Friday, October 30, 2009
What they said really resonates with me as far as, this is what I need to be practicing personal in my life/ministry. I have always had a great respect for both Matt Chandler and Rob Bell, I have always felt challenged as a pastor and a Christ follower by what they say. However, at Catalyst 2009 these two guys totally spoke directly to me and allowed the Holy Spirit to speak through them and into my life directly.
Here are excerpts from what they shared at Catalyst 2009, courtesy of www.catalystspace.com I did take notes and captured many of the things that are in these notes, but these notes are a little more concise and and easier to copy and paste thanks www.catalystspace.com
The Reward of the Tenth Commandment
(This summary created by Kent Shaffer at ChurchRelevance.com)
Rob Bell of Mars Hill Bible Church (Grandville, MI)
I was recently talking to a pastor who said he wanted to quit. So I asked him to draw a pie chart of what he does every week. He had been a pastor for a year and wanted to quite every day. So I asked if he practiced Sabbath. [silence]
There are lots of concepts and truths that we would intellectually agree with, but we are made anxious by deep subterranean forces in our bones that drive us. We “believe” one thing but then do something else.
John 6 tells the story of Jesus giving expectations but the crowd thinning because they think they can’t do it. Sometimes the crowd thins. What would Jesus say to modern church growth experts that say if you do A then B then C, then there will be growth and numbers? Sometimes the crowd thins, and people leave, even ones who are close to you.
Luke 21 tells the story of the poor widow that gave “more” out of her poverty than what the rich gave. What we naturally think is an important measurement may not be how God measures things.
You are a living Eucharist. How can we break ourselves open and pour ourselves out, so that the people around us might experience God? The Eucharist is a sacred and holy thing. You surrender your agenda when you serve. But when you exploit the Eucharist and break it down and rank it, you destroy it.
In John 5:19, Jesus says, “the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing.” His work comes from a grounded, centered, calm place where He only has a few things to do, and He sets out to do it. He is not distracted. He is not stressed. There is a difference between something that is hard and difficult and something that is a burden. God will not give you a burden you can’t carry.
In Exodus 20, the first 9 commandments are external and measurable, but the last commandment about coveting is not externally observable. The “tenth” is considered a reward. Meaning if you follow the first 9 rules then you won’t have a problem with the 10th rule because you won’t want anyone else’s life.
If you have a burden of feeling like you have not accomplished enough, God wants to set you free from that. Jesus wants you to simply enjoy the place that you are at and the work that is in front of you.
Is there any way in your ministry that you have neglected to take care of yourself? You need to love your neighbor as yourself. You need to take care of yourself so that you can be energized. Which day do you take care of yourself, so that you can give during the other six days of the week?
Does your spouse get your very best, or does your spouse get what is left over from the church? Do your kids get your very best, or do they get the scraps? Our children pick up on what really matters to us without us saying a word.
If it is not going well at home, it will not go well at church. Jesus invites us into a peaceful, calm place in the center of his love.
Your Role is Bigger Than You Think
Speaker Summary: Matt Chandler
(This summary created by Kent Shaffer at ChurchRelevance.com)
Matt Chandler of The Village Church (Highland Village, TX) discussed the importance of confession, repentance, and focusing on God.
There are a lot of things going on in your churches. Some of you are in good places. Some of you are in bad places. Remind yourself what you have been caught up in.
Apparently according to Hebrews 11, the gauntlet that you and I will run has seasons with lions and seasons where we escape the sword and seasons where we die by the sword and seasons where the dead will rise and seasons when the dead are dead.
Somehow the idea of confession and repentance has become negative. It seems like the longer we are Christians, the more we think you shouldn’t be confessing things. The problem is, well… the Bible. 1 John 1:5-10 says if you live and walk as if you are sinless, you are a liar.
