Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Follow Me

Raise your hand if you're on Twitter. Okay, you don't really have to raise your hand...but I'm guessing that many of you are either on Twitter or know someone who is (you know me if no one else). Twitter is a popular social network on which you "tweet". You say what you have to say in 140 characters or less. It's simple: people follow you when they either know you or like what you have to say. Kim Kardashian has over 13,391,000 followers. That's the size of a small nation... Or what about Justin Bieber...he has 17,782,000 followers. That's a LOT of people....but, I'm pretty sure that if Jesus had a Twitter...his follower count would leave Bieber's in the dust.

Following someone on Twitter is fairly simple...you just click a button and go on with your life. Just because you follow Kim or Justin doesn't mean that you live your life like they live theirs. Following God is a little bit more than clicking the follow button...following God means that you live like him. Whoever you follow, you will end up where they are going. To be a Christian is to be a follower...does your life reflect the higher standard that we are called to live? Most Christians, when asked if they are a disciple of Christ will say yes. Sadly, this isn't always true. A disciple is born when your words, actions, and lives come together and show that you are following God. It's time to examine your life...are you really a follower? Are you really who you say you are? Or are you just claiming to be a follower and never really changing your life? If you are really following Jesus, then you'll look and act like him. If you are really following him, you'll end up where he is.

So...lets do some heart surgery. My dad always used that phrase when he talked about God doing work in your heart and life...cutting away the bad and giving you a new heart and new desires. It's often a painful process...but in the end, your quality of life will be improved. If you're ready, then it's time to really examine your heart and life. Ask yourself these questions and be honest about your answers.
  • When was the last time I went out of my way to help someone else? (When was the last time I inconvenienced myself in order to meet someone else's need)
Acts 14:21-22 They preached the gospel in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.
These men were followers. They weren't out for personal gain or their own fame or to try to gain heaven...they followed because they caught a glimpse of who God really was...they had selfless faith. Do you really live to heal and bless others? Their whole life mission was to strengthen the body and not overlook it. Being a disciple is about giving and not taking. Even Jesus came to serve and not to be served. When was the last time you laid aside the important things in your life to meet the needs of someone else?

When was the last time you laid aside your schedule to strengthen other believers? If we can't even take the time to help our brothers and sisters in the faith - how can we help a lost and broken world? We have no purpose in the world if we can't love and help in our church and our ministry. The Bible even says that any man who says that he loves God but then hates his brother is a liar. We have to take care of one another.

How many times have you said you are a believer and then overlooked someone in need? Jesus said that what we have done for the least of these is what we have done for him. To follow Jesus means that we live and serve and bless just like he did. I'm not saying that you have to go person to person and meet every single need of every single person on the face of the earth...no...don't even go there. I'm saying that you are called to meet the needs within your grasp and ability to meet them.

Start here and now...reach out to someone: your roommate, your mom, your dad, your girlfriend, your boyfriend. It doesn't always mean buying someone something or taking someone in...meeting needs can be as simple as bringing joy and encouragement to someone. Bringing a smile to someones faith or encouraging them will bring strength, and love to people and even something that simple has the power to change lives. Like I said, you don't have to give with money necessarily..."silver and gold, I have none"...give with your life...with your time. The people around you might be hurting...their faith might be hanging in the balance...but sometimes all it takes to bring healing to their lives is you investing your time and love.

As a follower of God - you represent him on this earth. Jesus ran to need...he was never too busy to heal or restore. He called you...he called you to bring hope to the poor in spirit, to meet the needs around us and to love others.
Isaiah 61:1-3 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of he LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.
  • When was the last time I loved my enemy or loved a stranger?
John 13:34-35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
You will be known by your love. When was the last time you loved someone who had wronged you or someone you didn't even know? Too often we expect everyone else to treat us perfectly and make allowances for when we screw up towards them...but then turn around and hate them when they screw up towards us. We are all human. Our love and treatment of others is not perfect...and we cannot expect others to love and treat us perfectly all the time either. We are called to love. Plain and simple...love.
  • Who is the last person you discipled?
This is ultimately how you know you are a disciple. Who is the last person you invested in and taught the ways and words of Jesus? God didn't save you for heaven...salvation isn't the end of the journey...it's the beginning. You are called to go out and make disciples...invest in others and teach them. The pastor of your church isn't on his own in this...it's your responsibility to take what you've learned and multiply it into others. Wearing a cross around your neck and listening to Chris Tomlin doesn't make you a disciple...pouring out into others what Jesus poured into you is what makes you a disciple.

What would it look like if Jesus lived like we do? If he complained about work all the time or laid around the house watching TV...if he lived like that, churches would be empty and the world would be unchanged. He didn't just wait around...he made noise! He rocked the boat...broke the mold...and any other kind of description you want to use that describes what he did! He embraced the lepers, he made friends with the social outcasts, and he loved the unlovable! Because he did those things, the world was forever changed! When you embrace the world, the social outcasts, the unlovable...you will see change in your world too.

It's not even about the "unlovable" all the time...it's about your own family. We come together as a family every week to worship...but a lot of the time, we don't even know each others names. We just do the same things week after week...talking to the same people...never branching out. Start there...sit someplace different...talk to someone that you don't know.

Another thing...I just want to give warning...if you don't know the book then don't go. You need to be discipled before you go out making disciples.

Also...Christians are talented at making things awkward. You don't have to stand hand in hand around a campfire singing hymns to disciple someone. A disciple is someone who lives life with you. Go to the mall, go see a good movie...it's about living life together. Jesus discipled people by living it out in his own life.
Matthew 28:18-20 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Don't just sit on your rear end and be comfortable...you are called to GO and make disciples...teach, love, serve. Jesus isn't stagnate...he's moving (all over the place)...why are you still sitting around? If you think God won't/can't use you then take a look at Peter...if Jesus used a man who denied him 3 times to build his church...he can do even more through you. It doesn't matter how many times you've messed up. You don't have to be some super-spiritual-half-human being to be used...he called regular people to be disciples. It starts with you. There is no greater thing you can do with your life than decide to follow him.

Follow

Sunday night, Tyson really challenged all of us at C4 Charlotte to sincerely evaluate whether or not we are really following Christ. And no, I don't mean following Him like He has a Twitter account and all you have to do is click a "follow" button, but following Him with the way you live out your life. Tyson tells us all the time, "with whoever we follow, we end up where that person is going, we end up with the destiny that they have". That's why the question: "Who do you follow?" is so important.

