Josh Christophersen

Reign In Life

David And Two Little Words

caveofadullam

In 1st Samuel 22 there’s an obscure verse that happened to catch my eye while studying the bible with a handful of men.

While David was hiding from Saul in the cave of Adullam, with his motley crew of 400 misfit men, he sought to find a place for his parents with the King of Moab.

“Please let my father and my mother stay with you, till I know what God will do for me.” (1 Sam 22:3)

What stuck out to me about that verse was the last two words: “for me“. A lot of people would have excluded those two words and just said: “Please let my father and my mother stay with you, till I know what God will do.”

But David added those two little words to the end of his sentence.

And if you look, you’ll find that David often talked this way. In fact when writing a psalm when he was in the cave, he used similar language. He closed the psalm with these words:

“for you will deal bountifully with me.” (Ps 142:7)

David was waiting in that cave with confidence that God would “deal bountifully” with him. David believed what Paul would later write in Romans: that God is for us, and “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31) Even though he was sure that his enemies were pursuing him, he was more sure that goodness and mercy would pursue him all the days of his life (Ps 23:6).

What about you?

When faced with difficult trials in your life, what do you say?

“We’ll see what God will do” or “We’ll see what God will do for me“?

The question is really more about what you believe about God.

Do you believe he’s distant and aloof, indifferent to you and your situation?

Or…

… do you believe that he’s for you, that he’ll deal bountifully with you, and that it’s a sure thing that goodness and mercy will follow you all the days of your life?

Two little words make quite a difference.

5 Dangers Of An Emphasis On Revivalism

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“We believe the church must move away from an emphasis on revivalism. Under revivalism, the key to spirituality is revival—an event where the Spirit of God catches the church up in a spiritual experience of rejuvenation and catharsis that converts the lost, heals the sick and delivers sinners. We believe revivals happen (and we have enjoyed them in our church), even though this is not a New Testament emphasis. New Testament Christians are never instructed how to bring about a revival. Further, the ideology that places revival as the key to success in the church can be destructive to the notion of a church planting movement. People may look to such supernatural events for a shortcut. This expectation drains energy from regular daily evangelism, living for God, and disciple making, which seem mundane and unremarkable by comparison. Church multiplication takes daily effort, often exerted in very non-showy, quiet ways, such as building up fellow believers and engaging in friendship evangelism as a way of life. Consistency is essential. If a spiritual revival comes, we should accept it with joy. But waiting for the Spirit to “fall” often runs counter to the lifestyle needed for successful church planting.”

– Dennis McCallum (taken from “Urban Home Church Planting at Xenos“)

I agree with Dennis. If a revival happens – awesome. Who doesn’t want to see the lost converted, the sick healed, and the demonized delivered? But I believe there are some dangers in an emphasis on revivalism.

1) Exalting the fantastic over the mundane

Sometimes where there’s an emphasis on revivalism, certain things get valued over others that shouldn’t. The seemingly mundane and unremarkable tasks of changing diapers, working a job with integrity and Christ-like character, being a good husband or wife, cleaning toilets, disciple making, etc. can be devalued compared to platform ministry, healing, prophecy, etc. Noah & Jeremiah’s preaching were no less spiritual than Paul’s, regardless of the results, and Jesus working as a carpenter was no less spiritual than Jesus healing the sick.

2) Borrowing from the future to pay for today

Revivalism puts a lot of hope and emphasis on a future move of God. If this is not coupled with a present “in the now” satisfaction in God, completely independent of the possibility of any spectacular future move of God, an unhealthy dependence on borrowing from the future can occur in an attempt to pay for today’s deficit. The danger with this is that God does not guarantee revival in your sphere, in your lifetime. So if that’s what you are banking on for today’s satisfaction, you could find yourself ten years into it, spiritually bankrupt and disillusioned, with not a whole lot to show for years of commitment to something that hasn’t happened and may never happen.

3) Replacing gospel motivation

Because of a contemporary dirth in the centrality of the gospel in some circles, a vacuum of motivation has been created. The gospel then becomes in danger of being replaced with the dangling of euphoric revival carrots. As great as revival is, has been, or ever will be, it cannot trump the centrality of the gospel’s power to motivate followers of Christ to obedience and sacrificial service.

4) Indefinite requirements

How radical, hot, devoted, or sacrificial does one need to be, in order to see revival? How much prayer is necessary? How much fasting? This lack of specificity, especially over prolonged periods of time without revival, can lead to unhealthy personal and/or corporate striving for greater sacrifice in order to achieve revival.

5) Elitism

Whenever the key to spirituality or what individuals or groups of people identify primarily with becomes anything other than the person and work of Jesus, the danger of elitism is lurking right around the corner.  And this danger becomes all the more prevalent amongst a generation starving for purpose and meaning, who are engaging in radical sacrifice for the purpose of revival.

