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Wednesday, August 31, 2011


It is becoming very, very evident as I read through the book of Acts: The Gospel is not complete without the church. So when problems arise in the church and when the church misrepresents what it was called to become and called to do... Are we in fact misrepresenting not only 'Christianity' but Christ himself?
And not only Christ, but also everything fulfilled in Christ?
When the church fails, I think we are misrepresenting everything God has been doing since the very creation of the world. It's time to change that.
Nonetheless, the church is God's idea, God's grand masterpiece.

Out of all the ways He could have proclaimed Jesus' resurrection, He chooses to send out 12 Apostles (11 original plus Matthias).

One Apostle for every tribe of Israel.

This symbolism just reaffirms Jesus' statement in John 4:22, "for salvation is from the Jews."

The church had to start through the teachings of Judaism... the law and prophets of Judaism is what pointed all along to Christ.

In Luke 10, Jesus sends out 72 evangelists.

It's odd why he chooses this number, 72 was the number of the members of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish Supreme Court at that time.

So Jesus is resurrected.
One of the first questions the disciples ask Him is, "Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?"

Jesus doesn't say yes or no. He just says, 'it's not for you to know when... BUT YOU will receive power.

Almost as if Jesus is saying, 'Ya know what, I'm not gonna do anything. I'm the King, I think I've pretty much solidified that with the whole raising from the dead and all... but when the Holy Spirit comes upon you... well, YOU can restore the kingdom, I'll sit by and watch my Spirit work through you and in you.'

"He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." -Acts 1:7-8 ESV
Jesus sends out 12 Apostles.
Jesus has a supreme court of evangelists.
And the by product of the Holy Spirit coming down is a birth of a family of believers, an organization like no other: the church.

The church is the restoration of the Kingdom of Israel. The church is what bridges the gap of the Old Testament law and synagogue with the New Testament fellowship.
The church is God's kingdom manifested on earth.
The church is what God has set up to give us a glimpse of what heaven will be like.
The church is what Jesus came for.
The church is what Jesus prayed for.
The church is what Jesus died for.

Let's stop messing with it.
Let's stop messing around with it.
Let's stop 'dating it' as Pastor Joshua Harris would say.
Let's commit to it.

The church is the most important thing on the planet.

"In and of itself, the church is merely a mirage of the eternal kingdom of God. We are not subject to preachers or priests but a King; we don't have affiliation to members but kinship to citizens; we don't own property, we have dominion. Praise be to our God and Father who made us a kingdom of priests and princes!" -Dr. Mark Moore, (My Witnesses)

Monday, August 29, 2011


“Missions is not the ultimate goal of the Church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t" - John Piper

Just a small, but important thought: Your worship has to be pure and real before your mission statement can be.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Never Once - Joplin Video

Please continue to pray for the Joplin, MO community. And please keep the east coast in your prayers as Hurricane Irene continues to spin towards the north east.

Simple Sunday: Waiting Skillfully


We all have to wait on something at some point in our lives.

For some it seems like they are always waiting on, or for, something.

Seasons of waiting.
And the only encouragement we ever seem to find from people is the simple phrase: "Patience is a virtue."

I really hate that phrase.

Because I already know that.
I wanted some encouragement that would actually help me, or teach me something.

And in that slight irritation, I wonder, 'For me, right now in this period of time...what is patience?'

How can I be patient in this situation?

Not in the noun sense of the word, but the verb.
The act, process, or state of being patient.

Patience is wise waiting, or in other words skillful waiting.

Waiting well.
Are we waiting well?

Am I waiting well?

Patience can sometimes mean, waiting long enough for our minds to change... or waiting long enough to prove the test of time that what we desire really is what we really, really want.

Do we put ourselves in positions where we CAN change our minds though?

Because if we don't... we cheat ourselves out of a blessing.
Patience is a virtue, after all.

Before we fully determine the 'How' of our waiting or our patience... maybe we should determine the why...

A good question should be, 'Well, what are we waiting for?'

'What really is it that I'm desiring?'

And why should God provide those desires for me?

Does what I want fall in line with God's will for my desires?

Isaiah said in chapter 26 verse 8:

"Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts."  

Walking in the way of your laws...

Jeremiah 6:16 says,
"This is what the LORD says:   
“Stand at the crossroads and look;
   ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
   and you will find rest for your souls."

