Lay me down

There’s this aching in my soul that I can’t break free from.  Its a deep desire that has me yearning to see God move.

Honestly, the past few years have been frustrating for me.  I desire to work in full time ministry and honestly, I am not sure when that will happen.  I have helped start one church that never reached the potential I saw in it and the other one I am presently a part of has yet to reach that potential and that is okay.  We are seeing great things happen and God is increasing my faith immensely through it.

However, I have this goal of working just 1 job for 1 church.  And I have yet to see it capitalized upon.  And this saddens me and frustrates me.

It saddens me because it makes me question whether or not, my own views are skewed somewhat.  It frustrates me because I am not getting my way.  And honestly, if I had my way, the world would not reach the potential God would have it.  So that’s probably a good thing.

So today, I am vowing to reach His potential dreams and not my own.  I’m giving up what I desire… to go towards what He desires.

And this reminds me of a new song by Chris Tomlin & Matt Redman off the newest Passion cd that is rattling through my brain:

I lay me down I’m not on my own
I belong to You alone
Lay me down, lay me down
Hand on my heart, this much is true
There’s no life apart from You
Lay me down, lay me down

My goal no longer is full time ministry but doing only what God calls me to.  And if full time ministry is in my path, then so be it.  Bring it on.  I’m just going to keep following God.

What I read in books (3.30.12)

This week I have been reading a lot.  I’ve been spending a lot more time reading than watching TV and it has greatly blessed me.

Here is what I finished this week and my thoughts on those books:

The Collaborative Habit – Twyla Tharp
Twyla Tharp is one of my favorite authors on creativity and this one did not disappoint. Her writing is so eloquent and contagious and just draws me in with its passion. I don’t even appreciate her area of passion (dancing) and I am just enthralled by her stories of success and failure.
This is a must book for anyone wanting to know how to work creatively with others. Building off her first book, The Creative Habit, this one moves into the world of collaboration. Great read. 4 out of 5.

The Automatic Millionaire – David Bach
This book has been really fun to read.  A book on money being fun?  Yes, you read that correctly.  Vickie and I have been growing in our finances and I have always heard about this book but have yet to read it.  This one is actually a great read.  Very informative and has a ton of links to research even more.
All in all, this book is a re-wording of Dave Ramsey’s financing books (which I read first) with more of an emphasis on making everything automatic and therefore, less painful and less wavering on our part.  He also puts a lot of emphasis on Paying Yourself First which is good.  Great book.  4 out of 5.

The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
I picked this book up again because of the movie that just came out.  The movie actually follows the book really well and did a great job of bringing what I thought to life.  It was good for me.
The book has always fascinated me and I am loving it even more the second time through and I’m moving a lot faster through it.  I am going to keep moving through the trilogy and hopefully finish it this time.  Then I might pick up Lord of the Flies and the Giver to compare.  Then maybe my next tackle in fiction will be Stephen King’s Dark Tower series.  4 out of 5.

Here are some of the other books I have been reading this week but have yet to finish:

Art & Fear – David Bayles & Ted Orland
Resolution for Men – Stephen Kendrick
The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success – Deepak Chopra
The Four Hour Body – Timothy Ferris

What have you been reading this week?

Bad news

Vickie and I received some bad news last week that will greatly effect our finances and we are so saddened by it.  I am not going to go into details about it but everything is okay and we are trusting God more because of it.  And this is why I wanted to write this post because we will all face bad news at some point in our lives.

I have come to realize just over this past week that God works through the bad news.  Sometimes even more so than through the good.  Here are some things that I am learning:

  1. Bad news brings us back to reality.
    This is the case because bad news always makes things sink in.  I have had many times in my life where I was unable to process something until I was given the harsh reality of what I was truly facing.  An example would have to be the fact that when I was college, I was not doing well in anthropology until I got a D- on a test.  Only when that bad news hit did I realize how much I needed to step into gear my studying and really focus in on my future.
    Although, our present circumstances were not caused by anything on our part, it did make us look at reality a little bit differently.  It truly helped us realize just how bad some people have it in this city.  We know people who have lost their jobs and God has been with them.  So we are trusting that He will continue to be in us and with us too.
  2. Bad news shows us what we truly have to be grateful for.
    Because of what we are missing, we are getting a greater glimpse of what we truly have already.  We don’t have to focus on the bad because of all the good that God has given us.  This is something that I have tried to do for the past couple years by writing down in my journal about all the things that I am grateful for.  And honestly, the past few months have been hard for me and when I look back and realize that I have not been consistent with keeping up with my gratitude prayers, I understand a little bit deeper the point of praising God.
  3. Bad news helps us realize how truly good the good news is.
    There are so many things in this world that could leave us stuck in bed for days at a time because the bad seems to outweigh the good by a ton.  But what God has been showing me the past few years is that He has a plan and a purpose for each of us.  And no matter how bad things look, it will get better as we learn to trust Him.  As my favorite movie, the Dark Knight, says, “The night is darkest just before the dawn.” And I am seeing that more and more each day.
    We realize just how much God has given us because of the bad things that keep us away from Him.  People have asked me in the past, “why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?”  And I am just now starting to see that maybe those things are there because we need to be in the dark to see the light.  That’s where the light is most brightest.  This is why I believe that those who are at the end of the rope or the bottom of the line are about to experience a huge breakthrough in their lives.  They have given up on all other roads and realize that only God can see them through it.

