New Ideas, Friends, and Potatos

As the weekend begins I reflect back on this week. It’s been a roller coaster for me. From wrestling with sin, to enjoying God, it’s been very up and down. On top of that I told my boss I’m planning on starting my own landscaping business (more of that in later posts).

So a lot has been resolved in my heart, a lot is being worked on in my heart as well.

This week has consisted of a sweet time of worship on Thursday night with friends from our church. Singing and sharing how God’s working. We discussed missions, God’s work in our own church, and heartbreaking loss for one of the families. But this is what the church is for!

Then Friday was work as usual, until i told my boss about the business idea, to which he was surprisingly supportive. It was nerve-wracking, but it took a weight off my shoulders telling him. I’m really glad that I’m finally going out on my own. I think God’s built my heart for entrepreneurship, so it feels like I’m finally moving in the right direction.fire-227291_1920.jpg

My wife, Rachel left Friday for her women’s retreat, so I’m all alone for a couple of days, though she’ll be back late tonight (Saturday).

Later that yesterday (friday) evening i finally forced myself to go biking, something i really want to start doing on a regular basis. During that ride I received a text from some friends (one of whom’s wife was on the retreat as well) inviting me for dinner. I drove over and we had a great time playing three guitars on the porch, trying to figure out what sounded good. After dinner and ice cream, we spent about 40 minutes attempting to get a fire going in the backyard pit, which we eventually succeeded at.

I’m not particularly looking forward to tonight. I close on saturday nights, so I’m always tired Sunday morning and it’s just a hard shift to lead anyhow. But i’m looking forward to sunday morning! After church we’re doing a potato bar raising funds for our teens for student life camp this summer. It should be a good time!

Monday will be a day of working on my business idea. Brainstorming with other small business owners, and starting to get a tangible idea of how and when to start.

Until then, I’m a bit lonely without my wife. But God is with me and He’s reminding me today of His Grace and love for me despite me! So I’m trying to rest in that and not be anxious with the idea of new, scary things.

I know this post has been much more random than usual, but it’s what I’m thinking about this morning.

 

Emotionally Fat but Spiritually Famished

A few weeks ago, my wife and I were driving home from Church. We pulled into our driveway, stepped out in our nicer clothes, guitar in-hand, and proceeded to walk up the driveway.

For some context, there’s a church across the street from us, so there are usually cars parked beside the road sunday morning.

Anyways, an older lady was walking back to her vehicle and she noticed us.
Seeing our clothes and guitar she deduced we had come from church. She asked us if we had, and we said that we just came back. Her reply at that point was something that’s stuck in my heart for weeks now, not so much for her motives (which i’m sure were pure), but rather for the deeper significance behind it.

What were her words you ask? Just two – “Good job!”

Why is this significant? Because, as a Christian, going to church isn’t a “good job”. Church was never meant to be something that you do once a week, you get a pat on the back, and then you live your week like the rest of the world (Colossians 3). Stepping foot in a building doesn’t automatically make you a Christian, or even a “good” christian, if there ever was one (Romans 3).

The real question is “what is a Christian”?

-The American churchis emotionally fatbut spiritually famished-.jpgThis american “christianity” has shaped us into a lifestyle of comfort, materialism, and godlessness under the guise of “i-go-to-church-a-few-times-a-month-so-im-a-christian” mentality. This is not Christianity. The buttery-smooth speakers who entice the flesh with little regard for Christ and him crucified. Never mentioning death to self, never mentioning that you could die for being a christian, only plopping you down in a seat and allowing you to consume until you’re emotionally fat and spiritually famished.

And before i’m misunderstood, attending church is VERY important in the Christian life. Or, i should rephrase, meeting at a church house and having fellowship with THE Church is essential to the christian life (Hebrews 10:24-26).

From scripture, there’s an interesting connection that i noticed while teaching the 7th and 8th graders a few weeks back. I asked a trick question, “what’s the difference between a christian, and a disciple?”.

***dead silence***

Me – “Nothing!”

If you are a Christian you will be a disciple. Matthew 28:19 equated sharing the gospel with making disciples. It’s not different. If you want to see people saved you MUST see them discipled. It’s not a “come to the front” moment, it’s a “lay down your life, give everything you have, and submit to a Christ into a life of godliness”. This doesn’t sound comfortable!

