ODG Billy Sunday “Impossibilities”

“We have a God who delights in impossibilities.”

Billy Sunday 1862-1935

Billy Sunday was born in poverty, raised in an orphanage, became a well known outfielder in the National League in the 1880’s then became one of the most well known and influential evangelists of the early 20th century. He was well aware of overcoming impossibilities and he had no problem giving credit to God.

As I embark on this next adventure that has been placed before my wife and I, I am so glad that the God of impossibilities is walking right beside me. It is a scary step, that first one you take in faith, but I know that it is what I have been called to do. True North Christian Fellowship has been on my heart for about the last 10 years. I have either tried to fit it in to someone elses ministry, made excuses that it was not the right time or just been flat out to scared to take that step. Recently God has made it clear that now is the right time.

Church planting is a big task, filled with obstacles that would appear to be impossibilities, and yet God has promised that there is nothing he cannot do or walk us through. (Romans 8:31 b “If God is for us, who can be against us?”) I am so excited for what he has planned for True North and I know that as long as we focus on Love and sound doctrine it will be amazing. Please pray for us.

God is the God of impossibilities, he has never found a problem that is beyond his ability, we need to rest in that. You may find yourself praying that tomorrow doesn’t come because you have no idea how you are going to make it through. I have been there at times, it is scary not knowing if things are going to be okay. Yet, as Christians we do know, we do know that God is in control and things will work out, maybe not how we plan, or in our time frame but it always “ALWAYS” does. I have been so amazed over the last 28 years of marriage and raising my children how many times God has gotten me out of impossibilities. Like this quote says God specializes in the impossible.

If you do not know Christ as Lord you will face impossibilities that truly are impossible. Without Christ you are on your own in a very dark and difficult world. God wants to protect you and guide you through those impossible trials, Christ is your access to that Love and Grace, don’t walk alone! Please ask me or someone you know that loves the Lord if you have any questions, your life truly does depend on it!

Philippians 4:13 (New King James Version)
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

All things means “ALL THINGS!!!”

GOD is GOOD!!!

ODG Amy Carmichael on prayer

Okay so this is not my usual ODG post in that it’s not a specific quote but actually a series of quotes or principles that Amy Carmichael had on prayer. Amy Carmichael was a missionary to India who was quite an interesting lady. She lived from 1867 to 1951 and spent most of her career in India helping children that had been and were being sold into slavery and prostitution in the temples. She relied on prayer, as we all should, and had a very direct and simple approach to prayer. When I read these three simple statements I was amazed at how obvious her approach was. I am writing them as they are written in the book “10 People Every Christian Should Know” by Warren Wiersbe and then adding my own thoughts.

1. “We don’t need to explain to our Father things that are known to him.”

I guess you could take this to the extreme and say “well God knows everything so what’s left to say” and technically that would be true. I don’t think that’s what Amy is getting at here. We tend to spend a lot of time in prayer setting up the scenario and making sure God understands all the little details so he knows exactly what were talking about. Cause you know God is busy, he gets lots of prayers, you don’t want him confusing your prayer with someone elses “so be specific!”. I think the key here is He is our Father, he knows what we need before we ask and yet still wants us to ask. He loves to hear our voice. He wants to hear our requests, answer our prayers, comfort and protect us. He doesn’t need our explanations he wants to hear our heart!

2. “We don’t need to press him, as if we had to deal with an unwilling God.”

“God this is really really important, I really really need your help right know if you could just please do this for me”. A little exaggerated but sometimes you have to admit this is how our prayers sound. It’s like were hoping God cares enough to answer our prayer instead of being confident in the knowledge that God has promised to take care of our every need. God is waiting and willing to hear and answer every need and prayer we could ever place before him, we don’t have to convince him to listen. He is definitely not an unwilling God!

