Blessing of Brokenness

No one enjoys being broken emotionally, physically, or spiritually. It is difficult to understand how strength and blessing are the end results of brokenness, but they are—just as we seldom recognize the goodness of brokenness in the heat of suffering.

If you ever watched Antique Roadshow, appraisers talk about the condition of a piece brought in to be appraised. We sometimes note the scarcity of a piece in mint condition, how refinishing a piece of furniture affects the value, what a chip on a piece of porcelain does to its desirability in the eyes of collectors. Is it worth more broken? That depends Continue reading

Glory – A Concept or a Charge?

Just as God is what man is not and so much more, so also, Glory is a picture of this antimony. In the Old Testament, kabod (in Hebrew) literally signifies “weight” (a fact which Paul seems to remember in 2 Cor. 4:17). It also indicated: honor received from one’s dignity, wealth, or high position. It is the utmost respect given to God for His manifest presence. (Dignity – Prov. 15:33; 25:2; Honor – Num. 24:11; Mal 1:6; Object of Respect – Jer. 2:11; Psalm 106:20; God’s manifest presence (“the glory of God”) – Ex. 16:7; Num. 14:10; Isaiah 3:8)

“GLORY” took the physical form of light (Psalm 29:3; Ezekial 1:27-28, Exodus 40:34-38, 2 Chron. 7:1-3; and Luke 2:9; Acts 7:55). God made Moses realize that the essence of His glory is His holiness and goodness (Ex. 33:18-34:8; Is. 6:1-5; John 12:41). It is any place which God consumes. The moment His presence emerges, is the moment that place becomes a worshipper – which is to give God glory (for example, Moses and the burning bush. When God consumed it, it began to give glory back to what consumed it – God.)

God is intrinsically invisible. Nevertheless, He does reveal Himself, or declare Himself. (e.g. a thunderstorm – Psalm 97:1; or clouds, lightings, fire, and hills that melt like wax.)

In the New Testament, doxa (in pre-New Testament Greek, meant “opinion”). However, with the arrival of the New Testament Koine style Greek came the evolution of this term to mean two things: “excellence and praiseworthiness set forth in display” (which is glory shown); and also “honor and adoration expressed in response to this display” (as in glory given).

In the New Testament “GLORY” is regularly linked with God’s display of power, wisdom and love in the death, resurrection, enthronement and miraculous ministry of Jesus. It can also mean “reflection of an ‘image’” (1 Cor. 15:40). Likewise it is so in 1 Cor. 11:7 where “man is the glory of God and woman is the glory of man.”

What does all this mean to me? When GLORY is pictured of as seen in people it is in response to their wealth, position or power (Gen. 31:1; 45:13; and Isaiah 8:7). The GLORY that God shows, however, is the reality of His active presence linked with the quality of His acts themselves. The giving of GLORY to God in worship is called doxology (of which the Psalms reflect). Glorifying God is man’s divine calling and his highest joy, both now and in “GLORY.”

Since GLORY is used synonymously with other attributes to God and for God, the result is that it is a divine trait, and as humans we find it difficult to adequately define or fully comprehend.

Mission vs. Missions

The increase in the number of recent natural disasters and humanity crises reminds me of the danger of our day, the issues at stake, and the fragile nature of life. Life is not a necessity; death is a necessity. Life is a prolonged miracle, and every day that God gives us is a gift from Him. It must be handled with care as we respond to God and seek to be what He would have us to be.

As we embark on our month-long emphasis called Go: Missions, let me share the difference between mission and missions. Continue reading

What Happened to Civility?

The catchphrase used to be, “Chivalry is not dead.” (Although that is probably too gender offensive for today’s hyper-sensitive vernacular police). Evangelical leaders, I challenge you to consider a less difficult mantra: “Is civility dead?”

What happened to the era when being kind to someone – (especially someone with whom you disagree) was appropriate and even commended?

The vitriolic tones and discord being communicated today within the Christian community leave me dumbfounded. Often, I see highly respected people who have faithfully led the way for decades suddenly get lambasted for simply recommending a book that presumptively contains heretical teachings. I always wonder how the critics had time to read the book that had only hit the shelves that very day. It reminds me of Congressional leaders who voted on a bill that they would read later.

What about when a local pastor is asked to pick a side between John MacArthur and Beth Moore? When it comes to a topic like women in ministry, he cannot remain silent. But in this day of inflexible labels and immutable camps, trepidation cautions him to give an off-the-cuff response.

Or should he merely remove all books from both of those authors that presently sit on his bookshelves and flippantly pick a side? Maybe an old-fashioned book-burning would be more advantageous.

