Sunday, January 31, 2010

There's Sin in My Heart!

This is my son Isaac.

He is sixteen months old.

And he has sin in his heart.

How can I say that? Because I caught him in the act. I took this picture just following Isaac stealing my wife’s sandwich when she stepped away from the table, stuffing as much of it in his mouth as possible and then giving this impossibly incriminating grin when she returned.

Sixteen-months-old! And he has sin in his heart! He is chosing to do wrong and he knows it! Why? Well, maybe partly because I have sin in my heart. Maybe because we all have sin in our hearts. We are a sinful people. I saw it in my own heart this week when I blew up when my plans got messed with. When I turned all task oriented on my wife when I needed to be relationally understanding. When I gave in to a little self-pity. And as frustrating as those things are, it serves to remind me how much we need a Savior and how important it is that we share that hope with EVERYONE!

I was reading in Isaiah this week and God gives Isaiah this message for the people that they are going to be punished for their sins. However he goes on to say that this discipline will only last a while and it is for them to see their need for God. And in Isaiah 12 it culminates with: “You will say in that day: ‘I will give thanks to you, O Lord, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away, that you might comfort me. Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.”(Is. 12:1-2)

Isaiah is a book, while in the Old Testament, rich with references to Christ who will be our Redeemer. In those times and these, it is good for us, a sinful people, to remember that there is hope in a forgiving God who is reaching out to us.

How are you living in that truth today? How are you sharing it with other?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Molding Minds! BWAHAHAHA!

So, since we didn't have our regular Tuesday night Creative Worship Team meeting this week, I had my own little Creative Worship session with my children.

The result is this crazy video illustration from my message on covenants last night.

I love engaging people with the reality of the gospel and forcing them to think. And I am so thankful for the opportunities God is giving me to do that in, not just the youth of our community, but my own children. I pray that all of us, especially my children, grow to understand that God is a God who we need to wrestle and question and test and approve and allow in our daily & minutely lives! And then I pray that we use the gifts God has given us to praise Him for those very things! Let's continue to pursue God and share that pursuit in every way possible!

That will bring the kingdom we all long for!

Friday, January 22, 2010

One Man's Challenge...

I was having lunch the other day with a pastor here in town, and he was telling me about his friend who is a minister in Mozambique.

His friend had been telling him about the growth of Islam in Mozambique and how there are mosques popping up all over. And just as my pastor friend was about to open his mouth and say, "What a challenge/discouragement/frustration that must be", the Mozambique minister says, "Yes, the Lord just keeps giving us such opportunities to minister!"

The pastor I was eating lunch with was just amazed (as was I at hearing the story) by this man's perspective. Something that many of us would feel overwhelmed or confused about, this man saw as an open door. When we may even have felt tempted to give up, this minister saw a growing number of people who need to hear the truth about Jesus.

I was so challenged by this outlook. It doesn't take much to get me discouraged sometimes. If someone criticizes me or my work or my faith, it's easy to just feel like things are hopeless. I think sometimes I am looking for those that are easy to minister to, but God calls us to go to the hurt and the lost and those who are religiously opposed to us and share with them His truth. He challenges us to look at those who have religious or spiritual beliefs totally contrary to ours as just the people we need to talk to because God loves them and wants to see them come to a saving knowledge of His Son as much as anyone.

So, tell me what are the "opportunities" going on in your life right now?

Through The Bible in 80 Days: Colby Moore Video

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Through the Bible in 80 Days

Last week we started our new series "Through the Bible in 80 Days". This series is designed to help us take a look at the bigger picture of the Bible. To begin seeing the interconnectedness of these 66 books. To follow the story of a living God who wants to be involved in our lives.

As we go through this series over the next (approx) three months, we hope to explore some of the major themes that God weaves throughout the Scripture. Themes that show us the patterns of how He wants to work in our lives and how He wants us to join Him in His work.

To reach this end we hope to utilize several various interactives.

One is we are challenging everyone to read more of the Bible than they normally do, up to the level that we hope some will read through the whole Bible in those 80 days. (This can be accomplished by reading approx 15 chapters every day)

Another is we are test-piloting YouVersion Live with this series. If everything works as planned, a person with a smart phone or digital media device with wireless capability will be able to log into YouVersion during service, find our live event and follow along with our Scripture and notes as well as interact with polls and comments. We think this will be cool. (and YES, we are nerds!)

Add to this lots of multimedia and contextual Scripture study and we hope that we will all come away with a new appreciation, excitement and hunger for God's Word.

Hope you can join us for these lessons on Wednesday nights at 7pm through the end of March. We also would love to hear your comments and critiques of the series and the interactive elements we are experimenting with.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Like Father like...

This is my youngest daughter Hannah.

She is fun

and beautiful

and crazy

and she seems to want to be just like me!

Although it takes her several attempts!

