Month: May 2005

Using Jesus’ Name

Using Jesus’ Name

Oneness of life on earth gives oneness of name. Kids carry their father’s family name because they have his life. Often kids who have a great dad are honored or helped by others just because they are his children. But that wouldn’t go for very long if their character didn’t match their dad’s name (reputation).

Our power in using the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, whether with God, people, or demons, depends on the closeness of our spiritual life-union with Jesus. How close are you with Him today?

Virtues from the Fraggles

Virtues from the Fraggles

I was watching the Muppets Family Christmas Special on video yesterday with my infant son (who loves any kind of puppet on the TV) and was intrigued by a song the Fraggles sing called, “Pass it On.” The lyrics reflect a heart of giving in community. As I pondered the significance of this simple children’s song, I agreed with it more and more! I want to pass on to my children and to others the virtues God is installing in me.

Here is a list of twenty virtues we’d like to pass on to our children (in no particular order or rank):
1. Respect
2. Honor
3. Caring
4. Integrity
5. Honesty
6. Modesty
7. Purity
8. Humility
9. Courage
10. Sacrifice
11. Wisdom
12. Contentment
13. Joy
14. Faith
15. Hope
16. Love
17. Introspection
18. Intentionality
19. Gratitude
20. Discipline

Family Values

Family Values

What are your highest priorities? What kind of people do you want your children to be? What contributions do you want to make in this life?

The definition of core values, according to Dr. Aubrey Malphurs of Dallas Theological Seminary, are “the constant, passionate, biblical core beliefs that drive [you].” (Values-Driven Leadership, 34.)

Reasons for clarifying and communicating core values for your family are of great importance. Here’s a few:
1. They help determine your family unit and family members’ unique distinctives.
2. Dictates what your family unit and family members will be personally involved in.
3. They communicate what’s important to you.
4. They influence the individual family member’s behavior.
5. They inspire the individual family member to action for the sake of the whole family unit.

(Adapted from Values-Driven Leadership by Dr. Aubrey Malphurs, 29-30).

Here’s a list of what my family unit values. Some of these are more aspirational than actual right now, but we are determined to move toward them!
1. Family
2. Personal Development
3. Good Stewardship
4. Serving others
5. Disciple-making
6. Friendships
7. Children
8. Virtues (see above Post)

Levels: Measuring Spiritual Progress

Levels: Measuring Spiritual Progress

[This is a Work in Progress!]
Why can’t I be perfect? After all, the Bible tells me I’m supposed to be perfect! (Matthew 5:48). Please don’t dismiss this question by thinking we can’t ever be that way because of our struggle with sin. Perhaps there’s more than meets the eye regarding our becoming like Jesus. You are now reading a work in progress… a lifelong effort, if you will. I would like to write a book, and this is the groundwork for its pages.

Popular role-playing games first brought to my attention the concept of levels, which brought an objective standard to progressing through the ranks of a particular character class in order to accomplish the overall mission of the game. Through attaining a numerical amount of experience points earned throughout the game by slaying monsters, dodging traps, using pre-defined character skills or by behaving consistent with their moral standard.

Much like in the US military, there are skills, knowledge, behavioral goals and experience that all play into achieving the next level, or rank. One who is a Corporal (E-4) in the US Army has attained more skills and knowledge, has acted consistent with the standards placed to achieve that rank, and has a longer period of time invested in their trade than a Private First Class (E-3).

In the realm of martial arts, belts measure progress toward the goal of self-mastery. When a person enters a martial art, they don’t begin as a Black Belt. No, they begin as a White Belt and work their way through a set standard of colored belts which serve as a means to visually determine where an individual is in their progress toward becoming a Black Belt, or master in their martial art. Even though there are varying degrees of mastery—and therefore deadliness—to attain a Black Belt in any martial art is a profound achievement, is worthy of honor, and is considered mastery.

Our current evangelical church culture shuns this concept of spirituality, forsaking it to being too Eastern, mystical, or even heretical. Mantras such as “Nobody’s perfect,” “Not perfect; just forgiven,” “We’re all just sinners saved by grace,” “We’ll never ‘arrive’ in this life,” or “Hey, I’m a sinner just like you” may be coming to mind right now as you read this. But make no mistake, the idea that God had the actual maturity or perfection of people in mind is really NOT heretical, but is His desire, when He said through the apostle Paul:

“And He (The Lord Jesus) gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain… mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children…” (Ephesians 4:11-14a ESV).

What is the goal for a Christian in this life? Is there a way to measure progress toward that goal? These questions are fundamental to this essay and their answers have a long-range impact on how we live our lives while in our mortal bodies on earth during our lifetimes.

The end goal—the bottom line—for a Christian in this life is to please the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Cor 5:x). How we accomplish that is by the quality of our journey on the path to our end goal. We are to do “everything for the glory of God” (I Cor 10:31). Our work, our family, our mundane activities and even our very thoughts are the means to our end. ALL of life, everything we do, affects our end goal. If that end goal is an expectation we have, then we ought to be able to know where we are on the journey.

The reason God gifted His children is to bring the Church to maturity (Eph 4:11-14).

Our church has a mission; a task; an objective; a goal to reach. The elders of our church have decided to make this the mission for their local church:

“Grace Church exists to glorify God by bringing people to Jesus and membership in His family, developing them to Christlike maturity, equipping them for their ministry to Grace Church and their mission in Ramona and the world.”

Excellent and clear stated goal! I applaud its brevity, clarity and its measurability. However, the measurability of the second item (developing them to Christlike maturity) is what is in question here in this essay. What are our church’s measures for a person who desires to be like Christ? Interestingly enough, I am the one the elders have tasked and hired to define this, which increases my sense of urgency and necessity to have these questions answered. Even though this research spreads across a great distance and variety of religious thought, martial arts, and various political, social and military structures, it is the Bible that wins the place of prominence in developing and answering these questions.

More to come…

Victory Over the Trampling of My Soul

Victory Over the Trampling of My Soul

Every day is the day for victory! Metaphorically speaking, my once-tense-muscles are now relaxed… I have inhaled relief… my burden taken… my conscience cleansed… and my pain alleviated… I have let go… my thirsty soul has been quenched.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the One who has given me victory over the trampling of my soul–my sin. He rescued me from the dark powers of my own heart and re-created it anew! I am a new creation who is no longer abandoned to my own demise and self-destruction.

As the Apostle Paul told the believers in Christ who lived in Corinth, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV).