Thursday, February 17, 2011

We're not just human...

If you lost your job, would the way you handled it show anyone that you are a follower of Jesus?

What if something goes wrong with financial aid and you no longer get a scholarship?

What if you simply just mess up?

The most common phrase we hear (and probably use) is that "I'm just human" or "We're all human and we're not perfect." Ok... so I cannot deny the fact that you are indeed human. I also cannot deny the fact that we "all sin and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) But if we live our lives based on the fact that "we're all just human," what about that shows God? When situations arise, if we handle them in a way that does not show our faith in Christ, what is going to make the seeing unbeliever feel as though you have something that they don't?

If you live in a constant state of stress, it's like saying "God, I love you and all, but my problems are just a little too big for you right now."

Yes, we are all human. We are not perfect. However, we are humans that have the power and spirit of God within us! The God that created everything in the universe dwells within us!

 Think about that the next time the phrase "well... I'm just really stressed" comes out of your mouth.

"Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father." John 14:12

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Starting Young

Today at the Journey Campus, there was a video shown talking about whether what a child learns at 4 will affect them when he/she is 14. or 24. As a dad, that really struck me. Heather (hawt wife) and I have, since London has been able to understand better, talk to her about God. At first it is a bit akward. What do you say to a 1-year-old? Sadly, this is enough to stop many people from doing it. However, as we've continued to talk with her, it's become one of our favorite things to do.

The other day, as Heather drove past the church with the girls, London began to point at the church and scream "DADDY GUITAR!!!" Heather then began to say things like "yeah Daddy plays guitar at church. He plays for Jesus. He's saying 'thank you Jesus for the snow.'" It's that simple. London continued to thank Jesus the whole way to my parents house.

Every night as we lay London down to sleep, we pray out loud for her. At first it's kinda odd praying while a toddler repeatedly pokes you in the face going "Daddy doin?" However, it is now one of the moments in the day that I look forward to most.

As believers, we have to start talking to our children young. What if when they're grown, they could look back and not remember a single day that they didn't know the love of God.

I asked a student yesterday what he thought the biggest number in the world was. After thinking for a moment, he responded confidently with "89." If you were to ask London, she would probably begin counting to 10, skipping 4 as always.

Children don't understand deep theology, but they understand 89. And they understand "1235678910 YAY LONDON!" Just because they're young, doesn't mean they can't begin to learn to thank Jesus for things like snow and watermelon slushes from Sonic.

What if you could look back, and never remember a day that you didn't know of the love of God?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Be the church

So today I went up to ASU and picked up my diploma. Woot woot! But that's not what this blog is about.  While there, I walked the halls of the Student Union, remembering how much I love being on a college campus. However, it's different when you're no longer a student, but an alumni. Wow... totally just realized that I'm officially an alumni. But when I was a student, I saw others as well... other students.  Fellow classmates.

However, today, I saw these students differently. They are children of God. They are the future. They are important. They are loved by the most high King who reigns over everything that is!

But how many don't know?

How many have heard that, but don't believe it?

As I looked into the faces of these students, my heart began to pound inside my chest. I wanted to stand on a table and scream "JESUS LOVES YOU!!!" I wanted to grab those kids and tell them that they are valuable. They are indeed something.

There are more than 11,000 students attending ASU every day. Students coming from different towns, states, and several from different countries. We have a job to do. We need to be the hands and feet of Christ and go to these Children of God and tell them of the love that is Christ.

I'm so grateful to be a part of a movement here in Jonesboro that sees that need.  I praise God for what He's beginning to do through Central's Journey Campus! Please join us as we pray and seek of how we can reach these precious lives. Let's pour out love on these students. May God use us to bring about change on the campus of ASU.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Just gonna be transparent here

I'm in the process of falling in love with God. That statement may sound odd and a bit confusing, because it was for me when I first thought about it. Before anyone worries, I am a Christian. I whole-heartedly believe that Jesus Christ died to save us all from sin and that without him, we would be nothing. So here's where falling in love comes in. Heather (my wife... who's hawt) and I were talking one night after a bible study she attended:

"How did it go?"
"Good. Found out I don't love God, but good."

We began to talk about what it means to really, truly, and unconditionally love God. And as the time has passed, I have begun to try and really seek out what it means to say "I love God." The passage where Jesus asks Peter "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" (John 21:15) comes to mind. Peter's response is "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Here's where I steal some info from Mr. Dan Reeves.

In the Greek, the word Jesus uses for "love" is a word that means unconditional love:  agapeo. Peter responds with a yes, however, the word he uses for "love" is one meaning brotherly love: phileo. This is not an uncondtional love. I think it's how most of us would respond, if we're honest.

"Yes, God, I love you, but it's finals week and I'm really busy. Plus, I'm so tired and my girlfriend and I are fighting, but I really meant to read my bible the other day, because I know how much that would mean to you."

Do we care about the will of God and HIS glory above all else? Are we truly concerned that above all else... that God be glorified? Can I be ok with knowing that in Heaven, I won't be married to Heather?(Matt. 22) Are we truly willing to share in Christ's suffering as described by Paul thoughout the New Testament.