So what does it mean to be a follower? Well, Tyson gave us some questions to ask ourselves to help us kind of understand where we are standing as a follower of Christ.

  • When was the last time I went out of my way to help someone else in need?
Acts 14:21-22
They preached the gospel in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.
Paul and Barnabas weren't out for their own gain. Their life mission was to strengthen the church's body.

For us to follow Christ, we need to do what He and His disciples did. We need to reach out, encourage, and strengthen not only the church body, but especially the people who aren't a part of the church.

This passage says that Paul and Barnabas strengthened other believers for a reason. If we can't love our fellow believers, how can we reach out and love the people who mock our faith? How can we serve the world if we aren't doing anything for the people sitting right next to us?

  • How many times have I called myself a Christian and overlooked someone who was hurting right in front of me?
Jesus said that "what you do for the least of these, you do to me". The bible also says "For the joy of the Lord is our strength". Just the simple act of trying to cheer people up or just offering a smile has the power to change lives. But it's not about offering them just any joy, it's offering them the joy of the Lord. That's pretty specific, right?

If we want to be a disciple, we need to give of our entire lives. Jesus never ran away from or was too busy for the needy, He ran towards them. And if we are going to be disciples, then the world should see Jesus and not us.

Isaiah 61:1-3 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.
  • When was the last time I loved my enemies, or even a stranger?
This was the point in Tyson's message when the room started to get really quiet. I think that question really hit home for a lot of us if we were being completely honest with ourselves. As I'm writing this, it's kind of hitting me all over again. It's something I really need to keep in my head. I mean, it's the opposite of our sinful nature to love our enemies, or even strangers.

John 13:34-35
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
The world should know that we are disciples by our love. Think about how heavy that statement is and what it's saying about us. We have a tendency to always think people should treat us perfectly, but think they should make exceptions for our behavior.

It makes me think of the people who protest funerals or preach hate and wrath in big public gatherings. Those are extreme examples, but I wonder if what we tend to do (by holding grudges or ignoring needs) has just the same effect on people.

  • Who was the last person you discipled?
This was the last question for us to examine ourselves with. Who was the last person I really invested in for Christ?

Salvation is not the finish line, it's where everything begins. Christianity is not about making converts. If it were, then Tyson would've never given this message, I wouldn't be writing this blog post, and it wouldn't really matter how we live. Christianity is not about wearing a cross necklace and listening to Chris Tomlin.

Christianity is about being anointed to learn our faith and multiply it into other people's lives.

What if Jesus lived out His ministry like we do? I can just picture Him hanging out with the same circle of friends on His mom's couch eating potato chips and talking about Superbowl commercials and Kim Kardashian's marriage.

Ridiculous, right? He wouldn't have accomplished anything. So why do things that equal to the same things. Where is our boldness, passion,  or sense of urgency for the spread of the gospel? Jesus rocked the boat and broke the mold on Earth, we come to worship and barely know the person across the aisle. Making disciples is about living out our lives beside people.

Matthew 28:18-20 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
The great commission to "make disciples of all nations" is one of the last things that Jesus said to His disciples. I think that makes it pretty important, because people always say the most important things right before they're about to die.

God can use us to do great things if we would just do what we're told; if we would just reach out and help people in need, love people, and make disciples. It's really important to evaluate our Christian walks from time to time and make sure we're on the right track, to make sure we are following Jesus and that other people can see that in how we live our lives.

Countdown to Rekindle 2012

4 days until Rekindle!!!

Rekindle 2011: Session 3 - Stand Together by Mickey Connolly

We must stand together or our lives will fall apart.
  • The Passages
    • Hebrews 3:1-19
      • vs 1-6 - Jesus and Moses contrasted
      • vs 7-11 - an example from the wilderness generation
      • vs 12 - a sobering warning
      • vs 13 - practical help
Exhort = to strongly encourage or urge someone to do something. (To charge, entreat, implore, beg) The deceitfulness of sin is fast acting. We need other Christians in our lives that will exhort us in our Christian walk every day. We cannot afford not to have people come along side us. The potential for deception multiplies in isolation.
    • Hebrews 10:24-25
Donald Guthrie (Hebrews, 216) - "The New Testament lends no support to the idea of lone Christians. Close and regular fellowship with other believers is not just a nice idea, but an absolute necessity for the encouragement of Christian values."
  • Application
    • Fellowship with many and Accountability with a few
      • Fellowship
        • C.J. Mahaney defines fellowship as "The communication of our current relationship with and experience of God Himself."
        • The purpose of this communication is to better know the Lord, to protect us against sin, to inspire us to human service.
        • These people should speak the truth who have the right to examine your life and confront you.
        • Don't hide in a crowd (don't be Waldo)
        • Close friendships are important
      • Accountability
        • Be accountable to others because one day we will have to give an account to God.
        • Accountability does no good if you aren't honest and open.
Chuck Swindoll - "Accountability includes opening one's life to a few carefully selected, trusted, individual confidants who speak the truth, who have the right to examine, to question, to approve, and to give counsel."
    • Together with the Church
John Stott - "The value of the small group is that, it can become a community of related persons and in it the benefit of relatedness cannot be missed nor its challenge evaded. I do not think it is an exaggeration to say, therefore, that small groups...are indispensable for our growth into spiritual maturity."
Jim Durkin - "Neither individual Christians nor the church corporately can come to full maturity without enduring committed relationships among Christians and the atmosphere of care, support and encouragement that these relationships produce."
    • Together with a Few Close Friends
      • The importance of personal devotion - 1 John 1:1-3
J.I. Packer - "Fellowship with God is the source from which fellowship among Christians springs; and fellowship with God is the end to which Christian fellowship is a means. We should not, therefore, think of our fellowship with other Christians as a spiritual luxury, an optional addition to the exercises of private devotion. We should recognize rather that such fellowship is a spiritual necessity; for God has made us in such a way that our fellowship with himself is fed by our fellowship with fellow Christians, and requires to be fed constantly for its own deepening and enrichment."
C.S. Lewis - "Those who have nothing can share nothing; those who are going nowhere can have no fellow-travelers."
      • The importance of friends - Proverbs 18:24, Proverbs 17:17, Proverbs 27:17
Jack Hayford - "One of the chief scalpels that God has chosen for shaping us into His image is the dynamic of personal friendships."
J.C. Ryle (Thoughts for young Men, p. 59) - "Good friends are among our greatest blessings - they may keep us back from much evil, quicken us in our course, speak a word in season, draw us upward and draw us on."
J.C.Ryle - "Never be satisfied with the friendship of anyone who will not be useful to your soul. Believe me the importance of this advice cannot be overrated...I dwell more upon this point, because it has more to do with your well-being in life than at first sight appears...Do you ask me what kind of friends you shall choose? Choose friends who will benefit your soul, friends whom you can really respect, friends whom you would like to have near you on your death bed; friends who love the Bible and are not afraid to speak to you about it, friends that you will not be ashamed of acknowledging at the coming of Christ and the day of judgment."
        • Ecclesiastes 4:7-12
          • Good reward for toil
          • Lift up after a fall
          • Can't be overpowered
        • A Word to Men in Particular
          • Men tend to not have friends when they are self absorbed, self-sufficient or self defensive
Kent Hughes - "[Men suffer from the] delusion that real men do not need other people. Tragically, those who think this way rob themselves, their wives, their children, and the Church because they will never be all God wants them to be."
Jack Hayford - "Please believe this: The Bible shows that a man who would become the maximum person God can cause him to become is a man who discovers the power and blessing of partnership with other men!"
    • The Importance of Purposefulness with Friends
      • Honesty - A simple commitment that makes this work...
Bill Hybels - "The basic requirement of authentic relationships: honesty. Learning how to tell others the truth is the basis of genuine relationships."
        • Open ourselves up to others to reveal who we really are so that others can truly know us and to resist any impulses to hide or pretend to be something or someone we are not.
        • Express and hear correction and constructive criticism so we can help one another grow.
        • Bless others through praise, encouragement, thanks, and other expressions of love and regard.
        • Live free of hypocrisy, being on the outside what we are on the inside and being in public what we are in private.
      • Some simple questions to get things going...
        • What are you learning about the Lord?
        • What are you struggling with?
          • Sins?
          • Temptations?
          • Situations
Terry Virgo - "Confrontation can be very difficult, and many avoid it. But what wasted time could be redeemed in our lives if faithful friends started telling us some truths about ourselves."
          • What are you excited about, looking forward to in the Lord?
          • A good way to end - Taking some time to pray together.
  • Application questions
    • If I was completely honest with myself, I would rate my experience of biblical fellowship as _____________. Why is this the case?
    • Who are my biblical friends? How could I improve my level of fellowship with them?
    • With whom should I pursue an accountable relationship?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Countdown to Rekindle 2012