If we are at rest, we are at peace, our desires are either fulfilled or at ease with whatever the outcome was or is.

We wait for you...

Isaiah 40:29-31 says,
 "He gives strength to the weary
   and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
   and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
   will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
   they will run and not grow weary,
   they will walk and not be faint." 

Your name and renown are the desires of our hearts...

Psalm 135:13 says,
"Your name, LORD, endures forever,
   your renown, LORD, through all generations."

So in this Simple Sunday post, I want to encourage all those who are waiting...

Waiting for the tests to come in.
Waiting for your next paycheck.
Waiting for him to 'pop the question'.
Waiting for the 'right one' to come along.
Waiting for God to direct your career.
Waiting for that promotion.
Waiting for ______________ fill in the blank.

Patience is a virtue. However, unlike most, I don't want to leave you with just that.

Determine today that you will skillfully wait, by making sure your desires are truly God honoring, and ones that will bring God's name and fame glory.

Because EVERY part of our lives are to be about Him.

"Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts."  

Can we truly pray that?

One last story.

It was about two years ago that I heard of Frankie's story, though this occurred many years ago.

Frankie lived in a small town in Illinois, he was a lover of movies, video games, and a big football fan.
Frankie was an easy going guy, a devoted Christian, he loved going to church and he loved Jesus Christ.

At a young age, Frankie was diagnosed with cancer.
A rare form of cancer that chemotherapy doesn't work very well against.

He had a 7% chance to survive.

On the first day that Frankie was admitted to a hospital to begin receiving treatment, the doctors had a talk with him... as all doctors do in situations like those.

The family was gathered in the room as the doctor began speaking. He told them how this process was not going to be easy, that the treatments were going to hurt, such as bone marrow transplants and other regimens, and that they were going to do everything they could for him, but they can't make any promises.

Giving the usual talk he continued to explain all the things that they were going to use... everything modern medicine had to offer was going to be on the table... to make this...

...comfortable for him.

Everyone in the room knew what that meant.

To make things comfortable for him.

Because 7% literally means it would take a miracle from God to heal.

The doctor continued talking about how much pain Frankie would experience for the last 6 months of his life.
Frankie's mom lost it and had to walk out of the room.

But Frankie... after the doctor finished...

Looked down at his hand...

Nodding his head, running his fingers across his skin... spoke.

Saying, "It's not going to hurt as bad as having nails shoved through my hands or my feet and hanging on a cross for reasons and things I didn't deserve. It's not going to hurt as bad as what Jesus did for me on the cross."

For Frankie he came to a crossing.
He walked up to the crossroads.
His body grew weary.
But in those moments he chose to wait skillfully. To wait upon God by aligning his desires with the desires of Christ.

Frankie had no control. He needed to wait for something.
He needed to wait for a bone marrow match.
He needed to wait for certain treatments to become available.
He needed to wait for God to move.

Frankie had no other option than to believe that God is who He says He is, that His promises are true, and that God's idea of better is somehow going to be better than his own.

Frankie waited.
But He didn't wait sitting still, he didn't wait in idle mode.

Frankie instead decided that God had him here for a reason. For such a time as this.

And Frankie shared the gospel of Jesus Christ with every person he came in contact with up until his last breath was taken from him.

His goal, alongside his dad who stayed by his side through it all, was to make the name of Jesus famous.

Frankie's desires were in line with God's.

Frankie got what he wanted.

He wasn't healed.

But he got what he waited for.

He waited for God's best for His life... and God delivered.

So for us, are we waiting for and holding on to what we want deep within us... or will we begin desiring God's best for us? Which may mean something different than we first wanted.

Sometimes waiting skillfully demands us to change the 'why' and 'what' of what we are waiting for.

God delivers.

Will we believe that God is who He says He is, that His promises are true, and that God's idea of better is better than our own?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Old Testament Connection

Well, this will be my first post. Nathan is a great friend of mine, and has helped my faith to grow. As he said before, our writing styles will be different, but we both seek to serve God first, and I think that will show. This post won't be long, it is almost 4am here and I am ready for work. I get up early and do some reading in the morning, and feel the need to share some of the thoughts I have had this morning, short posts this early may become regular. Well, here we go.

"Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.   Selah   I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,'and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.    Selah    I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you. Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD. Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!"

