Tuesday, September 10, 2013

New Gear, New Buildings, and the Problems in My Heart

I'm a Jesus follower
and a worship leader.
Because of this and this hunger to lead my life as one of worship,
this verse has struck a chord with me for a number of years.

Amos 5:21-24

How can we justify this verse when all around us we see
new worship centers being built and new worship services
that cater to our style or different age groups?
How can we justify it when we always need...
New gear
New songs
New buildings
New guitars...

I think the conversation that needs to happen is;
Is this what GOD wants or what WE want?

I want to be honest
I love all of those things!
I love it when I get a new guitar
or when I learn a new song

Especially when people who are talented and passionate about
production, lights, sound, or art,
use their talents that God has given them
to tell the story of God's love and redemption for His people and His overall plan.

I love it.

But are we missing an important element?

Worship is a response to what God IS doing, what He HAS done, and what He WILL CONTINUE to do in our lives.

What has happened is the Church, which includes me, has traded a life of worship for an event.
The glorious life that I should live in response to Jesus and the gospel has be traded for a lesser idol of new buildings, new lights, new guitars, and creative shows!

None of these are evil things
but they are just things.
They WILL FAIL us and they will NEVER give us what we are truly seeking...

That's who we truly want.
The beautiful thing is He tells us exactly
how to get Him.

What God wants in our response to Him is:
a "flood of Justice"
and "righteousness like an ever-flowing stream"

Things that God has called good
can quickly become bad.
Passions that God has put in our hearts
will become idols if they are not put into check.

John Calvin said: "The human heart is an idol factory... Every one of us from our mothers womb is an expert in inventing idols"  

Our hearts want to cling to physical things instead of God.

That's what God is telling the Israelites in Amos.
Along with the other idols that they have adopted
they have made the way they worship to God an idol.

When we put what we want before what God wants
it becomes an idol.
Again, God is clear in what He wants in terms of our response to Him.

New worship venues and styles of worship are good things
when put in the context of true worship.
They are good when added onto true worship that is already happening.
They are not the main thing.

I have been ignoring that verse for years....
because, I thought that what I wanted was better than what God wants.
And now, I am abstaining from those good things
because my heart needs to be put into check.
And I think that a good form of worship for me is
telling God that I want Him more than I want
a cool venue,
or a new guitar,
or to write new music...

my heart needs God not these idols that I've created.

What are some things in your life that might need to be
put in check in view of what God has said in His word?

Are there things that we might be putting before God?

Is our Joy anchored in Christ or is it anchored in things?

Let's get better together.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Hard Work, Costly Investments, Worth It!

Discipleship is such a strange and difficult creature.

I feel like 90% of the time its just tiring tedious work.
Maybe that's because most of my discipleship efforts with people are mainly conversations about the Gospel or menial things and not much action.

And after a year...
of what seemed to be pointless conversations going nowhere

of what seemed to be ongoing dialogue and no action or change

I was praying and waiting for God to do something
anything at all...

I believe, now more than ever,
that God uses us to disciple others for our own discipleship.
Just because you disciple someone doesn't mean that your discipleship is over.

I've spent a year
learning how to relate the Gospel to my friend.
Learning where God is connecting in his life and trying to press
the Gospel into that.

That takes a lot of time,
and a lot of work.

Work that at times can be discouraging.
But we press on because when they get it
you get to see God work,
and everything changes

When the Gospel clicks with someone because of the evident work of Christ in someones life
You get to be apart of it.

The investment suddenly becomes worth it
All the doubt fades away
because it's not based on you
it's based on a God
Who loves them way more than you do!

Be encouraged
God loves people
you get to be apart of that
It hurts
It's costly
and Worth It!


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Finding a Church

My biggest challenge for the last 6-8 months is finding a church.
Mostly because three years before that we were planting a church
and two years before that I wasn't going at all,
and the transistion has been less than smooth.

While the overwhelming excitement of a new adventure has been reinvigorating,
the process of finding a place 
to connect with
service and
is becoming stressful

It's like you have to start over from scratch
While trying to keep the community and mission that you started over three years ago

What should we look for in a church?
What are the signs of a healthy growing church?
How do you go from leadership to a visitor?
If I get everything that a church service can offer from outside sources...do I need to go to church?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

theCityShouldBeDifferent.com: When the Good News of Jesus intersects the bad new...

theCityShouldBeDifferent.com: When the Good News of Jesus intersects the bad new...: Where tragedy and destruction had their moment, the people who follow Jesus want to have something beautiful rise up out of the ashes, li...

