Sunday, June 29, 2008

My new motto

So I have a new motto. I thought of it when looking at discipleship plans and reading some Lifeway material, along with some other stuff. I want to do things on purpose with purpose for purpose.

I don't want to just go through being random, doing things here or there with no intentionality. I want to do the things God calls me to do, by seeking and following and obeying.

I don't want to just do things just for the sake of doing them. I want to serve for God's Glory, with a purpose and calling attached. I don't want to serve God just to make myself feel good or pius, but because there is a purpose from God.

I don't want to serve for no reason. I want to serve in a way that honors the commandments of God. I want to serve to further the Kingdom and to add strenght to His church.

I want to serve on purpose, with purpose for purpose. Wanna join me?

Friday, June 27, 2008

Submission in a new light. . . at least for me.

Elaine and I were doing a bible study together the other night, it was one of those "married people" bible studies. The topic that night was submission and what it means for a wife to submit to her husband. The specific passage of scripture was from Ephesians 5. It began in verse 21, which is the verse that tells us to submit to one another. Later, it talks about wife's submitting to your husbands as to Christ, and men loving their wives as Christ loves the church. Love your wife as your own body. Like Christ, the head, loves the church, the body.

So I'm thinking about this word, submit. What does it mean? There are two kinds of submit, one means to place yourself under as to an authority. I submit to the Senior Pastor. I submit to the police. The other means to give something for the approval and often integration. You submit an article to be published, or a paper or test to become part of your grade. Let's put those things together.

In the church, we submit to one another out of reverence to Christ. We submit to the head, which is Christ. In marriage, we submit to one another, but the wife submits to the husband, who is the head. The connection of both of these is we submit ourselves to be part of the hole, and then submit under than whole. The marriage unit is a whole, it's one part, one flesh, one family. My wife and I, we are Mr and Mrs Barnes, together. God has joined us, and we live and love and plan and serve in a united front. God calls me to lead, and she comes with me, she submits to the leading of her husband. The alternative is a fracture. If you head goes one way and your body goes another, both end up in the morgue. Division and separation of the head and body always, without exception ends in death. The mind is separated from the heart, and the two cannot function without the other.

In the church, we are a bigger unit that a marriage. Pastors, deacons, teachers, leaders, helpers, workers, members. Different body parts, but one body. We go with the body, my hand or foot or eye doesn't go off on it's own. If it does, that part dies and the body suffers. For the body to stay healthy, it must stay together. It must yield to each other and it must ultimately follow the head, who is Christ.

We submit ourselves to one another, and then we submit ourselves under one another, ultimately, we submit ourselves for one another. In the church, in a marriage, it's no longer about just you, but about the whole. It may be a case of the sum of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.

Monday, June 23, 2008


I like theology. I like to talk about theology, to study theology and read theology. Maybe I'm weird, because lately I have heard some condemnation of the study of theology. Makes me a little nervous. I agree that arguing over the 5 points of Calvinism or Arminianism can be pretty fruitless. Never the less, I think there is a real danger when we don’t learn and study and know our theology. Your view of God, which really is what your theology is, shapes how you do everything else. Your theology will shape how you evangelize, how you minister, even how you pray. How you view God, how you perceive His Holiness, what you believe about His activity and His functions, even His abilities. It shapes how you view people, how you view eternity, and how you view the earth and times we are living in.

Like Charles Haden Spurgeon, I do not hesitate to take the name Calvinist, and I hold to the name Baptist, but if you ask me my creed, it is Jesus Christ. We lose much when we neglect theology, in my case, Calvinism. For me, it is a system which presents the weight of the glory of God. We have been so caught up on man, we have become so self-focused that we have forgotten it’s not about us. It’s about God and His glory. It’s about Holiness, and it’s always been about His Holiness, not about us or our salvation. We are saved because it brings Him Glory and because He is Holy, no other reason. There is nothing in us. “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” Romans 11:36 (ESV)

There was a time when theology was tossed aside, and we did not study it, we did not teach it, we did not love it. It was lost and when that happened, a period came where men were burned alive for reading the scripture, and the Holy Church became so corrupted that Holiness became grounds for execution. We cannot let go of theology or seeking the truth.