5 days until Rekindle!!!

Rekindle 2011: Session 2 - Grow by Jon Shea
2 Peter 1:3-11 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
It's easy for the world to lull you into "sleepy standing" - one minute you're standing there and the next you're on your back...fallen. If you are going to stand - you must grow to be like Christ.
  • Christ called you to grow
      • We want to grow to be like him
      • Conform to Christ
      • He restores his image in you when you come to Jesus...you get your purpose back.
      • We still have areas in our lives that don't reflect God
    • He gives you all you need to grow
      • He gives us the ability to grow.
      • Our transformation is all about Christ and through him and because of him
    • He promises that one day you will be like him
  • So make every effort to grow!!
    • You must make EVERY effort
    • The starting point is faith, the goal is Christ-like love
      • there is no way to grow without faith
        • faith - virtue - knowledge - self control - steadfastness/endurance - godliness - brotherly affection - love
          • these things must be evident in a Christian's life
  • Only by Growing will you Stand
      • It's only those who are standing who were called by God to grow
    • Growing keeps you fruitful and effective
      • Pursue the fruit - be effective
    • If you don't grow you will fall
      • If you aren't growing - you are walking blind
    • Growing ensures the reward of eternity in God's kingdom
  • Application
    • Are you growing?
    • Are you pursuing?
    • What is one quality from verses 5-6 that you need to pursue?
    • What areas in your life do not reflect Christ?
    • How do you plan to grow in those areas?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Countdown to Rekindle 2012

6 days until Rekindle!!!

Rekindle 2011: Session 1 - Stand Assured by Joe Lechner
2 Corinthians 13:5-6 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test.
To stand as a Christian...you have to first be a Christian.
  • The Test: Am I Saved?
    • An Important Question
RC Sproul - "The question, 'Am I saved?' is one of the most important I can ever ask myself. I need to know the answer; I must know the answer. This is not a trifle... Though we are loathe to think much about it or contemplate it deeply, we know, if only intuitively, that the worst catastrophe that could ever befall is to be visited by God's final punitive wrath."
Karl Graustein - "We grow up in a Christian culture with Christians all around us - family, church, and friends. Because we do things Christians do and we are surrounded by Christians, we tend to assume we are Christians too. But just as standing in a wheat field doesn't make someone wheat, being raised in a Christian environment doesn't make someone a Christian."
      • Examine yourself
      • Test yourself
    • An Urgent Question
      • Hebrews 9:27 - It is appointed for a man to die once and after that comes judgement.
      • The mortality rate is 100%
      • Death is not the end...you don't just disappear. You are very much alive - just in a very different situation...the only thing that ceases to exist when you die is the opportunity to change where you will spend eternity.
      • One minute will come - we will all die - our next breath is no guarantee
    • An Answerable Question
      • 1 John 5:13 - I write these things to you... that you may know that you have eternal life.
  • Am I standing in the Gospel?
    • "Christ died for our sins"
    • Have you responded to the gospel?
    • It involves genuine repentance and faith.
      • Repentance
        • Personally and genuinely repent of your sin and personally and genuinely put your faith in Jesus Christ to save you is to respond.
        • Repentance - a personal understanding that I am a sinner
          • I sin because I am a sinner
        • Conviction of sin, genuine sorrow/remorse over sin
          • Does sin bother you?
        • Willing, honest determination/purpose to turn away from sin and turn towards God.
John MacArthur - "The truth is that unless people realize they have a sin problem, they will not come to Christ for a solution. People do not come for healing unless they know they have a disease... they do not come for salvation unless they are weary of the bondage of sin. Thus Jesus came to expose us all as sinners. That is why his message was so penetrating, so forceful. It tore our self-righteousness away and exposed our evil hearts, so that we might see ourselves as sinners."
      • Faith
        • Begins with knowledge
          • rooted in the historical/objective facts of the gospel
        • Believing that those facts are true
          • the facts of the gospel
        • Knowledge and belief have to culminate in trust
          • Do I trust Jesus with my life and existence?
          • You can believe in him but have you surrendered your life completely?
            • When Jesus has your life - it changes your live.
Jonathan Edwards - "True salvation always produces an abiding change of nature in a true convert. Therefore, whenever holiness of life does not accompany a confession of conversion, it must be understood that this individual is not a Christian."
  • Is my life any different?
    • Is your life any different as a result?
      • the fruit is not what saves you - it's merely evidence that you have been saved.
      • Living people should think and act and live differently than dead people.
    • Vital signs...are there signs of life?
      • Do you love God?
      • Do you care about God's word?
      • Has your relationship with sin changed?
        • You claim to have broken up with sin but live like you are still married to it.
        • If your relationship with sin hasn't changed then don't pretend your relationship with God has.
        • Are you still a good sinner or does sin bother you?
The standard is perfection but the test is direction (the direction of your heart). The absolute supremacy of God happens when God has control of my life
    • Three groups of people
      • Passed the test
      • Passed...but barely
      • Failed the test
    • Application
      • Are you standing on the gospel?
      • Do you truly understand what it means to repent of your sins and trust in Christ for the forgiveness of your sins?
      • Are you willing to talk to somebody about it if you aren't sure or if you still have questions?
      • How has your life changed as a result of becoming a Christian?
      • Is there any area of compromise in your love for God, love for God's Word, or your relationship with sin that God was convicting you of that you need to grow in and need accountability for?
        • How will you pursue that?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Countdown to Rekindle 2012

