Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Technology is a great tool in sharing the goodness of God and message of a transformed life, however, it can become one of the greatest time robbers and I am guilty.
Looking forward to a great Christmas season and seeing what God has in store as I draw close to him.
Merry Christmas everyone and happy new year!!!
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Amazing facts!!! Makes me wonder how the followers of Christ are doing with Advancing the greatest information ever: the message of Hope and Forgiveness found in Christ.
Great time to be alive, great time to be bold with what we are empowered to share.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Jesus also told his disciples that everything they saw him do they would do even greater things, because the Word that spoke the Universe into being is being instilled in all of us.
Challenge to think about: What are your words saying to others about the good news: the Gospel?
Just read a great blog entry from Mark Batterson, one of my favorite authors and speakers:
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
There never has been and never will be anyone like you. But that isn't a testament to you. It's a testament to the God who created you absolutely unique.
All of creation is singing a worship chorus to God. And it's not just the meadow lark with its 300 notes or the nightingale finch with its 24 songs. According to the German physicist and pianist, Arnold Summerfield, a hydrogen atom emits 100 frequencies which makes it more complex musically than a grand piano which emits 88 frequencies.
For what its worth, Pythagoras said: "A stone is frozen music." Very interesting in light of what Jesus said: "If you remain silent the stones will cry out."
My point? All of creation is singing a unique song to the Creator. And you are part of that universal chorus. No one can worship God FOR you or LIKE you. God has given you a unique voiceprint. There are millions of people praying and worshiping God in every language all the time. But your voiceprint is unique. Like a parent who knows His child's unique cry or scream or laugh, God knows your voice. He hears your voice. The Heavenly Father loves your voice.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Sad thing is this is how a lot of Men are in the Church. We have abandoned our posts and have left the ladies lead alone. Studies show that Women make up 60% of the church despite men having over 95% staff positions in them, and the 40% are mostly sideline observers when it comes to cultivating the younger generation.
This is not a gender equality issue, God created us both equal in his site, however he did instruct the men to lead and to care for the women the same we he did the church (he gave his life!) Time to start manning up fella's. Thanks to all the great women women who continue so faithful and have are still carrying most of the weight, help is on the way!
being a leader of a primarily single group I found this article on religion, attraction and sexuality to be extremely interesting:
I am not so naive to think that young people come to Elevate merely because of the great music or the teaching. In fact I know and have heard of many who are coming because they have hopes of connecting with a significant other. I personally don't think that that is necessarily a bad thing. There are lots of meat market venues around mostly centered around alcohol consumption to lower inhibitions and heighten confidence but these mostly lead to meaningless (unless you throw in guilt and shame) hookups. I love the fact that we have an opportunity that provides an opportunity to for people to develop community with people of the same age and that there might possibly be some romantic connections that come to fruition.
The danger is when there is no standards and accountability, and people allow their natural inclinations to guide them rather than God's leading in their life. That is why it is so important for us to address the area of integrity. My favorite definition of integrity is: who you are when no one is looking. If we are seeking to build and train up Godly young men and women who value integrity, then I think this can be a great place for people to find dating relationships- as long as that becomes secondary to living a life above reproach.
I am looking forward to this new season we are in of challenging people to embrace real relationships and accountability that promote integrity. These test can say whatever they want about why or why not people are religious or why they attend church, but each and every person has a decision to make: am I gonna do thing my way or Gods way. Am I going to pursue instant gratification or grow in character and see what kind of person that attracts and let God bring that perfect person into our lives.
The place I dream of Elevate becoming, is a place where the Men walk in integrity and look to protect the girls before they think of their attractiveness or date-ability.
A place where women know who they are in Christ and don't need a man to validate them or a dating relationship to feel loved. A place where guys and girls can buidl friendships without thinking of "what is their real intentions" this is the kind of place where real dynamic relationship can flourish and where some of the best marriages for the new generation can begin.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
It seems the theme of the last year and more specifically at this very time- the theme seems to be being stuck in sticky situations where clear wisdom is absolute necessary. I have found that I am am good at diagnosing problems but when it actually comes to the steps of a solution I am not so great. So I diagnosed my problem: 1. I live a lot of life based on fear ("what bad thing will happen if a no or don't do this") and 2. I really don't trust God.
Just recently I encountered a few of these sticky situations, and tried to look at them from a new angle. Instead of worrying about the circumstances and how I will come off looking after the dust settles- I am beginning to just say "What is the right thing to do. Period." and then to begin there will all decisions and conversation. The second thing I am doing is starting to generally trust God, when I pray, instead of praying out a anxiety and pleading to be removed from the situation, I am beginning to thank God for this opportunity to grow, and trust that regardless of the outcome- his will will prevail and realizing any outcome that I contrive cannot even compare with his amzing plan.
The Crazy thing is that it is working. I am less stressed, I have clearer vision, and the outcomes are blowing me away. This "God is in control" stuff really works when I listen, trust, and act out of confidence in who he is and what he wants to do.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
Friday, October 2, 2009
This video excerpt of one of his messages reminds me I am on a long journey when it comes to my spiritual life. I beat myself up a lot because I don't get as far as I would like in my Journey with Christ. The content of the video sends that sentiment back to where it came from...
