Monday, October 25, 2010

Who can ascend Your holy hill?

I'm having a hard time not completely going head over heels for paul washer - in a "my favorite person to youtube/podcast/internet search for" kind of way. This sermon titled "Regeneration" is a GREAT sermon on turning from sin to righteousness. I strongly believe the issue of walking righteously, and consequently running away from sin, is a topic that I wish was taught more (with a nazarene background, I know that what he says about wesley is true teaching at least in my church) . It was only until after much difficulty, stubborness, confusion and 'getting swept up with teachings' of every kind in this world, that the Lord has made clear to me that he desires holiness in His children. Washer, in this sermon, touches on this AND MORE (which is why i like it so much) because he kind of zeroes in on the power of regeneration and how as believers, we are no longer under the power of sin! We don't 'love sin' or have to just 'live with this issue of sin' in our lives - but that we are not slaves anymore. Not that we don't struggle with sin, citing 1 John, or free to run amok, but geez, he does such a great job of tying grace and a joyful, holy way of living together. I mostly just feel like praying more after I listen to this man preach - truly preaching Christ.

Verse - Romans 6:16: (Yes, I wish I could make that part stand out any further. Maybe flashing lights?)
Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.

Straight from Martin Luther's mouth

I just finished this book on the life of Martin Luther and was that man spirited. I mean to say, not that he was full of the Spirit, which he was with what was revealed him, but have you read any of his stuff?? The guy had a vibrancy in writing, and had such mastery over humor, the english language, the scriptures and doctrine, that what he wrote to the catholic church was both challengingly and clever. I am sad I've never read his works before; and here I read only excerpts. Even so, here are some entertaining ones :)

On humbleness and when the Lord directed Peter to cast on the other side:
'I would have said, "Now look here, Master. You are a preacher, and I am not undertaking to tell you how to preach. And I am a fisherman, and you need not tell me how to fish.' But Peter was humble, and the Lord therefore made him a fisher of men.
On the monasteries/convents being incorrectly regarded as the highest christian life. The shepherds after the birth of Jesus:
Surely that must be wrong. We should correct the passage to read, 'They went and shaved their heads, fasted, told their rosaries and put on cowls.' Instead we read, 'The shepherds returned.' Where to? To their sheep. The sheep would have been in a sorry way if they had not.
On Christian duties:
If the burgomaster does his duty, there will scarcely be four who will like him. If the father disciplines his son, the lad will be ugly. It is true everywhere. The prince has nothing for his pains. One is tempted to say, 'Let the Devil be burogmaster. Let Lucifer preach. I will go to the desert and serve God there.' It is no light task to love your neighbor as yourself.
And a brief life history:
I am the son of a peasant...and the grandson and the great-grandson. My father wanted to make me into a bugomaster. He went to Mansfeld and became a miner. I became a baccalaureate and a a master. Then I became a monk and put off the brown beret. My father didn't like it, and then I got into the pope's hair and married an apostate nun. Who could have read that in the stars?

These are just some of what he said. Definitely wrote voraciously against the teachings of the catholic church (even called the pope the anichrist). I highly recommend reading about him. I read "Here I stand: A life of Martin Luther" by Roland Bainton which I thought VERY good. It was very comprehensive and covered so much historically, including the background with revolutions, princes, electors, and the different cities and countries involved and effected by the reformation. It's a complex account, but he does well in presenting it in chronological order, so that it's easy to see the logical flow of events (excepting when what happened made no sense) and it is filled with excerpts from Martin himself. So he doesn't so much tell you what he believed on certain points, but lets you read them yourself. A good first time ML book for me :)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Wanna Runaway

I sometimes wish I could just be a hermit. In a small, foreign part of the world. I mean, I wouldn't have to deal with all this nonsense called life. Just think about it - the luxury of the ascetic life! No make up issues, and no hair fixing. (I would say no fashionable clothes to worry about, but that would be under some crazy notion that I do dress fashionably) I could shave my head and none the wiser, none! That's just one aspect of life that is nonsense. Also, I like the idea of strictly structured and disciplined living. A lot. Not for any penitential reason, but for the minimalistic one - I don't need all this space, luxury or western clothes. And I could just be in my little yurt, (cause i'd probably be in siberia somewhere..) with my books and tea and nobody, seeking God....oh the life.....

However, I'm not called to that. It sure is noble to want to live forsaking earthly comforts and become a scholar - but how important is that in the life of a christian?..... Seriously, (and I am not exaggerating at all) the idea of being a nun or any kind of cloister-equivalent has always appealed to me since I became a believer - precisely because I think it's easier.

And now you may think I'm crazy for saying that, but it's hard to live in a world where everyday you rub elbows with other sinners, and most that don't know Christ, and it's your duty to tell them. It's hard to live knowing that you're a light to shine in the world, and not an indoor candle solely for reading. It's hard having to daily battle (what seems like) every temptation from materialism to covetousness to malice. (Rom. 2: 23) And mostly it's hard having to speak up when people actually don't know what you believe. (Which is every time unless you have one of those "5+2 = 5000" shirts) It's hard being bold.

And most times, I just want to shut myself up with my Bible and with God and be all alone in the world. But the closer I get to God in the Word, the more I feel like Jeremiah -

But if I say, "I will not mention him
or speak any more in his name,"
his word is in my heart like a fire,
a fire shut up in my bones.
I am weary of holding it in;
indeed, I cannot.

Christ put such a hard calling on every christian - namely to boldly proclaim His name. And if the Holy Spirit resides in you, chances are these verses describe exactly how you've felt at one time or another in your day. You must speak His name. You must tell that person, or that other person, or somebody, anybody who will hear you! And it's really uncomfortable most of the time. I must confess something. I've felt led to pray with a couple sick people for healing at the clinic when they came - and I haven't. It keeps welling up within me, and I have a million excuses not to. Lord give me the boldness to pray openly for healing! I am weary of holding it in. I'm terrified to speak, and weary with shutting in this fire burning to get out.

This is more of two posts in one, more of a ramble, and less of anything developed, but the thing I'm trying to say is, what use is a silent christian?