Thursday, October 27, 2011

Take Time


Tuesday night, CRU was honored to have Pastor Clint Pressley from Hickory Grove Baptist Church come and speak to us. It was a very deep and solemn time but I know it was just the reality check I needed this week. We lead such busy lives. Especially during the college years...it's hurry to class or hurry and study or hurry for this or that. Sometimes in the business of life...it's good to pause and think on things. As some would say, "stop and smell the roses." But what I'm asking you to consider today is something deep. It's good for us to think about the deep things of theology. The sufferings of Christ. If you can survive in college(even barely)...if you can read assignments and textbooks and comprehend what you need to for each of your classes...then you can handle the deeper things of theology. Take time for a while and think on what Christ has done for you...what it took for you to become a child of God.
Isaiah 53:1-11Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished.  He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life an offering or sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.
This passage always brings tears to my eyes. Isaiah was a prophet who lived well over 700 years before Christ ever even walked the earth...and yet this passage seems like it was written from the foot of Calvary.

Lets take a few moments to ponder the sufferings of Jesus. He suffered in a way that no one else has ever suffered. No matter who you can think up, no martyr or murder victim has ever come close to experiencing the kind of suffering that Jesus endured.
  • He became flesh.
    • Philippians 2 says that he emptied himself. He went from being all God..to being flesh(John 1). He humbled himself.
  • He was despised.
    • Have you ever had anyone really really hate you? People hated him...they couldn't even stand the sight of him. They despised the Holy One and tried multiple times to kill him.
  • He was rejected and forsaken.
    • Jesus was left for dead...he was stabbed in the back. His disciples who had been with him 24/7 betrayed him. Peter denied him 3 times, Judas handed him over for slaughter with a kiss, and every one of them left.
  • He was a man of sorrows.
    • Jesus was used to crying. When he saw something it moved him and he wept. In the Garden of Gethsemane he wept. Gethsemane means olive press...Jesus was pressed and sorrowful.
  • He was not esteemed by us.
    • We did not value him. What is valuable to you? Do you really value him above all things?
He suffered physically:
  • He was pierced, crushed and beaten.
  • He was oppressed and afflicted.
He suffered spiritually:
  • Our iniquity was laid on him.
    • 2 Corinthians 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
    • He did not know sin and he took on every single sin of every single person and the wrath that each sin deserved.
  • He suffered willingly.
    • He didn't open his mouth to say anything to stop his suffering.
    • John 10: he gave up his life
Jesus' suffering was planned. God's plan has always been for the suffering of Christ. His suffering brought glory to God. In his death he was glorified and God was glorified. Our suffering and Christ's suffering always bring us right back to God. It gives us a reason to live...to bring glory to God

It's important every once in a while to remind yourself of Christ's work on the cross and his work in your life. It's sobering and encouraging. So take time...think on the deep things. Remember where you came from and praise him for what he has done.

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
 
Oh! precious is the flow
    That makes me white as snow;
    No other fount I know,
      Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

For my cleansing this I see--
Nothing but the blood of Jesus!
For my pardon this my plea--
Nothing but the blood of Jesus!

Nothing can my sin erase
Nothing but the blood of Jesus!
Naught of works, 'tis all of grace--
Nothing but the blood of Jesus!

This is all my hope and peace--
Nothing but the blood of Jesus!
This is all my righteousness--
Nothing but the blood of Jesus!

Where Do I Go From Here?


Have you ever been lost...or even just felt lost? We've all experienced it at some point in life...we've all stood at the crossroads and pondered which way we should go...which direction we should turn...what will happen if____. We've all been there. It's not an uncommon place to be...whether it's about work or school or relationships...trust me, you're not alone.

Sunday at C4, we looked at 4 crossroads in the life of King David. For a man after God's own heart, he seemed to hit those crossroads pretty often. But I think the key with David...was that he kept pursuing what God had for him, even when he was facing the unknown.

