Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Student Life

Just a quick note to say that the family and I are at Student Life this week at Shocco Springs. It's been an adventure already, but it's great having them here. I'm thankful Student Life and its leaders are such great hosts to let my family accompany me. Nothing better then being entrusted to preach the word and then to be able to connect with your family, campers, and fellow ministers. Student Life's themes this year are: Respond, Repent, Relate, and Remain. Today's focus is "relate." My emphasis will be: our sacrifice for others is proportional to our satisfaction in God. The more joy we have in the Lord the more generosity will flow from us. Some highlights of having the family here this week have been: running from a swarm of yellow jackets outside our door, Tara getting locked out of our room and having to go to the front desk in her PJ's, all 5 of us riding in a golf cart together with Adoniram saying "choo choo," taking two paddle boats out on the lake, and getting donuts from OMG Donuts in Talladega. It's also been fun to share meals on campus with the student life campers/adults and hear about their lives! Well, it's time to study. The two babies are taking a nap and I need to prepare for tonight. Join me in praying for God to move through His Word and for eyes to be opened about our responsibilities of seeking joy in the Lord and sacrificing for one another.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Spiritual Gatorade

For a while now, Gatorade has been running a commercial pushing their "pre," "during," and "after" products for athletic events. If the commercials are true then these drinks give you the "boost" you need at whichever phase of the activity you are in. Selfishly, I wish there was a "boost" that would help me be able to dunk a basketball or at least elevate my bowling game from 140 to 160 (Wii bowling excluded). What about spiritually? Is there a "boost" for our daily battle with sin? Is there a boost for loving God with all of our heart and our neighbors as ourselves? Yes, there is. As always with God, all that He expects from us He also supplies to us.

If we are to love God passionately and our neighbors rightly then we must meditate on the cross constantly. C. J. Mahaney has written much on the cross-centered life, so I will not try to exhaust the topic in this blog, but I do want to encourage you today to meditate on Christ and the cross. As you do: meditate on Christ's sufferings, meditate on His silence, meditate on His sovereignty, meditate on His substitution, meditate on His sufficiency, and meditate on His sacrifice. At the cross, our selfishness and our agendas get crushed, but for our good and God's glory. At the cross statements like "I don't feel like it" or "I don't want to" get blown out of the water. At the cross, the questions "Is it safe?" and "Is it comfortable?" no longer dominate our thoughts. Yes God expects us to love Him with all of our heart, soul, and mind and to love our neighbor as ourself. As a matter of fact, Jesus said these were the two most important things in life. But what we sometimes forget is that for those that are in Christ, God has poured His love into our hearts through His Spirit (Rom. 5:5). So the very love that God requires of us He has already provided.

So where are you in these things? Have your affections for the Lord grown cold? Is sin reigning in your life? Would selfishness characterize more of your life than sacrifice? Find in Christ, His Spirit, and daily meditation on the cross, fuel for gospel centered obedience. Obedience that flows from a renewed heart that says "I want to" rather than "I'm supposed to." As Stott says, "The cross is the blazing fire at which the flame of our love is kindled, but we have to get near enough for its sparks to fall on us." How close are you today friend?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Do We Have the Same Burden as Paul?

Gal. 4:19 "My little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you!" Granted, the middle part of this verse is one of the most unique pictures Paul could use to describe his "labor" on behalf of the Galatians. Moving past the metaphor to the motivation, I wonder if we have the same intensity, the same burden, the same desire to see Christ formed in those that are around us? Do we long to see our neighbors and co-workers and even fellow church members transformed by Christ from the inside out? Does this burden move us to intercession and travailing with the Lord asking Him to open hearts for the Gospel and to crush all reliance upon self of those who have been redeemed? Calvin once said: If ministers wish to do any good, let them labor to form Christ, not to form themselves, in their hearers. Tonight I find myself longing for Christ to be increasingly formed in myself, my family, and the people of CrossPoint. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

My Dad and the Celtics

Watching a little bit of Game 1 of the NBA Finals has caused me to think of my Dad tonight. When I was growing up we used to always watch the Celtics. I saw countless of the classic Bird and Johnson battles. Also the Bird and Laimbeer sagas. I watched Bird's famous steal of the in-bound pass live. Basically, I wanted to be Larry Bird (minus the daisy dukes and the goldilocks). I liked Robert Parish because he was from Louisiana. Of course there was DJ, McHale, and Ainge too.

Eleven years after my dad's death I find I still have moments where I miss him much. Tonight is one of those. I think about him every time I watch the Yankees play. I think about him now watching the Lakers and the Celtics. I wish he were here to watch the games with me and especially to watch them with my children. I know, however, that all that he is experiencing with Christ is far better than whatever happens in a basketball game. I also find once again how thankful I am for Christ's substitutionary atonement and His conquering of the grave. My dad is not here, but he is alive never to taste death again.

Though tonight I have the Celtics and not my Dad, One Day I will have my Dad and all the regenerate Celtics!!! What a great day that will be. And the best part is that day will never end.