Thursday, June 14, 2012

Finding Christ?

       Through my recent endeavor to tackle the book of Romans and immerse myself in Paul's most theologically dense gospel, I suppose I'll have quite a few "revelations".  God is always faithful to reveal himself to us, so I know there is an infinite amount of knowledge to gain.  Here's today's feeble attempt to articulate what God has revealed to me.

       In Paul's introduction of his letter to the Romans he states that the readers (Gentiles and Jews alike), are "...called of Jesus Christ; to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints..." (v. 6-7).  Called here is the greek word "klÄ“tos". Defined as follows...

1) called, invited (to a banquet)
         a) invited (by God in the proclamation of the Gospel) to obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom   through Christ

       This word is repeated 10 times in the Greek concordance of the New Testament (Matt 22:14, Rom 1:1, 1:6, and 1:7, Rom 8:28, 1 Cor 1:1, 1:2, and 1:24, Jude 1:1, and Rev 17:14). Each time its use indicates God's invitation/calling to his servants (that's us). It is a call to the faith which produces obedience to Christ.  As Paul states in Romans 1:4-5, "...Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we [the apostles] have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles [applicable to us] for His name's sake..."

       My point is this.  We do not have an active part in seeking out the gift of God and eternal salvation.  To say that we have "found" Christ is analogous to nothing more than a game of hide and seek with a 6-month-old baby.  We have but to remove the scales from our eyes and hearts to find the gift of eternal salvation.  If God were to be hidden, because of his infinitude, he would never be found.  Certainly no one could be better at a game of hide and seek than the Creator himself.  But because of his infinite grace and mercy, He sought us out!  He sent His son to pay the ultimate price for us to have continual communion with him.  Praise God that he reveals himself to us!  Finding Christ is simple (we make it hard).  Following Christ demands your life, but is infinitely and eternally rewarding.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Understand life's deepest meaning 
Ponder infinitude, infinitely
Command thoughts of omnipotence
Know omniscience
Grasp grace
Be wholly holy

...and when all else fails, surrender to the invisible, perfect, unadulterated, overwhelming existence of the one true God.

Think deeply
Worship deeper
Be free

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Next Chapter

Boy, have I missed the mark on blogging for the last year or so!  There's a lot happening lately in the life of my wife and I.  Of most excitement is my acceptance into the University of Dayton for their Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.  I'm stoked!

Marriage is awesome!  It's crazy to start to see some of my friends getting married now too.  I'm getting an idea of how they felt when Whit and I tied the knot.

It's hard occasionally to be so far away from my closest friends that I consider brothers, but I'm excited for what God is doing in their lives!

Hopefully I can start to use this blog to challenge me to think deeper about different issues of faith and to continue to grow in wisdom from above.  That's the real reason for this post ;) 


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Worthy of the Gospel

"Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel." -Philippians 1:27

In a sermon I recently heard based off this verse, Francis Chan provides the visual of an old balance scale which holds the weight of the gospel on one side, and my life on the other. Admittedly, this is quite a daunting way to measure my life. This passage has begun to impact me in a few specific areas of my life. Do my actions, my mind and my speech function in a way that upholds the eternal weight of the gospel of Jesus Christ?

Do my actions show love in a way that could equate the love we're commanded to portray in the gospel. Do I take Jesus seriously when he says, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets" (Matt. 22:37-40). Honestly, I know that I don't always uphold the gospel in my love to others. Though I can love the people that love me, I often struggle to love those that don't love me in return. That reeks of my selfish carnal nature. Jesus said, “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them" (Luke 6:32). Sometimes I fall so short...

Then I realize that one of the biggest pieces of the puzzle of holiness in my life is my mind. It is so clearly evident to me that my mind dictates the way I react to everything! This is why we are told in Colossians 3:2-3, "Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God". This means that Christ intercedes for me constantly to ultimately bring me into communion with the triune God. Ergo, I should react to things the way Jesus would because my mind is set on things above instead of on earthly things (me). Perverted jokes are no longer funny. Movies that mock the sacred institution of marriage or the bondage of sin break your heart. Furthermore, I find complete joy in my relationships on earth because I begin to see people through the eyes of Christ. What an awesome opportunity to be able to catch a glimpse of Christ's vision! Only in this way can I exemplify the fruits of the spirit, which are "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control" (Gal. 5:22-23).

Lately the Lord has given me a greater sensitivity to my words and to the words of those around me. One of the most powerful instructions on speech comes from James, chapter 3. "...The tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself" (v6). Unless of course we are thinking about things above and are allowing ourselves, in turn, to be sourced by the holy spirit. In this case, we will be speaking about eternal matters. "Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives" (Gal. 5:25). I can only hope that as I grow in Christ, my speech about him becomes more and more natural in my conversations.

I am definitely a work in progress but I praise God that he is so gracious in revealing his truth in my life!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Two weeks left!

I came to the realization a couple days ago that my time down here is coming to an end. These next couple weeks are going to be crazy busy! Starting tomorrow night, a youth group from Bedford, MI is coming down for a week on a service project. They will be with us till early Saturday morning which will be the same time that we head out with Chad for "Teen Extreme" in Auburn, Pennsylvania. Needless to say, there won't be much down time until I get back into town Friday the 30th.

I knew coming down here that God was going to teach me how to be the man of God he needs me to be. More specifically, I knew that He was going to teach me what it looks like to be the godly leader of a marriage and household. I've had incredible guidance as to what that looks like from three different godly men down here. Travis and I talked a lot last year about what a good leader looks like and we got it boiled down to what I've been able to better articulate since i've been down here. A godly leader is the first one in his household to die to himself. Meaning, the leader of a household really leads through servanthood. It has been cool to see God affirm things that I've learned before but never quite fully grasped. God has revealed himself to me through the witness of my friend's lives who aren't even physically with me this summer (pretty cool if you ask me)! He has also reaffirmed things in my walk that I've walked through in the past.

