I have made the move to wordpress. Please check out the blog at ephesians411.wordpress.com
thanks - Jeremy
Monday, September 13, 2010
Having faith is hard. Not necessarily the having faith part (though that can be challenging at times). No, I'm talking about after you have your faith, when you know God and you know who He is. When you know His mercy and His justice, His love and His grace. Because when you know God, you know that there's a reason for scriptures like Psalm 27:14, "Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD." When you have faith, then you know that He will . . . all that's left is to wait for Him to . . .
That's hard. Real hard. Because see, I'm not a patient person. I get scared easily. Sometimes I get hurt by the world. Sometimes the people I love most in this life experience struggles and pain. You see, I have this horrible desire to be in complete control. And when I'm scared, it's because I've just been reminded that I control nothing. And when I hurt, I want to be able to make it stop right then. And above all else, I hate not being able to ensure that the people in my life are always safe, happy and healthy.
You know, I don't know why God tells me to wait for Him. Maybe it's for a different reason each time? But I do know that if I am going to live my life with authenticity, then I have to yield to Him. I can't call Him my King, but refuse to give up my sceptor. I can't tell Him to pierce my ear and not live as His servant.
Posted by Jeremy Schopper at 10:52 PM
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
1. HUG your child. Show them with hugs just how much you love them.
2. Tell your child that you LOVE them unconditionally. Explain to them what unconditional love means to you.
3. PRAY with your child. Take time to show them that your relationship with God is the only thing that is more important to you than them or their Mom.
4. PLAY with your child. Spend time with them doing something that they enjoy.
5. Let your child see you LOVE on your wife. Show them what a healthy marriage looks like.
Moms, encourage and support your husband to do these things and be the spiritual example and leader that God calls him to be.
Posted by Jeremy Schopper at 1:46 AM
I believe in my heart that most people want to do good. I'll be more specific. I believe with all my heart that most Christians want to love and honor God with their lives. I think I fit in that boat. I know I try. Although I must admit that I often lack the execution part.
Two of the foremost driving motivators in ministry is winning souls to Christ and making a difference in the lives of the Christians that you serve. The first is measurable. The second, hardly at all. Not knowing if you're making a difference can quickly lead to frustration, burn out, callousness and in some cases giving up. Thankfully, God reminded me of this recently. I'm not saying that I am going to stop worrying about whether or not I'm making an impact. But I'm glad that I was reminded that I shouldn't put that at the top of my worry list.
Instead, I'm going to put my energy into LOVING God, TRUSTING God and OBEYING God.
Posted by Jeremy Schopper at 1:22 AM
Friday, July 9, 2010
Should we define our faithfulness to God in terms of our attendance to worship? That's often how we speak in terms of our faith and especially other peoples' faith - "do they go to church?" Is that the point? When we stand before God, is He going to ask us about our batting average on worship attendance? We see from the scriptures that there is so much more to it than that. Notice these two scriptures.
21"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?'
34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
When we place our focus on attending worship service we redefine faith and send a bad message, or the wrong the message. Is that what is truly most important to you? There's other possible criteria. What about how often you pray? What about the depth of your prayers? What about how often you read your Bible? Those questions can also be used as matrices to gauge faithfulness.What if you we gauged ourselves on how often we read the Bible? Where would you be? Because it is blatant, obvious and not-intrusive we have, over the course of time, slanted or moved ourselves towards the understanding that our corporate worship is the center piece of our faith. It's extremely important - vital even. But it's not the center piece. Some groups have placed other things at the center, like discipleship.
But the only true center piece is Jesus Christ. He's both the cause and affect. He's the reason for our faith and what we get because of our faith. Because of His choice, we have a choice. And because of our choice we get to have Him stand up for us in front of God, because we can't possibly stand alone. Perhaps we need to change the question we ask from "Is he faithfully attending worship," to "Is he faithful living for Jesus?" The answer to that question will include worship and Bible study and prayer and discipleship and giving and . . .
Posted by Jeremy Schopper at 1:24 PM
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
We've sent men to the moon. We have people living in space. We've got nuclear bombs. But we can't stop an oil spill? All politics aside, there's a huge lesson for us there.
Our society promotes a narsissistic and cavalier attitude that essentially mitigates any need for God in our lives. Simply put, we think we have all the answers, can do all things and completely control our world. That is simply not true. And the fact that we're now on DAY 80 of the worst ecological disaster ever, clearly demonstrates that we're at the mercy of something that is infinite where we are finite.
I wonder if God is trying to get our attention? Perhaps not. But, just maybe some of us will start to understand that even though we are created with the ability to produce greatness, we weren't created to live without a need for our Creator.
Posted by Jeremy Schopper at 11:14 PM
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
I've been thinking lately about the place of baptism in our salvation. In Romans chapter 6, Paul illustrates why it is essential for salvation; and not just an after-the-fact demonstration of our obedience. The theology in that chapter is thick, and it's not really my point. I've never once had a second thought about the necessity of baptism, nor do I know. Instead, I think at some point some may have mistakenly placed baptism as the goal, intead of a part of the process of reaching the goal.
This was really highlighted for me during my time at Bible camp a few weeks ago. It seems like there is an artificial pressure that we put on ourselves to get as many kids converted as possible during that week. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Actually, I think there would be a lot more Christians walking around if we lived our lives with that self-afflicted pressure all year. But partly because of that pressure I think we have mistakenly placed baptism as the end goal. Baptism isn't the end goal. Faithful followers of Christ is the end goal. Baptism is part of the process that gets to the end goal.
Sometimes I think we get in such a rush to get someone wet, that in the end, all we do is get someone wet. There is no true repentence, there is no true understanding of following Christ, there is no conversion. Think about all the conversion stories in Acts. Luke never once talks about the preaching or teaching being about baptism. It's always about sin, responsibility, Jesus' death and other similar topics. But in the end of the narrative, the person always ends up being baptized. Not because that was preached to them, but because that's the answer to the question, "what do I do now," or something like it.
This problem is especially prevalent with our kids. We push for them to get baptized. Maybe we'd be better off to push for them to be followers of Christ?
Posted by Jeremy Schopper at 3:49 PM