Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cliché Christianity

This is something I wrote for the OSL blog this week. Thought I would share it here!

Me: Standing up on my soapbox

One of the most challenging verse in the Bible is in Daniel chapter 6 when it saw that Daniel went to his upper room and prayed to the Lord three times a day as was his custom. What did Daniel and his companions do the many times their lives were on the line? Daniel 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 we continually find them running to the Lord in prayer in there times of need. Paul is through in jail in the book of Acts and he and Silas start singing and praying. Jesus would sneak away from the disciples, even if it meant getting up early after a long night of ministry, to spend massive amounts of time with the Lord in prayer. Daniel read the prophet Jeremiah and it lead to a time of repentance in his heart.

You might say, where are you going with this? While standing on your soapbox, you are not making much sense.

I cannot tell you the number of students over the last few years who were in dry places with the Lord spoke with me or someone else about wanting to turn back to the Lord. In that conversation they make a statement. “I don’t want to cliché answers though!”

What are the cliché answers they are referring to? Read your Bible more and spend more time in prayer. They are tired of receiving the prescription for their complacency or sinful living being prayer and the Bible. They are looking for some quick fix; some new fresh method to rekindle the flame in their spiritual walk. They are looking for something more. Attend a conference, talks to this person, just come forward, or something else that they have never heard of that will transform everything. Don’t give them the cliché old traditional answer. We live in the new age of technology; Isn’t there a podcast I can listen to that will change everything?

And while there are some time a speaker or a lesson really says something that will change the perspective we have on our life and our relationship with Christ, there really is no substitute to simply spending large parts of our day reading. It is the substance that causes those in the hall of faith to earn that recognition and it is the action that sums up over a third of the record time of Jesus in the New Testament. 

In John 15, Jesus said that I am the vine and you are the branches. He challenges believers to abide in him and he already abides in us. He says if we do that we will bear much fruit. But then he makes a real tough statement that many of us do not really believe. He says, “apart from me you can do nothing.”

So if reading your Bible more and spending more time in prayer is cliché Christianity, then I guess I am cliché. But that’s ok because I am in the company of such a great cloud of witnesses!

Me: Getting down off my soapbox

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Bad Checks

When God says something to you, do you consider it to be true? Does God write bad checks? Many Christian’s want to believe what God has said is true but so many people will some how disassociate themselves with the truth. Either it was written so long ago that it could not apply to me today or God is really not interested in me. I know I have found myself in that position in the past. God came through for the characters of the Bible and some of my friends but will he really come through for me.

I have been reading two books really on opposite ends of the Bible. One from the Old Testament and one from the New. As I read these books, I came across one of my favorite passages of Scripture. You know the kind that as you read your voice gets more firm and your volume starts to increase to the point you want to get up and start screaming. It is a passage that even as I write this post and think about it, the hair are standing up on the back of my neck and the butterflies are fluttering in my stomach. The other book is a book of conquest and of dedication and of triumph.

As I read these two books their came this unmistakable connection between the two. Hebrews 11 has often been called the hall of faith. Men and women who lived lives of faith in the face of uncertainty, persecution, salvation and death; they are described as men whom the world was not worthy of. They gave up family, fame, friends and fortune to follow God and the hope of Jesus Christ. They were burned, flogged, stone, cut in half, faced wild beast and crosses. But they continued to live the Christian life in faith. But how?

That takes us to the second book that I have been reading. In Joshua I came across this incredible statement Joshua makes multiple times as he establishes Israel in the Promised Land. Joshua was dedicated to the Lord and since we saw him make his first trip as a spy into Canaan till the day he dies, he continued to trust God and believe him. The phrase that so easily gets lost in all the other powerful statements of the book is actually the one he says most often. He says that God always keeps his promises.

What an incredible thought! God always keeps his promises to his people. I do not know what you needs are today but I do know this, God always keeps his promises. You can take that to the bank!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Running from the Call of the Lord

A couple weeks ago, I met a good friend at the airport overlooking the runway and we sat and talked about life as we watched airplanes and helicopters take off and land. During that conversation, the story of Jonah became a topic of conversation. This conversation was a springboard into a couple week study for me in the book of Jonah. There is enough stuff in Jonah to write a commentary on (haha) but the question that keeps resounding in my mind is “in what areas of my life am I running from the Lord.”

Jonah 1:1-3a – “The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 "Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me." 3 But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish.

Now many of us read those words and think about being in the right job or relationship. Am I studying the right major? Am I living in the right city? And I think those are all valid questions and callings from the Lord, but that is not necessarily the question that is ringing in my ears as I read this passage.

Am I running from the everyday callings of the Lord? I was in a church one time on the Island of Tangier. As I sat there preparing to speak, going over those final notes I was distracted by a huge sign in the front of the church that said, “Please Obey the Holy Spirit”. Man that is it! Everyday just listen to the voice of the Lord and do it.

What are you running from the Lord in? Is it witnessing or giving? Is it making a decision that might let someone down or make you not look so cool. Is it changing the channel on the TV or the radio? Is it spending more time with the Lord?

This weekend my wife and I went on a date to Olive Garden. I am not the guy who always ask if we can pray for the waiter, but I really felt like the Lord was asking us to pray for this girl. So we did! And the Lord used it! We walked away going, “Why don’t we do that all the time?” We meant asking to pray for a waiter but the real meaning should have meant, “why don’t we listen to the voice of the Lord more often and do it?”

