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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Remember this...

Hey, whatever may have you down today, whether tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or hunger, or danger, or even death, NOTHING can separate you from the Love of God through Christ Jesus.

I am convinced...
that neither death nor life, nor spiritual beings, nor rulers, nor things happening right now nor things that are to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all of creation, will be able to separate us from that love.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Letter to Past Me

This blog post is a departure from my normal apologetics posts. The reason is because I’ve been very contemplative lately. I’m less than 3 months away from 30 but I’ve only recently begun to feel more like an “adult” in these times. The more I ponder these things the more I wonder what I would say to me 10 years ago. I’m not expecting this to be earth shattering or anything like that, and chances are I wouldn’t have listened to me even if I could somehow break the laws of physics and travel through space and time to talk to me. But I keep thinking about more and more about what I would say.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Simple Sunday: Our teddy-bear God and the truths of forgiveness

“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:13-15

God, refusing to forgive?

What happened to the God who forgives everyone, for everything, all the time?

Are we misinterpreting the scripture? Or is this just the teddy-bear God we’ve grown accustomed to?

Saturday, October 26, 2013

...Not Far From Each One of Us...

Psalm 29
Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings,
    ascribe to the Lord glory and strength
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
    worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.
The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
    the God of glory thunders,
    the Lord, over many waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful;
    the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
    the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf,
    and Sirion like a young wild ox.
The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.
The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;
    the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth
    and strips the forests bare,
    and in his temple all cry, “Glory!”
The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
    the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.
May the Lord give strength to his people!
    May the Lord bless his people with peace!

Isn't that a beautifully awesome picture of God?

It is a scary thing to come face to face with the power and might of Him. He holds the power of the storm. But with all of this distance and power... He is not far from each one of us.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Jesus, Be the Center

I still haven't learned. Every time I take my laundry to throw it in the washer, I struggle for a good 30 feet trying to transport the mountain of laundry in my arms, walking in slow motion so the sock balancing on top won't fall. Then it happens - that lone sock goes overboard, and I'm suddenly struggling to pick it back up. As I lean down to grab it, more and more falls. Soon it's like an avalanche, and everything in my arms tumbles down.

A friend shared this situation with me recently as analogy for our faith. We start out thinking we have a strong hold on most everything, and we end up dropping one thing, then another, and then it all comes unraveled. We can't do it all, no matter how many times we repeat Philippians 4:13. Christ absolutely will equip us with the strength and skill to live into his will, but this verse is not a free pass to commit ourselves to everything and lose Christ in the process.

It really filtered into reality for me two nights ago, when I was carrying a bundle of laundry as well as a pair of earrings. As I walked, the earrings dropped to the floor. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Depending on your theological background we all come to the issue of baptism with different presuppositions and preunderstandings… there is no doubt about that.

From my own background, I have heard it said of baptism, that it is just an outward expression of an inward transformation, and as true as that is... I also believe it is so much more than that. 

Before I get too far into this... I understand there have been many different beliefs and debates about what baptism means in the church. I do not mean to derail anyone's personal view on how one should be baptized or how your church has taught about the doctrine of baptism, I wish to simply grow our view of and respect of this beautiful sacrament of the church. whatever your views on this gift, I hope this post will only bring glory to God by dialoguing on the subject.

And so... Here we go!

Baptism is a symbol of reconciliation with Christ, in fact it is a way we even join with Christ. We die to ourselves and to him and are raised back with him. The gift of baptism makes us a part of a community of believers.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Good News in Jesus’s Beatitudes

The New Testament is full of commands for us to obey. Full of them. The Sermon on the Mount is no exception. By my count there are at least sixty-six commands that echo across the mountain to Jesus' disciples. 

Jesus is calling his people to live a life in step with the gospel.

And that is for us too. 

We aren't told to obey things for the sake of obeying them, but we are called to live a life that reflects the wonder, amazement, and absolute freedom Christ has given us.

Live a life that shows you aren't dead anymore.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Well Pleased

“How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” John 5:44

People pleasing has got to be one of the most difficult things. Ever.
Because really, it doesn’t have anything to do with the people we’re trying to please, does it?
It has everything to do with ourselves.
It has everything to do with our idols.
It has everything to do with the foundation upon which we stand.