-Psalm 32 ESV

I love how often the writings in the Old Testament directly line up with the New. It is a common thought that when Jesus came He changed everything for us. But the more I read in the Old Testament after receiving an understanding of scriptures in the New, the more I realize that this does not seem to be the case at all. When Jesus came, He simply clarified what the Old Testament was trying to tell us all along. Let us look closer at Psalm 32 again, at what David wrote. In the beginning we are told that those whose sins are forgiven are blessed. Blessed are those who's iniquity is not counted against them. God was offering forgiveness of sins even  before He sent Christ, knowing that at some point Christ coming would erase the iniquities of those who sought after God. This scripture tells us to bring our iniquity into the light that it may be forgiven, because David writes that while he hid his sin he felt the pressure of his guilt and iniquities. However, when it was confessed to the Lord that he felt hidden from his troubles. Protected and delivered by the Lord. The same is still true for us. When we bring our sin and iniquity to the cross, and give them over to Jesus, his blood cleanses and protects us. We have not been saved by our works but by our faith. Which brings me to my final connection this morning. Look at the last verse again. the righteous are told to be glad in the Lord and rejoice. All the "upright in heart". Now that is important. Unlike common Jewish tradition it wasn't the upright in deed that is being praised here, but the upright in heart. David knew that man failed when it came to living that sinless life, but his faith and his hope was in God's deliverance. He praised the Lord his God with every fiber of his being, and lived a life sold out to God and in complete trust. This is why David is called a man after God's own heart. And it is the same system that Jesus brought to us. When we give our hearts over to God, in complete faith, trust, and praise, we have done as God asked us to do. Yes we will still make mistakes, don't hide them. I'm not saying run to all your neighbors and say how you screwed it all up again, but just be honest with yourself, and with God. You messed up, you need him. Be comforted, that is why Jesus came for us. We mess up, it happens, so did king David, I guess we are in pretty good company after all huh?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

For Such a Time as This

The story of Esther.

Has been captivating me.

More specifically the words of Mordecai in Esther 4:14 ...

"And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" (ESV)

...have been speaking very loud to me these past few days.

For such a time as this.
For such a time as this.

In a world where sin runs so rampant, where Godlessness is the norm, and where materialism is praised and pressed into the minds and hearts of not only my generation but especially the generation that is just coming of age...All I can think about is the question, "God why have you put me here?"
And I'm not asking why God has chosen to put me on Earth, I'm asking, 'Why now? Why this time? This place?' Why did you bless me with parents and a good education, why did you bless me with citizenship in such a free country?

Me, why me?

Not that I'm not grateful... I am. But what will you have me do with this time, this place, this area in my life? Why was I chosen to be a part of God's kingdom for such a time as this?

These are all questions that we need to wrestle with at one point or another in our ministry.

Yes, I said ministry.
"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. " -Romans 12:1-2
We've heard these verses numerous times.

NUMEROUS times, and it's because these verses are packed with so much meaning, so much power, so much truth about our role, our job, our identity, our abilities, our future, and our desires in this life and the life to come... both little parts of God's Kingdom.

Because the Kingdom of Heaven is what it's really about.

But we are never told to look up, stare at the sky and wait til then to start making a difference.

Jesus said, 'GO!'

Go where?

Go into all the world.

Ministry. Our lives are not about us.

"in view of God’s mercy... offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship."
Because the moment our lives start reflecting us, we are no longer reflecting Christ.

The moment we decide that this life is actually our life and that it's time for us to get what we want... we've lost the Great Commission.

We need to represent the gospel everywhere we go, in everything we do.

Because we don't know... when our moment will come.
We don't know if God has something big.
Something special.
Just around the corner.
Perhaps Christ has you in a position 'for such a time as this'.

Perhaps you are in a job that you despise, but your co-workers do not know Christ.
Perhaps you are at a school where you are the only Christian on campus... or at least it feels that way.
Perhaps you work with Christians, you have a wonderful environment constantly surrounding you, but there's a guy who walks in looking down and gloom.
Perhaps you are at a Christian college and the work load from the professors seem to be just too much.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." -Romans 8:28

'Called according to His purpose.'

So many times we forget about the second part of that verse. God does the calling, we do the answering.
Keep answering.
Keep pressing on.
Don't live a fake life.
Don't live a life for yourself.

We are all ministers of the Gospel of Christ if we bear His name.

