Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Chasing Lions

This bible passage is in reference to the resume of Benaiah (old testament mighty man).
2 Samuel 23:20 ..."He also had gone down and killed a lion in the midst of a pit on a snowy day."
it then goes on to conclude this v. 23 "He was more honored than the thirty, but he did not attain to the first three. And David appointed him over his guard."
Is this even real? Come on, you're telling me a dude killed a fierce lion "one on one" in a pit with adverse conditions? Ya! I've asked the questions already, read it again, what would be the point of a fable in the Bible? It's true. So lets parallel this to our lives.
What does your resume say, what's in it that jumps off the page? Have you chased a lion, have you chased a dream and put yourself out there to experience great success when failure is at a higher percentage? Or have you played it small, worked the machine in the back room of suite B where nobody knows you? Have you given up on your dreams because you were too scared to chase that lion that might tackle you and devour you, leaving you in a pit of failure to get laughed at?
Right now I'm the guy who is chasing a lion (its been 9 years) and that lion is beating me up but I'm not dead. I know there are people who mock me and laugh at my pursuit, "get a real job and quit being a dreamer wasting your life". Sure; I'm scared and I have thought about quitting multiple times (even right now), but there is still a small glimmer of hope and I hold on to it. I believe it is that glimmer that is of God and it is then that He can do His miracles and be most glorified. Tough circumstances lead us to give Him all the credit when situations turn around and rise to the top (like Josh Hamilton), He wants all the credit sometimes. Especially when dealing with egos as big as mine, I'm so sinful my thoughts are embarrassing. Look at Gideon, (Judges 6) 32,000 man army and God made him dismiss all but 300 so the result of the battle could only be explained by God's power. What are you running from, chase a lion, pursue a dream, give God a chance to do a miracle. Lets not play it small because we don't serve a small God.
Be encouraged you're mighty men!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Say I'm a Hedonist!

I'm gonna share some of this knowledge bone from John Pipers book Desiring God. I just finished a tuff chapter one which basically says that peoples pursuit of joy and God's pursuit of praise are essentially the same pursuit. When we fully delight in God, that result brings over flowing JOY in our lives. That is the definition if being a Christian Hedonist.

So here is a brief portion of the book...

Someone may ask, If your aim is conversion, why don't you just use the straight forward, biblical command 'Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved' (Acts 16:31) Why bring in this new terminology of Christian Hedonism?

My answer has two parts. First, we are surrounded by unconverted people who think they do believe in Jesus. Drunks on the street say they believe. Unmarried couples sleeping together say they believe. All kinds of lukewarm, world-loving church attenders say they believe. The world abounds with millions of unconverted people who say they believe in Jesus.

It does no good to tell these people to believe in the Lord Jesus. The phrase is empty. So I use different words to unpack what believe means. In recent years I have asked, "Do you recieve Jesus as your treasure?" Not just savior (everybody wants out of hell, but not to be with Jesus). Not just Lord (they might submit begrudgingly).

The key is: Do you treasure Him more than everything?

Could it be that today the most straightforward biblical command for conversion is not, "Believe in the Lord," but, "Delight yourself in the Lord"?

That's just a brief bite guys, I'll feed you more when I finish this bad boy. Be blessed!


Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Great Cause - Matt Chandler

I listened to a Matt Chandler sermon today on my flight from Tacoma to Salt Lake City and was blown away by the last 5 min. If you guys want someone new to listen to then check out his podcast. Anyway, here is what he wrapped up his message with today.

"The apostle Paul says, "I pray now as always that I would not be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ". Could it be that you live in your neighborhood, work where you work, play where you play, know who you know, walk with who you walk with, because God in His predetermined plan put you there to be a herald of good news? Maybe its not an accident that you have the job that you have or that you don't have the job? Maybe where you live isn't some random circumstance, but a preordained move by the God of the Bible? We are on mission. Ladies, how many Beth Moore Bible studies are we going to do? I'm just saying, can we maybe run some of the plays instead of just studying them? Men, how many men's studies are you going to do? How much you going to study before you start to play? Everybody can talk it but nobody wants to engage anybody with it. Or at least very few of us do. Why? I mean if you're waiting until you're perfect to live life on mission, you're going to die without much mission. It's coming! Do you get this? Do you know how this ends? With the Kingdom of God established! Do you think anybody is going to give a trash how much money you have right now, how much comfort you have right now, who's cool and who's not, who drove what and who didn't, who was well liked in the neighborhood and who wasn't, do you think any of that is going to matter? No one will care, but a lot of people will be embarrassed." - Matt Chandler

