Thursday, April 18, 2013
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
1. Amazing Days on churchmarketingsucks.com
2. What Skateboarding Taught Me About Missions on theresurgence.com
3. Satisfied in You on Justin Taylor's blog, which included the video below.
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Friday, March 1, 2013
The use of Liturgy, what I'll define as a prescribed set of practices, to enhance a person's relationship with their Savior is not specific to the Catholic Church. In the Protestant Church we don't call our practices Liturgy, but we do prescribe disciplines such as Bible reading, prayer, fasting, communion, etc. We believe those disciplines, when practiced faithfully, will draw us closer to Jesus.
Any action can become an empty ritual if our hearts aren't in the right place when we do them. If we read the Bible just so we can tell other people we've read the Bible, then what good is it doing? It only serves to puff us up with pride and we are deceiving ourselves.
Thursday, January 31, 2013
When I was a kid:
I thought tomatoes were disgusting.
Now I think they are fantastic.
I thought girls were gross.
Now I know they are different, but amazing.
I thought the Bible was just a bunch of crazy stories.
Now I know it is one big story about God's crazy love for His children.
I thought riding a bike was the greatest adventure of my life.
Now I know living life is the great adventure.
I thought asking Jesus into my heart meant going to heaven.
Now I know asking Jesus into my heart was just the first step to bringing heaven to earth.
I thought my parents' coffee breath was disgusting.
Now my kids think mine is.
I thought my baseball cards would be worth a fortune someday.
Now I know I was wrong.
When I was a teenager:
I thought a date was dinner and a movie.
Now a date involves babysitters, clearing the schedule and finding a place to get away and just be with my best friend.
I thought if I worked really hard I could be a great basketball player.
Now I wish I would have worked harder to be the best I could be and a great teammate.
I thought picking on kids was funny.
Now I get angry when kids get picked on.
I thought driving a car meant freedom.
Now I often feel trapped when I'm in my car.
I wanted to be a youth pastor.
Now I see what a difficult calling that would be.
I thought missionaries were spiritually elite.
Now I know all who follow Jesus are called to be missionaries.
I thought looking and acting like a Christian was important.
Now I don't care how I look as long as I am actually following Jesus.
I thought loving my neighbor referred to the people I normally spend time with.
Now I know my neighbors include people I've never met and people I don't enjoy being with.
When I was in college:
I thought the internet was the most amazing thing in the world.
Now I think the internet is a tool to be used with great caution and moderation.
I thought war was an unfortunate, but sometimes necessary, part of our world.
Now I still think it's unfortunate and am not convinced it's ever necessary.
I thought finding a wife would be difficult.
Now I'm glad I found a best friend who became my wife.
I thought making money was important.
Now I know no amount of money can make you happy.
I thought having kids was a burden.
Now I know having kids is a burden - one that brings great joy and fun!
I thought feeding the hungry meant giving money to a charity organization.
Now I know feeding the hungry means actually feeding the hungry, by whatever means necessary.
I thought the words of Jesus were a good picture of how we should live.
Now I know the words and life of Jesus are exactly how we should live.
I thought living a comfortable life and doing some good things was enough.
Now I know living an uncomfortably weird life and loving others as I love myself is what is expected of me.
Friday, January 11, 2013
I am a Christian.
Ever since I went to the front of the church and asked Jesus Christ to come into my life at the age of 6, I have been a Christian.
Until recently, I thought Christian was what I was supposed to be after that life-changing walk to the altar.
The last couple months have been filled with books, videos, conversations, classes and meditations that have made me rethink who/what I am supposed to be.
I believe in Jesus and I am confident His Spirit lives in me. So, what else would you call that besides Christian?
The problem, for me, is that Jesus never asked anyone to become a Christian. He asked people to follow Him, to become His disciples.
According to Andy Stanley, pastor of North Point Community Church, in his sermon series Christian, the word DISCIPLE is terrifying because it calls us to actually DO something. A disciple is someone who actively follows, listens to, learns from, obeys and emulates another person.
Most people, including me, use the word Christian to describe someone's beliefs. As long as you believe in Jesus, you can call yourself a Christian. You don't actually have to DO anything, other than believe. In fact, you can do the opposite of what Jesus asked you to do and still call yourself a Christian because, after all, you believe in Him.
I'm tired of being a Christian. In fact, I don't want to do it anymore. I want out. I'm done!
I want to be a DISCIPLE. I want my actions to show who/what I am. And Andy Stanley is right, it's terrifying. It's terrifying because I know my actions don't always qualify me as a disciple. One of the worst things about being a disciple, and the thing that keeps many people from even considering becoming one, is hypocrisy. If we call ourselves disciples of Jesus, then go out and behave differently, we are hypocrites. If we ask someone else to become a disciple and do what a disciple does, but don't live it out ourselves, we are hypocrites. So, yeah, it's scary.
But, again, Jesus never sought Christians. He wanted disciples. Even the original disciples - the 12 who left their normal lives to follow Jesus while He was on earth - weren't perfect. They made mistakes. They were hypocritical. They disappointed Jesus.
Before he left the earth, Jesus gave his disciples what we know as the Great Commission. Do you know what He commissioned them to do?
There's nothing in there about Christians. Jesus told them to make DISCIPLES!
The first step to becoming a disciple is allowing Jesus to have your whole life, but it doesn't end there. I don't know how people can think belief is enough. It's a step, but it's not the end. Being a disciple requires more.
Love is the way people will know we are disciples. If we love each other the way Jesus loved those He spent time with, we won't have to tell people we are disciples, they will either know it or will ask us why we do the things we do.
So, how did Jesus love? That's a complicated answer, but the phrase "full of grace and truth" (John 1:14) seems to sum it up pretty well. Jesus served, healed, demanded obedience, called out sin, forgave, protected, listened, fed and taught.
Jesus put loving others right up there with loving God:
This is where it gets terrifying all over again because how can you possibly love someone else like you love yourself? Especially someone who isn't easy to love at all?
The only way to love like Jesus loved is to do what Jesus did. The only way to do what Jesus did is to read His story and try to emulate Him ... After all, that's what a DISCIPLE does!