Lust

It can come quickly.

Without warning.

It is not predictable like the weather, but it comes as strong as a hurricane.

Quickly it fills my thoughts.

I must stop it before it fills my being.

Taking me places I do not want to go but I do want to go.

It can bring a storm that can wipe me out.

Bringing me to my knees again.

The same old spot I have been too many times before.

It knows my name and it calls me it’s slave.

I don’t know what will set it off, but Lust is it’s name.

I forget to fight as my Sword is forgotten.

I missed the escape plan the Lord had planned and blew through the warning signs He had set up.

I cry out, “O Lord have mercy on me, a sinner, in whose name I take shelter in!

Forgive me my trespasses and let me not sin against You!

Renew my hope and kindle my Spirit with in me to keep far from my enemy, lust.

Let me lust after your Word and knowing You!”

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Life

Life.

When it comes, it comes.

It does not stop for anything.

Sleep, work, play.

It’s always moving in a direction.

Many believe life just happens and then it’s over.

For others, it’s hell.

For some, it’s heaven.

Life.

Its direction is in the hand of the Maker, but how you travel the direction of life is up to you.

It does not wait for anybody and it does not avoid anyone.

Many find life empty and let the direction it is headed take them to destruction.

Some find Life but are distracted by the things that bring a life to destruction.

They live the Life but are sick and tired.

Some find Life and live this Life to abundance.

Abundantly enjoying the Life the Maker has designed for maximum enjoyment and fulfillment.

This life leads to life which does not know destruction.

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Dr. Bruce Ware: Beholding the Glory of the Eternal Word

Over this past weekend I had the opportunity to attend a men’s conference called BUILD at Lakeshore Baptist Church in Grand Haven, Michigan. The guest speaker, for the two day conference, was Dr. Bruce Ware, professor of Christian Theology at Southern Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. We had the privilege of listening to Dr. Ware breakdown John 1:1-5, Philippians 2:5-11, and Psalm 2.  Dr. Ware specifically talked about Christology and below is his handout, with scripture, of his opening session:


 

 

Scripture: John 1:1-5 NASB

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

 


  1. Introduction:
    • The Son who became incarnate and lived among us as Jesus Christ of Nazareth is, prior to the incarnation, the eternal Word of the Father, God the Son, the second person of the Trinity. Marvel at the eternal fullness of deity of this Son, shared fully with the Father, and marvel at his distinct personhood, God the Son, the eternal Word and eternal Son of the Father.
  2. The Eternal Word was “with God” and “was God” (1:1-2)
    • “In the beginning” ties the Word of John 1:1-2 to the God of Genesis 1:1 who exists eternally.
    • “the Word was with God” indicates the Word exists eternally distinct from God (the Father).
    • “the Word was God” declares explicitly that the eternal Word is full God along with the Father.
    • Trinitarian understanding is necessary to see this- there are two necessary elements to the doctrine of the Trinity: distinction (the Word was “with God”) and identity (the Word “was God”). As Word of the Father, He is fully equal to the Father in essence, yet he is also distinct from the Father in personhood and role.
  3. The Eternal Word is the Father’s Agent of Creation (John 1:3)
    • “In the beginning” ties the Word of John 1:1-2 to God the creator of Genesis 1:1
    • As “Word” of the Father, He is the Father’s Agent of Creation- the Father creates as He speaks, as Gen 1 records (Ps 33:6; 1 Cor 8:6; Heb 1:1-2)
    • “All things came into being by Him…” confirms the Word as the exclusive Creator of all that is created. As Creator of all, He has intrinsic ownership of and authority over all.
    • “Apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being” confirms that He Himself is not and cannot be one of the multitude of things that has been created (Col 1:15-17).
  4. The Eternal Word is the Self-Existent Source of Life and Light (John 1:4-5)
    • “In Him was life” indicates that He has existence of Himself- no one has brought Him into existence, nor was life given to Him. As Calvin has said,  the Son is autotheos, “God of Himself.”
    • The life that was “the Light of men” is, then, His own life given so others may live- regardless of whether the Light is received or not (John 3:19), this Light alone is true Life for it alone comes from the One who is the exclusive source of Life and Light.
  5. Conclusion:
    • Never forget- the One who took on our human nature, to live and die for us, is none other than the eternal Word, God the Son, the second person of the Trinity. Amazing love!