As I see her mimicking me, it just reminds me what a responsibility I have to be the person I want her to be. To love my wife and children the way I want her to love others. To speak and respond the way I want her to respond. To follow and trust God the way I want her to follow and trust Him.

May we all always remember there are those who watch us, who take their cues from our actions and may we live in a way that leads them closer to Christ!

Friday, January 8, 2010

There's Power in the...

I got a neat opportunity to hang out with Pastor Tim from First Baptist Church yesterday. I asked to meet with him to get to know him a little better and discuss the focus and direction of the Ministerial Alliance this next year. It was so good to just visit and share our lives and our hearts and continue a friendship between men who have been called by God to lead and pastor His people.

But he did share with me one thing that made me a little jealous: Their church bought a Snow Thrower.

That's right. Not a blower or a remover but a THROWER! That would get any red-blooded, testosterone filled man's blood pumping. We are talking 20+ inches, nearly 200cc's of unbridled snow heaving POWER!! I can only hope that I get a chance to see this machine in glorious action.

I know this may sound silly to some, but we are all, in various ways, drawn to things of power: Powerful cars, Powerful people, Powerful stereos, Powerful yard equipment.

Lately, I've really been pondering that fact and trying to evaluate what power has to do with my journey as a follower of Christ.

Recently, I came across one of those weird verses in the Bible - you know, the ones that make you scratch your head before skimming over to the next part - where Paul makes this statement: "For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power." (I Cor 4:20). And I find this odd because so much of what we do in church is talk. We listen to messages and have Bible discussions and we share our lives over fellowship meals. But here is Paul saying it is about power and not words.

He says this in regards to some divisions in the Corinthian church where some were wanting to follow this church leader and others that church leader and so on. And Paul says that he wants to come visit so he can find out - not the talk of these people - but their power.

But what power?

Because you could kind of get the sense that this is going to turn into a fist fight, especially when you read part of the next verse: "What do you wish? Shall I come to you with a rod..." (1 Cor 4:21a)

Those are fighting words if I've ever heard them. "My snow thrower can beat up your snow thrower!" I mean, harsh stuff!!!

But as I've pondered this issue and took a few steps back. And even worked to apply this concept to my life and the life of our church today, I've realized Paul is talking about a different kind of power. As a matter of fact, in his second letter to the Corinthian church, he again talks about power and fighting when he says: "For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete."(2 Cor 10:4-6)

See, too often I let my testosterone get in the way. Too often I trust in my physical or mental or spiritual muscles to be sufficient.

But Paul is saying that true power can ONLY come from God and that power ONLY works in our life when we are obedient.



And that doesn't look much like our normal vision of power. So we forget it or we miss it or we push it aside in favor of some new spiritual power tool.

So I am challenged. I am seeking to listen better so I can be obedient. I am striving to expect God to work in the situations surrounding me, rather than trying to fix them on my own. And I am trying to remind myself more and more frequently of the true source of power.

Let me know what you are trying to do to seek God's power in your life. Peace.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Fun Little Blog...

So thanks to that beautiful man Randell Boggs, I have found a new fun little blog to read.

Stuff Christians Like is a ludicrous jaunt into the unmentionable thoughts we all have but rarely share. Written by a pastor's son and copywriter who lives in Atlanta. I find his stuff once again proves to me the truth that the funniest stuff is that which is closest to the truth. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Here is one of the favorites I've read so far:


“What am I supposed to do, swivel?”

An exasperated friend asked me that recently. He was telling me about a rule he had received as a Christian youth camp counselor. In the contract for the camp, he had been told, “You can only side hug the campers. No front hugs.”

And that’s an OK rule. That makes sense, I get that. It’s designed to protect both the campers and the counselors. But my friend had a problem. Occasionally a camper would break down in tears, say something like, “My uncle just died and it is killing me” and then throw their arms out for a front hug.

Which is when my friend proclaimed, “What am I supposed to do swivel? In that moment, as they lean in for a hug, should I just turn, lightning fast and offer them a side hug? ‘Go ahead, let it out fella, go ahead and cry on my hip.’”

The weird thing is my youth group basically had the opposite rule. At the end of each time we hung out, we couldn’t leave the room until we had all hugged the mandatory number of necks. The youth minister would say, “5 mandatory hugs tonight” and then the most awkward 7th grade hugs would commence. (They weren’t awkward for me, I was rocking MC Hammer type pants and a vanilla ice stripe in my eyebrow, my hugs were dope. Yo.)

But hearing his story about the forced side hug made me realize something: there are no internationally agreed upon rules for the governance of youth groups.

So today, I thought I would set out to right that wrong. To create a list of rules for all youth groups based on the ideas we’ve all discussed in the last 18 months. I give you …

The Stuff Christians Like Youth Group Rules …

1. The youth group bus or van will not be purchased from a dealership named, “Vans that like to catch on fire & buses that break down in the middle of the night on the side of the road on the way to New Hampshire ski retreats.”