Study the word, seek Holiness in prayer, in Bible reading. Learn. Study and learn more. Read books and learn theology. Don’t stop ministry and teaching or preaching or praying, or whatever you do, but learn more. Read history, sit at the feet of great men. If you don’t like a theological system, find out why. Don’t logic chop, find out why in the Bible. Examine, don’t just believe what is easy to believe. Look, seek, study, talk, commune, wrestle, fight and struggle. Get down on your knees, open your Bible and pour yourself out to God and do what you can to grasp His Holiness, His Glory and your own inadequacy. Don’t be a infantile Christian, sitting in the pew and drinking the milk of whatever is preached that Sunday. Meat is tough sometimes, it’s hard to chew, you need a knife to get at it. We have been given one better, take the sword of God’s word and learn theology. The alternative is spiritual slavery.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Why we blog

Do you blog? You should. Wanna know why? Of course you do, or you wouldn't bother to read this. We blog because writing is the most permanent way to share, store and transfer ideas. We have books and writings as old as civilization. We have stone and pottery pieces with writing on them as far back as we can dig up. We write because we always have. We write because inside each of us there are divine sparks that God placed inside us. We have the desire to create, to share and to think. We write to improve our ability to write and thus communicate. Here are some interesting (at least I think they are interesting) things to think about.

As we become more advanced, we write more, not less. It began with e-mail, then text messages, now we have phones with full keyboards to write.

Blogs have become widely popular, and we write on our blogs, our myspace or facebook page.

We have internet books that have increased circulation of material and given more authors that chance to write and be publish.

I also think it's interesting that we still turn to books for wisdom. More importantly, when God chose to communicate to mankind, He chose the written word. He didn't give us the Holy Movie, or the Holy TV show. It's a cannon of 66 books, put together to form the scripture. Why? Well, John Piper talks about the word in his biography of Martin Luther, and says it for a few reasons. It's external, it's unchangeable and unimpressionable. I can explain away signs, I can skew statistics, and I can manipulate emotions. I can't change the Word. It's there, and whether or not I like what it says, I can't change it. There are things in there that I would rather not be in there some days. It won't change for me, so I have to change for it.

So here I write. I write to reflect on what the external word tells me about life and how to live it. I write to share with you my thoughts and my ideas. I write because something deep inside longs to have something more permanent that the last words spoken. I write because I desire to write, and I blog so you can read it. So that's why I blog. How about you?

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Barnes relocation

Well we've pulled it off, sort of. We have made the move, the truck has yet to come, and I thank God every minute for the two guys who are driving it for us. What a blessing. We are staying with some new friends who I think have become our Sioux City parents. It's very exciting.

I'll admit, I'm a little nervous. I think we are always nervous about change. I knew what was going on in Arizona, I knew who to call, who to talk to and where to go. I knew where to shop, where to eat, and where to get what I need. In church work, I knew pastors, DOMs, and State staff, as well as profs from Golden Gate. I knew how to get an evangelism grant, I knew when the ACE conference was, I knew who to call if I had an article for the state magazine. I knew where things were and I knew who to talk to.

This will be a new adventure in the city, church, association and state convention. I've never lived in the Midwest, in fact, Wyoming and Arizona are it for me. Iowa will be a new experience. I am excited about it and optimistic for it, and know that God will grow me here.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Pocket Watch

Happy Father's Day. This was a good father's day, my kids (my wife) gave me a pocket watch and a little remote control helicopter. Really cool stuff. The pocket watch I will carry for a time, then it may sit on my desk or in a hutch or display for a time, then one day I'll pass it on to my children. I think about the things I will give to my boys as they get older, and the things my dad passed to me. My dad was very affectionate and told me that he loved me a lot. It's something I try to do as a father. I tell them how they are all special, Kaylee is my only girl, Collin is my eldest son and Brayden is my baby boy.

It's day's like Father's day that make me want to try to be a better father. I want to be the father that God wants me to be. It's still strange to think about the fact that I am the adult, I'm the "dad", I am in the role my father had. It's overwhelming, but I love being a dad so much. I hope my kids know how much I love being their dad.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The end of good things

Well VBS is done, things have started to be cleaned up and put away. The kids (and most adults) have learned some great lessons. It's a sad thing to close a chapter. I think about all the chapters that we have closed. People who have gone home to be with Jesus who meant so much. I think about the traditions which have faded. I think about songs I don't hear sung anymore, or things that use to seem so customary. I think about the end of things, but also the beginning of things. Beginnings are often so wonderful. I use to be a bachelor, but that ended and I love to be married. There was a time that I wasn't a father, but that has ended, and I have three wonderful kids. (One is sitting next to me showing me his book). Without the ending of one thing, there can be no beginning of the next. I know that sound cliché, but it's so true. We are ending our ministry at Desert Sky. We are ending our time in Casa Grande. It's sad and we are sad to leave, but I am so excited about the new chapter in our lives. Don't be afraid of change, of the new and what God is bringing. I will be a great and exciting time.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Ok, so here is the story. While moving, I dumped out a jug of gear lube. If you are not into cars, let me explain a little. This is the stuff inside the transmission of your car. It lubricates your gears, but it's thicker than engine oil. It's thick and sticky and it was all over the place.