And heaven forbid any spiritual leader put his arm around a state or federal politician! When a pastor cannot pray for an elected official in public, nor commend any of that leader’s commendable actions for fear of being labeled or limited, this Catch-22 highlights the reality that many of our churches are merely swimming in a cesspool of irrelevancy disguised as a critical battle as important as defending the Alamo.

Everything shouldn’t be a battle.

Having grown up in the Southern Baptist Convention and holding two degrees from an SBC seminary, I am thankful for the conservative resurgence. I love our convictions to God’s Word and I am fully committed to God’s mission. Still, I’m gravely concerned with the undercurrent of battle-ready language accompanying so many current topics. If everything within our denomination becomes a battle, then we are losing the real battle.

Without question, all topics — including, but not limited to, women in ministry, ethnic diversity, evangelism and discipleship, immigration, sanctity of life, marriage, biblical sexuality, church polity, etc. — should continue to permeate our discussions. And without hesitation, we should promptly respond to and proactively act on the misgivings, neglects or abuses of any such areas that allowed or even led to harming the bride of Christ or hindering the mission of God.

But where is the fruit when the very people who teach, preach and write about the Bible do not seem to reflect the very Bible they expound? And should any peer point out such un-Christlike behavior, their voice is swiftly dismissed, or worse, their character is questioned. Such quick depositions have become the norm for our denominational culture.

Following the conservative resurgence, your voice was not heard unless you held to the inerrancy of Scripture. With that seminal battle behind us, the culture of influence seemed to slide into a more subjective vetting. One’s voice was not heard unless their church gave the right percentage of money to missions through the Cooperative Program. And in recent times, the slippery slope appears to indicate that your voice will not be heard unless your church has the right number of men-to-women ratio in your church polity or appropriate ethnic diversity on the platform each week.

A disagreement doesn’t need to be a war.

For the average pastor – who is trying to be scholar, shepherd, supporter of all things SBC, visionary, evangelist, mentor, mentee, discipler, and preacher – it seems that we leaders are still stubborn sheep. I’d rather be a pastor who lives a life above reproach than a revolutionary who creates wars out of disagreements.

I will continue to diversify my intake from blogs and books while checking it all with the uncompromising standard of Scripture and discernment from the Spirit. But I refuse to get enlisted in a war that should merely be a debate.

Today’s evangelical leaders are not perfect, nor were the Gospel writers, nor am I. I hear a lot of debate on what Paul said or Moses wrote or Peter espoused. Still, I feel certain that God is the One who spoke His own structures and qualifications through each sovereignly chosen biblical writer.

Jesus is the only perfect vessel. Scripture is the only perfect writing. It is only by His grace and sanctification any of us are even a part of what is going to be presented as blameless at the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Unstoppable Momentum

Momentum becomes unstoppable when you lead others to walk with God. Every person has influence in someone else’s life – a parent with a child, an older sibling with a younger one, a husband with a wife and vice versa, a grandparent with a grandchild. Teachers, coaches, ministers, supervisors, managers, on and on it goes because everyone influences so many other lives. Is everyone a leader? Continue reading

Ownership

Momentum_YouVersion_02Football season is here! Which teams will be good? Which ones will surprise everyone? Which ones will fall apart over the next 4 months? Which teams will gain a sense of momentum as the season goes on? One thing is certain, if you could dissect the teams that make it to the finals you would find an interesting study in personal ownership. The rosters of the teams that win are filled with athletes who take winning personally – the success of their team doesn’t only reside with their coaching staff – each player individually owns it! Ownership is making something yours. It’s taking possession of it and assuming responsibility for it. Spiritually in your relationship with God, ownership is the key to maintaining momentum. It’s one thing to get in the flow of where God is at work around you – it’s another thing to STAY there. What areas of your spiritual growth do you need to own? (Prayer? Sharing your faith? Stewardship and generosity? Personal Bible Study habits?) Whatever the discipline, follow Paul’s advice “I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified” (1 Cor 9:27 NLT)

Check out any of the upcoming messages on Ownership in person or live-streaming at mobberly.org or podcast anytime after each week.

9/1/19 “Advanced Riders Only” (Moses and Water From the Rock, Numbers 20)

9/8/19 “Follow the Signs” (Isaac and the Wells, Genesis 26)

9/15/19 “Just Keep Swimming” (Noah and the Flood, Genesis 6) 

9/22/19 “Keep Calm & Carry On” (Israelites Crossing the Red Sea, Exodus 14)

9/29/19 “Carry Your Own Weight” (Blind Man at Bethesda Pool, John 5)