Monday, September 28, 2009
Lately in my spiritual journey I have had the challenge of abandonment of self pop up quit a bit, to the point (as dumb as I may be) that I think God is trying to tell me something. I really do have a desire to follow Christ and see Him very evident in my life and around me, but it is so easy to get caught up in other things such as business, laziness, entertainment, work, family, struggles, discouragements... the list goes on. What it comes down to for me most of the time is my unwillingness to let go of control, or to let go of myself completely.
Today I read Oswald Chambers' my utmost for his highest. There it was again:
"One thing thou lackest: . . come, take up the cross, and follow Me." Mark 10:21
The rich young ruler had the master passion to be perfect. When he saw Jesus Christ, he wanted to be like Him. Our Lord never puts personal holiness to the fore when He calls a disciple; He puts absolute annihilation of my right to myself and identification with Himself - a relationship with Himself in which there is no other relationship. Luke 14:26 has nothing to do with salvation or sanctification, but with unconditional identification with Jesus Christ. Very few of us know the absolute "go" of abandonment to Jesus.
"Then Jesus beholding him loved him." The look of Jesus will mean a heart broken for ever from allegiance to any other person or thing. Has Jesus ever looked at you? The look of Jesus transforms and transfixes. Where you are "soft" with God is where the Lord has looked at you. If you are hard and vindictive, insistent on your own way, certain that the other person is more likely to be in the wrong than you are, it is an indication that there are whole tracts of your nature that have never been transformed by His gaze.
"One thing thou lackest . . ." The only "good thing" from Jesus Christ's point of view is union with Himself and nothing in between.
"Sell whatsoever thou hast . ." I must reduce myself until I am a mere conscious man, I must fundamentally renounce possessions of all kinds, not to save my soul (only one thing saves a man - absolute reliance upon Jesus Christ) - but in order to follow Jesus. "Come, and follow Me." And the road is the way He went.
I want to experience that look from Jesus to the point that nothing else matters. His gaze says I love you enough to demand from you that all these things that keep you from me are completely obliterated and gone. That's not legalism! That is love!!! I do know that God is calling me to reckless and complete abandonment of self, my hopes and prayers that my mind, will and strength will remember his look of love and transformation rather than looking for areas of comfort and apathy.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
“My wife and I have thought about adopting for a while.”
“I’ve always wanted to write a book.”
“I think I might ask her out.”
“Yea, next time I go to a show I’ll sponsor a Compassion child.”
“You know, I’m gonna finally tell my boss to chill out and treat us with respect.”
“Dude! The church I’m planting is going to feed the homeless every Saturday morning.”
“That’s it. I’m seriously going to drop everything and become a photographer.”
These are just a few of the lines I remember from conversations I have been part of or overheard (yes, I’m a stalker) the past few weeks.
Dreams are fuel.
They fuel us to victory.
But most of the time they stay just that.
I lived most of my life “about” to do something.
Then one day Heather and I decided to stop living almost and start living all out.
Since that decision we have adopted our son Losiah, climbed the highest peak in North America, Jumped out of airplanes, been on a reality show, moved across the country, quit my job, signed a record deal, traveled to Uganda, co lived with 3 families, and so much more.
I honestly don’t share that to brag.
It might sound miserable to most of you.
We have had our share of suck.
If you read our blogs you know.
But we also realized that the American dream of white picket fences and a 9-5 isn’t our shtick.
And here is the harder truth.
It isn’t a lot of yours either.
You are living in the myth that stability = simply and safely existing.
Those statements up top usually end a few months later with financial, lack of time, fear, and man power excuses.
Here’s the truth.
There will NEVER be enough money, time, or help.
Heather and I spend at least one night a week looking at the checking account and crying then laughing then crying.
I could get a job at a church and play it safe.
That would not be a bad decision.
It would be a great decision.
It just would not be the RIGHT decision, right now.
Because right now God has called me to pour into the global church and when that season is over, it would be a blessing to work in the local church again.
Just not now.
And so we pray, fast, hustle, laugh, and cry.
And inside all of that, we live.
I’m willing to bet a lot of you are ready for an adventure.
So what is it?
What are you going to do this week to take that one step away from safety and towards calling?
Monday, September 21, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
I am getting stirred to "Live on Purpose" again. Not wanting to do things just because that is what I am supposed to, or expected to do... but rather:
Because of Who Jesus is and what he has done in me and for me. I desire to become like Peter and John in the book of Acts when they are told to quit speaking the name of Jesus. Their Response: We cannot help help but do this! It became who they were and who they are. Are am sure they were reminded of Jesus' talk with them about this very situation in Matthew 10 19But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, 20for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
I was inspired by this poem about the words we say.
Who's authority are you speaking from?...
Thursday, September 10, 2009
I am notorious for sending nonsensical texts and posts because I don't take the time to proofread what I have written in texts and post. I had a really embarrassing one that I can't repeat that came out entirely wrong because I left out one word. This is a good reminder to me in how I live my life. I serve an amazing Savior who left the glories of heaven and suffered unthinkable torture and death for me- the least I could do is to look at my life, how I'm living, acting, thinking, doing, talking, working etc. etc. in a way that honors the sacrifice he made for me and shows the life he gives. I am not talking about guilting myself to the point I become a legalist, but rather living intentionally a way that simply shows I care enough to analyze my life and see if I am making errors that would embarrass him, not out of guilt but out of passionate love for my savior.
