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Acoustic Version of “It’s Time” by Imagine Dragons

Posted on by Philip Nation in Creativity, Music | Leave a comment

I am loving these acoustic versions of their songs by Imagine Dragons.

Why Should We Value Communion with God?

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Image is a word associated with many things in our day. People maintain an image in front of others. An image is an idea or concept still being worked out. We work on our self-image. Perhaps the word is so far-reaching because we are a so visually stimulated.

Whenever people meet one or both of my sons, the issue of image normally surfaces because they look so much like me. (We are praying that they will grow out of it.) We’ve heard all sorts of comments such as:

“You boys look just like your father when he was your age.”
“You can’t deny those two.”
“They are you’re spitting image.” (Which, by the way, is a gross description.)

They take it all in stride. At this point in life, being like Dad is not too terrible. I pray that I can be the kind of man that they will always want to emulate. I want to have an image that is worth bearing in themselves.

From Creation

In thinking about the relationship we enjoy with our Heavenly Father, the fact that we bear His image cannot be over-estimated. In the account of creation, we are told in Genesis 1:27, “So God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female.” The image of God burned into the being of man makes all of the difference for us.

Throughout the creation account of Genesis, God’s image is not placed in anything else. The universe is made but not granted God’s image. The Earth with all of its grandeur is spoken into existence but not having God’s image ingrained upon it. Animal and plant life come into being, but without God’s image upon it. Only when God creates people does He grace us with His image.

Saints and scholars of every generation have discussed the nature of God’s image in mankind. Is it the soul? Is it our ability to have a will? Do we act like God? Or did Adam and Eve actually bear some physical resemblance to God? It is a difficult question to answer.

In Relationships

I would offer that a role in bearing God’s image is that it acts as a bridge for us to relate to Him. God is personal; even in the since that He is eternal. He has revealed Himself to us in personal terms. In the Bible, God tells us that He is Father, High Priest, Comforter, Shepherd, and many other personal terms. He speaks to us, reveals His will, and acts as a friend.

God desires to know us and has therefore placed His image within us. We bear a resemblance to Him in that we are designed for relationships. The relationships that we enjoy with other human beings are part of the general blessing of being alive. We love and care for those in our circles of influence. In bearing God’s image, it is obvious then that God also wants us to relate to Him.

However, in Eden, the image of God in man was marred. Sin stands in opposition to people mirroring the character and nature of God. Where God wants the crown jewel of creation – humanity – to be a showpiece of His handiwork, sin obstructs that purpose. It obstructs us from knowing the very One who has placed a reflection of Himself in us.

It is a reminder for us that sin is not just a glitch in our moral character but an affront to the very nature of our creation. More importantly, it is an affront to our Creator. As the Lord seeks to draw us close, He then does all the work necessary to reestablish His image within us through the redemptive work of Christ.

His image is within us so that we might desire Him. The Bible states that He has placed eternity in the heart of man (Ecclesiastes 3:11). We clearly see from the whole of redemptive history that God is seeking those who do not seek Him. God has a great desire to restore the marred image of Himself in us through a saving relationship with the Messiah He has sent for us.

For the World

Now, the work done by Christ is for you. But never forget that it is also for others. The restoration of God’s image in us is not only for the benefit of the individual but for all the world. The image of God in the people of God – both individually and collectively – is a sign and a witness to the world of the Lord’s great love for us.

In his second letter to the Corinthian church, Paul taught through many images who we are becoming in Christ. In 2 Cor 3:18, he wrote, “We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.” The concept of “glory” in the Bible requires a great deal of deep thought. But in this one verse, Paul lays out the concept that through the saving work of Christ, we are those who reflect the God’s glory. In this, we are showcases for who God is and how He loves.

The image of God cannot be trivialized. It is a mysterious gift in which God desires for redeemed men and women to show off His nature. As you search the Scriptures and draw close to Christ, keep in mind that He wants more than to make you an educated and morally upright person. God’s great desire is for you and I to bear His image as dearly loved children.

This blog post is based on a study from The Gospel Project for adults and students, focused on the doctrine of humanity, titled “Bearing God’s Image”.

 

My Daily Internet Reading

Posted on by Philip Nation in Leadership, Music, Tech | Leave a comment

I was recently talking with my friend Andy Dunning about how we keep up with the world around us. Specifically… with the world’s in which we work. Andy serves as a Bible study leader and chairman of our deacon body at The Fellowship. As a vocation, he owns Landru Design; a cool business that designs and implements conferences, designs and installs media equipment in churches, and trains media personnel in churches and the corporate world. The need for information in Andy’s life is pretty different from mine but we love to talk about what is happening in Christianity in our culture. So, recently, he asked and I shared the sites that I usually read on daily basis. We are both information junkies so it made for an interesting conversation.

