Learning to be Miserable (c/o Acts29)

07/21/2010   |      |       |    0 Comment

This is a great follow-up to my sermon this past Sunday – “Trials & Maturity” from James 1:1-4.  Click Here
Please feel free to share your thoughts.
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community, Featured, growth, Sermon Series

Gospel Centered Life Community Group

09/09/2009   |      |       |    0 Comment

Excerpt taken from:  http://theologica.blogspot.com/

The Gospel-Centered Life: Small Group Curriculum

Here’s a new small-group curriculum that looks very helpful: The Gospel-Centered Life: A Nine Lesson Study, published by World Harvest Mission. You can sign-up for a free full-length review copy by email; or download a sample lesson, the table of contents, and/or the introduction.

Here are some endorsements:

“This is a rich gospel-centered small group curriculum that I am really excited to see published.”
–Mark Driscoll

“I have not seen a better resource for training people in the implications of the gospel. It communicates both to the new Christian and to the seasoned pastor, much like the gospel itself.”
–Darrin Patrick

“With simple and direct language, The Gospel-Centered Life helps people understand and effectively apply the gospel to their lives, regardless of where they are in their spiritual journey. It’s one of the few resources out there that explicitly challenges others to reach out with the gospel, even as it is growing deeper into their own lives. I highly recommend it!
–Steve Childers

“The phrase ‘gospel-centered’ has become a popular buzzword in Christianity. But just because you talk about the gospel doesn’t mean you’re being transformed by it. I’m familiar with both the publisher and the authors of The Gospel-Centered Life, and I know they are profoundly aware, first and foremost, of their own need for gospel renewal. That’s why I’m so excited to recommend this material to pastors, leaders, and Christians everywhere who long to see gospel transformation in themselves and in their churches.”
–Daniel Montgomery

HT: Michael Johnson

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An Intense Hatred for the Prosperity Gospel

09/02/2009   |      |       |    3 Comments

Our love of money more than people is robbing our testimony before the world and our ability to care for the world the way Jesus does.  When we believe that our money and the opportunities it affords us is more important than the opportunities that money affords the kingdom of God, we have made a tragic error.

In my twenty-two years as a Christian, I have seen preachers beg “Christians” to give to no avail.  I will never do this because my begging can’t help anyone understand the gospel enough to understand why they are in sin.  But instead, my heart is compelled to boldly proclaim that the non-giver of God’s money doesn’t love Jesus but instead loves “their” money.

Here’s what’s crazy… Preachers all across America know that “Christians” love to worship money more than Jesus but instead of telling them that they are in sin they have conjured up a “prosperity gospel” that’s not the gospel.  And because they love money, we have entire movements of deceived people selling an empty promise. John Piper hits it right on the nail.

For the record, I hate the prosperity gospel because Jesus hates false teachers. In these lean economic times, trust the “gospel” and pursue satisfaction in Jesus, even if you have to suffer through this period of time. I’d love to hear your take on this “false gospel.” Please share.

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church life, Featured, growth

Questions… Questions… Questions…

03/08/2009   |      |       |    0 Comment

Well we are about a week away from starting our new series “Ask Any Question.”  The questions keep coming in and I’m asking myself, “What was the Lord thinking when He gave me this idea?”  It’s going to take me months to answer all these questions… But guess what?  That’s what I want.

Who is answering your questions about life, God, marriage, sexuality, abortion, gambling, the Trinity, suffering, etc?  Oftentimes, we never ask that one question that if answered would catapult our faith in God.

I know when I was new to the faith or even like now, “semi-old” in the faith, I didn’t have a forum in which to ask what I felt were legitimate questions.  You see, many of us have questions but no one to turn to that can answer them…

Can you imagine a person going to church for 10-15 years and never know that Jesus is God?  Well, that’s why we are presenting this opportunity.  People are responding and we are organizing the questions.

Do you have questions that you need answers to?  Then submit them to us if you live in Charlotte or don’t live in Charlotte… We’ll answer them.  But here’s the caviate – you must live out the answer.  Don’t ask us a question that if answered won’t cause you to love Jesus more.  We aren’t seeking to be a “Bible Answer Man.”  We are seeking to give you Biblical and theological answers that would assist you in falling deeper in love with Jesus.

Ask your questions, I’ll answer them with the truth… If you don’t mind truth then we’ll have a blast.  Relax, it won’t be like this…

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What’s up with the church?

03/03/2009   |      |       |    1 Comment

After twenty eight chapters of Acts I’m scratching my head saying, “How in the world did we get so off track from what the church is all about?”  I don’t say this in a way that calibrates me and “my church” as having arrived… But I’m saying to myself, “Where did we miss it?”

Within the past few weeks, I’ve been repenting over getting off track as a church.  After searching my own heart, I can see where we can miss it.  Guru books, what this church is doing, felt-needs, idols, everyone’s desires, spoiled people, lack of submission, busy schedules, fear, and consumerism, etc… etc… can cause a church to miss the whole purpose for which we gather.   Now don’t get me wrong, we get that JESUS is our central focus and preaching the gospel is our message but what about how the gospel inspires us to constantly pray for one another and  experience “one heart” community life?  And better yet, what about understanding the expectation that as a church we need to prepare to endure persecution?

It’s crazy… Has, “I’m going to pray for you” become something that we just say or is it really something we take time to do?  Are IPhones and Facebook accounts meeting felt needs so much that we’ve lost our fervor to just fall on our faces for one another?  Stuff is happening all around us that needs our fervent prayers.  What are we really devoted to?

