Wednesday, March 23, 2005

I've Moved!

Greetings to all three of you faithful blog readers. I wanted you to know that this site has been moved from its current location to the new, spiffy Thoughts of Jeremy Wise page. I created a new domain, jeremywise.net, and I'll be moving more and more of my content over to that site. Feel free to head on over and take a look around!

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Christ is Coming Back!

This morning, while listening to a song, I had a brief moment of excitement as it hit me again that Christ is really going to return. We say it and think it so often, but I wonder how much we truly believe! I was away from my wife for almost three months right before our wedding (she lived in Maine), and I remember how excited I was and how much I looked forward to the day when I'd be with her again, and never have to say goodbye for months at a time. How much more we should anticipate the coming of the Church's Groom! How much more we should live for the day when our Lord and Savior will return, and we will see him face to face, and we will never have to say goodbye again!

So, as I often do, I asked myself this morning, "Do you really live like our Redeemer is on His way back?" And as I often do, I had to answer "No." Join me, will you? Let's live even today as if we really believe Jesus is coming to get us. How will we know when we're living that way? Here's a hint... Guess how many people noticed and commented on my excitement in the months preceding my wedding? Hundreds. Guess how many notice my excitement in the years preceding our reunion with the Lord. Hmm...

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Galatians Revisited

I keep getting this urge to put together a curriculum for a Sunday School class that I could teach over a several week time period. I've never actually taught Sunday School, but I'm sure I could pull it off, as I'm sure the Lord has given me an ability to teach. That said, I've been tossing ideas around as to what to put together. Lo and behold, during a wonderful drive back home from work, the Spirit gives me a splendid idea! "How about you take all that I've taught you through Galatians and share it with others?" Brilliant! So I'm going to go back through all of my college notes from the class, and all my personal writings, and see what kind of class I can put together. If I get enough content, I may have to go talk with my Pastor about becoming a teacher! What a wonderful opportunity!

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Today's Good Word

"He has showed you, O Man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." -- Micah 6:8

"Fear God and keep his commands, for this is the whole duty of man." -- Ecclesiastes 12:13b

What an honor we have to know and to love and to walk with the Creator. How petty this world's ways are when compared to a life under His blessing!

"Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His Glory and Grace!" -- Helen H. Lemmel

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

"Christian" American Idols

I've been increasingly amazed, as an avid "Christian Radio" listener, at how worldly things are becoming. As an example, one of my favorite stations, which I'll not name, has had a contest for the past several weeks to give away a new hot tub. Now this in and of itself isn't that big a deal. Radio stations all over the country give things away to try and increase listener attentiveness.

So, Jeremy, what's the tie between that hot tub and idolatry? I'm so glad you asked. I'm stunned at how frequently the tub is mentioned. It's no longer Christian radio; it's Hot Tub radio with watered down contemporary Christian music thrown in every now and then. Music break, hot tub advertisement. News, hot tub advertisement. Another song, hot tub advertisement. Radio station on the road... Come share what the Lord's doing in your life? Nah, just register for the hot tub!

And then there was the caller who said "I hope we win the hot tub! We already have the room built for it; we're just waiting for the tub now!" My first thought was, "We've got our temple built! We just need our god so we can usher him into his temple and we can worship him day and night! We'll have a great god... better than all the other gods on the street! And people will beg to come over and worship our god with us!" Like the Corinthians all over again.

And another station takes calls from those who have big screen TVs and surround sound, and everyone lusts after one another! "Thou shalt not covet", right? Yet here's Christian Radio -- "Call and share with us how big your TV god is.. Let's stir up a craving among our listeners to go get themselves a TV god that's as big and cool as yours!"

Again, is there anything wrong with having a TV? Certainly not. But Americans worship TVs. I don't want my radio station to awaken lusts for worldly things, I want my radio station to remind me how our Lord provides all we need. I want my radio station to remind me how faithful my Lord is, day in and day out. I don't want my appetite for worldly things to be aroused, I want to be reminded that I already have everything I need for life and godliness!

Why are we making such a big deal out of giving away a $3500 hot tub to someone who most likely doesn't NEED it, when all around us, yes, even in Grand Rapids, people would give their right arm just to have a $0.35 bowl of soup to warm their hands a little! Come on, Christian Radio. Let's get our focus away from what the world says is wonderful and return it to the God who alone is all we ever need. Need I remind you that this world and its desires are passing away? But praise God, the one who does the will of the Father will live forever. Let's hear a lot less about American gods, and a lot more about the one living God!

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

A Follow-up to Last Post

"By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames."

-- 1 Cor. 3:10-15

My father-in-law pointed out this Scripture in response to my last findings. It certainly seems that it's possible to attain salvation, but to attain nothing more in the Kingdom than mere presence. Possible or not, what a horribly sad reality -- to meet your King and realize you have nothing to offer to Him because your life was lived so selfishly. As always, comments are welcome.

Friday, January 21, 2005

A Christian, but not a Disciple of Jesus?

Is it possible to be a Christian but not a disciple of Jesus? I've actually been working through several different topics over the past couple months, and that's one that's come back to mind off and on.

As I look more into Scripture, especially the New Testament and Jesus' teachings, it becomes increasingly evident that we've created a dichotomy between Christians (average Joe Christians) and Disciples (those who totally sell out for Jesus' sake) that should never have been made. The examples I've found are things like...

Revelation 3:16: The lukewarm people seem to be condemned because their "deeds" were neither hot nor cold... they thought themselves rich in the world (sounds like America in 2005), but in fact they were wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. Christ calls them to repent and be rebuked and disciplined.

Matthew 7:20-23: It seems that here are where most "Christians" find themselves. They pay lipservice to God, and hope to find hell-insurance when they die, and often are even involved in "Christianly" things (going to church, tithing, praying before meals, etc.), but Christ has no knowledge of them.

Luke 9:57-62: No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the Kingdom of God. Jesus takes two situations which we today would write off with a, "Sure.. go ahead.. hurry back!" and seems to say instead, "Sure, go ahead.. but if you do, you have no business following me." This seems a rather difficult teaching, unless we truly believe that Jesus is the only way to life, in which case we ought to say, like Peter, "To whom else shall we go?"

Luke 14:25-34: The cost of following Jesus is everything. Anyone who isn't willing to forfeit his mother and father and wife and children for the sake of following Jesus is not fit to be his disciple.

All of these passages seem to make reference to "being a disciple", not to "being a Christian". But that's all Jesus ever calls people to do -- follow Him. In fact, I don't see how a person who ISN'T a "disciple" can make others into disciples (Mt. 28).

"Look, it's Jesus! Go follow Him because He's the only way to find life!"
"Why aren't you following Him then?"
"Well, because I like my earthly things for now.. but when I die, THEN I'll be with Him!"
"Oh, ok... then I shall also enjoy my earthly pleasures and follow Him when His way appeals more than mine."

I think it's a deadly poison within the Church that we allow for "faith" without obedience. We allow for people to be "saved" but never committed. And if ever we question one's commitment, we never find repentance and renewed fellowship, but only accusations of judgment, as one might expect from a criminal who's about to be revealed.