Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Different Styles

I just got done reading my friends' blogs and my brain hurts. What flabbergasts me the most is how drastic a difference i can see in my Christian friends. Read these two articles below if you have the time and compare. Brandon seems to have a lot figured out and Josh seems to be questioning a lot... Neither description is meant to be negative, just different personalities and styles of ministry. I just came out from seeing this contrast in people below completely dumbfounded! Can each individual Christian's life be that custom-fit for them? I get scared the more i think that there is a specific unique calling for each of us to follow and that i can't follow someone else but really have to find where God is calling me to. Does the Lord direct my desires to(i know opinions would vary here) or do i get to choose whether i want to be someone who spends most of their life focusing more on theological and philosophical basics or someone who does not neglect those but sees more importance in evangelism and relationships. Lord, help me to figure out myself and to know how much i need to depend on you and how much of life is truly a preference.It's kinda like a procrastinater's God will always pull through for them in the last minute and a disciplined person's God will give them weeks in advance. Is God just all encompassing or do we fit him to our personalities. I guess this is just my continuing search to know God and myself. So any wisdom would be well appreciated.

Scroll half way down to "Why Good people don't go to heaven"

Read "Driftwood" and the comments on it

Friday, May 27, 2005

My echoing thought

Ok so this quote has been echoing in my head all week. I love it when that happens.

"The size of your God determines the size of your goal"

It seems that God meets you where you expect Him to. It sounds cliche but it is a matter of faith. Look at the variety in Matthew 8 & 9 alone:

8:13 Jesus heals the centurion's servant without even going to the house because of his faith

9:6 The paralytic is brought by his friends to Jesus and healed

9:19 Then Jesus actually goes with the ruler to heal his daughter

9:20 On the way a woman comes to him and touches his cloak and is healed

It's almost like, Jesus is ready and willing to help, the question is just what are you asking for and what do you expect from him? Sure God could speak in different ways at differnt times too, but a lot of the times i wish i was the centurion who Jesus didn't even have to follow to his house. Not saying that any of these people are more spiritual than the other. But do i make Jesus follow me to the house when he doesn't need to? Do i believe my God is big enough to even cure me of my little inconsistencies and continual failures? Do i have faith that through Jesus i can actually succeed at something i have failed at time and again? Jesus, give me vision and please increase my faith and view of you! Help me to truly be able to say "If You are willing, You can make me clean" Matt 8:2 Jesus, if you are willing, I believe you can take me to further places with You than i can even fathom. Not for myself, but take me further, whereever it is best, for Your glory.

"I am willing." Jesus said

Brandon and Jennifer Moving?!?

It's true. If you know my sister or brother-in-law check out their blog(link on the side). THey are moving to South Dakota... What's up with that!?! But God has got awesome plans for them... so i don't feel bad fot them one bi... okay maybe a little bit! :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Rick Warren's thoughts

At the Saddleback conference i went to, i learned SO much. Rick Warren has AWESOME one-liners, so if you have the time i hope these thoughts speak to you, as much as they did to me.

When the devil reminds you of your past, you remind him of his future!

Attach yourself to an age and you will become a widow, be eternal and you will always be relevant

The church who isn’t wanting to grow is essentially saying to the rest of the world, “You’re going to hell”

To grow your church, you don’t try and bring back all the people that left, you focus on the people who are coming. We can't focus on the negatives... that will get us no where

The size of your God determines the size of your goal

Our culture likes to recognize the problem and think we’ve fixed it w/out ever taking action

Study without action leads to arrogance!

The first thing Jesus did with the woman caught in adultery is protect her dignity.

A family is not a democracy! The more mature get more weight.

This can go for the body of Christ too

Stop praying, “Bless what I am doing”

Start praying, “Help me to do what you are blessing.”

Talking about confessing sin “If you don’t take the garbage out for a month, it is going to start to stink”

Monday, May 23, 2005

Summary of Saddleback Conference

I went to Cali last week with my dad and his staff(below) for the conference which was amazing!

