Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Journals of Jim Elliot

"I walked out to the hill just now.  It is exalting, delicious, to stand embraced by the shadows of a friendly tree with the wind tugging at your coattail and the heavens hailing your heart, to gaze and glory and give oneself again to God--what more could a man ask?  Oh, the fullness, pleasure, sheer excitement of knowing God on earth!  I care not if I never raise my voice again for Him, if only I may love Him, please Him.  Mayhap in mercy He shall give me a host of children that I may lead them through the vast star fields to explore His delicacies whose finger ends set them to burning.  But if not, if only I may see Him, touch His garments, and smile into His eyes--ah, then, not stars nor children shall matter, only Himself.
"O Jesus, Master and Center and End of all, how long before that Glory is thine which has so long waited Thee?  Now there is no thought of Thee among men; then there shall be thought for nothing else.  Now other men are praised; then none shall care for any others' merits.  Hasten, hasten, Glory of Heaven, take Thy crown, subdue Thy Kingdom, enthrall Thy creatures."

From Jim Elliot's journals

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The JOY of Christmas {repost}

' "There are many who say, "Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O LORD! You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound." Psalm 4:6-7
You can have more true joy than unbelievers can even imagine. They cling to false joy, which is gone in the morning and they are left with a bitter taste of emptiness.But we can have true joy! Joy and happiness come from a relationship with Jesus Christ and life with Him!The Christmas season can truly be the "most wonderful time of the year"- full of true joy!'-by Sophie LaFleur {you can find this post at http://www.accountabilityforum.blogspot.com/}

God is, yes, he is, in the process of giving us good, despite trials, despite the pain and the mess.  He is in the process of giving desparate, heart-wracking need for him.  This Christmas, may his light and joy abound in our hearts.  Where the foundations are a mess, let him bring his healing.  He may take away joy for this season, even, yes, in my life, but only so that I obey.  Joy only comes in obedience.  In the mess, let us rest in his love and feast on his goodness, never letting our glance turn aside to what does not satisfy.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Ezekiel 33:31; 34:36; 34:8,20,22b

“They come as though they are sincere and sit before you listening. But they have no intention of doing what I tell them to; they talk very sweetly about loving the Lord, but with their hearts they are loving money. . .

“My sheep wandered through the mountains and hills and over the face of the earth, and there was no one to search for them or care about them. . .

” ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘. . . you were no real shepherds at all, for you didn’t search for them [my flock]. You fed yourselves and let them starve . . . Therefore,’ the Lord God says: ‘I will surely judge between these fat shepherds and their scrawny sheep . . . and I will notice which is plump and which is thin, and why!’ ”

Ray Ortlund on Revival {a repost from Josh Harris's blog}

In His infinite goodness, God brings together His people from across the nation together in unity.  It has to start with a major breakthrough, though, a reality of how great it is that God does such things.  So I must say with all adoration lifted to him that he is worthy of praise for the work he has done in the lives of believers across the nation and for bringing his chosen ones together.  So guess what?!  I've made a firm decision to simply post what others have said for the sole purpose of bringing these words of fellow believers to those near me who have never heard of these people.  Not realizing the greatness of these connections makes it thankless and pitiful.  Without introduction, there is obscurity.  So I desire to honor Josh Harris and put his bio up here first, all for the sake of encouraging those who do not know of him.  Circulating the imprints of the hand of God is such a blessing, such a wonder, such a window of opportunity for what God is going to do!  Josh Harris is the oldest brother of Alex and Brett Harris, who God so powerfully used and is using through therebelution.com and the books Do Hard Things and Start Here, among other things!

Through this I pray and plead that God would rend the heavens and cause His church to grow to perfection in Him and living as we are made to be, in the center of His will.

Harris-121.jpg
I am the half-breed descendent of Alabama rednecks and Japanese immigrants. So I like my sushi deep-fried. More importantly, I'm a Christian whose life has been transformed by Jesus Christ. I work full-time as a pastor doing my best to tell people about Jesus and to teach them how to live for his glory.
My story started in the last days of 1974. I was born in Dayton, Ohio, to Gregg and Sono Harris. Our family moved to Gresham, Oregon, when I was eight. In the following years my father became an influential speaker and writer in the early homeschool movement.
Like many children raised in a Christian home, it's hard for me to pinpoint when I was saved. But some time around age 14 I was born again. I followed my dad into public speaking when I was seventeen. In God's kindness, I was enthusiastically received at my dad's conferences, and began conducting my own events for teens. I also started New Attitude Magazine, a quarterly publication for homeschooled teenagers.
In 1997, I relocated from Oregon to Gaithersburg, Maryland, to serve as a pastoral intern under C.J. Mahaney, senior pastor of Covenant Life Church. I was motivated by a desire to be mentored and a growing conviction about the importance of the local church. I ended publication of the magazine, moved in with C.J.'s family, and immersed myself in Covenant Life. That same year, my first book was released.
It was at Covenant Life that I met my wonderful wife Shannon. We were married in the fall of 1998.
In 1999, I worked with a small team to launch the first national New Attitude conference—a worship and teaching gathering for young adults. Recently renamed NEXT the vision of the conference is to see the truth of the gospel transferred to the next generation. My goal is to introduce people to the teachers who have shaped my understanding of God's word. I hope you can join us at the upcoming NEXT conference over Memorial Day weekend.
family-harris.jpgIn 2004, I assumed the role of senior pastor at Covenant Life. I love the people of this church and hope to grow old preaching God's word here. I serve alongside an incredible team of pastors who I count among my dearest friends. Together with the people of our church we're seeking to build a gospel-centered and gospel-proclaiming body that makes disciples and loves and serves the community around us.
Our church is part of the family of churches known as Sovereign Grace, a ministry devoted to planting and supporting local churches, with a strong doctrinal basis that is evangelical, Reformed, and charismatic.
I'm a member of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW). I'm also on the council of The Gospel Coalition.
God has graciously allowed me to write five books. My newest book is called Dug Down Deep. It's my own story of learning to build my life on truth about God.