3. “We don’t need to suggest to him what to do, for he himself knows what to do”

Do you ever find yourself in prayer trying to give God a good idea? I’m certainly guilty of this. God knows the beginning from the end, nothing takes him by surprise, our suggestions have little effect in changing God’s mind. I personally am very grateful for that, I don’t really want a God who relies on my counsel. I think the better approach is the humble “Lord what would you have me do?” than the “Lord this is what you should do!” that is so much part of our human nature. Trust Him that he knows what is the best for you, and then of course, listen.

Prayer is such an essential part of our christian walk. It should be something we are constantly seeking to do. My prayer life is something that I know needs to improve. Life is busy and we tend to not do the thing that can give us comfort and guidance in dealing with that busy life. I think these three simple principles can help us to focus on meaningful prayer that will draw us closer to the heart of God and open our hearts to his love and presence.

GOD is GOOD!!!

ODG John Ruskin 1819-1900

“The only way to understand the difficult parts of the Bible is first to read and obey the easy ones.”

John Ruskin 1819-1900

 

It’s time again for a little ODG wisdom. John Ruskin was an English art critic and poet, not really remembered as a Theologian but in light of my recent Sunday morning bible studies in Romans and some of the questions raised I think this quote is very relevant. God  did not intend for the Bible to be complicated, yes there are many thoughts and concepts in the bible that can be a little daunting to interpret, but for the most part it is pretty straight froward. Of course we’re humans and we are opinionated and quite often we have different opinions and the other guys opinion is usually always wrong and the more controversial the subject usually determines how wrong the other guys opinion is.

God is beyond our understanding, but everything that is important that is going to truly determine your eternal destiny, is not that hard to understand. Unfortunately we tend to make the obvious truths unimportant and get all dogmatic about the difficult and controversial issues, and woe to the heretics that disagree with us!

I love to study, I love to get deep and look at all sides of an issue contemplating what is the truth behind the truth, and there is nothing wrong with that. I also realize that whatever truth I come up with doesn’t change the truth that is God’s truth! We can have opinions and debate on many doctrinal issues, it’s human nature to try and understand God, God wants us to contemplate and seek out his truths. We just need to understand when there is heated debate about what God truly means on so many of the hot doctrinal issues we argue about, God is more concerned about are heart toward each other than who is right or wrong.

I go back to my long held belief on doctrine and theology, there are eternal doctrines and temporal doctrines. Eternal doctrines are the ones this quote is referring to, the ones we need to understand, the ones that if wrong will affect our eternity,  the ones that God makes very clear throughout both the Old and New Testaments. Some of them would be:

  1. There is only one true God
  2. He created everything and was before anything that was created.
  3. He is Triune “The Trinity” Father, Son and Holy Spirit
  4. Jesus is the Son of God, fully God and fully man
  5. Jesus was crucified, died and rose from the dead conquering death for all humanity.
  6. Salvation is only thru Christ there is now other way to eternity with God.
  7. We are all sinners and need Christ’s redemption and Grace.
  8. The Bible is God’s Word. It is infallible and unchangeable. (even if we disagree)

The temporal doctrines are the ones that affect our walk with God and relationships with God’s people. I am not saying they aren’t important and essential for our christian faith and understanding of God’s plan and Grace for humanity. I just believe that they are able to be interpreted and understood differently without effecting our eternity. In other words, if you get it a little wrong you might not experience all that God has intended for you, but you won’t loose God’s Grace. Some of these would include:

  1. End times prophecy, for example: the rapture (pre, mid, post tribulation or none at all) the time and date of Christs’ return.
  2. Eternal security, can you loose your salvation? I suppose this does have eternal consequences if your wrong  and you think you can live your life however you want because you said a prayer one day at a church service, but my point is your opinion either way doesn’t save or condemn you. It’s belief in Christ and God’s Grace, nothing else.
  3. A big one now days is “are the days in Genesis during creation literal days or eras” I personally believe if God meant something other than days (24 hours) he would have said so. Regardless their are intelligent people on both sides of this issue and whoever is wrong isn’t going to loose their salvation because of it. God might say to them “What is so hard to understand about the word DAYS” but I don’t think he’s going to push the big red button and say “sorry you got that one wrong you don’t get in”.  By the way I made up the big red button thing, it’s not in the Bible.

