Monday, March 31, 2008

A Big Idea

The guys over at LifeChurch are at it again. This idea is huge! They are trying to unite the church in prayer and inviting other pastors to help with the series.

What do you think about this? I love the idea of trying to unite the church. I'm not sure how our church would handle a video for Sunday Morning instead of a live speaker, though I know that many churches already do this. We are going to pray about participating in this event. I think it would be tremendous to see churches across the world seeking God's face together.

Biblically Stupid

From Last Thursday's reading...
Proverbs 12:1 Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,but he who hates reproof is stupid.

In this passage the stupid person may be extremely "bright" or "intelligent." The reason they are called stupid is because they are unwilling to take correction. I am often corrected, and usually how I take correction depends on who is giving it to me. If I am to be wise, I will have to take correction.

Lord, help me to love discipline and help me not to be "stupid."

Catching Up...

Before we headed out on our Men's Retreat, I had planned to put out a Friday pictures and a Links of the week post - but on Thursday evening we lost power. So all of my pre-planning went out the drain.

On the positive side - I have some good pictures and even a few good stories to tell from our Retreat. So this week I'll be catching up - hopefully I'll be able to get things posted before the next crazy weekend hits!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

YouVersion

I stumbled across YouVersion sometime last week. It is a very interesting concept. It's like the wikipedia of Bible Commentaries. (By the way, there is a Bible Wiki site which is a similar idea as YouVersion - I imagine Bible Wiki came first) YouVersion is from LifeChurch I believe.

Basically you have different choices of translations - I personally like NIV, although I have enjoyed reading the ESV this year. But what makes this tool interesting is the community of commentators. You can comment on any Bible passage. You can leave public comments or just notes for yourself. You can leave links or videos or illustrations, or maybe even thoughtful exegesis on the text itself. (Ok, I know the last one is a stretch, but some people still do exegesis!)

Think about this - basically we're looking at a repository for every applicable video, song, illustration, book, story, for any particular text of the Bible. This does have some pretty tremendous potential.

I am a little concerned about wading through all the "junk" to get to good commentary, but you can subscribe to commentators that you like, and you can also use the ratings system to filter some things too. There is also a daily Bible reading plan which I find very helpful.

I don't want to sound like I'm a dedicated user. I just found this app, but I think I'll be checking it out for ideas with particular passages.

Anyone else have any experience with YouVersion or BibleWiki?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Passing it Down...

From today's reading...
Deuteronomy 6:2 that you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son's son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long.

I was shooting hoops with my son last night and wondering what I was passing down. It's not easy teaching someone to play defense when the person they are defending is about 2 feet taller. It's downright frustrating for him and me too. But it was an important lesson to always keep trying. I'd love for my son to play ball as he grows up. But I hope I'm passing down a lot more than a good jumper and some defense. I hope that I am passing along a real, authentic love for God.

Lord, I tell you this almost every day, but I hope you will help me, and especially my kids, to love You more than anything else.

Consuming Fire.

Deuteronomy 4:24 For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.

Lord, You are holy.
I am sinful.
I am speechless.
You are a consuming fire.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Music Tuesday - Wonderful Cross

This past Sunday the Lord worked in our hearts as we praised Him. We were singing The Wonderful Cross and it was such a tremendous blessing to think of what our Lord did that we might be reconciled to Him. The lyrics of When I survey are tremendous and time tested, but I enjoy the chorus too:

O The Wonderful Cross
O The Wonderful Cross
Bids me come and die and find that I
May truly live!

O The Wonderful Cross
O The Wonderful Cross
All who gather here by grace draw near
And bless your name.

I know this isn't a new song by any means, but I enjoyed it so much. I thought I would just share my joy!

Tuesday Giveaway:
First two people to email me will get an iTunes gift for The Wonderful Cross by whichever artist you like. (Actually, it turns out you can't buy the Tomlin versions unless you buy the whole album so I'll be giving away the PCD version.) I really like Tomlin and Redman, but I also like Phillips Craig and Dean. You get to pick.

