Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Radical Effects of the Resurrection

Watch at least 5 mins. of this talk. "To be happy when all is going well witnesses to nothing but ordinary human life. But, to be glad with Paul while suffering to transfer the afflictions of Christ to some new person or new people group that’s a miracle. And the world asks what is the reason of hope that is in you. ‘Cause it can’t account for the way you’re living. Jesus never said, “It’ll be hard for a missionary kid to enter the kingdom of heaven” Jesus never said, “It’ll be hard for a person in Darfur to enter the kingdom of heaven” Jesus said, “Its hard for a rich man to get into the kingdom of heaven” So, most dangerous place to raise a kid is America. Jesus wants to shock the hell out of you, literally." Click here for the Video Texas A & M Rez Week April 3, 2007

What is Entertainment?

If we call ourselves Christians - who receive, believe, obey and enjoy Christ Jesus -; what does entertainment look like to us? When the saints shall see Christ’s glory and exaltation in heaven, it will indeed possess their hearts with the greater admiration and adoring respect, but it will not awe them into any separation, but will serve only to heighten their surprise and joy, when they find Christ condescending to admit them to such intimate access, and so freely and fully communicating himself to them. So that if we choose Christ for our friend and portion, we shall hereafter be so received to him, that there shall be nothing to hinder the fullest enjoyment of him, to the satisfying the utmost cravings of our souls. We may take our full swing at gratifying our spiritual appetite after these holy pleasures. Christ will then say, as in Song 5:1 “Eat, O friends, drink, yea, drink abundantly O beloved.” And this shall be our entertainment to all eternity! There shall never be any end of this happiness, or anything to interrupt our enjoyment of it, or in the least to molest us in it! - Jonathan Edwards (1736), The Excellency of Christ Here only one person is made much of, is the very center of beings, is all satisfying - Christ. Let us choose Christ over - TV, video games, movies, internet, diet programs, games, music and everything else. I'm not saying we should put a stop to it all, but to align everything to its respective order. And, not put anything above our devotion to Jesus Christ.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Flipping Quarters at HIM

Probably some of you have read or heard about the experiment that Washington Post conducted on January 12, 2007. While I was reading the article, I cried. They had a world renowned violinist, Joshua Bell - who earns $1,000 per minute of playing, play several classical pieces. He played six classical pieces for 43 minutes, among them are; "Chaconne" from Johann Sebastian Bach's Partita No. 2 in D Minor and "Ave Maria" from Franz Schubert. The violin that he used was a Stradivari from 1710s which roughly costs more than $3.5 million dollars. "It was 7:51 a.m. on Friday, January 12, the middle of the morning rush hour. In the next 43 minutes, as the violinist performed six classical pieces, 1,097 people passed by. Almost all of them were on the way to work, which meant, for almost all of them, a government job. L'Enfant Plaza is at the nucleus of federal Washington, and these were mostly mid-level bureaucrats with those indeterminate, oddly fungible titles: policy analyst, project manager, budget officer, specialist, facilitator, consultant." People with all kinds of titles and roles, in their busyness, did not even hear the beauty. The first person to actually stop to listen had 3 minutes spare time before he had to get to work. About what he heard he said, "Whatever it was, it made me feel at peace." Then he went back to work forgetting every thing about the peace. Another person who notices is a 3 year old child.

"I had a time crunch," recalls Sheron Parker, an IT director for a federal agency. "I had an 8:30 training class, and first I had to rush Evvie off to his teacher, then rush back to work, then to the training facility in the basement."

Evvie is her son, Evan. Evan is 3.

You can see Evan clearly on the video. He's the cute black kid in the parka who keeps twisting around to look at Joshua Bell, as he is being propelled toward the door.

This is what the mother said, "There was a musician, and my son was intrigued. He wanted to pull over and listen, but I was rushed for time."

