December 12, 2008

The Almighty Paver

Posted in Christian Life, Christianity, Discipleship, Eternity, Friends, God, God's Sovreignty, Jesus Christ, My Personal Walk, Personal, Prayer, Religion, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Worship tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 7:41 pm by Dan Barnett

I’ve had the opportunity recently to reconnect with old friends. Some are from years ago when I was young, and some are from not so long ago. In talking with some, exchanging emails with others, and just observing as well I’ve been blessed to be shown God’s hand in so many of their lives. He has shown me his control and his providence.

I’ve begun to see his plan revealed bit by bit. The masterful story he is telling undoubtedly has he, himself, at the center.

I recently sat and talked for a bit with a woman about this very topic. As we each shared our stories, through tears and laughter, God showed up in a new and fresh way in each story. I remember how hard it was as a 13-year old boy who had just started to feel acceptance in my circle of friends to be uprooted and taken away from all of them. I remember swearing that I would not stay gone. Ypsilanti, MI was my home. I was bitter towards God for forcing me to leave. Later, after graduating high school, I would be bitter again for God withholding blessings I thought I deserved. Mistake after mistake would land me a single guy with uncontrollable debt and no place to really call home. Through a roller coaster ride over several years, I would experience let down after let down in every area of my life. Things I poured my heart into just didn’t become what I’d hoped.

About 2 years ago (give or take some months) I felt a feeling I had longed for my whole life. It was the feeling of unmerited comfort. When my wife lost our third child early in her pregnancy I felt helpless. I had no idea how to comfort her or encourage her. All I could do was tell her that no matter our feelings we had to be OK with what was happening. Through a card from a woman I didn’t know God broke me. He reached out and squeezed me to his chest and wouldn’t let go. As I sat in my car weeping uncontrollably, I realized this was what I had longed for — the feeling of comfort.

My gratitude would soon fade, and my greed would take over. It wasn’t until God took my one security and smashed it that I would be forced to trust him once again. When I lost my job, I was “OK”, but that soon changed. Rejection came more than I was ready for. Well-intentioned people triggered hurt that I didn’t expect. Our marriage broke or flourished on every word spoken to each other. Then, the answer came.

I looked at the friends from long ago and realized that had I stayed, with the direction my life was headed, I would have been one of the biggest obstacles to God reaching my friends. God shows me his hand in many of their lives now. He took the obstacle out so he could draw them to him.

I then ran into an old friend from just a couple of years ago. Through a 2-minute conversation I knew he was hurting. We talked that night for over an hour. And, once again, God hit me over the head. As I addressed the issue of sin in his life I got to the point I needed to and God spoke to me. This friend was dealing with a struggle we all struggle with at times. He wanted to feel the presence of God in his life and wasn’t. I told him he was wrong. I told him that a father who loves his son disciplines him. He didn’t want God’s presence. What he wanted was God’s comfort. But the sin he was refusing to deal with was bringing God’s discipline. See, God was there. He was just there in a way my friend didn’t want. After talking to him I looked at myself and started to wonder if maybe God was showing me the same thing. I had told my friend that the pain and frustration he was dealing with would fade and be replaced by God’s comfort if he made a decision to go after God with everything. I reminded him of the prodigal. His father saw him off in the distance and ran to him. That is what God was waiting for me to do.

So, let’s get back to sharing the stories with the woman. Through the entire conversation one phrase of hers kept ringing in my ears. I had mentioned how the roads certain people in our lives have taken were long hard roads, and she said, “It’s hard to watch them go down that road. But, you have to remember that God built that road for them.” When we’re struggling to see God I the people around us who just can’t seem to get it, they just can’t seem to get over that hump to find God’s peace, we question, “Why not, God? Why don’t they get it?” We have to remember that God built the road they are on for a purpose.

When the end of the road comes to them, and God is not at the end of that road, and there is no more hope, we have to remember. When they become as our enemy, and we experience more hurt at their hand than we can bear, we have to remember. We have to bring ourselves to rest in the comfort of God’s sovereign plan. We must rest in the comfort that God built that road, and where that road ends up is up to him.

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February 14, 2008

rob bell

Posted in Christianity, God, Jesus Christ, Religion, The Church, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Videos at 4:54 pm by Dan Barnett

What do you think of Rob Bell’s message in his NOOMA video, and the response the speaker has to it?

July 22, 2007

Land Yesu! music kick

Posted in Christian Life, Christianity, Eternity, God, God's Sovreignty, Heaven, Jesus Christ, Mission, Music, Music Kicks, Personal, Prayer, Religion, The Church, Thoughts, Uncategorized at 8:28 pm by Dan Barnett

I know I haven’t done any music kicks in quite some time.  I’ve been looking for the past few weeks for the lyrics to this song by Selah.  The title, “Landa Yesu,”  means follow Jesus.  Sounds simple enough eh?  The rhythm and arrangement of the song is pretty cool, but the words, when listened to intentionally, mean so much. 

Chant:

Bandundu, Bandu ya Bible

(Bandundu, people of the Bible)

Bandundu, Bandu ya Bible

……..

