“Are you Staying for Preach’n?”

 

“Are you staying for preach’n?” This may sound like a crazy question to be asked at a place of worship on a Sunday morning, especially to millennials. Most of my colleagues are praying about ways to get more of the congregation involved in small groups where they can build community. Then its helping them discover their gifts, passions, and calling so that they begin to serve Christ as a Spirit-filled disciple.

Isn’t that the greater challenge? Moving people from the corporate worship into small groups, places of kingdom service, and helping them to truly be the church? Yes, that is certainly a task that the church I serve is regularly tackling.

I am also aware of another danger, however, that reminds me of a question that I was often asked in a Sunday School class as a child in the 1970’s. “Are you staying for preach’n?” You see, along with the Sunday School offering, the attendance report, the number of folks who had read their Bible daily and studied their lesson, there was a place to report the number of class members who planned to also be in worship. And it was not uncommon for the worship attendance and Sunday School attendance to be about the same. At the country church I attended, approximately 10% of those in Sunday School did not stay for worship. But another 10% not in Sunday School would show up for worship.

Today corporate worship participants tend to significantly outnumber those who attend a small group, to the degree that I am afraid we may be overlooking an important and influential minority. I’m speaking of the ones who are involved in small groups, usually serving in some capacity, as well as serving in a variety of other areas in the church. The ones I see around all the time… except when scanning the congregation from the pulpit! 

What’s the big deal, right? They’ve already advanced to that next level of service and involvement. You don’t have to worry about them. Uh, not so fast. In fact, I may be more concerned about this group. Let me give you some reasons.

1. I know the importance of my calling, and I take it very seriously. Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 14:3 that my proclamation of biblical truth under the anointing of the Holy Spirit in a corporate setting is absolutely essential for body life. Specifically, if I am doing what God has called and gifted me to do, those present will be edified, encouraged, and comforted. In other words, it is a necessary time of refueling that fights discouragement, breakdown, and frustration in various areas of kingdom service and living. Those who regularly miss corporate worship will almost always experience the latter.

2. I know the impact corporate worship has on my life. When we sing great confessions of faith as a body in agreement, the pipeline from my soul to the heart of God is strengthened and restored. I realize that I am part of the Bride of Christ. I become more aware of His presence by the mere synergy of worshipers exalting Jesus together. Emotions are horrible masters, but wonderful servants. And those who miss this synergy while always serving in other areas find themselves emotionally drained.

3. I know our natural tendency to avoid confrontational truth. Our corporate gathering also serves the purpose of our “spurring one another toward love and good works (Hebrews 10:24-25).” Back to that country church I grew up in. I will never forget homecoming services. I distinctly remember arriving very early with my grandfather one year. A group of men had been awake throughout the night preparing the stew. They would work together through the corporate worship hour to have the delicious BBQ ready. But my thoughts concerning half of the men present at that moment were, “Who are these men? Why are they never in worship? Are all of them really needed here? Why are their wives often in worship alone except for Christmas, Easter, and Mother’s Day?” Even as a child I could discern that these men had no intention of allowing the Word of God proclaimed by the man of God to confront their souls which were far from God. 

The slipping away from consistent corporate worship that refuels, encourages, unites, edifies, and restores souls in the context of a covenant community is so subtle. One week you had to keep nursery. The next week a member of your family was sick. The following week that relative who doesn’t attend church prepared a lunch celebration at noon for the whole family, so you jetted after small group. Then? Guess what? It was your turn in the nursery again, followed by a travel ball tournament, followed by that Sunday you were helping in the kitchen for the church social. Oh, but you stayed active! You were active serving in mid-week ministry to children and attending small group occasionally. But before you knew it, it had happened to you. The passion and power experienced by so many, igniting a fire in your brothers and sisters, has eluded you! You are present for “Martha moments” to serve and feel better about your devotion, while having too few “Mary moments” until you are no longer present at all. Your service has become lifeless and drudgery.

