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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Guatemala Reflection, Wife's Birthday and Jaimie

I knew I would be really bad at the "finishing the blog I started" part. At the gentle nudge of a friend I was reminded of why I began blogging again in the first place.

I have been home from Guatemala for 11 days. The adjustment process has worn off and "real life" has set in once again. (Even though Immanuel Kant would argue none of it is "real," but rather "that which I perceive" is only real to me thus making my experience on this earth a reflection of things I perceive them to be...but that is neither here nor there). Back to trip reflection...

Generally once I settle back in from a mission trip it is often my heart that arrives on a flight a few days later. A piece of me always gets left behind. This trip to Guatemala was eye opening and a great spiritual marker for me, but the moment the plane landed in Miami, my heart was here with it. I credit that to 2 things:

1. My Marriage

2. My Heart for the Local Church

Both of these things remind me I am right where I need to be. God has blessed me beyond reason. I have a wonderful wife, whose birthday is tomorrow, and I serve a wonderful God at a wonderful church of wonderful people. Maybe I have finally learned the virtue of contentment. Maybe God has given my heart a reason to rest. Either way, I am reminded that Jesus is enough. It has taken a long time to say that from a content heart.

Jesus is enough.

I can finally stop chasing the next "spiritual duty" to replace the massive void in my chest. I can finally begin to serve out of gratitude and humble peace, rather than from a warped since of duty and works that do not bring about belonging in the Kingdom of God.

So what about you? Would you characterize yourself as "content?"

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Healing is in His Hands

I lead worship for a few different venues around campus: FOCUS, Metro, and Worship in Studio G. I am surrounded by some of the most talented, Christ following band mates I have ever served with. They are hard working, dedicated, musically gifted, and most importantly (other than the "Christ following part") they are flexible to try new things.

Tonight at Metro, which meets at 8:45pm in Studio G, we are singing a new song called "Healing is in Your Hands." To say this song has personal implications for me is an understatement. To say that "healing is in His hands" is to say that He is sovereign over our circumstances. This belief is at the core of who I am. But I must embrace that if He is sovereign over my "healing" he is also sovereign over my illness and weakness.

To me, one of the most beautiful things about God is His untarnished faithfulness. He is sovereign in all things and has promised faithfulness in all things. I don't serve a God that promises "fairness," but He does promise faithfulness. I will take faithfulness, holiness, and sovereignty over fairness any day.

If you haven't heard the song, "Healing is in Your Hands" by Christy Nockles go check it out.

"Now by Your grace I stand. Healing is in Your hands."

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Coming Soon: Guatemala Mission Trip

So I leave for Guatemala this Thursday. I am excited. I am anxious. I am also a little fearful. God usually does something BIG on trips like this.

Last time I was on mission with God internationally was in the Amazon jungles of Peru. It was the most perspective shattering trip of my life. There God taught me to trust in Him and His sovereignty more than my purposes and dreams, He solidified the love in my heart for my wife (then only a friend) DeShay, he called me to leave my dying father and wonderful mom to serve Him in Houston, TX, and ultimately in hindsight He gave me a picture of my future ministry of teaching His love to the nations through music.

That is a lot of teaching for a 10 day trip.

In front of me is a similar trip to Guatemala with a team of people from my church and my wife. I am excited because I know that we are going to join the work God is already doing with the people in Guatemala. I am anxious because this will be my first mission trip as a married man, and DeShay has never been out of the country. I am so proud and can't wait to see what God wants to show both of us.

Finally, I am fearful because I know that God demands a huge shift of focus for me each and every time I step outside of the country in this capacity. I don't know where He is going to begin remolding my world, but I trust Him to do it.

I think we should all be a bit fearful when hearing from God. He isn't just a best friend and buddy that I can text and ask for an "update." He is the sovereign creator of the universe. His very being IS love, holiness, and majesty.

...with that said...

...my blogs are far too heavy. Maybe next time I will just discuss vacation destinations or the changing climate...

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Early Church Part 1

I have recently been reading the book of Acts. One thing keeps jumping out at me.

At the end of ch. 2 and ch. 4 Luke describes the early church. They were full of life. They were selfless. They had everything in common. The growth was exponential. But one characteristic stands out beyond all the others: the early church had a unified mission.

"...they were of one heart and soul..." (Acts 4:32)

The early church shared one mission: make the name of Jesus Known. They abandoned everything for the mission. They met daily to teach the mission. The Holy Spirit empowered them to achieve the mission. Their lives were sacrificed completely for the sake of the mission.

At times in our churches it seems that we have so many programs it is hard to keep it all straight. We have a program for everyone in every age range with every preference under the sun. We give ourselves to the programs. We meet regularly about the programs. We have even dedicated programs in the name of the people who used to run the programs. But with all the programs we have going on can we truly say that our churches are of one heart and soul?

I think that is the difficult nature of the programs. It isn't that doing a bunch of different programs is "bad," but we must guard the mission of the church with absolute clarity and intentionality. We can't simply focus on the question, "How many people come to that event?" The question we should be asking is, "Does that event accomplish the mission of the church?" (not my church or their church or his church or her church... THE church...see Matthew 28:18-20 and Acts 1:8)

If we take a step back and evaluate everything we do, how much of what we do is off mission?

Can we describe our churches as Luke described the early church...as "one heart and soul?" Are we focused on THE mission?

Let's make it a bit more personal...

Is the mission of my life to make Jesus' name known? Am I consumed by it? Am I saying "no" to the things in my life that don't match the mission?

How about you?

...If not, why not?

A New Beginning

After a few years of my voice being silent in the blogosphere, and after becoming addicted to google reader with such incredible blogs as Desiring God, the Resurgence, Phil Cooke, Perry Noble, Ragamuffin Soul, and Seth Godin just to name a few, I have decided to jump back into the wide world of blogging.

I see blogging differently now than I did many years ago. Blogging is less about "getting heard" and it has become an increasingly useful way to share information. With that goal, of sharing wisdom, hardship, creativity, and my passion for Jesus Christ and the local church, I begin my journey into the vast expanse of blogging.
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