Posts tagged Weeding
So we have released an e-book! If you remember our Weeding series from last year then you will want to pick up this e-book. We have released all the articles combined together on the Kindle. This makes for a quick read and it is only a dollar on the Kindle store. The Kindle store is available in app form on the Ipod, Ipad, and desktop computers. All proceeds go back to the Dispersion, helping us run the website and expand into future projects.
Thank you for your support.
Peace in Christ,
At our last Dispersion planning meeting, talking about the website turned into talking about real life, as it usually does. The other half of this website, Timothy, and I are really close friends and we have experienced a lot of our short lives together. We got on the subject of war when we were discussing the anniversary of the war in Iraq and a book that I recently read by a Christian author who had condemned the war because he was a pacifist. Pacifism seems to create a divide in the church. C.S. Lewis mentions pacifism in Mere Christianity and alludes to it during in some of the Chronicles of Narnia. Several church fathers were divided on the issue. D.L. Moody, Martin of Tours, and Francis of Assisi are some church fathers that supported pacifism. There has also been a very violent streak to Christianity like the crusades and the Catholic and Protestant conflicts that erupted after the Protestant Reformation. Our modern generation of Christianity has never been forced to dig deep into the biblical merits of either pacifism or going to war. In culture the question of pacifism or war has been highlighted because of the war on terror. The always controversial draft has not been used since the 1970s and there is more controversy over the financial cost of wars than the human cost these days. The question of whether or not to be a pacifist is not just about the merits or evils of war, but it can dictate how we deal with all kinds of evil in our lives. As with all theological questions it is important that open the bible to see what God has to say. When we open the bible we find a lot of war over the first part of the book. People like Gideon, Joshua, and David all led successful military campaigns. God’s command to the Israelites as they were settling the land promised to them was that they were to eliminate all foreign enemies. God wanted to purify the land. God also caused the Israelites to lose wars. God describes Israel’s defeat at the hands of the Babylonians as an act of God, saying that he had stuck hooks in the mouth of the Babylonians and brought them out of Babylon to destroy Israel. Then comes Jesus and things change. Jesus Christ did not come to start an army or to lead an army against people. (more…)
No, you will not. You will not go to hell for simply using any sort of substance, from sugar to crystal meth. The bible says that all things are permissible to any believer, but not all things are profitable. This is God’s stance on any substance. Take for instance alcohol. God was not shocked when humans made liquor. He did not think, “Shoot! Should have changed the chemical composition of some energy transfers so that they couldn’t make liquor!” No, as a matter of fact God made everything that a man could need to make all sorts of alcoholic beverages. Does that mean that everyone should drink? No. Each of us are designed with a certain level of tolerance towards things that make us feel good. I have an addictive personality, so instead of taking one cookie I take five. I will probably never drink, because I know that I can’t just have one drink. I will need more and more, because that’s the way that God made me. Someone with more control should not be restricted to not drinking because of my lack of restraint. I am too young to drink under the law. Even though there is nothing wrong with drinking according to the bible, every Christian is called to follow the laws of land. This means that most substances are out of the question. Most drugs are out of question, and alcohol is illegal for those under 21, and tobacco products are illegal for those under 18. Though it is not against the laws of God for those under 18 to smoke specifically, it does say that the laws of man should be followed as long as they do not directly contradict the teachings of the bible. Another time to avoid using substances is when you are around people who are recovering from addiction. It would not be wise to host a recovering addicts bible study in a bar. It is not wise to pull out a pack of cigarettes next to someone who is trying to quit smoking. We need to be smart about what we do and who we are doing it around. We need to sacrifice for our friends, in order to help them along in their walk towards overcoming an addiction and following God. Some conservative movements in Christianity have made it seem like Christians should avoid alcohol and other substances at all cost. Unfortunately this doesn’t ring true when lined up with the bible. Jesus drank wine, he made water into wine. When questioning whether or not you should consume a substance, ask yourself a few questions. Is this substance going to control me? Am I going to use this to replace God’s direction and love in my life? Is it legal for me to use this? Is there anyone around me who would be hurt by my use of this substance. All things are permissible, but it takes discernment it see what is truly profitable.
