Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Father/Son bonding

Today I got to take Nathan (my 9 year old) with me to the Soup Kitchen to help serve lunch. I thought it would be good father/son bonding.

I've got to say, Nathan blew me away with how hard he worked. He and I were stationed at the drink table. We put together a little assembly line with him filling the cups with ice and me pouring the drinks. He worked his tale end off for over an hour. He never complained. He was awesome. I was/am so proud of him.

Just had to record this for posterity sake. It was a great shared experience that I'll remember for a long time.

After we were done he asked me if I could get him out of school when I go back to serve next month.

Story of my life

"Sometimes the Lord leads u down a street 2 get u 2 another street 2 get u 2 a side street u wouldn't find any other way." - Mark Batterson

This is the story of my life.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Top Ten reasons to spend Easter with Hub City Church

Top 10 Reasons to spend Easter with Hub City Church:

10. No need to buy a new Easter outfit. It's come as you are casual.

9. No Perfect People Allowed. You'll fit right in.

8. Free Coffee!

7. No people dressed up like the Easter Bunny who could scare your kids
(we can't, however, make the same promise about the church staff).

6. Come at 10 AM for worship. Stay after and watch Clash of the Titans
in 3D.

5. The seats are REALLY comfortable.

4. We have a B.Y.O.J.B. policy (Bring Your Own Jelly Beans).

3. God loves you and so do we (but we do understand if it takes you a
while to love us back, we're an acquired taste).

2. When else can you get into a movie theater for free?

1. Jesus is risen! He is risen indeed!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Did I offend you?

I don't intentionally try to offend people. If I do think I might offend you I try and give you a warning ahead of time. But there are times when something I say or something I do offends someone. It just happens. And I feel bad about it.

I was thinking about this and I came across this blog from Mark Batterson. It's a good reminder. I'd love to know what you think after reading it.

If I really believe "Jesus is Lord"...

I was working on my sermon for this coming Sunday and came across this from Shawn Lovejoy. I'll probably share it on Sunday too.

If I really believe "Jesus is Lord"...

  • I won't worry about what others think; only what He thinks.
  • I won't seek the applause of men; only His.
  • I'll react to people based on His reactions toward me.
  • I will begin each day with Him.
  • I will spend lots of time with Him.
  • I will seek to know Him very personally.
  • I will seek to partner in His mission throughout my day; not just accomplish my mission.
  • I will seek to honor Him with my heart, soul, mind, and strength.
  • I'll end each day asking two questions: "How did I partner with Jesus today? How did I resist Him today?"
  • I won't be so hard on myself.
  • I won't worry about the future.
  • I will give to Him first; not last.
  • I won't worry about my church.
  • I will live and share the Gospel.
  • I will surrender my agenda to Him.
  • I will love God.
  • I will love people; as much as I love myself!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Don't read these books

Seriously, these books will mess you up. I'm reading both for a second time.


Are you growing?

I've got a question for you: How's your spiritual life? Are you growing in your relationship with God? Are you experiencing more and more of God on a regular basis? Or, have things slowed down? Has your growth as a disciple hit a plateau?

Maybe you need to do a little self-evaluation. I came across the following questions today. I found them helpful and wanted to pass them on to you:
  • When was the last time I became excited about something God showed me in his Word?
  • Have I recently overcome a sinful habit or attitude?
  • When did I last encounter Christ so powerfully that I didn't want the experience to end?
  • When was the last time God used my life to bless someone ina a manner God had never worked through me before?
  • Is my trust and confidence in the Lord growing? What is the evidence?
  • How's my prayer life? Am I spending more time in prayer than I did before, or less? What have I been hearing God say to me in prayer? What kind of answers am I receiving to my prayers?
(These came from Richard Blackaby's book Unlimiting God.)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I'm having trouble

This is one of those weeks where I'm having trouble figuring out what God wants to say through me on Sunday. I would appreciate your prayers.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Trying to win... ooohhh... pick me!


