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Posts Tagged ‘david platt’

It happened.  I fell into the trap.  I have not updated in a while.  At first, it was because I was waiting for inspiration for a post.  Then it was because I had not updated in a bit so I could go for a little longer.  Then, I was busy.

Then nothing.  Every now and then I would feel a twinge of guilt.  A “Hey, maybe I should… watch TV.”

Here I am, a little less than two years later.  I have envisioned a blogging project with a much cooler name than my initials.  But, ever the loudest critic of my work, I stop and ask, “If I cannot maintain a practice blog, how can I keep a larger than life, ultra-cool, widely read blog?”

Thus, you are stuck with me for a little while longer until I can prove to myself that I am worthy of running a blog.

Well then, let us begin…again!

Change

I have been through some switch ups recently.

I am working for a Bachelors Degree through Liberty University Online.  I am almost finished!  Then onto my Masters!

I upgraded my position at my job!  God has blessed me with a promotion over the past year, which answered a lot of prayers.

There has also been another development which I have been praising God for in the past year.

Did you know those kids in high school who knew exactly what college they wanted to go to, for which degree, for which job, and who they were going to marry along the way?  For instance, I knew a girl.  All she wanted was to be married and be a florist.  Well, let me tell you, she is now married to a really cool guy and she is…can you guess?  Yes.  She is a florist.

I lacked that conviction, that surety in life during high school.  I assumed that I knew basically where I was heading and what I liked doing and that the rest would fill itself into my life along the way.  Fast forward nine years.  Nine whole years form graduation and I still had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.  I was George Bailey, wanting to travel the world and getting nowhere fast.  I needed a job.  I needed to pay bills.  I needed a car.  And, before long, I was stuck.

Life happened (I love that euphemism) and God put some really godly men in my life.  I still did not have concrete answers.  But one of the guys, Mike, kept drilling in my head: Seek Ye First.  It’s almost a mantra now.  One foot in front of the other.  Follow God in the little things.  Show myself to be a good steward of Gondor…I Mean my talents.  The rest shall follow.

August of 2012 rolled around a couple months after my last blog post on, ironically, looking to God for guidance.  I had tried a lot in the course of the previous years.  Food services.  Computers.  Business.  Accounting (that lasted about two classes).  Teaching English as a second language (thanks to a group from my college year at Lancaster Bible College).

Nothing.  I had a long list of what I knew I did not like.  In the course of this time, I was serving in the church.  I always gravitated towards teaching.  I loved it.  I loved digging into the word.  I loved figuring out what God was saying through His people.  The elders at my church helped me with working out lessons.  They kept telling me to get at the application and to facilitate more than lecture.  I am still working on that.

I also knew I wanted to be in the mission field.  Ever since I read of Hudson Taylor as a kid, I wanted to smuggle Bibles into China.  Well, China has Bibles and there is a lot of good work over there right now (I even hear there is a rise in Calvinism!!!!).  In this vein I spent a summer with a buddy and a pastor at the boardwalk handing out tracts, witnessing, spreading the gospel, and street preaching.  From this I have determined that while I am to go out into all the world and preach the gospel, I do not have the gift of evangelism.  It does not come naturally.

Well, I was lost.  I was stuck at my job, praying for change or something to point me in the right direction.  God had started something and He had definitely forgotten about me, right?

Me and a group of guys from the church had read Radical by David Platt earlier that year and Mike told us how his son and a friend were going to Kenya for two years right out of college to preach the gospel.  Some men had stepped up from the church the two guys attended in the Carolinas and offered to pay for their tuition.

God owns the cattle on a thousand hills.

Radical.

So I stepped out and, after prayer and talking with the elders at my church, I applied for Liberty University’s Online program.  I was working full time and could not afford to leave for college.  So, in the fall of 2012, I started taking classes.  God opened up doors so that I could finally move out and get a place with some roommates.  Full time job, full time classes, my own place.  God really blessed me and there was nothing that I could take credit for other than being faithful and trusting God.

Then it happened.  I’m not exactly sure what the date was or where I was exactly.  But I finally figured out what I wanted to do when I grew up!

There is a ministry that takes those with Masters or Doctorate Degrees and sends them to pastors who have little to no access to bible colleges.

My heart leapt for joy.  Even now as I write these words I rejoice that God would reveal this to me.  I had no idea this even existed.

