To everyone who is following me on this blog, I have a new blog. If you're interested you can go to walkingwithjoel.blogspot.com.
Saturday, February 18, 2012
Thursday, June 23, 2011
What if there were no laws in our country? What do you think that would look like? The law is an essential part of any society that hopes to be healthy and safe. If we had no laws in our country, there would be no order. People would do what they wanted without boundaries, and we all know that people given such freedom would make decisions that would hurt the community as a whole. Every community, state, nation, province needs laws.
Something that really struck me this past week was how much I ignore the "law" that Jesus talked about. He said to the people that he came to fulfill the law of their day. They had laws like "Do not murder," "Do not commit adultery," and "Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce." In response to these things Jesus said, "Do not hate your brother," "Do not lust," and "Do not divorce, except on the grounds of sexual immorality." Jesus' law -- or way -- fulfills and trumps all the laws ever made by men. For example, those who hated another person would receive the same sentence as those who had murdered another person.
Jesus does not remove the law and replace it with love, but he fulfills it through love and if I'm not living in his law I am choosing to take the easier road, to do the bare minimum, to measure my goodness in the eyes of what men would say is good rather than the way God says is good. I have to admit, it's easier to justify hating my enemies, judging others, holding prejudices or bitterness, building my own financial security instead of thinking of others' needs, and hiding in religion.
I've resolved to go through what Jesus taught (Matthew 5-7) piece by piece and ask God to help me to live out the fulfilled law, BUT I have to say one more thing with this or else you will not understand what I mean. I am doing this with a prayerful understanding that I am not saved from my guilt of breaking the "law" by following the law better, but by asking God for his grace. This is my way of stepping out in my learning to love Jesus more fully rather than in complacency.
SO...my leader, president, king, and ruler is Jesus. Our law says not to murder. Jesus tells us not to hate, to forgive and to love our enemies. Pornography, adultery and divorce are the norm. Jesus says not to lust, but to live faithfully towards each other. Everything in industry is about making money, even if we have to cover up the truth. Jesus says to let our "yes" be yes and our "no" be no. And still in all of this, I know that my strength or hope is not found in doing any of these things, but in God's amazing grace...because in the end, it's never going to be enough. But still these things are all I want to do because of his amazing grace. I want to love him in return.
Thursday, June 9, 2011
NIV Scholar Visits SBS
A few weeks ago we had Dr. Youngblood, one of the twelve scholars who translated the NIV Bible, teaching us. Needless to say, we felt very blessed to be able to spend a whole week with someone who knows the Bible so well in its original language.
One thing I learned from him: "Humility is the most important aspect of being a Christian."
"I've been changed forever." This phrase came to my mind this week during a meeting on our missions base this past week. My life will never be the same after doing the School of Biblical Studies.
Have you ever met a pastor who didn't know the story of David and Goliath? A few months ago Chris Lautsbaugh, a man who has been working with pastors in Africa for over ten years, told me he's met a few.
He invited me to join him. I prayed about it and now I'm on my way to join the YWAM Base in South Africa from June 24th-Sept 20th to help equip pastors and congregations with a Biblical foundation.
Please pray for me as I prepare and as I leave. It's going to be hard for me to say goodbye to everyone and go to a place I don't know. I also need another $1,000 by June 24th. Please pray for that to come in too (if you feel led to partner financially, reply to this e-mail and I'll send you the info where to send support).
Thank you for all of your prayers and encouragement as I've been in ministry and preparing for more ministry : )
p.s. - I recently did a teaching from Habakkuk I titled "Fear". Here's the link if you'd like to see it http://www.youtube.com/watch?
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
So, I've been seeking God and I've been growing so much. I'm looking forward to sharing this with others and getting back into minisrty.
Monday, May 2, 2011
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Saturday, December 25, 2010
So...how has studying 8-12 hours a day going?
Well, we finished the first semester (the School of Biblical Studies is three semesters...a tri-mester if you will). So much has happened. I made another video : ) (click on the link to see it) about what life has been like in this first quarter and wishing you a Merry Christmas. Here are just a few highlights from the 1st quarter.
We've gone through 18 “books” of the New Testament. Studying Paul’s life was like taking him out to coffee. I was able to really learn his heart and situation and to know the hearts and situations of the believers he was writing to. And when we went through the book of Hebrews I felt like I got so close to Jesus that I touched the holes in his hands and in his feet. He has become so much more real to me as I've studied the New Testament this semester.
Over-all though, God has continued to impress on me that even more important than knowing so much about the Bible and having these incredible experiences is actually applying to my life whatever he is teaching me.
We had a time of prayer for healing and I saw with my own eyes a guy’s leg extend out to the same length as his other leg (I asked him about it a week later and he said that it was sore that week because of the change in muscles being used, but it was starting to feel normal). That really challenged me in my faith in God's power to do miraculous things through ordinary people, even today.
We had the first snow. It had been two years since I saw snow falling and it was really weird, and also really fun for me. There were many epic snowball fights after that.
I taught a section from 2 Timothy (specifically 2 Timothy 2:22-26). I shared a story of when I was attacked verbally in the UK by an entire shop of people for being a missionary. I was able to share that as those who trust God through Jesus, when we are affronted by people who challenge us or mock us in what we believe we shouldn’t be argumentative. Instead we need to be kind to everyone and to speak the truth and correct with gentleness.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.