Faith, Love & Health

Website Change Up – MFAChurch

For the past two weeks we have been focusing on updating our existing site @mfachurch and soon we will have a new domain with tons of traffic on the new domain www.mfachurch.com.  God has sent a web marketing guy to our church and I have learned tons of stuff that is so helpful.   I know from the beginning our the mfa.tv it was only ranking at 30 and we are pushing up to 56.  We still have a little ways to go, but by next year at this time we should be much better off!

Heart Condition

Within every follower of Christ God desires to form our hearts into his likeness.  This seems easy, but the process can be very painful and can bring great harm if God is not the center of our life.  God uses His word to bring transformation, but He also allows us to go through seasons that expose ungodly characteristics that need to be uprooted from our life.  I’m not sure if you have ever been put in a situation where you had to intentionally choose to be kind, patient, or even remain silent while internally you were enraged.  Internally you wanted to yell and scream and let everyone know, “you weren’t happy!!!”  These “internal screams” are the things that need careful observation because it can point to wrong motivations of the heart.  These motivations could be heart conditions of pride, envy,  jealousy, greed, covetousness, and are full of selfish ambitions that are self destructive to our lives and to those who are around us.

So what do we do if we are aware of wrong motives of the heart?  James says, “Come near to God…”  (James 4:8)  This is daily meditating (prayerfully read with an open ear expecting God to speak to you.) on scripture and allow the living scripture of God, to change your heart as you humble yourself before Him.  This means that we approach God  as a person empty of ability to be righteous on your own.    Then scripture says, “and He will come near to  you.”   This is no passive approach to God changing your heart, He personally desires to help form a new heart in you.

For someone starting out, who has never prayerfully meditated on scripture.  A great place to begin meditating is in the book of James, Psalms 119, or Matthew 5; you choose.

Charles Spurgeon said, “We must NOT say, I have faith and then fall into the sins of an unbeliever for, after all, our outer life is the test of our inner life and if the outer life is not purified, rest assured the heart is not changed.”

No Super Hero Allowed! Just Believe!!

This past Sunday I talked about Elijah being the cause of the drought for the Northern Kingdom of Israel.   Sometimes it is easy to look at Elijah’s life and internally feel that He is a “super-hero” that no “real follow of Christ” could ever emulate.    James will never allow us to put Elijah on that high of a pedestal.  James say’s,

“Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. 18 Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit.”  James 5:17,18

Elijah was “a man with a nature like ours…”  Elijah faced much of life like us, except there are two things that I believe set him apart:

#1: HE FULLY PUT HIS TRUST IN GOD  In 1 Kings 17:1 it says, “As the Lord God of Israel lives…”  Almost everyone else in the Northern Kingdom thought that the Lord was dead.  That baal was the only living god.  But NOT for Elijah, He believed that God was the only living God and he was going to serve Him!

This means that if we are to imitate Elijah, we too are to put our trust fully in God even when others around us don’t!

#2 HE SERVED GOD OR STOOD FOR HIM ALONE It continues to say in 1 Kings 17:1 “…whom I serve, other translations say “STAND”….”  When he makes this proclamation in front of King Ahab, he is standing in front of the King saying, at my word their will be no rain or dew…. He was standing in the presence of a king, but he recognized that he was standing in the presence of someone MIGHTIER than the king!  He knew that God’s presence went with him in his daily life. 

We too must daily understand that the presence of “Almighty God” goes with us wherever we go.  So when we are at work, school, home, Almighty God is with us and His power is available to move on our behalf.

The difference between us and Elijah is Elijah believed that God is true to His word and will never leave us nor forsake us!  That is something that each of us can put our trust in – “Almighty God!!”

In the midst of uncertainty 

I TRUST IN GOD

Daily Elijah had to trust in God

Daily the Widow had to trust in God 

Daily I must trust in God

IN PRAYER

Wake Up & SHINE!

This past Sunday Mark did a fabulous job talking about being Light!  If you get a chance you need yo listen to the whole message.  I’d like to take a minute and highlight on a segment of the message.  It comes from this passage in Ephesians:

8For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9(for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10and find out what pleases the Lord. 11Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said:

“Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”  – Ephesians 5:8-14

Basically the above says that we all were darkness, but now we are Light in the Lord.  This Light that is being talked about exposes sin through being Light and brings visibility to those who are looking for a way out of darkness.  Then the final call is to “Wake Up, O Sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”  If we are going to be light we must “awake” so that Christ can shine on us!

