Tuesday, September 30, 2008

i freakin love...

my utmost for his highest. it's so good, and challenging. i started copying and pasting quotes from the last few days to make note of in this blog, and really ended up copying whole days worth of material. it's just really good.

tonight, i especially feel challenged to become "broken bread and poured out wine". he talks about God allowing things to squeeze us to become wine for the consumption of others. today's devotional is on Mark's account of the transfiguration. they key line is

"We are not made for the mountains, for sunrises, or for the other beautiful attractions in life— those are simply intended to be moments of inspiration. We are made for the valley and the ordinary things of life, and that is where we have to prove our stamina and strength."

how true. i love the inspirational moments. and maybe i believe that the more time i spend there, the more i can stay on the mountaintop and see more clearly who God is, the better off i am. but if i am to be like Christ, mountaintops will be rare, and sacrifice will be much more the routine.

worship can take me to my mountain. and i love taking time to spend quietly playing before God, singing in my heart, singing out loud, whispering under my breath, or silently meditating in His presence. i love it. i need it. but i also have to consciously translate those moments to the everyday valley encounters with others. i have to allow that same grace to flow THROUGH me as it has TO me... i have to. that's the real test. the ability to find the mountaintop is not nearly as valuable to an authentic walk with Christ as the ability to hold onto that inspiration in the mundane.

If a man or woman is called of God, it doesn’t matter how difficult the circumstances may be. God orchestrates every force at work for His purpose in the end. If you will agree with God’s purpose, He will bring not only your conscious level but also all the deeper levels of your life, which you yourself cannot reach, into perfect harmony.

i believe that. to be sure you're doing what you're called to do, in spite of everything else around you, is ultimate fulfillment and peace. it's not easy, or without doubts and questions... it's not constant, because i'm not. but when i shut up and rest in the assurance i have that God has been given control of who i am and what i do, and that he will steward that well, there's no greater peace.

The mountaintop is not meant to teach us anything, it is meant to make us something.

so have i let my mountaintops accomplish what they need to in my CHARACTER (as opposed to my MIND)... God is not out to educate us, and the gospel isn't a matter of only right teaching. most of humanity's problems won't be cured by simple instruction, but by an encounter with the Holy Spirit... a little water on faith seedlings in the hearts of men, that begin to grow as they allow themselves to be good soil for that faith to grow in. i don't need more instruction, i need more application. and it's a decision i make. we all have to decide that we're in this for real, and it's time to DO what we KNOW. and APPLY as soon as we LEARN.

i'm tired, and i need to quit rambling, but i'm going to make an effort this week to draw some mountaintop inspiration for the daily walk a little more regularly. and start pouring out a little wine... :)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

new car?

the time has come. my 2000 hyundai accent has survived beyond my expectations. it's been paid off for 3 years, has 145,000 miles, and a nice coolant leak. i'll probably get that fixed and sell it off to the first high school kid willing to take it. :)
so to replace it, i think i've narrowed it down to two options...

2003 Honda Element

Seats 4
slightly larger than my 2nd choice
seemingly harder to find
seemingly higher priced (even though the blue book is lower than plan b)
hose-able :) (everyone seems to know that)
gas milage- 14/26
cargo- 47 cu. ft.
*note- I HATED these cars when they came out in 2003, and now I kinda like em. Go figure.

Oh yeah, and this one has an optional tow package, which I'm pretty sure plan B doesnt...

Okay... Door #2...
2005 Scion xB

Seats 5
gas milage - 23/37
full door in the back, as opposed to the half door on the element
cargo- 33.5 cu. ft.
christine hates them
i've always liked them (but hate the new ones)
higher blue book prices, but cheaper on auto trader... ???
Even though I always liked them, I really like the Element better now... even though I used to hate it. ???

so... i'm leaning toward the scion tonight, but time will tell. if anyone happens to stumble upon this, feel free to weigh in. so far, people hate the "toaster" car, and i've heard homosexuals are fond of the Element... BUT I LIKE THEM. SO THERE.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Cain's offering... (Gen 4)

Why didn’t God like Cain’s offering?

