Monday, November 26th, 2012
When God wants to drill a man and thrill a man and skill a man…
When God wants to mold a man to play the noblest part;
When He yearns with all His heart to create so great and bold a man that all the world shall praise…
Watch His methods;
Watch His ways!
How He ruthlessly perfects whom He royally elects…
How He hammers him and hurts him,
And with mighty blows converts him
Into frail shapes of clay that only God understands. How his tortured heart is crying and he lifts beseeching hands…
How he bends but never breaks when His good he undertakes.
How He uses whom He chooses…with every purpose fuses him;
By every art induces him to try His splendor out…
God knows what He’s about!
When God wants to take a man and shake a man and wake a man…
When God wants to make a man to do the future’s will;
He tries with all His skill…
When He yearns with all His soul to create him large and whole…
With what cunning He prepares him…
How He goads and never spares him! How He whets him and He frets him and in poverty begets him…
How often He disappoints whom He sacredly anoints!
With what wisdom He will hide him;
Never minding what betide him…
Though his genius sob with slighting and his pride may not forget;
Bids him struggle harder yet!
Makes him lonely so that only God’s high messages shall reach him…
So that He may surely teach him what the hierarchy planned;
And though he may not understand…
Gives him passions to command.
How remorselessly He spurs him…
With terrific ardor stirs him
When He poignantly prefers him.
When God wants to name a man and fame a man and tame a man…
When God wants to shame a man to do His Heavenly best;
When He tries the highest test that His reckoning may bring…
When He wants a [god] or king;
How He reins him and restrains him so his body scarce contains him…
While He fires him and inspires him…
Keeps him yearning, ever burning for that tantalizing goal.
Lures and lacerates his soul…
Sets a challenge for his spirit;
Draws it highest then he’s near it!
Makes a jungle that he clear it;
Makes a desert that he fear it…and subdue it, if he can –
So doth God make a man!
To test his spirit’s wrath
Throw a mountain in his path;
Puts a bitter choice before him and relentlessly stands o’er him…
Climb or perish, so He says…
But, watch His purpose, watch His ways.
God’s plan is wondrous kind – could we understand His mind?
Fools are they who call His blind!
When his feet are torn and bleeding;
Yet his spirit mounts unheeding…
Blazing newer paths and finds;
When the Force that is Divine leaps to challenge every failure,
And His ardour still is sweet –
And love and hope are burning in the presence of defeat!
Lo the crisis, Lo the shouts that would call the leader out…
When the people need salvation doth he rise to lead the nation;
Then doth God show His plan…
And the world has found a man!
Friday, April 6th, 2012
I find it sad, to go on twitter and see “Good Friday” trending for all the wrong reasons.
It is not Good Friday, because we get to sleep in till 9am; nor is it Good Friday because we have a long weekend, and can have beers and parties with people.
To some it may sound even ridiculous that we would celebrate the death of a man named Jesus and call it “good” but the truth is – it is Good Friday, because 2000 years ago the events of today prove that we matter to God.
“For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time” – 1 Tim 2:5-6
We must realize that Jesus did not die in order to change God’s attitude towards us, but to change our attitude towards God. God who took the initiative of reconciling the world, does not need reconciling. It is in us that the decisive change is needed. The cross was not a sacrifice without which God could not love or forgive us; it was a sacrifice without which we would not have been able to accept forgiveness. The problem lies within us, not with God. He requires no sacrifice except a broken and contrite heart.
Sin demands atonement. The solution? 2 Cor 5:19 & Hebrews 10
Wednesday, January 4th, 2012
Look me in the eyes.
It’s okay if you’re scared, So am I.
But we’re scared for different reasons.
I’m scared of what I won’t become, and you’re scared of what I could become.
Look at me.
I won’t let myself end where I started, I won’t let myself finish where I began.
I know what is within me, Even if you can’t see it yet.
Look me in the eyes.
I have something more important than courage, I have patience.
I will become, what I know I am.
Saturday, May 28th, 2011
These are not my words, merely reposting from Joe Mckeever. Dr. Joe McKeever is a Preacher, Cartoonist, and the Director of Missions for the Baptist Association of Greater New Orleans:
Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name (Psalm 29:2).
It’s Sunday around noonish. As the congregation files out of the sanctuary heading toward the parking lot, listen closely and you will hear it.
It’s a common refrain voiced near the exit doors of churches all across this land.
“I didn’t get anything out of that today.” “I didn’t get anything out of the sermon.” “I didn’t get anything out of that service.” “I guess her song was all right, but I didn’t get anything out of it.”
Sound familiar? Not only have I heard it countless times over these near-fifty years in the ministry, I probably have said it a few times myself.
This is like dry rot in a congregation. Like a termite infestation in the building. Like an epidemic afflicting the people of the Lord, one which we seem helpless to stop.
But let’s try. Let’s see if we can make a little difference where you and I live, in the churches where we serve and worship. We might not be able to help all of them, but if we bless one or two, it will have been time well spent.
1. You are Not Supposed to ‘Get Anything Out of the Service’
Worship is not about you and me. Not about “getting our needs met.” Not about a performance from the pastor and singer and choir and musicians. Not in the least.
2. Worship is About the Lord
“Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name.” That Psalm 29:2 verse atop our article today is found also in I Chronicles 16:29 and Psalm 96:8. It deserves being looked at closely.
a) We are in church to give. Not to get.
