Worship, Create, Encourage

Purposes

Hi, I’m Brad. I write this on a clear summer morning in August of 2019. I am compelled to write to you because I have a life purpose. Well, 3 purposes in 1. Because of my new life in Christ, I live to

  • worship
  • create
  • encourage

(Might I add that I love to worship, create and encourage…)

1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.” From that, I have understood that my life purpose is to “do everything for the glory of God.” Everything.

Seriously, everything?

Now, I confess immediately that I don’t do everything all the time for the glory of God. I’m not proud of that. It’s just a fact of my humanity, even in my redemption from “my empty way of life” (1 Pet. 1:18). I sin. I stumble. I fall. It’s just there as a reality of life. (This doesn’t mean that I am helpless…oh, no, far from helpless. But more on that at another time.)

But, even though I fail, I can say with Paul that I make it my aim (2 Cor. 5:9) to do everything for the glory of God. And in that one central purpose, I have discerned 3 particular ways that I strive to fulfill. And in my effort to live out those 3 purposes, one result is this communication with you, dear reader.

My life and your life and the intersection

I will be developing these themes over the next few posts. But let me sum up my central reason for writing to you. I want to help you to worship the living God. Therefore, my writing will aim to advance these themes.

  • help – my ongoing prayer is that I will write something helpful to you. I’m not a deep theologian, but I am a theologian (as are you…). So, my writing will not be profound or revolutionary. But I pray it is helpful in that you will be able to understand it and in some way apply it
  • you – I have taken the writing form of a personal address to you, my dear reader. Some of you I will know personally, and some not. But I will strive to maintain a personal address to you as though you are a dear friend for whom I want the very best in life.
  • worship – I have taken in my life a central purpose of worship. I will encourage you to do the same. I will attempt to do so creatively. There are those three words again. For you, I hope you find your key words for life.
  • living – these are written that you may live a God-glorifying, others-helping life NOW. You are living now. I am living now. I seek to help you (and me) live a life of meaning NOW, because in doing so, we are preparing for an eternity of enjoying a fuller experience of joy in Christ. We can only do so perfectly in His presence as we strive to do so now imperfectly.
  • God – There is one God and one Mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ (1 Tim. 2:5). My ultimate aim is that you and I would know Him and love Him and live for Him above all and at all cost, forsaking all else for the supreme joy of knowing him (Phil. 3:7-8). We come to know God the Father through Jesus the Son by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Join me on the journey

I make only the promise of weekly posts. This may increase at times. Because I am a pastor with a full rich life, there may be times when the frequency may be less. There may be times when I will explode with several in the course of a few days. But, I’d rather under-promise and over-deliver.

You can subscribe to this through WordPress. You can follow me on Twitter @oh_magnify. I’ll also cross-post notices on Facebook at shbcspokane. And, I’ll post notices on my Instagram account thgmusic. Feel free to follow where you like.

I do moderate the comments on my posts. I enjoy civil discourse, but reserve the right to not allow verbally abusive posts.

I’ll see you next time.

Humbling yourself

Matthew 23:12 (ESV): Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

I can somewhat understand how I can exalt myself, both inwardly and publicly, in various ways. I have exalted myself on more than one occasion. I’ve then just as often been humbled (or humiliated) in the aftermath. It’s interesting how humiliation is most often a public thing. I rarely find myself humiliated in my private thoughts…

So where does the ability to humble myself come from? How can I, being imperfect and human and stupid and insensitive, make myself humble? Is that even possible?

I love Tim Keller’s quote: “Humility, true humility, is not thinking less of yourself. It’s thinking of yourself less.”

And there may be the necessary act in humbling myself. I can’t actively, in a sense, humble myself. But I do take on the attitude and action of Christ-like humility simply by thinking of myself (about myself) less.

So today, Lord, help me to think of others more: how I can serve? how can I pray? how can I actively make the lives of others better?

Love is from God

God rescued us from self-love through the ultimate act of self-less love: his love displayed on the cross. Jesus is love, for God is love. If you know God through Jesus, you have the inexhaustible supply of his Holy love filling you. What will you do with that love today?

Three Proclamations

More thoughts from 1 John 1:1-4*

Today I find three proclamations. Two speak of Christ’s person and character and purpose. One speaks of a desire that should be mine if I grasp the first two.

 Proclamation #1

“We proclaim to you the One who existed from the beginning.” “He was with the Father.” (1 Jn. 1:1-2)

If I proclaim that Jesus existed from the beginning, that He was with the Father, then I am proclaiming that God has existed from the beginning. The two are inextricably intertwined.

  • There is no Jesus without God
  • There is no God without Jesus

 Proclamation #2

“We…proclaim to you that He is the one who is eternal life.” “He is the Word of life. This One who is life itself…” (1 Jn. 1:1-2)

If I proclaim that Jesus is life, that He is eternal life, then it is only possible to have eternal life if I know Jesus. And I can know Him because He has been revealed to me (“This One who is life itself was revealed to us…”). John the Apostle saw Jesus, heard Him, and touched Him. Jesus’ physicality was known by John through personal experience. As mentioned in part 2 of this series, I know Jesus through His word, the Scripture. He has been revealed to me through the testimony of the living Word. If I am to know Jesus, I have to know Him through His word revealed to me.

  • There is no Scripture without Jesus
  • There is no Jesus without Scripture

Proclamation #3

“We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us.” “We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy.” (1 Jn. 1:3-4)

I have come into fellowship with the living, eternal God through His revelation of Himself through the eternal, living Son, who has revealed Himself to me through His eternal, living word. Among the implications of this glorious fellowship is that I will have a desire to see others know the joy of fellowship with God the Father through Jesus the Son.

If my joy seems incomplete right now, perhaps it’s because I’m not proclaiming Christ to others? My joy is complete as others come to Christ, and not in the least measure because of my participation in that process through proclaiming Him.

  • There is no joy without proclamation
  • There is no proclamation without joy

I’m writing these things “so that you may fully share our joy.”

Previous posts in this series:

“What We Share In Common with John”

“Reflections on Eternity”

 *Scripture quotations are from the New Living Translation.

Reflections on eternity

File Dec 24, 12 05 38 PM

Continuing reflections today on 1 John 1:1-4*

1 We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. 2 This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was revealed to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy.

Jesus is “the one who existed from the beginning.” (v. 1)

Where was He in this existence? “He was with the Father” (v.2).

There was never a time as we understand time and eternity when Jesus did not exist. God the Father has always been, so too, Jesus the Son. Before this world in which we live and move and have our being existed–came into being–there was a God who was there. God eternal–Jesus eternal.

It is more than the mind can grasp but our hearts have been opened to that truth, the eternal truth, because He “was revealed to us.” God revealed Himself to us in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

The implication of that revelation is also staggering. We can have fellowship “with the Father and with His Son…”(v.3) God eternal is knowable and approachable through Jesus. This God, who has always been and will always be — the Great “I Am” — can be known not just intellectually, but experientially, through Jesus.

But one more eternal truth is here. Jesus is “the Word of life” (v. 1). He is “life itself” (v.2); He is “eternal life” (v. 2). So this knowing of God, this experiencing of fellowship with Him brings life. We have an abundant life now in fellowship with God the Father through Jesus the Son. The Word of life brings us life. And for all eternity, through the One who is eternal life, we will have fellowship with Him.

Full fellowship of joy.

Full fellowship of grace.

Hallelujah!

*Scripture quotations are from the New Living Translation.