Archive for March, 2011

The Boys of Summer

Posted in Uncategorized on March 31, 2011 by nmpreach

It’s Opening Day 2011.  Every team still believes they can win the world series.  Each player believes they will have a great year.  Hope is unparalleled.  If you’ll allow me, I want to share a short video from one of the greatest movies of all times.  Enjoy!  More Willard tomorrow.

Freedom

Posted in Uncategorized on March 30, 2011 by nmpreach

What’s your idea of freedom – particularly the freedom afforded to mankind from God?  Some would say there is no freedom.  “God is in control.  He calls the shots and gets what He wants.  Freedom only exists as He allows us to exist.”  Others would counter with the free will argument.  “God desires our love and devotion.  He affords mankind the ability to choose to love or to hate, to obey or disobey.  Although there are consequences for the choices we make, God gives us the opportunity (freedom) to choose.

So I’m interested in your thoughts.  Tell me what you think.  But tell me why you think that way.  How does the sovereignty of God coincide with what you believe?  Hmmm.

Faith vs Knowledge (5)

Posted in Willard on March 29, 2011 by nmpreach

Knowing Christ today, according to Willard, involves putting aside all the superstition and the religious paraphernalia to focus on the humanity of Christ.  In other words, if one moves quickly past the historical Jesus and into the spiritual realm, they miss what Jesus actually stood for (and what He stood against). 

When it comes to morality, Willard offers it has been slowly redefined, so that even the standards once set by God are now called into question.  Just take a look at the supreme court docket and what they are asked to “decide”.  Just a few short years ago, some of those things were considered untouchable.  Now, everything is open for debate.  Science, psychology, and the idea of “If it feels good, do it!” have also led to the absence of moral knowledge throughout the last few centuries.

It seems to me that Willard is on to something.  The decline of morality didn’t happen over night.  Question is: As believers hoping to affect change in our society, is all a lost cause?  In other words, is anything salvageable or must we start from scratch again.  Lord, how we need your help!

Hope

Posted in Grace on March 28, 2011 by nmpreach

For I do not understand my own actions.  For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.  Now if  I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good.  So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.  For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh.  For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.  For I do not do the good I want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.  Romans 7:15-20 ESV

Paul is, of course, speaking of the reason why God had provided the Law.  It’s not the Law that saves, but grace.  Many scholars believe Paul wrote the above after maturing in the faith and coming to grips with his sin.  It’s helpful for us to know Paul’s background – an arrogant, blasphemous, murderer who meets Christ on the road toward more persecution.  In the blink of an eye, Paul is transformed.  He goes on to write 2/3 of our New Testament and is considered the Apostle of Grace.

That gives me hope.  After reading Paul’s confession above, I see myself time and time again.  Yet if God transformed Paul to do what Paul did, maybe there’s hope for me as well.  Need hope today?  Look towards the God who transformed Paul.  He can do the same for you!

Text Challenge

Posted in Scripture on March 24, 2011 by nmpreach

In the last few days, I’ve taken up the challenge of memorizing the letter to the Philippians.  Ideally, I’d like to have it done by Easter (which gives me a little over four weeks).  But if I don’t have it done by then, I want to complete it soon after.  Interested?  Keep me accountable and I’ll do the same for you.  Just let me know.

Today I want you to think about the phrase “in Christ Jesus.”  The phrase occurs numerous times in Philippians and throughout the New Testament.  And often times, we glance over it as a simple greeting from Paul. 

At a cursory glance, we might define those as having a relationship with Jesus.  But does it go deeper than that?  In other words, Paul already mentions the word “saints” which seems to indicate a relationship with Christ.  So why would he add the phrase “in Christ Jesus”?  In other words, are there saints not in Christ Jesus?  Is Paul just being repetitive (as he is so often prone to do)?  What’s the deal?

Read Philippians.  Chew on the text (especially that of “in Christ Jesus”).  And let me know your thoughts.

The Blogosphere

Posted in Uncategorized on March 23, 2011 by nmpreach

I wanted to give you guys a “flavor” of what i read through the blogs.  These are just a few.  But they are a good summary of where I go.  For your convenience, you can click on the links under Blogroll.  Enjoy. 

Jesus Community – Several years ago, I ran across this blog.  Ted Gossard blogs about many different things and always has something to challenge readers.  He’s well worth the read.

Jesus Creed – Scot McKnight (professor at North Park University in Chicago) writes Jesus Creed.  McKnight posts several times a day.  I thoroughly enjoy his down-to-earth writing style, while at the same time challenging readers to think on a deeper level.  Check it out!

John Stackhouse – Professor John Stackhouse teaches on a graduate level at Regent College.  Stackhouse is challenging when it comes to theology.  I really like his stuff.

Roger Olson – Dr. Olson teaches theology at Truett (Baylor University’s Graduate School).  Olson is known for his Arminian Theology

Wesleyan Arminian – Kevin Jackson writes specifically in regards to Arminian theology.  Good stuff.

Again, there are others that I read.  I will post about them later.  However, this will give you a good start and help you understand what’s formulating some of my thoughts.  Please read these blogs for what they are and use your brain.  Don’t drink all the Kool Aid 🙂

Faith vs. Knowledge (4)

Posted in Willard on March 22, 2011 by nmpreach

Socrates once said, “If we only know the good, we will do it.”  In other words, education is the solution to the problem.  At a cursory glance, that seems  to be the case.  After all, what we consider to be civilized societies, make education a large part of who they are.  But is Socrates correct through out?  Does knowledge prevent all problems?

We all know people who have experienced trouble because of ignorance.  A lack of knowledge always carries consequences.  On the other hand, many live their lives with the mantra “Ignorance is bliss.”  Perhaps this is because we realize when we know something, we’re expected to use that same knowledge.  Knowledge means responsibility or certain expectations.  Do you ever notice a homeless person on the side of the road and act like you’re busy?  Willard points out, if you look, your knowledge has required you to deal with the present circumstance.

The prophet Hosea writes, My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me.  And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.(4:6)

It’s clear that we must be about obtaining the knowledge God makes available – not only for our sake, but for the sake of those who follow.  What will you learn today for the sake of those who follow you?