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Catch me if you can…

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April 12, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

boys will be boys…but men will fight

“One day I was watching a fight and a hockey game broke out” – Dad HA!

So I have been praying, “Lord, give me a new heart” so that I won’t have to struggle, battle, or succumb to sin and temptation.

And here is the thought process that led to me praying this verse. We know that sin originates in our heart. Jesus constantly tells the pharisees that their sinful action is actually just the product of a sinful heart.

So I figure, if Jesus can change my heart, the source of my desires, then choosing righteousness over sinfulness would be the result.

Well, here is why this is incorrect. (By the way, the Spirit convicted me of my prayers while praying – awkward -) This verse comes from Psalm 51 when David is repenting. But it was prayed out of context! Look up just 2 verses to verse 8 and see how he prays that the bones that God broke would rejoice.

And so I am going through Jeremiah right now. And in chapter 50, God is telling of His wrath that is coming to Babylon. He starts playing the opposite game. We see this with diviners/fools and warriors/destroyed. Later we see treasures/plundered and waters/dried up.

Well, God mentions horses, chariots, and troops. So what is the opposite of a  military? At first I thought they may become dead or weak or disabled. But God says, “that they may become women!”

The point is this:

It is God’s desire and our hope for a new heart. However, when we look at Scripture, we see that men are called to fight and wrestle with temptation. That God doesn’t tempt, but does allow us to be tempted for the purpose of proving His power in us accomplished at the cross as we overcome.

You see, God gives us a pure heart through Jesus being victorious day by day in us as He enables us to overcome temptation. Thus, the broken bones rejoice in the new heart that is awaiting.

Jesus, thank You for the victorious work at the cross! Spirit, thank You for convicting us of prayer…while we’re praying. God, give us clean hearts. But show us that in our weaknesses, You are our only successful Hope and Strength. Be our Strength and Courage. -Amen

April 8, 2010 Posted by | A day in the life, Christ like | Leave a comment

Practical Gospel (part 3)

Community

So I was thinking of what the small group that I lead may look like someday.

Principle:

I often wonder why God allows so many different denominations (and maybe divisions) in His Church. I used to think that it was so that they could reach a certain people group. For instance, a pentecostal church would attract an extrovert while a presbyterian church may attract an introvert.

But I now believe that they are there for God to destroy specific idols in a community. For instance, Harmony and Summit would combat religion in the south while a church in Washington D.C. would show how the Gospel eliminates pride and the love of power and money. You get what I’m saying?

Well, then the principle is that if the church targets idols, then shouldn’t, or at least couldn’t, small groups?

Practicality

So I was thinking of the a small group that I will lead one day. I was thinking of how I am called to preach the Gospel to worshipers of the successes of medicine (pride, power, money). So why not have a small group that meets on Monday nights. Why Monday night you ask? I will tell you.

6pmish: start official small group

8pmish: watch House, M.D.

Effectiveness

Here is my thought behind this; We would gather as a gospel community to enjoy small group. But then we would continue to enjoy gospel community with an INCREDIBLE opportunity to invite nonchristians who love/worship medicine while we ALL watch House, M.D.

I know what you’re thinking: What about when House isn’t on?

Well, you are talking about the football season and suddenly the ex-worshipers of medicine will begin to see Jesus and the Gospel through Monday Night Football! : )

Christian: What idols are you worshiping? (mine may be football)

What idol are your friends worshiping?

How are you reaching these friends with the Gospel?

All Else: What makes you happy?

Gather with people who enjoy this same thing.

Is there something more satisfying that you may be missing?

Jesus, burden our hearts and equip our hands for Your kingdom.-Amen

April 5, 2010 Posted by | A day in the life, Community, House, M.D. | Leave a comment

Instant Karma

So I watch House on a regular basis.

Karma is the belief that when you do good, you cause good to be done to you and when you do bad, you cause bad to be done to you. This was one of the major themes in House last week.

In this episode, the patient is a young boy who is dying of an unknown cause (until 8:50). While watching his son suffer, the father blames himself. The father told Dr. House of how he has been involved in many billion dollar deals and has become very wealthy. The father says, “Everything I touch turns to gold. Except my family. First my wife, and now my son. It’s Karma.” The father was so set on this belief of Karma that he bankrupted his business in the belief that this would make his son well.

The religion is karma and its god is self

Folks, this is why Karma is so attractive. Because you are the god! Notice that it is you who controls the world through your actions. By you being good, you have caused circumstance and fortune to worship you as they, in turn, do good to you.

