Cleavage is in but not with Jesus

08/01/2008   |      |       |    0 Comment

Why aren’t Christians and Christian leaders publicly educating people about the suggestive impact that visible breast cleavage is having on our women, men, young boys and young girls?  Let’s send an APB out that alerts our sisters that it’s destroying the body of Christ.  Sensual fashion designers have duped Christian women into believing that clothes and “showing a little” doesn’t hurt anyone…  In a brief search, I realized that there were websites that teach women how to show cleavage with small breasts.  I would provide the URL but it’s so ridiculous, I wouldn’t dare do it.  Why are Christian women following the seductive, money hungry, pervert fashion designers and not Jesus.  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 gatherings with three-quarters of their breast showing?  Here’s a call to the husbands:  wake up and check your wife and her heart before she leaves the house.  If you don’t, you are as much to blame as she is… What’s the deal?  Is it a matter of ignorance, preference, naivete, insecurity, fashion, turning the eyes of men, attention addiction, spiritual immaturity or plain ole’ carnality, etc?  Let me know what you think.

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church life, community, growth, masculinity

20Truths – Word of God (Wk2)

06/10/2008   |      |       |    2 Comments

We jumped right into our study this past Sunday dealing with the four characteristics of the word of God.  We chose not to delve into canonization in order not to become too detailed in our study.  It was fun!  Alot of great questions and incredible insights.

 Authority of Scripture (pg.13, 14): 

  • “thus says the Lord” demonstrates the authority of a king. 
  • 2 Tim. 3:16 shows us that all Scripture is breathed out by God.
  • 2 Pet.3:16 - the OT/NT are the Scriptures 
  • Our highest authority is the Scriptures, God’s words
  • The Scriptures are truth (John 17:17)

Clarity of Scripture (pg.16, 17)

  • Scripture makes us wise (Ps.19:7)
  • The unbeliever can’t understand Scripture because it is spiritually discerned through the Holy Spirit which he or she doesn’t possess (1 Cor.2:14).
  • Understanding the author’s original intent in writing a particular passage is critical.

Necessity of Scripture (pg.17):

  • Preaching Scripture isn’t outdated and ineffective if what is being preached is Scripture (Rom.10:14).
  • We need God’s word in order to grow (Matt.4:4).
  • God’s will is known through his Word.

Sufficiency of Scripture (pg.18, 19)

  • The word of God is sufficient to become a Christian, live and grow.
  • We don’t need to add anything to Scripture; it’s sufficient all by itself.
  • God revealed what he wanted us to know about himself in Scripture.

Give us your thoughts about what you think about these four characteristics.  June 15th we’ll be studying about the doctrine of God.

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20Truths – Word of God (Wk1)

06/05/2008   |      |       |    0 Comment

The first truth for us to get a handle on is the Word of God.  It’s our lense by which we interpret life.  All 66 books are essential for life and godliness.  What about the words in the Bible?  Every word in the Bible is God’s words.  In other words, everything within the Scriptures came out of the mouth of God. 

So, why is it essential for Christ followers to study the Bible?   It’s essential that we study the Scriptures to know and understand God.  If we want to know God, we study the book that reveals him the most.  If we don’t want to know God, then we ignore the Bible.

Why do we say that Jesus is in the Old Testament concealed and in the New Testament revealed?  Jesus is the word of God.  To know the Word is to know Jesus (John 1:1, 1:14; 1 John 1:1; Rev. 19:13).  Jesus communicates the character of God and the will of God for us through the Scriptures.  If we obey the Word, we are obeying Jesus; if we disobey the Word we are disobeying Jesus.

