Thursday, August 28, 2008

Funny or Not? Vol. 1

Hey Guys

Here is a new series called "Funny or Not?" Check out the post and then comment with whether you think it's funny or not. Enjoy!


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

She Must And Shall Go Free Part I: Nobody Loves Me

In this Flood Zone Sunday Night series we will be listening to Derek Webb's album She Must and Shall Go Free song by song and discussing the teaching in the song as it relates to the church.

The first song on the album is titled "Nobody Loves Me":

I can always tell a liar
and I always know a thief
I know them like my family
because brother I’m the chief
I’m a dangerous crusader
because i need to tell the truth
so I’m turning over tables
In my own living room

then I might nail indictments up
on every door in town
because it’s not right or safe to let my conscience down
so I don’t care if...

nobody loves me, nobody loves me
nobody loves me but you

the truth is never sexy
so it’s not an easy sell
you can dress her like the culture
but she’ll shock ‘em just as well
because she don’t need an apology for being who she is
and she don’t need your help making enemies
so I don’t care if...


i’ll do whatever it takes to squeeze us into this wedding gown
i’ll say the words that rattle your nerves
words like sin and faith alone

There are 3 major things we can learn from this song.

1. We need each other: In the church we need to speak truth to one another reminding each other and ourselves of the Gospel every day. In Derek's companion album The House Show he tells a story of some interaction between Martin Luther and his congregation:

"The story that I love to tell all the time is that Martin Luther, in the 1600's a few years after the Reformation, had a church he was pastoring over and some members of the church came to him and said, "Pastor why is it that week, after week after week all you ever preach to us is the Gospel. It seems that certainly we are ready to move on to something else. We know this by now." Luther's response was "Because week after week you forget it. Because week after week you walk in here like people who don't believe the gospel. And until you walk in looking like people who are truly liberated by the truth of the gospel, I will continue to preach it to you." And until his dying day he did."

We need each other. We need to reveal sin in each other's lives, but always remember to "turn over the tables in our own living room" first. Then we can "nail indictments up on every door in town." (Matthew 7:4)

We, the church, need to encourage one another in the proclamation of the Gospel and the revealing of sin in our lives.

2. We Need the Truth, not Flattery: Unfortunately, while the church seems to be there for each other, we are often doing nothing more than covering over each other's sins so that we are not embarrassed by the exposure of our own sin. But we need the Truth! We don't need anything less that the Truth of our sin, because without it, we ignore the TRUE remedy. Here is Derek's take on it from The House Show:

"And if we stop hearing that every single day especially in light of "the great righteousness" that we like to prop up as an idol from time to time, then we are never going to grow, our hearts will never change and our communities will never be sanctified. Here's the truth, flattery at it's very best will encourage really nothing more in you and in your community than behavior modification. Modifying your behavior to act the way you should and to hide the things you do that are wrong and try to amplify the things that are right. But here's the truth, all the behavior modification in the world, will never change your hearts, and it will never change our communities. Jesus, however, does change our hearts and he will change our communities and that is why boldness is called for."

"The Truth is never sexy" but man it sure is freeing! People may not want to hear it (2 Timothy 4:3-4) but they, and we, definitely need it. So, let's stick to the Truth and allow it to work in the hearts of people (starting with our hearts first). She may be offensive (1 Corinthians 1:23), but for the sake of eternity it is worth offending people with her than hiding under flattery and false motivations.

3. We need to expose the greatness of our sin and the greatness of our Savior

I'll let Derek's words suffice for this one:

"We have got to be honest. We should have no fear about being honest with each other about who we really are. Not just offering up the sins that we feel safe confessing, but being completely bold and completely forthcoming about who we really are. And saying, "You know what, I am going to stop hiding from you, and stop hiding who I am, because I believe the Gospel is true. I can only admit who I really am to you because I believe Jesus is truly who He is as well". You're never going to be truly filled with joy, unless you truly know yourself for who you are. And until you are a real sinner with a real Savior, you will only be a hypothetical and theoretical sinner and therefore with a hypothetical and theoretical savior. If you confess, "Oh I know, I'm sinful;" but you can't honestly put your finger on one sin you've committed all day, because your view of sin is nothing more than this cultural hiding game, then you're not experiencing real joy. If all I can confess is a knowledge of how sin has affected me, but I not any of my real sins, if I don't really know that I'm sinful, then I don't really know and am not really encouraged by the fact that I've been saved, because SAVED FROM WHAT? If I'm not really sinful, then what's the big deal? What's the good news? It's just news.

But if you know yourself as exposed by the cross, then I believe that you will begin to experience true joy. Because you will not be constantly looking over your shoulder, constantly checking the knots in the great suit of fig leaves you've sewn for yourselves. But rather, you will be comfortably exposed in your sin, and boasting in your great Savior. He is REAL. Charles Spurgeon once said, "If your sin is small, your Savior will be small, but if your sin is great, then your savior will be great." And folks, our Savior is truly great. "

We are the bride of Christ, but we so often shackle ourselves to the expectations of this world, to reputations, to popularity, to "self-esteem", to the approval of the world, to plurality and syncretizing that we are no longer free to be who Christ lived for, died for, and created the chruch to be, hindering or halting the ministries of the church for our own earthly gain.

What does God want you to let go of so that you can trust him and cling to him more for the sake of the Truth and the freedom of the Church?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

When do Appetites Go too Far?

