Our need for being clean

Psalms 51:1-15
Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love.  Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins.  2 Wash me clean from my guilt.  Purify me from my sin.  3 For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. 4 Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight.  You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just. For I was born a sinner—yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.  6 But you desire honesty from the womb,  teaching me wisdom even there.  7 Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 8 Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me—now let me rejoice.  9 Don’t keep looking at my sins.  Remove the stain of my guilt.  10 Create in me a clean heart, O God.  Renew a loyal spirit within me.  11 Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.  13 Then I will teach your ways to rebels, and they will return to you.  14 Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves; then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness. 15 Unseal my lips, O Lord, that my mouth may praise you.

Psalms 32:3
When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long.

1.  There is a NEED in our life for being clean.

2.  Cleansing Begins in the Heart.
David doesn’t say, “Change my behavior.”

3.  God Creates the Clean Heart.
2 Corinthians 5:17
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

Missional Analysis

·    People with no faith lie to themselves questioning what’s good about life and making up their own value system. They find a way to self-justify by redefining what’s actually bad to mean good. They explain things away. They live with a sense of entitlement. Defiance looks like no big deal because they really didn’t mean to defy. Besides, who’s there to defy? It’s wanting God out of the picture and marching to the beat of their own drum, eating whatever fruit from whatever tree they want to – AKA Adam and Eve.

·    People with damaged faith make up rules and regulations to cover up what they know to be bad. Their self-made rules become “good” ends in themselves. They find ways to hide what they’ve done. They live with a sense of guilt and shame. Defiance is hiding, pretending to be deaf and putting on clothes to cover up – AKA Adam and Eve.

·    People with active faith realize there is no good apart from God and that they’re in need of a much greater Person with the power over sin and death. Defiance is spitting in God’s face and ignoring him, and it’s wrong. Jesus is the only way and the hope for them to ever come face to face with their forever-loving, all-good Creator God. The great price was paid for the grace in their life through the blood and pain of Jesus on the cross and by the power of Jesus to rise from the grave. The Spirit of God is gradually making them more like Jesus so that they no longer want to defy God but obey God.

Justified or Defying God

WE ARE EITHER JUSTIFIED IN OUR LIFE WITH JESUS OR WE ARE JUST DEFYING GOD!

·    How are you defying God right now? Why?
·    Has he called or positioned you for a specific mission, and you’re just hanging back? Clinging to the sidelines? Watching re-runs all day or chatting on the phone?
·    Are you “safely” getting your porn fix every day? Or your shopping fix? Gossip fix? Checklist fix? Power-hungry? Losing control of your anger on others? Using/abusing others emotionally, verbally, or physically? Manipulating situations or relationships for your own selfish ends?
·    Are your relationships suffering? Is your reputation/character shot? Do you see the bad in others before you see it in yourself? Are you distrusting of others?

Fallen Condition Focus
Since we are born into a world of sin with bodies full of sin, it is our nature to single-handedly trash God’s good gifts, his goodness, and even God himself, by looking out for number one. We’re zombies, devouring and destroying for ourselves all that God means for our good.

Gospel Response
Jesus Christ was born into this world to defeat sin and death, giving life to our dead bodies through his death on the cross and rising from the grave. God, who is rich in mercy with great love for us, has saved us by grace and raised us up with Christ! He’s made us alive together with him and prepared for us to reign with him. This is the ultimate gift of God – Himself! Christ took on our defiance of God’s goodness, and defied the law of sin and death by declaring us the ones who are justified in Him.

Just Words

2 Samuel 12:1-13
So the Lord sent Nathan the prophet to tell David this story: “There were two men in a certain town. One was rich, and one was poor. 2 The rich man owned a great many sheep and cattle. 3 The poor man owned nothing but one little lamb he had bought. He raised that little lamb, and it grew up with his children. It ate from the man’s own plate and drank from his cup. He cuddled it in his arms like a baby daughter. 4 One day a guest arrived at the home of the rich man. But instead of killing an animal from his own flock or herd, he took the poor man’s lamb and killed it and prepared it for his guest.”

5 David was furious. “As surely as the Lord lives,” he vowed, “any man who would do such a thing deserves to die! 6 He must repay four lambs to the poor man for the one he stole and for having no pity.”

