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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Simple Sunday: Love Anything...

Just a quote today, from C.S. Lewis in his book, "The Four Loves" with the illustration from Zen Pencils.

The full version of this quote, reads:
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket — safe, dark, motionless, airless — it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside of Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.”

Today, can I encourage you to be vulnerable?

And as I write this, I guess I need to encourage myself to be vulnerable, to be intentional.

Don't hide. Don't cover up. Because if we find ourselves trying to isolate or hide away who we are... Well, then love is impossible.


Nathan Bryant
Is a student of Ozark Christian College in Joplin, Missouri. Majoring in Biblical leadership and Missiology, he has a combined passion for church unity and discipleship in the global church. Nate is a crazed sports fan, he enjoys fantasy football and watching baseball with friends. He works as an Admissions Counselor at Ozark as well as assistant to the staff at River Run Christian Church. Nate is also a Starbucks addict. Yay Coffee!

Christ's Kingdom is bigger than our causes.
Christ's Kingdom is bigger than our boundaries.
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Saturday, September 28, 2013


A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare
    the way for the Lord;
make straight in the desert
    a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be raised up,

    every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
    the rugged places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,

    and all people will see it together.
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

-Isaiah 40:3-5 NIV

Moving through the desert,
One step at a time,
Looking for anything
What can be found?

Needing a rescue
But nothing is coming
God if you’re with me
Then where are you now?

He asks, Don’t you know?
I’ve already provided
Come to the fountain,
I’m the only one who can satisfy.
Turn from the cisterns
They’re broken away
Come to the fountain
I won’t let you down.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Living in Peace

"Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit." (Jeremiah 17:7-8)

What a beautiful promise. And this even in the midst of Jeremiah's prophesy against those in Israel who had turned from God. God has always looked after those who trust in Him. Now this isn't a promise of fair weather at all times. Even here we see the tree goes through both heat and drought. What is promised is that there is no need to fear, because God will get us through. He is our source, the place we need to plant our roots. To build our foundation.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Continuing in Apologetics: What Apologetics is Not


In my first blog post, I introduced my interests in Theology and Apologetics. Today I want to go deeper in the discussion of Apologetics and its role in the life of Christian. Some of you reading this may be asking yourself, “Why do I need to know Apologetics? What good does it serve?” As I stated before, Apologetics in the Christian sense means to give an account, or defense, of the hope we have in Jesus Christ (1 Peter 3:15). Since we are discussing what Apologetics is, why don’t we also look at what Apologetics is not?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Simple Sunday: When to Stop Reading the Bible...

"Do not expect always to get an emotional charge or a feeling of quiet peace when you read the Bible. By the grace of God you may expect that to be a frequent experience, but often you will get no emotional response at all. Let the Word break over your heart and mind again and again as the years go by, and imperceptibly there will come great changes in your attitude and outlook and conduct. You will probably be the last to recognize these... Go on reading it until you can read no longer, and then you will not need the Bible any more, because when your eyes close for the last time in death, and never again read the Word of God in Scripture you will open them to the Word of God in the flesh, that same Jesus of the Bible whom you have known for so long, standing before you to take you for ever to His eternal home." - Geoffrey Thomas, Reading the Bible

Just something short to think about for today.

Via Joshua Harris

Saturday, September 21, 2013

All of Creation Groans

The beauty of Creation can sometimes grow too familiar to us, in our busy everyday lives we can think about or mention the weather, but rarely does it impress upon us the majesty and design of our surroundings. A few years ago, my friend and fellow writer, Holly wrote a very poetic piece about how she views creation and I thought it would be a good devotional read to make us stop and step back for just a few minutes and literally breathe in the majesty and creativity of our wonderful Creator God.

I know my posts lately have been harping on this... but in order to move on, in order for our experience of "Getting to Know God" to truly be all that it can be... We have to get this. We have to make sure that we don't come to God lofty or too mellow.

We have to groan.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

All We Have is Today

This summer I was in India for about six weeks, and I began to learn to speak, read and write in Hindi. As I hit the learning curve and began to branch out from the five cookie-cutter phrases I knew, I learned that Hindi-speakers use the same word for yesterday and tomorrow: kal. कल Literally translated, it means one day away from today.