7 days until Rekindle!!!
 
Rekindle 2010: Session 6 - Our Boast: Knowing God by Tyler LeVan
Jeremiah 9:23-24 Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.” 
  • What we love to boast in:
    • Wisdom
      • I know
    • Might
      • I'm able
    • Riches
      • I have
    • How have you forgotten God? How could you give yourself to wisdom or might or riches instead of God?
  • What does God say about our boasting?
    • Knowing God
      • Boast in me
      • Find yourself in me
      • Find your security in me
      • Find your identity in me
    • A life boasting in God
      • Why should we boast only in God?
        • All other ground is sinking sand!
          • They don't last
          • Mark 8:36
        • There is no one like Him!
          • Isaiah 55:9
        • Can you...
          • speak things into existence?
          • tell waves to stop?
          • exist outside of time?
        • God creates and God redeems
          • 1 Corinthians 4:7
        • He is our only hope
  • How do I get there?
    • Repent
    • Spiritual Disciplines
      • Pray
      • Read
      • Fast
    • Fellowship
  • Application:
    • What one or two changes do I need to make so I can know God on a deeper level? What is going to be a part of daily life now so that I am different a year from now?
      • Tip 1: Setting goals are good and needed. However, after a week like this it is very easy to be high conviction and low commitment. So make your goals reasonable. For example, if you have never read the Bible, then you are probably not going to read the whole thing next week. Realistically speaking, you could aim for a chapter or two a day. If you fall short, get back on the horse and ask God for strength. If you go beyond your goal, praise God! Now keep going.
      • Tip 2: Find a Bible verse related to your goal. Write the verse on a note card and take it with you everywhere you go. Expose yourself to that truth as much as possible.
    • What one or two sins has God put His finger on that I need to repent of? What are some steps to seeing this sin die in my life?
      • Tip 1: Holy Spirit
      • Tip 2: Bible
      • Tip 3: Open yourself up to others
    • Am i walking our the Christian life in community?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Idols are like Popcorn...

Thursday night, Jon Shea gave a message at Mission28 about idolatry and how much false advertising is involved in it. The main point he made was that idols always over-promise and under-deliver. (Sort of like popcorn...it doesn't taste as good as it smells and there's never enough to satisfy you)

So I guess the first big question to ask is: What IS an idol to begin with?

To understand what an idol is, we have to understand what worship is. Webster defines worship very dryly and calculatedly as the feeling of expression of reverence and adoration for a deity. But worship is more than just showing some admiration for God every now and again. It's giving our time, our lives away to whatever we believe in. It's kind of like the act of belief itself.

Worship is the purpose of everyone's lives, its what we were created to do, so we're always worshipping something. The problem is that what we worship isn't always God and when we worship anything other than God, the bible says we are committing idolatry. This is why:
(Luke 10:27) Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
When we are distracted with other things, we aren't giving God all of our hearts, souls, or minds.

Jonah 2:8 says "Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. (NIV)
In the ESV version, it says,
Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love.
There is a huge gravity to those statements. Forfeiting and forsaking God's grace and hope of steadfast love? All to give up our live to worthless and vain idols that can never satisfy us? That's pretty heavy and it's given me a new perspective. It should make all of us ask the question, What is my idol? What is the thing that, if I lost it right now, I would potentially lose a sense of purpose or my mood would automatically suffer?

Anything (even good things in our lives) can become an idol to us. It could be fear, comfort, desire of recognition, relationships, money, success, pleasure, etc.

The condensed version of Jonah chapters 1 and 2 go like this:

When God told Jonah to go to Nineveh to talk to the people about God and repentance, Jonah had an idol of comfort and didn't want to go. So instead, he rebels against God, jumps on a boat, and heads the opposite way. God was not happy and sent a little wrath Jonah's way and caused a huge storm. When the people on the boat figured out that Jonah was the object of God's wrath they threw him overboard to save themselves. Just when Jonah thought he was going to drown, God sent a giant fish to swallow him for a couple of days and bring him safely to shore. After all that, Jonah decided to do what God told him to do in the first place and headed towards Nineveh.

Moral of the story? Don't have an idol in your life that keeps you from doing God's will. He doesn't like it when He's not first in your life, because that's not what's best for you.

God is an incredibly jealous God, but also a gracious one. He's kind of like the dog that you're afraid to run away from because you know that he'll chase you.

Jesus died on the cross to break down the snare of idolatry. There is a blessing and peace that comes through obedience, especially with the hard things that He asks us to do. God asked Jonah to do something really hard, but what Jonah forgot was the promise that God would be with him to help him out along the way.

God helps us accomplish big things for Him, but we can only do those things if He is first in our lives and we don't have any idols in the way of our relationship with Him. The best thing for us is to go to Him thinking about what you have a tendency to worship besides God. What is your idol?