Winner:
1. Kay.
2.

Here's a youtube video if you'd like to listen now.


Calvary Setlist for Easter:
Because He Lives
Here I am to Worship
The Wonderful Cross
Worthy is the Lamb

If I Give, I Won't Have Enough For Myself

From today's reading...
Proverbs 11:24 One gives freely, yet grows all the richer;another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. 25 Whoever brings blessing will be enriched,and one who waters will himself be watered. 26 The people curse him who holds back grain,but a blessing is on the head of him who sells it.

Lord, please let me always abound in generosity, because you have been so generous with me.

Delegate, Delegate, Delegate!

One of my weaknesses is my tendency to try and do everything that I can do. I'm slowly getting better at transferring reponsibilities, but it's not been easy. What helps me is to realize that 100 people can do a lot more than I can do, if I can just organize them to do it. I've been feeling the time crunch today, and I asked the Lord to speak, and he answered in my reading...
Deuteronomy 1:9 “At that time I said to you, ‘I am not able to bear you by myself. 10 The Lord your God has multiplied you, and behold, you are today as numerous as the stars of heaven...12 How can I bear by myself the weight and burden of you and your strife? 13 Choose for your tribes wise, understanding, and experienced men, and I will appoint them as your heads...’ ’15 So I took the heads of your tribes, wise and experienced men, and set them as heads over you, commanders of thousands, commanders of hundreds, commanders of fifties, commanders of tens, and officers, throughout your tribes...(17)And the case that is too hard for you, you shall bring to me, and I will hear it.’

Lord, thank you for answering my prayer. Now please help me to train others that they may help shoulder the work that You want us to do.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Eggspecting Great Things...

You can read all about this event in the Yuma Sun. Make sure to check out the comments. It appears the most of the commenters were glad that someone in the community would try to put on an event for the kids, but they were highly disappointed in greedy parents. You can also check out a video of the event as well.

My friend Jason is up to something crazy again. (The list of all his crazy things will have to wait for another post.) What I love about Jason is his desire to connect with his community in any way that he can to share the love of Christ.

They are putting together the biggest egg drop in Yuma history. They are going to have a ton of people at their event and then invite them to their Sunday Easter services. Please pray that God will use this event to bring people to Him.
See the "updates" section below for more information about the event as it unfolds.

I actually have an egg hunt story of my own.

I must have been about 6 or 7 years old when I attempted my first egg hunt. I had worked so hard on decorating my eggs exactly how I wanted them. (I still have creative control problems!) On Sunday afternoon after church I went over to my childhood sweetheart's house. Her older brother hid the eggs and then we went out searching. I am horrible at finding anything, let alone eggs, but I found a few. She found all the rest, by far eclipsing my measly sum. When we were done, I started to give her eggs back and of course expected to get mine back too. I had worked so hard at decorating them, but she didn't give them back.

Thus began a life of bitterness over egg hunts.

I started to put a ton of egg puns in this story, but I found someone who has done a much better
job. If you like egg puns you might want to check out Eggscrutiating Puns...

UPDATES:
The event has been covered by the Yuma Sun. (The article states "If Jesus were alive..." Sounds like the reporter needs an introduction to the living Savior. )

Jason would like for everyone to pray. This event is growing by the minute. (As of Friday afternoon they have registered over 4000 kids. They are looking for 8,000 to 10,000 attenders.) There is a tremendous opportunity for lives to be touched.

Jason called and said they had 7000 show up today. Everyone was safe - that was a big answer to prayer. Please pray about tomorrow as well. Here's a picture...