7 Then Nathan said to David, “You are that man! The Lord, the God of Israel, says: I anointed you king of Israel and saved you from the power of Saul. 8 I gave you your master’s house and his wives and the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. And if that had not been enough, I would have given you much, much more. 9 Why, then, have you despised the word of the Lord and done this horrible deed? For you have murdered Uriah the Hittite with the sword of the Ammonites and stolen his wife. 10 From this time on, your family will live by the sword because you have despised me by taking Uriah’s wife to be your own.

11 “This is what the Lord says: Because of what you have done, I will cause your own household to rebel against you. I will give your wives to another man before your very eyes, and he will go to bed with them in public view. 12 You did it secretly, but I will make this happen to you openly in the sight of all Israel.”

13 Then David confessed to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”

Details
His whole army is fighting a war, and where is King David? At home. Bathsheba is bathing, and where is King David? On his roof, playing the peeping tom. Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband and King David’s soldier, is fighting in a war, and where is King David? In bed with Uriah’s wife. Bathsheba is pregnant with King David’s child, and where is King David? Giving orders for Uriah’s death by being placed on the frontline of battle.

Here’s the “man after God’s own heart” completely defying the God who 1) helped him to defeat Goliath and company, 2) escape from “Mad King Saul”, and 3) made him king, lord-protector of God’s people.

Then, God sends Nathan to speak with King David. Nathan tells him of a wealthy sheep owner taking the one, family-raised ewe lamb of a poor man. The wealthy man took it and sacrificed it for his own purposes, to entertain a houseguest. David becomes enraged: “What! Nobody does this and gets away with it in my kingdom! Who is it? I will ensure justice is done in this case.” And Nathan speaks in God’s behalf, “You are the man! Look what you’ve done with what I’ve given you. You treat me like you treated Uriah. You’ve despised me in all that you’ve done. Oh, and by the way, this is my Kingdom.” Outright defiance of God and his gifts. Of course, David is broken. David bears a consequence, but he still has the hope of redemption because of what a better King David will come to do: Jesus Christ, our King of Glory, has come to die on a cross for our defiance of God and rise from the grave to give us redemption, all for the justice and mercy of God. We have just defied God, and Jesus has justified our new life in him.

RACING REFLECTIONS WEEK 1

Well, it’s been a long winter.  In fact, I think winter is still hanging around, but that didn’t stop the race season from kicking off last Saturday night for the opener at Evergreen Speedway.  The day was brisk cold, rain-filled and we spent a lot of time congregating around the heaters inside the race haulers.

At 4pm a pit meeting was called and it was agreed the track was dry enough to run a 10-minute practice session.  We left the meeting, suited up and buckled in.  I was pumped to be getting in the race car for the first time in 2011.  The sound and smell of the engines and tires are a refreshing aroma to a winter of icy clad trees, deep snow and mountain sleds.

Taking the track I brought the #70 Sound Advice, Snohomish Pie Company, Domino’s Pizza, J’s Interiors Chevrolet up to speed, but something was amiss, the engine.  The car was not running, in fact, running on 7 cylinders.  Because the practice session was our only time on the track to tune the chassis for the race I tried to at least get a feel for how we would handle.  It was useless. The car was just slow, really slow, so I brought it in.  Moments after lifting the hood off the problem was discovered.  Something happened in the top end of the motor, and we would need a new stove if there was going to be some heat on the race track this cold April Saturday.

The guys went to work pulling the expired engine.  I went to work trying to find a replacement.  As it would turn out I would find a motor in a car in Snohomish.  I drove to the shop, took the engine from the other race car, put it in the Snohopieco work truck and raced back to the track.  The promoters had rearranged the order of the show trying to buy me more time.  The team worked frantically, it even got a little rough around the edges as all of us were in the red zone.

With 3 laps to go in the 1st Main Event for my class we entered traffic on the track at speed.  I was elated because I was expecting to get last place points for making green flag laps on the speedway, more on that in a minute.  The checkered flew, I came to the pit, high-fived a few of the guys, and they went to working on the car to not only complete items left undone, but make sure everything was copacetic for the 2nd main event of the double-header.

We lined up on the grid for the 2nd main event, starting dead last.  The green flew and we were getting the feel of the car.  It was the first I’d been at speed on the track in 2011.  The car was really decent, not surprising, I’ve got a great team and package for this track at Evergreen.  We went to work the high groove and started passing some cars.

