Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Spontaneous Poetry

Here are the spontaneous poetry results from Sunday night. Make sure to read them with great passion like you would any other poetry. Enjoy!

Foreign Ties

Aardvark Gandhi
Kilimanjaro is Feet
Gouda B.B. Gun
Floccinoucinihillipillification Tongues

Broadband Connection

Fire wire poop crumb
Shall without banana pie
Cardboard crotch tree

Tasty Treats

Naughty phat camel truck phlegm
Kumquat ice cream baron
Moldy shoelace lettuce

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Proverbs Part III-Get Your Brain off its Butt and Your Ears off their Rears (Proverbs 2:1-4)

My brother and I used to draw...a lot. We would put large sheets of paper on the floor and draw epic battle scenes with troops, bombers, tanks, trenches, and missiles covering the landscape. We were not very good artists but we always had fun.

One of our most enjoyable artistic adventures required something special. A dirt road headed to a remote village in Malawi, Africa that had been "wash-boarded" by the rainy season. We would sit in the back of the truck and lightly hold a pen to paper on a clipboard as we bounced down the road allowing the bumps of the road to determine what our picture ended up looking like. We tried not to manipulate the drawing hoping to allow the lay of the land to draw it's own picture.

We may have had fun, but you definitely could not call what we had drawn a "masterpiece". Masterpieces take effort. Masterpieces take planning. Masterpieces require an active response not a passive one.

The call of wisdom into our lives also requires an active response. If we want to experience the growing of wisdom in our lives we cannot sit passively and wait for it to come flying in. We have to actively pursue it. In Proverbs 2:1-4 we see the 5 "A's" of Actively Responding to the Call of Wisdom.

An Active Response to the Call of Wisdom...

1. Accepts (v1a)-Receive what wisdom is telling you, even when it hurts to hear it and is hard to swallow.

2. Adores (v1b)-Take care of and give a special place to wisdom spoken into your life.

3. Applies (v2)-Don't just hear wisdom but LISTEN to it and APPLY it to your life.

4. Asks (v3)-Seek for deeper understanding. Don't be satisfied with surface understanding but want MORE wisdom and seek FULL understanding.

5. Aborts (v4)-Quit less important quests in life for the ultimate quest. Search for wisdom like you would search for treasure (or Jimmy Hoffa). Don't stop until you have it.

What about you? Are you passively waiting around for this “sanctification” (becoming like Christ) thing to happen? Are you sitting back waiting for wisdom to fly into your life? It’s time to get active in the way that we listen and respond to the call of wisdom. Put some effort into becoming like Christ and gaining the “mind of Christ”. It’s not going to happen overnight and it’s not going to happen if we don’t make an effort.

Funny or Not Vol. 3

Here's a commercial that is supposed to make you laugh...does it?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Joey Update vol. 3

September 21, 2008

Hey everybody! Thank you all first of all for hanging with me and not
ceasing to offer up thanks to our loving One. This is what I have been
doing lately for He is good. Still, this time of year, square into
Fasting Month (to be completed either the 28th or 29 of this month) is
a difficult one spiritually. This is the time of atonement for all
sins that have been racked up during the year. There is a drain on
their physical health and a draw upon us Workers. Something in the air
is sinister, someone who does not want us here. I've heard from some
who have been here for a while that during this month the enemy seems
to have freer reign to do great harm. Still, we will labor in this
field. Thank you for lifting up this land and the people. Lift up them
up especially during the Night of Power as this is the culmination of
Fasting and a night of hard spiritual battle.
As for me, I've been doing well through all this. There are tiring
days but it is good to know that I am not alone here. Still, there
have been some hard knocks lately.
Two weeks ago I was pulled over by a policeman who wanted a bribe
(here the expressions are things like: 'I want some water from
heaven'). We managed to be able not to pay but this has caused some
Then last week an especially painful dart. A close national friend
stole about a month's salary of money from me. He and his accomplice
have been caught but the money has not yet been returned. Please lift
up this friend for repentance and restoration in the Body. He is now
in jail and we are Asking that our Father chasten him until he turns
in repentance. Still, if the money is returned and he has not
repented, than part of this would have wasted. We have now had to cut
off all fellowship with him following Mt. 18.