Crossroad #1 (Trusting God's call on our lives)
1 Samuel 16:6-13 When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’s anointed stands here before the LORD.” But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The LORD has not chosen this one either.” Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, “Nor has the LORD chosen this one.” Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The LORD has not chosen these.” So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” "There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.” Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.” So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the LORD said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.” So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah.
David was the runt of the litter, he was the little brother that typically just got in the way...but God saw his heart. It didn't matter that David was small...God knew that he would be great. Even when you don't feel chosen or equipped...God has a purpose for your life.

God's purpose is found in Matthew 28...to go and make disciples of all nations. Like us sometimes, Moses didn't feel like God had picked the right person for the job.
Exodus 4:1-2 Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The LORD did not appear to you’?”  Then the LORD said to him, “What is that in your hand?”
"What is that in your hand?" - That's all God has to say...you don't have to have some sort of huge major piece of equipment or have a degree from seminary...all you have to do is use what God has put in your hand. The things that God gave you that you thought were just ordinary abilities is what God wants you to use. Stop waiting for something else from God...he's already given you all that you need. He provides for your purpose. Use what God gave you.

David trusted...God told him he was going to be king but David didn't wait for a crown to begin preparing. He went back to the flock of sheep and picked up the sling and practiced. His faithful practice in protecting the sheep prepared him for when a lion came...and again when a bear came. He used what God gave him and God used him to defeat Goliath and the Philistine army. Many are called...few are chosen. Are you going to let the promise die or are you going to stand up and use what you have in your hand?

Crossroad #2 (Forgiving those who hurt us)
1 Samuel 19:9-10 But an evil spirit from the LORD came on Saul as he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand. While David was playing the lyre, Saul tried to pin him to the wall with his spear, but David eluded him as Saul drove the spear into the wall.
David felt rejection and betrayal. Sometimes we feel all alone like we have no allies. But remember that the Lord is always on our side.
Psalm 138:7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life. You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes; with your right hand you save me.
When all hell breaks loose in your life, know that God perfects all things...he sees the end from the beginning. Difficulties were made to draw you back to God. We sometimes spend our lives hopping from meeting to meeting...our lives are great on Sunday...but on Tuesday our attitude is one of despair. Take control of your feelings, we were called to walk by faith and not by our sight or feelings.
Ecclesiastes 3:11a He has made everything beautiful in its time.
Trust, believe, and know that he is with you.  In Matthew 28 God says "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."



Crossroad #3 (Confessing our sin to God)
2 Samuel 11:2-4a One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.” Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her.
Not only is David now a King but he is also an adulterer and murderer...he slept with a woman who was not his wife, ended up fathering a child...and in his efforts to keep his sin concealed, killed her husband who was a loyal man serving in King David's army.

Sometimes we do things that we regret..."I can't believe I did that." "I just jacked my life up." "I can't believe I let that happen." But remember that everything we go through is common to man. We have to confess to God and to one another. David confessed his sin to his friend Nathan
2 Samuel 12:13-14 Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” Nathan replied, “The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. But because by doing this you have shown utter contempt for the LORD, the son born to you will die.”
A saint is nothing more than a sinner who fell down and got up again. We have to get up, move forward and never go back. Confess your sin and turn from it. Jesus' blood is enough.

Crossroad #4 (Worship while suffering)
2 Samuel 18:31-33 Then the Cushite arrived and said, “My lord the king, hear the good news! The LORD has vindicated you today by delivering you from the hand of all who rose up against you.”  The king asked the Cushite, “Is the young man Absalom safe?” The Cushite replied, “May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise up to harm you be like that young man.” The king was shaken. He went up to the room over the gateway and wept. As he went, he said: “O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you—O Absalom, my son, my son!”
David's son was dead...he, like many of us have experienced the loss of a loved one. But David took refuge in God.
Psalm 31 In you, LORD, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness. Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me. Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me. Keep me free from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hands I commit my spirit; deliver me, LORD, my faithful God. I hate those who cling to worthless idols; as for me, I trust in the LORD. I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction
and knew the anguish of my soul. You have not given me into the hands of the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place. Be merciful to me, LORD, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief. My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak. Because of all my enemies, I am the utter contempt of my neighbors and an object of dread to my closest friends—those who see me on the street flee from me. I am forgotten as though I were dead; I have become like broken pottery. For I hear many whispering, “Terror on every side!” They conspire against me and plot to take my life. But I trust in you, LORD; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands; deliver me from the hands of my enemies, from those who pursue me. Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love. Let me not be put to shame, LORD, for I have cried out to you; but let the wicked be put to shame and be silent in the realm of the dead. Let their lying lips be silenced, for with pride and contempt they speak arrogantly against the righteous.How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you. In the shelter of your presence you hide them from all human intrigues; you keep them safe in your dwelling from accusing tongues. Praise be to the LORD, for he showed me the wonders of his love when I was in a city under siege. In my alarm I said, “I am cut off from your sight!” Yet you heard my cry for mercy when I called to you for help. Love the LORD, all his faithful people! The LORD preserves those who are true to him, but the proud he pays back in full. Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD.
There is no situation to desperate for God. Like David, we are to worship in the moments of our greatest tragedies...God will take care of us no matter where we are. At every crossroad in your life, no matter what you've been through or what you are facing...the answer is God