The validation we seek from others’ temporal and sporadic praise over God’s enduring and constant affirmation reveals so much about our hearts and where they are at. We, in fact, are far too easily pleased.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Can We Prove the Existence of God?

In a previous post, we started a conversation with our atheist friend that has come to a standstill. We discussed how the root of the problem is there are two very different worldviews in opposition to each other. For Christians, we emphatically believe in the existence of the Christian God and we believe that our atheist friend will not enter into glory without belief of the Triune God. For our atheist friend, they hold that there either is no god or at least no god worth worshiping and they likely don’t know or care about what happens after the passing of this life.

The standstill in our conversation has resulted from this question: Can we prove the existence of God? Even though we talk about the truthfulness of Scripture, the 2,ooo years of church history and theologians who have made excellent points, and our own experience of life change as a result of knowing God, our atheist friend refuses to budge. As we discussed in a previous blog post, those who identify as Freethinkers or Skeptics appeal to logic, reason, and empiricism to form their beliefs. They do not accept beliefs based on dogmas or traditions. So how then do we prove the existence of God?

Our atheist friend has put the ball in our court. What do we do now? We use the greatest tool that God has given us: our mind. (1 Peter 1:13)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Pray for Eastern Europe

Sorry for the lack of a post yesterday everyone, I was preaching for a church in McCune, KS and had a busy week preparing and traveling for that.

Today I want to share a quick update from my friends serving in Eastern Europe right now.

They went on a mini-vacation to the coast so as to get some rest and re-energized to continue the mission work.
They currently serve with a non-profit helping people learn English and work on developmental projects throughout the country they serve in.

Daniel, one of the interns of the mission team wrote this yesterday,
"God's creation is gorgeous!! It was refreshing taking some time away and as I spent some time journaling last night, I feel ready to dive once again into the work here. Please continue praying for the people of Eastern Europe! Tomorrow is [the Islamic holiday of] Kurban Bajram (Eid al-Adha or Feast of the Sacrifice). This celebration is centered around Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son and is a perfect way to talk about Jesus and His sacrifice. Pray for opportunity to talk about Jesus! Pray for dreams and visions [for the Muslim people to come to know Christ]."
Would you pray for the team working in that region of the world? Pray for encouragement and strength. Pray for endurance and patience. Pray for the people of the region (former Yugoslavia) to know Christ.


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, October 12, 2013

IN Visible

"We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God's original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. And when it comes to the church, he organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body.

He was supreme in the beginning and—leading the resurrection parade—he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he's there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross.

You yourselves are a case study of what he does. At one time you all had your backs turned to God, thinking rebellious thoughts of him, giving him trouble every chance you got. But now, by giving himself completely at the Cross, actually dying for you, Christ brought you over to God's side and put your lives together, whole and holy in his presence. You don't walk away from a gift like that! You stay grounded and steady in that bond of trust, constantly tuned in to the Message, careful not to be distracted or diverted. There is no other Message—just this one. Every creature under heaven gets this same Message. I, Paul, am a messenger of this Message."

 -Colossians 1:15-23 The Message

"We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. "


"From beginning to end he's there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death..."


We see a God who can't be seen by looking at the Son...
From beginning to end the Son is there, but only through His death, the breaking of His body, the end of His life, the outpouring of His blood... all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe fit together in vibrant harmonies?

But... That doesn't make ANY sense.

Like really?

Was Paul crazy?

The simple answer is...

Thursday, October 10, 2013

His ways, not our ways

"Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55: 6-9

This passage seems like such a small thing. A simple statement that the creator is above the created, and it right to seek after him.

Yet, as with most simple truths, there is so much more to it than that.