In the midst of these things great blessings have been seen. Lang.
learning in the target lang. has been going for 3 weeks now and I have
already told whole stories! As the words become more comfortable in
our mouths, my teammate and I are able to share more and more of the
Story. Praise Him because we have a teacher who seems to be a seeker
and is sympathetic to what we are doing.

Now some information:
My phone number has changed. To call me now from the States, dial these numbers:
011 235 944 6349
The first three are the international number, the next is the country
number and the last 7 is my number.
My mailing address has changed and this is the new one. Please send
all things to:
Joey Howell
BP 1263
N'Djamena, Chad

Also, I will submit my Christmas list as I will be out in the village
until then. You can send non-perishable or sealed items like Oreos or
other cookies like them, jerky is good and books, though heavy, if
sent in small quantities, are appreciated. Also, if you can find a map
of our country or the capital, N'Djamena, complete with topography or
something- pretty detailed, and it would not be a terribly large and
unwieldy one, please send it along.

Now the Hamdu's:
-That throughout the painful betrayal, that our Father brought me
deeper into fellowship with Him. After all, His Son was betrayed by a
close friend and was stolen from. He too entered a land of great
corruption and loved us anyway.
-That I have been learning to thank Him in all things.
-That language is flying so well.
-That next week we will be headed out to the village for three months
hopefully to begin the next stage of lang. learning.

The Du'as:
-For repentance of my friend Harley and his accomplice.
-For the money that was taken to be returned.
-For travel out to the village and packing things.
-Language learning still.
- For the people during this Month of Fasting, especially on the last day.

Now, I want to thank John R. for sending the camara along the address
in the States. I'll take some pictures for you and send them when I'm
Finally, thanks so much for everything and your sallaha for me.
Rihi afe!

Joey Update vol. 2

Sept 5, 2008

Hello everyone! It has been too long but I am back! I am back! Home in my country. The trip was greatly blessed on each leg and this not without a few adventures along the way. I left early morning for my first flight to FL. where I heard a storm was just coming into. I prayed no delays and there weren't. Then, before I got on my next flight they needed my return ticket to the States, but this was the return trip from my time in Feb. I had to run across the airport(twice) to print it off and only just barely made the flight. They shouted after me that they would send my bags on ahead to Paris, this trip's final destination. 'Hurry!' they further shouted after me. I did. And I made it to Chicago.

That was rather uneventful and I got my Paris flight alright, dozed a bit and got off in Paris in the morning. Then, I get to baggage claim and guess what? My bags have not arrived. They say they will send them ahead to my hotel when they arrive the next day so I give the name of a hotel (not the one I planned but still pretty close and affordable enough) and make my way through Paris to it. As soon as I arrive the man at the desk, after I gave my name told me he'd already gotten a call from the airport and that my bags would be there between 12 and 6pm that day!

I went up to my room and waited for the time to call home and when I went down, only 2 hours after 12, a woman asked me if I was Joseph Howell. I said yes and she told me some bags had come for me. When she moved to go get them I presumed, there they were behind her! These things all laid themselves out so nicely for me the whole trip that I was reeling for joy.

Also, there were more than a few passersby who were willing to help me on my way (directions, free tram rides, etc.) that crowned the time in Paris with a good theme. I got to the airport to get to my final, final destination- NDJ and I arrived without a hitch. In fact it was the better of the two entries I had into the city. THe guards simply stamped my visa page and let me move through. My bags arrived safe and well and when the guards were looking through them as they do, my Ar. came back to me as fast as I needed it and I chatted genially with them and they let me through laughing. I was not carrying anything detrimental or hazardous but the conversation made things that much more smooth.

The Am. also met me at the airport and we got back to that very house where I last left NDJ. I remet my teammate Col. and the rest of the team here and it was joyous reunions all around. Also, one of them had my lang. journal which I had left behind for 5 months on a table beside my bed saying they just found it. I raised a great ah' hamdu l'llah! for that one!

