Friday, August 29, 2008
For Your Beautiful Name...
Thursday, August 28, 2008
I will take the things that you give and let go of the things you take away...
Blessed Be Your Name...
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Transform our hearts so that we can see these things with unveiled faces.
Asking in the Holy and Powerful name of Jesus Christ...
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
In Christ Name,
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Occasionally my blog will include post that I've stolen from other blogs that I read frequently. This one was too good not to pass on. Taken from Matt Chandler's Dwell Deep Blog, www.dwelldeep.net.
"It has been my experience that inspirations are brief, sporadic and rare. By inspiration I mean those moments where our souls are stimulated to a high level of feeling, thinking and doing. I love those brief, sporadic and rare moments. I am addicted to the vitality I have, the love I feel, and the clarity of thought that occurs when I am inspired. I have tried for years to pay attention to these moments, to dig into them, excavate them, and figure them out. What is it that inspires me? Who is it? What stirs my affection…for my wife? For my children? For life in general? This to me is one of the major ideas that demand an answer. To solve this arduous riddle means more energy, richer life, deeper relationships and greater self-awareness.
Several years ago I started applying this line of thought to my relationship with Christ. Instead of asking myself what inspired me to be a good man (what’s that anyway?) I started asking what stirs my affections for Christ. What, when I’m doing it, when I’m around it or dwelling on it creates in me a greater hunger for, passion for and worship of Christ and His mission? The first list was a strange one. It looked something like this:
- Early mornings and hot coffee
- The writings of John Owen (at the time it was The Mortification of Sin)
- Listening to Lauren sing
- Walks through graveyards (I know this is weird but it reminded me of mortality)
- The book of Hebrews
- Robust dialogue on ecclesiology or missiology
- Sermons by John Piper
- Angst-filled music
I also wrestled with and paid attention to what robbed me of affection for Christ. What, when I was doing it or spending time around it created in me an unhealthy love for this world? The first list was a strange one because the majority of things that robbed me of zeal for Christ and His mission were morally neutral things. It looked something like this:
- Watching too much TV and spending too much time online
- Staying up late for no reason
- Following sports too closely
- Being physically lazy
- Empty conversations (talking for hours about nothing)
For the last few years I have updated this list often. In fact it has changed quite a bit. I want to pay attention to life. I want to be keyed in to what feeds my zeal for our great God and King and what kills that zeal. My hope is that I could flood my life with Christ-exalting, worship-creating things and avoid anything that would rob me of that.
What inspires you? Better yet, what stirs your affections for Christ, truth and holiness? If we can fill our lives with the things that stir our affections and avoid and flee those things that rob us of inspiration, we have a better shot at dwelling deeply. What and who inspires you? Stirs you? What presses you into holy places? What robs you of joy and vitality? What robs you of your affection for Christ and holiness?"There's just not much to add to that other than a challenge to make one of these list for yourself...proceed with caution though, this kind of exercise in left examination can reveal some darkness in your heart.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
I think we are heading into a couple of weeks that could be huge for our church. We are going to spend the next couple of Sunday's talking about prayer and more specifically why it's important for us to Ask God to do great things.
I've become more and more convinced that we as people (and more specifically as pastor's trying to lead a church body) that we can do all of the right programming and have dynamic authentic worship and really do life well together, but if we do not petition God to transform hearts and lives...we labor in vain...plain and simple.
So, this is how it's going to go down. Sunday I will be sharing with our people some specific things that I've been praying for myself as well as our people. We will also take a few minutes to talk about Biblical fasting. Then, we will be opening up the church each night during the following week to give people the opportunity to come and pray. We are going to set up a couple of different "prayer stations" for people to participate in and we will also be making available the elements for the Lord's Supper so our people can participate in that also. We will close out the week on Saturday night with what we just call Saturday Night Worship (clever, I know). I think this will be such a sweet time of worship after people have spent time truly asking God to do great things. Then Sunday morning we will close this time out with the challenge to really become people of prayer.
Do we understand, really truly understand, the power that we have available to us because of the Holy Spirit that lives inside of us?
My God is a big God. He is able to do the things that we need Him to do. The awesome news is that I know that He will do these things because the things that I need are all for His renown...that He would become more famous and that I would simply die.
Asking God...to do great things!
Monday, August 18, 2008
I've been trying to figure out how to spend more alone time with my boys...one at a time. I think this is so important that each of them know individually that I think they are great and they are worth all the sacrifices that we make.
This past Friday night I took Jacob to a Ranger game, just he and I! We had so much fun! We watched very little of the game (which was good because the Ranger's didn't get their first hit until we were already on the way home). We ate junk food, walked around the stadium, paid way too much for things that have the Texas Ranger's logo on it...things like that. Just seeing his face and the joy of daddy buying him one of those foam fingers ($8.00...yea that's right).
Sunday night God gave us one of those moments that show us how weighty being a parent is and how we are leading our children. Jacob, for the first of what may be many times, helped lead worship in church. He stood on the stage with his little Elmo guitar in front of the microphone singing Oh No (you never let go) with the rest of the band. It was so amazing to see him sing with his whole heart...I don't know how much he knew of what he was doing, but I do know that if I lead him well and show him Jesus every single day of my life, he will understand one day what it means to help people press into Christ and lead people to His throne in worship. This is why being a parent is so heavy...Will I always lead them well? Will I always show them Jesus?
Okay, one more Jacob story...I was hangin' out with the boys today and they were both being quite...which if you are a parent you know how scary that is. I walked back toward their room and saw Jacob in the bathroom. As I got closer I realized that he was standing in front of the toilet...with his head in the water. You heard me...he was dipping his head in the toilet water. He said he needed to fix his hair.
I love that kid.
Stay tune for the day out with Eli...he's a wild child so it could be crazy.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
This has been haunting me...check this out:
1 Thessalonians 1:6
You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.
2 Timothy 1:8
So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God,
2 Timothy 1:12
That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.
In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering.
1 Peter 4:12
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.
1 Peter 4:13
But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
1 Peter 5:9
Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
It seems that throughout the Epistles as well as the early church, we see this over-arching theme of suffering. Somehow, this suffer is intended to draw us closer to the things of God. It seems like such a paradox to the western way of thinking and "doing" church. We are all about safety and in reality staying out of harms way and not taking risk. We pray specifically for traveling mercies and straight paths that are easy.
The things that have been haunting me about this theme is..."I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his suffering becoming like him in death" or how about this one..."all those who will live Godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution".
If I say I want to press into Christ and know Him more and the means to that deeper knowledge of Him is suffering, will I still be willing to ask for more of Him?
A scarey thought...
Sunday, August 3, 2008
6. Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.
7. "Two things I ask of you, O LORD; do not refuse me before I die:
8. Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.
9. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, 'Who is the LORD ?' Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.