Here's what he would have us to pray for...
We will be advertising heavily our service on Sunday. Here is what I need from you to pray for:
1. Pray for good weather (I know we live in Yuma where the sun always shines, but wind and sand could affect things)
2. Pray for safety - with this many people, we want it to be accident free.
3. Pray for everything to run smoothly.
4. Pray for people's hearts to be touched by the generosity and kindness of God.
5. Pray for more salvation decisions then we have ever had on Easter Sunday
6. Pray for God's anointing to be upon us as we hold our service on Easter

The Vertical Church had one salvation decision this Sunday with many visitors. Please continue to pray for Jason and Danny and all the people out in Yuma working so hard to bring others to Christ.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

How Was Your Easter Sunday?

We had a really good day. I thoroughly enjoy watching our guys cook breakfast and watching everyone chip in to help. We have young and old working together to put out a breakfast for about 80 people. These guys know what they are doing and the food was delicious.

Our worship team has been going through some transition recently, but today everything came together. Something special happened as we sang The Wonderful Cross. I hope the Lord was pleased. It was pleasing to sing praises to Him.

How was Easter Sunday in your neck of the woods?

A Real Friend...

I just started reading Mark Waltz's blog Because People Matter. He was in a car accident this past Wednesday, and you can catch his whole story here. One part of the story caught my eye...

By 10 pm my friend, Kent Ross, pulled into my driveway and announced, "Get your coat. We're going to the hospital." He wasn't urging or recommending. The car was running. He was taking me. Within minutes, our friend, Jennifer, arrived to stay with Olivia until I returned from the hospital.

Reluctantly and painfully I got into Kent's car and checked into the ER. 3 hours later after x-rays, blood and other tests, CAT scans and IV drips, I was sent home to rest with 4 broken ribs and some minor internal bruising. I suppose the trip to the hospital was the right thing to do.

Sometimes you need a good friend to help convince you to do what you really would rather not do. Mark is very blessed to have people like this in his life and I must say, I have a couple of friends like this too.

Sometimes you have to let people make their own decisions, but sometimes you just have to get involved. The tricky part is knowing when to sit back and when to jump in. May the Lord help us all to know the difference.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Links of the Week - March 22nd

Last week I was at the State Association Meeting so I missed my weekly links. But the good news is I have a lot to choose from for this week. So here goes...
  • I appreciate this quote on more than one level...
    "To err is human, but to really foul things up requires a computer." -- Farmer's Almanac
  • She needs a napkin - somebody help her. Improv Everywhere is at it again. HT: Challies.



  • Mohlyer says Americans still believe in sin. Well at least certain ones...
  • Marko has a real good quote from Wimber
  • Wordpress 2.5 is on it's way soon. What do you think of Wordpress over Typepad or Blogger?
  • Kruse is still looking for the heat from Global Warming.
  • TSK found a beautiful song.
  • Seth Godin (by way of Tony Morgan) ponders persistence.
  • Love this quote from Bob Hope:
    "A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don't need it."
  • I love Baptism stories - Kimball shares a couple.
  • Challies has found some new "old" music.
  • What happens when you turn off the TV?
  • Jake found something that has him speechless - me too!
  • I leave you with the best Quote of the Day I've read in a while - it's from Gahndi
    "I believe in equality for everyone, except reporters and photographers."

Friday, March 21, 2008

Friday is for Photos - Showers and Flowers

First Signs of Spring - Showers and Flowers
(Click on the image to see a higher resolution picture)


On Tuesday of this week we got about 5 or 6 inches of rain. We were getting the Jon Boat ready to drive out of the garage if necessary. The kids and I went hiking in the rain - we had a great time! I guess the rain brings on the flowers and my first shots this year are from my in-laws house.

Yesterday when we went to pick up the kids their Grandpa showed off some of their "first signs of spring" and I couldn't resist. The pictures don't do these little guys justice. These are some beautiful petals. I think I'm ready for spring!

Here's one I added with a little effect...



Here is the gallery...


