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Archive for March, 2008

The Prayer of Jesus in John 17:1-5

March 21, 2008 1 comment

This week I read an article called ‘The High Priestly Prayer of Jesus’ that is found in John 17:1-5. The author, Bob Deffinbaugh , Th.M., took a somewhat exegetical look at this passage with the purpose of identifying eight observations about this prayer that were significant to him. The article was interesting due to some new concepts that the author presented. I would like to respond to a few points that he made.

One of the first points that Deffinbaugh makes is that prayer should be conversation. He showed how Jesus’ prayer to the Father was a normal part of His conversation and not a separate, disconnected thought. Many prayers that I have heard or given in the past have been extremely formal because of the desire to show reverence to God. The odd thing about it is that I do not speak to my earthly father in the same way that I speak to my Heavenly Father. This is a difficult transition to make but has proved to be beneficial. Bringing together this disconnect will be important in helping people develop a closer relationship and intimacy to God.

Deffinbaugh recognized ” prayer is closely related to teaching and preaching.” We see pictures of Jesus throughout the gospels active in teaching and preaching, but always finding time for prayer. He kept His focus on the most important thing in the world and this is being in contact with His Father. How many endeavors do churches approach without first communicating with God? There can be a tendency at times to come up with plans and then expect God to bless the plans. Jesus left the model of seeking the wisdom of the Father first before attempting to minister. This allows for God power to be shown and His will to be completed. If the link between prayer and ministry is broken then the success of that ministry is left up to chance.

He also leaves a powerful reminder “there is no one style of prayer, and not even one consistent posture for prayer. What is consistent is our Lord’s submission to the will of His Father, and His constant desire to bring glory to the Father.” How easy that is to forget. The job of the Christian is to communicate with God in prayer, follow what he has heard, and do everything to God’s glory. If this process is followed we will never be in the dark about what it is that God wants us to do. We will know if we listen.

Jesus truly is our High Priest. He has set an example through this and other prayers of what initmacy with God looks like. He wants us to know the Father like He knows Him. He wants us to trust Him even if it means death. He wants us to depend on Him even though our common sense tells us otherwise. He wants us to share in ministry, but only after communicating with the Father. He wants us to experience prayer as a conversation with a loving God who is listening and active. This practice will produce a legion of believers who will be equiqqed to not only convert others to Christ, but also make other disciples as the Great Commission calls for.

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Categories: Jesus, John 17, prayer

Final Four Picks

Well I got 5 million dollars riding on my picks this year.

Here they go!

Tennessee vs. Georgetown
Memphis vs. UCLA

Memphis vs. Tennessee

Memphis 77 Tennessee 69

Some of you know my deep love for U.T. sports, but it is time for Memphis to bring it home!

Categories: sports

A Conversation With Emily

March 10, 2008 1 comment

Today on The Cross Eyed Commentary will be speaking to Emily Jones. She is the child actress with the hit t.v. show ‘Potty Time.’ She is the daughter of Mike and Dana Jones and resides in Pennsylvania. Due to her age we had to bring in a special interpreter so that she could tell her story.

Mike: So Emily tell us about yourself.
Emily: Well I am about 2 feet 6 inches tall and weigh about 15 lbs. I am an Aries which means that I am independent, generous, optimistic, moody, and impulsive.
M: How old are you?
E: I am currently 10 months old, but will have my first birthday on April 18th.
M: Are you looking forward to your first birthday?
E: Not really. I think birthdays are overrated. I would rather party the other 364 days in the year instead of just one.
M: There are rumors out there that you don’t change your own diaper is that true?
E: That is a personal topic and I will not answer that question.
M: Sorry about that. Will you please comment on the teeth you recently acquired?
E: Certainly! Most babies only wait a few months to get their teeth, but I wasn’t ready till last week. So I decided to get three in at the same time.
M: Wow! Was that painful?
E: (sarcastically) What do you think?
M: Sorry I was just curious. Well tell me a little about your family.
E: Well my mom stays home with me everyday and watches my every move. She is pretty easy to entertain. All I have to say is ‘Momma’ and I have her attention. She has not caught on yet, but that will be our secret. I also have a crazy father who is a preacher and a mental health therapist. Many people do not know this, but my mother writes his sermons for him.
M: Really?!
E: Oh yes! She is usually done with them by Thursday afternoon and then he just practices them until Saturday night.
M: He must be lucky to have her as a wife.
E: You don’t know the half of it man. Let me tell you about my big sister Mikayla. She is one class act. She plays with me all the time. She sings to me when I cry and loves to wake me up in the morning so that I will not oversleep. You cannot find a cooler sister than her.
M: Sounds like you have a great family. I have one last question before I finish. You’re fans are just dying to know. Which do you prefer: the bottle or a sippy cup?
E: I’m offended you would even ask me that question. Sippy cup hands down. They are nicer on your gums and much more festive than a bottle.
M: Well thanks so much for spending some time with me today Emily answering these questions.
E: No problem. By the way where is my mom? She needs to come get me I still can’t walk yet.
Categories: Family

