Monthly Archives: July 2012

2 Categories Of Wicked

Sometimes Mondays bring clarity. I’m glad for clarity but then I think, “Why didn’t I say it that way yesterday?”

Here’s my summary of the first Psalm: There are two kinds of people in the world and only two kinds. There are the formerly wicked and the wicked.

  1. There are the formerly wicked. The formerly wicked are now the righteous and blessed by grace through faith alone in Christ. They are a new creation, though sometimes they act wickedly. However, when they do act wickedly (according to the flesh – Gal. 5:16-21) they repent because they have repented of sin and believed in Jesus Christ. They were wicked but now they are righteous and so they are becoming practically what they are positionally, and they do this by gladly obeying the Law of the Lord (Ps. 1:2). And when this reality sinks in for the formerly wicked, they don’t get self-righteous toward the wicked but they invite the wicked to join them in Christ. After all, the formerly wicked aren’t better than the wicked, they just know and trust the only perfect human who ever walked the face of planet earth.
  2. There are the wicked. The wicked have no righteousness because they have not received Christ by faith. Christ lived with perfect righteousness in our place and then bore sin in our place. Even on their best day, performing their best deeds, they are still wicked because they have no righteousness a part form Jesus Christ. So they are positionally wicked and they therefore act practically wicked. We should not be surprised when the wicked act wicked. Though we ought to be bothered because they need a righteousness that we have in Christ by faith.

There are only two kinds of people in the world. There are the righteous and the wicked, or to say it another way, there are the wicked and the formerly wicked. Every person is in one of these two categories and Jesus Christ is the pivotal and essential difference. Either you trust Him or you don’t. Either you are wicked or you are not. It’s really that clear.

Reasons People Quit Learning

God is infinite. People are finite. Conclusion: We will be learners forevermore – even when we get to heaven.

But it must be especially true that we are to be learners while on earth.

Why then do people seem to quit learning? Why do they seem to actively avoid learning instead of putting themselves in the path of it?

Here’s is an attempt to identify a few reasons that people quit intentionally learning.

  1. They have arrived. In their own mind there is nothing else to learn.
  2. They know enough. They realize that haven’t arrived but they have enough to survive or get by. Also, what is there to know since they have been to high school and college and they have gone to church all their lives. What else could they possibly be missing?
  3. They are ignorant. Given a topic or discipline, they don’t know there is more to learn. They think all there is to math is addition and subtraction. Life is more complicated than first thought but no one informed them.
  4. They are comfortable. In this sense they have arrived and there is nothing else to want except to not be inconvenienced by something going wrong. But of course it will and when it does they probably aren’t prepared.
  5. They are easily satisfied. Another way to say what has already been said.
  6. They are self-centered and they don’t know it. Ouch! They don’t know that when they quit learning they are not only blaspheming the infinite God who wants to be known but they are also hurting others with their passivity. Few people live on their own island. Learning is not just about us, it’s about how to interact and serve others. We may think a given topic doesn’t apply to our situation, but I am confident we know someone for whom it does apply. Am I able to encourage them or have I chosen not to because of missed opportunities?
  7. They are too lax. Life is urgent and we need all the tools we can get. If a person was going to war would they go with the bare essentials or would they take as many supplies as possible to meet the challenge of whatever may come? Eternity is a long time to regret a wasted life and I’m afraid many people will look back and say, “Why didn’t I learn more so I could do more?” There are no mulligans so live with a sense of urgency that every moment matters.
  8. They are ashamed and discouraged by present realities based on missed opportunities. I think this maybe one of the biggest in the life of the Christian. For example, if they were to  go to a marriage, financial or parenting class/weekend they might think they will only be discouraged when they find out they aren’t where they ought to be and maybe even want to be. They might be discouraged to find out all the things they should have been doing. They might be overwhelmed and feel as though they can’t change. And the tragedy of any of these is they are further paralyzed and things get worse because they are ashamed to face reality so they avoid any kind of enrichment and correction all together which further perpetuates the problem. These people are very hard to help and they need it the most.
  9. They despise correction. Who likes it? Apparently the wise man:  “Reprove a wise man and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man and he will be still wiser, Teach a righteous man and he will increase in learning.” Prov. 19:8b-9
  10. They need help. I feel helpless sometimes trying to help the unteachable, but they need help the most and we can’t give up – at least if we are going to live for Jesus and love others instead of being unteachable ourselves.
  11. They need the gospel. Jesus did not die for us sinners to leave us the way we are. Settling in sin is to make a mockery of the price of redemption. Jesus died so that we might live to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24) and be controlled by the love of Christ (2 Cor. 5:14-15). We must always look to Christ and see what He has done for us so that we do not soak in shame or let others do the same. We must fix our eyes on Jesus (Heb. 12:2) and never give up in our pursuit of learning and knowing the LORD God through Christ.