Jonah ran from the voice of the Lord…are you?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Freedom is Free (to you)

My favorite holidays revolve around freedom. Easter has to be my favorite holiday of the year. But a very close second is the 4th of July! Some might say it is because of fireworks, fried food, festivals, music and gathering together with family, friends and your community. (wow that was a lot of “f”. I must be preparing to speak a lot this week) While all those things are important reason why I love the 4th, the main reason is the freedom we celebrate in this holiday.

I have often heard it said that freedom is not free. That is a very true statement. Freedom always cost somebody something. My closest friend in the world is serving our country in the sandbox right now to help insure our freedom as a nation. Freedom as a country has always been build because men and women have been willing to pay the price of separation, fighting, hurt and death so that the rest of us can enjoy freedom. The same is true of our freedom in Christ. While salvation is a free gift from God, there was a price for that freedom. It was the complete wrath of God that sin deserved. Jesus was our wrath absorber so that we can be free. He paid the ultimate price for freedom!

Freedom is free, though! You and I have had to do very little today to earn the freedom that we have as a nation. We have been enjoyers of that freedom. It has been free for you and me. Salvation is also a free gift that God gives to us. It requires only believe and confession. Freedom is free.

I think some times that is the problem from many of us. When it comes to our nation, we are uninvolved in voting, supporting troops, or volunteering because freedom was free. When we get things free we tend to treat them with less value. Yes we are thankful for Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines but how often apart from Veterans day, July 4th and other patriotic holidays are we truly thankful for them on our own? When is the last time you said thank you to someone in the armed services for their protection of you?

I also think that it is the problem with many Christians. Because salvation is a free gift, many of us are quick to treat it as something we can take for granted. We live day to day as if that freedom holds little value and live many times as if nothing was paid.
I have been listening to this song a lot this week by cherryholmes. If you have time, take a listen.

On this July 4th, do not take your freedom for granted. Thank every solider you come in contact with and thank God daily for your freedom from sin. Until we are truly thankful for our freedom I am afraid we will continue to take it for granted.

Happy 4th of July


Friday, February 25, 2011


I know it has been a while and I promised every week would be the frequency of my ramblings. My father passed away 3 weeks ago. Don't worry this post is not going to get sappy. I just am telling you that so you know that i have been super busy and this has slipped from me. So today I post a simple thought:

The Amazon Rainforest grows with incredible speed because the land stays saturated with water...we as Christians grow slower than the process of thawing a turkey at thanksgiving. Why? because we are not saturated with the Word of God. John MacArthur suggest that you take a book of the Bible like 1 John and read all 5 chapters for 30 days. He argues that in 30 days you will be saturated with the word of God. Then you might experience Psalm 1 that talks about being established like a tree by rivers of water.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

3 to 6 actually means ½ in

I read a twitter post yesterday “I would like to know where all weathermen in VA got their degrees from bc they should get a refund for their tuition. @djlamonte.” When I woke up yesterday morning,  the radio, which was on the country station so you know it had to be right, claimed that Lynchburg could receive up to 8 inches of snow and when I went to bed last night around 11:45pm maybe there was a half of inch. And while my heart was disappointed because it was set on working from home in front of the television today, this inability for weather forecasters to accurately predict the snow fall got my mind thinking about our spiritual lives.

How many times have I sat in a service moved by music or speaking and forecasted to God that my life was going to look a different way or declare some new action I was going to master in my life only to return to that same seat the next week, cause I am Baptist,  with little to no new spiritual accumulation into my life.  I start a new year with intentions of reading the whole Bible this year or reading so many times a day and by February I am a month behind. I have become a VA weather forecaster!

So how do I keep from being hypocritical? I do stop inaccurately predicting what my spiritual life is going to look like and start actually growing in my relationship with God?

The same way you eat an elephant…one bite at a time. See the truth is so many of us want our spiritual growth to be like a blizzard. We want it to snow and within 3 hours there be a 1 ½ feet of snow and by the time we wake up in the morning the accumulation has peaked at 3 feet. I know that every time the air turns white, the little kid inside of me wants there to be snow up to my windows and every time I sit in a service and feel the prodding of the Lord I want to wake up the next day a super Christian.

While snow fall happens that way sometimes, hardly ever does spiritual growth look like that. It takes small steps and little decisions. But a ½ inch of snow a day adds up over a month and a small step of obedience and pursuit of God adds up as well. And in my opinion, ½ inch is better than nothing at all.

So here is a little saying I have started using:
If you are doing nothing, do something
If you are doing something, do more
If you are doing more, reach your goal
If you reach your goal, ask God to give you a new one!


Thursday, January 20, 2011

New Year, New Thing

Online Blogging is not really my thing. I don't read many blogs can count on two fingers the number of times I have written anything that has resembled a blog. (i know not really the way to start the first blog and get people to want to read your blog)

As I thought about this year and the ways the Lord would want to grow me, writing a weekly blog was one of those areas. So, today I started a blog and i intend to write something, small or large, each week. I can't promise ti will be good and I don't know whether it will be funny or serious but I can promise you it will be from the heart.

- deitsch