Categories
Godfidence Theology Through The Bible

Leviticus strikes again…

Warning: this article is more for me than public consumption.  I want to come back to study this point but don’t have time at the moment.

Leviticus gets a bad wrap as far I am I concerned.  Sure, it is one of the few books full of do’s and don’ts but it also shows just the depth of depravity humans will stoop to.  It is a kind of snapshot of the troubles with all humanity.  After all there were and still are in some occasions,really people looking to do the things God forbid.

But one passage I really struggled with was the passage of the death of Nadab and Abihu.  They were the sons of Aaron who offered up unauthorized or strange fire before the Lord.   As a result of not following God’s prescription for his own worship they were struck down instantly.

This passage is a major proof text for those who believe in what is called the Regulatory Principle.  If you aren’t familiar with the Regulatory Principle of Worship it is summerized in the idea that the Bible tell us explicitly how we are to worship God and implicitly excludes everything else.  So if the Bible doesn’t say it we can’t do it.  Taken to the extreme this would mean we can sing only the psalms, and can not sing the name of Jesus.

I really don’t know much past that and while I don’t believe it is a sin to sing the name of my savior I do wonder if there is still a particular way in which God desires to be worshiped?  I always seem to be writing in a hurry and I wish I had more time to study these types of things out.

Categories
Christianity Family Life Godfidence Theology

Ash Wednesday and Lent

Everyone has heard of Mardi Gras but how many of us know that it is connected to Lent and the Christian Tradition?  I best most people don’t make the connection.

You know spending most of my walk with the Lord in modern Evagelical churches I was never really taught much about older traditions in the Church.  Having gone to a Lutheran church when I was first saved I have at least heard some of the titles.

Today is Ash Wednesday, it marks the beginning of Lent.  Lent is a traditional time of preparation, via repentance, prayer, alms giving and self-denial, for the Holy Week and celebration or Easter or Resurrection Sunday.  Mardi Gras literally “Fat Tuesday” was the last chance to eat the rich fatty foods before a period of fasting.  A sort of “Smoke ’em if you got ’em” kind of day.

Most people think of Lent as the 40 days before Easter but many denominations count these times differently. (See this article for more information)  No matter the duration you observe the purpose should be the same.

No matter which way you choose to observe the season it is a wonderful experience.   The years when I have taken is seriously it has been an enriching time of growth.   Take some prayerful time to consider what God would have you to do to observe Lent and prepare for the Holiest of day in the Christian year.

There are traditionally three types of Justice to be observed in the Lenten Season: Justice to God, yourself, and others.

(God)Dedicate more time to prayer by giving up: TV, Video Games, sleep or something else that takes up your time.

(Self)What can you do?  Many people give up a certain type of food: meat, red meat, caffeine, candy and sweets.

(Others)Dedicate the money you save in doing these thing to give away to others, your local church, homeless shelter or other ministry.

Categories
Christianity Family Life Fatherhood Godfidence

Repenting to my kids

There is nothing more humbling than having to repent to your two and four year old.

Not twenty four hours after I spent the day at a Conference dedicated to helping Men be more Godly I snapped at both of my little girls and my wife in major way.  I will be completely honest and let you know I have a temper.  It usually takes a lot to push me to the point where I snap but when I do it is embarrassing.

Sunday afternoon I snapped and startled both of my little girls.  They were crying and I was mortified.  I went downstairs and took them in my arms as I asked them to forgive me.  I explained, more to my oldest, that I had sinned in my anger and I was wrong.  She answered the way she always does, “It is OK daddy, I forgive you” I then asked her to pray for me that God would help me to control my temper.

I hope in this way my daughters can see that I am a sinful imperfect human being saved by the grace of God just as they are.  I hope to model repentance to them but maybe not about the same things all the time.

Thoughts?

Categories
Godfidence Theology

Act Like Men LIVE

I am live blogging from the Act Like Men conference from Veritas Community Church.  Check out the live feed.

It is kicking off with awesome worship 300 men singing unto the Lord. (no prom love songs here)

Pastor Brad is welcoming the crowd, today is going to be a day of speaking to men as men.

I love Joe Byler’s Worship we hit the old hymns and sing song that are perfect for men, they sing of the power and love of God in a way that doesn’t make me feel  like I am Jesus’ Boyfriend.

No Guilt of life

no fear in death

This is the powe of Christ in me

From life’s first cry to final breath

Jesus commands my destiny.

The call from scriptures is not to get in touch with your feminine side, we don’t have one.  It is a call to true manhood that we are called to.  Our idea of man hood has been shattered by sin.

Life working against you is an opportunity to see God’s grace because you now understand how you are working against him when he tries to work in your life. — Dan Montgomery

Dan Montgomery makes a good point that without proper church discipline you will never challenge men properly to rise up.  You will build a culture of passivity or sin because as long as you aren’t doing anything obviously sinful you are OK.

You must start to think differently about how you use your time.