Have you quit learning? Don’t give up. God will make it known by death when you can quit learning on planet earth. Do you know someone who has quit learning? Pray for them. Gently poke and prod them with invitations and heart-felt concern. But don’t let them give up and don’t give up on them.

Life is too short and too important to quit learning and living for Christ.

5 Questions Parents Should Ask When Their Child Misbehaves

How will you respond or how do you respond when your child disobeys, misbehaves or disappoints with their actions?

Most of us react and many times it is not pretty or helpful.

On Wednesday Nights at Converge we have been watching a 10 session parenting video by Paul Tripp called Getting to the Heart of ParentingI have found it to be very convicting and very helpful. I have found it to be biblical and theological and yet very practical.

Last night we watched session four (Click Here to watch) and Tripp continued to talk about how parenting should be about the heart first and then behavior. So often we are only dealing with the symptoms (behavior) of the heart and not the heart (causal core of all we are) itself. When we focus only on behavior we end up making disciples but not the biblical kind. Instead of making transformed and Christ-like people we make moralists and little pharisees.

We should want therefore to get at the heart. We want to get at heart issues that allow God to transform the whole person. After all, the heart is wicked above all things (Jeremiah 17:9).

But how do we get at the heart. How do we help our children move beyond behavior modification and moralistic performance to becoming a new creation who then lives to righteousness (1 Peter 2:24)?

Tripp recommends 5 very practical questions that have a very specific order. These questions are to be asked when a child misbehaves and disappoints. He stresses the order of the questions must not be changed.

  1. What was going on? The point is to get some sort of telling of the situation. Establish a story that reveals the perceived facts.
  2. What were you thinking and feeling as it was happening? This question goes after the heart. What was the motivation of the heart (causal core)? This question helps us teach our children that our heart is always desiring something and it helps us and them to evaluate it.
  3. What did you do in response? This question gets at the words and behavior that flow out of the heart (See Matt. 12:34b). It’s important to see the flow of how things work. Behavior is the result of the heart.
  4. Why did you do it? What were you seeking to accomplish? Again, this gets at the heart because it shows the motivation for what was done.
  5. What was the result? What did the heart produce in way of actions and outcome? It produced consequences and harvest. We sow what we reap.
Tripp argues that these questions teach us to slow down so as not to react only to behavior, but help us to see what is causing the behavior, and hopefully it helps our children learn to examine themselves in a biblical way to see that life is not just about behavior. After all, the older we get the more clever we are at crafting our behavior in a way that doesn’t look so bad on the outside, even if we are out of control on the inside. We are masters at camouflaging our deficiencies.  So the questions teach the parent and the child to think biblically because the Bible tells us that the reason we sin is because we are sick at the heart level.
We need to learn to be heart surgeons and not just plastic surgeons because it will not matter how good we look on the outside if we have lethal heart disease. And every person on planet earth does (Read Romans 3).
We must quit treating symptoms and treat the disease. Try these questions in order and see if they help you examine your heart and the heart of your child.