Thursday, March 20, 2008

16 for 16 - I Feel Like Dancin'

I can't believe it! I'm usually horrible with the NCAA Bracket. I'm sure it won't last - so I'm posting perfection while I can. :)

As of Thursday night I picked every game right. I picked the only upset - if you can call it that - Kansas State over USC.

The Illini are sitting out this dance, and maybe that's why I'm doing better?
Who are you picking to go all the way? I have Wisconsin cutting down the nets over Memphis in San Antonio. (After the way the Badgers played tonight - I think I'm in trouble. )

Hulu What?

Have you heard of hulu yet? This new video site has excellent graphics and where else can you watch full episodes of WKRP in Cincinnati and Fantasy Island? This needs the usual disclaimer...like Youtube or Facebook, this site has plenty of stuff to avoid. But you can get some cool sports clips and a few old tv shows and even full length movies.

Give it a try sometime and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Music Tuesday - Tanner Trails

Every now and then someone will send me their setlist and I'll pass it along.

Here is the Easter Setlist for Tanner Trails:
Everlasting God
My Savior Lives
All the Earth Will Sing Your Praises
Above All
How Great Is Our God

For a closing special they are doing "How Could You Say No?"

Are you doing any special music for Easter?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Music Tuesday - Newlife Worship

This is an old album, but I've just recently found it. I haven't listened to all the songs on it yet, but I know that I'm going to like it. I have Desperation Band (Who You Are) and really like it as well.

Everlasting God is the song that I am presently enjoying off of the album My Savior Lives. This is not the same Everlasting God as sung by Chris Tomlin and Lincoln Brewster. (But I like that one too!)

If you want to hear the song, you can check out the youtube video.



Tuesday Giveaway:
First person to send me an email can get a copy of Everlasting God through iTunes Gift songs.

Winner:
1. Jon

Calvary Setlist for March 16th, 2008
Sacrifice of Praise/He has Made Me Glad
Glory to His Name
Our God Reigns
Above All

Monday, March 17, 2008

A Tremendous Testimony

I was privileged to hear Becky Derby's story this past weekend at the Illinois State Association Meeting. Becky and her husband Micah answered the call to serve North Africans in France. But last year Becky found out that she had breast cancer. She has been in a fight ever since.


On Friday Becky shared with us about her struggle and how the Lord was using this suffering to bring glory to Himself and to strengthen her faith. You can listen to the service here or here. Please pray for Micah, Becky, Xavier & William as the Lord continues to guide their lives.

Seeing An Invisible Reality

Is there such a thing as "Invisible Reality?" It almost seems like a contradiction in terms sometimes. In studying for the series on Heaven, I was reminded of some examples when people were given glimpses into the reality of the spiritual world. One example was of Stephen crying out that he could see Jesus at the right hand of God. Another example was Gehazi being able to see the real Lord's Army. Then from Saturday's reading here is yet another example...
Numbers 22:31 Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, with his drawn sword in his hand. And he bowed down and fell on his face.
Baalam's eyes are opened and he too can see the Invisible Reality.

Last night we watched The End of the Spear. The Waudoni spoke of seeing the missionaries they killed "jump the Great Boa" while they were still alive. It appears that the Lord allowed these people to have their eyes opened in order to help them come to Christ.

I wonder what all we miss because are eyes are not opened. These things are reminders to me that just because I can't see it, doesn't mean that it is not real.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Friday is for Photos - A Touch of Red

A Touch Of Red
(Click on the image to see a higher resolution picture)


I'm just about ready for some spring flower pictures, but here's one last winter shot. This guy was hanging around our feeder when the snow was covering the ground. I'm not much of a bird photographer, but I always love the color of a redbird in the snow. It would have been even better if he had been in our evergreen tree.

Do You Believe?

This makes me think of one of my favorite lines from A Miracle on 34th Street.
"I believe. I believe. It's silly, but I believe." --Natalie Wood.

Sometimes that is the way we approach faith. Last night we were looking at the faith of Abraham from Romans 4 and verse 21 resonated with me...
21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.

