Cross found on all donkeys' backs?
There is legend that the crosses on these donkeys appeared after Jesus rode one into Jerusalem (read Matthew 21:1-11). There is no evidence that this is true. The dark stripe in the form of a cross was a trait in these donkeys long before Jesus lived. However, the fact that Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem is very important. It fulfilled a prophecy that was spoken 500 years before Jesus lived, and showed He was the Messiah (read Matthew 21:5 and Zechariah 9:9).
Dear Prayer Partners
1} President Obama and his advisors
2} the men & women serving in our armed forces and their families
3} Bobby- a missionary in Haiti who was flown back to the states with a broken back
4} Holly- recently gave birth to a son
5} Hailey- has Hodgkin’s lymphoma and is unable to work due to it
6} Margo- recovering from a stroke
7} Dan- has Leukemia & an inoperable brain tumor, the tumors in his stomach and lung have been removed successfully
8} Christine- recently gave birth by an emergency C-section and her new son is in critical condition
9} Living Waters A/G looking for a youth pastor with a vision to reach the youth
10} Dennis- having problems breathing
11} The Holm Family- death of a loved one from cancer
12} The DeRien Family- death of a loved one
13} The Fraley family- death of a loved one
14} Eugene- is battling cancer
15} Schimmica- husband is having an affair
16} Kevin- has some serious dental problems and is recovering from emergency oral surgery
17} Faith- is hospitalized after a heart attack and partial amputation of right foot, has a serious infection in heart, lungs and kidneys and is back on dialysis
18} Chantella- is expecting her 1st baby in the spring
19} Julianne- having difficulty with her pregnancy
20} Marc- family problems
21} Tom- problems with weight control
22} Achan- has HIV, an infection in her lungs and gall bladder is shutting down
23} Rick- has bulging disc in his back
24} Noah- a toddler having complications from heart surgery, has a very high fever
25} Frank- fighting depression
26} Gloria- hospitalized after passing out at work
27} Chaplain Sam- recovering from eye surgery
28} Chaplain Jay- preparing for a missionary trip to Uganda next year
29} For all the unspoken and personal requests that people have
30} For us at Highway Mission Outreach that we will continue have the doors opened to share the gospel and the needed finances to carry out the ministry of the mission and as we plant The Cross-Roads Chapel
31} For Michael Frankland, Gill Ainsworth, Mark Ainsworth, Tracy Ainsworth, Tony Wood, Eileen Walsh, and Elaine - break down strongholds in their lives
Opening Our Hearts to God
Psa. 19:14 - May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable before You, O Jehovah, my rock and my Redeemer.
Acts 13:22-23 - And when He had deposed him, He raised up David for them as king, to whom also He testified and said, I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man according to My heart, who will do all My will. (23) From this man's seed, God, according to promise, brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus.
~~~~~ Words of Ministry ~~~~~
Both of the above passages are related to David. Psalm 19:14
is a prayer of David, while Acts 13:22-23 is a description of
David. In David's prayer, there are the “words of my mouth”
and the “meditation of my heart,” or the thoughts of the
heart. He prayed that he would not only be kept in his words
outwardly, but also be acceptable to God in his thoughts
inwardly. The words of the mouth are an expression of the
thoughts of the heart. The heart is the root problem.
Whether or not one outwardly says the right words is not the basic problem. Whether or not one has an outward attitude in his speaking that is right is also not the basic problem. The
thoughts of the heart are the basic problem. The thoughts of
the heart constitute the root problem and cannot be overlooked. David did not merely pray, “God, may the words of my mouth be acceptable before You.” He added to the prayer, “May the meditation of my heart be acceptable before You.”
David's prayer was for the thoughts of his heart to be
acceptable before God. This is why Paul could later testify
that David was a man according to the Lord's heart. A person
who is according to God's heart allows God to touch his heart. If you will not allow God to touch your heart, it will be hard for you to be one who is according to His heart.
Many Christians ask, “Why is it wrong for me to do this? Why
is it wrong for me to say this? Why is it wrong for me to
express myself this way?” Brothers and sisters, whether or
not you are doing the right thing, saying the right thing, or
expressing yourself the right way is not the real problem.
Rather, is your heart right when you are doing such a thing,
saying such a word, or expressing yourself in such a way?
What is the condition of your heart? What is the condition of
the root? Even if you are right in every outward thing, it is
still possible for your heart to be wrong. God is touching the condition of your heart and asking about it. He allows many winds and waves to beat upon His children for this very reason.
