Friday, June 26, 2015

Love Wins

What a week this has been. Escaped convicts running loose in New York. Terrorist attack, after terrorist attack. The whole thing in Charleston. And just today, the US Supreme Court ruled to legalize, and protect same-sex marriage in all fifty of these United States of America.

In the words of a friend about the ruling:
  I am not disheartened. There is still no other country that I would rather be in than in America. Furthermore, I am comforted, for Jesus states in John 16:33, "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
  I strongly disagree with the Supreme Court's decision. My identity in Christ precedes my identity as an American. I am a Christian; a Christ follower. As a Christ follower, it is my privilege to believe and follow everything that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, did and said during his time on Earth. While Jesus was on Earth, he affirmed God's word, the scriptures of the Bible, as being inspired, absolute, true and final. In Genesis 2:24, God defines marriage. He states,
  "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh."
  Therefore, I, as a follower of Christ, believe that the Bible is the final authority on marriage. I, based on the words of God, believe that same-sex marriage is an evil practice, just like every other sin. I would hope and expect that anyone who says that they are Christian would take the same position.

He really said what I couldn't form the words to say. 

I'm so glad that I know where my hope is found. It is a comforting thought to know that He has overcome the world, yet my heart hurts for the lost and broken people, desperate for love, even "same-sex love."

But what better time than this to reach out, and love them like Jesus?

And as we do this, let us remember the words of David:

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall. (Psalm 27:1-2)

And the words of Paul...

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39)

Encouraging. Very encouraging.

In this time of desperation
When all we know is doubt and fear
There is only one foundation
We believe, we believe

We believe in God the Father
We believe in Jesus Christ
We believe in the Holy Spirit
And He's given us new life
We believe in the Crucifixion
We believe that He conquered death
We believe in the resurrection
And He's coming back again
We believe

So, let our faith be more than anthems
Greater than the songs we sing
And in our weakness and temptations
We believe, we believe

We believe in God the Father
We believe in Jesus Christ
We believe in the Holy Spirit
And He's given us new life
We believe in the Crucifixion
We believe that He conquered death
We believe in the resurrection
And He's coming back again
We believe

Let the lost be found
And the dead be raised
In the here and now
Let love invade
Let the church live loud
Our God we'll say
We believe, we believe

And the gates of Hell
Will not prevail
For the power of God
Has torn the veil
Now we know Your love
Will never fail
We believe, we believe
We believe in God the Father
We believe in Jesus Christ
We believe in the Holy Spirit
And He's given us new life
We believe in the Crucifixion
We believe that He conquered death
We believe in the resurrection
And He's coming back again
We believe

At the end of his post, my afore-mentioned friend closes with this:
 In conclusion, I do not support homosexuality or the Supreme Court's decision to make same-sex marriage legal. I believe that marriage is between one man and one woman based on the authority of the Bible. I want to educate people on the harmful effects that homosexuality has on individuals. I do not want to be swayed by the culture, rather I want to make sure that I and my children always know that God intended for marriage to be between one man and one woman. Homosexuality leads to isolation from the community of God-instituted family, therefore I will show them kindness so that homosexuals are not further isolated. Most importantly, I want to show kindness and love to them because they, like me, are in great need of a Savior. I see this decision by the Supreme Court as an opportunity to further the good news of Christ. This is a definitely a heavy topic, but there is a great need for Christ followers to get involved. Therefore I am not discouraged by the Supreme Court's decision to make same-sex marriage legal. It is, after all, only a temporary decision.
  "All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass.
  The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.”
   - 1 Peter 1:24

Now, I come to the meaning of my blog title... "Love Wins." 
I was quite disgusted to see that these two words were being used for the same-sex marriage campaign in my "trending" thing on Google Plus as a hashtag. I wanted to combat it with the Love that truly does win. That is, the love of Jesus Christ. 

His Love Has Won!

Now go and reach out to those who need His love and salvation as desperately as we do!

