Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Two shots down, one to go

I just got back from the Doctor's office and I'm sporting a bandaid on each arm. I had to get my 2nd Hepatitis A and B shot. Shot's didn't used to bother me. But man, these were painful. My arms are already starting to hurt.

Now, why would I intentionally put myself in a position to get shots that will cause my arms to ache for days?

It's because I don't want to get Hepatitis A and B. I'll go through temporary pain to be safe for a lifetime.

I've been having a lot of conversations, and I do mean "a lot" of conversations, with people lately about reading the Bible and spending time with God. And in every one of those conversations the person speaking to me has talked about how hard it is to make the time and get into the habit.

I get that. Life is busy. And though we might not word it this way, it's kind of a pain spending time with God. It takes discipline and commitment and saying no to some things so that you can say yes to time with Him.

But did you know that the "pain" of spending time with God on a regular basis carries with it rewards and benefits that you haven't even thought of yet? I believe that.

I'm not saying God is going to make you rich or famous. But regularly spending time with God opens the door for you to get Him. 

Push through the pain. In the words of Nike: Just do it!

And if it helps, I'm sure some Christian bookstore somewhere sells Scripture bandaids.

Friday, August 24, 2012

It's the tents that scare me

Ever been camping when a thunderstorm comes through? It's probably because I'm a wimp, but it's pretty scary. It's pretty vulnerable out in the open with nothing but a thin piece of nylon in between you and the elements. And from my experience, it doesn't matter how high-quality of a tent you have, it's going to leak.

That's why I'm concerned about Haiti. Hundreds of thousands of people live in tent cities. Their home is a tarp. And a tropical storm is bearing down on them as I write. 

So pray for them. Pray that the storm would weaken. Pray that it might miss Haiti altogether. I love the prayer Amy Hobbs posted on facebook this morning.
Dear Lord, please protect Haiti as the rain falls and the wind blows today. Please use this storm to draw Haiti to you. I pray for the existing roofs to stay attached, the tarps to be stronger than we can imagine, light rain with minimal flooding, the mud to stay put, and for the cholera to be contained. Lord, may we praise You in this storm and trust Your Sovereignty today! Take us to deeper places with you today!
As for the kids from Alex's House that we support, they are on their way to the new property in Kalico. It's solid, as long as the roofs hold up. But I'm sure it will be a frightening time for them. 

So you're invited to join me in prayer. Thanks.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

How big is your God?

Do you realize that your view of God will determine how you go through life? It's true. How you view God shapes how you live.

Most of us have a view of God that's too small. 

That's why want to encourage you to read Isaiah 40. It paints an incredible picture of a huge God and a little-bitty us. 

If you're a Hub City peep, the you really need to read Isaiah 40. We're going to camp out on that chapter this coming Sunday.

And as you read ask yourself a few questions: What does this tell me about me? What does it tell me about God? How am I going to live in light of what it tells me about me and God?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Because we all need to laugh at ourselves


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Run to the mess

Let's face it, people are messy. You're messy. I'm messy. Some of you are really, really messy. 

My hearts desire is that Hub City Church would be a church that runs towards messy people. We could become a church that wants you to clean up your mess before you can be a part. I don't want Hub City to be like that. Messy people are welcome.

That's why I love Vince Antonucci's posts on Chaos Theory. If you are a part of Hub City then you need to read this.
I'd love to hear your thoughts. 

Let's make disciple who make disciples using messy, messy people. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

How do you deal with temptation?

Well, how do you deal with temptation?

According to Todd Hunter in Our Favorite Sins, if you're like most Americans, not all that well. That's what makes his book so incredible. This is one of the best books I've read on dealing with temptation.

I'll begin by saying that this book is in no way, shape or form anything like what I expected. I'm not sure what I expected, but this wasn't it. And I am so glad about that.

In summary without giving too much away (because you need to read this book), Todd addresses the topic of temptation, defines it, and then uses liturgy as a defense against it. 

While I'm not all that into liturgy, I loved what Todd had to say. I bookmarked every single page of one chapter on my kindle because it was that good and needs to be reread. Actually, the entire book needs to be reread.

We all struggle against temptation. Some of us struggle more than others. Some of us gave up the fight long ago. But we're surrounded by temptation. And as followers of Jesus, we don't have to give in. We don't have to be a slave. The New Testament says we're no longer slaves. But too often we still live enslaved lives. Our Favorite Sins gives a doable road map for living in freedom. And even if you don't agree with everything he says (who agrees with everything someone says anyway) this book will be a helpful, useful, and valuable tool in your struggle against temptation.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

How to make progress

I often state that the best habit you could ever develop is the habit of reading your Bible every day. But a question that people think but are too afraid to ask is: Why do I need to read the Bible everyday?

