Monday, March 28, 2011

God, Why? Part 1


So...this past Thursday, C4 took a stand in the Student Union on the campus of UNCC. From 11am to 3pm, thousands of students passed by and saw/heard us boldly worshipping God. We were there to worship, but we were also there to prepare for C4's new series called "God, Why?" We set up a huge poster board for students to be able to write on and handed out nearly 4000 of the cards you see in the above picture ^...for students to ask questions. The giant poster board was covered, and there were over 70 cards returned with questions on them.
(^photo credit mine)
So yesterday, Tyson tackled 5 of the questions we received.
  • How is scripture without error if man wrote it? - Simply, man didn't write it...God did. It is the inspired word of God, he merely used man as a scribe to write down his word. It was scribed by 40 different authors, 66 books, in 3 different languages, on 3 different continents, spanning 1800 years. It is in perfect harmony and unity...there are no contratictions, it will never pass away and it will always change lives.
  • Why Leviticus? - The simple answer is that it foreshadows the greatest story you could ever know, the greatest sacrifice. Jesus became our substitute in death, it tells us that someone is coming. It foreshadows the cross. Leviticus is a mandate for priests to know how to approach the throne of God. It gives guidance and instruction and order.
  • Why are there so many religions if there is only one creator? - Basically, It's because man want's it his way. God created us incomplete but he planted in our hearts the knowledge of eternity...we understand the concept of forever (and the One who IS forever). He created us like that so we would search for him. The reason there are so many religions is because it is man's (sinful) attempt to search for God but like in Exodus 32(golden calf), we try to solve our own problems rather than wait for God's divine intervention. God isn't the author of religion...he's the author of relationships. It's not about you being legalistic and following "rules", it's about knowing God.
  • What happens to people born in other nations who have never heard of Jesus? - Well, God is a just, holy, righteous, fair, faithful and true God...God did not create hell for us, hell is not meant for us...it's meant for Satan and his fallen angels who tried to be like God. When we sin, it puts us in that same place, but we have no excuse because of the cross...the cross gives heaven to us if we believe. The Bible also talks about there is no one who won't hear...EVERY tongue confess...I believe that God won't come back until everyone has heard (another reason we gotta get to work!)
  • Why did God allow the devastation in Japan? - Honestly...it's sin that caused it. You don't hear of any hurricanes or floods or tornados or anything like that wiping out the Garden of Eden...at least not until after the Fall...when we chose to embrace sin, we changed everything. Because we sinned, the ground was cursed and for the rest of our lives we have to toil and sweat over the land. Tyson painted an interesting picture when he said that "natural disasters are the earth's response to sin...it's the earth trying to cleanse itself and restore itself back to it's original state when it was perfectly created by the hands of God". I'd never thought of it before...but to those who ask "Why did God allow the devastation?" I would also ask them if they've ever asked "Why did God allow the sun to shine today? Why did he make it so beautiful outside today?" we seem to only ask Why? when something bad happens...we never think to ask him Why? on every beautiful day.
All in all, great message! Can't wait for next week! I hope you'll come out! It's so neat to be able to speak directly to students, answering questions that they have about God. I'm excited to see what God is going to do on campus!
(^photo credit mine)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Radical Urgency

Romans 1:16-18
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, "The righteous shall live by faith." For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.

Thursday at M28, Jon spoke on the radical urgency that we should have when it comes to evangelism. The passage Jon read from Romans talks about the wrath of God. Most people think of God as a God of love, but God is also a God of wrath. His wrath is his righteous response to our rebellion and we are all in grave and urgent danger of being under his wrath. God is actively revealing his wrath to his creation(us) right now. His wrath is poured out against all ungodliness. Ungodliness is living contrary to how God wants us to live. We ignore God in our unrighteousness and we end up suppressing the obvious truths about him and selfishly keep ourselves from sharing the good news about God. This should be tragic to us and give us a sense of urgency to fight against ungodliness in our lives. It should give us an urgent desire to speak of God all the time. We cannot be ashamed of the gospel, we have to boldly proclaim it wherever we go in our words and our actions. Time is not guaranteed...it's an urgent call on our lives and we can't ignore it. It's time to rise and time to let the whole world know who God is.

