Wednesday, January 06, 2010

In ten days everything changes

The final countdown has begun. T minus 10 days. There is no bigger thing happening in my life than what will happen in 10 days. Darren Colwell will no longer be Darren Colwell. Darren Colwell will be Mr. and Mrs. Darren Colwell. I can hardly believe it. We got engaged almost six months ago. (Which, by the way, was on a beach in Mexico on a mission trip. God rocks.) The time has seemed to fly and be unbearably slow at the same time. God has brought us so far. I never knew the extent of my selfishness and pride until I had to grapple with the thought that I would be spending the rest of my life with the woman I love. Marriage (even the preparation for marriage) is an incredibly sanctifying agent. I can't wait to see what the next fifty years brings in my life. Praise the name of Jesus. I have waited 26 years to be married (well, maybe not 26 years, but at least 13) and in just ten days that desire becomes a reality. It's absolutely insane. God is crazy. Putting me with a girl like Kayla. The grace of God knows know measure. And if Kayla is this good, imagine how amazing God is. Oh God, come quickly and bring us to Christ. More to post later...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Death to all sabbath breakers

Okay, so I'm reading through Numbers right now and I just sat down and started reading chapter 15. I don't get very far into it before I come across a very interesting passage. In this passage a man is caught gathering sticks on the Sabbath. The people arrest him and inquire of the Lord what ought to be done with him. God answers through Moses that he is to be put to death. Now I believe that every word is inspired and profitable and that God is infinitely holy and just and righteous. But I looked at this passage through the eyes of an unbeliever and someone of the world. At first glance it looks like God just went haywire and started going all crazy on people and killing them left and right. In fact, there are some chapters in this book that just start off with God launching a plague or fire or something within the camp and totally killing a few thousand people. What's going on with this. Especially this story. The dude was just trying to gather some sticks on a Saturday. What could possibly be wrong with that? I mean we don't go around killing people today because of that. I could see that person who looks at this passage totally blowing God and Christianity off as old and unprofitable and totally false. They wouldn't want to serve a God like that. We see this especially on all the tv shows that try to bring down Christianity by bringing up the (on the surface) crazy laws in the OT. So what's going on here? How can we answer this question?

I started thinking about it and at first the "easy" answer is that he broke one of the commandments of God and because of that he must be punished. And because God is infinitely holy and just, his sin required a punishment that was swift and brutal. We don't deserve mercy, we all deserve to die for even the smallest sins that we commit. This guy was just one that didn't get the mercy of God for his sin, but received a just retribution by the wrath of God.

That's all true, but I didn't find it completely satisfying. Don't get me wrong, this answer should be taught and it lays the groundwork for what I believe is the greater reason behind his death. In Hebrews it talks about the people of God receiving a rest (Heb. 3:7-4:13). In this section they reference the creation and how God rested from his works on the seventh day thereby establishing a sabbath rest that we all should follow. However, Hebrews doesn't stop at the physical requirements of taking a day off of work. It looks beyond that to see the spiritual meaning of our perfect and eternal rest with Christ. Hebrews 4:8-10 reads:

"For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his." (emphasis mine)

The Sabbath rest that God instituted was to point us forward to the rest that comes in Christ both now (though not fully realized) and in heaven for eternity (fully realized). We are to rest from our works. We are to fully trust in God to provide for us the way of salvation. We are to find our joy and justification in Christ alone and that is to be our rest. When we come to true salvation we find rest for our souls from the endless and wearying toil of trying to make God happy through continual legalistic and religious ritual and rule. We must rest from our works. When we sin, we don't go though penance. Penance is a foul stench in God's nostril because it denies the Sabbath rest he promises us in Christ. We must rest from our works. The man in Numbers 15 didn't rest from his physical works and didn't trust in God to sustain him and protect him physically and therefore, because of that lack of trust in the mercy and grace of God, God put him to death. This is a great and terrible sign for us that if we don't trust fully and completely in the grace and mercy of Christ and rest from our works then we too will face the retribution and wrath of our just God. Praise God for his mercy and grace that we can find true rest for our souls. Seek the rest that comes from Christ and don't keep running to the chains of slavery to legalism and works. I need this most of all. Thank you Jesus. Thank you Jesus for saving my soul and giving me rest.

Monday, March 09, 2009

A long fortnight

I thought I would bust out some old english there and talk about my last couple of weeks. I was given the privelege by my pastor to preach the last two Sundays while he took a much needed break to focus on the vision and mission of our church. God led me to preach on the excellency of Christ. God prompted me to do this when I was looking out at an amazing sunset by Kayla's house and my mind went to a paper of Jonathan Edwards titled "The Excellency of Christ" where he talked about Jesus as the Lion and Lamb and the incredible beauty of Christ displayed in that amazing paradox. So I talked to Tom about him doing that series or something like that. A couple weeks later he asked me to preach a couple of sermons on that so he could take those weeks off. I readily agreed and was looking forward to it.

