Tag Archives: scripture

“Soul Feed”

One must constantly be on the look out for danger signs in their spiritual health. Whether you have a built in meter to help with this, or you have a friend or spouse super willing to bring up stagnancy, which may lead to sin,  spiritual health is critical. Holistically speaking our spiritual health is inexorably tied to our mental and physical health.  So it is vital that we keep all parts of our beings maintained and running healthily.

In an effort to find fresh ways of feeding my soul, I have prayed and decided to audit a class at DenSem called “Reading the Spiritual Masters.”  It is my goal to really stick with it as most MDiv grads who do an audit like this tend to fall off pretty quickly when there is no risk on the line.

One of the reasons I chose this class is the prof.  Howard Baker is a really cool man who has helped shape some of my faith practices.

I have already received the books and begun to meditate on some of the material.  One of the books is a tractate titled “Golden Booklet of the True Christian Life” by John Calvin (I’ll call it GBTCL from now on).  Typically John Calvin is not one of my more favorite reads.  First, they are usually more of a magnum opus and secondly, the interpreters of his French and Latin don’t work for my sophomoric mind. However this small volume is interpreted more palatably for my vocabulary.

A long introduction to a short paragraph about scripture:

The goal of the new life is that God’s children exhibit melody and harmony in their conduct.  What melody?  The song of God’s justice.  What harmony?  The harmony between god’s righteousness and our obedience.

Only if we walk in the beauty of God’s law do we become sure of our adoption as children of the Father.

The law of God contains in itself the dynamic of the new life by which his image is fully restored in us; but by nature we are sluggish, and therefore we need to be simulated, aided in our efforts by a guiding principle.

A sincere repentance from the heart does not guarantee that we shall not wander from the straight path and sometimes become bewildered.

Let us then search scripture to find the root principle for the reformation of our life.

In the words of the most interesting man in the world, “Stay thirsty my friends.”

Urban Legends used by Pastors

I don’t want to ever lie from the pulpit. Either knowingly or unknowingly. However, there have been times when a story sounds so good it just had to be shared. Only to find out later that maybe there were parts of it that didn’t quite line up. Or we share something about the Bible that may bring conviction to the hearer, but has no truth to it. Those kinds of exaggerations don’t glorify our Father at all.

On a blog I read pretty often, an article appeared on this very subject. The original is found here.  Let me know what you think.   Here it is:

Those of us who are entrusted with the task of expositing the Scriptures in a local church must take care to verify our sources, illustrations, and stories. No matter how helpful an illustration may be, it is dishonoring to God if it is untrue.

Here are a number of urban legends that get repeated in sermons. Some are more pervasive than others, even appearing in commentaries and scholarly works.

1. The “eye of the needle” refers to a gate outside Jerusalem.

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Persecution in the U.S.? Hardly compared to Iran. Please read.

Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani is in prison in Iran for apostasy.  He is scheduled to be executed for not adhering to Islamic law, unless he recants his faith in Jesus Christ, he will be the first Christian executed in Iran since 1990. 

This is outrageous.  You can do something to stop it.  Presently a stay of execution has been ordered.  However, more pressure must  be put on the Iranian government in order to keep our brother in Christ alive doing what he was built for.  Please make your voice heard, both in Congress and before the throne of our Heavenly Father.

A Washington Post article concerning this situation can be found here.
Congressman John Boehner issued the following statement here.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide has this article regarding Pastor Youcef.
Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback tweeted the following message: IRAN:Pastor Yousef #Nadarkhani is about to be executed for his faith.Please protest this! http://bit.ly/mQ0FDv

The following letter was written by Pastor Yousef Nadarkhanito his church in June 2010.  It was translated from Farsi to English.  Simultaneously, my heart was encouraged and distraught.  Encouraged because I believe in a big God who wants his word preached in such a dark place.  Encouraged because we can have a part in the saving of a life for the Kingdom.  Distraught because of the wickedness that dwells on our planet.  Distraught at how easy folks fall away in the U.S.A. from Christ, church, family, and relationships for much, much less compared to this.  Help us Lord.

