Colossians 4:2-6

"Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone."

This is an exhortation from Paul (similar to Col. 2:7) directed at the Masters of estates, the wealthy living in Colossae. He's just finished talking to the slaves, encouraging them "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men." The truth here is that both can apply to us today.

We are the wealthiest people in the world. Only 2% of the world own cars, my family has three. Wealth is measured in opportunity, not by the amount of paper in your wallet. Americans, in college or not, are the wealthiest the world has ever seen. But Paul also mentions he is enslaved to the gospel, in chains to the mystery of Christ. Should this not be our position as well?

"being watchful" in prayer. This passage in Colossians is linked with Ephesians 6:18-20

"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests (greek: supplication - with humility). With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should."

Prayer seems to function as a way to watch over other Christians, to care for them in supplication. I always related alertness to the "watchful servant" parable Jesus tells in Luke 12, but here - being alert translates in to knowing what to pray for.

The Col. passage also encourages thankfulness for our prayers, and how rightly he tells this to the wealthy. We are blessed, and need to be humbly reminded of such daily. Jesus, who during His ministry was homeless and not very wealthy, began most every prayer in the gospels with thanking God. We should abide in his example.

This idea of being chained to the Gospel or to the Mystery of Christ is fond in both passages. Paul often was literally in chains, as Paul wrote both letters during his first imprisonment in Rome, but he means it spiritually as well. He cannot separate his life from the message and direction of Christ.

Do I see this in my own life? Paul seems to be addressing conversation soon after, and it is true - so often in my daily conversations Christian topics just work their way to the surface. It's difficult for me to have conversations with people that do not end up focusing on Christ. But Paul is addressing something bigger here. Everything Paul does seems to be in relation to Christ. If he is truly in chains, maybe a better question is who are leading the chains?

If two are chained together, one is directing the other as they move forward. By saying he is in chains to Christ, yes there is a weight felt there, but is he not also saying he will go wherever those chains lead him? If on the other side of those chains is Christ, who is bigger? Who will be leading whom? I'm reminded of Christ saying His yolk is easy, encouraging us to bring our burdens to Him, that he might help us on the road - but a yolk can only go one direction. To join the yolk of Christ is to join Him in whatever direction He leads.

So what is my incentive to pray? I was recently reminded that if my incentive to spend time with God is to avoid sinning, I'm still only worshiping that sin. Praying needs to draw us closer to God for the purposes of knowing/better understanding Him and His will. This will reflect who or what we are really chained to, this will guide what happens in our daily conversations.

"Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone."

The encouragement is to have your conversations "seasoned" with the focus of Christ. But not only to mention Him, but be prepared to discuss it further. It may be a great "mystery", but our testimonies are not, nor are His works in the world. Being prepared to answer questions about your Christ seasoned words can only come from spending time with Him, in word and prayer. From being in Chains.


Refuting Bart Ehrman

an NPR Interview was recently brought to my attention by my friend Greg about an ex-evangelist who wrote a book on discrepancies in the Gospels. His name is Bart Ehrman, a religion professor at UNC, and he claims there are irreconcilable differences among the Gospels, the subject of this interview and his book, "Jesus, Interrupted."

There's a lot he has to say in this interview that seems merely to be his interpretation, and leaves out a lot of scriptural or historical support for what he is refuting.

First off, I find it reasonable to believe that Jesus was in pain on the cross, regardless of the gospel you are reading - or the explicit detail of that pain given by the author. We have to realize their audience would have already had a greater understanding of the pain of the cross that we do. It is the most painful death ever documented in human history - in fact it's own word was created to describe it: excruciating (meaning from the cross). So to argue one gospel doesn't mention pain enough is just silly.