I quickly got settled in and had lang. lessons each day and my Ar. came back even faster until I am almost at the point I was when I left. Also, Col. and I got to go to the Eng. center here in town a few times and do some Storytelling with some students there. Good conversations like that are not infrequent here for which I am very thankful.

Also, I met my old neighbors who had kept my stuff I left at their house and delivered to them the Oreos my mom gave me for them. They remembered them and were delighted. Likewise I also met my old language teacher and it was a good reunion and many p'ayers were said. And this past week, Col. and I have started the target lang. and it goes nicely so far.

As for me, I am going over the border this weekend to Cam. for which I also have a visa. It will be a getaway weekend of sorts as well as a chance to see the neighboring country in case we end up going there and staying for a while later. I should be in town for another 2 or 3 weeks or so before heading out to the village for more intensive lang. learning.

For now here are the Hamdu's as I'll call them:
-My journey over met with great adventure and success
-My lang. journal was found immediately and the lang. itself ran back to meet me
-Friends new and old were met and met well
-Lang. lessons are now progressing well
-I have a new phone service and it looks to handles calls home much
better than my old phone

And for the Du'as; as I'll call them:
-Please lift up this Month of Fasting that our brother Ishmael may
find the One he's seeking
-Please lift up lang. lessons in this target lang. that Col. and I would both learn well
-Please lift my camera up- I think it went under one too many X-rays
through the airports or something because it is unresponsive. Maybe it
will yet work.
-Please lift up our quiet times in Reading and Talking with our Father
-Finally, please lift up the workers here and those that are coming
that all would commit the work to the Lord of the Harvest

For these things I thank the One who called me here and you too, my friends and brothers. It is a great thing to see His hand moving in ceaseless work, giving of His inexhaustible mercy and grace. Thank you for your faithful p'ayers in all things on my behalf. May our Father richly bless you all, in all ways.

In Him,

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Invite Night

Thanks to everyone for coming out to the invite night! Enjoy the pics!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Proverbs Part II-Here Kitty, Kitty (Proverbs 1:10-33)

I always loved the part of movies or tv shows when the devil and angel would show up on a character's shoulders trying to influence him in opposite directions. I never understood why the character would so often listen to the Devil.

We daily live with a similar circumstance in our own life. There are 2 forces trying to influence our life in opposite directions. According to Proverbs 1:10 one of these is the Enticement of Sin while the other is the Call of Wisdom (Proverbs 1:20)

Let's contrast these two:

The Enticement of Sin
1. Is Private (vv 10-11)-this is not something you would expect to hear proclaimed aloud to a group of hundreds of people. This enticement usually comes privately.

2. Is Encouraged (vv 11-14)-Look at how far the details go. We encourage the enticement of sin by listening to the details. We often recognize it as sin pretty easily, but then we like to hear what we may get out of it or how easy it will be to get away with. We need to stop encouraging the enticement of sin and start cutting it off as soon as we recognize it.

3. Attacks People (vv 11-12)-
physically, mentally, emotionall. It's victim is real!

4. Promises Riches (vv 13-14)
-Whatever those riches may be. This is not necessarily money, but can also include other desires. Sin is pretty good at enticing us with the current desires we have, showing us an "easier" way to get them.

5. Is Dangerous (vv15-19)
-The enticement of sin sets a trap and leads to death...period!

The Call of Wisdom
1. Is Public (vv 20-21)-It cries aloud in the streets!

2. Is Ignored (vv 24-25)
-Despite its public nature, we still often ignore it. Why? Because it is not what we want to hear!

3. Attacks the Status Quo (v 22)
-Instead of attacking people, wisdom attack the ideas behind the way we live, challenging us to live differently. (which is one of the reason we ignore it...we don't want to change even though it would be better to change!)

4. Promises Life (vv 23, 33)

5. Is Warnful (vv 24-32)
-yes, I know this is a made up word, but I think you get it. Wisdom is full of warning about what will happen if we don't listen to Wisdom. Pay close attention to these verses.

So, what about you? Which one are you listening to?

What do you need God to change in your heart so that you will stop listening to the enticement of sin and start opening your ears to the call of wisdom?

