Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Humbled Servant

I am a little reluctant to share this for several reasons, mainly because it shows how I allow my sinful flesh to control me. I do not write this to lift myself up at all, I am not patting myself on the back, but rather I want this to give glory to the King.

On Sunday night I was at the laundromat doing...well laundry. For the first 45 min to an hour there was hardly anyone there and was able to read a good portion of God's Word. It started getting busier after I moved the laundry to the dryers. The thought of sharing the Gospel, or at least handing out some Million Dollar Bill tracts, entered my mind, but I allowed pride and shame to pushed the idea out of my mind. I thought that I really needed to read my hermeneutics book instead, after all I have been procrastinating and am behind. So, I started read the book and I kept noticing more people walk in, and the thought of sharing kept popping in my head, but I ignored it. I was having the hardest time concentrating on my book (I still have no idea what I read, I have to reread it) and then I noticed my palms started to feel clammy and my heart was pounding. I knew what I was about to do and it terrified me.

You might wonder why it terrified me, it was because I was about to something that my pride knew was going to make me look foolish and I had never done it to a complete stranger. I stood up, prayed, pulled two tracts from my wallet, and approached two Hispanic guys. Looking back, I now realize that my fear had temporarily dissipated as I walked over and handed the tracts to the guys. I explained what I handed to them was not real money but a Gospel tract and then ask what they thought happened to people when they die. One responded with very broken English about not being sure. This is where I became like Peter when he walked on water. When he was on the water he was fine until he saw the wind and the waves, then he started to sink. Well, when I heard his broken English my heart, unfaithfully, sank. I stumbled through asking him if he thought he was a good person and, of course, he thought he was. I tried asking him if he had ever told a lie and he gave me a shrug and a face that implied that he had NO idea what I was talking about. I tried a few more questions with the same result. Finally I asked him if he had a Bible at home and if so to read the Gospel of John. Almost seeming miraculous, the guy said that he did have a Bible and would read John at home that night. As I walked away I saw them both reading the tracts, so I now leave it in God's hands. As it says in Isaiah 50:11:
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
I know that I can trust God's Word in this matter. I know that I just did one of several things: (1) I just sowed a seed that will one day be watered and grow then be harvested, (2) I just helped water a seed someone had already sown, or the most terrifying of all (3) I just added to the cup of God's wrath that they will experience on the Day of Judgment. Let me explain what I mean on that third one. On the Day of Judgment, if these two men die in their sin, they will stand with out excuse in front of Almighty God and have to explain why they did not respond to His Grace in repentance and faith.

By man's standards, I was a complete failure, but I am not bound by man's standards, only God's. I am ashamed to say that I was so reluctant to be obedient. As my buddy, Wretched Sinner, said in his latest blog post, I needed and still need to "get out of my own way" when sharing the Gospel. There are lessons that I am going to take from this, one is not to ignore my conscience and be disobedient. I thank my God that this sin, along with all the rest, has already been forgiven. Another thing that I learned was how I am going to need to get direction and training to be more effective.

I have to say that my compassion for the lost has definitely increased since this encounter. I encourage you if you do not share your faith with strangers please consider it. I started out by dropping tracts on the ground in busy places, putting them in ATMs and handing them to cashiers. I know how terrifying it can be to go up to a stranger and talk about these things, but consider where they might be headed. Please consider these lyrics from Keith Green's song Asleep in the Light:
Do you see, do you see
All the people sinking down
Don't you care, don't you care
Are you gonna let them drown

God's calling and you're the one
But like Jonah you run
He's told you to speak
But you keep holding it in,
Oh can't you see it's such a sin?

The world is sleeping in the dark
That the church just can't fight
Cause it's asleep in the light
How can you be so dead
When you've been so well fed
Jesus rose from the grave
And you, you can't even get out of bed.
I ask for your prayers for these two gentlemen. Please pray for their salvation. I also humbly ask that you pray that God continue to grow my compassion for the lost and that my fear of man become fear for man.

"Peace to all of you who are in Christ." (1 Peter 5:14 ESV)

--The Wretch

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Magnitude of God

As I drive to my first stop in the morning and as I drive back from my last stop in the afternoon I have a fair amount of time to let my mind wander, usually about God or what I had been discussed on Wretched Radio that day (which is always about God and theology.) For the past few weeks I have been thinking about the magnitude of our God.

Not that anyone wants to know but I am 5' 7" tall, compared to most people I know, I am short. I am telling you what my perspective of height and size are. Mt. Everest is 29,035 feet (about 5.5 miles) above sea level and the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench is 35,840 feet (about 6.8 miles) below sea level. These are the highest and the deepest points on our planet. This is absolutely amazing and hard to fathom these heights, but that is not all the circumference of the Earth at the equator is 24,901.55 miles. The earth is also home to 6.7 billion people. That kind of make me feel insignificant, but my mind does not stay there, it keeps going.

