Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What if I stumble?

I’ll start this post off with an incredibly honest statement of fact.

I live my entire life in fear.

You read correctly. I, a child of the King of Kings, live my life in fear. Oh, don’t get me wrong, the Lord is my rock and my salvation. I believe the Lord when he tells me I have nothing to be afraid of. Well, I try to believe anyway. But if I were to be completely honest with myself, I would have to admit that I live my life in fear.

So, this begs the question, what am I afraid of?

I wish it were something simple. I wish I could say that I was afraid of heights or spiders. You know, those are things that are easy to be afraid of.

John Wesley is credited with reviving and/or authoring what we call the Doctrine of Assurance. To put it simply, Wesley believed that we could be absolutely assured of our salvation. I do feel assured that my salvation has been found in God. I’m not afraid of that.

I am crippled by the fear that I’m not good enough.

I realize that the reality of the situation is that none of us can ever be good enough to reach God. I understand that. But, because of my denominational background, I’m stricken with this absolute need to be perfect. The entire belief system of my Church is that of “holiness unto the Lord. “ I’ve been taught for years that holiness is perfection and perfection is holiness. We’d have debates in theology classes about whether or not it is possible for a person to not sin.

Well, if it’s possible to not sin, then why do I find myself doing it? I’m terrified of what happens when I slip up. I’m terrified that when I mess up, it’s going to be the last time.

What happens if I stumble? What happens when I fall?

I’m crippled by the fear of the knowledge that I am not good enough.

I find myself asking, will the love continue, when my walk becomes a crawl? What if I stumble; and what if I fall?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Jesus Freak

To the best of my knowledge, the label of Jesus Freak was really popular before my time. A certain Christian band (I am in mourning for what I perceive to be the eternal loss of hope for a reunion and will therefore not utter the name of this band) popularized this phrase for a new generation of people.

I honestly don’t know what it used to mean, but I can promise that I’ve used it as a badge of honor throughout most of my life as a Christ-Follower.

I am a Jesus Freak.
There are times, though, where I struggle. There are times where I hide the fact that I’m a Jesus Freak. I don’t wear T-Shirts with Jesus’ face on it, and I don’t wear a WWJD bracelet, and I don’t have the outline of a fish on my car. So, to let people know that I’m serious about Jesus, I really need to broadcast it with my life.

The saddest thing is that there are times when I know it won’t be the coolest thing to do for people to know where I stand with Jesus. So, I hide him. I use my life as a broadcast tool, and there are times when I am simply broadcasting the wrong message.

Do you ever feel like you’re not broadcasting the right message with your life? Do you even think about the message you’re broadcasting with your life?

My challenge this week is to be aware that you are broadcasting something with your life. That’s the truth all the time. You are always broadcasting something. What are you broadcasting? Are you concerned about popular opinion?

I don’t really care if they label me a Jesus Freak, there ain’t no disguising the truth!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Colored People

I’ve taken some time to talk about preachers that I’m not like, and preachers that I don’t like here in this blog. My pastor made a comment on one of my entries noting that if the kingdom isn’t big enough for those people we don’t like, then it must be a pretty small and closed kingdom. I’ve been thinking about the way the kingdom relates to people who aren’t like us.

There are so many people who aren’t like me. I’m young. I’m not rich. I’m not poor. I drive a car. I’m single. I’m employed. I’m bald. I’m white. I wear glasses. I’m short. I “play the drums.” I’m a youth pastor. I’m a Christian. I’m loud. I’m emotional. I’m a Star Wars Fan. I’m a Yankees fan. I’m a die-hard Cougar. I’m a Miami Dolphins fan. I’m a passionate follower of the Ohio State Buckeyes. I’m also moderately interested in hockey and the NBA.

All that to say, I’m unique.

The fact is there aren’t a lot of people who are like me. There aren’t a lot of people who meet all of those criteria. I am one of a kind. What is really beautiful is that you are completely unique too.

There is room for each of us in the Kingdom of God. There is room for the person who has trouble seeing God in a new way. There is room for the person who struggles with what he really believes. There is room for each of those people. That amazes me!

I’ll admit, sometimes I struggle seeing people the way God does. I see people based on other things. I see race. I see gender. I see clothing. I smell them. I hear their language.

I confess; I don’t always see people for being people. But, I believe that God is teaching me, and I hope he’s teaching you to see people for being people. We are a colored people, and they call us the human race. We’ve got a history so full of mistakes; and we are colored people who depend on a Holy Grace.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

So Help Me God

I’ve been talking a lot lately with one of my friends about entire sanctification. We’re both on the side of ordination where we have to articulate sanctification in a certain way, and so we’ve been talking about the way we see entire sanctification and the way the Church of the Nazarene sees it.

We were talking about this yesterday and were talking a bit about our experiences trying to explain and understand the doctrine of entire sanctification. Someone had once criticized my friend for his theology of sanctification.

I’ve been thinking about this since then. My friend was somewhat chastised by a pastor for implying that sanctification was a daily thing. “You mean I need to pray to God to ‘re-sanctify’ every day?” (Loose paraphrase)

I would argue that comment with a great big YES! Maybe I don’t need to be entirely sanctified every day, but I definitely think that we need to pray to God to keep us sanctified every single day.

Jesus implored us to do nothing less than do this each day. “And He was saying to them all, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.’” (Luke 9:23).


Every. Single. Day.

We will continue to debate and wrestle with the theology and concept of entire sanctification, and that’s okay. But I do not think that we get to debate on whether or not entire sanctification is a daily process. If I’m not denying myself and picking up my cross every day, then I’m doing it wrong.

My prayer this morning was that God would help me to deny myself today. My prayer was for God to help me bear the weight of the cross today. So, help me God, to put my faith in you.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Angry Preachers

Last year, around the Easter season, I heard a pastor preaching a series of sermons that were based around the question, “Why?” He was providing his flock with reasons to believe in Christ. Most of this stuff would be considered apologetics, which I’m studying currently with my youth group.

I honestly don’t remember a lot about his messages, but I do remember one thing. When he was preaching on this topic, he seemed to be extremely angry. In fact, I remember asking in my notes, “If we’re preaching the good news, then why are we so angry?”

Why do some preachers get so angry?

I always liked what Joe Noonen would say inevitably once during each sermon he preached at MVNU, “I don’t know why I’m yelling, I’m not mad at you.”

I think it’s one thing to get excited and yell a bit during a sermon, especially because we are generally talking about some important stuff. I’m not a big fan of the “angry preacher” though. It reminds me of the Bullhorn Guy that Rob Bell describes so well in the 9th Nooma video.

So, are angry preachers really benefiting the Kingdom? Do you enjoy listening to angry preachers? Is there a place for this type of preaching?