Monthly Archives: January 2008

Good Old Days?

Have you ever heard someone say “I wish we could go back to the good old days?” This is a common response to a terrible story on the news or to a local scandal that holds our attention. But were there really any “good” old days? Or have we really had the same problems, the same rebellion and the same corruption for hundreds and thousands of years? Of course culture changes and people change with it, but I don’t think the central problem in our lives has ever really changed. We are sinners, therefore we sin. And apart from Christ, there is no hope! Thank God that is not the end of the story.

This week at Redeemer we will be continuing in our Colossians series, with Billy Newhouse, with Completion in Christ and the Freedom He Brings from Colossians 2:6-23. The problem that Paul is focusing on with the church at Colosse is not very different than what we see today in our own local churches, in our own lives. There were people in the church who were combining the Gospel of Jesus Christ with their own religious habits and principles. They were saying things like “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” Of course Paul’s concern is that people be trusting in the true gospel and not in their own abstinence from certain pleasures or religious morality! What makes this so compelling is that Paul argues that these “means” to holiness will fail every time–but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh! (verse 23)

So how can we stop the indulgences of the flesh? How should we view our task of living in this world and yet not being of the world? Paul reminds the Christians at Colosse that “in Him you have been made complete…” Why do people who have been made complete continue to try to add on to the gift they’ve received? Why are we so prone to grab a sliver of glory for ourselves? Join us this week as we consider the implications of being free to live, obey and die for the King of Kings!

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Why Are My Prayers So Foggy?

You don’t have to look very far in the Bible to notice warnings against wealth and power. The Bible does not say that wealth and influence are sins, but the fog that they can produce around our hearts is what we are to be on guard against. Sometimes great worldly power can fool our hearts into thinking that all our needs can be met apart from the power and mercy of God. This fog can only be navigated by the guiding light of God’s Word, made visible through His Spirit. Perhaps this is why God inspired 2 Samuel 23-24, to remind us of our need of Him, regardless of our bank balance or position on the corporate ladder.

David was not lacking in military strength. In the second section of 2 Samuel 23 we are introduced to David’s Mighty Men. This is a group of 30 plus men who are utterly devoted to protecting and obeying their King. Three of them in particular are especially powerful and intimidating. These three are so devoted to the Lord’s anointed that they were willing (and able by the way) to break into the Philistine camp and bring David a cool cup of water from the well of Bethlehem. The rest of the mighty men were no slouches either. They were responsible for some of the most courageous and heroic acts in the history of Israel! Anyone who became an enemy of the mighty men would have been shaking in their boots.

How does David respond to such power? He takes a census. He counts the people in his army. Why? Doesn’t he know how God has caused the victory in the past, whether by many or by few? Has he forgotten about the young boy who killed a skilled warrior-giant with a stone and sling shot? David’s mind was foggy and the fog was caused by power. We don’t know exactly how David sinned by taking the census, through motive or pride, but we do know that God was greatly offended. So offended that he causes a pestilence to destroy 70,000 men! This fog can also blind us from the consequences of our sin.

Let me ask you; How devoted are you to your King? What are you willing to risk for His pleasure? Are you experiencing fog in your life? Have to tried to convince yourself that you could get rid of things (which have control over you) in your life without a problem? Why have you not rid yourself of them up to this point? How do you respond when you are clearly convicted of sin? We see at the end of the book of 2 Samuel the Lord was moved by prayer to end the plague in Israel. How are your prayers…foggy? Join us this week as we consider these last two chapters of 2 Samuel, asking God to give us clean hands and pure hearts that we not lift our soul to another besides Him!

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It’s Been a Great Year!

Grand CaymanYeah, I know it’s only January 17th, but I’ve already had an amazing 2008! It all began when my wife and I celebrated our 10th anniversary on a 7-day Carribean Cruise! Our church suprised us with this amazing gift and we had the time of our lives! You can see pictures and read in our trip journal here, if you’re interested.

I also ran the Chevron Houston Marathon last Sunday, January 13th. Praise God that I finished, although slower than I would have like–about 5 hours and 15 minutes. You can visit the Marathon site to see my triumphant finish, but I must warn you it’s so fast you might have a hard time following it. (: Actually you’ll be able to tell just how much pain I was in if you watch me hobble across th finish line!

Thanks to everyone who prayed that I would finish and not be injured! I’m looking forward to the next 11 months with great anticipation!

This photo is courtesy of my friends Jason Kates and Billy Newhouse. I guess I didn’t look that bad after all!

Travis Running

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The Mystery of the Gospel and Suffering

Even if you only glance at Paul’s letters in the New Testament, you will be able to identify many themes. One theme in Paul’s life that is recurring and central is that of suffering. Suffering seems to follow Paul as Paul follows Jesus. In fact as soon as Paul is converted he is promised that he will suffer. He suffers throughout his ministry, even to his last breath. Suffering is but one of the many planets revolving around the sun of the Gospel, but it cannot be ignored. All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (2 Timothy 3:12).

This should not come as a surprise to anyone who is familiar with the New Testament, or the life and ministry of Jesus. However, when Paul begins to describe his joy in suffering, we can raise our hands and say, “Huh?” Perhaps this will be your frame of mind as you join us this Sunday at Redeemer. Billy Newhouse will be continuing his sermon series through Colossians with The Joy of Suffering for the Gospel from Colossians 1:21-2:5. In this passage Paul argues for the basis of his suffering, while also highlighting the means to his endurance. How does a message about suffering for the gospel strike you in this day and time? Are we beyond a time in history when people are persecuted for what they believe? Are we too sophisticated and tolerant to need this sort of teaching? Apparently Paul’s suffering is an implication of his commitment to minister the good news of Jesus to every man! Isn’t that our charge as well? How are you doing in your pursuit of the One in whom “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” can be found?

Join us this week as we seek to “proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ!”

New Sermon from Colossians

My friend and co-laborer in Christ, Billy Newhouse, recently preached a sermon at Redeemer on Colossians 1:1-20 entitled “Christ and the Gospel are Supreme.” I was not in attendance for the sermon, but as I listened to it online and I found myself rejoicing in the gospel!

I highly recommend that you listen to this sermon! You can access it here.

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