Thursday, May 31, 2007

It's the End of the World as We Know It, And I Feel...Urgency!

WNBS Recap
Characteristics the World Needs to See in Christians
May 30, 2007

What are you passionate about? Music, sports, cars, girls, good pizza, education, being a doctor, being president, horses, people, writing, reading? There are so many different things to be passionate about in life. Some are extremely important, and others are not very important in the grand scheme of the world.

One thing holds true about all our passions, whether they are only important to us or important to everyone around us: When you are passionate about something, you will live it out urgently!

A characteristic the world deperately needs to see in Christians is urgent passion.

What is there to be urgent about? What is there to be passionate about?

America is in trouble. We are headed down a path familiar to fallen cultures and civilizations that have gone before us. Jim Nelson Black wrote When Nations Die: Ten Warning Signs of a Culture in Crisis. See if you recognize America in these warning signs.

Social Decay
1. The Crisis of Lawlessness
2. The Loss of Economic Discipline
3. Rising Bureaucracy
Cultural Decay
4. Decline of Education
5. Weakening of Cultural Foundations
6. The Loss of Respect for Tradition
7. An Increase in Materialism
Moral Decay
8. Rise in Immorality
9. Decay of Religious Belief
10. Devaluing of Human Life

I see all 10 0f these warning signs growing in American life. This should give Christians urgency to rescue the world in a passionate way. We have a message of hope that we need to be passionate about and that the world deperately needs to hear and see us be passionate about.

And Satan knows this!

One of Satan's greates tools is to use our thoughts. Here are a few things he tells us about the need for passion and urgency:

1. "The world has survived without your passion and urgency for this long. Dont' you think it can survive with out it for a little while longer?"

2. Everything will be fine! You don't need to worry about your friends, your country or your world today. You can help them tomorrow!"

3. Are you the only Christian out there? Of course not! Why should you have to do this? Let someone else do it. It's not your job.

4. You just don't have time right now. You've got too many other things to do than worry about him. Just wait until you have more time.

But God says: "I want you!" You might say "who? Me?" If so, then you are in good company. Read Jeremiah 1:4-8.

In v 4-5 God tells Jeremiah, "I want you use you to change the world."

In v6 Jeremiah responds, "who, me?"

And in v7-8 God says, "Yep, but you aren't going to do it on your own authority. You will do it on my authority."

So, what authority has God given you on this urgent mission of passion he wants to send you on?

1. Going Authority-You have the authority to go wherever God sends you, no matter what other people might say. Why? Because God has sending authority! (v7)

2. Proclaiming Authority-You have the authority to say whatever God tells you to say no matte what other people might think. Why? Because it's the Word of God! (v7)

3. Emboldening Authority-You can be bold in your going and proclaiming no matter who you go to. Why? Because the Lord is with you to deliver you! (v8)

Read Jeremiah 1:9-10
God wants to use YOU to change the world...starting right where you are!

So, what's holding you back?

Which of those lies is Satan putting in your mind that is keeping you from being passionate about the word of God?

Where has God placed you for the purpose of living out the Gospel passionately and urgently?

What message has God given you to proclaim passionately and urgently?

Who has God surrounded you with that need to see the boldness of your passion and urgency?

Do you trust that God has the authority to use you?

So, what's holding you back?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

On the Front Porch

The JW's just stopped I decided to challenge them a little bit this time. I was a little's been a while, but God was gracious not to send me JW scholars this time.

It is so sad to see them deny the divinity of Jesus to my face. The lady said as they were pulling away in their car, "Jesus is not God!" That's a death sentence!

I encouraged them to challenge what they have been tought. I was accused of not having read my bible. I was told everyone would have died if Jesus was God when they looked at him because "no man can look on God and live." I was told that when Jesus said "I and the father are one" or "I Am" that he was just talking about a unified purpose.

But all that doesn't matter...because I was told repeatedly, Jesus is not God. How sad. But, they've heard the truth, and it can (and I pray will) set them free from the lies they have been taught.

Pray that Christians can be as diligent in communicating their beliefs as JW's are. Another sad thing is that, even though the group at my door today really could not defend their faith on any deep level, I know that most Christians students (including YOU) and adults could not do any better.

Lake Water Ministry

Fun w/ Ice Cream and H2O

H2O Meets Holland Joye

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

When it Rains, It Pours

Flood Zone Recap
May 20, 2007 (Happy 7th Anniversery Christie!)