Here are the websites that I generally visit everyday to consume information about world events, movements in Christianity, learn about leadership, and gain insight about my work world.

Wired

Fast Company

Harvard Business Review – a must read for all-things leadership

Ragan – for information about marketing, publishing, branding

Mashable – aggregating site about digital innovations

Church Leaders – aggregating site with good articles about life in ministry

Bible Study Tools – daily posts from various authors about biblical issues

Thom Rainer – my CEO who writes on leadership and church issues

Trevin Wax –keen insights about theological and cultural issues

Michael Hyatt – former CEO of Thomas Nelson and expert on promotion, publishing, and work efficiencies

Ed Stetzer –offers the best research and analysis of movements in culture

Eric Geiger – posts short, insightful articles about faith

Christian Post – best news aggregated news source for Christians

Christianity Today

Huffington Post – I find disagree with much here but find it to be an interesting source of news

SBC Voices – helps me keep up with the SBC theological/political landscape

Baptist Press – informative news each day about life in my denomination

22Words – just plain funny stuff

 

What websites are the regular places that you visit for learning?

If Only I Had More

Posted on by Philip Nation in Sermons | Leave a comment

As we move through the book of Ecclesiastes at The Fellowship, last Sunday I dealt with how we handle money and possessions. The message came from chapters 5 and 6 but also drew from several passages in the New Testament. Here are my teaching note and the video of the message is below.

If I Only Had More – Ecclesiastes 5:8-6:12

Buying someone else’s junk at yard sales. It’s as if flea markets are the original recyclers. We sell stuff we don’t want to get money to buy things other people don’t want.

The passage holds four warnings and the New Testament provides us with four truths to guide us forward.

1. Possessions never satisfy (5:10, 11; 6:1-3)

  • We are eternal beings. Nothing temporary can fill the need we have for the eternal.
  • TV show: Hoarders = hoarding is a mental condition. We know it is a problem and yet we all give in to the impulse.
  • 2009 study in the University of Rochester’s Journal of Research and Personality found pursuit of wealth and fame do not contribute to a happy and satisfying life. Achieving personal goals like personal growth, having friends, and helping others brought more satisfaction than attaining the “American dream.”
  • We are not owners, only managers
  • God owns everything. Ps. 24:1 – The earth and everything in it, the world and its inhabitants, belong to the Lord
  • Joyfully manage what is put in our hands.

 

2. Possessions cannot bring peace (5:12)

  • Abundance demands that you continue to amass more.
  • The pursuit of stuff is all-consuming.
  • Wealthy people are no more happy than the rest of us.
  • Survey by Lincoln Financial Group showed that among retirees who had saved $1 million, 48% still worried they did not have enough.
  • Wealthy fear being sued, identity theft, asset protection, worrying about kids, and keeping up with the Joneses.
  • “Possessions should be tools for our hands, not idols for our hearts.” -Marty Duren
  • Luke 6:38 — Give, and it will be given to you; a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over—will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.
  • The possessions we have are to be leveraged for the good of those around us.
  • Money is a tool to empower us as we participate in the life of God’s kingdom.
  • If we trust money to bring peace, anxiety is the result. If we use money for God’s kingdom, peace is the result.

 

3.Wealth can bring harm (5:13, 14)

  • Lottery winners never keep it. Celebrities are exploited. Market forces change.
  • Too often, we place our faith in our stuff instead of our Savior.
  • Eats in darkness, sorrow, sickness and anger. Sounds like Ebenezer Scrooge.
  • Followers of Jesus should hold on to things gently.
  • Be content with the things we have.
  • 2 Corinthians 8:13-14 – 13 It is not that there may be relief for others and hardship for you, but it is a question of equality— 14 at the present time your surplus is available for their need, so their abundance may also become available for our need, so there may be equality.
  • At different times we may experience abundance or need. If everyone is holding possessions loosely, we are freed to meet the needs of others, while others are freed to meet our needs.

 

4. You cannot take it with you (5:15-17)

  • No matter how hard you work, it stays here.
  • Joyful generosity reflects the heart of God.
  • We have a generous God so we should not be a stingy people.
  • 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 — 6 Remember this: The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each person should do as he has decided in his heart —not reluctantly or out of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver.
  • Ultimately, it all points to the core of our life = Gospel
  • 2 Corinthians 9:15 – Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.

 

If Only I Had More from The Fellowship on Vimeo.

Everyone Has a Story

Posted on by Philip Nation in Church, Discipleship | Leave a comment

A great story of continuing life change from Bill Trueblood. Regardless of your stage of life, everyone can make a difference.

If you’d like to know more about Bible Studies for Life, just click here.

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