Countdown to Rekindle 2012

8 days until Rekindle!!!

Rekindle 2010: Session 5 - God: Eternal & Unchanging by Joe Lechner

  • Old like Grandpa?
    • What image comes to mind when you think of God?
      • Is he an old man like your grandpa?
      • God isn't some old dude as we understand old - he is eternal, ageless, and timeless
        • aka no gray, no wrinkles
      • He didn't go from young to old, he is unchanging
  • What does it mean that God is Eternal and Unchanging?
    • God is 'from all eternity' (Ps 93:2); 'the eternal King' (Jer 10:10); 'the immortal God' (Rom 1:23); 'who alone is immortal' (1 Tim 6:16); 'from everlasting to everlasting you are God' (Ps 90:2)
    • God and Time
Wayne Grudem - "Thus, before God created the universe, there was no 'time,' at least  not in the sense of a succession of moments one after another. Therefore, when God created the universe, he also created time. When God began to create the universe, time began, and there began to be a succession of moments and events one after another. But before there was a universe, and before there was time, God always existed, without beginning, and without being influenced by time. Ant time, therefore, does not have existence in itself, but, like the rest of creation, depends on God's eternal being and power to keep it existing."
      • Before there was time, there was God
      • God is from all eternity - everlasting to everlasting
      • God didn't need to be made because he always existed
        • He has always been there
          • Even a million billion trillion zillion years ago!
      • Time is a creation of God
      • God is outside of time and rules over it
      • Time cannot be used to measure God
      • Time is dependant upon God for it's existence
    • God and Change
      • Psalm 102:25-26, Malachi 3:6, James 1:17, Hebrews 18:8
JI Packer - "Strain, shock or a lobotomy can alter the character of a person, but nothing can alter the character of God. In the course of a human life, tastes and outlook and temper may change radically: a kind equable person may turn bitter and crotchety; a person of good will may grow cynical and callous. But nothing of this sort happens to the Creator. He never becomes less truthful, o merciful, or just or good than he used to be. The character of God is today, and always will be, exactly what is [has always been]."
    • Four Massive Implications:
      • God's moral character and nature never change
        • What you have heard about God has always been true and it will never change!
        • He is always and always will be all powerful, all saving, all knowing, etc.
        • He will always be enough and that will never change
        • His love for his children will never change
      • God's truth never changes
        • Isaiah 40:7-8, Psalm 119:89, Psalm 151-152, Numbers 23:19
        • Our words are unstable but God's words stand true forever because God never changes
        • No circumstance will ever require God to tweak or modify or retract anything he has ever said.
        • He never changes his mind
      • God's ways never change
        • What he tells us about his ways/actions/relations never changes
        • Eternally consistent
      • God's purposes never change
        • Psalm 33:11
        • His purposes don't change
        • What he purposed to do, he WILL do
        • He knows all things and controls everything
        • He will never have to change plans
Jarrett Stevens - "God loses and gains nothing...he is perfectly complete. That means he is just as capable, just as powerful, and just as engaged and involved in our world and in our lives today as he has been throughout history. God is still moving in and and around us, just as he always has. God has as much love and interest in your life today as he did in the lives of Moses, Mary, St. Peter, and your Great-Aunt Betty. Simply put, God is not young or old...He is a boundless God...A God who cannot be shocked or caught by surprised by any aspect of your 'complex' life...It's time we put to death our good 'old' God. Let the old man have it. Say your respects, close the casket, and walk away. This God needs to die so we can begin to see and embrace...a God who is not dead, but fully alive. A God who is ever present, ever active, and ever engaged in the world he created, the world he loves."
  • You Can Build Your Life on This
    • If God is who he says he is - then you can build and stake you life on him!
    • What are you building you life on?
    • If it's not God you are building your life on - then whatever it is, it's really nothing more than some dressed up carrot.
      • Sometimes the things you want most in life are the things that will kill you
  • Application Questions
    • If you think of God being eternal as simply meaning god is old, what kind of negative effect do you think this can have on you?
    • What's your sexy carrot?
      • What do you believe about it that makes it so worth chasing?
      • What does that say about how you view God?
    • What would it look like for you personally to stop chasing carrots and build your life more on the truth of who God is?
  • Application
    • Believe the gospel (come and put your faith in it)
    • Humble yourself and confess your sin
    • Don't drift!
      • Be radically committed to Him.
        • Dying for something is easier than living for something...to live for Christ is hard...it requires self-denial, sacrifice, and a fight - being the odd man out - going against the current.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Countdown to Rekindle 2012

9 days until Rekindle!!!

Rekindle 2010: Session 4 - God's Love: The Gospel by Mickey Connolly

Luke 15:11-32 And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to[a] one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything. “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father's hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate. “Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’”
  • Read How Do I Love Thee by Elizabeth Barrett Browning and think about that kind of love...God's love is so much greater than even that.
  • God loves me with all of his affection and in the action of his power.
  • Prodigal means recklessly extravagant
  • Yahweh represented regal reserve
    • Holy and amazing but far away.
  • The child's place until the Father died was to treat the Father with obedience and honor and respect
    • Anything else would have made the society of the time crumble
    • The "child" would have been stoned to death for showing disrespect to the Father.
  •  How is my Father going to receive me?
  • Jesus was telling us about God's love - God spoke about himself through his son.
  • The son's reception in the story is my reception as well.
  • He was happier than I was...when I came home.
  • The other son was the man who told the story - he is the ideal son
  • Read Ephesians 3:14-19
  • Application
    • How does the story of the prodigal affect your understanding and experience of the Father's love for you?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Real Talk...

Okay you guys...we've got 10 days left before Rekindle. If you haven't signed up to go yet...enough with the excuses...just go here: http://www.facebook.com/#!/events/275591792491575/ and click 'going'. That's all you gotta do. Sign up. We want you to come with us...other spring break plans are lame compared to Rekindle. If you're on the fence about it...watch this: http://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.php?v=10150550910639836 ... I think that will help you out a little =D

Anyway though, real talk...you're running out of time. You do not want to miss this. I don't know a single person who has regretted going to Rekindle. It's honestly one of my favorite things...ever. We need you to go sign up. If you can't get to the facebook page, come to the last Big Meeting tonight at 8pm (Rowe 130 over at UNCC) and talk to someone with a green connect team tag or one of the interns. We want you. The only thing holding you back is you. If you're not sure you can pay...talk to one of the interns. Don't let something like money keep you from coming. Join us. No excuses. Sign up.