Reflect God

I was listening to Judah Smith this morning.
He was at Passion 2013 this year talking about community

My thoughts that came from his sermon are reflected in my
blog posts community Part one and Part two

While I was re-listening to his sermon
a major point stood out to me

Our main purpose is to reflect God.
When He created adam
there was one thing that God
said that was wrong with this picture

...he was alone

Everything else that God had made
reflected God's glory
except that Adam was alone

We were made in God's image and because of that
it was not good that we were alone.
God isn't alone
He's got the trinity
God knew that if people were going to truly
reflect who He is 
then theres no way that they could do it alone
...because God in Himself is not alone
God in Himself is community

So if we are called...to what could arguably be our greatest purpose
theres no way that we can do it alone

Theres no way that this world can see who Jesus is if we're alone
Because Jesus isn't alone

This is why I love the church
Because without it we cannot show the world who Jesus is

and while there are some weird strange, bizarre, mean, overly critical people our there
We need them and they need us

not to fulfill some emotional need
but because we cannot do what God has called us to do

because of this the excuses of 
"I can worship Jesus more in my boat than with a church"
 "I don't need the church to worship/love Jesus"
Don't have a leg to stand on

You do need people and the church
Don't believe the lie
Don't be deceived into the doctrine of isolation
because...in all reality...it seems easier but
...to put it how God put it...
It is not good for man to be alone

proverbs says

the man who isolates himself seeks his own desires and rages against all wise judgement!

Don't let the dirtiness and the brokeness of people
lead you away from the pack

And I'll tell you what...
I give you permission to give up on people and their brokenness
if God gives up on you and yours.

Don't give up so quickly on what God has called us to do
because this will help you complete the greatest purpose
of your life.

It's simple I seriously need you
and you need me

What are some reservations that you have about maybe being in a community
or investing in the people around you?
(Please answer in the comment section)


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Divine Babysitters

In late november me and by friend Sean Bean,
along with some other great teams of people,
started on this journey of apartment ministry.

Up until now my plan to show people Jesus
was through relationships.
While my plan is a relational strategy, I am more concentrated
on a certain location.

Making friends....I'm good at

being organized
having to communicate
planning things....

....not so much

But that's all a part of being a team.

God has shown us a few cool things while we've been here.
I think the coolest thing that God has been doing is sending people to us.

Here's a cool story:

This past sunday afternoon me and Sean
spent our day like any other 22 year old college students
watching TV
hanging out at the apartment

yea babysitting
is definitely not what I thought what my strength was. lol
but God provided.

My friend Greg is a minister at a church that is local.
He is also apart of our ministry team.

He called me that afternoon to tell me that
there was a pregnant woman with her two kids who
went to his church
lived in my apartment complex
and couldn't get into their apartment because her husband was sleeping.

So we had them come over to our apartment complex
Greg bought pizza
so we took care of the kids
while their mom tried to find a way to get into their apartment

God gave us 4 hours with those kids and that mom.
That gave us a chance to do what we do best.
We got to talk to them about Jesus
and play an impromptu concert for the kids...
they loved that!

eventually they got back into their apartment
and we told them goodbye.
But it looks like we have a promising career as 
babysitters lol

Then at the last minute some loving women from the mom's sunday school group brought over some toys
and other baby supplies for them.

somebody is going to walk in our apartment
and think that one of us has a kid. haha.

God has a way of using our weakest attributes for His glory.
Mine is kids.
I'm 6'3.
kids are scared to be around me.

I'm not sure if God is calling me to divine babysitting...
but I do know that:

God is working
We're joining Him!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Community Part 2: You Need Me

-1 Peter 2:1-10
 So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.  Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—  if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.
As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in Scripture:
“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone,
    a cornerstone chosen and precious,
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe
“The stone that the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone,”
“A stone of stumbling,
    and a rock of offense.”
They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.
  But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

The God we serve is not one of isolation.

He is one of intimacy and interaction, 
perfect community and unity.

God does not need us...He is independent from us.
We, on the other hand, are dependent people.
We need God and we need each other.

It's one of the reasons that Jesus said
 "Love the Lord your God with all your heart soul mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself"
God knew that we would need both...God and others
In our own little world it should not be population...me
our world needs to be populated with others and over populated with Jesus and 
His love.

In peter it says that we are stones....living stones
There is nothing special about a rock!
...if it is alone.

But like it says in 1 peter, we proclaim the greatness of God when we are together.
When we are together we are like a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Others see Jesus when we're together.

This is why I need you and YOU need ME.

We are living stones...rejected by men...chosen by God
to be built up together! 
not separate 
this is the community we have been called to.