Monthly Archives: March 2009

The Revelation of Jesus

Galatians 1:11-12

I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.

Like Paul, I did not come to faith by the preaching of men. I’m not saying that some did not attempt to share Christ with me, but unlike most people, God had to reach out to me directly – pretty much by the scruff of my neck.

Commanding a Non-conformist Not to Conform

Paul had a blinding light from above.  God chose to reach me through my own blind pride from a billboard above.  Specifically, it was a billboard that had Romans 12:2a on it.  That verse reads, Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

In my foolishness, I thought of myself as the ultimate non-conformist.  I hung with a group of outcasts but I pridefully observed that I did not conform to them either: I was a self-proclaimed non-conformist to the non-conformist.  All this really meant was that I was lonely and alone; foolish & prideful; lacking everything while I thought I was wise.

In his great mercy, God somehow held this weekly rotating church sign from changing for six weeks so that I could see it long enough to first make fun of the church for their failure to update it, then move to taunting the scripture (what could hypocritical church people know about non-conformity), to disbelief that such a statement could even be in the Bible which drove me to the decision to look it up. 

Our heavenly Father has such a great sense of humor and irony in his patient and faithful love pursuit of his children.  In my life, God used my own juvenile and pathetic crown of non-conformity to get me to surrender to his Lordship so He could make me a son and crown me himself with the eternal crown of life as a co-heir to his son, Jesus.

I’ve always been able to relate to C.S. Lewis in his account of his conversion in Surprised by Joy“I came into Christianity kicking and screaming. You must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen [College, Oxford], night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England.”

About Hypocrites – Takes One to Know One

My personal claim was that Christians were clearly hypocrites in their pursuit and push for moral perfection.  My Catholic upbringing left me filled more with guilt than the grace of the Lord.  I decided I could do without them if they could not accept me.  Yet here I was opening one of our dust-collecting, Bible decorations to look up Romans 12:2.

Being Catholic, we never used the Bible, just church missalettes so navigating scripture references was a novel experience.  Growing up in church, I occasionally marveled at the exploits of missionaries who sent letters that would be read during the service.  The Priest would read a letter from the missionary to different people or churches. 

I noticed the majority of our letters were from a missionary named Paul and I used to think, “Wow, he really gets around and he really writes a lot”. Imagine my surprise to find the proliferate missionary in my Bible as I opened to “The Letter of Paul to the Romans”.  I think I might actually have exclaimed out loud, “It’s that guy!”

I continued to decode this book figuring out what scripture references meant and trying to determine what “R” and “T” meant in margins, I found myself cross”R”eferenced to the Gospel of Matthew where I discovered some of the letters were black and some were red. Examining these, I soon determined that the red letters were the words of Jesus and before I knew it, I had read through the Gospel of Matthew and had completely and totally fallen in love with Jesus.

The Only True Non-Conformist – Jesus

What I was amazed to find was that Jesus loved the “wicked” (like me) even though he did not condone their sins but instead forgave them their sins.  Also, he loved the righteous (like the Pharisees) even when they were hypocrites though he did not condone their sinful pride but instead forgave them theirs sins.  It wasn’t that Jesus took sides or that he was about us being morally good.  He taught that none of us could be good but that God alone was good and that his love alone could nullify our sins and transform us from sinners into children of God. 

It was hard to imagine but I discovered that Jesus loved me just as much as all the good Christians who I thought were condemning me. I thought non-conforming through rebelling against the establishment was who I was but I discovered that my non-conformity was not non-conformity at all but merely living in the same sins as everyone else: lust, greed, and pride.

Our Father was so gracious in the way he revealed his son to me.  Jesus Chris is the one and only true non-conformist because he is the only conformist to God, the Father. I discovered that night that Jesus was the greatest non-conformist who ever lived and I decided to give my life to him fully.  That radically changed my life and I will be eternally grateful.  Romans 12:1 says, Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.

27 Years of Real Non-conformity

All of this happened when I was 18 and my life has been a river of blessing flowing to the sea rushing bigger and more powerful in Christ each year.  Besides having a wonderful wife and four amazing children that each have come to know Christ through the Savior’s leading, I have a had a life of increasing purpose and joy.  It is not that I have not had hard times because I have – but when I have them, I know the one who can give the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, and will guard my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:7.