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4 Mistakes Not To Make When Managing Older Employees

My first couple management gigs were very similar—both were at small businesses in college towns, where the majority of my employees were undergrads who only worked part-time. I was just a couple years out of college, too, and the fact that I was so close in age to my workforce made it easy to relate to them and get to know them personally and professionally.

Then, while I was still in my early 20s, I moved into a management position at a much larger software company. And my first day on the job, I noticed what was bound to be quite a challenge: My direct reports were, on average, 10 to 15 years older than me.

Immediately, I formed some judgments about these workers and how our relationships would be, which all turned out to be pretty off the mark. I learned (very quickly) that when you make assumptions, you make—well, you know the rest.

If you’re a new manager, don’t follow in my footsteps. Throw these four myths out the window, and you’ll be a much more successful coach and authority figure from the get-go.

Myth #1: You Just Can’t Relate
When I managed college kids, I knew exactly what their lives were like—they worked a couple hours between classes, took a few days off before finals to cram in a semester’s worth of studying, and really just wanted to earn some extra cash. Since I’d been in the same position just a few years before, it was easy for me to relate to them on a daily basis.

So when I started managing employees who were a decade older than me, I didn’t think I’d be able to relate to their lives. They had spouses, children, and even grandchildren—and I wasn’t at that stage of life yet. So I held back, and figured that the less I got to know my employees, the less they’d notice the disparity in our personal experiences.

Looking back, this was an extremely naïve way to approach the situation. Even if you’re not in the exact same position in life as your reports, you can still take an interest in their lives. You may not be able to offer advice (and that’s not your job anyway), but you can ask about their families, past work experience, and career aspirations. You have all those things, too, even if they look a little different.

Forging a personal connection with your subordinates will help you understand them better—what motivates them, how they learn and communicate, and what matters most to them—and that will help you become a more effective leader.

Myth #2: You’re the Boss, So You Know More Than Everyone
When I accepted a management position at a software company, my technical skills didn’t extend much beyond Microsoft Word. And I certainly didn’t want my employees to notice this lack of knowledge, so I made decisions and formed processes on my own, without consulting them. When projects (inevitably) didn’t go the way I planned, I realized that without their input, I wasn’t making smart moves.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a manager (of any age) is to refuse to learn from your team. In fact, your older employees are one of the best resources you can use to adapt to your new position. They’ve been with the company (not to mention in the industry) for several years—which means they’re aware of what works and what doesn’t, they’ve seen almost every possible technical problem, and they know the company’s clientele better than anyone else.

So every day, I learn from them. I ask them if they’ve seen a particular problem before, and if so, how they solved it. I ask their opinion on new processes that I’m thinking of implementing, or how they would suggest making the department more efficient.

Most of the time, they have great ideas that they’re more than willing to share. They want to be part of the decision-making process, and they’re eager to spread their knowledge. Their lengthy duration at the company is usually a sign that they’re invested in it and want to see it succeed.

Myth #3: They Don’t Need Training (or They Need More Training Than Anyone Else)
This assumption is two-fold: When I first started managing my older team, I assumed that since many of them had been working at the company for more than 10 years, they knew all there is to know about the software and the company’s internal systems.

However, it would have been equally easy for me to assume that my older employees weren’t as tech-savvy as their younger co-workers, and would need exponentially more training in order to pick up on the intricacies of the programs.

And, wouldn’t you know it? I was wrong on both accounts.

No matter his or her age, every person learns differently. So at the end of the day, forget what you’ve heard and get to know your employees individually. I found it most helpful to sit with each of my techs separately to watch their workflow. I quickly saw what each person struggled with, and in what areas he or she could use extra training.