Dear brothers and sisters, Salam

In the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, I am continuously seeking grace and mercy to you, that you remember me and those who are bearing efforts for his name in your prayers. Your loyalty to God is the cause of my strength and encouragement.

For I know well that you will be rewarded; as it’s stated: blessed is the one who has faith, for what has been said to him by God, will be carried out. As we believe, heaven and earth will fade but his word will still remain.

Dear beloved ones, I would like to take this opportunity to remind you of a few verses, although you might know them, So that in everything, you give more effort than the past, both to prove your election, and for the sake of Gospel that is to be preached to the entire world as well.

I know that not all of us are granted to keep this word, but to those who are granted this power and this revelation, I announce the same as Jude, earnestly contend for the faith that was once delivered to the saints.

We are passing by special and sensitive days.They are days that for an alert and awake believer can be days of spiritual growth and progress. Because for him, more than any other time there is the possibility to compare his faith with the word of God, have God’s promises in mind, and survey his faith.

Therefore he (the true believer) does not need to wonder for the fiery trial that has been set on for him as though it were something unusual, but it pleases him to participate in Christ’s suffering. Because the believer knows he will rejoice in his glory.

Dears, the “ judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?”

Therefore those who are enduring burdens by the will of God, commit their souls to the faithful Creator. Promises that he has given us, are unique and precious. As we’ve heard he has said: “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you”

How can it be possible for a believer to understand these words?

Not only when he is focusing on Jesus Christ with adapting his life according to the life Jesus lived when he was on earth? As it is said ” O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.”

Have we not read and heard: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Many attempt to flee from their spiritual tests, and they have to face those same tests in a more difficult manner, because no one will be victorious by escaping from them, but with patience and humility he will be able to overcome all the tests, and gain victory.

Therefore in the place of Christ’s followers, we must not feel desperate, but we have to pray to God in supplication with more passion to help us with any assistance we may need.

According to what Paul has said: In every temptation, God himself will make a way for us to tolerate it.

O beloved ones, difficulties do not weaken mankind, but they reveal the true human nature.

It will be good for us to occasionally face persecutions and abnormalities, since these abnormalities will persuade us to search our hearts, and to survey ourselves. So as a result, we conclude that troubles are difficult, but usually good and useful to build us.

Dear brothers and sisters, we must be more careful than any other time. Because in these days, the hearts and thoughts of many are revealed, so that the faith is tested. May your treasure be where there is no moth and rust.

I would like to remind you of some verses that we nearly discuss everyday, (Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.) but as long as our human will has priority over God’s will, his will will not be done.

As we have learned from him in Gethsemane, he surrendered his will to the father, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

What we are bearing today, is a difficult but not unbearable situation, because neither he has tested us more than our faith and our endurance, nor does he do as such. And as we have known from before, we must beware not to fail, but to advance in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, And consider these bumps and prisons as opportunities to testify to his name. He said: If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

As a small servant, necessarily in prison to carry out what I must do, I say with faith in the word of God that he will come soon.”However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

Discipline yourself with faith in the word of God. Retain your souls with patience. For there is no man that doeth anything in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly.

May you are granted grace and blessings increasingly in the name of Lord Jesus Christ.

Yusef Nadarkhani
Lakan Prison in Rasht
2/June/2010

Chris Tomlin/Louie Giglio Gig Review

Just the other night a bunch of us went to the Wells Fargo Theater downtown Denver for a Chris Tomlin/Louie Giglio deal.

If you have never been to a Chris Tomlin worship concert go here and make some serious plans to get there.  You will not regret it.

I think one of the best things about Chris’ music is the focus of his songs.  Recently I read an article on worship titled “The Show is Over” in Charisma Magazine all about the state of worship music in some of our churches in the States.  Stertzer interviewed folks from all over and makes some provocotive points.  Quoting the article she makes the statement- “Then in the ’90s, a lot of songs were in first person, with a focus on self: “I need” and “Lord, what can You do for me?”  In reflecting on Chris’ songs, I can’t recall his being of this ilk.  As we all sang together, what came to my mind was how each song pointed to, reflected on, and illuminated something about Father, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit.  We sang to and about God the entire time.  This was super refreshing. 

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