Saturday, April 25, 2009

WireLESS Washington

I travel to Tacoma, Washington for 4 days and get back to find I have missed out on some serious double stack quail burgers on a toasted manna bun (someone is thinking, "why quail?". trust me, its Biblical). Apparently, there is no wireless in Tacoma, Washington. Sweet state Blake. Anyway, between the Elijah heat missile and the hardened heart comments, I feel like I've really missed out on some good conversation. And I read further to find us starting to get on the topic of being lukewarm. If Nolan starts spitting from Crazy Love then be prepared to be cut wide open. Back to the hardened hearts for a sec. Romans 9 declares that God has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens. It goes on to say that this may cause you to ask why God can condemn a heart that He Himself hardened. The answer Paul gives is very similar to the answer Job got. The answer is.... "who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, 'why have you made me like this?' Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?" Is that deep or what? Marinate on that for a while and see where it takes you. If God hardens whom He wants to harden for His purpose and has mercy on whom He wants to have mercy then how great must you feel to know that you are on the winning side of His purpose? And as you begin to feel great about God's grace towards your life, how incredibly helpless and lowly do you feel in comparison to God's sovereignty? Romans 9 is a powerful chapter full of heavy content but it has given me some insight into why perhaps nonbelievers sometimes just don't get it. That being said, it fills me with great joy that I can log onto the site for the first time in 4 days and see that I missed so much in such a short time period. This group ranks high on the list of greatest things that have happened in my life. Seriously, its like Tyler said in one of his comments. This group fixes my wandering eyes back on Christ and therefore keeps my path straight. If I miss my fellowship fix then I slowly lose focus. I love you guys and I love Jesus!


PS - Jules, that little book of gold is just that. It's a must read.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

"He Who Has Ears to Hear Let Him Hear"

Matthew 13:9 "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
Jesus says this a couple times in scripture and I believe it is a very telling statement from our redeemer. It implies that not everyone can hear or that not everyone will understand what He is saying as He speaks in parables. He is saying that some people are actually blinded to the light of His truth. Have you ever tried to read something from the bible to a friend and they don't understand what you just read? In my experience the reason has generally been because they aren't following or chasing after a relationship with Jesus, they don't know Him. Would it make sense for God to reveal Himself to everyone so there would be no question about His existence? Wouldn't that rob God of experiencing true unforced Love from us through our obedience to Him? Sure it might be easier for us to know without a doubt but when has easy ever been rewarding? Still thinking?
Matthew 13:11 "Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has, to him much will be given and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him".
Jesus says this to his disciples to explain that with the gift of salvation and a relationship with Him many blessings and much understanding will be poured out on he who believes and follows. The pagans (sadly we are surrounded by these non-believers) who don't believe and who continue on living in darkness will be stripped of everything they have. Sadly there is another force that plays the other side and is very active in trying to keep people in the dark. Don't we always say "man, why is this guy having this success and he is a disaster of a person"? Well, think of it like this; that may be the only good things that they experience before they miss the rapture and spend eternity without the Lord. But lets transition back into the focus of the fact that we have been blessed with the opportunity to dive in and get to know the mysteries of God's living word (Hebrews 4:12). Many times we don't fully understand what we just read but it is the most beautiful thing when we read it a year or two later and another aspect of the scrip smacks us in the face with truth and changes our lives further than it already is (an example of how God's word/bible is like a living thing).
If we continue on reading in Matthew 13 we see that Jesus says that this blindness of many is prophecy from Isaiah 6:9-10, simply amazing. What an incredible and gracious gift we have been given it would be a shame not to use it.

Father forgive us of our filthy sins that have kept us from a closer relationship to you, help us to recommit and dive in deeper than ever before into Your word and our relationship with You. Spark our fire so that it may burn in a way that will be contagious and spread amongst our territory of influence, we love you, we need you. We say these prayers in Jesus name, Amen!

If we continue on in Matthew 13 we read the 3 examples of how some people receive the message from the bible/word and how some make it into producing fruit but others don't. It is truly a great chapter in the bible definately worth the 3 minutes to read.

Prayer - Appropriate God's Grace (T. Martin)

