I love you, buddy. You crack me up.
I found this article in today's Houston Chronicle interesting. It seems that a vote in a district that has fewer than 50,000 illegal immigrants and is 12 hours by car from the Mexico border could decide whether Bush's ailing immigration policy limps forward or is declared dead. This whole immigration hoopla is interesting, but I *really* like the final quote of the article: "If the truth be known, we should all leave the country and give it back to the Native Americans." Sometimes, arguing politics is like winning the race at the Special Olympics…geesh.
I have a hard time with sanitized, homogenized ‘Christian’ music, I’ll admit. In fact, the nauseating majority of bubble gum lyrics and predictible pop that the CCM industry churns out is, well…nauseating.
I’ll also admit that I am a child of the 80’s–punk, new wave, and hair bands. (Admitting it is the first step, eh?)
Nonetheless, one of my all time favorite bands, Disciple, has a new project out that has blown my mind. You should seriously check them out. With tracks like ‘Rise Up’ (think ‘David and Goliath’ on steriods) and The Wait Is Over (which you can download free and legally here), these guys will definitely change the way you think about rock music.
I’m officially making a resolution at the SBC next year that we emerging types adopt ‘Worth It All’ as our theme.
Can I be honest? I was thinking along those lines earlier while working on stuff for our middle school camp next month. He seldom does things the way I’d do them. He always knows it all. And there are times when I don’t think he’s even listening to me…but it turns out He actually was listening, He was just waiting for me to shut my trap and listen to him…
This afternoon, one of our seniors walked in to the youth center with a book entitled 99 Annoying Attributes of God.
Something to think about as we’re preparing for our ‘Jesus in the Park’ gig for our student ministry tonite. …it’s been raining off and on for days. Again, not the way I’d have scheduled the rain if I was God.
God is annoying because He isn’t impressed with what I try to do for Him.
God is annoying because His sense of mercy often gets in the way of my sense of justice.
God is annoying because He often thinks ‘no’ is a sufficient answer.
God is annoying because He knows all about my personal life and doesn’t hesitate to bring it up.
God is annoying because He isn’t worried about either of our reputations.
God is annoying because He expects me to keep secret the things I’d rather openly take credit for.
God is annoying because He allows the wicked to prosper.
The conclusion of the book says:
“So when all is said and done, is it okay to find God annoying? One old, battle-scarred warrior of the faith put it this way:
Evening and morning and at noon, I will complain and murmur, and He will hear my voice. He will redeem my soul in peace from the battle. (Ps. 55:17-18)
Nice to know that while God takes everything personally, he doesn’t hold grudges. He does, however, hold hearts–wounded, troubled, and annoyed hearts. ”
I’m grateful he holds mine. And slightly less annoyed when I remember…
After an amazing week at Padre last week, I’ve been busy catching up on all the blog activity I’ve missed (see the blog links I dig on the right). Playing catch-up is exhausting and exhilirating. Nevertheless, three people sent me the following from Dan Kimball over the past three days.
It seems at his church, Vintage Faith (what a great name, huh?), Dan recently taught on what it means for his congregation to be ‘The Church’. Bottom line: it’s not about going to church, but about being the church. He says,
“As part of the series, we had little blank white post cards in every bulletin and asked the question of everyone “What do you dream this church could be?” and then had them fill in the black on the card, “I Dream Of A Church…..” and then whatever they might dream of. We are really trying to create a culture where the church is not about just the pastors dreams and hopes but the people of the church, who are the church, are the dreamers of what God could do in us and through us as a church.”
Dan posted the entire collection of cards along the walls of the building for everyone to see, but he posted a few of the entries Next Wave (bottom of post) as he recounted some of the ones that brought tears to his eyes. Some of my favs:
I DREAM OF A CHURCH…
– that reaches the broken world to bring a healing that can only come from Jesus Christ
– that is more about helping others than about us
– is honest and open-minded rather than self-righteous and dogmatic OR has donuts. I will be OK with either.
– who is loving and unafraid
– accepts people where they are in life and not just when they have achieved a level of “spiritualness”
– that knows me and loves me anyway
– that gets lost in worshiping Jesus and lingers in His presence
– that Jesus would be proud of
Pretty great stuff. Sounds like something we need to do often enough to keep us focused on being the body.
