Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Camp Flatline Prayer Guide

Please join us in prayer leading up to and while we are at camp July 2-5, 2012. We covet your prayers! Please pray for the following:

1. Leaders and students alike would grow wiser in who God is and how to fear Him.[14] The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant. (Psalm 25:14 ESV)

2. That everything about camp will be intentional for His Glory, from room assignments to recreation.[3] Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established. (Proverbs 16:3 ESV)

3. That leaders and students alike will desire to cut the roots of sin in their lives..not just desire but be willing to sacrifice anything for greater obedience to Him.Romans 6:1-2..Luke 14(the cost of following Jesus)

4. That students will begin to experience what its like to be defined as a child of God and experience the security in that instead of a false security that the world offers.Luke 9:25

5. That hearts will be softened and eyes will be opened to the treasures that God has to offer in being His and the joy, peace, worship, and fellowship that comes from being His child. Isaiah 51:1-16

6. That the Spirit of God can break the chains of religion, legalism, false gospels, false conversions, and lack of knowledge of who He is, so that the Word will be preached, heard, believed and souls will be added to the Kingdom! Romans 10:14,16

7. That youth would be convicted and encouraged to begin/resume a passionate walk with the Lord throughout their whole life..possibly starting with this camp but definitely not ending with it. Praying for ZERO mountain top experiences, praying for zero lukewarmness, and praying that students and leaders can repent of sin and walk with our "first love". [4] But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.
(Revelation 2:4 ESV)

8. That gossip will be handled and recognized as being destructive.[20] For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases. (Proverbs 26:20 ESV)

9. For relationships to be made and discipleship to take place long after camp.[17] Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.
(Proverbs 27:17 ESV)

[12] Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.
(1 Timothy 4:12 ESV)

[20] teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20 ESV)

The Leadership of Amos

In my reading this morning, I was drawn to Amos 7 and I am reminded how often times the truth hurts.  Amos is accused of being a "seer" because he is giving a "bad" report to Jeroboam.  When in reality, Amos had been called to speak the truth about the future of Israel.


[10] Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, “Amos has conspired against you in the midst of the house of Israel. The land is not able to bear all his words. [11] For thus Amos has said,
“‘Jeroboam shall die by the sword,
and Israel must go into exile
away from his land.’”
[12] And Amaziah said to Amos, “O seer, go, flee away to the land of Judah, and eat bread there, and prophesy there, [13] but never again prophesy at Bethel, for it is the king's sanctuary, and it is a temple of the kingdom.”
[14] Then Amos answered and said to Amaziah, “I was no prophet, nor a prophet's son, but I was a herdsman and a dresser of sycamore figs. [15] But the LORD took me from following the flock, and the LORD said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’ [16] Now therefore hear the word of the LORD.
“You say, ‘Do not prophesy against Israel,
and do not preach against the house of Isaac.’
[17] Therefore thus says the LORD:
“‘Your wife shall be a prostitute in the city,
and your sons and your daughters shall fall by the sword,
and your land shall be divided up with a measuring line;
you yourself shall die in an unclean land,
and Israel shall surely go into exile away from its land.’”  (Amos 7:10-17 ESV)


I am so challenged and reminded that many of us need TRUTH in our lives.  We need people that love us, speaking truth into our lives with compassion and grace.  Our responsibility, "Are we seeking truth?"  Do we have someone in our life who loves us, who is wise in the wisdom from the Lord that encourages us and tells us hard things?

In this passage Amos speaks a difficult truth that God has given him to communicate.  We then see Amaziah question Amos' credentials and I love how Amos responds.  Amos is not a prophet but a herdsman and a dresser of fig trees.  Amos is not even the son of a prophet but he left his livelihood to be obedient to the Lord.  He was willing to communicate the truth when so many others were more concerned about the consequences of telling the truth.  So motivated on several fronts this morning


First, am I seeking wisdom from the Lord?  Am I living out this wisdom in my own life?  Am I leading my family to live out this wisdom from the Lord?  Am I being a good shepherd to my wife and my family?

Second, do I have men in my life encouraging me with; at times, "Hard Truth?"  What am I doing with this encouragement?

Third, am I loving people and attempting to have a relationship with them in order to encourage them to be all God is calling them to be?  Do a genuinely care about the brethren?  Am I being a good shepherd to the families and students that God has placed in my life?

This morning, is the Lord trying to remove you from a "flock" as He did Amos, and have you boldly declare something for His glory?  Will you seek to be obedient to Him?


Father, grant me favor among men to encourage with truth for your ultimate glory.  God, I desire to be obedient to you and I pray that you will continue to birth in me a desire to love people through their circumstance and the wisdom to encourage them as well.  Father, I need your love and discipline in my life to mold me into the man you would have me to be.  Thankful for the men in my life that tell me difficult things.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Jehu and the Worshipers of Baal

This morning as I am peeling through 2 Kings 10 I see almost an unreal account of the life of Jehu and I am reminded of how serious God takes idol worship.  