How has God’s words been revealed to men?  (1)  In the form of decrees.  Decrees are God’s words that cause something to happen or cause things to come into being.  Does God currently decree things?  Yes, through the Word of God (Gen.1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26, 28, 29; Psa.33:6; Hebr.1:3). (2) By speaking directly to people.  The Scriptures show us that God has spoken directly to people in an audible voice (Gen.2:16-17; Gen.3:16-19; Ex.20:1-3; Matt.3:17).  Does God speak directly to people today audibly?  No!  Can you imagine living in an age where everyone has a different spoken revelation from God?  How could we test the validity of what they heard and whether they really heard from God? The Scriptures provide a consistent revelation from God.  (3)  Through human lips.  God raised up prophets through whom he spoke (Deut.18:18-20; Jer.1:9; Ezek.13:1-7).  These men were God’s messengers heralding his message to the masses.  The authority was in God’s words, even though it came out of human lips.  Is there such a need for prophets today especially with all the hype about “godly” men being prophets of God?  No!  God’s revelation of himself through the Scriptures has done away with the need for modern-day prophets (men who speak for God).  However, preachers do function as a “prophet” in the sense that they herald or proclaim God’s Word based on the authority of His Word.  Also, understand that their is a gift of prophecy but is more related to telling something that God has spontaneously brought to someones mind.  (4) In written form.  These words were still God’s words even though written down by men (Ex.31:18, 32:16; 34:1, 28; Josh.24:26; Isa.30:8; Jer.30:2; John 14:26; 1 Cor.14:37).  What are some benefits of having the written word?  It can be preserved for future generations.  It allows for repeated review in order to gain an understanding.  And it becomes easily available for all to enjoy.

Scripture commands us to study it (Ps.1:1-2; Josh.1:8; 2 Tim.3:16).  As you can see the Bible you possess is more than a “best-seller”, it is our revelation of God.  Let’s create a dialogue and conversation about your views of the Scriptures.  Also, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.  This Sunday we’ll discuss canonization.

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L+E+S+D

05/29/2008   |      |       |    1 Comment

Is this a new drug?  No!  Then what is L+E+S+D?  It’s our strategic vision for 2008.  God wants the leaders and partners of Wellspring to become better lovers, engagers, sharers and disciplers in 2008.  Today, as I was thinking about our church I asked myself, “How am I loving, engaging, sharing and discipling in 2008?”  To be frank, this is the first time I’ve asked myself this questions but nevertheless, have been informally doing it.  I’ve been trying to become a better lover of my wife… not the romantic side but as a sacrificial servant.  God has been thumpin’ my heart challenging me to intentionally serve her even when I don’t feel like it.  I can’t love others if I’m not loving her first.  The Holy Spirit helped me to see that loving her always benefits others.  In my opinion, a man who loves well is a man that gives his all in loving his wife.  When a man loves his wife sacrificially, he then knows how to love others… 

I’ve also been challenged by the Holy Spirit to engage with more unbelievers than ever before in my life.  I want to be around them in order for the fragrance of Christ to be smelled.  It’s fun, exciting, real, intriguing and an opportunity for Christ to be seen.  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?  I have a long way to go as I seek to engage for Jesus but I’m fully in the game. 

In regards to sharing, I am fully committed to share my life and strength with my family as my first priority.  As I share my life with them, it overflows into how I share myself in leading and shepherding God’s church.  Growing up I was so selfish but right now I really see God sanctifying me in this area. 

Discipling is the last piece to our strategy for 2008.  First, I am fired up about discipling my wife.  I haven’t always had this in balance with the rest of what I do but God’s grace has me laser focused.  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 stay intimate with Jesus.  We are currently reading a book that we are both familiar with and have been longing to read for a long time.  It’s so sweet how wives are always ready but us MEN are so distracted…  I am also excited about reading a powerful book together with oldest son as I seek to make lasting impressions in his heart. 

If you are flowing with us in this missional movement called Wellspring, how are you loving, engaging, sharing and discipling or being discipled?  I’d love to hear your story.  If you aren’t a part of Wellspring, please feel the freedom to engage with us and if you are in Charlotte, I’d love to see you at the Well. 

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church life, family living, growth, meaning of life

I’d like to read my Bible more in 2008 but…..

