Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Have you left your first love?

This past Sunday I visited a church that I used to be apart of when I lived in Florida, and the message was based on a couple of different biblical characters that can give us some very important lessons. There were 4 characters mentioned, David, Samson, i forget the third one, and then Peter. The first 3 characters were great, but the time he spent expounding on Peters life really caught my attention. Peter was an incredible man, and one that I often relate to. He was always so zealous and passionate for Christ. He was truly a man's man, (i mean the man fished for a living) so zealous and passionate about the gospel, he was willing to fight the soldier's as they tried to capture Jesus, and was an incredible for leader of the apostles and the church. And yet what he is remembered most for by many is denying Jesus 3 times when faced with persecution. However, after Christ was resurrected, Peter through the tears and the pain was confronted by Christ, as he asked Him if he truly loved him, not once or twice but three times. I am sure this story is familiar to most people that are reading this however, at the end of the service, the Pastor asked each one of us if "we have left our first love" (just as Peter may have had to ask himself this same question, after he publicly denied him 3 times).

During the rest of the day i was constantly reminded and convicted of this question. I kept thinking about when i first became a Christian, when I couldn't learn enough about the Gospel and the effect that it had on me, I couldn't tell others about him enough, I couldn't get into his word enough, I had such a strong desire to fight sin, etc. etc. I never want to lose my first love. I kept watching this video and thinking about my first love.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Satan Claus???

I listened to a sermon yesterday by Brody at Snowbird on Spiritual Warfare and I'm amazed more and more at the tactics Satan uses to divert our attention from God. While Satan would be overjoyed at gaining our worship, he will undoubtedly settle for us worshipping anything but God. His mission is to warp our perception of who God is, forcing us to have "thoughts" about God that are not rooted in Scripture. This tactic was first used in the Garden of Eden as he convinced Adam and Eve to question God's sovereignty and goodness. Rather than trusting in the revelation God had given them about himself, they instead chose to listen to "outside sources". How sad that today we still allow everything but Scripture to shape our understanding of Yahweh, the one true God. This article provides a good reminder of using every opportunity we have, including celebrating Christmas, to communicate truth about God. Helping others understand God should be a primary goal of our daily life. This article is another great resource.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Updated Websites

I just wanted to make sure everyone knew the student website has been updated like we announced last night. You can now access all the upcoming events from our student site. Check it out at Now the only thing we have left to do is update the pictures and hopefully that will happen soon. Also if you would like to check out the church website there is now a special "members only" link at the bottom of the page that provides more information about our church. Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Real Joy Despite Circumstances

Matt Chandler is such an encouragement to me as a pastor/speaker whenever I get a chance to listen to his podcasts. Today he is an encouragement to me as he and his family weather some incredibly difficult circumstances, yet continue to find joy in God's sovereignty. Thanks Matt for allowing God to work in and through you because it is resulting in the edification of the Body of Christ as a whole. Watch his health update and testimony here.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Don't Say Merry Christmas

I've been thinking a lot lately about the topic of "Happy Holidays" vs. "Merry Christmas". A friend of mine told me that she was "cussed out" by a customer because the business she works for had decided to display a sign of "happy holidays". Never mind the fact that "Merry Christmas" was displayed closely by the "happy holidays" sign or that the so-called Christian lady who was so concerned about the name of Christ was "cussing out" an employee of a business. Nevertheless it has lead me to the following thoughts. The big debate and frustration by most Christians is over the name of "Christ" being taken out of "Christmas". Many Christians cringe when someone utters the phrase "Happy Holidays" or dare signs a card "Xmas". Their issue is that somehow Christ has been forgotten and replaced. I personally have no issues with the phrase "Happy Holidays" like most. I've come to realize we do not live in a Christian nation. While we may have been founded on "Christian principles" our nation has long been self serving rather than Christ serving. Because of this, many religions are now represented here in the good ol' USA. If I am a business owner I must accept the fact that I do business with a variety of cultures and peoples. Therefore I must also accept that this time of year is celebrated differently by different people. While freedom of religion at one point meant that we were free to worship how we choose, it has now taken on the meaning that we may worship whomever we choose. To try and dictate who and what to celebrate becomes a violation of what many fought to keep free here. I am thankful that I may worship Christ freely, but with that comes the acceptance that others may worship gods they choose as well. I am concerned though as to why we are so concerned about "insisting" that people remember Christ? And why do we seek to "remember Christ" by insisting people celebrate him when they have no desire? Can you imagine the early Jews demanding that the Babylonians celebrate Passover with them? Why would they? The Babylonians worshipped other gods. The real error is that the church has become so numb to living a Gospel worthy life that many have "forgotten" Christ long before this holiday phrase issue arose. We have failed to proclaim the Gospel as the church, and it has resulted in the rise of other religions and holidays being celebrated here. The issue is not over should we say "Merry Christmas" but instead should be seen as why would you say anything else. The reason is, our country worships other gods. To me it is not appealing to "force" people to honor Christ at Christmas if they fail to honor Him year round. I would prefer "idol worshippers" of America not name the name of Christ in Christmas. Don't say Merry Christmas for a month if you worship other gods. As Christians, as the church, we must rise together not to put "Christ" back into Christmas, unless by that you mean banding together to live Gospel worthy lives year round that results in people worshipping Christ. The natural result of this would be a "Merry Christmas" indeed. Until then, lets focus on the reason we have strayed so far from the real meaning of Christmas in our country and work to transform that, rather than insisting people acknowledge Christ for a month.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

