Spirituality Posts

Which Came First?

Personality cartoonYour value system or your belief system? Months ago, I read a blog by Donald Miller where he posed the argument that our faith is largely determined by our personality. The more I’ve thought about that the more I think it’s true.

It goes even deeper than that. We often create our value system and then pick a belief system to support it. This can be on a large scale, like deciding to be an atheist because you don’t WANT to follow God, or more specifically when, as a Christian, you pick certain parts of the Bible you choose to disagree with because it benefits you in some way.

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How’s Your Fire Doing?

FireplaceI’m sitting outside as I write this enjoying a fire in my backyard fireplace. I’m a bit of a pyro and for fun I thought I’d try and build a fire on top of a phone-book (seriously, they are still giving those things out?). In attempting this, I learned that starting a fire on top of a phone-book is not nearly as easy or exciting as you might think.

I had to give this fire much more TLC than normal and in the process I realized there are essentially three elements to building a good fire:

  1. firestarter (newspaper in my case)
  2. kindling (smalls shreds of wood that I ripped off of other pieces)
  3. heavy logs

Building a raging fire needs these three ingredients (assuming you aren’t using “cheater” methods like gasoline). All three play radically different parts. The firestarter cannot sustain itself for long but is quick to light. The kindling lights farely quick and will burn for a bit. The heavier logs take awhile to light but can sustain the flame for the longest amount of time. The quickest way to a healthy, natural fire is to strategically incorporate all three.

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God According to Adam Clarke

Adam Clarke“[God is] the eternal, independent, and self existent Being; the Being whose purposes and actions spring from himself, without foreign motive or influence; he who is absolute in dominion; the most pure, the most simple, the most spiritual of all essences; infinitely perfect; and eternally self-sufficient, needing nothing that he has made; illimitable in his immensity, inconceivable in his mode of existence, and indescribable in his essence; known fully only by himself, because infinite mind can only be fully comprehended by itself. In a word, a Being who, from his infinite wisdom, cannot err or be deceived, and from his infinite goodness, can do nothing but what is eternally just, and right, and kind.”

Adam Clarke, 1762-1832

Emotional Porn

“There’s certainly a war against the prevalence of visual pornography in many corners of our society—especially in the Christian culture. There is an attempt to expose pornography for its promotion of unrealistic sexual expectations and exploitation of human sexuality. And that attempt is a very necessary one. But what about the unhealthy emotional and relational expectations portrayed in so much of our media? Is there really much of a difference in the hyperbolized sexual imagery of typical pornography and the hyperbolized momentary emotional high felt in a romance film or romantic comedy that sends us looking for a “love” that doesn’t exist?” Cole NeSmith, pastor at Status in Orlando, creator of Uncover The Color

I’ve long since thought that we are quick to label visual porn, but are almost inept at labeling it’s equivalent (for the typical woman) in emotional porn. Here is a great article that Relevant Magazine recently posted about this very controversial idea.

Egypt Reflections Pt.4

Those who know me well know that I’m not really a “worship” guy. What I mean by that is I’m not the type of person that usually connects emotionally with God through singing worship songs. Third Format definitely gets close for me, but I’m just not wired that way. I’ve met many people who are.

One of the days that we were in Egypt we visited an Oasis in the middle of the Sahara Desert. It was a five hour drive from Cairo and was literally out in the middle of nowhere. The second day we were there we walked up a small mountain and I was able to look out at a sea of palm trees in the middle of a vast wasteland of desert. Being up there, feeling a cold breeze on my face, looking at a seemingly immense geographical contradiction, caused me to have an incredible moment of worship as I reflected on the artistic nature of the God that designed this. I stood up there a little longer as I pondered this. Below is a picture that one of the guys took of me standing there. The second picture is a glimpse of what I was looking at. Our God is absolutely incredible.

I’d love to hear from you guys. Where do you experience these types of worship moments with God?

24/7 Prayer at Central

I spent some time praying at the Gilbert campus tonight for this year’s 24/7 prayer event at Central. It was a great time and very spiritually refreshing. In one station, people could write thoughts onto a white board. I took a picture of one comment that stood out to me.

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As I sat and stared at these three sentences, I suddenly remembered two years ago when I was doing the same exact thing. I was at a 24/7 prayer station, this time it was a station setup with a punching bag. In that station, we were encouraged to write something down that we were frustrated with God about. At that point in our life, Michelle and I had been trying to get pregnant for about a year. I couldn’t understand why we couldn’t start a family, especially when I felt that God was the one who had given us such a desire to have one. I wrote my complaint on a piece of paper and left it there and walked away from that night unresolved.

Flash forward to tonight. I sat there and remembered the frustration I had then when I felt that God was silent, and how different that seems to me now as we are currently pregnant with our second child. God is still listening, and prayer really does matter. So wherever your journey with God is right now, don’t give up on Him. He may have an answer for you that you can’t see coming.