Lord I want to be like David and ask "is there anything in my heart that would keep me from knowing God and making him known to people around me."
I proofread this and realize that it is not grammatically correct but gets my point across. have an a amazing day.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Anyway, I was thinking about my life, in all areas (spiritual, financial, relational, etc.) and I could apply the principle of proactive action and preemptive intentionality in all these areas. Proverbs is filled with wisdom on this. I am reminded today of my need to not let life play me, but to let Gods spirit and strength guide me to live above the norm and to not let things fester until they cause me problems.
Off to to the dentist I go.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
THE SACRAMENT OF THE SAINT
"Let them that suffer according to the will of God, commit the keeping of their souls to Him in well-doing." 1 Peter 4:19
To choose to suffer means that there is something wrong; to choose God's Will even if it means suffering is a very different thing. No healthy saint ever chooses suffering; he chooses God's will, as Jesus did, whether it means suffering or not. No saint dare interfere with the discipline of suffering in another saint.
The saint who satisfies the heart of Jesus will make other saints strong and mature for God. The people who do us good are never those who sympathize with us, they always hinder, because sympathy enervates. No one understands a saint but the saint who is nearest to the Saviour. If we accept the sympathy of a saint, the reflex feeling is - Well, God is dealing hardly with me. That is why Jesus said self-pity was of the devil (see Matt. 16:23). Be merciful to God's reputation. It is easy to blacken God's character because God never answers back, He never vindicates Himself. Beware of the thought that Jesus needed sympathy in His earthly life; He refused sympathy from man because He knew far too wisely that no one on earth understood what He was after. He took sympathy from His Father only, and from the angels in heaven. (Cf. Luke 15:10.)
Notice God's unutterable waste of saints, according to the judgment of the world. God plants His saints in the most useless places. We say - God intends me to be here because I am so useful. Jesus never estimated His life along the line of the greatest use. God puts His saints where they will glorify Him, and we are no judges at all of where that is.
When I see people who I care about going through tough times I want to fix it, and I spend great amount of mental energies trying to figure out how to help or make them feel better. This article helped me realize my job is not to fix them or the situation, my Job is to be obedient to whatever God wants me to do. If that is helping great, if it is to be an encouragement then that is my role. I need to not stress on what other people are going through (or for what I am) and simply seek to know what God's will is for me and to simply be obedient. There is a lot less stress involved in simply looking to God and being faithful, than trying to play Messiah to all the people in my life.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
I hate dental work, one of my least favorite things in the world to do is to go to the dentist, whether for a simple cleaning or a root canal (OK that is much, much worse) It brings back a some of the simple principles in both my spiritual life and life in general. namely, If I don't take care of the smaller things, they can end up being very big things. Its also very important who you entrust the care of your teeth to. Although I'd like to think that I have proper teeth hygiene and do a adequate job, I need help. So in comes a dentist. NEWSFLASH!!! all dentists are not equal. Today I went to the dentist for some work. For the last 5 years I went to a dentist for cleaning. He was great! it never hurt and I was in and out in a flash. I recently changed dentists, and low and behold I have major issues that are going to require major work as well as some of the heavy stuff. It turns out the guy who taking care of my teeth for the last 5 years was only interested on getting paycheck and not so much my teeth. So here I am paying the consequences for enjoying the nice easy dentist who didn't hurt rather than one who would get in there and get rid of the junk.
Questions to ponder: Are there some small things lurking around in my life that need attention before they get huge? Do I only pursue easy comfortable options. And am I entrusting my spiritual life to the right person? Am I trusting myself? Who are the people who are influences in my life?
I am looking forward to getting this pain and suffering over quickly when it has to do with my teeth. I also want to make sure I don't end up with a lot of damaging things in my personal and spiritual life due to neglect and not so positive influences in my life.
Sometime corny illustrations can make a huge impact on our lives. Although I wont be using this a sermon illustration any time soon- I am going to heed some simple wisdom and take a closer look at my life and those I allow in it.
Monday, July 6, 2009
Today I am reminded by the words of Paul in Romans 7&8, when he talks about not doign the things he wants to do, and getting involved int he stuff he wanted to. His choices as we see in chapter 8 reminds us that we are all failures and the only way to truly experience life the way God desires is by depending on God's spirit and guidance not personal achievement.
So i am not going to beat myself with a whip of guilt and shame, rather I am looking forward to what the spirit is going to do, speak, change through me.
Look forward to great things to come.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
I just installed the 3.0 software and my iPhone and I couldn’t be more excited. There are a few new features that are pretty useful, such as Spotlight search for your whole phone. Unfortunately, my colleague Clint Miller and I did an existential search on my phone and the results were somewhat disappointing. See for yourself:
A picture, as they say, is worth a thousand words. Oh well. Maybe the iPhone 3G S will provide an end to mankind’s pursuit of the big questions in life. If you’re one of those clever folks who can supply captions for wacky photos, have at it.