Thursday, June 25, 2015


Passion - the degree of difficulty we are willing to endure to accomplish the goal.

I am super stoked.

My brother and I have started saving up for Passion 2016 in Houston (we're almost there)!
We have friends who go down every year, and they invited us to come along in January. 

I've heard about Passion many times over the years, but never really knew what it was, or even who Louie Giglio is, until last Thanksgiving, when we watched one of his videos. Now, my brother and I are both pumped to go be a part of what God is doing in and through Passion.

I got the book, "Passion" by Louie Giglio the other day. It's a collection of favorite messages from past Passion conferences. I'm only on the second chapter, but it's amazing! I can't wait to be a part of "The Jesus Generation, united for his fame."

To me, that is so exciting!

In other news... I'm looking at college options. MidAmerica Nazarene University, Moody Bible Institute, and Trevecca Nazarene University are the three I'm seriously considering. I'm mainly looking at online courses, as I really can't afford to move to Nashville or Chicago, or even Kansas City. Even so, I'm trying to just trust the Lord to provide for my needs. Your prayers would be greatly appreciated!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Creation Notebook Series - How to Study the Wiseman's Book

I. Observation:
  • Conceptual Ideas.
  • Learn to read.
  • Ten strategies for better reading:
  1. Read thoughtfully 
  2. Read repeatedly - Read over and over; read fast; read slow; use different translations; out loud.
  3. Read patiently - Don't read then run to a commentary; work with the same book for a month.
  4. Read selectively - Why? Who? What? When? Where? Wherefore?
  5. Read prayerfully - Pray before, during & after; don't pray with "Christian" lingo.
  6. Read imaginatively - Crawl into the skin of the people of the time.
  7. Read meditatively
  8. Read purposefully - Aim of author; "why is this word here?"; grammatical structure.
  9. Read acquisitively - Not to receive, but to retain; creatively present the passage to someone else.
  10. Read telescopically - as part of a whole; familiar themes; where does it fit historically?
  • Work with a paragraph:
  1. Check context.
  2. Write paragraph.
  3. No detail is too trivial.

  • Six things to look for:
  1. Things that are emphasized
  2. Things that are repeated
  3. Things that are related
  4. Things that are alike
  5. Things that are unalike
  6. Things that are true to life
II. Interpretation:
  1. What does Scripture mean?
  2. What does "mean" mean? 
    1. What God said - He meant what He said, and He said what He meant (and He'll keep His Word 100%).
Why Interpretation?
  1. Overcome language barriers.
  2. Overcome cultural barriers.
  3. Overcome literacy barriers.
  4. Overcome communication barriers.
  • Hazards to avoid:
  1. Misreading the text.
  2. Distorting the text.
  3. Contradicting the text.
  4. Subjectivity.
  5. Relativity - "It doesn't matter if Jesus rose from the dead, just love Him."
  6. Overconfidence - Don't be afraid to say "I don't know, let's find out."

  • What Type of Literature is this?
  1. Exposition - a teaching passage.
  2. Narrative and Biographical.
  3. Parables.
  4. Poetry.
  5. Proverbs/Apocalyptic.
  • Five Keys of Interpretation:
  1. Content - What does it actually say?
  2. Context - What goes before the passage? What comes after?
  3. Comparison - How is it like other parts of Scripture?
    1. Gross reference
    2. Topical Bible
    3. Concordance
  4. Culture - Understand the culture.
  5. Consultation
    1. Word search
    2. Phrase search
    3. Definition
Additional sources:
  1. Internet
  2. Illustration book
  3. Historical studies
  4. Specific topical books
  5. Journals
III. Application:
  1. What is it?
  2. Make the truth attractive.
  • Textual questions to consider:
  1. Is there an example to follow?
  2. Is there a sin to avoid?
  3. Is there a promise to claim?
  4. Is there a prayer to repeat?
  5. Is here a command to obey?
  6. Is there a condition to meet?
  7. Is there a verse to memorize?
  8. Is there an error to mark?
  9. Is there a challenge to face?
  • Four substitutes for application:
  1. We substitute interpretation for application.
  2. We substitute obedience for life-change.
  3. We substitute rationalization for repentance.
  4. We substitute experience for decision. 
  • Four steps to proper application - Know the...
  1. Truth.
  2. Audience.
  3. Culture.
  4. Relate to the people of the day.
  5. Meditate - think time.
  6. Practice - allow passage to change your life.
IV. Communication:
  1. Introduction - sum up the point of the message.
  2. Main point - if it doesn't come from the passage, it's not a main point.
  3. Argue.
  4. Explain.
  5. Illustration.
  6. Application.
  7. Transition.
  8. Conclusion.
    1. Visualization.
    2. Reiteration.
    3. Action (application).

