My Utmost For His Highest Devotion: Really touched me


"I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord." Jeremiah 1:8

God promised Jeremiah that He would deliver him personally - "Thy life will I give unto thee for a prey." That is all God promises His children. Wherever God sends us, He will guard our lives. Our personal property and possessions are a matter of indifference, we have to sit loosely to all those things; if we do not, there will be panic and heartbreak and distress. That is the inwardness of the overshadowing of personal deliverance.

The Sermon on the Mount indicates that when we are on Jesus Christ's errands, there is no time to stand up for ourselves. Jesus says, in effect, Do not be bothered with whether you are being justly dealt with or not. To look for justice is a sign of deflection from devotion to Him. Never look for justice in this world, but never cease to give it. If we look for justice, we will begin to grouse and to indulge in the discontent of self-pity - Why should I be treated like this? If we are devoted to Jesus Christ we have nothing to do with what we meet, whether it is just or unjust. Jesus says - Go steadily on with what I have told you to do and I will guard your life. If you try to guard it yourself, you remove yourself from My deliverance. The most devout among us become atheistic in this connection; we do not believe God, we enthrone common sense and tack the name of God on to it. We do lean to our own understanding, instead of trusting God with all our hearts.


Freebie Friday: Imagining a Perfect Earth

Have you ever took time to just picture the narratives you read about in the Bible in real life....and dreamed that you were in the settings. I have, maybe you could say I've watched WAY too many Veggie Tale videos. But I've always been somewhat of a dreamer.

Recently I've tried to picture what it would be like to be Adam (or Eve). I've wonder what was on the other trees.
I took a walk with God and talked to him one-on-one! Wow. No sin to drag us down. No sin distancing me and my maker. Amazing!
Hanging out with all the animals God created, just being content and in love with God and Eve, What a dream! Can you picture that?
That would be sweet.

Now for fun, I throw in a Veggie Tale video clip:

Today's Homeword devo: an example of Intentional Christianity

Jesus Help Me and to God Be the Glory
This devotional was written by Jim Liebelt

"Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.”—Psalm 54:4

Recently, I was searching on a website devoted to Johann Sebastian Bach Frequently Asked Questions (www.bachfaq.org), when I found something interesting. It seems that Bach often wrote the letters “JJ” at the beginning of his scores and the letters “SDG” at the end. What did these letters mean? JJ stood for the Latin Jesu Juva, which means “Help o Jesus”. So, it seems that at the beginning of creating his music, Bach was requesting Divine help. SDG stood for the Latin Soli Deo Gloria, which means, “To God alone glory”. It seems that at the end of creating his music, Bach gave thanks to God.

For myself, I know that I don’t have any talent on the level of Bach’s abilities to create musical compositions. Most likely this can be said for the vast majority of us. Still, Bach’s habit of asking for Jesus’ help as he began his work and then giving thanks to God when he was finished, plants within me the desire to be more intentional about including God in my day.

I would think that it would be easy for a person of Bach’s talent and giftedness to take God’s role in their life for granted – to begin to rely on self and to take some time to pat oneself on the back for a job well done! If a person of Bach’s talent and giftedness made it a habit to ask for God’s help and to give God thanks, how much more should we do the same?

In the end, it is to our benefit to be reminded that we are all dependent upon the Lord for everything. We really do need His help! We also benefit from giving thanks to God. It gives us needed perspective to understand that all we accomplish is from God’s gracious hand.


technology at churches

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The Barna Group recently released a new study about the use of technology in Protestant churches nationwide.
ew Research Describes Use of Technology in Churches
In general, in the past two years adoption of technology into churches has been a little slow.

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Those tools included in the study were large screens used for showing video imagery; showing movie clips and other video segments during church events; sending email blasts to all or portions of the congregation; operating a church website; offering a blog site or pages for interaction with church leaders; maintaining a page on behalf of the church on one or more social networking sites; providing podcasts for people to listen to; and receiving programming and training via a satellite dish.

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In the past few years at my church, we have started our own church website. We have a large television but not a large screen. In the youth ministry we show clips from movies, and we send out youth group email blasts. The website has sermons that are also edited for podcasting but we do not put on a specific podcast. As a whole, our church is not involved in social network, but the youth ministry uses existing social networks to connect with students. We are not large enough to do satellite training, but our members do go to larger churches occasionally to get such training.
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There is a lot of intersting research from the Barna group, I encourage you to check it out and see the reasons why some churches are embracing and why some churches are holding back.


Americans Christians becoming pluaristic ?

I hope not...



one of my friends had this label on Facebook for his "religious beliefs":
Baptist/ Calvinistic /Evangelistic.