Despair. There are so many things that can bring despair into our lives. How do we deal with despair when the hits come one after another?

This has been a tough week. We've all had to deal with some difficult situations. Everybody faces different struggles everyday, some big, and some small. We've all had to deal with the recent death of Steve, but maybe you've had to deal with the ending of a friendship, or bad grades, or dissapointment, or some sort of abuse. Like I said, there are a number of different things that we might deal with that could cause despair, hopelessness, and an upheaval of our spirit and emotions.

How does Satan want us to respond to these struggles?

How does God want us to respond to these struggles?

Is it Ok to feel sadness, grief, and emotional pain in the midst of our struggles?

In John 14:27, Jesus tells us to "not let your hearts be troubled," but in the Garden of Gethsemane, as he faced his last hours, the Bible tells us that Jesus' heart was troubled. Jesus was sinless, so we have to come to the conclusion that an emotional response to tough situations is not sinful in and of itself. So, what did Jesus mean when he told his discples to not be troubled.

I think he means that they shouldn't give in to the emotional response. He wants us to keep figting. As John Piper says in his book Future Grace, the sin of despair and despondency comes when we aren't "turning on the air-raid siren, and not heading for the bomb shelters, and not deploying the antiaircraft weapons. If Satan drops a bomb on your peace, and yo udon't make ready for war, people are going to wonder whose side you're on."

We have to prepare for the attack of despair and despondency (hopelessness). We have to be ready to fight it. If we don't fight it, then we will end up feeling completely hopeless, and that is not a place that God wants us to be.

So, how do we fight? Who do we look to as an example of what to do when Satan is dropping that bomb? Well, why not Jesus? He came face to face with utter despair in the Garden that night. How did he respond?

Read Matthew 26:36-39

Six Strategic Tactics Jesus Used in his Struggle Against Despondency (from Future Grace by John Piper)

1. Jesus chose close friends to be with Him. (v37) Notice that these friends are close BELIEVERS! This took some pre-planning. He had to surround himself with believers to begin with. He didn't just seek out those who believed when he got into trouble, he spent his life with them, making them his closest friends! Don't expect your non-Christians friends to be able to help you in the battle against despair and despondency. You have to surround yourself with Christian friends!

2. Jesus opened up to His friends and let them know his heart. (v38) He was honest with them about how he was feeling. That way, they knew how they could pray for and encourage him.

3. Jesus asked his friends for prayer and partnership in the battle. (v39) Again, this could not have been done if his friends were not believers.

4. He poured out His heart to God in prayer. (v39) God knows your heart, but he wants to hear you surrender that troubled heart and deep emotion to him.

5. He rested his soul in the perfect wisdom of God. (v39) He was accepting of the fact that God knows best and that God has our best interests in mind. There is no room for depsair if you believe that!

6. He fixed His eyes on the glorious future grace of God that was on the other side of the cross. (Hebrews 12:2)

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 promises us that we are going to face tough times, but it also promises us that we can stand firm in the midst of that.

Christ has given us the perfect example of how to deal with life when the bomb drops. Sometimes, when it rains, it pours. In the midst of the downpour of trials, the grace of God is waiting to shine through in an awesome way.

So, you have a choice: either stay in the rain, or step into the light of God's grace!

"When something drops into your life that seems to threaten your future, remember this: the first shockwaves of the bomb are not sin. The real danger is yielding to them. Giving in. Putting up no spiritual fight. And the root of that surrender is unbelief--a failure to fight for faith in future grace. A failure to cherish all that God promises to be for us in Jesus."

"Jesus shows us another way. Not painless, and not passive. Follow him. Find your trusted spiritual friends. Open your soul to them. Ask them to watch with you and pray. Pour out your soul to the Father. Rest in the sovereign wisdom of God. And fix your eyes on teh joy set before yo in the precious and magnificent promises of God." John Piper (Future Grace, Page 307)

Thursday, May 17, 2007


WNBS Recap
May 16, 2007

As Christian we claim to be forgiven, yet, at the same time, we often find it difficult to live with an attitude of forgiveness. When we are offended and our pride is hurt our first thoughts typically do not tend toward forgiveness.