As the conclusion to our summer series of Questions asked by you guys, we come to the following question:

"God has given us appetites. How far should these appetites take us before it becomes sin? (Just to be specific, sexual appetites)"

It is not my intention here to focus on sexual appetites while answering this question. However, I do believe that Godly principles hold true in all areas of our lives so we can trust that as God's word teaches us about our God-given appetites in general, those truths can be applied to our sexual appetites as well.

1 Corinthians 10:31 reminds us that we are to do everything to the glory of God, whether we are eating, drinking or doing anything. Paul doesn't leave us there though. he then shows us how we can use our appetites in a god-glorifying way in vs 31-11:1.

A God-Glorifying Use of our Appetites...
1. Tries not to offend anyone (Christian or non-Christian) (v32)
2. Is not selfish (Does not seek its own advantage) (v33)
3. Does not hinder the gospel (v33)
4. Portrays Christ accurately (11:1)

God has given us the gift of the Holy Spirit to help us know when and if we have gone too far. 2 of the many roles of the Holy Spirit are seen in John 16.

Conviction (John 16:8)-the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin and draws us toward righteousness

Revealing truth (John 16:13)-The Holy Spirit reveals truth to us through which we can then live our lives.

So, if you are wondering if your God-given appetites are crossing the line and no longer glorifying God, trust the Spirit that has been given to you through Christ and examine your actions to see if they are offensive, selfish, a hindrance to the Gospel, or portray Christ as something he is not. Then listen to and obey the Holy Spirit as he leads to respond in a way that will no doubt truly Glorify God.

Joey Update vol. 1

Hey is where you can keep up with Joey Howell's ministry overseas. As I receive e-mails and updates from him I will post them here.

Hello everyone. This will be the last update I'll (hopefully) write from the States for a little while. I'll be away for 2 years working with an unreached people group of half a million or more. I'm going to learn the language, study the culture and get to know the people. During this, I'll be telling stories along the way. The story of God can and will reach the right people, those people who are ready to hear it.

I want to thank you all for your prayers. I have a long list of praises because my visas are here, I am ready to travel and things are even now getting prepared before I get there. God is good, all the time.

Please do continue to pray and we shall all together see God do His will in His country. Pray that His Kingdom grow and those citizens of it grow too.
Also, if you or anyone else you know, would like to give to my ministry while I am gone you can go to: You can give online at my webpage either one time or join my ministry as a monthly supporter. I want to partner with church and family and individual to see our Lord glorified among the nations. It is my goal not only to share the message in a distant land, but to encourage you all (and those around you) in the work of God. God is very much about His mission to reach the nations and He has called us all to some extent to join Him in the field.

You can send me certain things while I'm there. I do ask you not send any technological things as these are very expensive to pick up. Most things also require a fee to pick anything up at the post office, so please keep this in mind. Things like packaged cookies, jerky and other sealable things, and books and cards are all right to send. Things may take a long while to reach me so I may not respond immediately, but I do greatly enjoy receiving things from home.

I leave for my first leg of the journey in a few hours. Please pray for traveling mercies from here to Paris and on to Chad. I get in to my country on Friday 3pm EST (9pm Chad time). Please pray specifically for my first leg of the journey to FL. There is a tropical storm moving in and I'd like not to be delayed for anything.

Thank you for giving of your prayers and support these last months and for encouraging me in the work along the way. I will keep you all in prayer as often as I think of you and look forward to hearing how God is working in your lives.
Grace and peace to you all!


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Momentum 08:Remedy

Here is the video from Youth Sunday as it appears on YouTube! Enjoy!

Don't Call it a Comeback

Yes. Yes. I know. It's been MONTHS since I have done ANYTHING with this blog. I'm sorry! I've been busy! Stop pestering me about it! Did you like Momentum? If so, then you should be happy that the blog hasn't been updated!

Anyway, like I have been promising, the Blog is making it's comeback just in time for the start of the 2008 College Football season (hmmm....Ryan. This blog has nothing to do with college football.) Ok, so it's making it's comeback in time for band competition season (again, Ryan, this blog has nothing to do with that...get with it man). Alright, alright. The blog is back just in time for chili season! (What???!!!??? What is chili season?) It's the time of year when it's OK to start eating chili again. And man I love chili. And cornbread too! I am so excited! (Ryan...chill! There is nothing about chili in this blog. Get focused!) Your right. I'm sorry. Ok. Here we go.

the blog is back! And just in time for the MLB playoffs! (RYAN! SERIOUSLY! GET ON WITH IT!)

OK!!!! I'm just trying to have a little fun! Sheesh!

So. You might be wondering what is going to be different or "new" about the blog. Well, some of the same old elements will be here (event pictures, calendars, announcements, bible study recaps(although they will probably be much less in depth than in the past) and such) along with some new elements (such as updates on Joey's ministry in Chad). If you look to your, not that far right...just to the edge of the screen, you will see some new things.

Polls: They may have something or nothing to do about what we are studying. Sometimes these polls will be serious, but most of the time they will be fun.

Links: Just some web-sites I think you may be interested in visiting, and some only I may care about!

Lists: Suggested reading lists that may go along with what we are studying on Wednesdays and Sundays or maybe just books that I have enjoyed. Suggested music that you should check out (by the way, I highly recommend the site I have linked to the right).
Previews of what we will be studying in coming weeks and months.

So, come back often and stay for an extended period of time. I promise to try my best to keep this blog "Up 2 Date" especially since that is the name of it! (Yeah, ryan, cause lately it's needed to be named "What happened a year ago w/ H2O. Way to stay consistent man!)