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Feet


This past Thursday at C4's midweek service, we were honored to have Pastor Theron Hobbs Sr., the Senior Pastor of University City Church of God, come and speak to us. Pastor Theron did an excellent job and I was just blown away with the truths in his message. He began by talking about all he's learned from us...the college kids...including new vocabulary, new clothing styles, and the fact that college kids seem to have a strong dislike for shoes. I kinda laughed because as he started to speak, I had taken my shoes off.

He spoke about the past Sunday and how during worship, he kept focusing on the bare feet of the band members and the shoes that littered the stage...and how that had struck a chord in his heart. He began to show us just how much the Bible has to say about feet.
Psalm 8:6 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet
Psalm 18:33 He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights.
Psalm 22:16 For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet
Psalm 25:15 My eyes are ever toward the LORD, for he will pluck my feet out of the net.
Psalm 31:8 and you have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy; you have set my feet in a broad place.
Psalm 119:101 I hold back my feet from every evil way, in order to keep your word.
Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
Psalm 119:133 Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me.
Proverbs 1:15-16 my son, do not walk in the way with them; hold back your foot from their paths,for their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed blood.
Proverbs 4:26 Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure.
Proverbs 16:9 The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.
Isaiah 52:7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, "Your God reigns."
Deuteronomy 11:24 Every place on which the sole of your foot treads shall be yours. Your territory shall be from the wilderness to the Lebanon and from the River, the river Euphrates, to the western sea.
Jeremiah 10:23 I know, O LORD, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.
When the Bible talks about our feet, it's not just talking about our physical feet...it's talking about our step...our lifestyle. It's speaking of the way we fashion our lives, the position we hold and the direction we are going.  Is your life postured in a way that you are following Christ?
 
We often hear the phrase, "The journey is the destination"...but in reality, it depends on who you are walking with. When you walk with Jesus...he is your destination, he is the one who makes you whole. In John chapter 6, the disciples were in a boat miles from land...when Jesus came and walked to them on the water and they invited him in the boat...they immediately reached land. When Jesus is in our lives, when he's in the boat with us, we have reached land...we are whole.
 
We weren't meant to walk our journey alone. From the beginning of time, God never intended us to be alone. When no suitable helper could be found for Adam, God created Eve to be there for him. It's not just about getting married either...God puts people into our lives to help us out...to walk with us. We need each other.
 
God calls us to walk in relationships and sometimes relationships mean sacrifice. We are called to serve and care for one another. The Creator of the Universe knelt down and washed the disciples feet. He calls us to live a sanctifying life, to keep our lives clean and purified...when we have been wronged to shake the dust from our feet and walk in a new way. What dust is attached to your feet? What is the dust that you are carrying around from the past? What dusty trail brought you to where you are right now?
 
Pastor Theron's message really made me think about the significance of taking my shoes off at church. Some might see it as disrespectful...and others, like myself, had never thought about it before...but I started looking and there were three passages that stood out to me:
Exodus 3:5 Then he said, "Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground."
Joshua 5:15 And the commander of the LORD’s army said to Joshua, "Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy." And Joshua did so.
Acts 7:33 Then the Lord said to him, 'Take off the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.
 