I think sin is like transmission lube. The more you try to clean it up on your own, the worse things get. It smears, it smells back, it makes everything else stick to you, and the harder you try the worse it gets.

So what did I do? I poured cat littler on some. Some parts I covered in engine degreaser and then blotted up. I had to have the right stuff to get the spot out. When it comes to sin, there is only one thing that can get it out, that's the blood of Jesus. It can't be cleaned out with good works, church attendance or giving. It can only be removed with the blood of Christ. He did all the work. I wish transmission lube was as easy.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Worship through service

Elaine and I had a very interesting conversation today. We are in the middle of Vacation Bible School, and we are having a great time watch relationships grow between workers. We learn a lot about one another in class or in worship, but real growth happens when in ministry. We learn more about each other working and serving than we ever will listening to preaching. Don't get me wrong, preaching is essential, but it's the beginning of the Christian walk, not the pinnacle. We are meant to serve, to minister and to serve with others.

I think about a buddy of mine that was in and out of church until he was enlisted for a church work day, and served on a roof all day. I think about friends I have made and really gotten close with in service. I think about the lives changed when groups do missions and ministry work. I think about the relationship that are built though service.
I am going to go out on a limb and say that the spiritual milk that Paul is taking about comes though being in a church, but the meat of Christianity comes from Christian Service. If you are not involved in some area of ministry and partnership, get involved and see if I'm right. Let me know what you find out.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The "Who, me?" syndrome

Remember Moses? I had a buddy named Moses, he was in my wife's youth group. Good guy, but wrong Moses. Moses in the Old Testament, he wrote the first 5 books, got the Ten Commandments, on TV he looked a lot like Charlton Hesston. Ya, that Moses. His career as a Prophet began as his career as a shepherd ended. He saw God in a burning bush, heard the voice of God. Know what amazes me? He argued with God, telling God that he can't be His voice. He said "but I stutter, I don't speak well". You can read the story in Exodus chapter 3.

Here we are, thousands of years later, same place. In reading a book my Dr. Jeff Iorg on calling, I realized my desire to write isn't just a desire. It's a calling. I don't believe that He is calling me to write something an important as the Mosaic law, but I am to write for His purpose. The issue is my short coming. Moses stuttered, I am dyslexic. If you are not familiar with dyslexia, it's a disorder that causes information in your brain to sometimes skip a step. All information in your brain comes from the place that it is stored and goes though a "processing plant" where it's put in order, then comes out of your mouth or pen. The same process happens when you listen too or see into. It comes in, goes through the "processing plant" and put in meaningful order and then goes into the brain. Sometimes my brain's "processing plant" doesn't run to well.

I once viewed my disorder as just that, a disorder. It's become so much more to me than that, it's an opportunity for God to display His power. Those things I write that make sense and are in order come from His power, not my mind. It is His writing and I have been blessed that He allows me to use my pen, or keyboard for it.

So what's your stuttering problem? Maybe you are like Moses, and have a tongue that gets twisted. Maybe you are like me and have a problem that keeps the world from making sense all the time. Maybe it's something else, but I am sure that each one of us has an issue. In II Corinthians 12, Paul prays for a thorn to be removed from his side. Many believe this thorn is blindness that Paul apparently dealt with as he aged. It made it difficult to pen the epistles we find in the New Testament when you can't see. Jesus answered his plea with "My grace is sufficient for you, and my strength is made perfect in your weakness" (verse 9).

I have a thorn, but like Paul, I will gladly praise God for my weakness and the power He displays though my weakness and in His power.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Blog writers block

I have a desire to write in this blog every day. You will notice that every day hasn't happened. I do, however, get frustrated when I sit down to write and just stare at the screen. It's not that there is a shortage of things in my life. I am moving in a week and a half, we are starting Vacation Bible School tomorrow. If nothing else, my 3 kids give me a wealth of material. Instead I am looking at the empty screen.