At first I just laughed and smiled. It is interesting that he choose three categories to classify his beliefs. But then the more I thought about it the more I admired his classification and his beliefs. In fact, I think that Baptist/Calvinistic/Evangelistic fits me quite well.
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I recently read another Michael Patton article called "Evangelical for a Reason."In this article Michael tells us why he is Evangelical. He discusses the flaws with Evangelicalism but then he also suggests that Evangelicalism is probably the best answer,

"I am an evangelical. I am not an ignorant evangelical. I am a learning evangelical. But over the last ten years, as I have studied Scripture, history, the enlightenment, and the early church, as I have traveled to other countries, engaged in gracious reflective dialogue with Evolutionists, Arminians, Egalitarians, Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Emergers, mystics, new-agers, the New Atheists, and those who know no labels, I have become more of a Reformed Evangelical than ever. True, I would not die for every aspect of my theology like I once would. True, I don’t think “the other side” is as ignorant as I once did. But I am more convinced based upon my studies than I ever was."

I suggest reading some of his posts and watching some of the free theology classes on his website, there is a lot of great stuff there!

Personally I am still learning so much about these things and can't make such a confident claim as Michael does. I am not quick to jump on the latest and newest theology bus or trend. I like to do research before putting belief in anything.

As far as the emergent church, I also agree with Michael: I honestly think the heart of the majority of the emergent is right. They are after souls for Christ. They want to engage culture and display Christ to people in this culture. They want to be relevant. And in some ways this is great. But we have to be careful and draw a line somewhere. I personally am agianst "flexible theology and doctrines" the you hear about in Velvet Elvis.

And also we need to be careful when engaging the culture. We cannot let ourselves be so engaged that we are invisible, of the world, and no different than the useless Hellenistic Jews. (No offense to any Jews who are still celebrating Alexander the Great out there...)

In general, I still have lots to learn...I am also trying not to classify all of my beliefs. The most important things I am learning right now is deciding what is essential to my faith and what is not. I still have a lot to learn. I agree whole-heatedly that we need to have critical minds when studying these things.

Jesus Camp movie

Jesus CampI saw Jesus Camp, an Oscar-nominated documentary that looks into a fundamental Pentecostal church camp for kids called Kids on Fire. I did not like the documentary for several reasons:

First the documentary was random and failed to meet its own goals. It missed the point in its own argument. It tried to tie things together that did not really fit together. Part of the time the documentary was examining a church camp, a children's ministry, and the leader of the organization (Becky Fisher). Then random parts of the documentary talk about how Christians are playing a huge role politically in America. Why sure the Evangelical vote is huge in America, there is not much of a correlation to this one particular children's church camp wit hteh overal Evangelical vote. Even more so, this one paticular camp is not responsible for all the political issues that the documentary was attacking.

Second I did not like the approach to this documentary. Sure the documentary is implying that this camp is not the only one and that in America there are tons of other church camps where children are "brainwashed" into Evangelical beliefs, but the documentary is stretching its own argument quite a bit (without any facts). First there are not tons of camps JUST like this one. Second, the documentary did a bad job of portraying true Christianity even Evangelical beliefs. They went to the most exetreme example they could find, an intense charasmatic subsect of the Pentecostal kind. Even Rich Tatum, a Pentecostal was upset about how his denomination is portrayed in the film, has written a commentary for CT Movies titled, "Brainwashed in the Blood."

An uncredited writer at MovieGuide calls it "a sarcastic documentary that paints evangelical, fundamentalist, charismatic, and politically concerned Christians as very shrill, warlike, and dangerous." - This is simply NOT the case and a FALSE portrayal!

Finally I hated how this paticular camp ran. I hated what this camp portrayed . I actually thought that this paticular camp was way too extereme. As an evangelical church goer and even summer camp goer, I have NEVER seen or been a part of a church, camp, or a organization that was so militaristic, extreme, and scary. This camp in my opinion even used these kids to make political points. I AM TELLING YOU THIS IS NOT TYPICALL!

Go to fullsize imageI also did not agree with some of the startagies and Pentecostal beleife andlike I siad these beliefs DO NOT portray all evangelicals!
1. speaking in tongues
2. extreme love and dealings with President Bush
3. dealings with government, anti-government beliefs
4. the Tim Haggard interview

The film gets some things right:
1. Jesus is the right way
2. The Bible is the evangelical belief system ( now, the Pentecostals sometimes get some things wrong with in the Bible)

a stat that did not surprise me that I learned in this document:
75% of all homeschoolers are devoted evangelicals.
The film pointed out how homeschool kids are taught a more balanced education, which scares liberals. As it should they want every one to belief in their lies, their religion, evolution.

