“I have been told that in one of the China Inland Mission homes in China there was a motto on the wall which said:
The sun stood still.
The iron did swim.
This God is our God for ever and ever.
He will be our guide even unto death.
This God, the one who, in answer to the prayer of an ordinary man, stopped the sun in its course, the God who suspended his own law of gravity and made an ax head float, this is the God to whom I come.
This is the God whose will and direction I am asking.
This God is the one whose promises I am counting on. And can he help me out of my predicament? Whatever my predicament may be, as soon as I compare it with the circumstances surrounding the miracles of the sun and the ax, my doubts seem comical.
God knows all about those comical doubts. He knows our frame. He remembers that we are dust, and it is to us, knowing all this better than we know it ourselves, that he made those promises.”
A couple weeks ago we hosted our annual Men’s Conference. Pancho Juarez, pastor of Calvary Chapel Montebello, taught the after-lunch session, and his opening prayer has been running through my mind ever since he said it.
Check it out, especially if you weren’t there:
“Father in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth we come before you. We ain’t nobody Lord. We’re just broken, perforated men. We’re poked, messed up, tore up. But, Lord, it is You who have put us back together.
It’s nothing that we’ve done, other than just recognize that we’re broken. And You came and helped us.
For me, Lord,
what my mother couldn’t do,
what the P.O. couldn’t do,
what the police couldn’t do,
what juvenile hall couldn’t do,
what jail couldn’t do,
what the Marine Corps couldn’t do,
in one day, You did it.
And Lord I still believe in You; and I trust in You. But Lord, we know that we are living in some troubled times. We’re living in uncertain times, and Father being a Christian is going to get tougher and harder. So be with us. May Your Holy Spirit saturate each and every one of us individually. Speak to us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Isn’t this the sort of spirit we want to reflect? And isn’t this the sort of conversion we want to see in the lives of the non-believers around us?
You may not like Adam Young’s pop (as in, his “Owl City” music), but don’t you have to love this latest thing he’s put out?
Last night we began our trip through Peter’s letter. Here’s the notes…
1:1-2 Notice Peter says, “obedience and sprinkling” — this is covenant language (see Exodus 24:3-8) So, Peter’s readers are out of place in this world, as disinherited sojourners (foreigners, resident aliens). But in Christ they are chosen people with a purpose.
1:3-12 What being part of this new covenant people means.
Though they are necessarily now strangers, believers are actually highly privileged:
v.3 We have a whole new birth (new identity)
v.4 …giving us an inheritance which can’t be touched
v.5 …which we can’t lose (like we can earthly things) because God keeps us
v.6 This lets us rejoice even in suffering! They had a new identity which led to their dispossession in this world, but the same new identity led to an eternal inheritance in the one coming soon. We are the same. “Suffering does not prevent joy.”
v.7 The best earthly possessions perish, but faith is eternal. Your faith gets you shamed here (they take your gold) but glory later
v.8 The glory comes when Jesus is revealed. You’ll be willing to wait for this if you love Him. Do you feel this way about Him?
v. 10-12 Though your identity is thought worthless here, and you’re shut out of the world’s plans, actually you’re part of something ancient and precious. And you’re in fellowship with the prophets, with the attention of the angels.
1:13-25 How we must live now, in light of this future focus:
v. 13 We put all our hope in that future inheritance. …by preparing our minds for action… exorcize mental resolve to think this way
v.14-16 …and by practicing self control, taking our Holy God as our example for, not our old way of life.
v.17 We remember that our Father is also the Judge.(so we both imitate and fear)
v.18-21 We remember that the price of our inheritance was Jesus’ blood. (see v.8)
v.22 We let this new birth and holiness flow over into real love.
v.23 …because if it was God’s seed in us, we’ll be like God, who is Love.
v.24-5 This Word of God is as eternal as the inheritance. Everything about the Christian’s life is eternal, from its start to its goal. So we can let go of temporary things in order to attain the eternal. We can love and rejoice through trying times because joy is eternal and suffering fades.