We need to live like it... offering our lives as living sacrifices, not conforming to this world, but renewing our mind... literally changing our mind about how we view God. I pray that this blog helps us grow in doing that... I know it does for me just posting about the different topics God has laid on my heart.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. -Psalm 19:14 ESV

But along with this idea I have an announcement to make. This past week was my first week at Ozark Christian College. I'm planning on majoring in Theology with an emphasis in preaching. Obviously I no longer have the time to devote to this blog for consistent updates, in fact this past month I've been rather inconsistent much of the time.

So I've asked my good friend Kirk Curtis, who has guest posted multiple times to join me as a regular blogger.

I'll still be posting whenever I can... as much as I can. But I welcome a new voice with me in this.

Our styles are different, our ideas may be different, but I truly believe God has a ton of things to say through Kirk. He's been a great friend to me and has a passion for God's word that surpasses even my own.

So welcome aboard Kirk, for such a time as this.

My prayer has been closely associated with the premise behind Esther these past few days.

God's plan will always prevail, His will makes a way, and He plans our course. I'm in the position I'm in for such a time as this.
"The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps." -Proverbs 16:9
I should devote every effort of my life to preparing, to establishing, and prayerfully discerning what God would have me know.

His will.

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."

How do we know God's will?

By renewing our mind.
Making a commitment to His Word.
Submitting to the authority of God's Word.
Storing His Word in our hearts...

I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11 ESV

Because when we are committing, submitting, and storing God's Word up in our lives... we're really committing to Jesus, submitting to Jesus, storing up more of Jesus.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." -John 1:1

Shouldn't that be our goal as Christians?

Submission is an attitude of Reverence, if we submit to the Word of God, we must also Revere it, if we Revere it, we should Love it, if we Love it, we should Memorize it.

Renew your mind with scripture. Practice it. Memorize it. Know it. Because in essence you are getting to know Jesus by doing so, and the more we get to know Jesus, the more we become like Him, the more the Spirit works in our lives in ways we never could foresee.

And to be perfectly honest... This post has been directed right at me. My professors are giving me memory work in loads... so I'm going to wrap this post up so I can get back to studying.

As we ponder with everything, as we go about our daily lives, our struggles and our times of joy. Remember, think, discover... Is there something in your life right now that God is calling you to do?

Perhaps he has placed you in those situations, 'for such a time as this'. Esther responded and saved her entire nation. That's what her response called for.

How will you respond? 


What will it entail?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Simple Sunday: Waiting Well

I follow another blog called, "An Idol Heart" by Grant Jenkins

I stumbled upon this post yesterday and honestly it's better than anything I could have written on the subject, so today's post is just a forwarded link. I encourage you to read Waiting Well.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Not so Simple Sunday: Moving Forward

I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 3:10-14

It's not about what you have obtained.
It's not about what's in your past.

It's about what's ahead.

Moving forward.

Pressing on.
Being called heavenward.

Pursuing the things that are eternal.

Now I don't mean that our entire lives need to be about Heaven... or maybe I do.

Maybe Rob Bell wasn't too far off the mark when he said,
"With every action, comment, conversation, we have the choice to invite Heaven or Hell to Earth." 

Maybe the way we live every day, every single choice we make, determines how in tune with God we are.

I was at MANY summer camps this summer, and with EVERY group I led, I asked this question,

"Why are we doing all this? Why are we Christians?"

The answers were disheartening.

The number one response sounded something like, "So we can go to heaven and live with God."

Well... yeah.
But is that it?

Is Christianity really that simple, THAT cut and dry?

We live this way...
We say these things...
We go to our conferences and our churches...


One day.
In either the very near, very distant, or somewhere in between future...
We can go to heaven and live with God.

Because I believed Christianity was about God coming to live with us.

There are a lot of things not right in the church these days.

But this isn't a post to address all of those issues. I want to see a mental revival in the way we view ourselves, God, and what this whole Jesus thing really is.

Because if our whole purpose of living is to just get somewhere else... Why live here at all?

Why go through the struggles and temptations and trials of this life if our whole purpose is to press on to heaven?

The answer is in the first five words of what Paul started this particular passage with:

I want to know Christ.

Jesus was born. Lived 30 years.

And then... he began his ministry.

Why the wait?
Why did God wait?

