Monday, September 19, 2011

Are You Ready?

I got a 52 on this Biblical Readiness Quiz. I have some serious work to do to get my family and my church ready. How'd you do? 

This comes from the Christian Emergency Network:

Christians Model Biblical Preparedness 

"A Time to Remember"

September 11, 2001 - "My Own 9/11"

On September 11, 2001, I had an appointment with a client and stopped at a sandwich shop for lunch. The TV was on, and everyone was glued to the latest news coverage. A lady standing in front of me said, “This is just awful, awful, any of us could die at any minute!” I responded: “That’s why you need to be ready to meet the Lord with or without notice.” She replied, “What do you mean?”

Since I was biblically ready to take her fear and mental confusion head on, I was able to go through the steps to finding peace with God. I explained how she could have a personal relationship with Christ. She listened, took my small booklet, and allowed God to minister His peace during her own personal 9/11.

Take the Biblical Readiness Test to discover your level of readiness.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Don’t Worry About Inviting Me

I love James Emery White. I just do. 

Lord, may I please get over myself and love people enough to invite them to meet You and Your people. Thanks for being so patient with me. Darien

By James Emery White:

Don’t worry about inviting me to church this weekend.
Really.  I’ve been thinking about it.
I know we’re friends, and you go to church, but I know talking about your faith makes you uncomfortable.  At least, that’s the sense I get.  We talk about a lot of stuff, but whenever church or God comes up, you get – I don’t know, tense.  I’ve never understood why – it doesn’t weird me out as much as it does you – but I’m happy to relieve you of what is obviously something that makes you awkward.
Besides, what would I be missing?
It’s not like I’m an atheist – I’m not.  I believe in God.  I’m spiritual.  And I want to do better; I’d like to understand the Bible, be a better parent, have a closer marriage, maybe even volunteer for something that would help others.  But last time I went to church, that isn’t exactly what was offered.
Besides, we both know I’m not exactly a poster-child for Christianity.  I’ve got baggage.  I’ve got questions.  I don’t think church is exactly the kind of place for someone like me.
And I don’t want to have to dress up.
I don’t want to be hit on for money.
I don’t like organ music.
And on top of all that, I don’t really believe in hell, so I’m not even that worried about what happens after I die.  I’m sure that whatever life there is after death, it will turn out fine. 
As far as my kids go, I think I want to just give them the freedom to choose whatever religion they want, if any religion at all.  Church was boring for me when I had to go as a kid, so the last thing I want to do is drag them to one every week.  It turned me off to church, and I’m sure it would just do the same for them.  So it’s probably better if they just don’t go at all.
So don’t worry about trying to invite me to church.
It makes you awkward;
It won’t have anything to offer my life;
I couldn’t exactly come as I am;
I like wearing shorts;
I gave at the office;
I listen to Coldplay;
Hell is kind of a joke these days;
And my kids won’t like it.
But if, by chance, you think I have this all wrong,
then for God’s sake,
James Emery White
Editor’s Note
To enjoy a free subscription to the Church and Culture blog, log-on to www.churchandculture.org, where you can post your comments on this blog, view past blogs in our archive and read the latest church and culture news from around the world.  Follow Dr. White on twitter @JamesEmeryWhite.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Are You Making Disciples?

The Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20 NIV)
 16 "Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

...so, are you making disciples?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 10 Years Later

New WTC is now tallest building in Lower Manhatten

I'll share now what I shared with our youth group at Raleigh Road Baptist Church 10 years ago after 9/11. There was a tower tragedy in Jesus' day too...

Actually, there were two tragedies. One involved the government murdering some of it's citizens and the other involved a tower that fell and killed 18 people.

In that day, when people died tragic deaths it was often believed that they had sinned and this was God's way of judging them. While that may have been true at times, it's not God's pattern and, as Jesus indicates, misses the point.

So what is the point when God allows tragedies to occur? The point is that He allows it to, among other things, cause the guilty to repent and turn back to Him.

What about you? Will it take another tragedy for you to repent. Join me in praying a prayer of repentance right now.

"Lord, I confess _____________ right now. I am not just sorry I've done (or not done) this. I want to turn away from repeating this offensive behavior. I want to live purely for you. Help me 'Seek first Your kingdom and Your righteousness' today. Cleanse me and fill me with Your Holy Spirit that I may walk in purity and power. In Jesus' fully sufficient name I pray, amen."

Now pray for those around you that live, work and play inside your personal "circle of responsibility."