Monday, September 15, 2008

She Must And Shall Go Free Part IV: Nothing (Without You)

"Nothing (Without You)" by Derek Webb

I’ve got the dress, I’ve got the ring
I’ve got a song that I can sing
I’ve got the bread, I’ve got the wine
But I’ve got the life I’ve left behind
I’ve got everything, but I’ve got nothing
Without you

I’ve got the law on my heart
I’ve got your love tearing me apart
I’ve got a vow that I can’t keep
But I’ve got your promise getting me to sleep
I’ve got everything, but I’ve got nothing
Without you

I’ve got your works, I’ve got my faith
I’ve got all the wine that you can make
I am the kiss of your betrayer
But I’ve got your grace on every layer
I’ve got everything, but I’ve got nothing
Without you

‘cause you see it’s all just a show
You either hate it or you don’t
And only time will tell the difference
If you get it clearly or with interference

I’ve got the race, got the election
But win or lose, I’ve got protection
I found a lobbyist in the devil
But i got salvation in a rebel
I’ve got everything, but I’ve got nothing
Without you

If we have nothing without Jesus, then what unique things can Jesus alone bring into our lives?

Jesus Brings...

1. Authenticity
You can have all the trappings of a committed relationship (dress/ring; bread/wine) but if you are still clinging to the life you have supposedly left behind then that relationship is lacking. Matthew 7:21-23 reminds us that there will be many who will say "Lord, Lord" and do great things in the name of Jesus who really have nothing...they lack Authenticity. They may look like a follower of Christ but still cling to the past and lack a true relationship with Christ.

2. Peace
Have you ever played Simon Says? Have you ever gone out on the first round of Simon Says? What about the very last round? Either way, you still lose. It doesn't matter when you break the rules, you lose just like everyone else who has broken the rules. James 2:10 reminds us that if we have broken God's Law at any one point, then we have broken the whole thing. We have a vow we can't keep...there is no way we can please God with our actions. But praise God, his promise in Jesus Christ brings us peace.

3. Deep Grace
When I went to college I double majored in math and computer science. I was excited the day I finished my Multi-variable Calculus final exam thinking I had seen the worst of it. But I had not been introduced to Math Theory yet! Proof after proof after proof after proof, and all at 8:00 in the morning. Talk about tough. Our prof was nice though because he let us take the exams home to work on and use our book and notes. This was great and helped me get a B in the class but I came away with no deed understanding of mathematical theory. I had the right answers and a B in the class but I still had nothing.

Isaiah 9:6 reminds us of the depth of who Jesus is: wonderful couselor, mighty God, everlasting Father, Prince of Peace...have you delved into the depths of who Jesus is and what he means in your life? Do you have all the right answers but still have nothing when it comes to Christ. Do you claim his work in your life and your faith in him but then turn and once again betray him with your words or actions...or your silence?

And still, his grace is DEEP...deeper than we can imagine. Without that Deep Grace we truly have nothing!

4. Clarity of Commitment
Would you rather: Sleep on a pillow or a bale of hay? Have a PC or a Mac? Drink tea or water? Take a shower or a bath? Read the book or watch the movie? Listen to rock or rap? Eat beef or chicken? Go to a math class or an english class? Drive a Ford or a Chevy?

These are fairly minor commitments we make every day of our life. But time will tell if you truly are committed to those things. Maybe one day you will discover the comfort of a bale of hay and never use a pillow again. Maybe you will change your mind about the flavor of beef and push aside your chicken nuggets for a fat steak. Maybe you will tire of fixing your Ford and trade it in for a Chevy. Time will tell if your commitments will stand.

Matthe 6:24 tells us that our commitment to Christ needs to be definite. Is yours? Time will tell if that commitment is real. Jesus brings clarity of that commitment into our lives.

5. The Best!
We all settle for so much less than the best. Why? I think normally it's because we don't see the best or we don't know what is the best or we don't have access to the best. I love Domino's Pizza, but I don't have access to it without a 30 minute drive and $365 in gas. So, I settle for Food Lion or Red Barron Pizza. Sure, that Pizza is good, but it is not the best.