2:1-12 How we must live among people, in light of our new identity:
v.1 Picks up exhortation in 1:22…love!
v. 2 Lay aside these anti-love things, they fight desire for Spiritual things.
v.3 let the if you like God’s flavor, let it be yours.
v.4 you have been expelled from belonging in this world, but you are coming to Chris
v.5 new identity and social context: living stones part of a spiritual temple
v.6 shame for Christ is temporary
v.7 Christ was rejected, but is God’s chosen
v.8-10 …and we are the same
v.11-12 Just as we release our status in this world, we release lusts as well…
Peter Challenges Us:
- To contemplate the nature of who God’s word says He is, what He’s done, and Who we are as a result.
- To let what is coming dictate how we live now.
- To let God rule our thoughts as a way of letting Him Change our lives.
- To pursue these two primary things: Holiness & Love.
Holiness: 1:2 “sanctification”; 1:4 “former lusts”; 1:16 “Be holy”; 1:17 “Fear of the Lord”; 1:22 “purified souls”; 2:1 “laying aside”; 2:5 “holy temple & priesthood”; 2:9 “called out of darkness”; 2:11 “abstain from lusts”
Love: 1:8 “love of Christ”; 1:22 “holiness leads to love” & “love fervently”; 2:1 “lay aside lovelessness”
Update: Tonight Young Adults will meet in the CPAC amphitheater at 7:30. Park in the rear of the building and come in the Elementary (Sunday School) doors. We’ll have to postpone the grilling…
Saw this on Justin Taylor’s blog the other day and loved it:
From a children’s book written over 100 years ago by husband-and-wife missionaries-to-Muslims Samuel and Amy Zwemer:
When you read in mission reports of troubles and opposition, of burning up books, imprisoning colporteurs and expelling missionaries you must not think that the gospel is being defeated.It is conquering.
What we see under such circumstances is only the dust in the wake of the ploughman.
God is turning the world upside down that it may be right side up when Jesus comes.
He that plougheth should plough in hope.
We may not be able to see a harvest yet in this country but, furrow after furrow, the soil is getting ready for the seed.
—Samuel M. Zwemer and Amy E. Zwemer, Topsy-Turvy Land: Arabia Pictured for Children (New York: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1902), 116.
A hymn by Bob Dylan:
The iron hand it ain’t no match for the iron rod.
The strongest wall will crumble and fall to a mighty God.
For all those who have eyes and all those who have ears
It is only He who can reduce me to tears.
Don’t you cry and don’t you die and don’t you burn
For like a thief in the night, He’ll replace wrong with right
When He returns.
Truth is an arrow and the gate is narrow that it passes through.
He unleashed His power at an unknown hour that no one knew.
How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?
Can I cast it aside, all this loyalty and this pride?
Will I ever learn that there’ll be no peace, that the war won’t cease
Until He returns?
Surrender your crown on this blood-stained ground, take off your mask.
He sees your deeds, He knows your needs even before you ask.
How long can you falsify and deny what is real?
How long can you hate yourself for the weakness you conceal?
Of every earthly plan that be known to man, He is unconcerned
He’s got plans of His own to set up His throne
When He returns.
One of the biographies my friend (and Calvary Missions Pastor) Carlos Kalczuk will always recommend is John G. Paton: Missionary to the New Hebrides. Here is one of my favorite passages from the book, where Paton describes the house he grew up in, and the godly witness of his father:
The architect who planned that cottage had no ideas of art, but a fine eye for durability! It consists at present of three, but originally of four, pairs of “oak couples” planted like solid trees in the ground at equal intervals, and gently sloped inwards till they meet or are “coupled” at the ridge, this coupling being managed not by rusty iron, but by great solid pins of oak. A roof of oaken wattles was laid across these, till within eleven or twelve feet of the ground, and from the ground upwards a stone wall was raised, as perpendicular as was found practicable, towards these overhang-wattles, this wall being roughly “pointed” with sand and clay and lime. Now into and upon the roof was woven and intertwisted a covering of thatch, that defied all winds and weathers, and that made the cottage marvelously cozy, —being renewed year by year, and never allowed to remain in disrepair at any season. But the beauty of the construction was and is its durability, or rather the permanence of its oaken ribs! There they stand, after probably not less than four centuries, japanned with “peat reek” till they are literally shining, so hard that no ordinary nail can be driven into them and perfectly capable of service for four centuries more on the same conditions. The walls are quite modern, having all been rebuilt in my father’s time, except only the few great foundation boulders, piled around the oaken couples; and parts of the roofing also may plead guilty to having found its way thither only in recent days; but the architect’s one idea survives, baffling time and change — the ribs and rafters of oak.