At first glance, it seems that both men gave to the Lord part of what they had worked to produce. Yet God prefers Abel’s offering to Cain’s. Why?

I’m not sure there is a definitive answer, but there are a few clues…

A Portion vs. The Best- The wording is interesting in that it states that Cain simply gave a part of his crop, while Abel brought the “firstlings”, and the fat of them… Which would be the best of the best. It doesn’t really definitively say that Cain DIDN’T bring the best, but it’s interesting that it was made clear on Abel’s offering…

The Blood- There is a difference in the types of sacrifice. The animal sacrifice includes the shedding of blood, a requirement for atonement, while the plant sacrifice doesn’t. That may have been the issue… And the way God asks the question after his ruling on the offerings, it sounds like Cain may have known WHY his sacrifice was unacceptable, even if we really don’t.

The Heart- This is where I think we can really learn something… There is almost definitely an attitude difference here, between the two brothers. Scripture says that God didn’t just accept one offering and decline the other, it says that he accepted “Abel and his offering”… The man, and the offering the man brought. Maybe that’s why Cain was so angry… It wasn’t just a disapproval of the offering, but a disapproval of the man who brought it.

Cain is instantly angry with God and his brother after he and his offering are rejected. Again, there’s nothing to say that Abel wasn’t rubbing it in his face either… But Hebrews 11:4 tells us that by faith he offered a better sacrifice than Cain. So faith was a factor as well. And the Blood and the Best could have been heart decisions. Perhaps he had instructions from God to offer a blood sacrifice for atonement, and by faith he did.

Ultimately we know that Cain ultimately kills his brother, which he plainly knew was wrong, and displays that rather than mastering the sin crouching at his door, which he was warned of directly by God, he allowed it to consume him. Rather than DEVOTE himself, allow himself to be consumed with the task of bringing God an offering that would be pleasing to him, he allowed sin to consume him.

To make application… We need to offer God our best. Not just a pittance… a part that we’re willing to do without. We need to realize that without the blood of Christ, we have no right to assume that we’re worthy of being heard, or accepted. And our hearts have to be motivated by faith and obedience in God’s word. We need to do it his way, in his time, for his glory. And allow ourselves to be fully devoted to honoring God and living a life acceptable to him.

Don’t make an offering for the sake of making an offering. Make obedience by faith your priority, and discover true worship.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

life and rest

i just got back from a little two day getaway with my grandparents in payson, after an insane week last week with the careforce lifekeys conference. so, i'm just getting ready to take off for the office after missing two days. it will be non-stop til 9pm tonight, but I am staying in vacation mode until i walk through the door! man, i needed these days...

on a more interesting note, i posted a couple new evan videos on youtube. my account is supermanmcgee, if you'd like to search 'em, or just look below!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

2 Cor. 4

jars of clay... an incredible chapter on doing ministry. something i really believe is INCREDIBLY applicable today. we can stretch paul's "all things to all people to win some" (I Cor. 9:22) to justify alot of 'cunning' in ministry today. i am thankful to be a part of a church that i believe is at the good end of the curve when it comes to AVOIDING cunning tactics and trying so hard to be "relevant" that you become fake.

i believe that the only thing truly relevant to a commercial culture, used to hype and unfounded, undelivered promises with the ultimate goal of profit at our expense, is to be the antithesis of that culture. in short, to be real.

to some, the way our church worships, or the way our pastor preaches, the lighting in the room, the colors that we chose, the use of modern communication media like video screens or even sound systems may cross the line. i would disagree. the music i choose is music that expresses prayers that i believe our church wants to pray corporately. prayers of thanksgiving, celebration, desperation, faith (even in the midst of trial and confusion), hope in the promises of God's word, and love for a self-sacrificing Savior. it can be incredibly emotional, but i pray and believe that it's more a voice to deep emotions that we want to communicate, even though, for some (hopefully a small minority) it may stir up some false, manufactured emotional response... the important part is that as ministers (the worship team, tech crew, even pastors) are real in our expression, and our desire to lead others in a true expression of worship.