This is a tough one. Any pastor or theologian would have a hard time answering this question. The simple answer to this question is, we did it, but to fully understand that we’re going to have to look at depravity, the fall, and how everything in the world glorifies God. You need to understand that everything was created good. The world was created a paradise, everything was just the way that God wanted it to be. Our first father, Adam, was created by God so that he could rule over creation and walk with God. Adam grew lonely, because he saw that every animal had a companion but he did not. God took one of Adam’s ribs and made Eve, his wife. Both Adam and Eve walked with God in perfect creation. One day Adam and Eve were hanging out around the tree of the knowledge of good and evil when Eve heard the voice of the serpent, Lucifer. God had told Adam and Eve not to eat of that tree. Lucifer tempted Eve, and she sinned. Adam, who was standing by the tree did nothing to stop her, and even ate of the fruit after Eve offered him some. This was the first sin, and it separated man from God. We were created good, with a nature that was not prone towards evil. After the fall man’s nature changed from “created good” to “totally depraved.” This might be hard to accept, but it is true. Man, in his natural state, is completely evil. He cannot find good, or come to be good within himself. This is reflected in why we have enough nuclear bombs to blow the world up multiple times over, but cannot seem to come up with a cure for cancer. (more…)
God is so big, and we are so not. He is constantly good, we are constantly horrid. We are gross, He is perfect. We are cheating, thieving, whores; He is pure. We lie to get our way, and His word lasts forever. He raises the dead, we kill our friends to get what we want. The truth is that we are that bad, and He is that good. One could spend an eternity listing how much better God is than man. I suspect that if you’re asking this question you are comparing yourself to something. For instance, you could be comparing yourself to someone you know, you’ve heard of, or someone that you wanted to be. To be honest, everyone that you’re comparing yourself to is just as bad as you. From Jack the Ripper, to Mother Theresa, to Mao, to Ghandi, there is no better man. The only lasting difference between people is who their god is. If they call on the name of Jesus then they are saved. If they call on any other name then they will not be saved, and are going to hell. You see God’s love for you is that while you were still a worthless, ugly, sinner, He died for you (Romans 5:8). He pursued you, and He captured you. No one deserves God’s love, however that is the beauty of grace. See it’s not why God loves us, but the simple fact that He does is enough. There is nothing that we can do to earn His love, there is nothing that we can do to lose it. There is no one who can escape His love, and there is no one who can have more love than any other person. God loves all of us in a way that we do not deserve with the hope that such love will make us jump off of our couches and shout with happiness. Do not contemplate why God loves you, rather, dance like you’ve never danced because He does.
When eating food it is important to keep a healthy balance. Contrary to what you may get on your plate at a local restaurant or fast food chain, a healthy amount of food is six portions of grain, three of vegetables and meats, four of fruits, and two of cheeses and dairy. Avoid fat, and avoid sweets. If you do this, with a calorie cap of about 2,000 a day, you will remain trim and healthy. If you eat too much of anyone of these food groups you will become unhealthy and overweight. In Christianity there are groups as well. There is family, work, church, missions, and community related activities. Instead of filling our stomachs, these things consume our time. For instance, to maintain a healthy family one must give a healthy portion of their time to their family. If one of these “time groups” takes up an unhealthy amount of time then it becomes destructive to a person’s walk, and emotional health. It’s kind of funny how religion and politics always seem to be one and the same. Whether you are a liberal or conservative, there are churches that are politically active on both sides. This is not a bad thing. As a matter of fact the bible indicates that we are to be good citizens. We are supposed to follow the law, and be good neighbors in our cities. It is a good thing to be called to run for political office, or to have a heart that wants to change unjust or unbiblical laws. However, many people believe that because they are Christians they need to vote a certain way, or become extremely politically active. This is not the case. From A to Z, when we want to learn God’s heart on an issue we look at the bible, because it is the clearest representation we have of who He is and what He thinks. This is the case for sex, grief, abortion, and civil law. If you have a question on what God thinks about an issue, go to the Bible. If you want to know how to vote, read the word. The truth is that while many people may call themselves representatives of a “Christian world view” they are not. The bible indicates we are to be good citizens, which in the U.S. means that we are to be informed voters. If you have a passion on your heart for an issue feel free to speak your mind, but be warned. Politics is not the greatest environment for humility to grow. If you find yourself studying policy more than Jesus, you have a problem. If you find yourself hating your neighbor because they disagree with you on a political issue, you need to repent. If you find that your political passions impede your ability to show Christ to the lost, then you need to set aside your passion and take up the work of the cross.