When Your Child Throws A Tantrum: 3 Approaches

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(Image adapted from: larkin.familycc)

What do you do when your child throws a tantrum?

The following are three different approaches and what they teach your child:

1) Not doing anything (It’s okay to throw tantrums)

Unfortunately this approach is becoming all too common. And parents have a myriad of reasons why they take this approach:

“I’m too tired.”

“He’s just a kid.”

“He doesn’t understand.”

“He’ll learn eventually.”

Doing nothing while your child throws tantrums is indirectly teaching your child that it’s okay to throw tantrums.

The problem is that it’s not okay to throw tantrums. A tantrum is selfish, manipulative, defiant, and rebellious – all of which are sin.

Regardless of what a child understands at a particular age, you can be sure that what they do understand is that if a parent allows a certain behavior to go unchecked, then it’s okay in their minds, and children are constantly pushing the boundaries to see what they can get away with.

Not doing anything when a child throws a tantrum usually lends itself to parental burnout, because it’s extremely draining, embarrassing, and frustrating to helplessly watch your child throw a tantrum.

I think this approach is the saddest when parents think it’s cute and/or funny. Regardless of whether you think it’s cute or funny for your child to throw a tantrum, it’s certainly not cute or funny when that child is still throwing tantrums when he’s an adult. Unfortunately the reason that most adults throw tantrums is that their parents taught them that selfish, manipulative, defiant behavior was okay when they didn’t do anything about the tantrums they threw when they were children.

2) Removing the inconvenience (It’s okay to throw tantrums under certain circumstances)

This approach also teaches a child that it’s okay to throw tantrums. The difference with this approach is that it only teaches your child that’s it’s okay to throw tantrums when it’s inconvenient for the parent or those around them. This indirectly teaches a child that the only issue is between the child and other people, when in fact the primary issue is between the child and God.

This approach sounds something like this:

“Go in your room and shut the door if you’re going to throw a tantrum. I don’t want to hear it.”

“As long as I don’t have to listen to it, I’m fine.”

“He’s only hurting himself.”

This is a godless, idolatrous approach that teaches children that they can do whatever they want, as long as it’s not harming others. This is the same logic behind the justification of homosexual acts, drunkenness, fornication, and many other sins. Sin is wrong because God says it is, regardless of it’s apparent effect on other people.

Parents need to be diligent to train their children to believe that sins are an offense against God regardless of whether they harm or offend people.

3) Discipline and instruction (It’s NEVER okay to throw tantrums)

Tantrums should be met with consistent, loving, instruction and discipline, so that a child knows the truth that it’s NEVER okay to throw tantrums.

The sooner a child learns this, the better.

Often the root of rebellion is made apparent when a child is very young. A great example is when a baby acts defiant while their parent is trying to change their diaper. When a parent lovingly disciplines their child as soon as the child starts throwing tantrums, the child is much more likely to be self controlled when they are older, because they’ve been trained to obey.

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Prov 22:6)

3 Things The Church Is Not

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(Image Credit: Swedish National Heritage Board)

Sometimes in order to best understand what something is, it’s helpful to understand what it’s not. Here are three things that the church is not:

1) The church is not something you attend.

Saying that a church can be attended implies that the church is a building, a service, or a meeting.

This is not true.

The church is people. And those people certainly meet and/or provide services in buildings, but those meetings, services, and buildings don’t define what the church is.

Let’s think of it in another way using football.

A football team is not something you attend. You can attend a football game, practice, press conference, training camp, party, draft, etc., but you can’t attend a football team. Why? Because a football team is a group of people.

Church is not something you attend; it’s something you become a part of.

Attending implies consumption. Being a part of something implies participation.

No one attends churches. You’re either a part of a church or you’re not, and attending meetings and services doesn’t necessarily mean you are a part of a church.

You can attend meetings and services and not be a part of a church, but you can’t be a part of a church without participating in meetings and/or services.

2) The church is not everywhere.

If the church is people then of course the church is everywhere because people are everywhere, right?

Wrong.

The church is not anywhere two or more Christians are gathered. Matt 18:20 doesn’t say “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there is church“. It says “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

Two Christians in the same room, office, coffee shop, golf course, beach, or church building, doesn’t constitute the church any more than two or more people in the same place who play football constitutes a football team, any more than two or more people who own guns and camouflage constitute an army, or any more than two people who can articulate opinions about how life and society should work constitute a government.

I think Christians often times confuse the church for the kingdom.

The kingdom, since it’s the domain of Christ’s rule, can be taken anywhere. The church however, since it’s a specific group of people functioning and relating to each other in very specific ways, is not everywhere.

An ambassador can go anywhere and represent the rule of his government, but where two or more ambassadors are gathered doesn’t automatically constitute an embassy.

