Category Archives: Religion

The Glory of Plodding

This is another repost. This time, from Kevin DeYoung. What a phenomenal insight into a lot of the current and contemporary ways of Christianity. I hope you find it as inspiring, challenging, and down right real as I have.

The Glory of Plodding
by Kevin DeYoung

It’s sexy among young people — my generation — to talk about ditching institutional religion and starting a revolution of real Christ-followers living in real community without the confines of church. Besides being unbiblical, such notions of churchless Christianity are unrealistic. It’s immaturity actually, like the newly engaged couple who think romance preserves the marriage, when the couple celebrating their golden anniversary know it’s the institution of marriage that preserves the romance. Without the God-given habit of corporate worship and the God-given mandate of corporate accountability, we will not prove faithful over the long haul.

What we need are fewer revolutionaries and a few more plodding visionaries. That’s my dream for the church — a multitude of faithful, risktaking plodders. The best churches are full of gospel-saturated people holding tenaciously to a vision of godly obedience and God’s glory, and pursuing that godliness and glory with relentless, often unnoticed, plodding consistency.

My generation in particular is prone to radicalism without followthrough. (read the rest here)

10 Things Jesus Did NOT Say…

Taken from Perry Nobles website.

(original post found here)

10 Things Jesus Did Not Say!
April 19, 2010

Jesus made it pretty clear in John 13:34-35 as to how the world would know we are His disciples…notice He did NOT say, “They will know you are my disciples…
#1 – By the way you forward really stupid, ridiculous emails to one another…and if you refuse to forward them to everyone you have in your contact list then you don’t love me.
#2 – By the way you yell at people who don’t know me for living as if they don’t know me.
#3 – By your T-shirts and bumper stickers!
#4 – By the music you listen to!
#5 – By the political party you support.
#6 – By the denomination you belong to.
#7 – By the way you protest.
#8 – By the products and companies you boycott.
#9 – By the way you look down on those whom you perceive aren’t as good as you.
#10 – By the way you take from one another!
Nope…John 13:34-35 is clear, Jesus didn’t mix His Words…we are called to live this out.

The Last Letter..

The original can be found here…

http://www.catalystspace.com/content/read/the_last_letter/

The Last Letter
By Ed Stetzer

The Last Letter

Sometimes a “full and wonderful life” ends abruptly.

She was 22 years old, had just given birth, and was in prison for her faith. Perpetua was a Christian of the 3rd century. Her judges and father begged her to recant for the sake of her child. She refused. Instead she used her final days to write the story of why she chose to die. Upon hearing their verdict, she wrote, “we were condemned to the beasts, and we returned to prison in high spirits.” Later, Perpetua sang triumphantly as she marched into the Roman amphitheater to face execution.

1700 years later, in Germany, Dietrich Bonhoeffer sat in prison awaiting his execution. One of the few Christians to resist the Nazis, he took a bold stand for the Gospel. Bonhoeffer was arrested after a failed attempt on Hitler’s life. During his last days, he wrote reflections on the end of life. They were mixed with courage and fear as he confessed his loneliness but proudly concluding, “Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine. Whoever I am, Thou knowest, O God, I am Thine!”

Soon after, Bonhoeffer’s “full and wonderful life” ended at the end of a noose. A doctor who was present at his death later wrote, “In the almost fifty years that I worked as a doctor, I have hardly ever seen a man die so entirely submissive to the will of God.”

These stories confront us with the penetrating question: Have I made a difference worth recording? The power of these stories—these last letters—is they lay us bare before the call of the Gospel. The light of these men and women who burned for Christ exposes our lives as dying embers in comparison.

John Piper once noted that in our prosperous culture, Christians are able to “give to the church and then devote themselves financially to building the good life and all the while keep a clear conscience.” He’s right.

For example, giving to the poor is thoroughly divorced from any real sacrifice. New technologies allow us to make giving possible, even when born of greed. I can sign up for programs in which a portion of my purchase goes to help the poor in Third World slums. Nice. We have created a 21st century form of indulgences in which we buy for ourselves—both goods and a clear conscience.

We need to recapture the sacrificial hearts of the Perpetua and Bonhoeffer. Living in a quasi-spiritual generation, there seems no need to embrace their courage. Yet as Christians, we step into a history paved by men and women who willingly died for causes greater than themselves—from fighting injustice to radical evangelism. Jesus was the first, but His followers, in countless numbers, have counted their lives as nothing for the sake of His glory.

How can we continue this legacy? Those stories undoubtedly stir our hearts, but only for a fleeting moment at best. We read, we applaud, we commit, and then we move on. Again. How do we break free of this complacency and step into the story begun for us 2,000 years ago on the cross? It can begin by writing your own story.

It has been the tradition of soldiers and missionaries to leave their families a “Last Letter,” only to be read in the event of their death. These letters not only contained emotional goodbyes, but were also personal statements about why they chose risk over safety. Why the cause was worth dying for.

These Last Letters are harrowingly honest. There’s no room for clichés or braggarts when you’re staring death in the face. You either intend to die for the cause, or you wouldn’t be writing the letter.

