About Bradley Bolejack

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So far Bradley Bolejack has created 16 blog entries.

Growing with a Purpose

We learn from scriptures that Christ, as a child, grew and developed just as we do.  Because he grew and developed as we have, we have a savior that can sympathize with us in our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15).   Jesus developed that inspires our own development.

And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.  Luke 2:52

Here we see Jesus setting the perfect model of development: wisdom (cognitive), stature (physical), favor with God (spiritual) and man (social).  These areas make up the development of the complete person – and Jesus, living the perfect life, set the model of perfection of whole-person development.

The fact that Jesus developed in perfection is interesting and inspiring.  Often times we focus on “the fact” of the matter and miss the “why’.  Why was he so driven to develop cognitively, physically, spiritually and socially?  To be smarter than anyone else?  Look better than anyone else?  Be more successful than anyone else?

We certainly know how he was able to develop – he relied upon His connection with the father for the strength to will and to act (John 5:19).  But why?  What motivated him to have the connection with the Father to grow and develop?

The answer is just a few verses previous.  While observing the annual Passover in Jerusalem, Mary and Joseph accidentally left Jesus!  When they returned, they certainly witnessed an awe-inspiring scene:

Luke 2:46 Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions.

Mary and Joseph explained to Jesus that him staying behind in Jerusalem alone caused them to worry and fret.  After a lite scolding, Jesus responded.  In this response, we find the reason behind his pursuit of perfect development in the Father.

Luke 2:49 And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me?  Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”  

Why did Jesus pursue perfect development in the Father?  Purpose!  He knew the cross called to Him.  He tapped into the perfect power of the Father so that his mind and body would be ready to carry out his purpose.  He knew that he was about his Father’s business.

I am reminded of a story of three bricklayers.  Each was asked what they were doing.  The first man replied, “I’m laying bricks.”  The second man replied, “I’m building a wall.”  The third man replied, “I’m making a place of worship for the Lord.”  The first man had a job.  The second man had a career.  The third man had a purpose.

Whether you are going to work or school, leading a team or contributing to a team.  Ask yourself:  what is my purpose?  This truth we learn from the perfect development of our Savior:  it is important to develop in God’s strength – it is equally important to know why.  When times get tough.  When things don’t go as planned.  When work gets hard and school becomes overwhelming – take a step back, look your challenges in the eye and say “I must be about my Father’s business.”  Move forward, confidently in Christ.

Growing with a Purpose2018-08-06T15:25:56-05:00

Key Questions of Life Answered by The Lord’s Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer Answers the Key Questions of Life – by Pastor Des Cummings

Where did we come from? We came from our Father in Heaven – We are his children that is why He taught us to pray Our Father in Heaven

What is our father like? Pure love and that is the meaning of His name. One of His closest friends wrote, “We have come to know and believe the love God has for us – God is Love”. That is why we pray – Holy is your name

What is our meaning and purpose in life? We are commissioned to be ambassadors of His Kingdom and so we pray – Your kingdom come.

How will His Kingdom come? It will come as we follow His plan to bring heaven to earth and therefore we pray – Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

How will we know his will? By feeding our hearts and minds on His word He will – Give us this day our daily bread.

Sin has separated us from Him – how will He heal us? He will heal us through the blood of His forgiveness and that is why He told us to pray – Forgive us our sins.

Sin has separated us from each other how will He make us family? He will give us the heart to forgive others who have sinned against us and together we will model a new community called the Church As we forgive those who sin against us.

How will He keep us safe from Satan’s tempting power? He told us to pray – Lead us not into temptation.

How will He keep us safe from this wicked world? He has overcome the world and He will bring us victory as we pray – Deliver us from evil.

How will this world end? He will come back to this earth with all of His angels to reestablish the Kingdom. It will come in the Power and Glory of His Presence, Every tear will be wiped away and there will be no more death. Joy will fill the earth and we will live in the glow of His Glory. That is why we pray – For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory!

