Monday, October 27, 2014

Being different





Not only do the accents sound awesome, but this something I've been thinking about for years. 



How can we be different from the world around us? 



I don't think being different equates to being against. But the call is clear for those of us who call ourselves Christians are called to be different. 



I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Thoughts on worship


I shared a few thoughts on worship this past Sunday. Thought I'd repost them here.

Worship is active, not passive. Sometimes we approach the time of worship and singing as we would a concert where the professionals perform for us and we are passive listeners. I don’t think that makes God smile at all. Worship is always active and participatory. I like to think of it this way: God is the audience. We're the performers. 

Worship is both individual and corporate. Yes, we can worship by ourselves. We need to do that. But we also need to worship with one another. Something supernatural happens when followers of Jesus worship their Lord and Savior together.

Worship involves way more than singing. Singing is an expression of worship, but it's not the only expression of worship. We also worship through service, and giving, and taking communion, and listening, and obeying what God tells us to do in his word.

Worship overflows from a growing relationship with God. The catch is that it's impossible to grow in our relationship with God if we're not reading, meditating on, memorizing and obeying what God tells us in the Bible. Reading the Bible is like breathing in. Worship is like breathing out.

Join us this coming Sunday at Hub City Church for a morning of worship. 10 AM Spartan 16 Movie Theater.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The book that made your world

I mentioned this book on Sunday and wanted to put a link to it here. It's a bit difficult to read, but well worth pushing through the difficulty. 

Now, why would it be worth it to push through the difficulty and read this book? 

I believe that reading the Bible has value whether your believe it or not. This book is a sort-of history of the influence of the Bible on the world we live in. 

I also think it gives us a glimpse of what the world is going to look like if we rid it of the the Bible's influence. Suffice to say, it's not a world that you will want to live in.

Friday, October 10, 2014

The most dangerous soundtrack of all

This coming Sunday at Hub City Church I'm going to be talking about the Soundtrack of worry.

Everybody I know worries to some degree about something. Some people I know are professional worriers. It's their full time job.

But worry is dangerous. In fact, it may be the most dangerous Soundtrack of all. 

One reason worry is so dangerous is that while worrying we forget that this life is preparation for eternity. 

Liz showed me this C.S. Lewis quote that I had to cut from my sermon, but it's so good I have to share it.

“If you think of this world as a place intended simply for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable: think of it as a place of training and correction and it’s not so bad.”

That's good stuff.

I hope you'll join us Sunday at 10 AM at Spartan 16 movie theater as we learn how to push stop on the soundtrack of worry.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

SPACEPETS

If you're not getting Rick Warren's daily devotion then you're missing out on some great content. He's in a series on why you should read the Bible and it's priceless. (You can sign up here) Today's post was worth sharing:

“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.” (James 1:22 NLT)
Christian meditation means thinking about Scripture. You meditate on Scripture in the same way a cow chews her cud: by chewing on it and chewing on it and chewing on it.
The “probe-it” method of Bible study is a great way to do that. When you use this method, you probe the text with questions, almost like a jackhammer. To help you do that, I’ll share with you one of the strangest acrostics I’ve ever used: SPACEPETS. Each letter in the phrase is the first letter of a key word in a question you ask of God’s Word.
  1. Is there a SIN to confess? Does God’s Word make you aware of something you need to make right with God?
  2. Is there a PROMISE to claim? There are more than 7,000 promises in God’s Word. Ask yourself if the passage you’ve read contains a universal promise. Ask whether you’ve met all the conditions of the promise. Every promise has a premise!
  3. Is there an ATTITUDE to change? Is there something you need to think about differently? Do you need to work on a negative attitude, worry, guilt, fear, loneliness, bitterness, pride, apathy, or ego?
  4. Is there a COMMAND to obey? Is there a command you need to obey, no matter how you feel?
  5. Is there an EXAMPLE to follow? Are there positive examples to follow or negative examples to avoid?
  6. Is there a PRAYER to pray? Paul, David, Solomon, Elijah, and Isaiah, among others, pray in the Bible. You can use their prayers and know that they’ll be answered because they’re in the Bible and in God’s will.
  7. Is there an ERROR to avoid? It’s wise to learn from experience, and it’s even wiser to learn from the experience of others! We don’t have time to make all the mistakes ourselves. So what can you learn from the mistakes of those in Scripture?
  8. Is there a TRUTH to believe? Often, we’ll read something in Scripture that we can’t do anything about. We simply have to believe what it says about God the Father, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the past, the future, Heaven, Hell, or other topics in the Bible.
  9. Is there SOMETHING for which to praise God? You can always find something in a passage you can be grateful to God for, like something God has done or protected you from.
Every question in this list has a verb in it; there is something you can do associated with them. Write them in your Bible or put them on a notecard you keep with your Bible. They’ll help you be “doers of the Word” every time you meditate on the Bible.