So this leads us to the place of being intentional about awakening our spirituality.  Mark referenced this to waking someone up from a deep sleep!  They could be awaken either by a very alarming sound or by a gentle  touch.  It could be a gentle word or a strong challenge in life that are the ways that awaken us.  In this passage the quote, “Wake Up, O Sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” was probably referring to a common song that was sung in Paul’s day.  This is one reason why we sing songs today – it helps awaken us!  Daily we awaken ourselves by scripture reading, prayer, singing songs that honor God, journaling, sharing our faith, or anything that forces us to live out our faith.

The final thought is, are you positioning yourself to wake up or have you been in a deep sleep not willing to be wake up your spirit to the Light of Christ?  Whatever your answer, I hope you take the right steps in your life to allow Christ to Shine on you!


The Heart of 2010

2010 is here and I am beginning to think through my next steps for this year.  I’m asking myself what should I do different as I reflect on my actions from 2009?  How can I be more effective in reaching goals that God has placed in my heart?  I’ve learned for me, the best way to reach personal goals is to write them down and give myself starting dates and deadlines to meet.  Otherwise they just become wishes that I end up neglecting and hopes that don’t come to past.

2009 was a great year for me.  I was able to reach many goals.  The difficult part of reaching my goals, like many of us, is trying to  find “the balance” of life, relationships and personal goals  without losing what is most valuable.  That being for me, my relationship with God and my family.   So in order for me to stay on track I have to keep God at the center of everything that I do (He is the One leading and directing!) and include my family within the scope of my journey.  Allowing them to be my cheerleaders and having them join me in many great experiences.  I also have to shift my goals around and sometimes let go of my goals; so that I can help them achieve what is close to their heart.  Their life goals!  That may mean for me, a little longer strategy to reach my personal goals, but the precious family that God has given me is more valuable then anything that I could ever want to achieve in life.

I see this image in my mind of a man going through life winning awards and being recognized by many, but at the end of his life he looks around only to find that he is all alone.  I know for certain, that we don’t want to end up with a life filled full of accomplishments and a home that is empty!  So let 2010 be a year of new starts, new hope and a life filled full of love for what really matters.  Cheers to a New Year!

Pity VS Compassion

Today my mind begins thinking through our culture as we seem to see more and more disaster, pain and death fill our world.  Much of our response is pity, feeling sorrow for an individual or group that is going through a hard time, yet we many times alienate ourselves away from the hurt that others are experiencing in their life.  I know our natural response is to embrace pity, especially with our lives as busy as they are and the pull we feel everyday with everyone wanting our time and energy.  This disastrous behavior leaves our world with less hope and more pain without experiencing the love and healing power of Christ in the midst of suffering.  I’m reminded of a scripture that says,

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”  – Matthew 25:35-36

This passage is speaking beyond the physical side of suffering.  I love what Mother Teresa says about this, Hungry not only for bread – but hungry for love. Naked not only for clothing – but naked for human dignity and respect. Homeless not only for want of a room of bricks – but homeless because of rejection.”  When we reach out in compassion – feeling the hurt that others feel and are willing to do something about the suffering, we bring the hope Christ to all mankind.

Lastly I believe this is a choice we must make.  Our emotions or our natural response will lead us to withdraw, but the call of God’s love must motivate us beyond our feelings and lead us to show compassion so that healing power of God may take place in people’s life.  I know this doesn’t always feel comfortable, but to share in the pain of others is to share in the pain that Christ went through for all of us, so that we may experience freedom in the the midst of suffering.  So the only thing left for each of us to do is to be watchful of who God is placing in our path, that we might stop and comfort those who are experiencing difficulty or pain in our world.  When we do this, each of us will experience the amazing grace of God.

Ministry VS Organization

As I was running this morning I took a pause and began talking out loud about Ministry VS sustaining an Organization.   So you can download a copy of my first attempts to podcast a short dialogue about this topic.  There is so much more to share about and to think through as followers of Christ.  We must all decide in our hearts where our focus is…people or keeping a organization functioning?  Here is the download!  Enjoy!

TrueLife Creativity Teams

Our TrueLife (TL) creativity team has been in the process of looking at what our DNA should be as Creativity Teams?  Through the process we have come up with “play ground rules” a manifesto of what will guide all of our creativity teams in the future.  The concepts that I love is that we give people within these teams a voice to share and to contribute to the bigger plan that God is doing in the midst of TL.  This opens the door to allow the church to function within their giftings and interact and reach the city through those giftings.  Where some church cultures suppress new ideas and innovation, TL creativity teams draw out new thinking (through those within the community) as it helps to build bridges to the culture, cultural creatives and through the process it develops community through our journey together.