The Holy Spirit revealed this to me when the father blamed his son’s approaching death and only possible healing through his own actions. I immediately thought, “How in the world could you be thinking of yourself when your son is dying in your arms!?”. And the answer is that no matter what goes on around us in life, we will immediately turn to our god.

So who/what do you turn to?

Non-christian: You could easily turn to yourself through Karma. However, you suck as god. If you die, then your god is dead and all will proclaim, “How great is your god!”. You will never be, “good”. Jesus tells the religious people that, “No one is good except God alone.” This means that only, “bad” things are in store for you according to Karma.

But I have great news! That it is by grace that we have been saved. And that Jesus loved us and died for us while we were sinners. That although we all deserve, “bad” from the One True God, He gives us, “good” (Jesus). Repent of your sins and He is faithful and just to forgive you and cleanse you of all unrighteousness.

Christian: Don’t confuse Karma with Justice. Karma says that when we do bad, we cause bad “things” to happen to us. Justice says that when we do bad and sin, a Holy God punishes us.

But remember that the Gospel says,

But he was wounded for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his stripes we are healed.”

Be encouraged that Jesus was punished by a Holy God for our sinfulness. We rejoice this weekend because Jesus was man enough to endure God’s wrath and walk away from it with battle scars. This is the God we worship!

Jesus, thank You for taking our place at the cross. It truly should have been us hanging there; not taking the punishment of mere soldiers, but taking the wrath of a Holy God. Thank You that You loved us in our sin and have redeemed a people to worship and praise You. Let us never be ashamed. -Amen

April 2, 2010 Posted by | House, M.D., Isaiah | Leave a comment

Identity

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

5:20am – Get up

6:30am – Start work

2:50pm – Dad calls;

Hey Dad!”

Hey son…heard from ECU today.”

“...yeah…

Uhh…you…you didn’t get in...

what?…

You did not get accepted…

I’m so sorry bud

4:50pm – Almost break down crying while waiting for Oil Change

– Kept replaying in my mind my parents having to tell their friends, coworkers, and family that I didn’t get accepted…again.

-Felt like I let them down.

-Felt like I was embarrassing them as they told their community

8:15pm – broke down in front of men from small group as we were repenting and praying for one another

-prayed over:

“Jesus, I just ask that You would remind Brad that his identity and significance is found only in You. That You would be the center of his heart and mind. That Brad is not praised because of applying to medical school, but because of Your calling on His life as an adopted son on mission…”

The Spirit really began to do a work in me at that very moment. I thought about the lie of disappointment from my parents. I put myself in their shoes. I thought about how I would feel if my son got rejected from med school a second time. About my son who loves Jesus passionately and His church to the point of sacrificing family time for ministry time and seeing lost souls meet their Redeemer. I thought about the pride I would have in him at that moment; the moment I think of my son and see Jesus.

2 Other words of encouragement from friends

Catherine: “It’s not ECU rejecting you, but simply God guiding and leading you”

Chris: “Dog, God’s call on your life to be Pastor Doctor is still evident. Dude, don’t be discouraged. Just think of what God has done in me and you since August regarding our walks with Christ and being manly men. God is just wanting to prepare and develop you a little more before sending you off to the battle front.”

Jesus, forgive us when we put our hope and identity in things other than You. Thank You for saving me. Thank You for living in me in such a way that my heart breaks for what your heart breaks for…a lost and hopeless people. Jesus, keep me focused through believers around me. May we continually point one another to You and the work accomplished at the cross. I love you and will continue to pursue what you have called me to. -Amen

April 1, 2010 Posted by | A day in the life, Community | 1 Comment

Practical Gospel (part 2)

THE LOCAL CHURCH:

PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS!

So what does the Gospel look like practically? The local church. And more specifically, the local church on mission to reach their community with the Gospel. I recently preached at Harmony Church on how Hebrews 10 shows us that the Gospel leads to the local church, which in turn leads to local church on mission. The podcast and clips from that sermon should be up soon and I will post a link for those interested.

But I think a big question for Christians today is the role of the local church when we have parachurch organizations. To be clear, a parachurch organization is an organization that exists to reach a desired people group with a select people group. These include The Goodwill, campus ministries, CMA, and other organizations. And to flesh out the definition, look at the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. It is a campus ministry (that I love and was a part of @ ECU) that exists to spread the Gospel through sports. Naturally, its members and participants are those who enjoy sports. But this isn’t a local church.

