Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Help My Unbelief....

This is a declaration believe it or not, but it ain't gonna begin that just bear with me. Without going into details, let's just say that the uncertainty in some big stuff continues to seem to hang over our heads like a spooky looking rain cloud on the horizon. I am taking this moment in time to speak to it because of the uniqueness of this "moment in time." In this moment in time, I do not know how this will all play out. I know how we want it to play out and quite frankly, we think we know how it ought to play out. I wish I could say I've been a rock of quiet confidence, but it just is not the case. The stress has caused me to get ticked, frustrated, worried, etc. In the midst of this, what I pray is this.....Lord I do believe, help my unbelief. This belief is not necessarily that things will work out as I think it ought. My belief and my hope is in the goodness of God regardless of how things turn out. This is what I need help with. If I trust that he can make this work out as I hope, then I could be disillusioned if it does not, and if it does work out as I hope, I could potentially be trusting in the deceitfulness of riches(see Cares of this world post). I pray that He would help my unbelief in his goodness and my unbelief in his ability to work out his purposes in my life through whatever circumstances he introduces especially his ultimate purpose to remake us all in his image.

Here's the declaration: God is good all the time.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Secret Church

Through a series of events that could perhaps deserve a blog post for themselves, I have discovered a wonderful resource for myself and all others who desire to study the Bible thoroughly and intensely. It is

This is a pretty fascinating phenomenon that is national and even global but has its roots here in the fair Birmingham Metro area. The pastor of Church at Brook Hills, David Platt, leads an intense six hour long marathon study once every 6 months or so. He has been doing this for about the past three years I believe. The topics covered include: The Old Testament, The New Testament, How to Study the Bible, Who is God, and they will be doing the fifth one this November. People travel from out of state to attend this thing called secret church from 6 PM to midnight. They have breaks every hour for coffee and food and bathroom/stretch your legs type stuff; therefore, the audio available online is actually about 4 hours in length because it only covers the actual teaching sessions. Both the audio and pdf files, that contain the same worksheets that they use in the service, are available online at the above web address for free for all. The reason it is called secret church is because the primary beneficiaries of the teaching are not those who physically attend, but it is specifically designed to be sent out to the church in third world countries who are first generation Christians and desperately need sound teaching about the most basic stuff. I highly recommend anyone with a desire to know your Bible to visit the site and allow yourself to be challenged by the solid approach to Bible study offered within the teachings.

It's GOOD stuff......

bushels of blessings to ya

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Cares of this world

I was recently thinking about that parable where Jesus talks about the seed, the sower, and the four different types of soil. I had some thoughts about one very specific part of this parable that I think might be worth writing about.

Myndall and I are in the midst of lots of stressful, big stuff right now, and I know of at least 8 or 9 close friends of ours who are facing some very serious, scary times in their lives that make our concerns look relatively small. It is in this context that these thoughts have emerged.

First, this parable appears in three of the four gospel accounts(Matthew, Mark, and Luke). This leads me to believe that this parable has a special significance, and Jesus even says, "Do you not understand this parable? How then shall you understand all parables?" This is a pretty powerful red flag that this is a pretty biggie to understand.

I'm just going to focus on one very specific point in the third kind of soil. The one that had thorns that choked out the life of the plant and made it unfruitful. In Mark 4:19 it states, "but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful." I think I've often interpreted this part in the past to be referring to people who just couldn't give up their pursuit of "worldly" things like the never ending quest for the bigger and better house, car, computer, tv, etc. or a hunger for power or something along those lines. I now am beginning to understand that this parable has a much more important point to make than simply chastising these problems.

When he says the worries or cares of this world, this applies to what all people deal with especially upon entering adulthood. However, it is clear to me that this does not mean to say that the cares or worries themselves cause the "soil" to be unfruitful. If this were the case we would think, "yep, it's too bad about old so and so. They would have been a great man/woman of God if they had not been sidetracked by all those terrible circumstances that played out in their lives. That stuff really derailed them from serving God."

I think that most of us inherently know this line of thinking is flawed because outside influences can't be what determines our "fruitfulness" according to our most basic understandings of the gospel. Therefore, what this passage is getting at is actually who we trust when the cares come and who we pursue when the cares leave us alone for a while. "...but the worries of the world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful." The great thing about our God is that he is teaching us(be it ever so slowly because I for one am a slow learner) that we work in the complete reverse of the world and its people in so many ways. Perhaps one of the most fascinating ways is that when we are in a place in our lives where a sudden storm seems to come in and overwhelm us, this is actually the place where we can find the greatest times of rest in Him because we are supposed to (slow learner) know that we are ultimately trusting in HIS ability not ours. Or another way of putting as my two year old daughter is fond of singing, "With Jesus in the boat, you can smile at the storm, smile at the storm, smile at the storm." :) I pray for my friends and believe they do the same for me. I pray that I would learn this lesson of dependence so I could be a better example of it to everyone. I pray that we would all pursue Christ with our whole hearts during and especially after the storm passes so that the "desires for other things" would exit out instead of entering in.

A possibly encouraging thought is that this third type of soil did receive the word and had roots and did not wither and die early on because of tribulation. It seems to me that each type of soil is progressively closer to the desired type of soil which is "good" soil that is deep and rich and free of thorns that strangle the life out of it. I hope that by the grace of God and the work of His Holy Spirit in our lives we are just around the corner from entering into a place of fruitfulness for those we encounter's benefit and for His glory.

Monday, September 01, 2008


The only thing I see are the clouds
The only thing I hear are the doubts
The only thing I feel is the pain
The only thing I taste is bitterness

The only thing I see is a ray of light
The only thing I hear is a small, tender voice
The only thing I feel is comfort
The only thing I taste is forgiveness

The only thing I know is the Word
The only thing to accept is the Truth
The only thing we deserve is judgment
The only thing we need is Him

The only thing He died for was you
The only thing keeping you from Him, the same