If you look back to the OT in Leviticus, Aaron was instructed to offer animal sacrifices to make atonement for the sins of Israel. Aaron could not enter the sanctuary area without the sin offering and burnt offering. So in the way we could direct it towards us is that God would be saying in effect, “If you desire to enter My presence, your sin has to be dealt with.” Therefore the first subject of prayer should not be our list of petitions, but instead we should ask ourselves if we are in a position to approach God in holiness? Have we examined our lives? Have we explored the possibility of things in our lives being contrary to God’s Word?
Our sins are not always in your face obvious either. Sometimes they will be very subtle and often overlooked. A great book was written on this subject by Jerry Bridges called “Respectable Sins”. God wants to bless us and answer our prayers. That is why He tells us to deal with our sins. We need to make clean the secret closets of sin and disobedience with us so we can be effective in prayer. We are forgiven of our sins when we go to Christ. He covers us with His blood, and we are cleansed. The Word says in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” We need that continual cleansing so we can live before God in holiness, the holiness that Christ died to provide for us.
We have to be in right standing to do “business” with God. Isaiah 59:2 says, “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear you.” We can even ask forgiveness for sins we do not even realize we are committing. If you look in Psalms 19:12 King David proclaims, “Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults.”
So, obviously we don’t do the whole animal sacrifice thing now as they did in the OT, but we still must have our sins atoned for by blood. But, principles in the OT are still in effect in the NT. Yet the NT reveals their deepest application and significance. In Hebrews 9 the law requires everything to be cleansed with blood, without it, there was no forgiveness. The difference now as you know is that the sacrifice was fulfilled once and for all in Christ, the Lamb of God. Conformation for that can be found in John 1:7. The verse is talking about relationship. When we are cleansed with the blood of Jesus, everything is all right because there is nothing in between God and us. Then, we can genuinely fellowship with Him.
God is serious about holiness and obedience. We simply cannot live in sin and unbelief if we want our prayers answered. So, I say this to myself as much as you guys, surrender whatever sin(s) you are struggling with to God, and ask Him to purify you from it, and seek mature counsel if you need to, because you do not want anything hindering your relationship with God, ya dig.

Somebody please post this to the site, I would appreciate it. For the life of me, I do not know how to do it.

trying to die to myself,


I saw that nobody has posted since Saturday, so I thought I would throw something on here.

Who better to talk about sarcasm than me?  Some people don't know me personally on this group, but I'm sure through earlier posts you can see my love of the subject.  I would like to thank Nolan for inspiring me to write about this subject.  He was reacting harshly to a post one day and I was looking for a verse to teach him a lesson about how sarcasm can hurt but I ended up coming across one of my favorite bible stories from a prophet who is slowly creeping into my top 5 bible characters.

Here we go....

Elijah facts:
 - unreal spiritual power.  So much so that his confidence in God backing him is almost unequal only to Jesus
 - During Passover, Jews pour an extra glass of wine for Elijah and leave the door open for him to come in and chill
 - He performed many miracles first that Jesus later built on and made famous in the New Test.  He did the fish and bread trick using olive oil and flour.  He also rose a child from the dead by laying on them three times and calling on God's power.

This is all in the book of Kings 1, by the way if youre following along at home.

Chapter 18 is one of the best stories in the bible.  It starts out with a huge drought in its peak in Israel.  Also, Jezebel (the King Ahab's wife) is killing off prophets left and right for failing.  She is a known Baal worshipper and she controls the king like a puppet on a string.
Elijah pays a visit to the King and as soon as he walks in the door they start taunting each other.  The king calls Elijah a "troubler of Israel" to which Elijah says basically "no, I'm not you are".  E is there to call out all of Jezebel's priests to a showdown.   There were about 450 prophets of Baal and 400 of Asherah.  He says your Lord vs my Lord winner take all.  "how long will you go limping with two different opinions?  If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God follow him".  Elijah gets a bull and says we both will call on our God and whoever incinerates the bull wins.  850 prophets vs Elijah......chaaaallleeeeeengge!!
Well, here is where the sarcasm comes on stronger.  As you can imagine, the Baal priests have been at it all morning.  They are crying to the heavens and dancing and just going nuts.  Elijah is cracking up.  He says to them "Cry aloud, surely he is a god; either he is meditating, or he has wandered away, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened"  Some interpretations actually have Elijah saying maybe he is in the bathroom, ha.  Taunt!
The priests take it to a new level, they start cutting themselves begging for their god to light the bull.  They get dust.  Imagine that.  Elijah has seen enough.  He builds an alter with 12 stones (one for each tribe) and soaks the bull three times so no one can say it was a parlor trick.  Elijah prays "let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your bidding.  Answer me, O Lord answer me" (I think we all need to get some version of that prayer going in our daily lives)
Ok, and here comes the climax that hollywood could not script.  God blows that bull up so fast it is ridiculous.  He burns up the bull, the stones, and the water!  All the Israelites fall on their faces and praise.  All of a sudden Elijah calls them to slaughter all the prophets of Baal.  All 850 of them on the spot.  This is the vengeance side of God, and then a huge cloud appears and the heavens open up with rain and the drought is instantely over.  
This story continues with Jezebel going after Elijah, but I will stop here.  I love this story and it just sends one of the most powerful messages.  How much stock did Elijah have in his Lord?  Do you have that much confidence in Him?  Awesome, awesome story.