Look at every delay as an opportunity to deepen the waters with the God of the universe. It is a lack of gratitude and therefore a sin that causes you to want to be something that you aren’t. A day is coming when history in your life will be rewritten as it really is. Your role is bigger than you think.
Look to Jesus because He is the founder of our faith. Without Him there is no reconciliation with God.
May we remember what we have grown up in. May we remember what God has called us to. And may we run well.
Another speaker from Catalyst 2009 that was solid and hit the ball out of the park and really hit me on another level was Malcolm Gladwell. I thought he had so many great principles and thoughts from what he shared.
By the way, content wise I thought this was a great Catalsyt and was the best one I attended thus far. Looking forward to next year's event. Definitely, a great time of learning, growing and soaking in...Catalyst was a personal revival for me of sorts. Definitely many things I needed to hear and digest into my spirit and soul.
Here is the notes from Malcolm Gladwell, of courtesy to www. catalystspace.com for their notes...
The Danger of Overconfidence
Speaker Summary: Malcolm Gladwell
(This article compiled by summaries created Michael Hyatt and Kent Shaffer)
Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers, discussed the danger of overconfidence during Catalyst's second session. Here is what he said:
People who are experts still make mistakes, which led to the current financial crises.
If you have more information, do you get better at making a prediction? A recent research study shows that more information doesn’t really make a difference. However, with more information people’s confidence in their prediction improves.
Too much confidence in a guess is called miscalculation.
Incompetence irritates me, but overconfidence scares me. Incompetent people rarely have the opportunity to make mistakes that greatly affect things. But overconfident leaders and experts have the dangerous ability to create disaster.
In 1863 during the Civil War in Virginia, the Union army was in incredibly poor shape. And President Lincoln was becoming increasingly worried. Fighting Joe Hooker came and happened to know more about Confederate General Lee than anyone. Hooker devised a brilliant battle plan to distribute his army in thirds and surround the Confederates. Lee was significantly outnumbered 2 to 1. Hooker said that even God Almighty couldn’t prevent them from victory. What happened next was the Battle of Chancellorsville. Hooker expected Lee to retreat, became entrenched in his confidence, and did not plan for anything else. The Union army lowered their guard; Lee attacked, and Hooker’s army retreated — suffering one of the worst defeats of the war.
Overconfidence is “the disease of experts.” They think they know more than they actually do. In fact, they make mistakes precisely because they have knowledge. This is what happened on Wall Street and General Hooker at Chancellorsville.
The lesson is this: In times of crisis, we think we need leaders who are bold and confident. This is completely wrong-headed. What we really need are leaders who are humble and willing to listen.
As leaders ourselves, how can we avoid becoming overly confident? Three ways:
1. Listen to those around us. We cannot afford to create a culture that is not safe for dissent. Our people need to feel the freedom to disagree with us and tell us the truth.
2. Plan for contingencies. We might be right. We might be wrong. We need to accept this and create a plan A and a plan B. We can’t afford to assume that our plans are infallible.
3. Enlist the help of our team. When organizations are small, they can be run by a single, entrepreneurial leader. But when the organization gets bigger than about 150 people (according to Gladwell) our leadership has to change. It must become a more collective, collaborative effort.
The good news is that, as leaders, we can learn. We can grow. But above all, we must remain humble. If we don’t, we risk large-scale, public failures that will have a catastrophic, negative impact on the people we are trying to lead.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
October 27, 2009
Torin’s first birthday
Happy birthday! This is your first of many birthdays and I want to start this tradition now of writing a birthday letter to you each year.
Torin, my amazing son. I can’t believe I get to celebrate this special day with you. We share our birthdays together and I love it. The first year of your life has been incredible as I have watched you grow and develop. Torin, my love for you has grown each and every day. I still can’t believe we get to have you as our son, our little boy, what an amazing and special gift you are to us.
Torin, I am not great with words and I am not sure if I can begin to put into words how the last year has affected me and changed my life since you have entered our lives. All that I can say is, it has been terrific, awesome and the best year of my life. You are such a huge blessing and I am glad I have you in my life and can’t imagine it any other way.
During the last year, we got to experience “our favorite football team and hockey team” win their league championships. The Pittsburgh Steelers won Superbowl 43 and the Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup. Pittsburgh Baby! You also got to go to your first Major League baseball games in Pittsburgh at PNC Park to see the Pittsburgh Pirates. I know you won’t remember it, but we do have the pictures.
This year, we got to travel with you to New York to see your Grandpa Meeker and to Pittsburgh to see the Pirates and tour Heinz Field where our Steelers play football. We got to go to Atlanta to see your Grandma Roni and then to Orlando where we got to go to the Magic Kingdom, the Animal Kingdom and Sea World. Again, we have pictures to chronicle your adventures with mom and dad.
There is so much joy that we have to share in these great experiences together and to share our life with you, son.
We also continue to see your personality develop. You bring so much joy and happiness to those around you through your infectious smile and happy personality. You are a blessing to so many and everyone who encounters you always comments on how happy and cute you are. You are also starting to find your voice. While you do not say a lot of understandable words, you say a lot and we love to listen because it sounds so interesting.
Every day, you amaze us, Torin, by the new things you do, smiling, sitting up, crawling, standing up, playing, talking and simply by being you. You are amazing Shorty. We value every single moment we have with you and do not want to miss a single moment watching you grow physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually into all God has destined you to be.
I continue to pray that you would find favor with both God and man. Luke 2:52. I also pray that as you grow older that you would understand God’s boundless love, His amazing grace, His unmatched mercy, and His unbelievable forgiveness that He has for you. I also pray that you would one day decide to follow Jesus, respond to Him by loving Him and receiving what He has done for you through His life and death on the cross.
I desire to be a godly example for you and role model for you as a man of God. Forgive me of any mistakes I have made during the first year and any I may make during this second year. I want the best for you, son. I want to see you succeed and grow and be all that God has purposed you to be.
Torin, I am looking forward to this next year of your life and excited about sharing with you new experiences and spending quality time with you. I appreciate who you are, Torin. I am so proud to be your dad.
Happy Birthday! I love and cherish you very much.
“One day children were brought to Jesus in the hope that he would lay hands on them and pray over them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus intervened: "Let the children alone, don't prevent them from coming to me. God's kingdom is made up of people like these." After laying hands on them, he left.” -Matthew 19:13-15
Saturday, October 24, 2009
That one statement packs a lot of fact and truth! This statement has been something that has been fostering in my thoughts for awhile now. As Christ followers we SUCK at showing people grace, especially we receive it over and over again...more than we will admit publically.
Too often we get our holy soapbox, and come across as the most moral people ever. This lacks of true wholeness and integrity. We are all sinners...if we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves...we are all in need of forgiveness. We love receiving grace...but we don't love extending it.
One other thought, can I just say that there are NO MORAL CHRISTIANS...we are all immoral, we all fall short people. We need to get off of our pedestals, put Jesus back on it and realize it is not about our own RIGHTEOUSNESS but about HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS.
Again, we should never let what is wrong with us, keep us from worshipping all that is right with God.
Don't let what is wrong with other people to mess up our view of who GOD is!
Can we restore grace in our lives? Show grace to others...receive God's grace for us. We all need it. ALL NEED IT! That includes YOU.
ADDED NOTES from David Johnson's session at Willow Creek GroupLife Conference via Heather Zempel's blog: Love it
Ron Sider notes that most evangelical Christians are not different from the culture in the following areas:
- in money
- sexual ethic
Matthew 5-- Blessed are those who mourn. There are 9 Greek words for the concept of mourning. This one has to do with authenticity-- Blessed are those who start getting out here (into the open) what is going on in here (in the heart, in the secret places of life). Basically, it's blessed are those who quit pretending.
