The War Room

On Conviction of Sin

“People will never set their faces decidedly towards heaven and live like pilgrims until they really feel that they are in danger of hell. We may depend upon it, men will never come to Jesus and stay with Jesus and live for Jesus unless they really know why they are to come and what is their need. Those whom the Spirit draws to Jesus are those whom the Spirit has convinced of sin. Without thorough conviction of sin, men may seem to come to Jesus and follow Him for a season; but they will soon fall away and return to the world.”

~J.C. Ryle (Holiness)

On Humility

“Here is the path to the higher life: down, lower down! Just as water always seeks and fills the lowest place, so the moment God finds men abased and empty, His glory and power flow in to exalt and to bless.”

-Andrew Murray: Humility

Time is Money

We have all heard the phrase, “Time is Money.”  In many respects this is very true. Time is also something we are given. We are all entrusted with certain amount of time. How do you make the most of the time you have been given? My history with time management is not very good. I never really saw time as something to be valued a whole lot. I figured that I had a ton of life left to live. While this may be true it is a horrible paradigm with which to view such an important resource. I want to waste as little time here on earth as possible because I want to be a good steward of what has been given to me.

I also want to be a man who is devoted to the things I to which I commit. I think I am the king of half-hearted performances. I don’t commit to things for a couple of reasons but I think one of the biggest reasons is an overlapping of commitments. For example, I have difficulty resting on the Sabbath because I have not fulfilled my commitment to school. I procrastinate with school work and when I try and rest I am unable because of unfinished work. I am learning to see one obligation to its completion so that I can fully commit to another. I want to manage my time wisely so that I can fully devote myself to my current obligation rather than split my attention between two obligations.

A friend of mine is a youth minister. To help focus his students he has one big rule. “When it is time to be serious, we are serious. When it is time to play, we play.” It’s a pretty simple rule and for the most part it helped students realize how to focus on the task at hand. I think this rule applies beyond the realm of youth ministry. When it is time for me to study I need to fully commit to studying so that when it is time for me to spend time with friends I can be completely devoted to them without having to worry about all the homework I have not finished.

Time is money in the business. In the Kingdom time is much more. In the Kingdom time is a way to worship. It is a way to display the love of God. I bet when Jesus was spending time with the disciples he wasn’t thinking about anything other than displaying the love of God to his friends. What about me? Am I thinking about the test I have tomorrow afternoon or the person sitting right next to me?

How to Love Well

So one of the first ways that I am attempting to become disciplined this next year is through my interactions with others. I can’t tell you how many times I have had conversations with other people and left them trying to figure out what in the world I was thinking. I am not very good at interacting with other people. I really lack in this area with strangers or people I am only aquatinted with. Honesty when I meet some people I just don’t care. If I know that I am never going to see them again then I care even less. A really easy way this manifests is through remembering names. In general, I tend to know the names of people I care about. I don’t learn the names of people I don’t care about. This manner of behavior is completely opposite of Jesus. Jesus encountered thousands of people throughout his earthly ministry. However, in every situation, he loved the people around him in the best possible way. He did this because he didn’t trust in his own opinion of a person. He didn’t trust in his own understanding of any situation. Jesus relied entirely on the Father. When he encountered people he didn’t trust what the world told him about that person. He didn’t even trust what he thought about them. He decided to look upon that person with the eyes of God. How does God feel about this person? What does he think about them? It is from a place of intimacy with the Father that Jesus interacted with the people he encountered throughout his life.

As a Christian I should love like Jesus loved. The problem is that most of the time I listen to what I think about a certain person rather than listening to the Father. Proverbs 3:5 tells us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. More often than not, I trust in my opinion of someone without even asking God what he thinks about them. How wrong is that! Perfect love comes from the Father not from man. So now when I interact with others I am trying to ask God how to best love this person. Regardless of what they have done in the past how can I display the love of God in this moment.

Becoming a Man

One of my goals this year is to become more disciplined. I don’t want to become disciplined for sake of being disciplined. I want to be a better steward of my time, money, friendships, body, studies, and many other things. It has occurred to me that within the next couple of years I will be out of college and most likely married (assuming everything follows the plan) and will therefore be in charge of not only my life but the life of another person. While the thought of marriage is exciting it is also very scary at the same time. I acknowledge that I am barely able to run my own life. How much worse will things become when I am expected to lead my potential wife and eventually kids?

How do my spending habits now affect how I will spend my money ten years down the road? If maintaining a schedule is difficult enough on my own imagine trying to manage a schedule for an entire family. How will my relationships with others affect how my kids relate with other people?

Needless to say… this is going to be an interesting semester.


