the precipice of a revolution

There are so many things to discuss on this here blog and I can only begin to tell you how excited I am for those things to take place.  God is about to do some amazing things in the lives of the people of 24/7 Church.  We are on the precipice of a revolution and revival.

I am not sure why I see this so clearly right now but God is aligning the stars for something big and let me just say that He is starting with me.  He is starting in me and its going to work through me.  But I want you to realize that its not just through me, or else I would boast in myself.

He’s about to do something through our pastor, through our small groups, prayer group, bible studies, and through so many more people who are beginning to be involved in the life of our church.

I’ve realized that God always does something in us before He does something through us and I am very excited to see this happen.

We, as a leadership team, are working through what it means to disciple.  Because without discipleship, we simply have people who make a one-time decision and have nowhere to go.  This should not be the case and I pray that we won’t commit the Great Omission (as Dallas Willard so eloquently wrote about in his book of that name).  In a new role that I feel God is calling me to, I am working through what it means to truly disciple in 21st century Greensboro, NC.

What does a true Christian look like?  What kind of knowledge do they have?  How would one pray like that?  How would one serve like that?  How would one spread the gospel and evangelize in our town?

In essence, this is simply a new way of phrasing what would Jesus do in this place and in this time.

I chose the word precipice because I love the definition of it (“A very steep rock face or cliff, typically a tall one”).  We have a cliff before us and I simply want to ask you, are you willing to take that leap?

Are you willing to jump off the mountain that you have built for yourself and enter the freedom that can only come from jumping?

Let’s take a leap and see what God does.

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Set List 9.18.11 & 9.25.11

This is really late but here were the songs that we did the past couple of weeks.  It has been great because God has added a female vocalist to our team and she has been doing fantastic.  More than anything, her heart and commitment has truly inspired the others to join in with what God is calling us to.  So let’s thank Joanna for helping out in her area of passion and calling.  It is also great to have a woman to our all-man team.  She is the wife of our drummer, Trevor, and has truly brought a lot to our team.

Set List 9.18.11

One way – Hillsong
Everyday – Lincoln Brewster
Hosanna – Hillsong
Oh You Bring – Hillsong United

All creatures of our God and King – old hymn by St. Francis of Assisi

Set List 9.25.11

We are free – Matt Redman

Dancing Generation – Matt Redman
Jesus Paid it all – Kristian Stanfill version
Narrow Road – Hillsong
Set a fire – Will Reagan & the United Pursuit

The greatness of our God – Hillsong

Things I’m Loving (9.24.11)

  1. At the top of my list is my new iPhone.  Wow, utterly amazing.  Why did I ever have a Droid?  Goodness, this phone is awesome.
  2. NFL football is going great thus far.  My fantasy team is only 50/50.  I am so happy the Panthers are now competitive.  Just wish Cam Newton could get that well deserved W.

Read

  1. The super simple secret to great ideas.  Jon Acuff hits it out of the park with this conflicting post about being quiet to be creative.
  2. Troy is dead.  Mark is dead.  God is sad.  Carlos Whittaker is the best blogger on the planet.  He always encourages, challenges, and redirects my life.  This post hit me especially since a man who is presumed to be innocent died this past week.
  3. My top ten worship songs.  Speaking of Carlos, he and a few of his friends are writing about their favorite worship songs.  I really love these. Mine are (as far as my memory serves me currently) (in no particular order) From the Inside Out, Did you feel the mountains tremble, Heart of Worship, Jesus Paid it all, Nothing but the blood (Matt Redman), Facedown, Divine Romance, Salvation is Here, How Great is our God, and How he loves.

Books

  1. Writing down the Bones was a great book that truly inspired me to be me in writing.
  2. IV by Chuck Klosterman is quickly becoming one of my favorite books.  I am not really into heavy metal or music writing that much but I will read anything that Klosterman writes.  He’s my new Malcolm Gladwell.
  3. The King Jesus Gospel really hammered down what the gospel story is truly about.  We need to stop taking Jesus out of his natural context (that of a Jewish man) and place him back in that story in order to truly see all that He did and had to say.
  4. The Eleventh Day was a great book about 9/11 and how and why it came to be.  Great read that fulfilled my crazy curiousity.  Very well researched and thorough.  I wish they were going to make a documentary that went just as much in depth.

Watch

  1. Vickie and I watched Bridesmaids the other day and it is pretty hilarious.  Really raunchy but funny.  I don’t recommend for everyone (most Christians) but a great laugh.
  2. We are still watching Cheers and we are currently in season 4 and still loving it.  Great, great show.  I would give Season 3 a 4 out of 5 stars.  Season 2 would be 4 out of 5 also.
  3. I watched the Office this past week and I love that Andy is the new boss to replace Michael Scott (Steve Carell) and think he is definitely the best choice.  I also love the dynamics between James Spader’s character, Robert California, and everyone he encounters.  It was so funny to see Stanley have a recurring joke in the show (“shove it up your butts”).
  4. Modern Family had a great premiere and it was easy to see why it won so many Emmys last week.
  5. We even watched the new show Whitney.  It was good but it made me think that it was more for women.  And I’m not one so I am not sure how long I’ll continue to watch.
  6. I have other shows I wish to watch but either don’t have the time or probably shouldn’t watch them.  Here those are:  Breaking Bad (just got on Netflix Instant), Mad Men (can’t see what is so amazing about this show but love it and I’ve only seen 3 episodes), the Wire (probably simply because both Michael’s former boss and new wife on the Office came from it but also because I’ve heard it is amazing), Chuck, Psych, Glee (we’ve only season 1 and want to watch the current ones.  When is season 2 going to release on Netflix instant?), and the Sopranos.

