Work and the Glory of God

In December of 2010 I made a transition in employment. My previous full-time job was at Calvary Chapel of Crook County, where I was on staff as the worship leader/Office guy/tech dude/graphic designer/web guy. Due to economic difficulties in our area (at the time, our county had the highest unemployment rate, hovering around 18%) I was laid off in December, and officially unemployed as of January 1st. For several months I was able to do some short-term jobs and collect unemployment, but in March I had an interview for a position as a server tech, here in Prineville. I was blessed to be able to get a three month contract as a server tech, and I recently had that contract extended by another month. I’ve been loving every minute of it. A mistake that we can make as Christians is to think or say something along the lines of, “If I just had a church job then life would be so much better. I’d get to be around Christians all day long!”. While I understand why thinking like this might creep in, it’s not a biblical, gospel-centered way of thinking. If I am a follower of Christ, then it stands to reason that I’m going to do many of the things he did, and obey him in the things he has required of me. Well, Jesus hung out with the people that the religious authorities of His day had deemed “sinners”. This upset these religious people greatly, but Jesus didn’t care. He loved people and wanted to see them come to a saving relationship with Him. We get off track when we start to think that avoiding non-Christians is somehow part of the great commission. No matter how you slice it, you can’t go into all the world and make disciples by preaching the gospel if the only people you ever hang around with are, in fact, other believers.

This kind of thinking can make many so-called “Good Christians” uncomfortable. This is usually because “Good Christians” are failing to understand the gospel. They believe that sin comes to them externally, from all of those “darn sinners”, so avoiding them will keep themselves living in sinless perfection. This is a great tragedy and mis-handling of the truth. Christians are not called to avoid sinners, but to cease sinning because they have been set free from the slavery of sin by grace through faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Nothing more, and nothing less. We recognize that we have done nothing to earn our salvation, nor can we do something to earn it. We understand that Jesus is the one who has performed perfectly before the Father on our behalf. We don’t get arrogant toward non-believers, or even fearful of being around them; we become humble because we are absolutely floored that God would save us. We become gracious because we have experienced the amazing grace of God. We begin to see things as God sees them; badly broken and in need of His perfect Son to fix it. This is what it is to be a Christian. This is what it is to be a disciple. This is what it is to live in the gospel every day.

I for one am so thankful that God has saved me, and is continuing to change me. He is making me more aware of how badly all of creation needs His redeeming love; especially mankind. The fact that I not only receive salvation from the Father through Jesus Christ, AND I get the Spirit of God living in me is enough to completely explode my head. Then to add to that the great privilege of telling others about Him in word and deed is just too much. What a good God. The more I learn of the gospel, the more excited I am to share it with others.

Book Recommendation: What Is the Gospel?

Hey, it’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I really wanted to make a quick book recommendation. I recently read the book, “What Is the Gospel?”, but a guy named Greg Gilbert. Let me just tell you, this is a great book, and it’s a super easy read, too. The author does a great job getting you to truly consider what the Gospel is and isn’t, and, hopefully, you’ll leave with a far better understanding what it truly is.

Here’s a little bonus to those of you who have an Amazon Kindle reader, or a Kindle app on your iPhone, Android Phone, or computer; you can download the book for free. At least that’s what I was able to do. It may no longer be available, but I encourage you to get it even if it isn’t free. I found myself constantly wanting to post quotes from the book on facebook. Almost every line of the book is quotable. Greg Gilbert does a great job communicating in a simple and concise manner.

Here is a link to the book on Amazon. It looks like it may no longer be free in digital format, but don’t let that stop you.
http://www.amazon.com/What-Gospel-9Marks-Greg-Gilbert/dp/1433515008

‘LOST’ and Found

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I’ve realized something about myself. Like many, if not all people, I enjoy a good story. I think this is built into all of us by our Creator. We were made in His image and likeness, which means we are spirit, mind, and body, and those three bear resemblances to our creator in many ways. I think one of the similarities we share with our Creator is the desire to be creative. This also produces an appreciation for the creative, I.E.; art, music, and especially story. I believe in all of our stories we are quite often telling a story within a story. A narrative within a much bigger narrative. In our stories, we often deal with the struggles of good and evil; darkness and light; love and hate; condemnation and redemption; sin and salvation. I’m persuaded that this is because we are part of the bigger story, and we’re all struggling trying to understand it, even if we don’t realize it… even if we don’t want to believe that we’re in this divine meta-narrative. The Bible says that God has put eternity within our hearts.We have an awareness that there is something more. How we go about dealing with that awareness can be quite the story. [Read more...]

Great Video on Suffering to Worship

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pic of praying kid
We showed this at our men’s group at Calvary Chapel of Crook County on Saturday, 5-8-10.
The ending really hammers it home, but you have to watch the whole thing for it to really have it’s full impact.

The Reason for Man

This past Saturday morning we kicked off our first Men’s Group of the year. We’ve done things like this in the past, but we really feel like there is a clear direction from the Lord with this latest one. Myself and one of the elders, Kevin Vaughan, are heading up the group, and treating it as a sort of “Man School”. Our intention is to steep the men in the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and let the Holy Spirit use us to get to the heart of the matter with the men in our church.

We are breaking things down into short series’, usually less than 6 weeks long. Our first series is called, “The Reason for Man”. We took the idea from the first question of Westminster Shorter Catechism, which asks, “What is the chief end of man?”, then it answers, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”  After a great men’s retreat the weekend before where we looked at worship and idolatry through the lense of Romans 12, we felt like this was a great place to start with our men.

So many men today, especially in the church, don’t have a clear reason for their existence. If asked about their reason for being, they would probably each answer with something a little different, and “God” probably wouldn’t be in the majority of the answers. It is our desire to point our men to the truth of their existence as found in scripture, and see them changed by the grace of God.

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