Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Want to help MS tornado victims?

By now most if not all have heard of the tornado that struck Mississippi. The counties of Yazoo, Warren, Attala, Holmes, and Choctaw were hit this past Saturday. Pastor Jones and myself were up in Yazoo, MS on Tuesday (it's only about an hour from where I live) delivering diapers, wipes, tarps, and other necessities.

Then I returned later in the day with one of my church elders to bring more of the same. This community along with the others mentioned above are just starting to recover from this terrible tragedy in which ten people died and many homes and businesses were either destroyed or severely damaged.

If by chance you haven't heard of this (maybe you were on vacation in Siberia :-) simply google 'Yazoo, MS tornado' and you can read all the details of what happened and is still going on in the recovery process.

First and foremost please keep these folks in your prayers, but along with prayer if you are able and willing you can help those who have had their lives affected by this disaster by going clicking here.

The link will take you to our church website where you can give online. Create an id and password and follow the instructions. This site is secure and safe and you can be assured the money will go to help the victims of the tornado. If you do give please let me know by leaving a comment on my blog or sending me an email.


image was taken by me and is of a house in Yazoo, MS! One of the many destroyed...

Monday, April 26, 2010

Coming out!

I recently came across this interview with past Christian recording artist Jennifer Knapp. To be clear I can't really recall knowing much about her or her music. Probably one of the reasons is that she took a 7 year break from her career. Now that she has returned she declared that she is gay.

This of course has created a huge buzz, enough to get her on Larry King Live for a very interesting discussion. If your able take time to listen to all 4 parts of the interview.

What really gets me from this is not just Jennifer Knapp but notice what really seems to be the issue threading the conversation, that is the word SIN. Let me know what you think about the discussion!

You can also read an interview she did with Christianity Today

If you receive my blog via email/RSS feed and can't see the video's click here.
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!


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Friday, April 23, 2010

His workmanship!

In my first post in this series we pondered several questions but essentially there were two main ones: Are you saved (a question for Christians regarding 'assurance')? If not how good do you have to be? In my second post this past Monday we essentially stated that we are saved by grace through faith and it's a gift (Eph. 2:8) along these lines I mentioned of  having the faith of a little kid. Likewise as kids we should have complete confidence in our heavenly Father that He has done what He said He would do if we have believed in Jesus.

Whenever I talk about 'assurance of salvation' the subject of 'works' naturally comes to the forefront. What about works? The bible does say, " without works is dead." (James 2:17) So what about works? How does this fit in with being saved by grace? Allow me to suggest that essentially faith is our response to what God has already done on the cross for you and me. The way that we respond to the gospel will determine our willingness to do the works that God would have us do. I along with many will quote Ephesians 2:8 regarding salvation being a gift of God and not something we work for and rightly so but then in verse 10 Paul says, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." (Eph. 2:10-ESV)

The text I just stated is more powerful than what many have perhaps given it credit. Even though this blog is called 'Bathos' Greek for deeper, I won't prolong this post with the Greek of Ephesians 2:10. BUT the word 'workmanship' in the Greek is normally used in the NT to speak of the work that God does. Now listen closely the more we allow God to work in us by responding to what we already know and to what God may be leading us, the more we will be lead to do more and more as the 'workmanship' of God.

We are God's 'workmanship' stop for a second and allow that to sink into your heart, mind and soul. God is working in us, He's wanting to do something big in your life and in mine. We are His and He is our God working in us. You see this is why salvation is of God from first to last, because it is God Himself working in us to work the works that He has planned for our lives. Our only question to answer is will we believe? That is will we respond to what God has said He will do!

How are you responding?

(if you receive this by email click here to read it directly on my blog)


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Monday, April 19, 2010

Acting like a little kid?

I have wanted to post this sooner but I spent most of last week with about 50 kids plus several teachers for what is called 'Outdoor school.' This is a time when elementary age students from our denominational schools spend time at Camp Alamisco (this camp is owned by the Adventist church but is open to all for reservations) they learn things such as how to use a compass, outdoor survival skills, and of course about Jesus.

This actually got me thinking in regards to this series of post's about 'assurance of salvation.' Most of these kids were without their parents, therefore both the parents and the kids had faith that they would be fed, protected from harm, and well brought back safely. It seems logical right? A basic assumption. Yet as I pondered these kids (and thought of my own childhood) I thought of another basic assumption, these kids were completely dependent on us the adults. Yes they fed themselves but the food was supplied, they bathed themselves (thank goodness:-) but the water was supplied, they brushed their own teeth (most of them:-) and yes here goes went to the bathroom on their own!

Why do I state all this? Well without taking the illustration to far, we are the same when it comes to our salvation in Christ Jesus. The bible says, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God." (Eph.2:8)

You see as these kids were and are dependent on someone else for their daily needs, so essentially all of us are dependent on God for everything when it comes to salvation. These kids never doubted that we were going to feed them, allow them to use the bathroom when needed, that we would help them when and if they felt sick (and one of my kids did), they in their own way felt fully 'assured' that they were taken care of. The kids that stayed with me trusted me, I am their pastor, we played and joked but they respected me and I them. They knew I would do what I could to protect them along with every other adult on the camp.

So here it is, if kids at such a young age can have full confidence knowing they are to some degree helpless without us the adults. Why is it that we can't do the same with our heavenly Father in heaven that spoke the whole world into existence and I like to believe formed us with His own hands!

Perhaps this goes with what Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 18:3)

So if you have surrendered your life to Jesus why do you doubt your salvation? Why do you feel like you need to do more and more in order to 'feel' like you are secure? I know what some are thinking but wait until the next post!

