Friday, January 29, 2010

Elevate Reading Challenge

Hope the reading is going well for those who are taking the challenge. Here is an Blog Entry form Jerrod. Feel free to send in your writings. Elevate 30 day challenge blog will be up shortly.

Day One - John 1

John the Baptist got IT. A crazy wild man of the desert, who may have looked a lot like a televangelist does to us these days. Big hair, loud booming voice, and making some monstrous claims to anyone who would listen and offending a lot of people. John chapter 1 verse 20 captures John’s heart, “He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Christ.” He didn’t have a savior complex. He wasn’t trying to be something he wasn’t. He was aware of who he was because he was aware of who Christ was.
21 They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?”
He said, “I am not.”
“Are you the Prophet?”
He answered, “No.”

22 Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”

23 John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’ ”

People wanted to know who this wild man was not because he was a joke or not a big deal, but because he was making waves in the pool and people were listening…and starting to believe.

When was the last time someone mistook you for a prophet or a reincarnated man or woman from the ancient days? When we live with an awareness of the true identity of Christ then we will live in an awareness of our true identity. We aren’t the star of the show, this epic story of life isn’t about us, it started long before we did and it will last longer then our minds can even imagine. Our job then becomes to be “the voice of one calling” and “making straight the way for the Lord”. The world is not rolling out the red carpet for our return…all creation will roll it our for Him. We’ve been called to get an early jump start on this. Start calling and start making straight paths. Don’t stand in the spotlight but turn it towards the one who deserves it.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Great Article from John Acuff at Stuff Christians like

My thoughts on this article:
Right on the Money. I also think sometimes as Christians we are so results based we don't care about the Journey- we just want to get to where we think we should be spiritually, relationally, occupationally, etc.
I truly think that God values the journey every bit as much if not more than the result- we should too.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Devestation in Haiti and The Glory of God.

Its been interesting to see the response to the tragedy in Haiti. From the pouring out of compassion and kindness of people to the controversy surrounding comments made by Pat Robertson. I will admit I spent a some time worrying about distancing myself from Pat Robertson's and clenching my teeth in anger because because I don't believe his views truly represent God's views on this tragedy. Donald Miller wrote an article that really helped and encouraged my thoughts on this particular subject.

Thinking through this and wondering why such devastation seems to happen in area's that are already ravaged by poverty, got me asking the every familiar question "Why, God?" I know God is sovereign and that nothing happens without his knowledge and permission, but it often becomes difficult to manage that with the God who would sacrifice his own Son on our behalf. We can do what Pat did and quickly blame it on a vengeful God who is punishing people for the sins of their ancestors or we can look to the Bible.

John Chapter 9 helps bring some resolution to my heart.

1. As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth.
2 "Rabbi," his disciples asked him, "why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents' sins?"
3 "It was not because of his sins or his parents' sins," Jesus answered. "This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.4 We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work.5 But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world."

The disciples response was like Robertson's, basically- who should we blame? Jesus' response was that this happened so that the Glory of God would be revealed.

I believe in a God who is bigger than tragedy, who is so big in fact that he can receive glory out of every situation regardless the magnitude. We are here on this earth for one reason alone, for the glory of God. I look forward to Christ receiving incredible amounts of glory by the response of his people. A window has been opened for the followers of Christ to proclaim who he is, not by how smart we are or how we explain things, but rather by acting as he would act.

Matthew 25:35-36 (New International Version) 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Dance Machine

This is my 3 year old Jackson dancing at Church. He is constantly teaching me about what being a genuine follower of Jesus looks like. I am working on slowing down and enjoying life more and caring less about what people think about me and gaining their praise. This is one of those moments. I think this is part of what Jesus was talking about when he said having a faith like a child. Jackson didn't care that there were 1200 people around, he just wanted to dance. I think there are a lot of expectations (most of them false) placed on people on what being a "Christian Includes." These expectations often lead us into a mundane relationship with Jesus based on obligation rather than a free relationship that makes us want to dance. Last night my family were all in the living room and a graet song came on TV, my response was to scream out "family dance party" we danced and laughed and made a memory I will have for the rest of my life. Do yourself a favor and take some time to dance today.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Things I learned while taking a Social Networking Sabbatical

In early December, I decided to take a challenge and take a break from social networking (i.e. Twitter, facebook and blogging) I don’t think I was necessarily an addict (first sign is denial…) but I felt I needed to take a break and focus on some other areas of my life that needed attention, specifically in the relational area. Here are a few things I learned during this break.

1. The importance of replacement.
-If you intentional stop doing something, if you don’t replace it with something better, that void will be filled. If it is not intentionally replaced with something worthwhile, things of not so great value slide in very quickly. Early on I was amazed at how quickly the social networking time was replaced with Sportcenter, mindless channel surfing, and funny youtube video’s. Not bad stuff, but not exactly character shaping either.
2. The power of Social Networking.
-Although I realize the World Wide Web survived just fine without my presence I was surprised and encouraged by how many people commented on missing me. Other than just feeling stroked by a pat on the back (we’re all above that… right?), I am challenged to use this powerful tool to make an impact for the kingdom of God. Blogging is a powerful opportunity to put what you are learning into writing. This often makes it more real, practical, and best of all applicable.
3. The importance of intentional relationships.
-I am excited about using the www tool, but it was refreshing to seek people out to sit down and have some solid face to face time to connect, rather than the facebook “drive by’s.” Don’t let technological networking take the place of meaningful relationships. There’s nothing like looking in the eyes of a person when you tell them how valuable they are to you- when’s the last time you did that?
4. Power of God’s Word
-That should be a “Duh” statement for a pastor right? The truth is a lot of times pastors and people in leadership can begin to think that it is about themselves (OK, sometimes I think its about me! I won’t deflect!) Honestly, I have nothing to offer except that which Jesus chooses to release in me and through me. We find out who he is through his word, and we get more to share the more we are around him. One of my main purposes for taking this break was to get deeper in his word. Wish I could say I did better, but the extra time I did devote was extremely valuable. I am going to make sure and begin setting aside a daily time that cannot be used on preparing stuff for other people, but rather allowing Gods word to seep deep in my life.
5. My impact on my Family
-Once again not earth shattering news here, but taking a little extra time to be intentional creates huge life change, especially in my young boys. Taking the great and tough moments in life and using them to teach is something I am beginning to get a new perspective on. My Family is and will always be my primary ministry, I am looking forward to what God has in store through them, and that is not going to come by posting something nice about them on facebook.