Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Cross Centered Day

As a wrap of Spring Retreat we talked last night about things we can do to keep the cross of Christ in the middle every day. Here are some suggestions from C.J. Mahaney in his book Living the Cross Centered Life:

1. Memorize the Gospel
"God instructs us in the Psalms to store up His Word in our hearts. I love that picture. God wants us to tuck his promises into our hearts so that, no matter where we are or what we're doing, we can pull them out and be strengthened by their truth." (LTCCL page 133)

Here are some passages C.J. recommends to start with:
2 Corinthians 5:21
Romans 8:31-34
Isaiah 53:3-6
Romans 3:23-26
Romans 5:6-11
1 Corinthians 15:3-4
Galatians 2:21

2. Pray the Gospel
Remember that the reason you can come before the throne of God is through the work of Jesus on the cross, opening the Most Holy Place and giving us true communion with God. Continually praise God for the blood of Jesus, the cross, for your ability to pray at all.

3. Sing the Gospel
Fill your car, iPod, and home with songs that remind you of the cross and the work of Jesus on the cross. Here are a few links to some good albums that can keep you focuses on the cross:

Songs for the Cross Centered Life-Sovereign Grace Ministries

Adore and Tremble-Daniel Renstrom

Shattered-Dave Hunt

The First Circle-Enter the Worship Circle

Opposite Way-Leeland

4. Review how the Gospel has changed you
Remember what God has saved you from. Remember what you would be without Christ and praise him for the change he has brought into your life!

5. Study the Gospel
"Never be content with your current grasp of the Gospel. The gospel is life-permeating, world-altering, universe-changing truth. It has more facets than any diamond. We will never exhaust its depths." (LTCCL Page 142)

Here are a few books you can start with:

Living the Cross Centered Life by C.J. Mahaney

The Truth of the Cross by R.C. Sproul

Fifty Reasons why Jesus Came to Die by John Piper

The Cross of Christ by John Stott

Death by Love by Mark Driscoll

and a link to some great mp3 messages on the cross...for FREE!

Together for the Gospel conference 2006

There are so many more resources out there. Keep you eye on the links on the right side-bar of this blog to see more recommended books, music, and links to free downloads!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Spring Retreat pics

Some Really Great Cross Centered Listening

Well, we have just finished our spring retreat "In the Middle" (pictures coming soon!) and I wanted to give you a link to some messages on the cross by the same guy that inspired our retreat. Our retreat was inspired by C. J. Mahaney and his book Living the Cross Centered Life.

The following messages are free to download, so go for it, listen, learn and enjoy!

Click the link below to download the messages

Christ and Him Crucified MP3 Download Set


Contemplate & Consider Vol. 8

A few quotes from a book I have recently been reading:

When it comes to sin, people are tricky. We are prone to confess our sin but not repent of it. What I mean is this: People commonly say that they have done wrong but lack a deep remorse for who they are in addition to what they have done. The old man was at the point of confession but had not yet come to a place of repentance where he despised himself and wanted to become a new person, not just the same old person trying to do new good things. (Page 185)

If you die as a non-Christian, this life will be as close to heaven as you will ever experience, and nothing but hell awaits you. But if you die as a Christian, this life will be as close to hell as you will ever experience and nothing but heaven awaits you. This is why Paul says to Christians in Philippians 1:21 that "to die is gain." (Page 192)

The death of Jesus should not fill us with pride because we are so valuable, but rather fill us with horror that our sin is so terrible that it required the death of Jesus to atone for it. (Page 195)

Death By Love: Letters from the Cross by Mark Driscoll & Gerry Breshears. 2008 Crossway Books

14 Questions to Ask Your Bible

Good Questions for finding the "glory in the details" of Bible Study.


Here are fourteen questions to help you find the glory in the details.

1. Who is the author of the passage?

2. Who were the recipients?

3. What is the historical background of the passage?

4. What is the outline/structure of the passage?

5. Are any words repeated? Any significance to the repetition?

6. Are there any unusual words in the passage that call for more exploration?

7. How does the passage fit into the surrounding paragraph? Chapter? Book?

8. Why did the author place the passage here and not somewhere else?

9. In one sentence, what is the main point of the passage?

10. How would the original audience have been affected by the passage?

11. How does this passage connect to the overall storyline of the Bible?

12. How does this passage reveal Jesus as savior?

13. How does God want this passage to function in my life?

14. What kind of response does this passage call for?

Funny or Not? Vol. 19

We should totally try some of these sometime!