In each of these verses, it's a command...the place you are in is holy, take your sandals off because God wants to speak with you. It really blew me away...I've grown up in church, most of the time barefoot and never thought about the significance of removing my shoes and being met by God.
 
After Pastor Theron finished, Jordan got up and shared what had been on his heart as Pastor Theron had spoken. He said that the thing that struck him the most was that Jesus came to serve, not to be served...then after he served...he died...for me. How great is the God we serve? He came from the lowest place...he was born in a barn in a shepherd's city - the poorest city around...he grew up, lived a perfect life and then was betrayed by me...he took a beating that not even the worst criminal deserves, he was mocked, had a crown of thorns shoved on his head, was mocked some more...then crucified...Roman crucifixion was brutal and long, he had to carry his own cross, the one he had to die on and he carried it knowing what he was going to do. He took 3 nails and a spear in his side, much torment, then he died and was buried. Usually the story stops there...we live, we die, there's a nice little obituary in the paper, people talk about us for a few days and then we are forgotten except for a few markings on a gravestone. But Jesus...we're still talking about him 2011 years later.
 
Praise God! He is so amazing, definitely worthy of our worship and our hearts. He wants to walk with us, are you setting your focus and direction on him?
 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Blood of the Lamb


A couple of weeks ago at a C4 midweek service, Tyson spoke on the Passover. The Passover is one of the most important events in the Bible...it is not just an event or a concept, it is the foreshadowing of an even greater event.
Exodus 12:1-13, 21-27 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the door frames of the houses where they eat the lambs. That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. Do not eat the meat raw or boiled in water, but roast it over a fire—with the head, legs and internal organs. Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the LORD’s Passover.  “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt. Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the door frame. None of you shall go out of the door of your house until morning. When the LORD goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the door frame and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.  “Obey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants. When you enter the land that the LORD will give you as he promised, observe this ceremony. And when your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’ then tell them, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the LORD, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.’” Then the people bowed down and worshiped.
To give you a little history, the Israelites were being held captive in the land of Egypt. They were slaves to the Pharaoh...when God sent Moses to free them, Pharaoh's heart had been hardened and would not let the Israelites go. God sent plagues and famine and locusts and all sorts of nasty things...but still Pharaoh said no. So that's where we get all caught up, the final act of God is the Passover. The Passover is when God came down and passed over the land of Egypt and killed the firstborn male of every household.

You might say that it's harsh...and maybe it is, but there cannot be freedom without the shedding of blood. God killed his own son to free you and I...it might seem harsh but there is no greater act of love ever shown...and the Passover is just foreshadowing the greatest story of all time. Blood speaks louder than your past and the blood of the lamb brings life, hope and favor.

In Exodus it tells us that this took place on the 14th day. It happens at the beginning of the year...when the Lamb's blood is applied to our lives it symbolizes newness of life.

In verse 1, we see that God came to Moses and Aaron while they were still in captivity in Egypt...just like he came to us while we were still sinners. The Lamb of God was slain for the sins of man.

In verses 4-5, it talks about the lamb...that it must be without blemish. Jesus came and lived a perfect life...he was not tainted with even the smallest speck of evil. In verses 6-7, we see the door frames. This is significant because door frames are made of wood...the door frame points to (foreshadows) the cross...Jesus hung on a cross of wood and his blood stained the wood.

The blood applied to your life puts God's claim, seal, and promise on you and your life. Jesus fulfilled the promise word for word...He was the spotless Lamb of God, his blood was shed for the freedom of our souls and he hung on a cross of wood.

The passage in Exodus goes on to describe the meal. The bitter herbs are a reminder of being delivered from the bitterness of sin, death, depression and bondage. The unleavened bread symbolizes purity. God wanted what they ate to be pure.

He didn't set us free to go back...he is the one who makes us free but we are the ones who stay free. The orders from God required the Israelites to believe and act before anything happened. They had to believe they would be free while they were still in captivity. They had to believe before they saw. They were ready to be free before freedom happened. We can't wait for God to show up before we put our faith and trust in him...we've got to step out and believe that he will do what he says he will.