And you may not even know why! It is because you are missing the biblically mandated prescription of the corporate worship encounter way too often. And it is taking a toll on your spiritual fervor.

 

 

7 Steps to Writing a Personal Mission Statement

A personal mission statement can sharpen your focus and help you to have greater impact in our world for the glory of God. It can help you know which opportunities you should embrace. Perhaps more importantly, in this super-paced world we now live in, it can help you know when to say “NO!” to opportunities. A mission statement will not only clarify your direction in life, it will also fuel your passion to move in that direction.

I formulated the following steps under the influence of a couple of decades of teaching God’s Word and incorporating tools from godly leaders. Robert Lewis’ Men’s Fraternity studies, Henry Blackaby’s Experiencing God, Ike Reighard’s North Star Journal, and numerous notes from John Maxwell on leadership have influenced the somewhat simplified approach below. I came up with this “abridged” approach to accommodate men that I meet with regularly that may not have availed themselves to all of the resources above. I highly recommend further research using such resources. I also suggest journaling one’s way through the following considerations over a period of several weeks.

  1. Begin with Prayer. “God delights in the prayers of the upright!” (Proverbs 15:8) Born again followers of Christ are in a spiritual pursuit of the will of God. We need to be guided by His Spirit in this pursuit. (See Jeremiah 29:13 & 33:3, Ephesians 1:17-18, and Colossians 1:9-12.)
  1. Study God’s revealed purposes for all of humanity. Use key texts that summarize those purposes for us. Reading Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life or Chuck Swindoll’s Rise and Shine will greatly enhance this step. Here are a few key texts that summarize God’s revealed purposes:
  • 1 Peter 4:11 (Man’s “chief purpose”)
  • Matthew 22:37-40 (The Greatest Commandments)
  • Matthew 28:19-20 and Acts 1:8 (The Great Commission)
  • Matthew 5:13-16 (New Covenant Cultural Mandate)
  • Genesis 1:28 & 9:1 (Dominion Mandate through lens of the above texts!)
  1. Consider your Character and the Legacy you want to leave. Start with Scripture that you rely on for character. Perhaps Galatians 5:22-23, Joshua 1:9, Philippians 4:6, Proverbs, Psalm 1 are examples of verses that people embrace as legacy verses or “life verses.”
  • List the names and traits of people that you greatly admire.
  • Write down the qualities that you feel energized by when others recognize them?
  1. God’s Specific Calling on your life. What is it that you believe God has called you to do for him as it relates to specific ways to accomplish his revealed purposes for all? This can relate to vocation and/or areas of service in God’s kingdom. More specific Scriptures may come to mind here when you apply the first principle. Also consider passions, promptings, open doors, and confirmations from the Body of Christ. (See Henry Blackaby, Experiencing God.)
  1. Describe the venues of life where your mission will be fulfilled. Include both actual and aspirational, where you flesh out your mission now and where you hope to do so in the future. (e.g. home, work environment, mission field, target ministry areas, etc.)
  1. What resources will you draw from to help you accomplish this mission?

Consider:

Aptitude (i.e. Servants by Design Profile that can be taken http://www.youruniquedesign.com) What do others say that you are good at? When are you in your “sweet spot”? The Servants by Design Profile, and other personality and aptitude profiles like it, will help you to understand your personality “viewpoint” and “currency.” This is invaluable information for writing a personal mission statement.

Spiritual Gifts (Especially motivational gifts) It is quick and painless to do a spiritual gifts test online thanks to numerous websites like http://www.spiritualgiftstest.com.

Passions What really drives you to do what you do? What makes you come alive?

  1. Pull it all together! Use key words and reemerging themes to write your life mission statement. Take your time. Allow for fluidity with enough guiding principle that never changes. Below is a template that may help you pull together notes from your reflections on the first six steps.