He uses these things to touch your heart and to expose the condition of your heart.
By C.H. Spurgeon
"For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called" (Isaiah 54:5).
JESUS, the Redeemer, is altogether ours and ours for ever. All the offices of Christ are held on our behalf. He is king for us, priest for us, and prophet for us. Whenever we read a new title of the Redeemer, let us appropriate Him as ours under that name as much as under any other. The shepherd's staff, the father's rod, the captain's sword, the priest's mitre, the prince's sceptre, the prophet's mantle, all are ours.
Jesus hath no dignity which He will not employ for our exaltation, and no prerogative which He will not exercise for our defence. His fulness of Godhead is our unfailing, inexhaustible treasure-house. His manhood also, which he took upon him for us, is ours in all its perfection. To us our gracious Lord communicates the spotless virtue of a stainless character; to us he gives the meritorious efficacy of a devoted life; on us he bestows the reward procured by obedient submission and incessant service. He makes the unsullied garment of his life our covering beauty; the glittering virtues of his character our ornaments and jewels; and the superhuman meekness of his death our boast and glory. He bequeaths us his manger, from which to learn how God came down to man; and his Cross to teach us how man may go up to God. All His thoughts, emotions, actions, utterances, miracles, and intercessions, were for us.
He trod the road of sorrow on our behalf, and hath made over to us as his heavenly legacy the full results of all the labours of his life. He is now as much ours as heretofore; and he blushes not to acknowledge himself "our Lord Jesus Christ," though he is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords. Christ everywhere and every way is our Christ, for ever and ever most richly to enjoy. O my soul, by the power of the Holy Spirit, call him this morning, "thy Redeemer."
Thank you for your support and continued prayers for these new believers and this ministry!
In His vineyard,
We Shall Worship the Lord!
By John Piper
Do you delight more and more in the majesty and glory of God? Does your heart incline to worship God more consistently and intelligently and earnestly and intensely today than it did five years ago?
Is your love for your brothers and sisters in Christ abounding more and more so that you use your gifts more and more effectively to strengthen their faith and stir them up to love and good works?
And do you feel a greater burden for the lost? Are your prayers for unbelieving relatives and friends more consistent and earnest? Are your efforts to give a reason for the hope that is in you more bold, less ashamed? Are you becoming a world Christian with a zeal for the final mission thrust of the church to reach the hidden peoples?
If you can answer yes, we are making progress as a church. If not, we are failing in those areas. But at least we have goal and a definite Biblical theology behind it.
But it is not new. Listen to the way another pastor and teacher describes the meaning of membership in the church:
Membership, therefore, involves a personal obligation to promote the objects of the body as expressed in the covenant.
These objects are three:
1. The social, united worship of God...
2. The perpetuation and diffusion of the gospel...
3. The sanctification of its own members...
The church, thus comprehensive in its scope, looks upward to God, outward upon the needs of a lost world, and inward to the processes of sanctification in the souls of its own members; the neglect of any one of these grand objects of its organization imperils its whole design.
This is our philosophy of ministry. The quote is from Hezekiah Harvey, who was born in England in 1821 (The Church, 1879, reprint 1982, pp.35-36.). There is nothing modern or trendy about the priorities of our church. They have been around for two thousand years. They are tried and true, and it shouldn't bother us at all that they are not new.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
As you all are probably aware, Jennifer Knapp stated last week that she has embraced her same sex attraction and is now identifying as gay. She has done a number of interviews including this one with Christian Today.
Now, the finished product (her new album), titled Letting Go, is slated for a May 11 release and will be the first test of her fans' loyalty given confirmation of her sexuality.
While the decision to "come out" one month before her new album's release is a risky one, The Advocate said Knapp chose to do so partly because she didn't want people to love her music and then discover that their own values won't let them sing along full-throated.
"I think it's going to be shocking and feel like a betrayal to some people who live their spiritual lives through the music they listen to," Knapp told the LGBT publication.
Furthermore, the move provides Knapp a chance to be "wholly myself".
Over the past week or so I have fielded a lot of questions and one interview concerning Jennifer's decision to "come out." There has been a lot of conversation with a lot of various viewpoints. Whether you agree fully with the following quote from this post or not, I thought this was a very interesting insight:
In all this, Jennifer Knapp-the singer and songwriter-will likely be forgotten. Her status as a person, a person with sinful inclinations that obscure the radiant, recalcitrant image of God, will be pushed to the background as we focus on the only salient fact for us: that instead of simply being a minor Christian celebrity, she's now a gay minor Christian celebrity.