@nicknye made the point that you can not confuse efforts with results and that he sometimes make the mistake of confusing business to commitment.

Now hitting the Q&A for the first time.  We are hearing from some awesome men on how to practically live as men.

How can you be masculine without offending women, because when you are a Godly man you are easy to follow.

Too many men are preoccupied with find a wife and not thinking about becoming a man — Dan Montgomery

All right not on to how to act like men in your family.

Many men have selfish reasons for getting married and having children.

See @jasonrfisher for all other updates.  Or see my witter round up tomorrow.

Categories
Christianity Family Life Fatherhood Godfidence

Act Like Men

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.”
1 Corinthians 16:13

Act Like Men is a one-day conference in Columbus, Ohio that exists to rally and challenge men to live into Paul’s call for Gospel transformation in every aspect of their lives. This event features local and national speakers addressing what it means to Act Like Men. Key topics will include: personal responsibility and leadership in their homes, families, churches and culture; Godly use of time, finances and resources.

As any of my friends will tell you I have a certain passion for seeing males stop being boys and start acting like men.  I helped to start a site dedicated to looking at why men hate going to church and how we can more affectively minister to men in this way.

Act like Men will kick off tomorrow at 9.  I will be tweeting and doing some live blogging although I am a volunteer so I hope I can have the time to write as well.  If you are interested there is a live video stream being set up.  Just tune in early (9:00am EST) and you can hear 400 men worshiping the LORD in a serious way.

Categories
Godfidence Theology Through The Bible

The End of the Beginning

Closing out Genesis is always bitter sweet when I read the Bible.  I know that I have made a big step but I also know the rest of the Pentateuch isn’t nearly as interesting.

There are several interesting stories at the end of Genesis.  And I wanted to talk about Joseph and his trials.  Who was responsible for the things that happened to Joseph?  Were his brothers solely responsible?  Was God in charge the whole time and caused or allowed Joseph to be treated the way he was.  If so will his brothers be held responsible for their actions, after all they were simply doing God’s will right?

I don’t know if I am qualified to answer these questions but they are things that come to my mind as I read these passages.

Particularly Genesis 50

Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.

The Bible clearly states that God intended this, now as always when quoting a quote you can make the argument that Joseph said it and the Bible records it accurately but it may not be ultimately true.

But God, being sovereign, us in ultimate control of even human sin isn’t he?  After all he didn’t just hope that Jesus would be crucified but planned it from the foundations of the world.  The greatest sin ever committed, the murder of the holy Son of God, was ordained by the sovereign God of the universe right?

So it all boils down to how much control God has over the universe.  We call him sovereign but then say he can or will not work against human free will, which makes man sovereign doesn’t it?  I hope to someday work out my thoughts on the sovereignty of God but this isn’t the day.

Any thoughts?

Categories
Christianity Godfidence Through The Bible

Tools for the Trade — Bible Reading

Every year tons of people start the year off with the goal of reading the Bible.  Most people quit somewhere in the first five books.  Usually in Leviticus after all those details are like trudging a molasses bog at times.

This year I am one of those people who are planning on reading through the Word of God.  I have planned it every year since about 2000 but haven’t succeeded since 2002, when my daughter was born and although I could blame it on her but I take full responsibility for my lack of discipline myself.

Many of you have started this trek with me but let me offer some assistance I have found.

My Chronological schedule – Reading the Bible in Chronological order gives an entirely new view on many passages by putting them in their historical context.

PodCast – If you have a 15 minute commute you can read the bible in a year just by driving to work.

1. Go to the ESV Reading Plans page.

2. Right-click (Ctrl-click on a Mac) the “RSS” link of the feed you want.

3. Choose “Copy Link Location” or “Copy Shortcut.”

4. Start iTunes.

5. Choose Advanced > Subscribe to Podcast

6. Paste the URL from step three into the box.

7. Click OK.

This will download the passage every day and you can listen on your podcast.

By Email – If you are an email person you can have the passage of the day delivered to your email every day as well.

Really we take the Bible for granted, there are people who only have what they can remember because they are not allowed to read the Word of God.  And we sit with 5 Bibles on our shelves and ignore them.

However you do it, read God’s Word this year.

Categories
Christianity Godfidence

Almost 2 years later

I have finally memorized the entire book of Jude.  I went back to find out when I started and it was october 26 2007.  That means on and off it took me 2 years to memorize the book.  That isn’t good, but I did it.

I hope to try a better method and do it again with another book.

Categories
Family Life Godfidence Politics Theology

Authority, Government and God

I have been invited to join a top secret group (oops) of men who will be meeting for several weeks while wrestling, and growing in our grip of theology.  We are working though several theological topics and the practical implications of them.

This isn’t a debate club; our hope is to grow closer to one another while growing closer to God’s word.  We are to study some of the topics ahead of time and work though them before we arrive at our undisclosed location so I thought I would work through them a little bit here.  So, I warn you this may be a little more like stream of consciousness writing than a well thought article, if you want one of those I suggest you try the discovery that change my life, and biblical church leadership.