Praise God and his infinite power and timing.



Sunday, April 19, 2009

Bubba's Take...

This week I made some new additions to my house in the ghetto...I put some out some flowers and plants. I had to do something to fix up the house before it gets too hot.

That day, when the bus stopped to let off all the kids, Bubba came running up to the house...as he usually does. This time he got to the beginning of the yard and he stopped in his tracks. I was sitting on the porch reading and sipping on a protein shake. Bubba stopped...cocked his head...then explained to me that I was turning into an old lady.

Thanks Bubba...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Humble Pie (Retro Post)

Got some more brilliance from CS Lewis' book The Screwtape Letters. My most recent reading encountered the concept of true humility and our misconceptions of what being humble really means. Sometimes we can get this confused and this past letter in the book was a good explanation of how we are to be humble and proud at the same time. Here's an example from the book;

"[God] wants to bring the man to a state of mind in which he could design the best cathedral in the world, and know it to be the best, and rejoice in the fact, without being any more or less glad at having done it than he would be if it had been done by another."

Catch that? Being humble is not going out throwing a CG, one hit, shutout and then downplaying it by saying you got lucky or something to that extent. CS Lewis says, humility is not "a pretty woman trying to believe she's ugly and clever men trying to believe they are fools". Humility is being proud of the CG, one hit, shutout and then being JUST AS proud when the guy who's competing for that big league spot with you throws a no-no the next night. That hit anybody pretty hard? It def did me. I'll finish with this from the letter in the book. The high ranking demon in Satan's army writes to his nephew saying this:

"The Enemy (God) wants him (man), in the end to be so free from any bias in his own favour that he can rejoice in his own talents as frankly and gratefully as in his neighbor's talents - or in a sunrise, and elephant, or waterfall. He wants each man, in the long run, to be able to recognise all creatures (even himself) as glorious and excellent things."


Why do you do what you do?

Good evening men-
Today I was reading in RBC ministries Our Daily Bread and wanted to share with y'all what it was about. It mentions that sometimes it's not our target audience that we impact the most. Think about it. We impact more people that we think. The part of the bread that stood out to me was the question: In our walk are we being imitators or God, walking in love? Eph 5:1-2

Click the link below to read the Bread.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Rebellion Worthy of the Cause

A simple definition for a rebel is - one who is going against the grain, a nonconformist, not conforming to the standards of the masses. It takes courage to be a rebel, it is lonely when you are riding solo. Tony Dungy in his new book "Uncommon" states that real courage has some critical keys. 1) Remember that what you do when no one is watching matters. 2) The means matter as much as the ends, if not more. 3) Truth is critical. Being truthful is too. 4) Never give up, never. 5) Some of the most rewarding times in life are when you have to stand alone, even if you are uncomfortable doing so. Integrity, diligence, truthful, perserverance, and faith are the themes in this list of keys, I don't know about you but I want those characteristics on my resume. Let's take a look at the man Christ Jesus for a little more insight on courage to be a rebel. Looking at Matthew 23 we see a time when the religious leaders were getting tired of Jesus and their hearts were getting harder and harder by the day towards His truth. In their jealousy and prideful, power hoarding ways, they constantly looked to find fault in Him (failing miserably of course). Jesus was growing tired of their unrepentant, pious ways and He knew He had to rebuke them. Watch Jesus start a little fire here in front of a multitude of folks just to expose the pharisees hypocritical methods.
Matthew 23:2 "The scribes and pharisees sit in Moses' seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do." (Moses seat makes reference to the law of Moses and 10 commandments)
That is a courageous rebel; Jesus exposed the faulty ways of a society that was falling. Who else was feeling His style? He was alone until the truth was revealed and then people's eyes were opened and they started to follow His truths. Can that be us? Don't we have the market cornered on truth in a falling world (Bible/God's word, look at the amount of people who claim the flock, Holy Spirit, etc...). Once again brothers it is time to look in the mirror and do a gut check. Who are you, who are you living for, what is your motivation for all yes all of your actions? Don't believe that lie that says that "what you do in private doesn't hurt anyone else" that is a lie!!!! Man I'm on the rebellion tip right now, read our bibles, meditate on the word, listen to christian music, listen to christians podcasts, load up my ipod with Jesus, and fellowship all day long. Nobody is doing that stuff. It is easy to curse, to talk about MTV reality smut, meditate to Lil Wayne (secular music), and to hit the bars to pour it up with Joe Cool and the rest of the loud talkers. Of course your flesh is feeling grieved right now "I don't want to stop doing all that". Our flesh is lazy and sinful do the math, you have to fight with courage to see the Kingdom of Heaven and be with the Father. Being a christian is hard and it was meant to be that way otherwise everyone would be doing it. Let's be rebels and start living this thing with boldness.
Romans 12:2 "Do not conform to this world but be tranformed by the renewing of your minds"

Monday, April 13, 2009

More from Paul with a kick at the end.