Now the Earth's volume can fit into the volume of Jupiter a thousand times and Jupiter can fit into the volume of the Sun a thousand times. Feeling small yet? Our solar system is 3.7 billion miles across. But wait there's more! As my mind expands out we not have to switch measurement scales, we now need to use the speed of light. Light travels at roughly 186,000 miles per second (light can travel 7.5 times around the Earth in one second!) A light year is 5.9 trillion miles and our galaxy is 100,000 light years across and contains 200 billion stars. Our closest galactic neighbor is Andromeda, which is 2 million light years away. I read recently that the Hubble Space Telescope has a current viewable distance of about 12 billion light years. There are millions of galaxies out there, we will never be able to say definitively how large the universe is and how many galaxies there are.

I know that this is a lot data and it is hard to comprehend the scope of it all, but I do have a point. In Isaiah 40:12, Isaiah tells us that God measures the universe in the span of His hand. There are millions of galaxies with billions of stars in them and Psalms 147:4-5 tells us that He not only knows the number of the stars but also knows the name of each one. God also knows each and every person that has lived, is living, and will live on this Earth. God also knows the number of hairs on each person's head, your head (Matt 10:30.) Are you starting to see the magnitude of God?

God commands the galaxies to form, and their stars to shine, and they do. He commands planets to form around the stars, and they do. He commands the mountains to rise and the ocean's depths to drop, and they do. He commands the seas to go only so far and the wind to blow, and they do. He commands storms to form and to dissipate, and they do. All of Creation obeys the commands of it's Creator, all but one group. Humans, the one part of Creation that God created with the ability to appreciate and enjoy the rest of Creation and to glorify and worship God as a result. But what happens? God calls us to to obey and glorify him and we say "NO! I want to do things MY way!" Woe to us rebels, God clearly laid out his commands and we all fail to meet his standards. He is so Holy and so Righteous and so Just that He cannot have sin, our disobedience, in His presence.

We have all fallen short of His standard. When we have lied, stolen, and taken his His name in vain He see us as lying, thieving, blasphemers. God also sees our thought life as well. In Matthew 5:27-28 Jesus tells us that just looking with lust (sexual desire) is adultery of the heart, and in verses 21-22 we are told that even being unjustly angry is murder of the heart. Who of us has not broken these commandments? Being guilty of these God sees us as lying, thieving, blasphemous, adulterers and murders at heart, and these are just five of the ten commandments! The first five commandments deal directly with God himself. Have any of us always put God first in their lives? How many of us have fashioned an incorrect view of God in our minds?

As the Bible says, God is Holy, Righteous and Just and must punish sin eternally (for a description of Biblical hell view this post I wrote about it.) But God also has other attributes such as Mercy and Grace. God wants to show His mercy and grace but cannot just universally hand it out because He is a Just Judge. The Law has been broken by all men and the fine needs to be paid. We have to stand in front of this huge and mighty God. How can we justify ourselves, we can't.

God sent the Son, Jesus, to be the payment for all sin, all transgression of God's Law. Jesus was crucified and suffered the full wrath of God as payment for all of our sins. Jesus willingly walked into the court room and paid our fine. How great a sacrifice! The God who measures the universe with the span of his hand paid the fine! In order to receive forgiveness we need to respond to Jesus and his sacrifice in repentance and faith. Repentance is a turning from and forsaking of all sin and asking for forgiveness from God. Faith is putting your full trust in Jesus that he has saved you, like trusting a parachute when jumping from a plane. If you do this God will change you from the inside making you a new creature with new desires. All of the sinful things that you used to love you will start to hate and the things you used to hate, like read the Bible and going to church, you will start to desire.

I beg you, if you have not responded to God's grace and forgiveness on His terms, please do it! Think of all of your sins, your rebellion against God, and then think of His sacrifice on the cross. While we were and are sinners He still died for us to make that payment for sin. Let that burden crush you, then call out to God for forgiveness in repentance and faith!

"Peace to all of you who are in Christ." (1 Peter 5:14 ESV)

--The Wretch

More Paul Washer

"Peace to all of you who are in Christ." (1 Peter 5:14 ESV)

--The Wretch

Friday, January 23, 2009


...No Emergent Church!

"Peace to all of you who are in Christ." (1 Peter 5:14 ESV)

--The Wretch

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Quite a mess!

Please excuse my mess, I am changing/updating my Blog!

"Peace to all of you who are in Christ." (1 Peter 5:14 ESV)

--The Wretch

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Are You Ready?

"Peace to all of you who are in Christ." (1 Peter 5:14 ESV)

--The Wretch

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Preach It!

