Monday, March 31, 2008

Look What You've Done!


Did that phrase make you think of one of your parents looking at you with disappointment as you emptied a entire gallon of milk into a 8 oz. glass. Today by that phrase I am referring to looking to God and expressing acknowledgment for what he has done.

Yesterday I was able to go to the dedication for the 210 building. The design and restoration of that building is breathtaking. It was awesome to once again to hear how God redeemed and restored a building for his glory through his people. Just hearing the many stories of people who have been praying for that building and that God would do a large thing. I cannot say enough about 1st presbyterian and their willingness to involve others in the amazing gift that God has given.

Tomorrow Elevate will launch and begin and amazing new outreach to this community, I have to just sit back in awe of how God works. How God would bring together a 100+ year old church and a 3 year church like Crossroads (along with the support of a few others) and launch something amazing. God is good.

As I was thinking about this this morning the song by tree 63 popped into my mind, look what you've done. So I had to options, record myself singing on my web cam or find someone who can actually sing on you tube. Rest easy, I went with the latter. Enjoy and listen and look at the powerful words of this song, but most importantly- Remember who actually is behind all that we see- that is worship!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Cardinals Baseball


The Cardinals are 2-0, with a big 7-0 win over the Phillie's.
Jonah was 1-2 and scored a run. I really enjoy going to games and watching these kids play.
We really have a great group of kids who are learning to play together.
Its especially nice with all the preparation and waiting for the grand opening at 210 this next Tuesday, to take some time and just focus in on what my son is doing and not worry about anything else.
Hope everyone is having a great week

Thursday, March 27, 2008

From Guest Blogger Glen Bryant

True story…

A few weeks ago, at the place where I work, we had a construction project going to replace the asphalt in the area between the main parking lot and the facility entrance. This was going to require all the foot traffic to go out the sidewalk by the road, increasing the walk by about 100 feet.

I set up orange cones and caution tape all around the unsafe area, accompanied by signs giving people directions on how to get where they were trying to go, safely. I did the best I could to make sure there was no doubt about which way traffic should go and which way they should not go. I even stood out in the parking lot to try to help those who were confused and give them guidance.

At first most were pleasant about it and understood and would turn toward the road where the sidewalk was. There were some though, that wanted to walk straight through, even though there was heavy equipment operating through the area, and the asphalt was being torn out, and the ground was unlevel and rocky. 100 feet, to be safe, didn’t seem that far to me, but I continually had to stop people who were going under the tape, ignoring all the signs, and stepping into the dangerous area. Anytime I turned my back for a minute, I’d look out and there would be people walking straight through, right by all the tractors and trucks, putting themselves at risk for injury or even death!

“What’s wrong with these people!”, I kept asking myself and my co-worker. “100 feet! All the warnings of danger in place, the caution tape, the orange cones, the signs! Are they in that much of a hurry? Do they think that it doesn’t apply to them? Are they just not paying attention?” There was nothing more I could do. All the signs were there and they could see with their own eyes that it just wasn’t safe. Why? Some people were even getting down right ugly when I redirected them to the detour. Waving me off and saying things under their breath as they walked away. One guy that was in the middle of the construction area told me not to “insult his intelligence” and insisted there was no warnings! It was unbelievable!

By day four of the project, about midday, I was done. I couldn’t do it anymore. Nobody wanted to listen. I was tired of being treated like I was some dummy, or a mean person. I quit. The signs were all there. They were on their own.

I sat in the shop, looking out the window, watching everyone ignore all the signs, saying “why, why won’t they obey the signs, why won’t they listen”. My co-worker came in and saw that I was upset and told me not to let it bother me…that I shouldn’t get mad about it. I told him, “I not mad but just very disappointed in people. Why would they ignore all the signs of danger?” I said, “It’s ok, there has to be something I can learn from this. Don’t they know that all I’m trying to do is keep them safe?”

That’s when it hit me. This is how God feels when He looks down on us. He has put out the caution tape and cones (The Bible). All the signs are in place. He even puts people in our path (pastors, friends, family). He has done everything He possibly can to keep us safe because He loves us, and what do we do? We ignore all the signs and warnings, even the people He puts in our lives. We want to do it our way, the easy way, the quick way. We see the caution tape, we grab it, lift it over our head, and walk right into the middle of an unsafe area. Will something bad happen every time? Absolutely not! That’s how we get comfortable in our sin. Hey, if I got away with it once with no consequences, I can do it again, right? It’s like playing Russian roulette with our lives…our future.

God had given me a chance to see the world through His eyes. To experience the pain and grief that He feels every time we step under the caution tape right into the middle of danger. My frustration turned into blessing as I realized He had taken the time to show me how He feels, so I might understand and share it with others.

The good news is this…I gave up on the people, He will never give up on us. I left the people to their own fate…God walks beside us even in our sin. He has the amazing ability to love us no matter what we do. I , for one, am so thankful for that.

So look into your hard times closely, there might just be a lesson in it for you. It might just change your perspective on life!