But, an attitude of forgiveness is essential in Christians. It is the evidence to the world that what we say about Jesus and His forgiveness is true. As long as Christians continue to be unforgiving and hold grudges and bitterness in their hearts, the world has no reason to listen to what we have to say about the power of God's forgiveness through Christ. That is why we forgive. So, why Bother Forgiving? Because forgiveness:

1. is an example and encouragement to others to forgive. (2 Corinthians 2:5-10)
2. illustrates that we are forgiven. (Ephesians 4:32)
3. sets you free from past hurts. (Genesis 41:51; Matthew 18:21-22)

This last reason for forgiving takes us to the well known phrase "forgive and forget." Forgiving and forgetting is important, but how do we do it?

First, forgiving without forgetting in not really forgiving. Second, forgiving and forgetting does not mean that you will never remeber the wrong that has been done to you. Forgiving and forgetting means that you refuse to live in an attitude of bitterness or revenge toward that person for what they did to you. It also means that you will not count that offense against them at a later date. Forgiving and forgetting means that when the anger of that situation begins to grow in your heart and mind, you surrender it again and again to Jesus.

Your forgiveness of another person is more about your right relationship to God than it is about your right relationship to that person. Unforgiveness is a sinful attitude that will hinder your relationship with God and will branch off into several destructive attiudes.

If pride is the root of unforgiveness, and unforgiveness is the trunk of the tree, then Ephesians 4:31 shows 6 ways unforgiveness branches out to negatively impact our lives:

Slander (saying something against someone)
Malice (slander with a purpose to injure)

This video is an example of what can happen when unforgiveness roots itself in pride and branches out into anger, wrath, bitterness, slander, complaining, and malice. See if you can pick out those 6 characteristics in what athiest Christopher Hitchens has to say about a great man of God, Jerry Fallwell.

That is the danger of allowing unforgiveness to go unchecked. It's not enough to cut off the individual branches of anger, wrath, bitterness, slander/gossip, complaining and malice from your life, because the root problem still remains: unforgiveness growing out of pride.

We have been given a specific task: "As far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men." (Romans 12:18) This starts with having a heart of forgiveness. Cut out the root of pride growing into unforgiveness, knowing the danger that lies ahead if you allow that attitude of unforgiveness to grow.

Who do you need to forgive? Confess your heart of unforgiveness and ask the Spirit to replace it with a heart of a peacemaker. Confess your heart of pride and ask the Spirit to instead give you a heart of humility.

Then, the world can see what true forgiveness is!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

So, You Say You're a Christian?

Flood Zone Recap
May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

Question of the Night: When a fried says they're saved, how can you tell? And if not, how can you help them without them ignoring what you say?

How Can You Tell?
Matthew 7:15-18, 20-21: Beware of the false prophets who come to yo in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles, are they? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit; but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit..Sso then, you will know them by their fruits. not everyone who says to Me, "Lord, Lord," will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.

We can tell if someone is truly the Christian they claim to be by testing the fruit. We can test the fruit by asking three questions about that person...or maybe even about ourselves!

1. Those who are in Christ are new creatures: Have their actions and attitudes changed? (Hebrews 10:26-27; 2 Cor 5:17; 1 John 2:3-7)

2. Thos who are in Christ have the Spirit in them: Are the fruits of the Spirit present and being developed (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control-Romans 8:14-16, 23; Galatians 5:17-26)

3. Those who are in Christ are being sanctified (set apart, made perfect/holy): Is there a desire for holines and change? (Romans 6:22; 2 Thess 2:13)

How can you Help?

If you asked these questions about a friend and your answers were "no, no, no" then be concerened about your friend's salvation. Here are some ways you can help.

1. Pray for them daily. Let them know you are praying for them.

2. Loving Rebuke: As long as they bear the name of Jesus, you must call them out on their sin.

3. Be an Example: Practice what you preach!

You may never see the results of your prayers, love and example to your friends, but trust that God is working in their hearts to help them realize the fact that they are lost. Don't abandon your friends that think they are saved just because they walked an aisle or were baptized when they were 7. They may be deceived and our prayers, love and example could make a difference...maybe tomorrow...maybe in 10 years!

So, What about You?

How is your fruit? If someone were to test your fruit, would you pass the test? Do your friends know you love them and are praying fo them? Are you living the example that could make al lthe difference tomorrow or 10 years from now? Are you crying "Lord, Lord" tring to fake your way into heaven when Jesus doesn't even know you?

Important questions to ask...important answers to know.

Read 1 John 2:3-7. Is this you? If so, then you can be certain you are a child of God. Pray for others that think they are but are not, that they would recognize the deception and truly give their lives to God.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Introducing Holland Joye!

Thanks everybody for stopping by last night to meet Holland. I look forward to ya'll getting to know her over the coming years!