Sunday, April 29, 2012

One Year

It's been an entire year since I first began working as a college pastor at my local church, and it almost took me by surprise this evening when I finished my talk and wrapped up my series of reflections on the books of First and Second Timothy.  It's rather odd when you've gotten so connected to a routine, a way of doing things, that when it comes to completion it leaves you upside-down.  I've been pastoring students and preaching the Word of God every week now for a year, and all of a sudden it's finals week and our college group is finished until August.

We're planning on doing some events for studies during the summer, but the reality is that I've already led that last year and I kind of have a better idea of what's going on during the summer.  My former pastor urged me to take the first year of ministry as evaluative--don't go jumping in to try and change everything and save everyone from the "old way."  But now that it's been a year, I'm eager and ready to take a good look at the different pieces of it all and figure out a way to make it more effective towards its purpose.

Praise be to God for giving me this excellent first year of ministry, even though I was simply reflecting his his glory.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Back from the Dead

It looks like I haven't updated the ol' blog in a while.  


I suppose time flies by.  Just after my last post I landed at the Colorado School of Mines and was quickly swamped by the amount of work I had to do.  Now, four years later, I'll be graduating with a Bachelor's in Computer Science with a concentration in Music Technology.  After this I'll be working at my church as the College Pastor (where I've been working now for the past year).

I thought it might be fun to get back into blogging, so we'll see if I actually do.  Hey, it might be a fun summer project!  Anyhoo, I've got to eat me some pasta and go take an exam.

Monday, July 21, 2008


I've been thinking a lot lately on the topic of giving, and it seems to me that how I often give is not very godly.

There are many reasons to give, but usually how it goes for me is something like this:

  1. I go through my belongings to thin out what I have, and I find something that I think somebody I know could really use.
  2. I set it aside for them and think about how much they'll use it and how much they'll just love me for giving it to them.
  3. I actually give it to them, and say something like, "Hey, I was looking through my stuff the other day, and I found this. I don't really like it, but I thought it would be perfect for you!" There's a couple variations of that, but I'm sure you get the point.
First off, I think it's good to thin out your stuff, considering we're not even supposed to store up our belongings on earth (Luke 12:33-34). It's also good to share our belongings with those who need them, like in the early Church described in Acts.

But my next step is not nearly as commendable. An immediate pride sets in, with grand thoughts of how much somebody will like me because of what I give them. Evil Ben! You're seeking man's approval! (Colossians 3:22-24).

The third step is really the meat of what I want to talk about. When I say that I don't like what I am giving them (which is why it would be perfect for them), I am essentially saying, "you are deserving of the least I can offer." But God clearly calls us to give of ourselves completely. Give the best you have! For goodness sakes, Christ laid His life down for us, and yet I can only give to others the things that I don't want?

Would I ever give somebody my favorite toy? How about my bed? How about my house? How about my life?

The grace of Jesus Christ that enables us to glorify God should extend to every tip of our lives, just as the blood from my heart goes even to the end of my pinkie toe.

When I give, let me give in a God-glorifying way, so that others know that this life is not important to me, and neither are the things I own. Let Christ receive the love from them, not I.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Is shoveling rocks hard?

Last Saturday I was able to attend the Denver Rebelution conference with some friends, and it was a great experience. Alex and Brett have a good message, and I appreciated how their father provided a strong foundation of godliness for the whole conference. In short, he said that nothing matters but what we do for Christ.

The next day after church we were fixing up the landscaping in front of our church signboard when a woman came out to see what we were doing. She had come along with us to the Rebelution, and she was very impressed with what she had heard. When she saw what we were doing she exclaimed, "Wow, a day after the Rebelution and we're already doing hard things!"

I've been thinking about that statement for the last two and a half days now, and I've realized why it has plagued me: such a statement takes an exclusivity away from such a creed, and decreases its value. I have no problem with shoveling rocks, and neither did any other person who was helping. Shoveling rocks is not really hard. I suppose that's a subjective statement, but I hope you understand what I mean.

When I think of "Doing Hard Things," I automatically append "for Christ" in my mind. Paul writes in 2 Timothy, "No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs" (2:2a), "Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels." (2:23), and "...pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart" (2:22).

When I read those verses, what I hear Paul saying is, "guys, just live for Christ. There is no secular." Paul has also told us to do everything for Christ, and through Christ. Shoveling rocks should be done for Christ, but it's not hard. We are all different people, but I think we can all define "hard" as something like street evangelism, shameless ownership of the Gospel in every situation, and confession of sin. It is our desire and joy to do these things, but they're still hard.

To conclude, I simply want to warn about degrading the poignancy of "Do Hard Things." Sure, there are small hard things such as shoveling rocks, but those are the thankless jobs. I sincerely do not want to see it become another meaningless expression used to guilt-trip children into doing something. I want to keep it as a term describing the joy we have in living abundantly for Christ, and doing every task He sets before us whether Hard or Easy.

I suppose that I should also take some of Paul's words unto myself: "Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen" (2 Timothy 2:14). I hope this is not what I'm doing, but I believe that I am not. Take it for what it is.


Just a quick heads-up:

There's a new theological social network on the block:

Go ahead and check it out. It looks like there's some good things on there.