How long will it last? Forever and ever. Amen!

Key Questions of Life Answered by The Lord’s Prayer2018-07-03T11:00:25-05:00

Free Indeed

“How can you say that we shall be set free?” the Jews asked with a combination of disgust and bewilderment.  “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone!” When Jesus told them that they would be set free by the truth, the Jews clearly took offense.  However, their disapproving statement clearly contradicted their history with a total disregard of their Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian and Syrian overlords – including their Roman overlords of the time.  They had a false sense of freedom in both past and present.

We are lucky to live in a free nation.  We can choose what we want to do for a living.  We can have opinions. You can make all the memes you want about the President where people in other countries could face charges of treason.  In every sense of the word, we are free.

We are free to make our own choices, but the funny thing is, we can be imprisoned by those very choices.   Jesus explains in John 8: 34 34 “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.”  

We are all free to make any choice we could ever want to make, but even with that freedom, all too often we revert to the same habits and turn to the same vices.   I like the way Casting Crowns puts it in their song “All You’ve Ever Wanted” – “I’m living free inside a prison cell.” We are free to make our own choices, but sinful nature makes us slaves to those very choices.  So ironic to be enslaved by the very thing that makes us free.

But Jesus gives us hope!  We do not have to be a slave to our impulses.  35 “Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

Free indeed!  I want to be free!  I want my next sunrise to be a new day, not just a deja vu of past mistakes.  That is the very promise Jesus makes to us. To experience true freedom, we must become slaves to God.  Turning ourselves and our choices over to God and experiencing his life-changing power will free us from the chains of self.  1 Peter 2:16 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.

As we celebrate our freedom as a nation on July 4th next week, let us ponder how we can draw near to Christ so that we can abandon the appearance of freedom and be free indeed!

 

Free Indeed2018-06-25T13:44:24-05:00

Broken Things

It’s an age-old story.  You get into an argument with your mate.  You yell at your kids. You get angry at someone in traffic, and while you are on your way to church, you think, “What’s the point?  How can I come before God like this? How can I serve Him like this?

If you have ever felt like that, you are not alone.  Isaiah felt the same way when he had a vision of the Lord, Almighty.  …I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple.  Isaiah 6:1.

How did Isaiah respond to this vision?  “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined. For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”  

Isaiah felt the weight of his brokenness pressing down on him.  When the angel purified his lips by touching the coal to his lips, he learned that being in God’s presence should not make you aware of your mistakes, it should make you aware of His grace.  

Then, in the midst of Isaiah’s brokenness, God said in the vision, “…Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then Isaiah responded, “Here am I; send me.”  Isaiah 6:8

We do not come before God to show off our “Christianness” to God or each other.  We do come before God to experience his grace. And once we experience it – share it.  

 

I like the song from Matthew West called “Broken Things.”  The chorus reads

Now I’m just a beggar in the presence of a King

I wish I could bring You so much more

But if it’s true You use broken things

Then here I am Lord, I am all Yours

God wants to use us – all of us – all of our talents and our junk.  Because the funny thing about your brokenness is that God can use you to reach others that can relate to what you have gone through.  As the saying goes, “One Man’s junk is another man’s treasure.” Well, God can make treasure out of anything once he adds His love to it.  He can turn your failures into platforms of grace and mercy to reach others. Despite all the junk, come before God, experience his grace, and when he asks who will go and share, reply “Here am I, Lord.  Send me.”

Broken Things2018-06-27T15:57:08-05:00

I Have Given You an Example…

“Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”  Matthew 20:28

Jesus is the Master.  He is King of kings and Lord of lords.  He is the Name above all names and deserving of all praise.  He is the Word made flesh, the Alpha and Omega. He is the I AM.  Although deserving the place of a King, he took the role of the servant.  

Jesus came to serve and to minister, to sacrifice himself for the sins of all people, but most of all, to set an example.   “For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.” John 13:15.  

