Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Crying Out in Desperation

Rachel and I have done a lot of traveling over the past couple of months. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas we have been in the car with a baby for a total of about 20 hours. If you have never been in the car with a baby for that long consider yourself blessed. She was great for most of the time, but when she was crying, it was not a fun time in the car.

As we were going down the road we were listening to a CD by Shane and Shane and Phil Wickham. One song on the CD is called "Heaven Fall Down". I have linked to it below. When this song came on, Lexi had been screaming for about 30 minutes. I was singing along and trying to get my mind off of the screaming baby in the backseat when I was struck by a part of the song I had never really paid attention to in the past:

We're crying out in desperation
Waiting now in expectation
We're crying out in desperation
For You

As I sang along to those words, that I had heard over and over again, they took on a new meaning for me. My little girl was in the backseat literally crying out in desperation and waiting in expectation that her father would comfort her and make everything right.

How many of us actually cry out to our Heavenly Father like that? When was the last time that we really cried out in desperation to God? I think that too often we think that we can handle whatever comes our way without having to rely on God. We are so self-sufficient that we don't cry out in desperation.

What was the last thing that you asked God for that you waited for in expectation? Do we believe that God will answer the prayers that we pray or do we just pray because we think it is what we are supposed to do as Christians? 

My prayer for this new year that we will all become more and more like my daughter, trusting that her father will make everything ok. 

"And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:2-4

Friday, June 7, 2013

$.50 worth of cornmeal

I was reminded today of a story I once heard about a southern plantation owner who left $50,000 (a great sum of money in the 1800s) to a former slaved that served him faithfully his entire life. A lawyer of the estate notified the former slave of his vast inheritance. Weeks went by and the former slave never requested any of his inheritance. Finally, they decided to send a banker out to explain to this man what his inheritance was and that he could draw out money any time. The old man replied, ‘Sir, do you think I can have fifty cents to buy a sack of cornmeal’? He could have asked for much more—but he died having only withdrawn 50 cents from a $50,000 inheritance.

In his book "The Gospel for Real Life" Jerry Bridges explains that we are just like that former slave. He had no concept of how much money $50,000 was and so he only asked for 50 cents. We have an amazing inheritance in the gospel, but we don't really understand it so we try to get by on as little as possible.

In Ephesians 3:8 Paul talks about the unsearchable riches that are available to us in Christ. I like that term, unsearchable riches. Paul wasn't talking about financial wealth, but about the glorious truths of the gospel. To use the figures from the story, what Paul is saying is that we have $50,000 available to us in the gospel, yet most of us are trying to squeeze out 50 cents worth. Why is that? I would argue it is because we don't really understand the gospel.

Tim Keller says the gospel is not just the ABC's of Christianity, it is the A-Z. We never get past the gospel to something else, we just get deeper and deeper into the gospel. I hope that you will make it a priority to understand the glorious riches that are available to us in Christ Jesus!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Rethinking Student Ministry

      I posted this blog a few years ago but wanted to post it again to see if the reaction is any different.  One of my professors from seminary wrote a blog post in which he said, "This generation wants meat. They are tired of silly events that have a little Scripture thrown in, or events where junk food is served up large and the Bible doesn't make the menu". I really feel like he has a point. My question to you is, do you agree with this statement? What are you looking for when you come to church on Sunday morning or Wednesday nights? Are you looking to just come and hang out or do you really want to be challenged?     
       In that same blog post Dr. Reid goes on to say, "There is a younger generation of believers who are tired of "do the minimum" Christianity. They want it straight, they want it real, and they want it now. If you teach the Bible, and if the teens you teach sense you genuiely love them and love Jesus, you can get right in their grills. In fact, you must. If however they perceive you as a smart aleck, or you stereotype them to the extreme, you will lose them. And you will never have a chance with unchurched  young adults". I have a heart and a passion for students. I want to see them come to a complete understanding of who Jesus is and what He did for them. 
      I am looking for feedback here. Feedback from students and parents. If you took the time to read this, comment on it and let me know what you think. If you think I am crazy, tell me. If you think that I am on to something here and are willing to come along side of me as we look to reach the students of Sumter, tell me! I want to hear from you!
   That same professor just wrote a new book called "As You Go: Creating a Missional Culture of Gospel-Centered Students". I recently bought the book and will be blogging my thoughts on it as I read it. I hope that it will sharpen me as a student pastor as I seek to teach students how to live a life that is centered on the gospel.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Be Near

I started this blog almost 2 years ago with the lyrics of a Shane and Shane song. They are my favorite recording artists to listen to. Recently I was listening to their song "Be Near" and was really convicted. The lyrics say, "be near, oh God, be near, oh God of us, your nearness is to us our good." 

That should be the cry of our heart. We should want God to be near to us. The problem that I see today is that people do not want God to be near because they would have to change the way they live. If we lived our lives as if Jesus was standing right there next to us at all times, I guarantee that we would not do a lot of the things that we do. 

The amazing thing is that if you are a believer, God in the person of the Holy Spirit is right there inside of you and transforming you every moment of your life. God is near! I challenge you today to make every decision as if Jesus was standing next to you and see how different you would live! 

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

One For The Parents

I believe that the best way to impact your students with the gospel of Christ is for them to see you excited about what God is doing in your own life. I have been encouraging your students to invite their friends to our events and that will continue when they get to school. I hope that they will invite their classmates to come and hear Jesus preached on a weekly basis and they will share their faith with those same friends.

My question to you is, do you show your children that Jesus matters to your everyday life? Are you talking to your children about the coworkers that you are sharing the gospel with or inviting to church with you? I really believe that I can talk to them week after week about living out their faith but if they do not see you living out your faith at home it will not mean as much.

I need you. Your children need you. I do not have the impact on your kids that you do and I need you to back what I am teaching them by showing them how it works in "the real world". Will you commit to making it a point to live out your faith infront of your children?

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Monday, April 30, 2012

Take Me There

Hey I don't know about you but I can wait till the day
When I'll be with my Lord and everything is ok
And I'll be just like him so sin won't get in the way
Basking in his glory that's where I want to stay

A place where shadows give way to the real
And circumstances can't change the way that I feel
Joy in my Savior that Satan can't steal 
Because he's been defeated- yeah you know the deal

-Trip Lee "Take Me There"

I don't know about you but those lyrics are a cry of my heart. I cannot wait until the day that I get to see Jesus face to face and spend eternity praising His Holy name. This should be the way all Christians feel. This place is not our home. The Bible tells us that we are made for something far greater than this world. 

Where is your heart? Is it focused here or is it longing for something greater? As we grow in our understanding of Christ and what He did for us our longing will be to be with Him. Pray and beg God to change your focus from this world to the next!

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you will also appear with him in glory. Colossians 3:1-4