Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Faithful or Perfect

This past Sunday at Colossae I taught on the life of David. It was part of our "Ancient Biographies" series we're doing this summer. A lot of people know a couple of stories about David and surely know he was a king, but most don't really know much about his life. So, I decided to walk through it...with a point, of course.

We know God said David was a "man after His own heart." David is held up as THE faithful king of all the kings and is esteemed in numerous ways throughout the scriptures. But he was also a mess. He lied to the priest at Nob, resulting in his death. He sought revenge with Nabal, seeking to kill him. And, he proved himself to be an adulterous murder as seen in the story with Bethsheba.

So, an obvious question is how can he be deemed "faithful" and a man after God's own heart?

This question arises because we wrongly think of being a faithful person as being a perfect person. But here was my point: the moment we confuse faithfulness with perfection is the moment we sign up for a miserable life drowned out by shame and guilt. We will never be perfect, but we can be faithful. And David provided a great example for us to follow:

First, he desired to do God's will (Psalm 40:8). This heart desire is something all believers have because of the Holy Spirit. Philippians 1:6 tells us that God will one day complete the work He has begun in us...so in the meantime, in our hearts, we want to please God.

Secondly, when we don't, we need to be quick to repent. David models this in Psalm 51 after being confronted by Nathan regarding his relationship with Bethsheba. He totally comes clean, articulating the truth of his wrongdoings and relies fully upon God to cleanse him from these things.

Thirdly, after repenting, we need to be quick to receive God's grace. Often times we don't and it results in us shrinking back from God, the people of God and the mission of God. In Psalm 51 David receives grace and moves forward in ministry - "teaching transgressors..."

I desire to please God in everything I do. I know I won't be perfect in implementing those desires, so I try to be quick to repent. I want to be fully honest with God with how I sinned and the consequences my sin brought. AFter this, I seek to be quick to receive God's grace and forgiveness and move forward in the ministry he has for me - whatever that might be. And, this pattern of life will one day result in my life being faithful, not perfect.

Monday, August 1, 2011

3 Reasons We Should Consider Secular Colleges

Christian colleges are wonderful. I believe, at least for the most part, of what their mission is and the role they have in equipping Christians for life. And, I personally know people that have strong convictions about sending their children to a Christian college. For them, I say, "wonderful."  The truth is seems to be right  for many people.

On the other hand I also think there are a lot of benefits of going to a secular college.  I could probably list at least 10, but to start here are 3 that I think are at least worthy of some discussion:
  1. Finances. The truth is most Christian college's are crazy expensive. The amount of debt that people go into to attend one of these schools is becoming increasingly crippling to many graduates.  It seems to be worthy of consideration to simply stay involved in a local church and attend a less expensive secular school that gives a person just as much, or potentially more, clout in the workforce for a fraction of the price.
  2. Mission.  It certainly isn't true for all, but I have seen so many people get sucked into the "Christian College Bubble" and thus lose all sort of mission and the realities of the "real world."  It's easy to talk about mission and how we are called to live on mission in a Christian setting.  But to live it out is a completely different thing.  Secular campuses can be a tremendous training ground for someone entering the workforce and especially someone involved in a local church - and in many ways it provides more depth to their training than simply working at a coffee shop or restaurant.
  3. Connection.  I know many people feel convicted to attend Christian colleges because of the Christ-centered instruction in the field of their study.  This can in fact be a huge benefit of attending a Christian college.  However I must say that I believe this type of learning can also occur from being connected to older adults from a local church that work in that field.  And from my experience those attending a secular university tend to crave that instruction and understanding, which is a great means for connecting people to others in a local church context.  Additionally, and again this does not apply to all, but often times Christian colleges talk more about involvement in a local church than they concentrate on helping students become/stay connected.  In fact they tend to offer everything a local church does - small groups, accountability, chapels, etc. - which inevitably leads many students to feel like they don't need to be involved in a church.  I have personally found this to be a much larger issue than most admit to.
Anything you would add or refute?