Archive for July, 2008

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One

July 29, 2008

“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything but I can do something. Because I cannot do everything I wont refuse to do the something I can do.” 

Helen Keller

“To sucumb to the enormity of the problem is to fail the one.” 

Sharon Cohn

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Perfect Faithfulness

July 28, 2008
            Yesterday, my friend Naomi came back to speak at our church after spending a year as a missionary in Chad, Africa. She shared so many things about how God was using her over there and how He has remained faithful. If you don’t know Naomi, she is a mighty woman of God. While many of us still don’t know what we want to do with our lives, Naomi says that God called her to go to Chad, Africa when she was only 8 years old. Over the years, the Lord has spoken more clearly to Naomi about that earlier call.  She shared with us Isaiah 25:1, O LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago.” 
             God told Naomi to go to Chad when she was 8 and over that time He has remained faithful to her and used her to do “marvelous things”.  This verse is so inspiring to me.  Sometimes it’s hard for me to wait for what God has for my life.  It’s so good to be reminded that He has “perfect faithfulness”.  Not good faithfulness, great faithfulness, or amazing faithfulness, but he has perfect faithfulness.  It took Naomi 15 years to see the start of how God is going to use her, and believe me, He’s not done yet. In a culture where the young and women are looked down upon, God is using this 24 year old to do things that have never been done in that area of Africa.  She has been invited to speak at many different churches and areas where they haven’t had women preach to them before.  She’s teaching children, evangelizing the lost, raising up leaders, and remaining faithful to God like He has to her. 
      So if things don’t seem like they will happen in your life, hold on.  God has perfect faithfulness. 
 
 

 

 

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The Church Is a Whore, But She’s My Mother

July 24, 2008

First off, let me apologize for the title. It might be a bit vulgar, but it definitely stays with you.  I just watched “Lord Save Us From Your Followers” and heard Tony Campolo talk about this quote. The main point was originally stated by St. Augustine of Hippo, who talked about it I don’t know how many years ago. But Campolo dug it up and expounds greatly on it:

“It is certainly true that our congregations have, at times compromised the radical requirements of discipleship prescribed by Christ, and you may find yourself put off by the church because of its failure to be faithful to his teachings. But I would urge you to consider this fully, and to think about the words of St. Augustine: “The church is a whore, but she’s my mother.” That statement brilliantly conveys how I feel about church. It is easy for me, like so many of the young Evangelicals I know, to note the ways the church been unfaithful as the bride of Christ… Unquestionably, the church too often has socialized our young people into adopting culturally established values of success, rather than calling them into the kind of countercultural nonconformity that Scripture requires of Christ’s followers (Romans 12:1-2).

Why, then, do I encourage you to participate in organized religion and commit yourself to a specific local congregation? Because, as Augustine made clear, the church is still your mother. It is she who taught you about Jesus. I want you to remember that the Bible teaches that Christ loves the church and gave himself for it (Ephesians 5:25). That’s a preeminent reason why you dare not decide that you don’t need the church. Christ’s church is called his bride (2 Cor. 11:2), and his love for her makes him faithful to her even when she is not faithful to him.

Through the ages, God has used the church to keep alive and pass down the story of what Christ has done for us. It is the church’s witness that has kept the world aware that Christ is alive today, offering help and strength to those who trust in him. The story of Christ would have been lost during the Dark Ages if the church had not sustained it in monasteries where the Scriptures were laboriously hand-copied while barbarians were tearing down the rest of Western civilization. Church councils have protected Christianity from heresies by examining new theologies. Today, it is against two thousand years of church tradition that our modern-day interpretations of Scripture are tested. In short, it is the church that has preserved the Gospel and delivered it into our hands.”

 

These are excerpts from Campolo’s book, Letters To A Young Evangelical.  I love the way he expounds on this quote. Many who call themselves “Christians” these days are either not following Christ the way He called them to, or bashing on the “Church” as a whole.  I remember something that author Margaret Feinburg mentioned once.  She explained that the bride might be bloodied with stains and wholes in it’s once white dress, but the groom (Jesus) is still so passionately in love with her and is still coming back to rescue her.

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Clarity vs. Trust Part 3

July 21, 2008

So this is the video of what I was talking about in part dos.  I also had the awesome opportunity to be at Kendall Payne’s live worship album recording last night. It was really cool. Check out her stuff if you haven’t heard her yet.

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Lord Save Us From Your Followers

July 20, 2008

This guy Dan Merchant made a documentary about why the gospel of love is dividing America.  Then he showed it to the most liberal college in the U.S.  Check it out.

I haven’t seen the whole movie, but have watched many clips.  I think learning how the world sees us, will help us measure what kind of impact we are making.  Isn’t this what we’re all about, making an impact in the world for God?

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Clarity vs Trust—Take 2

July 16, 2008

Wow, this was pretty crazy.  So I was praying this morning for direction in taking steps for my future and was thinking about a story I blogged about a few months ago.  Check it out here (https://taylorlyall.wordpress.com/2008/04/09/clarity-vs-trust/).  I was asking God for clarity, but then I remembered the story and knew that He wanted me just to trust Him.  After I was done, I went on my computer and started watching Cornerstone Simi Valley’s podcast and during his sermon, Francis Chan invites Kendall Payne up to sing a song.  She then tells the same story and sings the song that she was inspired to write after hearing the story.  She is the one who I originally heard this story from.  I just thought that was pretty crazy. God is trying to tell me something, and I hope you hear it too.  It’s ok if you don’t have clarity about everything, just trust in Him.

These are the lyrics to Kendall Payne’s song “Pray” she sang following the story:

I will pray for you now, for you have been my faithful friends
While the road we walk is difficult indeed
I couldn’t not ask for more than what you’ve already been
Only that you would say these prayers for me
May your heart break enough that compassion enters in
May your strength all be spent upon the weak
All the castles and crowns you build and place upon your head
May they all fall, come crashing down around your feet
May you find every step to be harder than the last
So your character grows greater every stride
May your company be of human insignificance
May your weakness be your only source of pride
What you do unto others may it all be done to you
May you meet the One who made us
And see Him smile when life is through
May your blessings be many but not what you hoped they’d be
And when you look upon the broken
May mercy show you what you could not see
May you never be sure of any plans you desire
But you’d learn to trust the plan He has for you
May your passions be tried and tested in the holy fire
May you fight with all your life for what is true
I have prayed for you now all my dear and faithful friends
But what I wish is more than I could eever speak
As the way wanders on I’ll long to see you once again
Until then, would you pray these prayers for me?
Oh, that you would pray for me

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Home Run Sized Grace

July 15, 2008

I know most of you didn’t watch the Home Run Derby last night, so let me just tell you of something that was just another milestone to an already amazing story.  Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers hit 28 home runs IN THE FIRST ROUND! The next closest competitor hit 8.  This was the most anyone had ever hit in a single round ever.  This is a great part of this guy’s story, but he would probably tell you it doesn’t even compare to what God has done for him.  He was drafted #1 out of high school less than a decade ago.  In 2004 he was suspended the entire season for using drugs.  This was actually good for him. He moved in with his grandmother who eventually led him to turn his life to God, which turned his life around. 

Hamilton is the frontrunner for the American League MVP this season, but that is not even close to what’s important to him.  After hitting 28 home runs in one round of the derby, he said, “How am I here? I can only shrug and say, ‘It’s a God thing,’ It’s the only possible explanation.”  He later said, “Baseball is third in my life right now, behind my relationship with God and my family,”  “Without the first two, baseball isn’t even in the picture.”

I am definitely looking forward to see how God continues to work in this guy’s life.