By God’s grace, I want to be (or become) (see #3)…

Primarily for/with/at (see #5)…

Who is all about (see #2)…

I will fulfill God’s call more specifically by (see #4)…

I will rely on God’s strength and wisdom as well as how he has designed, equipped, and gifted me to (see # 6)…

*Take all the space you need to begin creating this statement. You should familiarize yourself with this statement, then shorten it as much as possible without losing important elements. Then evaluate goals, objectives, plans, and decisions in light of this mission.

Can a Christian Teen Survive the Prom?

Disclaimer: The following secrets are intended for devoted Christians. I would rather not argue about their legitimacy with those who have not chosen a life of consecration unto Christ our Lord.
 
I know. I know. Mentioning the prom is almost taboo for preachers. You can’t win. You either upset the radically committed who choose to avoid the trappings of the prom all together, or you anger the ones who go all out for prom night.
 
Well, those who know me know that I have typically tried to avoid religious legalism and manipulative tactics. At the same time, I have steered clear of using grace as a license to sin and tolerate worldliness. The fact is simply this… Some Christian kids who love Jesus will choose to attend the prom. Other Christian kids will see it as a stumbling block they had rather avoid.
 
Before I list the “secrets to surviving prom night” let me admit a couple of things. First of all, I attended the prom my senior year of high school. And my only excuse for skipping the prom my junior year is that I was representing our local FFA chapter in a national land/soil judging competition in Oklahoma City. Woo Hoo!! Hey, at least I was a state champ at something. So I attended the prom, and I was one of the few that had little regret. 
 
Secondly, I have never met a dedicated Christian adult that said, “I sure am glad I didn’t miss my prom!” I have heard many adults, however, that regretted going. And though I have little to regret, I’m not particularly glad that I went.
 
What do I remember about prom? Lots of time washing the Oldsmobile that was bigger than the house in which I now live. I put on an uncomfortable tux, took my date to the Peddler Steak House in Athens where we met a group of my friends and their dates, and dropped big money on prime rib. After dinner we headed to the prom which was in the not so attractive old gym. We stood in line for pictures, enjoyed a couple of dances, remarked how worldly much of the music was, and left for a Christian prom party at the home of a member of our youth group whose parents were in attendance as chaperones. As I recall, it was not a late night. We were all at church the next day, pretty much awake and attentive.
 
Therefore, knowing that Christian kids who love Jesus are going to choose to attend the prom, and knowing that what I’ve shared above carries little weight in influencing a.) young ladies who look forward to dressing up for the special night, b.) young men who look forward to styling and profiling (is that 80’s vernacular?) with a beautiful young lady on their arm, and c.) young couples who haven’t discerned the difference between love and infatuation, my shepherd’s heart compels me to at least offer some survival tips. Parents, if you read this, please pass them along and help appropriate them as much as possible. Talk about these tips. Please!
 
1. Absolutely no alcohol. This should be a no brainer. Not only is it sinful, it is illegal. Lots of stupid decisions are made on prom night because of alcohol. Some believe it’s enough to “know when to say when”, know when to put the brakes on. But as Pastor Johnny Hunt explains, our brake fluid leaks after the first drink. Avoid it at all cost!
 
2. Have Accountability. Group dates with other devoted believers are great. It’s also a good idea to have that solid Christian student who doesn’t have a date as part of the group to make group make-out sessions awkward and virtually impossible! Perhaps a post-prom party hosted by Christian parents, like the one I attended, could be helpful. And keep in mind # 1, and refuse to attend a party where alcohol is present.
 
3. Know the influence and impact of music on your emotions. Love songs went from saying “I want to hold your hand” in the 1960’s to “I want your sex” by the 1980’s. And it’s much worse today. Don’t expose your heart and mind to that garbage. It will affect your impulses. I jetted from the prom early because there was no way I could stay longer without being disobedient to Philippians 4:8. Sappy love songs have a way of stirring emotions meant for married couples. Keep that in mind. Be mature. Rise above that sappy junk.
 
