>Another Great Prayer from Scotty Smith

>So many comments I’m prone to add, but I’ll let Scotty’s prayer stand on it’s own (which is a good thing):

     Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. Romans 14:1-4

     Jesus, the more I travel the more I realize just how diverse the Body of Christ is. We see many things quite differently, sometimes to the point of critical attitudes and painful separation from one another. So I find great comfort in the last affirmation of this text morning. We will stand on the Day of judgment, not in our “rightness” but in your righteousness. You will cause us to stand, and for this we will praise you eternally. The good work of the gospel will come to a perfect completion in each of us (Phil. 1:6). Hallelujah!

     But until then, it’s often complicated. I have a fresh appreciation of the challenges Paul faced in serving the multi-cultural, poly-perspective, socially-complex, theologically-diverse churches of Rome. The continuum of “weak faith” and “strong faith” has never seem broader to me, and the conflicts between “meat eaters” and “non-meat eaters” are increasing.
     Jesus, help us recognize the difference between disputable and indisputable matters. What is clear in the Scriptures, and what is not? The line often gets challenged, blurred or changed. I certainly realize your faithful servants will disagree about many issues until your second coming. But give us fresh humility to tremble at your Word, as the court and garden in which we will have these very important discussions. Help us steward our scruples with kindness and mutual respect.

     Jesus, give us wisdom and grace for relating to those who seem to relish the role of “vocational weaker-broker”—fault-finders, conspiracy-hunters, liberty-smashers and self-appointed prosecuting attorneys in the Body of Christ. Help me know how to love them. More often, I just want to avoid and run from them.

     And give us wisdom and courage for engaging friends who have turned Christian liberty into epicurean fantasies—“Eat, drink, and be merry, for we have a big gospel!” Having escaped legalism they now feel free to indulge, even over indulge in many things once considered taboo. I’m tempted to join them, Jesus, but show me… show all of us, what real gospel-freedom looks like. You are our loving Master, not our social masseur. Help us to do all things to your glory with your joy. So very Amen, we pray, in your holy and healing name.

>Son & Spirit’s "Job Description"

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“Obviously the Spirit did not die for our sins, but there are less obvious implications of this fact. The work that Jesus Christ does for us is a vicarious, substitutionary work: he steps into the place that we occupy and offers himself to God in our place. As a propitiation for sin, the incarnate Son replaces us and bears the wrath of God on our behalf.
“The Spirit, on the other hand, does not substitute for us but empowers us. He does not take our place but puts us in our place. And in carrying out the great work of atonement, the Son completes the work once and for all in his death and resurrection, but the Holy Spirit takes that completed work and applies it to individual people.”

— Fred Sandershttp://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=jacksjots-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=1433513153&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

>They’ll Be Watching Us…

>Don’t remember where I first heard this, but it is so true in rhyme, and in Ryle’s words after:

You’re writing a gospel,
A chapter a day,
By things that you do,
By words that you say.
Men read what you write,
whether faithless or true,
Tell me, what is the gospel,
According to you? 

“Let us often ask ourselves whether we are doing good or harm in the world. We cannot live to ourselves, if we are Christians. The eyes of many will always be upon us. Men will judge by what they see, far more than by what they hear. If they see the Christian contradicting by his practice what he professes to believe, they are justly stumbled and offended. For the world’s sake, as well as for our own, let us labor to be eminently holy. Let us endeavor to make our religion beautiful in the eyes of men, and to adorn the doctrine of Christ in all things.”

~ J.C. Ryle

>Way Too Convicting…to me…

>This was a tough read for me from PETE WILSON

REVERSE JUDGEMENTALISM

Several months ago I learned via a phone call that a particular religious group was going to be picketing at our Cross Point Nashville campus. This religious group based out of Kansas is famous for showing up at churches, religious organizations, and funerals of service men with what I consider to be vulgar picket signs. A few of the signs I’ve read before have said…

-Thank God for 9/11
-God hates fags
-God hates Jews
-You’re going to hell

I don’t know any other way to describe them but as religious bigots.

They didn’t show on that particular Sunday. They did come to Nashville, as expected, but stopped at another church. There was a part of me that was really looking forward to confronting them. I’ve rehearsed my speech to them in my head over and over.  I was a bit embarrassed though by just how harsh my rehearsed speech had become.


I remember hearing Matt Chandler say, “We must be gracious to the grace killers.”

I honestly hate that. I really do. I deeply struggle with this concept.

Grace to sinners? Yep.

Grace to screw ups? No problem.

Grace to self righteous, pride filled, judgmental types? Ummmmmm, not so quick.

I’ve found that it’s much easier for me to show grace to the homeless drug addict then it is the person who thinks our music is too loud at church.

It’s easier to show grace to the unwed pregnant mom then it is the lady whose barking about the church not doing enough for her kids.

It’s easier to show grace to the guy whose had the affair then it is the person who thinks Christians should never watch TV.

The problem is if you don’t extend grace to the grace killers….well…. you are them.

>Thursday Tozer Tidbit of Truth

>Okay, this is more than a tidbit…but it is important to remember that just because elements of the world abuse or ruin something, it ain’t necessarily bad…like meditation….it is not a “new age” thing…it is our thing, and here are wise words from Tozer:

I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your works; I muse on the work of Your hands, I spread out my hands to You; my soul longs for You like a thirsty land. –Psalm 143:5-6

Among Christians of all ages and of varying shades of doctrinal emphasis there has been fairly full agreement on one thing: They all believed that it was important that the Christian with serious spiritual aspirations should learn to meditate long and often on God.

Let a Christian insist upon rising above the poor average of current religious experience and he will soon come up against the need to know God Himself as the ultimate goal of all Christian doctrine. Let him seek to explore the sacred wonders of the Triune Godhead and he will discover that sustained and intelligently directed meditation on the Person of God is imperative. To know God well he must think on Him unceasingly. Nothing that man has discovered about himself or God has revealed any short cut to pure spirituality. It is still free, but tremendously costly. That Incredible Christian, 135.

“Slow me down, Lord, and quiet my heart this morning. Favor me with an acute awareness of Your presence as I meditate quietly for the next several minutes. I want to know You, God, so I can indeed move well beyond that ‘poor average of current religious experience.’ Amen.”

>Impudent Prayer!

>This is a good reminder from RAY ORTLUND

“I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs.” Luke 11:8

“Impudence” is the key word.  Other versions show “importunity,” “persistence,” “boldness,” “shamelessness,” and “brazen insistence.”  All good translations.

The word is anaideia.  That’s the negative prefix an + aideia (“shame, respect, modesty”).  Souter glosses it as “shameless persistence (e.g. in greed).”  The ESV translates it “impudence.”  More casually, we might call it “nerve.”

Jesus is teaching us to pray impudent, nervy prayers, because that’s when we get serious with God.  He likes that, and doors start opening up.  Matthew Henry: “We prevail with men by impudence because they are displeased with it, but with God because he is pleased with it.”

As we enter 2011, how are we praying?  Do we have the nerve to ask God for what we really long for and what would really display his glory?  Let’s not settle for polite prayers that bore us and change nothing.

>Stay Cross-Eyed

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“One moment’s believing, close contact with the cross will do more to break the heart for sin, deepen the conviction of its exceeding sinfulness, and disenthrall the soul from all its bondage and its fears, bringing it into a sense of pardon and acceptance and assured hope, than a lifetime of the most rigid legal duties that ever riveted their iron chain upon the soul.”

—Octavius Winslow