Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Recharge

Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you. ~Psalm 51:12

The IRONMAN TRIATHLON is one of the most grueling endurance events in the world. In order to complete the race, an athlete must swim 2.4 miles, ride a bicycle 112 more miles, then run a 26.2-mile marathon. I’m tired just reading about it!

The best athletes in the world can complete this monumental challenge in under nine

hours. But for Australian Chris Legh, his Ironman experience in 1997 was memorable for the wrong reasons. Known as one of the top competitors in the sport, he was unable to keep any fluids or food down during the course of the race. As a result, he became dehydrated, leading to a number of his organs shutting down.

Fifty yards from the finish line, his body completely gave out. Legh never finished the race and would’ve died without immediate medical attention. Thankfully, he recovered and has won two Ironman events since.

But first, he had to be Restored & Recharged!

While experiences like Legh’s show us humans have physical limits to their endurance, the same can also be said about their spiritual lives. Thankfully, there are warning signs that exist before it becomes too late. When people don’t want to read their Bible or pray, if they decide to shut people out of their lives, or if church becomes just a ritual, something deeper may be going on.

They may be suffering from spiritual dehydration. Just as a “Low Fuel” light tells us to fill up the car with gas, it’s time to ask God for a renewed spirit when we see these warning signs. Consider that Jesus had crowds following him everywhere, but he knew his spiritual limits so well that he consistently took time to recharge, even when death was near (see Luke 22:39-43).

When your life’s “Low Fuel” light comes on, don’t ignore it. God wants to recharge and renew your life. Allow him to do just that. Make sure you accept his help to cross the finish line, especially at this hectic time of year.

We belive that God has BIG PLANS for us in 2010!

Let’s Remember our last four Blog-post’s ….

Let’s have the right “Reaction” to whatever He calls us to Be & Do!

Let’s allow His Holy Spirit to “Refine” us for His Glory!

Let’s work on “Realigning” ourselves to His Purpose!

Let’s Remember to get Recharged for the coming task!

From Deb & I

Have a Blessed Christmas…

See you in 2010

Please take the 4 minutes it will take and check out our last “Study” of 2009

“Rejoice”

20 comments:

Nikki T said...

WOW... God's timing and the use of other people is just awesome to me, yeah I understand this blog & even study goes along with the Christmas season and the new year approaching, but I just have to share.......... I NEEDED TO HEAR THIS TODAY, not tomorrow, not last week, TODAY! I am ashamed, I haven't been keeping up with you all on here in a few months, due to my own business, and at times laziness... (sadly) and yet...
The Lord is still so good to me! I am so thankful that he DOESN'T CHANGE, that there is NOTHING that can seperate me from his mighty Love. Pastor Mark, Debbie... I am recharged, ready for all that 2010 has for me, for my marriage, for my daughter, for my family...God is working in broken families...Last weeks 604 praying for bound family members was FULL of God's power, I'm trusting for healing and victory in my own extended family...God is moving!!! for my Pastors, for my friendships, for 20/20, and for my church. I LOVE being a part of what God is doing, and I am looking and anticipating GREAT GREAT... GREAT changes for 2010. This is going to be a "victory filled year" God has seen us (me) through challenges, and He has been faithful, and He is good!
REJOICE... AND AGAIN I SAY REJOICE!

Merry Christmas Everyone

Nikki T

Anonymous said...

THANKS for this reminder...gotta go pray and read my Bible RIGHT NOW!

Merry Christmas to you all!

Ginny S. said...

May we all open our hearts and our minds for God to recharge us all! "Friend, go up higher". Let us all remember when our life of grace first began - that awesome joy that poured over us! What a privilege is ours to Rejoice in our God - not just at Christmas but every day.
God Bless & have a very Merry Christmas.

Shane said...

Great series of blogs Pastor Mark. Thank you for the time, energy, and thought spent on these. Your timing is appreciated. Your dedication to feeding your flock is appreciated. Thank you for starting these this year and sharing some wonderful insight to so many relevant and thought provoking subject matters. You have made all who participated in blogging better people. Thanx to Nikki for sharing so openely and humbly. I was blessed by her comments and feedback. Sharing like this is getting out there on that branch you hope doesn't snap and leave you hurt. You're a brave soldier and I for one really appreciate people who just "put it all out there".