Jennifer Knapp, object lesson. For whatever we want to say. Objectification happens in many forms-and turning someone into a flash card for our broader spiritual lessons is only one of them.
Of course, such objectification is probably inevitable. After all, Jennifer Knapp isn't in your church. I'm going to guess she's not reading our blogs. And she's probably not your friend. She exists for most of us only as an icon of that funny phenomenon we call "Christian culture." And so because she has lent herself and her music-as all successful musicians must-to the objectifying press-machine that is Nashville, it's tempting to say that she deserves whatever she gets.
But that doesn't mean it's good, or that it justifies our own objectification of her. Especially when in every interview I've read, she's expressed reluctance and dismay that her sexuality will be used as a political football. And she seems, if nothing else, to be properly respectful of her differences with the Christian community. In other words, she seems to be want to left alone, even if her status as minor gay Christian celebrity doesn't allow it.
And so maybe, just maybe, we should respect her subjectivity, not turn her into an object lesson, and move on.
Jennifer has made a lot of money and fame in the contemporary Christian music scene. Just as she rightfully earned her recognition as an amazing artist, she has also earned the scrutiny that comes along with all of that celebrity. At the same time, we as Christians are called to see beyond the hype and to the real principles being played out on the national stage in front of us. With the Spirit's help we can consider Jesus' sacrifice for us corporately and for us individually. The Spirit will also help us consider Jesus' sacrifice for Jennifer as well.
One example of the objectification of Jennifer came when someone who was obviously very angry with her decision asked me:
So when do we come to the point of just flat out telling her that her "loving relationship" with this woman isn't love at all? ... that she is offending a Holy God?
I told this person that we need to step back and realize that God is fully aware of Jennifer's love for her partner. He understands the legitimate needs seeking to be expressed in both of their hearts and He also, fully understands the reasons why both have turned to sinful behavior to try and meet those needs. The truth is, Jennifer probably really does love her partner. We don't need to minimize or dismiss that. The beautiful and sometimes tragic nature of love is that we have free will on where and whom to invest it. Jennifer is investing hers into her partner. This ability to steward love is why God is so jealous for our love, it's a huge investment of our entire being. He entrusted that to us with free will so that it would be authentic. Rightly or wrongly, when one invests love in another ... that's an investment of the heart, soul and sometimes body of the person.
A very big deal indeed.
I have a feeling Jennifer isn't clueless that most Christians believe homosexual behavior is sin. I just wonder if anyone ever offered to share with her a redemptive view of sexuality instead of being heavy handed on condemning the behavior. To ask Jennifer to "repent" is to ask her to give up her hard fought battle to reconcile her life to herself. It's to ask her to sacrifice two of the biggest investments in her life (her partner and identity.) That is no small thing and should not be treated lightly.
Temptations, if they are of any worth as temptations, usually latch on to a legitimate need and point to sinful behavior as a way to meet those needs. However, in Christ, temptations are also an opportunity to recognize legitimate needs and pursue meeting those needs in biblically appropriate ways. Jesus was tempted in every way but never sinned. His Spirit can empower us to discover, learn and implement ways to meet our needs and turn away from sin. Right now, and not knowing her personally, it would seem that Jennifer is seeking to meet her needs in the only way she knows how or feels is an option. God understands this and I have no doubt is working in her life to provide His redemptive perspective.
Later I thought about this person saying Jennifer was offending a Holy God. That irritated me at the time and didn't quite know what to say without getting upset. So I was silent in the conversation but I wished I had said that instead of God manifesting in all His glowing glory and declaring how offended He is, He manifested as Jesus Christ. He didn't cross His golden robed arms, roll His heavenly focused eyes and snarkily guffaw a lightning bolt out of His mouth to express his offense. A tortured, grieving Jesus willingly outstretched His arms and was nailed to a cross. As He died, He didn't lament how badly His Bride, His Church, was treating Him. He asked the Father to forgive us for we know not what we have done.
If anyone had a right to abandon everyone who offended him, Jesus was that person. But He didn't. Instead He paid the highest price possible to forgive us in spite of us.
Jennifer says she knows the Lord. I assume that is true. And if it is true, He never lets go. He wants her and her partner (all of us) to know that He offers a greater love than we could ever imagine or think. His love outshines any human love and can satiate any soul.
Lord, empower us to invest our love wisely ... starting with You. Amen.