Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Wrecked on the 208, part 1

I love camp!

I didn't grow up in church, so I didn't know about camp. I became a Jesus follower in college, and my first experience at church camp was the year I married April. We didn't have money for a real vacation, so we went with the church youth group, where we were teaching 8th graders, to camp.

It was GREAT! I didn't know what I was missing! If I just could have stayed with my wife that week, I could definitely live at camp.

Our oldest finished 6th grade and this was her first year to be able to go to youth camp. So, of course, April and I decided we had to go too! It didn't hurt that our favorite and most God-used in our world's speaker dude, Louie Giglio, was going to be the speaker. And we were staying in awesome condo's on Daytona Beach. And Chris Tomlin was leading worship. And David Crowder*Band would be there.

And Jesus!

So I was ready to be rocked. But I wasn't all the way ready. Louie encouraged us, challenged us to press in and meet God, experience His Presence!

And I did.

And I was wrecked...I don't have a better word for you. I met God in the back of the Ocean Center, in the left corner, Section 208.

And I'll never be the same.

Not a one-time event, never to be repeated. But a part of the life of a Jesus Worshiper, when press in to the Presence of our Great God through the Gateway of Jesus.

To borrow a line from The After's, I'm never going back to OK. Never going to settle for less than all of God's Presence through Jesus!

Here is the link to my talk, www.tbclc.org/august-2-wrecked-on-the-208.

I'll unpack this more in the next couple days (and post at least weekly, that's the plan).

I am Section 208!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

what kind of dirt?

I've been thinking about dirt a lot recently. What kind of dirt am I? My friends and my church - what kind of dirt are they?

Jesus told a story, a parable, to describe what happens when someone hears His message of God's Kingdom. He listed four types of responses - four types of dirt.

One kind is hard packed. Someone who hears about Jesus, never understands, and the enemy steals away the possibility of new life.

The second kind is thin. Someone hears about Jesus, gets into it - all excited. But some trouble hardship comes up because of Jesus, and they fall away. No Root Syndrome.

The third kind grows up with thorns and weeds. Someone who hears about Jesus, gets into it and starts to grow. The problem is that the weeds and thorns are growing alongside this person, and they are using up part of the critical air, water and minerals, choking the new plants growth, and this plant never bears fruit, it never matures and multiplies. Jesus said the thorns are the cares of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth.

The forth kind of dirt is good, ready to support growth to maturity. Someone who hears about Jesus, gets it, is all excited, understands what has happened, and unhindered by competing threats, has room to grow roots, and takes off!

I want more good dirt - the kind that grows up and multiplies.

What kind of dirt are you?

What kind of dirt are you cultivating in your church?

UPDATE, later that same day...
One of my employees has been looking in distress this past week. She broke up with a boyfriend - there was obvious drama. I told her I was praying for her, because I was.

Today, three hours ago, I was at the laundry working, and after some conversation, I asked her if anyone has ever told her the Gospel of Jesus in a way she could understand it. She said no. I asked if she wanted me to tell her. She said yes...

An hour later, Tanya expressed to God her faith in the power of the life, death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus, and how she wanted to follow Him as Lord!

Tanya said she had no Christians that she was aware of in her world. So I started working my friends in her area to try to connect her to a healthy Bible-believing church, and some cool women in love with Jesus who could walk with her in her new life in Christ. I'm praying for that now.

Because I want Tanya to be that 4th kind of dirt. God wants that too!

Go Jesus! paul

Monday, April 20, 2009

The River

I was thinking. And listening.

And this thought came: Life with God is like a River. The River is everything that's included in doing life with God. It's God's Will, His Agenda in the Earth, His Ways (aka principle's), how He does stuff, His Values, the way He grows His disciples, what He thinks about sin and rebellion, how this thing is going to end up...you get the idea.

It's Where God is Going, What He is Doing, and How He Does it.

The River.

The picture above is a beautiful scene; a river gently flowing through a forest in Springtime. Wow!

My concern is that we can, way too often, include only this kind of smooth water in our map of the River of God. Stuff that's fairly easy. Calm. Safe. Controlled.

But as I read the Bible, it seems that is not an accurate River map. So with the wrong map in hand, we pack for calm. Nice wide canoe. Sun hat. Fried chicken in the picnic basket. No life jacket. Large telephoto lens to capture the moment as we gently roll along.

But around some of the the corners are fast waters, rapids, large boulders in our path. (Think "foxes have holes...but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head, come and follow me. Matt 8:20. Or, John 12:27-28, where Jesus said He came for the Hour where He would lay down His life.) We turn the corner, unprepared, and the results are not pleasant! Canoe overturns, our stuff is gone, and we gag in the water without helmet or lifejacket...and we blame God for messing it up, not keeping up His end of the deal. And we turn away from Him.

Is your River map accurate? Moreover, is it complete? Are the rapids included (stuff like...John 16:33, In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world.)

I want Jesus-Followers to finish well. To make it to the end of the River on Earth and make God look sooooo good in the process.

Make sure your River Map is good - get to know this God, dive into His Words, develop your relationship with Him, go on the Adventures He provides, put your self in places where you HAVE TO depend on Him.

Life with God is an adventure!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Grave Couldn't Hold Him

I love the message by Rev SM Lockridge, That's My King. Rev. Lockridge tries in marvelous eloquence to put to words the majesty and love of Jesus, His King.

At the apex, he bellows out the truth, "And the grave couldn't hold Him!"

Death could not contain Jesus!

He told us it would be this way.

He taught His disciples ahead of time, "31He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again." Mark 8:31

The shock of Jesus' death rocked the disciples, and they seemed to be able to see nothing other than the horror. The authorities brutally murdered their Lord. It seemed to out of God's will.

But it wasn't. Here is what Jesus said, "No one takes [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again." John 10:16-17

Death has been overcome. The grave overwhelmed! Jesus' love, His determination to give though it cost Him dearly, and the Father's will to plan a rescue that no one expected...I'm so glad the Grave Couldn't Hold Jesus.

Isaiah 40:26

Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.

Coolest Things of the Day...

  • I am now the College-Age Minister at my church...Wow, do I need Jesus!