The Father of Black History
I’m tracking a blog of a dear friend of mine named Bob Kellemen (a.k.a. Dr. K).Â Join me as I follow his exploration of a history seldom told in its entirety…Â Click here to learn more.
Preoccupation with what?
Being over 40 has caused me to become a little more aware of my health.Â I’ve been popping vitamins, walking on a treadmill, doing aerobic exercises, watching what I eat and doing a lot of research on the web about health/fitness.
Early this morning while I was reading I noticed that I was holding my breath.Â I wondered to myself, “How long have I been doing this?”Â I couldn’t believe it… I asked myself, “Is this why sometimes I feel tension in my chest?”Â Immediately, I began taking breaths, feeling normal again.Â As I reflected on what was happening and what I was reading, I realized that I was so preoccupied with what I was reading that I stopped taking normal breaths.Â What was I reading?Â “Living the Cross-Centered Life” by C.J. Mahaney.
I thought to myself, now wouldn’t it be “plum” crazy if I fell out dead in this closet with no one expected to wake up for hours.Â Now, before I went into a full blown panic attack, I caught myself having realized how laser focused I was on the book.Â Between what C.J. and my own chest was saying I said, “Is this what we do as Christ followers?” Do we become so preoccupied with what’s right in front of us that we miss the most important facet of the Christian life?Â Isn’t the cross, central to everything?Â Isn’t that where our focus and attention should gaze?Â Or should it be on “being good”, “going to church”, “not disobeying the 10 commandments”, or “dropping a dollar or two in the offering plates as it passes.”Â What is the Christian life all about? I’ll tell you… it’s about the cross.Â It’s not our performance of spiritual duties; it’s the cross that Jesus died on for our sins (Romans 5:8-10).Â His cross should have been our cross.Â We should have died and been sent to Hell but Jesus chose to die in our place.Â “He who knew no sin, became sin that we may become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Jesus wiped the record of our sin away and gave us His righteousness.Â We don’t deserve what Jesus did for us, that’s why it’s called “amazing grace.” We sing this song with “joy” because we are reminded that we didn’t do anything to deserve it.Â What Jesus has done is the only basis of our forgiveness – not what we have done.
After getting up off the floor from reading I was more compelled than ever to make my affection a preoccupation with the cross (the place where Jesus died, being tortured like a common criminal so that I could be forgiven and accepted by God).Â This reality has slowed me down today and has challenged me to make the “main thing” the main thing – the Cross of Jesus Christ (Romans 10:8-10).
Every time I breathe, guess what I’ll be thinking about?Â That’s right, the cross.Â What about you?Â Every time you breathe, what are you going to be thinking about?Â What are you preoccupied with?
The Distraction of Celebrated Breasts
Are women leveraging the power of their influence over men?Â In a recent article,Â ABC NewsÂ reports on the appropriate way for women to celebrate their breasts for their own benefit, even in the workplace.Â Could our Christian sisters be subtly buying into the “dressed up” and unspoken messages of the drivers of fashion in our culture?Â Are we allowing our body images to become our means of advancing ourselves or being perceived as striking and worthy of notice?Â Has tight become right because it displays your competitive edge?Â
Regardless of the reason, at this point our men are pleading for our sisters in Christ to be sensitive to our visual makeup.Â We anticipate the onslaught from unbelieving women but not from blood-washed believers in Christ.Â In my discussions with men, all they are asking for is that you pull your shirts up, put on a camisole (which is a sophisticated undershirt), and keep your body to yourself and your husband.Â We are pursuing holiness for the King and we have “made a covenant with our eyes; why then should I look upon a young woman (Job 31:1)?” We are attempting to respect and honor you, while weÂ guard our hearts.Â We bounce our eyes, we pray, we avoid certain sights, we bury ourselves in God’s Word and we make ourselves accountable to other men to honestly talk about the struggle.Â
Please don’t celebrate your breasts to our detriment.Â We as men have too much wickedness in our own hearts to be enticed by things that could be avoided.Â We love our sisters but really needÂ them to understand the impact of their choices.Â Let’s avoid unnecessary distractions to furthering God’s kingdom.
