Friday, September 19, 2014

A Prayer Of Repentance

Most holy and merciful Father:
I confess that I have sinned by my own fault
in thought, word, and deed;
by what I have done, and by what I have left undone.
I have not loved you with my whole heart, and mind, and strength. I have not loved my neighbors as myself. I have not forgiven others, as I have been forgiven.
Have mercy on me, Lord.
I have been deaf to your call to serve, as Christ served us. I have not been true to the mind of Christ. I have grieved your Holy Spirit.
Have mercy on me, Lord.
I confess to you, Lord, all my past unfaithfulness: the pride, hypocrisy, and impatience of my life.
I confess to you, Lord.
My self-indulgent appetites and ways, and my exploitation of other people,
I confess to you, Lord.
My anger at my own frustration, and my envy of those more fortunate than I,
I confess to you, Lord.
My intemperate love of worldly goods and comforts, and my dishonesty in daily life and work,
I confess to you, Lord.
My negligence in prayer and worship, and my failure to commend the faith that is in me,
I confess to you, Lord.
Accept my repentance, Lord, for the wrongs I have done: for my blindness to human need and suffering, and my indifference to indulgence and cruelty,
Accept my repentance, Lord.
For all false judgments, for uncharitable thoughts toward my neighbors, and for my prejudice and contempt towards those who differ from me,
Accept my repentance, Lord.
For my waste and pollution of your creation, and my lack of concern for those who come after us,
Accept my repentance Lord.
Restore me, good Lord, and let your anger depart from me,
Favorably hear me for your mercy is great.
Accomplish in me and all of your church the work of your salvation,
That I may show forth all your glory in the world.
By the cross of your Son, our Lord,
Bring me with all your saints to the joy of his resurrection.
- from The Book of Common Prayer

Saturday, September 06, 2014

The Mind of Christ

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. (Philippians 2:5-7 ESV)

Being a disciple of Jesus is not only believing in Jesus but also believing like him. As we are rooted and grounded in the love of God we develop the mind of Christ. This transforming experience only happens to those that diligently seek the Lord. God gives illumination to those who study his word with the intent to obey Him.

Even though Jesus was fully God and fully man he submitted himself to his Father in perfect obedience. He came to serve others, not to be served. One of the true marks of a maturing disciple is having a servant's heart. If we have a true understanding of God's heart, it will be evident in our lives by the way we help those who are in need and are hurting. 

If we pursue knowledge only for the sake of knowledge, we end up only gaining information, not revelation. Information alone does not change our character. It may alter our behavior somewhat but real spiritual transformation will not occur. Only delighting in God and his word will put us on the path of transformation.

Our goal should be to act and think like Jesus, our lives must revolve around him. Only the Spirit of God can change the object of our affections. We naturally gravitate to the worthless idols of this present world order. So, we must pray to have our focus redirected to Jesus and his Kingdom agenda. Jesus was not of this world, even though he created it. Yet, he came to live among us in the form of a servant to bring his lost sheep back to his Father. In the life of Jesus, we see how we were truly created to live. - Bobby

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Rooted In Good Soil: A Meditation on Psalm 1

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. (Psalm 1 ESV)

"Truth is a great fertilizer for the soul." - Stuart McAlpine

If a tree is not planted in good soil and well watered with the right nutrients, it will eventually wither and die. According to Stuart McAlpine the picture we see in Psalm 1 is probably of a tree planted near a irrigation channel in Babylon, while the Jews were living in captivity. This is an interesting observation because even if we are planted in enemy territory, we can still flourish spiritually if we seek the Lord.

We are God's trees and we must feed off the word of God if we are to prosper spiritually, like the man mentioned in Psalm 1. We must be intentional about our spiritual growth. This requires turning off the computer and television at times, and tuning out all other distractions.

 Eugene Peterson teaches that we must meditate on Scripture the same way a dog chews on a bone. This is a much more aggressive form of meditation than most of us have understood. This requires a day and night preoccupation with the truth. 

 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.(Colossians 2:6-7 ESV) 

 ....that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love...  (Ephesians 3:16-17 ESV)  

Jesus Christ is the good soil that God has planted us in. - Bobby

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Source

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5 ESV)

Disciples of Christ are God's fruit bearing branches to the world, and we are called to bear fruit that brings refreshment and healing to the Nations. God molds our lives through trials, into the likeness of his Son, by pruning us so that we might bear good fruit. Without God's keeping and sustaining power we wouldn't be able to walk in love, and would have nothing of eternal value to give to the world. Our lives should continually bring attention to the Source of our vitality...the Vine. 

We must make Christ our"magnificent obsession" and take hold of what some have called the 'beatific vision" This vision of the beauty and the majesty of Christ sustains us and empowers us for ministry to others. 

We can sometimes forget the Source of our life by trying to live  morally upright lives in our own strength. When we find ourselves in this place we must repent and return to Jesus the giver of life. Seeking to live a moral life in our own natural strength apart from the Holy Spirit is idolatry. To avoid this pitfall we must live in humble submission to the Father like Jesus did. - Bobby

Saturday, August 09, 2014

A Meditation on The Gospel

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf and has made known to us your love in the Spirit. (Colossians 1:3-8 ESV)

The Gospel is life giving and life transforming truth. If spiritual transformation has not taken place in your life, you haven't experienced the truth of the Gospel. The hope of believing the Gospel is a slow but fruitful journey that conforms us into the image of Jesus. The word Gospel means "Good News." It is the proclamation of the truth of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. He paid the penalty for our sins so that we could become part of God's family. When this Gospel message is believed, it sets into motion a life that will be changed forever. Our initial response to this message is faith and repentance. This faith and repentance and trust in Jesus, changes our perspective on life and our worldview. 

When we receive this Gospel message we receive Jesus as Lord (God incarnate). We are now reconciled to God through his son, Jesus and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. At this point we desire to do good works for God such as, helping to alleviate suffering in all of its forms, and to seek justice in the earth. But it's important to know that these good works are not the Gospel, but are the fruit of the Gospel. In fact good works that are done apart from Jesus are only temporal and will ultimately have no eternal value. The world desperately needs to be reconciled to God through his son, Jesus. Society will never be effectively changed apart from receiving and believing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. - Bobby