That’s a little vague, isn’t it? When that detail was first shared with me, I was baffled. To be honest, I was pretty sure that was somehow a linguistic fallout. I mean, how does that never become a communication problem, you know?

One of our Hindi teachers, however, reminded us that language is a reflection of culture: “Yesterday and tomorrow are the same for us,” he said. “We believe all we have is today.”

How right he was. This challenge to be fully alive and available each moment is a treasure I began to understand in India but that has been especially stepping on my toes here in America. What a beautiful precedent that word sets for us in our Christian journeys, as we struggle to trust God with the weight of our future and the burden of our past. Yet Christ calls us to even more drastic measures than seizing the day; we’re to live it out on an even more fleeting scale, for all we have is this very moment, this second, this breath. How do we live in it fully? How do we abandon everything in our present pursuit of Christ?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Suffering Worship

As a youth worship leader, my focus for discipleship is students who have some musical inclination. Being musical, or at least having a creative spirit, comes with pretty large emotional baggage. As author of Eat Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert points out in her TED talk , people tend to think that creativity has a strong connection with suffering. 

There’s just something universal about suffering artists.

Now granted, as Gilbert goes on to say, a lot of the suffering artists put it on themselves. Hemingway dealt with a lot, but chose to drink to his death. Cobain did copious amounts of drugs. And Taylor Swift continually dates jerks, but there's still something unique about the way creative types struggle.

Suffering typically draws the sufferer to assume responsibility that isn’t necessarily theirs to take. Worship leaders or at least worship leaders who are struggling do this by assuming control of things and activities that simply aren’t theirs.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


God has spoken.
From the beginning God has been speaking.

What exactly has He been speaking?

"Satan seeks to draw our minds away from the mighty Helper, to lead us to ponder over our degeneration of soul. But though Jesus sees the guilt of the past, He speaks pardon; and we should not dishonor Him by doubting His love. The feeling of guiltiness must be laid at the foot of the cross, or it will poison the springs of life. When Satan thrusts his threatenings upon you, turn from them, and comfort your soul with the promises of God. The cloud may be dark in itself, but when filled with the light of heaven, it turns to the brightness of gold; for the glory of God rests upon it." -E.G. White

Do we know the promises of God?

Can we turn from the threats of Satan and comfort ourselves with the promises of God?

THIS is why studying God's word is so important... it's for our benefit. Strengthening us. Keeping us accountable. Creating in us a spirit of comfort.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Seeking God

"And he said to them, 'Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, 'Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him'; and he will answer from within, 'Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything'? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence(also, persistence) he will rise and give him whatever he needs. And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?" Luke 11: 5-13

Seek, and we will find, knock and it will be opened. In this passage Christ promises us that the Father will respond to our searching. We won't be left alone.

But what does it mean to seek God? How do we go about doing that? Why should we try?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Psalm 19

The great author, C.S. Lewis, once said of Psalm 19 that it was by far "the greatest poem in the psalter and one of the greatest lyrics in the world."

One of the most profound philosophers to ever live, Immanuel Kant, marveled at the starry heavens above and the moral law within and noted that both echo this truth of this psalm, because both reveal God's glory.

I have a growing appreciation for the Psalms.
For their poetic styles.
For their heart wrenching expressions.
For... their truth.

And I come to this psalm, a poem written by David... And I am stopped.

I have used many posts to describe the meaning of this blog, but this might be the most important one of all.

This psalm provides the perfect backdrop to the phrase, to the idea, of Inside and Overneath.

God is transcending any box of understanding I could possibly try to trap Him in.
God is immanently revealing Himself in the most paradoxical, wonderful, mysterious, and intimate of ways.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Next Series of Posts... (From Nathan)

The God who created everything... Wants a relationship with me?

The God who is so big and majestic wants to become close to us?

He knows EVERYTHING about me... How do I get to know Him?

If these questions have gone through your mind and still confuse you then these posts are for you.

Starting tomorrow I will be posting for the next few weeks on "Getting to Know God" And you may just be surprised as to how we go about that...

Because closeness to our Creator doesn't start with us... It starts and ends with the person and work of Jesus Christ.

We want to encourage you in your walk with Christ and challenge you with scripture to grow closer in knowledge and relationship with our loving Father in Heaven.

For now, I will leave you with Psalm 46:

To the choirmaster.  Of the Sons of Korah.  According to Alamoth.  A Song.  