Merry Christmas to all my fellow bloggers, to you Pastor Mark and your family, and to all who are willing to "scale that branch" for God in 2010. Merry Christmas to New Life Metro...it may not be your first Christmas in your own building, but it is your first Christmas, it has begun...what a way to start a "New Life", on the day we celebrate the "LIFE" that made us "NEW". Bless The Lord.

Shane

Philip Gilbert said...

One could say that virtually every verse in the Bible, Qu’ran, or other holy text from a revealed religion could be preceded by "Some guy said God told him to tell you..." Millions have taken it for granted that an omnipotent God chose second-hand revelation as a primary method to communicate to us.

One seeming paradox of second-hand revelation is that God supposedly had a message for all of humanity, but God told just a few guys. For unexplained reasons, God apparently stopped communicating that way from then on, putting the burden on them to be messenger boys. Well, perhaps God didn’t stop entirely, as we continue to get claims of revelation periodically, but many revelations claim to be the final one and pronounce dire warnings to any who claim later ones. That might explain the tendency for many to accept ancient revelation over modern revelation.

If God uses a few selected scribes to reveal all-important truths to the rest of us, we are essentially stuck taking their word for it. To me, it seems ironic and contradictory that God allegedly would want a personal relationship but then use bronze-age tribesmen as agents to obtain it.

Why would an omnipotent being choose this method in the first place, with all the risks of translation error, copy error, miscommunication, cross-cultural differences, appearance of favoritism, inherent limits of human language, and so on? It can’t be more trouble to simply speak to us directly, if omnipotence is a reality.

Why are conflicting revelations allowed?

Some claim that the path to eternal salvation lies in second-hand revelation. If so, wouldn't that place your salvation into the hands a fallible human? It seems odd that this arguably most important of truths would be communicated indirectly by fallible humans, especially when God is said to be omnipotent.

Would the originating force behind the entire universe choose a method so fraught with potential for trouble? As if God needed a spokesguy... In the churches of my youth, we simply took it for granted and never gave it a second thought. Is that common?

Bob A said...

PM thanks for the Selah today and sermon yesterday....it is a New Year and the best we can do is include our Father in working our plans a day at a time. Thanks

Nikki, thanks for the encouragement….you hit it square on the head….

Shane I think you are right.....it's good to be able to put it out there so we can share our thoughts and encouragements with one another....I think this is so much more beneficial than facebook..... I believe they had it right “back in the day…”Hebrews 10:24-26 24And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching…...

Philip, I believe your thoughts cross many minds that really want to seek the truth. I remember I wrestled with the same questions when I was first introduced to the Bible. But the more I read, the more I saw within His word that it was the simple things that God chose to confound the wise (1 Corinthians 1:26-28 26Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are,….).

Unless this book is a series of our-right lies (it has withstood the test and punishment of man and time without a scratch), we need to take it for what it says it is…the truth (Jer.34:12; 2Tim 3:16; 2 Peter 1:19-21; Rev. 1:1; 14:13..and my favorite 1 John 5:13) …..this is of course where faith comes in….but not blind faith…..faith that believes on evidence and reason.

There are so many scholars that spend their lives searching and defending the Bible through apologetics. I have found a great source to be Josh McDowel’s “The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict”. Also check out Dr. James White on his website, http://aomin.org/ he's great.

I guess for me the testimony of the inspired men of God that became martyrs for their beliefs gave me the historical evidence I needed combined with reason, logic, the laws of evidence and faith…Paul seems to have summed it up for me.....

Galatians 1:6-24 No Other Gospel
“ 6I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! 9As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!
10Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Paul Called by God
11I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. 12I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.

I would say it is common for the world to look at God’s word this way…….I would say it is unfortunately, but what is common to man is not common to God.. 1 Corinthians 10:13
“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful……”.

1 Corinthians 2:15-16 15The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment: 16"For who has known the mind of the Lord
that he may instruct him?"[a] But we have the mind of Christ.

Aren’t you glad He chose us to be able to look at the things of God His Way?!

Philip Gilbert said...

Hi Bob A
I don't think this is the appropriate place to get into a theological arguement. It seems you are too far gone anyway for even a shadow of doubt to creep into your beliefs and even if it did, you would probably see it as a test of your faith. God like to test us doesn't he, especially the strong and the wise according to you. Looking at the link you posted, I assume you believe in the whole Creation Ark stories as a reality.
I worry that your mind is closed and I know that the god you seek does not exist. Sorry.

