Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!:2011

Happy New Year! 2010 is behind us! The good, the bad, the times of pain and the times of joy.  Hopefully we've reflected, evaluated and learned from 2010, in order to move forward in hopeful expectations in 2011!

Here is one goal that I set out for 2010 and accomplished:

Last year I set out to read the Bible chronologically and praise the Lord I did. Honestly I didn't always keep up with my daily readings, many times I had to catch up. The other part is that I wanted to read the entire bible online, here I wasn't able to follow through. A few times when I was away from home with poor or no Internet connection I ended up reading the bible in printed form in order to not fall too behind. Therefore I read about 90% of the entire bible online, either on my laptop or my phone. I mainly used two versions through the entire year, they were: NASB-New American Standard Bible and ESV-English Standard Version.

What website did I use to read the bible online? I wrote about this site in 2009 HERE Nonetheless the website is YouVersion Honestly I believe it's simply one of the best places to do it in this digital world that we live in. They have an app for nearly every smart phone. Another beautiful thing they've done is that your plan sync's on all your devices where you left off. So if you start reading on your laptop you can start up where you left off on you're smart phone.

As for the actually journey, I can tell you in short that in different ways God spoke to me. First and foremost that it's really all about JESUS! I know, I know that seems pretty vague after reading the entire bible, but honestly for me it's not. It's all about Jesus! Thank you for your grace, mercy, and patience toward mankind, and thank you for the power you give us to overcome, and because you are coming soon to take us home!

Yet that was last year, now to do it over again! I won't be doing it chronologically again but, I will be reading all over again. C.H. Spurgeon said, "Nobody ever outgrows Scripture ;the book widens and deepens with our years."

So it's a new year, are you ready for a new beginning? Are you going to take the time and have the Bible widen and deepen you journey with Jesus?


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Disneyland expectations?

My parents had told me, "Javi we're going to Disneyland!" I can still remember how excited I was and then anxious! Perhaps the only mistake my parents made was telling me so far in advance that we were going to Disneyland. I was counting the days and everyone in the house knew it! (note this is Disneyland-California NOT Disney World-Orlando, FL:-)

Minnie and Mickey with Birney at the Disneyland Main Entrancephoto © 2009 Loren Javier | more info (via: Wylio)

When the day came I obviously was the alarm clock for the entire household. Let's go! Let's go! Let's go! Mickey's waiting for me, Donald duck, Goofy:-) Let's go! I had high expectations, I knew that I was going to have fun. No I knew that I was going to the happiest place on earth! Pirates of the Caribbean, It's a small world, Space Mountain, the Haunted house (never really liked going in it), and so many more rides and of course the shows and the pictures with all of my friends that were waiting for me.

It's fascinating to me that even today you tell most kids they're going to Disneyland/Disney World and they, like I, go crazy. They're immediately filled with joy, anxiety because they wish it was now and of course expectations, they know that they will have an incredible time!

I wonder when we tell people about going to church what kind of expectations they have? Ok perhaps it's an unfair to compair going to church and going to the happiest place on earth. Or is it? Maybe you're reading this and you go to a church that you feel excited and expect something to happen. If you do praise God.

Perhaps though you're going to a place or have been going to a church in which you felt not much was going to happen. Same place, same people, same routine every week, very low expectations.

Funny thing is that the many times growing up going to Disneyland, every single time I was excited although it was nearly the same thing every time, with the exception of perhaps a few rides that were added over time. The food was still expensive, it's a small world was still a small world, and Space Mountain well was still riden in the dark. Yet I expected to have fun even though it was my, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc...time going!

Yes church services should be well planned and thought out, every part of it not just the sermon that's a given. Yet along these lines we need to be gathering together (the church) with high expectations. We need to teach our kids, youth, that God is going to do something as we (the church) gather together. We need to expect that God wants to do something as we (the church) gather together He's going to come down, rain down, and touch us in some way. We must expect that God is going to do something.

What is God going to do? Well that depends on you and me and what God may want to do in us, but also IF we are expecting God to do anything?

I'm hoping, anxiously expecting, looking forward, to what God is going to be doing as the church gathers together in this coming year: 2011. Hey...isn't the church gathered a preview to what will eventually be the happiest place (on the new) earth!

When you go to church are you expecting God to do something?


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Do You See What I See?

This past weekend at our Christmas Sabbath service I spoke briefly on what I like to do at the end of every year and that is to do some serious reflecting. Last year as I started this blog I wrote a similar post. Now of course to be clear, just because one takes this time at the end of the year it doesn't mean that it never happens throughout the year. Yet my end of the year reflections gives me a broader perspective.