Monday, October 06, 2014

All you need is 66 days

Every once in a while I read something that I can't stop thinking about. This rare phenomenon happened last week. It comes from a book called The One Thing by Gary Keller. I'll quote Gary:
     Contrary to what most people believe, success is not a marathon of disciplined action. Achievement doesn't require you to be a full-time disciplined person where your every action is trained and where control is the solution to every situation. Success is actually a short race--a sprint fueled by discipline just long enough for habit to kick in and take over.     When we know something that needs to be done but isn't currently getting done, we often say, "I just need more discipline." Actually, we need the habit of doing it. And we need just enough discipline to build the habit.
I don't know what goes through your mind when you read Gary's words, but to me, it is profound. Here's why:

Our lives are shaped by our habits. Most of the time, what keeps us from getting to where we want to go are our wrong habits. They could be bad habits, but they could also be good habits that aren't the best habits. As Jim Collins says, "Good is the enemy of great."

This immediately gets me thinking about reading the Bible and spending time with God. I say all the time that the best habit you could ever develop is the habit of reading your Bible on a daily basis. I believe that down to my core.

But the number one excuse I hear all the time from people who don't have that habit developed yet is that they just need more disciple. That is both wrong and right. You don't need more discipline forever. You just need discipline long enough to develop the habit.

Gary shares that, on average, a habit is developed after 66 days.

So, why not count out 66 days from today and put a big "H" on your calendar. Start today reading your Bible. Discipline yourself to do it for the next 66 days. You can do anything for two months. You might just develop a habit that will transform your life.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Regret

This past Sunday I started a teaching series called Soundtrack. The premise is this: 

Great movies have great soundtracks. When it comes to soundtracks, even though they aren't the focus of the movie, they impact us emotionally. The affect how we feel. Each of us has a soundtrack playing in the background of our minds. Too often, however, we're listening to the wrong soundtrack and it's affecting us negatively.

It's been difficult deciding which soundtracks to discuss. There really are so many. We started off talking about the soundtrack of guilt and shame. Related to guilt and shame is the soundtrack of regret. I didn't have time to talk about regret this past week, so I wanted to share a few thoughts that will hopefully be helpful to someone.

Regret is the feeling of sadness or loss over something in the past.

Last night Liz and I were talking about how to get rid of the soundtrack of regret. Here's what she reminded me of: 

Warning: It's simple but not easy.

The only way we know to get rid of regret is to forgive yourself. You know this, but sometimes the hardest person to forgive is yourself.

The only way you can forgive yourself is to focus on the fact that you've been forgiven. I've said before that forgiveness only makes sense if you've been forgiven. For those of you who call yourself a Christian, remember you've been forgiven because of what Jesus did for you on the cross. (If you aren't a Christian, that forgiveness is free and it's available. All you have to do is ask.) 

The forgiveness we have received is what motivates us to forgive others. It's also what should motivate you to forgive yourself.

Liz reminded me of 2 Corinthians 10:5 which tells us to "take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ." We need to take captive the thoughts of regret that run rampant in our minds and replace them with reminders that we've been forgiven.

I like Colossians 3:13 which says: Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.

Sometimes the "others" we need to forgive are "ourselves."

I know way too many people who are consumed with regret. Hear this. Let it sink in: You've been forgiven. You can forgive yourself. Take captive every thought, including your regret. Make it obedient to Christ by forgiving yourself. And trust what God's word says about you, ie. you're forgiven, more than your feelings. Move forward doing things right the second time.

You can't change the past, but you can shape the future. The right soundtrack can make all the difference.