"Love each other as I have loved you."

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Set Me Free

It hasn't always been this way

I remember brighter days

Before the dark ones came

Stole my mind

Wrapped my soul in chains...

Now I live among the dead

Fighting voices in my head

Hoping someone hears me crying in the night

And carries me away...

Set me free, of the chains holding me

Is anybody out there, hearing me?

Set me free...

Morning breaks another day

Finds me crying in the rain

All alone with my demons I am

Who is this man that comes my way?

The dark ones shriek

They scream His name

Is this the One they say will set the captives free?

Jesus, rescue me

As the God man passes by

He looks straight through my eyes

And darkness cannot hide...

"Do you want to be free?

Lift your chains, I hold the key

All power on Heav'n and Earth belong to me!"

"You are free

You are free

You are free..."

~Written by Mark Hall of Casting Crowns

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


My friends Jason, Thomas, and I were having a conversation in the car the other day, and from my side of it it goes something like this:

I believe God will use circumstances, cultural norms, likes/dislikes, and etc.. of a person's life in order to draw them near to Him. If that means hard Christian rock music, because that's the type of stuff he/she likes, then God can use that. Why not? If the Calvinists really believe God is totally sovereign, then why wouldn't He, if He can do whatever He likes? "Because the Bible said be not of the world blah blah blah" (translate: "don't do anything I don't like!!") or "why would God need to use something other than Himself to save a person...(translate: "I like putting God in a box and limiting Him to only what I like Him to do")?" is what I normally hear. But I say "For Godso loved the WORLD..." Is God against Himself or something? Love not the world...' but 'God loves the world'? I think many Christians' idea of what is "the world" is screwed up. That's a study in and of itself.

Anyways, is God still totally Sovereign even if He uses his servants, or even non-believers (it happens in the Bible) to accomplish His purposes in the world, whether it to be to save someone, train someone, or help someone? Of course. Since we're human, wouldn't God, transcendent beyond our lowly 3-dimensions, use human-looking, human viewpoint, human things, human words, and human-form in order to communicate, command, teach, and save us? If you had to communicate with a 2 dimensional being, how would you do it? You could either smash your finger through the 2D plane (like a piece of paper) and destroy his universe with your extra dimensional physicality, or you could become like him, put yourself in to his form, and communicate that way. Now think of how smart God is, and how God could do it, and how He did do it. You can't discount the human-factor in God's work on Earth. God gave us the greatest example possible, by becoming like us, to save us. Sound familiar? And look at the Old Testament, how did God appear/communicate with the prophets? He became like things they could comprehend, understand, assimilate, wonder at, and relate to. Ultimately something in their dimension, relating on a human level (think: Burning Bush, The Angel of The LORD, the three men visiting Abraham, etc etc) . That's the greatest example of being "relevant" in order to communicate and connect, in my opinion.

Why did God choose to do it that way, why couldn't he just have killed Himself in Heaven and say "you're all saved!"? You know, save Himself the "trouble" of incarnation, coming to earth, living in the confines of 3D, feeling pain and suffering, temptation, abandonment, all the human woes, including a terrible horrible death. Why did He use sinful and evil humans to kill Him, ravaging politics that would warp His message, jealousy, false religiosity, imperial death penalties, in order to kill Himself for our sins? Is there a message to us in all of that? If we're to be like God, to reflect our Master, is there a message in the Cross, on the level of fundamentally showing how God relates to mankind, beyond what we normally think of when "The Cross", or the Incarnation of the Son comes to mind?

Besides all of this, don't you find it odd that the Bible is written in such a way as to suggest that we, as believers, must live in such a way as to influence the darkness around us? What about being a lamp on a hill? Why tell us to act a certain way, to be like our Master, to say certain things, unless it actually had an impact on unbelievers? Why"...make the teaching about God our Savior attractive" (Titus 2:10) if it has no actual effect on the unbelievers turning towards God? If being relevant within the culture God's put us in is useless in bringing about salvation among people, then why all the fanfare to just as much in the Bible?

The more and more I read, the more I realize that there is something to being 'seeker sensitive', to relating to someone on terms they might understand. Can God work in that? Are we willing to say He won't? How scary a thought that'd we tell God what He can and cannot do. How small and weak a God do we dare make God out to be? I just wasn't spiritually sensitive to it, and rejected it outright (which was probably because of my preconceived notions on how everything had to fit inside my nice little systematic box of theology/evangelism methods). Why is it portrayed in the Bible like God uses US to make a difference, if that's not the case? I think this is just how God chooses to operate, through sinful men. Sure He reaches down and rips a man's old heart out, giving him a new one, sure He can do that. But more often than not, is that how God works? Look at your own life, look at the conversion of everyone you know. Look at conversions in the Bible. Was it as black and white as we'd like it to be? "I heard this sermon, and I was saved immediately." Or can you see God using different things around you, perhaps over a period of time, different people, different songs, different pictures, stories, sermons, circumstances (think about: "I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some" 1 Corinthians 9:22), to draw you near to Him, and save you? I don't think anyone would deny this, but do we believe it? Why does the Master think we can be like Him, if it was to no effect in His plans?

"A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher." Luke 6:40

This was the goal of following a Rabbi, a "Teacher". It was to be like Him. You wanted to be JUST LIKE Him, do things His way, follow in His footsteps. Is it possible? If Jesus said it was, why doubt?

I have to believe I can actually be like Jesus, and that He believes I can be like Him, that I can actually make a difference, and that God can actually use me, or what good am I actually doing? Then I actually have to go out and DO SOMETHING. The Kingdom is something we do, it's something we live in, and living is an action. If you're not alive, what are you doing?

Just some thoughts...

Grace and Peace,


Wednesday, January 2, 2008


Tonight I stumbled upon the name of a style of Biblical teaching, and consequently a method of interpretation, that I've seen for a very long time in the Scriptures, but didn't know the name of. It is called "Remez".

Jesus used this style of rabbinical teaching over 30 times in the Gospels, and his Apostles followed suit in the Acts and Epistles. It is a method of teaching where the teacher 'hints' at additional meaning of what he or she is saying, by 'hinting' at other parts of Scripture (usually the Old Testament).

If we want to understand as much about our Teacher Jesus as we can, then we must understand this method of teaching which He frequently used. One used even at the Cross.

And it is to this end that I invite you to watch this video, which details one of the greatest examples of "Remez" that Jesus used.
Enjoy! "Remez and Psalm 22"

Grace and Peace,