Jesus had something to say about this, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Picarello who heard the music that morning had a different reason for not stopping and admiring the beauty. He said "I walked a distance away, to hear him. I didn't want to be intrusive on his space." Picarello knew classical music but was too "modest" to meet the musician. This is what he said, "This was a superb violinist. I've never heard anyone of that caliber. He was technically proficient, with very good phrasing. He had a good fiddle, too, with a big, lush sound. I walked a distance away, to hear him. I didn't want to be intrusive on his space." Of all the people that morning only one person recognized Joshua Bell. Three week's earlier she had seen Bell at a free concert at the Library of Congress. She listened to him standing 10 feet away from him and after he finished his piece, she introduced her self to him, thanked him, and tossed a $20 bill and walked away. This is what she had to say, "It was the most astonishing thing I've ever seen in Washington, Joshua Bell was standing there playing at rush hour, and people were not stopping, and not even looking, and some were flipping quarters at him! Quarters! I wouldn't do that to anybody. I was thinking, Omigosh, what kind of a city do I live in that this could happen?" When it was over, she introduced herself to Bell, and tossed in a twenty. Not counting that -- it was tainted by recognition. This story reminded me of myself. God the creator of EVERYTHING is singing and making melodies all over us. The most beautiful thing in the entire universe, Jesus Christ, is dancing all around us.
  1. Are we listening to HIM in our spare time? Even though it brings peace in us we don't have time to be with HIM. He wants us to dance with HIM.
  2. Do we in our rush for time ignore the pleas of little children who does admire beauty? And, block them from listening.
  3. Are we too modest? And, stand at a distance not to be "intrusive on HIS space". Even though we know HIM and all the technicalities about HIM...
  4. Or, do we flip quarters at HIM or in our good day if we do recognize HIM shove a $20 bill? Just to say we recognize you and blame it on the city, others, for not recognizing.
I saw myself as the fourth person. I saw HIM at a free concert, when I do see HIM in my everyday life I will stop and listen, admire HIM and introduce myself, thank HIM and toss a $20 bill and walk away. That I'll do it in my good day, usually I'm content at tossing pennies at HIM. Pennies...!!! Most of the thousand people would have probably listened to Bell if he was playing at some very important gathering, or would have paid $150 to go to Carnegie Hall. At those places they would look very important and its a alloted time in their schedule to listen to Bell. They would even critic the pieces with their friends and really listen to what others had to say about the music. But, the same people saw Bell wearing street clothes and playing the same pieces that he would normally play. And, since the situation did not focus on them, and was not a part of their schedule, and hadn't paid money to be there, they hardly noticed him. At church, we pay money to be there "tithe", its a alloted time in our schedule - once or twice a week, we will listen to the "music" being played, we will talk with our friends about it; But, as soon as we leave the building we'll forget it and even if we hear the same "music", played by the same artist, outside in our normal life we will not notice it!!!!! You can read the whole article here. If you don't have time to read the whole article watch the video clips posted in the article.

Peek-a-Boo Blouse Fantasy

A Passion for Purity vs. Passive Prayers "I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell." (Matthew 5:28-29) When you are enticed sexually, do you fight with your mind to say no to the image and then mightily labor to fill your mind with counter-images that kill off the seductive image? "If you put to death the deeds of the body by the Spirit, you will live" (Romans 8:13). Too many people think they have struggled with temptation when they have prayed for deliverance, and hoped the desire would go away. That is too passive. Yes, God works in us to will and to do his good pleasure! But the effect is that we "work out our salvation with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12-13). Gouging out your eye may be a metaphor, but it means something very violent. The brain is a "muscle" to be flexed for purity, and in the Christian it is supercharged with the Spirit of Christ. What this means is that we must not give a sexual image or impulse more than five seconds before we mount a violent counterattack with the mind. I mean that! Five seconds. In the first two seconds we shout, "NO! Get out of my head!" In the next two seconds we cry out: "O God, in the name of Jesus, help me. Save me now. I am yours." Good beginning. But then the real battle begins. This is a mind war. The absolute necessity is to get the image and the impulse out of our mind. How? Get a counter-image into the mind. Fight. Push. Strike. Don't ease up. It must be an image that is so powerful that the other image cannot survive. There are lust-destroying images and thoughts. For example, have you ever in the first five seconds of temptation, demanded of your mind that it look steadfastly at the crucified form of Jesus Christ? Picture this. You have just seen a peek-a-boo blouse inviting further fantasy. You have five seconds. "No! Get out of my mind! God help me!" Now, immediately, demand of your mind - you can do this by the Spirit (Romans 8:13). Demand of your mind to fix its gaze on Christ on the cross. Use all your fantasizing power to see his lacerated back. Thirty-nine lashes left little flesh intact. He heaves with his breath up and down against the rough vertical beam of the cross. Each breath puts splinters into the lacerations. The Lord gasps. From time to time he screams out with intolerable pain. He tries to pull away from the wood and the massive spokes through his wrist rip into the nerve endings and he screams again with agony and pushes up with his feet to give some relief to his wrists. But the bones and nerves in his pierced feet crush against each other with anguish and he screams again. There is no relief. His throat is raw from screaming and thirst. He loses his breath and thinks he is suffocating, and suddenly his body involuntarily gasps for air and all the injuries unite in pain. In torment, he forgets about the crown of two-inch thorns and throws his head back in desperation, only to hit one of the thorns perpendicular against the cross beam and drive it half an inch into his skull. His voice reaches a soprano pitch of pain and sobs break over his pain-wracked body as every cry brings more and more pain. Now, I am not thinking about the blouse any more. I am at Calvary. These two images are not compatible. If you will use the muscle of your brain to pursue - violently pursue with the muscle of your mind - images of Christ crucified with the same creative energy that you use to pursue sexual fantasies, you will kill them. But it must start in the first five seconds - and not give up. So my question is: Do you fight, rather than only praying and waiting and trying to avoid? It is image against image. It is ruthless, vicious mental warfare, not just prayer and waiting. Join me in this bloody warfare to keep my mind and body pure for my Lord and my wife and my church. Jesus suffered beyond imagination to "purify for Himself a people for His own possession" (Titus 2:14). Every scream and spasm was to kill my lust - "He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness" (1 Peter 2:24). Pursuing purity of heart at any cost.., Pastor John November 10, 1999 © Desiring God. Website: Email: Toll Free: 1.888.346.4700.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Christian Virtues - Humility

