Author Archive

A Clear View From Rome

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on December 9, 2009 by Bobby

The Apostle Paul said in Romans 7:14, “For we know that the law is spiritual:  but I am carnal, sold under sin.”  He went on to share his daily struggles in the flesh with his fellow Christians in Rome.   If you’re like me, it is very easy to identify with Paul’s daily battle.  Frankly, I’m guessing that you are like me but find it hard to identify with his transparency.  Why do we often feel as though we’re the only one that deals with the flesh? Paul most certainly knew that his fellow believers in Rome probably could just use a dose of transparency on his part.

We all appreciate transparency from others.  We all need to be a little more transparent with others.  Think about it.  When your pastor shares a personal story about his family’s follies in the kitchen or the time he lost his cool with the tow-truck driver on vacation from the pulpit, doesn’t it put you at ease slightly about your own “dysfunctional” household?  Sitting down to read a well written human-interest piece in a monthly magazine dials us in to the personal struggles of ordinary “Joe’s” and gives us hope for the coming days.  When you put yourself out there in front of people where they can have a good look, it causes us to take a better look also.  In the battle between the new man (spirit )and the old man (flesh) (see: John 3:6; 2 Corinthians 5:17).  If we are going to have victory over our flesh, we’re going to need help in the form of an accountability partner.  Someone that we have full confidence in – a trusted individual that can speak truth into our lives (Ephesians 4:15).  The Apostle Paul’s relationship with the church at Rome is clearly not the same as having an, “A.B.F.F” (Accountability Best Friend Forever).  What is clear in Romans chapter 7 is Paul’s transparency.  And that is where we will begin – becoming transparent about our struggles.  I plan to write a multi-part article on accountability relationships.  In the meantime however, who do you have in your life that you could bare your soul too?

Well No Wonder…

Posted in Uncategorized on November 25, 2009 by Bobby

When thinking of this guy Gehazi (see 2 Kings 5 and also see my last post, “Why Would He Take the Money”) several things leap of of the pages of the Word that should serve as a warning to you and I.

Gehazi was around the Word of God, God’s number one prophet, miracles, and even healings…but did not know what he was seeing (see Matthew 6:19-24) and Secondly, he prostituted himself for a little pocket change.  Literally.  Now, I know that the text in 2 Kings tells that he actually received, “two talents of silver” and before you go and Google it, a talent of silver is more than $20,000 by today’s standards.  Hardly pocket change, but when you read the penalty for Gehazi’s sinful choices — it’s not that much.  As Gehazi returned back to Elisha’s place he was going to do what every red-blooded-consumed by the flesh-around spiritual things-knows just enough about Christ and His Holy Word-man-woman-boy or girl does.  He was going to hide it and lie.  The Prophet Elisha met him as he came and asked him, “Where’ve you been?  Did I send you?  We are not providing a SERVICE!” (my paraphrase).  The most damning words that Gehazi would ever hear followed. “The leprosy that Naaman had shall never leave you and your seed forever.”

Nice.


I don’t know about you, but  I have the shakes because of the adrenaline flowing in my veins right now.  How could he? Why did he think that he could get away with it?…sigh.  Truth is, millions of people everyday CHOOSE to give in to their sinful flesh.  Having said all that, are you ready to see (err…be reminded) how to avoid acting like such a bastard child of the flesh?

1.)  You must have a personal, intimate and relevant relationship with The LORD Jesus Christ. In other words, you must be born-again (Don’t like that phrase?…consult the Gospel of John chapter three and hush)

2.) Spend time each day in prayer and personal study of the Word of God (Not for your Sunday School lesson, or for chapel, or for small groups. for you…just you and the Holy Spirit up to your ears in scripture).  Start off with 7-10 minutes a day and grow from there.

3.) Put together a system that makes sense for you to memorize verses. Not just to commit it to your brain, instead memorize it so its an ingrained part of your heart and your daily life.

4.) Tithe. (Its commanded in the OT and implied in the NT…don’t even go there)

5.) Pass out something with the Gospel on it everyday to three strangers

6.) Keep track of your prayer requests. Everyone is good at giving them – ever thought of tracking them and recording the when/how God answers them?  Try it.

7.) Get involved in Christian Service. The needs of others always trumps our own needs.  Becoming others focused is “WJD” (What Jesus Did).

