The most important 48 minutes of your life?

When is the last time you heard a message like this?

It’s 48 minutes long and might be the most important 48 minutes of your life.

Please take the time to watch it. It put me on my face before God.

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Posted by Gary in Church Growth, Faith, Intimacy W/God, Worship, 2 comments

To Find Him Where He Can Be Found.

God speaks to me sometimes by sending the same message in different ways over a period of time and then I have what I call a coalescing moment where it all comes together.

I just had one of those when I received a my daily email from the Copelands and from a friend on Facebook from Zimbabwe. We have never met and I don’t know why he found me and asked me to be his friend. He has 6 friends and I am the only one not from Zumbabwe.

Since launching into ministry in January I have had an interesting ride. I am living the dream but have been plagued with fear and doubt shortly after making the decision. Building the kingdom has been in my heart for over 10 years. At a workshop for worship with Job Vijil I knew this is what I was born to do. God has always been faithful so why the worry?

I say He is my strength and my shield, my ever present help in time of need. I’m standing on the Word but I haven’t spoken in in weeks. Instead I have been speaking death. A couple weeks ago my amazing wife scolded me strongly for the way I’m talking and she is exactly right. She is such a blessing to me. The Word of God is the final word but I must put it to work by speaking it out.

I am reminded of a short prayer by Hans Ur von Balthasar I apologize if I’ve posted this before:

Harassed by life, exhausted, we look about us for somewhere to be quiet, to be genuine, a place of refreshment. We yearn to restore our spirits in God, to simply let go in him and gain new strength to go on living.

But we fail to look for him where he is waiting for us, where he is to be found; in his Son, who is his Word. Or else seek for God because there are a thousand things we want to ask him, and imagine that we cannot go on living unless they are answered. We inundate him with problems, with demands for information, for clues, for an easier path, forgetting that in his Word he has given us the solution to every problem and all the details we are capable of grasping in this life.

We fail to listen where God speaks; where God’s Word rang out in the world once for all, sufficient for all ages, inexhaustible. Or else we think that God’s Word has been heard on earth for so long that by now it is almost used up. That it is about time for some new word, as if we had the right to demand one. We fail to see that it is we ourselves who are used up and alienated, whereas the Word resounds with the same vitality and freshness as ever; it is just as near to us as it always was.

Hans Ur von Balthasar, Prayer. Trans. Graham Harrison (San Fancisco: Ignatius Press, 1986)

Today I committ to being in His Word and daily seeking Him in the secret place for His direction. I encourage you to do the same.

Blessings as you walk with Him.

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Posted by Gary in Bicycling, Civics, Faith, Intimacy W/God, Personal, Worship, 0 comments

Abundantly Blessed

I truly love living in Colorado Springs.

The winters are usually mild and the summers are perfect. Not much for water sports but a small price to pay. The first day of spring was 15 days ago, last week was spring break, and we have had one storm after another. It is currently 30 degrees outside with sleet and a stiff wind. I hope my trees make it through.

As I sit here this morning looking out the windows drinking coffee. I am considering how blessed I am. God has allowed me to pursue what I love while partnering with the two best pastors I could have hoped for. My beautiful wife is flourishing in her job and I couldn’t be more proud of my two boys. They are smart, talented, and well mannered. It’s been such a blessing to have them play for worship with me.

Ephesians Chapters 1 & 2 talk of God’s great love for us and how He had planned from the very beginning to adopt us as sons,

Side Note:

Sons is not a statement of gender. First born sons are the inheritors and that is why the Bible calls us all sons.

give us an inheritance and in the age to come can point to us as an example of His grace and goodness. Just stop and consider this for a minute.

There are some things you just have to settle. The most important one is “God is a good God”. When you read something you don’t understand start with the premise “God is a good God”. When something happens either to you or someone else start with the premise “God is a good God”. When someone is taken from you understand God did not need someone else in His choir. He is good and has good things for us to do. Ephesians 2:10 and Jeremiah 29:11.

Enjoy your Saturday and spend the day remembering how much you are blessed, loved, and set apart for a great purpose.



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An open letter to Tim Challies

A response to A Readers Review of THE SHACK

Mr. Challies,

Thank you for your thoughtful review of THE SHACK. I sincerely appreciate the time and thought you have invested. I believe you are truly trying to help people come to the truth. I appreciate your tone, your principled stand, and your use of scripture to support your points however, I must take exception with some of your conclusions.