Today, in this post modern - western world, I feel like almost every Christian virtue has been perverted to fit its way of thinking. To the Christians in this western world the fog of doubt and forgetting, omission of beliefs and immersion to the culture is getting denser and denser day by day. We will be lost in this world if we do not learn and use the only tool we have to navigate, specially when we loose our bearings, when its hard to see two feet in front of us, when we can barely make out the sun and feel its warmth and see its light thorough the fog. The tool to navigate is the compass that alway and always points to Christ, the LORD, our Saviour. The compass is the Bible that is accessible, for free, in all kinds of versions and decor and styles, to all, in this modern day English speaking world. Concerning the compass, Jesus said, "You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life." John 5: 39,40 Humility: The following is written by G. K. Chesterton, in 1908, while the modern-day post modern world was still in its infancy. "What we suffer from today is humility in the wrong place. Modesty has moved from the organ of ambition. Modesty has settled upon the organ of conviction; where it was never meant to be. A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed. Nowadays the part of a man that a man does assert is exactly the part he ought not to assert - himself. The part he doubts is exactly the part he ought not to doubt - the Divine Reason. . . . The new skeptic is so humble that he doubts if he can even learn. . . . There is a real humility typical of our time; but it so happens that it's practically a more poisonous humility than the wildest prostrations of the ascetic. . . . The old humility made a man doubtful about his efforts, which might make him work harder. But the new humility makes a man doubtful about his aims, which makes him stop working altogether. . . . We are on the road to producing a race of man too mentally modest to believe in the multiplication table.: -Orthodoxy, (You can read this book here.) In 1999 Pastor John Piper wrote something about this. (You can read it here)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Directions how to conduct yourself in your Christian course

A letter by Jonathan Edwards, addressed to a young lady in the year 1741: 8. Remember that pride is the worst viper that is in the heart, the greatest disturber of the souls peace, and of sweet communion with Christ: it was the first sin committed, and lies lowest in the foundation of Satan's whole building, and is with the greatest difficulty rooted out, and is the most hidden, secret, and deceitful of all lusts, and often creeps insensibly into the midst of religion, even, sometimes, under the disguise of humility itself. "To fear the Lord is to hate evil. I hate arrogant pride, evil conduct, and perverse speech." (Proverbs 8:13) You can read the rest here.

Does our "western" society really value womanhood?

. . .Why the West has seen it necessary to diminish motherhood so that women can pretend to be men remains a mystery to sane adults. It should be unnecessary to say that the military is not a proper vehicle for social experimentation but is a machine dedicated to fighting and, if necessary, killing. Kathleen Parker said in The Washington Post:

"On any given day, one isn't likely to find common cause with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He's a dangerous, lying, Holocaust- denying, Jew-hating cutthroat thug -- not to put too fine a point on it.

But he was dead-on when he wondered why a once-great power such as Britain sends mothers of toddlers to fight its battles."