This passage is specifically about the promise of a son to Abraham when he was "as good as dead" in regards to reproducing. But Abraham believed. He believed God would do what he promised he would do. This is the essence of faith. Do you believe like this?

In my reading for today I noticed the same idea in 3 different passages. Isn't the unity of the word of God amazing?

First Moses' lack of belief...
Numbers 20:7 and the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 8 “Take the staff, and assemble the congregation, you and Aaron your brother, and tell the rock before their eyes to yield its water. So you shall bring water out of the rock for them and give drink to the congregation and their cattle.” 9 And Moses took the staff from before the Lord, as he commanded him. 10 Then Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels: shall we bring water for you out of this rock?” 11 And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, and water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their livestock. 12 And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe in me, to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.”

Then Zechariah's unbelief...
Luke 1:13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John... 18 And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” 19 And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.”

And finally the Psalmist writes of his faith...
Psalm 56:3 When I am afraid,
I put my trust in you.

4
In God, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
What can flesh do to me?

Lord, help me to be fully persuaded that you will do what you have promised in my life and the lives of those around me.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Simple by Rob Morgan - Devotions

In our Simple lesson, D=Devotions. I think this may have been the most enjoyable chapter so far. Some call this daily devotions, others the morning watch or some call it quiet time. Whatever you call it, we all need to spend regular time with our Lord.

Rob starts by sharing about his own father's practice of reading the scriptures and shares his testimony about how quiet times became of utmost important in his own life. He was speaking with Dr. Stephen Olford and asked him for advice. Dr. Olford replied, "Never, never, never miss your quiet time." Ruth Bell Graham encouraged him to start journaling or the "notebook habit" as she called it. The third big influence on Morgan's devotional life was through his study of Christian biographies. It seems the more he learned of great Christian men and women, the more he learned they had a steady devotional life.

Rob shares a lot of the biographies with the reader, but I'll just give you one to wet the appetite.
This is what a biographer wrote about evangelist D.L. Moody: "He was an early riser. He generally rose about daybreak in summer, devoting the early hours to Bible study and communion with God. He used to say that one who followed this plan could not get more than twenty-four hours away from God."

Rob then moves on to what the scriptures say about "quite time." He speaks of Daniel's habit of praying and even the public knowledge of this habit. Jesus also took regular time to pray. (Mark 1:35) Jesus encouraged us to "get into our closets" in Matthew 6.

Rob does give a couple of warnings: First, quiet time isn't the "totality" of our relationship with God. Secondly, quiet time can become a ritual, but it should be a relationship.

One of the really helpful parts of this chapter is the section on How Do I Do It?

Rob gives the following helpful instructions...

1. Have a procedure for your quiet time. (Have a plan)
2. Use a pen. (Take notes - or even blog about it. :) )
3. Have a prayer list. (Possibly pray for different people on different days of the week)
4. Find a regular place and a regular time. (Be consistent)
5. Exercise perserverance. (Don't quit!)

I thought the Scripture Memory Verse was very appropriate:
"I rise before the dawning of the morning, And cry for help; I hope in your word. My eyes are awake through the night watches, That I may meditate on Your word" (Psalm 119:147-148)

I want to say that I have really enjoyed reading through the ESV bible this year thanks to RSS feeds. You can check out the many options of their reading plan here.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Atonement in Proverbs

We've been studying atonement in Romans on Wednesday Evenings. I think I have found another picture of this in the book of Proverbs from today's reading...
Proverbs 11:4 Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.

Our own riches, whether they be materials or even the good works of our lives, are worthless in the Day of the Lord. But being declared righteous by God through Jesus Christ will ultimately deliver us from death in that Day.

Music Tuesday - The Glorious Unseen

Today's album you will probably either hate or love. With Tonight the Stars Speak there's not much in between. The first time I heard it, I was captivated by the eeriness of the sound and then it turned to an unbelievable feeling of comfort. It expresses the mystery of God and the cry of hearts to Him in prayer.