Now, if I am going somewhere to “get,” but find out on arriving, I am expected to “give,” I am one frustrated fellow. And that is what is happening in the typical church service. People walk out the door frustrated because they didn’t “get.” The reason they didn’t is that they were not there to “get,” but to “give.”
Someone should have told them.
b) We are giving glory to God. Not to man.
We know that. At least we say we do. How many times have we recited, “…for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory”? And how often have we sung, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow…”?
c) We do so because glory is His right. He is “worthy of worship.”
This is the theme of the final book of the Bible.
“Who is worthy?” (Rev. 5:2)
“You are worthy…for you were slain, and have redeemed us” (Rev. 5:9).
“Worthy is the Lamb that was slain” (Rev. 5:12).
3. Self-centeredness Destroys All Worship
If my focus is on myself when I enter the church–getting my needs met, learning something, hearing a lesson that blesses me, being lifted by the singing–then Christ has no part in it. He becomes my servant, and the pastor (and all the other so-called performers) are there only for me. It’s all about me.
We have strayed so far from the biblical concept of worship–giving God His due in all the ways He has commanded–it’s a wonder we keep going to church. And it’s an even greater wonder that our leaders keep trying to get us to worship.
The poor preacher! Trying to cater to the insatiable hungers of his people, even the best and most godly among them, is an impossible task. One week he gets it right and eats up the accolades. Then, about the time he thinks he has it figured out, the congregation walks out grumbling that they got nothing out of the meal he served today.
The typical congregation in the average church today really does think the service is all about them–getting people saved, learning the Word, receiving inspiration to last another week, having their sins forgiven, taking an offering to provision the Lord’s work throughout the world.
Anything wrong with those things? Absolutely not. But if we go to church to do those things, we can do them. But we will not have worshiped.
Warren Wiersbe says, “If you worship because it pays, it will not pay.”
4. Evangelism & Discipleship, Giving & Praying, Grow Out of Worship; Not the Other Way Around
The disciples were worshiping on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit filled them and drove them into the streets to bear a witness to the living Christ (Acts 2).
Isaiah was in the Temple worshiping when God appeared to him, forgave his sins, and called him as a prophet to the people (Isaiah 6).
It was in the act of worship that the two distraught disciples had their eyes opened to recognize Jesus at their table (Luke 24).
5. We are to Give Him Worship and Glory in the Ways Scripture Commands
“Give to the Lord the glory due His name and bring an offering.” So commands I Chronicles 16:29 and Psalm 96:8.
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit. A broken and contrite heart–these, O God, you will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17)
Singing, praise, rejoicing. Praying, offering, humbling, loving. All these are commanded in worship at various places in Scripture.
The Lord Jesus told the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well, “Those who worship God must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). That is, with their inner being, the totality of themselves, their spirit, not just their lips or their bodies going through the motions. And in truth–the revealed truth of how God has prescribed worship to take place. He is not pleased with “just anything” that we claim as worship.
We must balance our worship between spirit (the subjective part: body, soul, emotions) and truth (the objective aspect: all that God has revealed in His word).
6. We Are the Ones Who Decide Whether We Worship upon Entering the House of the Lord
Don’t blame the preacher if you don’t worship. He can’t do it for you.
No one else can eat my food for me, love my cherished ones in my place, or do my worshiping for me.
No pastor can decide or dictate whether we will worship by the quality of his leadership or the power of his sermon. Whether I worship in today’s service has absolutely nothing to do with how well he does his job.
I am in charge of this decision. I decide whether I will worship.
When Mary sat before the Lord Jesus, clearly worshiping, He informed a disgruntled Martha that her sister had “chosen the good part,” something that “will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:42). That something special was time spent in worship. Such moments or hours are eternal.
Lest someone point out that Martha could have worshiped in her kitchen by her service for Christ, we do not argue, but simply point out that she was not doing so that day.
7. Remember: Worship is a Verb
And it’s an active verb at that.
Worship is something we do, not something done to us.
In the worst of circumstances, I can still worship my God. In the Philippians prison, while their backs were still oozing blood from the beating they’d received, Paul and Silas worshiped (Acts 16:25).
Even if a church has no pastor and has to make do with a stuttering layman or some inept fill-in, I can still bow before the Lord, offer Him my praise, and give Him my all. I can humble before Him and I can bring my offering.
What I cannot do is leave church blaming my failure to worship on the poor singing, the boring sermon, or the noise from the children in the next pew. I am in charge of the decision whether I will worship, and no one else.
Someone has pointed out that ours is the only nation on earth where church members feel they have to have “worshipful architecture” before they can adequately honor the Lord. Millions of Christians across the world seem to worship just fine without any kind of building. Believers in Malawi meet under mango trees, according to retired missionary Mike Canady, and their worship is as anointed as anyone’s anywhere. (What? No stained glass!)
Our insistence on worshipful music, worship settings, and worshipful everything are all signs of our disgusting self-centeredness.
It’s disgusting because I see it in myself, and do not like it.
No one enjoys a great choir more than I. I love to hear a soloist transport us all into the Throneroom by his/her vocal offering in the service. A great testimony of God’s grace and power thrills me. And of course, being a preacher, I delight in hearing a sermon that you feel is direct from the heart of God.
But if I require any one or all of those before I can worship, something is vastly wrong with me.
My friends, something is vastly wrong with us today.