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Archive for the ‘Notes’ Category

Soli Deo Gloria to the End

Colossians 1:28-29, “28) Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29) For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.”

My parents and doctors have said that our main two concerns are: 1) no pain and 2) the ability to breathe. Notice that this is all with the conclusion that I will die. The cancer has become very progressed, and I feel that my time is almost done. The doctors are beginning to say that I might not make it to the beginning of the next year. I’ve come to accept this, but some of the doctors are beginning to say that I should just give up. I’m currently doing three weeks of radiation, and some say that I should just go home, get hospice, and slowly die. Did the apostle Paul run away after he had been beaten, persecuted, and shipwrecked? Did Jeremiah give up because of the constant turmoil on his life? The answer to those questions is no. There will come a point where my body will eventually fail me, but I will fight to my death to proclaim the gospel.

In Philippians 1:19-26, Paul discusses the benefits of living and dieing. It can be summed up in verse 21 when he says, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” The first part means that we live for Christ and spread the gospel. He later discusses how living will give him more time to preach the gospel and teach and encourage those who are already walking in the light, which is why he pushes on to live so that he can preach and teach. He also discusses the great benefits of dieing right now, and the great joy he will have when he goes to heaven. Living or dieing are ultimately in the hands of the Lord, which Paul understands, but this doesn’t stop him from fighting to leave to do as many good things before he leaves his despite his great desire to go home.

John piper gave a great sermon entitled, “What Happens When You Die? At Home With The Lord,” based on 2 Corinthians 14:16-5:10, and given on July 18, 1983. Piper pointed out the order of Paul’s desires (1 being the highest desire and 3 the lowest): 1) The Lord would return and that he would instantaneously be fully clothed and be with the Lord. 2) He would physically die and return to the Lord without his completely glorified body. 3) He would remain on this earth. We just saw in Philippians of how Paul’s desire was to depart, but it seemed to be God’s will for him to stay. He obeyed this call just as he submits to God’s will in 2 Corinthians passage, but they are different because in the Philippians passages he is only speaking of himself, while 2 Corinthians is encouraging all people to live this.

At this point, I am ready for death. I’m actually afraid of getting healed because then all my hopes for heaven will have to wait several years. My body is in constant pain, which isn’t completely true because they have given me some pretty strong meds and I almost have no pain when I have a comfortable position, I can hardly breath, and these are just a few of my symptoms. It’s hard, sometimes nearly impossible, for me to get up, walk, and lay down. I can do almost nothing on my own, but my loving parents are there for me whenever I need something. I am almost eager to die because most mornings I seem to say, “I can’t do this anymore,” but God is there to lift me up and help me with all of my struggles because of his mercies are new everyday and He is our portion (Lamentations 3:23-24). I am now living the idea of “Live Weak” to the fullest expression (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). The more my weaknesses are displayed the more God is glorified.

The verse at the top has been really important these last few days. Verse 28 speaks of doing everything possible to present everyone mature in Christ. The next verse speaks of toiling to do this. Toiling is not just helping people here and there but using everything that God has given you to complete this task. For me, since I will be unable to do almost all physical activity, I will toil by writing, speaking, when I can, witness to everyone, which I don’t see too many people, but that could make it easier to focus on some more than others, and finally offering any kind of counseling and encouragement to whoever needs it. I may not always have the strength to do these things, but that didn’t stop many of the early missionaries that would grow sick on the mission field and lose their children and wives. They persisted on because it was not their strength, but God’s strength with them. Some may say that I don’t need to push myself too hard, but this is looking at my strength rather than seeing it as God who strengthens me, “with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.” Besides, if I push myself too hard, then I will get to go to heaven sooner. It is a win-win situation regardless of how you look at it. Praise be to His holy, righteous name. I rejoice that I have been chosen to suffer to for the glory of God.

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Live Weak Documentary

My good friend David Sikes, a film major at the University of Alabama, has decided to shoot a documentary on my life. The working title is “Live Weak.” He is basically just following me around and filming my speaking engagements and everything else. There is not much to say about it right now, but you can follow his progress as  http://www.liveweakdoc.tumblr.com

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Bucket List

As I begin to face what may be the last few days of my life, friends have told me to make a bucket list. A bucket list is simply a list of things a person would like to do before he or she “kicks the bucket” or dies. Normally, these lists will contain things such as traveling to foreign countries and cultures, meeting famous individuals, or skydiving.