Jesus brings us the BEST. But we often settle for so much less. The Devel lobby's in our life trying to influence us away from what is best and we fall for it every day! Jesus has rescued us from the mediocre and has brought the best into our lives. Stop settling and grab hold of the Best. Without the best we really have nothing.

So, what about You?

How much do you depend on God/Jesus to bring into your life what you really need...what only he can bring? How often do you first depend on yourself or other people around you to bring excitement, meaning, hope, and joy to your life?

Remember: there are certain things only Jesus brings into our lives, and without them we have nothing.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Proverbs Part I-Stopping To Ask for Direction (Proverbs 1:1-9)

Have you ever tried to put clothes on that didn't fit you? It can be very uncomfortable to wear something that is too big or too small. Constricting, saggy, annoying, hard to hold up, hard to take off...clothes that don't fit just aren't worth wearing.

Clothes that fit perfectly, however, are great to wear...Comfortable, easy to move around in, not distracting.

Proverbs 1:8-9 describes the teaching and instruction we receive from our parents as "a graceful garland for your head and pendant for your neck". I think of this as saying that the teaching you receive from your parents or other authority in your life is good "dress" for your life. It looks good and it fits well.

Wisdom is the same way. It fits, especially for Christ followers.

So, here we go, with a book of wisdom written by Solomon. Pay attention because it is good "dress" for your life.

Who is this Solomon guy anyway, and why should I listen to him?

In 1 Kings 3:5-14 we see part of Solomon's story. He was King of Israel (the son of King David) and God promised to give him whatever he asked for. Solomon realized that he had a lot of people to care for and a lot of decisions to make, so he asked for discernment and wisdom in ruling the people of Israel. God blessed him with this wisdom (and riches too) and told him that he would be the wisest man that ever had, or ever will, walk the earth.

The wisdom of Solomon is wisdom from God and this wisdom has been passed down to us in the book of Proverbs. If we believe what is said in 1 Kings 3 (and I do) these words were written by the most wise and discerning person EVER to grace the earth (outside of the God-Man, Jesus). So listen. You might learn something!

But, why Proverbs. Solomon wrote some other books. What good will this book do?

In Proverbs 1:2-4 we see 5 reasons we should study Proverbs. 5 Benefits of studying this book.

1. Recognition
The next time someone walks into the room ask yourself, "self, do I know that person"? If the answer is yes, ask yourself how you know him/her. If the answer is no, ask yourself, "why not"? How is it that we come to recognize people we know, or even celebrities that we don't know? We spend time with those people! We talk to them, listen to them and look at them. In this way we learn to recognize who they are.

Proverbs 1:2 tells us that this book will help us "to know wisdom and instruction." We will learn to recognize wisdom when we see it. How? By spending time studying, reading, and looking at wisdom.

2. Understanding
Do you know what this phrase means? "Maak als een boom en een verlof." here's a hint. It's Dutch. How can you get to a point where you do understand this phrase?

The second half of Proverbs 1:2 says that we will "understand words of insight". By studying dutch and spending time around dutch people we will understand dutch. In the same way when we spend time studying wisdom and speaking with wise people we will understand the language of wisdom/insight. As we spend time in the book of proverbs we will gain understanding.
(By the way, the dutch phrase says "make like a tree and leave.")

3. Teachability
Has someone ever tried to teach you something and you've thought, "I don't need to know this. I've got everything under control." Have you ever made a mistake once and determined to never make the same mistake again. If you are like the first person then you were not teachable in that situation. If you were like the second person, then you were teachable.

We need to be teachable and Proverbs will help us learn to be teachable. Proverbs 1:3 tells us we will begin to "receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity". As you study this book determine to listen to and learn from what it teaches.

4. Depth
Proverbs will also give us depth of understanding. It will take us to a deeper, more complex level like a backhoe is deeper and more complex than a shovel. We will still be doing the same job (living this life for the glory of God) but with a deeper understanding of how God wants us to live this life. As Proverbs 1:4 says there will be "prudence to the simple/naive."

