Do Not Be Unaware

Do Not Be Unaware

Do Not Be Unaware: 1 Corinthians 10:1-13.  Today’s sermon from Grandview Christian Assembly covered Paul’s warning that our God is not a vending machine, Barney-like God.  He is a God who, like a diligent and faithful Father, cares about how we live post-salvation and, if needed, will get involved in order to correct.

The previous section of verses (1 Cor. 9:24-27) presented the positive incentives for running the race well.  These verses provided the “stick” the the “carrot” of the previous verses.  Both sermons pack a punch and are worth listening to and pondering in prayer.

At the end of sermon, the band played the Casting Crowns song “My Own Worst Enemy” which nailed the atmosphere of calling out to the Lord as our Savior as we recognize how we are like the Israelites Paul refers to in 1 Cor. 10:1-3.  I encourage you to listen to sermons from GCA and then give a listen to the song.

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Bound by the Father’s Love

“Unless this be added, all is in vain as to any communion with God. We do not hold communion with him in any thing, until it be received by faith.  This, then, is that which I would provoke the saints of God unto, even to believe this love of God for themselves and their own part (1 John 4:16) – believe that such is the heart of the Father toward them – accept of his witness herein. His love is not ours in the sweetness of it until it be so received. Continually, then, act thoughts of faith on God, as love to you – as embracing you with the eternal free love before described. When the Lord is, by his word, presented as such to you, let your mind know it, and assent that it is filled with it. Set your whole heart to it; let it be bound with the cords of this love. If the King be bound in the galleries with your love (Song 7:5), should you not be bound in heaven with his?

Let it have its proper fruit and efficacy upon your heart, in return of love to him again. So shall we walk in the light of God’s countenance, and hold holy communion with our Father all the day long.”

-John Owen (Communion with the Triune God p 126)

“Lead Me” as a Husband & Father

The band Sanctus Real has a song Lead Me that is a cry out to men to not just intend to be great Christians husbands and fathers but to put it into action.  The song emerged from a tear filled conversation that one of the band members, Matt Hammitt, had with his wife.  Matt shares this story in a brief on air interview with the Air1 radio station on May 14, 2010.

The lyrics cry out to the need for Christian men to step up to be the true servant leaders as described in Ephesians 5:22-6:4.  Reading the words of the song in conjunction with this passage of Scripture produced a conviction in my heart to be the healthy spiritual leader that God calls me to be in my future family.

Hearing about Matt’s wife crying out for her husband to live out his intentions and truly become that spiritual leader of a husband and father filled me with both sorrow and joy. Sorrow at her situation. Joy at her desire for her husband to head up the family into Christ as well as her loving and respectful approaching of her husband to help him into that role.  Rather than brooding on the subject, allowing this area to become a root of bitterness, filing for divorce, or attempting to overthrow her husband, she demonstrated true character and spiritual strength in her actions.

For the Christian guys out there (including myself), let us hear the cry of these lyrics and strive in Christ to become Christian men who are healthy husbands and fathers.  If you are not married yet or don’t have kids yet, use your time now to become a truly spiritually healthy Christian leader because you will not magically turn into one when you get married or have kids.

I look around and see my wonderful life
Almost perfect from the outside
In picture frames I see my beautiful wife
Always smiling
But on the inside, I can hear her saying…

“Lead me with strong hands
Stand up when I can’t
Don’t leave me hungry for love
Chasing dreams, what about us?

Show me you’re willing to fight
That I’m still the love of your life
I know we call this our home
But I still feel alone”

I see their faces, look in their innocent eyes
They’re just children from the outside
I’m working hard, I tell myself they’ll be fine
They’re in independent
But on the inside, I can hear them saying…

“Lead me with strong hands
Stand up when I can’t
Don’t leave me hungry for love
Chasing dreams, but what about us?

Show me you’re willing to fight
That I’m still the love of your life
I know we call this our home
But I still feel alone”

So Father, give me the strength
To be everything I’m called to be
Oh, Father, show me the way
To lead them
Won’t You lead me?