You see, throughout the new testament, the local church (body of Christ) is spoken of clearly and multiple times. Also notice that when the Holy Spirit (God) came to earth at Pentacost, the result was a local church. This is just how God has chosen to do things. So why don’t we stop ignoring it and become a part of it. Also, Titus 2 talks about how the old men and women are to teach the young men and women. This is difficult in a parachurch organization because most of it’s members are of the same age and people group.

Now, I will say this. Many christians today shamefully use parachurch organizations as an excuse not to give to the local church. The best truth in this was pointed out by JD Greear a few weeks ago. He pointed out that, in the old testament, God’s method of working on the earth was through the temple. This is where God lived and ministered to His people. And out of this, God commands His people over and over again to give their tithe and offering to the temple. Then JD went on to say that in the new testament, and still today, God’s method of working on the earth is through His local church. And therefore, we christians are commanded to give our tithe and offering to our local church. This was just made a lot of sense to me, so I’d thought I would include it.

Now, hear me. I am NOT preaching against parachurch organizations. They are great and have done great things. However, I am preaching FOR God’s local church. When a single mother is trapped in alcoholism and drugs with her kids rebelling like crazy, it will be the local church she runs to.

Christian: Let’s be the local church that meets the mother with the Gospel of Faith, Love, and Joy.

Non-christian: I know you love calling us christians out when we mess up. Well, we mess up often when it comes to our involvement with our local church. SO PLEASE!, CALL US OUT ON THIS! Thanks : )

(btw, you’re always welcome to come in)

Jesus, let us reach our communities for Your kingdom through our local churches. Empower Your Church to do just this. -Amen

March 30, 2010 Posted by | Acts, Community | Leave a comment

Practical Gospel (part 1)

Mission

Jesus tells us in Luke 14:27 and 9:23 to be His disciples and carry our cross. The question is where to? I was wrestling recently with God’s call on my life to be a doctor in order to preach the gospel to doctors (and in turn medical students for 4 years). After thinking, praying, and discussing possibilities with Chris the other night, a very immediate and practical solution came about.

In medical schools, there is an organization called the Christian Medical Association (CMA). Based on reports from a 3rd year med student at ECU, a 1st year med student at UNC, and an account in, What I learned in Medical School, it is apparent that this, “ministry” has become dormant. It has become a small group of people who meet every so often, talk about God, and go home and about their medical school career the same way they entered. Chris told me that, sadly, the Pharmacy School version of this Association is in the same health.

SHAME ON YOU CMA! SHAME ON YOU! YOU CLAIM TO WORSHIP JESUS, YET YOU KEEP HIM HIDDEN LIKE A DIRTY SECRET THAT YOU ARE ASHAMED OF. SHAME ON YOU. DO YOU EVEN KNOW THE GOSPEL? Shame on us. I am not ashamed if people outside this room hear me, because at least they are hearing SOMETHING come from us.

Medical students, know that you had to compete and work very diligently in order to get accepted into medical school; in order to have the CHANCE to become a physician. But know that there is much more work needed to make ourselves blameless before a holy God. Know that you were so full of sin that Ephesians says that you were DEAD in your trespasses. Know that when you were dead and could do nothing of your own accord that God Himself became the solution. In John 1, God becomes flesh and His name is Jesus. Jesus lives the life we never could live and dies the death we should have died. That there is an exchange at the cross. Jesus receives the sin that exists in our hearts and we receive His righteousness. But, more than that, Jesus conquers the sin He became for us by rising from the dead and sitting at the right hand of the father. THIS IS GLORIOUS NEWS! CALL ON THE NAME OF JESUS AND BE SAVED FROM YOUR SIN. REST in the work He did at the cross in redeeming you.

For those of you here who do claim Jesus and keep this redeeming message a secret – shame on you. Shame on us. Let us be known in our med school more than our association is known. Let our fellow medical students who are struggling with their sin and the troubles of this world look to us before they look to the association that we claim. When medical students need help, let them think of OUR names – not the name of CMA. CMA doesn’t save. Jesus saves and lives in US – not associations.

In saying that, I encourage you in this; The purpose of us meeting here at CMA is not to form a, “holy huddle” and talk about how bad the, “outsiders” are. But instead it is to mobilize and take practical steps in reaching our fellow medical students and our community with the Gospel.

Let’s pray.