His grace is enough for me...

I was thinking tonight about the service tomorrow, and I was praying that God would direct me with what He wanted me to do for the music time. In my time of meditation I thought back to what I have been reading recently in the book of Acts. I started thinking about Saul’s conversion and how God chose him and then used him as Paul. I thought about how amazing it was that God rescued Saul out of the middle of his sin and saved him by His grace. I also started thinking about the lyrics to a song that was on my heart. The lyrics read: I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene, and wondered how He could love me, a sinner, condemned and unclean.

When I thought about these lyrics my mind was taken back to Saul, a man who really did stand in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene. (Actually, Saul was knocked to the ground!) The point is, Saul was a man that really did stand in the presence of Jesus of Nazareth on his way to kill Christians in the city of Damascus. Jesus interrupted Saul’s journey and poured His grace into a life that was consumed with hatred. Saul was physically blinded by the encounter with Jesus but for the first time in his life the eyes of his heart were opened to the truth. We see in Scripture that Saul went from being a Christ hating murderer to a chosen vessel of God’s grace to spread the gospel all over the world.

Again the lyrics of the hymn came to my mind and I thought about what Paul might think of those lyrics. I think Paul would have loved it! In fact, I am sure Paul had a version of his own. Paul’s account of his conversion in Acts 26:9 sounds a lot like this song. His comments in Ephesians 3:7-12 also indicate that He loved God’s grace because he knew he was undeserving of it. Paul probably sang a song much like this one in his own quiet times when he thought back to his conversion. I bet his chorus was a lot like ours today: How Marvelous! How wonderful! And my song shall ever be: How Marvelous! How Wonderful is my Saviors love for me!

In my time of thinking, I also thought about John Newton who wrote the lyrics to Amazing Grace. John was a case too where God rescued him from a life of hatred. John captained a slave ship, and once John encountered God's grace, God changed his life forever. His lyrics have been remembered in churches all over the planet in the hymn about God's grace. God shows us that He can take the biggest sinners and make them the most influential people of their day for the sake of the good news of His grace.

However, God also showed me that I should be just as amazed and overjoyed at His grace in my own life. My sin in God’s eyes was and is just as bad as the sins of Saul. Jesus says in Luke 7:47 that a person who is forgiven much will love much and a person who is forgiven little will love little. I have been convicted tonight that I might not love and respond in right worship like Paul and John Newton would, because I in some ways have forgotten that I have been forgiven of much myself. I was a murderer, rapist, thief, and blasphemer at heart, and like the song says: He took my sins and my sorrows and He made them His very own, He bore my burden to Calvary and suffered and died alone. Jesus did that out of obedience to His Father for the sake of His glory, but He also did it because He loved and desired to rescue me.

If you are a follower of Jesus, join me tonight in two things:

First, join me in remembering our own sin and God’s great grace all the while meditating on this truth until our souls can sing out How Marvelous! How Wonderful!