The entire article is here at Next-Wave.
When Heather and the boys and I arrived on Sunday evening, we hit the beach even before we were completely settled in our condo. Why? The tropical storm off the coast of Florida was producing 12-14 foot waves outside our door. Darien and I were eager to hop on the boogie boards and take on the Lady of the Surf. She was awesome.
We checked in all our rooms for the week, made some changes in room assignments, and the students and sponsors arrived around 4:30 Monday afternoon. We checked out at 8:30 on Friday morning. In between, we spent some quality time with the Maker. We were blessed to have Progeny lead our worship. They were outstanding! Thanks Ben, Rachel, Dustin, and ‘little Toulson’! The speaker was pretty mediocre, but our small groups were awesome. We had some really great times discovering the Word together.
We even had a group skip recreation (with their counselor) so they could have more time in the Scripture discussing some personal issues. Good times.
For me, the highlight was watching our students worship in the evening. They were marvelous. And, yes, you can’t always judge the disposition of the heart in worship by external expressions… but what I noticed brought me to tears. As our group corporately sat in Abba-Daddy’s lap and told him we loved Him, we needed Him, and we’re sorry for our unfaithfulness, I began to notice some maturity in our freshmen that I hadn’t noticed before. There was dedication in our sophmore and junior classes that seemed to grow more resolute. And I watched as our seniors both celebrated and grieved that this was their last Beach Break as a student. They are all amazing.
Thank you to the adults who gave up a week of their lives to invest in our students. These young men and women of the faith will never be the same because of your gift. Remember that.
Thank you to all the parents who trusted our ministry with your precious son or daughter for a week in the Son. If you’d like to come along next time, we’d love to have you experience it side-by-side with your teenager.
Thanks for all your prayers (especially you, Jimmie…you are now officially on my white list again. 🙂 ).
I know there’s much to blog about, but today is the first day of VBS… I’ll be blogging regularly again tomorrow.
Gracias a Dios!
This will be a fast and furious week before we head out to Padre.
We leave next Monday to spend a week at The Tiki and purposefully spend time relaxing, playing, laughing, and learning who we are in Christ. The theme, blatantly stolen from Spencer over at The Ooze, is SOULARIZE.
In preparation for my teaching, I’ve been looking at the beginning of our relationship with Christ. What is the core of salvation? Why have we boiled it down to a simple prayer or some cognitive recognition of facts…like our personal ‘state of the union’? Could there be more to it?
The bottom line is this: salvation is substitutionary. God provided a substitution in Christ (2 Cor 5:21, Isaiah 53:12) to accomplish what I could NEVER accomplish. My righteousness in Christ’s righteousness, not ‘self-righteousness’ done through doing good things (btw…we do ‘good works’ out of obedience, not in order to make up for the bad things we’ve done. See Romans 3:10)
It’s good to remember this: the lie of self-righteousness says that you must do good in order to please God. But God doesn’t love me when I’m good.
He just loves me. Not because of me, but because of Christ in me. My identity is in Christ, he is my substitute, so my righteousness (right standing with God) is His. My righteousness is as filthy rags. (Isaiah 64:6).
Yes, we MUST read scripture, pray, share the good news, and give. But those things are NOT what fulfills me: God fulfills me. Those things are merely the menu that leads to the meal.
Don’t stop at the menu. It never satisfies.
Get to the meal.
On Monday, I took Darien on a ‘man date’. We picked up a couple of cherry slushes from Sonic, went to pick up some fishing lures, bike inner tubes, and a new soccer ball. On our way home, we spoiled our lunch by stopping off at Krispy Kreme. We spent nearly an hour sitting in KK and talking about all the random things in a 5-year-old’s head. Good times.
Why is it that Krispy Kreme won’t sell t-shirts bigger than XL….but Nike will sell sizes up to 5x??? Go figure.
Today is Thursday….feels like a month since my last post, but it’s only been a few days. We’re in the middle of a tech remodel in our youth center (screens, DLP projectors, PA, etc.). Thank you, Jesus. But it’s a slow-going work. We’re trying to get it online by Saturday for a SBTC Disaster Relief Conference….right now WE could use a little Disaster Relief.
But it’s gonna be awesome…