Monday, November 24, 2008

Celebrate Recovery Service

We had the great joy of hosting the CR team from FBC Harrisburg, IL as we learned about the Celebrate Recovery Ministry. This ministry has tremendous potential to be a blessing to the people of Washington County, as we seek to apply God's Word to our hurts, habits, and hang-ups that dishonor him and destroy us.

I hope you will join me in praying for God to give Lighthouse clear direction regarding supporting and helping to start a CR ministry here in Nashville. If you were at the service, feel free to share your thoughts and reflections on it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

James Study - Week 11- James 5:1-12

Small Group Leaders...if you have questions regarding this week's study, feel free to ask here. This blog will be updated / checked daily.

Monday, November 10, 2008

God's Will and Presidential Elections

The message yesterday was based on James 4:11-17. In that context I shared that we are often fooled by thinking we have enough information to condemn another (ie. "stop passing judgment on each other") and by thinking we control our destinies (ie. presuming upon the future.)

In the context of presuming on the future I made a statement that raised a few questions. I said that "it was God's will that Sen. Obama become President Elect Obama." Now...why would a Nascar loving, God-fearing, unborn baby defending, conservative Christian make such a statement?

It seems to me that the Bible teaches that all those who rise to power do so with at least the permission of God's will, if not that active participation of God. So whether you opt for God's permissive will or God's active will, it was God's will at work.

I think, for example, of passages like Isaiah 40:23 that says:
"He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing." If God is able to do that to princes / rulers in power, it is no small leap to believe he can prevent people from acquiring power.

Further, Isaiah 41:2-4 says:

"Who has stirred up one from the east,
calling him in righteousness to his service?
He hands nations over to him
and subdues kings before him.
He turns them to dust with his sword,
to windblown chaff with his bow.
He pursues them and moves on unscathed,
by a path his feet have not traveled before.
Who has done this and carried it through,
calling forth the generations from the beginning?
I, the LORD -with the first of them
and with the last—I am he."

This is a passage talking about God raising up a king frm the east to bring judgment on his people. But, God ends up by taking the responsibility for the king's rise to power.
Another passage is John 19:8-11. There, we find this exchange between Jesus and Pilate:

"When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, 9and he went back inside the palace. "Where do you come from?" he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. "Do you refuse to speak to me?" Pilate said. "Don't you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?" Jesus answered, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.""

In this context, Jesus states that the power Pilate has (as a political leader) has come from God.
Based on these texts, it seems clear to me that the rise (and fall) from political power is within God's sovereign control. In other words, no ruler comes to power apart from God, in some way, putting him (or her) there. So while I do not like many of President-elect Obama's policies - indeed I find very few of them to be morally or biblically acceptable (i.e. stem cell research, abortion rights, homosexual marriage, et al) - God has a purpose in him being in office.

As followers of Christ I urge you to pray daily for our president.
Pray for God to give him wisdom and guidance.
Pray for him to resist the urge to listen to those who would lead our nation down the wrong path.
Pray for God to place wise counselors in his path.
Pray for his safety and health. He is our President and I can think of nothing worse than harm or illness befalling him.
Pray for his wife, Michelle, and their daughters, that they would not be overwhelmed by "life in a fishbowl" that is 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

I ask God's blessing on he and his family and urge you to do the same - regardless of your political affiliation.

For a great blog on what people are really thirsting for in this election, visit Mark Driscoll's blog at

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Drawing Near to God

James 4:1-10 gives us tremendous insight into the "human condition." In that passage, James begins by asking about the source of fights, quarrels, and disagreements. He ultimately sees the source of the problem as internal. We have unsatisfied desires within us. We seek to meet those desires with everything other than all that God is for us in Christ. In fact, we even ask God to give us things to make us happy...things other than him!

James calls on these folks to repent...something of an old-fashioned word for contemporary people. Repent means to change one's direction...and it implies sorrow over heading the wrong direction. James issues 10 imperatives...10 commands to his readers. He wants them to:

Submit to God (humbly bow before him and acknowledge him as our king)
Resist the Devil (he is the one seeking to lure us away from God)
Come Near to God (which means we have moved away from him)
Wash our Hands (Actions)
Purify our Hearts (Attitudes / Thoughts)
Change Laughter into Mourning
Humble Ourselves

Here's the deal...God is able to meet our deepest needs and desires. He meets them with all that he is for us in Christ. Anytime we try to meet those needs with anything else, we end up frustrated and angry...usually resulting in our relationships spinning out of control. Instead of seeking something else to fill the spot in our life that only God can fill, why not let Christ meet your deepest needs?