Saturday, October 25, 2008

The unforgivevable sin

Is there a sin that you are dealing with today? Part of the Word of Life Quiet Time Manual suggests that this is one the possible applications that may be had from any passage.

S-sin that I need to confess, repent of
P-promise that I can embrace today
E-example that I need to follow or not follow
C-command that I need to obey
T-thanksgiving or praise that I need to give to God

Today in my QT, I read Luke 11, where Jesus tells the disciples, "You can say some pretty nasty stuff against the Son of Man (Jesus), and you will be forgiven for that; but don't talk bad about the Spirit -- that's blasphemy! because that will never be forgiven." (this is a Parisphrase)
The unforgiveable sin is blasphemy against the Spirit. That is the only one! Blasphemy against the Spirit is a rejection of His power or a disregard for His work. Part of Hs work is conviction of sin. Therefore, the only unforgiveable sin is to reject the promptings of the Holy Spirit in your life. I believe Jesus is also not talking about all of the times that we blow through HS stop signs. He is talking about the future before the angels in this passage. I believe Jesus is saying that a rejection of the HS here sets you up for judgment there. SO, do not blaspheme and if you do, confess it quickly!

Listening to the HS,

Monday, October 20, 2008

City of Refuge

Here are the review notes from the message that I preached yesterday morning from Joshua 20:

Five statements that define a "city of refuge":

1. A place established according to the Word of God. (20:1-2; cf. Num. 35:6-34)

* Our goals, purposes and agendas must be Biblical and aligned to the Word.

* Ministry to people must be our priority.

2. A place to come when there is trouble in your life. (20:3-4)

* Our church must be accessible and open to all who need to come.

* Our reputation “on the street” should be positive.

3. A place where someone will listen and give Biblical advice. (20:4-6)

* Our counsel must be Biblical.

* All sin must end with us.

* Godly resolution, reconciliation and restoration must be part of our vocabulary.

4. A place filled with people who have a “rescue” story. (20:6)

* The miracle of escape from the avenger must be proclaimed often.

* Our own rescue should make us more willing to be “bound” to this ministry.

5. A place networked with others built on the same principles. (20:7-9)

* Our congregation should be strategically located.

* Our congregation should be well named and true to its calling.

Wyoming Baptist Church must be a place where broken people can find refuge and rescue from their life of running.


1. What are we willing to pay to be this kind of church? It will cost us to minister to hurting people! (Think beyond finances)

2. What might happen (positively) if we gave all to this kind of position in the community?

3. How does Luke 11:41 (from the Sunday PM service) fit with this concept of "city of refuge"?

4. Are we willing to do whatever God calls us to do even if we are criticized by others? by brothers? Are we ready to embrace the socially active aspects of the faith that we claim/proclaim?

5. If you could rename our church, what would the name to live by be? Would you include the name Baptist?

I want to offer a place of refuge to a running world,


Monday, October 13, 2008

Harvest Sunday 08

We just participated in "Harvest Sunday" last night. At the invitation of my friend Jim and Central Baptist Church, I was able to bring the Biblical challenge from the book of Ezra. It was a great joy to see people respond to the truth of God's Word and to be responsive to the call of God on their lives. Many of the people that came forward last night are simply saying I am here and available. This decision is a huge step in the process. To be willing to do "whatever" for the glory of God is incredibly freeing!

Here is the outline of the message that I shared last night:

Any great spiritual awakening results from God’s initiative:
1. He is revealing His character
trustworthiness (1:1)
sovereignty (1:2)
presence/immanence (1:3)
patience, longsuffering (1:4)
2. He is building our character (the backdrop of the exile)
3. He is equipping us to do His will (1:4-7)
4. He is stirring our spirit, inviting us to respond (1:1, 5)

All great spiritual harvests are the result of a response to God’s initiative:
1. Discover and delight in His character
a. worshiping Him
i. re-establishing the sacrificial system (3:1-7) and festivals (6:19)
ii. rejoicing over successes (3:11; 6:22)
b. proclaiming that knowledge to others –
i. Ezra made it his “job” to tell others about God (7:10)
ii. How does Cyrus know what he does about God? Perhaps by Ezra’s ministry to him? (7:27-28)
2. Appreciate His ongoing, intentional work in our lives
a. acknowledging His righteousness and justice (9:5-15)
b. growing through it (6:19-22; 10:1-3)
3. Move forward in His revealed will (both general and specific)
what He has shown us and equipped us to do (2:1; 3:8; 6:15; 7:21, 23)
4. Invite others to do the same (7:28)

So ....
  1. Is God stirring your spirit today?
  2. Are you awake now? How will you stay spiritually awake?
  3. Will you respond to His gracious initiatives?
  4. What has God uniquely outfitted and called you to do today?
  5. Will you go make a difference in His field?