Secondly, join me in praying for the salvation of Penn Jillette. Penn is a man known for his devout dedication to atheism. When I was thinking about Saul earlier I tried to think of someone that could be a modern day Saul…someone who hated Christianity and was very influential. After some focused thinking, I thought of Penn. I believe that if God saved Penn, the Holy Spirit through Penn could affect our modern world much like Paul did his. The results would be devastating for the enemy. Join me in praying for this man.

When with the ransomed in glory, His face I at last shall see.

Twill be my joy through the ages to sing of His love for me.

-“I Stand Amazed” Charles Hutchinson 1856-1932

Friday, November 13, 2009

God is serious about obedience...

(These are some thoughts I wrote down in August)

I have been reading through 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel over the last couple of weeks, and I must say that the entire story of Samuel, Saul, David, all the battles, and all of the events is completely amazing! The unfolding story is very captivating and would make an intense movie... However, I as I have said before, I am very convicted tonight over a thought that has popped into my mind a few times now while reading through these great books. This thought is a perfect example of how I do not see sin how God sees it. This thought usually voices itself with an intrusive, "man, isn't that punishment a little too intense?"

While I was reading through Saul's story in 1 Samuel, there was a specific instance in chapter 13 when Saul decided to offer a sacrifice to God right after being anointed king. Sounds good right? Well... not really. Apparently Saul had been instructed to wait for Samuel, and after a long 7 days and no sign of Samuel, Saul decided to go ahead and offer the sacrifice. Well, as you could expect, Saul gets caught right in the middle of offering the sacrifice by Samuel who arrived right on time. Samuel then basically said, "What in the world are you doing?" To sum it up, Saul explains he is just trying to offer a sacrifice to God and didn't think Samuel was coming. Samuel then tells him this: "You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the LORD you God, with which he commanded you. For then the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought out a man after his own heart" (vs. 13). Now it is sad to say, but my first thought after reading this was "man, isn't that a little too intense? I mean, Saul just disobeyed in this one small area, right? What about second chances? I understand that obedience is crucial, but isn't that a little harsh?"

Why would I think something like this? Well, it is because even though I claim that I know that obedience is crucial, I really don't realize how serious God is about obedience and how infinitely treacherous it is to sin against God. (This also means then that I really don't understand that obedience is crucial) Time after time in these passages, someone will disobey and God will punish the sin. However, this is not a picture of a mean God who delights in punishing people and who is a psycho about people following all the rules; it is a picture of God's holy justice towards sin and disobedience. It is absolutely right for God to punish the sin; it is absolutely crucial that God punish the sin. In order to be just, God must punish sin. It is this crucial because His holiness demands it. However, I sometimes tend to weigh the sin that I see people commit against God in the same way I would weigh sin against another man. But, this is a horrible outlook on sin! "Sin against God is not trivial" as John Piper states, "it is treason!" (For Your Joy, pg. 12)

So, for Saul to disobey the LORD of heaven in this passage is treason! It is not the same as if a friend told me to do something and I didn't do it. The fact that I didn't do it would probably hurt his feelings but would never merit drastic consequences. However, if a parent or teacher told me to do something and I did not do it I would probably be in line for some type of consequence. However, going even further, if the president of our country told me to do something and I didn't I could probably expect some prison time. I hope you see that the higher the authority the more serious the disobedience. However, God is infinitely more deserving of our obedience than any human figure. It is treason to sin against God and must be punished. God is not unjust by taking a kingdom away from someone or allowing a child to die (2 Samuel 12), neither is He unjust by allowing someone to go to hell for eternity. His wrath is a proper response to our sin and He is right in doing so.
(John Piper, Adam Vinson, and a guy named Aaron Werner greatly helped me see sin in this way)

So why these thoughts? It is my own inability to see how serious sin is compared to the holiness of the Living God. Oh may the God of grace who gave His Son to live for me what I could never live, grant me the grace to see the weight of sin against the purity of His Holy character, and may He produce in me a river of joy that wells from my heart over the gospel of Jesus Christ which allows me to escape God's righteous separation from sin and allows me to enjoy everlasting fellowship with Him forever.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Shack and Discernment

For those who are still enamored with The Shack this is simply a great way of saying all the thoughts I've had about the book. I encourage you to read it.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Turn From Evil

A good reminder from Joshua Harris. Watch and listen.