The Response of Eagle Heights to the Word of God – Part 3

On Sunday we tried something new, at least new to Eagle Heights. I asked every person to take the Information Guide Tear-Out and write something God has taught them in Acts (we just finished after 54 sermons and almost two years) or something God spoke to them in the worship gathering as the word of God was sung and preached.

Click Here for Part 1 (46 Responses)

Click Here for Part 2 (39 Responses)

Here are the final group of written responses (10):

  • “The smallest act of the saints is woven into the fine linen that will be worn b the bride of Christ.”
  • “God showed His love for us through the actions of both Christians and the reactions of the unsaved to Paul and Peter’s messages.” \
  • “PROVIDENCE. The gospel is larger than mere man. The spread f the gospel was not done by the instigation/direction of man. It was God-driven and not man-driven.”
  • “Great God, creator or everything, help me/us to be thankful for what you have given us in Christ, who are His bride, the church. Help me/us not to take the church universal and local for granted and my part in it.”
  • “I want to be more immersed in the word of God.”
  • “Love the word picture from Rev. 19 that the righteous acts of the saints are like the beautiful threads that make the wedding dress of the church.”
  • “I pray God would give me the strength and power to prepare for Him as fervently as a bride prepares for the marriage ceremony.”
  • “True service is not self-serving. Expect to be treated like a servant.”
  • “Thank you Lord for the church body and what it means to be a part of it.”
  • “I desire to seek eternal treasures and the praise of God rather than man. May I have an eternal mindset.”

I hope that this has been encouragement to those who took the time to read each of them. We must be a active and responsive people to the word of God. When we don’t take the initiative to respond we are in fact responding in a way that does not honor God and does not result in our joy in Christ. I want us to be a responsive people who determines to obey the word of God because we have thought about it and submitted to it.

The Response of Eagle Heights to the Word of God – Part 2

On Sunday we tried something new, at least new to Eagle Heights. I asked every person to take the Information Guide Tear-Out and write something God has taught them in Acts (we just finished after 54 sermons and almost two years) or something God spoke to them in the worship gathering as the word of God was sung and preached.

I did this because I want our faith family to be a responsive people to the word of our great God and King. I want our people to pour forth praise and not only be hearers of the word, but also doers of it (James 1:22). And I think it helps for us to read and hear the word of God and then actually come to a conclusion as to what God wants us to do with what we have received. I believe deeply that when we hear the word of God, we will respond to the word of God. Response is inevitable and no response is a definitive response.

So here is how the people of Eagle Heights responded to the book of Acts as a whole and to the sermon yesterday. I post this because I think it is helpful for us to see how God is working in the minds and hearts of others who are also in Christ. This is part 2.