4. Keep your mind fixed on Christ. If you are a devoted Christ follower, one of those I’ve directed this post to, then you are always on mission for Him. You can’t take a night off and say, “Hey Jesus, I am headed to the prom. You just stay home tonight.” Speak and act with your date and others as you would if Jesus were in the car, at the restaurant, on the dance floor, and at the party. Remember, HE IS THERE. So, “do not grieve the Holy Spirit by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
 
5. Respect your date! 1 Thessalonians 4:3-6 reminds us that sexual purity is not only God’s plan for you, but that you must not defraud your brother or sister in Christ in this matter. Defraudrefers not only to how you treat your date, but to how you treat his or her future spouse. So, go with the assumption that your date is someone else’s future spouse. Mine was. And do nothing with your date that you would not want someone else doing with your future spouse. Having trouble knowing what that is? See #4.
 
6. Practice modesty. Ladies, surveys tell us that 90% of males struggle with lust. DO NOT exploit that. You can be cute and beautiful without being revealing. Having seen a few prom dresses last weekend, I will defer to Beth Moore on this one. Click here for her powerful and humorous reminder.
 
7. No sleeping together! Uh, Pastor Robby, you covered that one in #5. No, seriously, I mean NO SLEEPING TOGETHER. The marriage bed is for marriage, sensual moments and literal sleeping together moments included. Don’t lay down and sleep together. Parents, do not allow it. I have hosted lock-ins where I worked feverishly to prevent this. If a young man says he can lay down with, beside, or in the arms of a beautiful girl for an extended period of time (even fully clothed) and not be tempted in mind or body, he is either a god, superman, or no man at all. If a young lady experiences such an attachment, she will be ready for marriage in the very near future and challenged to not be overcome by her vulnerabilities. Beyond that, even those who do not drink alcohol experience some of the same loss of judgement when they are tired. My solution as a dad would be STICK TO A CURFEW. But for youth pastors and/or Christian parents who host all-nighters (NOT A GOOD IDEA IF YOU ARE A DEDICATED WORSHIPER ON THE LORD’S DAY), you have essentially volunteered to stay up all night to protect dedicated Christian kids from vulnerabilities and rumors! 1 Thessalonians 5:22 reminds us to avoid every “appearance” of evil.
 
Well, there you go! To the legalist this was as bad as passing out birth control. I just suggested that someone could survive the prom, therefore endorsing it. Hardly. To the liberal or the one looking for license, I just robbed them of all their “harmless” intentions. But I hope there is a devoted follower of Christ, perhaps a parent or teen, who will say, “I get you. I get IT. I understand and appreciate this. Thanks, Pastor, I intend to apply it.” If it helps one survive the prom with no regrets, it’s worth upsetting the masses.

Hoosiers, Hoops, and High School

Hoosiers, Hoops, and High School

Making the most of every opportunity… – Eph. 5:16a NIV
Can you hear it? Bruce Springsteen singing “Glory days, well they’ll pass you by.” That song was extremely popular when I was in high school, but I’m not sure I understood that particular phrase then. And, to be honest, I’ve always lived with the mantra “the best is yet to come.” So far that has been the case.
But I’m often reminded of some thrilling high school moments this time of year. High school basketball playoffs are in full stride. March Madness is around the corner. And the movie Hoosiers, another mid 80’s classic, is being played on the movie channels. This is one of my all-time favorite sports movies.
Now I was not a high school basketball player. Well, unless you count a one-on-one competition at FFA camp where I performed rather well. But I think I was the only one not playing in cowboy boots. Bottom line, I could not have made the team at Madison County High if it had carried a roster thirty deep. They were the 1988 State Champions, and their first 5 off the bench may have been one of the best teams in the state as well. While I did not play, it was certainly fun to watch this fast pace team go all the way to the title game at Georgia Tech’s coliseum and win it!
While I am finally getting accustomed to the purple and gold of Athens Christian School, where my children attend and play high school sports, I will always bleed red and gray and be a Red Raider. But more recently, I’ve enjoyed watching an ACS basketball team that reminds me a lot of that MCHS state Championship team from ’88. Like that team, this team has a star headed to UGA next year. And, like the ’88 Raiders, he’s not a one man show. They are a well-balanced and extremely talented team. And they are fun to watch.
I’m not sure how the next week will play out. But if I could challenge the seniors on this team to do anything, it would be to make the most of the opportunity that lies before you. And I would like to encourage all high school students not to waste these Glory Days. Oh, they will pass you by. And you can live believing that the best is yet to come. But you never get these days back.
For the Christ-follower, that means make the most of every opportunity to be the witness that God has called you to be. I certainly missed some opportunities that I regret. But I seized a few along the way. And I am thankful for that. Sell out for Christ now! Live with passion. Enjoy the journey. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Do your best in academics, athletics, and the arts.