Obama Budget Cuts Visualization

This is why it's always important to THINK about what you hear...This gave me a "wow" response. Kind of puts things in perspective, huh?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Funny or Not? Vol. 18

Here are some quotes I found today.

Funny? Or not? Comment and let me know what you think!

"I am not a vegetarian because I love animals; I am a vegetarian because I hate plants." A. Whitney Brown

"Friendship is like peeing on yourself: everyone can see it, but only you get the warm feeling that it brings."

"Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils ..." - Louis Hector Berlioz

"Behind every successful man is a surprised woman." - Maryon Pearson

"Last night I lay in bed looking up at the stars in the sky and I thought to myself, where the heck is the ceiling."

"You tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is 'never try'." -Homer Simpson

"A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kick boxing."

Questions Answered: Why is Money the Root of all Kinds of Evil?

1 Timothy 6:6-10

The Love and Pursuit of Money and Wealth...

1. Misses out on the Gain of Godliness (v6)
Gain of godliness is one of satisfaction, peace, and joy...not to mention eternity

2. Ignores the reality of eternity (v7)
We will take nothing with us when we die
No U-Hauls behind hearses

3. Shows discontentment (v8)
Every 7 seconds somewhere in the world a child dies of hunger
Child sponsorship through world vision/compassion
$1 a day will feed, nourish, educate and provide healthcare for a child
$384 a year for one child=2604 children for one year on $1 Million
$6912 for 18 years for one child=144 children from birth to age 18 on $1 Million

4. Steps into a Trap (v9)
The more you get the more “comfortable” you get and the harder it is to let go which leads to indulging in these senseless and harmful desires to try to increase comfort

5. Wanders away from Faith (v10)

6. Places trust other than on God for provision but blames God when it runs out of money!

We have a choice of whether we are going to use the great wealth we have been given to provide for our comfort or for the necessities of others. We have a choice of whether we are going to use the great wealth we have been given for great eternal gain or worldly gain. We have a choice of whether we will trust God fully or willingly succumb to the trap of comfort.

This week examine the way you and your family use money and begin to think about ways you can better provide for the needs of the world for great eternal gain.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Interview with authors of Do Hard Things

Here is a link to an interview with Alex and Brett Harris, authors of Do Hard Things.

I realize we are done reading the book, but please do not let the principles leave your life!

The Interview

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Do Hard Things Challenge 11

So, here we are at the end of our Do Hard Things Study. Let's be challenged by a couple of last things:

I love this quote from a guy named Brandon in the book Do Hard Things:

If foolish human companions harm you aren't foolish movies and comic books just as bad? (p221)

Take some practical steps...NOW!
1. Identify what you need to get honest with and to whom
2. Decide what negative actions or patterns need to end
3. Recognize which people could best help you get from point A to point B and plan to get connected
4. Figure out one or two key action steps that, once taken, will make it tougher to chicken out
5. Acknowledge that you can't succeed without God's help. Make a practical plan to stay close to him.

This is where it really gets hard! You will not be forced to read or always talk about what hard things you are doing. You will not be daily reminded of the phrase "do hard things". So, now it's up to you to keep with it. It's up to you to be intentional about your ministry. It's up to you to look for and do the hard things so that they become a regular part of your life and a natural part of your life.

Be encouraged by those who have done hard things before you and be encouraged by the words of the writer of Hebrews when you feel like giving up in this fight for holiness:

"In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood." Hebrews 12:4

Remember the example of Jesus and the Hard Things he did for His glory and so YOU TOO can do the hard things.

Joey Update Vol. 12

Nugudi habar chigi? What's new, indeed. Well, let me tell you.

From last week, I wanted to first thank you all for your p'ayers as we did
get to visit that burn village and even went back today. The first meeting
last week was mainly introductions, terribly important here. They also were
wowed that two white guys living in such close proximity to them (their
village is only about 3km from where we live) could speak their language.