To lead them with strong hands
To stand up when they can’t
Don’t want to leave them hungry for love,
Chasing things that I could give up

I’ll show them I’m willing to fight
And give them the best of my life
So we can call this our home
Lead me, ’cause I can’t do this alone

Father, lead me, ’cause I can’t do this alone

The Fatherhood of God

Living in the present reality of God as Father will radically change your view of the Christian life. I’m in process on this. I can’t say I’ve completely got it. But I’m learning to view my obedience and my struggle with sin through the lens of being a child of God. I have a Father in heaven who has promised to give me his Holy Spirit (Luke 11:11-13). He’s promised to provide me with all the power I need to obey him (2 Peter 1:3).

Holiness is just not a list of rules. It’s about imitating my Father (1 Peter 1:15-16).  He is loving, he is kind, he is pure, he is truthful, he is patient, and he is gentle. And because I’m his kid, I want to look like him and please him.

Turning away from sin isn’t about what I’m not allowed to do. I don’t want what displeases my Father. I want to love what he loves. How can I take joy in what grieves the One who has loved me with everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3)?

Righteousness in relationship is what pleases my Father. I’m not trying to live up to some church standard of self-imposed standard. I want to grow in honoring and knowing and blessing the heart of my Father.

The truth of God’s adopting love for me means I’m not obeying to get into his family or even to stay in the club. I obey because I’m already in. Because of Jesus, I’m family. There’s incredible safety in that.

-Joshua Harris (Dug Down Deep p 173)

Being a Husband, Father, & Pastor

While I am not a husband (until June 12th, 2010) or a father (until sometime after marriage), I am in full-time ministry operating as a pastor.  Looking ahead to the near future I have come to think more about how to be a proper husband, father and pastor all at the same time.  I have seen some good examples in my life as well as some bad examples.

I came across a link on facebook to the Resurgence.com that had an excellent article on this subject.  It laid out three great points worth noting:

1. The church can get another pastor, but your kids can’t get another dad.
2. The church can get another pastor, but your wife only has one husband—and she needs a good one.
3. A day off is not just a good idea. It is essential.

I highly suggest that not only pastors & their wives read the article Lead Your Family Well, but all those with a desire to serve the Lord – those in “full-time ministry”, those who work 40 hours in the world plus serve the Lord, and those who are raising families at home plus serve the Lord.

Football, Faith, & Fatherhood

I was reading Why We Love the Church and got excited about hearing a football player boldly declaring the gospel while being inducted into the Hall of Fame, but then teared up a bit upon reading the comments of the football player’s son.

“[Here’s] former Washington Redskin wide receiver and 2008 inductee Art Monk, who quietly and passionately present the gospel and quotes more Scripture than most American pastors during his speech.

Monk’s words are something of a revelation.  He begins by explaining that football and the Hall of Fame induction don’t define him.  Rather, he says, he is defined by his faith in Christ. “My identity and security,” he says, “is founded in the Lord.  And what defines me and my validation comes in having accepted His Son Jesus Christ as my personal Savior.  And what defines me is the Word of God, and it’s the Word of God that will continue to shape and mold me into the person I know that He’s called me to be.”

Monk not only quotes Scripture be he does so in an evenhanded, humble way which is in contrast to most cringe-worthy Christian-athlete rhetoric that seems devoid of any doctrine other than God-as-cosmic-good-luck-charm.  It’s a way that suggests that Monk has sat under good biblical and doctrinal teaching the majority of his adult life.

He was introduced by his son, James Monk Jr., who spoke at length about Monk’s involvement in his local church body in Washington, D.C., and how his commitment to Christ shaped his career, and his parenting:

Art and Son“So to answer the question, do you want to be like Art Monk when you grow up, my answer is I’d rather be like Dad.  Dad, thank you for being the man of God that God has called you to be, and for raising me in the same way.  As your best friend, as your admirer, as your biggest fan, and as your son, I want to tell the whole world that I love you and I’m truly honored and blessed to induct you into the 2008 Pro Football Hall of Fame.”” (pp 155-157).

As I read the James Monk Jr.’s words I was filled with a longing that my future children (of whom I hope at least one is a boy) would feel the same way towards me.  That I could be such a positive model of what a man of God looks like in life.  A person that my son(s) would want to emulate and a kind of man that my daughter(s) would seek to marry.