Wednesday, June 22, 2011

L.E.A.D.

Exodus 14:15-18 - Then the LORD said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them. And I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. The Egyptians will know that I am the LORD when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen.”
A lot of people think they are leaders until they end up backing out when the going gets tough. It all starts when people stop just talking the talk and start walking the walk...but we have to take initiative. You can talk all you want but no one is going to move unless you move. Moses was waiting on God...and God was waiting on Moses. When that's the case...nothing ever changes...quit complaining that nothing happens and start moving.
We have to get to a place where we're tired of complaining about what we don't have and we decide to stop making excuses and get out there, take initiative and work with what you've got. True leaders don't wait for a title to start acting...God wants us to stand and take our place and reach out to desperate people!

L.E.A.D.

L: LOSE Yourself
  • God came to minister, not to be ministered to.
  • John 10:11-13 - “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
  • The first thing Jesus told his disciples is "a good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep."
  • A leader has to be self-less, putting others above ourselves
    • Leading isn't about you - it's about the people you were entrusted to care for
    • Make others first in your life
E: be an EXAMPLE
  • Let your life do the talking for you. If our lives tell a different story - others will never believe us.
  • You have been called to set the bar and raise the standard
  • Don't be reclusive and afraid...he will use you if you let him.
A: be ACCOUNTABLE
  • Proverbs 3:11-12 - My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.
  • When we get the title of "leader" - we think we have nothing left to learn. But it's dangerous to be unteachable.
    • If you are unteachable, you will never be all you were meant to be.
  • When you say "I already knew that" - you are not being accountable.
  • If you are stubborn and hard-hearted...you are not being accountable
D: DETERMINED
  • You can talk the talk or even walk the walk...you can be an example and be selfless and be accountable...but anyone can do that for a little while. It's the people who persevere who will make a difference.
  • Hebrews 12:1-3 - Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
  • Jesus had a mission, purpose and plan and was selflessly determined to lay down his life for us...If Jesus can endure the cross...who are we to wimp out in our lives? - There is nothing in this life that is worth giving up our faith for. 
Sometimes we grow complacent and settle for average or try to blend in...that is not what God calls us to do. He calls us to stand up and take our place...to follow him with our whole heart. Don't settle for life as usual...LEAD.

Everything Matters

Psalm 139:13-18 - For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand—when I awake, I am still with you.
We spend most of our lives living for the "big things"...the promotions, the incredible evangelism opportunities, the public acts...but there's a problem with that...it's not the big stuff...it's the little stuff, the things that no one notices that matter most. Our life is made or broken in the small things - not the big things.

Take the human body for instance...I've read the passage from Psalm 139 many times in my life. I'd read a million times that God knit me together...and I understood the general principle and the detail of that because I'd grown up watching my grandmas knit and crochet. However, it wasn't until my dad and I took a trip to Discovery Place to visit Dr. Gunther Von Hagens' Body Worlds exhibit that I truly understood the miraculousness of this verse. I have never been so in awe of God or so keenly aware of the "little things" than I had standing in front of the displays that night.

One particular display(< click to view) completely astounded me...and I will never forget it. It was a human head. But not how you might think. There was no skin...no skull...no eyes...no lips...nothing...except the veins, arteries and capillaries that are in the human head...I will never forget it. It was easily recognizable as a human head by the shape...but it was just this insane mass of tiny tiny red lines.
It was in that moment, staring at the display, that I understood the gravity of that verse. Our bodies couldn't function without the tiniest of things...and God took all that time to make ME! He KNIT me together! God spent that much time and effort making sure the tiniest things in my body were made just right so that I could function...so that I could praise him just how he wanted me to praise him. But what makes it even more exciting, is that you aren't just another number or another face in the crowd...God specifically designed and created and loves YOU! His thoughts about you are too many to number! He is constantly thinking of you and me...individually...specifically. You are the apple of God's eye...
Revelation 4:11 - “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”
God didn't create us to have half of us...he created you to have all of you...the big and the little moments in life. The little things matter to God otherwise he wouldn't have taken so much time into creating us...knitting us together.  Every situation in your life means something to God...it all matters to him - even when we forget him - his thoughts and love towards us doesn't change.