Free Man or a Sovereign God?

In order to approach this topic it is necessary to first define freedom. Freedom is the “exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc.” When it comes to man’s freedom in relation to God power and sovereignty, we have the right to choose our actions with the knowledge that God will allow us to carry out our desires. The writer uses the term ‘allow’ because God is in control of everything.

Proverbs 16:9 says that “the mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.”
Although God has the power to control our actions He gives us the ability to act on our own behalf or choose to have Him be our guide. These two ideas, man’s free will and God’s sovereignty, are not opposing viewpoints. They are meant to work together. God proclaims that He can use a bad situation created by man and convert it into something that glorifies Him. This action is seen repeatedly throughout Scripture.

Pelagius and Augustine approach the topics of original sin, freedom of choice, and other issues from competing points of view. Let’s look at these issues in the chart below to gain some clarity and discuss if they line up with Scripture.

Pelagius

Augustine

Creation of Adam:

Adam was created free of sin, in a mortal body, and having a free will.

Creation of Adam:
Adam was created free of sin, in an immortal body, and having a free will.

The Fall of Man:
When Adam fell it affected him and no one else. It brought spiritual death not physical.

The Fall of Man:
When Adam fell it brought physical and spiritual death to all.

The Birth of All Men Who Follow Adam:
Men come in like Adam before the Fall (innocent, mortal, free will)
They enter into sin by free choice

The Birth of All Men Who Follow Adam:
We are like Adam after the Fall. No longer innocent, become mortal, and with a corrupt nature. We don’t have a choice but to sin. Our sin begins at conception.

Scripture seems to agree with Augustine in the areas of the Creation of Adam and the Fall of Man. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. Man then had the choice of following after God or doing whatever pleased them. This remains true even to this day. There was no sin in the Garden of Eden until Eve ate the Forbidden Fruit. It appears that it was God’s intention for man to live forever because there was a tree in the Garden that gave eternal life. He gave them permission to eat of every tree, but eventually bans them from the Garden so that they could not access this tree. This supports Augstine’s view of man’s immortal body, without sin, and having a free will.

The wages of sin is death. Once sin was committed it changed everything in the world that God designed. Man would now have to work instead of God providing for them. Man would now die because they did not access the tree of life. Man would now experience pain and suffering. Man would also be affected by their own sin and the sins of others. Man would also experience war and violence even though God created us to live in peace with one another. These among many other reasons are how sin has caused us to have a disconnected relationship with God. Two questions still remain: How does man become holy? At what point does our sin affect our relationship with God?

In reference to the two above questions, Pelagius and Augustine both understood part of the truth. Man is born innocent with a bent towards sin. This means that initially we do not sin because we do not have the ability to understand the difference between right and wrong. We conduct ourselves according to the rules and regulations that we have been taught. Depending on the culture we come from our actions can vary significantly. There is a point, however, when we have the ability to choose to do either the right or wrong thing. When we purposely choose to do what is wrong instead of what is right we then take on the sin of Adam. “Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.” The Scripture seems to support Pelagius’ view that we sin by free choice, but as Augustine thought, we have a corrupt nature. These two views are not necessarily exclusive of each other.

The thoughts of Pelagius and Augustine are still debated today. Regardless of which one you tend to follow it is important to remember that no one has the ability to be holy without the love of our Father God, the death of Jesus on the cross, and the active work of the Holy Spirit in our lives everyday.

freedom. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/freedom (accessed: February 13, 2008).

2 Romans 8:28.

3 Genesis 1:31.

4 Genesis 3:22
5 Romans 6:23.

6 I John 3:4

Categories: God, man