As they were leaving Egypt, God told them to rest...the Sabbath is a reminder that their freedom came as a gift from God and not from any of their actions or from the leadership of Moses and Aaron. We don't earn our salvation..we can't save ourselves. The blood was shed for you while you were a slave to sin...rest in him. We can't just do whatever...we must keep ourselves holy.

This is how we know that the Bible is God's word and Jesus is God's son because only God could do this...no man could come up with this or pull this off.
1 Corinthians 5:7 Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.
Jesus is our Passover Lamb...he died on the day before the Passover Sabbath...
John 19:31-37 Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.
He is enough for you, you can't earn it, you don't deserve it...but he is yours. Trust him...he'll do what he said he would do...the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

We are C4 Charlotte

Sunday night, Tyson took time out to talk about C4...the vision, the purpose...basically who we are and what we are doing. He took some points from one of my first blog posts (check it out) when defining C4, shared his testimony about how his ministry began by teaching at nursing homes when he was 14 and then began to talk about our mission field.

Our mission is to see college students at UNCC and throughout Charlotte redeemed and restored. Although C4 is the meeting place, C4 in itself cannot do anything for you...it's just an instrument in God's hand. The people involved determine the success...if they hear and follow God's direction. We don't exist to put on a show or impress anyone, we're here to lift God's name high.
Matthew 11:12 From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force.
The kingdom of heaven should see a violent expansion...an overwhelming addition of souls into the kingdom. Our vision is to see God's creation reunited with its creator...but so often we forget our mission field. We live in the Bible Belt...there are 700 (give or take) churches in Charlotte...so we go to church, and walk away. But we don't realize that eternity hangs in the balance...we are at war but we aren't fighting alone. C4 is the name of a plastic explosive. Explosives destroy things but they also bring light. We are out to destroy the works of the devil and shine the light of the gospel.
Isaiah 64:8 But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.
C4(the plastic explosive kind) is easily molded into any desired shape, pressed into gaps and fills voids. C4 Charlotte belongs to God...we are clay and we must be teachable.

C4 is unaffected by external shock. You can do anything to it but it won't go off unless ignited by a certain force.
Matthew 16:18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Nothing can shake us, nothing will stop the advance of the gospel. We are moving forward.

The 4 C's of C4 Charlotte are Called, Connect, Catalyst, and Compassion.

Called
Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
We are called to share the truth with a generation. We are not seeker friendly, we are called to evangelize and make disciples. It's not just about meetings on Sunday and Thursday, it's about growth and development in lifegroups that meet almost every day of the week. The enemy wants us to be isolated...cut off from all fellowship and community, but we are to surround ourselves with believers. We aren't interested in status quo or average or going through the motions...we're interested in making disciples. If God can change the world with 12 men(his disciples)...what more could he do with the people who come to C4.

Connect
Acts 2:43-47 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
We connect to our Creator through worshipping him and learning about him and we connect to other believers in lifegroups. We are to live a lifestyle of worship. Worship is loving God for who he is and not just for what he has done.

Just a side note on worship...when you see people raising their hands...it's a symbol of surrender. Surrender is a sign you are still alive not a sign of defeat. It is the beginning of new life and hope/victory. When you see people dancing or jumping it is every fiber of your being worshipping. Some people stand still...it's a sign of reverence...worshipping in spirit and in truth. It's not about how you worship, not about the show...it's about worshipping in your heart and in your spirit. You exist to worship. Worship him for who he is. What more does he have to do for you to deserve your whole-hearted worship?

We connect through worship.

Catalyst
Matthew 28: 18-20
We are called to be catalyst of genuine change in people's lives. In March, nearly 50 people were baptized at C4. Baptism is symbolic of getting up new. If genuine change doesn't happen in your life then there is no reason for us. Transformation in your life isn't just for you and I...it's a declaration of hope to the world. Something that no words can say.

Compassion
Mark 1:41-42 Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, "I will; be clean."
Jesus had compassion for this man. Compassion is something that moves us...it's what takes the other 3 C's and puts them into action. Without compassion we cannot change the world. It's the fuel to love like Jesus loved. Without love, it's all null and void. Compassion moves us toward the need.
Matthew 25:40 And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.
You have the power to see change. To deny the need is to deny God.