2. Only one “dude with an acoustic guitar” will be allowed per youth group.

3. If you go on a retreat and you’re boyfriend/girlfriend doesn’t go, they should expect to get dumped when you return home. Cause that’s happening.

4. All youth group ministers should expect at least one kid to ask for a precise definition of “what it means to be a virgin.”

5. Only tankinis and swim shirts shall be worn on youth group beach trips.

6. All youth group retreats should be held at locations that could double for horror movie backdrops because it adds to the intensity of the weekend.

7. Youth group volunteers who are helping out primarily to relive their own high school glory days vicariously through the teens will be removed quickly and quietly.

8. At no point should there be a circle of back massages during a youth group event. (Saw that happen a number of times.)

9. At no point should a youth minister try to keep a bad dating relationship together simply because he knows that as soon as the church girl dumps the non church boyfriend he’ll drop out of youth group.

10. Every month there should be at least one gross food related game played. Preferably involving baby food. Preferably not involving me.

11. The big tub of orange drink should not be stirred with a youth worker’s sweaty arm.

12. You should pull and eventually apologize for epic pranks, claiming that you want to do “all things with excellence” when you are caught.

13. The one parent who complains about something you did will not be empowered to steer the entire course of the youth group. The 50 other parents who didn’t complain will also be considered.

14. If someone hasn’t complained or taken issue with or questioned something your youth group has done in the last six months you will retreat to your youth room and ask yourselves, “What are we doing wrong?”

15. The guy with the jeep will always let the pastor’s kid ride shotgun. In 1993 that would have meant me and the jeep guy were pretty tight.

16. If the youth minister changes his/her tone of voice, vocabulary and outfit, when they get around youth, saying things like, “Yo, my tweets are blowing up, we ballin’ on a budget,” that youth minister will be hit with water balloons filled with honey.

Those are my rules for youth group, but I’m sure I missed some.

I think we follow most of those;) Peace.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Ringing in the New Year...

There is so much hope & anticipation as a person starts a new year.

We are ready for a new start, a new look, a new direction.

We make resolutions.

And it’s all because we are looking for that catalyst of change in our lives.

As followers of Christ, we live with the hope that we will one day get to spend eternity with Jesus without the brokenness and frustrations of this life, but I believe Christ also wants to make changes in our lives today. I believe when He says that He will make all things new (Rev. 21:5), that process begins now!

One of my wife and I’s favorite phrases as of late is “Another world is possible!”
And so as I look to another year I am filled with anticipation and excitement about what God will do in my life and the life of our church.

A few things I am excited about:

*Beginning our year with an emphasis on prayer: We will be doubling up on prayer the first few weeks of the new year with Doug doing a sermon series on the Lord’s Prayer and then Brandon & I facilitating a series on Prayer & Prayer Ministry on Sunday nights. I cannot wait to see how God uses this to refresh our church!

*Helping our Community: As we begin working with Ozark Food Harvest to provice commodities, continue to invest in the ministries of Heart2Heart & use our recent Sunday School offering drive funds to help those in need in our congregation, I see God helping us be more focused in our impact here in Dallas County.

*The Do Something Drive: After Easter we will be doing a church wide campaign designed to challenge us to “Do Something” in our neighborhoods and our community. I am excited about how God is going to stir up our hearts and the hearts of our neighbors through this time.

*Panama 2010: Nothing gets you out of your comfort zone like a mission trip. As we take our team to Panama this year, I know it will build our faith and renew our focus on others

And these are just a few of the things I know that are going to happen. I know that God has so many other things in store for us. So will you start this New Year with me - expecting for God to change our lives and our world!

The [EXTENDED] Christmas Break!

I pray everyone has been (or for some of us still are thanks to a SNOW DAY!) enjoying the Christmas holidays with your family.

Our family had one of the most enjoyable, refreshing, focused Christmases I can remember.

We chose to primarily do a "stay-cation" and really enjoyed our time at home and a few day trips.

Since I haven't blogged in awhile, I thought I would just give you a few highlights:

1. Homemade gifts = LOVE!

Our children really enjoyed making AND receiving the gifts we made for each other this year. I really saw it create a fresh excitement for the holiday in them.

2. Fun outings. We made several day trips to check out flea markets, use up our gift cards (especially the one for Starbucks - nothing feels like vacation like overpriced coffee drinks!), and trying unique foods. Here's Ethan acquiring a taste for sushi!

3. Enjoying each other! Mostly the best part of our vacation was just being together, doing crazy things and taking pictures of it with my iPhone!

Well, that's a little snapshot (or several snapshots actually) of our holidays. Hope yours were refreshing, memorable & full of God's love! I would love to hear about it.