Friday, June 29, 2007

Habits

Our lives are really the sum of a bunch of different habits. It's those things that we do over and over again that give our lives meaning, stability, structure and manageability.

I've been thinking about habits lately. Maybe it's because I changed my morning routine a few months back. I used to get up, take a shower, drink coffee and have my quiet time, eat breakfast and then go on to the rest of my day. Well, I'm getting up a bit earlier now to make sure I have enough time alone with God before my boys wake up (they never sleep past 7 or 7:30, and are frequently up before 7). With this earlier wake up call I've changed from showering first to drinking coffee and spending time alone with God first. It's been a great change. I really enjoy it (I know you're thrilled to know my morning routine, but hang in there, I'm going somewhere with this.)

The problem is that sometimes, if I have to be somewhere early, I have to revert back to my previous routine. This small change in my morning habits always throws me for a loop.

I know what you're thinking, "Man, Jonathan's a loser!" While that might be true to some degree (I was #1 on my tennis team in high school and never won one match), you try switching things up for a minute and see how you're left feeling. Here are some ideas:
  • Change the way you drink your coffee.
  • Rearrange your bedtime routine.
  • Order something different at your favorite restaurant.
  • Get a pizza with toppings you've never had.
The list could go on and on. So what is my point? If our lives are really the sum total of various habits I think it would be profitable to take an inventory of those habits to see which ones are beneficial and which ones we could do without.

Take for instance: Do you have the habit of spending time with God on a regular basis? If not, why not? If you're a Christ follower then I would definitely ask, "Why not?" Then, if you do have that habit, are you making the most of it. I switched my morning routine to maximize my time alone with God. I'd recommend, I'd beg, I'd plead, do whatever you need to do to prioritize your relationship with God.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Just in case you're wondering, there's no way I'm changing the way I fix my coffee. Why mess with perfection?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Humiliating

This week our oldest boys have gone camping with my parents. It's been a bit odd just having an 8 month old around the house (it's a lot quieter!), but great having some less interrupted time with Liz.

That's not the humiliating part. This AM I had to go to the doctor. No, I am not sick, but we thought (actually, Liz thought) it was time to get a doctor here in Spartanburg just in case I do get sick sometime in the future. So, Liz signed me up to get a physical. I don't like going to the doctor. I especially don't like getting a physical. It's a pretty humiliating experience for me (thank goodness the doctor said I don't need a prostate exam for another 2 years. I'm leaving the country in 1 year 11 months 29 days.). But in spite of the humiliation it's supposed to be good for you to get a physical, right?

This got me thinking. Really, the only thing that keeps me from regularly getting a physical (I've had 2 since I graduated high school--and I turn 33 on July 9th) is laziness and pride. I really think I'm too good, too healthy, altogether alright and such, so I don't need to go to the doctor... so I put it off. I change the topic when Liz brings it up. I put off what's good for me.

That got me thinking. We do this a lot don't we? We do it with God all the time. God tells us the best way to do relationships, but we don't want to play by those rules because we think we know better or we're just too lazy to find out what God says. God tells us how to handle money the right way, but we ignore that because we've believed the lie that it's all our money anyway. God tells us how to be in a right relationship with him, but we're not to keen on that, so we mix and match different religions or cultural beliefs together to find something that fits us better.

The problem in all of this is our stupid self-centeredness. It's all about us and if we don't like it we either ignore it or flat out rebel or change the topic so we don't have to think about it anymore.

We're going to talk a bit about this on Sunday at The Point. It will be worth your time. It sure has been eye-opening to me.

One good thing about today: I didn't have to make a follow-up appointment, so maybe I can postpone my next physical for another 7 or 8 years!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Must See


We don't go see many movies together as a family... especially since we have to take out a second mortgage to take all of us, but last night I took the fam to see Evan Almighty. I had heard good things about this film, and I was not disappointed. I laughed throughout the entire movie. It was clean. It was creative. And I think that the way they had Morgan Freeman portray God wasn't all that bad. It even emphasized obedience.

I don't normally recommend movies, but this is worth seeing in the theater.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

I want to be like that

Sometimes I read something and think to myself, "Man, I want to be like that!" I read this passage this morning. I want to be like that.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Sunday night change

This Sunday, The Point is going to switch things up a bit. It's going to be an M&M night: Mexican and Movies. Instead of meeting at the BCM building we will be meeting at Corona's on Blackstock Rd. After some Mexican food we're going to head over to the Spartan 16 theater to watch Evan Almighty at 8 PM. Bring some friends and come have some fun. See you Sunday.

Wedding report


We're finally back from our adventure in the northeast and so I've got Internet access and a few minutes to report about my first wedding. I am no longer a virgin wedding officiator. I successfully completed my first wedding. It was a blast and a huge honor to do Stephanie and Chris's wedding. I am so thankful that they asked me to be a part.

People always talk about how beautiful the bride is, but I wish you could have seen my bride. She was gorgeous.


I'll share a funny story... well, it's funny now... during the ceremony I noticed that my wedding band was missing. My first wedding, I'm talking about commitment and doing the exchanging of rings and vows, and MY wedding band is not where it was supposed to be. This really stressed me out and was deeply upsetting. We looked all over the hotel room, had the people where the wedding took place be on the lookout, called the grocery store where I went to by Tylenol for Levi...but alas... no ring. Then Liz is getting earrings out of her small jewelery container and lo and behold, there's my wedding ring. It was a huge relief for me.

After some great fun and great food in Cape May we headed to NYC for 3 days. I wasn't sure what to expect dragging three small boys around the Big Apple, but besides some small complaining they did awesome. NYC is an amazing place. We visited Liz's twin brother, Matt and her sister-in-law, Emily's tiny apartment on the upper east-side. I think God might be calling some of you who read this blog to go plant a church there. They need to have at least one house church per apartment building. If you can do that take off. I'll support you.