While skydiving has always been a dream of mine, I now fail to see how this will profit anyone other than bringing me some slight worldly pleasure. When others begin to talk about how I spent the last days I had on this earth, I do not want them to say, “Well, he had a fun time skydiving.” How does skydiving or visiting foreign lands as a tourist rather than a missionary glorify God, preach the gospel of Christ, or bring joy to the Spirit? If I could somehow witness to whomever I was skydiving with, then I might be able to convince myself it was for the glory of God.

I did mention that some people put meeting famous individuals on their list. I have not overlooked this one because I see how this could be greatly beneficial. Depending on the individual, I may be able to have an influence on their life or they may be able to encourage me to fight through these last few days.
With that said I have begun to make my bucket list.

1. Glorify God in all that I do (1 Corinthians 10:31)
2. Love God and people (Luke 10:27)
3. Preach the gospel to the nations (Matthew 28:19)
a) Write and preach twenty to thirty more sermons.
b) Complete three of my unfinished books.
c) Finish writing the commentary on Ephesians and two other books of the Bible.
4. Delight in the Lord (Psalm 37:4).

John 6:44 says, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.” I began to think about this verse while writing this note. This verse reveals that the only way we can come to the Father is if the Father draws us. The word draw brings up an image of shepherds drawing water from a well. As I thought about this, I realized that the shepherds would use buckets, or something similar to a bucket, to draw the water out. That’s when I decided that I wanted my bucket list to be those who had not been drawn yet. I’m not saying that they would come to the Father because I drew them, but I pray that the way that He drew them to Himself would be through me. I pray that God would make me the bucket, or vessel, in which he drew others to Himself.

As you have been reading this, many of you may have wondered how you could help me. The way you can help me is by giving me a bucket list. I don’t mean give me ideas of places to go or fun things to do but tell me of your friends and family members that have not been made alive in Christ yet. These people will become my bucket list, and I will do what I can to draw them in. Once again, it is not based on my power or anything I can do, but I pray that I will be the vessel through which God administers His grace to them. This list is not strictly limited to the lost. Those who are struggling or need anything at all can be added.

What will I do with this list? I will try to somehow form a relationship with these individuals and begin to share the gospel with them as I share my story with them. If they are an atheist, I will try to work through some of the arguments with them. If they believe in a different god, then I will discuss the differences of our religions along with trying to show them why Christianity is correct. I spent a great deal of time devoted to apologetics, which may help. I know that I am still only learning many things, but God has given and taught me just enough to complete whatever purpose He has for my life. If the individuals are struggling with their faith or enduring a great time of suffering, I pray that I will be able to comfort them and minister to them by the grace of God.

Anyone can be put on this list. Having the knowledge that these might be some of the last days I spend on this earth affords me certain privileges. We should all live as if today was our last day, but this has become considerably easier for me since it is most likely true. This has given me much more confidence in doing many things that I would have not done before.

Telling others that your end is drawing near can also be used to achieve and gain some things that could not have been obtained otherwise. I do not want to use this for selfish ends, but I would like to do everything possible to glorify God with what He has blessed me with. If any of you have always had an idea or dream that you have thought would be bring great glory to God, proclaim the gospel, or bring great joy to the church through the Spirit, do not be afraid to share it with me. I may be able to use this opportunity to help you achieve this by God’s grace.

I do not know how many people I will take on this bucket list, but I pray for many. I will probably only pursue those that I can meet in person because dialoging about things such as this is hard and almost unwise over the internet, but I still may do it. So, if you have wanted to do something for my family and me, this is your chance. Help me fill a bucket list so that the kingdom of God may increase, but don’t forget that it is not based on anything I have done or will do but completely on God’s sovereignty.

Your Brother in Christ,
Christian Schmidt

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Simple Christianity

A few months ago, one of the Father’s in my church asked me to write a letter for his son on what it meant to be a man. He was at the point where he was going to talk with his son about women, sex, and being a man. I told him that I am not yet a man myself, so I would not be of much help. Instead, I decided to write him a letter about what a Christian life should look like. I entitled the letter (and this note) Simple Christianity. I stole C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity and changed it. I read back over the note the other day and thought it might be beneficial for others and decided to post it on here.

