June 19, 2008

Super Summer – Day 3 (6/18/2008)

Something in me broke today or, rather; some hostility in me was calmed today.

I started out my day in the same fashion: somewhat bitter, somewhat cynical. These are two things that plague me constantly. As I have previously written, I have also been plagued by depression. Even as I am writing this, albeit it is only 6:45 AM and my brain is working at full power yet, I cannot put a rational explanation on why I've been depressed. Some of the reasons I expressed back on my day 1 post, others are because I miss my family, and others are because of some struggles that are going on at my church. I have been praying that God would relieve me of my depression, my bitterness, my cynicism, and help see Him in all of this and enable me to look past the things that I disagreed with.

The breaking began today in the morning service. Matt and Lyle brought in 3-2-1 Improv. They were hilarious. It was good just to laugh, it was cleansing in some way, as weird and that may sound. After that, the state people took all of us youth pastors out to eat at a local Mexican restraunt. I was able to start talking to one of the other youth pastors, Greg from Vandalia, about one of my passions, Biblical languages. After we came back, a couple of youth pastors, some other youth workers, and myself went to the local theater and watched Kung Fu Panda. I really wanted to see either the Hulk or Indiana Jones, but we got there a little too late for that. The movie was pretty good, not great, but pretty good. I laughed a lot.

I came back, read some, went to supper, and then went over to the RFAC to pray over the evening service. By the time the service started, I wasn't in my normal slump and was actually able to get into the music. Even though I was enjoying it to some degree, I left the service. While wondering around I bumped into a friend of mine, James McCloy, and we ended up talking about some things for the next hour or so. When I went back in to the service, there was a "video" playing. It was really just an audio recording with the words up on the screen. The main thing that it really impressed upon me was the real reason for missions. That the reason we should do missions isn't because of us, it's not even because of them, it is because of God and His glory. God, in His grace and mercy, died to save a group of people. He has ordained that those of us He has already brought to a relationship with Him are the ones that are to carry the message to those who have not yet heard. Even though we are scared or just lazy, God deserves those for whom He died. That though should be our motivation. Anything less than that is humanism, not Christianity, and should be rejected.

June 18, 2008

Super Summer – Day 2 (6/17/2008)

ENGAGE was good today. We watched a video from something called the Catalyst conference. The speaker was a guy by the name of Francis Chan. It was excellent. He used Paul's introduction to the Galatians and the first chapter of Jeremiah to show that, as pastors, we were called by Christ and prepared before we were born to bare the message He has given us. This message would be difficult and, most of the time, nobody would like us; however, God will be with us and if we are not faithful to His calling, because of fear, he would give us much more to be afraid of. Also, something I got out of it, was that we need to be more bold and faithful with our message, not worrying so much about making people mad, because, on the judgment day, it will be better for us to present a few faithful believers that it will be to present many that He will just spit out of His mouth.

*        *        *

The evening worship service was more of the same thing as the day before. There were many good elements to begin with. We were supposed to enter the auditorium in silence and were supposed to be meditating and focusing of the holiness of God. There was various scripture, mostly from the Psalms, out loud declaring the wonders of God. There was this low, droning mood music that was being played that I didn't really care for, mostly because I thought the declaration of God's Word should have been sufficient. Before there was any other music, another man (Bill something, I think) came and preached a brief sermon on Isaiah 6. It was perfect; they should have left it at that. Then the band, they came out, started playing (this time without the sheet covering them) and were doing the same thing that I described from the day before. The front man said that it was because they were just so excited about God that they couldn't help but act the way they were. They kept on playing, and I could tell everyone in the room was getting excited, but all I felt was bored. Eventually Matt came out and said that he had intended to talk about how we cannot separate obedience from worship, but that he and the leadership could feel the Holy Spirit moving in the place. People started to get emotional, there was yelling, there was crying, there was all kinds of stuff.

I was off against a wall praying over the room and seeing all of this, but I did not feel Spirit moving, all I felt was saddened. Saddened because there were so many that were getting worked up over this. To me it seemed so forced and artificial. Why did we need all the gimmicks to get the Spirit to move? Why can't it be enough that someone just stand up and declare the message of the Lord. Even as I am writing this, I am getting worked just thinking about it. Not about what is going on here, but worked up over my desire to hear someone declare the Word with power apart from all the showboating and gimmicks.

Nights like last night make me question my salvation sometimes. There were so many that were declaring that they felt God working in that place, but I felt nothing. Is there something wrong with me? If I am truly saved, shouldn't I be tuned in so that I could feel the Spirit moving? Am I the one that is wrong or are they, but how could so many be wrong about this? My depression deepens, though the spark of conviction is growing. I pray for God's moving, I pray that there would be lives that are changed. I pray that my own cold heart would be set aflame with a passion for God that is unextinguishable.

