I am so glad God is patient

hourglass

We are in such a hurry.  I am so glad God is patient.

The patience of the Lord appears many times in Scripture, but I was impacted by this concept recently while reading 2 Peter chapter three.

People were growing impatient with the delay of the Lord’s return, even scoffing at the concept (see 2 Peter 3:3-4).

To impatient people, the Spirit wrote through Peter:

Dear friends, don’t let this one thing escape you: With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance. – 2 Peter 3:8-9 (HCSB)

God is patient by withholding His judgement.

God is patient when we are rebellious to His will.

God is patient with our slow development into Christ-like character.

God is patient with me.

I am so glad God is patient.

Is God Sovereign Over the Weather?

Weather - big rig

Well, yes. That seems obvious.  He is sovereign over all things. Yet, we often complain about the weather mindlessly, as if our negative attitude about the heat or cold will change the situation. Now I understand that most of our complaints about the weather are simply conversation fillers as we participate in small talk throughout the day. But, I have met many people whose disposition is determined by what is happening in the weather.

As we looked at the Providence of God in my Wednesday class, we found many Scriptures that acknowledged and praised God through the expression of the weather. Here is a sample of some of the most impactful verses on this subject:

Psalm 148:7-8 (HCSB)
Praise the Lord from the earth 
. . .
lightning and hail, snow and cloud,
powerful wind that executes His command.

Job 37:6-13 (ESV)
For to the snow he says, ‘Fall on the earth,’

    likewise to the downpour, his mighty downpour.
He seals up the hand of every man,
    that all men whom he made may know it.
Then the beasts go into their lairs,
    and remain in their dens.
From its chamber comes the whirlwind,
    and cold from the scattering winds.
10 By the breath of God ice is given,
    and the broad waters are frozen fast.
11 He loads the thick cloud with moisture;
    the clouds scatter his lightning.
12 They turn around and around by his guidance,
    to accomplish all that he commands them
    on the face of the habitable world.
13 Whether for correction or for his land
    or for love, he causes it to happen.

Matthew 5:45 (HCSB)
For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

While I do believe we need to care for creation as Christians conservationists, we have far less control of the weather than we’d like to think.  Just consider about how often the meteorologist miss it on their prognostications!

Father, the weather is another example of your Sovereign, Providential character!

A deeper look at Acts 16:16

During my message Sunday, I briefly mentioned the connection in the people’s mind that the slave girl in Acts 16:16 had with the Greek-god Apollos.

Acts 16:16-18 (NIV – 1984)   16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17 This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” 18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!”

Most of the commentaries give a statement similiar to this one:

“Luke’s description of the slave girl in Greek indicates that she had a “spirit of Python.” The python was a mythical serpent killed by Apollo, who took both the serpent’s gift of predictions and sometimes its form. Apollo became known as Pythian Apollo. When it was said that one had a “spirit of Python,” it meant that the person was controlled by an evil force. Apparently those who knew the girl did not regard her as insane or fraudulent. Rather they viewed her ability to foretell events as genuine. People paid the girl for her divination services, earning her masters a lot of money.[1]


[1]Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1997). The Nelson study Bible : New King James Version. Includes index. (Ac 16:16).Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

 

 

The Prayer-less Church

It’s scary to consider that we can present great music, in state-of-the art buildings, with entertaining messages and neglect prayer.   Yeah, I’ve done it.   I don’t like to type that, but it’s a real temptation.  Pastors can improve in strategy and excellence while neglecting prayer (yes, I understand it’s “both”, but the other stuff seems so more compelling than prayer).

I’m being challenged this week by Kent Henry in the area of prayer.  Tonight (Thursday, March 24) we have a special worship night with Kent at 6:30 p.m. As he puts it, we’ll “tip over” into times of prayer and intercession.  I’m looking forward to growing in the blending of worship and prayer.   Worship leads to prayer.   Prayer is worship.

United: Water Baptism Defined

The Greek word for baptize is “baptizo” – which “means “to cause something to be dipped.”   This is one of the reasons we immerse, or “dunk”, when we baptize.  Also, this is the clear Biblical pattern for water baptism.

Baptism in itself has no saving power. There is no magic in the water that we use. It is the same kind of water that we drink and the same kind that we bathe in. The purpose of water baptism is that it identifies us openly and publicly with the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord (Romans 6:1-5).   Our story ends, and the story of Jesus within us begins.

So, baptism is an outward expression of what God has already done on the inside.

242 Groups Will Benefit Your Life This Way . . .

I had a blast at the Saylor 242 Group on Sunday (this is the pic of that night).

If 242 Small Groups is about community, here are the results of community:

1. Community brings you intrinsic fulfillment

The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. – Genesis 2:18

Your never more fulfilled as when you are part of something that is bigger than yourself.

2.  Community creates unity that is unstoppable

When the Tower of Babel was being constructed, God revealed this truth:

The LORD said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. – Genesis 11:6

3. Community creates the anointing (the Holy Spirit’s power)

The Spirit chooses not to move when division and disunity occurs

Take the anointing oil and anoint him by pouring it on his head. – Exodus 29:7

1 How good and pleasant it is
when brothers live together in unity!
2 It is like precious oil poured on the head,
running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron’s beard,
down upon the collar of his robes
. – Psalm 133:1-2