What inspired you this week?  What should I be reading on a blog or a book and what should I be watching?

Things I’m Loving (9.24.11)

  1. At the top of my list is my new iPhone.  Wow, utterly amazing.  Why did I ever have a Droid?  Goodness, this phone is awesome.
  2. NFL football is going great thus far.  My fantasy team is only 50/50.  I am so happy the Panthers are now competitive.  Just wish Cam Newton could get that well deserved W.

Read

  1. The super simple secret to great ideas.  Jon Acuff hits it out of the park with this conflicting post about being quiet to be creative.
  2. Troy is dead.  Mark is dead.  God is sad.  Carlos Whittaker is the best blogger on the planet.  He always encourages, challenges, and redirects my life.  This post hit me especially since a man who is presumed to be innocent died this past week.
  3. My top ten worship songs.  Speaking of Carlos, he and a few of his friends are writing about their favorite worship songs.  I really love these. Mine are (as far as my memory serves me currently) (in no particular order) From the Inside Out, Did you feel the mountains tremble, Heart of Worship, Jesus Paid it all, Nothing but the blood (Matt Redman), Facedown, Divine Romance, Salvation is Here, How Great is our God, and How he loves.

Books

  1. Writing down the Bones was a great book that truly inspired me to be me in writing.
  2. IV by Chuck Klosterman is quickly becoming one of my favorite books.  I am not really into heavy metal or music writing that much but I will read anything that Klosterman writes.  He’s my new Malcolm Gladwell.
  3. The King Jesus Gospel really hammered down what the gospel story is truly about.  We need to stop taking Jesus out of his natural context (that of a Jewish man) and place him back in that story in order to truly see all that He did and had to say.
  4. The Eleventh Day was a great book about 9/11 and how and why it came to be.  Great read that fulfilled my crazy curiousity.  Very well researched and thorough.  I wish they were going to make a documentary that went just as much in depth.

Watch

  1. Vickie and I watched Bridesmaids the other day and it is pretty hilarious.  Really raunchy but funny.  I don’t recommend for everyone (most Christians) but a great laugh.
  2. We are still watching Cheers and we are currently in season 4 and still loving it.  Great, great show.  I would give Season 3 a 4 out of 5 stars.  Season 2 would be 4 out of 5 also.
  3. I watched the Office this past week and I love that Andy is the new boss to replace Michael Scott (Steve Carell) and think he is definitely the best choice.  I also love the dynamics between James Spader’s character, Robert California, and everyone he encounters.  It was so funny to see Stanley have a recurring joke in the show (“shove it up your butts”).
  4. Modern Family had a great premiere and it was easy to see why it won so many Emmys last week.
  5. We even watched the new show Whitney.  It was good but it made me think that it was more for women.  And I’m not one so I am not sure how long I’ll continue to watch.
  6. I have other shows I wish to watch but either don’t have the time or probably shouldn’t watch them.  Here those are:  Breaking Bad (just got on Netflix Instant), Mad Men (can’t see what is so amazing about this show but love it and I’ve only seen 3 episodes), the Wire (probably simply because both Michael’s former boss and new wife on the Office came from it but also because I’ve heard it is amazing), Chuck, Psych, Glee (we’ve only season 1 and want to watch the current ones.  When is season 2 going to release on Netflix instant?), and the Sopranos.

What inspired you this week?  What should I be reading on a blog or a book and what should I be watching?

remembering 9/11

Recently, I have been fascinated by the events of 9/11.  Fascination is not the best word to use for an event with sadness at that magnitude but I have been reading articles on the events of that day and have been watching documentaries about it.

It all started with a documentary that I watched one afternoon on Netflix a couple months ago.  The documentary placed the idea in my head that the events of 9/11 were not as they seemed.  Although it came to the conclusion that the Bush administration had caused the events of 9/11, I was still pretty skeptical.  And I just couldn’t get it out of my mind and wanted to read more about it.  Especially with the implications that the documentary was posing.

So I checked out a book from my local library.  Its called The Eleventh Day by Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan.  It is a fascinating read.  Very thoroughly researched and amazing in its scope.  They paint a picture of terrorists obsessed with wanting to kill Americans and preserve their “pure religion”.  We all know them as Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda and this book did a great job of presenting the events as they happen and showing that there differently was more than we were told.  There was definite deception and corruption but more importantly, there was incompetence.

These events could have been prevented, I sincerely believe.  I have just been aching over the events of 9/11 for a couple weeks now and I just simply can’t express the gratitude I have for those people who helped to save lives and it just blows my mind that this happened in our country and to so many people.

