Archive for June 27th, 2011

June 27, 2011

Live Q & A With DAVID CROWDER (VIDEO)

David Crowder sat down recently to talk about his beard and some other things.

June 27, 2011

STEVEN FURTICK GUEST POST: GREAT CALLING, GREAT COST

 

But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel.

I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”
-Acts 9:15-16

Most of us focus on the incredible accomplishments of Paul.
How he wrote 2/3 of the New Testament.
Took the gospel to the ends of the earth.
Became the greatest missionary and one of the greatest preachers ever.

Sometimes we’ll point out his suffering. But it’s usually isolated. We use it to talk about pain and trials and how to get through them. Or how God’s power is made perfect in our weakness. All of that is true, but I think we often miss a crucial point.

Paul’s accomplishments and his suffering went together.
And there’s a reason for that.

It’s not because God had some kind of a secret vendetta against Paul. He had killed Christians, so why not make him drink a little of his own medicine while using him to spread the gospel.

As others have pointed out before, it’s because for Paul to be used greatly, he had to be wounded deeply. The greater the calling, the greater the cost. Making a difference in the world means absorbing substantial pain. For the sake of God, and for the sake of the people you’re making a difference for.

That was true for Paul.
And it will be true for you, too.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you’ve got flogging to look forward to. But I am saying that most of us want to do the kinds of things Paul did without having to go through the kinds of things Paul went through. And it doesn’t work like that.

God has to bruise you before He can use you. So you’ll be sensitive to His touch. So you won’t have an ounce of self-reliance in you. So you’ll be able to relate to the people you’re ministering to. So when everything is dark around you, your light within you will actually have a chance to shine.

If you really want to be used greatly by God, accept this now:
You’re going to be tired.
You’re going to be betrayed.
You’re going to suffer.

Like Paul, your great calling will exact a great cost. You’ll be able to say, “For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body” (2 Corinthians 4:11).

But also like Paul, that won’t be the final word for you. You’ll be able to say, “Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17).

June 27, 2011

MATT CHANDLER EXPONENTIAL CONFERENCE 2011 TALK (VIDEO)

June 27, 2011

John Piper Interviews Rick Warren on Doctrinal Depth

June 27, 2011

GUEST Monday Morning Devotional By MAX LUCADO: Eyewitnesses of His Majesty

For fifty-one years Bob Edens was blind.  He couldn’t see a thing. His world was a black hall of sounds and smells. He felt his way through five decades of darkness.

And then, he could see.

A skilled surgeon performed a complicated operation and, for the first time, Bob Edens had sight. He found it overwhelming. “I never would have dreamed that yellow is so … yellow,” he exclaimed. “I don’t have the words. I am amazed by yellow. But red is my favorite color. I just can’t believe red.

“I can see the shape of the moon—and I like nothing better than seeing a jet plane flying across the sky leaving a vapor trail. And of course, sunrises and sunsets. And at night I look at the stars in the sky and the flashing light. You could never know how wonderful everything is.”

He’s right. Those of us who have lived a lifetime with vision can’t know how wonderful it must be to be given sight.

But Bob Edens isn’t the only one who has spent a lifetime near something without seeing it. Few are the people who don’t suffer from some form of blindness. Amazing, isn’t it? We can live next to something for a lifetime, but unless we take time to focus on it, it doesn’t become a part of our life. Unless we somehow have our blindness lifted, our world is but a black cave.

Think about it. Just because one has witnessed a thousand rainbows doesn’t mean he’s seen the grandeur of one. One can live near a garden and fail to focus on the splendor of the flower. A man can spend a lifetime with a woman and never pause to look into her soul.

And a person can be all that goodness calls him to be and still never see the Author of life.

Being honest or moral or even religious doesn’t necessarily mean we will see him. No. We may see what others see in him. Or we may hear what some say he said. But until we see him for ourselves, until our own sight is given, we may think we see him, having in reality seen only a hazy form in the gray semidarkness.

Have you seen him?

Have you caught a glimpse of His Majesty? A word is placed in a receptive crevice of your heart that causes you, ever so briefly, to see his face. You hear a verse read in a tone you’d never heard, or explained in a way you’d never thought and one more piece of the puzzle falls into place. Someone touches your painful spirit as only one sent from him could do and there he is.

Jesus.

The man. The bronzed Galilean who spoke with such thunderous authority and loved with such childlike humility.

The God. The one who claimed to be older than time and greater than death.

Gone is the pomp of religion; dissipated is the fog of theology. Momentarily lifted is the opaque curtain of controversy and opinion. Erased are our own blinding errors and egotism. And there he stands.

Jesus.
Have you seen him?
Those who first did were never the same.
“My Lord and my God!” cried Thomas.
“I have seen the Lord,” exclaimed Mary Magdalene.
“We have seen his glory,” declared John.
“Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked?” rejoiced the two Emmaus-bound disciples.
But Peter said it best. “We were eyewitnesses of his majesty.”

His Majesty. The emperor of Judah. The soaring eagle of eternity. The noble admiral of the Kingdom. All the splendor of heaven revealed in a human body. For a period ever so brief, the doors to the throne room were open and God came near. His Majesty was seen. Heaven touched the earth and, as a result, earth can know heaven. In astounding tandem a human body housed divinity. Holiness and earthliness intertwined.

Has it been a while since you have seen him? If your prayers seem stale, it probably has. If your faith seems to be trembling, perhaps your vision of him has blurred. If you can’t find power to face your problems, perhaps it is time to face him.

One warning. Something happens to a person who has witnessed His Majesty. He becomes addicted. One glimpse of the King and you are consumed by a desire to see more of him and say more about him. Pew-warming is no longer an option. Junk religion will no longer suffice. Sensation-seeking is needless. Once you have seen his face you will forever long to see it again.

My prayer for this book—without apologies—is that the Divine Surgeon will use it as a delicate surgical tool to restore sight. That blurriness will be focused and darkness dispersed. And, that we will whisper the secret of the universe, “We were eyewitnesses of his majesty.”