Last Sunday our church announced the formation of a new church plant to be started possibly in January. Lord willing, I will be leading some great men and women as we build a Church for Christ in potentially the Greenbrier area of town. This week I have had a ton on my mind.
Today the cable was knocked out by a powerful storm that surged through. I was forced to turn off the computer and television for a while so I picked up a book. I grabbed Louie Giglio's 'The Air I Breathe'. The book is all about worship... true worship. Our response to God's Awesomeness. As I read more of Louie's thought process with God, my worries suddenly took a huge back seat to the power of God.
Getting my focus back on Him, I felt refreshed just after about 25 minutes reading a book. God is amazing!
Welcome to the World!
Yesterday afternoon at 1:15 p.m., God performed another miracle as he brought into the world a new child by the name of James Richard Anton. Readers of my blog will note that James has been a topic of discussion for some time. Olivia and Jay are doing well. James weighed in at 7lbs 10oz. He is also 21 inches long. I dont really understand why we give length statistics on children but I continue to succumb to the pressures of tradition (in this case).
Congrats Jay and Olivia...
I'm still here
Once again I've spent the last few days in thought so I've been away from the blog scene. Life is moving at a rapid pace these days. I can only hold on and hold onto God.
If you havn't purchased the book yet, I encourage you to purchase 'Don't Waste Your Life' by John Piper. This book will surely challenge you to live a life that seeks to be completely satisfied in Christ and bring HIM glory as you are satisfied. It's truly amazing.
Not much else to report... Olivia still hasn't burst yet as far as I know... her inducement is scheduled for Monday the 21st.
Kristy and I are getting to know a couple in our church (the Wests') Jeremiah and Whitney are pretty cool people... they are both down to earth and caring people... they're close to our age as a well so it's great to have gotten to meet them.
Aside from that... I'm in thought mode and things are cruising along...
'Wisdom gets requested'
I picked up two books today that I plan to knock out in the next week or two. 'The Air I Breathe' is by Louie Giglio (Passion Bands, One Day, 7:22) Louie is the founder of Choice Resources which started the Passion Conferences and 268 Generation. This small book (similar in size to 'Prayer of Jabez' books) seems to serve as a great primer to all things 'Worship'. I'm about 50 pages in and I'm pleased. He's building a case for deeper thought at this point.. but I'm pleased.
The second book I picked up is called 'Boundaries' by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. This book (as I understand it) is a great read on how and why we should set boundaries in our life to best harness who we are in this world. I've had past experience where my boundaries were not very defined and so I exposed myself to a lot of harm. I've also been in a place when I was younger in Baltimore where I had boundaries set up that were so defensive that they were in fact offensive. The balance in life is the great place that we should live. The place where we can set up how we want to be treated and also how we will treat others. Doing both in a God-Honoring fashion is one thing that we could all learn much more.
So... as the world turns... I find myself constantly in search of truth of God (it all flows from Him)... The more I know, the closer I know my God... it's a great feeling...
Satisfied in Him...
'I bet they're all in Africa'
I just got off of the phone (yes it's 1am..) with my friend John from First Family Church in Corpus Christi, TX.
Our conversation was a microcosim of our spiritual journies'. We discussed this past weekend's services and got into current theology that we're thinking about and books we're reading... pretty refreshing stuff. Ultimately though, we ended up where everything that is good will ultimately end up.. God.
At one point in the conversation I said 'John... it honestly bothers me... it just about angers me that at our young ages.. we can be considered 'leaders' in this thing called Christianity.' My frustration comes because I'm under a sense that most of Christianity just doesn't 'get it'. God is the end. God is the beginning. Tally is nothing... God is everything. Tally's spiritual journey is simply realizing that and satisfying my nothingness with every bit of God I can cram into me. It's not that I'm under any 'obligation' to. It is in fact a selfish reason... I want to be happy, peaceful, content and joyful. I admit it... I'm seeking out GOD for ME.
The frustration is that I often wonder what many men and women who wear the t-shirts, jewlery and temporary tatoo's of Christianity are chasing after. How in the world is there not more men and women who have more brains than I who can come to know the basic and powerful truths of God's word?
I also told John that I feel that today's church brand called 'Contemporary' is often used by ill-informed or ill-spiritually deep Pastors to really mean 'stupid'. Contemporary=Stupid. Is that it? Really? Are we saying that for a church to be 'Contemporary' we have to treat the people as if they are stupid?
Speaking on Sunday to our church body was amazing. These are not stupid people. They thirst and hunger for depth of God. I'm absolutely convinced that my role as a Pastor is not to Amaze people with my useless education or to wow them with my ability to make acrostics or 'to-do' lists... but rather to simply COMMUNICATE to them using HIS WORD and HIS WORK (in my life) who HE is and what HE's all about.
Those who seek God at that point will no longer be satisfied with the 'bottle-rockets' I talked about the other day... They will come thirsty and drink of the fountain that IS God...
Ohh... the title of this thought... During my frustration I said that I'm bothered with the millions of people who Claim to know Christ in America... the Christian world focuses on 5-10 men who have 'done it'. I rhetorically asked John "Where are all of the other people who have found complete satisfaction in Knowing God?... before he could answer I said... I bet they're all in Africa'.... John said 'Yep...they are the missionaries... those people tend to simply follow God...."
Satisfied In Him...
Don't Waste Your Life
This statement has been ringing through my mind for the last several months as I've contemplated my passions and future. I'm learning more of what it's like to be completely satisfied in God. Not in GOD's love... not even in God's grace... but simply, yet profoundly... IN GOD. Focusing our life to be completely satisfied in Knowing GOD for who GOD is.. is much more difficult than loving any attribute or result of Him. I desire to make my heartbeat beat in the same pattern as that of my GOD. If I'm able to crawl up into the lap of my God and rest in who HE IS... abandoning all that I am or need to be, I find complete peace and satisfaction...
