Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Move

Well, I am sitting in my apartment in Montgomery for one of the final nights. After being here for 5 months my time in Alabama has come to an end. I still wonder what exactly my purpose was in being here but I believe it will be clearer as time goes on. I know one thing for sure; and that is that God brought me here if for the mere reason of getting my feet wet in full time work for the church. In my five months here there have been numerous challenges; primarily the lack of interaction with others my age and just shear loneliness. The work has kept me busy and I have enjoyed the ministry of the ABC. I still consider the opportunities I had to preach in Tuscaloosa, AL and Bonifay, FL as one of the better experiences I had here. I like Montgomery as a city as it is a very liveable city with a nice southern feel to it. A better social network here would have been helpful though.
With all that being said, I am pretty happy about the move back to Tennessee. I am expectant of really good things to happen. I am anticipating my new job as an Assistant Treasurer and I am looking forward to the challenge. I am also happy that I will be close to all of my family. Tennessee is home to me and it is pretty much all I have known my whole life other than 4 months living in Lincoln, CA and 5 months living in Montgomery, AL. So the familiarity will be nice but I don't want it to be so familiar that I lose a sense of drive for purpose, challenge, and change for the better in my life. I pray that God will continue to walk by my side each and every day and that will be your prayer as a reader as well. Happy Holidays to you all.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Born Again

In this past week I read a book entitled, "Learning to walk with God" by Dwight Hall. I was struck by how many times in his book he talked about being faithful in the little things in life. The driving point that was the basis for this was the emphasis he placed on the importance of being born again. He mentioned how he read the chapter on Nicodemus in the Desire of Ages and how it was life changing for him. This all seemed to make sense to me but things really came together in a powerful way yesterday in my studies. The whole concept of being born again is not foreign to many of you who are reading this but it is crucial to make it applicable daily in our lives. I was listening to a presentation by Peter Gregory in talking about how our hearts must be prepared in our study of the word. Our key text was Ezra 7:10 which states, "For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of he Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statues and judgments." So in order to be seeking, doing, and teaching the law of the Lord there is a very real process that must occur in our lives. Romans 6:6 and 8:6 talks about how our old man should be crucified and as a result we should die to sin. It also says how being carnally minded is death and spiritually minded is life because the carnal mind is enmity against God. Continuing in Romans 12:1,2 this is what makes it most practical in dying to the flesh and the carnal nature. I am paraphrasing it but the two main points are that we must present our bodies as a living sacrifice to the Lord and we must not be conformed to this world. Otherwise spiritual things are not spiritually discerned. 1 Cor. 2:14 This all sounds good and as said before many of you have heard this before but it makes it more powerful when we think of the text in John 3:3 which says, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." When this is taking place all of the carnal flesh, the things of this world are taken away and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is all that is present. The illustration of the wind on how the Spirit works in our lives is powerfully illustrated "While the wind is itself invisible, it produces effects that are seen and felt. So the work of the Spirit upon the soul will reveal itself in every act of him who has felt its saving power. When the Spirit of God takes possesion of the heart, it transforms the life. Sinful thoughts are put away, evil deeds are renounced; love, humility, and peace take the place of anger, envy, and strife. Joy takes the place of sadness, and the contenance reflects the light of heaven. No one sees the hand that lifts the burden, or beholds the light descend from the courts above. The blessing comes when by faith the soul surrenders itself to God. Then that power which no human eye can see creates a new being in the image of God." Desire of Ages p. 173
I have also been reading a book called "Hindsight" by Dave Fiedler this is an SDA history book and as I was reading this yesterday some very interesting comments were made by Ellen White at the 1901 G.C. Session. The latter 1890's had been tough times at Battle Creek while Ellen White had been away at Australia. When she comes to these meetings she is clear that there is need for change among the leadership in our church. Here are a few excerpts in speaking to the leaders and delegates at the 1901 GC session. "The men who have woven their own human passions into life and character, who have nurtured self all the way along, are not to think that they are qualified to deal with human minds. God wants every person to begin at home, and there live the Christ-life. In the church and in every business transaction, a man will be just what he is in his home." GC Bulletin 1901 p. 23-27 Again being faithful in the little things in life. It gets more powerful when she says, "The time has come when this people are to be born again. Those that have never been born again, and those that have forgoten that they were purged from their old sins, and cannot see afar of, and have practiced their old habits of talking, prejudicing others, hindering the work, and being generally in the way of its advancement, would better be converted. God wants you to be converted, and may He help, that this work may go forward. He is a power for His people when they come into order. There must be a renovation, a reorganization; a power and strength must be brought into the committees that are necessary." Ibid.
Conversion and being born again is what we must be asking and obtaining each and every day. Putting the things of this world and being filled with the indwelling Spirit. John 3:16 became very powerful for me yesterday when it says, "and whomsoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." That is our hope of salvation, the free riches of grace once we have forsaken the world and repented and confessed our sins and experience the indwelling of the Spirit that leads us to the foot of the cross. It may well be summed up in scripture when it says, "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them." Ezekiel 36:26,27