1. Glorify God in All Things
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
“to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:6).
“In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:6).

The most important thing I have learned and could ever tell you is to glorify God in everything that you do, whether it be through teaching others about Christ or even drinking orange juice. Every act can be done to the glory of God. Isaiah 43:7 says, “Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” We were created to glorify God and this is our main purpose in life. Ephesians 5:10 also says, “and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.” In every situation, don’t just ask yourself if something is wrong, but also ask yourself if it will be pleasing to the Lord and bring glory to God. We glorify God because of his greatness and what he has done for us. Jesus being crucified, buried, and risen are the central tenets of the Christian faith and his grace should be at the core of everything we do. I once heard that if a sermon doesn’t end with the cross, it isn’t worth preaching. Our lives should be the same way, and one of our most important tasks is tell others of this precious gift from God (Matthew 28:19).

2. Love God and Love others

“And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself’” (Luke 10:27).

Jesus summed up all of the commandments with this one phrase, so that means it’s pretty important. As Christians we are identified by our love (John 13:35). This is not the same type of love that the world falsely espouses. A great definition of love can be found in 1 Corinthians 13. The first point was to glorify God, and the best way to do this is to love him and love others. We love others by providing for their needs (James 1:26-27, 2:15-17, 1 John 3:16-17, Psalm 112:9). Once again we must remember that we learned love from God, and the only way to have love is through and by him as he defined love on the cross (1 John 4:7-21). Also remember the story of the good Samaritan and that we should love everyone, not just those that it is easy to love (Luke 10:29-37).

3. Scripture
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seats of scoffers, but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does he prospers.” (Psalms 1:1-3).

I cannot stress the importance of not only studying scripture, but also actively seeking to memorize scripture. I have begun to dedicate myself to memorize different books of the Bible, and I suggest you do the same (Psalm 1 is good chapter to start with and James is a good book to begin with). We do not live by just food, but by Scripture as well (Matthew 4:4). It will add length to our days and years to our life (Proverbs 3:1-2). All scripture is God-breathed and useful for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). It helps us to not sin against God (Psalm 119:9,11). Make sure to “Test everything. Hold on to the good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21) with scripture as your reference. Scripture is even described as our sword (Ephesians 6:17). It would be impossible for me to count all the times that scripture brought me hope and comfort during trials or provided an answer when there was none.

4. Speech
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29).

The more I read the Bible the more I understand how important every word we say is. We shouldn’t grumble and complain (Philippians 2:14). We should avoid wasting time with foolish talk and crude joking, and instead replace it with thanksgiving (Ephesians 5:4, Proverbs 4:24). On the Day of Judgment, we will give an account of not only every bad word, but even the careless words we use (Matthew 12:36-37). Make sure that all of your conversations are Christ-centered and edifying. Don’t always feel the need to speak though because we can learn much from others and we will often regret things we say if we speak to soon (James 1:17, Proverbs 17:28). If we are in a teaching situation, we should be careful of what we say because we become accountable now for not only for what we do, but also what we have taught them (James 3).

5. Women
“I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin?” (Job 31:1).

If God has not called you to a life of singleness, which I believe is usually a rare thing but should not be immediately overlooked (1 Corinthians 7), then He has prepared the right someone for you. Until that time comes, you must be patient, which can be hard. Be sure to avoid all kinds of sexual immorality (Ephesians 5:3). I have had my struggles with pornography and know how hard it can be, but we must trust in God to give us the strength to wait. As far as dating goes, that will be for you and your parents to decide. I have personally decided that I am not going to date until I am ready to marry, and will not date anyone unless I could see myself married to them. I suggest reading Every Young Man’s Battle for help with the battle of temptation and I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris to get a better understanding of when and how you should date.

6. Trust in God
“He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm trusting in the Lord. His heart is steady; he will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries” (Psalm 112:7-8).
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you” (Psalm 56:3).
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding” (Psalm 3:5).