Shannon and I have been blessed with three children—two girls, with a little boy in between. God has been kind, and continues to give us grace as we raise our young family. Please pray for us when you think of our family and local church. And if you're ever near Washington, D.C., please come visit us at Covenant Life.

Photos by Lydia Jane and Kristen Leigh Photography.

Here is the post from his blog that I wanted to share (joshharris.com):
"Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down..." Isaiah 64:1
"When God rends the heavens and comes down on his people, a divine power achieves what human effort at its best fails to do. God's people thirst for the ministry of the Word and receive it with tender meltings of soul. The grip of the enslaving sin is broken. Reconciliation between believers is sought and granted. Spiritual things, rather than material things, capture people's hearts. A defensive, timid church is transformed into a confident army. Believers joyfully suffer for their Lord. They treasure usefulness to God over career advancement. Communion with God is avidly enjoyed. Churches and Christian organizations reform their policies and procedures. People who had always been indifferent to the gospel now inquire anxiously. And this type of spiritual movement draws in not just the isolated straggler here and there but large numbers of people. A wave of divine grace washes over the church and spills out into the world. That is what happens when God comes down. And that is how we should pray for the church today."
- Ray Ortlund, When God Comes to Church

From joshharris.com.  Ultimately from God.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Resisting Retirement

"Finishing life to the glory of Christ means resolutely resisting the typical American dream of retirement. It means being so satisfied with all that God promises to be for us in Christ that we are set free from the cravings that create so much emptiness and uselessness in retirement. Instead, knowing that we have an infinitely satisfying and everlasting inheritance in God just over the horizon of life makes us zealous in our few remaining years here to spend ourselves in the sacrifices of love, not the accumulation of comforts."

....just like the longing of God's people to be fruitful even in the summer...how can we EVER stop enduring if we know endurance is the WILL of GOD?!  Praise be to God, who allows his people to live lives of beauty, endurance, and knowledge of truth.  If we choose to reject God's will at the end of our lives, why not now, too?  ...and since that would be horrible (to forsake His will now), how much MORE should we embrace God's unexplainable strength in the form of endurance till the end of life?!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Taking Another Step

Sometimes in life I feel like I can't move another inch, and it's a good feeling.  It fell on my heart like rawness a few days before the day when I was due to have finished memorizing the many, many Bible verses for Bible Bee.  In itself, the Scriptures were overwhelmingly refreshing, but a weakness was upon me...and still is.  It was a few days before Bible Bee that this happened, and I cherish it.  It is now that it is happening, and I still cherish it.  It brings me to reality, this thing called weakness, because when I know I am weak and where I am weak, I see that I am ALIVE.  I am struggling.  I am living.  I am breathing.  I am praising God.

When I am so weak inside, waiting on God gives strength.  When I must struggle to be still, I know I MUST be still.  When I must struggle and rack my brain to think deeply on what I KNOW I MUST THINK ON, I find an unexplainable joy that indeed I have the honor of saying that I am living by the blood shed on the cross for me, because this Jesus, this precious Jesus, has died for a weakling like me, a person who must consciously recognize stumbling points and times when the most important thing is to just LISTEN.  When a person just can't take another step, the unexplainable mercies of God are new every morning.  That mercy is something I still strive to understand.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Grace of God

All I have to say is this: God is gracious, and there's so much behind those simple words.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Return to the LORD!

What do you know? Have you not heard of Him? Does your life revolve in worship of the great and awesome God? Is your life just a deviation, a farce, a prideful illusion that all is well? When danger strikes, to whom will you go?
Will you take up the challenge to seek the LORD? If you do not know the Maker of Heaven and Earth, will you take the chance to find Him?

Life in the Spirit

Romans 8:12-14
"Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation--but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For, if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God."
Are you living according to the sinful nature or by the Spirit of God? Is the world pulling you in to temptation? If you are a child of the Living God of the universe, you can be free! Let us put off the old man and put on the new in Christ!