Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Purpose Driven Life

"All things were created through Him and for Him."

Thursday, August 20, 2009

What will they do in heaven?

“Look at the greater part of those who are called Christians, in every part throughout the land…What are the tastes and pleasures of the majority of the people who live there?…Observe the manner in which they spend their Sundays. Mark how little delight they seem to feel in the Bible and prayer. Take notice of the low and earthly notions of pleasure and happiness which everywhere prevail, among young and old—among rich and poor. Mark well these things—and then think quietly over this question: ‘What would these people do in heaven?’

-J.C. Ryle (Bishop of Liverpool 1880-1900)

H/T: J.C. Ryle Quotes

Monday, August 17, 2009

Vietnam, a Honduran and a ride to church

A post over at T19 started me thinking about a conversation I had last night as I drove back to Loma Linda with some friends from Greg Laurie's Harvest Crusade in Anaheim. It was wonderful to worship with tens of thousands of other Christians at Angel Stadium as Chris Tomlin led us in song.

As we drove home one of the other guys in the car shared his testimony. All testimonies are unique and wonderful descriptions of God's sovereign and saving action but this young man's story struck me as being especially unique. His parents had come from Vietnam in 1975 as the last helicopters left Saigon. He grew up in a non-Christian household in southern California and it wouldn't be until college when he would first hear the gospel. As a college student this son of Vietnamese immigrants sublet a room to another young man from Honduras who was working on his Ph.D. in anthropology. This Honduran was a follower of Christ and without a car so when he was invited by someone on campus to a local church he needed a ride. He asked his roommate, the non-believer, for a ride to church and they both began going to church together. This part of the story kind of amazed me and I realized that in my own cynical way I usually assume that non-Christians are completely opposed to going to church. But here it was obviously not the case and it makes me wonder how many people I know whom I could have invited but never did because I just assumed that they would say "no."

As he continued to be involved in this local congregation he learned the Christian lingo and most just assumed that he was a Christian. But it wasn't until a crisis arose and he became aware of his own guilt for sin that he was ready to come to Christ an undeserving sinner, pleading for grace and receiving forgiveness and sonship from our Lord. His Honduran friend explained to him the reason for his guilt. He explained that Christ had taken upon himself our sin and received the wrath which we deserved. He led him in asking Christ to be his Lord and his Savior. He repented of his sins and has since grown in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

I like this testimony for a couple of reasons. First, I like the interesting mix of characters and seeing how it all came together - a central American anthropology student who needed a ride and a son of immigrants who had never heard the gospel. But secondly I found the story very convicting. If I had been that Honduran and knew that my roommate was a non-believer I probably would have looked elsewhere for a ride. Or if I had gotten a ride from him I would have just assumed that he didn't even want to come into the church. Even now I can think of a number of relationships where I could have shared but I didn't because I assumed they wouldn't want to hear. But we never know where people are at and we don't know what God has already done in a person to draw them to Himself.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Woodstock Anniversary

Lately I've noticed a lot of coverage in the media on the anniversary of Woodstock. I was reminded of a video I watched on youtube a while back showing a group of young people who engaged in something other than "sex, drugs and rock-and-roll" (not that I have anything against sex or rock and roll in the right context) around the same time as the Woodstock festival. It's a long video but I believe it covers a genuine move of God which took place at an institution that is very important to me.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

If our heart condemn us, God is greater

"And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God." (I John 3:19-21)

Here Apostle John describes a Christian’s trials, which are quite extraordinary, for matters of the heart are obscure to many. First he says, “if our heart condemn us, God is greater,” and by these words he reveals that a Christian’s heart may at times condemn him. When a vigilant Christian has dreadful temptations, which the devil effects in his flesh, and the devil shoots fiery darts from the flesh into the heart, evil thoughts occur in the mind and wicked lusts and desires are felt in the will, and, finally, self-righteousness rises as a stern and just accuser of the children of God, condemning them in this way: “How can you be a Christian with so much sin? A Christian should be holy and sinless, but you are like the devil himself.” When self-righteousness preaches thus in the reason, it appears to a Christian that his heart is condemning him, although the heart itself cannot condemn, but it is the devil of self-righteousness who condemns the children of God. And this cunning devil, who comes under the guise of truth, transforms himself into an angel of light [II Corinthians 11:14], and thus many of the penitent are deceived because they cannot understand that the one condemning the penitent is the devil. However, now Apostle John says, “If our heart condemn us, God is greater,” and by these words he shows that not a single Christian should believe his own heart, even if it does condemn him, but that instead he must believe God’s gracious promises, which show that Christ has come to save not the righteous but sinners [Matthew 9:13]...

...Rejoice, therefore, and be exceedingly glad, highly ransomed souls, for your reward is great in heaven! Rejoice, elect souls, for your accuser has been cast out of heaven. He no longer has authority to accuse you, for you have an Advocate with the Father, who intercedes on your behalf. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, children of God, and cry with a loud voice that you have prevailed by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of his testimony. If you struggle in your most precious faith until death, soon you too can sing a hymn of victory with the angels and all redeemed souls. Soon you can sing a new song on Mount Zion and say, “Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ, for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.” Amen.

-Lars Levi Laestadius 1854 sermon

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Apostolic Lutheran Videos

I was procrastinating today and found these videos on youtube. For any of my readers interested in the Laestadian (Apostolic Lutheran) movement, you might find these videos interesting.