I guess what motivates me secondly is God has a pathway within our community to shape and form us.  For ages churches  have been copies of other churches, people have thought; if I can only do what that “Big Church” is doing I will build a name for myself, but the reality is that we build a name within our communities by acting and functioning together as a community.  A place where people’s voice can be heard and a place to serve and share the gospel in a practical manner to the city that God has called each of us.

I guess I am sharing all of this just because I am excited to be in a place where I fit, I belong, and God can fulfill something special through our creativity teams.  I know we aren’t the perfect church, but as God directs… lives will be changed!

Lastly, I want to thank Mark for being obedient to allow this concept of creativity teams to be part of our community.  It is a joy to serve with you!

Mom’s Wisdom

This morning I started reading through the book of Proverbs.  I first read it, then as I took my morning run I listened to an audio version of the 1st chapter and finally I stopped running and walked.  As I began walking I took time to pray  the passage back to God and finally too listen to what He was speaking into my life.  I love what my friend Mark says about our pace in life, ‘we need to slow down and become less busy’ – not an exact quote.  Slow down to hear the voice of God and also time to receive what He has for our lives.  Let’s read a portion of this passage together and maybe God will speak something special to you too.

1-6 These are the wise sayings of Solomon, David’s son, Israel’s king— Written down so we’ll know how to live well and right, to understand what life means and where it’s going; A manual for living, for learning what’s right and just and fair; To teach the inexperienced the ropes and give our young people a grasp on reality.  There’s something here also for seasoned men and women, still a thing or two for the experienced to learn— Fresh wisdom to probe and penetrate,
the rhymes and reasons of wise men and women.

7 Start with God—the first step in learning is bowing down to God; only fools thumb their noses at such wisdom and learning. 8 Pay close attention, friend, to what your father tells you; never forget what you learned at your mother’s knee.  Wear their counsel like flowers in your hair, like rings on your fingers.

Proverbs 1:1-8 (The Message)

The first thing I love about this passage is God’s saying that everything that you need for your life and to be successful is already written down.  Read and put it into action daily and you will experience it!  The truth is…none of us was born with all the knowledge need for our life, so we must seek after it if we are going to experience God’s best for our lives.  I know there are times when we think that we have all the answers, but this is called adolescence – the time in our life where we have very little experience to back up our knowledge.  I think many of us – including myself, revert back to acting in this manner where we go off to pursue our plans; thinking we know exactly what we need to do, but we end up disappointed or depressed due to our lack of success.

One of the first places that Solomon encourages us to start with is a humble heart.  Sometimes it is out of disappointment that we end up humble and ready to listen to God’s wisdom.  He goes on to say, listen to what your father taught you and what you learned from your mother.   So because Mother’s Day is this weekend, I prayed and meditated on this passage thinking back to the things my mother taught me.  Some of it was learned as she held me on her lap swinging me on our swing reading books to me after I would get home from school, while other things I learned in passing as she lived her life.  Here are a few things that I have learned from my mom:

The value to read God’s Holy Word, to pray, and to truly seek after God until you hear his voice! She also instilled in me to work hard and give your best at everything that you do, to listen and empathize with people, to be committed to your home and family, to love your spouse, be people of integrity, to stand strong in the mist of difficulty and to serve.  I wasn’t raised in a perfect home, but God placed me in this home to develop me and shape me and mold me into who I am today.

For some of us we may need to revisit what you  learned as a child because scripture goes on to say…”wear their counsel like a flower in your hair and rings on your fingers.”  This is making a choice to embrace the fullness of God’s wisdom and to daily apply those values in our life.

Do you want to be successful in your life?  Seek after God’s wisdom, relearn what you have been taught and apply it to your life.

Free AudioBooks

Since I started Church Planting my life has been on the go and 85% traditional book reading has been put to the side for this season.  The great part of technology is that we can listen to books as our life is on the go.  Well I wanted to share a great audiobook that I downloaded for free…Tribal Leadership.  Click on the link and enjoy! (Registration is required – but it is worth it!)

If you know of any other free running/biking, business (Free business audio/video downloads ) or ministry audiobooks please let me know.

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