Until the Whole World Hears
Casting Crowns

Lord I want to feel with Your heart
And see the world through Your eyes
I want to be Your hands and feet
I want to live a life that leads

Ready yourselves, ready yourselves
Let us shine the light of Jesus in the darkest night
Oh, ready yourselves, oh, ready yourselves
May the powers of darkness tremble as our praises rise

Until the whole world hears
Lord we are calling out
Lifting up Your name for all to hear the sound
Like voices in the wilderness we're crying out
As the day draws near
We'll sing until the whole world hears

Lord let Your sleeping giant arise
Catch the demons by surprise
Holy nation sanctified
Let this be our battle cry

Whoa oh oh! Whoa oh oh! We'll sing until
The whole world hears
Whoa oh oh! Whoa oh oh! We'll sing until
The whole world hears

Want to be Your hands and feet
Want to be a life that leads
To see You set the captive free
Until the whole world hears
and I pray that they will see more of You and less of me
Lord I want my life to be the song You sing

Until the whole world hears Lord we are calling out
Lifting Your name up for all to hear the sound
Like voices in the wilderness we're crying out
As the day draws near
We'll sing until the whole world hears

A Public Declaration

Last Sunday was such an incredible day...45 people were baptized at C4 on Sunday...37 of which were completely spontaneous...God was so at work that day...it was incredible to see. There were more than 200 people in attendance that night and I know so many people were completely blessed.
It was a bittersweet night for me...there was so much going on in my head that night...I was completely distracted and upset by a little curveball life had thrown at me and truthfully it stumbled me...I felt fallen and vulnerable but God was so gracious to me and completely washed it all away as I joined in praising Him for 45 wonderful friends who made their public declaration of faith on Sunday night. Baptism is just the beginning - the starting point of your public Christian life. It was such a joyous occasion to see so many godly young men and women proclaim to the world that their life is not their own. God is doing great things and it's so exciting to be a part of it all!

Revival's Fire
Andy Cherry

Triumphant Lord, you are enthroned on high
You're Father, Son, You are revival's fire
Let Your Holy Spirit fill our lives
Let us live so no one can deny
That You are God, that You are God
And we are Yours

We cannot lift our voices loud enough to sing Your praise
Or tell the wonders of Your endless grace
Still with one voice we shout the perfect name
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus

King of Glory and eternal worth
Heaven's master and the Lord of earth
Let a holy passion fill our lives
Oh God, let us live so no one can deny
That You are God, that You are God
And we are Yours

We cannot lift our voices loud enough to sing Your praise
Or tell the wonders of Your endless grace
Still with one voice we shout the perfect name
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus

There is none, not one
Never will there be anyone like our God, oh
There is none, not one
Never will there be anyone like our God, oh

We cannot lift our voices loud enough to sing Your praise
Or tell the wonders of Your endless grace
Still with one voice we shout the perfect name
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, yeah

Now Hiring: Labors and Ambassadors

It was such a joy to have Tyler LeVan back at Mission28 for the week. We've really missed his passion and teaching! Tyler spoke on Matthew 9:35...the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. He challenged us to have a brokenness in our lives over sin. He asked us if we see people as sheep without a shepherd or do we scoff at them because they are sinning. Without laborers, there are so many people who will not hear the gospel...we have to pray earnestly for laborers to be raised up. We are ambassadors for Christ and we must rise up as a generation to be laborers and speak of the goodness of God. There is no time to wait around for others to rise up...we must step up to the challenge and others will follow our example and rise up around us...we have to jump in head-first!

Dive
Steven Curtis Chapman

The long awaited rains
Have fallen hard upon the thirsty ground
And carved their way to where
The wild and rushing river can be found
And like the rains
I have been carried to where the river flows, yeah

My heart is racing, and my feet are weak
As I walk to the edge
I know there is no turning back
Once my feet have left the ledge
And in the rush I hear a voice
That's telling me to take a leap of faith

So here I go
I'm diving in, I'm going deep, in over my head I want to be
Caught in the rush, lost in the flow, in over my head I want to go
The river's deep, the river's wide, the river's water is alive
So sink or swim, I'm diving in

There is a supernatural power
In this mighty river's flow
It can bring the dead to life
And it can fill an empty soul
And give a heart the only thing
Worth living and worth dying for, yeah

But we will never know the awesome power
Of the grace of God
Until we let ourselves get swept away
Into this holy flood
So if you take my hand
We'll close our eyes and count to three
And take the leap of faith

Come on let's go
I'm diving in, I'm going deep, in over my head I want to be
Caught in the rush, lost in the flow, in over my head I want to go
The river's deep, the river's wide, the river's water is alive
So sink or swim, I'm diving in