Needless to say, that subject is so far beyond me or my ability to preach on it. I found out quickly that I was biting off more than I could chew. That topic is beyond Edwards, let alone me. But, I trusted in the grace of God and pressed on with it and used my pitiful words to try to exalt our great God and Savior. I love the words of John Piper when he says that God loves to bless desperate pastors. I was desperate for His Spirit to take over and speak. He did. It was amazing. It wasn't of me. God spoke powerfully through me and gave me the grace to be a faithful servant. Last Sunday was especially powerful as I spoke on the humble and exalted nature of Christ from Phil. 2. I learned that it's not just about me. It's not just about that one man that stands and gives the message. It's about that one Man who came and died for our sins and rose victorious. And in order for that one Man to be exalted in our Sunday services it requires a great deal of men and women working together, building each other up in love, and serving our risen Lord to make it happen. I've known that intellectually and theologically, but never as experientially as last week. Worship was fantastic and Spirit-led and Christ-centered. That required the efforts of our worship leader and worship team (I was blessed to be on the team this week). During worship, one of the ladies in our congregation was especially moved by the Spirit to share some verses and ask us to repeat one of the songs so that we might enter into the joy of God and it was exactly what I needed to hear in that moment. Communion was powerful, as it usually is, and then I got up to speak. That doesn't even account for the numerous people that get there early to set up chairs, the stage, the sound, the greeters table, the coffee and food tables, and other ministries like nursery and children's church. So much happened that Sunday that led us to Christ in the power and grace of the Spirit so that we might see the Father. We were ONE body working toward ONE head in ONE Spirit with ONE mind. It was amazing. A couple weeks ago I thought I had been in one of the most powerful church services I could remember. This week topped that. Praise the name of Jesus. Praise His grace. Praise Him. Praise Him. Come Lord Jesus.

If you want to listen to those sermons, not that they're that great or important, you can download them at and click on the sermon tab.

Friday, January 16, 2009

I'm alive!!!

Wow. It's been a long time since I've posted here. I wonder if I even have readers left. I guess I'll find out soon enough. If you're still good enough to be checking my blog from time to time to see if I'm still kicking, then I thank you and the answer is "yes, I am still kicking." A lot has been going on in my life lately. Most of you are my facebook friends and were probably aware that I am in a relationship with Kayla again. After we broke up the first time, I was still interested in her and realizied that I had done a bunch of things wrong the first time around and hadn't really built our friendship while we were going out the first time. So I began to pursue a friendship with her over the next month or so while being open and honest with her about my feelings. She decided to give me a second chance :) and things have been going really well. In fact, today is our two-month anniversary. We just went shopping and tonight we are going to the olive garden (her favorite restuarant) and probably seeing a movie after that (we haven't decided which one). So that's been keeping me really busy lately.

The exciting news of the month is that Kayla and I are going to D.C. on Monday for the Inauguration of Barack Obama. We have some friends that live in Maryland and we'll be able to stay with them. I didn't vote for Obama and I don't agree with his politics and his view of government scares me, but it will be an historic day for our nation and I am glad that we elected an African-American to the office of President. So even though I didn't vote for Obama, I am for racial equality and I think that this is a step in the right direction even if it means that our country goes in the crapper economically and politically for the next four years or so ;).

Anyway, I'm going to keep this one brief, so thanks for hanging in there with me and I'll try to post more frequently in the future. May God bless you and cause his face to shine upon you and give you peace.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Hosea 4:12

Some thoughts from my morning devotional:

My people inquire of a piece of wood,and their walking staff gives them oracles.For a spirit of whoredom has led them astray,and they have left their God to play the whore. (Hosea 4:12)

God depicts the idolatry and adultery of Israel and their chasing after false gods as inquiring of a piece of wood and receiving oracles from a walking staff. We look at Israel and the people of this time and think "How stupid could they be?" But we are guilty of far more. We have the full counsel of God before us. We have the Old and New Testaments. And yet we inquire of psychologists, talk show hosts, horoscopes, and advice columns. We may not seek after pieces of wood, but we seek after that which is not God and we lend biblical authority to them to tell us right from wrong. To tell us how to act, what to say, and even what to think. And we do so because within us is a spirit of whoredom. We have turned from God and gone astray. Jeremiah 2:13 says that we have committed two evils. We have turned from the fountain of livng water (God) and hewn out for ourselves broken cisterns that can hold no water. And because we have forsaken our God - the only one who can satisfy us - we drink the sand and call it refreshing. We are the fools. We are the whores. Father, forgive us. Forgive our land. Forgive the people. Forgive me. I have turned from you so many times and sought for answers from that which cannot satisfy. Turn me again by whatever means necessary.