Friday, June 12, 2015

Made to Worship

Worship is a lifestyle. We all do it, whether we know it or not. 

We all have something that we worship. We worship the things that matter most to us. whether it's money, relationships, latest fashions, or drugs, every person on planet earth worships something or someone.

That's just the way we were created! God created us to worship.
People everywhere are worshiping/searching for something - building altars to literally everything under the sun, including to an "Unknown God," just in case they missed one. Wondering if there's a God they can know.

The Bible says that, "You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29:13)

But that's not it! God is always seeking you. He's constantly sharing His creative power with anyone watching. Thunderstorms, sunsets, waves crashing on the beach...
Somehow, we just know He's there.

He wants us to know Him. And it's not like looking for a needle in a haystack. He's not hiding, and he's not unknowable!

Precisely the opposite is true! He, in the form of a man, walked this earth in plain sight. To seek and save the lost, that's why He came. 

No, He's not hiding. He's searching for you too! He wants you to know who he is, and who you are in Him. He's seeking you because He knows that He's God, and you can't live without Him.

This also explains why Jesus came. He came to connect us to God and awaken us to the possibility of centering our worship on who and what matters most.

Psalm 96:4-6
"For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods.  For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the LORD made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary." 

We're going to spend our entire lives declaring the worth of something. We've got to make sure the thing we declare to be of greatest value is really worthy of our worship.
We must guard our worship against false idols, and carefully evaluate potential takers. 

Before the day
Before the light
Before the world revolved around the sun
God on high
Stepped down into time
And wrote the story of His love for everyone

He has filled our hearts with wonder
So that we always remember

You and I were made to worship

You and I are called to love
You and I are forgiven and free
When you and I embrace surrender
When you and I choose to believe
Then you and I will see who we were meant to be

Who has your worship?

Thursday, June 11, 2015

A New Look

You may notice that there's something different about my blog. Well, that's because 1) I changed the title, and 2) I have a new design!

Like, I am SO excited about this!
(Don't you just love that expression?!)

I changed "One Light in a Dark World" to "Let all the Earth Rejoice," because that's what this blog is all about now - seeing the Name of Jesus praised in all parts of the earth! I tried many different things before settling on this, from Chris Tomlin's How Great is Our God.

If you don't know what song I'm talking about, I am truly surprised. 
But here:

The new blog design was done by Morning, over at The Ups and Downs of my Not-So-Average Life.

I wanted to say thank you to her for the work she put into it. I know how designing a blog can be, as I've done it many times before...but I needed something different than what my abilities would let me do (plus, I still don't have Photoshop), so I asked her.

Now, Morning asked me if I would be willing to do a review on the design process...

Honestly, I have no clue what all she did. 
I didn't really know what I wanted at first, so I asked for the "Surprise Package" and that's certainly what I got! It was a beautiful design, but not quite what I had in mind. She was so good about making the changes I asked her to make, and she was so very friendly. 

If you ever need a new look on your blog, I would definitely encourage you to look at Morning's other designs, and totally fill out the order form that she has provided. Don't worry though! It's free of charge, and absolutely gorgeous.
Thank you so much, Morning!