This can also provide the perfect opportunity for team cross-training—the employees who are strong in one area can teach employees who are struggling with that skill, and vice versa. With this approach, everyone will get the chance to be the trainer and trainee—and that will create a culture of teamwork.

Myth #4: They Don’t Respect You Because of Your Age
When I noticed the age difference between my colleagues and me, I immediately thought, “There’s no way they’re going to respect a young girl who’s fresh out of college.” And what’s worse: I let these thoughts infiltrate my management style—I avoided confrontation with the older employees, figuring that they wouldn’t be receptive to my coaching or feedback because I was so young.

And that was my biggest—and most costly—mistake. I didn’t hold my employees accountable, and let their poor performance slide. Since I wasn’t actually managing my employees, I wasn’t doing my job as a boss: helping them succeed.

So who knows? Maybe my employees did consider my age at some point. But the real issue here is that you earn respect by doing your job, and doing it well. As a manager, if you effectively coach your team, help them understand and work through mistakes, provide the training they need, and recognize their successes, you’ll gain their respect—no matter your (or their) age.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/dailymuse/2013/02/12/4-mistakes-not-to-make-when-managing-older-employees/

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Wolves at the Gate: Dust to Dust

What will you gain?
What will you earn?
What is your claim?
From dust we come
And dust we return.

If I loved wealth
I’d find the root of evil.
If I lust for power
I’d lose my soul.
If I sought fame
I’d be a thief
Of all Your Honor
Honor, Glory, and Praise.

Hollow and hopeless and cold
Is value in fame and in gold.
The truest of treasures
Is to be found within His fold.

Oh how lost I would be
If my faith unwound.
(And I lost the Lord)
Oh how empty my soul
Would ever be found.
(If I gained the world)

If you’re seeking after treasures
Designed by human hands
You’ll come and find to realize
Your soul it demands.

If I loved wealth
I’d find the root of evil.
If I lust for power
I’d lose my soul.
If I sought fame
I’d be a thief
Of all Your Honor
Honor, Glory, and Praise.

What is your wealth?
What is your fame?
What is your goal?
If you gain the world
But lose your soul?

Oh how lost I would be
If my faith unwound.
(And I lost the Lord)
Oh how empty my soul
Would ever be found.
(If I gained the world)

The joy in knowing
I’m blood bought by the King.
My truest treasure is
I’ll know my King!
Know my King!

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2014 Bestselling Christian Books

Regarding 4, 7, and 9: if we swapped the few Bible verses in these books for Quran verses, could we then call them Muslim books?

http://adam4d.com/2014-bestsellers/

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BUILD: Men’s Conference (Western Michigan) Feb. 20-21

COLOSSIANS 2:6-7 (ESV)

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.

By God’s grace our mission is to build up Christian men through solid biblical teaching that is rooted in the gospel and applicable for everyday life.

The Build Conference (formerly West Michigan Men’s Conference) began in 2013 from a God given desire to provide a conference specifically intended for the everyday man. Mark Chanski was the 2013 speaker, followed by Greg Gilbert in 2014. This year it is our privilege to welcome Dr. Bruce Ware. Each year God has used the conference to build up men from Michigan and parts of the Midwest. We would love for you to join us this year as we “Behold the Glory of Christ.”

PHONE

(616) 842-8240

ANY QUESTIONS

info@beingbuilt.org

LOCATION

17306 Church Hill Street, Grand Haven, MI 49417

WEBSITE (SIGN UP & Schedule)

http://www.beingbuilt.org

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25 Early Christian Characteristics/Norms