The guidance I've been under this summer has been life changing for sure. It has been incredible to learn to distinguish God's speaking into my life and just how much it can change who I am. I'm very thankful that I got to walk through this part of my spiritual journey alongside a community of believers who truly care about me and demonstrate the very attitude of Christ to the best of their abilities.

I'm definitely missing my family and a very special someone waiting for me back in Bourbonnais... Pray for me for strength to finish out my last two weeks strong and for God to move in the lives of all the teens i'll come in contact with over the next two weeks. I love you all!


Saturday, July 3, 2010


I have one small edit to make from my "The Two shall Become One Post". I have indeed had a brother all along. Well... at least since the 7th grade :) I've been blessed with one of the best friends a guy could ask for! The one and only TRAVIS POWERS!!! I have always considered him a brother. I should've clarified that Josh is the only brother by law i've ever had :) But no law could make Trav and I closer together. Heck, keep em coming! I'll take all the brothers I can get :)

Trav, I'm incredibly blessed to have you in my life! I love you and am very proud of everything you're learning in Europe. I can't wait to hang out with you all the time again! Have a great time in Europe and know that you'll always be my brother! :)


Friday, July 2, 2010

Revival At Its Best

This past week from Sunday-Wednesday we were at a revival in Pelham, Tennessee. I have never been so refreshed coming out of revival services in my life! To understand this church community you have to know some of its background. This church is over a hundred years old but the congregation most certainly isn't. The story is that J.B. Chapman (yes the same guy who's name marks the greatest freshman dorm on earth at ONU) came and spoke at a revival service nearby. Well the members of this community wanted so badly to hear Mr. Chapman speak in their town. The only problem was, they didn't have a building for him to speak in. So after some checking around they found a guy (who wasn't even christian) that said they could just have the back corner of his lot to do whatever they wanted with it. I could go on and on about southern hospitality and the lack of such gestures in the North sometimes but I won't. So In less than 7 days the members of this community resurrected a "glory barn". That is extreme makeover style if i've ever seen it. J.B Chapman of course agreed to come and speak and thus is born the Chapman Chapel Nazarene church in Pelham, Tennessee (make sure you say it like pellum instead of pel-ham. The locals have never heard of pel-ham).

This church has members that drive from 50 miles around to attend on a regular basis. There are people there from every age group though the 40 and under group out-weighs the 40 and over age group. That means that the church is STILL GROWING! I didn't blog about the church we traveled to the previous week but this church was a very welcomed change respectively! The event we were at was actually for teens. Chad spoke a sermon Sunday morning and every night just like normal. However, during the day, the teens had two teaching sessions in the morning and an afternoon activity following lunch. We went canoeing one day, bowling another, and the third day was a video scavenger hunt for all the teens. there were over 30 teens there each day. It was incredible!

We stayed with the sweetest family down there where Chad and I slept in a sweet camper and Cassidy slept inside on the littlest girls bed. They were extremely welcoming and had everything we could've asked for already out for us when we got there. God has blessed that family numerously because of their giving hearts. Needless to say, the week started out great! On top of that one of the ladies in the church decided she would have us over for supper one day (they don't do dinner in the south) and we ate some of the most incredible food I'd had in a very long time! So the hospitality down here was.... uh.... kind of..... well I guess you could say..... LIGHTS OUT!

I should've blogged every day about how the Spirit moved on this church but i'll give the highlight reel instead. Basically, the people of this church were hungry. In the youth sessions, the spirit broke everything from spirits of rebellion to those harboring grudges in their heart. The response across the whole church was very cool to be a part of. And then came the coolest sermon I've ever heard Chad speak. The root verse is out of Colossians 1:5 which says "the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel..." Chad walked us through the beginning of the verse and how the faith and love actually spring like a diving board off of this idea of hope! Which is sweet right, but what exactly is Paul talking about by "hope". So Chad walks us through the concept of shekinah glory. The Old Testament concept is that God would "shakan" a "mishkan" and out of that would spill the shekinah glory! Don't worry I'll explain. The word "shakan" has the idea of God literally making his dwelling place. The word "mishkan" literally translates into tabernacle. Lastly, the shekinah glory is simply the spilling over of his glory and presence where he has come to dwell. So when you put it all together it means that God's presence comes down to dwell in a tabernacle and his glory spills out all over the place. That is OLD TESTAMENT glory. But God doesn't dwell in buildings anymore! He did a new thing when he sent his Son to Earth and then left the Holy Spirit behind. So we say things like "Isn't it good to be in the house of the Lord this morning". Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. When two or three are gathered in his name, there he will be also. But He isn't there cause it's 6:00 Sunday night and we woke him up from his bed on the back pew so that he could be with us for service. He's there because WE BROUGHT HIM. The dwelling place of the Lord is IN US! He has no residence in our churches or in our homes. His presence can only be where we bring him. If we want to have revival we have to first surrender ourselves to the Father and bring him with us to gather for a movement of the Holy Spirit in the place where we gather (which could be the grocery store for all intensive purposes).

That just really spoke to me this week and I hope that it blesses you and challenges you to be careful to take the Spirit with you wherever you go and let his glory spill out from you. Going back to the verse in Colossians, this means that YOU and I are the hope of his glory. We are the diving board from which faith and love spring forth! Crazy stuff.

I love you all!