There are so many other things that we debate and argue about, split churches, condemn whole denominations and tag people as heretics over that do more harm to the body of Christ than good. Yes we have to be sound in our doctrine, Yes we have to study and test our beliefs against the word of God daily, I am not denying that. What I am trying to point out is we can understand things differently and still be Brothers and Sisters in Christ. As Christ himself taught “above all else Love”

Love can cover a multitude of differences of opinion!

God is Good!!!

 

 

 

ODG Evelyn Underhill

“If God were small enough to be understood, He would not be big enough to be worshiped.”

Evelyn Underhill

December 06, 1875-June 15, 1941
Okay so I guess the G can stand for gal just as easy as guy. For those that haven’t read my ODG posts ODG stands for Old Dead Guys or in this case Gal. These are my expoundings (my dictionary says this is not a word but I don’t believe it) on quotes made by influential figures of our past.
Evelyn Underhill was a very popular writer in the early 1900’s. Most of her work centered around christian mysticism, which raises a red flag about her theology, but none the less this quote is pretty awesome. My Pastor shared it in his sermon about a month ago and it has been on my heart to “expound” upon it since then. Obviously I have learned a new word, so on with the expounding!
God is immense his ways are beyond our understanding, he has blessed us with so much knowledge of who he is and his purposes, but we will never grasp the completeness of his Glory. Our intelligence and insight would have to be equal to His to fully grasp the fullness of His Majesty. I don’t know about you, but a god with my intelligence would not be much of a god worth worshiping. I am so glad that my God is so much more than I could ever dream or imagine, more powerful, more intelligent, all knowing, all loving, merciful, full of grace, if it is good than God is that goodness beyond all we can ever understand.
It is human nature to try to understand all there is to know about God. There are some who would claim they have it pretty much all figured out. I don’t diminish the multitude of hours spent over that last few centuries by people much smarter than me trying to uncover the deeper things of God and our Christian faith. Just look at the many dogmatic theologies held by the different denominations and sects within the Christian churches. They can’t all be right and I doubt all are wrong, all though I’m sure God is wondering were some of these ideas came from, certainly not anything from His Word.
I know that doctrine and theology are important and they are a foundational part of the Christian faith and I know that God has revealed himself to us through His Word. I have two issues one problem lies in the interpretation and whose interpretation is the right one. The other problem is what really matters? As Mike Meyers said in the movie “View from the Top” we often “put the wrong emPHAsis on the wrong syLLAble.” I am not saying that there are parts of the Bible that don’t matter so don’t try to nail me on that. What I am saying is sometimes we focus on issues and opinions instead of what God really wants us to focus on.
I believe there are eternal doctrines, ones that effect our eternity, and temporal doctrines, ones that effect our relationship with God and the fullness of our Christian walk. The emphasis should always be on the eternal doctrines which in reality are relatively few:
  1. There is one God
  2. God is one but manifest in three persons Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
  3. Salvation is only through belief in Christ and his death and resurrection as payment for our sins
  4. Salvation is a gift of Grace and cannot be earned.
  5. The Bible is the Word of God not to be added to or taken away from.
  6. We are all sinners and need salvation
I have probably missed a few that some would classify as just as important, and offended others by implying that some doctrine is more important than others. My point is who cares when or if the rapture happens if your not going to spend eternity with Jesus because your focus is on end times prophesy and not Christ!
Back to the Quote, we will never understand all that God is or all the meanings behind everything he has for us in the Bible. What we do know are the things he has made very clear and that effect our eternity with him. It is good to contemplate on his greatness and debate our opinions, but don’t loose sight of his Grace and Love found only in Christ.
I hope this has been beneficial to all. If you have questions whether you agree or disagree I look forward to exchanging ideas. Please leave a comment.
As always

GOD is GOOD!!!

ODG Day G.K. Chesterton

“If I did not believe in God, I should still want my doctor, my lawyer and my banker to do so.”

