Friday, June 5, 2009

I Hope You Fail...

"I hope you fail!"
This has got to be the most mean spirited and discouraging thing someone could wish on you or say to you...or is it?
Does God ever allow us to fail?
Does He even enable the failure to occur?
As we look through the old testament we see that His people constantly were failing and struggling, whether it was surviving a drought or becoming enslaved by a foreign power. So what is the common thread in these failures?
They always drew people back to God for their strength and reliance in Him.
When it comes down to it, any endeavor we undertake is a failure without God.
What about the failures that come when we are trying to serve Him and working for His kingdom first? Great question, I always think back to the old sports motivational quote that says, "that which does not kill us makes us stronger". Overcoming is a huge theme in the Bible.

Jeremiah 1:19 - "They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you," declares the LORD.

So the next time you feel like you've failed take a moment to give everything you have and are to God, seek His heart and ask, "Am I doing this in my strength or His?"
Maybe when it comes down to it, the very thing you failed in was just too small for what God actually wants to use you in and it takes God sized dreams and reliance on Him for it to happen.
Then when it happens, He's the only one who can get credit...Think about it.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Do I Pray like this? I want to everyday...

Saint Francis of Assisi Prayer
Lord, make an instrument of your peace.
When there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master; Grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Blessing of the Sun...

I heard today on the radio that today is the Blessing of the Sun, a tradition in which the Jewish rabbis say a special prayer in tradition to the belief that the sun has returned to its original place in the sky when God put it there at creation. This happens only once every 28 years.
The fact that it happened today is even more rare in that it only occurs on Passover once every 1,000 years.
This struck me in a profound way as I reflect about what God has been doing in my life.
When we passionately pursue God's purpose for our lives and the Holy Spirit stirs that passion to come alive, we start to look at all our life experience and realize, "Everything in my life has been preparing me for this moment."
I don't want to just let this moment pass me by. I want to passionately pursue the Holy Spirit's call to live that life of adventure he has designed me for.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Surf Trip in Samar...and visiting pastors in the barongis

We just got back from a 2 day trip to eastern Samar, one of the better unknown surfing spots in the world. Due to its difficult access, it is a highly unknown area for beautiful beaches and surf.
I'm excited about the potential of partnering with the church in Guiuan (pronounced -Gie-wan)to assit in the construction of a building for meeting.  Right now they use the pastora's home (lady pastor, see top pic)
Anyone interested in being a part of a team that builds an amazing church building for around $5000? Imagine your church being able to equip another church in spreading the gospel clear across the world for a fraction of the budget it takes for a similar sized church in the U.S.  Pray with us that God would reveal his timing and plan for this church.

Along the way we also met an young Australian woman (Amanda, bottom picture) touring southeast asia.  We invited her to join us, we sensed she was searching for more than just great surf, but true purpose and meaning to life.  She states that she found a lot of meaning in 'Buddhism'.  We were able to share our faith as Christ followers with her and we're continuing to pray that she discover the truth of salvation in Jesus Christ...

Here are some pics of our 2 day journey...

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Philippines Missions Trip, report 1

We're now in Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines.
We arrived yesterday morning, cleaned up, went to church and then went out surfing in the afternoon.
No better way to beat jet-lag!
It is absolutely beautiful here, we are staying right on the ocean.
Definitely not a bad placed to be called as a missionary.
The people are very neat and they are very open to the gospel.
The Filipino Christians are the sweetest people.

Today we travel to the island of Sumar, 3 hours away. We are purchasing land to build a church, we will visit the pastor's training school, and then catch some waves off of one of the best breaks on the islands. This will be a 2 day trip. Pretty awesome.

Continue to pray for us and the people and that God would use our time as we connect with locals and support the Alstons, our missionary hosts.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Would you know a Burning Bush if you saw one?

Mark Batterson in his new book "Wild Goose Chase" talks about what the Celtic people referred to as 'thin places'. Where the natural and supernatural are barely separated. This is more than a place, but an awareness of God at work in our world and the relationship He desires with us and what He is calling us to.
There are many Bible stories that we've heard about but never really grabbed a hold of the Truth God is speaking though them, ie. the 'Burning Bush' that Moses encountered. As I read and reflected on this story I began to ask myself (w/ Batterson's help) if I'm missing out on burning bush experiences.
Naturally, you would think, "How could I not notice a burning bush?"
But think about all the distractions we have in our day, think about the busyness, meetings, text messaging, phone calls, email, and Facebook time we have. Is it possible a bush could be burning and we simply could walk right past it without ever realizing it?
Check out Exodus 3
"There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 3 So Moses thought, "I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up."
Notice that the bush catches his attention, he stops what he is doing, and goes and checks it out.
How often have we seen God reveal himself or seen Him moving but we think, "I'm going to have to check this out more sometime."
Verse 4:
"When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, "Moses! Moses!"
And Moses said, "Here I am."
I know you're with me now, once he stops, drops what he's doing, only then does God speak. And then Moses answers in an amazing way, "Here I am." Three seriously profound words that are easily overlooked. Words that speak of not just presence, but availability; openness.
Notice what happens next in verse 5 "Do not come any closer," God said. "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground."
What's so significant about this besides the fact that God is talking, which is just way cool to think about.
It's realizing the environment that God is speaking to Moses, he's at work. He's doing his mundane, everyday job of tending sheep and God shows up. Not only that, God tells him that where he is working is a Holy place, why? Because of God's presence. How often to we take for granted God's presence in the mundane activities of our life?
And then God gives the command for Moses to take off his sandals. This is pretty much the modern day equivalent of God saying, "Turn off your cell phone, turn off your computer, I want to talk with you."
Wow! Wouldn't that be awesome? I would love for God to talk to me like that. But then again, maybe he wants to and is waiting, I just haven't noticed the burning bush because I'm late to another appointment and I'm talking on my cell phone as I write an email that should have been sent yesterday...seriously, I'm really busy...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Value of Connection

Today has been a great day of revitalizing connection and visioneering of other youth pastor's in the rocky mountain district. Sometimes the most effective way to be more productive and accomplish what God has given us the abiliites to do, is to take time away to examine what exactly it is we're doing.
To think and pray about the big picture...Lee Terry talked to us about, "What is the cause, we're truly concerned about?" The answer should be, 'the casue of Christ'.
What God has called us to do is fufill what Jesus began and modeled with his life.

I am reenergized to not only do youth ministry but equip our students to be youth doing ministry.
in the words of Robbie G: come on Jesus!

Friday, January 2, 2009

An Anti-Resolution

I'm not big on New Years Resolutions. I don't believe that waiting until the beginning of another year is a good reference for looking to make improvement in your life. Most of the time resolving to do something is more about 'me' than 'others'. I need to lose weight, I need to have better habits or stop the habits I already have. Notice the "I" factor. Inward focused.
I'm trying to change my perspective to be more externally focused. What is God teaching? What does that person need?
Jesus showed us servant leadership when he washed his disciples feet. Not necessarily a pleasant task. Ever notice that the 'best life' is typically counter cultural to what the world would deem great living?
John 10:10 - "I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of." (the message)