Canyon Kids

When i was a kid growing up, from 12 to 18, i lived in a place known simply as the canyon. The canyon consisted of several campgrounds and homesteads; Follows Camp, where i lived, Camp Williams, was just up the road. Between the two was Whispering Rivers, which was more of a homestead. These were located up East Fork Rd. West Folk had Crystal Lake Campground as well as a State Park with camping sites. Throughout the canyon were trails, old abandoned gold mines, seasonal waterfalls, and swimming holes dotted the East Fork headwaters of the San Gabriel River. To this day, i am friends with many of those who made up my extended childhood crew, the canyon kids, as we were known.

Follows Camp was host to many significant camping events each year; my favorites were the Blue Grass Festival, hosted twice a year, once in the Spring and again in the Fall. The Renaissance weekend was another favorite, and of course, as a teenage boy who wouldn’t like a weekend packed full of other teens? That weekend was known as the fishbowl; among my friends, to everyone else, it was PWP, Parents without Partners.

Each weekend brought new people, new stories, and cherished memories. Yet, all of this pales in comparison to the family that was the canyon. i could tell countless stories of how families’ needs were met; people came to the support of others as they could; for the most part, people knew and would do anything for each other. Of course, we had our gossipers, our trouble makers, and the like, but even they had their place . . . good and evil.

This leads me to the idea of community and what the Body of Christ should look like; with all of its imperfections, Follows Camp was a greater community than that of the modern Church. That is a sad statement and even a more tragic reality. In Acts, we read about the early church; it definitely wasn’t perfect either. In fact, after reading about how great it was, we read about its flaws as well. So looking for a utopian society on earth isn’t what i am talking about . . . it is, however the target we should all be aiming for and then relying on the Word of God for governance and justice.

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” Acts 2:42-47 ESV

And from Colossians . . .

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” (2:6,7)

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” (3:1,2)

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” (3:23,24)

Finally, from Revelation 3:8-11,

I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you. Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.”

The remnant of the church needs to come together. i don’t know what that looks like but it needs to start in homes, with like-minded people, and soon!

You are loved,

cj

Jude (Part 1)

Jude (Part 1)

Let me start here: if you have not read Jude (an introduction), stop now and go read it . . . it will make more sense that way. However, as a reminder to those who did read it let me refresh your memory. Jude is one of four brothers of Jesus and at some point led the Church in Jerusalem. He came to faith after Jesus’ resurrection. This same Jude then pens this letter and it is powerful! As a call to repentance, as a reminder of judgment, and as a warning to stay alert as we contend for the faith.

He doesn’t waste time with small talk, antidotes, or gibber, he is very matter-of-fact. In the verses, we will look at this week, we will see his heart, and his understanding as the brother of Jesus and leader of the Church. Let’s look at verse 5, “Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe.” Here is an interesting point, there are a couple manuscripts out there as well as a few versions of the Bible that use “Jesus” in place of “the Lord”. Could these early manuscripts be more accurate to Jude’s point? i think so. Jude had come to an understanding of who Jesus was and was not ashamed of it.

We love grace, i love grace. We preach grace, i preach grace, and it is glorious! However, we mustn’t lose sight of Jesus. Jesus, actively a part of the Old Testament, who is the same yesterday, today and forever, saves us by His cross. He leads us free from the chains of sin, out of bondage and into freedom. As the Israelites out of Egypt and still, subsequently (lit. the second time) He destroys those who did not believe. Folks, there is judgment. There is a hell and it has been preached since the formation of the Church. Do not be led astray. We must continue to contend for the faith in a world that would pervert the grace of God, even some in the Church.

Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that [e]the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, [f]subsequently destroyed those who did not believe. And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day, just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after [g]strange flesh, are exhibited as an [h]example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire. (NASB)

Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved[c] a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day— just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire,[d] serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. (ESV)

Pray with me for insight, for understanding, for fresh revelation into God’s Word. Let the Spirit of God speak to our hearts through these words written by Jude inspired by the Spirit. May we grow in wisdom and faith, as we seek to walk humbly with Jesus, contending for the faith. Until next week . . .

you are loved,

cj

Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord!

The shortest chapter in the Bible is Psalm 117, it is just two verses. Yet these two verses are immensely profound in their simplicity. You want to boil things down to the minimum and just look at the core of human existence? Then here you go:

“Praise the Lord, all you nations! Worship Him, all you peoples! Because God’s faithful love towards us is strong, the Lord’s faithfulness lasts forever! Praise the Lord!”

It doesn’t get much simpler than this, Praise the Lord. Worship Him. Because, He is faithful. His love is strong towards us and He is forever faithful. Thus, we should, Praise the Lord! No matter what you are facing, no matter what difficulties or trials befall you, Praise the Lord! In the good and in the bad, Praise the Lord! In the sun and in the rain, Praise the Lord! In life and in death, Praise the Lord! In sickness and in health, Praise the Lord! In the hardest of times and in the best of times, Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord,

you are loved,

cj

Act Like It

Act Like It

Colossians 3:1 in the Message paraphrase says, roughly, if you are serious about this new life in Christ, act like it! In Ephesians 4:1 in the NLT is says, “I, (Paul) beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.” Paul the author of both of these letters has a central theme, Jesus is to be taken seriously and our lives should reflect our desire to please Him.

We are called to lead with a “quiet strength”. As defined it is perseverance, tenacity, get up, dust yourself off and keep going, kind of attitude. Its a leading by example. Colossians 3:12-17 gives legs to this idea and breaks down putting on Christ, with these as bench marks; Compassion, Kindness, Humility, quiet strength and discipline. It goes on to mention forgiveness, quick and complete forgiveness, as quickly and completely as you have been forgiven.

These areas are not suggestions, if we are serious about living out our faith, living for Jesus, we need to act like it. We need to begin to allow Jesus to work in and through us to develop these characteristics within us. If we as the church are unable to live these out how can we expect a fallen world to do it? We are the Mantle bearers, the standard bearers, of Christ. We are the ambassador’s of Christ, the building of the church should be the consulate, the “safe place” the lost and the hurting, the broken and confused, come to in their hour of need…but if they see us out in the world and we are no different why would they seek refuge from us?

…lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called BY God. And if you are to be serious about this new life in Christ, ACT LIKE IT.

You are Loved,
cj