This is the sermon that I will fearlessly preach by the grace, and for the glory, of God to CMA if I get the opportunity. Until that opportunity, I will simply live out the Gospel and preach that by which I live to the students around me.

Nonbeliever: 1) I apologize for all the times that I have neglected you with Truth that can set you free.

2) Jesus loves you, in spite of your sin, and displayed this by giving His life for you on the cross. Your only satisfaction will come through Him. Accept the work He did at the cross.

Christian: 1) Daily carry your cross. This means a) remember Jesus’ work at His cross. b) display the Gospel at your work, home, and community.

I know what you are thinking…”What about the church?” Great question! We will examine this during the next post. : )

Jesus, thank You for dying on the cross and calling us to repentance. Forgive us when we deny the power of Your gospel by ignoring the sinful and dying world around us. Keep the cross ever before our faces as we seek Your face daily. Let us not neglect to meet together as is the habit of some. Jesus, redeem the students in the medical school You send me to. -Amen

March 27, 2010 Posted by | A day in the life, Christ like, Community | Leave a comment

‘another notch on the belt’ christianity

So the main question is how does the church keep from making new christians another, “notch on the belt”?

We are called in scripture to preach the Gospel. But one of a concerns I see in my life is that if somebody rejects the gospel, it is easy to just give up and move on to the next guy. And if somebody accepts the gospel, then it would be a moment of rejoicing; then back to work one person at a time.

But it can get easy to just treat people like those notches on the belt. Saying, “This is how many people I have presented the gospel to.” Or, “This is how many people have accepted the gospel”.

In writing this, I think the problem is that this mindset involves me holding up the belt. However we know that salvation is of the Lord; not us.

As much as it is about numbers (there is a whole book in the bible on this), it is truly about relationship.

First is our relationship with Jesus. Yes, He is the one who holds the belt, but it only has one notch: His Bride The Church. So as He adds to His kingdom, He isn’t making more proud notches, but just expanding the only one He has and cares about.

The great news is this: Jesus has included us in the beautification of His bride! Think about it; As Jesus saves people and clothes them in righteousness, it is He who is getting the glory.

So as we, the local church, worship Him and preach the gospel to those around us, Jesus uses us to adorn His bride; making her one more soul beautiful and making Him all the more glorious.

Jesus, thank You that we do nothing to save those around us. But instead, You place us where You want us to be so that You can be glorified all the more. Jesus I ask that You would show us the fruits of our labor. That we would see Your bride being made beautiful just as You see her every time another eternal soul calls upon Your name. Be our Rest, Motivation, and Energy. – Amen

March 22, 2010 Posted by | Community, Isaiah | 3 Comments

Radiological Preaching

So, incredible thing happened at work today. I typically hang out in the X-RAY department during my down time at the hospital. I have gotten to know the ladies well who work down there and they laugh and joke with me regularly.

But today something AMAZING happened. They were talking amongst themselves and said, “…the flesh is weak…” and I jumped in and said, “…but the Spirit is willing! Wwwelllllll.” They busted out laughing and I went about my day.

When I returned, they were asking me about what denomination I am and what church I go to. They said that they see me watching podcasts all the time…oops. ; ) Anyway, I discussed what it means to be Gospel-Centered and talked about how, from the Gospel, we can have marriages that don’t fall apart and know how I can be a man who loves my wife like Christ loved the church…oh yeah; at the cross! See, back to the Gospel.

Anyway, it’s always cool and fun when those opportunities present themselves, so don’t pass ’em by!

March 17, 2010 Posted by | A day in the life | Leave a comment

I’m thinking Arby’s

…But everyone else is going to Wendy’s.

This was the case with me last night. I had, “been thinking Arby’s” all day long because I had a coupon burning a hole in my pocket. So I had psyched myself up just to find out that the guys from our small group were going to Wendy’s.

Now I know what you’re saying, “Jesus Saves! So why shouldn’t I with my coupon, right?” But unfortunately, the weight of the challenge on my last blog and the Holy Spirit on my heart begging for community, I was forced to keep my coupon and let go of my dreams of Brad Beamon alone with his french dip.

But it was a great time at Wendy’s. One guy even ordered the Baconator in the heat of the moment. Nothing extra special happened just because I chose community over solitude (gasp), but at the end of the day, I don’t regret my decision.

So there was my last community meal…when was yours?

March 11, 2010 Posted by | A day in the life, Community | Leave a comment