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Archive for August, 2010

Monday Response

I’m back after a two week hiatus.

Yesterday I was drawn to a couple of conclusions in Scott’s message. First Christ is coming back and I need to be sure I am ready. Second, there will be a feast, and I want to make sure I am celebrating it and not fearing it.

Revelation has a number of grim reminders of the reality of life without Christ, yet so many turn their backs on him every day. The promise that He has given is one that we can rely fully on. His return will be the most significant thing this world has ever seen. It’s the the culmination of a plan that was written many years ago.

I loved the illustration of the wedding feast. Like any marriage, man or woman, we are asked to submit. So it is time to ensure that we submit our lives into the hands of Christ and give him the reigns.

If you aren’t sure if you’ve made the right steps to give Christ the reigns in your life, its not too late. Send me a comment if you are ready to make this decision in your life.

Categories: Monday Response Tags: ,

Update!

This Sunday and next you will have an opportunity to get plugged in! Check out the Adult Ministry table in the atrium. Whether its Adult Ed or LIFE Groups, now is your time to get plugged in! We will have a sign-up for the first Group Connection event as well!  See you Sunday!

Categories: Calendar

Second Guessing God

This next week I am going to crack open a new book called Second Guessing God by Brian Jones. If you don’t know who Brian is, I recommend you check him out! I wouldn’t typically announce that I am about to start reading a new book, but this time its a little different. I know this will be a challenging book to read.

Many of us have had to deal with something seemingly catastrophic in our lives. Whatever it has been, it was one of those situations that could change everything for you.  I’ve dealt with one of those events. I am going to spare you the details for now, but I remember thinking how could this be possible? It caused me to question God and His plan for me. Granted I quickly came to trust that His plan is still secure in my life, I just had a determine what that plan was.

Too often I can think I am very comfortable with God’s plan in my life, the downfall to that is once this happens God changes lanes and begins going in a different direction than I thought. I have seen this happen over and over again in my life. While I am trying to make sense of what God is doing in my life, I am trying to hang on to His promises with all my strength.

It’s easy to second guess God and what His plan is, but if I trust in His word, I know that He’s got everything under control.

From the Plains to the Mountains

Last week I was in the Wyoming mountains near Laramie. It was my first time spending any considerable time in that area. One of my favorite things about heading west from Nebraska is the mountains. I don’t know if its the shear size of them that I am in awe of, or if it is the fact that its definitely not flat out there. Either way, it was a good change for a week.

I have been spending time outdoors since I was an infant. By outdoors, I am not talking about parking lots and outdoor malls, instead I’m referring to National Forest, National Parks, wilderness, wild animals, sleeping in a tent and enjoying God’s creation! I’ve always said that some of the most beautiful places on earth are not accessible by car. You need to hike.

The part I love most about the outdoors are those places where you just know God is present. Even when you are miles away from the closest church, you just know God is present in His creation. The mountains have always been my getaway from the typical structure of a day. It’s my time away from my phone, my email, the dishes, and the general busyness of life. It’s all about immersing myself in what God has carefully created for His glory.

Upon Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem, scripture says, “the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully praising God in loud voices for all the miracles that had seen:

“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”

“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

As I spend time in the wilderness, I love hearing the sound of nature. I know that if I can’t praise God for His creation, the rocks will cry out.

So as I return to the normal life one thing I keep with me until next time I am able to retreat for a few days, is that God has called me glorify Him in all I do and to sing praises as often as I can. I have seen His miraculous creation and its up to me to not keep quiet!

Categories: Worship Tags: , , ,

What I learned from the DMV

I’ve been in the quest for a passesger CDL license the last two weeks so I can drive a bus for our After School Children’s program this upcoming school year. Every time I’ve been down to the DMV I have begun to learn one very clear truth: Monotony can be a dangerous things. The County government employees of the local DMV see to the same issues over and over again. The people who come up to the desk always come with the wrong paperwork and the wrong identification cards. Over and Over again they move people through the beuracratic process of licensing and testing.

What’s this say about what I do? We all have the same preconceived notions of what we’ll find at the DMV, but do we all have to fall into that trap? I wonder if we treated people like people instead of an ID card or another license. Even for those on the other side of the  counter, I wonder if we treated those at the DMV like people too, not just someone who is out to make our day worse off than it already is.

Is it possible for people like me and you to make a concerted effort to make someones day. Sure we have our ups and downs, but think about the last person you didn’t give the time of day too and think of that person whom you smiled at and greeted warmely and genuinely. I wonder if we were to make this effort if we could actually make a difference in the lives of people who may not know Jesus. I wonder if we could put our pride aside, our bad days, and just love people.

Just like me and you, Jesus had a bad day too. Days when a friend dies, days when your closest followers wouldn’t seem to listen, days when He was getting nailed to a cross. Did he lash out? Nope, he went out of His way to make sure that those around Him knew God’s love.

