The City Gates and the Fort in St. Augustine, Florida - The Nation's Oldest City
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Monday, July 30, 2007
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Thursday, July 26, 2007
I want to introduce to you my very best friend and supporter I have ever had. She is my wife Eileen. We have been through so much stuff together over the last 9 years. I can hardly believe that this October we will be married 10 years.
I want to publicly thank my wife for believing in me and standing by my side through everything. She is one who always sees the glass being half-full. She encourages me, kicks me in the butt when I need it, and loves me no matter what. Thanks babe!!!
When I heard this it made my blood boil. I can understand that from time to time we may not have staff to deal with situations that may arise in our ministries. But you deal with it in a way that Jesus would deal with it. Thank God that these people are long time Christ-followers who did not walk away from the Church. What would have happened if they were young in their relationship with the Lord or a "not yet believer." I can say they have left "that" church and are looking for another.
In our places of service God so many times gives us opportunities for innovation and servant-hood and we miss it. God please help us to not miss it - but get it right!
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
What a concept! You would think that this would be something natural for Christ-followers. But unfortunately that is not the perception of most "not yet believers." I recently played a video during one of my messages that showed a ‘man on the street’ segment. In this video people were asked what they thought when they heard the word Christian and Jesus. Most everyone had very favorable things to say about Jesus but when it came to the Christians it was totally different.
Christians were seen as judgmental, unkind, unloving, and rude.
That is very sad when you think about it. The word Christian came about because people were acting like Christ.
Well, I believe that we as Christ-followers are called to change this image of the Church. We should be making it easier for "not yet believers" to come to faith, not harder. I’m not talking about changing the message of faith, but the way we as Christ-followers live our lives.
What would happen if we took the advice of God in Evan Almighty? What would happen if we took it to heart to commit one random act of kindness a day, if we truly began to live as the people of God and not self-righteous Pharisees looking down on people? Well I tell you what would happen. Our city would begin to see change. Paul said it is the kindness of God that leads men to repentance.
Where do you and I begin? With one random act of kindness. Why not buy the coffee for the person behind you at Starbucks or Barnes and Noble and let them know that God loves them - no stings attached. Why not help the single mom who is doing everything she can, but still needs some help with the kids or needs her oil changed. How about the person who cannot care for their lawn anymore? The list goes on and on.
These may not seem like spiritual things but they really are spiritual. You see, small things done with great love change the world.
If you would like to read more about this type of lifestyle, my friend Steve Sjogren has written a great book called Conspiracy of Kindness.
Also if you are tired of church as usual and want to be a part of a community of faith that is trying to live the Jesus lifestyle come visit Christ the Deliverer. We meet at St. John’s Academy at 1533 Wildwood Drive every Sunday at 10am. Also, you can learn more about this lifestyle at www.fr-joe.blogspot.com.
Monday, July 23, 2007
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Here are the links to 2 podcast. They are messages that I gave at Christ the Deliverer in St. Augustine, FL
I Want My Name Back - Ways we misrepresent the name of Jesus.
The Church as a Field vs. The Church as a Force - 2 different philosophies of the Church
With our Variety Show coming up this weekend, I thought I'd post a theology of laughter.I believe that the happiest and healthiest people in the world are the people who laugh at themselves the most. You've got to take God seriously. But you can't take yourself seriously.We laugh during prayer all the time at NCC because I like joking and I think God enjoys it too! There are moments to intercede with tearful intensity. But can you imagine a relationship with someone you never laugh with? Can you imagine your conversation never being sprinkled with a little humor? How boring! I think it's ok to bust out in gut-wrenching laughter during prayer every once in a while! God loves laughing with His children!Honestly, I think we grossly underestimate God's sense of humor! Just look at the baboon's butt. Why did God create it that way? I have a theory: God never stops laughing. I have three kids and they crack me up all the time! What with six billion of us running around doing and saying funny and silly things, there must be something absolutely hilarious happening somewhere all the time!I'm not suggesting that God isn't crying as well. But I think we've missed the sacredness of humor. I think it's part of the image of God. It is one of the capacities that sets us apart from the rest of creation. Hyennas cackle. But humans have the unique ability to laugh. Certainly loving God with all of your mind includes the medial ventral prefrontal cortex--the seat of humor!I believe the chief end of man is to glorify God and ENJOY Him forever! We tend to ignore the second-half. Maybe we need to take fun more seriously? For what it's worth, when we're hiring staff, a sense of humor tops the list of what we're looking for! If we can't laugh together we can't work together!Honestly, if our church services were a little more fun and a little more enjoyable we might have a few more people come back! I know I might take it on the chin for saying that church ought to be fun. I'm certainly not saying that it shouldn't be convicting as well. But what is one of the primary reason people don't go to church? It's boring!I don't think we stoop to the level of having fun because it's fun. I'm simply challenging us as spiritual leaders to cultivate the God-given ability to laugh. And it starts with the ability to laugh at yourself.
Friday, July 20, 2007
- There is a phrase that stands out in Ezra - "Because the gracious hand of the Lord was upon him." God's favor rested upon Ezra to do the work that he was called to do. We must remember that God's favor will be with us if we are doing what He has called us to do.
- At every point in their faith journey, God met their needs. Even when things look really bad we need to remember that God will provide. Believe it - even when it is hard to.
- Your enemies will arise as the work of God gets under way. They will lie and do whatever it takes to stop the plans of God. Keep on doing what God said. Never stop until He says stop.
- God will have the final say not your enemies.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Monday, July 16, 2007
Saturday, July 07, 2007
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
We had planed to meet friends for the fireworks tonight but instead we went to the hospital and the girls, Eileen, and I were able to watch them from the 8th floor. They were great! St. Augustine always does a good job on their fireworks display. We were really happy we could still be together as a family and keep our tradition alive.
Tomorrow I'm planning to meet with Bishop Ken for a few hours before he and Shirley fly back to Texas. This trip was really crazy with everything that has happened because of Eileen being in the hospital. But I can tell you one thing. I was considering giving up and throwing in the towel. I had had enough of church work and all the junk that can go along with it. But when a true spiritual father comes upon the scene things can change. There is a renewed sense of destiny and purpose. I know what I am called to do and I will see the vision for our community -St. Augustine - fulfilled.