God is in control of all things and we can always trust in him (Psalm 56, 139). He works for the good in all things for us (Romans 8:28). He will strengthen us in our spirit beyond what we can imagine (Ephesians 3:14-21). He has overcome the world (John 16:33), and because of his sacrifice on the cross and the faith he has given us (Ephesians 2:8-10), we have overcome the world as well (1 John 5:4-5).

7. Make The Best Use Of Your Time

“Looking carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16).

A Christian should never say that they are bored because there is always some way that we can be glorifying God, we just have to find it. Make sure to use every second available to God’s glory. I heard one of the best ways to make the best use of your time is wake up early, and it’s true. Also begin to evaluate what things are taking time away from your walk with God, such as television. Paul says that he was going to pour out all of himself for others (Philippians 2:17). Keep your mind on things above and not things on the earth (Colossians 3:1-2) and take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5). Even when you are walking to class or taking a shower, you can use that time to reflect on passages of scripture or in prayer.

8. You’re A Sinner Too
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind” (Ephesians 2:1-3).

Don’t forget that you are sinner saved by God’s grace (Ephesians 2:4-5,8-10). Our conflicts and quarrels do not arise out of what others have done, but from the sinful passions within us (James 4:1-3). I heard that Jonathan Edwards, a famous puritan pastor, resolved to act as if he was a far worse sinner than everyone he ever met. He did this so that he never had a condescending attitude of being better than them. Remember that you are not better than others and this will help you keep a humble, servant attitude, but don’t forget that you are also loved by God.

9. Prayer

“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven” (James 5:13-15).

Prayer is essential to the Christian walk. Our needs that accord to God’s will are answered through prayer (1 John 5:14-15). Don’t be anxious, but instead go to God in prayer (Philippians 4:6-7). The prayer of righteous person is effective (James 5:16-20). We should always be in a state of prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). We often see Jesus in prayer at crucial points of his life on this earth (Matthew 26:36-45, John 17).  Be sure to pray for God’s glorification and not your own and not in a prideful manner (Matthew 6:5-8, Luke 18:9-14). We can trust that God answers prayers (Mark 11:22-25, John 14:13-14). Jesus even shows us what to pray (Matthew 6:9-13).

10. Joy

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).
“Rejoice always…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 16,18).

The final part of the Christian life, a part that is commonly overlooked, is to simply enjoy God and what he has given you and be thankful for him and what he has given you. When other people see this joy God has blessed you with, they will want that same joy. We see this joy in Christ even in his hardest hour (Hebrews 12:1-2). God is the greatest joy we could ever want or wish for (Psalm 16:11).  Our thirst is for God (Psalm 63:1) who is the living water (John 4, 7:37-39). God being your greatest pleasure will be one of the greatest ways to glorify him.

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I Did Not Allow This

“Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases” (Psalm 115:3).
“Whatever the Lord pleases, he does in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deep. He it is who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth, who makes lightning for the rain and brings forth the wind from his storehouses” (Psalm 135:6-7).
“Declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.” (Isaiah 46:10)

Recently I heard a version of “I Have Decided To Follow Jesus.” It was sung a cappella by one girl, but the words were changed to:

I never wanted to follow Jesus
I never wanted to follow Jesus
I never wanted to follow Jesus
He rescued me, he rescued me

Many of you have made it clear that you do not agree with my Calvinistic interpretations of the Bible. If you do not, I encourage you to take another look at my past note “New Calvinism,” and try see which one Scripture truly says and which one you have been taught. I do not claim perfection and I know I can be very wrong, but after much study, I still feel that this is the most biblical doctrine.

The reason I am writing this note is because people will occasionally tell me that I did a great job with a sermon. I usually think of these scripture: “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he l will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:6). “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (Colossians 3:17). “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). With this scripture in mind, I then try to make it clear that it was God through me and not myself that revealed these great truths.

Then in response to this, many will say, “But you allowed him to do it.” That is what this note is about. Once again, many of you might not agree with my Calvinistic views but this was something I was convicted. I felt like that when this is said I am detracting from the glory and taking some for myself, so I wanted to make it clear that I did not allow this, but that it was once again God through me. To him alone belong all glory, honor, and praise, and the act, even if it may seem small, of me taking the credit for allowing him to work in my life takes away part of the glory that rightly belongs to him. Even this note I am writing now, I am not writing or allowing God to work through me, but it is all God. I can take no credit for I have done nothing that I have not received from God (1 Corinthians 4:7).