 

And for the fans of the movie Hoosiers, if you can’t be a Jimmy Chitwood, be a Strap Purl. Be a person of prayer, walk with God, and seize your moment when it comes! It will come. Then tell folks, “It’s the Lord, I can feel His strength!”

Michael Sam and the Moral Superiority of Homosexuality

Are homosexuals made of a higher moral fiber than the average heterosexual? That seems to be the consensus of many Americans in light of the “coming out” party of star University of Missouri football player Michael Sam.
First, let me be clear. I am a conservative, evangelical, Bible-believing Christian that embraces the biblical standard for sex and marriage. I am well aware that there are at least a couple of factions ready to debate me on the subject of whether or not homosexuality is wrong, should be tolerated, or is a lifestyle that should be celebrated.
There is the crowd that rejects Scripture all together and the notion that any system of morality is superior to another. Then there is the neo-orthodox “Christian” existentialist faction that embraces a more liberal interpretation of the Bible, or simply concludes, as one pastor shared with me, “The Apostle Paul was wrong on some matters.”
Ultimately the debate with these two factions (or worldviews) and the plethora of sub-factions that they represent is not a debate over homosexuality. No, instead it is a discussion of the relevance, nature, and authority of Scripture. I love to engage in that debate. Like the Apostle Paul in the Athenian marketplace, I have no desire to draw swords with those who disagree with me. But I do desire, with compassion, to give an apologetic for the faith “once for all delivered to the saints.” (1 Peter 3:15; Jude 3)
That’s not what I’m doing with this post.
 
But suppose for a moment that we remove the lens of my conservative evangelical presuppositions.Let’s just say, for the sake of discussion, that I agree with one of the more liberal factions that I previously mentioned. Would I not, given these new presuppositions, conclude that homosexuality is no more or no less moral than heterosexuality? But that isn’t the vibe I’m getting from the response of the media, the majority of fans, or even the president of the United States concerning the announcement of Michael Sam.
Let me explain. I shared an apartment with a group of fellow seminarians in Raleigh, North Carolina for a few years. At first we lived in North Raleigh next to another group of heterosexual males who did not share our biblical presuppositions.
These neighbors worked hard in the Research Triangle Park area, seemed sociable, enjoyed throwing back a few beers on occasion, and could be caught checking out the girls from time to time. Like most young men, even Christians, they appeared to struggle with a lust for the OPPOSITE sex.
Eventually my roommates and I moved to a different apartment, across town near Carter-Finley Stadium. Awesome amenities – and for three of us, closer to the young ladies we would eventually marry!
However, at this new location a group of homosexual malesmoved into the same building one floor below our apartment. Obviously, they also did not share our biblical presuppositions. And, like our former neighbors,they also worked hard in the Triangle Park area, seemed sociable, and enjoyed throwing back a few beers on occasion. But instead of catching them checking out the pretty ladies in the apartment complex, they could be overheard making sexually crude comments toward one another. They appeared to struggle with a lust for the SAME sex, even outside their group.
Here’s my point. If I lay aside my evangelical Christian beliefs, I assume I would see no difference between these two groups of neighbors. In fact, I would not even be able to assume that my roommates and I were any better off for holding one another accountable in the pursuit of practicing abstinence until marriage.
So why is it that many who argue that I should lay aside such presuppositions and judgments seem to be, whether intentional or not, arguing that homosexuals are superior moralists?
Why do I make such a claim?
Heterosexual men (regardless of their view of Scripture) acknowledge that they struggle with lust for the opposite sex. The bulk of counseling material that I have read suggests that around 90% of heterosexual men admit that they struggle with lust. (I usually assume that the other 10% struggle with lying.) They will usually admit that they have no business in a locker room or dressing with beautiful females, even if some of those females do not like men. They also admit, if married, that their wives would not want women in a dressing room with them at the local spa. But heterosexual male athletes are being asked to accept homosexuals into the locker room. I guess homosexuals have it all under control.
The assumption that gay men have better control over their lust is not one I could accept even if I were not a Christian. Based on my observations, friendships, and life experiences, I would say the struggle with lust is about the same for homosexuals as it is for heterosexuals. Others would argue that homosexuals are even more promiscuous and prone to sexual addictions.
Therefore, if a woman is not a “heterophobe” for not wanting straight men in her locker room, why is a straight man a homophobe for not wanting gay men in the locker room? Obviously, the assumption is that homosexuals have a better check on their lusts.