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Fight Slavery in US Sep 8th

I love what God is doing through this ministry/mission in Washington, DC. Make your voice heard and fight slavery in America and around the world Sep. 8th. DG

If you have trouble viewing this email, please click here.
Justice Campaigns - TVPRA
Dear Darien,
Just last week, the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) was introduced in the House of Representatives. This bi-partisan bill renews and strengthens the legislation that established U.S. programs to fight slavery at home and abroad.
Many of you joined us in asking the Senate to pass the TVPRA. Now we have an opportunity to urge the House to do the same - and we need your help.
Current legislation governing U.S. anti-trafficking programs expires in a few short weeks. Let’s remind Congress that they have an opportunity to impact the lives of children, women and men living in slavery today. Will you join us in urging Congress to pass the TVPRA?
Thank you for your continued support!
Eileen Campbell
International Justice Mission
P.S. Don’t forget to join the National Call-in Day to Pass the TVPRA - watch our short how-to video and commit to call your Senator on September 8!

IJM - International Justice Mission
www.ijm.org | PO Box 58147, Washington, DC 20037
All text and images © 2011 International Justice Mission.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

For the City

4 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says to all the captives he has exiled to Babylon from Jerusalem: 5 “Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens, and eat the food they produce. 6 Marry and have children. Then find spouses for them so that you may have many grandchildren. Multiply! Do not dwindle away! 7And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.
Jeremiah 29:4-7 NLT

I'm still soaking in this passage, so I'm still teasing out the implications and learning how to live it out. Here are some things I see here today...

The Lord is sending a message to His new exiles in Babylon. They've been exiled by Him (through Babylon's King) as punishment for their unfaithfulness to Him. Another consequence is that they were not being a blessing to the nations of the world (the very reason He was blessing them)--not to mention each other.

In addition, the Jew's first reflex in this new (and religiously unclean) culture was to come out of it and stay separate. They wanted to set up camp outside the city walls and ignore the city and it's wicked citizens.

But God has other ideas.

God surprises them with a letter. He tells the prophet Jeremiah to write a letter that begins as quoted above.

The verse I'd like to park on today is v. 7. God tells His (unfaithful) people to not pull away but engage their new city--their arch enemies, Babylon. Live amongst them. Do business with them. Raise your family alongside of them and start more. Don't compromise, but love your neighbor as yourself. "Work for the peace and prosperity of this city" and "pray to the LORD for it."

This had to throw the Jews for a loop. I mean they lost loved ones in that siege. They lost their temple and were transplanted hundreds of miles away from home. They were no longer free but citizens of a foreign power. They had no reason to bless this nation. They had every reason to rebel and oppose it.

But the LORD had other plans. And so He tells them to live for the good of the city while they are there. And He told them that would be 70 years.

70 years...

That's about how long we live these days. Hmmm...

As Christ-followers, we are citizens of the Kingdom of God. Our national citizenship here on earth is a temporary thing. It doesn't take many controversial decisions by our government to remind us that this isn't our true home or kingdom.

Our King never makes a bad decision. He protects and leads His people with justice, righteousness and wisdom. He shepherds His people and cares for them. No, we're not home. And we need to be careful to resist the same temptations the Jews had when they arrived in Babylon.

We must resist the temptation to circle the wagons. It's easy to say they're evil out there and we're God's holy people. Therefore, we need to pull back and be separate. Because in a sense, we are to do this. We are to be in the world but not of the world. But we need to be careful to not live this verse as if it said, "Don't be in or of the world." We can't transform the world if we isolate ourselves from it and it's people.

We must see our lives here as a blip in eternity and live in light of that eternity. God calls us to live our 70 years for His glory. We do this when we work for the peace and prosperity of the city. We do this when we pray for the people around us that are far from God. We do this because it affects our welfare and their eternity. (1 Cor. 11:1)

So what do we do?

We start where we are. If I'm a student, I pray for and work for the peace and prosperity of my fellow students, teachers and school staff. If I'm a nurse, I pray and work for the peace and prosperity of patients, doctors and hospital staff. If I'm an accountant, I work for the peace and prosperity of my clients. We all pray and work for the peace and prosperity of our neighbors.

What's the best way to pray and work for the peace and prosperity of the city? Pray for God to use you to lead them to Jesus. Work at your job as if you were a missionary in that context. Then, when they see Christ in you and verbalize that, be ready to give a defense for the hope you have in Christ Jesus. (1 Peter 3:15-16) Be bold. Be gentle. Be Holy Spirit-led. And trust that God will use you to bless them profoundly.

Father, help us to pray and work for the peace and prosperity of the city in which we live today. Help us see our city as You see it. Help us see the people who live and work around us as You do. Give us Your heart of compassion for the people of our city. Empower us to love them as Your word directs and Your Spirit prompts. In the name of the One who is our Peace and Prosperity forever, amen!