Monthly Archives: November 2008

Soul = Sponge

Today at church Jerel spoke about stress. He had a bucket of sand and a rock on stage. He talked about Matthew 7:24-30. To build our lives on God is like building our house’s foundation on a rock. To build it on anything else is like building our house on sand.

That is not what this blog is about.

Relating this parable to stress Jerel used the analogy of a sponge. How do you find out what a sponge is full of? You squeeze it. When we are stressed we are under pressure. When we are under pressure we are like a sponge. Whatever we have on the inside comes out. You really find out what you are made of. If you have built your life on God you will see it come out when you are under stress. What a great analogy!

This got me thinking. Our souls are a lot like a sponge. Not just in this way, but in a lot of ways.

1. You see our true character when we are under pressure/stressed.

I already mentioned this, but want to make sure it is emphasized. When you are under pressure to get a project done on time, do you cheat or work harder? When you are stressed about money, do you get angry, blame others, or trust God to provide? How about when you are in a fight with your spouse…you get the point. When we are pushed to our limits our soul is exposed. Do we flow with goodness, joy, and love, or is that when the anger, deceit, and sin prevail?

2. We absorb what is closest to us.

What do you surround yourself with? What/who do you watch, listen to, and hang around with? These things define who you are. Why do companies spend billions of dollars on advertising. Not because you will see a commercial and immediately run out an buy what they are selling (unless you are my wife and mother). They spend huge money on repetition and prime ad spots so it will slowly sink into your soul. So next time you think of the Panthers you hear, “Gotta Wanna Needa Getta Have a Bojangles” and can taste the chicken. Or the next time you feel a little sad you know you need those new shoes because those women sure looked happy in Cosmo.

In the same respect. You become like the people that are around you. If you hang out with negative people you soak up their attitude and begin to see their point of view. Proverbs 12:26 says, “The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray.” It also works the other way around. Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”

So just as a sponge soaks up whatever it is near, our souls soak up our surroundings. So be careful where you set your sponge.

3. If we are not moved or used for a while we become stale.

Our soul is designed to take a beating. To be squeezed, shaped, and molded. We need to be careful that we are allowing it to be filled with the right things, but even the right things, if not used as intended, are pointless. If we just sit around and read the Bible, pray, and worship all day it means nothing if we don’t do what we were intended to do. A sponge is intended to clean. If we use it once and then set it on the counter and never use it again it will become stale. Just the same, if we do all the right things and don’t serve God and build relationships then our soul is being wasted. It is becoming stale.

Make sense? It does to me. See, sponges are made to be pliable and fit into hard spaces without breaking. They are designed to be tough and delicate. Sound familiar? Our souls are designed to bend, but not break. They can be put through difficult situations, but will always be strong enough to make it through. Even if our soul is filled with good things, if we don’t use it, it becomes stale, breaks easy, and sour. Just like our soul. We have to use it regularly or he good things we put in it go to waste.

4. Most importantly a sponge is made to clean the things around it.

How do we effect our surroundings? If we are clean ourselves then we should make the world around us a better place to live. We should use our gifts to make our neighborhood/world better. Just like a sponge. If we are not clean we just smear the filth around and are not really serving the purpose we are meant to serve.

But there is nothing like a clean kitchen freshly scrubbed down by a clean sponge. That’s the kitchen I want to live in.

Check This Out

This is a new documentary that shines a light on “Science”. I just finished watching it and am more excited than ever to lead in this war of worldviews. There will be a blog to come about the problems with Darwinism.

Love,
Mike

Time To Move!

Uptown Charlotte, here we come! Jes and I went to check out our future apartments over the weekend and we came across a great deal. We are waiting on final word from Post Properties, but we should know tomorrow (Monday) if we got it. If all works out we are set to move in 3 weeks.

Our new home will be uptown in the Gateway area. You can check it out here. We will be moving in on the weekend of Dec. 6th. The cool part is the first Monday we move in will be my favorite Panthers game of the year. Panthers vs. Bucs Monday Night Football! I know it sounds like it, but I didn’t plan it that way. I’m going to tailgate at our new place all day and walk to the game. If anyone wants to join at any time that day let me know or just come on over.

As you can tell we are excited. Its time to go watch Jeff Dunham’s Christmas Special. I am posting a couple pics of the past Bucs, Panthers games.mikejespanthers1

With Love
onside2

Right or Wrong?

Don’t you just love when your parents used the excuse, “Because I said so!”. Is that really a valid reason? Is that enough to make you change your action? What about moral decisions? Do you ever wonder why we are supposed to tell the truth, love our neighbor, choose life? It’s not “Because I said so” or because He said so. Most people believe we (as Christians) are supposed to do something because the Bible says, “Thou shalt not…”. I want to challenge that thought.

