I loved you, I missed you

Love and the CrossI was listening to a message from Mark Driscoll in which he is expositorally preaching through the book of Galatians and I heard him say a few comments that really hit me. After reading a verse in Galations 1, he had us flip to another verse in 1 Cor 15:1. He begins reading…”Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you…” He stops after the word you, and mentions the fact that alot of people come up to him after the service and say “I thought this was a cool mega church, I thought you were supposed to be relevant and stuff, but all you tell me is that I am a sinner and you tell me about Jesus. I really want some other stuff, like finance sermons and stuff.” To which Mark replies, “Sir, when you leave for work in the morning, or when you return from a business trip after being gone, does your wife ever tell you she loves you and missed you?” The man replied “Yes, of course but what does this have to do with what we were talking about?” Mark simply says, “Thats all God wants to tell you, I love you and I miss you. The whole book is a love letter to you, and I think it is worthy to remind people of that every day, I never want to stop hearing it, and I need it in my life.” –Mark Driscoll

I have never heard it put that way before. Now, I have heard the term “love letter” used to describe our bible, but I never thought of preaching the gospel that way before. I have listened to so many “sermons” and “sermonettes (short sermons- more common in most churches) that honestly have gotten used to hearing something “new” and informative. When I hear the Gospel message usually is packaged in a way that it is so non-intrusive that I don’t even notice it being preached, and neither do the other people. This whole post reminds me of something my professor has always said “I want to preach and teach that our only hope is Christ”. Do I have anything against finance sermons, or marraige sermons, or …many other types of sermons? No, but after listening to this message I do feel a little sad after looking and ministering in our modern churches. I feel as though, we have lost something, and I believe, we have replaced God with ourselves. Do we just want to hear what our “itching” ears want to hear? I know that this weekend…I wanted to hear I loved you, I missed you. I am just thankful that someone was brazen enough to remind me.

To all the ministers out there-

Tell them He loves and He misses you, not with persuasive words, but with the Gospel.

Persecution…

Bless those who persecute you…  Those were Jesus’ words right?  So how am I going to bless those people and why?   When I think about this it just brings me back to being humble.  It seems that everything Jesus taught was wrapped up in humility.  When I read a headline such as this… “Students jailed for reading Bible
‘If I am caught, I will be sent to a prison camp for political criminals’
Posted: March 28, 2008  10:00 pm Eastern”

…It really scares me.  Imagine seeing that headline in our local newspaper…I just don’t realize how fortunate I am sometimes.  It makes me long to be in the Lord’s presence .

Going to start using this…

Well, I had kind of forgotten I had this blog. I originally started it to share my thoughts on the ministry that Justin and I were going to “start”. God has since taken us in a different direction, but I do not think the door is shut. So… I decided after spending the day on the river thinking…I will use this as a more of a spiritual journal/life journal. And…to make it even easier for anyone to read… (drum roll please…..) I installed the blog into my facebook page. Very Cool…I know. 🙂 Now I have to learn how to blog!

Goin’ All the Way! NOW AVAILABLE!

The new book from Craig Groeschel is now available.  It is based on a sermon of the same title.  It covers finding your #1, then your #2.  “Remember, your #1 is Christ”, Craig cautions in his book!  I can’t wait for the books to hit the shelves. Now, only if I could find my #2… 🙂

Words from a Mega-vision pastor…

Recently I had the opportunity to meet Brandon Donaldson and Robert Davis from Lifechurch.tv  It was amazing.  The meeting with those guys, and others from the Orlando area opened my eyes to the size of the ministry that is presented to us.  I really felt at home, and this post further shows why.  Craig Groeschel posted some comments about what he thinks will be the Future Church.  I totally agree with his opinion…this is why I love the vision of Lifechurch.tv

Here is the post…. Taken from http://swerve.lifechurch.tv

More Bible, Less Fluff

When I was a kid, many churches didn’t engage my generation. Most of my friends “went to church” but we didn’t follow Christ. The American church (for the most part) lost touch with how to engage the younger generations.

The church needed to change. And it did. We needed to become more relevant in the way we engaged non-believers, challenged believers, and presented God’s Word. One result was the “seeker-sensitive” church. This movement brought some very positive changes, including:

  • We don’t assume everyone is a believer when they come to church.
  • We don’t assume everyone knows our language, has a Bible, or even cares about Christ.
  • We are more outward-focused.

In my opinion though, in recent years, the pendulum has swung too far. Now, in some places, church is so relevant that we almost seem to worship culture more than Christ.

It’s sad to me when pastors think a church must have:

  • Cool lights and videos
  • A coffee shop
  • Sermon series with catchy titles and intro videos
  • A stool and a table on the stage
  • Buildings with no Christian symbols
  • _________________
    (Fill in your own blank. There are too many of these things to list.)

When people do finally come to church, we should help them experience Christ—not just something that looks like a rock concert, coffee bar, or movie theater.

(I’m not saying they can’t experience Christ in those environments. I’m saying that some churches are putting more energy into environments than into the preaching of God’s Word.)

Environments don’t change lives. Christ changes lives.

The churches that thrive will be Biblical churches. God’s Word will be preached. People will feel uncomfortable, challenged, convicted. The future church will be more about preaching and living God’s Word than about attracting people with clever sermon titles, videos, and programs. Sure, we might use those things (or maybe not… GASP!). But only those who preach God’s Word will thrive. The rest will die.”