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Here they are:
1. Have a Healthy Outlet
So many of the people in this study seemed to have all their ducks in a row. In their prime years in the 1950’s and 1960’s, they were making big money in powerful careers. They had beautiful families and lived in idyllic neighborhoods. Oddly enough, later in life, many of these fortunate people ended up breaking down mentally and physically. Why? If one didn’t have a healthy outlet for their fears, nerves, and struggles, it was only a matter of time before repressed demons erupted to the surface. The happiest people in this study had a healthy outlet. They were altruistic or had a rich sense of humor. They funneled their issues into sport, “their lust into courtship.”
It’s something important to consider. As the study proves, a human being can get away with sustaining daily nerves, fears, and doubts for a number of years. But ultimately, such a nervous nelly will crack. If you haven’t already, develop an outlet…find a sport, commit to helping others, lighten up, and laugh more often. A wise one said, "A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs, jolted by every pebble in the road."
2. Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously
This study, as reported in Atlantic Magazine, was summed up beautifully by the journalist Joshua Shenk: “Herein lies the key to a good life--not rules to follow, nor problems to avoid-- but an engaged humility, an earnest acceptance of life’s pains and promises.”
In other words, one can only carry the burden of a big ego and lots of pride for so long before your proverbial knees will buckle. Don’t take life too seriously. We all have weaknesses. Do you really want to battle your dark side year after year? Or might it just be time to lay down your arms, take a deep breath, and enjoy life. It’s shorter than you think.
3. Happiness Must be Shared
The other night I was watching the movie adaptation of Into the Wild, the true story of Chris McCandless (see above photo which is a self-portrait found undeveloped in McCandless's camera after his death). Fed up with the rat race, McCandless graduated college in the early 1990's, left his worried parents in the dust, sold all his belongings, and ventured deep into the Alaskan wilderness. Before dying of starvation, he seemed to regret his isolationist ways and wrote these last words in his journal, “Happiness only real when shared.” According to the 72 year old study, McCandless was spot on. In the study, those who spent too much alone time ultimately struggled. The happiest subjects in the study were those who sustained meaningful, healthy relationships with friends and family. One can never give enough hugs, say enough "I love you's," and send enough "I miss you's."
I only have 60 more to catch up.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
I have the privilege of being at what I consider the most beautiful place on earth. I love the ocean and I love beaches. What I really love is both of them on a warm night. This morning at about 3 am. I awoke and could not fall asleep, after tossing and turning for about a half an hour I got up slipped out without waking anyone and made my way down to the beach. The moon was shinning brightly and lit up the sky as well as illuminated everything around. I could see the palms swaying and a few little crabs scurrying around trying not to get swept back out to sea. I could also see islands in the distance that looked a glow from the moons light (does it sound like I am trying to hard to be a contemplative writer?..., yeah me too... OK is was freakin' beautiful and I was the only one around to enjoy it.
At first I tried to be very spiritual and figure out why God had me awake and what amazing word he was going to speak to me. After sitting down watching the waves, talking to God, waiting for a miraculous sign and for him to spell out his future plans to save the world through me (haha) It became vary aware of why he wanted me out there. He just wanted me to know that he loved me and was with me. I tend to be a person of extreme, I think to highly of myself-I look spend of lot of time in self-degradation; I am super excited about God-I could care less; I love being in the center of his will-I feel as though I am wasting his creation. So he gave me exactly what I needed. Not a tongue lashing of guilt and shame, and not the revelation of an amazing plan he wanted me to carry out- rather he simply let me know that in the most beautiful place on earth- He loved me and He was with me, and that as I return back to smog, problems, and life as normal- He will be with me and He loves me!!!!
That is the best thing I could have been given at my 3 AM meeting on the beach.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Monday, June 1, 2009
Phillipians 4:12 is what I am holding on to right now.
HAve a great day
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
19 And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. 20 By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. 21 And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, 22 let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.
23 Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. 24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
Friday, May 22, 2009
I am am challenged by dedication today. I tend to be a pretty "fly by the seat of my pants" kind of guy. I do think that I am missing out a lot on some of the things that come with patience and perseverance. I have a parental unit that has modeled and exhibited a dedication that I wih came through genetics, but rather has come through steady living and passionate pursuit of God's plan. The picture shown on this blog was what God me thinking about how much I value the character and attributes found in my parents. The poser was off for over a week in Arkansas, my dad made sure and found time for reading the word of God. I am looking forward to (I hope) beginning some of these same traits in my life.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
I am a huge fan of Nyquill, the main reason is that it works for me. Yesterday, I was a mess. I was miserable and slept most of the day. I was still feeling miserable last night so I went to "old reliable"-Nyquill. I woke up this morning feeling great. Nyquill is great stuff, you can take it fall asleep and wake up feeling completely different.
Nyquil is something that you don't want to drink when things are going well- you take it when you are desperate for sime relief and desire for the things that are putting your body in submission to be gone.
I begin to realize that I treat Prayer the same as Nyquill. When things get out of my control and desperate I seem to find it easy to pray. When things are moving along smoothly I might say a quick hello, or give thanks for a meal- but if I am honest I really don't spend a good amount of time in prayer.
The thing is that prayer is nothing like Nyquill. It is more like the Air. We absolutly need it to function, and take it for granted most of the time.