We want our cars, our houses, our boats! We want security! But Christ says to lay them at his feet. Don’t cling to them. Having a house or most anything isn’t sinful. But our hearts can so easily entice us into relying on them for our joy rather than Christ.

As one of my favorite songs says “You possess your possessions or they posses you” (Switchfoot – “If the House Burns Down Tonight”).

And I think that’s the danger of so called american Christianity. We love being comfortable, rich, and fat, more then we love Jesus. And this is an eternal error.

Sure, there’s a whole lot more to being a christian then what I’ve mentioned, but I want to make this clear – If you are a Christian, you are a disciple, and you are to die to yourself and make disciples. Don’t neglect fellowship with the saints. Don’t just go, sit down, and leave. Fellowship is building each other up, maybe encouraging, maybe rebuking.

But either way. I think the American mindset of Christianity has it all wrong.

So, as you see the myriad of people coming in tomorrow for Easter Sunday, welcome them with open, loving arms. But don’t sugar coat the gospel message. The Christian life isn’t easy, but it’s so very worth it.


Key Verses:

Matthew 28:19
Colossians 3
Hebrews 10:24-26

 

 

 

Work and Ministry Update (April 2016)

As of now, I’m currently working full time for an. animal feed company by the name of New Country Organics. I mentioned in another post about it, but now it’s in full swing.
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My responsibilities include delivering feed all around Virginia from tuesday-thursday and on the other days I’m either packing orders or packaging feed. All in all, I do enjoy it. It’s not my dream job by any stretch but it’s certainly not a bad one! The people I work with are generally nice and hard working, save maybe a couple.

I’m definitely looking forward to being alone on the road as a time of prayer (eyes open!) and sermon listening!

On the ministry end of things my wife and I are quite busy! Wednesday nights are “breakpoint”, otherwise knows as youth group. We’ve enjoyed getting to know the youth and have found it to be quite a growing experience to build relationships from scratch. As Christians I think we get far too comfortable in our cliques, so this has been a generally positive experience for the both of us.

On Thursday nights we spend the evening fellowshipping over dinner. We sing and pray with a few other people from our church. This has been very challenging in a lot of ways because, as I said before, building brand new relationships (especially praying with new friends!) can be uncomfortable. But there really is nothing like singing ” good good father” in a living room amongst other believers. It can’t be beat.

And lastly on Sunday mornings we spend on the worship team and my wife sings in the choir. I’ve found I enjoy playing bass more than guitar, but it’s still fun either way. My wife also plays the flute quite wonderfully and many people have been edified by her talent.

Sunday evening is student lifegroup. It’s sort of a more intense youth group, with added small groups at the end for accountability and encouragement.

As of now, that’s what we’ve been up to for the most part, be praying for us as we move forward in life and marriage and seek what God may have for us!

Gospel-Driven

I’m currently reading a book recommended to me by a friend titled, “Am I Called?” it’s all about considering your calling, but specifically the pastoral calling. Wherever God is taking and calling me to, one of the book’s chapters stuck out to me in a powerful way.

The “Gospel” is almost an innocuous thought to us sometimes, meaning we tend to think “gospel” and then think of a prior decision we made, a thing the pastor shared at church, or maybe even Billy Graham. I don’t know if anyone can relate, but weightiness doesn’t immediately press on my soul the moment I think or hear the word of “Gospel”.

gospel 1The main idea is this: If the gospel disappeared, would your life change? Would mine? Is the gospel so central to our being that if it were to become non-existent we wouldn’t know what to do with ourselves? As the book stated, many “Christians” in ministry would still have their jobs if this were so. And that is a very sad reality indeed.

We need to be gospel-driven in every area of our lives, we need to preach it to ourselves daily, and we must remember what Christ has accomplished then and now for our lives to be transformed. Don’t treat the gospel as a card you signed as gospel 2your ticket to heaven, but rather treat it as God’s provision throughout your life to conform you into the likeness of Christ. (Romans 8:29-30)

I know this was short, but it’s something I’m learning a lot about lately. Thanks for reading!

WOL Reverb 2014 – a Weekend Review

One hour until we have to be at the Church. The cars alternator sits on the ground with misc. nuts and bolts all around as I pulled out the oil pressure switch and break the little rubber O-ring on accident.