New Book: Forgotten God

Francis Chan has written a new book called Forgotten God. You can see the trailer for it here. If you haven't read his book Crazy Love it is a must read.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"Heard Any Good Parables Lately?"

Growing up I remember reading parables in the New Testament and always being a little confused. They seemed awkward and confusing and quite frankly, I never could figure out how to study them. Sometimes I felt like throwing my hands up in the air and screaming "I don't get it!" Perhaps you have found yourself in a similar situation today when it comes to a joke. You are hanging out with a group of people and someone says, "Hey, has any one heard any good jokes lately?" This is followed by an over anxious person who jumps at the chance to share the latest "funny" he has encountered. The joke is told, everyone is laughing and your left thinking "Which part was the punch-line?" Unfortunately a good joke loses its luster when you try to share humor with someone who just stares at you bewildered saying, "I don't get it." Anyone who has tried to explain a joke to the guy who doesn't "get it" inevitably concludes with, "Now it isn't funny anymore." While the joke is now understood, the immediate response of laughter cannot be recreated. The same is sorta true with parables. They are meant to connect with a person in such a way that they generate an immediate response. While a joke is meant to generate laughter from the hearer, a parable was meant to generate a change in attitude or lifestyle because of immediate conviction in the hearer. Jokes are funny because they contain elements in them that we consider points of reference. Take for instance one of my favorite jokes..."A Mushroom walks up to a pretty lady on the street and says 'Can I buy you cup of coffee?' The lady goes crazy, hitting him with her purse and telling him how gross he is. The Mushroom responds and says 'Whoa, I don't understand, I'm a fungi (fun-guy)'." The point of reference is that we all know the nerves of asking someone out on a date and we all know that a mushroom is a fungus. Laughter comes from the mushroom using his "fungi" nature to justify to the lady that he is a "fun-guy" for a date. This is the same tool that Jesus used as he taught. He took points of reference that everyone in his audience shared to teach deep spiritual truth to their hearts. Jesus was not looking for giggles but instead a radical change in lifestyle from the hearer. We struggle to understand parables because we don't fully understand the points of reference they had back then. When Jesus tells a parable, the hearer would anticipate the "punch-line" of the parable much like we anticipate it for a joke. For us to understand the parables punch-line though we have to study parables in context of the culture they were delivered in. This means we have to study parables and not just read them. Good Bible study always requires us to do the work necessary to understand the context the verses are written in. Another good way to understand parables and experience the "response" Jesus intended is to try to recreate parables using points of reference from today. Take the "Good Samaritan" parable for example. Imagine for a second that a family of four is broken down on the side of the road. They are obviously a poor family based on the condition of the car they drive and the clothes they are wearing. The local Southern Baptist pastor comes riding down the road and they try to flag him down for help. Unfortunately the pastor is on his way to church to prepare a sermon and feels he does not have time to stop. Next comes the president of the local Kiwanis club. Surely he will stop to help the family but he too is late for the weekly club meeting and does not have time. At this point the family is not sure what to do for help. But suddenly a car pulls over and stops. Immediately the family recognizes this man. He is the outspoken atheist in the community. The man is very kind and offers to pay to have the car towed into town. He also invites the stranded family back to his house for dinner and gives them a place to stay until their car is fixed the next day. As you read that story it ought to hit a nerve inside. Of all people, you are telling me the ATHEIST stops to help. That is an outrage. And yet how often do the lost show love better than those who call themselves Christians. This was Jesus' point in his parable. The religious of that day were blinded by their own religion. They were outraged that a "degenerate" Samaritan would do good much like we would be pricked in our hearts by an atheist performing our duties. Now you get the parable. Seek to understand the rest in the same way.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I Want to Miss Him More