I made my way through the field on the outside, and had a good battle going with some of my on-track rivals until things would get tricky.  The 2 and 5 car were ahead of me battling for position.  The 16 car was inside me and we were racing strong.  Entering turn 3 the 2 car slid up in front of the 5 car.  The 5 car looked to be evading, but all of a sudden he slowed, a lot.  I only had one option when I saw the mess in front.  I went to go around the high side and avoid them both.  As I made the move the 5 car did the same.  My trajectory changed and there wasn’t room for my beautifully prepared race car, and I clamped down on the binders trying to slow, and steer.

Nothing doing, I went head long into the concrete barrier better known as the fence.  The impact was strong.  My body let out this massive yell as every muscle flexed, to protect the vitals I assume.  The car deflected on the wall, but the damage was enormous.  The right front tire was nearly shoved into the passenger side door area.  The car was on three wheels.  Under power I rolled around to our pit dejected and disappointed that my speedster was severely wounded.  The night would end with me finishing 2nd to last and dead last in both main events.  That is definitely not where I was thinking the opening weekend would start.

Sunday we had an incredible day at church.  I spent the afternoon and well into the night cutting off the damage with my team.  The car is basically clipped off at the firewall just below the base of the windshield forward.  Monday met us with ordering parts, shipping and freight plans, the search for some tubular steel and a bit of controversy.

Hmmmm? controversy and racing?  nahhh.  Turns out there is a rule in the NASCAR rule book that says if a driver doesn’t receive the green flag on the track they cannot be scored in that particular race.  Up until Monday afternoon I was under the impression, based upon what track officials and staff had relayed to me, I would be given credit for my 3 laps in race 1, and as a result last place points.  Turns out there was some internet discussions going on about me and this very rule.  I spoke with the speedway three times on Monday, as late as 10:00PM.  The discussion centered around precedence of the rules, fairness and consistency and the qualities displayed by my team deserving reward.

In the end it was determined that because I did not start (DNS) the race on the green flag I would not receive points for the 1st race.  Obviously, I was anticipating this outcome and disappointed because the mountain to climb to win the title, let alone repair the car, was a tall one.  When all was said and done I support the decision of Evergreen Speedway, and stand by their commitment to consistency and fairness even though the message delivered to me by officials changed between Saturday and Monday.

In summary, my rivals can breath a little easy right now as I’m not anywhere near the points championship, and I will depend on good ole fashion racing fate if I am to have a shot at it.  However, we will turn our disappointment with the resolve to dominate.  Truthfully we race to win.  If I win as often as I can for the remainder of 2011 the points just might favor me in November at the awards banquet.  If not, no worries because my team are champions.

NASCAR Championships are deserving of teams who work hard, handle adversity with perseverance and through it all display an immense amount of passion and heart for their sport.  My team displayed those qualities on Saturday, and I am super proud of them.

I want to give a huge shout out to Sound Advice; Snohomish Pie Company; Domino’s Pizza of Monroe; J’s Interiors, Main Street, Monroe; JZ Motorsports; Steamline Automotive; and DeYoung Inc. for getting the #70 back on the track.

Wealth without Worry

5. Wealth without Worry
Proverbs 10:22 (ESV)
The blessing of the LORD makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it

The word translated as “sorrow” here is the same word used for the cursed “toil” in Genesis 3:17 and “pain” which accompanies child-birth in Genesis 3:16. Despite the sinfulness of ourselves and the world from the fall, God does not refrain from blessing his people. Though we are not completely free from the effects of the fall, we have been rescued from it and now we can enjoy the blessings of God.

Missional Analysis
o    People with no faith will mostly consume, taking all the value created by others for their own personal gain. If they do create value, they will do so for personal gain in this life.

o    People with damaged faith will mostly critique the value making of others, and will largely not create any value of their own. When they do create value, they do so not to honor God, but to appease God.

o    People with active faith seek to glorify God in rhythms of work and rest. They work hard to honor the Lord and practice rest as a way of glorifying him.

1 Samuel 26:22-25
“Here is your spear, O king,” David replied. “Let one of your young men come over and get it. 23 The Lord gives his own reward for doing good and for being loyal, and I refused to kill you even when the Lord placed you in my power, for you are the Lord’s anointed one. 24 Now may the Lord value my life, even as I have valued yours today. May he rescue me from all my troubles.”

25 And Saul said to David, “Blessings on you, my son David. You will do many heroic deeds, and you will surely succeed.” Then David went away, and Saul returned home.