Tuesday, September 29, 2015


If you grew up as a Protestant like me, when you heard the phrase "confession", most likely you thought it was probably a good thing but something done in private between you and God alone. The Roman Catholic idea of confessing to a priest was merely a papist false doctrine. After all, only God can forgive sins, so what would be the point in confessing your sins to another human being?  John Wesley required four questions to be asked in his Methodist small groups. Confession was an integral part of being Methodist. 
"What known sins have you committed since our last meeting?"
"What temptations have you met with?"
"How were you delivered?"
“What have you thought, said or done of which you doubt whether it be sin or not?"

The early church practiced the act of confession openly in the congregation. They took the idea that their life was not their own very seriously. This is quite the opposite of our individualized American culture where everything we know of is private and nobody's business.

However, a serious reading of scripture will reveal that no sin is really private. In fact, sin not only impacts us, but it has consequences on those we love and the world we live in. If you want proof, read the story of Adam and Eve in the book of Genesis.

So what then does the bible say about confession of sin?
*Proverbs 28:13 "He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy."
* James 5:16 "Therefore confess your sins to each other so that you may be healed."

One of sin's biggest lies is that it only effects you and it will be your little secret. Can a Christian walk in darkness and with Jesus at the same time? 1 John 1:5-7 says, "This is the message we have received from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin."

Living in the light and walking with Jesus requires us to live in the light. In the light, everything is exposed and nothing hidden.  As children of light we must live with integrity. When we have blown it, we must own up to it to receive mercy and healing.

Who do we confess to? Of course, 1 John 1 goes on to say that if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from unrighteousness. We are to confess to God. Absolutely. Yet, as James says, we confess to one another and find healing.

I have found that if I know I want to walk in the light, I must let it shine in the dark parts of my life as well. Even though it can be painfully humbling, it brings life. Below is an excellent guide found in the United Methodist Hymnal to confess one's sins. 

Most merciful God,
I confess that I have sinned against you
in thought, word, and deed,
by what I have done,
and by what I have left undone.
Especially troubling to me are the following sin:...

I am truly sorry and I humbly repent.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on me and forgive me;
that I may delight in your will,
and walk in your ways,
to the glory of your name. Amen.

Alternate Words of Assurance:

If I confess my sins,
God is faithful and just,
and will forgive my sins
and cleanse me from all unrighteousness.
Thanks be to God! 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Why the Wesley's were called Methodist

Here is an article from the United Methodist website on why the Wesley's stuck with the name Methodist. It is interesting to note that it was initially hurled as an insult to those in the Church of England who were part of the Wesley small group meetings.

Eventually I will post  why I chose to become a Methodist in the near future. Until then, enjoy the brief lesson on the early days of the Methodists.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Ordinary people, ordinary acts, extraordinary results

This week I was reminded of how sometimes the things we do that might not seem like a big deal can have lasting impacts on others. For instance, when I first became a Christian at age 21, I was coming out of the world. In my resolve to follow Jesus, I had renounced my previous ways of entertainment and lawless living that I was so familiar with. This was a difficult time in my life. I knew in order to live out my new found faith, I needed to be in a new environment. What was a new twenty-one year old Christian to do on Saturday nights? Fortunately, the church my parents attended were beginning a new college age ministry. There were a few awkward meet and greets to begin with but after a few weeks, the teacher invited me and a few others to his house on Saturday nights to watch college football. This was a great time to get to know each other. Over a few more weeks more of our small class began to meet at his house on Saturday nights. One night, we had a new visitor. She was beautiful and had my attention. I made sure to talk with her before I left and set a date. Eventually we married and now have our own family. Another couple met at these gatherings on Saturday nights and are now married as well. All this happened because of a selfless act of an ordinary teacher who opened his home after working all day.  

Another instance I learned of this week involves my uncle. He joined the peace corp and taught science in Africa. One of the many students he taught was a kid named John Dramani Mahama. He eventually became the president of Ghana. You can hear more of this story here. My uncle had an incredible impact by doing a seemingly ordinary act. 

There are many more stories I could share about people who have impacted others in a positive way by doing ordinary mundane acts of service. I'm sure you can recall several yourself. Most of the time these acts of service don't seem glorious, they aren't in the limelight, they require sacrifice, and more times than not we don't see the fruit until way down the road. But I'm learning it's all worth it. 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Prayer and the busy life

This morning my pastor challenged our church to be more of a people of prayer using Ephesians 3:14-21 as a call to intercede for each other and ourselves. The text itself is a prayer the apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesian believers. I personally was challenged by the call from our pastor and intend to pray the Ephesian prayer for my bishop, pastor, and family. But when?

Let's face it, we live in a busy world and many times we have good intentions that never come to fruition. Our spiritual life is no different. As important as communion with the Savior is, many of us let our days, weeks, even months slip by without praying.

I have found that the spiritual life must be disciplined and intentionally cultivated if I am to make any progress in sanctification. We read in the New Testament the followers of Christ went to the temples at certain hours to pray. The Book of Common Prayer has personal and family devotions based on these hours of prayer called the Daily Office. There is morning, noon, early evening, and compline (right before bed). These serve as excellent tools for personal or family worship.

A cool aspect of using the Daily Office for prayer and worship is that all around the world, there are other believers following the same biblical format. There is a power in unity. What an excellent thought that you are worshiping and praying the psalms with personal prayers to God along with believers worldwide!

Now I rarely get to pray the Daily Office at all four times, but I do pray at least one on a regular basis. This works well with my busy work schedule. I work rotating shifts consisting of two weeks on days and two weeks on nights. I also make sure to spend quality time with my family. The Daily Office helps me maintain a disciplined prayer life. This is not the only way to discipline one's prayer life, but I believe it to be an excellent one and effective at that. What practices or tools do you have to ensure you are growing in Christ?

Cast your burden on the LORD, and He will sustain you; He will never permit the righteous to be moved. - Psalm 55:22

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Hello there!

About seven years ago I meddled in the world of blogging. I eventually took it down as I didn't have the time I wanted to keep it updated. I continued to lurk sporadically through various blogs ranging in subjects from theology to food to you name it. I have been blessed and challenged by other ordinary folks who take their time to type their thoughts out for all to see.

I am still a busy person. I am a husband and father of two girls in their teenage years. I also work a job that requires me to work two weeks on days and two weeks on nights. I also enjoy grilling, exercising, practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and studying Christian theology.

Why orthodox gravy? Well, I'll be the first to tell you it wasn't my first idea. However, the name sort of stuck and wouldn't go away. I went with it. Orthodox is something I actually try to live my life in accordance with. When I mean orthodox, I am referring to general Christian orthodoxy or as C.S. Lewis coined "Mere Christianity".

Gravy? Well I am from the heart of the south, the great state of Alabama. No one makes gravy better than we do. Not only is there brown and white gravy, there is such a thing as chocolate gravy! Gravy describes the south perfectly.

Anyways, I plan on blogging about all sorts of stuff  on theology, parenting, sports, grilling, etc...