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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What in the name of Merlins beard?!?!

"1 Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." Ephesians 4:1-3 (NASB)



"1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; 2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma." Ephesians 5:1-2 (NASB)



I LOVE those verses. They have much truth in them and they work together so well. What's interesting to me is that even if I didn't believe in God and the inerrancy of the Bible the way that I do, I think eventually I would have because of how true His word is when you apply it. You dont even have to be a Christian to realize it. You could take a lot of the wisdom from any of the books of the Bible and apply it to your daily life and test its legitimacy and the outcome would speak for itself. I believe what I believe because of the truth that is in the Bible, specifically what Jesus did and continues to do for me. Jesus isn't dead. Jesus isn't some minor prophet that is second in comparison to Muhammad. Jesus isn't what many peoples t-shirts refer to Him as when it says He is their "homeboy." Jesus isn't some nice dude who wore long dress things and had long wavy brown hair who spoke softly and every once in a while decided to heal sick people to bring up His street cred. Jesus isn't some inspirational baby character we decorate our yards with once a year when it gets cold outside just so we can look spiritual. What Jesus IS is a Savior. What Jesus IS is alive. What Jesus IS is all powerful and in complete control. So why dont we spend some time tearing down the lies we make ourselves believe so that we can be comfortable Christians, stop watering down the truth so we can avoid being offensive, and start living "in a manner worthy of the calling" with which we have been called?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I want to be a fan too!

So I was on facebook and something hit me in the heart hard. I noticed a trend, something I'm even a part of. On facebook you can become a fan of something (whether it be a band, a store , or one of those universal truths it seems we have). Some of the truths we find in these fan groups are funny. Like one topic I became a fan of was this "Sending an important text, then being scared to open the reply you got back." It's funny how we see these fan pages on facebook and we laugh about them. We laugh because we know its true, we have experienced it before. As I read all the different fan pages I have become a fan of, I noticed I wasn't the only one who became a fan. The number is literally in the hundred thousands (643, 788 fans for the texting page one). Something dawned on me. If something as silly as that could be true for many thousands of people, how much MORE true is it then of how much we are all in need of a God, the one and only true God? If something like being scared of reading a response someone texted us is so universal or true for so many people, then isn't the same true about our spiritual depravity or need for God? YES! Yes it is! We need God. We don't need God just for certain seasons like Christmas or Easter or when life is tough and we say a tearful prayer even though we know we haven't consider what God wanted for our lives before that moment. We need God EVERY moment, in the good and the bad. God sustains each of us regardless if we believe in Him or not. God doesn't need our permission to hold each of us up, to give each of us another day, or to give us the air we breath. God does what God pleases and He isn't wrong. How could a perfect being, a perfect God be wrong? He can't, it's impossible, it's not in His nature. It's interesting. God does what He pleases. Think about that. Seems selfish right? It's not. He knows what's best for each of us is HIM so He doesn't want to withhold Himself from us. In fact, God made a way for us to be together. He sent Jesus as a substitute for all the sin, all of the junk in our lives. But wait, God does what pleases Himself. That means it PLEASED God to send His son Jesus to be our substitute, that means God DESIRED US! What does that say about how much you are worth to Him? It says a lot. He was willing to step down as a human to pay a price for something WE were and are guilty for. How unfair that He had to do that, but He did! Take some time to reflect on this truth. Reflect on what Jesus did for us, that God desires all of us, that we ALL have a daily need for God. So why don't we join this universal truth, not on facebook, but with our lives and become a fan of what God has and is doing.

Thankful,

Nick Jones

Sunday, December 27, 2009

I'm supposed to do what?!