I'm trying to win this book. If you click here you could win too.

The tension

My favorite band in the world is Switchfoot. They should be your favorite too. They really are incredible. But that's not the point of this post.

There's a line in their song Dare you to Move that really expresses how I feel at the moment. It says, The tension is here, between who you are and who you could be, between how it is and how it should be....

And right now the tension in killing me.

Friday, March 19, 2010

To My Hub Group

I read this post this morning and had to write something about you guys.

If you don't know, my Hub Group is about to multiply from one to two. We're having a Hub Group Baby. Most of the folks in my group will be going to start the new one. It's bittersweet for me for a couple of reasons.

First, the people in my Hub Group are my friends. Seriously. I so much love the people I've spent the last year with. They don't treat me weird because I'm a pastor. I am honored to call them friends. It's going to be tough not seeing them at 5 PM every Sunday.

Second, I'm so pumped about their new group. It's going to be great. They have such potential and everybody in the group has so much to offer. Seriously, if you're not in a Hub Group, you may want to join theirs. I am really excited to see how God is going to use this challenge to grow each of them.

So, to my Hub Group. I love you guys. You are my friends. You will continue to be my friends. You just can't show up at my house on Sundays @ 5 after this week. I can't wait to see how God is going to use you. I'll miss the pretzels. And somebody, make something with cinnamon in it for Jason. It'll do him good. Keep letting the Holy Spirit be your teacher as you discuss stories from God's word. And don't forget to invite new people into your group. You've got something great to offer.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The unthinkable

I think one of the things that I find most incredible and amazing about God is his ability and desire to forgive our sins. When I think about it I am blown away. It really is unthinkable and almost unbelievable that God would forgive us as he does.

Our problem, however, is that I don't think we actually believe that God forgives us. We think we need to earn forgiveness, pay penance or do something to pay for what we've done.

But that's not how God does it. If we confess, he forgives.

I think some of you needed to be reminded of this today, so I encourage you to read the following Psalms, spend some time in confession, and let God speak to you about how you are forgiven: Psalm 32, Psalm 51, Psalm 103.

Ananias

I know I've read the story of Ananias out of Acts 9:1-19 before, but this morning, as I read it again, I was blown away by Ananias.

I don't know much about the guy. He was from Damascus. He was a disciple of Jesus. That's about it.

What's amazing to me about this guy is his ability to hear from God and then his courage (in the face of fear) to be obedient to what God had told him to do. And as a result of his hearing and doing, Saul's sight was restored, he was baptized and he was filled with the Holy Spirit.

That's big because this "Saul" later became "Paul," the guy who wrote most of the New Testament and who spread the gospel throughout the Roman world.

God used Ananias because he was listening and obedient. You never know how God is going to use you when hear from him and do what he says.

St. Patrick

Thanks to Mark Batterson for the following story:

In honor of
St. Patrick's Day, here is a little backstory on Saint Patrick himself.

At the age of 16, Saint Patrick was captured by Irish raiders and taken to Ireland where he became a slave to the chieftain of Ulster. One night, after six years of slavery, Saint Patrick heard a voice, "Behold, thy ship is ready." He traveled two hundred miles on foot to a place where he knew no one and had never been. He wrote in his autobiographical account, "After this I took flight, and left the man with whom I had been six years; and I came in the strength of the Lord, who directed my way for good; and I feared nothing till I arrived at the ship. And on that same day on which I arrived, the ship moved out of its place."

Patrick made his way back to Britain, found his family, and could have lived out the rest of his life in relative comfort in the land of freedom. But in 432 AD, he had another vision. He saw a man coming to him from Ireland carrying innumerable letters. "And I read the beginning of the letter containing 'The voice of the Irish.' And while I was reading aloud the beginning of the letters, I myself thought indeed in my mind that I heard the voice of those who were near the wood of Foclut, which is close by the Western Sea. And they cried out thus as if with one voice, "We entreat thee, holy youth, that thou come, and henceforth walk among us." And I was deeply moved in my heart, and could read no further; and so I woke."