This note is not an attempt to convince you of my beliefs, though I do encourage you to take a second look at it. Rather, this is something I was convicted of, and I wanted to make it clear that all glory belongs to God and none of it to me. I don’t deserve it and having done anything worthy of praise. All good things and good gifts from God the Father through Jesus Christ (James 1:17, Ephesians 1:3).

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Love Kids Orphanage

“If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and well food,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:15-17).

We have grown up blessed, and because of that, we are spoiled. I once heard the statistic that if you make 20,000 dollars a year you are in the top 90 percent of the world and over 65,000 is over 99 percent. God has called us to look over the less fortunate than us, yet we “don’t have enough money.” We have much more money than we realize and would easily be able to offer more to others. We are to caught up in what we want and are unwilling to sacrifice. Before you jump on me and call me a hypocrite, notice that I’m using “we” instead of “you” because I am incredibly selfish. Adu, a friend of mine, has giving his life to running an orphanage and helping children. He has asked for our help. I’m not asking you to get on a plane and go help him, I’m just asking you to send some money his way to help them. Through my trial I saw the tremendous outpouring of God’s love through the body of Christ as they gave and gave and gave. We can do that again. Below is the link to his website. In order to donate you will have to set up an account at paypal. I know some of you may not have a lot of extra money you can just dish out, but I’m not asking you to give much. If you just give about five or ten dollars a month that would be plenty. This may mean you can’t get that cup of coffee you get everyday, but some sacrifice is required. Let us make a difference in these childrens’ lives.

http://www.lovekidsorphanage.org/

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End World Hunger

Matthew 25:37, “Lord when did we see you hungry and feed you or thirsty and give you drink?”
Luke 16:11, “If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches.”
Malachi 3:10, “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.”

I was just reading some statistics on World Hunger. It would only take about 30 billion dollars a year to end world hunger (got some of the statistics from http://thevibe.socialvibe.com/index.php/2008/11/10/what-would-it-cost-to-end-world-hunger/) There are also over 300 million people living in America. That means that if every person in America gave 100 dollars a year it would end world hunger. And that’s just if people in America gave not including the rest of the world. When I read these statistics, I couldn’t believe that world hunger was still a problem. Only 100 dollars a year could end the hunger of 862 million people. 1.8 million people die every day from water born illnesses with 3,900 children dieing every day. It costs 10 dollars to give a child clean water for life. For 10 billion dollars there could be clean water for everyone. If we add the 30 billion for hunger and 10 billion for water, we end up with 40 billion. This means that Americans now have to give 135 (rounded up) to end both world hunger and give clean water to the world. Why has this not happened yet? Because we are selfish, arrogant, uncaring people. What is wrong with us? Let’s put this in perspective. If someone spent 2 dollars on a cup of coffee 4 days of the week (which people normally pay more for it and get it more than 4 days), then if they went 4 or 5 months without coffee or just got it 2 or 3 days instead of 4 then that would be more than enough money to pay. Americans also spent 450 BILLION dollars on Christmas last year. We are all HYPOCRITES. We say we care for others and love them like Jesus, but we are liars. Don’t you know that faith without works is dead (James 2:17)? I experienced how powerful and wonderful the church can be as people continued to give and give and give last year during my struggle with cancer. Now it is time to spread that love. Stop being selfish and suck it up. You say that you don’t have enough money, but that’s not true. 1 billion people (about 17 percent of the world’s population) live on less than a dollar a day. The truth is you don’t have enough desire or enough love to sacrifice for others. On top of buying Christmas gifts, or maybe in place of buying Christmas gifts, I encourage each and every one of you to give anywhere from 150 to 200 dollars to a group that seeks to end world hunger and provide clean water. We are not called to just provide for their physical bodies but their spiritual states as well, which may be even more important. I also encourage you to find some way to give to something that seeks to spread the gospel. Below, I have listed some of the websites that you can do this.

http://www.adventconspiracy.org/
http://www.chffoundation.us/
http://www.oneverse.org/

Many have pointed to what the church has done wrong, let us show these people how powerful God is and how he can use the church to literally change the world. We have been called to help these people and to bring them the gospel. It’s time to stop making excuses and do so.

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