I hope that you don’t get bad news this week.  But if you do, hopefully you will be better because of it.

Back to the Future

I believe I am actually one of the few that actually love remakes.  Not all of them, mind you. But a lot of them I am a big fan of.  However, movies from the 1980s are my favorites.

Except when I heard that Hollywood (whoever that might be, I’m not sure) might be re-doing Back to the Future.

Back to the Future is the ultimate ’80s movie to me.  Michael J. Fox is actually my favorite actor.  I can’t even tell you why but I just have always loved his movies.

And to desecrate this classic would be a travesty.

Because of this, I just want to say that sometimes, we shouldn’t reinvent the wheel.  Just let some things stay classic and not redo them.  Star Wars comes to mind as another example.

New is not always better.  Sometimes the wheel is perfect as it is.  So as leaders, let’s focus on what we can add to the wheel and not get bogged down in the basics.

Dear 24/7 Church

Today, I’m going to try and start a new thing here on my blog.  I’m going to start writing a weekly letter to my church, 24/7.  I have a lot of thoughts and prayers that God is putting on my heart and mind and I just need an outlet to share them.  So on Wednesdays, I’m going to be writing a short letter to the owners (our term for members) of 24/7 Church.  I hope you will join me if you are one.  But I also hope that you who may not be a part of our fellowship will read as well because I’m hoping to share a pastor’s heart and hopefully you will be encouraged as well.

So here it goes:
Dear 24/7 Church,

Let me just start off by saying that I love you.  I truly do.  I would not be here if it wasn’t for the thoughts and prayers of God’s saints at our church.  So I am truly blessed and I feel this more and more each day as God shows me more and more of His grace and mercy.

I’m excited about the journey that God has placed us on and these past few months have been exhilarating to say the least.  Pastor Tim and I have been focusing in on putting the right systems in place to bring growth in numbers and in faith to our church and we feel that God is truly allowing us the opportunities to sustain our growth.  And we have spoken with many of you about helping out with that so thank you for going ALL IN with it.

I was so ecstatic yesterday as we had almost 25 or 30 people join in with 24/7 and covenant to see all that God wants to bring about through our church to reach the city of Greensboro.  It truly brings great joy to my heart to see so many join in.  So I thank you to the new owners at 24/7 Church.

Last thing: we are starting a new series this week called Come Home and it is all about having the people who are far from God meet His embrace once again.  We had each of you put some names of people you are praying for on an index card and we really encourage each of you to bring them to church this Palm Sunday (April 1st) and on Easter (April 8th) because God is going to bring people to His love, grace, and mercy.

I look forward to seeing you all this week.

Love,

jason

The stench within

Have you ever seen those commercials where people get blindfolded and are brought to a house with all kinds of odors that have been Febreezed?

I love those commercials because they illustrate a great truth.  We all have things hidden deep within our hearts that we may not even know are there.  Things that if brought to the surface could destroy us.  Things that we have hidden so long because we cannot face them.

God is moving me in a direction where He desires to bring up those deep-seated issues so that I can be fully restored.  But I’m scared to face them.  I’d rather have a blindfold on than come face to face with the stench inside my heart.

I don’t really have a practical thing for today but it is a thought worth dwelling on.    Because we can only come to God in proportion to how much we let Him deal with what’s in us.

Passion=downfall

I am a history buff so when I discovered all these shows on Netflix such as Decoded with Brad Meltzer, I was hooked almost immediately.  And that’s the sad thing.  I bet you have heard the business world saying: your greatest strength can be your greatest weakness.

I am realizing that your greatest passion can also be your greatest downfall.  When I say that, I mean that the obsession that you have can destroy you, if left unchecked.  It could be a good obsession such as a hobby like playing guitar.  It can even be something horrendous like killing ants with a magnifying glass.

Or it could even be your ministry.

And this is what scares me so much because I don’t want to add myself to the countless others who were so focused on “their ministry” that they forfeited their family.

As an example, if I wanted to, I could spend all day watching videos on Netflix about history and honestly, I justify that as being better than wasting hours watching reality TV because I’m learning something.  But my passion can ultimately lead me to miss the calling God has on my life as a father and husband.

So what area of passion do you spend a screwed-up amount of time on?  And how can you fix it to focus on the places God has placed you at right now?