My dad & his staff
Rick Warren is a visionary and has an amazing way of showing his vision and a humble yet clear way. The next few blogs will be thoughts/one liners from the conference

only in CA

i weigh a lil' more but i still got it

Me and my car(I wish!)
We also enjoyed Cali... we went and saw the beaches. We also went to a Padres game and had Mexican food and In-N-out...
Padres Game

Overlooking Coronado
could i ask for more. Beaches, great food, great teaching... oh yeah

Sunday, May 22, 2005

A look in my journal at My Heart

the replacements
I had a life changing moment last night. I was watching The Replacements of all movies and God spoke to me. (I love how God speaks in the most interesting ways!) We all fear becoming nothing. We fear being told that we are not worth it, that we are a failure, or that we didn’t live up to our potential. It’s crazy how much each of us are like this. I want to be a hero. I want to be worth something. But I have to stop thinking about myself. A hero is someone who fights for a cause greater than themselves(Wild at Heart). I’m so clumsy, incapable, and inadequate to do anything spectacular. The only thing that really makes me special is the fact that, You Jesus, see something in me. I don’t know why, but you love me and make me worthwhile and something. I have a second chance! So far I have yet to be sold out to a cause greater than myself. Oh for sure I love people, love my relationship for the Lord, and am doing good things, but Lord help it to not stop there. Help me to tap into something higher than myself! Help me to live by faith. By that I mean, help my life to go far beyond what I am capable of doing so that I am living by faith not by myself. Right now my faith is too small, my view of You is too small, and I am capably of doing everything in my life. This does not necessarily mean that I need to do more. What it means is that I want to live for something so great that I can’t fathom it. I want to have the problem of praying, “this is too much for me Lord, I need you.” I want be able to mean it when I say that “man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” If I truly look at what I expect from you right now, it’s not much. My faith is hitting its target. Help my faith to go beyond myself, help me to know that my life is worthwhile not because I have accomplished something but because I am fighting for the right team, and PLEASE help me to NEVER forget this truth if that is possible! It’s easy to start looking inward when I fear I am worth nothing. It’s a lot easier to look out when I know I’m worth something. In the name of Jesus, Bind Satan Lord! Help me to stop thinking my competition is against this world and help me to ALWAYS remember my battle is against Satan. Confusion is his game and Satan has got too many people, especially Christians, looking inward because of it. Lord give me the power to fight for the right cause and bring people along. Not so that I will be raised up by a bunch of people on a football field, but that we all might be able to stand together on a battlefield with the Lord… Victorious!

Friday, May 20, 2005

Saddleback Conference

I'm out in Cali for the week with my dad and his staff at a Saddleback Conference but i will be home and bloggin soon! :)

Friday, May 13, 2005

Where two or three are gathered...

It is understandable why some of you would be confused by my strong statement about Matthew 18:20 in my last post. It is a questionable passage and i made a radical statement about it being taken out of context... below are my thoughts. I am willing to accept my mistake if i messed up and am almost to that point, so please comment and give me your thoughts,

Matthew 18
A Brother Who Sins Against You
15"If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.' 17If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
18"I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will bebound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
19"Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."
21Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?"

If you look at the majority of this passage, it is not talking about prayer at all... it is talking more about confronting a brother within a community. When it talks about "two or three come together" in verses 19 & 20 it seems to be referring back to verse 16 where it talks about two or three witnesses. The reason you would want two or three witnesses is because that is how you would condemn someone in court or have proof. Unless you really believe Jesus is just trying to reform the idea of "2 or 3 witnesses" right here into a more general context of community and prayer, you have to read this v19-20 as referring to the situation above. Even Peter's follow up question of "How many times do i forgive my brother" seems to suggest that they are still on the subject of correcting a brother. So what Jesus really seems to be saying by this passage is: "Confront a brother by yourself. If that doesn't work take 2 or 3 people so that there is legitimate proof and not just one person's word vs. another. If that doesn't work take the church. And if that doesn't work treat him as a nonChristian. The truth's you stand for on earth as a Church will also stand true in heaven. So where two or three witnesses come to agreement on an issue such as this, God will be there, because these Christians gathered with the intention of glorifying his name."(I took of a lot of liberty there)
But then again... The Message takes a firm stance that v 19 is talking within the wider context of prayer by adding "and make a prayer of it" and even in the v19 in the NIV where it says "agree about anything you ask for" seems to suggest that Jesus is saying that God answers prayers within a group of believers, the discipline issue just being one such scenario... I am willing to be corrected if my initial comment was wrong. Help Me out.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Are we gullable Christians?

