Many people will go to a doctor and pay lots of money for the doctor to cure them.  This merely cures the body.  And yet, many people refuse to admit an ailment of the soul, would never pay money for a cure, and remain spiritually sick.

Jesus = THE Ultimate Soul Physician.

Pastors & Ministers & Churches = Physician's Assistants.
(Hint: How do you measure how good they are?  By how well they connect you to the doctor Himself...There are plenty of them who should be sued for malpractice too.)

As a minister myself, part of my job is helping people shed spiritual ailments.  I am not the doctor, but I know Him.  Have you been to the office lately to get a soul checkup?

Perhaps you are in the office all the time, but you've yet to take your prescriptions and yet to ever really meet the Doctor.  Sitting in a church doesn't heal you spiritually any more than entering a doctor's office and sitting in the waiting room makes you physically fact, you might just get sicker in the waiting room!  Make sure that you are connecting with Jesus personally and reading His words, taking His prescriptions, obeying His church and outside of it.  It is nearly impossible to meet the Doctor truly and remain the same when you leave.

"Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in hell." - Jesus (Mt. 10:28)

"Jesus said to them, 'It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but the sin-sick.'" - Jesus (Mk. 2:17)

Sometimes people are surprised to find out that we don't have the original manuscripts of the Greek New Testament.  Don't be alarmed.  The sheer amount of the manuscripts we do have exceeds all other ancient documents hundreds of times over.  We have over 5,000 manuscripts that attest to what the originals said, giving us overwhelming confidence that the Greek New Testament of today is accurate, trustworthy, and reliable.  It is the Greek New Testament that is then translated into English for various publishers of the Bible, etc. 

Part of the reason why we don't have the original manuscripts?  Persecution.  During the Roman persecutions of Christians, Christians would frequently be killed for their faith in Christ.  There were several options for a person to prove they weren't a Christian and thereby escape martyrdom.  They would need to denounce Christ, but they could also win favor by turning over other Christians (particularly Christian leaders) or even manuscripts of the scriptures.  Many did so.  Here's just one ancient manuscript that tells us about it.    

All these things were fulfilled in us, when we saw with our own eyes the houses of prayer thrown down to the very foundations, and the Divine and Sacred Scriptures committed to the flames in the midst of the market-places, and the shepherds of the churches basely hidden here and there, and some of them captured ignominiously, and mocked by their enemies. (Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History, Book 8, Chapter 2)

As a Christian, don't forget that people have died, risked their lives, and toiled relentlessly so that you could have the Bible...the book that you and I many times casually neglect.

"These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates."  ~Deut. 6:6-9 

The Wisdom & Discipline of Silence
2/09/2012 | Author: RCW
Sometimes in our attempts to conjure profundities, we just sound foolish. Sometimes silence speaks the most wisdom.  
So it has definitely been a while since my last post...(about 10 months to be exact!)  I really don't like making excuses and never have...It's a nasty habit to break if you start getting comfortable or used to doing it.

Nevertheless, I will say that for the past few months, things have been very trying within my household...My wife went into labor just hours after my last post in March of 2011.  We now have a beautiful baby girl and my life has certainly never been the same.  

I also navigated a transition in ministry (that's minister talk for "After 9 to 18 gut-wrenching months of soul-searching and intense prayer, I got a new assignment from God"), relocated my family about 1,000 miles away from where we were, began a new job (still working in the area of adult discipleship for a church), and celebrated my 30th birthday as well! 

But all of this change, pain, prayer, upheaval, and adjusting has been a tremendous positive.  And as a new dad, I am overwhelmed by the transformation that having a child makes.  The birth of my daughter has transformed who I am.  Here's why.  Let the one with ears to hear -- hear:

As a follower of Christ, we are called to daily deny our self, take up the instrument of our torturous death, and follow Him (Luke 9:23).  When a follower of Christ gets married, it is as though God reveals three things.

At first, God seems to make it easier to obey Him and die to self.  After all, a married person has a more routine daily need to deny themselves.  This is simply natural to any good marriage...You have to take into consideration the interests of another and compromise sometimes because it's not all about you anymore.  It's now about 2 people together laying aside their own agendas to be one.  It's such an immediate necessity, that it should be easier, right?  Wrong.

Soon enough, we realize that God (and our spouse!) is challenging us.  What was seemingly going to be easier turns out to be very difficult.  God has designed marriage as a process by which we are forced to lean more greatly upon His wisdom, relying less and less on our own ability.  In other words, God designed marriage to make you more like Him.  Our selfishness is quite often exposed and we can fail both God and our spouse rather frequently. 

Finally, unless we surrender our selfishness, our marriage is going to suffer.  In fact, our marriage could be a wreck until we sacrifice our selfishness.  Once wed to another, your spiritual life (or lack thereof) now effects someone else greatly every single day.

The day you become a father--which, by the way, is the day your honey finds out she is prego and not simply the day your child is born--everything changes again.  You are called to an even greater amount of surrender to God.  It is SO not about you any longer.  In fact, it couldn't be any less about you.  "Children change a marriage" to be sure...I read that book.  They also change a person.  For the Christ-follower, parenthood is just an even more serious call to die to self, take up the cross daily, and follow the Master.

God has given me a daughter and entrusted her care to my wife and me.  Thanks, Jesus, for making it both easier and harder to drop my selfishness, deny my self, and follow after you more closely.  After all, the stakes just keep getting higher. 

Keep me broken, Lord.   Amen.


P.S. Yes, I know I failed miserably to accomplish my goal of blogging more in 2011.  But in my defense, the lack of comments on the site doesn't exactly display a great amount of disappointment from anyone!  ;)  Lordwilling, there will be more writing forthcoming in 2012.