  • “The Holy Spirit is there to empower and support us in spite of our inadequacies/weaknesses. We have no excuse not to be making disciples of all nations.”
  • “The promises of God are fulfilled in mind-blowing ways! He is always at work to accomplish His will.”
  • “I’m humbled by how big God actually is and how great His love is for us.”
  • “Acts 1:8. I want to serve and I want to go on mission trip during and after college.”
  • “I am thankful for people that take time to invest in the youth and that they take the time out of their day to come to youth group to encourage us and lift us up.”
  • “Just as Acts was an unexpected journey, so is our walk with Christ. There is no way of knowing how our life’s travel and trials will not only affect us, but those around us who observe our response to our journey in Christ.”
  • “Nothing I do for Christ is wasted!”
  • “Take care that your inaction is not action informed by unbelief.”
  • “Be more obedient and disciplined in seeking the Lord in my life. I need to surrender the feeling of rejection that paralyzes me to the Lord and walk in the Lord’s provision.”
  • “May I be ready to be treated as a servant. May I disciple with patience and love. Lord Jesus, may you be Lord. Teach me submission to the cross and Your word.”
  • “Lord, help to do they will and strengthen me in my weaknesses. Help me to serve others.”
  • “I need to be more diligent in God’s word and pray more.”
  • “The word of God has transforming power! Deeds not done for Christ are worthless. Help me to understand marriage more.”
  • “Lord, help me to do the Great Commission for You.”
  • “Thank you Lord that this is a time I can worship.”
  • “God, help me to never waiver in my commitment to the church and to serve you faithfully no matter the circumstances.”
  • “Perseverance. Help me to pick myself up and try again when I fall.”
  • “I am not daily living as if He were coming back today.”
  • “Lord, help me to serve you whole heartedly even when I get discouraged or when times are tough.”
  • “What am I doing to promote unity? What does God want me to be doing? Am I looking to Christ’s return? Am I anxiously awaiting it?”
  • “Please pray that my affection for Christ would grow.”
  • “It is amazing that I have been entrusted with the gospel. Thank you God! Help me not to take this gift for granted and give me the courage to share it always.”
  • “Lord, help me have the genuine heart of a servant.”
  • “I am committed to discipling others. I pray He will send me those I can pour my life into so we can grow together to be more like Jesus as we obey His word.”
  • “If you are going to act like a servant, be prepared to be treated like a servant. It is my prayer that I may joyfully have a servant’s heart for Christ.”
  • “Lord, I want to be a disciple. I have been discipled and it is my responsibility. I have been given your word and I need to proclaim it without shame.”
  • “I need to live in a way that expectantly awaits my Jesus, not in a way that only focuses on me. My selfishness is wrong.”
  • “Lord, help me to show your love in everything I do.”
  • “Lord, continue to work in me and show how to fully love others – Give me courage to share Jesus and my life with those I meet.”
  • “No service I do for Jesus Christ is ever wasted. I must prepare for His coming.”
  • “I want to be a witness for the name of Jesus daily.”
  • “This is His plan – for us to go and make disciples.”
  • “Lord help me to stop everything and follow you wholeheartedly.”
  • “The church is called to be committed to unity despite unfavorable circumstances.”
  • “Only the things of God are everlasting.”
  • “Although the church does a lot of things well, we need to show love to each other. We need to reach out to each other with the love of Christ. I will do my part.”
  • “It is only the word of God that changes and fixes us. How committed are we to share and show the world the grace of God and His love for us?”
  • “The authority of the word of God – that we are deeply committed to it (washed in). If you want to be a servant, be prepared to be treated like a servant.”
  • “God, guide me to be more loyal to you and strengthen my walk in Christ so that I can be ready for the joyous day when you come.”

There will be a Part 3 because of the many responses.

The Response of Eagle Heights to the Word of God – Part 1

On Sunday we tried something new, at least new to Eagle Heights. I asked every person to take the Information Guide Tear-Out and write something God has taught them in Acts (we just finished after 54 sermons and almost two years) or something God spoke to them in the worship gathering as the word of God was sung and preached.

I did this because I want our faith family to be a responsive people to the word of our great God and King. I want our people to pour forth praise and not only be hearers of the word, but also doers of it (James 1:22). And I think it helps for us to read and hear the word of God and then actually come to a conclusion as to what God wants us to do with what we have received. I believe deeply that when we hear the word of God, we will respond to the word of God. Response is inevitable and no response is a definitive response.

So here is how the people of Eagle Heights responded to the book of Acts as a whole and to the sermon yesterday. I post this because I think it is helpful for us to see how God is working in the minds and hearts of others who are also in Christ. This is part 1 because of so many responses. 

