Thursday, March 31, 2011

Two Craftsman, God's Glory

Other than the priests of God, the first people mentioned, and, in many ways, anointed by God for His work in Exodus are two craftsmen. They are set apart by God for His work to make the things that He commands His people to have in order to worship Him. These men, Bezalel and Oholiab, are appointed by God to do His work in the area of craftsmanship. As Exodus 31:1-6 reads,

The LORD said to Moses, "See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft. And behold, I have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. And I have given to all able men ability, that they may make all that I have commanded you..."

These men are given the Spirit of God specifically for the purposes of creating things that will bring God worship and glory. This is where we can learn from this. God's Spirit rests upon these men in the work that they do. It's not priestly or pastoral work. It's not working as a church musician. It's not working in the Christian publishing industry. It's making tables, tents, utensils, lampstands, etc. Sure, these items will be used in the worship of God. But these items are built by two men with God-given ability for making these items. They do it to the best of their potential. And ultimately they do it for God.

No matter what our area of expertise or work, if done well, it brings glory to God and shows where our treasure is. Some people may work as "common" laborers their entire life, but if they do so honestly and whole-heartedly, they serve the Lord, if they are indeed the Lord's. It matters not what we do (other than sin), but whom we do it for.

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. -Colossians 3:17

Sunday, March 27, 2011

What We're About

Been a quiet season here on the blog, with life and a mission trip behind us (and before us, ha). But here are a couple videos, one of late, and one a favorite.

G.O.S.P.E.L. from Humble Beast Records on Vimeo.


And this is a favorite, also what we're about.

(10 imaginary points if you either aren't distracted by or notice the misspelling.)

Monday, March 7, 2011

He is the Lord

Throughout Leviticus 19, there runs a refrain near the end of pretty much every statute and command that God gives. This refrain means much. For example, from verses 11 and 12: "You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; you shall not lie to one another. You shall not swear by my name falsely, and so profane the name of your God: I am the Lord."

At first glance, this could be merely an affirmation of God's status in this world of pluralism and competing passions. However, I believe the purpose for this refrain goes so much deeper. In it, we find the motivation for completing the desires of God for the believer.

Our motivation for living out the desires of God is not merely obedience for obedience's sake. It's not even obedience for God's sake. Our obedience is rooted in who God is and what God has so graciously done. So for God to say "I am the Lord" to the Israelites is for Him to say "Because of who I am, this is what you should do. This is how you thus honor me. And if you don't do these things, then you are showing the world that you don't honor me."

We can debate the constraints of the Levitical law on the Christian, however, what we cannot debate is this: if we are living for God and to honor God, and we are in Christ, our lives will look very similar to that which He commands us to do.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Practical Theology for Women: What Is Faith?

Here's some insight from the second chapter of Wendy Horger Alsup's book Practical Theology for Women:
"Many Christians in today's churches seem much more convinced of the reality of their problems than the reality of their God. Our cell phone bill, the transmission in our car, or the coworker in the next cubicle consumes our thoughts. Whether we are single or married, stay-at-home moms or working women, we tend to get so tied up in the minutiae of life that we miss the biggest truth, the ultimate reality. God must be big in our minds. God needs to be at the forefront of our thought processes. He needs to be the first consideration in all of our daily circumstances, not the last resort that we consider after exhausting all other options. Believing in his existence - focusing with trust on his reality - is fundamental to a faith that pleases God." (p. 33)
Did you read that? Last resort. How many times do we stress out over ruined plans, tests, or just a bad day and try so hard figure out what we are going to do about it? News flash: we don't have to get through it alone and we aren't supposed to try! And letting God lead us through these trials produces more rewards than if we had never gone through a trial at all. Alsup speaks of a friend's own challenge with the weight of these trials and rewards:
"I know one friend who was reading a book about walking deeper with Jesus. The author made a comment along the lines of 'don't read any farther if you don't want to be challenged in your faith.' My friend said she put the book down right then. She believed God exists. But she thinks he lives to ask hard things of the people who follow him too closely. Whatever rewards he promises for those who diligently seek him are not nearly enough to warrant her trust in him." (p. 34)
Though our trials may seem endless and fruitless, the journey is part of the reward. Good things await if we are in Christ.
"We have God's precious promise that he's going to work the hard things in our lives for our good, and part of that good is that we will be changed more and more to reflect Christ's character and glory. The trials and struggles we experience are like the refiner's fire under a pot of gold. The heat brings impurities to the top to be scraped off by the refiner, leaving the gold in a purer form. When God heats up our lives, working out our pride, selfishness, and general wrong thinking, the resulting purified life is so much sweeter." (p. 36)
May you find joy in the trials and strength in the Savior and when all is said and done, may your reflection appear as that of Christ Jesus.