When Paul was in prison he tells the people in Philippi that he hopes to send Timothy to go and see them. Paul could have chosen anybody to do this job, but he knew that Timothy was a man of true humility. Paul knew that Tim would go and put all his needs on the back burner and genuinely care for the people. Look at the scripture...

"For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's."-Phil 2:21 KJV

"All the others care only for themselves and not for what matters to Jesus Christ."-Phil 2:21 NLT

All the others. ALL. Paul is dead on here in saying that it's flat out impossible to find someone like Timothy because everyone else is too busy and not willing to serve someone else in there time of need!

The only way for us to know and carry out God's will in our lives is through his Word. Prayer and mediation on scripture and don't be afraid to quiet yourself in his presence! Ever find your mind wondering in prayer? Don't be rattled by it because it's probably God telling you to shut up and listen! Break out and piece of paper and write down some things. Listen for God's words and wisdom.

I'll close with this because this flat out fires me up. Whenever your struggling to spit out that prayer that you know you need to get out, and your plate is full and you just don't know what to say to God. Check this...

"And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don't know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words."-Romans 8:26

How amazing is our God!? You know the weight that takes off my shoulders? All the bullcrap I've done in my life and continue to do... The Holy Spirit is praying for us! I wonder how many times I pray for the wrong things? Or how many times I've over looked something? Guess what... The Holy Spirit doesn't miss a thing! It's crazy how simple God has made our walk and how hard we make it seem.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Resurrection Day!

Whats up fellas? By the time most of yall will be reading this it will be Easter Sunday so...Happy Easter. Or Happy Resurrection Day. How cool is that? Our Lord was crucified on a cross and put into a tomb and three days later was raised up from the dead. ONE of the awesome parts for me in all this is that Jesus taunted the soldiers when he was alive saying in mathew 2:19-22, destroy this temple and i will raise it again in three days." Jesus was speaking of His body. He called his shot. He's a shotcaller. Jesus brought numerous people back to life from the dead so what's the big deal. He is Lord...there is nothing impossible for Him. Jesus once resurrected a man who had been dead for four days....that's as dead as you can get.
What just gets me confused is how our Lord can tell everyone that He would die and be raised again from the dead, then it comes true exactly like he said, he walks around showing Himself to as many as five hundred people at a time (1 cor 15), and still not everyone believed. Even one of His devoted apostles, Thomas, had to put his hands on Jesus' wounds to believe. That is human-ness in a nut shell right there. We are the gotta have proof, too smart to believe it until i see it kind. Well studs, our Lord is infinite. He is beyond measure and beyond our full understanding. Praise Him for that.
Our Savior took on human form to die as payment for our sins. Our Savior is awesome isn't He. Our Savior was a model of how to live life to the fullest. I heard a statement once that i really loved and i'm sorry that i cant remember who said it. Someone was asking why doesnt Jesus do more everyday to help people and the response was perfect..."if the only reason Jesus died on the cross was for our salvation then that is enough." I would say more than enough. I think we get a lil greedy sometimes and just need to remember that in His death He washed away all our sins, and gave our soul an eternal resting place beside our Heavenly Father. WOW! Our Savior has risen! Our Savior is alive.
Happy Easter

Critical Coversations

Waino's email a couple of weeks ago about "How many people have you saved" and Terry's email tonight about sharing the Good Word with the people around you have me thinking about a church service I was at that recently taught on this subject. Here are just a few other things to sprinkle on top of what Waino and Terry had to say:

"2Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer to everyone." Colossians 4:2-6 (NIV)

Pray First: Before talking to that person about God, Talk to God about that person. No matter how well we speak, how much knowledge we may have about Christianity and a relationship with the Lord, we always need to lift up that opportunity and person to God. We can only do so much, but with the Lord in control, we can accomplish so much more.

"17Pray continually; 18Give thanks in all circumstances." 1Thessalonians 5:17-18 (NIV)

"And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God's mysterious plan that the Good news is for Jews and Gentiles alike. Ephesians 6:19 (NLT)

Partner with God: "As God's partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God's kindness and then ignore it." 2 Corinthians 6:1 (NLT)

"We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us......" 2 Corinthians 5:20 (NIV)

Seize the Moment: "Worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it." 1 Peter 3:15 (NLT)

"7For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 8So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord ...." 2 Timothy 1:7-8 (NIV)

That's all I have men, Happy Easter!