One more thing…if any of those people who walked under the tape had gotten hurt, guess who they would have blamed for it? That’s right, my employer. They would have had lawyers in place in no time, wanting someone else to pay for their mistake.

So who do we blame when bad things happen in our lives…..that’s right, we blame God.

Think about it.

The Journey to Wise Decisions

video
Ok, So I am not in Maui, but I wish I was. What I learned form Proverbs today is that God's wisdom is actually looking for us, and according to Solomon is calling out from the streets "come and get it." So how have I managed to avoid it for so long? Well I have probably not seriously looked and also, wisdom requires that I trust in God... "Trust in God" that is a churchy phrase that is easy to say, shoot its even written on our money, But if we are honest, when it comes to 99.9% of the decisions we make in life we base them on our feelings, and how this affects me in this present moment. True wisdom says that God holds the key to wisdom and when we choose his way, even when it is not comfortable, or doesn't feel good, we begin to experience his wisdom infiltrating our lives.
So today, I am not going to dream of being on the beaches of Maui, although being honest I really would (whats my credit limit on mastercard and when does the plane leave?) ...oooohhhhhh wait back on track..... I have some things that I could blow off till this weekend and be stressed, or i could think of things with a long term and future perspective, and as Larry the Cable so Eloquently puts it "Git er' done!" Now thats some wisdom!!!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Just Stop and Think

Francis Chan is one of my favorite speakers, if you have 15 minute this is a great reminder that we are not wasting our time in serving Jesus. I am studying about making wise choices (instead of stupid ones) and it all starts with a basis for making right decisions. If there is no God, no Jesus, then we might as well just live like animals and let our instincts drive us and base our choices on what feels good in the moment. This video is based on God's word and reminds us that we have an amazing God who loves us with an amazing love. And his desire for us to make wise choices is to provide for and protect us not just to be a cosmic killjoy.

Enjoy this powerful Video Called Just Stop and Think: (great idea!)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

ONE WEEK AWAY!!!

One week from today we Launch. 210 is actually going to be done. Tuesday night at 7pm elevate will start a amazing new downtown outreach for college students and young adults. Our first Series is going to be called Dumb and Dumber: learning from the wisdom of proverbs. We are going to be digging through the book of Proverbs and learning how God has provided us with some great insight through this great book, as well as having some great examples of how not to do things from my good friends Lloyd and Harry. Okay, so I don't know them but after over a decade of being the ultimate masterpiece of cinema, (and watching it some 50 times) they actually feel more like family.

The great thing is that we all do stupid things, which means we are not in this alone. These things may not appear so blatant and dumb, but often we base our most important life decisions on ridiculous logic, and are forced to live a majority of our lives with the consequences of dumb and dumber chices. (And yes, I am speaking from experience.)

Proverbs is written by Davids son Solomon, when he was getting ready to assume the throne as King of Israel, God made him a interesting offer: Anything you want it is yours. Wow, can you imagine all the things that would go through your mind. A Ferrari, 10 Million bucks, good looks, fame, fortune... you know the drill. Solomon however chooses to ask for God's wisdom to invade his life, and Gods makes good on his promise (as he always does) and made him the smartest wisest man to ever live.

The next couple of weeks I am going to be trying to personally learn from the wisdom of Solomon, and how to put this to practice in my life.

It starts Today, so I am going to get going and try to be wise in all my decisions and learn from Gods word how that can happen and how I can take advantage of what God offers when it comes to being smart.

Today the best thing I can do to start being wise and not dumb (or dumber) is to trust

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;

6 in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.


Wisdom starts with trust, and believing that God's way is actually better than mine. Not just saying it living it.

Much more to come...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Less than Two Weeks!!!


We are less than two weeks away form the grand opening of 210 and the new Tuesday night elevate. It feels so strange to be waiting so long for something and to have it finally right around the corner, is kind of weird. It seemed for so long like it would never get here, but here we are!
I have been learning that sometimes when we are so focused on a big huge goal, or event, we can lose sight of the small things. These small things if not attended to can into large issues or problems and as I also know all to well a lot of small things amount to a large thing. OK, now that this completely makes no sense, I will expound. There are some small things in life like spending some time with God, making contact with people, finishing small projects, that get overlooked in my life when I am staring a huge thing in the face. I tend to be a procrastinator in life, (telling myself I work best under pressure) and life get stressful when a lot of things are happening at the same time. This could be avoided easily with some simple planning and also working ahead even if I am not on a deadline.
This probably doesn't make sense in words, but in my head its perfectly clear, I simply need to start using my time more wisely and taking advantage of slower times in life to save myself (and others) a lot of stress.
There are several parables that Jesus told about using our time and resources wisely, especially the one where Jesus talks about the "talents." Those who invested wisely had great success, while the one who buried his "talent" (my interpretation: procrastinated) ended up disappointing the master.

I am going to try and use the next 10 day that I have wisely- If you are reading this I would challenge you to the same. Whether it is personal time with God or something else- jump on it, get it done, I believe God's strength is a lot more visable to use and others when we arent under the gun.

