Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Christmas Story

Where would my blog be if I did not take time out to talk about the greatest single event in all of history? I know what you are thinking what could be more important than the cross and Easter and in some respects I would have to agree but if Jesus had not come as a baby then there would be no cross. When you think of the Christmas story what sort of things come to mind? (Shepherds, Wise men, Angels, Star, Mary, Joseph, A baby) All of these would be correct but I like to think a little deeper which I am sure to all who know me this comes as no surprise. You see I think of the separation that we had from God and the expanse would have separated us from him forever if it had not been for Jesus coming across that expanse and dwelling among us. I think that we can sometimes look at this birth as just another birth but when we really think about what it took for God to not merely direct history but enter into our history it should give each of us a pause. It was no small thing for Jesus to lay aside part of himself and take on flesh to save us from ourselves. That is right Jesus took on flesh to save us from our own selves. He gave up his rights so that we could have rights. He came to set us free from our own prison that we created. I know what you are thinking it is Adams fault for our condition but think about what you have done in your lifetime that has been worthy of Gods judgement but instead God knew that we needed him so he broke into our history and saved us. So when I think about Christmas i do not just see a baby but I see a God that intervened to help rescue me from myself. So when I think about the birth of my savior, I reflect upon what it cost him to come here to save a wretch like me. May we each remember that this little baby was God incarnate coming to rescue us from our condition making a way for us to reach God and be with him forever. So if you do not know this Jesus I implore you to get to know him and let him rescue you from yourself so that you can experience a freedom like no other. May God bless you all during this Christmas season

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Intimacy with Christ

I have often wondered just exactly how one goes about becoming intimate with Christ. How does one become so close to Jesus that there is a solid connection all the time. We are told in scripture to draw close to him and he will draw close to us. The problem is that there is no set formula to make this happen. In Terry Wardle's book Outrageous Love Transforming Power he addresses this issue in chapter 3. He states "The goal of our faith is a dynamic relationship with Jesus, not an accumulation of facts and beliefs." How you true of a statement and one that probably goes without saying but does it. I know that in my own life there are times that I have rated my relationship with Jesus and my faith to nothing more than that of a creed. Intellectually I know all these facts about Jesus and hold to certain beliefs, but that does not equate into a relationship with him. For me to have that dynamic relationship or for anyone to have it means that we will need to spend quality time with Jesus. Terry gives some suggestions on how to make it work but in all his suggestions he never tells anyone that if you follow these then somehow you will be intimate with Jesus rather this experience has taught me that if I follow these suggestions then I have a greater chance of establishing an intimate bond between us. So just how does one establish intimacy with Jesus by spending time with him and allowing the Holy Spirit to make the connective bond.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


I have to admit that this topic intrigues me greatly. I am currently reading the Book Outrageous Love Transforming Power by Terry Wardle. I thought that I would blog on this book a little to spark some deep thinking to hopefully deepen my walk and hopefully yours as well. I must also admit that I at present do not think that my walk toward maturity has passed the infancy stages at times, let me explain. There are times that I think that my walk with Jesus is so far off course that it will never get back on course at other times I feel so close to Jesus that I do not see how we could be any closer. The book covers what it means to be mature in Christ. The key areas involve identity, intimacy, community, character, brokenness, ministry, empowerment, and authority. The author dedicates one chapter to each of these. In the chapter on identity the author relates that Jesus' identity was secure in that he did not find it in position or in what he did but allowed God to give him his identity. Apart from his identity in the Father he was nothing. The author makes the comment that identity that is based upon position or power is in essence the wrong place to build ones identity. I often struggle with this because I am a person the likes to compete to be the best and I have often found myself fighting the idea that my position in management or teaching somehow defines me. I must constantly remember that my identity is in what God says I am not in what I do. Another part that struck me in this opening chapter was that Jesus was so secure in his identity that he could serve others. The author brings up when Jesus washes the disciples feet. How humbling here the Son of God gets down on his knees to wash the feet of those that should have been doing that for him. I have really been thinking about what that means to me as a leader. Am I willing to lay everything aside and let someone else do my job or am I so insecure that to do so would jeopardize my identity. I would like to say that every day I can pass this test but sadly there are those times that I fail at this miserably. I will write more on this book in future posts.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Teaching the Life of Paul

Today wrapped up my 26 weeks of team teaching the Life of Paul in Sunday School. It was bittersweet for me because I like teaching but part of me is glad that it is over. The life of Paul for me has been interesting you see I am a historian at heart and have my undergraduate degree in American History and for my senior seminar I took a class on the Julio-Claudian emperors never realizing just how important this class would be to me. For those that have not caught on the Julio-Caludian Emperors (Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero) ruled during the time of Paul.
The class was taught by myself and the senior pastor, Tom. We met every week to discuss the class and to prepare for the next class. Tom has been heling me to get across my message in a way that others can relate to it. You see I have the desire to one day teach at the college level. I have the passion for research and the drive to study but sometimes my delivery can be off. The feed back that I received today let me know that the objectives that Toam and I set out to accomplish had ben accomplished. We wanted everyone to understand and see that Paul was human just like the rest of us. I think that sometimes we forget that the great men of the Bible were still just men. Another thing that we set out to accomplish was that we wanted to bring history into the world of the Bible. There has been the disconnect between the world history that is taught and the history of the Bible as if the two can be seperated. They in fact can not and should not be seen as seperate. I am not sure what is next for me but right now I am going to concentrate on putting together my Genesis study. Years ago I taught that book verse by verse and now I want to put it together in a simular way to the Paul study I just got done doing. Well it is getting late and I am getting tired so I will end this first blog right here. What did I learn that I am a teacher at heart and I will strive to live up to that calling.