8.) Respect the spiritual authority in your life. You will not agree nor have to agree with everything they say.  Shut up and listen.  Pay attention and watch.  (Ever thought of how Jesus himself spent 30 years getting ready for 3.5 years of ministry?)

9.) Surround yourself with GODLY counsel. SOOOOOOO important.  A lot of good people will give good advice-but they can have it.  To avoid being caught red-handed with $40k in silver, let the Word of God be the final authority in your life.

10.) Remain teachable. When we think we’ve arrived and know it all we go from being humble and grateful to being grumbly and hateful.

Oh yeah, three more things from the life and flesh-driven choices of a man whom we never hear about again:

~Really close is still really far away

~Left to ourselves, we will make poor choices

~Sin’s price cost Jesus Christ his life.

That old dog needs to die.  It’s time to lay the flesh…your flesh to rest.

Why Would He Take the Money?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on October 22, 2009 by Bobby

In the Bible, the Old Testament is filled with the stories of ordinary people just like you and me who struggled in the “flesh”.  One of my favorite…well favorite in the sense that I learn the most from, is a man that maybe you’ve never heard of before.

Gehazi was an understudy to the prophet Elisha (2 Kings chapter 5).  In my imagination Gehazi was a gung-ho, WWJD bracelet wearing, knew the books of the Bible, could sing all the verses of Amazing Grace, wanting to be used of God kind of guy.  The problem was:  Gehazi had still not laid his flesh to rest.  One day a very needy leperous man named Naaman came to Elisha the prophet looking to be healed of his terrible disease.  After eventually following the precise directions of the prophet of God, the leper became clean.  zflytrapAs you can imagine, after a lifetime of rubs, ointments, salts, and spending every dime for the latest in leprosy removal care, Naaman was so thankful that he tried to pay the prophet for his service.  Elisha responded by saying, “as the Lord lives in heaven, I will not accept that.”  So what does this have to do with Gehazi?  Well…I’m sad to report that the Word records that part of the story too.  By reading on (verses 20-27) we clearly see that Gehazi was driven by the desires of the flesh.  Gehazi sneaked back to the healed man (when he should have been with the boss), spoke on Elisha’s behalf (without his blessing) and asked for the monetary gift (he lied and said that there were men that needed the money).  What would cause a man that was on an inside fast-track to relevant ministry and a close relationship with the God of the universe to fall so hard so fast?  I say its the “inner-terrorism” of the flesh.

That old dog needs to die.  It’s time to lay the flesh…your flesh to rest.  Next time, I hope to give you some practical applications on how to avoid being like Gehazi.

I’ll leave it at that for now.  (Part 2 coming soon)

Reinforcements are here…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on September 24, 2009 by Bobby

header I guess Todd and I would say that it started last winter.  The truth is, God had this planned all along.  Bring two guys nearly the same age with the same burning desire to die to self so that Christ would receive His due glory-with completely different backgrounds and paths to get to this point, together.  It was Wednesday, September 24, 2009 in a little house on Davis street in Ypsilanti that we said enough is enough.  Both of us are sick and tired of seeing those Christians around us struggling with what we call, “inner-Terrorism.”  The Biblical principle of the battle between the ‘old man’ and the ‘new man in Christ’ (See 2 Corinthians 5:17-21;Colossians 3:1-17). 

After meeting last February for the first time over coffee, we began meeting once a week for encouragement and accountability.  It was clear after just a couple of hours that not only did we have the same passion for the Word and ministry, but we think alike.  Truly like-minded and dedicated to making a difference in the lives of young people.  (I work with Word of Life Local church ministries helping the local church evangelize, disciple and train teenagers.  Todd less than a year ago began a branch of Vision For Youth to do the exact same thing but for an even more neglected group-college students). And so, as I mentioned a minute ago, yesterday morning in a little house on Davis street Todd and I decided to work together on this project.

“Funeral For the Flesh” is now up and will be a great resource for Pastors, youth pastors, college pastors, students, teachers, and the average Joe Christian who is tired of the battle raging inside. We’re here to help.  For you that are tired of watching friends, loved ones, family, ministry leaders, etc. around you succumb to the flesh, we’re here to help.

It’s time to start making the arrangements.  It’s time to lay the flesh to rest once and for all.