So today I am saying thank you to Nyquill, and hopefully spending some time (out of Love not Guilt) to ackowledge the most importatnt relationship in my life.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Sunday, May 3, 2009
I got the opportunity to go spend some time with a person who I consider a mentor. A person who's opinion and advice I have a great deal of respect for. I always feel refreshed when I get to see him and am encouraged by the wisdom he breathes into my life.
I would challenge everyone to strive to include a person in their life who will tell you the truth even when it hurts, who cheers for you, and rejoices in your victories but won't let you get a big head when you do well.
The thing that makes this mentor so influential in my life is his passion for God, His Word, and Truth. I am challenged to be a better Husband, Father, Son, Pastor and Friend when I am around him.
Have a great week and may God out people in your life to sharpen you and make you stronger.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
OK so I tend to be a little pessimistic some times, but this week has been unusually cruddy! Its in the high 90's and our Air conditioner went out- 2 months after the warranty was up of course. the brakes on my wife's car decides now was the time to go out. I get a phone call the other day that caught me off guard, where I came away feeling like I was a total moron because of some decisions I made that I though were correct, and then I found out just a few minutes later that one of the most productive ministries we have in cultivating community has been axed. Pretty uplifting stuff huh? There's more but I have to stop now before this becomes a habit.
Here is where it comes out: I am pretty much a "control freak" when it comes right down to it. Hidden behind this usually smiling face and apparent gentle spirit is a ugly selfish complex rearing its ugly head.
I don't like it when I am not in control of a situation, and if I cant fix it and make it right it drives me absolutely crazy.
I guess this rant is more of a confession, to myself and to God that I need help. He is the only one who can control this mess of a thing I call my life.
So once again, Lord I resign. And place you in Charge. No seriously.... I think.
"My God shall supply all your needs."
Once again, not teaching, just trying to pound some truth into this thick skull of mine.
"Be anxious for nothing, but everything by prayer and supplication, let your requests be made known to God."
-Lord help me get rid of my anxious spirit and enjoy the time you have set aside for us...
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
I haven't been writing much lately, this picture pretty much encapsulates how I have been feeling. I really need to get some order ack in my life. I need to need how to say the word "NO" to many things, so I can say "Yes" to the things of eternal significance. All that being said I am having the time of my life but probably am missing out on some things do to the frantic pace I have allowed myself to be ruled by.
I need to have a day at the beach and ready the book of ecclesiastes a few times through!!!
Have a blessed day.
Friday, April 3, 2009
I have had a little too many funerals lately. One is too many. What is really hard is too see what is left behind when when a person exits this life prematurely. The thing I have had a real hard time with is comprehending Gods timing. I know God is good and just, but my humanness cannot make sense of a family left without a mother, a young child without a father and a family left without their baby. The thing is that is helping me get through these thoughts, struggles and doubts, is coming to the point that I don't think God intends for me to understand them. One of my favorite quotes comes from Louie Giglio, who says that when we don't understand God we need to realize that he "paints on a canvas bigger than we can see."
According to our human capacity we are all entitled to live a long pain free life, and many will argue that if this is not the case God either doesn't exist or he doesn't care.
What I do know about God is that he is good and he is just and he will get glory out of any situation... but my mind still refuses to get it. That is where faith steps in.
Anyway this isn't some sort of post where I get it and have it all figured out, it is actually me just confessing my weakness, and my inability to understand. So if this sounds confusing and scattered, I am!
So I take my thoughts, my doubts, my lack of understanding- and when I match them up with the amazingness of who God is, and his track record versus mine. I am gonna go with him even though I don't have him wrapped up in a nice little theological box.
That being said, I am done with funerals, bring on the baptisms, baby dedications and weddings. but should death knock close to home again, I will continue to share the hope that is found in the person of Jesus Christ.
Have an amazing day, and my your and my doubt be turned into hope and peace!
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
I really believe that it comes from experiencing who he is and trusting him with everything in my life. Then it becomes something that I cant help but do and be rather than what I am required to do because I am a Christian.
Tonight I am looking forward to Bradford sharing his testimony tonight about his experiences of moving from a place of uncertainty to being in the center of God's will. Gonna be great see you tonight.
Monday, March 30, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
I was a perpetually petrified little kid. When I learned how to write, I constructed a “What Terrifies Me Top Ten,” just so I could keep all my phobias straight.
The dark and clowns were both mainstays (watching Stephen King’s It without my parent’s knowledge, cemented clowns forever.) Roller coasters, spiders, demons, and my basement all made the list.
Then there were some unusual, miscellaneous fears that rounded off the Top Ten. Ordering at fast food restaurants. Siamese cats. The church sanctuary. (I wasn’t exactly a normal child.)
But my number one on the “What Terrifies Me” list was car washes - the kind where you stay in the car and drive through. Traveling through a car wash was like taking a little jaunt through Hell itself, or so I thought. The water pounded the roof and windows, trying to break through so the menacing rollers and brushes could assassinate me! I’d cry hysterically and make frenzied attempts of escape, like a cat desperately trying to avoid a bath.
Needless to say, my mom was in a real pickle. I was with her every minute of the day and she still needed car washes. So for years, my memories of car washes were laying on the floor of the car with a down comforter over my head. Then I was fine.
My mom didn’t get rid of car washes, and she didn’t get rid of me. She just brought blankets. Smart woman, my mom.
