despite my groaning

"The Response of a Sufferer" {Hab3}
* When given choice of responses to suffering, best choice (faithful choice) always praiseful acceptance of God's will
* Response#1: Prayer
- Ch1&2 build in frustration, but ends in ch2 (v20) in quiet.
- Then Ch.3 begins as prayer
* Response#2: Waiting
- Hab recalls evidences of God's grace in v3-15
- Recounts blessings of God as he waits on God
* Response#3: Rejoicing
- v16-17 = No matter the circumstances or situation
- v18 = Rejoice
- Cross the ultimate redemption of all suffering & sin
- "Your sufferings are not so great as your sins" -- Thomas Watson


woes are still coming after these

"Does God Leave Sin Unpunished?" {Hab2:6-20}
* Woe: Prediction of God's just judgment
* Woe#1: Against greed & pursuit of wealth
- Will lead to sudden reversal
* Woe#2: Against unjust gain
- Will result in strong regret
* Woe#3: Against violence & exploitation
- Will bring a shallow return
- v14 also Isa11:9
* Woe#4: Against drunkenness
- Will bring disgrace & retribution
* Woe#5: Against idolatry
- Will be profitless
* Hab2:20
- Temple = Heavenly throne
- After all woes, God still in control
- Will not leave sin unpunished
- God will prevail
* Application
- Repent
- Make good choices
- Believe


complete in the same mind and

Going to offend with this post, but don't really care. The American Idol finale was this week, and in an "upset" clean-cut singer Kris Allen beat media darling Adam Glambert (sic). Glambert is gay and wears eyeliner, and shrieks like a banshee; Allen is married and smiles alot and led worship in church. They didn't announce vote totals, leading many to believe that it wasn't even a close contest. In a recent interview the finalists discuss their feelings on the result.

Allen makes an interesting statement. He had hoped that his faith and Glambert's sexuality would not play into the voting -- that America should have only taken their musical skills into consideration when picking the winner since this was a singing competition and not a Presidential election. And many would agree with this statement -- hence the outrage at the result. Was Glambert a better singer, a more creative artist, a better musician? Absolutely.

But here's the thing: I do not buy the position that we should keep faith out of our vote. Faith should NEVER be kept out of anything. The devil wants you to believe that faith is something that can be separated from your everyday life; that faith is something that doesn't have its place in some areas of your thinking. That kind of thinking is exactly why Obama is president. But it is a profoundly wrongheaded view of faith. It is in my opinion the reason we have so many lukewarm Christians. These believers think they can have parts of their lives and parts of their belief systems and perspectives be unrelated to faith, allowing them to be so much like the world in everything they do, including voting.

What these lukewarm don't understand is that our whole life is one war. Everything we do and think is part of this war. This is the reason Paul writes Ephesians 6. And even in something as insignificant as a singing competition, our faith matters. We lose and the devil wins when he can make us put blinders on our faith. When we pick anything -- President, American Idol, Best Picture of the Year, favorite sports team, you name it -- our choices, our way of thinking needs to be controlled by our faith in Jesus Christ. CS Lewis understood this point, and made the greatest of quotes: "I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else."


and fastened to the cross

One of my biggest grievances against my current church is its lack of crosses. Not only do we not have one on top of the building, but we don't have any on the walls within the building. I'm sitting in a hospital dialysis ward, and there's a nice brown cross beneath the clock on the wall. Getting to the ward, I pass two other crosses. If there's a bigger indictment against modern Protestant churches than the fact that I see more crosses in a hospital than a church, I don't know what it is.


was worth a year's wages

I never watch the show Survivor, mainly because I hate people as a general rule, and hate listening to people speak. And reality shows exist by filming real people speaking. Except that the people who get chosen for these shows are in the top percentile of most annoying people to ever open their godforsaken mouths, oh why won't somebody kill them already so they never speak again?

Anyway, I was playing games on my iPod Touch while it was on for the wondrous one, and my ears perked up at the end when one of the finalists had to choose which of the other two annoying people he wanted with him in the head-to-head vote for a million dollars. And his choice was between an annoying waif who would be easy to defeat in a vote, or the annoying person whom he had promised to take with him to the end. Basically, he had to choose between an easy million-dollar win, or his integrity. I would've bet my house that he was going to sell out his integrity for a million dollars. Moment of truth: I'm pretty sure I would've sold my integrity for a million dollars. Lo and behold, he proved me wrong. Turns out that there are good people in this world, and sometimes they make good decisions in the face of potential criticism. And he won the million dollars. (Should I have said spoiler alert first?)

Happy ending for everyone except me. The happy ending for me would've been the studio exploding, and the world being nine annoying people smaller in number. Here's hoping for a happy ending next season.