  • From Revelation 19:6-8: “Jesus is looking at an imperfect church as His bride. What love!”
  • “It is a privilege being a part of serving the members at Eagle Heights.”
  • “I loved Cole’s comment on Christ came not to be served but to serve. It gave me a new understanding of works. Great job Cole.”
  • “I am thankful for a pastor that preaches the Bible, and music pastor that sings the Bible and shows the congregation the scripture reference. I am thankful for the washing of the word and that I can be a contributing member to building a healthy body of believers.”
  • “I need to make disciples as I am going to college. Just because I am young doesn’t mean I can’t make a difference in the kingdom.”
  • “I am grateful for this unified church. Great job Cole.”
  • “After the study of Acts I say again: ‘Thank you Lord for including us Gentiles in your plan. I better understand what is meant by the Bride of Christ, the church. I want to be a part of the bridal party in Revelation 19:6-8.'” Mary Berry
  • “I am thankful for the clear concept of the one bride, one dress, one multitude. I am praying for the unification of Christianity across all denominations.”
  • “I am thankful the Christ has helped me become a man.”
  • “Thank you God for this church you pointed us to.”
  • “I am reminded that I should be working and planning and expectantly getting ready for Jesus’ return, just like a bride as she prepares to meet her groom.”
  • “I praise God for Cole and others who minister to our young people who are our next generation.”
  • “I want to stand fast in the faith during extreme hardship and adversity. I recognize the great power of the Holy Spirit.”
  • “I am thankful for opportunities that are given to share the gospel – many times in difficult circumstances with the help of the Holy Spirit.”
  • “Acts 26 – What are we convinced about that we will act on? Be fearless.”
  • “I am thankful for the blessings from God that I take for granted each and every day.”
  • “I am looking forward to Christ!”
  • “I am reminded that God is a promise keeper and that one day every knee shall bow and declare Jesus as Lord. I was also reminded that God’s plan is to use imperfect people to perform His perfect will.”
  • “I am thankful the Word of God is a living Word spoken to us.”
  • “1 Peter 3:15 – be prepared! As the bride prepares herself for the groom, we should be preparing ourselves to be presented to Christ.”
  • “All righteous deeds are in vain if the are not done for the glory of God. If Paul made his very life nothing for teh service of God, I can, at the very least give up some things too.”
  • “So thankful for a community that is actively growing closer to Christ.”
  • “What are we doing to prepare for Christ’s return? Good food for thought?”
  • “In order to be an effective part of the body of Christ we must be making disciples and serving others in love. This should be our number one focus throughout each day. We are called. I am called.”
  • “We need to be more consistent in our involvement with the church. We need to be more excited about our church community. We need to be more committed to daily prayer.”
  • “We ought to be working to make visible in this local church today, the future reality of the universal church in Revelation.”
  • “I am reminded that only God’s word has the power to change lives…not my words or the words of man.”
  • “As a church we need each other from the old to the young. We are a very united church and I appreciate it.”
  • “God does not forget His promises. If I were in Paul’s shoes, I would have wondered if I was ever going to be able to get to Rome and share about Christ; But, even after all he went through, God brought him there.”
  • “I am curious as why God would choose me to be a messenger of the gospel….But very thankful for that great blessing.”
  • “There is no excuse for not sharing the gospel. The life of a Christian is not easy but worth it.”
  • “You will be my witnesses – – even to the ends of the earth.”
  • “No matter the hardships that come into our lives, God is always faithful to see us through as long as we are in His will.”
  • “Praying for others is an act of discipleship. I had never thought of it in that context.”
  • “Thankful for a church in the world. I am encouraged to keep on keeping on.”
  • “Saul could be transformed to Paul through Christ, even with the past he had – and it was used for good.”
  • “You shall be my witnesses.”
  • “I learned where the people along Paul’s journey fit into his life and which churches they belonged to. I am thankful for Cole, being faithful to the word and bringing it boldly.”
  • “I am thankful that God has brought me to a group of people who loves God and loves others.”
  • “Acts has taught me that when trouble comes or persecution comes, to not let it get me down.”
  • “Acts is all about the life of the church and the church needs to be active for Christ, not passive about Christ.”
  • “We must share the word of God.”
  • “It has been encouraging to me to see God describe how the gospel will spread (Acts 1:8) and the watch it spread as Jesus said it would.”
  • “I am thankful for this church and for the committed staff to share the word of God! The unity and closeness they share with each other committed to disciple each of us each week! Thank God for your word and for committed servants to share it.”
  • “The Holy Spirit is there to support us in spite of our inadequacies/weaknesses. We have no excuse not be be making disciples of all nations.”