3) The church is not just a community.

“Community is the beautiful by-product of well lived family, but family is not the by-product of community. We know this because family automatically creates a community like an apple tree makes apples, but communities do not automatically generate family.” (Ben Pasley)

You can have community without family, but you can’t have true family without community.

The bible never calls the church a community, but it does call the church a family (Gal 6:10 NIV), and a community is not the same as a family.

Community is on your terms. Family is on God’s terms.

You can pick your community, but you can’t pick your family.

For example, I could choose a community of a limited amount of friends to hang out with and do life together who I get along with and enjoy, with no particular person in the group having any authority to lead within the community, and call that church.

Or I could live as family with a group of people regardless of whether I enjoy them or not (much like brothers and sisters) and submit to leaders within the family (much like parents) with no control over whether new people become a part of the family, and call that church.

Community falls short of what the bible describes as church.

20 Myths Christians Believe About Money

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(Image Credit: Tracy Occ)

The following is a list of twenty myths that Christians believe about money and what the bible has to say about them.

This a longer post than usual. At the average adult reading speed it will take 4-5 minutes to read.

1) Money is the root of all evil

This is one of the most misquoted verses. It actually says that the “love of money is a root of all kinds of evils” 1 Tim 6:10

2) I don’t have to give to the poor

“Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered.” Prov 21:13

“Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” Luke 3:11

“Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse.” Prov 28:27

3) The amount I give has nothing to do with income

“Now about the collection for the Lord’s people.. On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income” 1 Cor 16:1-2

“If the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have.” 2 Cor 8:12

“Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God that he has given you.” Deut 16:17

4) Money has nothing to do with honor

Paul’s first letter to Timothy has a whole chapter talking about financially providing for widows and elders and he uses the word honor in reference to their financial provision:

“Honor widows who are truly widows.” 1 Tim 5:3

“Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.”” 1 Tim 5:3,17-18

“Honor the Lord with your wealth.” Prov 3:9

5) How much blessing I receive has nothing to do with how much I give

“Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” (2 Cor 9:6)

“Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.” (Prov 19:17)

“Those who honor me I will honor” 1 Sam 2:30

6) My heart can be into God while refraining to give him my treasure

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matt 6:21

7) How I handle money has nothing to do with whether I can be trusted with true riches

“If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?” Luke 16:11

8) Preachers shouldn’t get paid

“Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings? In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.” 1 Cor 9:13-14

“If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you?” 1 Cor 9:11

“Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.”” 1 Tim 5:17-18

9) There’s nothing in the bible about giving regularly

“Now concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come.” 1 Cor 16:1-2

10) I need to give God 10% of my income

Tithing (giving 10%) is part of the law and Rom 6:14 and Gal 5:18 say that we are no longer under the law.

11) I don’t get to decide how much to give

“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Cor 9:7

12) I shouldn’t give when that’s all I have

“In a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.” 2 Cor 8:2

Jesus said, “this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” Mark 12:43-44

13) If I give then I won’t have enough

“I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent … And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:18-19

“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work…He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.” 2 Cor 9:7-8,10,11

“Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.” Prov 3:9-10

14) I should give God what’s left over after my other expenses

“Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce” Prov 3:9

15) Giving isn’t something I can get better at

“But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.” 2 Cor 8:7 NIV

16) If I have an abundance, I shouldn’t be expected to help the needy

“Your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness.” 2 Cor 8:14

“…begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints.” 2 Cor 8:4

“For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make some contribution for the poor among the saints at Jerusalem.” Rom 15:26

17) God doesn’t give me money specifically to be used for giving

“He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.” 2 Cor 9:10

18) It’s not the church’s job to supply the needs of the saints

“Contribute to the needs of the saints” Rom 12:13

“Now concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do.” 1 Cor 16:1

“There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.” Acts 4:34-35

19) I can be in the faith and not provide for my family

“But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” 1 Tim 5:8

20) I can serve both God and money

“No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” Luke 16:13

Don’t Buy Stuff You Cannot Afford [VIDEO]

Don't Buy Stuff You Can't Afford

This year I’m going to be doing more posts about money, so I figured I’d start with a video from Saturday Night Live featuring Steve Martin, Amy Poehler, and Chris Parnell called “Don’t Buy Stuff You Cannot Afford”.

This is some of the best financial advice you can get, delivered in so simple and straightforward a way, that it’s funny.

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2013 Book List

2013 Book List

I didn’t read that many books this year. I only read six.

Writing has replaced a lot of my reading time at this point in my life.

But even though I only read six books this year, I did read some good ones.

Four of the six books I read were on the top of manhood, one was on sonship, and another on the gospel.

