Sunday, August 18, 2013


Since this morning I've been wrestling with the sermon.  

Sometimes my most grand struggles with even desiring Godliness are Sunday morning.  

There was a great quote our pastor mentioned.  I can't remember it exactly, but the idea was that our obedience should be a natural response to God's grace.  Often my obedience seems a chore.  Sometimes I am just acting out of obligation. Worse yet, too often my obedience is the result of trying to present some Godly image, because frankly I care too much about what people think of me.

I want my obedience to be a response to His love for me.  I want to want to be like Him because of who He is, because of what He has done and continues to do, because I love Him.  But I struggle with getting my head around His holiness and the consequences of His Holiness not just on a sinful people, but on this sinful man.  Then I struggle getting my heart around His love and pursuit of me, that He'd send His son to bear the penalty of my sin.  The deeper I meditate on these truths, the deeper they become. It's beyond comprehension.

I am a "why?" guy. Why, God, would You seek me?  You are holy beyond my understanding making my sin repulsive in ways that I am sure I don't realize.  But You did seek me and You gave me a new life.  Yet I am still wayward.  What an amazing love!  I am overwhelmed by You.

I stumble over my self-worship or sometimes self-righteous.  Perhaps they're often one in the same.  But no matter how blind my sin makes me, or how twisted my reason is for going, when I arrive at church, He's there. He comforts.  He says, you've got some stuff to work on, but I am glad you're here.  I love you.  He strips me of the garbage, and points my desires toward Him. Do I perfectly worship there in the sanctuary singing and praising my God? No, but I want to be there with Him and His people, lifting our prayers and praise to Him, when maybe forty minutes before I was wondering, if only for a moment, why I even go to church.

So I've been wrestling with this mornings call to obedience, not to be saved, but because we are.  Is obedience my joyful response?  Not always, but God Himself gives to me, by His Spirit, the desire for it to be so.  And not just that, but in those perfect moments, when understanding is not as important as just being in His presence, worshipping Him, I know it is only by the strengthening of the Holy Spirit.

Father God, please be the center of my desires, make my obedience a joyful response to Your pursuit of me. Amen.

Friday, August 16, 2013

How I Gave Up Free Will and Chose to be Elect

This thought stumbled into my head today, the thought, or maybe just idea, of choosing to part of the elect.  It came on sideways though because it is so much easier me to to see contradictions in others than in myself.

I wrote that almost two years ago.  I don't remember where I was going with the thought, but I liked the title so much I've decided to start right here after a two year hiatus.

Why so long this time?  Who knows?  I've been running, spiritually.  Running from a question that bugged me years ago.  A question that haunted me so much that I ran.  I feared it's weight.  I did not want to consider the implications.  I had become so content as lord of my life, I did not want to give it up, so I ran.

It was a Matthew West song that shook me back then.

This might hurt, it's not safe 
But I know that I've gotta make a change
I don't care if I break
At least I'll be feeling something
'Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of life
I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
Without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking
What if I had given everything
Instead of going through the motions?
No regrets, not this time
I'm gonna let my heart defeat my mind
Let Your love make me whole
I think I'm finally feeling something

So I spent the last few years just going through the motions.  I remember the afternoon.  I remember the phone call to a friend.  I remember being desperate to know how to take that step. I was at the line of just completely laying my life down for God, for Jesus, and I needed know how to sacrifice how to sever myself from the tentacles, the how so comforting tentacles, of the the world.  I couldn't explain to him where I was spiritually.  He needed to know this was more than just an afternoon thought exercise.  I needed someone to hold me in place, or better to push me, pull me, whatever, over the edge toward Him.

I stumbled over my words, part of me refusing to let my friend see how much I needed him. I was holding myself hostage.  Pride and self-worship entangled me, and I ran.

I never wanted to go back to that place, to that cliff of surrender to His will, to His call on my life.  I failed once, I didn't want to fail again.  I didn't want to make another awkward call to a friend who couldn't hear what I so desperately wanted to say.  

It's not that I left God.  It's not that I quit serving in the church.  I still had moments of refreshing communion with a God that wanted more than what I'd squeeze into my schedule.  He wanted to be my schedule.  He loved me, knew what was best for me; He was best for me. But I kept Him at a safe distance for too long.

So why is today different? It was this, from John Piper's daily devotional Solid Joys:

People give way to sexual sin because they don’t have the fullness of joy and gladness in Christ. Their spirits are not steadfast and firm and established. They waver. They are enticed, and they give way because God does not have the place in our feelings and thoughts that he should.
Whether we give into sexual sin or some other sin, it's because we're seeking to find joy, but apart from Him.  God made us as joy seekers, but the joy we're hardwired for is Him.  Only He can satisfy that thirst.  So for the years that I have been "going through the motions" I mean I was still seeking joy in things other than God, mainly in setting myself up as king of my little kingdom with no desire to give up my rule. So I'm trying to let go and give it all over to Him, as if it wasn't His all along anyways.  

Father God, take this misdirected man and turn my eyes to you.  Make my heart seek only you. Forgive my wanderings.  I want to come home. Amen.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Do you want to be holy?

Steve Brown, in his Through the Eyes of Grace: Hebrews-Revelations, asks the question "Do you want to be holy?"  He then goes on to explain holiness in the Bible means to be "set apart," "worthy of veneration," and  "set apart to God."

The question pops up when he gets into 1 Peter 1:13-2:3.

I've been rereading this same page, page 16 if you have your own copy, for almost a half a year now.

"Do you want to be holy?"  The question haunts me even as I prepare for bed, reviewing the happenings of the day with quiet, brief, yet sincere prayers for my family and those my thoughts stumble across.  I know what the answer is supposed to be.  Of course I want to be holy, don't I? Do I want to be holy?

It's a dangerous question: "Do you want to be holy?"  It's the question that legalists use to drive the sinners from their churches.  It's question that's been used to burn folks at the stake.  It's the question that strengthens the self-righteous.

Without grace, that question will drive even me from Christ.


He pursues us, loves us, has accepted us despite the radical nature of sin.  Steve Brown defines it this way: "Your sin is radically bad and radically worse in direct proportion to how much you think it is not radically bad and not radically worse."  Because of His love for us, His grace, the assurance of our salvation creates in us a desire to be better, to be holy.  We desire this not to earn our salvation, but because we are already saved.

So do I want to be holy?  Yes.

But what does it look like?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Today I realized, again, that I need to write.  There are thoughts that bounce around in my head, some mundane and some profound, that need to be expressed in some fashion.  Years ago that took the shape of a blog and since blogging is out according to those in the know, it should suit me well.

It is arrogant to suggest that my thoughts are profound, so let me define the term.  Profound, in this case, meaning a thought that has some insight that I had previously overlooked or failed to encapsulate into words.  Yes the concept may have had some form of existence, but I was unable to communicate it.

Today's thoughts that pelted me centered around the idea of my frustration in obedience.  As much as it is a struggle, I cherish it when on some occasion I realize the my motivation behind my obedience to the Gospel is rooted in some sort of sin.  Often it is pride, but it could as easily be selfishness or some idol needing some attention.  In truth, it first pains me to realize the depth of my depravity that I sin even in my obedience, but then I realize how amazing Grace truly is that God, knowing even these failings, sought me.