“If There’s No Fighting of Sin, You Are NOT Saved!”

 
John Piper made that statement in the sermon I’d recently posted called "Be Killing Sin or Sin Wil Be Killing You", and we’ve shared it a couple of times in our Knowing God class at church.  It’s quite a statement, and one that might come as a shock to some.  His point is that if we’re okay with sin – we have a "peace-time mindset" or a "settling in with sin in our lives"  if we’re okay with sin in our lives, that is COMPLETELY counter-cultural to having God’s Holy Spirit inside you as a believer.   A true follower of Christ, when confronted with sin, will agree with what God’s Word says about it, and then – in Piper’s words, "KILL IT!"  Romans 8:13 says, "IF by the Spirit YOU PUT TO DEATH the deeds of the flesh, you will live."  Piper also says in a book or sermon that "the Christian life is a series of deaths.  Some are small – like the death of ‘my time’ or how I spend my money or what I want to do.  And some deaths are a laying down of one’s life – as a martyr."  Simply put – if I am not fighting sin right now – I am NOT saved!  I say that, because that’s what God says – now he doesn’t mean, that if on Monday I’m fighting but on Tuesday I’m not so I’m not saved on Tuesday.  He’s saying that my life will be marked by fighting sin, not complacency towards sin.  I need to be reminded of this battle, so that I don’t become fall into the decietfulness of sin and lose the war. 
 
Here’s another video (you’ll have to excuse the lame graphics & cheesy christian music) of Piper talking about this topic.  Don’t worry, it’s only a few minutes long, you can do it.
 
 
 
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Hike With Beauty.

 
The scenery & waterfalls were cool too….
 
 
I know what you’re thinking… and, I agree – I don’t know why she chose me… mostly out of pity, I’m sure…
 
 
 
Dawn’s "The Sound of Music Pose"… only better… because she’s in the picture and not Julie Andrews…
 
 
If you look closely, you can see the beautiful waterfall stopping to check out my beautiful wife…
 
 
uh-huh… work it, girl…
 

Brace Face.

 
Austin recently got his long awaited braces.  Yes, I agree that it seems a bit strange for an eight-year-old to have braces.  But, the genius UW orthodontist that he’s seeing seems to think it’s a great idea.  Austin’s apparently got quite the under-bite and if we get on the braces early, they believe it can be corrected without having to "break his jaw" later…  
 
 
He was very excited, then nervous, and now extremely excited to have his braces.
 
 
 
He got to go on a date with mommy before the big appointment – he’s quite the goof-ball.
 
 
 
 

Father’s Day

 
I’d love to post some funny Father’s Day video here similar to the tradition I have on Mother’s Day.  However, since Father’s Day is rarely celebrated with the same zeal as Mother’s Day, no such video exists.  In fact, if you search youtube for a "funny Father’s Day video" they’ll say, "did you mean funny MOTHER’S day video?" – even youtube knows that no one cares about Father’s Day.
 
So, in an effort to bring something unique and sweet – let’s look at how the German’s celebrate Father’s Day.  Because I’m part German and they just know how to celebrate.  This is courtesy Wikipedia:
 
 
Germany
 

In Germany, Father’s Day (Vatertag) is celebrated differently from other parts of the world.[28][29] It is always celebrated on Ascension Day (the Thursday forty days after Easter), which is a federal holiday. Regionally, it is also called men’s day, Männertag, or gentlemen’s day, Herrentag. It is tradition to do a males-only hiking tour with one or more smaller wagons, Bollerwagen, pulled by manpower. In the wagons are wine or beer (according to region) and traditional regional food, Hausmannskost, which could be Saumagen, Leberwurst (Liverwurst), Blutwurst (Blood Sausage), vegetables, eggs, etc. Many men will use this holiday to get very drunk, so usually groups of drunk people roam the streets all day.[29] These traditions are probably rooted in Christian Ascension Day’s processions to the farmlands,[30][31] some of which reportedly took on the character of drinking sprees as early as in the 17th century.[30] In the streets of urban regions, especially Berlin, "gentlemen parties" take place since the 19th century, excluding women and going along with alcohol consumption.[30] However, several fathers also spend the day with their families and refrain from getting drunk.[30][31]

 

Hiking/drinking tour on Herrentag

 

Mad Ups.

 
This Shannon Brown from the Lakers nearly jumped out of the Staples Center last night. 
 
 
But, he reminds me of another alley-oop from many moons ago…
 
 
While there isn’t a good view of it, this dunk by Grant Hill was amazing – his head was up by the rim, he grabbed the ball by the top of the box, it was sick – and to think it was all the way back in 1991!…. Sweet fancy moses!…
 
 
 

Thoughts on Prayer

 
Still reading through Philip Yancey’s book "Prayer" – it’s a great book, a very honest look at the subject.  In chapter 5, he says, "The main purpose of prayer is not to make life easier, nor to gain magical powers, but to know God.  I need God more than anything I might get from God."
 
He then goes on to discuss the difficulty of prayer – if we see it as conversation, we lose heart because prayer is so one-sided.  God never speaks back (audibly at least).  If we see prayer as more necessary for us than for God, it becomes a self-help exercise and inevitably useless.  Then he looks to Jesus, and how he viewed prayer.
 
"In a telling comment Jesus also said, "Your Father knows what you need before you ask him."  He could not mean that paryer is unnecessary, for his own life belied that.  He could only mean that we need not strive to convince God to care; the Father already cares, more than we can know.  Prayer is not a matter of giving God new information.  Instead of presenting requests as if God may not know them, it might be more appropriate to say, "God, you know I need this!"… "Here, I believe, is the key to understanding what is most personal in prayer.  We do not pray to tell God what he does not know, nor to remind him of things he has forgotten.  He already cares for the things we pray about… He has simply been waiting for us to care about them with him.  When we pray, we stand by God and look with him toward those people and problems.  When we lift our eyes from them toward him, we do so with loving praise, just as we look toward our oldest and dearest friends and tell them how we care for them, though they already know it… We speak to him as we speak to our most intimate friends – so that we can commune together in love."
More to come, I’m sure.
 

Good.

 
Our church has been evaluating how we can better reach out to our community.  I came across this quote from Ryan Phelps that fits perfectly:
 
“Not only can we be confident of a good future for American cities, but also of good opportunity for urban ministry. If cities experience great gaps in social services, this only opens a door for our churches to help in such a way that their neighbors will rejoice that we are here (1 Peter 2:11-12). Whether or not cities are rising or falling, the Christian church’s ministry in and to cities can and must continue to grow.”