  1. Early Christians loved, studied, kept, and copied Scripture. This love for Scripture usually was stained in their blood, as most died defending the faith.
  2. Early Christians were called “atheist” because they worship unseen god.
  3. The spread of the Gospel was mostly carried out by normal everyday people as they travelled throughout the land. Yes, the apostles did great work, but most of the missionary work was carried out by countless and nameless Christians who for different reasons-persecution, business, or missionary calling-traveled from place to place taking the news of the Gospel with them.
  4. Interpretation of Scripture was done allegorically.
  5. Early Christians did not consider themselves followers of a new religion. All their lives they had been Jews, and they still were. This was true of Peter and the twelve, of the seven, and of Paul. Their faith was not a denial of Judaism, but rather the conviction that the messianic age had finally arrived. Early Christians did not reject Judaism, but were convinced that their faith was the fulfillment of the age-long expectation of a Messiah.
  6. Communion did not focus on the death of Jesus, it focused on the resurrection of Jesus and His victory by which a new age had dawned.
  7. Two days were set aside for weekly fasting. (Wednesday and Friday)
  8. Early Christians were not only persecuted by the Romans, but mostly by Jews. Jews looked at Christianity as a simply another heretical sect. Read Acts 18. This helped the Gospel message to spread as Christians had to scatter throughout the land.
  9. When Christians were blamed for the fire that Nero started, Tacticus, a pagan historian of the time, did not believe that Christians set the fire and disapproves of Nero’s “refined cruelty.” Tacticus even says, Christians “were not being destroyed for the common good, but rather to satisfy the cruelty of one person.”
  10. Early Christians were considered “haters of humankind” because they did not take part in social activities that were entwined with pagan worship. In Roman eyes, you are supposed to love the culture and society.
  11. The distinction between Jews and Christians was not clear in the minds of Roman authorities, thus both Jew and Christian were persecuted for following any “Jewish practices.”
  12. Early Christians viewed martyrdom as being chosen by God and as a gift from God.
  13. Early Christians were not specifically killed for being a “Christian,” but for not praying to other gods, burning incense before the image of the emperor, and cursing Christ. Christians, by the mere fact of being such, were not committing any crime against society or against the state. Therefore, the resources of the state should not be wasted in seeking them out. But, once accused and brought before the authorities, Christians had to be forced to worship the gods of the empire, or face punishment.
  14. Early Christians in the second century were not constantly persecuted. Sometimes they were persecuted in some areas of the Empire, and not in others.
  15. Because of 13, above, to have a good relationship with your neighbor was very important. If any believed the evil rumors (as there were many) about Christians, they would be accused, and persecution would break out. For this reason it was very important to show that those rumors were untrue, and to give pagans a better and more favorable understanding of Christianity. This was the task of the apologists.
  16. Some rumors created by insufficient knowledge of pagans:

Christians had a meal together called the “love feast.” Also, Christians called each other “brother” and “sister” and there were many who spoke of their spouses as their “sister” or “brother.” Pagans then took these two facts and came up with the idea that Christian worship was an orgiastic celebration in which Christians ate and drank to excess, put the lights out, and vented their lusts in the indiscriminate and even incestuous unions.

Communion is referred to as the body and blood of Christ (also He came as a baby). Thus, pagans came up with the idea that Christians concealed a newborn in a loaf of bread, and then ordered a new “Christian” to cut the loaf. When this was done, they all joined in eating the warm flesh of the infant. The new “Christian” was then forced to remain silent about what took place.

  1. Pagans thought Christianity was a religion of barbarians who derived their teaching, not from Greeks or Romans, but from Jews, a primitive people whose best teachers never rose to the level of Greek philosophers.
  2. Some questions that early apologist had to answers:

Why can you not see your god?

If pagan gods are false, why fear them?

Why not worship them, even if one does not believe in them?

If Jesus was truly the Son of God, why did He allow himself to be crucified?

Why did Jesus not destroy all His enemies?

What could the purpose of such a visit to earth by God?

What would happen to Christians whose bodies were destroyed by fire, eaten by beasts, or by fish?

What will God do with those parts of matter that belonged to more than one body?