Verse 1:                                                                                         Translation:

O Bantu, o Bantu,                                                                        Oh people, Oh people,

Landa ndinga ya nzambi.                                                            Let us hear the word of God.

Landa Yesu. Landa Yesu. Landa Yesu.                                     Follow Jesus.  Follow Jesus.  Follow Jesus.

                                                                               chorus:

Let your truth be told.

Let our hearts receive.

May we all be changed.

Let us now believe.

Follow Jesus.

Verse 2:

Ndinga ya nge-your commandements

Bonso masa-are like water

ke sukula-to our spirits

moyo ya beto-bringing life

Yo ke zenga- they are piercing

Mpimpa-through the darkness

Ke pedisa mwinda-bringing light

Na ntoto ya beto- to this land.

Chorus 2:

Let your truth be told.

Let our hearts receive.

May we all be changed.

Let us now believe.

Follow Jesus.

Bridge:

Nkara ti longo

Feshi Kasongalunda

Iwungu Idiofa

Kahemba Kajiji

Bulungu ti kikwit

Masamanimba ti Kenge

Kinshasa eh Congo

Oh Africa.

Chorus 3:

Let your truth be told.

Let our hearts receive.

May we all be changed.

Let us now believe.

Cause blessed is the life

built upon your word.

Those who find their hope

trusting what they’ve heard.

Follow Jesus.

As I’ve said before about Selah, I love how they integrate the congoese language into thaier music.  This song is actually for the people where Todd’s dad is/was a missionary.  The bridge is a cry to people of all these different villages and tribes to be the people of God.  What strikes me most is the chorus.  He shifts gears from the people to God.  He is pleading with God to allow us to hear his word an believe.  I realize when listening to this song that I don’t plead with God on others’ behalves.  This song really does put God’s soveriegnty front and center.

July 16, 2007

Filling in again

Posted in Christian Life, Christianity, Eternity, God, God's Sovreignty, Heaven, Jesus Christ, Mission, Personal, Prayer, Religion, sermons, The Church, Thoughts at 7:58 pm by Dan Barnett

Sorry I’ve been absent for so long.  Things have been hectic.  Today, I got my second opportunity to preach at our church.

My pastor is in Chicago with his wife as she recovers.  For some reason my emotions were way out of wack today.  I told the church I was having a bi-polar morning.  I don’t have a typed out version of my sermon, but you can download the audio at this site.   Also, if you look at the upper right corner of my site, there is a link to all the sermons in the series we are doing at Calvary.  For now here are the points:

Matthew 6:25-34

Do Not Be Anxious

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? [1] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Jesus starts out with “Therefore” showing that he is concluding something from earlier.  He is preaching to a vast crowd of people who have seen his miracles and heard his teaching.  Like the runners in Forrest Gump, they have left everything to go with him and see what he’s all about.  They have chosen to follow him. 

Back in verse 24 Jesus gives an ultimatum, I guess you could call it.  It seems like a clever and wise statement, but he is saying the same thing that Joshua said.  “Choose you this day whom you will serve.  Jesus phrases it, “You cannot serve God and mammon(earthly wealth).”  He is calling us to a decision.  Choose now whom you will serve, God or mammon.

Now, in the final verses of Matthew 6, Jesus shows us, based upon our assumed decision to follow him over mammon, how our attitude should shape our priorities and concerns.  He starts off with a simple piece of instruction.  “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you put on.”  This statement leads to a common question.  “Why not?  Look at all I have to accomplish today.  Where is my next paycheck coming from?  Will I have enough money to pay the bills?  How can you tell me not to worry?”

I see four answers from Jesus in this passage that address that simple question of why. 

1.  You are more valuable than the animals, the flowers, the grass, etc.

    –In Genesis 1:26 it tells us that God made man in His own image and likeness.  Nothing else is said to be in His image.  He gives man dominion over all the animals.  Man is his prize creation. 

    –In Psalm 139:13-16 we see the famous quote of David of how God knit him together in secret in his mother’s womb.  He says that he is fearfully and wonderfully made.  All of his days were numbered before he ever was.

    –Of course the ultimate display of how much God values us as his children is his penal substitution for our sins. 

2.  Worrying does absolutely no good for us whatsoever. 

    — verse 27 says, “and which of you, by worrying, can add a single span to his life?”

    — A few years ago I heard on the radio that worm farmers have the longest life expectancy.  What stress is involved in worm farming?  Get some dirt and some worms.  Make sure you give the your biodegratable trash, and let them poop.  It’s no coincidence that the lower the stress level the longer the life span.  This doesn’t mean you can lengthen the days laid out for you by becoming a worm farmer, but what good does it do to let the anxiety of your day consume your mind.

3.  Worrying shows our lack of faith.

    — Verse 30, at the end, says, “…will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”  This is one sentence.  He is telling the people who are consuming their minds with anxiety that they have no faith.

    — When we focus on these things that God himself has promised to provide we forget what he has done for us. 

    — If you forget everything in your life that he has ever provided for you, you cannot ever forget that he provided his son.  Romans 8:32 says, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”

4.  Worrying makes itself our master rather than God.

    — He just told us to choose him or mammon.  When we are anxious about these things, they steal our focus. 