"I refuse to live in the dark anymore, I'm going to live in the light of what is true of me." People who live like that are being changed. Because they are courageous and authentic.
Grace is the only thing that has ever given us the courage to bring out in the light what we tend to hide in the dark. What if we knew there would be grace and healing about that thing we just can't talk about?
Random thought from me: Without mentioning any names some "Christian leaders" and "denominational leadership" need to grab a hold of this concept.
What are your thoughts and opinions? Share what you are thinking, leave a honest comment.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
I will simply allow these passages speak for themselves, however I was honestly moved by the both of them as I read them today from The Message.
Psalm 51:10 (The Message)
7-15 Soak me in your laundry and I'll come out clean,
scrub me and I'll have a snow-white life.
Tune me in to foot-tapping songs,
set these once-broken bones to dancing.
Don't look too close for blemishes,
give me a clean bill of health.
God, make a fresh start in me,
shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.
Don't throw me out with the trash,
or fail to breathe holiness in me.
Bring me back from gray exile,
put a fresh wind in my sails!
Give me a job teaching rebels your ways
so the lost can find their way home.
Commute my death sentence, God, my salvation God,
and I'll sing anthems to your life-giving ways.
Unbutton my lips, dear God;
I'll let loose with your praise.
Psalm 24 (The Message)
A David Psalm1-2 God claims Earth and everything in it, God claims World and all who live on it.
He built it on Ocean foundations,
laid it out on River girders.
3-4 Who can climb Mount God?
Who can scale the holy north-face?
Only the clean-handed,
only the pure-hearted;
Men who won't cheat,
women who won't seduce.
5-6 God is at their side;
with God's help they make it.
This, Jacob, is what happens
to God-seekers, God-questers.
7 Wake up, you sleepyhead city!
Wake up, you sleepyhead people!
King-Glory is ready to enter.
8 Who is this King-Glory?
9 Wake up, you sleepyhead city!
Wake up, you sleepyhead people!
King-Glory is ready to enter.
10 Who is this King-Glory?
he is King-Glory.
I feel as a church staff member that it is important to come alongside our Lead Pastors to hold up their arms in times of battles and adversities. Especially during those times that can lead to some weary and tiring times.
It is important that we step up and help those men/women who serve so faithfully and faithfully pray for us and invest into our lives. That may mean praying for them! That may mean literally holding them up. That may mean blessing them in ways that they could never imagine.
We have a tendency to want to be blessed from the ministry of a Lead Pastor, we want their time, the best sermon, the best teaching, as church staff - more money, a promotion, more credit...we can be demanding sometimes from those who lead us. How about instead of us being demanding we become a blessing, we serve, we come alongside of those that have been so faithful in their calling and ministry to us.
Just some random thoughts!
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Oh God, I come to you to use me in my brokenness...deliver me from fraility. Mark me with Your blood and make me whole in You. Help me oh God, to focus on the things that matter...help me give full attention to Your plan and will for me. I come to you fully surrender and need to be renewed, revived, and refreshed.
Lord, use the circumstances and situations that surround me to help grow, to help my faith mature, to give me a deeper understanding of who You are and Your Greatness and Faithfulness. I feel in many ways I am hopeless and helpless, however I know You are my Hope and Help. I know You are in complete control. God help to stop and listen, help me to be. Help me oh God to keep my attention and priorities where they need to be and don't let me become numb and harden to the callings in my life.
Lord, I throw myself before You and need Your touch in every area of my life...point out, cut out, and take out every area of my life that does not belong and fill it with You. Help me Lord! Breathe in me! I feel like I am spinning uncontrolled in a circle and help to drop, not just physically but spiritually to my knees and face you. Help me Lord! I feel tired and weary. I need Your strength! Lord, I am exhausted. Let me just rest in Your presence. Help me Lord! Amen!
I also know that I am a part of an amazing Church community, who follow God and will Go where He takes us next.