It's not that I don't have stuff in my head, but my problem is combining it into a complete thought. I am reading some interesting stuff, trying to continue my education though some study. I am thinking about trying to learn some basic Greek stuff. I have stuff going on.

I think it comes down to one of two things. Weariness or laziness. I'll admit I am tired. I think I have a virus of some sort, everyone in the family has been a little ill in the last week. I don't want to think about stuff to write. I have to think about VBS and moving and packing and stuff with the kids, I am weary. I'm also lazy. Admit it, you are too. Not in every aspect, but there are some things you should do, but would rather not put the effort into it. Isn't that why they invented the microwave, riding mower and remote control? Sometimes it's easier not to worry about the side things. After all, I don't get paid to blog. I don't know how many people actually read my blog. I guess if you are reading it, that's at least one.

Well I will try to do better. I have a few things in my head I’ll put down, and maybe find something interesting to say after all.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

the pain of being a father

Charles H. Spurgeon was a great man, pastor and theologian. He had great gifts, but also have great afflictions. He suffered from many things, one of them was gout. He developed the disease at age 31, and was often debilitated by it. He speaks of one of his episodes from gout in a sermon:

"When I was racked some months ago with pain, to an extreme degree, so that I could no longer bear it without crying out, I asked all to go from the room, and leave me alone; and then I had nothing I could say to God but this, 'Thou are my Father, and I am thy child; and thou, as a Father art tender and full of mercy. I could not bear to see my child suffer as thou makest me suffer, and if I saw him tormented as I am now, I would do what I could to help him, and put my arms under him to sustain him. Wilt thou hide thy face from me, my Father? Wilt thou still lay on a heavy hand, and not give me a smile from thy countenance?' ... So I pleaded, and I ventured to say, when I was quiet, and they came back who watched me: 'I shall never have such pain again from this moment, for God has heard my prayer.' I bless God that ease came and the racking pain never returned"

Spurgeon said he never again had that pain, yet pain did continue in his life, eventually killing him at the age of 57. The man experience and knew pain.

Today I went with Brayden, my youngest son, to have the pins taken out of his elbow. If you don’t know the story, Collin, his brother, pulled him backwards one day while they were running in the backyard. They were being boys, but Brayden fell hard on his left arm and broke it at the elbow. He had to go to Phoenix Children’s hospital and have pins put in it. I went today and the pins were pulled out. I am not sure if it was more the pain or more the fear. The doctor assured me the pain from the pins is minimal, pulling the tape off is probably what hurt the most, and of course he cried because he was scared.

As I held my crying son, my heart broke like has only happened a few times. Other times when my children have been hurt and I couldn’t stop the pain. I would have given anything to take his place, to be the one who had to endure the pain. I couldn’t. I think God is often in the same place. For whatever reason, we must endure pain. Its part of the human experience, the human condition, it makes us grow and heal and mature. It hurts us, and I know it hurts God as our Father. He wants to fix it for us, and the only way to fix it is to let us endure.

I had no choice but to hold my son as he cried as the doctors caused him physical pain. The only way his arm would be made right was through the pain. The only way we are made right is sometimes through the pain. Cry if you must, hold onto the Father, He loves you and will see you through it.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Building a playground

So I worked on building the playset at Desert Sky tonight with Simon. Nothing real spiritual about that. It was a pain. Bolts didn't want to go into place, things didn't fit snug like I wanted. Things didn't go as planned.

My life is like that playset. The swings sometimes gets twisted and the bolts don't fit in the holes right. I imagine your life is like the playset too. There are small things amiss or askew on it. Take a step back and what do you see. A swing set with children laughing and having fun.

What's my point? It's simple. Look for the fun and laughter. Look for the joy, for the things God has for you. You see, the swing set doesn't need to be perfect for the kids to have fun. You don't need to be perfect for God to love you and rejoice on you. You don't need to be perfect, just forgiven, and He can take care of that for you.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Forgotten Closets

I know my profile says Sioux City Iowa. I am going to Sioux City Iowa in less that 3 weeks, but currently I am finishing things at Desert Sky Baptist Church in Casa Grande Arizona. I graduated, we are doing VBS next week, I preach on Father's Day and in the mean time, try to get everything labeled, passed off and accounted for. One of the duties I am passing on is music/sound/video/worship stuff. Setting up the program lyrics and running the sound board. I met with some guys this morning to get some music stuff set and set up. In doing so I cleaned the music closet.