The Glorious Unseen sounds more like a track title than the name of a band, but their music deserves a listen. I don't know how many of you have found virb.com, but a lot of the bands have full tracks on their sites. You can even build a playlist. Check out The Glorious Unseen on Virb.

I also found a video clip of Hear Our Prayers which is my favorite from the album.






Tuesday Giveaway:
The first person to reply to this post can pick whatever song they like from the Tonight the Stars Speak Album. I'm still giving away songs through iTunes gifts, but I'm working on a way to give away songs that won't need iTunes. So hopefully soon, you'll have a choice about how you can download your song.

Winner:
1. No takers, this deal is over.

Calvary Setlist Sunday March 9th:
Worthy is the Lamb
Holy is the Lord
We Fall Down
Worthy, You are Worthy

Monday, March 10, 2008

I'll Die For You, But I Don't Have Time To Pray...

From Sunday's reading...
27 And Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away, for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered...’29 Peter said to him, “Even though they all fall away, I will not.” 30 And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” 31 But he said emphatically, “If I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And they all said the same...34 And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch...” 37 And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour?

I hate how much I can identify with Peter. I want to believe that I would die for my Lord. And yet, I have trouble praying each day as I know I should.

Lord, my flesh is so weak. Strengthen my spirit.

Help Me.

Psalm 51:9 Hide your face from my sins,and blot out all my iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,and renew a right spirit within me.

Lord, please. Please forgive me and make me clean and make me right.

Don't Underestimate the Power of an Angry God

From Saturday's reading...

Numbers 11:21 But Moses said, “The people among whom I am number six hundred thousand on foot, and you have said, ‘I will give them meat, that they may eat a whole month!’ 22 Shall flocks and herds be slaughtered for them, and be enough for them? Or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, and be enough for them?” 23 And the Lord said to Moses, “Is the Lord's hand shortened? Now you shall see whether my word will come true for you or not.”

Moses is tired of hearing the people whine for meat. He begs the Lord for some help. God says he will deliver meat - so much so that the people will loathe meat.

Then Moses has a "systems" problem. "God, where are you going to come up with the meat?" Is there enough fish in the sea to give meat to 600,000 people for a month? Look at God's answer... "Is the Lord's hand shortened?"

How many times have we felt this way? "God, how will you do this?" This is impossible. God says "Watch me!"

Lord, forgive me for doubting you. Help me not to whine, and more importantly, help me to trust you in all things.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Links of the Week - March 8, 2008

Way more links than normal this week. But look at it this way - there is a lot to choose from! Still one free song giveaway left...

Friday, March 07, 2008

Friday is for Photos - Winter Wonderland

We had quite the ice show on Tuesday of this week. I shot a few pictures on Wednesday morning. None of them come close to capturing the feeling that comes from seeing God's hand at work. I can't decide which photo should be THE photo - so today you'll get a couple and then a slideshow. You can check out some more in the gallery.

Winter Wonderland
(Click on the image to see a higher resolution picture)


Not exactly sure why, but I like this goose. :)

Here is the gallery from Picasa. I worked on the pictures with some effects. Some of them are over-sharpened, but they don't look to bad in the smaller sizes. When you see the full size shots the sharpening is a little much, but I didn't have time to correct them all. Enjoy.

Do Christians Ever Retire?

From today's reading...
23 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 24 “This applies to the Levites: from twenty-five years old and upward they shall come to do duty in the service of the tent of meeting. 25 And from the age of fifty years they shall withdraw from the duty of the service and serve no more. 26 They minister to their brothers in the tent of meeting by keeping guard, but they shall do no service. Thus shall you do to the Levites in assigning their duties.”