[18] Then Jehu assembled all the people and said to them, “Ahab served Baal a little, but Jehu will serve him much. [19] Now therefore call to me all the prophets of Baal, all his worshipers and all his priests. Let none be missing, for I have a great sacrifice to offer to Baal. Whoever is missing shall not live.” But Jehu did it with cunning in order to destroy the worshipers of Baal. [20] And Jehu ordered, “Sanctify a solemn assembly for Baal.” So they proclaimed it. [21] And Jehu sent throughout all Israel, and all the worshipers of Baal came, so that there was not a man left who did not come. And they entered the house of Baal, and the house of Baal was filled from one end to the other. [22] He said to him who was in charge of the wardrobe, “Bring out the vestments for all the worshipers of Baal.” So he brought out the vestments for them. [23] Then Jehu went into the house of Baal with Jehonadab the son of Rechab, and he said to the worshipers of Baal, “Search, and see that there is no servant of the LORD here among you, but only the worshipers of Baal.” [24] Then they went in to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings.
Now Jehu had stationed eighty men outside and said, “The man who allows any of those whom I give into your hands to escape shall forfeit his life.” [25] So as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, Jehu said to the guard and to the officers, “Go in and strike them down; let not a man escape.” So when they put them to the sword, the guard and the officers cast them out and went into the inner room of the house of Baal, [26] and they brought out the pillar that was in the house of Baal and burned it. [27] And they demolished the pillar of Baal, and demolished the house of Baal, and made it a latrine to this day.  (2 Kings 10:18-27 ESV)

Here are some observations and applications from the text.

First, Jehu is zealous for the Lord...or is he?
Many believe that Jehu was out for selfish gain.  "The end justified the means in Jehu’s mind, so he felt no qualms of conscience when he deliberately lied to the people and claimed to be more ardent in his worship of Baal than was Ahab. He was joined in this plot by Jehonadab, a dedicated Jew who was anxious to rid the land of idolatry.
Warren W. Wiersbe, Wiersbe's Expository Outlines on the Old Testament (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1993), 2 Ki 9:14–10:28.
One could make an argument for either case, but I do believe that Jehu had selfish motives and that bearing false witness NEVER pleases the Lord.  (That is an entire different topic for another day)

Matthew Henry also comments on this account in scripture.   [16] And he said, (Jehu) “Come with me, and see my zeal for the LORD.” (2 Kings 10:16 ESV) This is commonly taken as not well said by Jehu, and as giving cause to suspect that his heart was not right with God in what he did, and that the zeal he pretended for the Lord was really zeal for himself and his own advancement. 
Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible : Complete and Unabridged in One Volume (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1996), 2 Ki 10:15–28.

Do you perform seeking advancement?  Working hard is not a bad thing, but are you doing your work to glorify the Lord?

Second, what are our heart motives?
Obviously Jehu had some issues with his heart as we all do.  This challenged me to think about my heart motives.  For example, why do I do the things that I do?  Is my motivation the genuine concern for the lost or the brethren?  Perhaps we look at this story in this light, the end justifies the means?  The truth is that what we do and how we accomplish things in life speaks volumes about our relationship with the Lord.

When we serve and worship God, what are our motives?

Lastly, I am personally challenged to rid my life of idols and to be challenged by close friends concerning my priorities.  Idol worship, specifically Baal worship, was rampant in Israel in this day.  This was an attempt to not only end the influence Ahab had, but to begin to rid the land of idol worshipers as defined by the mosaic law.  "The human heart is a factory of idols." (John Calvin)

I want to battle against idols in my own life and I want to lead my family to prioritize our lives around the example we see from the Word of God!  

[4] “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. [5] You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. [6] And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. [7] You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.  (Deuteronomy 6:4-7 ESV)


Father God, I thank you for another day.  I thank you for my salvation and because of your great love for me, God help me to love others.  Help me to lead my family well, continue to convict my heart as I falter in this area of my life.  Help me to fight against apathy.  Help me to be content.  Remind me that at the end of my time on this earth the things that matter most - my relationship with You and love for your Word, the love and investment in my wife, my family and my ministry will be the things that will last.  Help me to lead and leave a legacy of my love for you in the lives of my wife, children, the brethren and the lost for your ultimate glory. God, I desire the ultimate level of obedience in my life.  May I suffer well for the sake of the gospel.  Amen

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Way of Death

As I read this morning, I am reminded from Psalm 49 much about the wisdom of the Lord.  Actually, this Psalm is a Psalm of wisdom which addresses a common thread in all of humanity, that thread being death.