Here’s my list of the books I read in 2013 with my comments on each one:

Healing the Masculine Soul: God’s Restoration of Men to Real Manhood  –  Gordon Dalbey

This book is one of the best books on manhood that I’ve ever read. I really enjoyed it. I love his in depth tackling of the topic of shame and how it affects manhood – really good stuff. For more on Gordon Dalbey, check out this video interview.

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Orphan Slave Son  –  Ben Pasley

This is an excellent book on one of my favorite topics. You may know Ben Pasley from the “Enter The Worship Circle” albums.

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A Guide to Biblical Manhood  –  Randy Stinson, Dan Dumas

This was a good read. I especially enjoyed the parts on procrastination.

Manhood Restored: How the Gospel Makes Men Whole  –  Eric Mason

This book had some good content but I was hoping for a bit more practicals.

The Explicit Gospel  –  Matt Chandler

This was a great book on the gospel. I Loved chapter four and every Christian should read chapters nine and ten.

Raising Boys Feminists Will Hate  –  Doug Giles

This book had some good nuggets, but it was way over the top on the delivery. He comes off a bit arrogant at times and uses some “colorful” language as well. There’s some good “meat” if you can spit out the “bones”. One of the few books I’ve read where I laughed out loud often while reading it.

What’s the best book you’ve read recently?

(Image Credit: National Media Museum)

Top 13 Posts Of 2013

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Here’s the top 13 most viewed posts in the last 13 months of doing this blog, ordered by popularity.

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What’s Your Godliness Training Plan?

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It’s not uncommon for people to have a diet plan or a workout plan. Especially at the beginning of a new year, millions of people make plans to train their body.

Part of the reason it’s so common to have a diet or workout plan is because most people know that if they don’t have some sort of plan to lose weight and/or to workout, that they won’t.

Benjamin Franklin said “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” and Antoine de Saint-Exupery said that “A goal without a plan is a wish.”

Although many Christians believe these things to be true when it relates to physical training, unfortunately many don’t apply these principles to spiritual training.

The apostle Paul said it best in his first letter to Timothy:

“Train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” 1 Tim 4:7-8

If we plan for things that have “some value”, how much more should we plan for things that have “value in every way”, in both this life and the life to come?

What is your godliness training plan?

Do you have one?

Paul goes on to say the following in a subsequent letter to Timothy:

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Tim 3:16-17

So Paul commands us to train ourselves and then points out the specific, useful tool that God has given us to accomplish our training: the bible.

So what’s your plan to get in the bible? What’s your training plan?

If you’re serious about training yourself to be Godly, then you should be serious about getting into the bible.

What are you going to read or study? When are you going to do it? How often? What time? How long?

Consider reading through the bible in a year. Study something you want to improve in. Practice bible meditation. Pick a portion of scripture and keep rereading it over a period of time.

Your options are endless.

Don’t let yourself get spiritually lazy this year.

Get a plan and start training!

(Image Credit: A&A Photography)

4 Questions To Change Your Life

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We’re nearing the end of the year, which is a great time to set goals, evaluate what you are doing, and see if things can be done better. The following are four questions I’m using to do just that.

1) What Do You Do?

What do you spend your time doing?

Make a list. Be thorough, but not so thorough that you paralyze yourself.

Here’s some examples:

Sleep, eat, exercise, seek God, read books, work a job, marriage, parenting, dating, writing, church, pastoring, friendship, house work, entertainment, consume social media, watch TV/movies, surf internet, shop, play sports, create, play an instrument, live in community, counseling, etc.

For some, just answering the first question and being able to physically see a list of what you spend your time on, can be life changing.

2) What Do You Do Well?

Read through your answer to the first question and pick out the things that you do well.

Be honest.

Some of you, if you’re honest, may answer, “Nothing.” This question on it’s own can be life altering, because in our busyness we are becoming a culture of people that do many things, but nothing well.

Others of you may find that the things that you do well are not the things you want to do well, or that the things you are currently doing well are keeping you from doing some other things well that you’d like to be doing – which brings us to our next question.

3) What Do You Want To Do Well That You’re Not?

Go through your original list from the first question again. Don’t just look at all the things in this list that you don’t do well. Some things are not done well because they’re not important and time is limited. That’s fine.

What are the few things that you’re not doing well that you’d like to?

Don’t pick too many. Take into consideration what you are already doing well. You may be awesome, but realistically, you can only do a few things well.

4) What Are You Going To Do Less Of So You Can Do What You Want To Do Well?

Look at your original list again. Time to do some pruning.

In order to realistically do a few things well, you’ve got to eliminate certain things that drain the resources necessary to do them.

Don’t be distracted by the good. There are a lot of people that do a good job at a lot of things, but if you want to make a significant impact in a particular area of life, you must do a great job at a few things.

Good is the greatest enemy of the great.

What things are you going to spend less time doing good or poorly so that you can focus more time doing a few things well?

(Image Credit: Photographic Collections)