I shared this last night at Main Event but it bares repeating again. I've had special people in my life who I've been separated from for long periods of time and I've genuinely missed them. My friends Rob and John come to mind. At various times in my life I have lived really close to them, enjoyed strong Christian fellowship and love while doing ministry with them. To be separated from them produces a desire to be around them again. Now any time that I get to visit Snowbird I get excited about being around my friend Rob again. There is anticipation about re-living the "Liberty days" together, talking sports and just hanging out again. The funny thing though is that Rob isn't perfect. He doesn't always value my needs above his own. He doesn't always love me selflessly. He is imperfect and yet I have a real desire to be around him again when we are separated. Now can you even imagine what the disciples must have felt when Jesus ascended into heaven? Their longing for Christ must have been a 1000x more intense than anything I've ever known. Here was a friend who was absolutely perfect. A friend who always loved them, always served them, always valued them above himself...and they are now separated from Him. Here is a man who is not just a man, but God of the Universe, the Creator, the Messiah, the Prince of Peace, the one who they have enjoyed a real relationship with...the same type of relationship that is available to me. I imagine they must have "hurt" to be separated from that type of friendship. I want to long for His return and anticipate fellowship with Him just like the disciples did. I miss my friends sometimes. I want to miss Him more.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Boat Guy

I found myself this weekend in an unusual situation...I experienced extreme conviction over a hypothetical situation in my mind. Let me explain. This weekend was our annual Back to School Lake Retreat with the youth group. Unfortunately we experienced a lot of technical difficulties with the boat we had brought for tubing. During the afternoon John Wallace and I took the boat up to the marina to see if they could fix the problem. To our dismay the owner told us the motor on our boat was an older model that the mechanic shop does not work on. But to our surprise the boat mechanic stopped working on the boat he had in his shop and came out to help us with ours. He tinkered with it for a good 30 minutes, trying his best to fix our motor. Even when he was unable to he went to great lengths to offer suggestions to us about what we could do, gave us phone numbers of places we could call to get more help and even steered us clear from going to some "shady mechanics" in town. He did all this while he could have been working on a paying customer's motor. Instead he took time out of his schedule to help us out. My conviction came when I honestly couldn't say I would be doing the same thing if I was him. Here's a guy who more than likely was not saved, and yet was acting very "Christian" by helping someone in need. Unfortunately I fear that in my flesh I would have blown me and John off and simply said "I'm sorry but we don't work on older motors like that here." I'm very thankful for the boat guy's willingness to help us with our motor. I'm even more thankful though for the lesson the boat guy reminded me of that focus on the needs of others before my own.

Monday, May 25, 2009

He Delights in Answering Prayer

Hello everyone, Tyson here. I just wanted to write something out of the overflow of the joy that is in my heart. I also wanted to hopefully encourage you by that overflow...

God is so good to us and it is so important for us to be reminded of His grace and mercy because it is so necessary in our pursuit of our joy in Him. If we are seeking to worship Him by being satisfied in Him as John Piper would say, then being reminded of His grace and mercy is a great place to start in finding our joy in Him. It blows me away enough that He would love us while we were still sinners and choose to reconcile us to Himself through Christ. Yet, it blows me away even more that He continues to bless us by answering our prayers.

For me personally, I was reminded of His grace and mercy tonight by answered prayer. I know that God works all things together for His glory and the good of those who fear Him and walk according to His ways, but it sometimes still "surprises" me whenever He comes through for me in prayer. Have you ever felt that way? I mean, you ask for God to work a situation out in His timing and in the best way that would glorify Him, and then when He chooses to do it, it still comes across as a surprise. Have you ever felt that? I have, and I am pretty sure that "surprise" is not the correct and appropriate response to His choosing to move in our lives.

He answered a prayer tonight that I have been praying for the last three years, and He showed off when He did it! It was an absolute perfect and beautiful display of His power, sovereignty, grace, love, forgiveness, vindication, timing, and skill. Over this long period there have been times when I questioned His timing, and there have been times when I rested in His sovereignty. However, there have also been times I forgot I had been praying about it. However, He never forgot. I mean, wow! Three years? What an encouragement for other unanswered prayers in my life!

I hope that you can be encouraged to pray to the Everlasting all the while trusting that He will work out the situations and circumstances in your life for His glory and your joy. Can you grasp this? God worked out a situation in my life tonight that I could have never have imagined! Appropriately, this made Him look a million times more mighty (His glory), and it also produced an overflow of joy in my heart to honor Him for it and to tell others of His steadfast love (My joy and my good). "His glory and our good" is not a simple, catchy phrase. It is the very story of redemption, it is the every day miracles that we never see, and it is the delight of the Almighty. We have a very happy God who loves His own glory and loves glorifying Himself in ways which produce joy in His children.