This week we are talking about Government, Authority and God.  A topic I get particularly fired up about because my first exposure to it was a class in Bible College where we read “Spiritual Authority” by Watchman Nee, who all but said you must obey your authority even into sin because the sin would be your leaders and not yours.  The class was very extreme but I had never heard any thing on the topic before so I was interested, although being a fairly rebellious person by nature I was very turned off at the same time.

What does God say about authority explicitly?

1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.  — Rom 13

Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution,  whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16  Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 17  Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.- 1 Pet 2:13-17

Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.– Titus  3:1-2

A verse many evangelical Christians would be well served to mediate on considering most thing our current President or any with a ‘D’ after his name are Satan’s right hand man.

Does that mean that God has appointed President Obama to be our President at this time?  Yes, but why?  The notes in my ESV bible express it very well:

It is true that those governing authorities that exist have been instituted by God, but sometimes God gives good authorities as a blessing, and sometimes he institutes evil rulers as a means of trial or judgment (2 Chron. 25:20; 32:24-25). On God’s rule over earthly authorities, see Ps. 75:7 and Dan. 2:21. These earthly “authorities” will ultimately be superseded by the rule of Christ (Dan. 2:44; Rev. 22:1-5).

I am not about to try to decide which our current President is, he is my president and I respect that office.  (In the interest of full disclosure; I am more Libertarian than Republican or Democrat so I think both of our major parties stink on ice and both running our country head long into a brick wall, although one may be doing it faster than the other I am not sure)

So what does the mean for a citizen of a country that is born of rebellion?  Were our Founding Fathers in sin for rebelling against the crown?  Can our president whom ever he is even be considered an authority when we are simply rebelling against the rule of Great Brittan?  Should we repent and be subjects of the crown?

At what point did the Constitution become a binding authority of God?  Was it after the 14th amendment was ratified officially recognizing “all other citizens as 3/5th of a person?  Was it while Slavery still existed in a non biblical form?

How are we to handle our disagreements with the government in a republic where the government is to be of the people, for the people and, by the people.  Paul was working in the context of a sovereigjn ruler not a republic, does that change things?

Was Martin Luther King in sin with his civil disobedience?  Was he rebelling against the God ordained authority? (I cringe to ever write that).

Should we use the government to regulate human morality?  Should we out law “Victimless” crimes because we see a biblical mandate to not do it personally?  Drinking isn’t a sin although the bible warns against drunkenness so do we make a crime to be drunk?  Not drink and drive just sitting home alone getting drunk, should that be a crime?

Should we try to change people though the law or through the Gospel or both?  Should we just legislate that everyone should be a Christian?

How does the affect the Gospel?  I know I fear making my political opinions more important than the Gospel.  I get very fired up about politcs but not as much about the gospel?  Have I made politics into an idol?

That is all I have time for and you probably haven’t read the whole things anyway.  If you did, tell me what you think but I would prefer not to simply have an opinion, but I would like to know what the Bible has to say on the matter and how we are to live that out.

Categories
Christianity Family Life Godfidence

Raising a Righteous Child 2.5

This post stems from the past few posts I have written about raising children and being a Godly father. My wife scared me on our way home from church when she pointed out how she sees the marriage covenant we share are being a type of the covenant Jesus has with his church. Now not only do I represent the Father by bearing that title to my children but also, albeit to a very small degree, represent Christ. No pressure though.

Deuteronomy 6 says a great deal to the Israelites about how they are to live their lives and train their children on a daily basis.

4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

For now I will avoid the question of whether or not this text is prescriptive or descriptive, meaning is it a command to all Christians at all times or just to this particular group of people. I believe this passage to be applicable to all of us as how to train our children. If you are not aware V4 is known as the Shemah in Judaism and is a central passage to their faith.
What stands out to me immediately is that we are to talk about the statutes of God all the time. V 7 tells us to teach them at all times to our children. I have always felt awkward for my desire to talk about Godly things more often than those around me. But I was discipled in an environment where that is really all we talked about so it came naturally to me. It seems that it is difficult, even for me, to find our faith in Jesus as common ground. I am attending a church plant where everyone is new and it is easy to start a conversation because few people know one another but still we ask “What do you do?” and other small talk questions instead about asking more about how Jesus affected their lives, is that because we have been taught that those topics are taboo in polite society or simply because Jesus isn’t all that central even in the lives of us who call themselves believers? I am not sure.
But I do know that I don’t have to worry about taboo topics within my house. I have heard that faith is more caught than taught and I have seen examples in my years as a youth pastor where parents assumed I would take care of all that spiritual stuff so they didn’t have to. After all that is what they paid their tithes for right? I can teach my children all of the right words and songs but if I am not living out my faith daily in front of my children I think it may be useless.