The bible often calls us to do so. Lamentations 3:40 says, "Let us examine our ways and test them..." Paul speaking of examining ourselves before the taking of communion states, "A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup." (1 Cor. 11:28). He also says in 2 Corinthians 13:5, "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you unless, of course, you fail the test?"

I was once told that anyone can ask the hard questions. To a certain degree I don't agree. Too often, perhaps because of our sinful nature we avoid asking ourselves the difficult questions, because we know they will bring some answers we may not like. It's very easy to always reflect on how others ought to be and act. Some folks are very good at this, some may even consider it their spiritual gift:-(

Even sometimes asking the easy questions is really asking the hard questions. Timing is everything. A great example was after the resurrection when Jesus asked Peter three times, "Do you love me?" The question and answer seemed simple, but we know Jesus was aiming at something deeper. The bible even states that Peter was 'hurt' because Jesus asked him three times.

So what do I do? Well...just what I stated in the short sermon this past weekend. I ask myself these two questions, that really have three parts to it.

1. How's my relationship with Jesus? Within this question I reflect on three key areas:
A. My Time- How much quality time have I and am I spending with Jesus. Here's the question we perhaps often ask and hear, like Jesus' 'Do you love me?' question, it's an easy one but really a deeper one!
B. My Faith- After everything that has happened to me this year, can I honestly say that my faith in Christ is stronger? Why? What was it that made it stronger?
C. My Actions- How have my actions shown that I actually have spent time with Jesus and have faith in Him? In this context when I'm talking about actions I'm reflecting on my ministry/mission as a Christian.

2. How's my relationship with others? Within this question I reflect on these three key areas:
A. My family- Spouse, kids, rest of family. How are these relationship's doing? How can they be better? Do I need to make something right? Forgiveness?
B. My friends- Jesus had His 12 disciples, but we all agree that He also had an inner circle of people that he loved to be with and focused on. Peter, James and John. Jesus loved to be with Lazarus and company. How are my friendships doing? Do I have people I can really trust?
C. My actions- Here the focus is on my actions with people within my family and friends (as opposed to more general interactions with first question part C above).

Of course both questions to some degree are inter-related. I will be honest, doing this can be very tough, it has led me to praise God and to plead with God. Both are necessary. Hopefully in going through this process you will begin to see what He (Jesus) see's! An incredible human being that Jesus loves and is willing and wanting to do incredible things in your life.

Many employers have an annual evaluation of their employees, how much more should we have one before our God. If you really think about it, the examining is happening's better than to be aware, stop denying it, and begin to ask the questions...Jesus asked Peter and he thought he knew the you?

Will you be taking/making the time to stop and truly reflect?


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

My prayer today is that you will take the time and remember the reason for the season YOU! Jesus was born in this sin filled earth because you and I needed a Savior! Praise be to God that, 'unto us a Savior is born!'

He is Emmanuel 'God with us' not only when He was on this earth, but today God continue's to 'seek and to save' the lost. He is with us to save us, empower us, and ever lives to intercede for us!

This past week I attended three funerals! It's a constant reminder, 'even so come Lord Jesus' No longer as a helpless baby, or crucified Savior, but as the conquering King! 

Merry Christmas to all of you, enjoy this time as you love and are loved.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

And the winner is?

Skater Marathon Berlin 2008 (2)photo © 2008 Steffen Zahn | more info (via: Wylio)

This past Friday I picked the winner of the $10 Borders Gift card as we celebrated the first year of this blog: Bathos! The winner was...

I guess it was fitting that my friend and colleague Rodlie won, since he helped me get started over a year ago now. Congrats!

Stay tuned we'll have some very interesting post's coming up as the year is soon to end, can you believe it!


Thursday, December 16, 2010

What if Jesus was born today?

That's right...the Birth of Christphoto © 2009 Ambuj Saxena | more info (via: Wylio)

A friend of mine sent this to me and I do ask: 'How would it have been if Jesus would've been born today?' Perhaps something like this...NOTE: if you're getting this via email/RSS feed, or CAN'T see the video below properly click HERE to watch the video!

Ok so maybe not exactly like that but it sure reminds us of at least a few things. One, times have changed but praise God that Jesus' love for us does not! Secondly, we most certainly live in a vastly different world than that of the bible, and although Jesus' principals are eternal, how they are applied may look a little different today than they did back then. At least some...

What do you think?