Friday, April 10, 2009


Jesus didn't die 2000 plus years ago so that we could watch The Passion of the Christ, cry, and talk about how bad we feel about ourselves and our sinful lives. If that's where the Easter story terminates for you, you've missed the point.

He suffered, died, and came back to life to overcome and defeat the bondage of sin forever. He made it ok for us to have freedom to obey Him and follow Him...even when the price is high. He may call us to give up our lives, careers, money, and maybe our lives. BUT IT'S OK!!! Why??? Because He was who He said He was!!! (Matthew 27:54) HE IS GOD!!!

Easter doesn't represent some sweet holiday where we wear our new seersucker suits or our bright new dresses, get a warm fuzzy feeling, go to grandma's house and eat potato salad...It represents the MOST POWERFUL EVENT IN THE HISTORY OF THE EARTH!!! That power and authority was given to us. (Matthew 28) Not so that we can talk and debate, but to OBEY and FOLLOW (action verb). 


BUT...Don't celebrate the resurrection of Jesus then go betray Him with the way we live our lives, or, by the way we aren't living...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

In the streets of Memphis

The Way...

We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him....Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did...1 John 3:3-6.

When did it become OK to say we believed in God and not obey him?? If I believe in the Law of Gravity then jump out of a plane without a parachute...either I'm a liar and I don't really believe or I am in blatant rebellion of the law.

Whenever Christianity first came upon the scene ,not long after Christ died and ascended into heaven, His followers weren't called Christians, but rather followers of the Way. There wasn't any mistaking these Christ followers...before there was any tag given to them they could still be picked out of a crowd. Why??? Because they couldn't help but be identified because of their actions. It was just the way they lived their lives. They were constantly meeting, pooling resources, feeding the hungry, healing the sick, spreading the Gospel...if you were an outsider looking in, you noticed something different about these people. The Gospel had penetrated their hearts and minds so much so that it transformed the way they lived.

Today, however, look around...do you notice anything different about the church??? Or do you just hear them talk about how Jesus has changed their lives??? Besides getting together at church on Sundays (which often times looks more like a social event where we can see who's got the sharpest suits than anything else) what's going on??? How are we being obedient to Christ's commands and how are we conveying the message of the Gospel???

Are we lying in saying that Jesus is Lord??? If the truth is in us...you should be able to tell by some other means than just our words alone.

We as believers used to be marked as Christ followers not by what we said, but rather by the way we lived our lives.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Belief Isn't Enough

Acts 16:31 "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved."
Most of the people who I know believe in God (or believe there is a God) and most of them probably claim that they believe in Jesus. This has recently perplexed me. Have you heard this one "I'm a Christian I believe in Jesus"? This coming out of the mouth of people who bear "zero" fruit. Their lives don't show a bit of Jesus's love and they are living the same life that they always have (self serving in nature). There has been no change and they couldn't tell you any testimony of what Jesus has done in their lives. I have often thought "how can these people be going to the same heaven that I am". Sure that is a sinful judgmental thought, one that I repent of however it is a real thought that needs to be addressed in my life. I felt the need to exhaust this issue a little bit to the degree to which I could put it on the shelf and out of my way. In final, I needed an answer.
James 2:26 "... faith without works is dead also."
If you go downtown you will find drunks on the street who believe in Jesus, you will find drug-dealers who believe, even Satan and his demons believe in Jesus. With this being said I feel that the word belief has a stronger meaning, one that demands a deeper dig than the one we currently are involved in. Delight in the Lord (Psalm 37:4), dive in deeper, press in to get closer to Him. Make every ounce of your being believe, study the scriptures, or even easier spend time in conversation (fellowship) thus seeking out the Lord. Paul counted everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus (Phil 3:8). He actually knew Him, he felt His prescence in his life, wow, how amazing that experience must have been? Why can't that be us? Men; belief isn't enough there is more to it than that. Our culture has dumbed down the term belief and it has been relegated to a "sure that sounds right mentality". We can't be fooled by this and think that praying for salvation is enough and then we wait for the Rapture. Bump that, we need to hit the streets, proclaim Him in the clubhouse, never shy away from admitting that you are a Christian. When we get involved in conversations about laying down chicks, getting hammered, popping pills (illegal drug use), and bouncing curse words off eachothers chests we are denying that we know Him. Ya, I said it, we are all guilty. Just the other day I laughed along with the crowd when a guy was blantantly dropping G.D.'s and J.C.'s to be funny, how upset must God have been? Shameful on my behalf, I'm a hypocrit and I'm tired of falling off and backsliding. Belief isn't enough, let's dig deeper, read, fellowship, dig through the archives on this blog, and get into prayer more (bless your food before you eat it, bless a friends meal too- challenge!).