I think this every time we head up to New Jersey, but I am so glad Liz has
relatives from that part of the country. It was great seeing everyone and hopefully we see you all sooner rather than later.


Friday, June 15, 2007

From Cape May, NJ

I'm sitting out front of my hotel room at The Heritage Motor Inn at the corner of Stockton Pl. and Beach Ave. in Cape May, NJ. Nathan and Matthew are across the street at the beach with their cousin Zack and Aunt Judy, probably freezing to death. I'm babysitting Levi, who is taking a much needed nap, and working on the wedding gig I have for tomorrow. I think it may be all of 62 degrees outside right now. It's supposed to be 91 on Sunday. The pool is about 3 degrees above ice, but it's really beautiful out here.

I don't know how much I'll be posting over the next few days while we're here in NJ and then in NYC. I picked up some wireless from some other hotel nearby.

I would ask that you pray for me as I officiate my first wedding tomorrow. It's going to be a lot of fun. Pray for Chris and Stephanie. It's a big day and a big committment for them.

I have to share some bragging on my boys. I've got great boys, but I wasn't sure how the 8 hour drive to Norfolk or the 5 hour drive from Norfolk to Cape May was going to go. They were awesome. There was no fighting between Nathan and Matthew for the 8 hour trip and only a little bit of squabbling yesterday. They were great. Then Levi, the dude is a trooper. He was great. He's the happiest baby. All this goodness... and without a traveling DVD player!

I'd better get back to the wedding stuff.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Authority

I've got this question that's been running around in my mind the past week: What authority are we allowing to direct our lives? I'll make it more personal, what authority are you allowing to run your life?

I've noticed something over the past few months, personal experience is king. The majority of people I meet (including the one in the mirror at times), Christian and non-Christian, allow circumstances, feelings or peers to be the authority that they align their lives under. While I do believe that God does speak through all three of those I think it is a tragic mistake for us to allow them the ultimate voice of authority in our lives.

So what should be the ultimate authority in the life of a Christ follower? The Bible. Duh!?!? The problem is that we know that, but we don't line our lives up under the authority of Scripture. We think that in certain areas (finances, dating, relationships, work ethic, ect.) that God has made an exception for us. Or we just don't give a rip about what God says (which is what Proverbs refers to as a fool).

That's why one of our core values at The Point is Biblical Authority.

Now let me say what I'm not saying. I'm not saying that you need to know the Bible better. I think that knowledge is great, but if it stops as some intellectual exercise then we're missing the point. What I'm saying is that we need to do what we know. We need to align our lives with how God tells his followers to live in the Bible. We need to submit to the authority of Scripture (by the way, if you want a life of freedom, maximum freedom is found under God's authority, but that's another sermon).

It's about trusting God enough to obey what he says to do. Trust and obedience... these are essential characteristics of a Christ follower. (But I thought love was...? Yes, but the command to love makes love an issue of obedience and "loving others" is just one of the things that Jesus talks about.)

I don't know what your daily Scripture intake is, but I want to encourage you to increase it. Then do what it says!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Stories of grace



I have to admit, I don't understand grace. I like grace. I believe in grace. If it weren't for grace I'd be doomed, but grace is messy. Grace forces me to actually trust God to do what he's promised to do. My bent is to try and fix people, but that's God's job. Grace transforms people who rest in it.

Stripped is another one of those books I got for free (I love free stuff!). I wasn't sure if it would really be worth my time. It was more than worth my time. Reading these stories of life change was a big inspiration to me. I love stories and this book is filled with stories that will increase your trust in the God of grace.

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Friday, June 01, 2007

Why you should do Music on Main

Last night Liz, Chris, William, my boys and I went to give gum away at Music on Main. We gave away 318 pack of gum in about 20 minutes. I've got to tell you a story. Liz, the boys and I were giving some gum away to some people who were sitting on benches. One guy looked at the card that we give away with the gum and said, "I got one of these before and called the number on the card and somebody prayed with me." I said, "If somebody prayed for you then it was me." He was so thankful to have been prayed for and it was cool to meet face to face someone who I had talked with and prayed with over the phone. Who knows how God is going to use the giveaways in the future. Who knows how he is going to use you. Come be a part of the fun next Thursday. "Small things done with great love can change the world." - Steve Sjogren.

Transformation


Somebody sent this book to me for free. I've got to say thanks to whoever sent it. There's more good stuff in the book than I have time to write, so you need to read it. You can get a copy here.

Here are a few things that I'll share: I really loved his stuff on the difference between being converted and being transformed. I'm going to teach that sometime. He talked about how the church in the west really has a lot to learn from the church in the east where a church planting movement is exploding. He also shared how not only are we, as individuals, missionaries, but that the church is themissionary (thus the reason for what I'm going to share on Sunday).

I think what connected with me and inspired me the most is the idea of The Point being a church that partners with the Holy Spirit to see lives transformed and then, flowing out from partners with the Holy Spirit to transform the world. I do believe that God has called us to be missionaries here in Spartanburg, but if we stop here then we've fallen short of what God has invited us into. The vision of The Point is to be a church that impacts the entire world. I know that sounds a bit presumptuous considering our size and influence now, but that's the goal. I want to see lives transformed because of what we do in Spartanburg. I want to see us plant other churches in Spartanburg. I want us to plant churches all around the state, our country and the world (which is, by the way, why we give 5% of our take in from tithes and offerings to a church plant in Lexington, SC and another 5% to missionaries both here and overseas).

Transformation is most definitely worth your time.

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