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The People of God-Part3

My gifts were the prettiest, as alwaysphoto © 2007 V Smoothe | more info (via: Wylio)

In this series we began in part 1 to discuss the meaning of the word 'laity' you can click here to read that post. In part 2 we briefly described what the role of the pastor is from within the laity/people of God, click here to read that post.

Now we will turn to discussing what the role of everyone else among 'the people of God/laity' is or at least ideally should be. Here I also one to state a few caveats. First as I've mentioned in the previous post's what I'm stating is not necessarily knew but certainly something worth being reminded of. Secondly I'm limited here, this being a blog post and not a paper on the subject. Much more could be said. Nonetheless here goes...

In the same way that the bible speaks of the role of the pastor/elder so there are several places in the New Testament in which the bible mentions the different gifts (though not a complete list) of the Spirit, given to the church (Romans 12:6-8; 1 Cor. 12:28-30; Eph. 4:11-13; 1Pt. 4:10-11). In essence the bible is telling us that God has given 'the people of God' gifts in order to use for His glory. Paul says this, "For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another." (Rom. 12:4,5 NASB)

We all as the body of Jesus have a function/role in which God has gifted us, blessed us with, in order to strengthen the body as a whole. The apostle Peter says it this way, "As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God." (1 Pet. 4:10 NASB) It sounds simple enough: A. we are God's people B. God gives us gifts C. We use those gifts (read the texts above to find out some of those gifts) for His glory, building up the church, His body.

Yet we know that though it seems simple, it's not. Why? Many are not using there gifts that God has given them. Now at this point some will say, 'well what about those gift inventories?' I say the following to them. Honestly I'm not a big fan. In the New Testament no one took a gift inventory of any kind that I know of. They were passionate in whom they believed! Jesus! There passion to serve God to some degree led them to serve God within their gift! NOW with that said, if people feel that they need a  'gift inventory/assessment' in order to better understand or even perhaps find out where they are most 'gifted' by all means do it, BUT then go and serve!

God had an incredibly plan. He would not only send His son Jesus to save people, but then He would empower them with different capacities to grow His kingdom. The devils plan while Jesus was on earth? Keep Jesus away from the cross. Praise God He failed! Next the devil's plan was to keep people from seeing and understanding what Jesus did for them on the cross. This battle is still on going. Then there's the devil's plan for those who believe in Jesus...keep them from using the gifts that God has given them so that His kingdom doesn't grow and neither does the believer mature. Here's where it seems that the enemy of souls is winning.

Jesus said these famous words in Matthew 6:33, " first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you." Could it be that sadly many have relied on self in order to grow their own kingdom? Even maybe using the gifts that God has given us first and foremost to grow His kingdom, we end up using it to grow our own?

God has gifted all of you who are reading this post. During this Christmas season why not make sure that you have unwrapped it and are using for His kingdom...because hey...everything else 'shall be added  to you.'

Now that's a gift worth opening before Christmas, don't you think?

NOTE: Several have commented on the 1yr celebration going on here at BATHOS and this Friday I will give away a $10 gift card from Borders. You still have until Friday itself to leave a comment on that post. Click HERE for all the info. Now listen I know it's just a little gift but I would really love to hear from you all and most of all pray for you so go ahead and click HERE :-)!


Monday, December 13, 2010

One Year of Blogging: Happy 1st Birthday Bathos!

Happy 1st Flickr birthday to me!!!photo © 2008 Benson Kua | more info (via: Wylio)

It's hard for me to believe that a year ago today I started this blog: Bathos! I want to first take the time to thank everyone who has read Bathos through out the year and have left comments either on the blog or by replying directly to me email.

With that said though, this blog was started as a journey. A journey into learning the deeper things of God. Yes many times I send out some funny or inspiring video's because I believe that in this journey we are in, it's important to, laugh!

This blog has been a place where I can write out my thoughts, questions, and even my hopes. A place where I'm able to ask some tough questions and through the process of thinking and meditating on what to write and perhaps through some dialogue left on Bathos, come up with some answers or even perhaps some better questions!  Bottom line I want to go 'bathos/deeper' in my relationship with my Lord and Savior Jesus!

It's never been about who reads Bathos or how many, although I'm glad many are reading. How many people read Bathos? Well that varies and I could give you a bunch of stats but I will just say that through out the latter part of the year I've had on average of anywhere between 80-100 'absolute unique visitors' to this site a month. Who would have thought that could happen?

So as a way to celebrate here at Bathos I'm giving away a $10 Borders gift card!:-) It's a little something but hey...even if you don't have a Borders near your home you can always go on-line and buy something!