First, this passage starts with the abundant forgiveness offered by our God. Abundantly pardon is the words used. We know pardon is to forgive, to remove from record the wrongs you have committed. A prisoner pardoned of their crimes is immediately released, and no longer faulted for the crimes committed. But God takes it even farther, this isn't just a pardon offered here. God abundantly pardons. That means a large amount, and excess of pardon. Not only are we pardoned for the sins we have committed when we turn to God, but also any we have thought of committing, or will commit. God doesn't do anything small, remember, we are talking about the one that spoke the entire universe into being.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Speaking the Truth in Love


Last week we started the series discussing our interactions with our friends who are atheists, specifically those who would identify themselves as either skeptics or freethinkers. A point that I really wanted to drive home in that post is both the Christian and the Atheist are starting from two different worldviews, or a system of beliefs through which we view and understand the world around us. Two opposing worldviews are clashing together and for the atheist to accept and believe in God means an entire reworking of all they have ever known to be true. What this means is we cannot talk to our atheist friends as we would to another Christian, because “the natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14).

But this does not mean we can never talk with our atheist friends. By no means! What this means is we need understand where they are coming from, and in order to do that we need to follow what I would consider to be one of the most important rules in apologetics: Listen, listen, listen!

“If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.” Proverbs 18:13

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Simple Sunday: The Inn of the Good Samaritan

The Inn of the Good Samaritan... would it surprise you if I told you that it existed?

As with most of Jesus' parables many scholars believe Jesus was telling a story of an actual event. There was after all a known fact that the road from Jerusalem to Jericho was dangerous, and it was also a widely known fact that in the midst of this deserted area there was one inn, a fortress like structure, that was a place of safety for travelers.

Whoever makes the journey from Jerusalem to Jericho finds the words of our Lord again and again recurring to his mind: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell among thieves.”

One passes, in going eastward, directly between rugged hills, “sad and silent heights” of white rock now and then relieved by a curious rose-colored stratum with stripes of green on the terraces where shepherds watched their flocks of sheep and goats. Jericho lies thirty-six hundred feet below Jerusalem, so that the eastward journey is a literal “going down to Jericho.” The sudden appearance of the head or spear of a Bedouin above a pile of rock or the unsuspected encounter with a group of horsemen reminds one, of the man of the parable “who fell among thieves.” 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Remembering Francis

“The more stuff we have, the more clubs we need to protect it. Be free like the lilies and the sparrows.”

I read an article today and had to share it with you all, it is an excellent piece written by Shane Claiborne regarding St. Francis of Assisi, and this day when we remember and celebrate his life and witness to Christ.
One of my friends said this morning, "Francis of Assisi speaks a witness to a better way today. This guy's example has blessed my life more than almost anyone in the history of the Church. May we strive to follow Francis as he followed Christ."

CLICK THE LINK BELOW to get to the article.

Shane Claiborne: Remembering Francis | Red Letter Christians

Thursday, October 3, 2013

For the Joy Set Before Us, We Endure the Cross.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:1-2

If you’ve ever run a marathon or even watched the Olympics, you know that as you run, the sidelines are packed with bystanders, onlookers, family and friends cheering you on. There are photographers and videographers, all watching. Yet have you ever seen an Olympic runner approach an official, tap them on the shoulder, and say, “Excuse me? I can’t run with all these people in the stands, watching me, judging me, photographing me. Could you please clear the stadiums?” Of course not - that would be ridiculous. But if our faith journey and life with Christ can be compared to running a race, how often do we live that way?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Natural Person and The Spiritual Person

(This blog post is the beginning of a series discussing how we as Christians can engage members of the atheist and skeptic communities, specifically those who reject Christianity on the basis of materialism and science.)

Last week I discussed in the blog about both what Apologetics is and what it is not. If you will recall, I wrote about how apologetics is not man’s wisdom, but the wisdom of the Spirit. I cited 1 Corinthians 2:12-13:

“Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.”

If you have ever spoken with an atheist, you may have experienced a point in which the conversation could no longer move forward. Both of you have made your best arguments and the other refuses to move. Being a Christian, you emphatically believe not only in the existence of the Christian God but you also believe that your atheist friend will not go into glory if they continue in their outright denial of God. You have made your case the best you could; you quoted verse after verse, you recalled facts about the bible that show it is a reliable and historical document, and you even got them to admit there COULD be a God. But nonetheless, they refuse to budge and you can’t seem to make sense of it. How is it that Christianity can seem so real and true for you, yet completely false and benign to your atheist friend? Paul provides that answer in 1 Corinthians 2:14: