Sunday, March 30, 2014

Tom Short

I'm ba-ack!  Trying to start blogging again, pray I keep it up.
Tom Short spoke at church today. Always love hearing him speak. I love Scripture-based sermons, don't get me wrong. But the occasional, strictly application sermons (while still 100% Biblical, mind you) are refreshing. Tom, as you might know, is a campus, open air preacher, whose goal is to engage young people in open discussions about faith, God, creation, etc. his sermon today was on the top questions he gets asked on campus. Of course, one of the number one questions is about gay marriage. I'm not going to stir the debate, but I liked a few of his points. His main point of the whole sermon was that people ask the questions, sure, but they typically have a point behind the question. The real issue, as it were. The point behind this one (typically) is that Christians are hateful bigots. We try to deny love or rights or whatever to people who believe counter to our beliefs. And that's exactly the point. We didn't come up with this. This is *God's* truth. He is the one who determines what's right and what's wrong, not us. If there is no God, sure, we can say this is right or this is wrong, however we decide (and however aligns with our desires, we wouldn't call it wrong if we wanted to do it). But there is a God and He is clear. Homosexuality is wrong. Tom follows up to say, this in no way allows for us to hate homosexuals. Christ died for ALL, so we must love all. But love does not accept sin in any form. Love the sinner but hate the sin. The more you love someone, the more you'll hate their sin. Tom's illustration today was a high school friend of his who wanted to start doing drugs. Tom vehemently tried to convince him not to, not because Tom wanted to deny his rights or didn't want him to follow his desires, but because drugs are wrong. There were others around Tom doing drugs and he didn't care. But his friend, whom he loved, that was a different story. 
I guess the moral is, look past the question to the heart behind the question. Convincing someone that gay marriage is wrong will do nothing to convince them that there is a God and He decides what's right and wrong.  And love the sinner, but hate the sin. 

Monday, April 30, 2012

in the world, not of the world

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. (James 1:27 ESV)

I was reading this tonight and I thought, how does one keep oneself "unstained from the world."? I mean, we are called to reach a world that is perishing, to jump in and throw a lifeline to those sinking in their own sin. How can we then stay dry? I started thinking about that line between "in the world" and "of the world." Oftentimes, it is so blurry. We're raised to believe that God is black or white, right or wrong. But lately I've been lead by God to explore when and how He works in the gray areas. Please do not misunderstand, God is the same yesterday, today and forever and He absolutely has laid out for us rights and wrongs. Many things in His word are laid out in black and white, whether we choose to believe it, or twist it with interpretation. A lot of times, He speaks clearly, with a megaphone. But He chooses to whisper in the wind sometimes, to bolster our faith and keep us seeking after Him. I mean, if He laid it all out for us, what need would we have to learn more about Him. We'd just be robots, carrying out his programming.
Anyways, this has diverged from my original subject, but some good thoughts nonetheless. What do you think?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Godly counsel

I've been thinking a lot about this lately. As I told Keegan earlier, I have about 15 mini-blogs bouncing around my head and this is the most formulated one.
What is godly counsel? More importantly what isn't it? What's it's purpose? I mean, if God told you something, why do you need to inquire of sinful man? Let's explore.
A lot of people think godly counsel is "I did this, what do you think?". Please let me be plain in my speech, there is no place for godly counsel after-the-fact. NONE. The only two scenarios are: 1) "I agree with your decision. Good job!", which is nothing more than stroking your ego. Or 2) "I disagree with your decision. Badly done!", which hurts the relationship (we all know the strain a relationship suffers when one party does something the other party doesn't like. How can you be friends with someone who does something against your wishes. Or further, how can you be friends with someone who disagrees with something you do? Not impossible, but certainly not easy).
Godly counsel is also not even, "what should I do?". This is probably the most common misconception about godly counsel. That's called advice. Much different that godly counsel. God is in charge of telling you what to do, just ask and listen. ASK and LISTEN. He will answer. As I told Barbara earlier, "I'm not here to tell you God's will, I'm here to confirm it." I think that too many times this is how younger Christians approach counsel. On the flip side, I think this also keeps people from seeking Godly counsel, thinking we're just going to boss you around.
Now back to our previously posed question, if God told you something, why do you need confirmation? Shouldn't you just have faith? The important point here is we are to test the spirits (1 John 4:1). Not every thought in our mind is from God (that's kind of a "duh" statement, but sometimes we really need to hear those). But trust, my friend, He will make sure you know it's Him if you just wait. We have no patience (and at the same time, no sense of urgency in those matters that invoke urgency, hmm). We heard an answer, and BOOM! we're off in that direction, 100 miles an hour, no brakes. We don't have time to slow down and test that answer against what God has already said, and especially not against what others have experienced. Besides, it's the answer I want, and what if my counsel says I shouldn't. That just shows how confident you are in your walk with God. I mean, if you truly where listening and hearing from God, He's not going to contradict Himself and yank the rug out from under you. But let's face it, sometimes we hear what we want to hear. That's why it's important to have those outside of the situation who can be logical and don't have a dog in that fight. Those people have a less clouded picture of what's going on.
So, we should have no reason to fear godly counsel. God won't give you two different directions. And by allowing someone else authority in your life, you strengthen that relationship all the more.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

don't let the sun go down on your anger

Anger. It's so infuriating.

Here's what really pisses me off about anger. Say something hurts your feelings. It takes literally 0.00000000000000001 seconds for that insult (plus or minus air quotes) to make you angry. Then, you start the inevitable ping pong match in your mind of determining if it is legitimate enough to be brought up to the person. You tell God to make the anger go away, you try to put it out of your mind. Then you think that you should bring it up to them. But something stops you. Maybe circumstances. Maybe God. Maybe something inside you that says "Hey, this was a legitimate hurt. They deserve to suffer for it, don't just forgive them right away." Because how many of us have ever had a conversation with someone about something they did that hurt you and you walked away even more angry? Rare (though I'm sure it happens). So if you bring up, it gets resolved then and there. And you deserve to harbor that anger for a while, I mean YOU'RE the victim after all. So you start working on this conversation you promise you'll have eventually, just not right now. Then, all these issues that you thought you had given to God and/or gotten over start coming to mind again. And you have to, yet again, determine if they're worth bringing up or you're just being petty (as we've determined you are capable of being). There comes another ping pong match, between feeling silly about being still angry about this stupid little quirk and all the little things they do that annoy you mounting up into this Voltron of a problem where you're wondering if they even care about you. Then, you get into that unstable balance of deciding you're probably, most likely going to have the conversation. But, you start thinking, "hey, I've been giving them the silent treatment this whole time, why haven't THEY come to talk to ME? Why do I always have to be the mature one?" And that pity party, my friends, is crippling. You long for someone to approach you, without provocation or prompting and just say "I hurt you and I'm sorry." I wonder if it ever gets any easier.
We talked at homegroup tonight about people that live their lives for themselves and give their lives to Christ on their deathbed. But in all honesty, I much rather envy the ones who believe in Christ but don't care if they live up to the way He desires all Christians to live and behave. It so much easier than really pursuing change in your life through the power of Christ. But as the saying goes, "it's simple, it ain't easy."
I realize this blog reveals some ugly things about me. I'm hoping you can relate, and if not, not think any lesser of me. I'm just being honest.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

pruned? or cut off?

I was reading in the life of Jesus and He's talking to His disciples on the night He was betrayed. He tells them (among other things) how He is the true vine and God is the gardener. He tells them that God cuts off branches that do not produce fruit and prunes branches that do so they will produce even more. I know sometimes it's hard to see the fruit that our service is producing, because it's subtle (thing a river carving a path in a rock) and/or takes place over time (think planting a seed, it takes a lot of time and other things outside of your control for it to grow). If you can't pinpoint the fruit in your life, when hard times come and you feel like your in a drought, it's easy to wonder "am I being cut off, or just pruned?" As followers of Christ, we are expected to bear fruit, and if we are following Him with our whole hearts, trust me, brothers and sisters, He will bring the fruit. I know pruning and being cut off probably feel the same to the subject, but take heart in knowing that He will not cut you off if you are bearing fruit. BUT, He will prune you and that might hurt and seem really unfair in the meanwhile ("but God, I'm doing what you asked."). On the other end, however, you will produce even MORE fruit than if you had just kept with "what works." That's my word of encouragement for the day, enjoy! :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

be alert

I was reading in the Gospels yesterday and Jesus was talking about how He would come back at an unknown hour.  He uses numerous parables for examples (homeowner and the thief, the bridesmaids and the lamps, etc.) to show how no one could ever know when the time will come.  He goes on and on about how it will be when you least expect it and no one knows the hour.  Then, He tells us to be alert and always ready.  But, how is one to be ready for something when they have no idea when will occur?  How can you be prepared, but not expecting the event?  To throw a further twist in the story, Jesus also tells us that there will be signs to show when He is coming back (the moon and sun will become darkened and the stars will fall).  So there will be signs, but you won't know when it's coming, but you should always be ready for it?  Confused, I am.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

have to balance out the productivity of this afternoon...

Hey there gang! Here's a quick update from the world of Jennifer. New job is still great, I'm learning a lot everyday. The owner/head doctor is a lot of fun and really brilliant. He's taught me and Ruth a lot about casting people's feet to make orthotics. I'm learning more about feet than I ever thought I would, lol. I see patients about 1/3 of the time (trimming back their nails and thinning/smoothing them), then the rest of the time I help Ruth with ordering orthotics and work on medical records, paperwork and computer stuff. The clinic administrator is smart as a whip too. She knows so much about feet/ankles as well as computer stuff. She wants to train me to be the IT person so her time's freed up for administrative duties. The rest of the staff is great, everyone works hard but has fun doing it. Most Fridays I have gotten off early too, to avoid overtime.
In baby news, Jennifer and Erik finally had their baby! Ben Samuel Murphy, born 7/11 @ 2:09am, 8 lbs 3 oz. He is so perfect! Andi, Amanda and I were at the hospital with her parents and sister and his parents when he was born, which made for a rough day the next day with only 2 hours sleep. It was so totally worth it though. Poor Jennifer, she had a ROUGH time. She went into full labor around noon on the 10th after being at the hospital since 2 am that morning when her water broke. She started pushing around 10pm and after 2 1/2 hours he hadn't come out, so they went in and got him via c-section. She was wiped, a whole day of no food and pretty much 2 days without sleep. She's amazing. I got to see them the next day and she was up and walking. I got to witness Erik dealing with a newborn, which was precious. I feel honored and privileged to be able to see his first moments as a father and see the look on his face as he gazed on his son in the first hours of his life. I look forward to seeing what great parents he and Jennifer will be and see how God grows them in this. I'm also super-ecstatic to be a part of this little man's family and see the man God's making him to be. He's already been at work for 9 1/2 months and I love what He's done so far!!