Category Archives: video

We Can’t Get This One Wrong!

I enjoy listening to many people.  National speakers, pastors, writers, presidents, CEO’s and more.  I like listening to people that I disagree with.  It forces me to take a stand on what I really believe, rather than just float along with whatever the next thing to come along is.  With that in mind, this is what I like so much about a guy like Francis Chan.

When I listen to him, I don’t hear a lot of bias toward his own way of thinking.  He challenges us to confront God and Scripture to determine what we believe.  I think in a lot of ways I like him because he makes things very simple and I am a simple guy.

Recently, there has been a lot of talk about Rob Bell’s new book, “Love Wins.”  I haven’t read the book, so I won’t comment on it yet.  I don’t think I should comment on a book I haven’t read.  However, I believe Mr. Chan has read it and he has some very interesting comments.  He never calls out Mr. Bell.  He never points to anyone in particular to throw them under the bus.  He simply says that we can’t afford to get the issue of hell, wrong.  Check out this video and let me know what you think about this whole conversation.

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Easter Invites!

This year, New Life is going big.  We are inviting some top name people to join us for Easter Sunday.  I’m scheduled to make a call next week, but who I’m calling will remain a surprise.  For now, check out this year’s Easter Invites!

Take The Real Man Challenge!

Let’s just be honest, many men don’t truly value their wives.  Let me be more honest, I have not always valued my wife the way God expects me to.  For that, I am eternally in debt to my amazing wife.

My guess is that most of you who read this blog have probably heard a song by Bruno Mars called, “Just The Way Your Are.”  I’m not necessarily a fan of Bruno Mars personally, but I truly enjoy this song and wish that all men felt this way about their wives.

Bruno Mars

I want to challenge every man out there who has a spouse, is engaged or who would like to be married some day; when you have a wife, cherish her, love her, sacrifice for her, die on the side of a mountain for her.  It doesn’t matter to me if you are on to your second or third marriage (or more), but if you will love your wife the way God intends, you will see your marriage bloom into something amazing.

Ephesians 5 offers some guiding principles.  Some people take offense to them.  Men believe they can never live up to them.  But let me tell you where God stands on your marriage.  God says this in Ephesians 5:25-27 (Message)…

Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church-a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness.

Your love for your wife should reflect the love Jesus has for the church.  Jesus died for the church!

Your love for your wife should make her whole and complete.  Does your love for her leave her feeling as if she is whole and complete?  Or does she feel like something is missing?

Your love for your wife should bring out her best to your family and the world.  How do you speak about your wife to your friends, neighbors and co-workers?  Is she the “old ball and chain?”  Or is she so much more than that to you?

Your love for your wife should bring out the best in her.  If something isn’t right, don’t blame her first.  Look at yourself and ask if you’re doing everything in your power to bring out the best in her or are you putting her in no-win situations.

Your love for your wife should have her looking holy, blameless and radiant to everyone on the planet.  Can you say that you do that for your wife?

This passage is a great challenge.  I believe that if men took it on fully, they would find the most satisfying and rewarding relationship with their wives.  Everything would change if men would follow through on their role in the family.  I wish I could say that I have lived this perfectly.  I strive for this standard, but often I fall miserably short.

I mentioned Bruno Mars because I think that men (and women) go into a marriage or relationship thinking the other person will change.  We often view the other as a project or someone we can fix.  And when that philosophy doesn’t pan out, we give up.  The relationship ends.  And in many cases, the lives of those involved will never be the same.

So I’m posting the Bruno Mars song (I can’t vouch for comments on YouTube nor can I vouch for the ads).  You should listen to it.  Bruno isn’t perfect either I’m sure, but the words say a lot about how men should look at their wives (not other women walking by, by the way).  And at the risk of sounding sacrilegious, I have even imagined Jesus singing this song to the church.  When the church is on its game, smiling like Jesus knows we can, the whole world takes notice.

God has given you a helper, men.  And when you treat her the way God expects, you will not experience a better relationship with anyone, ever, on this planet.  So get out there and love your wife like you’re supposed to.  Sacrifice for her.  Bring out the best in her.  Never leave her.

Judged!