Sometimes we forget the details because the people around us don't love us like God does and it will confuse us. But if he spent that much time into creating you...every little detail...how can he just stop caring about you...even in the moments where you are struggling and you think he doesn't care...that's when he cares the most! In the hard times, we forget all the good that God does for us and we get all bent out of shape because little inconveniences overwhelm our world and we push God out. But we need to remember that if we're going to live our lives for him in the big moments when everyone is looking...we better be ready to back it up when no one else is around.
2 Corinthians 5:10 - For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

If you live your life like things don't matter - you'll have a rude awakening on judgement day...this life is a gift - it's not my own...not mine to mess up because it's been bought with a price. Remember who your God is...worship him in the small insignificant things in your life as well as the big things.
1 Corinthians 4:3-5 - I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. 4 My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.

On judgement day - it's not just about the outward things either...God doesn't just care about the little things, but he cares about the motives behind everything we do. What you're doing and why you're doing it. You might be able to fool everyone else (including yourself at times)...but think...do you serve him out of love or to get something in return? We tend to think that life, salvation, and the cross are all about us...but we don't live to die and go to heaven...we live to know him and to be his reflection. If knowing and honoring and worshipping and loving God isn't your goal...then your motives are selfish. Examine your motives in the big things and the small things...the things everyone can see and the things that happen when you're alone.

Every moment of your life matters...every word, every thought, every gesture, every act, everything we do, say, watch, listen to...it all matters. Your life is significant to God - you are not random or a misfit...you are right where you belong.

Georgia Days

Sorry for the delays with my posting lately, my laptop is finally fixed but I had a 1 year old since Sunday night so I haven't had much time...but I'm finally alone so I'll be crankin' out a few posts in the next couple hours...stay tuned...but for now here are some pics from the last several days with Georgia

    


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Prayer


Thursday night's Mid-Week service was wonderful. Jordan Connell did an incredible job leading us first in worship and then in a great discussion on prayer. 

Prayer is our communication with God...and we sometimes don't give God a chance to speak...we talk and talk and talk. It'd be like calling your mom on the phone and saying "Hey mom how are you can you fix meatloaf for dinner and i need a new shirt thanks love you bye" and not giving her a chance to respond. In that way, our prayers can be selfish...only praying about things that will mean something to us....and not genuinely talking to God. It's not wrong to ask God for things, but it's about your motives behind your requests. If we listen...God speaks to us too...and that's an important part of your prayer life.

People often use the excuse "well, I don't know how to pray" or "he already knows what I'm thinking so what's the point" but it's really simple...God is your best friend...he already knows what's going on with you but he wants you to be real with him anyway....he's not some far off deity that isn't connected to your life. He knows you and he wants you to know him. Prayer is one way to know him. Talk to him, ask him questions, tell him what's going on in your life...talk to him like you would talk to any other friend...you don't have to be all fancy and reserved with God...be yourself - "Hey what's up God? - The earth spinnin real nice today? - good, good...How are the other universes today...they actin up? - thought so..." Prayer is so simple but it makes your relationship with him so fruitful.

When our prayer lives get right - there is no limit to what God will do through you...but it won't happen until you talk to God.

Creation Story


Genesis 1:1-3 "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light."
The story of creation parallels with our own lives. We are created in His image but with sin/without God...we are "formless and empty" - without a purpose. The only thing that can fill the void is the newness of life that comes in Jesus. He didn't create the earth to leave it that way - void, hollow and without form - and he didn't create us to leave us void, hollow and without form. He created us with a purpose - a destiny and a plan. His purpose for you is eternal...and it's greater than anything you could accomplish on your own.

We are empty inside...always searching for a purpose...searching for something to fill the void in our lives. But it's a void that cannot be filled with worldly things. The void can only be filled with the spirit of God. He wants to fill your life with an eternal purpose. If you live your life for God...your life has eternal value. What is your life if lived for yourself? What will you have to show? - nothing. Our purpose is to know him...anything less than knowing him and we've missed it all...he wants to speak light and life into your life just as he spoke light into the earth.