"God Are You Really Fair?" {Hab1:12-2:4}
* Perspective not same as reality
- Faith lives in this gap between perception and reality
* Hab's 2nd complaint
- Wrong perspective (v12-17)
- Underlying complaint: Your actions don't fit Your nature
- Uses four names for God (YHWH, Elohim, Kadesh, Rock)
- God has ordained difficult circumstances for life of all His children
* Hab's response
- Determination (stand watch)
- Isolation (station on ramparts)
- Expectation (look to see)
- Teachability (and what answer I am to give)
* God's 2nd Answer
- Will certainly happen
- If it seems slow, wait for it
- But righteous will live by faith (v4)


but when he awakens, behold

Reading through 1Kings, and as I read through the list of people who reigned over this and that and walked in the sins of their fathers, a word kept appearing in reference to what their behaviors were doing to the Lord: the word "provoke". A quick con search lets me know that 53 instances of that word appear in the NASB -- with the vast majority of them being used in the context of people doing things to irritate a patient God. I get the picture of a sleeping lion with a dumb kid and a stick and a death wish.

I can't open up a newspaper or browse CNN or turn on the TV without reading or seeing someone irritate me with their bad decisions. If it's not another state going against majority wishes to allow sodomy, it's another fool claiming to present the real truth of the historical Jesus. And sure, they can keep kicking religion when its down, and I keep thinking to myself, "Keep at it. Keep at it. That stick is this close to complete provocation." And trust me, when the the Lion of the Tribe of Judah is provoked, that death wish is about the dumbest wish in all of history.


that we may give an answer to

This is late from Sunday, but I wasn't there, so second-hand info anyway.

"Where is God when I Need Him?" {Hab1:1}
* Does He answer prayer?
- Doesn't listen if you're living in sin & disobedience
- No, your request is outside His purposes for you
- Yes
- Now now
* Background to Hab
- Minor prophet, but still important
- Name means "embracer"
- Written approx. 607 BC (reign of Jehoiakim)
- Babylonians strong, Israelites in disobedience
- Ch1&2: Complaints & His answers; Ch3: psalm of trust
* Complaint #1
- Prayers going unanswered (v2)
- Why do you tolerate wrong?
- Circumstances are unbearable (v3) (injustice, destruction, violence, strife, etc)
- Corruption rampant (v4)
* God's answer
- In the hands of God to accomplish His will
- Prov21:1, Rom13:1, Ps75:6 -- God raises up those who He wants to accomplish His desire
* Application
- God working even when we don't see it
- We need to trust and wait upon Him


Your servants who delight to revere Your name

In yesterday's post, I mentioned the movie Evan Almighty. I won't spoil it for you completely, but my absolute favorite scene in the movie is at the end when God is rejoicing with Evan over his obedience (come on, not really a spoiler -- you know this is going to have a happy ending). And when I watch this scene, I can only think of the word "delighted".

Great sermon topic for the future, methinks, this idea of God being delighted by what we do and who we are. A quick concordance shows slightly over 100 verses containing the word. And this idea of a God who is always watching what we do can be seen as something ominous and Big Brother-y and scary, or it could be seen as a God who, like a parent, is always making sure His child is safe and happy, and waiting for those special moments like that first step or that college graduation or that wedding day when because your eyes are sparkling, His eyes are sparkling, and there is such a great delight in Him for what you have done and what you have become that His joy is everything you've ever wanted.


with His disciples into the boat

I spent a recent post decrying believers flocking to see wholesome movies, so I won't be a total hypocrite and tell you to rent the movie Evan Almighty. But I will tell you that I was completely surprised by how well they captured the story of Noah's ark, and even more surprised by the accuracy of their perception of God's perspective on things. At the risk of spoiling the movie, I'll call out three particular instances:

Evan meets God but doesn't know who He is just yet. And when Evan asks Him, "Do I know you?" God responds, "Not as well as I'd like"

Evan, frustrated with all of the things being asked of him (the least of which is the building of an ark) asks God why He's doing all this to him (Evan). God responds, "Because I love you."

God is explaining to Evan's wife about how God answers prayers, and says (rough transcript): "If you pray for patience, does God make you patient, or does He give you opportunities to be patient? If you pray for courage, does God make you brave, or does He give you an opportunity to be courageous? And if you pray for your family to be closer, does He make you feel all fuzzy inside, or does He give you the chance to stand beside each other?"

I still believe you shouldn't be searching for wholesome movies just to be entertained. But searching for a movie teaches you something about God and His nature while entertaining you? Maybe that's different. Or I'm a hypocrite. Either way, stop watching Miley Cyrus and HSM. They're stupid.


all nations because of My name

"Missions for the Church in the 21st Century: LCCC and the Tamajaq People of Niger"
* We are image bearers of a Global-Minded God
- Expressed by all Scripture
- Emphasized by Gospel
- "The Living God is a missionary-minded God"
* We should be Global-Minded
- Motivation#1: Because of God's glory
- Motivation#2: Because of our mandate {Matt28:18-20, Acts1:8}
- Motivation#3: Because of the need
* The Need
- Unreached people groups (nations)
- Approx 10,000 unreached groups, or 2 billion people
- Last 30 yrs most successful period in evangelism in history
* We can be effective in global outreach
- By strategic thinking (prayer and church planting)
- By mobilizing needed personnel
- By mobilizing needed resources
- By knowing our adopted people group
* Application
- Be certain of own salvation
- Spread the Gospel globally
- Commit to pray
- Short/mid-term missions trip