Now I am close to the end of my degree.  I have 7 more classes.

In the past couple years I have not been even close to a role model.  I have raged and whined and worried at where God was leading me.  I still do.  I do not count it all joy.  I do not place my hope and anxiety in Him who feeds the sparrows and clothes the flowers.  But I am still young and God has a lot of work to do anyway so hopefully that will be taken care of down the road.

My prayers were not answered right away; my pleas were not met immediately.  Is there a time this has happened to you and later down the road you were thankful your prayers were not answered?

Peace,

Bill

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In my 22 years of being a Born Again Christ Follower, I have struggled with the fact that there have not been a whole lot of people that I have led to Christ.  This was something I worked out years ago thankfully but then I lost sight of what I had learned.  In reading David Platt’s book “Radical” with a couple guys from my church, the book has helped me to see that again in clarity and I wanted to share with you some of the insights I have gleaned in this area of life.  I will use Romans 1:16,17 as a template of sorts.

I am not Ashamed

There is a war going on within our reality between spiritual forces.  Satan knows his time is coming to a close so he is doing everything in his power to a) keep those who are dead in sin from seeing the light of the gospel, and b) turn those who are children of God away from the light of the gospel.  As such, to those who are in the former category, the gospel is offensive and debilitating.  It is painful and it is blinding.  It is one of the big three that one is not to discuss in polite conversation (the three being politics, religion, and money).  But this can not be the case.  The gospel is meant to be spoken aloud, to those dead in sin, and those walking away from God.  Christ is said to be offensive and a stumbling block.  Therefore, we who live in such a world that demands comfort and instant gratification must understand that we cannot be ashamed of the gospel.  Yes, it will cause trouble.  But this is the norm, not the exception.  Do not be ashamed.

The Gospel

What is the gospel?  This is a tricky issue in today’s American culture.  There are different variations that different people say you must present differently. This is grounds for another blog post to look at in more depth the gospel.  But in short, the gospel is that I, as a human being, am born in sin, dead to sin, and destined for hell apart from God.  I am so dead in my sin that I am not even able to come to God on my own and I reject God to the detriment of my life, physical and spiritual.  But behold! Christ has come to earth to live, die, and be resurrected so that there is a hope that we may be made alive in Him.  We who once were dead in sin now have a way to come to God and be made new, to be born again and to escape the wrath of God.  This is, in short, the Gospel.

The Power of God

This gospel is not an initiative of man.  This is done through the power of God.  This is who we rely on in the gospel.  The salvation God offers us is a free gift, not just something earned.  This is something me must keep at the forefront of our lives, in witnessing and living.  The gospel needs the power of God.

For Salvation to the Jew and Greek

The gospel is not a respecter of nationality, blood, heritage, or culture.  It transcends all of this and is applicable for all.

Revelation

Without the revealed gospel, we would have no way to understand who God is beyond His eternal power and divine nature.  This understanding cannot save.  This can only point us in the right direction.  Unfortunately, we suppress this in our sin dead ways.  We take what God has created and in turn worshiped that.  One of my favorite verses is in Isaiah 44:18-20 where God describes a man who takes a piece of wood, used part of it to make fire, used more of it to make bread, and used the rest to make an idol.  We cannot know God apart from what God has revealed to us.

This is important in my struggle because I used to take the responsibility for persuasion completely on my shoulders in witnessing.  I used to study evolution, Catholicism, carbon 14 dating, biology, history, literary theory, textual criticism, hermeneutics, theology, apologetics, philosophy, and anything else that I thought would help persuade people that God is calling for us to cry out to Him.  And when a finely crafted argument (or so I thought) would fail to bring those to whom I witnessed to Christ, I would become so discouraged that I finally stopped telling people about Christ for a good amount of time.

It is not my job to bring people to Christ.  Christ brings people to Christ.  It is my job to tell the people about the gospel.  Paul did not persuade Agrippa.  But Paul preached to him.  That was his job, not to persuade, but to preach.  And honestly, this is such a blessing, to have Paul’s testimony, for if he couldn’t persuade someone, with all of his learning and skills and authority, then I am comforted.

Take heart.  Keep on preaching the gospel in love and humility, praising God when He allows you to see someone call on the name of His Son Jesus, but not growing discouraged if something visible does not occur.  I Corinthians 3:7 “So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.”

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