Here's how you can be eligible to win the gift card:
1. Leave a comment on this blog post (not by replying to the email if you're a subscriber)
2. Tell me what you want for Christmas:-) Even if you say you don't want anything, tell me an organization that you would like to benefit or will be donating to.
3. Lastly leave me a prayer request, I want to pray for you!

Anyone is eligible as long as they leave a comment on this post (as stated above) wether this is your first time reading or you've read all 103 post's!

I will announce the random winner by Friday! Really want to give this little gift away so leave a comment and be in the spirit spread the news, post it on Facebook and/or Tweet it :-)!


P.S.- Stay tuned for Part 3 of the People of God series!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The People of God-Part2

Eyes Front, Quick © 2009 Brian Forbes | more info (via: Wylio)

In my previous post we began to speak on the word 'laity' which essentially in the bible is derived from the word 'laos' which means 'people, people of a certain group or tribe.' I concluded by saying that in reality the bible seems to point to the fact that we are all 'laity' or the people of God. Biblically it seems to appear that this term is not used to denote the difference between an educated person within a specific field i.e., the theologically educated clergy as opposed to non-theologically educated people to which the term 'laity' is used for.

We are all 'laity' BUT within this group of people belonging to God, we do have different roles that are geared toward one goal, which is, increasing the kingdom of God. At least this is the ideal.

I begin with the role of the pastor. This post is a bit longer than what I normally put out but please stick with it. Three things I want to point out before continuing. First this is not an exhaustive nor complete exposition on the topic, but a start to perhaps get us thinking and initiate dialogue. Second, once again I understand that I'm not, by any means, the first to write on this topic nor the last.  I welcome as always your input, this is what Bathos (this blog) is about, going deeper. Thirdly, what we want to do here in this post is set a biblical foundation for pastoral role and how it can be applied in real life. With that said here we go...

The running joke on pastors is that they work once a week and play golf the rest of the week. If only that were true my golf game would be a whole lot better.

Biblical foundation (short version:-)
The bible points out specifically the role of a pastor. The apostle Paul mentions in Ephesians 4:11-12 that God has appointed some to be apostles, some to prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers. Interestingly enough the word 'pastor' in this text is used 18X in 17 verses in the New Testament. It carries the main meaning of a 'shepherd' but also metaphorically means one who is the director of an assembly, such as a church.

In John 10:11 Jesus Himself says, "I am the good Shepherd..." Again, using the same word as Paul does in Ephesians 4:11. NOW interestingly enough as churches were being planted in the book of Acts this term is never used that I can find (if you do let me know:-). Paul states that 'Elders (greek=presbyteros) should be appointed, see for example Acts 14:23. This particular word is used 66 times in the New Testament. It should be noted that the words, 'elder/bishops' in the bible are used interchangeably to essentially denote someone that is the leader of a church the specific word 'pastor' is not used in this way except for Ephesians 4:11.

So what does this all mean? Well for one let's be honest if we read the bible the terms we use today are not being used in the same way in the bible. Today for the most part in church life elders are part of leadership but the pastor is seen as the visible leader of the church. In the book of Acts the appointed 'Elders' were one can say the pastors of the church. I would venture to say that 'Elder' in the early church (such as the book of Acts) were seen to some extent as the 'pastor's' of the church.

Applying it today:
With that said what is the role of the pastor/elder of the church? For one Ephesians 4:11 seems to suggest that at least part of the role is to: 1. prepare God's saints for works of service 2. so that the body will be built up 3. in order to reach unity in the faith, knowledge in the Son of God and become mature 4. in order to attain to the fullness of Christ. WOW a lot is said there!

So for one 'pastors/elders' are to empower/train the church for all kinds of service. I guess that would make the pastors role more than a 1X a week job! Why? Well an essence just this one point I would venture to say entails a whole lot in today's world, because there is so much service to do!

A few ways that pastors prepare God's people for service:
1. Preaching- We must never under estimate the bringing of the word of God! Any good preacher will challenge, teach, encourage and empower through the speaking of God's word to lead people to serve.  In order to do this effectively one must spend time in study! Yes study! On average preachers should spend at least 20 hours preparing their sermons if not more.
2. Leading- Michael Hyatt CEO of Thomas Nelson wrote an excellent post on 'Why Leaders Exist' and why do they exist? To create and lead change. Not simply for the sake of change but within the life of the church, change is created in order to continue to grow the kingdom God. This is NO 1 day a week task. To lead properly it takes time, patience to gather a team that will have a vision/mission and seek to fulfill it.
3. Bible studies- A given that pastors should be doing this. BUT we must teach others to do the same, by  making sure we are doing it first!
4. Visiting- It's believed that pastors should visit their members and they should. Yet members should visit their pastors (who would have thought that?) and members should visit each other not just people they normally hang out with. This obviously includes all kinds of visits: hospital, jail, and nursing homes.
5. Planning- The old saying states, "Failing to plan is planning to fail" Though this can also be categorized under 'leading' nonetheless it deserves it's own place. Planning is essential in order to prepare and help members to serve.