Bob A said...

Well Hello Phillip. You are correct, this is not the forum for an argument, but who wants to have one anyway. I have to say that I am as human as the next guy and it's not that I'm so far gone as it’ just that "it is well with my soul" the things that I believe about God and creation because of what I see.

It depends on what you are interested in, a search for truth or confirm what you don't want to believe because of the dire consequences. I think everyone can understand why an atheist believes what he does, because if he allowed himself to believe in God he would be in a serious predicament correct?

John 3:19-21 19This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."

1 Corinthians 2:14-16 14The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment: 16"For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ.

You mention creation and the ark stories, but I don't need to tell you that if you think Darwinism isn't the ark story of the atheists, have a sit down with the list on this document:
http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/filesDB-download.php?id=660

Phillip, myself and everyone I know who believes was once just like you. We all came from the world’s school of thought; we weren’t born in the Bible Belt; we are law abiding citizens of the world, scholars, lawyers, doctors, PhD’s,not dreamers, losers, fantasizers, etc. described by atheists.

I’m encouraged by one thing from our little interlude; you found your way to this blog site. Welcome. Your mind is open as is ours. I would hope we all want to know the truth. Therefore we seek. We could all just call it a day and go back to “every man for himself”. But I would say if it’s hard to believe in creation, it’s even harder to believe that all we see and all that we are is because of something Darwinism explains that in no way can be proven, then why not God; why not see an intelligent creator to explain all that we are?

Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

Again,I’m glad you made your way to our blog Phillip. Jesus, who even atheists will admit existed, said, John 14:6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 3:16 16"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,[a] that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Make sure you are right my friend. It’s interesting how the Bible tells us that one day many are going to experience that “Foxhole Faith” where they will no longer believe in the idols they worship exist but they will see how wrong they were….. Isaiah 17:7-8 7Then at last the people will look to their Creator and turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel. 8They will no longer look to their idols for help or worship what their own hands have made. They will never again bow down to their Asherah poles or worship at the pagan shrines they have built..."

None of need to create intellectual suicide to believe……just take a hard truthful look. Every knee will bow one day.

Philippians 2:10-11 10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philip Gilbert said...

Hi Bob A
There's not much point in quoting bits of the bible at me. They mean very little to be because I know they were not the words of a supernatural being. As for my mind being as open as yours, I don't think so. You look for evidence to confirm what you believe to be true. I believe in nothing and take evidence at face value.

It looks to me like you need god more than he needs you.

Bob A said...

Cheers Philip!

Listen mate, don’t be so cynical, life’s too short. Well at least you said the scriptures mean very little to you instead of saying they mean “nothing”, so there is hope.

I have to say though Philip, it saddens me to actually believe what you said, “I believe in nothing….”. Man, Philip that is an empty thought. I would expect that from Ted Bundy or Jack The Ripper but come on…. not from a regular guy like yourself. There has got to be something in your mind and in your heart that tells you what separates us from any other predator in the animal kingdom.

Man does some pretty gruesome things but where do you think “the good” in man come from?

On the brighter side…..I am very glad you “take evidence at face value”. As far as opened minds go, come on now don’t tell me you can’t “explore”. What do you have to lose? Nothing! Go for it….take a look at this link….”The Case For A Creator”, by Lee Strobel. Lee created this as an atheist looking to actually discredit Creation and Christianity. His mission, as the Legal Editor for the Chicago Tribune and a graduate from Yale Law School, was to take an honest and open view on everything he could get his hands on to discredit them from a journalist’s point of view…..no bias…..he let the “evidence that he took at face value” lead him to a conclusion.

Philip, you have nothing to lose……take a look...this is even a link to the "used" section for less $$ (let me know I'll buy it for ya mate).

http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B000ION2HG/ref=sr_1_olp_1?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1263229406&sr=1-1&condition=used

Take an honest unbiased look....come on, go for it!

Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Absolutely we need GOD more than He needs us ! He's GOD...

Bob A said...

Oh Philip, by the way, you are correct, I DO need God more than He needs me....He doesn't "need" me at all. He desires for me (and you by the way) to have a full complete life in Him and through Him..John 10:9-11 "9I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.[a] He will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

Apart from Him we can't do much of anything truly worth while...John 15:5 "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."