Next week, we will celebrate the Lord’s Supper and Ordinance of Humility, commonly known as foot washing.  The Lord’s Supper, with the emblems of Jesus’ body (bread) and his blood (wine), reminds us of how Jesus loves us.  However, the Ordinance of Humility is a reminder of how we should love each other.

What would happen in the church if Christ’s attitude reflected in Matthew 20:28 swept through the Adventist Church?  What if everyone said, “I did not come to church to be served, but to serve.” Often times when we go to church with the goal of “getting”, we can walk away feeling empty.  When we go to church with the goal of “giving”, the Spirit has a way of filling us with joy.

It all starts humbly, down on our knees.  This week, spend time in prayer and ask the Lord how you can be of service for his Kingdom.  Ask for the strength to say “I did not come to be served, but to serve.”

I Have Given You an Example…2018-06-25T14:09:00-05:00

What is Love Really?

Romans 5:8 God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Bible verses such as the one above remind us that God loves us.  But in order to fully comprehend what this verse means, we have to understand what love is.  With so many different concepts of love, the verse above could take on so many meanings.

There are many concepts of love.  People will often say, “I love my children” and then also say “I love pizza.”  There is the Disney princess concept of love that accompanies a feeling of abandon and ecstasy.   There is the love that pop-culture songs sing portray. With all of these concepts of love, it is difficult to truly comprehend the love that Romans 5:8 is talking about.  

As long as you associate the concept of “love” with a feeling, Bible verses about love will often fall flat.  M Scott Peck, author of The Road Less Traveled, offers a definition that describes love in it’s truest form.  He says that true love can only be expressed in the absence of the feeling of love.  

Remember when you first met your spouse?  Remember that uncontrollable urge to be with them?  It was fun, but it wasn’t love. That was a hormone – a compulsion.  Often times, when that feeling fades over time, people think that have “fallen out of love.”  But that could not be any farther from the truth. Once that compulsion feeling fades, that is when the work of real loving begins.  You see, when your hormones and enzymes are no longer compelling you toward your loved one, you are simply left with the choice to love.  

Real love makes you deny self and make yourself vulnerable.  Real love sets you up to experience pain. Real love dispels fear and draws us out of the safety of our self-centeredness into other-centeredness.

It wasn’t a hormone or an enzyme that allowed Jesus to go through with the cross.  It wasn’t a Disney princess version of love. It wasn’t a feeling. It was a choice.  Now, with that version of love, re-read Romans 5:8. Has it taken on a new meaning?

If you wonder why you don’t feel butterflies in your stomach when you are around your spouse or when you worship God, don’t interpret that to mean that you have “fallen out of love.”  That is when the work of true love will finally begin.

What choices can you make this week to show your loved ones and God that you love them?  

What is Love Really?2018-06-27T15:47:21-05:00

What’s Left After Right?

Have you ever wanted to be right?  Maybe in an endless Facebook thread, or perhaps an argument with a loved one.  After you won the argument, how did you feel? In John chapter 8, we see the beautiful story of where Christ was lured into an argument.  But his response is surprising.

2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. John 8:2-6

The Pharisees wanted to lure Jesus into a debate of facts.  Jesus could have used the opportunity to display his knowledge, he could have impressed everyone with his mastery of the law, he could have made the priority to be right.  But he didn’t take the bait. His main focus in this encounter is how can they see love. How can this woman see love and forgiveness? And because he focused on love, he saved her life and gave her a chance to start over.

The question must be asked, what would have been left if Jesus had used that time to prove himself right?  Well…not much. Probably just a carpenter, a dead woman, and some angry Jews.

In our own relationships with people, we must ask the question “What’s left after right?”  Certainly, there are situations where you want someone to be right. Your doctor and your accountant come to mind.  But think about the last argument you had with a friend, a spouse or a loved one. After the “right” was proven and they were proven wrong, what was left?  Was there some grand, life-changing awakening? Perhaps. But usually, when you engage in an argument for the mere sake of being right, there usually isn’t much left but hurt and regret.  Love must be the priority in all of our interactions. Without love, people really don’t want to hear what you have to say anyway.