Lord; forgive us for denying that we know you too often, cleanse us of our sinful past, we praise you for your grace and mercy, strengthen us to do work, to battle, and to be courageous to stand alone if the situation predicts. We love You and worship You for You alone are worthy. Amen.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Guilty of it daily

"Are your hearts tender and compassionate?" Phil 2:1 NLT

Are your hearts soft for non-believers that drive you crazy? Or do you clown on them just like everyone else to be cool? What about that strong believer that does all the right things in church and comes off "Johny Long Prayer" at your dinner table and everyone is in awe of? Good biblical knowledge and he just flat out eats at your pride! You find yourself wanting praise and recognition and it ruins your witness to him and everyone else.

"Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose." Phil 2:2 NLT

Regardless of somebody's spiritual pop or lucifer ways, we are called to LOVE that person. We don't condone sin, and we will stand for righteousness above all things, but will also reach a hand out with such compassion and love that everyone will see Jesus Christ through or actions and not our words. It's a very difficult thing for us to truly apply in our lives, because let's face it... There are some people that test us. So lets change our approach for future encounters, and start praying for those people. Stop thinking life is about you and your little problems because it's NOT. God wants a prideless humble heart to serve and worship him above all things. Keep your game tight brohams and stay on the grind for the Kingdom.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

"Double Minded" from Todd Martin

“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” (James 1:5-8)
So, basically you can spend in hour in prayer and still receive nothing. “Double-minded” is a display of unholiness because there shows to be inconsistency between what is said and what is actually believed. In effect, God is saying “If you ask for something and doubt that I will give it, how could you even think to receive it." Holiness isn’t some mystical thing; it’s practical and real. A meaning of holiness is to be “one” or “complete”. God has integrity because what He says, what He does, and who He is are all the same. God always does what He says and will do this because He is one with Himself. So, why is this important to prayer? Unholiness can not exist in His presence because He is holy. God says “The pure in heart will see Me.” (Matthew 5:8). In this sense, holiness and unholiness cannot exist, for those who are impure cannot see God.
In prayer we must have the same integrity between what we say and do, that He does. Holiness is speaking the truth, then living it. In Jeremiah 29:13 God says, “You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.” I know before that I have told some people how much I was seeking God, but did I really show it? I’m going to go with unlikely to no on that one. If we really want to find Him, we must really be seeking Him. We, in a way, must be like Jacob in Genesis 32 saying, “God I will not let you go until I see you.”
Is this how we approach God? If we seek Him with everything in us, He promises to that we will find Him. If this were not true, God would be unholy. If we couldn’t count on God to do what He says, how could we trust Him any further? But He is true to His word, even if it means not answering prayers that are half-hearted or said in unbelief. If you look in Acts 2, it was when the followers of Jesus were in one accord-singe minded-that the Holy Spirit was given. Fellas, if we are integrated, then what we say, what we believe, what we do, and how we respond are the same. If we tell God we believe Him, but then act in the opposite way once we are at the field, hanging out with friends, or spending time with family, then we are not integrated, pure, or holy. We then are double-minded. You might as well just think of James 1:7, “That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord.”

It is very easy to sit here on my bed, while going over God’s Word, and think that my life is rockin’ some holiness. But when I am 0 for 4 with 3 punchies, scratching the bottom of the piggy bank, or out late with teammates, how am I rockin’ then? These truths are great to meditate on throughout the day to help steer clear of being double-minded, ya dig.
dying to myself,

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Nolan's Ministry Update!!! (Nolan)

This happened last week...God is awesome!!!

Tuesday afternoon March 26th 2009…as of this day my efforts in finding out who owned the vacant lot behind my house have been in vain. I have been trying for months now to get in touch with the person listed as the owner just to call and get no answer. The address listed for this property is a church on Pearl St. across town…every time I go by to see if anyone is there, the place is vacant. It has been frustrating and I begin to wonder how long God is going to let this go.

I am supposed to be meeting Sam, my best friend in Dublin, for dinner this night. Before I am supposed to meet him, I decide that I’m going to go to the gym for a workout. I had a plan to get a workout in, shower, and meet him before the designated 7pm meal time… so that’s what I do.

As I drive up to my house on Prince St., my neighborhood bustling as usual, I pull into my driveway, park the car, get out, begin to walk up to my porch when I hear a loud man’s voice call out to me, “Hey you play basketball?”

I looked over across the street to see a face that I had never before seen in this neighborhood. Curious I answered the man “yeah, I used to…yeah I guess I still do”.