He wants us to have what our hearts desire...Psalm 20:4 "May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed."

He wants us to love Him, just like we want our children to love us....Matthew 22:36-38 36"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" 37Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'[a] 38This is the first and greatest commandment."

Pretty simple ....

Cheers Philip...

Philip Gilbert said...

So how will you explain the earthquake in Haiti on behalf of your silent god? Perhaps you can say why he felt the need to create the earth using tectonic plates that he must have known would cause devestation.

Did he protect any christians in all of this perhaps and let the non-believers take most of the carnage?

Rejoice indeed. Your god really does work in mysterious ways.

Bob A said...

Well Philip.....I see you are getting a bit more cynical. Listen man, if I gave you an answer would you even care? What I see here is that you are not being honest with yourself. You are asking the questions that are so simple but it's the answers that are more profound....but the thing is you don't care.....you're not being honest about it.....why don't you take the same challenge Lee Strobel did? You know the saying, keep your friends close and your enemy closer....come on brother, if Christianity is your enemy, get close. I believe you are afraid of the answer you may find.

If you think you've cornered the market on intelligence, wisdom, understanding and insight, you're already toast brother.

If you are going to be beneficial and honest with your own atheist bloggers you owe it to them to explore this to the MAX with complete honesty and candor, and let the evidence you say "you take at face value" lead you to an HONEST answer; not some preconceived answer that you've got locked down that even Jesus couldn't change if He were standing in front of you head-butting you into submission.

Dude, don't be one who slings garbage like your last comment that anyone can sling without even really searching the subject to truly know the answer. It can't be answered on a blog.

You aint so tough that you can't change.

I dare you to give it a shot....and not a cheep one. What on earth do you have to lose.....it's too easy to believe "in nothing".

Anonymous said...

Hi Philip, thanks for joining in on our blog. Why don't you believe in anything ? I would think that that would be extremely difficult. I mean, I believe in alot of things...not just God. But mainly of the things I believe in take some level of faith. I also believe in things in this life based on my experiences with them. I would think you do as well...just by living in this world, you've had experiences and I am sure you have come to some beliefs about them. The fact that you haven't haven't experienced God wouldn't necessarily mean He doesn't exist. There are billions of people who haven't experienced God, but believe He at least exists. I am sure you at least believe in the rule of law in the UK and elsewhere, otherwise you would be in alot of trouble getting things done. So to say you don't believe in anything is a bit of a stretch wouldn't you agree ? I think it would be so much easier for a person to believe there is someone out there that is in charge of things than to believe it's all just a mistake. The "evidence" at face value for that is so much more compelling and believable than the evidence against a Supreme Creator. Think about it...you have trouble with the Bible being written by mortal men and not spoken to us now in an audible voice or think that it's no longer relevant...but you take evidence at face value which would mean that you probably follow science and what "mortal man" says is fact in 2010...But...what if...science turned yet again and said the universe was created by a supreme being and we have proof. Similar to them now saying it was a cosmic accident and they have "proof" now. Would that be evidence for you to take at face value and believe in a Supreme Being ? I would also think that believing nothing would be almost impossible. I mean, to be very elementary, you probably have enough faith to believe the sun will rise tomorrow, and the traffic light you are sitting at will eventually turn green, which takes faith. It's the same principal with believing in "something" you read it...then you experience it, then it convinces you it's real because you have experienced what others have already experienced and are witnessing about. I guess I have written all this to really get some answers as to how you can believe in nothing. It just doesn't seem to fit with basic human behaviour. Can you expound ?

Anonymous said...

Philip, I think your last comments about this weeks earthquake in Haiti show me that you don't believe in God because you see so much "bad" going on in the world and wonder how...We as Christians often question why things happen and sometimes even where is God in that ? We will find out one day. Keep searching. It's no accident you are on this blog...

Philip Gilbert said...