Dear Timothy

According to the promise of life
In Christ Jesus,
I thank God whom I serve
With a blameless conscience.

For God did not give us
A spirit of timidity;
But of power and love,
Self discipline dear Timothy.

So do not be ashamed
To testify in the Lord,
But suffer in the Gospel
By the Power of our God.

Grace was given us
'Fore the start of time,
But has now appeared
In Jesus who brings life.

THIS is why I suffer
As I am, and not ashamed,
Because I know whom I believe,
Who guards my soul until that day.

And even though deserted,
As I preached the word in Asia,
We live strong in our Christ Jesus,
By the power of His grace.

Endure the hardships that beset us
As a soldier serving Christ,
For the man who serves his army
Lives no civilian life.

Remember our Lord Jesus,
Who by God's will rose from the dead,
Which is the Gospel that I work for,
For the sake of the elect.

If we die with Him we'll live with Him,
If we endure we'll also reign.
If we disown Him, He'll disown us,
But He's faithful to the end.

Don't quarrel about the small things,
Just teach the word of truth.
Avoid your godless chatter,
Flee desires of your youth.

Pursue righteousness and faith,
Living lovingly in peace.
Do all this with your brothers
Who for the will of God they seek.

Now mark my words in these last days,
That men will love themselves.
They state belief in God,
But deny His power over Hell.

And Timothy, you know
Of the life I choose to live.
Everyone who lives for Christ
Will be hurt or maimed or kicked.

But you see that in the Scriptures
(That will surely make you wise),
God has breathed for our instruction,
And made us righteous in His eyes.

So in the presence of our God and Christ,
Who'll judge the living and the dead,
And in the view of His appearing,
And the words which I have said,

I charge you, my dear Timothy,
Preach the word and be prepared.
Correct, rebuke, encourage,
With great patience and great care.

Keep your head at every moment,
Do the work for which we're called,
Live as an evangelist,
Like I, your brother, Paul.

Dear Timothy, I'm weary.
Do your best to come at once.
The Lord be with your spirit,
Greet the faithful whom I love.

Reflect on what I'm saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all of this.

I wrote this yesterday, after finishing 2 Timothy. Basically it is an effort on my part to understand the text better.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

No Power of Hell

I had a conversation with a fellow rebelutionary the other day in the comments of a previous post about Hell, and its significance in evangelization. Her comment was,

"I think we also ought to be careful when talking about Satan and Hell.
We don't want people coming to Christ just because they don't want to go to hell. That isn't true conversion...that's an excape route."

That's a very good point, and she is absolutely right: we don't want people coming to Christ just because they don't want to go to Hell.

On the other hand, I've had a while to think about it and I came upon this striking thought- as we go further and further back in time and explore Christian thoughts on Hell, there's an interesting trend. The farther back you go, Christians have a healthier and healthier respect for (fear of?) Hell.

That's not to say that they were saved by their fear of Hell, they just knew that it was very real and that knowledge influenced their daily lives. Today, there is a blatant apathy or warm colloquial attitude about Hell. Phrases such as "Go to Hell," "Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company" (Twain), and "What the Hell?" describe a generation that has absolutely no grasp on the true nature of Hell.

Satan isn't Big Daddy down under

Many people have the notion that Satan rules Hell or that he inflicts torment upon those who go there. But this is a dangerous concept, because it is wrong. Consider: Satan committed an evil act and was cast out of heaven. If we sin, we go to Hell. Does not both receive the same treatment for sin against God? Satan will be tormented as much as every other sinner who ends there.

Hell isn't a Block Party

Those who think they will have company in Hell are in a dangerous position. Yes, there is the devastating truth that many will be there. But that doesn't mean that they will all be able to hold hands and suffer together. The suffering there will be unimaginable, and incomparable to anything on this earth.

There will be no body to suffer in, the suffering will happen directly to the soul. Those who reject the "Grace of God... [that] has Appeared to all men" (Titus 2:11) will not just unfortunately get to spend the weekend away from God; they will forever suffer in agony for ETERNITY. There will be no solace or comfort from others who suffer with them.

Hell IS...

Hell is real. Hell is worse than any human tongue can begin to describe. Hell is not just a four letter word, it is serious business. We should use it with gravity even when we are using its correct meaning.

Where does Hell belong in evangelization? Fear of Hell doesn't save, but it does get a human thinking about subjects that are very serious. Life is short, and in this snippet of time we decide to join God in his predestined will for us or we decide to forever depart from it.

So my rebelutionary friend is absolutely right. We do not want people coming to Christ because of their fear of Hell. But I think it is imperative that we have as firm a connection with the truth of eternal damnation as the apostles did. We should live with that truth on our minds, as it will give true purpose to our words and intensity to our evangelization.

In Christ Alone

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light my strength my song
This Cornerstone, this solid Ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled when strivings cease!
My Comforter my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

In Christ alone! - who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This Gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
Till on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied -
For every sin on Him was laid:
Here in the death of Christ I live

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine -
Bought with the precious blood of Christ

No guilt in life no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life's first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
Till he returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand!
Read More:
Romans 6:23 | Matthew 8:12 | Matthew 25:41 | Luke 16:23-24 | Justice, Forgiveness, and Transformation (The Berean Call) | I Hate Christ (A Puritan's Mind)