Our joy is completed in Him when He glorifies Himself in our every day lives when we are able to express that joy back to Him. In fact, the heart's expression of what His glory produces is what He is seeking (Jn. 4:23). He calls it worship. Whether it be joy (like right now for me) or brokenness (like 30 minutes ago), or silence, dancing, singing, etc., our response to His own glorification through His involvement in life (like answered prayer) and through the life of His Son illuminated in the Word is what brings Him honor. Beyond that, our expression completes our joy in Him by allowing us to delight in Him. You see, I am happy to be able to brag on my Father tonight, and I am overjoyed to admit my inability to pull off what He did for me! He is glorified, and I am happy.

So here are two thoughts I had tonight in response to the answered prayer:

A) I must have the correct attitude when God does answer our prayers. Worship is in vain if I am blown away at the Gifts and not the Giver. So many times (even tonight) it is so easy to be distracted by the obvious "effects" of God working and forget about the "Person" behind the work. It is He who answers prayers and it is He alone who is worthy to be praised. So, let me encourage you to express your heart to the person of God in light of the grace offered to us through His Son by the Holy Spirit when prayers are answered... not in answered prayer alone.

B) I also must be in His Word and must fight to be self controlled and sober-minded. Obedience does have an effect on answered prayer. 1 Peter 4:7 says: "The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers" (emphasis added). I know our salvation is found in no one else but Christ and nothing at all in and of ourselves, but our obedience to Christ does have an effect on our prayers being answered. So, let me also encourage you also to join me in putting off our old carnal flesh and seek the things that are above (Col. 3:1).

I hope this little blog has encouraged you to continue praying and to continue hoping. God will complete the work He has started in the lives of those who know His voice (Phil. 1:6). Be encouraged to pray without ceasing and then to express joy to God. Like Paul says in Philippians 4: "Rejoice (or be happy) in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."

Worshipping with you,

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Passion 2010 Here I Come

To my delight, John Piper confirmed today that he will be a part of Passion 2010 taking place this coming January. Make plans now to attend what promises to be an incredible gathering of the body of Christ for His renown. Learn more at PASSION 2010

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Is the Dark Knight Too Dark?

For those that attend our Wednesday night worship regularly you know we have been discussing the viewing and listening habits of a Christian. Philippians 4:8 has much to say about the types of things we should allow our minds to dwell on. This obviously has great implications for what we watch and listen to. I came across this article today and found it interesting since much of our discussion has focused on a standard of "Is it beneficial?" While we have steered clear of condemning any specific movies or bands, this article is a good reminder to ask "is this beneficial" as opposed to "is it a sin" for me to watch this. Hope you enjoy!

I love the Book of Philippians

Here is a great reminder of just how good the book of Philippians is. I cannot even express how much I have enjoyed my study in this book for the past 3 years. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Football & M. Night Shyamalan vs. Galatians

Lunch with Adam, John, and Amy is always something worth looking forward to. There have been so many different things we have experienced simply eating lunch together. We always enjoy eating together, and our lunch times are never the same. There are days we have “serious lunches” (those times we use to plan events, pray for concerns, or figure out problems that need fixing), there are “funny lunches” (those we use to lighten our soul and laugh more than we eat), there are “fast lunches” (where we literally eat and run), there are “rare lunches” (those we get to experience with Mr. Harvey and Thomas), and many others types. Lunches are always a surprise. However, ever so often, there are those lunches where Amy and I are left to fend for ourselves when John and Adam start talking about sports. These lunches I would probably call “lost lunches” for two reasons: 1) I am usually completely lost, and 2) I get to make up these names for our lunch times. :-)

I say all of this just to say that a few days ago I noticed something particularly profound during a “lost lunch”. John and Adam were trying to figure out what team won the super-bowl in 2005 or 2006 and they simply could not remember. After a few minutes, Adam pointed out that it was a shame that he could not remember the team because those guys had worked so hard for the super-bowl title all that year. Everything that particular team had worked for (and all of the training that the team went through) was forgotten at our lunch table. I am sure that the triumphant football team enjoyed the few minutes of fame that they experienced after winning the super-bowl, but that victory obviously has had limited impact on the world because it was easily forgotten by two football fans. I couldn’t help but begin to think long and hard on this issue.

