Thursday, February 25, 2010

"God Moments" while running

I love to run. It is a passion of mine. A while back I was listening to one of my favorite preachers, Mark Driscoll, and he said something that has drastically affected my life. Mark said, “Redeem you time”. Simple yes, but profound. So on most of my runs instead of listening to music, I listen to some of the best preachers from around the nation. Once again a simple change, but I have been amazed at how God has used this simple change to grow me spiritually. Now as I am running I have what I call, “God moments”. In these moments God clearly speaks to me as the rest of the world is tuned out. There are times on my runs that these messages stir me so much that I begin to run faster, I go farther, I become so broken that I have to stop and pray, or I become so stirred to action that I come home and share with Stacy what God is doing. Today I had a different kind of God moment though.

Today I was listening to a great man of God, Tim Keller of Redeemer Church in New York, and he was speaking out of the book of Proverbs. Tim spoke about the absolute sovereignty of God, the choices he gives man, how God uses those choices, and how continually brings us closer to a place where we trust God with everything.

As I have touched on in the past while I was in Tucson, AZ I lost almost everything; my wife and daughter, my ministry, everything that means anything to me. I put it all on the line with my selfishness, my neglect of my relationship with God, and sinful behavior. As Tim was speaking it hit me; if I truly believe God to be the completely sovereign, omniscient, which means all knowing, God that he is then he knew everything that would happen in Tucson before I was born. God knew when he led Stacy and I to serve him there in Tucson that we would forsake him, yet he still led us there. He led me there knowing the evil I would do and cause, yet he also knew the miracle of a healed marriage and life. He also knew that by taking me there that I would be more humbled before him and that I would be considerably more useable. He knew that coming out of the other side of Tucson that I would love my wife and be more dedicated to her than ever before.

The Bible recounts the life of a man named Joseph in the book of Genesis. All kinds of evil befalls Joseph, and God is seemingly quite through all of it. It is only in the end, when Joseph is reunited with his family, and God has used him to save his people and many others that Joseph sees that God used all the evil of man to bring about His divine purposes.

Going through our life in Tucson I did not understand why God had taken us into the desert. I still have little understanding of the complete sovereignty of God, yet he still somehow allows for mans free will. I do know however that God took us to the desert, and he rescued, grew, and is healing us. I cannot say for sure that He we will not lead us into some kind of desert again, but I know today I grew in my trust a little bit more.

Today I came to the revelation that God has worked in my life in a similar way to that of Joseph’s. Today I know a little bit better that I serve a completely sovereign God and that he uses all things, good and evil, as he works his divine plan within humanity. Today as I was running I stopped and thanked the sovereign God for who he is and that nothing catches him by surprise. I then prayed and asked him to help me trust him a little bit more and to come to a place where I trust him with everything. Amen.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Nehemiah's Prayer

I spoke at Zebulon tonight, here is a summary of what I said...
Lessons on how to pray from Nehemiah
“I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” Martin Luther
“If you are too busy to pray, you are too busy. Cut something out.” D.A. Carson
1. When crisis hit, Nehemiah responded by praying.
How do you respond in crisis?
2. Nehemiah prayed with persistence.
How quick do you give up on your prayers?
3. Nehemiah prayed humbly.
There is no room for pride when going to God
4. Nehemiah prayed with personal sacrifice.
Do you pray or fast? If not, why?
5. Nehemiah praised God in his prayer.
Meditate on the fact that we get to go to God in prayer & who He is.
6. Nehemiah repented in his prayer.
Nehemiah brought the sin of his people, family, and himself before God. What sin are you keeping tucked away?
7. Nehemiah prepared and planned as he prayed.
Are you asking God to move yet acting like he never will?
8. Nehemiah asked for something only God could do.
Do you prayer man sized or God sized prayers?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Talk notes

Last night I spoke at Zebulon Baptist. I talked through these passages and we stopped and prayed over many of them. Originally I just had the numbered points but added the stuff underneath to help you know where we went with them.

1. How is prayer possible? 1 Timothy 2:5
2. Pray differently. 1 Timothy 2:8; Psalms 10:12; John 11:41, 17:1
Stop praying a certain way out of tradition. Stop and pray with hands lifted and eyes toward heaven.
3. How do we pray? Matthew 6:5-13
Really focus on Jesus words in the first part of the passage and then Stop and pray Jesus model pray together.
4. Pray for all men, leaders, etc. 1 Timothy 2:1-4
Stop and pray for our leaders and all men, especially those who are suffering. Pray for Haiti, but remember that Haiti was bad before the earthquakes, who else do we need to be praying for?
5. Pray for our city. Jeremiah 29:7
Stop and pray specifically for the city.
6. Pray because we are at war! Ephesians 6:10-20
Spiritual warfare is very real; pray the armor of God over yourself, and others who are on the front lines of the war.
7. Pray without ceasing and give thanks in all things. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Now go, and pray all the time, whenever someone or something pops into your mind pray for them/it.