01/07/2008   |      |       |    1 Comment

I’m really not sure where to start. Does that sound like you or someone you know? Many of us have made resolutions or statements about how much more we plan to read our Bibles as the New Year rolls around. But somehow the end of the year comes and we don’t know much more about God’s Word beyond what we heard in church on Sunday. One practical way to make measurable progress against a goal to read your Bible more is to start with a plan. Here are 4 plans for reading your Bible in 2008 that may help:

  • The Comprehensive Bible Reading Plan (365 days) – Ready for the incredible privilege and adventure of reading the Bible through cover to cover? We hope so! It takes only about fifteen minutes a day. Enjoy! As you read, ask the Lord to help you see the redemptive story of the Bible. It’s the heartbeat of every book from Genesis to Revelation.
  • The Biographical Bible Reading Plan (121 days) – Want to read Bible highlights from Adam to Zechariah? It’s easy! The advantages of this approach include ease in seeing the story of the Bible and becoming acquainted with the entire Who’s Who of the Bible. As you read, be sure to thank God for what he’s going to do in and through you during the months ahead!
  • The Survey Bible Reading Plan (61 days) – Want to read highlights from every book of the Bible? This reading plan walks you through key passages from every book of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, in just 61 days. You’ll be able to trace God’s plan of salvation from start to finish in short, readable selections over the course of three months.
  • The Chronological Bible Reading Plan (61days) – Would you like to read through the key stories of the Bible in chronological order, tracing the development of God’s plan from Adam and Eve to the church of the New Testament? This reading plan introduces you to the major people and events of the Bible in chronological order, beginning with Creation, moving through the birth and history of the Israel nation, and ending with Revelation’s prophetic words. It’s all broken down into 61 easily-readable segments.

Note: The links and italicized descriptions above were copied from BibleGateway.com. Pick a plan, start reading and see how God reveals himself to you on a regular basis. Tell someone which plan you chose and ask them to hold you accountable.

-Bobby (Wellspring’s Webmaster)

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I'd like to read my Bible more in 2008 but…..

01/07/2008   |      |       |    1 Comment

I’m really not sure where to start. Does that sound like you or someone you know? Many of us have made resolutions or statements about how much more we plan to read our Bibles as the New Year rolls around. But somehow the end of the year comes and we don’t know much more about God’s Word beyond what we heard in church on Sunday. One practical way to make measurable progress against a goal to read your Bible more is to start with a plan. Here are 4 plans for reading your Bible in 2008 that may help:

  • The Comprehensive Bible Reading Plan (365 days) – Ready for the incredible privilege and adventure of reading the Bible through cover to cover? We hope so! It takes only about fifteen minutes a day. Enjoy! As you read, ask the Lord to help you see the redemptive story of the Bible. It’s the heartbeat of every book from Genesis to Revelation.
  • The Biographical Bible Reading Plan (121 days) – Want to read Bible highlights from Adam to Zechariah? It’s easy! The advantages of this approach include ease in seeing the story of the Bible and becoming acquainted with the entire Who’s Who of the Bible. As you read, be sure to thank God for what he’s going to do in and through you during the months ahead!
  • The Survey Bible Reading Plan (61 days) – Want to read highlights from every book of the Bible? This reading plan walks you through key passages from every book of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, in just 61 days. You’ll be able to trace God’s plan of salvation from start to finish in short, readable selections over the course of three months.
  • The Chronological Bible Reading Plan (61days) – Would you like to read through the key stories of the Bible in chronological order, tracing the development of God’s plan from Adam and Eve to the church of the New Testament? This reading plan introduces you to the major people and events of the Bible in chronological order, beginning with Creation, moving through the birth and history of the Israel nation, and ending with Revelation’s prophetic words. It’s all broken down into 61 easily-readable segments.

Note: The links and italicized descriptions above were copied from BibleGateway.com. Pick a plan, start reading and see how God reveals himself to you on a regular basis. Tell someone which plan you chose and ask them to hold you accountable.

