Archive for July, 2010

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40 Days in a Desert

July 26, 2010

I oftentimes find myself going through a period of desolation in my daily walk.  Granted, most of the time I arrive at one of these points is due to my sin causing a great abyss between Jesus and me.  There are times, however, that the slightly standoff feeling arises,do you ever experience this? Let me explain.

A young couple after being married for a short time had reached a point in their relationship where the initial feelings of “in love” were no longer there.  For some reason, they could not seem to reinvent the beginning passion they once enjoyed.  After some time, they began to drift further apart, eventually seeking this “in love” euphoria from other aspects of life: parties, other romances, work, you name it.  The overriding reality was that the hunger was there for something fulfilling, it just lacked the effort.

Sometimes we all go through the same sort of problem in our relationship with Christ.   We may come off of a dynamic retreat or some other type of spiritual experience and realize after a few days of the real world, the euphoria has worn off.  It can be a vast expanse of loneliness and frustration, those times when you pray and do not “feel” as if Christ is listening.

The Israelites had the same type of problem as Moses was leading them through the desert.  While in the literal wilderness, they began to fall away from the very one who had delivered them from slavery.  It is not to go unmentioned this nation had witnessed the saving power of God first hand with the plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, not to mention the pillar of fire that led them through the first part of the desert.  With all of this first hand, “see it with my own eyes” testimony to the reality of God, they still wondered.  Their wilderness was literal, but the manifestations of what brought them there is the same as the behaviors you and I do on a regular basis.  It can simply be broken down to laziness.

When you are going through a wilderness, there is one vital thing to remember, Christ promised to never leave or forsake us.  Perhaps this season of your life is intentional on the part of God to teach you something, prune something out of your life, or simply allow you to grow.  Imagine going through an actual desert, nothing but sand in sight for miles and miles.  Would you not have a renewed sense of joy and thankfulness when you finally reach a piece of land with water, trees, food…? Sometimes in our daily walk with Christ, we reach a point of complacency.

Another important aspect of the desert is the ability for the experience to prune us, take us deeper.  As a new Christian, I felt at times, as if Christ was right next to me as I prayed, I could “feel” His presence as I entered into worship of him.  Gradually over time, my schedule would get in the way of my daily time with God.  Instead of spending my day praying, or simply talking with Christ, I found myself giving a last ditch “hey there thank you” prayer as I drifted off to sleep.  Hardly what is Christ deserved.  Through my laziness and lack of intimacy, I began to lose that “feeling.”  Over time, this helped me grow.

During my desert times, I remember the Psalm that I love to hate.. (I say that reverently of course.)  This verse was given to me several times throughout my first major lull, so much so, I could never get away from it.  I would open to it randomly in my Bible, see it on bumper stickers, or even admire a painting only to realize in the lower right hand a reference to it.   There was one time when I had enough and literally yelled to God, “What does this stupid verse mean?” (My neighbors thought I was nuts.)

Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.”

I encourage you to read this verse if you are currently experiencing a desert in your walk.  Pray over it and be sure to read the follow up to this blog explaining how this applies to the wildernesses of our lives.

Part II

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About the Writer:

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently works for SourcePointe, an HR Outsourcing Agency while continuing to own and operate Christian Management Consulting as a ministry. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.

As a husband and father of three, Trent Cotton has a passion surrounding the role Christian Men are to play in their families, communities, churches and businesses.  This particular blog is dedicated to helping men take back the role that we have lost in society.

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Book Review: The Jesus You Can’t Ignore

July 24, 2010

I recently finished read John MacArthur’s book “The Jesus You Can’t Ignore” and must say it was a hard book to put down.  In a world of political correctness and subject tap-dancing, it was a refreshing look at the subject most mainstream Christians tend to avoid: Christian Confrontation.

The book does a great job of explaining the need for Christians to confront those in the world who need it.  In many of my posts on this blog regarding confrontation, I have received the barrage of emails saying things like, “Jesus was a pacifist” or “love the sinner hate the sin.’  MacArthur cuts right to the heart of the matter by looking solely at Christ’ example by looking at who he directly confronted in His ministry: the proud Pharisees and Sadducees.

In addition to providing solid examples and Scriptural support, MacArthur also spends a great deal of time explaining a lot of the history surrounding the environment of Jesus’ day.  After reading this book, I have a clearer understanding of the “Rules of Engagement” as well as a better understanding for the need for confrontation in some settings to provide growth.

I would highly recommend reading this book.  Get it today.

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Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

About the Writer:

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently works for SourcePointe, an HR Outsourcing Agency while continuing to own and operate Christian Management Consulting as a ministry. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.

As a husband and father of three, Trent Cotton has a passion surrounding the role Christian Men are to play in their families, communities, churches and businesses. This particular blog is dedicated to helping men take back the role that we have lost in society.

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Review of Jesus Manifesto

July 11, 2010

I have recently completed the book Jesus Manifesto by Leonard Sweet and Farnk Viola.

This is a particularly interesting book as it explores the current state of Christianity today.  It explores if Christians today have made the gospel of Christ everything but what it was meant to be.  In a day with megachurches, complex conferences, super Christian programs, has the church as a whole diluted the the true beauty and simplicity of the Gospel?  This question is explored extensively in this book.

Perhaps the chapter I enjoyed most was Chapter 5, “A Ditch on Either Side.”  It begins with a quote from Karl Barth that the truth walks the razor edge of heresy.  Going further, it looks at two popular approaches to following Jesus: (1) theological rationalism and (2) theological ethics.

Theological rationalism, as explained by the authors, holds that Christianity is the life application of the correct description of God, found in the right doctrinal system, believing that the correct belief system is at the heart of authentic Christianity.  Theological ethics, on the other hand, holds that the center of Christianity is a rule of ethical behavior, insinuating that Christians are followers of the greatest moral teacher of all time. Each of these approaches are explored in great detail Biblically.  The authors do a great job highlighting the errors in each of these approaches.

Overall, the book was a great read, however, it would be one for those readers who enjoy deep theological studies.  Although I enjoyed the book, I would have to say it is an acquired taste.  I enjoyed the particulars it explored into today’s Christianity and there were several thought provoking chapters leading me to question my own beliefs and convictions.

If you are looking for an in depth, challenging look at church today, I would suggest reading Jesus Manifesto.  It definitely left me with a lot of questions needing prayerful contemplation.

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Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

About the Writer:

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently works for SourcePointe, an HR Outsourcing Agency while continuing to own and operate Christian Management Consulting as a ministry. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.

As a husband and father of three, Trent Cotton has a passion surrounding the role Christian Men are to play in their families, communities, churches and businesses.  This particular blog is dedicated to helping men take back the role that we have lost in society.

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