Saturday, April 30, 2011

Where's the Green Grass?


We've all heard it before:  
"The grass is always greener on the other side.
I'm not actually sure I've ever heard it spoken with a sincere attitude; usually it's shortened to 'The grass is greener..!' and said with a slight hint of banter and a half eye-roll (oh, and don't forget the shrug).

Having that experience with the sarcastic aphorism, I will be honest, I went into reading Stephen Altrogge's new book The Greener Grass Conspiracy with a few unfair reservations.


Incorporating the wit we would expect of him, however, Altrogge littered the pages with many stories (true and imaginary) that helped keep the book interesting and drive his points home. If reading about King Solomon sipping a latte at Starbucks (p. 47) and Paul throwing coffee in your face (p. 76) won't entice you enough to read this book, I'm not sure what will...maybe the following review will help:

Contentment is defined in chapter 3 as: 
     ...a disposition of the heart that freely and joyfully submits to God's will, whatever that will may be. (p. 28)
First, we are taught that we must address our heart if we want to be content. Mere self-denial is not enough to breed contentment:
I imagine that Saint Benedict encountered many discontent monks who were absolutely dying for a piece of bacon. (p. 29)
Second, we are given a great example of how freely and joyfully submitting to God's will is very important:
     Dentist appointments are a part of life that I tolerate. I know dentists are good for me, but I really don't like going to the dentist.
     Often we treat God like some sort of divine dentist. We know, at least in theory, that he is good and that all he does is good. We know from Romans 8:28 that God works all things for the good of those who love him. But when life starts to get rough, we adopt a "grin and bear it" attitude. We know that somehow God will work everything for good, but in the meantime we're going to climb into our bunker and prepare for whatever bombs God is going to drop. This is not biblical, God-honoring contentment. (p. 31)
Third, we cannot choose when we shall be content:
We don't experience a breeze or backache that hasn't first been ordained by God for our good and his glory. (p. 32)
...for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. (Philippians 4:11) (p. 29)
So in understanding contentment, we must know that mere self-denial, tolerating trials, and choosing when to be content are not going to cut it.

Altrogge accurately represented scripture in relaying to us an ideology that is far too absent in America. Our focus gets stuck on the 'other side' where the grass looks greener (new job, marriage, health) and not on Christ.

The chapter that stuck in my mind and heart the most:
Chapter 9 - Eat the meat and die

Here we are faced with what our complaining says about our heart. A step is taken away from funny stories to explain the serious side of what we're communicating when we complain:
     Complaining...[is] a slap in the face of God. (p. 103)

     We're saying that God hasn't been good to us, that he's not so kind after all. We're telling a lie about God. That's why complaining is so wicked. (p. 104)

     Call the defendant to the stand. Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?
     The accused is charged with the following crimes: dangerous neglect of family, failure to give child support, and family abandonment. This person is a deadbeat and a menace to society. He needs to be taken off the streets and locked up until he can get his act together. The name of the accused: God. (p. 106-107)

     Complaining turns us into blasphemers. (p. 108)
I will surely be re-reading this chapter many times to remind myself of the impact my complaining has on my view of God; especially what it communicates to others.

Overall, I found this book to be very helpful in understanding what contentment is (and isn't) for the Christian. All believers should be reminded of what it means when we aren't content with where God has us.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Sunday, April 24, 2011

By Means of Grace I See His Face

Just a few thoughts. Remember the cross today:

There is nothing that I or you could have done, had we lived at the time of Christ, to delay or accelerate the eternally-appointed moment when Christ would breathe his last breathe (sort of) and fall into the grave.

His physical body was completely destroyed. Every one of us would have been completely deserving had it been us on the cross.

The prophets of old told of this day, however most did not truly understand it.

He came to save us from the grave.
We praise his name and aim for his fame.

Happy Easter, Christ saved my keister!


Thursday, April 21, 2011

The New Testament Endorses Slavery


Yep. It's true. And no, I'm not joking.

However, it's probably not the form of slavery you're thinking of.

No Kunta Kinte (not Toby) here.

Have a look at just a few of the texts:

Matthew 6:24 
No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. 
1 Cor 7:22 
For he who was called in the Lord as a slave is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a slave of Christ.
 Matthew 25:21
His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’
 Romans 1:1 
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,
The Greek word that is referred to in these verses is (or a form of) douloƟ* (duolos) meaning: a slave, bondman, man of servile condition. Strong's Concordance further explains it as giving yourself up to another's will or interests.

Let this challenge you to further study what it means to really be a slave to Christ.

Here is one resource I have been recommended to read by @Sola5Girl and @lunchboxsw (read a review here)

What have you read that has encouraged your faith and led you to lead a life more bent on Christ's will and not your own?