These are letters of testimony. In 2 Corinthians 3 Paul writes that our very lives are letters also, written by the Spirit of the Living God. In the spiritual sense, our lives are a kind of “last letter,” the only testimony we will ever have to bear about how and why we live for the Gospel.

If our life letters were assembled, what would be our contribution? Are we taking up our cross and going into the slums of Bangladesh, the brothels of Thailand and the HIV plagued orphanages of South Africa? Are we carrying on the legacy of Robert J. Thomas, who died on the shores of Korea, beaten to death as he tossed Bibles into the hands of his murderers? For all the Christians who quote Jim Eliot’s famous words about “giving what we cannot keep to gain what we cannot lose,” what exactly are we giving?

Karen Watson was a member of this generation who understood her call. She was a young missionary recently murdered in Iraq. At her funeral, her “last letter” was read:

Dear Pastor,

You should only be opening this letter in the event of my death. When God calls there are no regrets. I tried to share my heart with you as much as possible, my heart for the nations. I wasn’t called to a place; I was called to Him. To obey was my objective, to suffer was expected, His glory my reward, His glory my reward…

The missionary heart: Cares more than some think is wise. Risks more than some think is safe. Dreams more than some think is practical. Expects more than some think is possible.

I was called not to comfort or to success but to obedience… There is no Joy outside of knowing Jesus and serving Him. I love you and my church family.

In His care,

Salaam, Karen

In response to letters—and lives—like these, the Last Letter Campaign has been launched by leaders who want to capture the heart behind them. I wrote my last letter, and in comparison to these, it seemed so… insignificant. I was not near death or about to go on a dangerous journey. But then I realized that we never know when history or death may visit us. We should live as if every day matters. Because it does.

In the writing of it, something happened. More than ever before, I desired to leave a better and lasting legacy, to be a better discicple and to live more for God’s glory and agenda. I want to be the person described in my letter.

As a generation, what will our letter say? Will we be defined by action, sacrifice, and justice, or complacency, caution and social apathy? Triumph or spiritual setback? Lip service or life service?

When the question is, “What would I be willing to die for?” the answer cannot be anything but revolutionary. So I ask you to consider it. How will your Last Letter read? Write to impact someone later but be a living epistle for the Gospel now. And if your time ends abrutply, let them say you had a “full and wonderful life.”

Ed Stetzer is President of LifeWay Research. He will be presenting new research from the Catalyst main stage and leading in a lab on Wednesday. Every attendee at Catlyst East will receive more information about the Last Letter Campaign in their registration packet.

Search me….

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Ps 139:23-24

I hear the psalmist, on his knees, his hands held high while he lifts his head in this song… beating his chest, crying out to his creator in a longing passion. “Search me!” Throwing open the doors to his life, his soul, his everything. I can hear the desperation in his voice, his heart beating in his chest, his desire to be in a close relationship with his maker.

Totally expecting God to honor his plea. To find anything in him that is against God, so that he can confess it and be free. Clean before a Holy Lord. Made righteous by the work of a loving father. Having nothing to be ashamed of, but to be able to worship in spirit and in truth.

To be lead in the ways of the everlasting, to know, that through everything, he has significance and that his only desire is to follow after that which God laid out before him. To know that no matter what may happen, he is safe in his Father’s hands. To risk it all, and leave nothing behind. To rush into battle and to put his life on the line, because to live is a Godly thing, but to die, to lay down his life, in service to the King, there is no greater thing.

Father, may you find me on my knees, my hands lifted in praise to you, these words on my lips, and my heart open to you. Search me, oh my King. Search me.

By this…

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Jn 13:34-35

Ever wonder why it is by loving one another that we will be known as His disciples? I do. I wonder out of all the things that we could be known for, why love for one another? Why not preaching, or witnessing, or the manner in which we present ourselves to others? Why not on church attendance, or devotion time, or prayer time? Why loving one another?

I think I have at least a partial answer.

Every now and again, I sit back and just watch people carry on in their normal fashion. Just observe the way they interact and carry on. One thing becomes abundantly clear very quickly. We are not a very ‘love one another’ king of people. More often then not, we are a very self centered, narcissistic people who can barely get out of our own way long enough to realize that there are other people in our lives.

Normally, we carry on with the attitude of getting one over on someone, or putting someone else down in order to make ourselves look or feel better. Our relationships with people are motivated on what that other person can bring into our life, our how can they make our life easier.

So rare is it to find someone who just cares.

Have you ever seen someone being compassionate toward another person and didn’t immediately bash that person? The guy on the TV asking you to help feed the hungry children in some third world country, or people who pack up stuff and go to impoverished places to help out how they can, or the person who hands $5 dollars to the guy on the side of the road who is holding his sign?

It’s easy to sit. It’s hard to walk. Christ called us to love one another, just as He loved us, so much so, that He gave up everything, including His life, to bring us back to Himself. If we are to be true followers of Christ, then shouldn’t we love each other with that very same compassion and zeal? Shouldn’t we look over the abundance of justification that we have and forgive the wrongs that others have done to us, to get out of our own way, and just to love one another?

Shouldn’t we really be more Christlike?