Sustain…………Reason One I Love My Church!!!!

Sustain is a ministry we have started in our youth ministry known as Youthquake. Here’s the idea behind. It’s pretty simple really. Catch the people who fall through the cracks that society overlook. It’s not the governments job to take care of the poor, sick, and homeless. It’s the Church’s. And that is exactly what we are doing. One person at a time. Jesus said the poor will always be with us, so to me it means it’s time to get to work because the harvest is plentiful. A few weeks back, around 40 volunteers came together to help someone who was getting evicted from their home. The pulled together and made what needed to happen happen. Over the past few weeks we have also developed a relationship with a couple homeless people. We have been providing them with food and new tents to live in. But this week it went a step further. Through the Sustain ministry they now have a home. It’s truly amazing. I’m not bragging. i hope I am encouraging. Like Nike said, just do it. If the church would do as much as it talks about doing, then ………….

Shalom.

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Here you go…………

It’s been a while. Sorry. I’ll be back soon. Chumba Wumba.

Questions, Questions, and more Questions

question-mark

Do people with a lot of questions get on your nerves? Does that person that just keeps hounding you, never seeming to leave you a lone get under your skin? Sometimes it does me. But I was thinking this morning about people with questions about faith. Specifically about Christianity. The more I think about it, the more I wish people would ask me questions. Not because I have the answers, I don’t, but if someone is asking you questions about your faith, then they are at least interested in it. It may not be the good kind of interested, but at least they are interested. When it comes to Christianity, the people with a lot of questions don’t bother me at all. In fact, it’s the ones with no questions that scare the heck out of me. It’s the ones that go through life accepting ever single doctrine, which is not faith, and move along as if all is well. Rob Bell puts it the best I have ever heard. He says that Christianity is like a trampoline. And what holds a trampoline up? Springs, The springs are the doctrines that hold it in place. But, they are also able to bend and stretch and move around. They are able to be “questioned”, for the furthering of Christianity. Think about Martin Luther. He is the founder of the “reformation”. But, it seems today that alot is just reformed and not reforming. Surely we haven’t figured the whole thing out. Surely we don’t have all the questions answered. Surely with ever answer comes more questions. I think God loves it when we seek him with questions. Look at the Bible. Abraham bugged God with a boat load of questions, Moses spent two chapters questioning God’s choice for a spokes person, which was him by the way. Even Jesus’ last sentence on earth was a question to God. “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”.

So here’s the deal. If you are studying the Bible and searching for God and you have no questions, then it may be you aren’t really studying and searching. You may just be a brick follower. On the trampoline the springs are what allow this story we are all part of to move and shift and mold, but if you replace the springs with bricks, then you have no room for God to work. Doctrine is man made. Reformation is a movement in constant motion, where the mysterious ways of God not only bring us joy, but they also bring us more questions. Springs are good. Bricks are bad. Bricks are used to build walls to keep people out. Just like some doctrines. They were made to exclude individuals for whatever reason. But that’s not reformation. With bricks, change rarely happens. Sometimes you have to tear the bricks down. And what better way than by asking a lot of questions?

Shalom..

Chipped or Broken

This weekend my pastor spoke about brokenness. He taught about how there was a group of people that Jesus was speaking to in his hometown. These people had seen the signs, the miracles, everything Jesus had done. But for whatever reason they would not repent. They would not turn away from their sin. Jesus even went on to say that the people of Sodom will receive a less severe punishment then his own towns people who were really good people. They obeyed the Sabbath, worshipped together, but did not repent.

Pastor Cox likened to this. He took a coffee mug and began to hit the edges of it. Chipping it around the rim. We are all chipped in many ways. But some people believe that it’s Ok to live with these chips. It’s Ok to have some flaws and learn to live with them. It’s even Ok to continue adding chips to our glass. No ones perfect and God accepts us as we are. I, of all people, am fully aware of that. But instead of standing in front of God trying to hide or even worse convince him our chips are Ok we should become broken for him. Sometimes we have to allow God to break us. Because in brokenness there is the ability to made whole again. And that is the business that God is in. Fixing brokenness. So, are we Ok with being a little rough around the edges or do we want to become broken for something bigger?