G.K. Chesterton  1874  to 1936

I know it’s not Monday, but oh well. G.K. Chesterton was an author and poet who wrote everything from fantasy fiction to christian apologetics. Though some of his works were a little controversial he was well respected for his writing. As another example of his wit he wrote “Thieves respect property. They merely wish the property to become their property that they may more perfectly respect it.” I kinda like the way he thinks, it’s quite logical!

It’s funny how people around you that know you are a christian tend to mock your faith until something bad happens in their life. Then all of the sudden your the man with the connection! “Can you put in a good word for me with the man up stairs” “I know your a christian so could you pray for me”.  Like this quote, make sure you have key people in your life that are close to God, you never know when you’ll need that connection. It’s really sad that they don’t see the reverse hypocrisy that they so condemn in the church. You have to just shake your head and pray for them, usually a little deeper prayer than just the current calamity that caused the request. Some times I wonder if you prayed for God to make things a little worse they might just seek God themselves.

The thing we have to remember is God loves all, both the mockers and the saints, and he wants us to love them too. We can’t choose who to show God’s patience and love to. It’s not optional! I was for years a mocker of the church, my sister put up with my stupid counter logic and ridiculous questions for years. But deep down I took comfort knowing that my sister had an in with God. It wasn’t till I met my wife that I truly turned my heart to God and sought my own relationship with him. I know there are so many people that are relying on someone elses faith as a fire escape when things go bad. They really do need our prayers.

Short post today, talk more tomorrow!

GOD is GOOD!!!

 

 

ODG Monday Hudson Taylor

“At the timberline where the storms strike with the most fury, the sturdiest trees are found.”

Hudson Taylor

1832-1905

Hudson Taylor was a christian missionary that spent over 51 years in China. He was very passionate and influential in his work to spread the Gospel of Christ throughout China. He knew full well what it meant to be in the fury of the storm.

We complain a lot, at least I do, about tough situations, trials, illness and all sorts of stuff. I know people that even complain when things are going pretty good. I think it’s controlled by the whinny gene, and some of us have very healthy whinny genes. Then you see people who are so solid nothing seems to shake them. They can be in a place where it appears the whole world is falling in on them and there faith is never shaken. What makes them different? I want to know, cause I want to grow up to be like them!

Have you ever been to the timberline, or to the coastline where the wind just relentlessly pounds the trees? You get some gnarly bent over beaten up trees. These trees sometimes don’t look nearly as healthy as the ones on the lower slopes or inland a little ways. But you subject the “healthy looking” trees to the same elements and they are likely to blow over and not survive the beating. The trees facing the storm have put down roots, they have adapted to survive what nature throws at them. There strength has grown stronger from the storm.

It’s amazing how easy it is to draw spiritual comparisons from God’s wonderful creation. If you protect yourself and never take a risk, you will be like the pretty trees. You’ll look great but you won’t be much good in a fight. We often talk about the bulls eye on your back when you become a Christian, Satan has it out for you. In my experience there is some truth to that, but a lot of us have kind a hidden the bulls eye. Let’s camouflage it with a lot of life so we don’t look like a threat to him. Fact is most Christians probably don’t concern him much, he hates you!, but your not a threat. He has his eye on those who truly take the call of God seriously. They are the ones he wants taken out. They are also the ones who know he can’t take them out!

I have been in both places throughout my walk with Jesus. There have been times that the call of God has been so strong and I have committed to serving no matter what. The attacks were relentless, anything to discourage, confuse, and distract came my way. But God’s power and Grace was always the victor, he carried me through, life was meaningful and exciting. Other times I have stepped back from ministry, not because God wanted me to, and things were pretty easy. I was no threat to Satan and pretty much useless for the Kingdom of God. The problem with that is you also feel empty, unfulfilled and like your useless to the Kingdom of God! You also don’t want to get back in the game cause you’ve given Satan the power to intimidate you into complacency.

The only battles Satan wins are the ones you choose to fight without God. If you are in the battle with God, doing what God has called you to do, life is amazing! Your fighting on the winning side, it may not always be easy, but your always winning. Get in the battle, grow some tough bark, put down some roots and make Satan know who’s side your on. Let the storms make you stronger.

