Michael B Linton

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

New Activities for Summerlake

If you would like to know about our week in Glorieta, keep up with Etta's blog. She will be posting articles about it. Suffice it to say that we had a great time. God spoke to us and energized us. We came back to Kingwood with a new vision and strength for Summerlake.

Which leads me to the new activities for Summerlake. Tonight and every Tuesday night hereafter (at least for a while) the entire family will eat supper at Manual's Mexican Restaurant in Summerwood. This is to be an opportunity to get to know people and build relationships. You can read a little more about it at the Summerlake website.

Your prayers for this new outreach opportunity are greatly appreciated.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Not that I'm that consistent, but...

There won't be a post this week. We are attending Sunday School Week in Glorieta, New Mexico, put on by the Southern Baptist Convention. While Summerlake will not have a Sunday School, per se, we will have small groups during the week, and there are a number of seminars at Sunday School Week discussing small groups.

Pray for us as we travel. Pray for the week: that we are taught, we are energized toward the church plant, we gain new insights and ideas, and that we are refreshed by the worship and the mountains of New Mexico. This will be our only vacation this summer, and boy, do we need it.

We'll let you know how things went when we get back.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Wow!! Be Amazed!!

I have just discovered the most amazing thing. Are you sitting down? Get ready...

Prayer and Bible reading make the day go better!

I know, you're as blown away as I am. Maybe I should write a book. I'm sure there are many people that need to know this.

Obviously, I hope, you realize this is a bit tongue-in-cheek. But only a bit. What is truly amazing is how easily we forget the power of God's Word and prayer in our lives. This is not really a new discovery for me, but it was something I was reminded of recently.

As I've written before, I'm not the greatest at expressing my hurt or frustration with people or God. While this past incident wasn't a direct result of that, it had some basis in it. Primarily, it had to do with not believing I had enough time to pray and read as I should. But (and this is no surprise to anyone) the lack of prayer and reading led to frustration and fear. Shocker!!

I was worried that we had missed the call. I don't have the personality to plant a church. We don't have the necessary resources. We live in the wrong place. I don't have time working two jobs now and that won't change when I start teaching middle school. We don't know enough people. A church called that was interested in me as their pastor. It's time to give up and go to an established church and forget about this church planting thing, at least for now. It's just too dang hard and requires too many freakin' sacrifices. I'm tired. I'm not qualified. I can't do it.

Woo-hoo!! Go, pity-party!!!

So I decided to go back to what had gotten me through these feelings before: Bible reading and real, earnest, just-me-and-God, not driving-down-the-road, prayer.

And you know how many questions got answered? Zero. But that's okay. What I did get was peace. I did get a couple of small confirmations on the call but mostly, I just got peace. I read 2 Thessalonians, Psalm 61-65, Proverbs 13, and Galatians. No answers on how we are to plant this church, no vision of a house in Summerwood that would soon be ours, no call to an established church. Just peace.

Isn't God great? We go to Him wanting answers. "We need answers God!!" we yell. And He gives us peace. You can almost here Him say "Ssshhhhh. No, you don't need answers. You just need Me." And, lo and behold, He's right. All we need is Him.

So, maybe this is all elementary for you, but if not, try it. Go to God for answers. Yell, cry and throw things. Tell Him your hurts and needs. Then, remember to tell Him how great He is. And when He doesn't give you every answer to every problem, or any answer to any problem, but gives you peace instead, be amazed with me at how that peace calms you better than the answers would.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

I'm selling my truck.

We are in the beginnings of a Total Money Makeover, so I am selling my truck. If you are interested in purchasing it, or know someone who is, let me know. Here are the pics and specs.

2006 gun metal gray Dodge Dakota Quad Cab
3.7L V6
7000 miles
Auto, AC, Single CD player w/Aux input for MP3 players, tilt steering, cruise control, wired for trailer.
Excellent condition!!
$18,800 obo

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Science Discovers Sin-Nature!!

At least that should have been the headline. Go here to read the article. The gist of it is that babies fake cries, among other things, from six months old, in order to get what they want. They deceive. Well, duh. Ask any mother and she could have told you that. Postmodernism tells us that man is inherently good and then is corrupted. (That's why we are apalled at the Virginia Tech shootings. There must be something wrong with him.) The truth is, man is inherently sinful (and that sinfulness can easily slide into the most egregious of depravities) and that can only change through Jesus. And science now seems to finally admit to the first point.

Now, understand that the article took no theological look at the implications of the findings. But, the fact is, we are born into sin.
Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.

Just like green eyes and brown hair, sin is a part of our make-up and has been passed from the first father, Adam. We are born with it. And it starts at the earliest possible age. Also, if you think about it, every one of us was with Adam the day he sinned. What we needed in order to exist was contained within his procreative package. We were not a conscious part of the sin (duh) but were there to experience it. Therefore, we actually participated in it and became sinners. AND, that nature was then passed on to us. So, we are born (and pre-birth) sinners.

For some, this may beg the question of the death of an infant and "the age of accountability." Millard Erickson covers this well in his Systematic Theology. I'll paraphrase his explanation.

We are born with both the propensity to sin and the guilt of that sin. However, the ultimate punishment for the sin (eternal separation from God) is not carried out until we "accept or approve of our corrupt nature." We become condemned sinners once we can understand we are sinners...and like it. Prior to that moment, we have not--and are unable to--acknowledge our sinful nature any more than we are able to accept and acknowledge Christ as Savior at that age. So, the death of a child, while a devastating time, is not a time to worry for her eternity. A couple of scriptures help us here.
2 Samuel 12:23 "But now he has died; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me."

David was confident that he would see his dead child again one day. Then later, Jesus said something that allows us to assume children who have died go to heaven.
Matthew 19:14 But Jesus said, "Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

This would be an odd statement to make if all children who died went to hell. We can safely say that a child, not old enough to choose Christ or sin, is chosen by Christ.

To put the entire post more succinctly, sin is as much a choice as salvation. The problem is, our nature is to choose sin and we must fight against our nature to choose Christ.