"Umm... I don't really know..."
Had a great visit with two Mormons just a few minutes ago. It's cold outside so I invited them in. Very nice guys, well mannered but not very knowledgeable in their faith. Sadly, If I didn't mention that they were Mormon, you may have thought I was talking about many Christians in the church.
They wouldn't go too far into the conversation before trying to backpedal out. It's always cool to me to watch the guy who's been on the field the longest as you bring up contradictions in their faith or remind them of their beliefs vs. the New Testament. They, like many Christians don't know very much about what they say, they just get built up with how quickly and eloquently they say it. We must teach our people to Know God.
1 Peter 3:15 (NLT)
"Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if you are asked about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it.
After talking with someone today about 'legalism vs. Christian living', I spoke of brokeness and the fact that our lives shouldn't be spent wondering 'WWJD' and reacting...
The church spends time teaching rules, codes of conduct and what's 'proper' of a Christ-follower which distracts us from the fact that God desires a relationship with Him. So we teach people that if they 'read their bible' or 'go to church' that they are more spiritually mature. Spiritual maturity isn't what we do. Grace slaps legalistic teaching in the face. Spiritual Maturity is having such a deep relationship with your God that you quit 'fighting for the remote' of your life. You realize that the Holy Spirit lives in you and desires to be expressed through your life. He can only do that when you allow Him to act. He won't force your hand, you must be broken so that he can shine through.
Explaining that, I was asked "How do you stay broken then?" Awesome question!
Knowing God ultimately means knowing self in relation. As you know God more and more, you realize his awesomeness and soverignty, his power, his might and quality after quality that rocks your world. The more you 'Know God', the more you realize that self isn't all that great. We are to come to him like a Child. Children don't fully know 'self'. The are so willing to accept the hugeness of God and allow Him to 'show them the ropes'. As we become young men and women, we begin to 'know self' much more. Adults definately have the world figured out. God wants you to know Him because the more you know Him, the more you realize that you are like that Child. You too are simplistic and helpless. Understanding this, you then give up rights to yourself and give them to God. You realize that your 'doings' aren't the deal. Your surrender becomes your measure. Know God. Spend your life getting to know Him.
Stop and think on God. Not what he did for you, not what your life is about... not even salvation... Think about the very essence of God.
I'm not sure where I picked this up, (I believe I found it online) but I have this quote posted next to my desk. Thought I'd share.
"Just when I get my church all sorted out, sheep from the goats, saved from the damned, hopeless from the hopeful, somebody makes a move, gets out of focus, cuts loose and I see why Jesus never wrote systematic theology.
So you and I can give thanks that the locus of Christian thinking appears to be shifting from north America and northern Europe where people write rules and obey them, to places like Africa and Latin America where people still know how to dance."
Will Willimon, Leadership Journal, summer 1994
For a dance to go smoothly... do your best not to step on toes. You may have to communicate your leading or communicate and follow, but either way, communicate so that everyone can enjoy the dance.
Romans 12: 1-2
1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind...
Have we lost this in our current cycle of 'church'? Romans is an awesome discussion of the faith and all that God has done for man and we come to chapter 12 where true and authentic commitment to God is defined as offering our bodies as 'living sacrafices'. Seeing that a sacrafice was something that was completely given over to God and could no longer be used for previous purposes, have we currently lost focus on what God wants of his people? Does he want 'Christians R Us' with the latest models complete with the newest bells and whistles and brighter boxes? Does God want authentic to mean that we loose reverence and morality along the way for sake of personal freedom (see below)? What is Authentic? Is God pleased with Isle 3?
Romans 12: 1-2 cont'd
... Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Brainwashed from day 1
Getting ready to attend my sisters b-day party... looking at current music trends for her 7 year age group. I figure that I'm either getting old, or getting closer to God's standard. Looking at Lyrics of current pop-music, I was reminded of how hard it is to avoid the traps of the world with regard to the lack of Godly characteristics. Am I old? :)
Home Sweet Home
Kristy and I are making a 24 hour trip to Maryland and back for my little sister's birthday party. They had to "make me a space" to park today b/c of all the snow they got. My family lives in Glen Burnie, MD.
What a brother will do for a 7 year old little sister!
Post Modern doesn't equal Post Moral
1 Corinthians 10:23-24
23You say, "I am allowed to do anything"--but not everything is helpful. You say, "I am allowed to do anything"--but not everything is beneficial.24Don't think only of your own good. Think of other Christians and what is best for them.
I had a rant (about the current American church) here but deleted it. I think we all can look at this excerpt from Paul's letter and apply it to every part of our personal freedom. I know it speaks well to me in my personal freedoms.