What about gathering together for community life?  Has church been reduced to Sunday morning only?  What about doing life as the body of Christ?  What about getting into someone else’s life and being there for them?  What about having fun, eating food, studying the Word, asking questions and getting to know people?  Our church communities around the world should be drawing “thirsty”, hungry and malnourished people who are starving because they don’t know Jesus.  Our communities should be blessed because there’s a group of Christians gather in a house in a particular neighborhood… Man, that’s what I want.  I want to see the church living out loud for Jesus.

Don’t get me started talking about “enduring persecution.”  No one likes persecution.  But what a blessing – Acts is loaded with testimonies of the providence of God in the midst of suffering.  Listen to me, if suffering is being the church then we can’t deny that’s it’s coming.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.  In the meantime, listen to the message on 3/1/09, it comes with a PPT that we followed during our time together.  Dig into Acts, find the church and let me know what you discover.

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church life, community, growth, meaning of life

What's up with the church?

03/03/2009   |      |       |    1 Comment

After twenty eight chapters of Acts I’m scratching my head saying, “How in the world did we get so off track from what the church is all about?”  I don’t say this in a way that calibrates me and “my church” as having arrived… But I’m saying to myself, “Where did we miss it?”

Within the past few weeks, I’ve been repenting over getting off track as a church.  After searching my own heart, I can see where we can miss it.  Guru books, what this church is doing, felt-needs, idols, everyone’s desires, spoiled people, lack of submission, busy schedules, fear, and consumerism, etc… etc… can cause a church to miss the whole purpose for which we gather.   Now don’t get me wrong, we get that JESUS is our central focus and preaching the gospel is our message but what about how the gospel inspires us to constantly pray for one another and  experience “one heart” community life?  And better yet, what about understanding the expectation that as a church we need to prepare to endure persecution?

It’s crazy… Has, “I’m going to pray for you” become something that we just say or is it really something we take time to do?  Are IPhones and Facebook accounts meeting felt needs so much that we’ve lost our fervor to just fall on our faces for one another?  Stuff is happening all around us that needs our fervent prayers.  What are we really devoted to?

What about gathering together for community life?  Has church been reduced to Sunday morning only?  What about doing life as the body of Christ?  What about getting into someone else’s life and being there for them?  What about having fun, eating food, studying the Word, asking questions and getting to know people?  Our church communities around the world should be drawing “thirsty”, hungry and malnourished people who are starving because they don’t know Jesus.  Our communities should be blessed because there’s a group of Christians gather in a house in a particular neighborhood… Man, that’s what I want.  I want to see the church living out loud for Jesus.

Don’t get me started talking about “enduring persecution.”  No one likes persecution.  But what a blessing – Acts is loaded with testimonies of the providence of God in the midst of suffering.  Listen to me, if suffering is being the church then we can’t deny that’s it’s coming.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.  In the meantime, listen to the message on 3/1/09, it comes with a PPT that we followed during our time together.  Dig into Acts, find the church and let me know what you discover.

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church life, community, growth, meaning of life

More Christian Than African-American

01/30/2009   |      |       |    0 Comment

In a time when few people are discussing race and its response to the gospel, Kim Cash Tate shares her story of a real collision between her racial identity and a radical faith in Jesus Christ.  Here’s an interview with Janet Parshall’s America – Click (Select January 13, 2009 — Hour 3

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family living, growth

Preoccupation with what?

01/28/2009   |      |       |    2 Comments

Being over 40 has caused me to become a little more aware of my health.  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.  I wondered to myself, “How long have I been doing this?”  I couldn’t believe it… I asked myself, “Is this why sometimes I feel tension in my chest?”  Immediately, I began taking breaths, feeling normal again.  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.  What was I reading?  “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.  Now, before I went into a full blown panic attack, I caught myself having realized how laser focused I was on the book.  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?  Isn’t the cross, central to everything?  Isn’t that where our focus and attention should gaze?  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.”  What is the Christian life all about? I’ll tell you… it’s about the cross.  It’s not our performance of spiritual duties; it’s the cross that Jesus died on for our sins (Romans 5:8-10).  His cross should have been our cross.  We should have died and been sent to Hell but Jesus chose to die in our place.  “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.  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.  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).  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?  That’s right, the cross.  What about you?  Every time you breathe, what are you going to be thinking about?  What are you preoccupied with?

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church life, family living, growth, meaning of life

John Piper Sends a Message to Our President

01/27/2009   |      |       |    0 Comment

In the spirit of “Facing the Truth Before Our Righteous Judge” I have attached a riveting message from my friend to our longed for president.  Please pray for repentance and courage to stand for truth!  Be Courageous, Mr. President

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community, family living, growth, masculinity, meaning of life, parenting

The Distraction of Celebrated Breasts

08/05/2008   |      |       |    1 Comment

Are women leveraging the power of their influence over men?  In a recent article, ABC News reports on the appropriate way for women to celebrate their breasts for their own benefit, even in the workplace.  Could our Christian sisters be subtly buying into the “dressed up” and unspoken messages of the drivers of fashion in our culture?  Are we allowing our body images to become our means of advancing ourselves or being perceived as striking and worthy of notice?  Has tight become right because it displays your competitive edge? 

Regardless of the reason, at this point our men are pleading for our sisters in Christ to be sensitive to our visual makeup.  We anticipate the onslaught from unbelieving women but not from blood-washed believers in Christ.  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.  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 we guard our hearts.  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. 

Please don’t celebrate your breasts to our detriment.  We as men have too much wickedness in our own hearts to be enticed by things that could be avoided.  We love our sisters but really need them to understand the impact of their choices.  Let’s avoid unnecessary distractions to furthering God’s kingdom.

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church life, community, family living, growth, masculinity