Cleavage is in but not with Jesus
Why aren’t Christians and Christian leaders publiclyÂ educating peopleÂ about the suggestive impact that visible breast cleavage is having on our women, men, young boys and young girls?Â Â Let’s send an APB out that alerts our sisters that it’sÂ destroying the body of Christ.Â Sensual fashion designers have duped Christian women into believing thatÂ clothes and “showing a little” doesn’tÂ hurt anyone…Â In a brief search, I realized that there were websites thatÂ teach women how to show cleavage with small breasts.Â I would provide the URL but it’s so ridiculous, I wouldn’t dare do it.Â Why are Christian women following the seductive, money hungry, pervertÂ fashion designers and not Jesus.Â I know Middle Eastern cultures covered their whole bodies when they got dressed in the morning but can you imagine Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jesus coming to our worship gatheringsÂ with three-quarters of their breast showing?Â Here’s a call to the husbands:Â wake up and check your wife and her heart before she leaves the house.Â If you don’t, you are as much to blame as she is… What’s the deal?Â Is it a matter of ignorance, preference, naivete, insecurity, fashion,Â turning the eyes of men, attention addiction, spiritualÂ immaturity or plain ole’ carnality, etc?Â Let me know what you think.
Is this a new drug?Â No!Â Then what is L+E+S+D?Â It’s our strategic vision for 2008.Â God wants the leaders and partners of Wellspring to become better lovers, engagers, sharers and disciplers in 2008.Â Today, as I was thinking aboutÂ our church I asked myself, “How am I loving, engaging, sharing and discipling in 2008?”Â To be frank, this is the first time I’ve asked myself this questions but nevertheless, have beenÂ informally doingÂ it.Â I’ve been trying to become a better lover of my wife… not the romantic side butÂ as aÂ sacrificial servant.Â God has been thumpin’ my heart challenging me to intentionally serve her even when I don’t feel like it.Â I can’t love others if I’m not loving her first.Â The Holy Spirit helped me to see that loving her always benefits others.Â In my opinion, a man who loves well is a man that gives his all in loving his wife.Â When a man loves his wife sacrificially, he then knows how to love others…Â
I’ve also been challenged by the Holy Spirit to engage with more unbelievers than ever before in my life.Â IÂ want to be around them in order for the fragrance of Christ to be smelled.Â It’s fun, exciting, real, intriguing and an opportunity for Christ to be seen.Â I recognize that when I was an unbeliever, I wasn’t thinking of coming to anyone’s church but wow, wouldn’t it have been nice for the church to come to me?Â I have a long way to go as I seek to engage for Jesus but I’m fully in theÂ game.Â
In regards to sharing, IÂ am fully committed toÂ share my life and strengthÂ withÂ my family as my first priority.Â As I share my life with them, it overflowsÂ into how I share myself in leading and shepherdingÂ God’s church.Â Growing up I was so selfish but right now I really see God sanctifying me in this area.Â
Discipling is the last piece to our strategy for 2008.Â First, I am fired up about discipling my wife.Â I haven’t always had this in balance with the rest of what I do but God’s grace has me laser focused.Â My discipling routine is praying with her and for her throughout the day, reading and dialoguing over a short story in our couple’s devotional, discussing my sermons with her and encouraging her to stayÂ intimate with Jesus.Â We are currently reading a book that we are both familiar with and have been longing toÂ read for a long time.Â It’s so sweet how wives are always ready but usÂ MEN are so distracted…Â I am also excited about reading a powerful book together with oldest son as I seek to make lasting impressions in his heart.Â
If you are flowing with us in this missional movementÂ called Wellspring,Â how are you loving, engaging, sharing and discipling or being discipled?Â I’d love to hear your story.Â If you aren’tÂ a part of Wellspring, please feel the freedom to engage with us and if you are in Charlotte, I’d love toÂ seeÂ you at the Well.Â
Dead Clothes vs. Divine Attire
About 12 hours ago I finished a sermon coming online called “Living Life Clothed in Jesus.”Â Within this message I dealt with what it means to “put on” (ESV) or clothe ourselves with Jesus.Â I dealt with Colossians 3:1-17 exploring Paul’s encouragement to the Christ followers at Colasse as they were up against humanistic false teachers who prided themselves on creating extra work for the saints.Â They were attempting in a gnostic way to add do’s and don’ts to the already sufficient Jesus.Â Paul told them free yourselves from this nonsense by seeking hard after Christ and setting your thoughts and affections upon him… As I was studying this text it became so apparent to me that we pursue hard after everything BUTÂ him seeking to fulfill ourselves apart from him.Â We as aÂ Christ-followersÂ have to repent…Â There is such a subtle addiction in Charlotte to pursue gratifying our flesh with more… more… more… when everything we need is in Jesus… But that just seems to elementary.Â People say, “What I need is more money, more influence, more power, more sex, more status, more activities (especially for my kids), more clothes, more food, more men to complete me, more women to fulfill me, when Jesus is saying, “You have it all wrong.”Â When I made you alive, I made you to live for me finding full satisfaction in me and me alone.Â
The next thing we saw in the textÂ was an urgent command to “put off” (ESV) or mortify/starve the dead deeds of the flesh that Jesus died for… Paul is telling us to starve the dead deeds of the flesh that try to convince us that they have power over us.Â For when Jesus died, he bore our sins in his body, and wiping away our sin debt.Â When he rose from the dead, he destroyed sins power over us.Â We are called as “alive Christ followers” to starve the crap that is in us that seductively attempts to keep us from living out our resurrected life.Â Our flesh is constantly attempting to keep us in bondage to the dead deeds of the flesh.Â Paul says starve it by not feeding it and making a date with it…
Thirdly, he urges the Christ followers to “put on” (ESV) or suit up with Christ.Â This is Paul’s last command forÂ us to live out loud the life that Jesus died for by putting on and wearing our divine attire that cost Jesus his life.Â Compassion, humility, forgiveness, etc. are all things characteristic of a true Christ follower that has been made alive.Â Paul says, stop adding humanistic, man-made junk to your new faith in Christ and live through Jesus.