The Deceptiveness of Theology

I like to understand how things work. Even as a kid I loved to figure out what made things tick. As an adult (that sounds really weird when I say it to myself) things have not changed that much. I particularly like to understand the details about how my faith works. My curiosity about the inner workings of my faith has turned into somewhat of an obsession. Deep inside I suppose that I used theology to validate and affirm my beliefs, which isn’t wrong in any sense. However, my theological studies turned legalistic quite fast. I would ascribe more value to studying about God than spending time with Him.

Slowly but surely, I began to substitute relationship with my Father for knowledge about my Father. Knowing things about God is great but in the end it has little value. You could know everything there is to know about God and still perish because knowledge of God does not atone for sin. It’s what happened to the Pharisees. They knew tons of stuff about God but when their lives came to an end they were called nothing more than whitewashed tombs. Knowledge without relationship is valueless. It’s actually kinda sketchy. An equivalent would be stalking someone on Facebook. You can figure out what a person likes and dislikes based on their profile page. However, until you have some sort of interaction (preferably face to face interaction) with this person you are just a stalker.

Admittedly, I am a Pharisee in the worst ways possible. Half-heartedness, hypocrisy, sin  are my defining qualities. The good news is that it never has mattered what I am. It has and will always depended upon the person and character of Jesus Christ. While I was and still am in my sin Christ came and died to pay for the wages of my sin even though he was blameless. He took upon himself the full just wrath of God and exhausted it completely on my behalf. He did all of this so that it could be possible for a perfect God to relate with an imperfect man. God has taken all of the responsibility in the relationship upon himself. All that is left for me to do is to look upon what he has done for me and position myself to respond to his goodness. Striving can cease and relationship can continue.

Knowledge does not reverse the death brought about by sin. Knowledge cannot give life. On its own knowledge leads to a secure sense of false friendship. With relationship knowledge become a beautiful thing. Who doesn’t know things about the people they are meaningful relationships with? Knowledge should arise naturally out of relationship because it is a demonstration of intimacy. They more intimate you are with a person the more you tend to know about them. I let things get carried away and before I knew it I thought I knew God a whole lot better than I really do.

Just a Little Boy

It  was quite a summer. I am pretty sure that I learned more in the past few months about myself than I have in my whole life. First off, I’m not a man. During camp this summer we studied the book of Proverbs as a staff. Right from the start I knew that I was out of my league. The first couple of verses talk about how the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7). I don’t necissarely have the fear of the Lord and subsequently, I lack wisdom. A real man is wise.

It seemed that day after day God showed me how childish I am. Imagine an annoying, stuck-up, egotistical little kid and you have an accurate picture of what I am like. In any given situation no matter how pure my motives I still was trying to figure out some way that I could benefit. Always. Then it hit me. My weight of sin. It came crushing down. The thing was… it wasn’t coming down on me. As God revealed just how messed up I am, he showed me how good he is. Instead of having to bear my own weight of sin he took it upon himself. Every day He exposed more and more of my dark heart. Every day he showed me his faithfulness and love.

At the beginning of the summer my biggest prayer was that I would experience the faithfulness of God. I had plenty of head knowledge of how faithful God is but head knowledge means nothing until it is applied in real life situations. I think it is safe  to say that I have a greater experiential knowledge of God’s faithfulness.

In A Nutshell

It’s been awhile since I last blogged. Far longer than I ever intended but sometimes life gets busy. I will try and catch everyone up quickly.

  1. I’m not nearly as good at anything as I thought. It’s always tons of fun to realize you are not on the top of the metaphorical “food chain.” (In the words of the wise Qui Gon Ginn, “there’s always a bigger fish.”
  2. I am consistently inconsistent.
  3. The Lord if faithful. He answers the cries of His children. I can’t say how many prayers He has answered in the past couple of weeks.
  4. Covenantal relationships. Can’t understand the Father without understanding covenant.
  5. Rest is the bee’s knees. It is hard to succeed in anything without resting at some point. Take a day off once a week and let the Lord handle the busyness of life.
  6. I’m halfhearted almost all of the time.
  7. I speak life-giving words far to little. The words we speak over other people have power. If we are not speaking the truth of the gospel over others than we are covering them in lies strait from hell. The tongue is either an instrument of righteousness or an instrument of wickedness. There is no gray area. Am I empowering others or tearing them down?
  8. Identity empowers. Lack of identity sucks life like a leach. People who know who they are (more importantly whose they are) stand out like a light in a dark room of soul searching people.

Time Well Spent?

“Some women [and men] will spend thirty minutes to an hour preparing for church externally (putting on special clothes and makeup, etc.). What would happen if we all spent the same amount of time preparing internally for church—with prayer and meditation?”  – Leonard Ravenhill

Turning God Into Santa

What do santa and God have in common? Check out this article from The Resurgence.