I only pray that I die to self daily and pick up my 'cross' all the while thinking 'Don't waste your life Tally... Don't waste it'. What is wasting my life? Finding Satisfaction in ANYTHING ELSE besides God himself. I can find satisfaction in everything I enjoy as long as I keep in mind that it is only because of Christ do I have the freedom to enjoy such things. I can enjoy my marriage fully and with right perspective IF I enjoy it through realizing that I'm free from chasing worthless things b/c of Christ and therefore I can find greater joy in my marriage b/c of Christ. Everything I'm about can now find complete joy and satisfaction all because of first WHO GOD IS... My life is a waste but to find satisfaction in Christ.
Satisfied in HIM...
Tonight we (Kristy, myself, Kristy's sister Kara and her dad) all went to VA Beach to watch the fireworks display. We had an enjoyable dinner at Joe's Crab Shack and then down to the beach...
God showed me an awesome illustration tonight...
We arrived to the beach just before 9p.m. for an anticipated start at 9:15p.m. As we were waiting among the sea of humanity that is VA Beach on the 4th, we overheard families talking and kids walking by trying to be 'hard'. A microcosm of life went up and down the boardwalk.
After sitting around for a few minutes someone on the beach began setting off bottle-rockets. These miniature fireworks were appealing to the crowd who by now were getting restless. The guy (enjoying the admiration for sure) began setting off small fireworks that had a little color. A few members of the crowd cheered and others simply smiled and watched in silence.
Here is where the 'God Moment' happened. The real fireworks began to go off. One boom after another. As the bursts of light separated over the many boats parked in the ocean, our chests beat as the loud 'booms' echoed off of the high-rise hotels. About two minutes into the large display, the guy on the beach sent off two bottle-rockets. No one paid much attention and I for one even thought 'C'mon man... you don't need to draw attention... the real show is here.'
You see... When the crowd of people were waiting around with nothing going on... they took excitement in tiny bottle rockets that cost $1 at the local shack on the corner. Soon after the 'real show' started however, they saw awe and felt the power... their eyes were filled with light... they were no longer impressed or satisfied with tiny bottle rockets. Is this not like the power of our GOD? My heart beat heavily as I saw these people and thought 'Yes Lord'... I get it. If only they could see YOUR Renown, YOUR Glory! Then and only then will they no longer thirst for the wasteful bottle-rockets of this world. No longer will man live for the useless and faint lights that this world offers.... We will thirst for the 'Boom, Power and Awe' of our GOD.
"Yes, Lord, walking in the way of Your Truth, we wait eagerly for You, for Your name and Your renown are the desire of our souls." Isaiah 26:8
Satisfied in HIM...
Shes' gonna blow!!!
Talked to friend and great youth worker, Olivia Anton today. She went in to the hospital last night begging them to pop her open and pull this boy out but they refused. She shared with me a bunch of technical words about what needs to happen but I got sick (just kidding). Her doctor said 'It could be tomorrow or it could be next week." Olivia says 'That means he doesn't know what he's talking about.'
Toss up one (a prayer) for Olivia and her husband Jay. They have a son J.J. and their new one that's on the way is named James.
I've been so burdened lately for God and His people. Ohh how often our passions are focused on the temperal. We get caught up on ourselves or clothing or vehicles. We talk about passing celebrities or weekly television shows. We sit and allow negative conversation to take place around us. We are such a self-absorbed people. I yearn for God to break open heaven for all of humanity to see His Glory... not for what he can DO with his Glory, but rather... just for who HE IS. I encourage you to seek out God.. not what man says about God... but what God says about God... what creation (nature, his design, his reflection in his handywork) says about him. Seek out the relfection of God in everything.
A Soverign God and a Satisfying Marriage
Kristy (my wife) just asked me 'Sweetie, can you take this trash out?' I said 'nope, I refuse' in just. The sad thing is that many families act this way and they are serious. I see first hand so often how marriages are falling apart and husbands or wives walk away from their commitments.
I got a call from a guy yesterday... we'll call him R. Well R calls me out of the blue (I hadn't talked to him for a long time) and he says 'Tally, my wife is leaving me.' My heart broke for this guy b/c I know he's a passionante Christ-follower. It seems that his wife is just lusting after the things of the world.
I heard a the greatest sermon on marriage at the SBCV convention a few months ago. The teacher spoke on Phillipians with regard to Christ's relationship to the church being a paralell to our relationship to our wives. It's amazing to think about Christ, perfect in the tri-union, humbling himself to become a human... being abused as a human... even killed as a human... even killed in the most brutal way. Christ example of leadership was completely servant-focused. He didn't grasp a position... he was the ultimate leader... a man we could follow based on the PERSON of who he is.. not a position.
Lord... teach us men how to be more like you... break us free from our pride and push us face down into the carpet to show us true humility.
I'm passionate to find complete satisfaction and joy in HIM...
Value Friends along the way
In our journey through this life our attention is pulled in many different ways. We are asked for attention by advertisers, co-workers, employers and family and friends to name a few.
This past week I was priviliged to have James and Lysa from 1stFamilyChurch to visit Kristy and I. We had a good weekend together discussing life, eating food, taking pictures near the beach and even visiting the Blue-Ridge Mountains.
Also visiting in town was another friend, Amber Smith; my friend John's wife. Kristy and Amber are great friends and they have missed one another this past year.
It's too often that our lives are pushed and pulled along and we find ourselves having to 'make room' for the very people that God has placed in our paths to enjoy spending time along side. Do not go through this life alone... Do not allow others to dictate to you how much time you will have for those you love. Set up your life's boundaries as to reflect your heart's priorities. Create that vital space for long-lasting friendships.