The Worldview of Materialism (Part 2)

If you haven’t read my previous post, click here.

So who is the only one that can fulfill our need to treasure something?

The answer? The ultimate treasure. And according to scripture, Christ is our ultimate treasure. He’s the only one who we can keep getting more of and never get let down by. Because Christ is infinite, we can never dry up the resource of his love for us. We keep seeking, and he keeps drawing closer (James 4:8).

When we pursue something material for ultimate pleasure, we get let dowbroken-72161n because that thing can’t do it. A new car can’t bring you ultimate pleasure because it’ll still leave you on the side of the road at some point in it’s life. It will break down. A better job can’t bring you ultimate joy because when you make earning money a priority, you’ll never make enough. You’ll always have to pursue something more. You can’t find it in a house because like the car, it will break down too. And we all know when the new iPhone comes out, just wait, another newer and better one will come out again next year!

I have personally struggled with this. I love my old Subaru Outback. At times I’ve idolized it’s practicality that when it breaks down, i feel devastated, i feel as if I’ve lost.

So friends, you’re not alone in stuff-centric america. I have temptations and struggles just like the next person. And i’m constantly striving toward loving Christ more than “things” and seeing Him for who He is: The ultimate treasure.

Some Resources For You!

I decided, because I had to go and update my auto insurance (which took a decent chunk out of my normal writing time) to give you all a list of awesome resources I have found invaluable in my walk with Christ, below are links and pictures, enjoy!

(click on the pictures for the link)

Desiring God
-For everything related to The Bible and life, plumb the depths of their many articles and sermons!
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Bible Gateway
-A great resource for looking up and reading scripture!

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Plugged In
-When it comes to new movies, it’s hard to tell how crude it’s going to be. Plugged In gives you every instance of Sexuality, Cussing, and anything else before you even watch it!

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Downcast (APP)
-The BEST podcasting app i’ve ever found, though it’s only on iOS, the interface is clean and easy to use. I found ALL of the sermons I listen to and easily download them daily. I great tool for sermon and teaching consumption.

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Update On Life #1

I want to firstly apologize that I haven’t made a post in quite awhile. The reason being would be that I have the greatest writers block of all – lack of time. Though that excuse (at least in my head) doesn’t hold water for long, as I’m reminded that Albert Einstein, John MacArthur, Al Mohler, and many others have the same 24 hours that I do.

All excuses aside, life has been a bit crazy with our (my wife and I’s) schedule being filled from 6am to 8pm some nights. It’s been a bit overwhelming at times, but we’re doing what we love.

I work in many different places, firstly for my local hardware store part time, and the rest of the time I work for myself and VT Branch company. The pay is good, so I’m very thankful for the funds to do things other than “get by” (i.e. go on a date). Though we are “getting by” we are living well and budgeting wisely I think. Money is so much less overwhelming when you write down where each bit of your paycheck goes! Anyways, I’m thankful for organization.

My wife is working part time at our local general store, I’m still baffled by her desire to work. I wake up and I don’t get excited about working, but somehow She does! I’m almost fully convinced she has the gift of contentedness. Her example of working hard (and being willing and driven) is very humbling to me, as it shows me where I’m weak and need to grow. She’s also the local librarian. Though the building is only open twice a week, she still enjoys it.

In other news…

Youth Ministry is in full swing! Our first Teen group had over 30 teens, and the next two we’re close to the same as well! It’s been really cool seeing God work through the teachers and leaders to get those teens thinking on some extremely important things.

An update on this week for me is that i’ll hopefully be playing dodge-ball Wednesday (tomorrow) night. So here’s hoping I own them all. Just kidding, only a few. I’ll try my hardest anywho.

Anyways thanks for reading, make sure to follow to get more updates and more posts on everything pertaining to life and Christ!

In Christ,

~Nolan

Every Breath Is Your Ministry

In the midst of life and all of its insanity, iv’e come to realize more and more that all of it, every breath i take is ministry.

But sometimes it doesn’t feel that way.