Are you ready to be 'little children' as Jesus said?

(side note: hope y'all like the new look, if you get this by email click here to view it, you really should! Still working on it a bit: why the surfer, well growing up in California the beach was my love! Going 'deep' inside a wave is an incredible feeling, thus we go 'deep' with Jesus (you knew it was coming:-) and we come out with a new look on life!)


image by [powerpointsermons]

Sunday, April 11, 2010

How good do you have to be?


Are you saved? Isn't this the question that as Christians we ultimately ask ourselves at some point or perhaps avoid asking for fear of the answer. 

 If you're a Christian but you're not sure that you are saved then: How good do you have to be?

Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. People like you and me, people who have sinned and more than likely continue to sin. So here it is, you've heard it before: if you died today would you be sure of your salvation? Or, do you feel like you haven't done enough. 

Over the next couple of post's I'll be talking about this issue, one that certainly deserves our attention.
So let me know what you think, be open and honest,  lets talk.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Are you taking a Sabbath or The Sabbath?


For whatever reason in the last several months I've been hearing, reading, and having some conversations regarding the Sabbath.  Then I even saw this video below from CNN. (if you can't see the video click here)

It seems that more and more our culture, society is realizing the need for a Sabbath. A time to unplug, to get away from the daily routine, the hustle and bustle of life. Interestingly enough God saw the need for this since the beginning of time. He knew that mankind would need a day not only to unplug but to fully plug in! Plug in to Jesus that is. A whole day devoted to Him, and to the 'things' that He calls us too. One  example is spending quality time with family and in close community with friends.

Yet what I'm hearing more and more from different preachers and teachers (that I highly respect for their love for the Word of God) and I listen to a lot of them (no need to name them at this point) is yes we should take a Sabbath but there is no emphasis on THE Sabbath that God instituted since the beginning of time. I'm not going to take the time here to give you a bunch of verses and texts but I encourage you to take some time and check out this website on the Sabbath which basically answers many of the questions regarding THE Sabbath as opposed to taking a Sabbath.

So how about it are you ready (even if you are a 7th day Adventist) to go BATHOS/deeper in your understanding of THE Sabbath?


image from [powerpointsermons]

Sunday, April 4, 2010

He's Alive! Now what?

"And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith...And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins." (1 Cor. 15:14,17)

Praise God that Jesus is alive, therefore our faith is not futile, we don't have to be dead in our sins, our preaching is not useless. Jesus is alive! 

Now what? Make sure you're dead and that what is alive in you is Jesus! Don't miss that last statement. Paul famously stated, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me..." (Gal. 2:20
For Christians there is no doubt (or there shouldn't be) that Jesus is alive and working through the Holy Spirit to increase His kingdom for He is soon to return. One question that we should ask ourselves is: Is Jesus alive in our heart?

Paul continues, "...The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (Gal. 2:20) 

Paul lived a life of faith in Jesus knowing He lived in Him and Jesus manifested Himself through Paul. So friends, family, lets do this! Lets allow Jesus to be alive in us, and work through us.

Jesus is alive! Now what? Stop gazing at the sky, stop the distractions in your life, die to self and allow Jesus to be alive in you!


Friday, April 2, 2010

Sunday's coming!


Though we as Christians should daily remember what Jesus did for us, it's wonderful that much of the Christian world takes this time to remember what Jesus did for us in a special way. Just as we should thank God for life everyday but we obviously do it in a special way on our birthdays.

Yet lets be honest we know Sunday's coming. We know what happens to Jesus on Sunday. We know that well He's alive, at least we claim too. 

I guess my question might be if we know that Sunday came and Jesus IS alive today. Why is the Christian church acting if it's Saturday and Jesus is dead in the tomb? Why does it seem at times that we are more in mourning than in victory? 


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Pilate's great question & your answer is?

He was choosing who he would release. His wife had told him, "Don't have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him."(Matt. 27:19). The leaders were persuading the crowd to ask Pilate to release Barabbas and execute Jesus. So when Pilate asked who he should release the crowd said, "Barabbas." Then Pilate asked a question that should resonate down the corridor of time.
"What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?" 
 What a question for you and me today. Not just because it's good Friday, but simply because it's one that we answer everyday of our lives either consciously our subconsciously. We tend to do many things with Jesus in our lives. We ignore Him, miss-represent Him,  disobey Him, we call ourselves His followers yet it seems that where just going through the motions instead of doing things, "with Jesus who is called Christ."

What shall I do with Jesus? What shall you do with Jesus? Maybe it's time that we release Him. Let me explain. Pilate  released Barabbas, interestingly enough his name in Aramaic means "son of the father" Jesus who was crucified often referred to His Father and in Mark 14:36 Jesus said, "Abba, Father... everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will."

Pilate had before him, Jesus THE son of the Father, and Barabbas "son of the father." It seemed like an easy choice, listen to your wife Pilate not the crowd, listen to your conscious Pilate not the crowd. Pilate if your asking, "what crime has he committed?" and no good answer is given then Pilate, it should be easy to make the right choice. But obviously it wasn't for Pilate for he had THE son of the Father executed and a son of the father released. 

So maybe could it be that we haven't released the right "son of the father" in our lives either. It seems like it's an easy decision release Jesus He hasn't done anything, but instead we release "son of the father." In other words we "crucify Him" by our actions everyday yet we release our natural sinful ways.

So on this good Friday I ask: "What are you doing with Jesus who is called Christ?" Hopefully you're releasing Him and allowing Him to shine through you!


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