The practical reality is that the pastor/shepherd/elder is one who is overseeing a church (regardless of denominational affiliation, size, or beliefs) which is an organization that should be empowering it's members in different ways in order to serve not just internally but obviously externally in order that the organization will mature and expand (the kingdom of God of course!).

Obviously I'm speaking as a pastor, and in today's era pastors are not looked upon as they were some time ago. Many times they are looked down upon, criticized and frowned upon. Yet in all this there is a key element that must be remembered and it comes directly from the word of God that I mentioned above. Ephesians 4:11says again "And He (God) gave some..." In other words the bible believes and highly values the role of the pastor within the 'laity' or people of God, for it's God himself who gives it to His church! So pastors believe you are appointed as one among the 'laity' with a serious, strong, leadership role that the bible calls 'elder/presbyter/shepherd/pastor'. It's one of extremely high responsibility before the One, for He gave you to the church.

Yet the role of the rest of the 'laity' and/or church is one that we will turn to will without a doubt want to read that next post:-)

So what do you think of the biblical terminology? What do you believe is the role of the pastor?


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The People of God-Part1

Worship service at Lakewood Church, Houstonphoto © 2010 Rainer Ebert | more info (via: Wylio)

This week I've been attending a conference on evangelism this is put out by our denomination. It's the second year in a row that I go to it and I'll have some post's coming forth regarding it. Yet there is one word that for different reasons has been on my mind and that word is: 'Laity.'

If you’ve been in church long enough you perhaps have heard the term ‘laity.’ For the most part the term is defined within church life as any person that is not a paid clergy. Even in secular circles the term is used, for example, when going to a doctors office. The physician begins to explain some diagnosis to you that’s way over your head, you might say, “doc can you say it in laymen’s terms!” Your basically saying I’m not educated in medicine like you are so tell it to me in a way that I can understand.
Now I would venture to say that anyone reading this post understands the above, yet I want to suggest that to some extent within church life this term ‘laity’ has been misused and misunderstood. Now I also know that this subject is not new and has been discussed for sometime in different circles. Yet as mentioned at the start of this post,  recently through different means I have began contemplating this topic a bit more and felt it would be a good blog topic and reminder.
Wikipedia defines ‘laity’ as:
In religious organizations, the laity comprises all persons who are not in the clergy. A person who is a member of a religious order who is not ordained legitimate clergy is considered as a member of the laity, even though they are members of a religious order
The term in the Greek means: ‘people, people of a certain group or tribe.’  It’s used over 142 times in the New Testament. Now here’s one key point, I personally never see the word ‘laity’ or any of it’s forms being used to denote that a clergy is not also a ‘laity’. Hope you caught that. In other words though we in our present vernacular use it to distinguish a paid clergy from everyone else, the bible doesn’t. As a matter of fact perhaps one of the key texts that gives us a good insight on how this word seems to be used in the New Testament is found in 1 Peter 2: 10 when he says:
"for you once were not a PEOPLE (the word here is 'laos' root word where we get 'laity'), but now you areTHE PEOPLE (once again 'laos') OF GOD; you had not received mercybut now you have received mercy."

Therefore here’s important point #1 that must be understood by all Christians. We are all ‘laity’, all, including clergy. We as Christians are in this together, a pastor/clergy is not above those he pastors, nor are church members above the clergy we are all one 'laity/laos' or 'people of God' Amen to that.

Now with that said, within the people of God there are different roles, but that's for part 2, stay tuned.

So what comes to your mind when you here the word, 'laity'? Do you believe we use it properly within church culture?


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Top post in November

number 1photo © 2020 jon jordan | more info (via: Wylio)

It's incredible to believe that it's already December! It will soon be a year since I started this blog and there are a few interesting post's that will be coming up and a little special one year anniversary.

But here it is the number one post for the month of November was none other than...

Incredible Sermon on Jonah

This post thanks to people who forwarded their post received the highest amount of views! She was incredible! :-)

One last thing, I would love to hear from you the reader perhaps some of the topics you would like discussed here at Bathos, leave a comment, email me, just let me know.



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