Our circumstances have been a bit crazy lately, though the car is fixed, (which we are very thankful for!) many things are a still a mystery for the future. But that’s life, an opportunity to learn and grow even when things don’t go the way we want.

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Amidst it all God has been really renewing my faith in His total control. Though it may seem a bit counter intuitive, all the trials and stress have brought me back to the throne of the king who’s really in control of it all. And that’s been the biggest comfort to me, knowing that God keeps His promises. And understanding that even though I may not see the purpose now (or may never until eternity) He is still working all things for His glory and my good.

So really, life is one big ministry.

We live, we die, and what’s it all for? Or rather who’s it all for?

As I watched my wife and cousin play a crazy game of badminton (pictured below) I thought of Gods purpose in the little things. What are ways I glorify Christ while playing a game? How can I love my wife well in the midst of stress? How can I praise Christ in everything?

And that’s when I was reminded that life is my ministry20140720-160059-57659900.jpg. God placed me here for a specific purpose. He elected me, saved me, and gave me the desire I have for ministry, and all I want to do is give back. Give back to His work and not mine. And as I wonder how and what that is, I’m learning to trust Him with every breath I breathe, to give each one to Him and let Jesus do the rest.

As my good friend (kind of) Jon Foreman once said “Every breathe is a second chance” and I want to live for Christ in such a way that each breath I’m reminded of the second chance that Christ’s blood bought for me on the Cross.

Thanks for reading! Make sure to follow me if you’d like more life and ministry updates! I just reached 50 followers and I’m so thankful that what i’ve been writing has resonated with some.

 

 

 

Be Biblical!

Though I’ll only be looking at two verses, I think they hold quite a few applications and meaning just in the short description. One thing that sticks out to me is how John always stays biblical. (citing the message of the Old Testament pointing to the meaning of everything, which is Christ) It makes sense after the fact now that we know that the Holy Spirit inspired him to write it. But have you ever thought about whether they knew they were inspired? Did they feel a certain power, or did the Holy Spirit quietly breathe revelations into their minds? Though I’m sure Moses knew it when God revealed the creation account, but I’m curious how the other writers (Paul, Matthew, John, etc.) “felt” (or didn’t feel) when writing the Bible as we know it today. Maybe someone has the answer, but it’s definitely interested me.

“Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining.”
~1st John 2:7-8

John makes clear we’ve had “the new commandment”, and from the context of verse 8 it’s referring to “Him” (Christ). The next clue to uncover would be what commandment of Christ is he referring to? There many such as: to love, serve, trust, live for Him, etc.

Be Biblical.

Don’t fill that in and assume anything! We’ll look at the context in Johns other letters and see what we find. In 2nd John 1:5-6 the commandment is: “the one we have had from the beginning—that we love one another.”

So it’s time for you to take an educated guess, are these “commandments” in both verses the same? Seems to look that way.

I’m going to set aside the command to love on another. Many have taken that way too far and twisted it to mean many things. I don’t want anyone to get lost in that trap. As John MacArthur commentated:

“this was part of the ethical instruction they received from the day of their salvation and not some innovation invented by John, as the heretics may have said.”

So from the many previous verses about living a holy life, fleeing sin, and trusting in Christ, this next commandment makes sense to the recipients as a message to flee sin (put off), and then love Christ and one another (put on).

As John adds to what believers should be doing (love one another) he makes it ever so clear that he isn’t making this stuff up! Christ gave the commandment and John was just a vessel to tell others. It’s kinda cool that while John was thinking about being faithful and not saying anything contrary to Christ (“I am writing you no new commandment”) Christ Himself was moving John’s hand to write the Scriptures! Mind-blowing.

Thanks for reading!

 

Theology Thursday #13 – A Friend Of Christ

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us”
~1st John 1:1-2

So I’m officially adding segments to the “Theology Thursday” category, where I’ll add whatever book i’ve studied so anyone can easily find what they’re looking for! Anyways…

I LOVE 1st John. It’s becoming one of my favorite books, maybe second to Romans, but it’s been really great reading through the whole thing on a daily basis. Getting the context, seeing the writing style, and understanding the message of this book has been 1451358_600850289969320_1683737291_nreally really cool!
Anyways… So as you can see to the right I’ve made some (very sloppy) notes on 1st John, mostly things that I may not totally get and need to study more, and some themes that a see emerging as I read (like his emphasis on the fundamentals of faith).