pastor jeff's preaching style is a very close replica of his conversational style. he is a man passionate about God's word, and people experiencing the freedom and transformation made available by it. it's real...

the sound system, lighting, and video screens have become staples in most evangelical american churches, but that doesn't make them acceptable. what makes them acceptable is the proper use of these mediums to communicate without 'canivery' (if that's a word) the good news in a way that is clear and understandable. in a way that brings people to a point of INFORMED DECISION in their spiritual identity and eternal destiny. to use them to stir up emotions, to lure them to make an UNINFORMED, RUSHED decision is another story. something i think we purposefully steer very clear of...

on a personal level, i've added verse 2 to my memorization list, because it's something i strive to be. there is great freedom in living a transparent life. cunning, twisting truth, deception all lead to a stressful high-maintenance situation... it's good to be who you are to whoever you're with at whatever time... there is freedom in living a life that strives to please God, is quick to admit shortcomings, quick to accept rebuke, quick to self-examine and seek improvement, with complete confidence in who you are in Christ. to strive ONLY to live up to the expectations of a loving father, and leave other pretense and expectations behind. to try to do twist or 'cun' rather than just rely on God SWAPS the responsibility of the outcome from HIM to YOU... which is a very scary thing. YOU also end up carrying the brunt of the responsibility for the longevity of that commitment, which is even scarier.

i feel like i'm rambling now, and there's good reason... it's 12:30am, and i should be sleeping. i'm not sure if i'm even writing about the same topic i started with...

i just pray that my life matters to the Kingdom. that i make as big a dent as i possibly can, and fulfill what God has called me to do. just obey...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

church in the morning... i need to go to sleep. a little gassy. don't want to pollute the bedroom, so i'm blogging in the office to spare my wife. "who will deliver me from this body of death?!"

it's been a better day than i expected, thanks to God's grace. tomorrow will be an incredible morning, stories of God's faithfulness through miracles and tragedy. songs of faith accompanied by public confessions of faith in water baptism. the beautiful collision- His divinity meeting our depravity in a grace explosion (and mercy fallout). and i make fun of those old time preachers quoting hymns like scripture... ha ha....

interesting thought from utmost today (or maybe tomorrow?)... the uselessness of logic and "thinking through" spiritual matters.

Bring all your "arguments and . . . every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" regarding the matter, and everything will become as clear as daylight to you ( 2 Corinthians 10:5 ). Your reasoning capacity will come later, but reasoning is not how we see. We see like children, and when we try to be wise we see nothing (see Matthew 11:25 ).

thinking or trying has never helped me overcome or grow spiritually... obedience has. even reading God's word... it's not the intellectually stimulating passages that transform me, it's the times i read and know God is speaking. i would say that it's a great point to think about... but maybe it's just a better thing to acknowledge and practice. obedience. better than sacrifice... we know... but for God, or for us? i always assumed the former, but maybe the latter is more the case. when we make the decision to follow Christ, we aslo are accepting our obligation to believe without evidence and obey blindly... and why not? if we've truly found something we're willing to give our entire lives away for, and make a commitment to adhere to in our day to day living, wouldn't that include even in situation where it doesn't make sense to follow?

so to bring personal application, i need to be more disciplined. in managing my time, taking care of my body, eating properly, and purposefully chasing after God's will for my life. living for Him is all or nothing, but it's human nature to find the path of least resistance... even in our walk with him. to find a path of optimum comfort, while still within the bounds of our perception of the "straight and narrow". so far, no one's reading this, probably a good thing, but if you see me around, feel free to call me 'fatty' or 'slacker' for some good brotherly motivation. (thank you matt karls in advance for your contribution.)

good night.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Worshiping in Everyday Occasions.

