many much facts (a bunch of them)

Have you ever just wanted something so bad that you can almost taste it?  Well, this is a week that has been that for me.  There are ton of things that have been like that for me this week.  But most importantly, doing God’s will with this church has been on my heart. 

Not trying to boast, but I have spent more hours this week praying for our church than any other.  It has been a week of excitement for me.  Seeing you all last night was great.  I really enjoyed it.  I am sorry that Mike and I went and played basketball though because I missed the fellowship that I could have shared with the remainder of you. 

We had a good leadership team time last night.  We talked about a bunch of different goals that we will post for you pretty soon.  Exciting stuff in our midst.  Let’s continue to pray that God will open up doors for us (literally and spiritually) to continue to do the greater things that He has called us to. 

New PRs:
1) the ice cream time Sunday – that many new friendships can be formed- let’s pray for God to give us those opportunities despite families being out of town for the day of no labor. 

2) Will – he has been on my heart the past few weeks because of his job.  He just needs God to continue to give Him guidance concerning balance in the midst of his chaotic schedule

3) pray for the bible study that we might form out here for those who aren’t in our community

4) pray for this little boy that God keeps putting in my path – more details possibly later on

5) give praise to God for the blessings He is performing in the financial area for our church – God revealed to us this week that we had more than we thought in certain areas (which is always good)

6) pray for newness to be formed in our core group – specifically that the 6 will be brought to us as we have been seeking God for

7) and last but certainly not least, continue to pray for the souls in Reedy Fork and beyond to come to faith in our Lord – this is what we are about essentially that we want to see God bringing people from death to the point that they can come alive to faith in Him

Complete side note – but I am coming along with the list of 200 top songs.  But I don’t think that it will be 200.  I think it will possibly be up to 500.  I don’t know but looking over my life, I have a lot more than just 200 songs to listen to with great anticipation.  I will release 100 songs per week on here of the fated list until I am finished, starting on:
September 26.  Look for it.  It will change your life.  I know it has mine. 

woo you

Friends.  Great show. 

I am at the point now in my life where I realize the gospel is basically that show.  Being there for people at all times.  No matter what.  We are to be included in each other’s lives.  Nothing more, nothing less.

Don’t get me wrong, sharing the gospel with someone close to us is essential and scary.  But if you are not there for that “friend” then anything you say will just go over their head.  The saying, “People don’t care how much you know, unless they know how much you care” is true.  I hate it too because it is cliche.  But let me admit, cliches are sometimes true.  Dang, that stinks. 

This is a hard thing to do for me because the Strengths Finder test told me that I am a Woo.  Woo means that I live for winning people over.  I love having lots of “friends.”  However, my tendency is to be a friend quickly, which I can do very easily, and then move on.  It is very easy for me to lose sight of someone.  And this is my struggle but I am learning how much life really comes from keeping the same core group around you to encourage and strengthen you.  This is what that show is about. 

Friends is about a group of 6 sharing their whole lives together.  Everything affects them.  If one starts dating someone, and I love this, in order for it to continue the others have to approve.  If someone needs help financially, they all chip in.  If someone needs someone to talk to, they have 5 choices to choose from. 

This is life.  This is community.  This is coming alive.  Let’s be Friends. 

iTunes doesn’t always get it right

iTunes doesn’t always get it right.  Here is why: 

Well today, just like many days, I went to iTunes to scope out the latest sounds that might bring joy to my heart.  The songs that make me come alive, if you will.  And seeing free stuff is a call to download, for me along with thousands of others. 

But today was different.  One of  today’s free songs was “Nod your head” by Paul McCartney.  I am speechless.  But not because it is good. 

Terrible. 

Very terrible. 

I hate it when something good gets ruined.  Don’t get me wrong:  Paul McCartney is the man.  He was in the Beatles.  He was one of them.  That makes him the man in my book.  But this song has the capacity to take away all joy in little kid’s hearts.  It is a song that will lead us into famines if we keep downloading it.  Hence, the writing of this blog.

Don’t download this song.  Don’t.  Seriously.  Your life will never be the same.  And that is not a desirable goal for your life. 

This song is a prayer request for music everywhere to get better.  We are supposed to progress in the arts, not run backwards and cause all people everywhere to abandon their music players. 

If you don’t believe me, download it.  But don’t be shocked if you can’t hear from now on.  Don’t be surprised if your iPod stops working.  This is my warning. 

balance

In each of us, there is an innate sense to want to be balanced.  I have felt this all my life.  Whenever I am not in balance, I get stressed.  I will forget to put God first.  I will forget to live alongside others.  I will not get any of the tasks that I set out to do done.  I will be unaware of this unless I make myself remember that I am out of balance.