 

The intention of this post is not to argue for the conservative Christian worldview. That’s another post for another day. I simply wanted to question the hypocrisy I would observe if I were not a Christian. I would either conclude that it is not homophobic to ask that gay men not share a locker room with straight men, or I would conclude that men and women should all have enough self control to share locker rooms, restrooms, showers, etc. Let’s just all become naturists, right. After all, if homosexuals can keep their lusts under control in a locker room with the same sex, heterosexuals can keep their lusts under control in a locker room with the opposite sex. Unless, of course, homosexuals are morally superior.

On Bill Nye, Ken Ham, and the Creation Debate

The highly anticipated debate between Answers in Genesis founder Ken Ham and Bill Nye the Science Guy took place tonight at the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky. Like many of you I was introduced to Bill Nye on public television and other networks with scientific programming. I became familiar with Ken Ham thanks to videos that were shown in a college Sunday School class about twenty-five years ago.

I had the privilege of visiting the Creation Museum a few years ago. A tour of the museum and campus will leave believers with a greater appreciation for God’s creation, a stronger adoration of the Creator Himself, and a stronger foundation in the biblical account. It will also demonstrate to unbelievers that Christians do not have to check their brains at the door to believe in the Genesis account of creation.

The debate itself did not seem to shake either man in his respective viewpoint. Therefore, I would have to assume the majority of viewers were not converted from one side of the issue to the other. Likely, most viewers stood strong with the one who represented their position. However, I imagine that a small percentage of viewers were challenged to rethink their worldviews. Obviously, as Christians, we believe that the Holy Spirit could even convict unbelievers of the truths of Scripture.

So what did I glean from this debate? 

First of all, I saw the importance of one’s presuppositions influencing conclusions. Nye came to the table with anti-supernatural presuppositions. There was really no room for God in his equations. Ham came with the belief that the Bible was the inspired Word of God, and was more likely to discover and see the evidence in favor of that claim.  Obviously I am biased, but I believe good science must be open to all possibilities. This caused Nye’s rejection of the supernatural to seem anti scientific.

Here’s a few other observation I took from the debate:

  • Nye was concerned that creationism would stifle the next generation’s interest in scientific discovery and invention. Really? History tells us that such an assumption is ludicrous. One’s world view likely only shapes the motivation for such a process of discovery. Is it humanistic or for the glory of God?
  • Building on the previous point, Nye practically “preached” a moral obligation for us to embrace his brand of science. He even suggested that the United States needs to lead in this endeavor for, among other reasons, even our economic health. But if there is no God and no eternal accountability, why are we motivated to make such an impact? And why does the US need to lead the way or be better off financially than other nations? Nye’s philosophical logic was highly contradictory. Indeed, scientists who reject the existence of God seem more intimidated by philosophical apologists, like Ravi Zacharias, who show them the amoral consequences to their belief system.
  • Nye was very honest about having no answer for the first cause. Where did the first atoms that caused the “big bang” come from? The ex nihilo issue is directly addressed by Genesis 1:1. I think that’s awesome. The most difficult question for the twenty-first century evolutionist was the first question addressed by Scripture. Random selection? (Pun intended!)
  • Ham was very comfortable discussing the creation science perspective. He also took the opportunity to openly share his faith in Christ with a clear presentation of the Gospel.
  • Ham seemed to struggle a little to explain why he reads some of the Bible literally, but not all of it. He believes in the total inspiration of Scripture, but had difficulty when Nye interpreted his position as being one who tells others what parts of the Bible they should read literally.

