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Thankful for Friends

Yesterday I had a situation where I needed to get a hold of a friend and ask him to hold me accountable on some stuff. I knew that I would make the wrong choice if I didn’t bring someone else into my struggle. Text messaging him and bringing my issue into the light was hard at first but it was completely liberating in the end.

I am so thankful that I have a friend who will love and accept me no matter what. Do you have someone in your life that you can call on with confidence in your time of trial and trouble? I pray you do.

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Categories: Confession, Friends

God Owes Me Nothing

March 27, 2007 1 comment

Last night I listened to a couple of extremely powerful messages by Matt Chandler. He is going through a series on the cross and he sets up the series with a few weeks discussing the glory of God and the passion of God for his name. I can’t remember which message it was, but in one of the first two Chandler states emphatically that “God owes you nothing!” I have been internally rocked by that phrase all day.

I would never say that God owes me something out loud, but I sure live like it. Too much the unsaid driving force in my live is the belief that God owes me financial security, good health, a nice home, easy parenting, healthy and safe children, success in my business and ministry endeavors.

Why does he owe me these things? Because I said a prayer to ask him into my heart. Honestly, that is what it boils down to at the most basic level. Because I am a Christian I think that God is supposed to make my life nice and that all my needs will be met. I live like God is supposed to make much of me instead of me making much of him in all circumstances. And to his praise I am learning that this is totally false.

God owes me nothing. Everything that I have is a gift of his grace; my very faith is a gift. There is nothing that I can bring to God that would make him indebted to me. Because without his grace, there is nothing purely good that I can bring to a holy God such as he. Even my best intentions are marked with sin.

That is just the truth of the sinful nature that makes its home in my soul. Where there is a kind word from my mouth, there is manipulation in my mind. Where there is an act of service, there is a desire to be recognized and seen. Where there is a compliment accepted from another, there is false humility and a sense of entitlement. Where there is preaching and teaching, there is arrogance and pride.

Thank God for the graces of God!

Categories: Confession, Theology

Some Thoughts on a Christian’s Use of Harsh Language

January 16, 2007 Leave a comment

John Piper raised some eyebrows and caused some keystrokes in the blog world when he recently used the word ‘a–‘ during a breakout session at the Passion 07 conference. He has since said that he regrets using the phrase. He has even posted an email from Wayne Grudem on his website which I think makes it all the more clear that J.P. recognizes his error.

I think that for the most part people are making a big deal out of a small offense. However, this is no surprise when you couple the notoriety of Piper with the vast number of self-proclaimed watchdog bloggers sitting around in their mother’s basements (if I may borrow a phrase from Mark Driscoll) looking to expose everyone else’s sin.

But the whole thing, and in particular the Grudem email, has caused me to step back and take a look at my own use of language. I wouldn’t say that I have a foul mouth by any means, but the standard of Christ in Scripture is much higher than just never saying ‘a–.’

Read these verses compared to the stuff that usually come out of your mouth.

  • (ESV) Ephesians 5:4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.
  • (ESV) Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
  • (ESV) Matthew 12:34 You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

I find myself coming far short of these lofty standards often. Too easily I fall into the trap of listening and laughing at a crude joke or participating in conversation that is neither edifying nor beneficial to anyone. The words of my mouth are a harsh reminder of the lack of transformation in my heart. Which is exactly why I need Jesus.

So, this is my prayer. May you and may I become the kind of people whose talk is filled with thanksgiving to God and whose speak builds others up until they are filled with faith. May we be the kind of men and women whose mouth reflect the transformation of our hearts so that we may spread the amazing grace of God to all who hear us.

Categories: Confession, Driscoll, Mouth

a good post to reflect on

November 8, 2006 Leave a comment

Rick Phillips has produced a very important post, explaining what’s right and what’s wrong with the “Denounce Ted” and the “Just Like Ted” positions that have been shaping up in the evangelical blogosphere.

(HT: Justin Taylor)

Categories: Blogs, Confession, news

unresolved inner strongholds

October 8, 2006 Leave a comment

Tim Stevens posted a line from a recent Granger message (#1 in the Dave series) that has been stinking with him. The quote from Mark Beeson was…

“Unresolved inner strongholds will destroy what matters most.”

This is a powerful statement. I have learned the hard way over the past year what it means to be enslaved to something. In doing so, I have developed a much more serious perspective on how I am affected by the junk that flies under the radar of my public persona. It is clear that if the dark stuff in my life is not dealt with right away I will pay a much greater price later.

I heard a pastor talking about confession not too long ago. He was saying that Christians have gotten real good at public confession but that we have forgotten personal confession. The described it as a 16th C (?) pietist over-reaction to the abuses of confession in the Catholic church, when protest’ant’ Christians made confession an act that only occurred between the individual and God.

I thought this was an interesting evaluation. I know in my own life that I am extremely poor at confessing my sins to my brothers and sisters. It is much more fun to watch The Office that it is to spend time admitting and citing concrete examples of times of when I lost my temper too quickly, wished ill towards someone else, passed on a piece of gossip, or chose to worship some cultural idol rather than Jesus.

James 5:16 (ESV) teaches us, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

The confession of sin verbally to another brother/sister is a Biblical imperative that we cannot ignore and that I/we must grow in. It is the place where inner strongholds are defeated and where healing comes.

Categories: Confession