Also, something to consider: How does our slavery to Christ affect our free will?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Zombies are the Exception

Can the dead come to life again on their own? 

Ephesians 2:1-10 says:
"And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedienceamong whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christby grace you have been saved and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." (ESV, emphasis in original manuscripts...or not)

Last time I checked, zombies were the only exception to this impossibility - and technically they're still 'dead.'

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Lion, the Witch, and the Box Office

The next installment in 'The Chronicles of Narnia goes to Hollywood' has been nearly confirmed - The Magician's Nephew is next!

Apparently The Magician's Nephew is the second most popular in the series of books, explaining the origins of the lamppost and the wardrobe.

Personally, I did enjoy this book almost as much as The LWW and The VDT.

What is your favorite book in the series?

The Lion, the Witch, and the Box Office | Movies & TV | Christianity Today

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Lost Tribe of Israel found!


Believe it!


According to Wikipedia, "The Makuya sect of Japan believes that parallels between ancient Japanese culture and Biblical practice indicate a Lost Tribes origin for many aspects of Japanese religion and culture."



This was under extreme criticism, until archeologists in Japan recently discovered this ancient artifact:


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Great Discipleship Commission


The last two sermons at Bethlehem Baptist have been focused on Discipleship. This last weekend was a wonderful exposition of Matthew 28:16-20.


Pastor Kenny Stokes started with refuting a common misconception that discipleship has merely a 1 on 1 functionality.
"Discipleship is a part of corporate meetings: sermons, small groups, church classes/training, etc."

I thought that was a wonderful observation, as I have always pictured discipleship (in my head) as something that happens between two people: one mature in the faith and another less mature in the faith - while this may very well be the case in some circumstances (i.e. Paul and Timothy).



The week prior to that David Mathis preached on 2 Timothy 2:2, emphasizing the need to
 "make disciples who make disciples.
I really appreciated his point on discipling your family first and foremost. We have a responsibility to tend to our home before others.

I've heard great things about this book:

The Cost of Discipleship


What has been your experience with discipleship?

Monday, April 4, 2011

The 1,274,632th Rebecca Black blog post

Friday
I know, I know...another Rebecca Black blog post??

...Yea.

I give my props to Rebecca black. Watch this video to see why.

There are 2 things we learn from this video:

1) Rebecca Black is handling the intense promotion of her video properly. She is making light of the mockery that has flooded the internet. She is very wise to take this approach and join in on the fun. Certainly defending the song's credibility as 'quality' would not have been the right move; that is unless you define 'quality' as something that ignites a wildfire across the globe...

And granted, it was almost certainly her new PR rep that suggested this course of action, but nonetheless she's going along with it.

I hope she enjoys her 15 minutes. But who knows?? Maybe we'll see her on American Idol in a few years! Or in a new Bieber video!?

2) The names of the horrible writers: Clarence Jey and Patrice Wilson (pictured below w/client J'Rose)

Apparently Ark Music Factory specializes in making music for the daughters of rich folk. Definitely a good niche to be in I guess...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Three weeks until Easter

Standing in the kitchen drying my hands after rinsing some dishes I was captivated by the two candles lit on the table. We have been building up to Easter Sunday with some (new) Lenten traditions. Starting with 5 candles lit at the beginning of Lent, we read certain passages and snuff out one candle each Sunday.

The lights are great for grabbing my attention in the busyness off the day and turning my mind to remember the cross.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Be a Berean

This video clip of Jesse Duplantis, an evangelical charismatic of the Word of Faith movement, is the epitomy of why we should be as the Bereans were Described in Acts 17:11, "examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so."




Friday, April 1, 2011

Planned Parenthood apologizes for abortions

(click the image for the Telegraph's Top 10 April Fool's Day links)

Guess what day it is?!?

Sorry, but unfortunately it's not true...but we can all hope right?

However, if you want to stay updated on the Pro-Life world I highly recommend checking out these sites:

                    - The ministry of Scott Klusendorf, formerly of Stand to Reason
                    - "Persuasively communicating the Pro-Life message"


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                   - "Graphically exposing the injustice of abortion"


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  3.  ProLife.com
                   -  "Helping moms, saving babies, ending abortion!"


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            - "Students for Life is an indispensable resource for pro-life college students who would otherwise be left in the wilderness of liberal academia.' 
                                   ~ US Congresswoman Michelle Bachman


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Here are some great books to help you make your case for life!


    















Do you know of any other helpful Pro-Life resources? 


Please share!!










Oh, and try not to get duped the rest of the day! Not that you actually fell for this :)