5. Illumination
How many of the following things have you experienced:
Fought in a war
Gotten married
Had Children
Buried a Parent
Bought a House
Gone to Graduate School
Been Out of the Country
Faced a Life Threatening Illness
Lost a Job
Quit a Tough Habit

I could say I have experienced 6 of those things. My granddad could say he has experienced at least 9, if not all 10. How about you? 1? 2? Maybe 3? We can learn a lot from people who are older than us. They can bring illumination to parts of life that we have not yet experienced. We don't know it all. We need help in living this life. If man can bring illumination to the "dark" parts of our life, how much more can the Word of God, in this case Proverbs, give us knowledge and direction. As we study Proverbs it will "give knowledge and direction to the youth."

What about You?

Do you want to be characterized as wise? Could you be characterized as wise now? As we study thorugh Proverbs challenge yourself to grow in wisdom. But how? What does wisdom look like. Here are 4 characteristics of a wise person from Proverbs 1:5-7

1. Hear-"the wise hear and increase in learning" (v5)
2. Search-the wise search for and "obtain guidance" (v5)
3. Seek-"the wise seek out meaning" (v6)
4. Fear-"the wise fear the Lord" (v7)

The fool, however, "despises wisdom and instruction."

This week and this school year don't be a fool. Hear, search, seek, and fear. Start now. We have a great opportunity here to stop in the book of Proverbs for a little while and ask for directions with our life...direction that comes straight from the wisdom of the Lord.

I hope you are starting to see the importance of this book for your life!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

She Must And Shall Go Free Part III: Take to the World

This week we listened to the song "Take to the World" from the She Must and Shall Go Free album by Derek Webb. Here are the lyrics:

“Take to the World” by Derek Webb

Go in peace to love and to serve
Let your ears ring long with what you have heard
May the bread on your tongue
Leave a trail of crumbs
To lead the hungry back to the place you are from

And take to the world this love, hope and faith
Take to the world this rare, relentless grace
And like the three in one
Know you must become what you want to save
‘Cause that’s still the way
He takes to the world

Go, and go far
Take light deep in the dark
Believe what’s true
He uses all, even you
And may the bread on your tongue
Leave a trail of crumbs
To lead the hungry back to the place that you are from

Last week we talked about living in the freedom, the true freedom, that the blood of Christ affords us. Living in that freedom encourages us to share that freedom with other people, and it also leads other people to ask about the freedom we are living in. So, we must take to the world this love, hope, faith, and freedom that we have. But how do we effectively take Jesus (the source of that freedom) to the world?

1. Have the right attitude-"Go in peace to love and to serve"-(Matthew 20:28)
We should have the same attitude that was in Christ: one that is looking to serve, not be served.

2. Remind yourself daily of the Gospel-"Let your ears ring long with what you have heard"-(John 18:37)
Have you ever heard a joke or a story that you just couldn't wait to tell someone about? Have you ever heard such a loud, shrill noise that the sound stuck in your ears? The Gospel, this freedom we talked about last week, should be that way for us. it should stick in our ears so that we want to, we have to, are compelled to tell others about it.

3. Let Truth be on your lips-“May the bread on your tongue leave a trail of crumbs to lead the hungry back to the place you are from”-(Isaiah 55:1-3)
We spend so much time striving for what does not satisfy. Pursue the bread of life, the only bread that satisfies and then lead other people to it.

4. Open your eyes-“Take to the world this love, hope, faith, and rare relentless grace”-(1 Corinthians 1:21)
We have become comfortable in America because of the great access to the Gospel that we have. But check out http://www.worldmap.org/maps/downloads/BMP_Map_SGI_25.jpg and spend a little bit of time exploring what this map shows. Yes, America is heavily evangelized, but the response is very low. Yes, everyone has access to the Gospel, but our country is slipping away from Christ! Why? Partly because we have become comfortable as Christians and are no longer taking to the World. Open your eyes! There is a mission field right out your front door!

5. Make the need for a Savior real-“Like the three in one, know you must become what you want to save ‘cause that’s still the way he takes to the world”-(1 Corinthians 9:19-23)
This doesn't mean that if you are going to minister to alcoholics you need to become an alcoholic. It doesn't mean that if you are going to minister to gamblers you need to become a gambler. However, we do need to make their need for a Savior real and relevant to them. Pray that God would give you the words to minister to anyone you come in contact with in a way that individually impacts them where they are. The Gospel is powerful, so don't change the message one bit, but make it real.