It took me 15 minutes to find out I had the wrong part (I got the PCV valve, not the pressure switch), and then I had to go into town for a heat-resistant o-ring.

Fast forward an hour I got everything back together and we made it to the Church on time. My oil leak still dripping. (I now have the right part, and that problem is resolved)

Anyhow the teens and us leaders circled up for prayer and we started boarding the bus.

Our trip and the loud pre-teen conversation had begun.

The ride was relatively uneventful, we picked up a few more people at Price Chopper where the leaders decided to stop for dinner and breakfast for the next morning. Apparently my small group boys decided a dozen Mtn. Dews would be a good hydration choice along with pastries and candy. Well, it’s their money. Not my first choice though.

We continued along for a few more hours and you can imagine the kids about to explode from all the drinks they’d been chugging. Our driver (we’ll call him Aaron) agreed to stop for a quick bathroom break. Most of the 50 of us went into the tiny convenience store which turned out only had one bathroom. It was then announced we had 5 minutes until the bus left (to make things snappy).

It ended up to be around 20 minutes, but the greatest part of the story is that around 6 leaders were in the store chaperoning (some over 35) and the store owner walked out to the bus and asked for an older person to chaperone the kids! Aaron then said there were more than 6 in the store, to which the owner was quite surprised. Nothing was going crazy in the store, so we all got a kick out of it.

We then drove another hour and arrived at the hockey game, the first event of Reverb. We had to wait a bit to get in, but once we were in we found our seats quickly and sat down to enjoy the game.

After the game the speaker gave a gospel presentation and an altar call. I’m personally not a big fan of alter calls, but that’s a whole other post. The gospel was proclaimed and one of my small group boys went for discipling! So pray for him and I this youth ministry year as I disciple him in our small group and elsewhere.

During this time Word of Lifers (college students) were setting up games for the churches that had the largest attendance. The names were then called and we got 2nd in attendance! For 1,077 people in our church’s town, over 50 kids is a huge praise!

The games ensued and we didn’t win, but it was fun while it lasted. The selected of our group played games related to Marvel superheroes, so everyone loved it. After they played right and left side of the stadium games related to app games.

After all that we continued to drive to the next event a little ways away. It was a huge indoor gym area filled with a half football and soccer fields, dodgeball arena, badminton, inflatables, basketball, and much more! They served a buffet of pizza for all the hungry kids (and leaders) in the upstairs middle segment of the building. We played there for a few hours (from 12-3am Woo!) and then drove to candlepin bowling.

Bowling was quite an event, my personal highlight was getting a spare timed at the same moment of an epic part of Reds “Perfect Life”, kind of a geeky thing, I know.

After a long 2 hours of bowling we left for home, the ride was like being in a large sweat-filled cylinder with caffeine hyped kids refusing to crash for the night. It wasn’t all bad because my wife and I had a blanket to stay warm and somewhat comfy with as we took turns napping.

As the sun rose that morning I awoke to it from a 2-hour power nap feeling oddly refreshed. The other kids who had stayed awake talking all night were showing signs of finally needing rest, but by then we were almost there.

We arrived home at New Hope Bible Church and stepped off the bus into the cold, refreshing winter air ready to go home and sleep.

The trip was filled with good conversations, gospel proclamation, and connection with us leaders’ small groups. So even though we were all pretty dead for a day or two, we were able to pour into our youth for Christ, so I’d say that’s a weekend well spent.

Youth Ministry Begins…

Things are about to get busy.

Tonight begins this years youth ministry at my local Church. 1064179_620950031249214_1871534342_oBeginning at 6:30 we will welcome the (hopefully) throngs of teens excited to be with us playing games, hearing engaging messages, and getting discipled in a teen-focused environment.

There has been a lot of prep from many hard working people to get this ministry going, and I’m very excited to see what the Holy Spirit will do through it!

I have been elected as game-leader. Meaning, I get to pick the games and lead them, which is absolutely perfect for me because I love being creative with games and also playing in them. Besides myself other delegated positions for leaders have been speakers, small group leaders, listening posts (accountability) and more.

Seeing everything come together has been a real encouragement to me. It reminds me of Romans 12:14 where Paul says “For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function” we all have a specific set of gifts to serve for the furtherance of the gospel of Christ.