They showed us the places where the fire ate some buildings, we counted nine
that day, plus granaries. They showed us some charred khalla, the staple
grain here. It was cone shaped and the individual pieces of khalla were all
black. A strange thing was as we were going around with them, writing down
names of the people who lost houses, they told us how much each thing cost.
Maybe they thought we were UN guys who might be connected to a big payload
to quickly rebuild their village. Anyway, we offered up a great Hamdu l'llah
because no people or their animals were hurt in the fire. Also, when we were
there the first time, there was a group of people rebuilding a reed-thatch
roof, a good sign of bouncing back.

We p'ayed over the village last week for a way to help them, but not make
them dependent on us to solve all their problems with our money. This is a
constant struggle we find and we are searching for ways to give but not
fulfill their expectations that that is our only role. Going to the white
guy for money is not a good testimony, for them or for us. So, we formed a
p'ayer-laden plan (the very best kind I find) and today we set out.

We brought them essentials, a bourish, one of the chief pieces of furniture
here, it being a straw mat, for each of the houses we counted last week.
Also for each of them, teapots and tea glasses were given. I am convinced
that the teapot is the symbol of peace here*.

Anyway, today was a good day of visiting them. The bulama, or village chief
was not there today but we were able to give each thing to each person who
we bought it for. Some of the women were sitting together, apart from the
men as is customary here. We went over to them to greet them and tell them
why we were seeking to bless them. We told them of the great Gift of His Son
to us and that was our motivation. They agreed to this** and then blessed us
saying "G'd give you many children". We said "zig zoho dokgeda", we don't
have wives yet. "G'd give you wives," they replied. They said this so much
that it seems when I'm married I'll need to have at least eight children, to
fulfill their blessing on me!

After this, we had some tea and ate some rumu, the staple food here. They
made one with the charred khalla which was burnt brown and not merely dirty
white like normal. It seems some of what was burned is still useable. They
also told us that those families which lost houses are not destitute as in
having no place to stay. In villages, people chip in together to help each
other. They are staying with family or friends in other houses for now.
We've been talking a little to perhaps get into a habit of visiting there
once a week, as it is a high concentration of N. speakers, and are already
thinking of going back next week.

One other thing on the fun side related to this trip, we rode there on a
pousse. This is a horse drawn cart, a traditional way of getting around,
better than walking and cheaper than motorcycles. It was a good ride,
carrying us and all the stuff we brought as hadiyas. So, to note at this
point in country, I've ridden: a horse, a camel, a few motorcycles, a market
truck (an adventure indeed), plenty of taxis, and now a pousse. Next, I'm
looking to find and ride a rhino and round out my exotic riding adventures.

Things to p'ay for:
1. We have about two weeks left in town here until we leave again for AMS.
We need to get two more Stories recorded and backtranslated from N. into Fr.
or Eng. Opportunities are abounding but p'ay that we would indeed make full
use of them and get our task done.
2. P'ay for the relationships we've been watering here in our town and out
in the burn village.

Thanks, as always, for p'aying and giving to my work here. I'm excited that
the Father is working and I am seeing Him work in and through us. May you
all, in each place He's called you, be His hands and His feet and speak with
His voice to those people around you. Our p'ayers affect the future history
of those around us and things around the world, if only we ask for them! Ask


*A few weeks ago, I made a thermos full of tea, spiced it with cinnamon, and
took it to the market to some N. friends I've made there. It was a big hit!
As I was carrying the bright red thermos through the market to the place my
friends were, I heard many whispering "Hey look, he's bringing tea" almost
expectantly. It caused a stir, as is not uncommon when I go to the market.
They said the tea was "lele" meaning I'd added enough sugar to make teeth
scream. Now, they joke with me, "what, no tea today?" when I arrive in the
market lacking thermos.

**The people here accept J. as prophet, even a great prophet, but not a Son.
It remains one of those hurdles to be overcome. Send up the Big P'ayers!

On a side note, our water faucet in our kitchen had to be replaced. Not
having running water is a bad thing I find, but just yesterday, we got it
fixed. That means: We have water! (that one's just for you, mom)