6. Do hard things-“Go and go far take light deep in the dark”-(Matthew 5:14-16)
I know it is not easy to do but guess what happens to the dark when we go into it? It grows lighter!

7. Be Useable -“believe what’s true, he uses all, even you”-(Jeremiah 1:4-10)
Don't think God can't use you to take to the World around you. Just do it! Step out and obey! Your school needs you. Your workplace needs you. Your home needs you. Your myspace and facebook friends need you to be the light of truth in their lives.

So, now comes the hard part...

How many of these 7 things are you doing?

Where can you make the first change?

Be prepared to be challenged to take to the World in the coming months, but don't wait until I tell you where to go and what to do, start today at home, at school, at work and online!

A Note from Whalen

Dear Ryan and Christie and the youth group too,

(please read this to the youth group, to let them know the goings on. Oh and dont skip the parentheses either. I.E. that right there should have been read out loud.)

This is my update to all whom it may affect. For those who do not know...I am at college. It rocks and I miss none of you. (dramatic pause) NOT!!! You know I am of course kidding. I love and miss each of you, but the list is very long and I know Ryan has plans to get into the Word! Therefore, i will get to the point.

I am at Southeastern University in Florida and it is a great school. The presence of God at work is Fantastic, Awe-inspiring, and many other big, power references! The friends I have made so far here are amazing and love Jesus like they love oxygen! I have three room mates and we are a very well mixed group of boys. We have the quiet musician, the techy film guy, the tall Jock, and the out-spoken personable teddy bear (bet ya can't guess which one's me). Any way, I have officially declared my major and minor: Bachelor of Science in Communication Broadcasting and a minor in (watch Ryan's face when he reads this, it'll be great!) Youth Ministry. HeHe! I plan to revamp the RADIO on campus and get Southeastern a real FM station or better; a XM station. I believe God has put on my heart that SEU could be the new TORCH, alternative christian music and Christ centered conversations.

My classes are awesome. My Math class, Ryan, is a breeze. My Psychology class, Christie, is as hard as chewing diamonds! Yeah, get that thought in your head! I am encouraged every day by the life of my Profs/Docs and how they conduct class. Prayer, Christian foundation: it's great! A word to my brothers and sisters about to leave Highschool, check out a Christian college. If you do, don't just pick it on the whim of "Oh, good a Jesus school." Test the spirits! (1 John 4:1) Make sure, in every area of life as a Christian, "Make sure that whatcha get is anchored in whatcha got; Jesus the Christ."(OO! Ryan, I will allow you to quote me on that one.)

And finally, you youth-groupers you, listen to this man teaching; because what he says will help you more often than you will know. Girls, GO TO CHRISTIE! She has a little more experience with some things than you do. (and no, Christie, that was not an AGE joke.) These two people have been pretty much dropped in you laps and if you don't listen to them when they ream you for something, if you don't seek them out when you have an issue you think no one can handle or forgive you for; you guys are screwing up big time. (Ryan, don't change my words here; its the only way they'll realize this as me talking and not you) Ryan and Christie love you & I love you too. So don't screw up! Or the Jesus stick will come down on you with love and bruises!
On a lighter note, I love you all and miss you like a fat kid misses cake when he's on a diet! God bless and Good bye


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Contemplate & Consider

From The Cross and Christian Ministry by D.A. Carson:

When considering why Jesus would call a generation that asked for miraculous signs "a wicked and adulteress generation" Carson states:

"In some cases, such as the feeding of the five thousand, Jesus' miraculous power was attractive to the crowd simply because of what it gave them. (John 6:26)

But one might ask why Jesus should object. After all he performed many miracles. Why should he object when someone asked him for one? did not such requests simply give him an opportunity to display yet one more powerful work?