Good question. When Jesus ascended into heaven his last command was to his disciples. He told them to “go forth and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Evangelism started a few days later when the Spirit of the Lord descended on the disciples as they were praying. Imagine Peter sitting in a room, praying. He suddenly sees tongues of fire over the heads of the other disciples, and hears fire over his own head. All of a sudden some of the disciples start talking in other languages, and before Peter even knows it, he has led three thousand people to the Lord in one day. It seems like many Christians strive to be like Peter. They want to be a hard hitter that leads thousands of people to the Lord. There are others that feel as though God has called them to engage smaller groups of people. Who does the greater service for the kingdom? The bible says it this way, one day a rich man gave several lesser men money to invest. To one man he gave five talents, one other two, and to the last man he gave only one talent. The popularly taught part of the story is the end, where the last man decides to bury his one talent, so that he should not lose it. (more…)
Progressive sanctification, to put it very simply, is the process by which one becomes more like Jesus Christ. When you become Christian you are born again. If you remember back to your first, natural, birth you will remember that you came out knowing the world was cold, and that you were unhappy. You did not know how to speak, walk, work, or be of use to society. You are still learning those things today. When we are born again in Christ we do not automatically assume the perfect nature of Christ. We become more holy through Christ by doing His work and walking in His footsteps. I was raised a church kid, but did not truly turn my life over to Jesus until I was around 14. At 14 my heart was changed and ever since I have had a burning desire to be sanctified by Jesus Christ through Jesus Christ. At 14 I began a reckless, and often misguided, pursuit of the things of God. My study of scripture was erratic (at best), I did not participate in church as much as I should, and I was not seeking the help of wise teachers. God, in his mercy, introduced friends and influences in my life that have greatly helped me grow in my understanding of God. I have doubted often, I have sinned a lot, but God is good and I am still growing in my faith to this day. People see giants in the faith like Billy Graham and think, “Wow, if only I could be like them. They have it all put together.” The truth is that Billy Graham is like every other Christian. He is saved by Jesus, he reads his bible, loves his family, and does the work that the Lord has for him. He repents of sin, doesn’t hold grudges, and loves the Lord. Continue seeking out Christ, and you will be as “put together” as Billy Graham is. Below are some resources for you to continue in your walk. Progressive sanctification is not made by taking huge leaps and bounds, its about relying on God to correct your path, instruct your ways, and keep you going in the hard times. Never stop growing in your faith. Read the word, pray, and love the Lord as much as you can. There are few feelings more satisfying than reviewing how you lived a few weeks, months, or years ago and saying, “Praise the Lord, I am becoming more the person He wants me to be.”
Been Walkin for a While: Doctrine by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears
Q: I don’t really have to forgive everyone, do I?
A: Yes you do, and you need to forgive them multiple times. Forgiveness is the act of giving the right and desire that you have to exact revenge on someone, to God. It is an act of faith, of worship, and of grace. Everyone should forgive everyone for everything, if they want to reflect the love of God. When you sin you sin against God. Every time you sin you sin against God. When you become a Christian the very first thing that happens as an act of worship is repentance. You say, I’m sorry. God says, because you call on the name of my Son, and because your name is written in the book of life, you are forgiven. You deserve death, but you have life. Every bad thing that you did has been wiped away. You get to spend eternity in paradise. The bible puts it this way, say a man owed a very wealthy man one million dollars. That man had no way to pay, and the punishment for not being able to pay was getting his kneecaps beat with a bat. The man pleads with the very wealthy man, and the wealthy man forgives him of the debt, and says that he is free to go with his knee caps in one piece. While driving away from the wealthy man’s house, the man remembers that his friend owes him 10 dollars. He goes to his friend and says, “If you don’t give me that money now, I will break your kneecaps with a bat.” The wealthy man hears of this and is outraged. “I forgave you your debt, which was way more than $10. Now I’m going to break your kneecaps because you weren’t willing to forgive!” Every time someone does something to us and we don’t forgive, we are spitting in the face of the forgiveness that God has given us. I’m not saying that it will be easy, or that it won’t take time to forgive someone for something that they did to you. I am saying that careful prayer and actions of reconciliation are what God desires to see you do to those who do wrong against you.
Q: You can’t believe in a God you can’t see, can you?
A: Yes you can. Almost everything in this world is based on speculation, on something that does not yet exist but is assumed to exist. For example, radio waves are only assumed to exist, meaning we can’t actually see them. We can however enjoy their affects. It’s the same with air. We can only assume that air exists, based on assumptions that we have gathered from tools, instruments, and tests. God is pretty much the same way. We can’t really see God face to face, yet. Jesus, God in the flesh, came to earth and showed the power of God over the earth. After 3 years of ministry, Jesus ascended into heaven, leaving the existence of God to “speculation.” I say that in quotes because the existence of God can be proven just as easily as the existence of air or radio waves. If you don’t believe in God, look at His word. Look at His promises and His law. Look at the societies that most employ these laws and see how they have fared. Israel, the most devout followers of the true God’s laws, is the most prosperous country in the Middle East. God’s promises are also proven true. He said that Jesus would come, be born of a virgin, die on a cross, and then rise on the third day four hundred years before Jesus lived. If you don’t believe that Israel’s prosperity is tied to it’s morality and think that the prophecies of Jesus were mere coincidence the last evidence of God is how He changes people, and how He gives people strength. God heals people. He can change their lives for the better. The truth is that part of our faith is built on seeing and feeling. The truth is that when someone is looking for the wind, they look to the trees. When people are looking to see who God is and what He does, they should look at His affect on His people. If you don’t believe in anything you can’t see take a deep breath and thank God that the things you can’t see are still there to support you.