Check out this video my buddy and brother in Christ, Wretched Sinner, edited and put music to. The sermon clip is amazing; Voddie Baucham is a great teacher!

"Peace to all of you who are in Christ." (1 Peter 5:14 ESV)

--The Wretch

Sunday, January 4, 2009

My First Hermeneutics Paper...Presented Humbly

Well, after hearing from several people I have decided to post my first hermeneutics paper. I was not initially going to post it, but several people have expressed an interest in reading it. I want to say that I post it with humility and with trepidation. Please bear in mind that this is my first paper and that this is not a full hermeneutic process, but rather an exercise in observation.

The task was to make observations on the text of Ephesians 5:18. We were to pull out 18 observations on what the text SAYS, seven observations on what the text does NOT say, and ten questions that would need to be answered for further analysis. So here I present to you my paper:

Observations on Ephesians 5:18 (ESV)

"And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,"
18 Key Observations on What IS Said
  1. Paul is contrasting two states of being: being drunk and being filled with the Spirit.
  2. Paul connects drunkenness as debauchery.
  3. Paul specifies being drunk with wine.
  4. By using “but,” Paul conveys that you cannot be drunk and filled with the Spirit at the same time.
  5. Paul connects being filled with the Spirit with addressing each other with songs, hymns, etc all to the Lord; giving thanks; and submission to one another. (vs.19-21)
  6. The verbs “addressing,” “singing,” “making,” “giving,” and “submitting” are all in present participle (showing that the action is incomplete,) which means that the actions are on going. (vs. 19-21)
  7. The verbs “get” and “be” are both present tense verbs describing “drunk” and “filled,” together implying that when these actions happen that they are completed (which differs from #6.)
  8. “And” connects v. 18 with the preceding verses, and all the way back to v. 11 by the use of “therefore,” “then,” and “for.”
  9. Throughout chapter 5, Paul uses seven contrasting sentences. (Vs. 3, 4, 8, 11, 15, 17, 18)
  10. In all of the contrasting verses, Paul puts the immoral/sinful comparison first.
  11. In the immediate context (v. 15, 17) Paul says not to be “unwise” or “foolish,” and then connects them with being drunk in v. 18.
  12. In a broader context (up to v. 8,) Paul writes about being “light in the Lord,” (v. 8) and Christ’s Light shinning on us (v. 14.) Because of this, we need to be careful how we walk and make use of our time (vs. 15-16) by warning us of the points in number 11.
  13. “Spirit,” in verse 18, is capitalized, implying that this instance of spirit is God’s Spirit. It is used this way 11 times in the entire epistle and twice it is preceded “Holy” and six times it is preceded by the definite article “the.”
  14. In chapter 1:17, Paul says that he prays that God the Father would give them a “spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him,” and later in 1:22, 23 he writes about “the fullness of him who fills all in all.” Three times Paul states that things are put together, reveled, or strengthened either “by the Spirit” or through the Spirit.” All this to say that being “filled with the Spirit” is done by God and the changes are by the Spirit.
  15. Verse 18 is the only instance in the epistle that Paul addresses drunkenness.
  16. The statements “do not get drunk” and “be filled” are both stated as commands and not as suggestions.
  17. Paul does not appear to abolish all drinking, just drinking to the point of getting drunk.
  18. The evidences of being drunk and being filled with the Spirit are shown to be diametrically apposed.
3 (supposed to be 7) Key Observations on What is NOT Said

  1. “Debauchery” is not fully described like the effects of being filled with the Spirit are.
  2. Paul does not mention being drunk on anything other than wine.
  3. The verse does not specify if being filled is a one time event or if you have to keep getting filled (like with drunkenness, it wears off and you must drink some more to get drunk again.)
11 Key Questions
  1. Is the use of “the Spirit” an interpretation of a more generic Greek word for spirit?
  2. What is the Greek word for “debauchery?” What other meanings could it have?
  3. Was drinking wine a common practice (not for getting drunk)?
  4. Was getting drunk a problem in Ephesus at this time?
  5. Was this a big problem in the church its self?
  6. Why does Paul have to say that drunkenness is debauchery?
  7. Why does Paul specify wine?
  8. What is the Greek word for “drunk,” and what other meanings could it have?
  9. Why is drunkenness only discussed in one relatively small verse, and how often does Paul mention it in his other writings?
  10. Why does Paul need to tell the church “to be filled with the Spirit,” did he assume they were just ignorant to these things or that there were goats among the sheep?
  11. Is being filled with the Spirit a euphemism for Salvation?
This was a difficult task, I have never approached the Word of God in this manner before. It has really opened my eyes to the depth of the Bible and the need for CAREFUL study and interpretation. I welcome comments.

"Peace to all of you who are in Christ." (1 Peter 5:14 ESV)

--The Wretch

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Paul Washer Snipit

--The Wretch