I want to start by giving a few reflections on the Union Station location. It is definitely one the most unique locations to do church. In the heart of Washington, DC, blocks away from the US Capitol building, one of the most visited destination in the US. I beautiful building and diverse culture that walks through Union Staion everyday.
On any given weekend at our service we can have our homeless community in attendance alongside of a former Attorney General, Congressmen/women, Senators, Interns, Government official. I Sunday morning are always unique and diverse at Union Station.
We can have snorers in service, mice & roaches running around on the floor, someone snorting cocaine during the service, homeless guys taking a bath totally naked in the mens room and our tamborine guy. Union Station location is definitely an unigue worship experience for all those who attended an NCC service at the location.
The sights and smells at the theaters is unforgettable (definitely not the cleanest or the the best smelling). The Phoenix Theaters at Union Station was our home for the last 13 years. It was a place where NCC served the community that lived there and lived around there, it was a place that put National Community Church on the map as THE Theater Church.
I had both the honor and the great opportunity to serve as the Campus Pastor at the Union Station for just over a year. It was not about the location, it was all about the people, the community that gathered there each weekend. I loved every moment that GOT to serve there, because it has given me an experience that I would have never received any other way. To be quite honest, it was a dream come true for me to serve as the Campus Pastor at NCC's Union Station location (the mothership/flagship location for NCC) it was definitely bittersweet when we launched NCC Kingstowne back in February (another dream come true).
So when I heard last week that the theaters at Union Station would be closing down and that we will no longer be gathering there as a church community...I was sad and a little heartbroken. Afterall it is an end of an era, it was a door closing on the past history of National Community Church.
With all that said...while do not know what is in the pipeline or where our next location will be, I do know God will provide and He totally in control and we will certainly GO where He takes us next. Afterall, the Church isn't about a building, a location...it is all about the community of people that gather together. I am looking forward to what God has for us next! We will continue to move forward, we will continue to serve the community around Union Station and we will continue to gather as a community of faith. While this is a temporary setback, God has something greater for us! I ABSOLUTELY BELIEVE THIS! Where He closes one door, He will open another door. And GOD will work a miracle during this situation...trust me on that!
Yes, I will honor and celebrate NCC's past as a community at Union Station...but I will invest and celebrate in NCC's future as leads to our next location where we can gather again...not sure if it will be days, weeks or months, but I am going to celebrate as we move ahead and give God ALL Glory He deserves. His fame and glory is the desire of my heart on the desire of the leadership team's heart and the desire of every NCCer's heart as we look head. We want to continue to make Him known. - Isaiah 26:8
Psalm 40 has been on my heart and in my prayers as we go through time as a Church community...I take the I's, my's and the me's out out and put in We, Our and Us.
1 We waited patiently for the Lord to help us,
and he turned to us and heard our cry.
2 He lifted us out of the pit of despair,
out of the mud and the mire.
He set our feet on solid ground
and steadied us as we walked along.
3 He has given us a new song to sing,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
They will put their trust in the Lord.
4 Oh, the joys of those who trust the Lord,
who have no confidence in the proud
or in those who worship idols.
5 O Lord my God, you have performed many wonders for us.
Your plans for us are too numerous to list.
You have no equal.
If we tried to recite all your wonderful deeds,
we would never come to the end of them.
6 You take no delight in sacrifices or offerings.
Now that you have made us listen,we finally understand
you don’t require burnt offerings or sin offerings.
7 Then we said, “Look, we have come.
As is written about us in the Scriptures:
8 We take joy in doing your will, our God,
for your instructions are written on our heart.”
9 We have told all your people about your justice.
We have not been afraid to speak out,
as you, O Lord, well know.
10 We have not kept the good news of your justice hidden in our heart;
We have talked about your faithfulness and saving power.
We have told everyone in the great assembly
of your unfailing love and faithfulness.