He then told me in a gruff voice to come over there…Having no idea what to expect from a man who is standing in a group of 4 other guys smoking and drinking Hennessey, I went. He begins to tell me about this basketball league he’s trying to put together for this summer and wants me to play in it. Thinking to myself that this might be a good idea for me to get to know some people and build relationships that I wouldn’t have otherwise, I agree to play and give him my cell phone number. The conversation then turns…and turns again…until I realize that I had to get out. He told me his name was Amil. He talked about everything from smoking weed to playing chess, this guy was all over the place. I excused myself from the conversation finally, went in and got ready to go meet Sam.

I went inside and quickly took a shower. Put my clothes on and got my stuff. When I picked up my cell phone I noticed 3 missed calls. Two calls were from a number I didn’t recognize and one was from my mom. So I passed the two calls from the unknown number off and called my mom back. Turning off the lights and locking the doors I called my mom back. While on the phone with her, I shut my door and walked towards my car…when I heard a voice from across the street yell out, “Why didn’t you answer my &*%$ call?”

A bit startled, I looked over to see that it was Amil who had said it. Thinking to myself I better explain, I told my mom I’d call her back and went across the street to explain. So I walked across the street explaining how I had been in the shower…that I didn’t ignore his call on purpose. I told him that I would save his number and not miss his call again…encouraging him to call me when he gets the basketball stuff in line. I then tried to get away telling him that I’m supposed to be meeting folks for dinner and that I was late. The conversation then quickly and divinely changed.

Amil asked me where I was going to be eating dinner and I told him that Sam and I were meeting two girls who were cooking us dinner at their house. He asked me who these girls were, to which I responded that they were just friends. The next question is where God stepped into the conversation (so to speak).

The next question was him asking me if I liked black girls. Caught off guard, I answered “well I guess, yea”.

He said, “well I’ve got some strippers…”. Thinking this wasn’t good, I quickly said that I don’t do strippers…I know now that he didn’t take that the way I meant it.

He said, “ you don’t have to #@$& them!”

Panicking I told him that what I meant was that I don’t patronize strippers, never have and I didn’t plan on compromising now.

“What kind of girls are you into?” he asked.

“Well I don’t care if they are black or white or whatever (thanks MJ)” I responded. “As long as they are Christians and they love Jesus.”

Realizing that he may have been out of line, he tried to change his tune a little bit. “You go to church?” He said.

“Yep. Every week.” I responded.

“Can I go with you sometime?”

“Definitely!” I said.

“Well if I go with you, you’ve got to go with me sometime.” Amil replied.

“Absolutely I will!” I began to sense that God was guiding this conversation now. So I got excited. I then asked him where he went to church. He told me that he had two churches that he went to…

“One up in Montezuma (about an hour from Dublin) and one across town on Pearl street”.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing!!! I quickly asked him if it was 220 Pearl street…the little one room church on the corner. He looked at me puzzled and surprised and said yes. I began to ramble off and try to tell him how I’ve been trying to get in touch with the pastor there because of the lot behind my house. I asked him how I contact the pastor to talk about this lot.

“Man that lot?” Pointing behind my house. “My wife’s family used to own that lot. There used to be a house there and when it burnt down they donated it to the church on Pearl.” He said that he could call his wife and get some more info on it.

If I have ever realized that God was working out tiny details to get things done this was the time. This wasn’t coincidence…God in his perfect plan put us here together for this reason.

We then walked back there and talked about the lot and what my plans were for it. I told him all about how I wanted clean it up and make it a safe place for the kids in the neighborhood to play. He opened up and started telling me his life story about how he used to sell drugs and carry guns. He went on to explain that if he had someone guiding him as a kid that he might not have gotten into the mess he’s in now. He said he thought he was at a crossroads in his life…that he wanted to do the right thing, but he felt like there were demons trying to trick him and leading him astray. He said that in light of that, he’s all for helping kids and would support me any way he could.

I then got to share illustrations from the bible about how God used people who had made horrible decisions in their past, but God was still able to use them. I shared with him stories about Moses, David, and Paul and encouraged him that God still wanted to use him…despite of his past.

We chit-chatted for a few more minutes on the vacant lot behind my house and then he asked me for a ride home. All in all, we were back there for about an hour.

As we got in the car and drove towards his house we both had a sense that God had been in control of our whole encounter. When we drove up into his driveway I asked him if I could pray for us. He agreed enthusiastically so I began to pray. During this prayer I was using his name, Amil, when he stopped me and said that Amil was his nickname for me to use his real name…Travis. So I did. The cool part is when I got done praying I thought that was all…but then he started praying. He prayed a rough around the edges sincere prayer that he understood that he wasn’t where he needed to be, but that God could somehow use him for good.

We have arrangements for him to call me when he gets back into town this week.

Praise God!!! He is in control of everything. That conversation might not have taken place unless everything was executed with perfect detail. From strippers to the prayer in the car…God worked everything out.

Praise his name!!