And then there's his concern for what was said on the cross. For instance, in Mark when Jesus is quoted "my god, my god why have you forsaken me" - He is singing! It's psalm 22, a common hebrew song sung in anguish. Mark found it necessary to include that. Mark is alluding to Genesis when Adam sang to his wife in the beginning by singing before his death, connecting when sin entered the world, to Jesus's death. Mark and Luke are separate accounts, but not wrong. Jesus said many things on the cross, the gospel writers chose what was pertinent.

Also important to consider: each of the 4 Gospels had their own audience. Mark was creating an account of a king in the Roman format of caesars, and tailored what he included as such. That does not refute what he did include, though. Matthew was to the Jews, Luke was to Gentile Christians. Agendas in audience are, if anything, important to understanding a view point - not to discredit the writing.
And for the professor to use the coptic gospel as proof for his argument is not valid, because it is not supported in antiquity. The 4 gospels were eye-witness accounts, written with apostolic authority over them, and supported by the other apostles to be true events. We don't include outside gospels for many reasons I could get into another time. The professor says Jesus did not claim to be the Son of God until the end of the Gospels outside of John? Jesus is repeatedly given many titles throughout the story lines, one of which is when He calls himself the "son of man", a quote from the Prophet Daniel about the Messiah. I'm afraid his point of explicit statement of Kingship is not very sound.

He seems obsessed with semantics, but misses Jesus's meaning entirely. In many instances, Jesus could be both things this guy is arguing. Jesus could be an ethical teacher & be apocalyptic minded in his preaching because there is life here and an afterlife later, shouldn't he preach on both? It is not a bad thing for his followers to have that sense of urgency as well, because Jesus very focused on heaven and hell.

I'm disappointed by his obsession in biblical discrepancies, because the most affluent differences in the original greek copies are differences of I/we or then/when. Anything else is semantics within a translation, but the message does not change. Is sin a "transgression" or a "trespass" against God? The translation may be different, but the message has not changed.

There's a lot he leaves out in his discussion here, that may be in his books, where he claims his interpretation is one thing, but it is only that - and not necessarily founded within the passages he references, they are more or less thoughts about a concept of what might be going on.

That's all I have to say for now, but if anyone has more questions about his points, please ask

Thoughts on Homosexuality

People who claim to follow Christ are quick to connect sinners with damnation. They find sin to be a filthy part of the human condition, and realize all people need to repent of their sinful lives, and seek after Jesus, His generosity and mercy, and His commands. If someone is "living in sin" they are living without repentance for a repetitive sinful action in their life, and therefore separate themselves from God.

People who align themselves with homosexuality often face public ridicule and oppression from those brandishing a bible, who would judge them with their words, and preach damnation for their souls. I would argue that these people, although misguided in their evangilism, are most likely not homophobic, but simply against a public statement of sin.

As far as Homosexuality is concerned, in reference to sin, here is what I've found to be true in scripture:

In the NT, Homosexuality is addressed specifically by the apostles when correcting some cultural issues in their letters to the local churches, and indirectly by Christ himself.

Here is a truth: Jesus never blatantly says "Homosexuality is a sin." What Jesus does speak against is what we call "sexual immorality". Jesus never takes the time to list all the forms of sex that are wrong, instead He uses the blanket term Pornea - which translated from the Greek means 'fornication' - to say that any sex outside of the spiritual covenant of marriage is wrong. Homosexuality would be considered sex outside of marriage.

Occasionally Jesus goes so far as to referencing Genesis's "they were made male and female and for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh" when discussing sexual immorality, indicating again that Homosexuality falls into this category.

Scripturally this is a reasonable move. To laundry list all forms of sex that are wrong means that people could find loopholes, make excuses, and only obey the list. Instead, we are given the principal that any sex outside of marriage is wrong.

People in a homosexual lifestyle are never directly damned or condemned by Jesus, but the ACT of homosexuality is considered a sin - breaking the spiritual covenant with God, and His intent for sex to be within the confines of marriage - and sin is separation from God. Without repentance, and belief in Christ, sin does lead to damnation.

