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.