So over the past few weeks, more like past days, I am starting to get a balance in my life that is unequal to anything before in my life.  I am starting to eat better, work out more consistently, study harder by getting my seminary work done well enough in advance, reading for encouragement (devotion and Scripture study), culture analyzing (such as research on churches that are doing marvelous things in this time), as well as making times for people in my life.  It is an amazing thing.

Today, I had the most structured day that I think that I have ever had.  I worked out hour by hour of what I am going to do.  It has been great.  It has been encouraging.  Oddly enough, it has been making me want to study more and plan farther in advance, because I can’t get all of what I need done in the time that I allotted so I have to push it to the next day or to the next available time slot.  It is great having balance.

I believe that this is the word of the day for me.  Looking throughout the Gospels, I see how much balance Jesus had.  He had time of his disciples, he had time for prayer (usually in the middle of the night or early in the morning), he had time to teach others, he had time to heal.  What I am realizing is that when we start to live a balanced life, we start to open up time for ourselves so that we can be available for others.  It is an astounding principle.

Well let’s all try to develop balance in our lives, in our scheduling, in our budgeting, in our prayer and Scripture time, and also, in everything else.  I am not a balanced person naturally, so if I can do it, you can do it.  Strive for balance.

some songs

A few songs in my mind over the past few days, that are from a time passed on:

“The Sounds of Silence” Simon and Garfunkel

“Tiny Dancer” Elton John

“Mrs. Robinson” Simon and Garfunkel

“Fast Car” Tracy Chapman

“Blame it on the Boogie” the Jacksons

bring the PRs

Perry nailed it today.  Check out his blog this morning about being like Jesus

 Well off to seminary.  See each of you later on tomorrow or tonight.  You all are in my prayers and I pray that our par-tay on Thursday will be awesome.  Bring your PRs (prayer requests) and we will rock them out and praise Jesus by sharing our lives and our stories about how we are coming alive. 

seven signs of genuine ministry

Long day ahead for me but I am excited because I get to have a better glimpse of how to read God’s word. 

I have been on a journey through the New Testament recently and it has been exciting but as a source to refer to while reading the NT, I have started skimming through Mark Dever’s book, The Message of the New TestamentIt is a book that gives an overview of each of the books of the NT.  Very good so far. 

I am in 1 Thessalonians right now and he had some great insights into what a good minister would be concerned about.  It really convicted me to live more to the high calling that God has brought me into. 

He labels them the seven signs of genuine ministry:

1) Self-sacrifice – Paul was willing to sacrifice his own safety throughout his missionary journeys.  Paul had shared the gospel with the Thessalonians at cost to himself.  1 Thessalonians 2:1-6; 13-14

2) Motherly love – Paul was not harsh, but gentle with them.  He did not take from them but was delighted to share with them.  They are dear to him, like a child to a mother.  1 Thessalonians 2:7-8

3) Fatherly integrity and encouragement – Paul says that he exhibited a fatherly integrity among them and now he encourages them with fatherly counsel.  Like a good father, he set an example of holiness, righteousness, and blamelessness in his work.  And like a good father, he urges them to live lives worthy of God.  1 Thessalonians 2:10-12

4) Desire for fellowship – Paul writes, “But brothers, when we were torn away from you for a short time (in person, not in thought), out of our intense longing we made every effort to see you” (2:17).  Since he has not been able to visit, Paul sent Timothy to strengthen and encourage them, and to bring news of them (3:1-5).  Such a desire for fellowship is another evidence of a genuine ministry.

5) Joy – Several times Paul says that he rejoices because of them.  First, in chapter 2, he writes, “For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes?  Is it not you?  Indeed, you are our glory and joy” (2:19-20).  1 Thessalonians 3:7-9

6) Prayer – Another sign Paul gives of genuine ministry to the Thessalonians is his prayers for them (2:13). 

7) Hope  – The first six signs are fed by the hope he has for them. In other words, Paul has dealt with the Thessalonians according to the hope of God’s calling in their lives.  His work among them in the past had been premised upon his hope in God concerning them, and his expectation of the future is also premised upon this hope in God.  Hope for the future – hope that God will do what he promises – is crucial to the ministry of caring that Paul has among the Thessalonians. 
This hope has implications in the present.  Paul prays in chapter 3, “May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones” (3:13).  Hope in the coming of our Lord Jesus leads to holiness in the present. 

All the above is taken from Mark Dever’s book, The Message of the New TestamentThen Mark Dever suggests that we should ask ourselves the following questions, which hit me pretty hard: 

Do these characteristics mark my ministry? 
Do they mark the ministry of those who are over you in the Lord?
If you are called to labor as a parent, an elder, a teacher, or a leader of any kind in the church, do these qualities mark your labors?
Or is your ministry just a self-centered sham with a religious veneer? 
Are we genuinely ministering out of real faith, real hope, and real love to God and his people?