More than once, I have gotten an email from friends about NASA finding the missing day in the Bible. Professor Wilbur WIlliams knows someone in NASA and they said this email/rumor was false. Also Truth or Fiction says the same thing (http://www.truthorfiction.com/rumors/j/joshuaday.htm). And yet instead of researching or taking an objective approach to anything, i feel that as Christians we take what we like to hear and flippantly pass it on way too much. Some of you are saying "So what?"... I had a pastor use the verse "where two or three are gathered in my name there i am also"(Matt 18:20) for an introduction to his prayer in the service(which i believe is taking the verse completely out of context). I confronted him afterwards, and his response was, "I know it was out of context.... that is just what came to mind." I also received an email from different Christian friends that talked about "John Kerry Getting Mixed up Quoting his Favorite Bible Verse" which is also said to not be true at Truth or Fiction(http://www.truthorfiction.com/rumors/k/kerrybible.htm). Maybe "Truth or Fiction" is wrong?... check it out for yourself, but i would plead the opposite. I would plead that more so than questioning the integrity of this website, i would question the carelessness of Christians. Are we willing to passon a poorly supported proof of the Bible or a verse taken out of context even or even a rumor just because it is what we want to hear or it helps us prove a point? Don't get me wrong i love my Christian friends and their good intentions... but are we really listening to Proverbs 10:19 "When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise." Are we really seeking to spread the Truth or just our agendas? Are we too quick to accept things because we want them to be true and it fits our emotions or convenience(OUCH)?!? Are we becoming convenient Christians? Because if so, that will not sit too well with the Jesus of the Bible who went against every grain that he possibly could!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

A Day in the Life of Brent

I wake up around noon

Then i read for a few hours and ice my knee

Then i work out! I know...Those 5lb dumbells are heavy!

Then i shower(picture not available)

then i eat!... i like to eat!

Then i hangout with my parents, watch TV(it was Americon idol tonight), play computer games(i like Text Twist on Yahoo games, my dad likes spider solitaire), play the guitar, etc.

Stay up late for no reason

doing nothing of importance

for no reason...

Then i go to bed and repeat the whole thing!

I Hate...

"What we hate says a lot about who we are… how we hate says much about how we will succeed."
Cloud, Henry. 9 Things Graduates Must Do to Succeed in Life.

We are told so much that anger is bad in the church that we always think "hate" is bad. In fact to some of my friends "hate" is a dirty word. This book went on to describe how hating is good. The Lord detests certain things(Proverbs 6:16-19) So hating somethings actually shows how much we love something. It shows a lot about what we care to protect and cherish... so below are a few things i feel that i honestly hate. Please....PLEASE give me more personal hates or insights and even feel free to correct me if i am wrong.

I hate:
Seeing someone hurt and not knowing how to help them
Disappointing people i love
Those who blatantly cause my friends with potential to not live up to what they otherwise would ( those who take others down with them)
The confusion Satan has put in this world
The power i allow habitual sin to have over me

Can I be very transparent for a sec. For those of you who make it this far to the bottom of this extremely long post, here is the vulnerable Brent. The Lord has been revealing to me lately how much i lie. IT's horrible. IT's little stuff but its huge and i hate it! ie. Someone will ask me, "How are you doing in your devotional time or with some responsibility?" and i will come up with some answer like.... "oh i am reading other books that talk a lot abot the bible and that constitutes most of my devotional time." Pretty much a whole bunch of words to say "i'm not reading my Bible!" The sad part is i have actually taught myself to believe that these exaggerations or moderations are me being optimistic about a situation rather than lying. What it really is, is me lying and avoiding my failures as a human being because i hate them! In the same book i also read this quote, "People who win in life do not condemn themselves for failure; they accept it." I am learning to be honest with myself and others. When i am finally willing to accept my failures that are normal as humans, not complacent, but accepting my failures I will see how great my God is. It's crazy but God somehow works through my failures! ON top of that, there will be a day where I will not fail and that is because God won't fail. We serve a BIG GOD! and that glorious day of victory in the Lord will be Amazing! AMEN!

...Praise the Lord for Hate, because it will make Christ's victory all the more SWEET!!!

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Are We Pharisees?