What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise.  So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary.  But I need something more!  For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help!  I realize that I don’t have what it takes.  I can will it, but I can’t do it.  I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway.  My decisions, such as they are, don’t results in actions.  Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.  It happens so regularly that it’s predictable.  The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up.  I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight.  Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.  I’ve tried everything and nothing helps.  I’m at the end of my rope.  Is there no one who can do anything for me?  Isn’t that the real question?  the answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does.  He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different…here’s a word that you can take to heart and depend on: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.  I’m proof – public sinner number one – of someone who could never have made it apart from sheer mercy.  And now he shows me off – evidence of his endless patience – to those who are right on the edge of trusting him forever.

-the Apostle Paul (Romans 7:15-25; 1 Timothy 1:15, 16 MSG)

Social Media Fast

Facebook.  Twitter.  Foursquare.  Yammer.  Tumblr.  LinkedIn.  XING.  Meetup.  MySpace.  And that’s just a start.  Social media is huge in our world.  In fact, it has changed hSocial Media Mapow we communicate, meet people, share photos and even do business.

Over the last couple of weeks, I have taken a break from all of it.  I logged off of Facebook.  I gave up tweeting.  I didn’t even yam on yammer.  In fact, I’m pretty sure no one even knew where I was because I cut Foursquare out of my life.  No blogs were written.  I deleted the apps off of my phone.  I literally went on a social media fast.  I had a very specific goal in mind.  There was something missing in my life.  All of the social media stuff had just become noise for me.  Time was being wasted.  And to top it off, I wasn’t hearing from the most important “social connection” in my life.  So I want to tell you a little about what I learned during my social media fast.

I would give you an accurate time frame, but honestly, I’m not sure what that time frame is.  What I can honestly say is, that this has been going on way too long.  So in the following examples, just insert “way too long” as a time frame.

For (time frame), I could tell you what the latest YouTube fad video was.  But I couldn’t tell you what God was up to.

For (time frame), I could tell you what was going on in many parts of the world.  But I couldn’t tell you how God was working in my world.

For (time frame), I could point you to blogs, websites and resources all over the net.  But I couldn’t point you what God was saying.

My goal was to get my priorities back in the right place.  I replaced all of my social media time, with time with God.  Instead of updating my status, I spent some time hearing from God.  And something amazing happened.  I began hearing from God in fresh ways.  Everything began to change for me.  Things were much clearer.  I began to have a very clear sense of the things I had to do as a campus pastor.  It was one of the best things I have ever done, spiritually speaking.

I’m convinced that we can fast from more than just food.  Fasting is a spiritual practice where we give something up in order to hear from and get closer to God’s will for our life.  For me, it was fasting from social media that is just what I needed.  My last update on social media was September 15th.  My fast began on the 13th.  I updated on the 15th to simply say that God was already showing up in a big way.  And what a great three weeks it has been.

So what did I learn?

  1. I don’t need social media to survive.
  2. I need God to survive.
  3. Social media is fun, but it’s not life.
  4. Time is precious and how I spend it needs to be watched, closely.
  5. God speaks to us when we are as intentional about listening to Him as we are about spending time on Facebook.

Many of you may be wondering; will I be back to social media?  The answer to that question is, “Yes.”  I will be back to social media.  But I will be back with a much clearer perspective on how and when to use it.  I will have a plan in place to make sure it doesn’t take over my life.  So for those of you who follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr or Foursquare, you don’t have to fear.  I’ll be back soon.

So, that brings us to you.

Do you think we need a social media fast?

Have you ever taken one?

What did you learn?

Are you going to take one now?

SOAP – John 1

SOAP stands for Scripture, Observations, Application & Prayer.  As our church studies through different SOAP passages, I will be uploading videos every now and then to talk about some of my own observations.  I hope this turns into a great way to connect with a lot of people as well as share insight into Scripture.  Looking forward to reading your comments.  I would really like for you to subscribe to our YouTube channel.  Leave me some comments there as well.

Who’s Building The House?

One of the things I have been praying about recently is that God would show me what He wants to do with His church.  In my specific case, His campus.  My prayer has been simple; “God, who do you want us to be?  What do You want us to accomplish?  What can we do to bring You glory?”Traditional Church Building

As I was doing some reading and studying to try and prepare myself for what God might say, I found my way to 2 Samuel 7.  This was a big deal to me because for so long, I have been making the same mistake as David.  Prior to verse 5, David makes an assumption that he will be the one to build God a big, beautiful house.  He assumes that his plan is right and that God will bless it.  In fact, he was so confident, he told the prophet of God, Nathan, about his plan.  David has decided that because he lives in such a beautiful palace, there’s no reason why God should dwell in a tent.  He wants to build God’s house.