I have also been blessed to love so many people and watch them grow in Christ by the work of Jesus in my life.  This is not from me – anymore than what I received was from other men.  God uses people to reach others but it is always his work. 

I can promise you this – if you are reading this, the God of the universe is pursuing you mightily.  How can I say that?  First, that’s what the Bible says 2 Peter 3:9, .  Secondly, we are having this conversation through my blog or some other means.   Since the Father loves you and is pursuing you, I pray that our Father will reveal his son in you as he did for Paul and as he did for me.

Galatians 1:15-16

But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me

Sent by God

Galatians 1:1-2, 3-5:

1Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— 2and all the brothers with me, to the churches in Galatia:

What’s in a Greeting?

In his greeting, Paul has no qualms with saying that he is sent by God. This is a bold statement and I wonder how many Christians have this confidence. 

The difference for Paul is the knowing – the confidence in the reality that God had put him in a specific time, specific place to reach out to a specific people with the love of Christ.  But the same is true for us.  Our time is now, our place is where he has us, and our people are the friends and relationships right in front of us.

We struggle with this – often trying to figure out his purpose for us – like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz not realizing our hearts desire is in our own backyard.  Or we struggle because we tried to believe like this but felt it did not work out so we assumed we didn’t have faith or we are out of God’s will.

But Paul struggled with these unfulfilled longings and unexpected setbacks too – longing to go to places that he was not able to Rom 1:13 to and frequently getting thwarted in his endeavors.  2 Cor 11:24:29 He didn’t allow this to shake his faith in his mission from God. To Paul, these difficulties were evidential proof that he had enemies in spiritual realms and that God’s purposes where bigger than him but God was always faithful even if we couldn’t understand.

Paul trusted that God loved him and that he was on God’s mission regardless of the situations and circumstances that came his way.  He looked for ways to glorify God in them all – for the impossible to become an opportunity for God to do the extraordinary. 

Is this the faith you’re experiencing? Does your faith know God is in the middle of all our circumstances? Does your faith recognize and accept the responsibility to love and minister to the relationships God has provided. We are sent and when we realize that, we will be able to encourage others in Christ the way Paul built into the heart of the Galatians – with the grace and peace from God.

3Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

In the beginning, God created…

My son, Jeremy, and I visited John Brown university a few years ago. The walls of their arts center have different quotes written in a variety of typefaces.  It is an unexpectedly interesting effect.  As you come in the main doors, one of the first quotes you see is. “In the beginning, God created…

I’d never really separated this part of the sentence from the rest, as you might when doing a grammar lesson.  God (noun) created (verb) the heavens and the earth (object).  We and all creation are the objects of God’s energy in creation.  

In the beginning, God created…  Independent of the object of his creation – us – God is a creator. God is the creator.  We could simplify further.

In the beginning, God… He is the beginning and end.

But later we see that “God created man in his own image“.  If God is a creator and he created us in his image, then what does that say about us and our inheritance from Him. 

Are we not supposed to create our lives for his glory?

We should love creatively and live creatively longing for the shadow creativity that we possess to showcase the glory or God in us and to lift us up to where we see him face-to-face for eternity.

We can’t do this alone though. We are created in his image to bear his spirit.  When we let his love and his life abide in us, then and only then can his creative love and life flow out of our existence giving it eternal purpose and value.

Finding the Light with Gabrielle.

March 3, 2009

P1020046 A few weeks ago, my wife and I were blessed to take a hiking trip at Enchanted Rock with our daughter-in-law, Lauren, and our youngest daughter, Gabrielle. We had a great time. God blessed us with great weather and wonderful company. 

During the hike, Cammi and Lauren decides to sit and rest a bit while Gabrielle and I explored the caves created by the massive leaning pieces of granite near the top of Enchanted Rock.  One of the coolest areas is crawling out this opening in the image of Gabrielle below.  I love this image and the time I got to enjoy with these beautiful ladies in my life – and especially the time exploring with Gabrielle.