I found a very large spider. I also found the books they used at the very beginning of the church, about 5 years ago. I found a monitor that was still new in the box. There was some good things in there. . . and a big spider.

I think we spiritually put stuff in closest sometimes. We spend so much time on the mandates, duties and order of Christianity, we begin to lose sight of where we came from. We lose touch with who we used to be. Ephesians 2:11-12 reminds us to remember we were once separated from Christ. In Revelations, John writes to the church at Ephesus to remember from which they have fallen in chapter 2, verse 5. It must have been a hard lesson to learn at Ephesus. I think it's a hard lesson for us to learn.

When those who are lost act like they are lost, how do we respond? When those who are lost behave the way lost people do, what is our response? Do we love them, or do we shun them? Do we want them to find punishment or redemption? When a lost person wrongs us, does something selfish and sinful and hurts us, do we love them and pray for them, or do we want to exact revenge? Do we act like Jesus, who was led like a lamb to the slaughter, or do we fight back and make our own needs known?

I think if we look in our forgotten closets of the way we use to behave (or sometimes still do) we will find that we are not so far removed. We are not much higher than those sinners that we often detest so much. We remember, not so we can revist the sin or we can roll in guilt, but we can remember where we were, and how far God has brought us. We remember the journey, so we can help someone else on the same journey. Just watch out for the big spiders.

Monday, June 2, 2008

redeeming the time

In a book like the Bible, it's hard to pick a favorite verse, but I have one that really speaks volumes to me. There is just one problem, which is our English language and translation. We often translate the verse to be less than what I believe it talks about. The verse is question is Ephesians 5:16. Most translations will say something like "making the most of the time".

The Greek word is εξαγοραζομενοι. It is found in Galatians 4:5 and 3:13. It gives the idea of saving from loss, or from purchasing back. It's more than making the best use of the time, but it's saving the time, rescuing our time. We may look at this in only a future tense, but I think there is an aspect of time past we can take back. Let me explain.

Look at the book of Joel. If you are familiar with Joel, you will know it's about The Day of the Lord, a time when God sends wrath on the ungodly. The interesting thing here, however, is the Hebrew nation fully expected the Day of the Lord to come to their neighbors. It didn't, it came to them. A lesson learned, God's discipline we expect to come on the sinner, yet it's the Christian that God holds to the standard because of Salvation. Perhaps we should look for correction not on the nation, but on the Church.

In Joel, the Day of the Lord came in the form of locusts which devoured the land. The people were commanded to repent and return, and in Joel 2:25, God makes a promise to restore the years that the locust has eaten. This is not a promise of future grace, but of grace offered to the past. The promise is not to make the future great, but to restore the years that were taken.

This brings me to my thoughts this morning. This weekend I graduated with a individual who's past was ravaged by the world. He walked across the stage and received his seminary degree while his family applauded. In his ministry, God will use him to reach people that wouldn't begin a dialogue with me. He will bring hope to those who have no hope. He will bring God's light into places I could not go. His past is not glorified, it's simply redeemed.

Romans 8:28 is this point made simple. All things will be used for the good of those who love God and have been called according to His purpose. Each day can be restored, the time can be redeemed. The years have not been wasted, each day gives us things learned, experiences gained, we learned how to live, or sometimes how not to live. We can take the darkest years and restore them and redeem them and use them for the glory of the Lord. It may be in ministry, testimony, or simple praise and adoration. Today, I want to redeem the time, the time I wasted, those times I failed. God will use them for His glory.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

the good kind of tired

So it's been a crazy weekend. Saturday we left the house to run to JC Penny's to get me a new tie, and then went to First Southern Baptist Scottsdale for graduation. I graduated from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary with a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership. I also received the 2008 MAEL Pursuit of Excellence award. We left the graduation to get Kaylee in and out of her dance recital for her ballet class. Went to bed, got up this morning and went to church. After Sunday School and visiting, I got to Baptize Kaylee. After Church, it was off to the store and back home for lunch. Then to the second performance of Kaylee's recital, then off to dinner and home. I am worn out, but it's a good kind of tired. Making good memories, seeing the Lord work in our family and our lives. Spending time with my family and friends. It was a great experience, but I’m glad it’s behind me. I could use a rest.