You can read the commentary on this by Albert Mohler here.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

He put a new song in my mouth

Psalms 86, 92, 99 Chorus: We worship You Oh! LORD We cry out to You We worship You Oh! LORD We cry out to You Verse 1: Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at His holy mountain; For the LORD our God is Holy! For the LORD our God is merciful! For the LORD our God is gracious! Slow to anger (And) abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. Verse 2: It is good to give thanks to the LORD To sing praises to Your name; For the LORD our God is Holy! For the LORD our God is merciful! For the LORD our God is gracious! Slow to anger (And) abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. Bridge: How great are Your works, O LORD! How deep are Your thoughts. How just are Your ways, O LORD! How gracious are You to us.

Give glory to our Father who is in heaven

Right after the people asked Jesus for a sign from heaven to prove that He is from heaven, Jesus replied, "Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness." The people seeking a sign did not need more light, but better receptiveness to the light they already had. Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." What God was doing in Jesus was plain enough. By following Jesus we will have the light of life. Jesus also told His followers, "You are the light of the world... let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." We His followers are the light, (not like light or not even in a process to become like light) but we are the light. But still people around us will see the good works that we do and yet will give glory to our Father in heaven as they see we are made light by our Father. For it is written, "For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness." Ps 18:28 Now going back to what we started with, we do not need signs from God. Jesus is all we need. To have our body full of light our eyes need to be healthy. Our eyes must be fixed upon Jesus who is the source and the light of the world.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Rejoice, be glad, take great delight and enjoy God

The Reading of the Law Nehemiah 8 “And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was above all the people, and as he opened it all the people stood. They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly (with interpretation, paragraph by paragraph), and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading. After this, the very next day, heads of the houses of all the people, with the priests and the Levites, came together to Ezra the scribe in order to study the words of the Law. In the law they found that the Lord had commanded by Moses that the people of Israel should dwell in booths during the feast of the seventh month, and tell everyone about God, our LORD.” [Neh 8: 5, 8, 13,14] From this we learn,
  • that the people had utter respect for the law
  • the people were eager or hungry to be taught.
  • the people took initiative to learn from their teachers, by asking the teachers to teach.
  • the teachers were very patient in teaching and taught the law by explaining paragraph by paragraph by interpretation.
Probably they read the book of Deuteronomy. In it we find that; “At the end of every seven years, at the set time in the year of release, at the Feast of Booths, when all Israel comes to appear before the Lord your God at the place that he will choose, you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing.” [31:9-13 ] The law is read in front of everybody; “they may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God, and be careful to do all the words of this law, and that their children, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God, as long as you live in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.” In the same book it is commanded by God “you shall rejoice before the Lord your God.” [Deut 27:7]. To rejoice before the LORD is a commandment from God. Its not something that we do when we feel like it. When the people in the days of Nehemiah heard the words of the law they wept and mourned as they realized who they are in front of God, knowing how great their sins and miseries are. But, very interesting thing happens. The people are encouraged by the leaders to rejoice, be glad, take great delight, enjoy. The people understood the words that the teachers taught, and to make great rejoicing because they had understood the law. They ate and drank, basically had a party and invited people who couldn’t afford to party with them. The story says that they understood the law and that “the joy of the LORD is their strength”. When we read the book of Deuteronomy, we find pages after pages of horrible curses from God, “Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joyfulness and gladness of heart, because of the abundance of all things” Here, again, we find that God takes the matters of the heart very seriously. It says that this happened because there was abundance of other things and the heart was divided to these things. But, we can not make our hearts joyful and glad. In the same book, it is written that the people will fall back, be stubborn, and whore after things other than the LORD our God because the LORD hadn’t given a heart to understand or eyes to see or ear to hear [29:4]. But, in the same book, God also promises restoration and renewal because of His sovereign work in the hearts of His people. “And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live. And you shall again obey the voice of the Lord and keep all his commandments" [30:6-8] Now in Christ Jesus’ blood this covenant was renewed. The night before His death Jesus told His disciples, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” [Luke 22:20] Jesus did the work for us. And, He is still doing it in us. Our LORD is the one who changes our hearts and our childrens so that we will love the LORD our God with all our heart and with all our soul and we will have life. That same night Jesus also taught something very important concept to His disciples in order that they can rejoice, be glad, take great delight and enjoy God to the fullest.