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Archive for August, 2011

I’ve never read Radical, David Platt’s bestselling prequel to Radical Together. However, I’m going to get a copy as soon as possible.

In Radical Together, Platt encourages his readers to forget the American Dream and other useless pursuits and to embrace a passion for spreading the Gospel all over the world through unity among believers, churches, and organizations. As radical as it may seem, Platt is building on an age-old concept that without unity, nothing happens. But with unity, even miracles can come into existence.

What I liked about this book is its variety of resources. Combining stories, facts, inspiration, and his own personal testimonies and examples, Platt weaves a practical book that can be used to disciple people into this visionary world movement. I highly recommend it to anyone who’s willing to get real and get radical. 🙂

I received a free e-copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah’s Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review.

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I have been studying the book of Proverbs for the last few weeks, following the ever-popular reading plan of one chapter a day, with the chapter number corresponding with the day of the month. I’ve been richly blessed by all the wisdom I’ve gleaned from the verses, however a reoccuring theme struck me with tremendous force and conviction.

If you read Proverbs, you will note that it has a lot to say about the right way of living. It also says a lot about how much the wicked will suffer. I’m fine with all these descriptions and “prophecies”, albeit the fact that I can sometimes be scared by the calamities said to surely overtake the wicked.

However, one important detail popped out at me, and that is the fact that only two types of people — two extremes, so to say — are mentioned: the righteous, and the wicked.

The righteous and the wicked.

Okay, that makes sense. There are those holy people who always think, say, and do the Word and will of God. And there are those who indulge in every evil that exists. I mean, that’s what righteous and wicked are supposed to mean right?

BUT WAIT JUST ONE SECOND: I feel discriminated against!! Why am I not mentioned in these passages? Sure, I’m not a holy saint. But that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m a lying, thieving, sex-crazed murderer. I’m sort of in the middle, you know? Not that good, but not that bad. In fact, on the morality scale I think I’m a little closer to the point marked “Righteous” than the point marked “Wicked”. After all, I do read my Bible every day, pray at every meal, and go to church as often as I can! I’m a good person. :]

I strongly, firmly believe there is a huge reason why God only uses these two terms in Proverbs.

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!  So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

– Revelation 3:15-16

God wants our relationship with Him to be brought to its full potential. He doesn’t want us to be “half in-half out” in our Christian walk and practices. He wants our whole heart, our whole mind, our whole soul, our whole strength, our whole body, our everything to be given and consecrated to Him. He wishes we will either choose to be passionate, fiery followers after Him, or be cold and distant towards Him by falling back into the world and continuing in our sinful behavior. He hates for us to immerse ourselves in earthly pleasures, and when those pleasures disappear and storms come our way, run screaming to Him for help. It’s like we’re using Him in a continuous pursuit for happiness and peace with a secular twist.

God blesses His followers. He does so as an exhibition of His faithfulness, and also because He delights in giving us every good and perfect gift. We give Him our everything; He returns the favor by fulfilling our needs and wants — in His time and according to His will, of course. Therefore, He demands (in a good way) that we give back to Him as well.

You will choose to either be constantly pursuing holiness, or constantly falling into wickedness. God will not tolerate halfheartedness in serving Him, especially if you are easily swayed back into the world. It certainly is a large challenge, but taking up our crosses and following after Jesus is not meant to be a happy and trouble-free journey. It is one of suffering, of shame, but with a reward that will outshine (literally) anything we go through. We only need to stand firm, deeply rooted in the Word of God and an intimate relationship with our Creator.

When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone,but the righteous stand firm forever.

– Proverbs 10:25

It’s hard for me to make that choice, and I’m probably hypocritical for writing this post. However, I don’t want to miss out on all the blessings He has in store for the righteous. And I certainly don’t want to have wicked calamities befall me. Therefore, I resolve to wholeheartedly pursue holiness and give God my everything. It won’t be easy, but with people pushing me forward and God’s ever-abundant grace, I’m sure I can make it through.

Will you choose the same?

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It’s funny how we hear all these truths from the Bible, in church, in songs, and even day-to-day conversations, and completely forget or become desensitized to them. I want to point out one in particular, one that is very very important yet very very often forgotten: that is, thankfulness.