We met today for our 'church plant fellowship' and regional meeting. We discussed 'evangelism'. I learned a new term today "Facility Evangelism"... don't ask :)
I wish I knew how to play the guitar!
1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" 2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them, 3 and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
A 5 year old boy spoke a sermon to me in about 15 seconds.
Brian's mom and sister just stopped by our office to use some equipment. Our secretary is out of the office today so I came from my desk and greeted them and began talking to the children as mom got access to the things she needed. Brian had a book of clues and I peeked over his shoulder and searched the puzzle for the 'alien' to be found. Then a minute later he saw our name-tags pre-printed on a table and searched for his name. I pointed out his tag he will wear next week. Being the important youth guy that I am, I left Brian and family and came back to my desk and began working on my message (i'm about half way through). I hear "goodbye" as the door closes. About 30 seconds later I hear the door open and running footsteps. As I look up, I see little Brian with a shy look on his face. I smile and Brian runs up and jumps on my neck with a hug and says "Thank You". I'm thinking "For What?" But I smile and said "see ya later man".
Brian spoke a message to me today. He reminded me of my priorities and of my God. He reminded me that I am to come to God with the same level of grattitude and appreciation over the little things and not just when I get a sucker or an icecream or a pasaphire in my mouth. As a Christ-Follower, I'm excited to know that God can use a 5 year old boy as well or better than any preacher, website, conference, band or book to draw me near to Him!
"Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children..."
Today is Presidents Day and my Pastor is a 20 year Navy vet so we have our holiday schedule based around the Navy. I'm off today (whatever that means in Ministry) so I plan to prepare for my next message series.
Our Lifegroups had lower attendance. I could blame it on dividing the group (which is probably the reason) or if I want to be in denial, I could always blame it on the Weather.
I became fascinated with Maryland's Video Traffic system this evening while checking in on the homefront. For probably the first time I can recall in my lifetime, Maryland is under a state of Emergency. With war on the horizon, worries about small pocks and the US on a code 'orange' terror alert, innocent "snow" is what cripples the state.
I have so much to learn about html.
This morning a future church planter stopped by to observe our youth service. It's cool that people want to see what happens on Sunday mornings but I feel bad for guys who are getting started who only see the 'show' on Sundays. We had a great time of worship and I feel like we're developing community among our youth department. We're splitting our H.S. 'lifegroups' tonight into two smaller groups. I'm a little unsure how it'll work out. It seems like they enjoy the larger 18 person group but it will not allow us to reach out and develop more small groups. I'm praying that I am able to communicate the vision clearly enough for the teens to do more than just show up, but begin to develop community with one another. We'll see.
It's snowing in Maryland.
Mom says theirs 20 inches in the front yard! Nothing but light rain here :|
Last night my wife Kristy and I got to get away a little bit for Valentines day. "Control your time commitments or your time commitments will control you". I need this printed on the back of my eyelids. Spending time the last two days away has been terrific for my physical, spiritual and emotional health. Take time to take time away!
I'm learning on the job. Testing how to add images and links.
A recent line of thoughts republished:
Today has been a great day of ministry. (writers note: sorry for the length, but I had a lot to be excited about today)
I got to meet with the Young Life guy here in Chesapeake. Our conversation led through apologetics, discipleship and most aspects of youth ministry. This afternoon I worked primarily on getting our new Leadership sections of the IgniteStudents.com website up and running.
As I mature, I look at training and leadership development and discipleship with more passion.
Jesus not only called us to evangelize, but to 'make disciples'. If we understand a disciple to be a 'follower of Christ', this implies more than simple evangelism. Making a disciple is a process and requires much more than the latest technique to share the good news.
I also am burdened for training. Training is vital to any organization. I believe that God has gifted me to do things to be successful, but if I keep them to myself we will only add disciples as a ministry. If I can train others, however, we will multiply disciples as a ministry. I prefer to be a part of an organization which multiplies rather than adds. Discovering new ways to train others (such as our new leaders portion of our site) who work with us is something tha excites me.
Finally, a close friend of mine, John Smith (yes, that's his real name) shared with me an excerpt of a discussion he recently had with someone regarding the church and how the church is basically a 'living organism'. An ever-growing body of believers. This is similar to what we have discussed in 'grow' as one of our 5 purposes here at Ignite. Healthy things grow! Discipleship is vital to Ignite. It is vital to our personal growth and to the growth of our Student Ministry. I pray God will continue to break us and make us ever-learning of Him.
Imagine a community of believers where everyone is completely surrenedered to every truth known about God...
There is a church in my home state of Maryland that's doing it the way it needs to be done in such a progressive culture. The Church is called "Horizon". I wonder how my view of ministry, church and culture would have been different if I had attended this place.