Sunday, December 25, 2011

Video from our Christmas Eve service

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

New

I'm loving this series we're doing right now at Hub City called He will be called.... You can listen online here to the messages. It's a teaching series all about who Jesus is, what he is like and why it matters.

And it does matter. Jesus is more than a good teacher. He's more than a role model. He's more than some historical figure that reshaped the course of History. He's the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, and as we'll see this week, the Prince of Peace.

But as I was getting ready for this week's sermon I was reminded of something that's a game changer about Jesus and for us.

Jesus came to make us new.

We need to be made new. At least I know I do. I need more than bandaids on my sin problems. I need more than good advice on how to navigate life. I need to be made new.

And so do you.

That's what's so incredible about this time of year. It reminds us that God stepped out of heaven, moved into our world, lived a sinless life among us, died and rose from the dead, to make us new. 2 Cor. 5:17 says, If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone and the new has come.

That is good news. That, like the birth of Jesus 2000 years ago, changes everything.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Levi's speaking debut!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

It's too small a thing

I came across this verse out of Isaiah today.

It is too small a thing for you to be my servant
to restore the tribes of Jacob
and bring back those of Israel I have kept.
I will also make you a light for the Gentiles,
that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.
” - Isaiah 49:6

I LOVE this because this is exactly what God is saying to us at Hub City Church.

We are a little over three years old as a church. God is using us in Spartanburg. He's blessed Movies in the Park and the Garage Unsale. We've seen many lives rescued because of God's grace and mercy.

But if we just stayed where we are then it would be too small a thing. God has more in store for us.

That's why I am so amped about Hub City's first overseas missions partnership. I'll give you all the details next week, but I'll tease it by saying that God is going to use us, Hub City Church, to make a radical difference in one of the most needy places in the world.

I'll talk a bit about it at Sunday's Gathering, but I am so glad that God has called us to more than just Spartanburg. We get to be a light to the nations!

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Love

All we need is love. Or at least that's what The Beatles used to sing.

It's also what Jesus said.

Jesus says that the most important commandments are to love God and love others.

In his letter to the Church at Ephesus Jesus holds it against them that they have forsaken their first love and admonishes them to return to love.

In John we're told that love for one another is the one thing that should characterize us as disciples.

With all this talk on love I'm left asking myself: How am I doing with loving others? How am I doing loving God? When people think of me do they think of someone who loves?

And let me ask you: How are you doing with love?

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

A lampstand

Last night I suggested to Nathan that he read through the first three chapters in Revelation for his daily Bible reading. I have been praying that God would reveal more of himself to Nathan and teach Nathan how he should live as a follower of Jesus, and there is so much in those three powerful chapters.

Well, this morning I had the thought that I should read those chapters with him so we can talk about it. So I read chapter 1 and something jumped out at me that I never really paid attention to before.

Jesus calls the seven churches the seven lampstands.

Think about a lampstand. It doesn't produce the light. It just holds the light and provides the best container for the light to do what the light does, which is dispel the darkness.

It got me thinking about Hub City. We aren't the light. We're just a container that holds the light and does our best to make sure that the light (which is Jesus) can shine as bright as possible so that darkness is eradicated.

I was hoping for God to speak to Nathan, and I know he will. But he used that to speak to me. Hub City: We are a lampstand. Let's do what lampstands are meant to do.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Why we do good

Have you noticed that it's pretty in-vogue to do good. I was at the gym yesterday and the Today Show was interviewing Richard Branson on his new book that talks about using your business to do good. Movie stars like Angelina Jolie are known for their goodwill work around the world.

It has me wondering: Why do people do good works?

I could be wrong because I can't see into someone's heart, but I think that a lot of people are doing good to earn favor with God, or "the gods", or Allah, or the "big man in the sky", or "you fill in the blank." They are trying to make sure their good deeds outweigh their bad deeds.

And while that's all fine and good because people are helped, the truth is, your good deeds will never, ever, outweigh your bad deeds. I don't care how much good Richard Branson or Brangelina or you ever do. You just can't be good enough.

That's what makes Christmas such a great reminder to all of us. God knew we would never be good enough so he sent his Son to earth. He came to live the perfect life that we couldn't live and pay the price we could never pay.

As a result of what Jesus did we can do good works, not to earn God's favor, but to show our love for the God who came to save us. In other words, we do good not to earn favor from God, but because we've been shown favor by God.

How to be close to God

We know this, but you can't be relationally close to someone if you never spend time with them.

It's the same way with God. To be close to him you must spend time with him.

But how? Where do you start?

I'll share something that's helped me through the years. Reading through the Psalms does more for my relationship with God than anything else. Most of the Psalms are prayers. At the same time they are words from God and about God. That means that as I read a Psalm I can both talk to God and hear from God at the same time. They are conversational.

And it's easy to discipline yourself to read through the Psalms. You can read a Psalm a day. Or, I like to read 5 Psalms a day. Doing that takes you through the entire book in a month. And it's amazing how different Psalms express my heart at different times.

For example, today is December 2 and so I read Psalms 6-10. I needed Psalm 6 and 8 today. I needed to pray them. I needed to hear from God through them.

So if you want to be close to God I suggest you head to the Psalms.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Advent Reading Guide

Not sure why I haven't posted this yet, but I'm encouraging Hub City to spend some time this Christmas season focusing on Jesus. This Advent Reading Guide is a great place to start.

Advent Reading Guide 2011:

Nov. 27 – Philippians 2:5-11
Nov. 28 – Ephesians 2:13-22
Nov. 29 – Colossians 1:13-20
Nov. 30 – Hebrews 4:14-16
Dec. 1 – 1 John 5:1-12
Dec. 2 – Revelation 1:12-18
Dec. 3 – Revelation 22:7-21
Dec. 4 - Isaiah 9:2-7
Dec. 5 - Isaiah 40:1-5
Dec. 6 - Isaiah 40:9-11
Dec. 7 - Genesis 3:8-15
Dec. 8 - Genesis 15:1-6
Dec. 9 - Deuteronomy 18:15-19
Dec. 10 - Psalms 89:1-8
Dec. 11 - Isaiah 11:1-10
Dec. 12 - Zechariah 6:12-13
Dec. 13 - Micah 5:2-5a
Dec. 14 - Malachi 3:1-6
Dec. 15 - Isaiah 52:7-10
Dec. 16 - Isaiah 7:10-14
Dec. 17 - Mark 1:1-3
Dec. 18 - John 1:1-8
Dec. 19 - John 1:9-18
Dec. 20 – Luke 1:5-25
Dec. 21 – Luke 1:26-45
Dec. 22 – Matthew 1:18-25
Dec. 23 – Luke 1:46-67
Dec 24 – Luke 2:1-20
Dec 25 - John 3:16-21