11 Lord, don’t hold back your tender mercies from us.
Let your unfailing love and faithfulness always protect us.
12 For troubles surround us—
too many to count!
Our sins pile up so high
We can’t see our way out.
They outnumber the hairs on our head.
We have lost all courage.
13 Please, Lord, rescue us!
Come quickly, Lord, and help us.
14 May those who try to destroy us
be humiliated and put to shame.
May those who take delight in our trouble
be turned back in disgrace.
15 Let them be horrified by their shame,
for they said, “Aha! We’ve got them now!”
16 But may all who search for you
be filled with joy and gladness in you.
May those who love your salvation
repeatedly shout, “The Lord is great!”
17 As for us, since we are poor and needy,
let the Lord keep us in his thoughts.
You are our helper and our savior.
O our God, do not delay.
The following is a blog post from our Lead Pastor and Leader during this time...I appreciate Pastor Mark, his spiritual leadership is INCREDIBLE and we led by an amazing leader during this time in NCC's history.
Direct from Pastor Mark's blog Evotional.com
The Cloud is Moving!
Thirteen years ago I got a voice mail telling us that the DC public school we were meeting in was closing because of fire code violations. It knocked the wind out of me. I didn't feel like a pastor yet. The church didn't feel like a church yet. We could have ceased to exist and only a couple dozen people would have known the difference. But those are the moments you need to hang in there so you can see what God is going to do! And God opened an amazing door of opportunity at Union Station. We initially met in the smallest theater and my big dream was that we would fill half of it so it didn't feel awkward.
Last week I got a similar call, but this time I was informed that Union Station management is closing down the movie theaters. So Sunday I preached my last sermon @ Union. Hard to believe. We did the math and I've preached at least a thousand sermons at Union Station.
Still processing lots of mixed emotions. I'm sad because Union Station is the locus of so many amazing spiritual memories. But I'm also grateful. God took us from a ragtag group of fifty people and turned us into a multi-site church with five locations. We've seen hundreds and hundreds of people find Christ there. And we've touched thousands and thousands of lives. But a chapter ends. And a new chapter begins.
We're exploring a variety of options. All of them would take a miracle! But who knows what God is up to. In the meantime, thank God we have a coffeehouse one block away.
On a interim basis, we'll move our three Union Station services to Ebenezers Coffeehouse starting next weekend. Despite the sadness and craziness, I have a holy anticipation about what's next. I'm sure of two things. I'll grow as a leader through this. And I embrace that challenge. And we'll grow as a congregation. It's not the way I would have written the script, but it's good for us. We're gonna follow the cloud and the cloud is moving! One of our core values is expect the unexpected. And I've been praying, "God, surprise me." This is part of God's plan. That is the one thing I'm sure of.
"Whenever the cloud lifted from above the Tent, the Israelites set out; wherever the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped."
Sunday, October 11, 2009
- Reflections/Thoughts/Challenges from Catalyst
- No Morality among Christians - we are all have immorality and need a Savior.
- Looking back at Union Station Location and Looking ahead for NCC
- Personal Thoughts
- More thoughts about the book I feel called to write
I also know the value of being being still and simply breathing God's refreshing breath and just focusing on Him. Here is the issue, I can't seem to do it. I can't seem to detach myself and simply focus. I am not sure I know what my problem is...
This week, Lora, Torin and I are on vacation, we left from an impactful leadership conference called Catalyst in Atlanta to Orlando. I have seven days here in Orlando. I feel guilty being away, I feel terrible not being around the office when NCC is going through a time of transition and could use some manpower to move stuff. I hate not being around as we vision and pray together as a church and as a team about the future. I suck! I am going to try to disconnect atleast that is what I tell myself.
Can I honest? I don't think I can. I don't think I can avoid checking my work emails and focusing on what is happening in Washington, DC at the office. I hate not being there...