Not surprisingly, I was reminded of this truth during the first day of my church’s VBS program today. The theme was gratitude, and being surrounded by stories and activities that reflected this character trait caused me to reflect on a lot of things in my life I take for granted. I have a home, food, siblings, both of my parents, 3 of my grandparents, a wonderful church with an excellent youth group, a group of brothers that hold me accountable, sisters in the church that properly teach me how to deal with beings with double-X chromosomes (x.x), opportunities to serve in ministry, a private school with at least 60% less temptations than a public school would have, and so, so much more.

I understand many people do not have what I have. However, I ignore that fact and continue to want for things that I don’t necessarily need. A lot of my wants are legitimate, but perhaps God is happy with me where I am for now and will bring in answers for those needs later, when I need them more. I remember wishing i had someone my age to talk to about my faith, standards, etc. ever since I was 13 years old. I looked on in jealousy at the people who did have someone, and wished and wished and tried and tried to get just even one guy. All of them failed, because it wasn’t God’s timing. However, I noticed in the years that followed that God WAS bringing people my age into my life, just not the way I expected, and not as close in age either. However, this past year he has blessed me with the opportunity to fellowship more closely with brothers within a 2-year range of my age (17), and allow me to build the friendships I’ve wanted since 4 years ago.

Through this experience, and many others, as I reflect on what God has done in my life instead of what I think He should do, I’m reminded to be grateful for everything I have. God knows my needs, He knows my wants. If they align with His will for my life, He will give them to me. However, He will give it in His time and not whenever I want it. He knows what is best for me; He even knows what and when before I ask! Also, I should be grateful for everything I have, because Jesus did save me and brought me salvation and an eternal intimacy with the Lord. He does not owe me anything yet offers these blessings so freely despite all I’ve done. If anything, I should be on my knees in adoration and thankfulness for all He has given me.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

– James 1:17

Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe.

– Hebrews 12:28

I need to be thankful, because if I’m thankful, I will anticipate and appreciate God’s blessings even more. He gives when He wants, and takes when He wants. But I rest assured that if I follow Him faithfully, He will also be faithful in providing for me and blessing me.

They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

– Lamentations 3:23

Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.

– Job 1:21

And with trials and suffering, rejoice in them because I know God uses trials to teach me lessons I cannot otherwise learn, as well as draw me closer to Him as I stretch out and strengthen my faith, hope, and trust in His plan for my life.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

– Romans 8:28

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

– 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Thus, I’ve resolved to make a Gratitude List in my journal, where I will dedicate several pages to listing all the things I’m grateful for.  I will be adding to this list whenever I get reminded of something new I should give thanks for. If you want, you can join me in making these lists, and truly “count our blessings and see [all of] what God has done.” 🙂

P.S. I would love to hear from you about the things you’re grateful for. Just drop me a message on my Contact Me page, or send me an email at the address listed there. Thanks! 🙂

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Most men struggle with purity. Whether it be manifested through thoughts or actions, lust is a powerful temptation that destroys and dominates many lives. In fact, modern society is currently being overtaken by a whirlwind of immoral media of all sorts. Pornography is widely available; just one click away on the Internet. Women dress in the most immodest clothing imaginable.

What are single Christian men to do in such a dirty world? Being the authors of the ever-popular Every Man series, Steve Arterburn and Fred Stoeker, along with Mike Yorkey, have come up with a discussion guide to be used as a companion to their popular titles Every Man’s Battle and Every Young Man’s Battle. While Every Single Man’s Battle draws its excerpts from Every Man’s Battle, both books are useful while you go through this guide. It is written especially for those unmarried, divorced, or widowed men who want to seek out guidelines for celibacy and purity. As such, this book gives practical tips on overcoming lust, pornography, and masturbation, as well as staying away from unhealthy relationships and staying celibate.

I have personally found each of the aforementioned three titles useful in my war against immorality. This guide opened my eyes to key truths in the word that I can practically apply into my life and live out in purity. A must read for sure.

I received a free copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah’s Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review.

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