 

Shalom..

Jesus Wept

I spent the better part of the afternoon hanging out with some of my friends at one of our friends dad’s funeral. It was a really interesting time. These are the guys that I get to play cards with every other Saturday night. These are the guys I share cold beers with every other Saturday night. These are the guys that I scream at during football, basketball, baseball, and hockey games. And they scream back at me. Sometimes there is cussing involved. But it’s all in love. These are the guys that I sit in a smoke filled room until the wee hours of the morning talking about how great this movie was and how it was so much better than that movie. These are the guys that I love on a level I can’t explain. So here’s the deal. They know me. They know my heart for the Lord. And I know theirs. It’s safe to say that some of us don’t see eye to eye. But, it’s also safe to say they have never judged me, and I have never judged them. And today I got to see these guys open up their hearts to a brother who was hurting more than he has ever hurt before. I got to see these guys at the most vulnerable point. I saw them cry and they saw me cry. We all were hurting with our brother. I believe ever one us wished we had the answer or the cure for the emptiness that losing your dad brings. So that we could share it with Frye. But we don’t. All we could do is cry with him. Lock arms and hurt with him. And we did. I’ll never forget that moment. I’ve been building a relationship with the guys for nine years now. And this was the first time I have ever been through anything of this magnitude with these guys. Anyways, Frye’s father gave his life to the Lord two years ago. He was a chemist and had a very scientific mind. The pastor told a story about how Frye’s dad first started coming to church, and told the pastor that he needed proof. He needed scientific evidence that Jesus existed, died, and raised from the dead before he would buy into this story. So he researched, and researched, and researched. Until not long ago he finally told the pastor,”to many people witnessed this, for it not to happen”. He became a believer. Frye’s father slipped into a comma about a week ago. The doctors said he would not wake up. But on Sunday, he did. His pastor was by his side and said that Mr. Frye opened his eyes. He then looked at the pastor, threw his legs onto the floor, and stood eye to eye to him. He told him to make sure his family knows that Jesus was real and he grabbed the pastors hand and prayed for him. He knew the mission this pastor has in front of him and in his dying minutes prayed for the pastor to have the strength to carry on the gospel to his kids. Unreal.

I hugged Frye today and he whispered in my ear that he wanted to know this Jesus. I assured him that he already does and we will start this long road together. The reconciliation of all things for his glory. That sentence puzzles me to this day and always will. Because the mysterious ways of God never cease to amaze me.

Shalom…..

No more bacon? You better check yo self!!!!!

In case you ever wondered, here you go………

Random questions of a four year old…………

Grace: Dad, can God see very good?

Dad: Well yes, I guess he can.

Grace: What color are his eyes?

Dad: No to sure, why?

Grace: Just wondered.

A few minutes pass.

Grace: Dad, can God see through my eyes?

Dad: I think he can.

Grace: (closing her eyes) Even now?

What a short and great conversation I had with Grace. Rayn and Grace are both getting to the age where they are beginning to ask very interesting questions about God. The authenticity of them is remarkable. It’s as if God is asking me question through their questions. Does God see through our eyes? I think he does. But he sees through our hearts as well. He sees when we physically refuse to help someone in need, but he also sees the prejudice in our hearts that hide behind the decision. He sees when we turn away from our “lost” friends and neighbors to hang out with our “saved” friends and neighbors, but he also sees the judgement that lies in our hearts when we make those decisions.

Sometimes I think we walk around with our eyes closed, hoping not to see what it is God wants us to see. We think we have this get out of doing good works card if we walk around in a daze only concerned about what we want to see and do. Sometimes, secretly, we close our eyes as hard as we can and hope that a situation we should be in the middle of goes away. But it doesn’t does it?

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