At twenty-five years old, a quarter of life set in stone; I’ve still got a Top Ten, but constructed with slightly different fears. Carwashes still freak me out a little, but I don’t drive through one with blankets on my head. (For some reason, that freaks other people out.)
No, I’m scared because life’s up to me now.
I’m anxious I’ll fail. I’m terrified that I may not have what it takes.
I’m scared because I can’t see a thing in front of me. I feel like I’m driving a car sixty miles per hour with two flashlights for headlights, I’m blind without a seeing-eye dog. I’m searching for the next step, but I can’t even find the staircase. I trusted my parents when they covered my head in blankets, but now who?
Well I know it’s supposed to be God. I know I should lay my burning fear before Him, so He can put it out with His extinguisher filled with Grade-A Heaven-Air. But as I float in this deep murky water called our twenties and fear latches on me like a giant squid, do I really trust that He’s going to save me before I drown?
Well no, if I’m honest. I tell my Christian friends I do - for appearance sake. I clap and sing, raising my hands with everyone else. But I know my open palms are two liars.
Oh theologically I’d say I still believe in all the “musts.” All the things I learned in Sunday school, I still believe to be true. Cloth-cutout Jesus still has the power to multiply all the graham crackers he wants to in my book. The problem is, I believe in Him, but I don’t necessarily believe Him, if that makes sense? I believe he is God the Father, just not necessarily to me.
Put Away Upstairs
Honestly, I see God more as my crazy uncle, than as my dad. I see him only at major holidays, and don’t trust him to carve the turkey, let alone put blankets over my head. I’m not letting him have that kind of control. Instead I have the kind of trust that locks him upstairs when company comes over.
“All right Uncle God, up those stairs you go. Yep, keep on going. I’ll be up in a little while to check on you.”
“Hey Paul, what was crazy Uncle God saying tonight?”
“You know, the usual gibberish.”
Where do I even start?
How about when he says that all things are possible with him? Or when the Apostle Paul says that God is able to do immeasurably more than we could even ask or imagine? My wildest, most hare-brained ideas about a life lived well are not even a drop in the bucket for him. Well if I really believed Him, I’d have to read these words with such a different intensity, wouldn’t I? If I really believed, Faith and Works would be doing a beautiful waltz throughout the details of every day. Instead, Faith is taking a nap and Works is playing on Facebook.
If I really believed my Father, I’d be comforted as he covered me in blankets. Even if it meant I couldn’t see a thing.
So I know some see Him as their Father and they act accordingly. They stand at the edge of the pool and jump to his open arms without reservation. But not me. I’m petrified, shivering at the edge. I want to jump, but I just don’t believe he’s really going to catch me.
“No thanks Uncle God. I think I’ll go swim in the kiddie-pool instead.” Give me numerous flotation devices to strap to my arms, as I try to survive in three feet of water. At least there, I’ll be safe.
A Couple Questions…
But if I can’t accept his role as my Father, then should I really be calling myself his child? Huh, that question is a tad frightening.
And am I really questioning the legitimacy of His fatherhood because he’s failed to catch me? Or because I’ve failed to jump?
Floating in the yellowish-water of this kiddie-pool, I’m pretty sure I know the answer.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Tonight we continue our series "Life in Motion" and have the privilege of having Kyle Bleeker teaching about what God's word has to say about Relationships in Motion.
Jesus had a lot to say about relationships, in fact most of his teachings were based on two things, how we relate to God and others. Those are truly the two key factors in the Christian life; loving God and loving others. If we are getting those two things right, it is amazing how the rest of usually begins to fall in place. And even when it doesn't, we have all we need in place to get through those tough times.
Looking forward to seeing you tonight at 7pm.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Friday, March 20, 2009
So Jerrod, John and I each wend out separate ways by the rushing river and just spent some time alone with God.
I cannot say that I had any amazing revelations and earth shattering experiences to report, but I was able for about 3 hours just to listen to God, through his word through music, and just listening to reconnect and to get my life realigned to listening to him.
I need to do that more often. It was a breath of fresh air (literally and spiritually)
I was reinvigorated and am ready to continue the opportunity that God has placed in front of me and invited me to become a part of. God is actively pursuing all people, and he want me to be involved in what he is doing. Not help him, but join into what he is doing and to let him use my hands and feet to carry out what he is going to do. I am very humbled and thankful for what he is going to do.
Here is a pic from where I spent most of my time Friday
Monday, March 16, 2009
If you are one who reads Elevate Blog regularly, first my apologies for not having more content, I have allowed myself to get over-busy (which usually means more running around and less accomplished.) I appreciate Glen sending in a Blog Article. If you ever have one to share send it to me. Here is Glen's submission:
It’s been a while since I wrote anything but something happened the other day that I just needed to share. You see, I had just had a pretty physically busy work week plus after work I had been on a mission to do my spring cleaning from 2007 (maybe 2006 or 2005) if you know what I mean. I was also going through a trial of a personal nature that had me mentally worn and just plain bummed out.