I find it interesting that after 50 years of age the Levites were to withdraw from service. They were to continue to keep guard, but no longer would they serve as they had previously. I've often heard preachers say that they would never retire, and to be honest, I feel that I have that mentality. I plan to speak and serve as long as the Lord is willing. Yet even in the scriptures we see that there is a time to serve and a time to stop serving.

When are you retiring from the Lord's Army?

Thursday, March 06, 2008

A Beautiful Prayer

A beautiful prayer of blessing from today's reading...
Number 6:24 The Lord bless you and keep you; 25 the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; 26 the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Need a Haircut?

Ok. This audio clip is mind-blowing. But you must have a pair of headphones. (I really like my Koss PortaPros by the way) HT to the church geek.


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Never Stop Crying

From my reading earlier this week...
Mark 10:47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.”

Bartimaeus knew he needed help and he felt that Jesus could help him. So he cried. Those around him tried to hush his cries. They rebuked him, telling him to shut-up.

He didn't.

He cried all the more for mercy and Jesus stopped. That is an amazing thought to me. Jesus stopped. Bartimaeus' acquaintances that day told him to get up. They told him to take heart. He is calling you. What a tremendous day!

Lord, please help me to never stop crying. When the world, or my flesh or even the devil would say to me, "Hush! You shouldn't trouble the master with this!" Let me be like Bartimaeus and cry out all the louder.

Thank you for stopping for me.

An Interesting Letter to Obama

Thanks again to JT for digging up the good links concerning Obama and the Unborn. This open letter to Obama from the National Review is very stirring. The evidence just continues to mount for me that if you are interested in seeing the pro-life causes move forward, then voting for a pro-choice candidate is not acceptable.

I'm still interested in hearing from those who are Pro-Life and Voting for Obama. I am in awe of Barack's speaking ability. And I am even excited by the way that he presents hope to our country. But I am saddened over his unwillingness to defend the unborn.

I really enjoyed how Sherif Girgis ended this letter:
Now is your chance, Senator Obama, to make good on the spontaneous slogan of your campaign, to adopt the more American and more humane answer to the question of whether we can secure liberty and justice for all: Yes, we can.

Music Tuesday - Kathryn Scott - Ashes to Beauty

Here's the latest song that we are working on at Calvary - At the Foot of the Cross (Ashes to Beauty) by Kathryn Scott. After our study on Romans 3, we've been coming to truly understand the idea of a place were grace and suffering meet.

This song is everything I like about an excellent worship song. It is simple. It is easy to follow. It is easy to sing. It is easy to play. It has biblical content. What more could you want?

We hope to add the violin part in too! I'm sure some of you have done this a long time ago. For some reason it just came my way this past week. Maybe it would be something good to fit in during this Easter season.

Here is the video clip... (I'll warn you, it does end rather abruptly)




Tuesday Giveway:
I can't believe that so few people take me up on my offer for free music. This week the first 3 people to send me a reply, I will send you and iTunes gift song of Ashes to Beauty and you can pick the artist. Kari Jobe has a really nice rendition. Of course Kathryn's is the standard. Tammy Trent also does a nice job. Tim and Em also have some good harmonies on this one too. Take your pick.

Winners:
1. Tammy
2. Steve
3.

Calvary Setlist for March 2nd, 2008
The Everlasting God
He is Exalted
You Are My All in All
I Stand in Awe

Devoted for Destruction

I've read a few commentators, and I may be off base here. But in Leviticus 27 I think I might see a reference to the Christ...
28 “But no devoted thing that a man devotes to the Lord, of anything that he has, whether man or beast, or of his inherited field, shall be sold or redeemed; every devoted thing is most holy to the Lord. 29 No one devoted, who is to be devoted for destruction from mankind, shall be ransomed; he shall surely be put to death.

Only God has power over life to destroy it. Yet he destroyed the life of His son at the cross that we might be redeemed. Do you think Jesus was devoted for destruction? Or do you think the main meaning of this passage is something else? Some have said Jephthah may have incorrectly understood this passage and therefore took the life of his own daughter. Sometimes I see the Cross and the Christ where maybe it was not intended, but it does seem to fit here.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Vaudeville is Alive and Well

We laughed. We cried. It moved us Bob!

