Thursday, June 25, 2009


Why is it that so many Christians spend hundreds of hours to condense the gospel down to it's bare minimum: memorizing a one-minute monologue - years of study on the "exact point of salvation" - revolutionizing expedient efficiency in saving souls? Some spend more time in the planning than in any form of execution.

I know some are truly thinking, "There's so many lost - I MUST reach as many as possible!" I totally respect that. And I have no problem with these presentations in the vein of planting seeds.

God gave us scripture - but reaching the unbeliever was a charge given to us for personal delivery. The hurdles of salvation aren't usually in the words of the gospel - but in the heart of the hearer. We can't be afraid to give the unbeliever more than a minute.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Blogging about the most important thing...

"Maybe God has given us all different gifts - and different blends of gifts - through the same Spirit for the common good of the body. (1 Corinthians 12)

For the folks in Corinth, "Keeping God's commands is what counts." (1Corinthians 7:19)

For the folks spread across Galatia, "... what counts is a new creation." (Galatians 6:15)

In both cases, circumcision or uncircumcision counts for nothing.

For the folks Paul wrote in Rome, Abraham was justified by faith not works - because they were struggling with the idea that they had to earn justification (Romans 4).

For the folks James wrote, Abraham was justified by faith through works - because they were struggling with indolence and a misconception that mental assent justified them (James 2).

In both cases, active acceptance of God's work in one's life is absolutely crucial."

Take a moment to read Keith Brenton's post, from Blog In My Own Eye, entitled The Most Important Thing. I have to admit, I do agree with him, both in sentiment and frustration

"Maybe I'm just rationalizing in frustration. I gotta tell you, though ...

This possibility that "the most important thing may be different for people that God made different" is of some comfort to me.

Except for the overwhelming conviction that I spend way too much mind-preoccupying, opportunity-squandering, butt-numbing time reading and writing blogs about the most important thing."

Monday, June 1, 2009

Not the same words

Genesis 11:1-9

Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words.

It came about as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there.

They said to one another, "Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly." And they used brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar.

They said, "Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth."

The LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built.

The LORD said, "Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them.

"Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another's speech."

So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city.

Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of the whole earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of the whole earth.

I've been thinking about this passage for some time. In my last post about Living Water, I was honestly just throwing out all the scripture I could find referencing such, and a little commentary. The fella I was discussing this with at another blog had been tossing the term around for a long time. He seems to claim that he completely disagrees with my conclusion on the symbolic (allegorical?) meaning of the phrase - and yet, he then says it is the knowledge of Christ. I thought that was what I said?

I spend a bit more time these days "listening" to the blog conversations and less time entering them. I've noticed that people keep talking around each other. If the conversations continue long enough, the speakers finally realize that they are basically saying the same thing - although it's been rather apparent to those simply listening in.

We may speak the same language - but not the same words.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Living Water

The Bible talks about water a lot. Have you ever noticed that? When God created the heavens and the earth - the earth was first formless water. There was water before light. (Gen. 1:2) He made water to cover both the earth and the heavens. He created the first living creatures in water (Gen. 1:20) and most importantly, He made all living things dependent on water.

God's first covenant is made with Noah and all living creatures regarding His promise to never again destroy them all with water. (Gen 9:7-17) Throughout the Torah, God uses water to signify his will - Jacob at the well with Rachael, Moses' rescued life with Pharaoh, then in the plagues, and finally in the freedom of the Israelites - where water and fire guide them and the splitting of the Red Sea. Immediately following this, we read in Exodus 15:22-27:

Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter; therefore it was named Marah.

So the people grumbled at Moses, saying, "What shall we drink?"

Then he cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a tree; and he threw it into the waters, and the waters became sweet There He made for them a statute and regulation, and there He tested them.

And He said, "If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the LORD your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the LORD, am your healer."

Then they came to Elim where there were twelve springs of water and seventy date palms, and they camped there beside the waters.

Again in Exodus 17, the Israelites doubt as they thirst for water, and God provides with specific instructions.

In Exodus 30:18-21, the Lord says to Moses:

"Make a bronze basin, with its bronze stand, for washing. Place it between the Tent of Meeting and the altar, and put water in it. Aaron and his sons are to wash their hands and feet with water from it. Whenever they enter the Tent of Meeting, they shall wash with water so that they will not die. Also, when they approach the altar to minister by presenting an offering made to the LORD by fire, they shall wash their hands and feet so that they will not die. This is to be a lasting ordinance for Aaron and his descendants for the generations to come."
They must first wash with water before coming to meet with the Lord, or they will die!