Specifically, you can find direct statements against homosexuality, including lesbianism, in the NT because most scripture by the apostles are written as letters to real churches to real people with sin problems.

It's important to note that not all of the law is thrown out because Jesus fulfilled it - murder is still a sinful act. Some of the original law transcends beyond Moses, specifically the Ten Commandments. In the gospels, Jesus indicates that sex outside of marriage is considered adultery against the Lord, as is lust. Homosexuality would again fall into that category.

I would also argue the covenant of marriage transcends a cultural time period, clearly part of our society today, and would therefore make a topic like homosexuality extremely relevant. It is for that reason many Christians seem to take offense to homosexuality. It is not that it challenges their own sexuality, but that it disrespects a spiritual covenant the Lord has made with mankind, and endorses a sinful lifestyle separating those within that lifestyle from a life with God.

Another issue is that homosexuality is such a public sin in our culture. Not too long ago it was alcoholism that was a public offense and damnable. Laws were even made to prevent it during prohibition. That wave may have passed, but alcoholism is still not considered a sin-free act by the gospel. There is cultural relevance to certain sins that are more public than others. Ours is homosexuality.

Matthew 5:17 - Fulfill

from a conversation with my friend Michael Shea

You are right to say many people will pick and choose single blurbs of scripture from the OT law to support often discriminatory actions. It is wrong to take scripture out of context and abuse it to gain some end.

If you're questioning why Christians (who have tattoos and cut their sideburns and eat pig meat when Leviticus clearly speaks against such a thing) fail to uphold to Mosaic Law, consider what Jesus said in

Matthew 5:17
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them."

For Christ to fulfill the law means that He has satisfied it completely for us. The law called for perfect obedience under threat of a “curse."

Galatians 3:10
All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law." (Deuteronomy 27:26)

For anyone to perfectly obey the law would mean to live a perfect and sinless life. Because man would inevitably fail at the 607 laws weekly, on the Sabbath a spotless lamb would be sacrificed, and the shedding of blood atoned for the many's sins.

Because Christ lived out the law to its fruition, and then continued on to pay the penalty of breaking the law, He became the fulfillment of the law, completing it's bind on man.

If the law were to bear the same relationship to mankind today, then it was not fulfilled when Christ first came, and Jesus failed to accomplish what He came to do.

The NT writers believed this was true as well:

Romans 10:4
"Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes."

Galatians 3:23-25
"Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law."

Ephesians 2:15
"by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace"

There's a really great analysis of Matthew 5:17-20 in response to a similar question on Islam

MD: South Africa

"With so many years left and so much remaining to do, I want to keep repenting, learning, changing, and growing by God’s grace, rather than getting comfortable and settling into a life and ministry that cease to press forward. My goal is Christ, not comfort or convenience."

Mark Driscoll

Baseball 2k10

It's that time again! Spring training is upon us, and in honor of the Longoria-glorified MLB 2k10 dropping March 2, the urge to make my yearly arbitrary baseball predictions strikes again.



East: NY Yankees
Central: Minnesota Twins
West: Seattle Mariners
Wildcard: Tampa Bay Rays


New York over Minnesota in 4
Tampa Bay over Seattle in 3

Tampa Bay over New York in 5


NL (which I will admit, I don't really know that well)

East: Philadelphia Phillies
Central: St. Louis Cardinals
West: Colorado Rockies
Wildcard: Florida Marlins


Philadelphia over Colorado in 5
St. Louis over Florida in 4

Philadelphia over St. Louis in 5



TAMPA BAY over Philadelphia in 6

OK, so maybe i'm reliving 2008 a little bit, but the Rays stand a great chance this year.

(return of Crawford, Longoria, Pena, Upton, and newfound Zobrist -- a maturing bullpen of Sheilds, Garza, Price, and potential ROY from 2009 Niemann - and with the addition of Wade Davis and the solid closer Rafael Soriano -- potentially unstoppable)

I would also keep an eye on Boston and Atlanta.