"There is no doubt that, in one way, the Pharisees were good men…It was the great merit of the Pharisees that they tried to take their religion seriously. They sought to make, not a mere gesture, but a real effort to attain righteousness… Their greatest mistake…was the supposition… that they had adhered so rigorously to the rule of perfection, they had actually attained it… [Christ] also warned against such ceremonial titles as “Rabbi”ie. “Doctor” and “Father”(Matt.23:8-10) and He prefaced this by showing how ridiculous the scribes made themselves by their little works of pride which distinguished them from other men…Mark’s version of this humorous exposure is, “Beware of the scribes, who like to go about in long robes, and to have salutations in the market places and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts”(Mark12:38, 39). It is not really surprising that this text comes to the mind of a good many literate men while attending college commencements or church suppers. "
(Excerpt from The Humor of Christ)

These are men who:
are trying to pursue righteousness
get too caught up in the "rules" of Christianity
begin to believe they are perfect, so Jesus mocks their inconsistencies
enjoyed being honored for their prestige saying its for God

I feel like a lot of these things are things i am struggling with as a Christian and a Wesleyan. I know my heart is right, but the differences between motivation and the qualities above are such a fine line that it is scary how easily i could mistake myself for a Pharisee. I wonder how many times Jesus would mock me for putting unnecessary rules on myself and others? I wonder how many times Jesus would mock me for the white lies i tell to keep up my "Christian" appearance? I wonder how many times Jesus would question how hypocritical i was with how flexible i am with my own spiritual convictions? Are we too close to being Pharisees?

(Disclaimer: I love the Wesleyan Church.... this is mere speculation and contemplation)

Friday, May 06, 2005

Laugh a little

Jesus had some great Dis's in the Bible! He called the Pharisees a "brood of vipers," then on another occasion he called them "white washed tombs", full of putrid and decaying flesh!!!(Matthew 5:29,30;18:,9) Can you imagine the crowd of nonChristians and Christian's reactions to a dis like that? Can’t you hear the crowd around him snickering and going "Oh shnap! Did he really just say that!?!" I almost picture it like he just let out a great yo' mama joke! hahaha
thought from the Humor of Christ

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Humor of Christ insights

This is an excerpt that i would love to hear feed back on from Elton Trueblood's "Humor of Christ"

"The critics... fall back on the strategy of literalism and say that neither they nor anyone else can rightly make a judgment in such matters because Christ said, 'Judge not.' (Matt. 7:1).

It is obvious that men must judge! If we give up judgment we give up almost everything which dignifies human life. We are judging, and rightly so, between different men and the different platforms, every time that we cast a vote. We judge colleges when we help our children to decide where to enroll. To say that one is as good as another would contribute to the complete undermining of the effort to achieve academic excellence. In art, if we do not judge between the authentic and the forged, the artistic effort is destroyed. And it is men who must do the judging, for there is nobody else available. To say that one church is as good as another would be to harm rather than to help the entire Christian movement. After all, some churches are financial rackets, with all assets vested in the name of the pastors. Some mean business and some do not. It is patently absurd to say that there should be not standard because the acceptance of such a practice would mean the complete devaluation of church membership. There is no cutting edge that is not narrow. Judgment may be mistaken and imperfect, but the only alternative to it, the refusal to judge at all, is manifestly worse.

What then can Christ have meant? He is reported to have said, "Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged" (Matt 7:1,2). Here the irony is particularly sharp. "You want to avoid judgment, do you?" He can be understood as saying, "Then be sure that you at least have the consistency to avoid it, yourself.’ It is of the essence of judgment that it is always two-edged. People will apply to you the standard which you apply to others, and so, indeed, they ought to do. "Do you criticize others for advertising their benevolences? Then you had better," says Christ, "examine your own practice, since an ethically honest man will never make an exception of himself. It is instrinsic to any moral order that every judgment is a self-judgment.

If this paraphrase is at all correct, we have here one of the most vivid examples of that kind of irony in which the intended implication is the exact opposite of the literal sense. What we have, in reality, is not the categorical command never to render judgment, a command which if obeyed, would destroy all that is best in human life. What we have, instead, is the warning that if you want to avoid judgment on yourself, you will have to do the impossible, ie. refuse to engage in any judgment at all."
Trueblood, Elton. The Humor of Christ. NY: Harper & Row Publishers, 1964.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

IWU Graduation

Kevin and me
I went to IWU's graduation this saturday... its always sad. And yet it makes you appreciate how cool some people really are. Above is Kevin Wright! He is going to be a minister for the Lord that will succeed because of his heart and mind for the Lord. THe Lord has gifted him and he has held nothing back from giving it all back to the Lord. Thank you Lord, for people like this