Countdown to Rekindle 2012

10 days until Rekindle!!!!


Rekindle 2010: Session 3 - God Speaks to you through Jesus...Are You Listening? by Jon Shea
Hebrews 1:1-3 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
  • God Speaks
    • Long ago, through the prophets
      • Prophets are God's messengers
      • He gave the prophets bits and pieces of his plan
    • Now, through his Son
      • He has spoken to us through Christ
  • God Comes
    • If we are ever going to understand who God is - He has to reveal himself to us.
    • The God-Man Jesus
      • Phil 2:6-8, John 10:30, Matt 17:5
        • His Son: the heir of all things
        • Through him, he created the world
        • His Son and God are one!
      • God showed us who he is by sending his Son
        • John 1:1
      • Whatever we see in Jesus, we should hear God declaring that about himself.
      • He who created all things became creation to tell us about himself
        • He condescended
      • If God comes to us in human form to tell us things about himself - what did he show us?
    • Jesus came so that in Him you can see God's Glory
      • Without Jesus we cannot see God's glory.
      • Jesus is the mirror of God.
      • He is the radiance of the glory of God.
      • John 1:14, 2 Cor 4:6
    • Jesus came so that in Him you can see God's nature.
      • He is the exact imprint of His nature
      • John 14:9
      • Nature would be allusive to us
      • We can now see God's love, anger, compassion, mercy.
      • Jesus is the exact imprint/image of God...if you have seen him, you've seen the Father.
Martin Lloyd-Jones (Safe in the World, 60-61) - "A servant may be able to say everything that is right about his lord and master, he may know him well and intimately, but he can never represent him in the way that the son can. The son is a manifestation of the father by being what he is. Thus our Lord himself while here on earth, represented and manifested the name of God in a way that is incomparable and greater than all others, because he is the Son of God."
    • Jesus came so that in Him you can see God's power
      • John 18:33-37
      • He upholds the universe by the word of his power
      • If God wasn't holding the chair you are sitting on - you'd fall on your butt...God upholds everything (including gravity)
James Montgomery Boice (The Gospel of John, 1278) "for when we say that Christ's kingdom is not of this world, what we are really saying in that Christ's kingdom is of heaven and therefore has an ever greater claim over us than do the earthly kingdoms we know so well...Over these is Christ, and we flout his kingship not merely at the peril of our fortune and lives but at the peril of our eternal souls."
    • The problem
      • John 1:10
      • John 3:19
      • Luke 20:9
      • Jesus knew that being a man would not be enough
      • The essence of sin is ignoring God's rule and ignoring Jesus is ignoring God himself.
  • God Saves
    • Jesus accomplishes salvation so that in him you can have God's mercy.
      • Jesus died so that we can experience God's mercy
      • Jesus came to earth to die for MY sins
      • Jesus made purification for every sin
        • After marking Purification for sins
          • Matt 1:21
          • Mark 10:45
          • Heb 9:14
          • Titus 2:14
        • He sat down at the right hand of Majesty on high
          • Heb 4:14-16
  • Are you listening to what god is saying?
    • Jesus' Call
      • John 1:18
      • John 14:6
      • Mark 8:34-37
    • Jesus' Warning
      • John 12:44-50
    • Responses:
      • All in
      • Wrestlin'
      • Ignorin'
  • Application
    • Have you been ignorin', wrestlin' or are you all in?
    • Why?
    • What are you thinking about your response right now
    • What are you gonna do about it?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Created to Worship

It doesn't matter where you came from. It doesn't matter how you were raised. It doesn't matter what talents you have. Every single one of us is different from another...but...we all have one thing in common. We stand united because each one of us was created to worship.
Psalm 148:1-6 Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights! Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his hosts! Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars! Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens! Let them praise the name of the Lord! For he commanded and they were created. And he established them forever and ever; he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.
God designed you for worship...we were created for the sole purpose of worshipping him. Too often, we forget why we were created in the first place...and that's when things start to fall apart in our lives. We need to understand the significance of living a life of worship. Do you realize that when the body of Christ gathers to lift up his name, heaven collides with earth? In that moment, all the heavenly beings join with us in praise! When you worship - heaven takes notice. The really cool thing about worship isn't just getting to praise God or even singing along with angels...it's the fact that you can't stir heaven with your praises without stirring earth at the same time!!! If you live a life of worship...everyone around you will take notice.

I don't know about you...but Latin was never my favorite subject. I had to take it for 2 years when I was a kid and I pretty much remember....nothing. But if you look at the Latin word that praise comes from (I'm not going to butcher the poor word by trying to spell it) ... it means to value or give worth to. When you worship your Creator - you declare his worth and value. You don't add value to his name, you declare its value over your life. When you praise, you are declaring that God is greater than your needs.
Hebrews 8:5 They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, “See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain.”
I think too often we try to define worship with things like music or raising our hands or dancing. Those things are all great and ways that we express our worship at times...but worship isn't music...it's a progression. If you know anything about Moses' Tabernacle...you know about the three areas of that place: The Outer Courts, The Holy Place, and the Holy of Holies.

The Outer Courts were where sacrifices were made to atone for sin. The Bible tells us that the wages of sin is death and you could not enter the Holy Place until blood had been shed. The Holy Place was a place for offerings to be made. The Holy of Holies was the place where the Arc of the Covenant was kept...the literal presence of God on earth.

This was the progression that had to be made. The High Priest had to go through that process or procedure every time. He could not enter into the Holy of Holies(fellowship with God) without first going through the Outer Courts and the Holy Place. The same is true for worship.

The Outer Courts of worship is basically divine initiation. This is where the Spirit of God drew you to himself. God found us, we didn't find him. He wants to draw you into the Outer Courts but if you draw back from him then you won't progress. Worship begins with a revelation of who God is. You can't worship a God you know nothing about. When he reveals himself to you to draw you to himself, you realize that you are a sinner, broken and messed up...but that he loves you and his mercies are new every morning. Once you see him for who he is, seek his word. The Bible will bring you to a new place of worship. The more you know and understand, you won't be able to stop worshipping!
James 4:7-10 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
The Holy Place is where you come to see him as your provider and Savior. It's the place where pride must be laid down and you must begin to walk in humility. It is the place where you must acknowledge that you can do nothing of your own power. You cannot be proud in this place...it is where you realize your complete dependency on God for everything...every movement, every breath. The Holy Place is where personal relationship begins. Have you ever been so caught up in your own life that you don't have time for God? Then, when you walk into Church you feel disconnected...well, it's because you don't have a personal relationship with God. You were made to Know him!