I had been singing with the worship team at my church on Saturday nights but had told the Pastor I wouldn’t be there because I had plans. Well, my plans fell through and I had spent the whole morning and part of the afternoon trying to recover physically and mentally from the week I had. As I was sitting in my chair I realized that I still might have time to go to church and help with the music but my heart was just not in it. The more I thought about it though, the more I thought that maybe sitting at home all tired and bummed out might not be the best choice, so I kind of made a deal with God that if I could still get up and get ready in time that I would go…knowing that I probably wouldn’t make it.
I slowly went through my routine of getting up and ready, even dragging my feet a little. I didn’t look at the clock even once because in my mind it was a moot point anyway…I didn’t feel like going and I wouldn’t be ready in time anyway. Well, worship team practice started at 3:30pm and when I was dressed and finished getting ready, I was shocked to look at the clock and see that it read 3:15pm. I had to look at another clock to be sure…no way! I said to myself. I had to laugh a little knowing what a tricky guy God is. Ok…I’m going, I told him.
I walked down to my car and started it up to head to church and I immediately began to feel a change in the way I felt. My spirits were lifting! I was listening to the radio and singing along (don’t laugh) with the music. I actually got to church at straight up 3:30pm! As I got out of my car and walked inside I was feeling better and better. Then practice started and a smile began to reappear on my face as everything around me began to disappear and I felt as if it were just me and God there. I could feel God’s presence as I stood alone worshipping to him…the audience of one. For the moment I felt fully restored…the tiredness gone…the heartache gone…all the pain was just gone, and I felt content, joyful, and happy again.
But I haven’t got to the best part yet because something happened afterward that just blew me away. You see, after the service I was hanging out talking to some of the youth and this guy walks up that looked kind of familiar. Turns out he was an older version of a young man from the youth group at our church that I used to talk to and sometimes give a ride home. He lived about 10 miles away so it gave us a little time to talk, but to be honest I don’t think I could have told you one thing we talked about on those drives. It had been 3-4 years and I don’t remember all conversations…plus I’m a guy, and us guys know when the conversations over…it’s usually forgotten. Which gets us in trouble sometimes…but that’s another story.
Anyway…I asked him how things had been going and he said things were fine and that he had just been trying to follow some of my advice. Now I was really curious what I might have said to this young man that he actually thought worthy of following, so I asked, “what advice are you talking about?” And this is what he said…
”You said that sometimes when you really don’t feel like going to church…is when you really need to go the most.”
When he said that I new God had brought his word back to me, like a boomerang, at a time when I needed to hear it the most and I confessed to my young friend that that was exactly what had happened to me that evening and that I was so glad that I had not avoided time with God that night.
I’m glad I had taken my own advice…with a little help from God…and a slow clock!
By Glen Bryant
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
I am getting close to 40 and I still don't know. That's probably why I really enjoy hanging out with Primarily college students and young adults. I really enjoy seeing people begin to transform from high school restlessness to realizing what they are passionate and where they are wanting to throw their focus.
When I was in college I made the transition from wanting to be a teacher/coach to wanting to become a youth pastor. I threw everything I had into it and spent 15 years hanging out with junior high and high school students. I am now at a place where I have a passion to see college students use their amazing gifts and energies to invest in God's Kingdom.
I am looking forward to a new series we are starting on Transformation, and challenging ourselves to not look at what God has for us in the future. But how we can can connect our dreams and abilities into his plan for eternal life change in people.
Ecclesiastes is a great Book, Here is what Solomon had to say about living life:
7-10 Seize life! Eat bread with gusto,
Drink wine with a robust heart.
Oh yes—God takes pleasure in your pleasure!
Dress festively every morning.
Don't skimp on colors and scarves.
Relish life with the spouse you love
Each and every day of your precarious life.
Each day is God's gift. It's all you get in exchange
For the hard work of staying alive.
Make the most of each one!
Whatever turns up, grab it and do it. And heartily!
This is your last and only chance at it,
For there's neither work to do nor thoughts to think
In the company of the dead, where you're most certainly headed.
Friday, March 6, 2009
One of my Favorite Psalms, I read it in the Message this morning. and had a very needed freeing effect on me.
Psalm 401-3 I waited and waited and waited for God. At last he looked; finally he listened.
He lifted me out of the ditch,
pulled me from deep mud.
He stood me up on a solid rock
to make sure I wouldn't slip.
He taught me how to sing the latest God-song,
a praise-song to our God.
More and more people are seeing this:
they enter the mystery,
abandoning themselves to God.
4-5 Blessed are you who give yourselves over to God,
turn your backs on the world's "sure thing,"
ignore what the world worships;
The world's a huge stockpile
of God-wonders and God-thoughts.
Nothing and no one
comes close to you!
I start talking about you, telling what I know,
and quickly run out of words.
Neither numbers nor words
account for you.
6 Doing something for you, bringing something to you—
that's not what you're after.
Being religious, acting pious—
that's not what you're asking for.
You've opened my ears
so I can listen.
7-8 So I answered, "I'm coming.
I read in your letter what you wrote about me,
And I'm coming to the party
you're throwing for me."