June 17, 2008

Super Summer – Day 1

Here I am, the second day of Super Summer, and the depression is already setting in. I want to be here. I want to spend this time to draw nearer to God. However, except for when I am alone in the semi-quiet of my room, most everything about Super Summer either annoys or frustrates me. Engage is mostly Lyle running his mouth about stuff. The worship music, while claiming to want us to be focusing on God, is being performed in such a way that you can't help but focus on the band. The preaching is passionate, but incredibly anthropocentric. Last night, there was not a single scripture mentioned until the very end, as though it was only there to back-up what Matt said.

I see all of this and I can see the passion and the love for God that is there behind it all, but I just can't help but think that it's being done the wrong way. I hope that I am not being prideful or arrogant with this. I am not saying that I have the answers as to how it should be done. I just think that, at the heart of things, the focus is in the wrong place. The focus shouldn't be on the students and their needs. The focus should be on God and the proclamation of His Word.

I hope Day 2 is better. I know that God can even use this make me into who He wants me and to prepare me for what He wants me to do. I pray that He would give me relief from my depression, relief from my annoyance and frustration, and help me to see Him in all of this.

June 14, 2008

Isaac a Type of Christ?

Alright, I was reading some of my back blog posts and I came across one Between Two Worlds, that peeked my interest. The title of the Blog was called "Isaac a Type of Christ?" The post is as follows:
Gerard Van Groningen, writing in massive (1,000+ pages!) Messianic Revelation in the Old Testament (pp. 144, 145):
. . . it is assumed by many Christians that Isaac, the only beloved son place on the altar by his father Abraham as a sacrifice to God, is a clear and definite type of Christ who, as the heavenly Father's only beloved Son, was sent by his Father to die on the cross. When, however, it comes to explaining precisely in which way Isaac was a symbol of Christ and his sacrificial death for sinners, and then an actual forward-looking type of Christ on the cross, persistent difficulties have not been overcome.

But Isaac was not sacrificed; he was not put to death; he was not burned as an incense gift to God and he made neither expiation nor propitiation for others. It was the ram provided at a suitable moment that became a substitutionary sacrifice on the altar, substituting, in fact, for Isaac. Thus, the ram slain served as a symbol and was a type of Christ who died in the place of others.
Here are my thoughts on the matter, for whatever they are worth. In the situation, this gentlemen is correct, the ram is a type of Christ. It died a substitutionary death to purchase life for Isaac, who was as good as dead. However, I think Isaac was a type, as well, and not just a type, but a prophecy being enacted. I don't know whether it is legitimate to claim this, but what it seems to be saying is that someday there will be a Son that is slain and slain by the hand of the Father. Obviously, that would be fulfilled in Jesus Christ and substitutionary, sacrificial death on the cross. However, the time was not yet right, so God provided the ram to die in the place of the boy, so that he might live.

June 5, 2008

A Minor Qualm with Mark Driscoll

At Mars Hill Church in Seattle Washington, Mark Driscoll has been preaching through a series that he calls "Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe." He started this series a while ago, but I am just now getting around to watching the sermons. Today, I watched "Creation: God Makes" and it was an excellent message. However, Mark made a comment in it that I've heard him say many times before, but this time it just struck me funny.

The comment was "we worship one God, and Jesus is His name." I agree and disagree with this statement. I agree because I do believe that Jesus is the eternally begotten divine Son of God and the second person of the trinity, and thus, Jesus is God. However, in the general sense, when speaking of God and not of one of the members of the God-head, I think it is inappropriate to refer to Him as God. This is my argument: if God is a tri-unity, being three persons but of the same essence, and if Jesus is the second person of that trinity, then God (in the general sense, as Driscoll seemed to use the title) cannot be Jesus. To say what Driscoll did, seems to espouse a form of modalism. To be clear, I do not think this is what Driscoll meant, but it is the danger of what he says. While I disagree with him on some issues, I have nothing but the utmost respect for Mark Driscoll and I am not accusing him of heresy. I just think it would be more appropriate to call God by the name that he has revealed to us: Yahweh / Jehovah.

First Post

I previously had a blog that I had originally intended as an informational place for the Youth Group of First Baptist Church of Monroe City, MO. However, when I did get around to posting, it ended up being my own personal reflections and musings. So, I shut down that blog and started this one, that will be a place for me to post my reflections about my Christian walk. I will also, probably, be posting other things, but we'll just have to see on that.