"One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple." (Psalm 27:4)

Come, let us return to the Lord.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A new season began...

...and then it ended just as quickly. If you're one of my facebook friends you might have noticed that my relationship status went from being in a relationship a little over a week ago to going back to being single yesterday. I thought I would use my blog to give a little insight (but not too much) into what happened over the last week or so. About 10 days ago I started dating a great Christian girl. We had been friends for a long time and I liked her and she liked me so we decided to try it out and see where God would take us. In my opinion anyway, we went about it maturely. I talked to her parents. We involved an older, godly couple to keep us accountable. And we went about it seriously, but not too seriously. But, after a week-and-a-half, it wasn't working like it should have. We both wanted to remain friends, but we realized that it wouldn't work out in a relationship at this time. So, we're still good friends, but I am no longer in a relationship. To be honest, it's a little weird for me. But God knows what He's doing and he has a plan for both of us and I know that this is the best. So anyway, I thought I would share with you a little of what has been going on in my life in regard to that.

Coming soon: I just got back from a mission trip to Washington D.C. with my youth group and I'll share some of what God is doing in my life through that.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

LIfe comes at you fast...

Sometimes a lot faster than I thought it would. Last Saturday one of my best friends, Jeremy, got married to a beautiful girl named Stacey. It was my privelege to be one of the groomsman. I can honestly say that it was the most beautiful wedding I have ever seen. I haven't seen many, mind you. But of the ones I have seen, I have yet to see a more Christ-centered wedding. It included testimonies of both of their faiths from their closest friends. The vows were perhaps the most beautiful I have ever heard (they were a variation on I Cor. 13 - simply beautiful and amazing). And then they followed those up with communion. While I stood there I couldn't help but be blown away by God. Jesus Christ is our groom and we are his beloved bride. In order to win his wife, Jesus partook of the cross and all its suffering and shame and he sacrificed himself in order to make us his own. Our weddings are but a pale shadow of the awesome love and sacrifice that Jesus has and made for us. We are his bride!!! He has won us and loves us with a love beyond all understanding and comprehension! He gave himself for us as the Lamb of God and he will fight for us as the Lion of Judah. I am my beloved's and he is mine! I have loved seeing Jeremy and Stacey's relationship and how Christ-centered they both are and how much their wedding showed that.

Beyond that, life continues to change for me. My role at Christ Community continues to change and develop. I don't know if I announced it here, but I have given up the Sunday morning duties of being a youth leader. I still teach on Wednesday nights and lead a small group of seventh grade boys, but the Sunday morning instruction has been passed from me to my friends Rex and Jessica Griffin. I'm actually really happy for this. Because of our Sunday format, we only have about half-an-hour for the youth and we are using for sermon application. Due to the fact that we combine youth groups with Wasatch church on Wednesday nights the Christ Community parents wanted to have seperate events from time to time with just the CCC youth. I wasn't the guy for that job, so, with the approval of my pastor and others, I have passed that to Rex and Jessica. So far, it has really turned out well. We are both enjoying and growing in our roles and can work with our particular giftedness and don't have to go outside that. However, that means more work for me in other areas of the church. I recently wrote a position paper for my pastor, Tom, supporting the vision he has for starting a charter school. If you guys are interested in my reasons for it I would be happy to e-mail it to you. Just leave a comment indicating that. And now, Tom's next assignment for me is to help him develop a Member's covenant for the church and work on a new member's class. I agreed to it (about an hour ago) and I'm starting to realize that this is going to be a lot of work, especially if we try to make it a relatively short course (like 4-6 weeks).

The other big change for me is something that I have to keep under wraps right now, but if it happens it will greatly impact how I go about planting a church. It's really exciting stuff, but unfortunately I will have to leave you with that. Nothing has been nailed down so I need to keep it pretty quiet. Hopefully I will be able to say more about it in the near future.

Anyway, with everything going on my heart and mind and energies have been going a million different directions at a hundred miles per hour and I'm still without a job. So I would appreciate all the prayer you can muster for me. I need humility, work, and a continued focus on Christ and his work on the cross. Apart from him, I have nothing, I am nothing, I do nothing. May God bless you and keep you and cause his face to shine upon you and give you peace.