    — He says that the world craves these things that we are so worried about, but God knows that we need them all.  We need to seek to see his kingdom furthered and seek his honor, and he will do the rest.

    ——————Love God, love people.  He will do the rest.  It’s so simple to say.  What an opportunity to be able to live it.

July 2, 2007

Meeting God without Christ

Posted in Christian Life, Christianity, Eternity, God, God's Sovreignty, Heaven, Jesus Christ, Prayer, Religion, The Church, Thoughts at 8:07 pm by Dan Barnett

“Meeting God without Christ is Hell.” 

I read this quote(thought to be by John Piper) on another blog.  In the discussion, a commenter quoted a sermon of Piper’s in which he posed the question,

“If God wasn’t in Heaven, would you still want to go to Heaven?” 

Well, how about it? Would you still want Heaven without God?  I’m really interested in people’s thoughts on this question.  Don’t be shy.

June 24, 2007

Takin’ it to the Streets.

Posted in Christian Life, Friends, Mission, My Personal Walk, Personal, Religion, The Church, Thoughts at 4:54 pm by Dan Barnett

brassmonk.jpgI had a good conversation with an old friend today.  On the way to the Dick Tracy Days parade, in Woodstock, IL, we were talking about church and mission.  He posed the question to me, “Which is more important: perfecting your doctrine or being involved in the lives of those around us?”  I quickly answered that they go hand in hand.  I said that in order to fully have either to be effective you have to have both.  He agreed somewhat and said, “I will never darken the door of another church, as long as I live, that won’t hit the streets.”  As we talked I explained myself and finished my answer.  I think aside from having a correct understanding of my own salvation, my biggest calling is to do works.  The greatest commandment is to love God with every part of your being.  The second greatest is to love others as yourself.  To be frank, if you come to me and try to tell me everything I’m doing is wrong and that I need to repent, I’m going to filter these words through my perspective of the person that you are.  On the flip side, if I see you serving me for no reason but to serve and love, I will start to wonder what it is that drives you to do such. 

The danger is my first answer to the question.  I can have all the correct theology I want and not serve.  I can know my Bible in and out(which is what I’m striving to learn) and never set foot in culture.  How does a monk fulfill his calling to tell others about Christ?  If he is locked up in a compound 95% of his life, who is he reaching? 

Now look at the other side of it.  If I am devoting everything I am to being in the culture and serving all I see, I’m doing what Christ has commanded me to do.  However, what am I leading them to?  We have a church in our town that has every religion I can think of each practicing its own beliefs and ceremonies under their roof.  So where a monk is not doing an effective job of reaching out with his beliefs, the other danger is reaching out and sharing false beliefs. 

So, I’m curious.  How would you answer the question?  What is the biggest part of our mission as the church: our doctrine or being in the culture serving others?

 monkwithguitar.jpg

June 21, 2007

Desiring God Books only $5

Posted in Books, God's Sovreignty, Personal, Poetry, Religion, The Church at 3:19 pm by Dan Barnett

This is from the Desiring God blog.  All books at DesiringGod.org are $5 next week.  John Piper is an excellent author and totally worth $5 to try him out.  Some books I recommend from him:

Desiring God

Sex and the Supremacy of Christ

Don’t Waste Your Life

What Jesus Demands From the World

When the Darkness Will Not Lift, and many others.

 

Many of his books are available for free to read online, but purchasing them really helps support Desiring God Ministry.  So, don’t just go away from my site and check another blog right away.  Check this out and buy atleast one book.  Remember the sale is June 27, 28.

______________________

All Books for $5

June 21, 2007  |  By: Abraham
Category: Current Events

Every book in our store will be $5 on June 27-28, Wednesday and Thursday next week.

No limits, so spread the word.

(This sale is online only.)

__________________________________________

June 12, 2007

The Gospel of Prosperity

Posted in Christian Life, God's Sovreignty, Mission, My Personal Walk, Religion, The Church, Thoughts, Videos at 8:26 pm by Dan Barnett

I found this John Piper video on another blog.  It’s a very powerful message.

May 31, 2007

What’s the Source?

Posted in Christian Life, God's Sovreignty, Religion, The Church, Thoughts at 4:15 pm by Dan Barnett

Wayne has a good post over at sweet jazzy cat.  Check it out.

May 20, 2007

Which Jesus Do You Serve?

Posted in Christian Life, God's Sovreignty, Mission, My Personal Walk, Personal, Poetry, Religion, The Church, Things That Make Me Cry, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Videos at 2:35 pm by Dan Barnett

This video uses graphic scenes from “The Passion”.  It’s hard to watch but needs to be shared.  So many of us follow and worship a Jesus of our own making.  We want him to be handsome and dashing.  We want him to fit our agenda and opinions.  The Bible(in both testaments) makes it clear that he is not that Jesus.  He had nothing about him to draw people to him(Isaiah 53).  He was beaten and scarred(Isaiah 52:14, 53, Matthew 27, Mark 15).  He was slandered as many things for who he spent his time with(Matthew 11).  We need to get back to the Christ of the Bible and worship as He was and is.

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