Mark Driscoll on the Emerging Church

Guys, this sermon is amazing. It starts out addressing the emerging church, talks about the problems, etc. for about 30 mins, and then it gets into God’s Word and talks about why we reach out to the culture. The sermon is amazing. If you’re a Christian, watch it. If you’re questioning about the whole “God Thing”, watch it. If you’re not interested in God, watch it. Guaranteed, it’ll make you think, and for the better. It’ll be one of the most profitable hours you’ve spent.

 God Bless Mark Driscoll!!!!

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February 28, 2008. Tags: , , , . Church, Lessons from God. Leave a comment.

Leading Worship

Ok, after thinking and praying about it, I’ve offered to play piano/lead worship for our youth group’s youth retreat in April. Normally, we have a very talented teen who plays the piano very beautifully lead, but she’s a senior this year and mentioned to me that she’d like this retreat to actually be a retreat instead of having to do worship team (as she’s done for the past 3 or 4 years!!!), but she didn’t want to say no to our youth pastor. So I offered to do it for her. I’ve never led before–played piano once for “big church” worship, so if anyone has any advice, let me know. I’m not positive I’m leading but I’m sure I’ll be singing, and pretty sure I’ll be on piano. I’d appreciate your prayers. Thanks!!!!

February 25, 2008. Tags: , , . Church. Leave a comment.

Sing, text, gossip, listen to the lesson

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Few things irk me more than when people show disrespect towards others by distracting them in worship.

This is especially prevelant in youth groups. A core group is really striving to sing praise to God, to focus on the lesson, to learn from the pastor, and the other kids are goofing off, writing notes, TEXTING(!!!!!), and being generally disrespectful. It’s horrid. I’d challenge everyone who reads this and attends church or youth group–don’t be a distraction. Don’t just go to youth group for your friends, be there to worship the Lord. You’ll find it’s much more fufilling.

That’s my thought for the day. 🙂

February 24, 2008. Tags: , . Church, Lessons from God. Leave a comment.

Blowing Smoke and Quenching Fires

Just before I got on here to post today, I went to my Dogster account to read the advice I’d asked for about a friend whose young daughter has mental problems, and is looking for a service dog. One member posted three separate times e-yelling about how this girl shouldn’t be getting any kind of animal because she’s young and has mental problems. I love this little girl, and let me tell you–the blood started pumping, I started reading faster, and typing furiously. Then I stopped. Argh. I was mad. Again.

Anger seems to be one of those things where no matter how hard you try, you can never win. It’s so aggravating, since I try to walk the Christian walk, talk the Christian talk, and yet I still flare up daily. Alex and Brett Harris had a fantastic post on their blog The Rebelution called Starting Small, Aiming Big. It talked about how we really need to have victory over the small things before we can go on and do big things for God.  I read it with that superior air of, “well I’m sure glad that Alex and Brett posted this for those people who are having a hard time with victory over small things. I just can’t think of anything I need to work on in the ‘small things’ category.” Well, I found one.

When I was thinking over the day, I realized that anger is really selfish. It’s about how the person isn’t saying things in a way that you like, how the person took your spot in line, how he cut you off in traffic, how you didn’t get as long at your friend’s house because of a delay, or as the case was last night for me, how I didn’t get as much sleep because I was helping my mom.

So the next paragraph should be about how we fix this problem, and how to make it “all better.” 😀 I don’t have the answer, but I can say what’s been helpful for me. Usually, I can tell that I’m mad. I know I’m being unreasonable, but I have to be willing to sacrifice for the other person. It’s OK if I’m 7 minutes late to youth group. After realizing that, I have to give it up to God. “Dear God, I’M REALLY MAD at Daniel for eating the last of the Valentines candy. But please help me to forgive and not hold a grudge.” And third, you have to take the divine strength, and forgive. That includes not ruminating over it in your head, or treating the person any differently than you normally would. Finally, if you violated Paul’s command in Ephesians 4:26, “In your anger, do not sin” you need to…………………………apologize. I hate that word. Apologizing is one of the hardest things for me to do.

You see, a lot of people can apologize as soon as they do something wrong, and think nothing of it for the rest of the day. I’m a very strong-willed person, with a very strong personality, and it huts like CRAZY to admit that I was actually in the wrong. That means I have to admit I’m not perfect. Argh. And gosh darn it, I’m not perfect. So an apology from me is a long struggle over wills, and the conscious decision to do what is right. Especially when it’s to my parents. It’s one of the small things that Alex and Brett talk about. It’s hard, it’s frustrating, but it’s worth it.

 Side note:

Alex and Brett wrote a book that I’m really really looking forward to. It’s called, “Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations.” I have pre-ordered a copy of it, and if you want to be challenged in your faith, I encourage you to do the same. It’ll be worth it. 😀 The book comes out April 15th, so order today!!!