I am ready, here I am,


Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Word from Tozer

To celebrate the dawning of the 3rd century of posts (this is #201), I went to AW Tozer's classic The Pursuit of God and thumbed through some of my underlinings. As I prepare for services tomorrow, this one is a true nugget:

"Sound Bible exposition is an imperative must in the Church of the Living God. Without it no church can be a New Testament church in any strict meaning of that term. But exposition may be carried on in such a way as to leave the hearers devoid of any true spiritual nourishment whatever. For it is not mere words that nourish the soul, but God himself, and unless and until the hearers find God in a personal experience they are not better for having heard the truth. The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge fo God, that they may enter into Him, that they may delight in His presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God Himself in the core and center of their hearts."
AW Tozer, Pursuit of God, p. 10
Enjoy your day at worship tomorrow, but not more than your enjoyment of a personal intimacy that is growing in a healthy, relevant manner with the focus of your worship, God Himself.
Pursuing God,

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Changes: A potential sermon outline

This is the 200th post at the Open Mike. There is really no need to send cards of congratulations -- just post a comment! :) I trust that this short and sweet post will remind you to always be listening for great ideas and to always read for application (supported of course by good observation and interpretation).

I was listening as one of our leaders taught during the Sr Hi YG last Wednesday. It struck me that she had shared some pretty fascinating insights about the Holy Spirit and His involvement in us to bring about change. Here is the rough outline boullion for a sermon or at least a devotional:

Spiritual changes (individual or corporate) are...

a. part of God's training program --> Trust Him!

b. perfected by God's power and in His perfect timing --> Wait for it!

c. perfect God's people and "team" --> Embrace it!

These thoughts come rather roughly through the verses of Acts 1:1-8. They surround a much more major milestone than 200 blog posts; they are connected to the birth of the church. I hope that God is catching your attention through His Word, His Spirit, His people/church, and His world.

Changing, or rather being changed,


Monday, October 06, 2008

Your Lights Are On

Have you ever said this to a fellow shopper as they head off for the market: "Hey your lights are on!" You expect that they will turn and thank you for this courtesy and thoughtfulness. After all, you have just saved them the embarrassment of coming out to a dead battery and a car that is useless. However, the modern auto-maker has turned this common guesture of good will to wards your fellow man into a reverse embarrassment. They have designed cars to turn off their own lights. This causes the more sophisticated car owner to snort in reply (without so much as a glance towards you) "They turn themselves off". This slight leaves you stammering some incoherent apology and an internal promise to never warn anyone of their impending doom again!

Jesus told a parable in Luke 11 about a lamp. Not the car kind -- the house kind. I imagine that either the lamps were being lit nearby or that this was so common an illustration that everyone got the points He was stressing. These lamps were the kind used for lighting the houses of the neighborhood. They were not electric switched kind; they were oil burning match lit kind. Jesus made these points about leaving the lights on:

  1. If the lights were lit, you wouldn't think of hiding them or their radiance. Instead you would elevate them in a prominent location so that they would help people to see as they entered your house. (v.33)
  2. If your eyes are messed up, it really doesn't matter whether there is good light or not. The solution is not to curse the darkness or ignore the fact that you can't see. the solution is to cure the eye and allow the light to penetrate your body. (v.34)
  3. If the lights are not on, or if you haven't allowed them inside the house, it's no use pretending that they are. (v.35)
  4. If the lights are on inside, every nook and cranny of the room will be lit up for all to see. Anyone coming inside will immediately be bathed in the light. (v.36)
I believe that Jesus is picking up the illustration of the body being like a house that he employed in vv.21-26. His analogy was that the eye (I believe the spiritual eye) that allowed the light to come into the life of the everyman. Certainly Jesus had demonstrated that spiritual blindness was just as crippling as physical blindness and that He could cure both! Jesus was challenging the crowd that wanted more light (ie a sign or a signal). Jesus was contending that more light was not the issue -- their lamps were clouded, broken, and "bad". They couldn't see who Jesus was because they were blind. Some were even "blind" beacuse they had their eyes shut tightly against the truth. Jesus was not hiding the light from them -- that wouldn't make any sense. Instead He was putting the gospel on a lampstand so that everyone could see better as they entered into His sphere of influence. Here's what I think he was saying to me (and every believer):

  1. Hide it under a basket? NO! "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." (v.33)
  2. Ask for cured, restored, renewed, or focused eyesight spiritually. Ask the Spirit to illuminate you as to the understanding of the text and truth. Allow it to penetrate your life. (v.34)
  3. Forget about pretending to have spiritual insight and illumination. Go back to #2 above! (v.35)
  4. Invite friends into your life (inside your house) so that they will immediately be bathed in the light. (v.36)
So, if the lights are on inside, somebody is home! Therefore, when someone says "your lights are on", turn to them and say with a smile, "yes they are, would like to come inside?" That ought to get a good response and start a very cool conversation with them about Jesus and His parable of lamps. How great would that be if a common courtesy for your negligence in the parking lot could turn into an introduction to your Lord! :)

The lights are on!