So often I have prayed that way.  Have you?  I have prayed, “God, bless what I’m doing.  We’re doing ‘this’ ministry, bless it.  Make it work for You.  I’ve read the demographics.  I’ve done the research.  I’ve prepped the team.  Please bless our efforts, so that You get the glory.”

We make the same mistake that David made.  He wanted God to bless his plans with the ulterior motive of bringing God glory.  He justified making his own plans by assuming God wanted his plan.  The church as a whole is in the middle of something similar.  Should we be attractional (let’s do a bunch of big events)?  Should we be missional (let’s have church in a coffee house)?  Can attractional and missional be blended?  Maybe we should be more traditional?  Maybe we should start house churches?  The internet and technology are there.  Let’s launch an internet church.  Or should we do video church?  So many questions, so little time.  So many “houses” to build.

Starbucks SpiritualityI believe those questions must be answered.  I believe those questions are legit and shouldn’t be ignored.

Here’s where I believe we get hung up.  2 Samuel 7:5 says, “Go and tell my servant David, `This is what the Lord has declared: Are you the one to build a house for me to live in?'”  In other words, we often think we are the ones with the master plan.  We read the books, go to the conferences and even wear the right clothes.  We begin to believe that we have the plan.  We will build God’s house.  We will make His name great.  He will bless our efforts.

That’s when we must hear the voice of God saying to us, “Are you really the one to build a house for me?”  God says, I have this planned out.  I know what I want my house to look like.  And I even know who I want to build the thing.  Our mistake is not that we work hard for God, our mistake is that we look to the wrong source for the plan.

How much different would church be if every single follower of Christ and church leader, went to God to find out what God wanted?

What if we asked God His opinion before we start to build?

How much greater would the effectiveness of the church be if “we” weren’t building God’s house, but we were allowing God to do the building?

How much stronger would the church be if church leaders and pastors were humbling themselves under the hand of God?  Fasting and praying for His lead?  Waiting on God to make the first move?  How much stronger would we be?

The question I want to ask you is this, “Who’s building the house?”

Are you building and hoping God blesses your plans?

Or are you allowing God to lead the way and working where He blesses.

Thoughts?

Incarnational Evangelism!

For a long time I have been a big fan of Alan Hirsch.  For me, he has a way of simplifying what we are supposed to be doing as followers of Christ.  I recently ran across a video of him, teaching about how we as the church, reach people.  To me, it was fascinating.  If you have an interest in reaching your friends for Jesus Christ, you will probably appreciate this video as well.Alan Hirsch

Before you watch the video, ask yourself, “How do I try to reach my friends with the message of Jesus?”  Do I go knocking on doors?  Do I hold up signs on the street corner warning of God’s wrath to come?  Evangelism – reaching people with the good news of Jesus Christ – is no easy task.  However, many of us were taught ways to evangelize that simply don’t work anymore and this has contributed to the church being pushed further and further to the outskirts of society, allowing us to reach less and less people.  This contributes to all the research that shows the Church in America is dying.

After the video is over, ask yourself more questions.  Questions like, “How can I be more incarnational in my faith?”  In other words, how can I simply be more like Jesus among my friends.  “How can I take what I know about Jesus to them, into their world, in a way that means something to them?”  After all, that’s exactly what Jesus did.  John 1:14 says that Jesus became flesh and dwelt among us.  He didn’t yell at us from heaven and then just hope that we could make the leap.  He came to earth, lived among us, loved us, died for us and simply gave us an example of how to do what some call “incarnational living.”  That is simply, living like Jesus where we are.

In my humble opinion, evangelism is not about hell fire and brimstone.  Nor is it about knocking on doors.  Nor is it about protest signs and hate speeches.  It is about living like Jesus; feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, aiding the widow, loving the orphan, bringing justice to those who have none.  This is the incarnational lifestyle we need to be living, no matter where we are.

Now that you have processed all that, watch the video, then comment what you think.  Is Alan crazy?  What ideas do you have for incarnational living or evangelism?  How are you doing this in your life now and/or in your current ministry?  Can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

The video here.

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