Maybe you're thinking..."So I'm supposed to give up my whole life to knowing God...and that's gonna do wonders for me right...but why should I trust him?" - it's simple...He's the only God who died...and took back his life again...Allah, Buddha, Muhammad - where are they? Don't trust a God who didn't come back for you. That is the reason you should trust him...he came back for you...he loved you so much...he wants to know you and he wants you to know him.

You and God...


I saw something amazing the other night...an handful of college students became prayer warriors. At the C4 Mid-Week Worship night, God moved in such a powerful way...the Spirit was moving in every one of us. Tyson's words that night were simple yet powerful and meaning-filled and sparked a response that I've never seen before. We all prayed together but then were just moved to begin praying in groups...it's the longest Mid-Week yet...and even after we dismissed...none of us wanted it to end. It reminded me so much of the Revival at Asbury College in 1970...it started off a simple worship meeting and by the end, we were all praying and confessing sin and sharing testimonies...it was so powerful. I'm so glad that God is moving and I'm so excited to see what is to come...because I know he's not done working with us, in us, or through us...and it excites me!

I want God to do great things in MY life...not just in others lives or on the campus...in MY life. But I keep doing the same things over and over again and hoping for God to show up in a different way. You have to go somewhere different if you want God to meet you in a new way. How badly do you want to go somewhere you've never been (in life and in your relationship with God)? - In order to go where you've never gone you have to do something you've never done. God wants to meet you...he wants to meet me...in a new way...and he wants us to be willing to do anything for him...for another glimpse at his majesty.

No holding back...

Worship...what is worship? God is raising up a generation of worshippers...people who will worship Him in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:23-24) Worshippers worship Him not just with our mouths but with our lives. People who are willing to lay it all down in order to glorify His name...our lives are but a vapor and we should live them accordingly.

Will you give your entire live and devote it to worshipping him? Will you give up your name for his name? Will you allow him to use you? Or will you wait...saying "I want to have fun" and then look back and wish you had done more? This is the ONLY chance you get. No do-overs.

Luke 7:36-50 tells about when Jesus was anointed by the sinful woman...the one who washed his feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. In that moment...it was the truest form of worship...and the man whom Jesus was visiting with was appalled...appalled because he was so busy with the rules and regulations of worship that they forgot how to actually worship.

A true worshipper - is the broken and hurting...the ones who realize that God is the only thing they have left...the ones who are in need...not the pretty and perfect. God looks deeper than the surface...he wants you to worship with what you have. Worship isn't external...it's not about looking pretty or raising your hands...it's a reflection of what's going on inside of you.

Matthew 10:39 says "Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it" Worship isn't about you...even when you don't feel like worshipping or raising your hands or when you've had a bad day...He still deserves worship...your worship.

Worship is your heart giving praise and glory to God...it's communication with God. Don't just look at the words on the screen, talk to God...It's not about who is in the room or who is on the stage - it's about who is on the throne and your worship should reflect that.

We get so caught up in looking the part - singing, raising our hands...that we forget where we've come from. We become self-righteous and judgemental...judging everyone else...but if you remembered where you come from - you'd look at yourself...and love others. Who are we to judge anyone else? Worship is a place to remember where you come from...remember your weakness and your need in the presence of the greatness of God. In the story of the sinful woman...Jesus addressed Simon(the man he was visiting)...but he not only addressed Simon...he addressed Simon's thoughts.

v.41-47 "Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little."
Her love for Him was greater because Simon was being self-righteous...she remembered where she came from - her sin, her brokenness - and her worship was greater. When you remember your sin - it makes your worship all the more sweet. Give it all to God...don't hold back...don't let your pride and self-righteousness get in the way of your worship. This is the only life you get...live it sold out for God...don't give yourself an opportunity to regret not doing enough for Him.

 "I love you, Lord
And I lift my voice
To worship You
Oh, my soul rejoice!
Take joy my King
In what You hear
Let it be a sweet, sweet sound in Your ear"