Processing this message has heightened and created within me a greater sense of thankfulness for all that Christ has done for us and what he really desires for us.Â Ask God to speak to you and where you are as you listen to this weeks message.Â Let me know if Jesus is enough…
His Sovereign Choice
We have been experiencing an overwhelmingly rich time on Mondays, navigating through the book of Romans.Â Particularly, we have beenÂ convicted and soberedÂ by chapter 9.Â This is one of the most difficult chapters I’ve ever tried to exegete but rising to the surfaceÂ has been a clear viewÂ ofÂ the Sovereignty of God as it relates toÂ his love for theÂ elect.Â He chooses to have mercy on those he desires to have mercy and compassion on those who he desires to have compassion.Â What really has busted up my heart is the lengths that God goes through in order for his glory to be seen in my life.Â He will patiently allow the vessels of wrath (the enemies of God) to exist in order for the vessels of mercy (the elect) to reveal the glory of God.Â I am so humbled at God’s choices on my behalf.Â Â Understanding this has really settled my heart with a restful trust in Him.Â How can you rest in God’s Sovereignty?Â (1)Â Recognize that God really doesn’t need your help to provide the best for you; (2)Â Allow God the right to be God; (3)Â Know that His choices ultimatelyÂ are for your good; (4)Â Resting requires faith; (5)Â God sovereignly chose you to be hisÂ child before the earth was created; (6)Â Even your enemies are under God’s control; and (7)Â God loves you!
wet n wild
Who said you can’t have fun starting a church.Â Six of us got away and stepped out of our comfortable zones SaturdayÂ to experience a taste of the great outdoors…Â It was a rush… full of adrenaline, teamwork and flat out exhilaration.Â We worked, laughed, grunted, encouraged and trusted.Â Two of our studs even went overboard but yetÂ with courage jumped right back in theÂ raft with greater determination.Â After a few aqua laps, we were functioning like a well oiled machine seeking for the next jault and splash.Â This is what I call small group living.Â Community life isn’t limited by location.Â You can be in someone’s home, on a backyard deck, in a coffeehouse or dressed with a helmet, a tight PFD, with aching biceps, stressed out abs and a soaked cotton shirt.Â Life is an adventure, ask God to give you a community to live it with.Â If you are interested check out some more flicks:Â http://www.wellspring-community.org/maxon/content/photos/index.php?gal=2Â If you want to come along on the next one email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
flex in His grace
Sunday was a thriller at Wellspring.Â We showed up to set-up for service to find out that theÂ school was locked and no one was coming to open it up.Â Our payment was received by the school system but the head custodian wasn’t notified that we had a valid contract to enter the building.Â My first question to the Lord was “What is happening Lord?”Â Immediately, I was faced with two choices… either figure out how to let people know that Mother’s Day was going to be a disaster or trust God to work a miracle.Â I informed the Set-up Team about the situation and we knitted our hearts together in prayer…. After praying, a suggestion of a clubhouse nearby was our only option.Â God began to unveil his plan.Â One of our key leaders stayed back to inform those who came while everyone else headed to the clubhouse.Â We set the clubhouse up the best we could and then God began to send His people.Â Our people at Wellspring responded with incredible flexibility.Â Even our caterers for our “after service” Mother’s DayÂ reception were so accomodating… Our moms were honored as we praised God, listened to His Word and fellowshipped as a community.Â I praise God that he is teaching us how to flex in His grace.Â
Whatever sudden surprises you’re faced with in your life, recognize that you have plenty of room to flex in His grace.Â Trust His favor, trust His grace and trust His providential will.Â May God encourage you as you live life according to His will.
solo deo gloria
Glory to God alone.Â I thank God for the opportunity to serve Him, not because of who I am but because of who he is.Â May God receive all glory and honor as Wellspring Church is catapulted into the thirsty culture within Charlotte.Â May His name forever be praised!