We also have a desire to see genuine revival...not some man-made revival...genuine revival. It doesn't just happen; it doesn't start with a church meeting. Revival begins with you. Inside of you. It begins when you are moved to compassion.

So where is C4 headed? We started 1.5 years ago as 20 people...and at our Fall 2011 kick-off there were nearly 300 people in attendance. We are going to keep lifting up and drawing close to God. That's the only direction to go.
Matthew 9:36-38 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest."
We invite you to come along side of us...join us in our mission, shoulder to shoulder. UNCC is a big campus and Charlotte is a big city...but we have God on our side. C4 is only an instrument in the redeemer's hand. Please pray for us if anything...we can't do anything on our own, it's all God. Pray for the mission field...UNCC and Charlotte. Pray that God would rain down and flood this city with himself. Thank you in advance. C4 would not be where it is today without the many prayers and people who sacrifice to see it grow.

Water and Blood

1 John 5:4, 6-15 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith. This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.
Sometimes you might feel forgotten or separated...like God doesn't care about you. Maybe you're unsure of your salvation. 
Psalm 13:1-6 How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, lest my enemy say, "I have prevailed over him," lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken. But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.
When we feel like this, it's the enemy trying to confuse us. But these verses show us 3 witnesses of his promise: Spirit, Water, and Blood. These witnesses speak into your life like no one else can. There is hope for you no matter what...no matter your circumstances or your past...there is hope for you. The enemy tries to sow seeds of doubt and confusion in our lives...we ask if God will save us...the devil tries to close us off and make us isolated.

Water
John 19:31-37 Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. He who saw it has borne witness— his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth— that you also may believe. For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: "Not one of his bones will be broken." And again another Scripture says, "They will look on him whom they have pierced."
Blood and water flowed from Jesus side...water is significant here, it represents the Spirit. (Joel 2:28 "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh;) When they pierced his side, it wasn't just so that his death would be proved, it was a sign fulfilling the Old Testament prophesy and foreshadowing the last days. It was a loud sign that he would be coming again...this time it won't be to die but he's coming for his bride. The only reason he waits is so that the lost can be brought into his kingdom.

Water is also symbolic of baptism/full submersion. It's not just about washing away the old...it's related to Noah and the Flood. He could have wiped us out completely and started over, but he didn't. It shows his grace and mercy. 

Baptism is more than just laying down...it's the start of your public ministry - declaring God's grace to the world. It's our inauguration to our purpose...to our ministry. When Jesus was baptized, the Spirit descended upon him before he went into the wilderness. Water speaks of God's plan to join him in ministry. Even if you don't think so, you have a ministry...you don't have to be a pastor...has God ever done anything for you? Can you tell someone about it? Therein lies your ministry. 

Blood
Hebrews 12:22-24 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
Jesus blood doesn't speak against us as the innocent blood of Abel did in Genesis 4. Jesus blood fixes the broken, restores us, and bridges the gap between us and the Father. His blood seals the deal...it shows that it is Finished. Nothing can overtake you. The world might keep talking but the blood speaks louder. His blood will never stop speaking.

The blood that was shed for us has already faced all temptations, struggles and sins so that we don't have to. (1 John 5:4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith.) Because we are followers of Christ, the blood has already won in our lives.

The blood speaks for us and to us. It gives us confidence, faith, and assurance. The blood cries out for our forgiveness. The blood of Jesus is ultimate and eternal. It is the once and for all payment for the redemption of humanity. The enemy tries to talk to us and lead us away, but the blood speaks louder and speaks freedom, hope and victory over our lies.

The cross wasn't God's fix or response to our sin...our sin didn't surprise him. It was his declaration of love toward us. Not just anyone's blood could hit the ground and accomplish everything...it had to be Jesus' blood. His blood spoke to the world that he would rise again. The water is the beginning and the blood is the end. If you are trying to live life on your own terms, let the blood speak to you...it will stand for you and cleanse you, it will never be quiet and it will never die.