The next time you sense that a situation with another person is escalating, take a moment in prayer and ask God to give you the discernment to answer the question “What’s left after right?”  You may just find that, in fact, “Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:8)

What’s Left After Right?2018-06-25T14:00:31-05:00

Born Again

Last week, my wife and I welcomed our son, Jakob into the world.  Filled with love and pride, I held my newborn son in my arms.  It made me a pause and reflect on Jesus command to be born again.  In fact, Jesus very plainly instructed that a rebirth is required to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  John 3:3  Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.

Of all the analogies of transformation Jesus could have used, why did he choose the idea of being born again?  Why not use an analogy of a butterfly? Or perhaps leaves changing color? If we understand why he purposefully used this analogy, we will have a deeper understanding of what a born-again Christian looks like.

 

  1. Just as the child has no control over when he or she is born, the Christian has no control over his or her rebirth.  A child does not dictate when he or she is born. He or she simply submits to his or her mother’s body. Philippians 1:6  being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  We submit to God, his spirit takes care of the rebirth. It happens in God’s timing, not ours. We do not earn it, we accept it through Jesus.  Don’t get impatient with the process. Submit to God and let him complete his good work in you.
  2. Just as a baby has unquestioning trust in his mother, a born-again Christian has unquestioning trust in God.  Psalm 34 17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; deliver them from all of their troubles. A baby does not cry out of despair.  A baby is conditioned to cry because the child knows his mother will come. That is why the born again cry out – because they know they can trust in God to come.  That is why we must “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5) because God will come right on time to give you what you need to make it through the day.  
  3. Just as a newborn baby gets its sustenance directly from his or her mother, the born-again Christian gets their spiritual sustenance directly from God.  There is no formula in the spiritual realm. If you try to feed your soul with the world, your soul will become sick. Where are you trying to get your spiritual sustenance?  If you want to experience the joy and peace that transcends all understanding, you must, “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.”  Drop the vices of this world and crave the sustenance that comes from God.
  4. Once a baby is born, there is no going back into the womb.  Once a Christian is born again and called out of Sodom, there is no turning back.  The plea of the born-again Christian is “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10.
  5. Finally, only a child looks at the world through the eyes of innocence.  Somewhere along the way of living, many of us become bitter and jaded.  But Jesus calls us to find that childlike innocence once again. When the disciples asked who the greatest in heaven would be, Jesus replied (Matthew 18:3) …“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Why did Jesus use the analogy of born again as opposed to another analogy?   It is a description of the type of relationship he wants to have with us. Come to God to be born again and “He will cover you with His pinions, And under His wings, you may seek refuge… (Psalm 91:4).

Born Again2018-06-25T13:26:15-05:00

Make Me a Nail

An Elder at my former church would pray a unique prayer over the speaker before the speaker would go up to preach every Sabbath.  When he would preach, he would say the same prayer. “Lord, make me a nail. On that nail, hang the portrait of your son, Jesus.”

We can know God and his character by studying scripture and spending time in prayer.  But the rest of world, especially someone who has hardened themselves to the Bible, may not meet Jesus by reading scripture.  If not scripture, then where? You guessed it. You and me!

So often we think of ourselves as on trial and Jesus as our advocate.  But God has been on trial since the war in heaven (Revelation 12:7-17).  Satan has tried to tarnish God’s character with his lies.  We, as God’s followers, are ambassadors for his goodness, love, and grace!  

As God’s character stands on trial, we have a calling to represent Him to others.  “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9.  

There are many in the world that before they witness God’s character through the Word, they must first be introduced to God’s character through us!  May each of prayers begin with, “Lord make me a nail…” so that Christ’s portrait can be displayed in our lives.

Make Me a Nail2018-06-25T13:39:34-05:00