These questions miss the point. There is a kind of longing for a display of Jesus' power that is entirely godly, submissive, perhaps even desperate. There is another kind that puts the person making the request into the driver's seat. Some want to see Jesus perform a sign so that they can evaluate him assess his claims, test his credentials. At one level, of course, he accommodates himself to our unbelief by performing miracles that ought to elicit faith (John 10:38). But at another level, he cannot possibly reduce himself to nothing more than a powerful genie who performs spectacular tricks on command. As long as people are assessing him, they are in the superior position, the position of judge. As long as they are checking out his credintials, they are forgetting that God is the one who will weigh them. As long as they are demanding signs, Jesus, if he constantly acquiesces, is nothing more than a clever performer.

Thus the demand for signs becomes the prototype of every condition human beings raise as a barrier to being open to God. I will devote myself to God if he heals my child. I will follow this Jesus if I can maintain my independence. I will happily become a Christian if God proves himself to me. I will turn from my sin and read the Bible if my marriage gets sorted out to my satisfaction. I will acknowledge Jesus as Lord if he performs the kind of miracle, on demand, that removes all doubt. In every case I am assessing him; he is not assessing me. I am not coming to him on his terms; rather I am stipulating terms that he must accept if he wants the privilege of my company."

Carson, D.A., The Cross and Christian Ministry: Leadership Lessons from 1 Corinthians, 1993, Baker Books, Page 20.

Funny or Not? Vol. 2

Post your comments!

Louie Giglio - Laminin

Just a reminder about how great our God is!!!

She Must and Shall Go Free Par II: She Must and Shall Go Free

A strange thing happened the other day when Christie and I went to have lunch with the "Everlott's"...everyone was in handcuffs. And, let me tell ya, it impacted EVERY area of our life that day. Here...check out some pictures...

Wouldn't it be horrible to live every day, through every activity of our day, handcuffed?

John 8:36 tells us that we are truly free if Jesus has set us free. Well, Jesus has set the church free, but for some reason we live every day shackled to this world, not living in the freedom that Christ has given us through His blood. And it impacts EVERY area of our life! We are meant to be free...Christ has set us free. But how? How does Christ want us to be freed by his blood? Check out Derek Webb's Song "She Must and Shall Go Free" and see 5 ways Jesus' blood gives freedom to the church.

"She Must and Shall Go Free"

Mercy speaks by Jesus' blood
Hear and sing, ye sons of God
Justice satisfied indeed
Christ has full atonement made

Jesus' blood speaks loud and sweet
Here all deity can meet
And without a jarring voice
Welcome Zion to rejoice
Welcome Zion to rejoice

All her debt's been cast on Me
She must and shall go
All her debt's been cast on Me
She must and shall go free

Peace of conscience, peace with God
Be obtained through Jesus' blood
Jesus' blood speaks solid rest
We believe and we are blessed
We believe and we are blessed

All her debt's been cast on Me
She must and shall go free (x4)

She Beloved of the Lord
Jesus' blood still speaks with power
All her debt's been cast on Me
She must and shall go free
She must and shall go free

All her debt's been cast on Me
She must and shall go free

Jesus' Blood Gives Freedom to the Church by...

1. "Justice satisfied indeed"-Satisfying the justice required by God (Romans 3:23-24)
2. "Welcome Zion to rejoice"-Taking away all obstacles to rejoicing (Luke 10:20b)
3. "All her debts been cast on me"-Paying the WHOLE debt (Colossians 2:13-14)
4. "Peace of conscience, peace with God"-Giving pease and rest with man and with God (Colossians 1:20, 3:15)
5. "Jesus' blood still speaks with power"-Having the same power yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8)

We often live in the power of the freedom that Jesus' blood affords soon after our salvation, but what about now? Are you still living in the power of that freedom?

If Jesus has set you free are you truly free? Are YOU?

Are you living in the justice you have been given?
Are you living in the praise/joy you once had?
Are you living as one who's debt has been paid?
Are you living in solid peace and rest with God and man?
Are you living as if the blood of Jesus still has power in your life?

Your challenge this week is to remember the freedom you have been given in Christ and seek to live in that freedom, not allowing Satan or this world to shackle you to worry, doubt, anger, fear, insecurity, jealousy, or any other thing that steals the joy, hope, peace, and rest of your salvation through Jesus' blood.

You have been set free! Live free!