We presume that we would be ready for battle if confronted with a great crisis, but it is not the crisis that builds something within us— it simply reveals what we are made of already. Do you find yourself saying, "If God calls me to battle, of course I will rise to the occasion"? Yet you won’t rise to the occasion unless you have done so on God’s training ground. If you are not doing the task that is closest to you now, which God has engineered into your life, when the crisis comes, instead of being fit for battle, you will be revealed as being unfit. Crises always reveal a person’s true character.

A private relationship of worshiping God is the greatest essential element of spiritual fitness. The time will come, as Nathanael experienced in this passage, that a private "fig-tree" life will no longer be possible. Everything will be out in the open, and you will find yourself to be of no value there if you have not been worshiping in everyday occasions in your own home. If your worship is right in your private relationship with God, then when He sets you free, you will be ready. It is in the unseen life, which only God saw, that you have become perfectly fit. And when the strain of the crisis comes, you can be relied upon by God.

Are you saying, "But I can’t be expected to live a sanctified life in my present circumstances; I have no time for prayer or Bible study right now; besides, my opportunity for battle hasn’t come yet, but when it does, of course I will be ready"? No, you will not. If you have not been worshiping in everyday occasions, when you get involved in God’s work, you will not only be useless yourself but also a hindrance to those around you.
God’s training ground, where the missionary weapons are found, is the hidden, personal, worshiping life of the saint.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

It's midnight, and I can't sleep...

so, i thought, why not create a blog? it's kinda the trendy thing to do, which is why i haven't yet, but on nights like this when i drank regular when i should have had decaf, and my wife is not in the mood to deal with caffeinated dave (i get a little loopy), this might be a useful companion.

so i guess this is supposed to be a log of thoughts, or ideas, or happenings... well, today i can't stop thinking about persecuted indians (dot, not feather)... and imagining what it would be like to be in their position...


1Keep on loving each other as brothers. 2Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. 3Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.
4Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. 5Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."[a] 6So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?"[b]
7Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. 8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

that's kinda where i'm at. praying for them, and trying to remember them as if i were suffering... but trying not to be afraid of my creaking house, while i remember them... unless the Lord watches over the house, dave is just a paranoid idiot who can't fall asleep...(psalm 127)

and that money verse... it's funny how you value money all the more when you don't have it. just trying to remember that i have family around the world with alot less than i have, and to be grateful (which is easy) and content (which isn't always). consumerism is flowing through my red white and blue veins. :)

but in my reflective late-night blogging mindset, i am content. i really am. and it's all because of Jesus. materially he's blessed me immensely, but the invisble blessings even outweight those (well, not in mass, or weight i guess... but you know what i mean...) lord help me remember.

i've been praying alot for the Holy Spirit to inspire my spirit, and remind me of truths that if i take even a brief second to consider, easily inspire me. inspire me to work, to think, to be "strong & courageous", and completely devoted. cognitively i am, the decision is made. but i love to feel it. to feel my spirit well up with God's Spirit... to feel faith expanding in my chest, hotwiring my heart to pump louder than the noise around me. faith that drowns social norms and makes me wreckless for Christ. at first, i felt guilty for asking God to remind me of things that i should remember on my own, or inspire me as if it were his job to entertain my phsyche, or emotions... but what i'm asking is deeper than that, and the more i thought about it, the more i realized that what i was asking for is the very thing the Spirit of God desires to do! it's the very thing Jesus left the earth to allow every believer who calls out to Him... it's power that comes from faith. it's faith that transcends reason. it's a willingness to sacrifice self for just the glimpse we've seen of Someone so great, that His glory is worth our demise. the realization that the Spirit inside of me deserves the best from his living temple... i just want my life's work to be as efficiently and effectively useful to Him as it possibly can. My utmost for his highest... I'm gonna go read some more... goodnight...