Recently I have been involved in conversations about whether or not Jesus Christ is fully God. To be honest, I cannot faithfully recreate the various responses I have received to this question. I will not even try to do them justice. They are varied and some of them are downright confusing. It is a great question to be asking though. If you haven’t considered it let me encourage you to do so. To get you started here are a few verses to stimulate your thinking.

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John 1:1-3 

John 8:58 – This is a reference to Exodus 3:14 and anyone in that audience would have recognized its meaning and what Jesus was indicating.

Philippians 2:5-8 – This passage also does an excellent job of describing Christ’s humanity and death on the cross.

Colossians 1:15-20

Colossians 2:9

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Take the time to examine these passages and others. When you are looking at these verses remember to look at the context of how they are mentioned.

For further information, and a more detailed explanation to this question, you can go to carm.org & gotquestions.org online. Or, consider purchasing this book by Wayne Grudem, Bible Doctrine . All of these resources have been helpful in answering a variety of spiritual topics.

I love watching God show up in ways you don’t anticipate!

This year has been a year of those unanticipated arrivals, but it shouldn’t have been.  This year my wife committed herself to praying for two major things in 2010.  Both of these prayers were answered.  Man, my wife is good!  One of these prayers I won’t share publically because it involves a close friend.  The other, I can proudly say, was our pregnancy and recent birth of Natalie Faith.

We had been trying for quite some time and due to medical complications (likely stemming from either one of us) it just wasn’t happening.  However, this was the year.  Phase 1 – complete!  Now we just had to figure out the delivery part.  We also anticipated a little more of an issue with her delivery because we had complications with the first pregnancy.  The days and weeks dragged on.  We couldn’t wait.  Finally, on December 1st, they delivered her at 37 weeks.  Our new, healthy daughter was about 2 lbs. heavier than they thought she could be.  Everyone is in good health.  Phase 2 – complete!

I attribute both of these answered prayers to God’s grace and my wife’s prayers.  It doesn’t stop there though.    Over the past few years I have been seeing multiple doctors trying to figure out the cause of my continual headaches.  While we haven’t found a solution quite yet we might be close (looking back, maybe that will be another answered prayer for 2010).  In the process, though, it has been fairly expensive.  As I look back, I am both humbled and blown away at God’s provision for us financially.  I don’t know where the money seems to come from but we have been well taken care of, much more than I would have ever expected.

In light of all of that, why do I get so frustrated at each new doctor’s appointment and each new bill?  Why do I get irritated when circumstances don’t turn out my way?  Why do I question so many things in moments of melancholy? In short, why can’t I trust God’s sovereignty emotionally even when I trust Him intellectually?

Some might say that I really don’t trust Him intellectually at all.  I would have to respectfully disagree with that because I really do believe God’s Word means what it says.  As I’ve thought about this, I think the issue is giving God control over my emotions.  I’m sure some of that will probably require an intellectual approach but much of it will likely be resting in who God is and not what I feel.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Maybe this is you!  If so, take heart because we are in this together.

However, some of you may be reading this and you struggle not only with the emotional but also with the intellectual.  To you I say keep searching out the truth from God’s Word and keep asking the hard questions.  God’s desire is to show himself to you.  God’s very nature is love (1 John 4:8) and he loves all men (John 3:16).  He demonstrated that by sending his own son to die so that we might be reconciled to him (Romans 5:8).  God’s word is true (Psalm 119:160) and he promises to supply every needed thing (Philippians 4:19) to those who call him friend (John 15:14).

If this is you, let me encourage you to look up those verses and consider their implications for your life.

During the Christmas season we celebrate how God, through Jesus Christ, showed up in an unexpected way answering the prayers that many had been praying for a long time.

My continued prayer for 2010 and beyond is that God will continue to show up unexpectedly, bringing honor and glory to himself.

Merry Christmas!

This is what it’s all about (and I ain’t talking ’bout the Hokey Pokey).

Yesterday was an off-and-on rainy day. There wasn’t as much work for us to do so we ended up with a few extra hours of free time. So far, in our free times, we’ve been playing Farkle, ultimate frisbee, and six-square. Six square seems to be a Spring Hill tradition.

Last night was supposed to be our skit night with the guys versus the girls. It became apparent as the evening wore on that the skits were only going to be mocking each other. The guys were going to mock the girls and the girls were going to mock the guys. It also became pretty clear that a few people were getting their emotions hurt because of a lack of unity. Because of this we decided to cancel our skits and have a “family time.” This family time was exactly what we needed. We were really able to address some things and, I hope, set a foundation for building a deeper loving, caring community. This, in my mind, is what youth ministry is all about; helping the youth to learn how to love each other authentically using biblical principles.

Last nights lesson was on “compromise, the enemy of decision making.” Here is the definition of compromise that we were using; decisions based on setting aside the objective truth of God’s Word and basing them on subjective evidence. After coming to that definition we began to work through what objective truth and subjective evidence were. Then we took a look at 3 stories from the Bible and asked ourselves whether the decisions presented were based off of objective truth or subjective evidence. Then we closed with some time of personal application.

It turned out to be a really good day. Our evening ended with a couple hours of stimulating political conversation (for most of us) and a few hours of rest.

For those that are praying, thank you! Your prayers, the prayers of righteous people, are accomplishing much. This kind of evening doesn’t normally happen on a Tuesday, if ever!

Keep praying… Tonight we look at “black & white” or “shades of gray.”

This morning I started reading through the book of Hebrews. I’ve read through it before but this morning I was just enamored by the author’s focus on Jesus. Just look at the first four verses and you’ll see what I mean.

“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.”

This text, by the way, came from the ESV Online Study Bible. If you own a copy of the actual study Bible you can even access the notes online too. Plus, you can save your own notes. To me, this sounds like a great resource! However, this is not an advertisement for the ESV Study Bible so back to Jesus!

Look at what this tells us about Jesus in just the first four verses.

1. God has spoken to us by his Son.
2. His Son is the heir of all things.
3. God, through his Son, created the world.
4. Jesus is the radiance of the glory of God.
5. Jesus is the exact imprint of God’s nature.
6. Jesus upholds the universe by the word of his power.
7. Jesus made a purification for sins.
8. Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God.
9. Jesus is superior to the angels.
10. The name of Jesus is superior to the the names of the angels.

Let your mind ponder on these 10 things. I am so tempted to add insight to these descriptions of Jesus. However, by themselves, they are magnificent!

As we approach 2009 let’s renew our focus to look at Jesus. As this image sharpens my prayer is that we will look more like him, love more like him, and live more like him.

1. Babies need milk. So do we (1 Peter 2:2).

2. Babies can’t do anything by themselves. We can’t either (John 15:5).

3. Babies make messes naturally. So do we (Romans 3:23).

4. Babies are loved without strings attached. So are we (Romans 5:8).

5. Babies are precious. So are we (John 3:16).

6. Babies need rest. So do we (Isaiah 40:31).

7. Christ was a baby who grew up and changed the world. So will we (Acts 1:8).

What other lessons can you learn from a baby?

Here is an interesting article by Al Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, on Gov. Sarah Palin and biblical roles.

(ht: Jesus Creed)

What are your thoughts?

So what do you do with the Word?

1. Meditate
2. Memorize
3. Model

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12, ESV).”

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17, ESV)”

“I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you (Psalm 119:11, ESV).”

“and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also (2 Timothy 2:2, ESV).”