Saint Patrick went back to Ireland as a missionary. No outside religion had penetrated Ireland in a thousand years. Saint Patrick founded more than 300 churches and baptized more than 120,000 people. His ministry was so influential that he came to be known as the one who "found Ireland all heathen and left it all Christian."

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

What's got me thinking

Somebody, who shall remain anonymous, told me the other day that they were closing down their blog. I was saddened and asked why. Here's the response: I need to not cop out on real relationships by being open in a way that's easy for me.

I've got to say, that's a profound statement that's got me thinking. I wonder how often I "cop out" on real relationships and hide behind technology? I think it's easy to let email, facebook and twitter be "cop out" options. Sure, you're communicating, but it is through the safety of technology... and it's one sided... and it's safer.

Technology can help relationships grow, to a degree. But I don't want to let it be a substitute for something better.

I'm not giving up my blog, but I am going to think twice before emailing or facebooking people that I should be calling or talking to face to face.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Another good post to read

I enjoyed this post and wanted to pass it along. You can read it here.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Clocks and Prayer

Don't forget to set you clocks ahead one hour tonight. It's always a bummer losing an hour of sleep, but hey, there will be more daylight in the evening! I love more daylight in the evening.

And I would appreciate you praying for Hub City Church. Pray for our worship Gathering. Pray that God will move. Pray that God will speak. Pray that we will have the courage to respond in obedience. Pray that God will grow and mature us as a church.

Friday, March 12, 2010

My converstaion with Levi

I had the following converation in the car today with Levi, my 3 year old:

Levi: How did God make me?
Me: He used part of mommy and part of daddy to make you in mommy's tummy.
Levi: NO! Santa brought me in a basket.
Me: Oh?!?! I didn't know that. Just so that you know God made you and loves you.
Levi: Where does Jesus live?
Me: In heaven (Liz told him in his heart a few months ago and it freaked him out)
Levi: How long does it take to get there?
Me: I don't know.
Levi: I want to go see him.
Me: Me too.

Just had to share.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Writing

I read the other day that if you want to be a writer, or if you want to improve your writing, that you need to write something every day. But here's my question. What if you don't have anything worth-while to write? If you're a writer and you have suggestions or ideas please let me know.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

How to grow spiritually

Spiritual growth is a process. Everyone of us begins as a spiritual infant. That's normal. What's not normal is if we stay infants. And what's unique about spiritual growth is that our growth rate depends largely on us. So if we want to grow spiritually, we need to do something about it.

I read the following quote this morning while working out on the elliptical. It's from Richard Blackaby:
God begins by giving each of us a "little." Perhaps once we become Christians God makes it clear He wants us to be baptized and to join a local congregation. So we do. Then God speaks to us about reading our Bible each day and spending time praying to Him. We find that enjoyable. Then God talks to us about tithing. We might squirm a little, but as we begin giving our money to the Lord, He blesses us, and we receive great joy from our investment in God's kingdom. The God leads us to share our faith with a colleague. That pushes us out of our comfort zone! Over the next few years, God continues to give us larger and larger assignments. Each time we obey, we mature spiritually.
I love that. Spiritual growth is a process of being obedient. If we won't be obedient to what God is telling us to do right now then we're stunting our growth. Obedience is key to spiritual growth. What's God telling you to do? If you want to grow spiritually you better do it.


Saturday, March 06, 2010

Cultivate adventure

Last week I challenged couples to cultivate adventure in their marriages. Find something adventurous to do together. God uses those things to grow us together.

Today Liz and I found a house we want to buy in Hampton Heights. No, we're not moving, but just looking and dreaming is fun for us. It's a way for us to cultivate adventure in our marriage. There's an open house tomorrow afternoon that I think we're going to go to, just for fun.

BTW: I really would love to live in downtown Spartanburg. So if the right deal comes along....

Two quick reads

Once again, here are two posts from Mark Batterson that you need to read. You can find them here and here.