We had such a great time at our CTS Formal Dinner and the Calvary Cafe. It was so great to see something done so well and know that I had nothing to do with it! It's amazing what people can do when the pastor gets out of the way.

The decorations were elegant. The food was delicious. We were served huge slices of roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, homemade bread, and scrumptious green beans. Our servers catered to our every whim. Even delivering extra tomatoes on our salads!

The entertainment was amazing. We had a musical number, followed by a mathematical masterpiece. Mike pulled off There's a Hole in the Bucket as only he can. Along Came Jones was a big hit and the acapella solo was moving. But two of our boys brought down the house with the old extra pair of hands bit. The facial expressions had us falling out of our seats. I can't wait until we can do this again sometime.

You can see the photo gallery of the whole evening here.

O Happy Day!

It never gets old. I love to see people obeying the Lord in baptism. This past Sunday Nancy was baptized. Nancy came to Christ at our Christmas Eve Service. She is part of our regular crew that meets on Wednesday mornings. We've been going through SIMPLE and our study on baptism was a great encouragement to her.


I've been teasing her that I was going to hold her under for a while, but I didn't follow through. When she came out of the water she let out a shout. She is hungry for the Lord and I can't wait to see what God will do with her life.

Simple by Rob Morgan - Church

In our ABC's of Simple, C=Church.

Rob starts out this chapter with the story of an interesting vision. He then reminds us of the truth that the church is not the building. He also reminds us it is made up of imperfect people. I love the illustration he uses to convey this idea:


When the church first began on earth, the pastor was being executed as a criminal; the chairman of the board was out cursing and swearing that he had never even been a part of it. The treasurer was committing suicide. Most of the rest of the board members had run away. And about the only ones who showed any signs of faithfulness were a few ladies from the women's auxiliary.

It is good to remind ourselves that God uses flawed people.

Morgan continues by sharing the origins of the church from the book of Acts. He arrives at this definition for the church:


"A church then, is a group of people committed to Jesus Christ who are bound together by the indwelling influence of the Holy Spirit."


In describing what our church is like, Rob speaks of Big Church and Small Church. (I can't help but thinking of Children's church whenever we use this terminology.) Rob uses "the temple" in Acts 2:46 as an example of "Big Church." This is where we gather together to sing and pray and preach. He uses the phrase "house to house" as an example of "Small Church." Small church is where friendships develop and burdens are shared.

I'm not really sure how much "Big Church" there was in the early church. But I do think we should get together to sing, preach and pray. Morgan uses the Great Commandment as another way to break down the big and small of church. Love God is a "Big Church" idea. It's about going vertical. Love your neighbor is a "Small Church" idea. It's about going horizontal. I'm not sure if the Jesus Creed was really meant to be taken this way. We should be loving God in "Small Church" and loving our neighbor in "Big Church" too.

I do think that this was an excellent opportunity to remind those beginning in the faith that church is both vertical and horizontal.

Next Up - Discipleship.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Meet Me In St. Louis...

Looks like we are finally going to get "The Bridge."

Missouri and Illinois have been bickering over this for years. I hope it works out well.

You can get more info from The New Mississippi River Bridge Project.

(Personal Note)
Eric & Kari, if you are reading this, come back to Salem. We'd love to have you around. You could commute to St. Louis to work on your next project. I'm sure I'm not the only one thinking this! ;)

Links of the Week - March 1st, 2008

There's still a free song to be had from Music Tuesday. I'd also love for someone to leave some comments about Sabbath Rest. Seems like I read a lot this week, but not too much of note. Here are a few things that I liked...
"Neurotics build castles in the air, psychotics live in them. My mother cleans them." - Rita Rudner