Covenants (part one of many)

There are two types of covenants: conditional and unconditional covenants.  God’s covenant with Abraham was unconditional after Abraham believed – it’s unconditional because after his belief nothing could reverse the promises God made.  God’s covenant with Israel through Moses [AKA “The Mosaic Covenant”] where He gave the Law was conditional on their obedience to the law in the land [Ex 20:1-31:18].
A covenant has several elements to be looking for:
a) participants [God and Israel through Moses]
b) provisions [The land, the seed and the blessing]
c) a state [active/inactive] if it’s conditional
d) a sign [a sacrifice on an altar, circumcision]
e) a token [the Sabbath] to remind the participants of the covenant
Covenants usually set up what theologians call a ‘dispensation’ or a period of stewardship where the provisions and tokens are observed.  However, covenants can come to an end.  When Christ came and was crucified, died, buried, resurrected, and then ascended God did away with the temple system by literally tearing down the temple through the Romans. The Law could NOT be fulfilled and was rendered inoperative. In the millennial kingdom the Law will be fulfilled again while Abraham possesses the land.

Thinking God’s Thoughts After Him

The phrase, “Thinking God’s Thoughts After Him, ” used to drive me bonkers. I wanted to be a free thinker after God’s image. The problem with my optimistic free thinking lies in the source of truth: not me. Good is the source of truth and if I’m to think on truth in going to have to be thinking about His revealed truth after Him.

I consider myself creative as my art and craft often reflect new-to-me experiences, but I’m also highly analytical and yet the truth I find is rooted in exploring God’s creativitt, His truth and then exploring creatively potential appropriations and then subjecting those to analytical comparison of God’s revelation and His approved appropriations as revelation preserves.

God’s Thoughts are perfect. They’re worthy of meditation. They’re worthy of thinking after Him.

Grace Notes

From my notes from church this morning:

Justification is very misunderstood. It is complete and part of identification with Christ unto new life. If we don’t understand it as complete we feel compelled to works. If we don’t understand it as part of identification we fail to grasp the fullness of the work of Christ on the cross.

Don’t Bat an Eye at 40 Lashes

So in the Old Testament Law of Moses, given to the Jews while they were in the “Promised Land” God says in Deuteronomy 25:3 that you may give a man up to 40 stripes [lashes].  Just to be safe the Jews made it a tradition to only lash someone 39 times in case someone counted wrong.  This sort of thing amuses me greatly.  Let’s obey the Law for righteousness, unless we can make a new, and improved Law.

I prefer the New Testament doctrine of grace, but often this gets screwed up to create new and improved grace, too.  If you’re adding or subtracting from the Bible to help it where God needed some clarification that you happen to have the perfection to offer, you’re probably a bit over-confident.

Grace, it’s what’s for breakfast, lunch & dinner.

Abby Was Baptized Today

Abby was baptized today, so that was cool.  Except last night I told her that Grandpa Peterman (an elder at our church) would officiate and I would accompany him in case I cried.  I told Abby I was emotional sometimes.  The baptistm went well and Abby and her aunt Kelsey, and the children of another family (Go, Doans!) all publicly testified to their faith.  This was all good and I’m excited for them.

As it turns out Abby’s Sunday school teacher asked if I was going to do the baptism myself.  She replied in the negative.  When Mike, her teacher, asked why I was not going to do the baptism she said, “My dad has emotional problems.”

So there’s that.

If There is Fear of Failure

If there is fear of failure, it isn’t grace.  Grace doesn’t bring about fear, but relationship.  If your testimony with those who don’t believe in Jesus Christ doesn’t involve a reflection of liberty then you’re not showing them the glory of grace, but instead the legalism of what the flesh can do.  I won’t do various things if it will be a stumbling block for a brother, but I will walk in liberty otherwise.  I don’t fear failure, I embrace grace.

Thanks for the Fish

When I used to work at the Christian book store in college I was a new hire and the owner was showing another new hire how he expected a display rack cleaned. He called it the “auto center.” I laughed because I thought it was a clever name. It was a name that sounded more grand than the plastic display actually was.

I got called into the owner’s office and was scolded for making fun of the name by laughing. I would like to take this time to point out that you’re welcome to laugh at all my posts – whether they’re intended to be funny or not – and I will not call you into my disorganized office (which I will be cleaning this week). I will, however, show you my guitar center.

What Matters Most?

Think before you act
That weird thing by my ear is a pop stopper on a mic stand

In a continuation on the series about things I’m learning about maturity (as I originally posted here) I’d like to talk about what matters the most.  You see I hadn’t figure this out in application until recently.  What matters most hasn’t changed, but the application of that has become much, much more important to me.  What matters most to me is my relationship with my Lord and Savior and that relationship being reflected in my day-to-day life.  My friend Craig told me recently in a conversation that he could tell a difference between Randy 2 years ago and present day Randy.

I used to run my mouth a lot (OK, I probably still do).  Maybe it was pride, maybe it was because I’m an extroverted influencer, but I’ve started listening more.  That only took 30+ years to figure out.  Listen more.  It isn’t as if James hadn’t told us in his letter to the diaspora of the church at Jerusalem that they should listen more.  It isn’t that I hadn’t read that letter tens of times.  It is that I didn’t realize I wasn’t listening.  Do you ever think that you are listening but you’re not?  I am learning to listen more.  The problem is that it takes discipline to listen.  It takes discipline to shut your jaw muscles down and just listen.  I’ve met good listeners and when they listen to me I feel loved.  I need to love by listening more.  Craig told me that during a series of tasks with him that I wasn’t talking as much.  I was working more, but I was also listening more.

A week or so before that I had another friend, Jim, suggest I listen (there’s that word again!) to some lessons by a mutual friend, Jeremy Thomas, who is the pastor at Fredericksburg Bible Church.  As I listened a yearning for a deeper understanding of God’s word just dominated my thoughts.  I have been insatiable in my appetite for what matters most: knowing my God more.  Jim also suggested I re-listen (and finish listening to) the Bible Framework series by Charlie Clough.  There is so much good material in that series.  The series is about thinking.  I know, that’s goofy, but its over 200 lessons on thinking as a Christian rather than just being a thoughtless Christian (that’s kinda blunt, but I don’t know how else to put it).  Craig is a good thinker and when he mentions that he thinks I’m changing it means a great deal to me.

What matters most (my relationship with the Godhead) impacts my work, my family, my friends, and my church.  At work I want to do an amazing job, but this change in my focus means that I actually pay more attention to details (which probably thrills some of my co-workers to no end).  My family has been getting a lot more of me praying and looking for teaching opportunities [and hopefully more listening].  My friends will hopefully find me a better listener – I’m sure praying a lot more for them (even if they’re agnostic or atheist).   At church I’ve been trying harder to pour myself into preparation for my lessons (not that I spent only a few minutes before).  I want my brothers and sisters there to hunger more despite being fed more, to listen more, and to grow more.  I want them to know I love them.  Not to be a creeper, but I want you to know I love you.  When Craig tells me he’s seeing changes he’s telling me he loves me and he’s been listening and watching.  I’d hate for that message (of love) to stop with me.  Listen to someone else today; love them through listening.  It is amazing what you’ll hear.  It is amazing what you’ll learn.  It is amazing how you will grow.