  1. All Christians agreed that the worship of the gods, and everything related to that worship, must be rejected. This included civil ceremonies, military service, and the study of classical literature, which were all entwined with immorality, pagan and emperor worship.
  2. Some Christians believe that nothing good could come from pagan philosophy and stayed away from anything that had to do with the pagan culture. Others, like Justin Martyr, claimed that there were several points of contact between Christianity and pagan philosophy. Such as:

Supreme being which every other being derives its existence

Eternal life beyond physical death

  1. Early Christians talked about in the address To Diognetus:

Christians are not different form the rest in their nationality, language or customs… They live in their own countries, but as sojourners. They fulfill all their duties as citizens, but they suffer as foreigners. They find their homeland wherever they are, but their homeland is not in any once place… they are in the flesh, but do not live according to the flesh. They live on earth, but are citizens of heave. They obey all laws, but they live higher than that required by law. They love all, but all persecute them

  1. Even though Christians refused to worship the emperor, and even while persecuted by the authorities, they continued praying for the emperor and admiring the greatness of the Roman Empire.
  2. Early Christians were pro-life. Non-Christians, if a woman has a female baby, it was not considered a daughter, unless the father declared the baby his daughter. If the father did not declare the baby his daughter, the baby was set outside in the elements to die.
  3. Early Christianity was able to grow more and more, thanks in part to evangelism by the common folk, and different plagues that came during the first couple centuries. While people with money, doctors and pagan temple workers, were able to flee the plague stricken areas, a high percentage of people were left behind. For the Christian, they had no fear of death and were more than willing to help treat those who were sick. The results of this aid by early Christian saw a high conversion rate of pagan worshippers to Christianity.
  4. In pagan worship and culture, it was completely normal to share your spouse and children with other people. Adulterous, homosexual, and pedophilia acts were totally acceptable during this time especially in pagan temple worship. Christians were known for sharing everything they had, except their spouses (heterosexual) and children.

 

Some Reading:

Getting to Know the Church Fathers by Bryan Litfin 

http://www.amazon.com/Getting-Know-Church-Fathers-Introduction-ebook/dp/B00B85428M/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1420057300&sr=1-2&keywords=bryan+liftin

The Story of Christianity: Volume 1 by Justo L. Gonzalez

http://www.amazon.com/Story-Christianity-Justo-L-Gonzalez-ebook/dp/B00JOGB2DU/ref=sr_1_sc_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1420057367&sr=1-2-spell&keywords=early+christianity+gonzals

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Book Review: Note-Taker’s Bible, NKJV

This Bible is designed for those of you who like to take notes in your Bible, but do not have enough room in the margin. It does not have anything extra in it like commentary, devotionals, or maps but it is a perfect Bible for everyday reading and writing. It’s made so that it lies mostly flat, and you do not have to worry about losing your spot as there is no need for creasing or pressing the pages down. I usually use the ESV version and I couldn’t remember the last time I read the NKJV. I compared the book of Philippians between both of them. I am not sure of all the changes made from the KJV to the NKJV, but I found it easy to read and written in a understanding way.

What I enjoyed about this Bible is that it is just a simple Bible. Nothing extra in it and wide margins for writing. You can take the front sleeve off the Bible, so that it is just a hardcover. It was designed to look very clean and easy to read. At the bottom of the pages it gives cross-references and literal words in both the Hebrew and the Greek. Sometimes with Bibles that have commentary, I find myself reading the commentary more than reading the actual Scripture.

I would say the two things that I would change, to the design/layout that is, are:

  1. Adding lines to the margins so it is easier to writer neatly.
  2. Making the font size bigger, as it seems very small.

*My review is mostly in reference to the design and usability of this Bible, not to the Scripture.

BookLook Bloggers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy.

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A Taste of Ignatius of Antioch

Letter to the Romans 2-6

Ignatius wrote ahead to the church at Rome asking them not to attempt to prevent his death. In his passionate desire for martyrdom, we sense the bishop’s wish to make his final act count for eternity. If we are sensitive here, we can also read between the lines to find a man struggling with fear: fear of the pain that awaits him, and fear that he will not measure up to what is expected in his moment of trial. Ignatius describes to the Romans the man he hopes to be. It’s as if he is steeling himself for what lies ahead. The letter reminds us that this was no superhuman saint, but a humble Christian trying to set his eyes on Jesus rather than the things of the world.