In Jeremiah 2:13, we first hear of this "living water."

For My people have committed two evils:
They have forsaken Me,
The fountain of living waters,
To hew for themselves cisterns,
Broken cisterns
That can hold no water.

And again, In Jeremiah 17:13-15

O LORD, the hope of Israel,
All who forsake You will be put to shame
Those who turn away on earth will be written down,
Because they have forsaken the fountain of living water, even the LORD.
Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed;
Save me and I will be saved,
For You are my praise.
Look, they keep saying to me,
"Where is the word of the LORD?
Let it come now!"

Now, we approach the New Testament references to this "living water."

John 4:5-42

So He came to a city of Samaria called Sychar, near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph; and Jacob's well was there. So Jesus, being wearied from His journey, was sitting thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give Me a drink." For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.

Therefore the Samaritan woman said to Him, "How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?" (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)

Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water."

She said to Him, "Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water? You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?"

Jesus answered and said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life."

The woman said to Him, "Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty nor come all the way here to draw."

He said to her, "Go, call your husband and come here."

The woman answered and said, "I have no husband." Jesus said to her, "You have correctly said, 'I have no husband'; for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly."

The woman said to Him, "Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship."

Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."

The woman said to Him, "I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us."

Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am He."

At this point His disciples came, and they were amazed that He had been speaking with a woman, yet no one said, "What do You seek?" or, "Why do You speak with her?"

So the woman left her waterpot, and went into the city and said to the men, "Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done; this is not the Christ, is it?"

They went out of the city, and were coming to Him.

Meanwhile the disciples were urging Him, saying, "Rabbi, eat."

But He said to them, "I have food to eat that you do not know about."

So the disciples were saying to one another, "No one brought Him anything to eat, did he?"

Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work. Do you not say, 'There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest'? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest. "Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal; so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this case the saying is true, 'One sows and another reaps.' I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored and you have entered into their labor."

From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, "He told me all the things that I have done."

So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they were asking Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days.

Many more believed because of His word; and they were saying to the woman, "It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world."

What does Jesus do after the woman asks him for a drink in verse 15? He speaks truth. She believes. She speaks His words. They believe in both her words and His.

Here, further, in John 7:37-39:

Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'"

But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Here, it tells us the living water is the Spirit. What is the Spirit but God's Word dwelling in us? Drink in the Word and believe - and the Spirit will flow from our innermost being. Continue to read further to verses 40-42:

Some of the people therefore, when they heard these words, were saying, "This certainly is the Prophet." Others were saying, "This is the Christ." Still others were saying, "Surely the Christ is not going to come from Galilee, is He? Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the descendants of David, and from Bethlehem, the village where David was?"

In verses 52 and 53, they even go to study it out!

In Ephesians 5:25-27, Paul writes:

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless."

Peter concludes this about evil words in 2 Peter 2:17-19:

These are springs without water and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved. For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved.

Peter also has some important things to say relating the Word of the prophets and the Savior and water here, in 2 Peter 3:1-9

This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles.

Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation."

For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water.

But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

Revelation gives us many images relating this idea of water to the Word of God - His commands or scriptures.

Revelation 1:15
His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters.

Revelation 7:13-17
Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, "These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?"

I said to him, "My lord, you know." And he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them. They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes."

Revelation 21:5-6
And He who sits on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new " And He said, "Write, for these words are faithful and true."

Then He said to me, "It is done I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.

Revelation 22:1-7
Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street on either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever.

And he said to me, "These words are faithful and true"; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His bond-servants the things which must soon take place. And behold, I am coming quickly Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book."

Revelation 22:16-21
"I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star."

The Spirit and the bride say, "Come" And let the one who hears say, "Come" And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.

I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.

He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming quickly " Amen Come, Lord Jesus.

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Giving it a rest...

Much prayer and study has lead me to let this dog lie dormant for a time. This was my place to specifically explore the aspects of my faith that did not seem to reconcile with scripture. It did not work out as I thought it might, but I wouldn't say there was nothing accomplished. My concept of grace has grown - without dismissing other truths. I think being witness to a movement, apparently founded on a profound knowledge of grace, rip itself to shreds has made me content to remain in one that builds one another up - even if they aren't as "enlightened."

Regarding salvation and how to share it with others, it's like no one reads the book of Acts. {sigh}

If you're interested in following up on me - as an individual, not a target - please feel free to visit me at my journal-blog, Texas Chilly. I will not be discussing much theology there - Christ for sure, prayer most definitely, but no doctrine.