Finally a great summary quote from Christianity Today review:
"When a documentary explores a subgroup of a large contingent and implies that this defines the whole, then it is appropriate to call 'foul.' This is the case in Jesus Camp. … The implication is made that Pastor Fischer is a prime example of Evangelical Christians' beliefs and practices. This is not only untrue but it also leads to a pervasive misunderstanding."


entitlement generation

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"You think you're entitled to everything."

Employers are getting very frustrated at my generation...

It is not because we are slackers like some of our Generation X older relatives, but because they think that we think that we want it all. (And there is some truth to that.)

To attract younger workers companies offer work-life balance, flexible schedule that includes meaningful work, with a structured feedback loop and opportunities to be creative.

My generation, the "entitlement generation" they say, has shockingly high expectations for salary, job flexibility and duties but little willingness to take on grunt work or remain loyal to a company.

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I have seen this to be true looking at some of my friends. Today's younger culture in general, does not want to evolve their life around work. They want to have time for family, especially if their own parents did not make time for them. They do not want to be like that.

But, I will say that NOT ALL of us feel this entitlement. i have worked a steady "grunt job' for many consecutive years. I had to quit only because I moved away from college and have started my "real life." I've worked other grunt jobs since then. Ones that required me to show up, work my 40+ hours, no flexibility at all. I was okay with that.

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But this leaves me with another reflection that is huge for my generation...we want and love the idea of a "dream job." We imagine working at a place we love. Doing things that we want to do everyday. A job where we can work our own hours and for reasonable pay. My Generation has taken this idea to the extreme. We have rejected the idea of "paying our time"... We have exaggerated the "dream job" concept. Some of my generation actually thinks that it is a realistic picture.

I am not one of these people, I understand that it is a competitive world and I need to work my way to a better job and I can't expect employers to evolve work around me.

Some people are taking the concept of entitlement for my generation and applying it to all aspects of our lifestyle...they are saying that my generation grew up as the center of attention. We got everything we wanted, we were rewarded for things we did not do, we were over-protected, and over-spoiled by our parents. We are given all kinds of toys, cars, even an education. ..is there some truth to this too? Maybe in some cases.

But there is still a lot of reflection and study that needs to be done. I do think that my generation needs to wake up a little bit and take on more responsibility as young christian leaders in the church and not depend on older parents or pastors to spoon feed us everything....but that is just me .

Soul Mate or Sole Mate?

Some not so good statistics:
An overwhelming majority (94%) of never-married singles agree that "when you marry you want your spouse to be your soul mate, first and foremost."

· Less than half (42%) of single young adults believe that it is important to find a spouse who shares their own religion.

I just read a great article by True U, a sub-organization by Focus on the Family called "Soul Mate or Sole Mate?"

It had a lot of great advice for dating and things to consider. The main point is that there is not ONE soul mate that if you find this person everything will turn out perfect. Relationships require work. And that we should not base relationships on infatuated emotions but on wisdom.
Here is a paragraph that sticks out to me:
"The real danger in this line of thinking is that many people mistake a storm of emotion as the identifying mark of their soul mate. How else can you identify "destiny"? Such individuals marry on an infatuation binge without seriously considering character, compatibility, life goals, family desires, spiritual health, and other important concerns. Then when the music fades and the relationship requires work, one or both partners suddenly discover that they were "mistaken": this person must not be their soul mate after all! Otherwise, it wouldn't be so much work. Next they panic. Their soul mate must still be out there! Such people can't get to divorce court fast enough, lest someone steal their "one true soul mate" meant only for them. When we get married for trivial reasons, we tend to seek divorce for trivial reasons."

The Bible, especially 1 Corinthians chapter Seven, makes it clear that marriage is a choice and you do not find anything about "one destined partner."

The real question is by what criteria and standards do you use to see if someone is worth marrying and spending the rest of your life together with. "Love is not an emotion; it's a policy and a commitment that we choose to keep." Emotions are not a great standard. You should use wisdom, Biblical criteria on the person's character, things like compatibility and similar life goals and most important spiritual walks/maturity need to be evaluated.

"[A] Christian should not consider any marital union that would not feed this primary relationship with God."

It is a great article and the sources for statistics are very interesting reads too. Check them out:

The State of Our Unions 2001 (Piscataway, NJ: The National Marriage Project, 2001), pp. 6, 8. For more information, see "The State of Our Unions: 2001."

Thomas, Gary. Soul Mate or Sole Mate? Focus on the Family.