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Connected to the Source

Remember a few weeks ago when I was talking about the main purpose of our lives is to Know God? Well, Tyson talked about it again one Sunday night...(the first time was at a bible study). Even though I'd heard it before, this time, the point that really stood out to me was that we need to be Connected to the Source. We were created to be fruitful and multiply right? Well, that means that we need to be fruitful in our lives...in our growth(bearing fruit)...and multiply the fruit in our lives. I keep thinking of the passage in John 15 that says in verse 5 "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."
If we're to grow and bear fruit...we have to remain connected to the source...dig our roots deep...If we aren't connected to the source, then we can't produce fruit or subdue the problems that arise in our lives. If we are connected to the source...then we can't help but produce good fruit. I feel like sometimes I only have surface roots...or new roots. I mean, i've grown up in the church and I know all the stories and can talk the talk with the best of them...but I wonder sometimes if my roots are deep enough to withstand...I want to dig deeper, I want to get more connected to my source. The more you know him, the more you become like him. I want my branches (the fruit in my life) to match my roots. I want to be rooted in Him.

Stand - Rekindle Part 2

 
  

I still have sand in my shoes...Rekindle Part 1

So...Rekindle was amazing - just want to thank everyone for your prayers...we definitely felt them. God definitely moved in our lives while we were down there. I hardly know where to begin...there is so much to share! (aka this is gonna be a long post...bear with me)
I guess I'll start with the messages! The theme of this year's Rekindle was "Stand" all about taking a stand for God in our lives. There were six messages each relating to the theme.
  • Joe began the week on Monday night with a message called "Stand Assured".  To be able to stand as a Christian, you must first BE a Christian. He instructed us to examine ourselves and test ourselves...to look for signs of life. Living people should think and act differently than dead people. If we are saved we are alive in Christ - if not, we are still dead in our sins. If we are standing for Christ, then our relationship with sin should change - our sin should bother us. It's an urgent matter - the mortality rate is still 100% and our next breath is never a guarantee.
  • Jon brought the 2nd message on Tuesday morning entitled "Grow" - his main point was "If you're gonna Stand, you must grow to be like Christ." If we're going to stand, then we have to grow. When we sin, we are like broken mirrors who don't accurately reflect God. But when we go to Him, he restores his image in us and we get our purpose in life back.
  • Mickey's message on Tuesday night was called "Stand Together" - he encouraged us to stand together or our lives will fall apart like the Israelites when they hardened their hearts against God. We need each other in our daily lives for fellowship and accountability. It's extremely important because the potential for deception multiplies in isolation - we need each other to speak into each others lives to confront and encourage us in our walk.
  • On Wednesday morning - Joe gave a message called "Men and Maidens" about dating. He talked about how when we think of dating, we can't be selfish and ask "Is he/she the one for me?" we have to ask "Am I the one for him/her?"
  • Wednesday night - Mickey's message was called "Stand Firm" about the armour of God...We're not fighting this battle against the devil alone, we're fighting it in the strength and power of God.
  • Our very last message on Thursday morning was called "Stand for Christ". Jon asked all of us if we had a desire to see God glorified in our lives and on campus. We must proclaim Christ. We have to take personal ownership and have a personal desire to see God glorified and proclaimed.
It was a great time and I really think many people were convicted, encouraged, and touched by the messages that these men brought. As for me, I really liked Jon's message Grow...I loved the example of the broken mirrors...it was really cool. Rekindle was a really different experience for me this year...I'm not sure how exactly to express what it was that was so different. I think it's possibly my involvement this year. I feel like I was a lot more involved than in previous years...I'm not a "rookie" anymore. This year I was given the privilege of singing during one of the worship sets (I think it was Tuesday morning). I love seeing everyone completely lost in worship. There was a moment during worship where David played the melody of Before the Throne of God Above. The entire place including all the band members were in tears...probably one of my favorite moments of Rekindle. Such a powerful moment. I was also a room leader this year (we had the best room!) Amy, Ashley, Emily, and I were roomies...we had some great conversations...and some crazy fun. Love those girls!
Right before we left for Rekindle, I had a prayer request that God would use me during that week. I went into it with high expectations and a crazy idea of how I thought God should use me. So of course when my plans didn't match up with God's plans...I was crazy disappointed...but every day there was a reminder of God's goodness...he used me a little here, and a little there...nothing huge...but just the little things(maybe it was huge to someone else...who knows). But during the very last message when Jon was talking about taking ownership...he read a post I had written a few weeks back. I was completely blown away...God did use me...just in a way I didn't expect. I was totally convicted and encouraged at the same time. Convicted for being disappointed when my plans and my ideas weren't playing out and being disappointed because I didn't think God's plans were all that great...but even through that God still used me in a way...and that was so encouraging...I can't even boast in that because God totally gave me the words I had written in that post. God is so good and Rekindle was a blast! AND another praise report...I don't think anyone got sick!!!! Yay!
Anyway, I think that's all for now...thanks for reading and thanks for praying! Part 2 (Pictures) coming soon!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Coming Soon...