God bless you.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


My sister Laurie in a very desparate place right now. Can you please stop and pray for her immediately??

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Empty Tomb

I wanted to share notes from Easter service with anyone who still reads here! :)

1 Corinthians 15:13-19 (NLV)
…if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless. And we apostles would all be lying about God — for we have said that God raised Christ from the grave. But that can’t be true if there is no resurrection of the dead. And if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost! And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world.

That’s Paul writing to the Corinthians in his first letter to them.

There is nothing so central to our faith, the faith of anyone who claims to be a Christian, than the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The empty tomb is where Christianity truly begins. The resurrection of Jesus Christ and Christianity itself stand or fall together.

I’m sure you know, millions upon millions of people on this earth today, entire nations of people, don’t believe it happened. They believe in the historical Jesus but not the resurrected Jesus. And the internet is filled with sites that try to explain away the evidence of the resurrection story.

Dr. Simon Greenleaf, the Royal Professor of Law at Harvard University, a man credited with building the Harvard University Law School and who later became the Dane Professor of Law at Harvard, was convinced the resurrection story was a myth. He set out to disprove it once and for all using the rules of evidence he helped establish in his book A Treatise on the Law of Evidence. When he finished his investigation after examining all the evidence, he came to the exact opposite conclusion and emphatically stated,

“It was IMPOSSIBLE that the apostles could have persisted in affirming the truths they had narrated, had not JESUS CHRIST ACTUALLY RISEN FROM THE DEAD, ...”

He concluded that according to the jurisdiction of legal evidence the resurrection of Jesus Christ was the best supported event in all of ancient history!

Acts 1:3 says:
“After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.”

What else could have changed those cowardly men who fled Jesus on the night he needed them the most, after spending three years traveling thousands of miles with him, not long after all vowing to die for him? Remember, after Jesus died nearly every one of his followers went back to doing what they were doing before meeting him. It was like three wasted years. They rolled back the clock.

So, what could have changed them from fleeing cowards to desolate martyrs?

The Holy Messiah coming back from the land of the dead. The single greatest event in all of history!

In the book of Acts we have a record of how Christ’s first church began. The details capture an amazing and faith-filled time. It was a time for action. His resurrection lit the fire and with the promised Holy Spirit given to each baptized person, God’s personal seal of approval, the men and women who followed Christ began to spread the word like crazy when they realized he was alive again. They saw him beaten and crucified and then, over the next four or five weeks, they saw him alive. That’s how Christianity began.

It began with the empty tomb.

We are very fortunate to have approximately 11 examples in Acts of verbatim testimony where our first century brothers were preaching about the Good News...basically, how they spread the church.

For example:

  1. We have Peter preaching to the Jews at Pentecost exactly 50 days after the Crucifixion

  2. Peter and John before the Sanhedrin

  3. Stephen, before getting stoned to death, explaining himself in front of the Sanhedrin

  4. Peter preaching to Cornelius and his family

  5. Paul in Athens at the meeting of the Aeropagus

…to name a few of the better known cases.

In 10 out of those 11 instances they preached about Christ being resurrected from the dead. The only one who didn’t was Stephen - likely because he didn’t get the chance. The last thing he said was “and now you have betrayed and murdered him” and bam, lights out, they were stoning him death.

What is our life in Christ today if we don’t constantly consider and speak about his resurrection? It is our foundation. Christ is Risen!

That’s where the Good News starts.

1 Thess 4:14-18
We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.

Resurrection is the real deal. As Adam was the firstborn among the living, Jesus was the firstborn among the dead.

And resurrection is not just for those who live for Christ. It is for everyone. And that’s a scary thought…

In the book of Daniel, chapter 12, he talks about resurrection for everyone. He says in verse two,

“Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.”

Do you know what he goes on to say about this very scary thought? It’s fulfillment began in the book of Acts. In verse three he says,

“Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.”

The resurrection of everyone is a scary thought if we don’t do something about it.

So what is Easter really all about?
• The Empty Tomb!
• The Resurrected Lord.
• The Living Sacrifice!
• Our Hope and Joy and Sure Reward!

It’s where Christianity begins. Where mankind had it’s first chance to rise from the dead in hope of everlasting glory.

It’s where we get the power to take one more step in life, to overcome, to persevere, to focus on saving the souls of others too.

Consider how we (like our first century bothers) can personally share about his resurrection with others, serving them with the truth of Jesus and this amazing new life we have in him.

Romans 4:25 distinguishes between the two:

"He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification."

We can bring that justification to others. Christ is risen! Let’s get started!