new staff….

i have a few friends that are joining cru staff in the next few months that are currently in need, and would greatly enjoy the support of anyone who is willing to give. if you wish to get in contact with them before helping them out with staff, i have their phone numbers after names and before their give links.

elise hebert – 903-271-8897 – https://give.cru.org/0663248
spencer oberstadt – 920-389-1221 – https://give.cru.org/0663419
andrew cook – 630-512-1314 – https://give.cru.org/0652796
ryan lam – 626-232-9279 – https://give.cru.org/0663433
matt tilley – 314-315-5281 – https://give.cru.org/0654174

action/reaction…..

i was reading a blog post earlier today, and even though the writer normally writes good stuff, this one post seemed off.
do we respond to God, or does God respond to us? and while he didn’t answer in a direct or rebellious way, he did answer wrong. it is crucial that we get our system of revelation and response right, otherwise we have the power to change the word of God, as opposed to the word changing us.

we must remember that it was God who first acted before we were even able to react. not even touching on the creation itself all through genesis, ephesians 2 says that we were ‘dead in our trespasses and sins in which we once walked.’ dead people don’t make choices. ‘but God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved -‘

we have no power to act to begin with, we were created to be reactionary creatures; to be worshippers. God speaks, we listen and respond.

in the world of worship, some pastors will reflect how they structure worship through how God reacts with His people in scripture, and one of the most commonly used ones is from isaiah 6. go to biblia.com and read isaiah 6 for yourself, otherwise the rest of this post won’t make sense.

if we take this passage and begin outlining what is happening here, it looks something like this –

  • vs 1
    • isaiah has a vision from the Lord because God gave Him the vision, God acted first.
  • vs 1-4
    • declaration of God’s holiness
  • vs 5
    • a declaration of our lack of holiness as a response to God’s holiness
  • vs 6-7
    • assurance of salvation, which is and was Jesus to come.
  • vs 8
    • response; reaction.
  • vs 9-10
    • God speaking once more
    • this could be called a reaction from God (even though He would continue to speak whether or not we obey)
    • this is where cole’s article would fit into the scheme of dialogue between God and man.
  • vs 11-13
    • continued dialogue

as we begin to take the idea of action/reaction and fit it into the grander scheme of worship (revelation and response), because that is where it belongs in systematic theology, i would say that we will come to the following definition of worship as described by dr. jonathan blackmon & dr. bruce leafblad –

“worship is communion with God in which the triune God of the bible reveals Himself through Word and Spirit to His people, and in which believers, by grace, center their minds’ attention and their hearts’ affection on the Lord, humbly glorifying God in response to His greatness and His Word.”

when we look at worship in a broad sense, it is living entirely in a reaction to God’s enactment of the Gospel. we must keep that at the center of how we celebrate what God has revealed through His word.

luxury…..

an interesting thought popped into my head this evening. pastors and other christian teachers frequently preach and teach against social injustices and the excessive greed and gluttony that we as americans freely experience. however, my rant is about something slightly different; there is a form of gluttony that we indulge in through impressive religious teaching.

now, i know that the gospel coalition is this weekend, and i am not speaking against conferences or any other similar teaching situation; however, what i am speaking against is the heart of man as we sit down to learn. we live in an information age where we have the luxury of learning so much about the bible without actually being in it, and we have tried to manufacture an encounter with God into an arrangement of notes played by musicians in a live audience. we must as christians avoid the false luxury of pre-canned and warmed-up intimacy with God, and use the true luxury of our bibles to learn what we can from God for as long as the book is openly available here. we need pastors to preach and teach the word, however if we do not experience God for ourselves through His word, we are paying the pastor to ‘do the dirty work’ of interceding with God for us in the aspect of teaching. we have made the pastor the priest of our modern age despite the priesthood of every believer, and the extreme availability of many translations of God’s word within grasp.

christians, don’t let the pastor be your only source of spiritual truth; allow God’s word itself that honor and use your pastor as an aid.

Jestership…..

prayer seems to be a somewhat common thread on this blog. prayer and sabbath. if any of you who read this are in my day-to-day life, you’ll probably notice that i’ve been trying to post weekly, and i’ll usually either write or publish a post on the day that i either sabbath on, or have something like a snow day during. in my rest, i read and pray to God, and in my rest i’ll have ideas for what to write about. what you see is the product of prayer and sabbath, but why? why do we pray?

i could easily say that we pray because Jesus prayed, and we were commanded to pray, but lets think practically; for what reason could God want us to pray? it isn’t that He doesn’t know what we need (mt 26:28-29) or isn’t powerful enough on His own to give us what we need, but that he wants us to pray. a heretical path that we can walk down here is that God needs our communication, He needs us to be His court jester, to be worshipped, all so that He can be who He is; but He doesn’t need our worship to be God, He is so worthy to be worshipped that our lack of worship doesn’t lessen His holiness. He is so holy that we don’t even have the capacity to worship Him aside from the power of the Holy Spirit. so then why do we pray if there is no need for God to hear our prayers, knowing that he already knows our needs and desires. i would say humility.

God doens’t need us to talk to Him to do His will on earth, however what He hates is pride and what He loves is humility (james 4:6), and prayer forces us to be humble. we don’t need to bow our heads when we pray to God, we can talk to him as i would with any of you, eyes open, standing up, eyes forward. but we close our eyes, bow our heads, clasp our hands, as a sign of unworthiness, respect, and humility towards God. is it necessary? no. is it helpful to remind us of why we pray? yes. whenever we speaking our requests to God, we are forcing ourselves to say, ‘yes, Lord, i am inadequate and powerless to _______, but you are more than able.’ we make ourselves humble and willing to do the will of God in the manner that He desires.

now, about what i said earlier about how God doesn’t need our ‘company,’ or our worship? just because he doesn’t need it doesn’t mean that He doesn’t enjoy it. what type of son would i be if never talked to my father? i would barely even be one. i would be a very distant and estranged son. even more so, we were created to be in community with God, a fluid life of speaking and response with our Creator, not independence except for when we need him to grant our requests, almost in a fairy-like aspect. know and be known by One who loves you dearly, for there is no other satisfying relationship we can have.