I hope God is speaking to your heart, planting a call and a desire to go out and touch your world with the amazing gift of Christ! Be Bold!! Our side wins!!!

GOD is GOOD!!!

Comments welcome

ODG Monday Samuel Cavert

        “The worst moment for an atheist is when he feels grateful and has no one to thank.”

Samuel Cavert

I found this quote on the internet and just had to write about it. Samuel Cavert isn’t one of the traditional ODG’s I would quote in that he is not well known name in the history of the church.  I really don’t know a lot about him other than he was a minister in the Church of Christ and was very vocal against the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II. That being said I really like the quote so here goes.

It is interesting to me that an atheist can be so condemning of faith, when in reality no matter what you believe it requires faith. When you don’t believe that there is a God, you have to have a lot of faith that there isn’t a God, or else your really screwed. I guess there is one exception to my first statement, you could be an agnostic and not have enough commitment to believe anything. It’s hard to have faith if you can’t even pick something to believe in.

As Christians were in a pretty good position, first the obvious, we’re saved by the blood of Christ and our eternity is sure.  But even by the impossible chance that there is no god, what possible harm can come from our faith in God. Of course there’s the “fact” that we are brainwashed mindless simpletons taught to Love each other, care for the poor and elderly, not to do harmless things like kill, steal, lie, slander, you know that long list of don’ts that we stupidly claim is the will of God. The more I talk about it I just don’t know how we could possibly fall for such deception.

I am not at all claiming that Christians are perfect and just because God expects it doesn’t mean we always or even most of the time do it. What’s amazing about are God is he already knows we are going to fail! That’s why he fixed that for us also, his name is Jesus. We can’t screw up more than God’s Grace can cover us through Faith in Christ.

What does an atheist have? Evolution, the prospect of eternity as worm food, reincarnation through the process of decomposition and fertilization, it would sure make me want to get out of bed in the morning! I am amazed too that a lot of atheist are also naturalists, which to me is baffling. How can you be so into nature and not see God. I recently hiked up to Wiskeytown Falls. Amazing, how many different shades of green can there possibly be? Everything on that two mile hike screamed “Hello my child this is my creation! I Love you so much I made this just for you!” I don’t understand what an atheist sees.

Thank you Lord for your Grace! Please help me to be an example that might help break through the lies and blindness that has condemned so many’s hearts. Touch them with the grace you have shown me.

God is Good!!!

Comments welcome and appreciated.

ODG Monday wisdom from Augustine

    ” If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself.”

Aurelius Augustinus
354-430

Augustine was one of the original ODG’s post Christ not counting of course the ones who are in the Bible. His works have been foundational in the forming of the Christian Church as it is today. This quote written roughly 1,600 years ago is so relevant to human nature still today. Take what you want out of the truth,change the wording to fit your need, flush the rest, and then call what you have left the whole truth. I really don’t think that’s how it ‘s supposed to be. It’s still deception even if your the one deceiving yourself!

By the way cool names back then don’t you think! How does Ralphinius Leaversius sound? EH! maybe not! Don’t ask me where that came from.

Any how back to my thoughts! Have you ever been making a recipe and didn’t have an ingredient? I love to cook and sometimes I will see a recipe on line and think lets go make that. I’ll look down the list of ingredients, have that, have that, don’t have that it’s okay don’t need it, have that, don’t have that I’ll use this instead, have that, great! I have everything on the list I’ll make it for dinner. A half hour later (cause you really don’t have to let it set for 45 minutes) it’s ready to go in the oven. Every once in awhile this works, it taste great, and my wife is amazed by my culinary expertise. Most of the time she looks at it and politely says “it looks great honey but my tummy’s a little upset so I’m going to eat something light tonight.” Usually I end up wishing I had eaten a bowl of cereal too!