Our home consisted of a “but” and a “ben” and a “mid room,” or chamber, called the “closet.” The one end was my mother’s domain, and served all the purposes of dining-room and kitchen and parlor, besides containing two large wooden erections, called by our Scotch peasantry “box beds”; not holes in the wall, as in cities, but grand, big, airy beds, adorned with many-colored counterpanes, and hung with natty curtains, showing the skill of the mistress of the house. The other end was my father’s workshop, filled with five or six “stocking-frames,” whirring with the constant action of five or six pairs of busy hands and feet, and producing right genuine hosiery for the merchants at Hawick and Dumfries. The “closet” was a very small apartment betwixt the other two, having room only for a bed, a little table and a chair, with a diminutive window shedding diminutive light on the scene.
This was the Sanctuary of that cottage home. Thither daily, and oftentimes a day, generally after each meal, we saw our father retire, and “shut to the door”; and we children got to understand by a sort of spiritual instinct (for the thing was too sacred to be talked about) that prayers were being poured out there for us, as of old by the High Priest within the veil in the Most Holy Place. We occasionally heard the pathetic echoes of a trembling voice pleading as if for life, and we learned to slip out and in past that door on tiptoe, not to disturb the holy colloquy.
The outside world might not know, but we knew, whence came that happy light as of a new-born smile that always was dawning on my father’s face: it was a reflection from the Divine Presence, in the consciousness of which he lived. Never, in temple or cathedral, on mountain or in glen, can I hope to feel that the Lord God is more near, more visibly walking and talking with men, than under that humble cottage roof of thatch and oaken wattles. Though everything else in religion were by some unthinkable catastrophe to be swept out of memory, or blotted from my understanding, my soul would wander back to those early scenes, and shut itself up once again in that Sanctuary Closet, and, hearing still the echoes of those cries to God, would hurl back all doubt with the victorious appeal, “He walked with God, why may not I?”
This weekend we’ll be hosting our annual missions conference here at the church building. Lots of us in the young adults group are at a place where we are wondering what God’s will is for our lives, or what the future holds. I don’t know what connotations rise up in your mind when you hear the word “missions,” but may I commend this day to you, whether you think you’re a “missions” person or not? One very good friend of mine had his life radically altered at one of these days a few years ago. So you may come and find exactly the kind of “big picture” direction you’re looking for. Or maybe it will simply be a horizon-expanding experience, to see how global the work of God is, and how it extends beyond our smallish worlds. Or maybe it will just stir you up to pray and look at the world around you everyday in a more intentional, Gospel-centered way. Regardless, it will be worth your time. And you can definitely afford it. Here’s the details: Speakers: David Guzik- David is the new Senior Pastor of Calvary Chapel Santa Barbara. He has been in pastoral ministry since 1982. For the past seven years, David and his wife have been missionaries in Siegen, Germany directing the Calvary Chapel Bible College there. Craig Linquist- Craig Linquist has been the Pastor of Calvary Chapel of Entebbe in Uganda for the past seven years. He is from a long line of Missionaries, & the grandson of Alan Redpath. He has much to share on passion, service, surrender, obedience and the blessing of missions. His facility is complete with an exciting church, school, farm and medical outreach. He and his wife Loren have three tremendous sons who are also incredibly given to the service of the Lord. Serge Poteau- Serge is the Senior Pastor of Calvary Chapel Port-au-Prince in Haiti. Calvary Chapel Port-au-Prince started with a couple of home Bible studies at the end of 2006. Since then the Lord has grown the church to 3 services on Sunday: 7am, 9am, and 11am and a Wednesday night service at 5:30pm. CCPAP currently ministers to about 200 adults and 100 kids weekly.
Workshops on serving as amissionary in:
Europe, South America, Africa, & Asia
Who Can Come- This conference is open for all believers that have a heart for missions, and want to know more about the Great Commission. Current Missionaries, Senior Pastors, and Missions Pastors are encouraged to attend as well. Cost- This Conference is free When- Saturday, May 19th, 9am – 5pm Any questions or for hotel accommodation information please contact Carlos Kalczuk at 215- 969-1520, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org To download the brochure click here.