Updates coming soon I promise! I have so many things to update on, Rekindle, C4, pictures, pictures, pictures. I promise I'm working on them! Sorry, things have been really busy since I got back but I'm hoping to have everything updated within the next week!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Countdown to Rekindle 2011

Today is the DAY!!!

please pray for us this week...

This week 100 (give or take) college students will be traveling to Laguna Beach, Florida for a spring break trip. This trip is called Rekindle (for those who have never heard of it before) and we don't spend the week partying and drinking and going crazy like some do, we spend the week hanging out, worshiping and studying God, and having a great time (oh and lots of food). Rekindle is an incredible trip and lives are always changed by it. I have a feeling that this Rekindle won't be any different...in fact, I believe that God is going to rock our world this week. I believe that through everything that's been happening in my life lately, I think that God has been preparing me for what's about to happen this week. I wanted to ask my readers and fellow bloggers if you would join me in prayer for this week.
Please pray for:
  • All of the college students who are going. I know that there are a few unbelievers taking this journey with us as well as a few who need to be "rekindled" and those who are completely confident in their faith. Just pray that we would all hear exactly what God wants us to hear and that we would have open hearts so that God can do a work in us no matter our walk. Pray that we would meet God.
  • All of the leaders and interns. Joe, Jon, Mickey, Rannon, Cait, Anna, Chris (and I don't know who all else). That God would use them for great things and that God would give them the words that need to be spoken...the words that we need to hear.
  • The weather. Please pray for nice weather :)
  • Health. The Rekindle Plague is epic...please pray that this year we would all stay healthy. Also pray that no one gets hurt.
  • Travel. Please pray for our HUGE bus and several vans that we take that you would protect each vehicle in travel and keep us all safe on the way down and back.
Also as a side note...please pray for me. I'm a lot more involved in the workings of Rekindle than in previous trips so I would greatly appreciate your prayers that God would use me and work through me to accomplish his purpose and plan. I'm excited to see what's going to happen this next week. Thank you so much for your prayers! I will be back by the end of the week with many stories and pictures I'm sure.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Countdown to Rekindle 2011

Know God


So Thursday night, Emily and I went to a C4 Bible Study – which is sort of the equivalent to a M28 Small Group/Care group. Even in that laid back setting, God was still powerfully present. It’s been so amazing to feel God so close in my life after a period of not being able to feel Him at all. I honestly feel like a completely different person. God is so good.
Anyway, we were going through Exodus 32: 1-29 and the point was brought up that the main event doesn’t happen on Sunday mornings (or Thursday nights) the main event happens when you draw close to God. Heaven is not our goal…the main purpose in our life is to know God...everything else is an overflow of that. The main purpose of Adam and Eve’s life was to know God…nothing more. (As my dad always says, “To walk with Him through the garden in the cool of the evening.”)
Tyson posed the question to us…How much of your life is spent in getting to know Him? vs. How much of your life is spent trying to please Him? We exist only to know God…do you live to do his work or to know Him? Christ died for us to know Him NOW, not to wait and know Him when we get to Heaven…if you look at Matthew 7:15-23, those people all did great things in God’s name…but they didn’t take the time to get to know Him. They probably did more than I’ve ever done, but because they didn’t know Him, He, in turn, says “I never knew you. We cannot forget that the God of Love is also a God of Justice…He could send all of us to Hell and would still be totally just…but his love and grace and mercy is so great! His mercy and love makes no sense without his justice.
We can become idolaters by thinking life is about us, we might have a form of godliness but we deny the power…the power is in knowing God. We try to make God in our own image instead of being made in God’s image. But the only way to know yourself is to know Him. Someone who is truly born again, wants to know their Creator…a newborn depends on their father. If your identity is found in who you are now (as a student, pastor, teacher, worship leader, doctor…etc.) then you’ve completely missed it…God won’t need you to preach or sing or heal in Heaven…all He wants…is for us to know Him.
Everything we do is because we need something or want something…shouldn’t we need to know God…shouldn’t we want to know God…if everything else in life went away…if it was just you and God…would you still worship in the silence?