Next time you’re around a stranger, whether at the DMV, Starbucks, Kohls, etc. show someone the love of Christ and see what happens!

Categories: Community Tags: , ,

Monday Response

August 9, 2010 1 comment

A popular view of what heaven is can often often be described with Angels on clouds playing harps. On the other side, when we think about hell, we think of a man with a pitchfork sitting on our shoulder encouraging us to make bad decisions. Is there any reality to these? Is this what heaven and hell are like?

Scott made a very unpopular case for what the reality is yesterday. It wasn’t his own beliefs, it was what the Bible says of the subject matter. Heaven is a place where followers of Chris fall on their faces in worship. Hell is a place of eternal torment and punishment.

We are given a short time on earth to make a lot of big decisions. We decide on who we’ll marry, what house or car to buy, what schools to attend, we make decisions that affect our children and others around us. The sad truth is that many people fail to make the biggest decision of all. Do I choose to follow Christ?

In my men’s Bible study yesterday morning we talked about the Holy Spirit. When we recieve the Spirit, the truth of the Scripture is made clear. We become a temple to the spirit. I read a passage from Acts about Philip and the Ethiopian who was reading scripure, but since he did not posess the Spirit, he could not understand it.

This mystery that is only revealed to those who follow after Christ is the mystery that will also set us free from the binds that Satan has put in place. He’s mad, he comes after you and me and those we love becuase He’s not going down alone. He’s wanting to take us with him into eternity in hell.

I remembered a saying I heard many years ago, for those who saved by the blood of Christ, Earth is the only hell they’ll see, for those who aren’t saved, Earth is the only heaven they’ll see.

So what is your response today? Are you ready to follow Christ and allow his blood to cover you? Do you desire to be in a place where there are no more hurts or tears? Or is what you have now good enough?

Categories: Monday Response Tags: , , ,

Five Things from Rick Howerton

August 5, 2010 1 comment

Over the past couple of weeks, one of the blogs that I follow, Rick Howerton, from Lifeway’s Small Group Ministry division has been posting a series called Five Things that… This has been really helpful for me to see all angles of small group ministry from the individual members all the way through the small group pastors.

If you’d like to check out Rick’s blog, I’d encourage you to do so! It’s been a real blessing to me and I hope it is to you also.

Five Things Every Small Group Member Needs from every other Small Group Member

Every Small Group Member deserves to know that their co-Small Group Members…

  1. view themselves as fellow and equal journiers longing to know God really and build a micro-Christian community together
  2. will utilize the spiritual gifts, learned abilities, and resources they have been given on behalf of one another
  3. are committed to the weekly small group meeting where we learn from one another, pray for one another, and see God work miracles when “two or three are gathered.” (Matt.18:20)
  4. hold one another accountable to the spiritual disciplines that birth spiritual maturity in us
  5. purposefully and passionately direct one another to God and His Words found in the Bible when concluding how to deal with a difficult life issue, make a major decision, or determine the rightness or wrongness of a moral dilemma

Five Things every small group member needs from their small group leader:

Every Small Group Member needs to know that their Small Group Leader…

  1. loves the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love’s their neighbor as they love themselves (Mark 12:30 – 31)
  2. understands that life is messy and that the leader will leverage the synergy of the group to help carry the load and remind the struggling group member of the hope that is in them in the messy times
  3. is espousing and instilling a biblical world-view
  4. is available as a sounding board and willing to give wise counsel when requested
  5. will make sure that no known financial, emotional, or spiritual need will be glossed over but that the group leader will coalesce the spiritual gifts, abilities, and resources of the group members to meet those needs

Five things every small group leader needs from their coach:

Every Small Group Leader needs to know that their Coach…

  1. is their confidant, co-laborer, and friend
  2. is available and honored to answer practical questions about small group leadership
  3. is praying for them daily and proves so my connecting with the small group leader periodically via phone or face-to-face so they can hear that prayer
  4. understands that the small group leaders they are responsible for need one another, can learn from one another, and become better by being together, so they welcome them into their home from time to time to discuss group life, encourage one another, and celebrate what God is doing in each of their groups
  5. is willing to come to the group meeting and speak into the conversation when the small group leader has been unable to resolve conflict, a doctrinal discussion has become a foolish and divisive debate, when the group is in rebellion and unwilling to consider multiplication, etc…

Five things every coach needs from their small group pastor:

Every Small Group Coach needs to know that their Small Group Pastor…

  1. believes wholeheartedly that life-change takes place best in small groups
  2. trusts them as leaders of leaders and is training them to be just that
  3. sees them as the key link to small group leaders and so, when considering making change in the ministry, will first engage the coaches, gather their opinions and wise counsel, and utilize that information in the decision-making process
  4. has the answers to and/or is willing to give them the resources that answer the questions small group leaders are asking them
  5. can and will be available to step into the mayhem when a small group has an issue that the small group leader and the coach have already tried to resolve but were unable to resolve