 [49:1] Hear this, all peoples!
Give ear, all inhabitants of the world,
[2] both low and high,
rich and poor together!
[3] My mouth shall speak wisdom;
the meditation of my heart shall be understanding.
[4] I will incline my ear to a proverb;
I will solve my riddle to the music of the lyre.
(Psalm 49:1-4 ESV)

First, the Psalmist identifies for whom this Psalm is written, "Hear this, all peoples!"  This Psalm is for everyone and we should lend an ear to hear.  Not only is this Psalm for everyone the Psalmist continues to clearly articulate that this Psalm is speaking to ALL types, the poor and the rich.  This is a Psalm regarding wisdom and we should incline our ears to listen.

[5] Why should I fear in times of trouble,
when the iniquity of those who cheat me surrounds me,
[6] those who trust in their wealth
and boast of the abundance of their riches?
[7] Truly no man can ransom another,
or give to God the price of his life,
[8] for the ransom of their life is costly
and can never suffice,
[9] that he should live on forever
and never see the pit.
(Psalm 49:5-9 ESV)

Secondly, the Psalmist writes that the reality in life is no matter the circumstance, even when those around us "cheat us" and it seems like the rich and wealthy are only getting more; NO MAN ESCAPES DEATH!  I love that phrase in verse 7, no man can ransom another or give to God the price of his life.  Nothing we can do pays our debt to the Lord.  We are born, unable to earn our way, ransom our way or buy our way into heaven and the ultimate end to each man's life is death.

 [10] For he sees that even the wise die;
the fool and the stupid alike must perish
and leave their wealth to others.
[11] Their graves are their homes forever,
their dwelling places to all generations,
though they called lands by their own names.
[12] Man in his pomp will not remain;
he is like the beasts that perish.
(Psalm 49:10-12 ESV)

Thirdly, even the ones who trust in God and seek His ways and His wisdom will undoubtedly face death.  All must perish.  To be real honest, this does not encourage me.  However, the full counsel of the word of God is needed in times like this.  What we must recognize is that a life apart from Christ, this life we live is what we live for and focus all of our efforts towards.  A life apart from Christ will lead to a distorted view of life, a distorted view of God, our view of Jesus and the gospel will be distorted.  We have to recognize and always remember, we do not define God, we do not define His son, His Word defines Him!  Our feelings and emotions cannot get in the way of our view of God but God is who He says He is and He does not need our help in defining Himself!  In verse 12, man in his pomp (his pride) will not remain.  All men will perish.  That leaves one to contemplate eternity.

 [13] This is the path of those who have foolish confidence;
yet after them people approve of their boasts. Selah
[14] Like sheep they are appointed for Sheol;
death shall be their shepherd,
 and the upright shall rule over them in the morning.
Their form shall be consumed in Sheol, with no place to dwell.
[15] But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol,
for he will receive me. Selah
(Psalm 49:13-15 ESV)

Next, the unfaithful are identified as the ones that place foolish confidence in the approval of men.  These, however are as sheep appointed to Sheol and have no place to dwell.  Often I struggle with the desire to be approved by man when in reality because of the shed blood of Jesus Christ and my trust in Him, HE WILL RANSOM my soul according to verse 15.  I need not the approval of man, I am already approved in Christ.  I am justified by HIM!  Now that is HOPE.  My life surrendered to HIM and my trust in Him that what He says He will do is my ONLY chance at an eternity spent with Him.  I am trusting in that!  I am so reminded and thankful this morning for Jesus and I want to ask, "What do you trust in?" According to the way you live your life, by the demonstration of your life, what would others think about where your trust lies?  (I am very convicted by this)

That is why the gospel is so important and displaying the gospel, living the gospel, declaring the gospel is a must.  The gospel should be our life because apart from Jesus Christ, we not only suffer the death in this life but we live on in eternity separated from the Father, the giver of life, FOREVER!

The Psalmist concludes;

        [16] Be not afraid when a man becomes rich,
when the glory of his house increases.
[17] For when he dies he will carry nothing away;
his glory will not go down after him.
[18] For though, while he lives, he counts himself blessed
—and though you get praise when you do well for yourself—
[19] his soul will go to the generation of his fathers,
who will never again see light.
[20] Man in his pomp yet without understanding is like the beasts that perish.
(Psalm 49:16-20 ESV)

No matter how wealthy the rich become, we carry nothing with us.  Many that are wealthy count themselves blessed and are praised by others but the Psalmist reminds them, and us, that the way in this life is death apart from Christ.  A man without this understanding perishes apart from the LORD.  A great reminder of the need to be certain of what I believe, can I explain it and am I living this out personally and am I leading my family to live this out as well.

Some thoughts this morning on Psalm 49.