig into the meaning of worship before we start practice each week!

New Deep End Schedule-more details soon, but we'll probably be moving The Deep End to Tuesday nights starting in August

Parent and Student Cookout in August

Unbirthday Party at the End of August

Fall retreat at the beginning of November

And More!!!

See you this sunday at worship and at the Flood Zone!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Vacation...Day 10-13

Well, we conquered Germany this weekend. We spent time at Gerard's house in Rieden, Germany. We had plans to go to Pfungstadt to see the Crossman graves on Saturday, but Onno and Myrna's van broke down, so we had to wait until Sunday. We did get to see Albert Einstein the Mechanic when they came to check out the van.

We spent the evening in Koblenz looking around at some old buildings and ruins. All the ruins were under some sort of restoration so they were hard to see.

We made it to Pfungstadt on Sunday and saw Russelsheim on the way. Took lots of pictures in Pfungstadt and then stopped at some to climb some centuries old ruins on the way back to Rieden and then on back to Renkum, Netherlands.

Monday Myrna took us to a local castle from the early middle ages. It was beautiful. We then went to an open air museum where they have moved houses and buildings from different eras of Holland to this area. You can walk in and see how people have lived all over Holland through the centuries. The buildings are all original and some were torn down brick-by-brick and then rebuilt on site. It was a very interesting place. We also spent some time at the Arnhem war cemetery for the soldiers that died in the Market Garden operation or World War II.

So...whirlwind done, now time to travel for 20 hours to get home!

Love you all!

Enjoy the Pics!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Vacation...Day 9

Today we spent half the day around the house then went out for a short cruise on the Rotter River before dinner at Lust (a "spanish" restaurant where you order a lot of different dishes to share around the table). It was a great day! Tomorrow to Germany...bright and early!

Enjoy the pics (I've included some from Sunday 5...because I forgot that day!)