(Personal note here: As Christians we need to understand some basic principles of hermeneutics. Obviously Ken Ham is solid here, but didn’t have time to fully explain. Conservative Christians do not read all of the Bible literally. We believe that all of the Bible is literally true. Good hermeneutics and common sense helps us see where the literal truth is presented literally, poetically, prophetically, figuratively, etc. Like any other literature, we simply ask, “What type of literature do we have here?” As Dr. Paige Patterson points out, when the apocalyptic literature of Revelation says a woman sat on seven hills, a literal interpretation would conclude that this is an extremely large woman.)

  •  I also felt that Ken Ham, without intention, reminded us of the importance of Christological apologetics. Though he often argues that Genesis is the starting point for defending the faith, he admitted that it was his acceptance of Christ that led him to that point. Therefore, I would argue that it may be more fruitful to first defend the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. Then, having established his supernatural intervention in this world, you have reestablished the presuppositions for considering the Genesis account of creation.
  • So, who won the debate? Well, the subject given for the debate was “Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era?” Though I felt Ham held his ground, it was the fact that Bill Nye had a debate on his hands at all, and debated so valiantly, that answered the question with a profound, “Yes.” If Bill Nye has to give it the time of day, though he rejects it, others should at least be presented with the same arguments.


Snow Day Devotion: Grace So Glorious

Snow Day Devotion!
Okay, Trinity Family. Here is your Wednesday night at home devotion in lieu of AWANA, Emerge, and Men’s and Lady’s Bible Study! This was motivated by a post that our worship leader, Jeff Branson, made on Trinity Crew’s Facebook Group with a link to the song Grace So Gloriousby Elevation Worship.
Here’s the thing: WE NEED TO BE CONSTANTLY REMINDED OF THE GRACE OF GOD!
·         If you are serving the Lord wholeheartedly, you need a constant reminder of the source of your motivation, strength, passion, and reward.
·         If you have backslidden and lost your joy, you need a constant reminder of what can restore you to that place of intimacy with Christ you once enjoyed.
·         If you are burning yourself out, and keeping others on edge, because you have to get everything right all the time, you need a constant reminder of God’s glorious, liberating grace.
·         If you realize that life is short, whether you are young or old, you need a constant reminder of how grace prepares you for eternity.
·         If you do not know the Lord and feel unworthy of His grace, you need a constant reminder of what grace really means.
So I want to challenge you on this snow day to take time to read these verses from God’s word concerning the impact of God’s grace on you both now and in eternity.
I believe the 24 elders in Revelation 4 symbolize Old and New Testament saints (perhaps represented by the 12 tribes of Israel and the 12 Apostles of Christ). I also believe they are overwhelmed by God’s grace, and thus motivated to cast their crowns at the feet of Jesus!
After you read these verses, watch the video and listen to this powerful song. I love the fact that the words have the kind of biblical and theological depth we find in hymns from two centuries ago.
Let it minister to you, then share it with a friend! See you all Sunday.
Ephesians 2 (NKJV)
 
By Grace Through Faith
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Revelation 4 (NKJV)
10 the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying:

 

11 “You are worthy, O Lord,
To receive glory and honor and power;
For You created all things,
And by Your will they exist
and were created.”
 
 https://youtu.be/5IxhoUzsasI