I’m sure many of you have heard of the claim that Christ was “just another great prophet”. I’ve gone through some of this Here. But one thing that many don’t take account of is this: They’re not the ones who saw Christ.
John, an apostle and pastor writes this “general epistle” (meaning not directed at a certain Church) with a very clear statement of Christ himself being “That which was from the beginning”. This creates a very clear picture to all those questioning. Jesus is God.
Now, some skeptics would then say: “Your proof is….?” John then in turn debunks quickly and concisely with,

 “which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands”

So the message here is that John heard, touched, and saw Christ. Living. On Earth. And also saw him resurrected, which validates his first statement of Jesus being God.
You’ll find that these Ol’ Bible writers are pretty sharp! After all, the Holy Spirit was inspiring them! (2nd Tim 3:16)

So further along John again mentions seeing Christ, but also doing something because of it! He couldn’t just leave it at that. He wanted to “testify” to the truth, which was from the father, and which was “made manifest” to us. In Christ Jesus our Lord.

What strikes me is that many skeptics in our day (i’ve heard this first-hand) say that anyone can read the Bible and it means “whatever you want it to”. Although you can take verses out of context and mix up a heresy or two, when read in context, the Bible is so readable! You could give it to a child and they could tell you what it meant! So John really got these point across:
-I’m an eye-witness to Christ.
-He’s God.

So, take it or leave it! We have the report in from an eye-witness. Hard to get any better than that!
Thanks for reading!

Thoughts On True And False Worship

So I enjoy reading. Though I’m not your typical read-for-hours- and-hours type of guy, I do enjoy a good book.

Recently I received free from Grace To You (John MacArthur’s Ministry) his brand new book called “Strange Fire”. I’ve recently heard many sermons from its respective conference, and I’ve enjoyed them immensely! 1484189_582050838515932_1505076904_n
Though I know much of the content of the book may make people a little wary, with the candid Biblical view on things, but it nonetheless it shows to be a well-written, well-informed, well taught book! I’m enjoying reading it.

The basic gist of it (though it’s very in-depth) in a nutshell is, as the cover says: “The danger of offending the spirit with counterfeit worship”.

Recently that’s been on my heart. God says in Exodus 20:7 to not take His name in vain. He makes it very clear. And that’s really been on my heart.

Have I been saying/doing/living in a way that I say God’s fine with, but he actually isn’t? Am I ascribing to Him glory for something He doesn’t approve of?

These are just a few questions that I think about. Because if God’s biblically not OK with something, and I say he is, then I’m being blasphemous. We see what happened to Nadab and Abihu for doing the same in Leviticus 10. God takes this seriously.

We also see in John 2:13-17 where Jesus cleanses the temple from the people who blasphemously made God’s house a “Den of Thieves”. Now that’s very strong language used by our Lord, but nonetheless He knew that those people were defiling the temple with their greedy, self-indulgent view of worship, and we notice He didn’t passively stand around and say, “well… maybe you should leave.. it’s up to you.. if you feel like you should stay maybe it’ll be OK.. I know it’s against God, but I’m sure he really doesn’t care.. after all, it isn’t hurting anyone, right?”.
Nope, Jesus did something very drastic about it. It goes to show how much God cares about His name and His glory. He’s the best thing out there, so He deserves our submission to what He says for His glory and our good.

And as i’ve said, we find those answers in the Bible.
I’ve been slowly finding my answers to my questions regarding the Holy Spirit and what real worship is, and it’s been encouraging knowing that in many ways, Gods grown me in this area, and it’s encouraging too that when i inevitably fail in meeting his standards, He stands with open arms giving me another chance through Jesus Christs atonement on the Cross for me. And through it all he’s slowly changing my heart to be more like Christ. So thankful for that!

Thanks for reading!