What can I do? Any practical suggestions for someone like me? I really want to try to do this week long Sabbatical/vacation, however, I feel like I will fail, I already have. Maybe my Sabbath is in moments and not days, maybe my calling and what I do is my Sabbath. You know I don't know. Here is what I do know Lora gets frustrated with me and I can't give my full attention to Torin and I worry like crazy that I am letting others down.
How can I learn to disconnect and maintain a Sabbath? Any suggestions?
Saturday, October 03, 2009
I also want to say that many people who claim to represent the church (Institution/organization) and claim to represent Christ (through their words, not deeds) have done some horrific things and misrepresented the Christian faith and they do not represent me...the Church.
I also believe that separation of church and state as so many people, who have there own authoritative reference and have their own belief/faith system, claim is about the not allowing the Church (individuals) say what they want in any public government forum. I would argue that separation of church and state is for two purposes, in context when that was written...go back to history and context of time when it was written. The state controlled the institution of the church...so this was written to not allow the state to CONTROL or LEAD the church. Second purpose, is that we would not have a theocracy set up like many of the Islamic nations have set up currently, but to promote the experiment of democracy.
With that said, state should never control what another person says...I truly believe this for everyone. Freedom of Speech for all, yes everyone is offended by something someone else says. If people want to seek to stop every offensive speech, I would submit that our nation will be very quiet, because I hear things said from people with different point of view that they take from their authoritative canons, their personal faith thoughts, their "religious" view that I find offensive. But I either make a choice to remove myself from listening to them espouse their views, I get over it, I listen with an attitude of understanding where they come from or I just plain ignore what I believe to a lie. Why can't we all have this attitude? Instead we want to shut people up, call people names, say how stupid they are or worse ban what they say through laws. Seriously people? Seriously? You want to make a law about what people say...seriously get a life. If I chose say a Bible verse on a public school campus, is that truly going to harm any one? Seriously, it will hurt when I say Jesus Died for You? this is what I believe, this is who I am as a Human being, this is what i know to be Truth. You really want to ban what I say? How about when you say that you believe, because of your faith and the books you read, that God does not exist, I find that offensive, that is is YOUR religious statement, can I get that ban? What? No! It is different?!? It is your personal faith and religious view of a church institution.
Let me go back to my original thought, I am the Church, it is who I am, it is a part of my DNA. I don't go to church, I am the Church! I am a Christ follower. It is what is inside my heart, mind and soul, again it is who I am. I feel the Bible is Truth, this is what my foundation is built on...I believe heart, mind, and soul in Jesus, that He is God and that He died for my sins...this is my faith...this makes up the person, the individual, the human of Chris Jarrell...and people want to ban my thoughts, my voice, my views, my life. Really? Are you sure?
These thoughts stem from this article and the comments that follow on this article...
I wanted to express my personal views. my thoughts...what I believe to be true. I want to stay positive on these thoughts...I did not knock anyone or any faith or did I put anyone down or condemn someone. These are MY views.
Your thoughts, your opinions? By the way, no one has ever been converted by calling them names, or by losing an argument.
Friday, October 02, 2009
One of my favorite passage from this chapter is verses 7-10 -
7 So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.
8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
But the one truth and promise that jumps out to me from this passage is found in verse 18 - Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.
I believe God desires to bring life to those who choose to obey Him and follow Him and He wants us to be unified with others as we walk this faith journey...to live in peace as we are joined with others in the faith and to celebrate our reconciliation together.
What experiences have you had that you can share where you felt alive in Christ and unified and at peace with other believers?
How does this passage of Scripture speak to you personally?
Thursday, October 01, 2009
I also believe marriage fulfills these needs:
- Need to love and to be loved
- Need for deep friendship
- Need for sharing
- Need for companionship
- Need for sexual satisfaction
- Need for children
- Need to escape lonliness
I also believe God has instituted sex in the context and confines of marriage. By the way, sex is amazing and when it is placed in the proper context is very beautiful and awesome!