My purpose is not to defend THE SHACK rather to address some of the arguments to which I believe THE SHACK is a response. I read the book before I discovered all the controversy and though I have problems with some of the theology it caused me to remember why I chose to be a follower of Christ. I chose to enter into relationship with Him not to be a student of the Bible, be in ministry, to evangelize, or to serve my church. I am engaged in all of those things but I entered into relationship with Him because He loved me, (Galatians 2:20) rescued me from Hell, (Romans 6:23) and promised to be with me always. (Matthew 28:20, Psalm 27:13, Psalm 23)

My biggest issue in your review is you seem to deify the Bible at the expense of relationship with a personal God. Also your assertion we can no longer walk with God in the cool of the day and we are bound by a mediated communication is flatly untrue. God’s heart has always been to reveal Himself to His people (Exodus 19:4) and to talk with them face to face. (Exodus 19:4, 29:46, 19:11) The idea of having a mediator was not God’s idea. It was God’s response to the children of Israel who rejected Him at Mount Sinai. (Exodus 20:19, Deuteronomy 5:28-29) Consider Enoch who never tasted death but walked with God and was no more, (Gen 5:24) because he pleased God. (Hebrews 11:5) Noah walked with God. (Genesis 6:9) Abraham and God spoke personally about Sodom and Gomorrah. (Genesis 18) All through the Old Testament are examples of God reaching out to His people. The people didn’t have to wonder “how can we approach God directly?” God was very clear about it. Over and over He said if you will keep my commandments I will be your God and you will be my people.

Simeon knew by the Holy Spirit he would see the Lord before his death. (Luke 2:25) God spoke to Ananias regarding Saul. (Acts 9:10) John the Apostle communed with God after Jesus’ death. (Revelation 1:10) God has always yearned to reveal Himself in the context of relationship and community. It is the very nature of the Trinity. Knowing God is not simply an intellectual exercise.

It is true the Bible is the complete revelation of God and the standard by which everything must be evaluated. When we think we have “heard from God” either by His specific revelation (the Bible) or His general revelation (His creation) there is a process to help us confirm our suspicion. It begins with measuring what we perceive we heard or saw with the inerrant word of God. Then we confirm our conclusion by asking the question. “Does my conclusion reflect the character and nature of God?” or “what part of God’s nature does my conclusion reflect?”

It is true our sin separates us from God but when we appropriate, by faith, Jesus final sacrifice (Romans 6:10) we are able to come boldly to the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16). Jesus became sin so that you and I may be the righteousness of God. (II Corinthians 5:21) You are correct, the new covenant mediator is Jesus however, you misrepresent Jesus role as mediator. He is the Word of God (John 1:1) and He (the Bible) does not separate us from relationship with the father rather he reconciles us to the Father (II Corinthians 5:18). We don’t approach “despite” our sin but because Jesus mediated the new covenant on our behalf.

I have no quarrel with your statements regarding the wrath of God. Just be careful not to give an incomplete gospel. There is more to God than His wrath. Before His wrath is meted out He pursues us passionately (James 3:5, Jeremiah 7:13, 25) and will go to extreme measures to draw us to Himself. (Matt 18:12, Numbers 22)

My final comment relates to suffering. As much as John Piper is correct, it is an incomplete answer and does not reflect the character and nature of God. John Piper seems to say God causes, or allows, suffering to glorify Himself which is utterly absurd. Suffering is part of the curse. (Deuteronomy 28) Though God can be glorified in it, suffering exists because the world is still in a fallen state and Satan is still loose deceiving men. It is the presence of sin that causes suffering. Until believers stop playing church (Isaiah 29:13) and take the stewardship of the kingdom of heaven on earth seriously suffering will increase. It is not because God wants to glorify Himself or because He is not engaged. He accomplished everything on the cross and restored the kingdom on earth. There is nothing left for Him to do (2 Peter 1:3) it is now in our hands (the church). We have been given responsibility (Psalm 115:16) and authority. (Matthew 28:18-20) The assertion that institutional Christianity, with notable exceptions, has been a stumbling block to intimate fellowship with God and hindered our effectiveness in the world is entirely accurate. Until we embrace Him and walk in obedience to His word (John 14:15) and His voice (John 15:14) we will not establish the kingdom before He returns. When I consider how the church places stumbling blocks in the way of relationship with God, my heart breaks.

Though I have concerns those not grounded in truth will read THE SHACK and not hear the whole truth. I applaud the authors for starting a discussion that believers can capitalize on. We must not judge the authors motives. (Romans 2:16, I Corinthians 4:3-5) I have read their answers to most of the concerns raised and I believe them to be men of good faith. We must engage in principled spirited discussion but we must not attack them. Believers must use this momentum to talk with those who are searching and allow the Spirit of Truth to guide them into all truth (John 16:13).

Thank you for your consideration,

Gary Trobee

Also see:

A Gentle Balance to the “Shack Attack”

Reading in Good Faith

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Posted by Gary in Intimacy W/God, 2 comments