-Bobby (Wellspring’s Webmaster)

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Life After Adultery (Pt. 2)

12/22/2007   |      |       |    0 Comment

Without trying to short-change the seemingly eternal rebuilding process in the marriage, I believe forgiveness has to eventually be introduced and woven into the hearts of the couple if there is any hope for this marriage.  After the hurt and anger surface, there has to be a definitive choice made.  This decision can either close the tormenting cycle of hurt, anger and mental reminders with forgiveness or embrace the outcome of becoming a victim to it.

Despite my personal passion for moving couples toward forgiveness, the Bible allows for the divorce of a spouse who commits adultery (Deuteronomy 24:1-4; Matthew 19:9).  However, God’s heart for marriage is that forgiveness would be chosen over divorce since God detests divorce (Malachi 2:16).  Nevertheless, the Christian spouse who has been victimized by the wounds of adultery often lives between knowledge and emotion.  On one hand they may know what the Scriptures teach about adultery and divorce.  On the other hand, they may sense an emotional impossibility to function in the midst of the constant reminders and feelings.

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family living, growth, masculinity

Life After Adultery (Pt. 1)

12/20/2007   |      |       |    0 Comment

Life After Adultery, Part 1Can a marriage recover from the devastation of adultery?  This is the pervading question that is pondered by the adulterous couple as well as the counselor who is tasked with assisting them.  How does a couple whose heart’s desire is for the pain to disappear proceed?  How does a couple obtain the courage to venture into their heartache in order to salvage the rubble from the aftermath of the betrayal and emotional chaos?  Once the reality and impact of adultery hit, the only remaining question is how to continue living life?

Following the realization of adultery are insurmountable emotional, mental and physical aches and pains that become life’s daily reminders of the breech of trust.  In addition to the inner anguish is the on-going presence of the person who has inflicted this pain.  Instead of choosing to escape from the inflictor of pain, one is now left with the confusion of whether to ever trust their spouse again.

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community, family living, growth, masculinity

Who needs a foot?

12/18/2007   |      |       |    1 Comment

AhhhRecently God has taught me a tremendous lesson about the beauty of the body of Christ through my own pain.  After experiencing a simple stretch of my foot under a table at Panera Bread, pain reeked up my entire leg.  As I got up and headed to the door, I noticed that I had to limp to make it out to my car.  Twenty minutes later, I was in the emergency room seated in a wheel chair curious as to what was going on.  Long story short, it was tendonitis from the past few days of testosterone release (football and intense bball w/ my competitive teenager).

God has shown me personally that no part of the body is insignificant.  After hopping on one foot and parading everywhere on crutches, I have been humbled by how much I need my feet.  Also, 1 Corinthians 12 has taken on a new meaning.  The is church is one body with many members.  Every member is needed in order for the body to function properly.

We recently celebrated as a church over forty one volunteers at Wellspring who have made themselves available through service.  It is amazing to see what God has done through the body through many members.  Check out the message once it’s available online.

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Dead Clothes vs. Divine Attire

11/26/2007   |      |       |    0 Comment

About 12 hours ago I finished a sermon coming online called “Living Life Clothed in Jesus.”  Within this message I dealt with what it means to “put on” (ESV) or clothe ourselves with Jesus.  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.  They were attempting in a gnostic way to add do’s and don’ts to the already sufficient Jesus.  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 BUT him seeking to fulfill ourselves apart from him.  We as a Christ-followers have to repent…  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.  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.”  When I made you alive, I made you to live for me finding full satisfaction in me and me alone. 

The next thing we saw in the text 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.  For when Jesus died, he bore our sins in his body, and wiping away our sin debt.  When he rose from the dead, he destroyed sins power over us.  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.  Our flesh is constantly attempting to keep us in bondage to the dead deeds of the flesh.  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.  This is Paul’s last command for us to live out loud the life that Jesus died for by putting on and wearing our divine attire that cost Jesus his life. Compassion, humility, forgiveness, etc. are all things characteristic of a true Christ follower that has been made alive.  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.  Ask God to speak to you and where you are as you listen to this weeks message.  Let me know if Jesus is enough…

 

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church life, family living, growth