This started out as a review of a book but what follows ends with a deep regret for what happened and joy that God is about redeeming and restoring all of creation.

I just wish to point out one paragraph that I read in this book that truly hit me.  It actually came from the Acknowledgments section which most tend to ignore but I have always read this closing section because I want to write a book one day and I believe that I should study how people write in all ways.  In fact, my friend Aaron, who was a film major in college had to see about 500 films throughout his time in college, remarked to me that when the filmmaking students had to go to the theater to see the movies, you were basically ridiculed if you left before all the credits were done.  These were people who wished to pursue filmmaking as a career and they stayed to watch these films.  So I likewise honor those in the craft I would love to be a part of by reading the liner notes for musicians (if I buy the full album), and reading the acknowledgments in books.  (Sorry for the long thoughts about explaining my quirkiness).

Here’s the quote that caught me:  “We were reminded at every step of the way that the story on which we were embarked was freighted with human suffering: that of those who died on September 11 itself, of those killed in earlier and subsequent attacks, and of the more than 100,000 people who have died and continue to die in the ensuing conflicts – and those left grieving across the world.

In this Acknowledgments section of our book, then, we honor first and foremost those who will never be able to read it.”

That just breaks my heart to read.  I literally shed a tear when I read that.  This blog post, no matter how trivial it is, is for those who died in the 9/11 attacks.  And I know that I am writing this after the 10th anniversary (I can’t believe it has been 10 years!), but I just wish to say that you have always been in my prayers since that fateful Tuesday.

I still remember being in my first semester at UNCG and being taught German that early morning and then hearing about the World Trade Centers being attacked and I had no idea what they were except for that they were two tall towers in NYC.  I then walked back to my dorm, after picking up some breakfast (I know you probably think how heartless I was but no one knew it was an attack at that point and I didn’t really feel connected to anyone there in NYC) but on my way to my room, I saw this girl crying her eyes out on the phone.  I was close enough to her to overhear that she was trying to locate her brother who worked at the WTC.  I was instantly caught up in the devastation that was 9/11 at that moment.  I quickly went back to my dorm to see what was going on (because there was no other TV that I could watch that early) and was caught by the image and then saw the 2nd plane hit the other building live.  I couldn’t believe that this was happening.  I couldn’t believe that this was real.  That this had been done to our country in our country.  Still to this day, it makes no sense to me how someone can be so willing to kill 1,000s of people.  But it did happen and so many lives have been taken and laid down since then.

So I just want to honor those who were lost on that day and those who have been lost since.  I could talk about how Jesus said that we are to love our enemies but I don’t wish to say that.  I truly want people to pay for what they did.  And I know that I still need to be redeemed.  But I serve a great God who will redeem and restore all things.  And he’s creating in me a new way to live.  But today, I wish to honor those who were lost.

All there was of me

Matt Redman has always astounded and inspired me with his music and with his words.  Because of that, I have been re-reading his book, Facedown (which he also turned into my favorite live worship album), and I was caught by a section that truly challenged me to be more in awe of who God has called me to be.

Here is the quote that truly hit me about the founder of the Salvation Army:

One of the best examples I’ve come across of a man who sang his worship passionately and backed up his songs with a life of devotion was the founder of the Salvation Army, William Booth.  With a heart set on mission and mercy, Booth lived out his love for God through a life of serving the poor – a life so fruitful that we still feel its repercussions all over the world today.  So what was the secret to Booth’s success?  Was he a focused visionary following the seven key steps to building a long-lasting ministry?  Was he an insightful planner carefully working out a master plan that would establish the Salvation Army globally for decades to come?  No, I don’t think so.  Booth himself knew the key to his fruitfulness in ministry – it was worship with a price:

I will tell you the secret.  God has had all there was of me.  There have been men with greater brains than I, men with greater opportunities.  But from the day I got the poor of London on my heart, and caught a vision of all Jesus Christ could do with them, on that day I made up my mind that God would have all of William Booth there was.  And if there is anything of power in the Salvation Army today, it is because God has had all the adoration of my heart, all the power of my will, and all the influence of my life.”


Set List 9.11.11

This Sunday was a time of remembrance.  That is honestly the only word I can come up with about it.  I spent some time trying to find a better word but that is all that I had.

Remembrance for the lives that were lost on 9.11 ten years ago.
Remembrance of the sacrifices that were made.
And finally, remembrance of our great God.

We, as a church, spent some time in silence and prayer for that fateful day 10 years ago and I honestly was a little overcome because of the emotions.  But we rejoiced in what God has done in our lives and what He is going to continue to do even more miraculously.

Here was our set list for 9.11.11:

One Way – Hillsong United
Forever – Chris Tomlin
Manifesto – The City Harmonic
Oh You Bring – Hillsong United

We introduced the last song for the first time at 24/7 and I felt that our people were worshipping through it in triumphant manner (it is always hard to worship through a brand new song but 24/7 did it well).

God is good all the time
and
all the time God is good.

I was truly taken by that thought this weekend.