Let me ask you a question…

Are we supposed to tell the truth, because the Bible says so, or does the Bible say so, because we are supposed to tell the truth?

When I was first asked this question I was sure that we do what the Bible says because the Bible says to do it. The Bible is God’s Word, right? I mean, isn’t the Bible an instruction manual for our life. Haven’t we heard that over and over.

Side-note: That is a horrible metaphor. When do you read your instruction manual for your toaster? Never, unless there is something wrong with it. Are we supposed to read the Bible only when something is wrong with our lives? NO!

Because the Bible says so, is that really enough? Its not enough if our parents tell us, “Because I said so!” So why should it be enough for the Bible to say so? Next time you are faced with a moral decision I want you to choose your decision not because of what you were taught, or told to do, or even because of the consequences that might prevail. I want you to make your decision not because the Bible says, “Thou shalt not…” but because you know it is morally right!

So How do we know why something is right or wrong? Let me answer this with a series of other questions.

1. Is there anything God can’t do?

Ask this question to 95% of Christians and they will get it wrong. YES! There are plenty of things God can’t do. God can’t lie, die, hate, etc. Why can’t he do these things? Because they are against the nature of God. God is absolute and cannot contradict Himself. So God can never lie because He is The Truth. He is not partially truth or the sum of all his natures. He is 100% truth. He is all love. He cannot hate because God is 100% Love.

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. – 1 John 4:16

No, this is not another blog. Let me keep questioning and I will get to the point.

2. How do we define Love?

1 Corinthians: 13 helps by describing what love is and isn’t. There are also other verses that help us come to the description as making the security, welfare, and happiness of another person as important as your own or simply, to protect and provide. So when God gives us guidelines to live by he is doing it out of love. He is protecting and providing for us. He has to, it is his nature.

3. Why does God give us guidelines?

Because he wants to protect and provide for us. That is why he says, “Thou shalt not…” Its not because he wants to limit our lives, its actually the oposite. He wants us to be the best we can be so we can experience the most joy possible. God is Love!

So why does the Bible say so? It says so, because God loves us and wants us to be free. Next time you are faced with a moral decision, know not only what to do, but why you are doing it. This will be a huge tool next time you are faced with a moral decision that you don’t know what to do.

 

Credit for this blog goes to Josh McDowell. I am not smart enough to come up with all this on my own. Right from Wrong and Why True Love Waits are great sources on this subject. Also Josh.org has great information and other sources.

The Perfect Church (Part 1)

In a time that Josh McDowell calls, “The Last Generation of Christians” how do we reclaim the world for what it is, God’s? It all starts in one place. You may have guessed it from the title.

The Church!

What is the church? I think the better question is, what should the church be. In today’s society the church is the place where Christians go to “get fed” or to “experience community”. I have been struggling with this for a long time. In fact, this has become my heart’s passion. To find the perfect church.

Many people believe that the perfect church can not be accomplished. Perfection is something we long for, but can never really be achieved. A common misconception is that God is the only thing perfect and nothing else can be. I don’t think any church will ever be exact, without fault or error, but it can be “perfect”.

Let me be clear. 

Perfect is simply being as God intended to be. In 2 Samuel it says, “God’s ways are perfect…”. Its overwhelming, when you look at the times in the Bible that the word perfect is used its mostly referring to the will or plan of God, not God himself, but God’s ways or intentions. In Matthew 48 it says, “But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.” Matthew knows that no person is flawless, or without error. We all fall short and sin. He is saying we are all to be as God intended us to be.

So get that notion out of your head. Things can be perfect in fact in Genesis 6:9 Noah was referred to as perfect in many translations. Not because he was sinless, or flawless, but because he “walked with God”. We can be perfect. The Church can be perfect. Perfection is a goal that can be reached and it should be our goal. To be as God intended us to be.

So what did God intend for the church? That’s where it gets a little harder. I guess the best thing to do is look at “The Church of Jesus”. No its not a new denomination. I’m referring to the first church. The church that Jesus himself lead. I would think that sense Jesus was fully God that the church he started would be exactly as God intended, correct?

Lets start off with the first objection. Churches didn’t exist during Jesus time. He was a teacher, not a pastor or leader of a church. Sorry to be so blunt, but if you think what Jesus did wasn’t start a church, you are wrong. Jesus spent his adult life teaching the disciples so they could be prepared to go out and make new disciples and so on. Is that not what The Church is? The Great Commission was the first “mission statement”.  Jesus sending his Church out into the world to start more Churches.

Lets go ahead and get another thing out of the way. The Church is God’s Bride. So if I refer to The Church as “she” it is not me being politically correct. It is reclaiming the image of The Church from the Bible. She is God’s Bride.

Now that we got that out of the way, lets take a break.

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