Maybe because Jesus was showing us... that living is first and foremost... our job here on earth.
“The Bible tells us that Christ’s full humanity is important because of the unique purpose of His mission.” -Joshua Harris

By living 30 years, before beginning his ministry, Jesus showed us the importance of developing ourselves.
Our person.

What makes us, us.

Jesus was defining what made him, him.

The Gospels refer to a lot of what Jesus did, what Jesus' job was, what his work was.

But even before all of that, Matthew, Luke, and even John define who Jesus is in the beginning chapters of their Gospel narratives.

Why is that so important?

“The person and work of Christ are meant to be kept together. You can’t grasp the significance of either without the other.” -Joshua Harris

We can't grasp the significance of who Christ is without seeing what he has done.
We can't grasp the significance of what Christ has done without seeing who he is.

We can't relate to an eternal God who transcends time and space if we don't take the time to feel the impact and the weight of time and space.

Time is just God's way of not letting everything happen all at once.

Time is God's way of letting us develop a relationship with Him, pursuing Him, loving Him, serving Him.
On earth.
Bringing pieces of Heaven down to earth.
Showcasing God off to the entire world.
Building His Kingdom, for His glory, by His grace.

And isn't it significant that he uses our very lives, not necessarily our words or deeds, but who he made us to be, to accomplish just that?

And so we're back to our first point: Moving forward.

"Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead."

In our minds we need to grasp this idea of God shaping us. Pursuing who God is making us to be.
Because though our job is to live life... HOW we live matters.

"Your job is the relentless pursuit of who God made you to be. And anything else you do is sin and you need to repent of it."-Rob Bell
Pressing on is all about understanding who God made us to be:

He made us in His image. (Gen. 1:27)
He prepared us in advance to do good works. (Ephesians 2:5)
He knows us before we are even born. (Jer. 1:5, Psalm 139:13)
He has plans for our hope and prosperity in this life, and life to come. (Jer. 29:11)

...and our reaction to that understanding makes all the difference.

Our past doesn't define us.
God does.
Our failures don't chain us down.
God frees us.
Our choices don't condemn us.
God forgives us.

Live a life knowing God...Really knowing him. Really straining to understand him.
And you will live a life knowing who God made you to be.

With all of that in mind... We don't have to give an answer of our whole life being about living with God in heaven some day, but rather living a life on earth, in the midst of evil and suffering all around us, and having the hope of knowing God, of knowing Christ, within us. We will have the hope of heaven within us, carrying it to the ends of the earth.

 “Being a Christian means being a person who labors to establish his beliefs, his dreams, his choices, his very view of the world on the truth of who Jesus is and what he has accomplished...”

“We’re either building our lives on the reality of what God is truly like and what he’s about, or we’re basing our lives on our own imagination and misconceptions.” -Joshua Harris

**Quotes taken from Rob Bell 'Velvet Elvis' and Joshua Harris 'Dug Down Deep'
See my review of 'Dug Down Deep' here.

Friday, August 12, 2011

1 Peter 3:15

Hey everyone! I'm sorry for my lack of posting over the past month. I have been very busy with camps, work, and just life and haven't had the chance to put together a full length post.

I'm also packing for college which I leave for in just a few more days. :)

So I just wanted to give an update that I will get back into the groove of semi-daily and weekly postings soon.

Meanwhile, 1 Peter 3:15 has been on my mind a lot.

"But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,"

I believe this verse is demanding us to know the 'why' of our faith.

REVERE Christ as LORD.
What does that mean?
God doesn't need to be defended.
But he needs to be shown.
Not that he needs US to be the ones who show Him.
But He desires us to.
We need to LONG to be believers who love God by loving those in need. In Jesus' Name.

Because if what we have really is this great joy, this great hope, and we truly own it. It's ours. It's our hope. Our joy. Our faith.

Then, we need to live it.
And living and loving are one in the same when you live in Christ Jesus.

How can we love God BY loving others...Daily? Hourly?
God isn't looking for perfectionists.
He's looking for participants.
He doesn't desire the scheduled successful people.
He's looking for available people.

Be open.
Set apart Christ as LORD. Declare Him to be in charge and have sovereignty over your life.
Become available.

Because if God is calling you to something... it will always be something that will be loving toward others.

That's the real hope we can have. Knowing that He doesn't let go of us in our time of need, and he doesn't let go of us in our time of longing to help others in need.