     I don't know about you, but I had a great Christmas. My heart goes out to those who didn't have a good Christmas this year. I know that my words don't take away the hunger that millions of people felt this year. I know my words didn't give shelter to those who were in need of a home or even provide clothes for those who spent their year battling harsh weather on the streets, but my heart is filled with compassion towards them. Instead of beating myself up saying "I wish I could do something" like many people do (and I catch myself saying it too, I'm just as guilty of accepting defeat) I decided something needs to be done... rather, I need to get involved.
     You might wonder what inspired such a conclusion. I'll tell you. For Christmas I got a gift card to Barnes and Noble and I bought a book today called The Hole In Our Gospel by Richard Stearns. From the beginning paragraph of chapter one I immediately realized something (not just within the confines of my mind, but in the deepest part of my soul). I realized that Christians, including myself, are called to live out Gods kingdom, as it is in heaven, here on earth! I know we get so familiar with church that we can become desensitized to such terms or ideals because we hear it so much, but this is truly important. Catch this please. The Gospel, or the "Good news", goes WAY beyond salvation through Christ and forgiveness of our sins. This kingdom we hear about is captured in the Beatitudes (Matt. 5:3-10). Most of us are familiar with it and it goes like this:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted...."
In Stearns' book he says "The kingdom of which Christ spoke was one in which the poor, the sick, the grieving, cripples, slaves, women, children, widows, orphans, lepers, and aliens - the 'least of these' (Matt. 25:40) were to be lifted up and embraced by God. It was a world order in which justice was to become a reality, first in the hearts and minds of Jesus' followers, and THEN to the wider society through their influence. Jesus' disciples were to be the salt and light to the world."

     Did you catch what I'm getting at? It starts first in the hearts of the believers, us! Then through our influence others would catch it, they would see what we have, and they would be changed, but NOT through coercion! "God's love was intended to be demonstrated, not dictated. Our job is not to manipulate or induce others to agree with us or to leave their religion and embrace Christianity. Our charge is to both proclaim and embody the gospel so that others can see, hear, and feel God's love in tangible ways." According to Luke 17:21 the kingdom of God lives within us. I'd say that leaves us with much power and responsibility to put our faith into action or work. If people think there is a "hole" in our gospel, it's not because the Bible lacks instruction or isn't clear on issues. The issue is that we, "Christians", have chosen to pay little attention to the scriptures instruction and wisdom. The problem isn't with God, it's with His followers. Let us take heed in God's instruction for our lives...not to be legalistic, judgmental, or to have a "holier-than-thou" attitude, but to demonstrate what we claim to believe. If we really believe what God claims, why are we fighting against what should be our treasure?

In awe,

Nick Jones

Thursday, December 24, 2009

What do you desire this Christmas?

So I was watching The Pink Panther 2 and about 10 minutes into the movie, my dvd player/surround sound system decided to just not work. I'll be honest I got angry - maybe not violent, but still it upset me. Here I am a twenty year old and I'm letting an object get the best of me; how silly. The more I thought about it, something hit me: It's just a material possession, it's not my treasure, Christ is. I had to check my heart at the door so-to-speak and realize what's really important. I know it may not seem like a big deal to many of you, but think about it. If I don't master my own life, my heart, my actions...then it will spill over into other aspects of my life. Do I really want to get upset/be angry over other silly things and make myself lose respect in others eyes and while doing so compromise my character? The obvious answer is no, but If I never take the time to deal with the issues and blow them off and say "it's nothing big, it's just a small issue" then I won't progress in becoming more like Jesus each day. It seems to me the older I get, the less presents I ask for. Every year I can't come up with any present ideas, my heart has changed. I'm not saying getting presents is sinful or unholy, I'm just saying it isn't my motive/desire/treasure in the Christmas season. The older I get, the more I find my purpose, my identity, In Jesus. It is so easy to find our purpose, identity, our treasure in this world, but this is NOT my home, I'm just a visitor so-to-speak. May Christ move in your life and change your heart and may you find your treasure in Christ, not just in the Christmas season, but in every day you get to live. Christ deserves more than one day in December each year to think about Him. May we ALWAYS remember and treasure Him in our hearts.

In love,

Nick Jones