The Outer Courts is where you learn about him and the Holy place is where you learn to know him. Before worship was music...worship was about drawing close to him. In the Outer Courts, you learn he is your Father...in the Holy Place, you begin to relate to him as your Father. The Holy Place is where you begin to trust God, embrace and experience all he is. Worship is deeper than just a song...it's a lifestyle and a decision.

The Holy of Holies is the place for human response to all he has done for us. There are a few ways that the Bible expresses as appropriate reactions to all God has done. When we come into the Holy of Holies, we should be silent...the Bible tells us to be still and know that he is God. Our words don't impress him and it's in that moment when we are silent in his presence that he will speak into us. In the Holy of Holies we should also reflect on our testimonies...where you were and where you are now. Revelation 12 mentions that the word of your testimony is worship as well. The Holy of Holies is the place where we live a lifestyle of fellowship with God.
Matthew 15:8-9 “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”
This is a stern warning about the quality of our worship. You can't halfway commit to worship...you must go all in. Think about Cain and Abel...they both gave offerings but only one of them was accepted by God. You can't worship with only your words...you must worship with your life and heart. Don't say anything in worship to God if your life and heart can't back up what you say. You can't give him half-hearted worship...if you truly know him then you can't help but worship him. Open your heart and he will reveal himself to you. When you've truly seen who he is, you will want to live for him.

Worship isn't just about Sundays...it's about your life. Too often we only worship when we know the song...but worship isn't about you...it's not even for you...it's for God. Worship is about blessing his name. Start worshipping him with your life...people won't be able to help but notice.

Countdown to Rekindle 2012

11 days until Rekindle!
Rekindle 2010: Session 2 - God Almighty by Mickey Connolly
1 Chronicles 29:10-13 Therefore David blessed the LORD in the presence of all the assembly. And David said: “Blessed are you, O LORD, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever. Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.
  • Omnipotence Explained (Genesis 17:1; Revelation 1:8)
    • Faith for doing great things in God addresses itself primarily to the fact that God is almighty.
    •  v.11 - Yours, O Lord, is the...power (and greatness and glory and victory and majesty)
Stephen Charnock (The existence and Attributes of God) - "The power is that ability and strength whereby He can bring to pass whatsoever He pleases, whatsoever His infinite wisdom may direct, and whatsoever the infinite purity of His will may resolve... As holiness is the beauty of all God's attributes, so power is that which gives life and action to all the perfections of the Divine nature. How vain would be the eternal counsels, if power did not step in to execute them. Without power His mercy would be but feeble pity. His promises an empty sound, His threatenings a mere scarecrow. God's power is like Himself: infinite, eternal, incomprehensible; it can neither be checked, restrained, nor frustrated by the creature."
    • God does whatever he pleases
      • Psalm 115:3; Job 42:2; Genesis 18:14
      • Nothing is too hard for God
Thomas Watson (A Body of Divinity, p. 78) - "His power is as large as His will."
    • God does all effortlessly
      • Isaiah 40:28-29
      • He doesn't struggle or strain
      • God never expends energy and if he did, that would mean he changed and he doesn't change.
A. W. Tozer - "All His acts are done without effort. He spends no energy that must be replenished."
    • God can do more than He has done
      • Matthew 19:26
      • We can never doubt God's power!
      • If something doesn't happen, it's not because God doesn't have the power - it's because it is not his will.
      • God's power is only limited by his will.
    • There are things God can't do
      • God can't be inconsistent with his character
      • God can't sin or will himself out of existence
      • God can't act in a logically inconsistent way
  • Omnipotence Exercised
    • v. 11-12 - All that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours...you are exalted as head of all...you rule over all...in your hand are might and power.
    • God's sovereignty is His unlimited, absolute power, authority and control over his creation. He is able to rule because He is all-powerful. Nothing in all of creation is able to successfully rebel against Him.
ISBE (p. 592) - "The divine power operates not merely in single concrete acts but is comprehensively related to the world. In nature and in history, in creation and redemption, this power produces, controls, and directs everything that comes to pass. Nothing in the realm of actual or conceivable things can withstand it, it extends and masters all details or reality, even the minutest and most recondite (hidden) sequences of cause and effect."
    • Nature
      • Creation
        • Nothing exists without God...nothing exists except God
        • God speaks "let it be" and there it was.
        • Creation is the most conspicuous display of God's power.
      • Miracles
    • Nations
      • 2 Chronicles 20:6
      • All that the Father gives me will come to me
    • Souls
      • John 6:37
      • There is no one too hard to save...we are all equally dead - it's not too hard for God.
      • God saved the most notorious murderer in history - the apostle Paul.
      • Who is that person in your life that you see as too hard to save? Remember that God is all mighty to save!
      • If God wants you, he will get you!
  • Omnipotence Experienced
    • v12 - In your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.
    • Flows to us
      • God's power flows to us - the power to sustain us, keep us, and protect us.
    • Flows in us
      • Romans 8:11
      • God's power flows in us - power for a new life
      • The Holy Spirit
    • Flows through us
  • Application
    • In what specific areas will you begin trusting God for power to change?
      • Does trusting God in this way mean that you have no part in changing?
      • What part do you play in all of this?
    • How could you apply this message as a member of M28, i.e., how will God's power help you to fulfill the mission of this ministry?
Mickey said that if he used one word to describe his generation (the 70's) it would be 'radical' or 'passion'...and if he were to describe our generation today in one word it would be the word 'drift'. The number one goal of today's generation is to be rich and famous.

He shared the staggering statistic that in my generation - only 4% will stand for Christ. It broke my heart to hear that. There is a drift away from God in my generation...a drift into comfortable Christianity. The drift is subtle - there is a greater danger in the subtlety - much more danger than the clear lines of 'sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll' and 'Jesus freaks' of the 70's.

If you want to live a comfortable Christian life, you don't need power. It doesn't take power to drift...it takes power to go against the current and take a stand...it takes power and passion. Make your life count for something!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Countdown to Rekindle 2012

12 days until Rekindle!!!!