Friday, March 05, 2010

What I'm praying for Hub City Church

I thought I'd share with you what I've been praying for Hub City Church lately. I'd love for you to pray with me.

I am praying that we will see God move in and through us with power so that there will be no doubt that what is happening is of God. I am praying that when people come to our worship gathering that they won’t say, “that was a great sermon,” or “that was a great band,” but that they’ll say, “The Lord, Jesus, is an awesome God!” I’m praying that the Holy Spirit will convict of sin and convince of righteousness and that we will see many come to faith in Jesus every week. I'm praying that our church will have power and that the gospel will spread like wildfire, not because of careful planning, but by a movement of the Spirit. I’m praying that God will grow us in intimacy with him as we hear his voice and obey his commands. I’m praying that Hub City Church will look more and more like the radical, counter-cultural, revolutionary church that we read about in Acts 2-4. I am praying that God will build His church and that it will be an unstoppable force, empowered and sustained by the Holy Spirit.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Follow up

This is a follow up to my previous post. It comes from Richard Blackaby and he's talking about what sets people apart who God uses in supernatural ways.
  • They have a profound personal intimacy with God.
  • They are experiencing God's power in their lives in Biblical proportions.
  • God is using them to accomplish far more for his kingdom than they dreamed was possible.
  • They are experiencing the joy of the Lord to an unusual degree.
What might God do if that were said of us?

My desire

My heart so resonates with these words from Francis Chan.
I don't want my life to be explainable without the Holy Spirit. I want people to look at my life and know that I couldn't be doing this by my own power. I want to live in such a way that I am desperate for Him to come through. That if He doesn't come through, I am screwed. I deeply desire that the Spirit of God would do things that I know are not of me and that cannot be faked for by human reason.

What I want for you

Just in case you're wondering. Here's what I want for you:
  • I want you to be obsessed with Jesus.
  • I want you to hear from God on a daily/hourly basis and do what he says.
  • I want you to live your life, not depending on your own abilities, but on the Holy Spirit.
  • I want you to love people, all people.
  • I want you to accept the gift of grace.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

You've got to fight

I'm working on stuff for this week's Hub City BS. One of the things we'll be discussing is stuff we'll fight about and stuff we won't fight about. I'm thinking of adding something.

I want us to fight for relationships.

Our tendency, when things get tough, when we get mad, and when our feelings get hurt, is to shut down, turn off or move on. Too often we bail.

But when we bail on relationships we're taking the coward's way out. Relationships are worth fighting for.

One more thing to remember here: Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, the authorities and the powers of this dark world and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Eph. 6:10).

Let's be known, not as people who fight against each other, but as people who fight for each other and against the one who is out to steal, kill and destroy.

Two great posts

Take a minute and read these posts from Mark. Let me know what you think. You can find them here and here.

Monday, March 01, 2010

The Tiger Rising


Nathan got a Barnes and Noble gift card for his birthday and this past Saturday we made the trek to B & N for him to put his money to good use. He really wanted this book called N.E.R.D.S.... Guess he wants to be like his dad.

There was still some money left on the card so I convinced him to buy The Tiger Rising. It's by the same author that wrote The Tale of Despereaux. He read that in class this year.

While he was reading his first choice I decided to check out The Tiger Rising. I couldn't put it down. It moved something inside of me.

What's funny is that this is the last sort of thing that I would normally read. It's a quasi-children's story (even though the themes are pretty adult). The only children's books I normally read are The Chronicles of Narnia (my favorite of all times) and Harry Potter.

This is a story that's worth your time. It's beautifully written. It's fun. It's moving. I'm reading it out loud to Nathan (something he hasn't wanted me to do with a book in years).

There's more I could say, but I think it would be best if you just read it.

Letters from a Pastor

I like Craig's writing. He's honest. He makes me think. He makes me laugh. I'm really looking forward to this series of blog posts he's doing this week called Letters from a Pastor. You can read his first post here. It's about how your words of encouragement really do matter. That is so true.