Hi People

Some responses, original text included;

Hi Philip, thanks for joining in on our blog. Why don't you believe in anything ? I would think that that would be extremely difficult. I mean, I believe in alot of things...not just God. But mainly of the things I believe in take some level of faith. I also believe in things in this life based on my experiences with them. I would think you do as well...just by living in this world, you've had experiences and I am sure you have come to some beliefs about them.
Belief, evidence and expectation. I take my inspiration from Tom Robbins (Another Roadside Attraction) who showed me through his writing, the meaning of meaning. He gave me my stance on belief. I don’t need it, really.
The fact that you haven't haven't experienced God wouldn't necessarily mean He doesn't exist. There are billions of people who haven't experienced God, but believe He at least exists. I am sure you at least believe in the rule of law in the UK and elsewhere, otherwise you would be in alot of trouble getting things done. So to say you don't believe in anything is a bit of a stretch wouldn't you agree ?
I am aware of the law and know when I break it. Laws exist but I don’t agree with all of them and I break many of them. It was illegal to be gay. It isn’t now. Laws evolve.
I think it would be so much easier for a person to believe there is someone out there that is in charge of things than to believe it's all just a mistake.
I agree. Otherwise religion would not have got such a foothold. Mistake is an emotive word. Whose mistake? We just evolved. It took one living cell to come into existence and everything else is happened from that.
The "evidence" at face value for that is so much more compelling and believable than the evidence against a Supreme Creator. Think about it...you have trouble with the Bible being written by mortal men and not spoken to us now in an audible voice or think that it's no longer relevant...but you take evidence at face value which would mean that you probably follow science and what "mortal man" says is fact in 2010...But...what if...science turned yet again and said the universe was created by a supreme being and we have proof.
You don’t. You just hope. My cousin was a cosmologist at Cambridge University. I grew up embracing science and reason.
Similar to them now saying it was a cosmic accident and they have "proof" now. Would that be evidence for you to take at face value and believe in a Supreme Being ? I would also think that believing nothing would be almost impossible. I mean, to be very elementary, you probably have enough faith to believe the sun will rise tomorrow, and the traffic light you are sitting at will eventually turn green, which takes faith.
It takes no faith, it takes an understanding of how things work.
It's the same principal with believing in "something" you read it...then you experience it, then it convinces you it's real because you have experienced what others have already experienced and are witnessing about. I guess I have written all this to really get some answers as to how you can believe in nothing. It just doesn't seem to fit with basic human behaviour. Can you expound ?
What is there to expound? I’m here, I’m now and that’s all. That was a song by Slade. There is nothing else. I don’t require it and I don’t need to make the cosmos fit a book written by desert dwelling primitives.

Philip Gilbert said...

Good and bad are human cncepts. They do not exist in nature. I know why earthquakes happen. I know why people die from disease. I undersytand why people kill each other. I don't need an invisible magic friend to explain anything, let alone to ask forgiveness to or pray to. That is just so sick.

Bad things happen to good people.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Tom Robbins...he's your man...with emphasis on the word man...mortal man, finite, making mistakes everyday like you and I. If he taught you the meaning of meaning...then you should really try reading the Bible to see what the meaning of life is all about. And if you read the majority of the New Testament and historical records, you will see that Paul, majority writer of the New Testament was more educated by man than most of us will ever know...including Mr. Meaning of meaning. It's not rocket science and I think you find it fascinating how easy it is to apply to your daily life...The hardest thing for a human to do in this life is to accept a gift so simple and easy as the gift of salvation and forgiveness to prevent an everlasting life of damnation and separation from your Creator. It's easier to not believe. I don't think you are the type of person to take the easy road. Bad things happen like you said, but it rains on teh just and the unjust...take care philip...I do pray someday you find the right meaning...not just the meaning of meaning...

Philip Gilbert said...

Hi Anon et Al

I'd like to explore this thing about good and bad. Without a deity, there is no qualifier. We live in a world that has natural occurances like quakes and tsunamis. I don't use these events as a basis for not believing but as a means of challenging your rationale.

I presume that you believe god has a plan for everyone and by praying, you can influence god to grant you more of what you want. Has god made everything and now takes a bck seat? In which case why bother trying to interact with him? Or is god very much involved, in which case, he lets thousands of people die because of faults in a world that he designed. You can't have it both ways.

As for me being guided here, are you saying that god has a hand in this, that he has a message for me that someone on this blog can deliver? We are back to the second-hand revelation issue again that I have covered in my blog. I am sure your god could choose to communicate with me directly, except that gods only ever existed in the minds of men.

Phil.