A few days later, I was talking to Sarah’s family about the different M. Night Shyamalan films. While we were casually discussing the neat ideas of the movie “Signs”, the plot of “The Village”, and some aspects of “Lady in the Water”, another similar situation occurred when we forgot about one of his first movies, “The Sixth Sense”. We started to talk about it, but then moved on. We looked over it quite quickly, wrote it off as old news rather easily, and moved on to another topic. I started thinking how it might make M. Night feel if he knew we had just passed over it like that. It was then that the thought hit me… Every ounce of energy that he put into “Signs”, and all of the hard work he put into “The Village”, all of the time he put into writing “Lady in the Water”, was for what purpose? What was the end result? Was it so I could forget about them? What about these movies changed the world? Or did it change at all? Was it worth it? Did it make him truly happy? Can he rest in peace? So many questions...However, it was worth thinking about.

Now, I am sure that all of the money that M. Night and the super-bowl winners brought in was enough to make them "happy" for a season, but we know it cannot make them happy forever. Because we only live once, I started thinking how important it is to choose what we give of ourselves to. What will matter at the end of time?

I was so encouraged when I started thinking on the verses in Galatians 6:8-10. It says:

The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. (ESV)

I was encouraged because Scripture promises that my works in Christ will not be forgotten because they are rooted in His works. In short, the LORD promises that if I sow to please the Spirit I will reap a harvest if I do not grow weary of doing good! Every ounce of energy I put forth (or sow) in Christ towards the advancement of His kingdom will one day produce a harvest! As an adopted son through Jesus, I do not have to fear ever expending myself for the sake of Christ and then finding myself at the end of my life wondering if my life had any lasting effect or if it mattered at all. I can rest in Christ.

After super-bowl winners have their parties, it is back to the training field for next year’s big game. When a hit movie breaks blockbuster, it is back to producing the next big movie! It’s a mean world out there and we have to compete, right? Well, the good news is that after Christ became a sacrifice for our sins once and for all, He sat down at the right hand of the Father! (Hebrews 10:11-15) There is no competing; there is no need to practice for next time or produce something new and catchy to entertain the world. In Christ, He has satisfied all of the demands of the law and imputed to us His own perfect record- one time. He won the big game, counted us as winners through His own perfect record, and no one can ever match it or take it away!

Can you grasp this truth? Because Christ has won the game, all of our good works in Him have celebration, reward, satisfaction, and joy already awaiting them in the harvest. It is impossible that we expend ourselves in the Spirit and possibly waste our efforts. Likewise, it is impossible for us to find out at the end of time, that it wasn't worth it. We have already won! We continue to play because He calls us to finish well while the clock is still counting down. He created the game, made the rules, played it perfectly, made us winners with Him, and invites us to the after party…which by the way, will never end! We just have to finish well. We must not grow weary of doing good. The clock is still counting, and we are in the final moments of the game...

Go back and read Galatians 6, and then read the book of Hebrews while you are at it!

Further Study:
Cool article

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Do Hard Things

I wanted to recommend a book that I have been reading that has been extremely encouraging and convicting.  The book is titled "Do Hard Things" by Alex and Bret Harris, they were only 18 years when the book was written, and even younger than that when they began the number 1 christian blog on the internet (  

This book is not deep in its theological content, however it is very deep in its application towards the teenagers of today's generation.  The official book description describes "do hard things" as "Combating the idea of adolescence as a vacation from responsibility, by redefining the teen years as the launching pad of life and to map a clear trajectory for long-term fulfillment and eternal impact."  

This book contains lots of stories about the twins life and others they have met along the way, which can be pretty exciting to read about.  However, most importantly it encourages this generation to rebel against the low expectations that they have been given, and to use this time as an opportunity to carry out God's Will for your life.

The more I think about it, the more i regret not rebelling against these low standards in my own teenage years.  I became a Christian when I was 17 years old, and at that point I was given the same power of the Holy Spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead, I should have used that power at school, work, or  my baseball team to share the Gospel to those who didn't know God.  And yet I was not encouraged by anyone or anything around me to do hard things and rebel against the low expectations that were set for me.  

If you get a chance check this book out, if you don't get a chance recognize the fact that God has big plans for all who follow Christ, and that he has given us all high expectations (and the ability to perform those high expectations through the Holy Spirit). 