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,  though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.  Selah 
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.  God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.  The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.  The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.  Selah  
Come, behold the works of the LORD, how he has brought desolations on the earth.  He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire.  "Be still, and know that I am God.  I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!"  The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.  Selah

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Brian Ceely Introduction

Greetings to everyone who reads this blog, my name is Brian Ceely and I’m a friend of Nate Bryant, the founder of this blog. After much discussion and prayer, I will now be regular contributor to this blog. I felt that a nice introduction would be in order so that you all understand what you are getting into when you read my posts. I’m a fun loving and adventurous guy who enjoys playing music and drinking a great cup of coffee. I also enjoy discussions and debates over Theology and Philosophy and I regularly study apologetics. To a large degree many of my posts will deal with these topics, but I can assure they will not be stale, anesthetized, ivory-tower styled articles. My goal is to make Theology and apologetics very approachable and accessible to everyone; it is a deep passion of mine and my desire is for others to gain an appreciation for it.

Some of you may have read that word, “apologetics” and wondered what I mean. Apologetics comes from the Greek word, “apologia”, meaning account or defense. The simplest definition of Apologetics in the Christian sense is, “the defense of the Christian faith”. Peter uses this word in his letter, which he writes, “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,” (1 Peter 3:15, ESV).

Apologetics and Evangelism go hand in hand. Evangelism is not a one sided conversation; you are usually engaged in a discussion with those around you about your faith. You have probably used apologetics and never realized it. Every time you explain what led you to faith or why you believe, you are making a defense or giving an account for you faith. Giving a defense is not always set like a courtroom or formal debate. It can be as simple as answering questions or challenges made to the faith.

As I stated before, my goal is not to bore you with long-winded arguments understood only by academics. My goal is to help you gain an understanding and an appreciation for what it means to defend your faith in an age of skepticism and reason. As I wrap up my short, first post, I want to leave you with the words of Paul from 2 Corinthians, “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5, ESV)

I look forward to writing many more posts and I hope to encourage you all in the faith. God Bless.

Brian Ceely


Brian Ceely
*Bio Coming Soon*

Saturday, September 7, 2013

A Song of Thanks

We truly are an unruly and ungrateful people. We complain and whine, whisper and murmur. All because life isn't fair, and things haven't gone the way we wanted them.

We have it all wrong.

Our perspective is skewed, something is amiss. How many of us have are being hunted down by those we've given everything for? Have we had to flee our homes? Are we living in hiding? Ducking at the slightest sign of a pursuer? Certainly not. In fact, even when we are in "bad times" we typically still have a roof over our heads, food on our plates. Friends we can talk things out with, we've got it good.

Now I'm not saying that there aren't people who have it that rough, even in this day, in this country there are some. But they probably won't ever get a chance to read this, I'm not talking to them here. I'm talking to the typical person. The students and workers we all encounter every day. Overall we have it so good. Our needs are met, we live in safety, and we know that we can expect more of the same to come tomorrow.

Fancy words saying to put our troubles behind us. But its all easier said than done though right? What we really need here is a bit of perspective.

How about David? We all know who he is. The little shepherd boy that felled the giant. Probably the most famous story in the Old Testament. But do we all know the rest of the story?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Worth your Weight


Oh man. I hate that word. It is a word that usually describes something we are measuring or comparing.

How much does that weigh?
How much weight do you lift?
*How much weight have you put on?*

How much... weight are you carrying?
I mean Spiritually.
How much weight?
How much "baggage"?

Oh we hate that word sometimes.

Another phrase we hate:

"I know."

Words that seem to echo throughout our consciences.
Words that we hate... and one minute later we love.

They are words of God. He knows everything, all our history, all of our biology, all of our hurts, triumphs, struggles, victories, pains, cloud nine experiences. He knows.

That can begin to weigh on us. The thought that the perfect God of everything knows all of our imperfections.

But the Good News is that we aren't defined by those things.
No... Because we are more than them. More than anything we could hope to become, more than anything we could hope to once accomplish.

Can I share something with you?

Girls, He refuses to allow his prized princesses to be enslaved to anything that makes her feel less than who she is.

Boys, He refuses to allow his crowned princes to be captured by those that would seek to diminish his birthright.

I know it's a struggle. I know it hurts. I know all about how enticing those temptations to cave can be...