Post with a purpose…

Everything on this planet that was created, has a creator, and was created with a purpose. When someone builds a house, they have a purpose in mind for building that house. It is to become a home, it is to be a place where people can rest, and be protected from the outside world, and the elements of nature. When someone designs and builds a car, it is built with a purpose in mind. It is transportation, to transport someone from point A to point B.

The Bible tells us that we too, as people, have a creator. Genesis 2:7 says, “then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” Multiple passages in the Old Testament speak of the way God has formed us in the womb. (Psalm 139:13, Isaiah 44:24, 49:5, Jeremiah 1:5) Seeing as though we too were created by a creator, the next logical question is, “What is our purpose?”

In my study of Scripture, I believe I’ve found two passages that give us this answer.

First, in Mark 12, Jesus is asked by a Scribe, “what is the most important commandment of all.” Jesus then says, (Mark 12:29-31) “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord your God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this; ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Jesus is here summing up what God had already told the nation of Israel back in Deuteronomy 6:4-6. Very simply what these two commandments tell us, is that we are to love God with all that we have, and with all that we are.

Second, in Ephesians 2:10 the Apostle Paul tells us this, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Very simply Paul is telling us that we were created for good works that He (God) has already prepared for us to do. God has prepared those things before the foundations of the earth. Technically I believe this last verse, can also be summed up in the previous two commands given to us by Jesus.

So what do we know so far? Everything on this planet is created, and is created with a purpose. We as people also have a creator, God, and we were created with a purpose as well. Our purpose is very simply to love God first and foremost, and to love people. These things work themselves out in various ways. But everything we do, must be rooted in our love for God first and then a love for people. If this is not the case in our lives, then we are missing our purpose. We are not doing what we were created to do.

So now we must ask ourselves, what happens when something that is created, doesn’t serve its purpose? Let’s look back to our previous two examples. When a house is not doing what it is built to do, when people aren’t living in it, when it cannot serve to protect people from the elements of nature what happens to it? Generally it is torn down and thrown away, unless it can be repaired. The same thing is true with a car. If a car is not able to do what it was created to do, when it cannot take a person from point A to point B, it is sold for scraps, or thrown into the scrap heap. That is of course, unless it can be repaired. People are no different. I believe we see great and frightening examples of this in two places in the book of Matthew. (3:12 & 25:41-46)

The great thing is though, we CAN be fixed, that is why Jesus came to earth…Read John 3:16-21 and pray.
God bless…

Be watching for a related post in the coming days…

Christ Centered Theology-Don’t be that nerd!

As I study theology more, and continue to discuss it more, I’ve found myself becoming increasingly frustrated with the “theological hills” that some folks choose to stay, and fight on, seemingly until death if necessary. It is a good thing to know what you believe, to be sure, but it is a completely different thing to want to fight to the death over an issue that is of secondary importance.

All Christians, and theological persuasions seem to have those issues. For some the issue is baptism; mode, subject, and meaning. For some it is in relation to the gifts of the Spirit, are they active, are they not? For some it is communion. For some it is Church government and authority. For some it is Scripture. What is inspired, what isn’t, how should we interpret it, what is the correct translation, etc. I’m not saying these issues aren’t important, and shouldn’t be discussed. But what I am saying is that these issues are not of first importance. What I am saying is that these things aren’t what our theology should be centered on.

I think the Bible is very clear about what our theology is to be centered on. Philippians 2:9 tells us that, “God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name.” John15:26 &16:8-11 tells us that the work of the Holy Spirit is to lead us to Christ. First the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin, and leads us to repentance. Then the Holy Spirit transforms us, and empowers us so that we can live our lives for Christ, and bear witness about Him. (Acts 1:8, 4:33, 1 Corinthians 2:4-5) In Luke 24:27 and John 5:39 Jesus Himself tells us that the Scriptures point to Himself. When we partake in the Lord’s Supper, we are doing that in remembrance of what Christ has done. (Matthew 26:26-29,Mark 14:22-25, Luke 22:18-20) When we baptize, we baptize because Christ commands us to. (Matthew 28:19) The Church is the body of Christ. (Romans 12:5, Ephesians 1:22-23, 3:6, 4:4,12, 5:23)

There is one constant in the statements I just made, and in the Scriptures I noted. They are all about Christ. Our Theology also ought to be all about Christ. We are to preach Christ, and preach the Gospel and the good news about what Christ has done. Any theology that we have, that is not centered around Christ is wrong. Sure there are aspects of theology, very important ones at that, that do need to be talked about and discussed and learned. But if those things ever get in the way of us serving Christ, we must put those things away. I heard an awesome quote from John Piper and I use it often. He said, “Don’t let your theology get in the way of the Bible.” I say, “Don’t let your theology get in the way of Christ.”