Marriage and sex in marriage is referred to many times in Scripture as very positive and something to be enjoyed by two people. We also see the comparison of Christ and His Church to a marriage of a husband and wife. Jesus also celebrated marriage at the wedding party where he turn water into some amazing wine...the good stuff, not cheap grape juice as some people would argue.
Sex was also designed for marriage and sex in it is natural form is designed for a man and a women, not that I would compare other species with the human species, but they even understand that. I do believe we have animalized humans and humanized animals. What this does is excuse the lack of self control and makes us forget that sex in the context has four purposes.
I say all this to further my thoughts on the conversation and dialogue I had through Twitter this afternoon with a single guy and two married guys.
Yes, I agree the Paul tells us in Scriptures - "You're better off single, period. If you can't handle singleness, get married to ward off sin. That's what 1 Cor 7 says" via Jeremy Sexton.
We can speculate all we want if Paul was married or not, however if he was not married, how would he know if being single is better than married? Perhaps being in jail, you wouldn't have a wife or kids to worry about you or for you to worry about them, perhaps you wouldn't feel "tied down" as some would suppose. But I believe being married doubles your joy and lightens your burdens...this is my experience and experience of others I have talked to over the years. I would not want to to do this journey alone.
I don't know if this argument/dialogue/debate of singleness versus marriage is a result of an inconsistent Biblical text or one opinion over another or how one person looks at the passage.
One question for thought: How can someone who is single going to relate with the Scriptures as relates to Christ and His Church and the intimacy of Holy Communion/Eucarist, how do you get a clear understanding of those relational terms?
I understand now of the Father and Creator attribute of God, because I am a father and a co-creator of my son. So I understand that nature and attribute God so much better. I understand what it means for Christ to be the Bridegroom and the Church His Bride and that intimate relationship and the beauty of Communion because on a smaller scale I have that kind of relationship with my wife.
All of the discussion stemmed from me watching/listening to the ABC Nightline Faceoff Marriage versus Adultery it is definitely worth watching, Pastor Ed Young Jr. speaks a lot of common sense truth into the debate. Check it out if you get a chance.
Love to get your thoughts on the subject.
I love what Emily Johnson said as a response to one of my posts.
Here is my post:
Marriage fails because of sin - not because of the institution of marriage. Come on people.
I'm certain that statement will hit a nerve with a lot of people...I think the sin doesn't necessarily mean during the marriage, but sometimes, the sin is actually marrying the person you had intended for yourself rather than the person God had intended for you.
Good statement though!!
Pastor Mark drove home a couple of great points:
1. People will experience moments of sinking feelings. In other words, they are going to be caught off guard and unprepared. Is this you? Are you sure?
2. Everyone builds their life on something either by design or default. This true for everyone...yes even you. What is your life built on, what is your foundation?
3. We all have come to our conclusions from some kind authority referencing. We hold something as our canonical authority...yes even the so called atheist. Not everyone has to defend the same way like Christ followers...what is your authority and why back it up without say why you don't believe something else. It all takes faith. We all faith in something.
4. Finally, when we take shortcuts on the foundation we'll compromise the rest of our life. This is the one thing that I keep thinking about! I think this applies more to those who call themselves Christians. Too many Christians that I have encountered and engaged in conversations with over the years have taken shortcuts on the foundation. Many have said the "sinner's prayer" with good intentions, but I believe Matthew 7:21-23 speaks to the heart of this thought for me. It is one thing to listen to the teachings and simply accepting the teaching of Jesus, but we must be obey the teachings of Jesus and live out in our life. Action must accompany the listening.
Unfortunately, to many Christians or those who claim to be Christian are going to be shocked and surprised. I want to add to this...too many of these same Christians have a loud voice but their actions are contrary to what they say.
My prayer for myself, is that I hope there are no weaknesses in my foundation. I also pray that I will not take any shortcuts in the rest of the building process in my life.