Rekindle 2010: Session 1 - Who God is for us by Joe Lechner
  • Three propositions
    • We are all theologians...we all think about God a certain way.
    • The question is...Is what I know about God and think about God true?
    • If you know God as He really is, then it will change you forever.
  • God reveals the truth of himself in his word:
    • Psalm 145:1-3
      • We are always in search of something great - but God is unsearchably great.
      • Glorious, splendor, majesty, fame, power, everlasting, abundant - unsearchable greatness
      • Think about all the things you have ever called great...even if you took all those things and put them together - they have limits, but the greatness of God does not have boundaries or limits - it will not fade...Is there anything in your life that you are more impressed with than God?
    • Psalm 4:6-8
      • Fresh food was rare so it was the most joyous time of the year. But God is more joy than the "harvest"
      • God is more joyful than the best and greatest things in life. His joy is unmatched...what makes you happy? God says, "I can put more joy in your heart than anything you can imagine...What do you think will make you happy? I can make you happier."
    • Psalm 16:11
      • We all live for pleasure. The most pleasurable thing is in knowing God. Anything else is temporary and fleeting. God, and the pleasure we get from knowing him is eternal - it will never cease.
      • Fullness of joy is in him...and we will never get to the end. He will dazzle and amaze us forever. Everything else is just a glimpse - it only exists to point you to him.
    • Psalm 27:1-4
      • What would you ask of the Lord in the midst of the hardships in life?
      • The greatest comfort, rest, peace, and safety comes from the Lord.
      • To GAZE upon the beauty of the Lord
      • God's beauty is that attribute of God whereby he is the sum of all desirable qualities - Wayne Grudem
    • Psalm 63:1-5
      • Nothing satisfies like God does.
      • God's love is better than anything...it's better than life.
    • Psalm 81:10
      • Trying to satisfy your soul is like being super hungry and opening your mouth and trying to be satisfied by air. God is the only one who satisfies your soul.
      • God made you to have desires so that HE could satisfy you and dazzle you.
    • Isaiah 55:1-3
      • Every longing - come "come to me" - but left to ourselves - none of us would want to come.
      • Most of our lives we are convinced that there are other things that will satisfy us other than God - because we are sinners! Sin has a blinding power - it blinds us from God's greatness. Sin makes God small...so we look for satisfaction in everything but God.
      • We just don't see - and this is why Jesus came!
      • The Holy Spirit shines a light in our eyes so we can see the greatness of God
      • Every desire and longing is your soul screaming out for God.
    • The Gospel isn't mainly about getting our of hell and into heaven...it's mainly about getting to know and love God.
    • Matthew 13:44
      • God is our treasure - we should be able to give up everything in order to gain Christ.
      • By giving up what we have, we gain so much more - it shouldn't take much thought
      • He is our treasure - do you believe it?
      • He is worth so much more than anything you gave up in order to get him.
  • Application
    • Do you believe God is worth as much as these scriptures say he is?
      • Do you believe he's greater than anything else you have called great?
      • Do you believe that He can put more joy in your heart than even the best things in life?
      • Do you believe that fullness of joy and the longest lasting pleasure are found in him?
      • Do you believe that the greatest peace and rest and comfort and contentment are found in him?
      • Do you believe that in him is a river of delights that you can swim in?
      • Do you believe that his love is better than life and that he can satisfy every hunger and longing of your soul?
      • Do you believe that every longing you have ever had to be dazzled, thrilled, awed, amazed, happy is found in him?
      • Do you see who God is and how he offers himself to you through the gospel and invites you to let go of everything else and come to him and live?
    • If you don't believe all these things are found in God, then where do you believe they are found?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Countdown to Rekindle 2012

13 days until Rekindle!!!

Rekindle 2009: Session 6 - Something Worth Your Life by Joe Lechner
  • 2 Corinthians 5:10-21
  • Two Powerful Motivations
    • Death
      • v10-11 - For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others.
    • Love
      • v14-15 - For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died, and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
  • Two Huge Differences
    • New Eyes
      • v16 - From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh
      • How are your eyes?
      • Everyone is an immortal soul who will spend eternity somewhere.
    • New Purpose
      • v18-20 - All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, that is in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Countdown to Rekindle 2012

14 days until Rekindle!!!

Rekindle 2009: Session 5 - The Sex Talk by Mickey Connolly
1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
  • The Standard (v1-3)
    • v1-2 - the general command - Live to Please God
    • v3 - the specific command - Abstain from Sexual Immorality
      • What is sexual immorality?
        • any sexual activities or thinking (lust - desire) by guys or girls outside the bounds of heterosexual marriage (lust, porn, making out, cuddling, sex, and everything in between)
      • What is the standard?
        • total abstinence
  • The Strategy (v4)
    • Deal with the Temptations
      • Avoid it (Romans 13:14)
      • Flee it (1 Corinthians 6:18)
      • Resist it (1 Corinthians 10:13)
    • Develop Competing Affections
      • Sexual evil is both thrown out (by vigorously fighting bad things) and squeezed out (by the new, dominating presence of good things. - David Powlison
      • Passion for the Lord
        • You will never win the battle with yourself simply by saying no to yourself. That battle only begins to be won when you say yes to the call of your King, the Lord Jesus Christ - Paul Tripp (A Quest for More, 99)
      • A high vision for marriage and moral purity
      • Keep busy
  • The Motives (v6-7)
    • God (v6-7)
      • v 7 - a supreme calling (Matthew 5:8)
      • v 6 - a serious warning (Psalm 16:11)
    • Others (v6)
      • In general - 1 Corinthians 13:5, 7
        • How far should I go? As far as you would want someone else to go with your future husband or wife. - CJ Mahaney
      • Your future spouse - Hebrews 13:4
    • You (v7)
      • 1 Corinthians 6:18
      • Sensuality is easily the biggest obstacle to godliness among men [and women] today and is wreaking havoc in the Church. Godliness and sensuality are mutually exclusive, and those in the grasp of sensuality can never rise to godliness while in its sweaty grip. - R. Kent Hughes (Disciplines of a Godly Man, 24)
  • The Strength (v8)
    • Galatians 5:16
    • A Story of Forgiveness and Hope - John 8:1-11
  • Application
    • Is there anything that you believe the Lord would call you to repent of in this area? Is there someone you have wronged in this area and need to ask forgiveness of?
    • Where do you believe you are in most need of the Lord's help in this area? How can you begin to pursue accountability to help you grow and honor the Lord in this area?