Rachel Scott’s father…

I was checking my email, before bed, even though its late. I cant Sleep! Anyways, I just got this and decided it was definitely worthy of a post and especially a prayer! And since NATIONAL PRAYER DAY is this week, i thought it would be good. This man, said it all, he really did. Let’s pray that the men in that room, heard him.
Guess our national leaders didn’t expect this, hmm? On Thursday, Darrell Scott, the father
of Rachel Scott, a victim of the Columbine High School shootings in Littleton , Colorado , was invited to address the House Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee. What he said to our national leaders during this special session of Congress was painfully truthful.

They were not prepared for what he was to say, nor was it received well. It needs to be heard by every parent, every teacher, every politician, every sociologist, every psychologist, and every so-called expert! These courageous words spoken by Darrell Scott are powerful, penetrating, and deeply personal. There is no doubt that God sent this man as a voice crying in the wilderness. The following is a portion of the transcript:

“Since the dawn of creation there has been both good & evil in the hearts of men and women. We all contain the seeds of kindness or the seeds of violence. The death of my wonderful daughter, Rachel Joy Scott, and the deaths of that heroic teacher, and the other eleven children who died must not be in vain. Their blood cries out for answers.

“The first recorded act of violence was when Cain slew his brother Abel out in the field. The villain was not the club he used.. Neither was it the NCA, the National Club Association. The true killer was Cain, and the reason for the murder could only be found in Cain’s heart.

“In the days that followed the Columbine tragedy, I was amazed at how quickly fingers began to be pointed at groups such as the NRA. I am not a member of the NRA. I am not a hunter. I do not even own a gun. I am not here to represent or defend the NRA – because I don’t believe that they are responsible for my daughter’s death. Therefore I do not believe that they need to be defended. If I believed they had anything to do with Rachel’s murder I would be their strongest opponent.

I am here today to declare that Columbine was not just a tragedy — it was a spiritual event that should be forcing us to look at where the real blame lies! Much of the blame lies here in this room. Much of the blame lies behind the pointing fingers of the accusers themselves. I wrote a poem just four nights ago that expresses my feelings best.
Your laws ignore our deepest needs,
Your words are empty air.
You’ve stripped away our heritage,
You’ve outlawed simple prayer.
Now gunshots fill our classrooms,
And precious children die.
You seek for answers everywhere,
And ask the question “Why?”
You regulate restrictive laws,
Through legislative creed.
And yet you fail to understand,
That God is what we need!

“Men and women are three-part beings. We all consist of body, mind, and spirit. When we refuse to acknowledge a third part of our make-up, we create a void that allows evil, prejudice, and hatred to rush in and wreak havoc. Spiritual presences were present within our educational
systems for most of our nation’s history. Many of our major colleges began as theological seminaries. This is a historical fact. What has happened to us as a nation? We have refused to honor God, and in so doing, we open the doors to hatred and violence. And when something as terrible as Columbine’s tragedy occurs — politicians immediately look for a scapegoat such as the NRA. They immediately seek to pass more restrictive laws that contribute to erode away our personal and private liberties. We do not need more restrictive laws. Eric and Dylan would not have been stopped by metal detectors. No amount of gun laws can stop someone who spends months planning this type of massacre. The real villain lies within our own hearts.

“As my son Craig lay under that table in the school library and saw his two friends murdered before his very eyes, he did not hesitate to pray in school. I defy any law or politician to deny him that right! I challenge every young person in America , and around the world, to realize that on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School prayer was brought back to our schools. Do not let the many prayers offered by those students be in vain. Dare to move into the new millennium with a sacred disregard for legislation that violates your God-given right to communicate with Him. To those of you who would point your finger at the NRA — I give to you a sincere challenge. Dare to examine your
own heart before casting the first stone!

My daughter’s death will not be in vain! The young people of this country will not allow that to happen!

wow…

So I forgot I had this…

It has been at least 3 months since Justin and I went to Leesburg, FL to help out with the tornado’s and what turned out to be a education lesson in the art of “ministry” and just being someones friend and lending a kind ear.  Of course, I am referring to staying at the mission house for the homeless, and addicted guys.  Which brings me to my point for this blog.  I know for a fact that I get sidetracked OFTEN!  Usually though it takes a while before I get back to what I was trying to accomplish and actually accomplish it.  However, lately, God has really been helping me accomplish many tasks.  What turned out to be a bad day on sunday turned into a refreshing afternoon with Jesus and a reminder of his love and how strong his power really is!

So I guess I need to get to the point.  God has put a strong desire in my heart for ministry, it’s why I was a youth pastor, it’s why I am in school for ministry and it’s why ministry is the only thing that really fulfills me.  When I went to leesburg it was a huge eye-opener on what a church, a real breathing- Jesus loving- spirit led- praying church could be like! (yeah, that was a mouthful!)  Anyways, I went away from the experience feeling really awesome and on fire and then, as the bible said “the world comes…and its desires”  I found my self so empty and then realized…wait God called me…and he is in charge and has given me the power to Live LifeAlIVE, after all thats why I named this ministry LifeALIVE!!!

So I guess I am rambling, its a gift I know.  : )  I was looking up a verse tonight to post to someones blog and it occured to me how much I God is really apart of my life and how much the world is NOT!!  It does try to be though, it comes at me from the TV, a friends Joke, a drive to work, my own imagination, my pride…etc.  But, one thing I forgot I had, besides this blog, was the power to say no! and that power comes from Christ!…enough said.