Monday, March 17, 2008

How Big is Your God?


Last night I shared from the book of Daniel, about how Daniel had a faith in God that was larger than the situations he faced. God showed up and delivered Daniel from the Lions that normally would have devoured him for a midnight snack. The situations we face in life that we face tend to devour us, they dominate our thoughts and keep us from doing the things we desire and allowing God to really show his strength in our weakness.
The question that I am faced with when life's lions attack, when I am placed in a situation that is bigger than my control, is "How big is my God" Am I going to let the pressures force me to struggle, am I going let circumstances beyond my control dominate my thoughts. Or am I going to begin to live like I believe Gods word and promises to be true.
Its not easy, and sometimes eaven when I step out on faith it doesn't feel right and the outcome may not be what I hoped or planned for. But the great thing is that God's plan is always better and he works things out way better than I do.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Looking Forward to April 1st

The 210 building is coming along amazingly. It is almost done, in a little over 2 weeks we will launch Elevate in 210. I am so pumped by the team that we have in place who have a genuine passion to share God's love and the hope he brings with the college student and young adults in this community.
Hope you all are having a great weekend.

This coming week is Easter week- We have an amazing thing to celebrate.

I got to quit getting myself so busy and not writing my thoughts!!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

This week I have been reading through Matthew 5, most famously caled the "sermon on the mount" because a lot of people were sitting around a mountainside listening to Jesus teach. I love how The Message (a paraphrase bible by Eugene Peterson) puts this passage, it really brings out some of the depth of what Jesus was teaching.

3
"You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

4"You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

5"You're blessed when you're content with just who you are—no more, no less. That's the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can't be bought.

6"You're blessed when you've worked up a good appetite for God. He's food and drink in the best meal you'll ever eat.

7"You're blessed when you care. At the moment of being 'care-full,' you find yourselves cared for.

8"You're blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

9"You're blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That's when you discover who you really are, and your place in God's family.

10"You're blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God's kingdom.

11-12"Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don't like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.


Monday, March 10, 2008

Health- Don't know what you got til its gone.


As the great 80's rockers Cinderella put it "don't know what you got until its gone." For several days I was miserable and just laid in bed and felt like I was hit by a truck. But Sunday morning I woke up feeling different, i felt... great. It was strange that normal felt so good, i could breath through my nose, my head didn't feel like it was full of rocks and I could actually think without my head pounding. For some reason normal felt extremely good. There all all kinds of trite phrases I could stick in here about not noticing your health until it is missing, but it really felt great to feel good.
I think if we would stop long enough to take a look at the things that we have in our life and all the blessings that we have it would be a whole lot more enjoyable to live right where we are. So many times I think about the things that are wrong, to beat myself up for mistakes, to wish that I had invested in Yahoo ten years, etc... Our lives are so full of blessings, and I probably sound like a dazed and confused 70's child but I am going to focus on what I have this week, and enjoy them, and instead of moaning about my problems I am going to take the tough times in stride. I think that is the life that Jesus was talking about in Matthew chapter 5, he was talking about the great blessing that we have, and the truest blessing in life have been given to us by God and we often ignore them in lieu of things that we don't have and things we want.
So this week I am going to go through matthew 5 and remember how I am blessed.

Here is the dictionary definition for blessing:

bless·ing [bles-ing]
1.the act or words of a person who blesses.
2.a special favor, mercy, or benefit: the blessings of liberty.
3.a favor or gift bestowed by God, thereby bringing happiness.
4.the invoking of God's favor upon a person:
5.praise; devotion; worship, esp. grace said before a meal:
6.approval or good wishes:

Have a great week I hope you are having a great week.

Friday, March 7, 2008

SICK


Haven't written in a couple days, i am sick as a dog. Whoever is praying for patience for me- knock it off!
Have a great Day

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Back to Reality


I just returned from an incredible getaway. It was nice to escape the realities of everyday life and simply soak in the surrounding area and relax. This is the first time we were away from our kids and I was surprised how much I missed them, in fact the last day of our vacation I wanted to come home because I felt like our family wasn't complete. The reunion was awesome as we pulled into the house my son burst out the door and hugged me so tight and never let me go (literally, he was attached to me all night.) Sometimes a little distance can help refresh you of the wonderful things in your life and how valuable your family is. I began to think about the importance of creating community and family within the Body of Christ. In our family although we are far from perfection, we have a place of comfort where we can be ourself and be alright with that, where we can voice our opinions and know we are not going to be rejected. I think the main ingredient in that (besides God being the center) is that we realize that we need each other and that life is much better with together than it is apart. I am looking forward to in the next few weeks to making some specific efforts to build family within our community.
So its back to reality, no one making sure my drink is full and that I have more enough amazing food on my plate, no beautiful beaches to walk along, and no more sleeping in... But I will take the the trade any day, back to life with my family, my church and the plans God has for my life.