The Bible, all of it, from Genesis to the period at the end of Revelations is complete! All of it is truth all of it is important. Some of it is hard, convicting, goes against what we want God to be saying, but all of it is essential to our faith and understanding of God. Our understanding may change as we study and soak in the wisdom of the Lord, but believe me, the change is in us, not the Word. I don’t hold to some of the believes I had 25 years ago as a baby christian. I have studied, listened too, experienced God in so many ways that have changed my understanding, but the Word never changes. It is the same yesterday, today and forever God and his Word never change. We need to be very careful if we decide to change it to fit our design. Trust that He knows what is right and true. Deal with the hard stuff, and take comfort in the glorious promises that he has prepared for you.

If you have a question or comment about anything I write or something you want me to write about leave me a note. Just click on the little cartoon balloon at the top of the post.

GOD is GOOD!!!

More wisdom from an ODG

“A state of mind that sees God in everything is evidence of growth in grace and a thankful heart.” Charles Finney
This kinda of rings of my comments yesterday, God is everywhere, every sight we see every sound we here is testimony of the Grace and Glory of God. God is not hiding from us he is everywhere we just need to acknowledge Him and be thankful for all he has done. There has been many books written about the attributes of God his love, kindness, holiness, His supremacy, His foreknowledge and many others. The two that always have intrigued me is His patience and His Grace. Grace is what I want to talk about today.
Grace is a concept that to most human thinking goes against logic. We as humans are not naturally filled with Grace. You get something because you either earned it or deserved it. It’s not normally in our nature just to give or forgive without a good reason. Don’t get me wrong there are many people who are very gifted in the ability to show Grace but the ones who are truly filled with Grace are also filled with something else “the Holy Spirit”.
Grace has been defined as “God’s unmerited favor” we do not deserve anything from God yet his Grace has given us everything. Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was driven by God’s Grace. He new are only hope was in Christ, we needed Christ and deserved death, and yet God’s love and Grace provided salvation.
We do have the ability to be a grace giving people but only by acknowledging the Grace given to us. That state of mind that sees God in everything, every situation, every person (even the annoying ones) will allow you to grow in your ability to show Grace to others. Just remember if you expect anything in return it’s not Grace.
Learn to be Grace filled, so much of who we are as children of God depends on it, love, patience, forgiveness, kindness and so much more. God’s Grace is everywhere and available to anyone. Make sure you are sharing the Grace that was freely given to you!
GOD is GOOD!!!!
Please share comments or questions if you have any!

 

The Wisdom of ODG’s

“If God gives you a watch, are you honoring Him more by asking Him what time it is or by simply consulting the watch?”

A.W. Tozer

I have always been fascinated by the wisdom of ODG’s Old Dead Guys.

Regardless of what you may think of that statement, Old Dead Guys, I have great admiration for the amazing men that have gone before us in their, most of the time, very humbling walks with the Lord. I was at work the other day on my break and stumbled across this quote from A. W. Tozer that really spoke to my heart about what God has been working and doing in my life.

God has blessed me beyond all comprehension, he has given me so much and yet I still find myself waiting for that one thing or talent that will help me to do the work he has called me to do. This quote kind of hit me hard, God has given me many watches in my life, I gratefully take them, and then turn to God and ask him what time it is. I realize God would probably like me to use the gift he has given me and maybe even help some one else who needs to know what time it is.

What has God given you? What talent or gift has God blessed you with that is not being used for the purpose it was given? I am not saying that to convict (well maybe just a little) but to make you think. All things are possible with Christ, but he has chosen us his people as the instruments to accomplish his work on this Earth. He has given or will give us all we need to succeed in his calling.  We just have to pick up the tools and get to His work. Don’t always look to see what God is doing, look to see what God can do through you.

I personally have been called for many years to write and teach, it’s debatable whether he has given me any talent to go along with that calling, but the calling is still there. That is why I have started this adventure of actually listening to God and writing down the thoughts he puts in my head. I guess if just one person reads this or any of my posts and is Blessed than Gods purpose will be served.

Go find someone that needs to know what time it is and share the Goodness of God

God is Good!!

By the way if you happen to read this I would love to hear your comments good, bad or indifferent. God Bless