That's when God's Word entered my life,
became part of my very being.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (The Message)
16-18So we're not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There's far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can't see now will last forever.Video below is a good reminder of what we need to focus on.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
In the transformation process it is easy to begin to get frustrated with yourself for not getting enough done. Life has a crazy way of just happening to me. Here it is Thursday and I feel like I have so many things to do and not enough time in the day (I haven't even written since Saturday, Oh the guilt and shame). There are also so many things that come in and take precedence over the things that I want to get done. I am learning (slowly) that my plans aren't always what God want to get done. When I set out to plan my work week and try to get things done I didn't anticipate spending a good portion of my time spending time with a grieving family and planning a funeral. But their hurt and God's desire to use me in this situation is more important than any of the "cool stuff" I had planned.
I really feel every Christian's role in life is to simply be Jesus to people, again its not a strict list of things to avoid and a list of things we should be doing, it is allowing Christs love to throw through our lives. Transformation occurs and we become more like him, not when we achieve perfection, because we are incapable. The hard thing is to prevent our own flesh from allowing us to live in this freedom, either through selfishness or religious attempts at spiritual growth. I love how Paul states this in Romans 6. Before he met Jesus he was an extreme legalist who followed a list of do's and don'ts, he also followed people around and made sure they were doing the same. But when he met Jesus his life transformed. In Romans 6 here is what he said about righteousness.
15-18So, since we're out from under the old tyranny, does that mean we can live any old way we want? Since we're free in the freedom of God, can we do anything that comes to mind? Hardly. You know well enough from your own experience that there are some acts of so-called freedom that destroy freedom. Offer yourselves to sin, for instance, and it's your last free act. But offer yourselves to the ways of God and the freedom never quits. All your lives you've let sin tell you what to do. But thank God you've started listening to a new master, one whose commands set you free to live openly in his freedom!
Indulging in sin is not freedom, neither is following a strict list of religious rules, both place us in bondage. Freedom comes from accepting this amazing crazy love that God shows, and not allowing our sinful nature to control us. Its not about doing better or being a better Christian, It is simply letting Jesus be Jesus in us and to others.
I am thankful that "my plans" have been turned upside down and I look forward to being Jesus to this family in desperate need of Jesus' these next few days. There are things I wanted to get done and things I have set out to do that will not happen. But the transformation I am seeking will not happen on my terms or through my list of challenges I have set before myself.
The genuine transformation process doesn't having a formula, other than Loving God and Loving others, plain and simple.
Romans 8 Paul shares this about how to live in Freedom and experience Spiritual Growth and Transformation when we finally realize we cannot do it through out own hard work.
5-7Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God's action in them find that God's Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Valentine is one of the few have have had to give their life in return for the life that was given to them.
We have the freedom to love and be loved. I am challenged to make the most out of the love that has been shown me. My hope and prayer that it turns into "Crazy Love" in all area's of life.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
So this transformation thing takes work. It is also not easy. The day I start the flu bug invades my house, that night we had no sleep- which is not good for trying to keep my 6AM commitment. Jackson (pictured above looking miserable) is sitting beside me with a stuffy nose, pink eye, and an ear infection, he slept a total of about 1-2 hours on tuesday night. And last night Jonah had to have an asthma treatment. This is actually good for my preparation to teach and share this with others- this is not a legalistic attempt to please God and to get him to do more stuff for me because of my hard work. This is done out of a passionate love that has first been shown to me. So I am learning that Love needs to continue even if the circumstances are perfect. So I am going to press on through and continue to keep my commitments, even though it is tough. If I miss or make a mistake, I will not wallow in guilt, rather I will continue to seek ways where my love can be expressed. God is not interested in my offering or sacrifices, he is interested in the intentions of my heart and willingness to submit my will to his.
I love how the Message Bible puts Psalms 40:6-8
6 Doing something for you, bringing something to you—
that's not what you're after.
Being religious, acting pious—
that's not what you're asking for.
You've opened my ears
so I can listen.
7-8 So I answered, "I'm coming.
I read in your letter what you wrote about me,
And I'm coming to the party
you're throwing for me."
That's when God's Word entered my life,
became part of my very being.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Yesterday I started a 30 day Challenge. I am going to take some dramatic steps in my life to declare my love for God. I am not doing this because I have to or because I feel it is my duty, there is no guilt or shame attached to this... I am challenged by the "Crazy Love" that God has shown me and would like to respond in a crazy manner.
Perfect timing, the day I start my 30 day challenge the flu-bug hits our home. But somehow I have managed to stay on track.
Once again these are things that I want to do out of a "crazy love" for God in response for who he is and of what he has done, (they are not a formula for anyone else, we all respond in our own way. The only thing the Lord desires is a willing heart.)
Here is what I am proposing to do over the next 30 days:
Starting Monday Feb 9th-
1. Wake up at 6AM and Have time with God. (Spiritual Transformation)
2. Watch Less TV- Limited to a few shows with my wife, One Basketball Game a week. And spend more time reading the Bible and Challenging books (Spiritual and Mental Transformation).
3. Take my Wife on a date twice a month.- Devote a specific hour to each of my boys weekly (Relational Transformation)
4. Hit the gym at least 4 times a week. (Physical Transformation)
5. Improve my Intake of Food, NO Fast food stop drinking Soda and cut way back on Coffee. (Physical and Financial Transformation)
6. Meet with a Mentor Once a Week. (Emotional and Mental Transformation)
I will be getting a little more specific in the days to come.
This is based on a few scriptures:
Jesus said to him, “‘you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
(Matthew 22:37 – 40)
God blesses those whose hearts are pure,