Importance of Knowing Church History

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     It is important to study Church history, because one must know where they came from to determine where they are headed and history is His story. Past performance is generally the best indicator for future behavior. Some refer to this as the principle of the path as it does not matter how far you have traveled or fast you have gone if you are headed in the wrong direction. History is full of good and bad decisions and impossible circumstances, but when surrendered over to God, they all can be used for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.

God can use anyone and anything to accomplish His plan. Also, without a true understanding of the past, not only are we blindly accepting what people have told us; we too are asking those we attempt to evangelize to do the same thing. We are only human and in our fallen state, we are bound to make mistakes and history best shows what took place after mistakes were made. People either rise up, or they conform and we alone decide if the fiery trials we face are going to burn us or purify us. Another important reason to understand church history and practice sound biblical exegesis is our congregations’ understanding will rarely be greater than our own. Without sound teaching and an understanding of church history, we become the lid to those around us, causing them not to grow in their wisdom and understanding of history and God’s Word.

The value of examining the past is vital, since those who forget the past are often condemned to repeat it. Humanity’s pride and lust for sin has caused a schism between the righteousness of God and the fallen state of man. As a result, Jesus Christ became the atonement of sin and has now become our mediator, as He sits at the right hand of God, interceding on our behalf. Still though, people like Milan Kundera think,  “People are always shouting they want to create a better future. It’s not true. The future is an apathetic void of no interest to anyone. The past is full of life, eager to irritate us, provoke and insult us, tempt us to destroy or repaint it. The only reason people want to be masters of the future is to change the past.” George Orwell best illustrates this principle when he said, “Those who control the present, control the past and those who control the past control the future.” Historical revisionism is something every Christian must be aware of because everything God stands for, Satan will either try to counterfeit, pervert, or destroy. This knowledge will be crucial in establishing a sound foundation from which we can build our faith and ministry on.

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What About Tomorrow?

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34 (NIV)
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Driving into work this morning, I was overcome with a sense of all I needed to get done and everything I haven’t been able to accomplish lately. toobusyAt one point, I looked down at the speedometer and realized I was even driving faster than I normally do. Granted, things have been crazy at work preparing for Easter and the Thorn production, renovating the campus, launching a new ministry and being the husband and father God called me to be, but I know I am not the only one feeling the pressures and demands of life.

God’s word tells us His grace is sufficient for us and that His power is made perfect in our weakness. When life continually piles circumstance after circumstance on top of you it’s really easy to try and carry the weight of the world on your shoulders, but when we choose to trust God the oppressive burdens of life will be lifted. When I got to work I just closed the door and began to read the word of God and dwell in His presence and then I began to look inward because where we spend our time and treasures will illuminate the desires of our heart and this is so important because our heart always follows what we treasure most.

It’s so easy to make one small choice and then another and another and before you know it everything is out of alignment. In all things, God must come first, then your spouse, then your children/family, and then your career/ministry and then your hobbies/sports/interests.2152_thumb[3] If you elevate any of these above the others, you are on the road to disaster. As life presses in on us from all sides we must carefully guard this hierarchy and the priorities in our life so when we are hard pressed on every side we won’t be crushed; so when we are perplexed, we will not be in despair and so when we are persecuted we won’t be abandoned and even when we are struck down we won’t be destroyed.

God is closer than you think; He often seems far because we have pushed Him in the background. The only thing any of us need more of is God.
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When we allow God to open our eyes, we will see Him everywhere. When we allow God to open our hearts, we will be filled with His Spirit and we will feel His presence no matter what we are walking through. When things seem out of control, slow down and look to God, not as an escape from reality, but as a way to find true reality. Remember to give thanks in all things and trust God to see you through whatever is going on. When we thank God, we open the door for Him to come into our lives in a deeper way and it builds our trust, confidence and faith in the Great I Am!

Silence

To know the mind of God, we have to learn how to discern the voice of God.  Lately, this is something that I have had a real hard time doing.  For me, this is normally a sign that I’m doing too much and I’m going too fast.  When we slow down to actually see what God thinks, it is amazing how much more peace we have.  Rarely, will we have to go through a period where God remains silent, but what do we do when this happens?

This is something that has really been on my heart lately and I’m going to be real honest, it’s something that is harder to write about since it’s going on right now.  It’s a lot easier to talk about things once we’ve already walked them out, so I’m going to be as transparent as possible.  When we are calling out to God for direction, peace, or any of the other trillion reasons we call out to Him and we hear nothing; it feels incredibly lonely?  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am doing exactly what God is calling me to do, that is what makes it even harder. It has taken me years to discern the voice of God and I still miss it from time-to-time and there are still times, like the present, where He seems to be absent.  It is in these times that our faith and trust in God are truly tested.  I heard today that God uses impossible people to accomplish impossible tasks by crushing them.  That is what it feels like when you are living your life doing what God has called you to do, yet when you call out to Him, there is only silence.

I have had to guard myself from becoming bitter and from letting my joy be taken during this period of silence.  When you call out to God and there is only silence, it feels like God is shouting back, “I’m not here” only by His lack of response.  Someone recently reminded me that the joy of the Lord is my strength and hearing this came at the perfect time because I could literally feel my joy being stolen and I know the enemy wants nothing more than for us to lose our joy because when we do, it makes us more vulnerable to spiritual attacks.  So, I offer you the same encouragement I am giving myself: this too shall pass.  God gives us joy so that we can have the strength to face any adversity.  Even in His silence, He is accomplishing more than we can ever fathom.  We can’t make it through times of testing without joy, so I want to encourage you to thank God even His silence.  Trust that even if you can’t hear Him now that He will neither leave nor forsake you and that you are loved and cherished by Him.  As a new father, I can’t imagine not responding to my daughter when she cries out to me, so I know it pains God to see us feel forsaken by His silence.  He alone knows what is best for us and if that includes silence, even in the midst of a violent storm, I trust in Him and I pray that you have the faith and assurance to do the same.

Answered Prayers

Today is my birthday and it is hard to imagine wanting anything now that my daughter is home from her month long stay in the NICU.  During our time there, I saw God do some amazing things and I know that He has a plan and a purpose for everything we had to endure.  Through the pain and suffering we lived with every day, seeds were being planted in our family’s life and in the lives of those around us.  God made His goodness and mercy known to us each new day.

Now that we are home, all I can think about are all the prayers that have been answered.  A new day has dawned and it is one filled with life and new beginnings.  This chapter has been one of the hardest we have had to endure, but it is one in which we grew closer to each other and closer to God.  When I was weak, I would pray for strength and God would carry me when I could walk no more.  When I was scared, I would pray for courage and God’s power would rise up in me.  The more I hurt, the more I would seek the Lord.  When I didn’t know what to do, I would pray and even when I did know what to do, I would pray.

When we begin to look past our own circumstances and trust in God, we get a glimpse of the bigger picture and of the Master’s plan.  As we set out on this journey, we had no idea what God was going to accomplish in and through us; all we did know was that His way was the only way.  Over the last month, there were many scriptures that ministered to me, but one of the most comforting verses was Matthew 11:28: “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”  There were so many times that my heart broke for my little girl, but I knew that I had to be strong for her and for those around me.  Without Jesus to carry my burden, I would have been lost and crushed by the pain I felt.  Looking back, I know that God was the only way we were able to stay strong.  Now that we are home and somehow even more sleep deprived, I still look to God because no matter our circumstance, He promises to refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.  To Him be the glory now and forever!