Take a look at India. Or China. Or many of the nations overseas. When a person there says that they're a Christian, they know very well that that means they could very likely die. The idea of simply going to a church, sitting in our assigned seats, mumbling along with the song and texting during the public reading of scripture, and going home to get ready for "Grey's Night!" is absolutely absurd to them! Yet we (at least I) have gotten all to comfortable with looking our God straight in the eye and saying "I love you... too a point." Now, I don't know about you, but I'm not cool with that anymore. I can't continue to get up every day, putting on my Christian mask and go about my day failing to realize that the God of the universe... loves me. Unconditionally. No terms. No 2-year plan or dropped calls. God loves me. God loves you. And I want to love him back.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

told you so

I ran across a story in the Bible today that reminds me all too much of myself.

In the book of 2 Kings, chapter 2, we see the prophet Elijah taken up into Heaven on a chariot of fire and horses (which must've been terrifying for anyone who didn't know what was going on).  This is when, as the others in the company of prophets said, the spirit of Elijah was now resting on Elisha, his successor.  They then say:

 16They said to him, "Behold now, there are with your servants fifty strong men, please let them go and search for your master; perhaps (Y)the Spirit of the LORD has taken him up and cast him on some mountain or into some valley." And he said, "You shall not send."
 17But when (Z)they urged him until he was ashamed, he said, "Send." They sent therefore fifty men; and they searched three days but did not find him.
 18They returned to him while he was staying at Jericho; and he said to them, "Did I not say to you, 'Do not go'?"

Isn't that all too much like us? I know I see myself in those men.  So many times, we have this "brilliant" idea that we think will do so much good. We have it all planned out, then, when we go to God (out of order), we get... "no."

"But it was gonna soooo awesome!"


"but we neeeeeeeeed it!"




fast forward 2 weeks

"it didn't work!"

"didn't I say 'no' to begin with?"

Ouch.  Sometimes we may have a "great" idea. It may look good on the surface. Whether it be expanding a facility, taking a new job, quitting a job, etc., you have to have God behind it. Sometimes, our timing may just be off. Sometimes, it's just not a good move. I know that, personally, I tend to argue with God (which is dumb) when I think I've got it all figured out.  However, we can only do so much on our own. Trust in God and His timing.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Convicted by Isaiah

8 Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your laws,[a]
   we wait for you;
your name and renown
   are the desire of our hearts.
9 My soul yearns for you in the night;
   in the morning my spirit longs for you.
When your judgments come upon the earth,
   the people of the world learn righteousness. - Isaiah 26: 8-9

As Passion 2011 quickly approaches, I was reading over the theme for the Passion movement (though we are not attending this year).  As I read through the passage in Isaiah, a couple of things stuck out at me. Verse 8 ends with the phrase "your name and renown are the desire of our hearts." The desire of our hearts. Can we say that? Can I say that?  Above all else, do we (I) desire for God's name to be known?  Obviously as Christians, that is indeed something we desire, but how important is it to us in our daily lives?  Do we care more about God's glory or our pride? Our convenience? Our money? Our time?

Verse 9 talks of a soul that "yearns... in the night" and a spirit that longs for Him in the morning. It seems hard to say that truthfully when many times we struggle to "fit in" a quiet time.  I remember when my wife and I first started dating. I would stay awake all night if I had to, just to see her for a few minutes after work.  Thoughts of her consumed me all day long. Many of you can easily relate to those same feelings. Yet how many times do we forget to bring our tithe, or forget to say our rehearsed 10-second prayer before dinner, or let people walk right by because we're nervous or afraid to be seen as a "Jesus Freak?"

I say this not to point fingers or condemn. I say this because I know that this is something I have battled.  However, when we love God and are loved by Him, it is truly an amazing thing.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Thoughts of Christmas from a young father

The other night, as my bride, Heather, was out finishing some Xmas shopping, I had both our girls at home with me. Though getting an almost 2 year-old and a 3 month-old fed, cleaned, and put to bed can (haha is) a challenge to do alone, it's also a great chance to bond with my daughters. As I sat in the dark giving our youngest, Story, her bottle, I kept thinking of Joseph as he held his son on that first Christmas. What were his thoughts? Maybe he had the usual new father questions. "Can we afford this?" "Are we ready?" "How is this going to change things?" Maybe he was already getting excited thinking about teaching Jesus to run, play football, and how to treat a lady. But there's the thought... "my son is going to save us all."

Joseph knew that his son was to do amazing things. Then I looked at Story. My daughter is going to do amazing things. Both of them. They're going to bring joy. They're going to be a shoulder for a friend to cry on. They're going to one day have children of their own and think the same thoughts Heather and I think everytime we hold them.

Then I picture Joseph, holding his new son close and thinking "he will do great things, but for now, I want to simply enjoy him being my son." I think that many times when I hold London and Story. It's easy to get carried away thinking about the future, which isn't always bad. But sometimes I need to just hold them close and simply enjoy that they are my children.

As we go through life, especially in college, we are always focusing on what's ahead. Jobs, spouses, roommates, summer vacations. What's God doing now? Who is in your life right now? Take a look at what God has placed in your life right now and enjoy it, because time moves fast.