Monday, September 28, 2009

People Don't Write Songs like this Anymore...

There's something about an imprecatory Psalm. But some of the lyrics seem a little too harsh to sing in church:

Psalm 58:10 The righteous will rejoice when he sees the vengeance;
he will bathe his feet in the blood of the wicked.


Any of you found a place for the use of Imprecatory Psalms in corporate worship?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday is for Photos - Hoops in Hoosierland

Hoops in Hoosierland...


We had a lot of fun at the Hamilton County Sports Complex this week. If you want to read more about it check out The Heights Blog. If you'd like to see some higher res pictures head over to pennsweb.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Soliciting, Marketing, and Proclaiming the Gospel

We had a good conversation at the Penn house tonight. Lot's of questions, not many answers - normal for any Penn house. :) Just ask my brothers.

As we set out on this adventure, we want to invite, share, and proclaim. So is there a difference between inviting and soliciting in reference to the Gospel? Is there a difference between proclaiming and promoting (marketing)?

Just out of curiousity I checked out Webster's definitions...

Solicit:
1 a
: to make petition to : entreat b : to approach with a request or plea
2 : to urge (as one's cause) strongly

Marketing:
1 a
: the act or process of selling or purchasing in a market b : the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service

I'm afraid that the gospel lends itself to solicitation. We make petition and entreat. We plead with people that they would seek God in Christ. When you are speaking about life and death - urgency is natural.

As far as marketing is concerned, it always worries me when we treat Jesus and the Church as a product to sell or a service to distribute. But I will say this - we are to be promoting a person. And something as simple as giving your testimony or inviting a friend to church could be considered "marketing" on some scale. I personally think that promoting is important. I just want to make sure I'm depending on God for reaching people, and not my design or marketing plan.

So the questions tonight are (as they relates to missions)...
How do you solicit without soliciting?

How do you promote/market without "selling" Jesus?

Monday, September 14, 2009

No One Said Following Jesus Would be Easy...

I probably shouldn't write things like this, but sometimes transparency can be good eh?

Making the move to Noblesville has been tougher than I thought. The kids are doing well, and I love helping to plan out the worship services. I've made a few new friends, and the Lord has been taking good care of us.

But some days you just want to go back to safe. Safe is a place where you are already known. Where you have already made friends and already have places and spaces that you belong. Safe is sleeping in and then having coffee with Chris or going to a Rocket ballgame or spending 3 hours on a Wednesday morning looking into God's word with friends.

But I know God sent me to this place, to teach me all about being a missionary. Don't get me wrong here, I'm not pretending to be Carlisle Hanna or even Wallace Malone. But slowly I'm starting to get it. Being a missionary is a lifestyle, not a location. And it makes you desperate. I need God's help to make friends. I need God's help to find the poor and hungry and hurting. I need God's help to discern whether to blog or work or pray or sleep.

And I'm more convinced than ever that every disciple of Christ should be a missionary.

I guess I didn't realize how much I would be tempted by "safe." And time and again, the Lord's words break my world apart and cause me to seek his help and his mercy...

Luke 9:57 As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” 59 To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 60 And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”


Lord, help me. Help me resist the lure of "safe." Help me proclaim the Kingdom of God.

P.S.

If you're reading this. I think God wants you to be a missionary too. :)

Friday is for Photos - Alexander's

Alexander's on the Square

I've been running a little low on time lately - who hasn't? So instead of posting pics in two places, I'll be posting some pics of Noblesville hopefully once a week over @ the Heights blog. This week we're introducing you to one of our favorite new places called Alexander's.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid

Why aren't the captives being set free?

John needs some confirmation.
18 The disciples of John reported all these things to him. And John, 19 calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” 20 And when the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’” 21 In that hour he healed many people of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many who were blind he bestowed sight. 22 And he answered them, Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them.

In Luke 4 Jesus says this...
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,

Most of this comes from Isaiah 61
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn;

So why doesn't Jesus tell John that the captives are being set free? Ultimately, John will be free. But before that, he will be beheaded. This is tough stuff.

Jesus does encourage John by reminding him of the prophecies fulfilled. But John must still walk through this valley.


Jon Bloom has some good commentary on this passage. If you get a chance to read it, I think it will encourage you.

Blogging @ the Heights

Some different members of our church team are posting articles on our new Church Blog. If you are interested you can check it out at www.theheightschurch.us/wp

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Project Serve

My brother's Church is doing a new project called Project Serve.

Project serve is a service project our church began last Sunday, where each individual received an envelope with either a $5, $10, $20, $50, or $100. They are to use this money to serve someone with this week.


I love reading these stories of people showing kindness. It's amazing how a small gift can prompt us to look for ways to encourage someone else.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

That's What Friends Are For.

I cannot express how grateful I am for praying friends and family. Many have asked how they might encourage us during this time. Some have even said it - "What else can we do besides pray?" What more could you want than for godly people to speak on your behalf to the Creator and Sustainer of life?

I love this from Daniel Chapter 2
17 Then Daniel went to his house and made the matter known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, 18 and told them to seek mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his companions might not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. 19 Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.

Daniel and the boys were desperate for their very lives. They sought the One, True God and he answered in a mighty way.

Lord, thank you so much for praying friends and answered prayers.