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Discerning Our Input

I came across a beneficial article that reinforces everything we have been learning on Wednesday nights recently concerning our responsibility to "think about these things" (Phil. 4:8) that we are allowing our minds to focus on. I would encourage you to read it and be a good steward of your time this week. Remember we must be a "discerning listener and viewer." Click here for the article.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Music and Christianity

As we continue studying through Philippians 4:8 I wanted to make you aware of a great podcast to listen to that continues the discussion on music and the role it should play in the life of a Christian. It comes from "Showtime's" breakout session last summer at Snowbird. Check it out here

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

New Podcast Address

Please note that our podcast site has changed to If you are looking for an older sermon they will hopefullly be back up soon. We are having to re-upload all the sermons one by one because the site crashed. Hope everyone is having a good week...looking forward to MainEvent and seven:ten tomorrow night!

Friday, March 20, 2009

My Response to "Queens for Christ"

Recently I was encouraged to invite the girls in our youth group to a church sponsored beauty pageant entitled "Queens for Christ: Celebrating the Beauty of Christ." The purpose of the event I am told is to celebrate Christ's beauty and the sisterhood of Christian women. You can read my response below. Summary: We aren't going. 

I don't mean to be critical and please understand my heart and attitude is one of concern and not divisiveness. I believe the purposes that you stated for this event and the event itself could not be any more opposite. The title of the event is "Queens for Christ: Celebrating the Beauty of Christ" and you said quote "Racheal's idea is to bring girls together to represent the beauty of Christianity and the sisterhood amongst Christian young women." By saying those things and then using them in the context of a "beauty pageant" you automatically divide the sisterhood and limit it to those who meet worldly criteria of "first impression, personality and appearance." The beauty of Christ is that through Him we gain acceptance regardless of these things and we are invited to enjoy fellowship with other men and women as brothers and sisters because of our unity in Christ, not the similarities we share in looks. I for one will not be recommending such an event to my youth group. I counsel girls regularly who have been discouraged and at times defeated by the notion that "first impression, personality and appearance" are things to be pursued in our culture. How can I recommend such an event when I have girls struggling with eating disorders as they are deceived by the world's lie that such things give worth to someone. Instead I will continue to encourage my girls to pursue "good deeds and godliness" as the fruits of their salvation. I am disappointed to learn of such an event in our community. I would ask that you please reexamine the purpose and title of such a pageant. I believe the current communication fails to proclaim the beauty of Christ and fellowship available to women as sisters in Christ. 

Adam Vinson

Monday, March 16, 2009

Recommended Blogs

Sometimes it is tough for us to stay up to date with our "blogging" with all the duties we have at the church right now. We have tried to be intentional about giving you other good blogs to read to enhance your spiritual growth. Read these blogs with discernment and allow God's instruction to others to encourage you greatly in your own walk with Christ.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Winter Retreat 2009

Hey just wanted to encourage those who were unable to attend Winter Retreat 2009 to check out all the teaching sessions at the mtnstudents podcast ( Of course if you went you are encouraged to check them out too just as a refresher. God did so many great things and we have much to be thankful for. Keep pressing on and strive for the Godly brother/sister relationships that God desires for us to have with each other. 

Monday, January 26, 2009

Don't Worry About It

I always enjoy watching the children of our church after our services. On Wednesday nights you can find Morris Whitworth, Maggie McCloud and Georgiana Barrow playing in the Main Event room. The thing that stands out to me most about these kids is the complete lack of worry in their life. Think about it. I seriously doubt that the three of them ever wonder how they are going to eat tomorrow. Nor do they have to worry if they are going to have warm clothing to put on. Why? Because they have caring parents who know their needs and are faithful to provide for them on a daily basis. I often wish I could revert back to the "days of being a kid" when I didn't have to worry about the economy, gas prices, wars overseas, etc. And yet God reminded me this week that He is inviting me to enjoy that type of "worry free" life as His child. Matthew 6 teaches us that we have a Heavenly Father who KNOWS OUR NEEDS! He takes care of the lesser things in His creation (birds and flowers) which virtually guarantees us that He will take care of us who are His children. What a joy and comfort in the times of uncertainty. Be encouraged this week. Take the time to sit and watch a child and reflect on the "worry free" life of a child and be reminded that God desires that same type of life for you as His child.