P1020042

She, like all my children, are growing up so fast but this image causes me to appreciate her wonderful spirit and the gift of her. It reminded me of the dedication we wrote for her when she was a little girl and I had to find it and re-read it.  In it, we captured the mercies of God toward us in Gabrielle and as she and I burrowed through dark caves to find the light, I was taking in the light in her too. Here is the dedication from 2001.

The Dedication of Gabrielle
by Todd and Cammi Boyum, Mother’s Day – May 13, 2001
Hill Country Bible Church Pflugerville,

clip_image002It was God, our Father, who put desire in the heart of your father and mother after giving them all the children they’d prayed for to conceive of a radiant fourth gem named Gabrielle.And how impoverished we would be without you: We would never know your cherub-featured face as you greet us when we return home running into our arms with unbridled love and joy.

clip_image004We would never have heard that little stars up above the world so high twinkle like dinosaurs in the sky. We would never have the pleasure of the chore of singing you three songs every night at bedtime and gently returning you to your bed when you wake up scared. We would have never heard your unrestrained singing or witnessed the affection of your brothers and sister to you. We would have never heard the bestest Gabrielle christen us, with a hug and a kiss, the bestest mom and dad.

What should be our prayer for you, Gabrielle, whom the Father seems to bathe in the golden air of heaven’s joy?We pray that Christ reveal himself to you clip_image006so your passion and joy may be complete in Him. We pray that He ever continue His song in your life: the psalm of a Godly girl, woman, mother, and wife. We pray that your days will be inspired by the magic the Father has placed in your heart as a child for such is the kingdom of heaven.

Community in a World Without Walls

Attending Ministry 2.0 this weekend, Dr. David Foster kicked off the conference with a talk titled Advancing Your Church in the Brave New Wall-less, Wireless, Worn-out World.

We as Christians have a choice in our rapidly changing world.  We can advance the church of Jesus Christ or we will become increasingly irrelevant.  It depends on our attitude toward the world we live in and the way we embrace the way it is changing. Here are a few thoughts:

Does community happen only when we meet at the church?

If community only happens in the church building or our small groups, what happens when gas prices top $4/gallon and some don’t come?  What if some illness or circumstance prevents attendance?  Does the church community cease to exist for them?

The church I attend has an exciting focus on church planting enabling them to plant churches that can tailor themselves to a local community.  This seems to them to follow an Acts 2 model – However, community in today’s world is increasingly not based on geography. 

Living in the bedroom community of Hutto where more than 85% of the people leave town to work elsewhere, it is already clear that their tie to the geography of Hutto is limited. But more than that, people clearly find their community around their interests and their relationships and the technological advances in our world make that increasingly easier to do.

Community in the Church or Church in the Community

Jason Reynolds shared a Case Study of an Online Church Campus. Their experience with offering this type of campus has caused them to redefine Community as “What God does in the midst of people to change lives.”

Community – What God does in the midst of people to change lives.

Their online simulcasts complete with chat communities and more have enabled them to empower those who cannot attend church. These member have not only found fellowship with a body of believers but have also established purpose that they previously believed impossible by being able to minister to others despite circumstances that isolate them physically. 

As we move from the attractional church model of providing community in the church to the missional model of living church in the community, we need to realize our community is not bound by the geography of their daily walking distance such as existed in Acts 2.  They are free agents who are free to participate in any culture, at any time, on whatever terms they desire.

Reaching Across the aisle or Reaching across world

Today’s modern technology now enables people to transcend simple information retrieval to find true, authentic community with people of any geography, culture, or time of their life.  In fact, they often seem to feel free to be more authentic and transparent in these communities than in the brick-and-mortal ritual of forced smiles and greetings imposed upon them during the church program.

If we are to reach people with the life-changing reality of Christ, we are going to have to continue to let our lives be changed to reach people in the communities in which they live.  Today’s social networking platforms may seem foreign – but that they are way less foreign than those communities that Paul and the other early missionaries had to breach. In fact, they are more like a personal guide to the culture of each and every person we meet – providing a platform to more easily speak their language, interact with them on their terms and overcome many of the barriers that previously limited our reach.  These tools can be a time-machine, a teleporter, a translator/guide, and a facilitator to real relationship that can make a difference in peoples lives.

This is just a little of the promise in Ministry 2.0.

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