I came across this quote from legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden which I think gives a great answer.
When you improve a little each day, eventually big things occur... so don't look for the quick, bug improvement. Seek the small improvements one day at a time-that's the only way progress happens--and when that kind of progress happens, it lasts.
I believe that incorporating the daily habit of reading the Bible into your life has a cumulative effect over the long term. That's why it's the best habit that you could ever develop.

But I was thinking, it's not just reading the Bible so that you can check it off your list. It's reading and putting into practice what it's telling you to do. That's where lasting progress comes from. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

The day the fire alarm went off in worship

Yesterday will go down in infamy as the day the fire alarm went off during worship. After the initial shock of, "Oh, no, the fire alarm is going off and we have to evacuate the theater," it was pretty funny. The flashing emergency strobe lights even looked like the were an effect to go along with our closing song. That is until the robotic voice came on saying that there was an emergency in the building and we had to evacuate immediately. They really should change that voice. 

I was impressed with how well we evacuated the building. No one got trampled. And most people came back in after the all-clear was given.

What I really loved about the fire alarm going off is that it reminded all of us of one of Hub City's core values: No Perfect People Allowed. Because, going along with No Perfect People Allowed is its close cousin, No Perfect Environments Allowed. 

We do what we can to limit distractions. We value doing the best with what we have. But we can't control everything. Actually, we're not really in control at all. God is. He was in control of the fire alarm. He is in control of Hub City. He's in control. 

The fire alarm was a good reminder of that.

Friday, August 10, 2012

My political rant

This may come as a surprise, but I think it would be fun to be a politician. Politics intrigues me. 

I also know that as soon as you mention politics you immediately polarize people. You're either left or right or don't care. This is evident all over the TV with the ever-present political ads. It's evident in the Chick-Fil-A "incident." It's evident with the ever increasing political statements on Facebook. It's even evident in the church.

While I could see myself running for office (in a dream), as a follower of Jesus, I need to keep something at the forefront of my mind.

The following quote comes from one of Christianity's earliest, extra-Biblical, writings, The Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus
They dwell in their own countries, but simply as sojourners. As citizens, they share in all things with others, and yet endure all things as if foreigners. Every foreign land is to them as their native country, and every land of their birth as a land of strangers.
As followers of Jesus we are citizens of another country. And while our job is to work together with the Holy Spirit to bring about God's Kingdom on earth, this isn't our home. We're only temporary residents who move in for a little while, do good, make a difference and then move on to our true home.

I could say more, but for now let's remember that we are aliens in a strange land. Let's remember that our home is heaven. Let remember that we've got limited time in this foreign land to make as much impact for the Kingdom as possible (even potentially in politics).

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Powerless

Yesterday reminded me of Haiti. In Haiti, the power would go off at 7 AM and not come back on till 5 PM. Our power went off a little after 7. It came back on sometime after noon. 

It's amazing how going without power messes with your day. When the power is off I am made keenly aware of how much power I use and how many power-needing objects I depend on. 

It sounds silly, but a few hours of powerlessness put a kink in my day.

This had me thinking about being powerless. So many people around the world are powerless. Many more feel powerless. It's not that they are missing electricity. They have little or no voice, influence, rights and/or hope.

And while it bothers me, it's not necessarily a bad thing. Jesus has a special place in his heart for the powerless.

But he does more than love the powerless. He infuses them with his supernatural power. I don't know about you, but I want that in my life.

When the power came back on it changed everything. The same is true when we are infused with God's supernatural power. It changes everything. 

My prayer lately is that the undercurrent of supernatural power would be clearly evident in my life, my family and Hub City Church. Would love to have you praying that with me.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Fatal Distractions

Let me ask you: What distracts you from following Jesus? If you're like me then your list is pretty long. We live in a society characterized by distractions. But we're not unique. Throughout history men and women have struggled against distraction. 

While our list of distractions is long, there are a few distractions that are more damaging than others. Those are addressed in Kay Arthur's devotional/Bible study, Fatal Distractions.

She addresses six distractions that could potentially take us out of the game: Pride, Anger, Jealousy, Greed, Gluttony and Slothfulness. These have been commonly referred to as the seven deadly sins (minus Lust). Throughout history these sins have caused more damage than we can imagine. And if we're not paying attention they could take us out as well.

If you're familiar with anything Kay's done then you know she uses a ton a Scripture. She uses it to define the distraction, illustrate the distraction and show us a way out of the distraction. I love that because the God's Word is our best weapon in the fight against temptation.

This book is meant to be used in a group setting, but I used it as a devotional. I think it's powerful in both settings because it exposes sins that all of us struggle with, but that none of us want to talk about. That's why they are fatal. 

This was such a powerful tool that I'm thinking of using it in a future sermon series. 

You can find out more information here. I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.