I’ll never again have an opportunity like this to reach God. Nor will you Romans ever again have such a chance to be credited with a finer accomplishment-provided you remain silent. For if you quietly refrain from interfering with me, I will become a crystal-clear message from God. But if you love my earthly body too much, I’ll only be an incomprehensible noise. I ask you to grant me nothing but this: that my blood should be poured out as an offering to God while I still have an altar available to me. In your love, you can become the accompanying choir for my sacrifice. You will sing praises to the Father in Jesus Christ because God has deemed me, the bishop of Syria, worthy to be summoned from the East to the West. Oh how good it is to be like the sun now setting on this world-for that means I will soon rise up into the presence of God! … I do have one prayer request. Pray that I’ll have strength in my soul and in my physical body, so that I won’t just give lip service to martyrdom but will actually desire to go through with it. I don’t want to merely call myself a Christian-I want to back it up when it counts. For if I can back up my words, then I will be worthy of the name of Christian. I will be known as a man of faith even when the world can’t see me anymore. It’s not the things you can see that have true value. For example, our God Jesus Christ revealed his glory even more clearly when he ascended back to the Father and disappeared. Nothing is really achieved by trying to persuade people. Christianity’s true power is discovered only when it is hated by the world. I’m writing letters to all the churches so I can proclaim clearly to everyone that I’m totally willing to die for God. But I can only do that if you won’t interfere. I beg you, don’t try to show me a “kindness” that I don’t really want. Allow me to serve as food for those savage animals-for through them I can reach God! I like to think of myself as God’s own wheat. I must be ground up into flour by the teeth of those beasts so I can be baked into a pure loaf of bread for Him. Instead of interfering, it would be far better for you to urge those animals on! Let them become my tomb and completely devour me. I don’t want to burden you with having to collect my remains after I have died. Only then will I be a disciple of Jesus Christ in the fullest sense: when the world can no longer see my physical body. So pray to the Lord for me! Ask that by means of these animals I might become a sacrifice to God. Please understand, I’m not giving you orders as if I were Peter or Paul. They were apostles, but I’m just a condemned criminal. They were free, but even at this very moment I’m chained up like a slave. But I know if I suffer, I’ll be freed by Jesus Christ. United with Him, I will be raised to eternal freedom! Right now, though, I’m a prisoner learning what it means to put aside my desires. From Syria to Rome, I’m already battling with wild beasts. By land and sea, night and day, I’m chained to ten leopards: the soldiers who have me in custody. When they are treated kindly, they only become more cruel to me. However, through their mistreatment I am becoming a better disciple-not that this earns me any credit with God. Oh may I rejoice in those wild beasts awaiting me! I do pray they will be done with me very quickly. In fact, I will coax them to come eat me up right away. I hope they won’t behave timidly like they sometimes do, lacking the fierceness even to touch the people thrown in the arena. And ifwhen I’m ready for the great moment the animals are holding back, I’ll force them to take me! Please bear with me here, friends. I really do know what is best for me. I am only now beginning to understand what it means to be a disciple. I pray that the events in that arena, and the unseen forces ofwick- edness behind them, will not conspire against me out of envy and prevent me from reaching Jesus Christ. Bring on the fire, bring on the cross, bring on the hordes ofwild animals! Let them wrench my bones out of socket and mangle my limbs and grind up my whole body! Bring on all the hideous tortures from the Devil! Just let me get to Jesus Christ. Nothing on this wide earth matters to me anymore. The kingdoms of this world are entirely meaningless. I am at the point where I would rather die for Jesus Christ than rule over the whole earth. He alone is the one I seek-the one who died for us! It is Jesus that I long for-the one who for our sake rose again from the dead!

Source: Bryan M. Litfin. Getting to Know the Church Fathers: An Evangelical Introduction 

http://www.amazon.com/Getting-Know-Church-Fathers-Introduction/dp/1587431963/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1418580555&sr=8-1&keywords=Source%3A+Bryan+M.+Litfin.+Getting+to+Know+the+Church+Fathers%3A+An+Evangelical+Introduction

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