We must stop with all of this debating, and bickering about secondary issues that only serve to divide Christ’s church. I’m so sick of certain denominations and branches of Christianity that seem to think they have some sort of superior knowledge, or a level of enlightenment that others don’t, and want to talk down or bad mouth every one else that doesn’t align themselves with their camp. I’m so sick of theological nerds, who want to tell me how many dead dudes agree with their particular theological opinion. I’m sick of people who quote creeds and confessions as if they are the Word of God.

Christ centered and Biblically based creeds are great… please don’t misunderstand me. There have been many wonderful men of God that have been used mightily to advance His kingdom. But they are just that, men. Don’t center your theological opinions and stances based on the words of men, but on the Word of God, which is Christ.

Lest you think I’m some great hypocrite (which I am), let me say this. I have found myself falling into all of these same habits and tendencies that I just talked about. I have let my opinions and beliefs get in the way of my serving God and His people. I have been that theological nerd. I must repent of this, and begin to seek His face, and His face alone. I pray all of us, who have fallen into these habits might do the same.

God bless…

How many times can I break?

How many of you guys have heard the song “Till I Shatter” by a group called O.A.R.? One of the lyrics of that song says, “How many times will I break till I shatter?” I’m not sure why, but I really love that line. I suppose it inspires a feeling in me that I have been able to identify with many times in my life. I know there have been many times in the course of my life where I’ve felt like, “I’ve been broken again, how many more times can I go through something like this?” There have even been times where I’ve thought that I was already completely broken, shattered if you will, and felt as though there was no hope.

One day while I was at work this song came on and a guy I was working with made the comment, “I hate this song, breaking is the same thing as being shattered.” I quickly had to correct him. I explained that if something is broken, it can still be repaired. If something is shattered, it is destroyed, and it cannot be fixed.

As I thought about it, this reminded me very much of how God deals with His children. He allows us to be broken, but we will never shatter, he will never destroy us. There may be times where we think we have been destroyed, but that is never the case. People like to paint a rosy picture of the Christian walk, filled with endless blessings, and nothing but good times. There are good times, certainly. There are endless blessings. But there are also, many, many times that we will suffer. Do yourself a favor sometime, go to the back of your bible and look up the words “suffer, suffered, and suffering(s).

Sufferings are going to happen, that is why I am so thankful that I have a glorious promise in the Bible, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in Spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”(Psalm 34:18-19) Look at what the Apostle Paul says, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed…So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison…”(2 Corinthians 4:8-9,16-17)

What are these passages of Scripture telling us? These passages are telling us that God’s people will suffer. Even more than that, they are telling us that it is these very sufferings, and trials that are preparing us for a greater glory. Many times it is these very sufferings that draws us closer to Him, and strengthens our faith (See Romans 5:3). Paul also says in Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Again, that goes back to 2 Corinthians 4:17, all that we do suffer in this life, doesn’t measure up, doesn’t even compare, to the glory that we will have in our next. What an awesome truth.The sufferings we experience in this life, are preparing us for something much greater in the next. See again what Paul said in 2 Corinthians, “For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison…”

Remember, if you are feeling broken, God can and will put you back together, if you will seek Him, if you ask Him. Granted, that might not happen in this life, but if that is the case, take heart because the next is much more glorious than you can imagine. This life doesn’t even compare. If you are His child, He promises you this. Take heart when you are going through these trials. It is during these times that God is preparing you for something much greater.

So the answer to my question, “How many times can I break?” As many times as I need to. I can always have confidence that I won’t shatter…So can you.