The Book

February 23, 2008. Lessons from God. 2 comments.

Is he a gentle man?

                                                             Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley from Pride and Prejudice

Today at work I was thinking over all the things I’ve heard girls say about “the guy they want to marry” (add a dreamy look in the eyes). I’ve heard everything from, “I don’t really care what he’s like if he loves me” to “I want to marry a real man.” That made me think about my own ideals. I kept thinking, and I decided I didn’t want to marry a man. I want to marry a gentle man. More commonly known as a gentleman. Most girls (and guys!!) think of a gentleman like a guy from Pride and Prejudice in an old-fashioned suit and hat, pompus airs, lived long ago, and really has no bearing on our lives. But the question pops up–“is that what a gentleman is???” My answer would be, no.

You see, in my book a gentleman is something very different. I grew up with 2 brothers. One older by 2 years and one younger by 10 years. My parents tried to instill respect for women in them from the beginning by having them hold the door for my mom and me, letting us take the first bite at meals, and being very curteous to women. They’d always say, “Josh, hold the door for your mom. Be a gentleman.” So that leads me to wonder, “is a gentleman more than just a dude in a cool suit?”

To guys, “gentleman” can carry a negative connotation. “You mean I have to be weak?” No no no no no. That’s missing the whole point. Dictionary.com defines gentle as:

“1. Kindly, amiable

2. Not severe, rough, or violent

3. Polite,  refined”

I think in a gentle man, gentleness works hand in hand with meekness. The man is kindly, polite, not rough, but only because he has the self-control to be so. It does not mean that he is weak in any way, just that he has the strength to choose to treat women, other men, animals, store clerks, the guy at the gas station, friends, co-workers, all with respect. That my friends, is a true gentle man.

Now I’m going to have to go watch Pride and Prejudice. 🙂

February 23, 2008. Tags: , , . Lessons from God. 1 comment.

Friends–one of God’s biggest blessings

Today, I was sitting on the couch nestled between one of my friends and the couch arm, watching “The Transporter” with several teens from my youth group. It never ceases to amaze me how relational God has created us to be, and how he brings such wonderful people into our lives! The people in that room have always been there for me–really lived out Proverbs 17:17.

 And while I was marveling over this (and while Jason Statham as “Frank Martin” chased down the bad guys in the movie) I also came to think about how weird it is that I was sitting in that room with those people, and genuinely having a good time. You see, these kids make up the “popular group” of our youth group. As any teen, I fought for years to be noticed by these people and to be “one of them”. That became my idol, my god, what I was living for.

A few months ago, my life fell apart. It seemed hopeless to me, but after God broke me down, He built me up–even stronger. During this process, I realized that I didn’t need to be accepted by these people, that I was just being selfish and looking out for myself, and that I really needed to be focused on God. Easy to say, but hard to do!!!!

So just when I get to the point that  I don’t care anymore about being noticed by these people, when I surrender those relationships to the Lord and get to the point that I could live without them and rely solely on God, wonder of wonders, He brought them back into my life, and put me in the group of people I so desired to be with.

 Now my daily struggle is not falling into the easy pattern of being disrespectful regarding my parents, and keeping my language and thoughts clean.

February 22, 2008. Tags: , , . Church, Lessons from God. Leave a comment.

Mark Driscoll and Dating

Dating. A popular topic. One of the most popular among Christian teens. Sunday 2/17/08 Mark Driscoll preached a fantastic sermon about dating and guy/girl relationships. Mark’s sermon can be watched here. It addressed all the great points. What is courtship? Is dating okay? What is “christian dating”? What is too far? Why date?

Though I have decided not to date until I’m out of highschool, I still got a lot out of it! For instance, it’s hard not to go after guys, but do you really want a guy who goes after flirts? Let a man pursue you for who you really are. Also, why date if you’re not ready to get married? It’s like asking the person’s dad, “can I have part of your son/daughter’s heart for a few months? I don’t want to marry him/her, I just want to have fun.” Would you ask that of someone!?!!? I’d hope not. Also, wait for a man who is a leader and who cherishes you. It’s so hard to wait, and it seems so easy just to flirt with the guys and get attention that way, but I know that’s not pursuing the best for me, for him, and for our future. I want to be able to walk down the isle without any regrets. God give me strength.

February 20, 2008. Tags: , , . Lessons from God. 2 comments.

Welcome to the World of Blogging…

Well, I finally did it. *sigh* I got a blog!!! I’m really excited to share my life adventures, and I’m sure I’ll learn a lot as I get more experienced, so pardon me in my…flounderings. My blog name came from Isaiah 40:30-31 which is one of my favorite Bible verses, “Even youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

I’m excited to share about what’s up with me, what God’s teaching, and everything God has put on my heart. I’m really excited!!!! Leave me a comment to know you’re watching, and thanks for tuning in.

February 20, 2008. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.