Thursday, June 29, 2006
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine desires new wine, but says, 'The old is good.'"- Luke 5:37-39
My blog isn't intended to be a place to only serve one kind of food or wine. You will find fresh servings of old favorites and old recipes too! Some cooks you may know and many you may not but all have a commitment to seeing God's people fed and for them to grow up into Christ. You may like some dishes and not others, but do you abandon a restaurant because of one thing on the menu that you may not like? Do you remove your wife from the kitchen because she fails to please you with some meal she didn't quite make perfectly or to your persnickety tastes?
Loosen up folks...are we really this constipated?
If you think I am "weak in faith" then please follow the commands of Paul to the believers in Rome: "Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgement on his opinions." -Rom. 14:1; and remember Jesus said that the measure you use to judge is the measure that will be used to judge you.
A moving story of God's ability to cause all things to work together for good, for those who love Him and are called according to his purpose.
BUT...for all you gnat strainers and legalists out there in cyber world who stalk this blog with the eyes and attitude of a vulture looking for something to tear into...it does show native butt. So yes, I am recommending a movie with male native booty in it, so there you go critics, something else to hang me with.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Monday, June 26, 2006
Saturday, June 24, 2006
Friday, June 23, 2006
The Kiss of Grace
By Eric Blauer
This message is a deep look into the story of the two sons in Luke 15:11-32. This is a pretty packed message with a lot of content dealing with grace, law, the father, sin and repentance and what it means to be a free son. It?s part of a message series I am doing on ?The upside down kingdom? that is looking at the difference between the WAY of Jesus vs the WAY of man or religion.
Listen to it here:
Did no one condemn you?
She said, "No one, Lord,"
And Jesus said. "I do not condemn you, either.
From now on, sin no more"
This Sunday I will be continuing a series of messages on "The Upside Down Kingdom". This message will be called: "When God turns His face" and it will look at the woman caught in adultery in John 8:1-11.
I truly believe that you cannot "Go. And sin no more" unless you first deeply understand and experience the freedom of "Neither do I condemn you".
I am so excited to preach this message, I am almost giddy! I really sense the power of God all over this word, I know that it is going to blow open some prison doors and let loose many who have been in bondage to guilt, condemnation and law.
Jesus walked into the streets of Jerusalem at dawn and on His way to the temple to teach. His message would be about mercy and grace that day for He would liberate a condemned woman from death. But on the way to the "court" more than likely he passed the very house in which the "act" was being done. The scriptures says she was caught in the "very act".
Jesus walks past our homes too...what will we find when we are brought before the judge and thrown at His feet? What do we deserve and what will we find? Knowing the answer to those questions can set you free to...Go and sin no more.
"We believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus." -Peter in Acts 15:11
I believe it too, Peter...Amazing Grace, so sweet is the sound...
Thursday, June 22, 2006
For healthy churches to be reproductive (become natural church planting churches), the book-of-Acts- Christian-ministry mindset must be developed. Keller says this requires the adoption of several principles:
- First, the ability to give away and lose control of money, members and leaders. This presents a huge barrier for churches. Often, church leaders cannot bear the thought of losing money-giving families or key leaders or favorite friends. When a pastor helps organize new churches from his own church body, he loses money, members, numbers, leaders, and control. In addition, when a pastor lets go, he loses direct control while also assuming responsibility for problems in the project, a possibly unpleasant combination. Not unlike being the parent of an adult child, he is not allowed to provide direct instruction, but if there’s a problem, he is expected to help clean it up.
- Second, the ability to give up some control of the shape of the ministry itself. This is a scary premise, especially to ardent truth-lovers. But the simple fact is that the new church will not look just like your church; it will develop its own voice and emphases. On the one hand, pains must be taken to ensure that differences are not too great (or fellowship and cooperation will become strained). But on the other hand, church planting cannot take place in the context of cloning. If a church insists upon reproducing an exact duplicate of itself, or if it is not willing to admit the necessity and reality of gospel contextualization (in that different generations and cultures will produce a different kind of church), then that church cannot engage in church planting.
- Third, the ability to care for the kingdom more than for your tribe. Basically, the church planting mindset is not so much a matter of trusting new leaders but trusting God. Paul does not give the new churches up to themselves or others. He committed them to the Lord.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
They will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all. -Mark 16:17
I had a dream last night in which three scorpions were let loose in the house that myself and two other brothers from Jacob's Well were living in. The scorpions came into the house with a group of people that needed a place to stay. In my dream the scorpions were a rusty red color, thick and could spray poison at you form across the room. They were aggressive scorpions that were hunting for us in the house.
There was anxiety and fear in my dream...of them getting us.
We ended up in a closed off room but in my dream I knew they were coming and I could see a crack under the door that I knew they would emerge from there. Then one did and we all scrambled for something to squash the creature with. Then something strange took place. One of the brothers in the room took over, grabbed the scorpion and took a big bite out of him!
His mouth was wounded but the threat was over....strange indeed.
-Martin Luther in "Freedom of a Christian"
I know that most of you probably have never heard anything like what Luther wrote above, ever preached in your churches. If fact it probably sounds like heresy to you, because it seems so contrary to the messages you have been taught. That is unfortunate that we in protestant churches have not even really been exposed to Reformation truth in the true potency that birthed the radical churches we attend.
But our gospel isn't really that radical anymore is it? At least it doesn't seem to birth many reformers anymore...not in the caliber of Luther it seems. It's seems funny to me that when you mention "defense of the gospel" today, you wouldn't think of the above passage...you would think about cults or evolution or something like that. But the reformation was a cataclysmic confrontation between Grace and Works and it needed reformers that had been transformed in their own hearts by the power of God that is released by the liberating freedom of the Gospel of Grace! Fiery men and women that had been set free from the distorted gospel of works that had permeated the church...the leaven of the Pharisees as Jesus called it.
Martin Lloyd Jones once said that unless people misunderstand your preaching as a license to do what you like then you are not preaching the Gospel.
I truly think that we need a fresh rain of grace again but it is going to take thunderstorm producing men and women, who will dare to live out the tempest of grace again. Are we willing to embrace the storm of protest by those who would rather have a congregation of eunuchs, who are bred to work but not produce life...in fact they can't give life because they have been castrated on the sword of legalism!
God give us a new reformation again, that is birthed out of the PUB instead of the Seminary! Proclaim the truth of the gospel once again through the lips of liberated hearts that have come out of the hamster wheel of works. Grateful voices that have their messages seasoned with grace...salty souls that create a thirst for the living God, who did not come to judge men but save them.
Monday, June 19, 2006
Yep, that is it.
Go outside into your neighborhood and walk around. Look t the homes, talk with people, pray for the things you see. Take pictures, enjoy the beauty, admire the homes or the gardens, help someone out if you see a need while walking. Wave, say good morning or good afternoon, smile and if the opportunity arises from you actually being there...talk to people...invite them to church, pray for them, laugh with them, remember them and the way to their house.
There you go...put that in a book and sell it...eshmerging shmurch.
:) just kidding.
No really, it isn't that complicated, Jesus taught us by example...just go for a walk and see what God can do. Don't just pray in your building, take your prayers outside and see what they might actually become with action.
We are praying as a church through our neighborhood....taking walks, anyone can do it.
This Sunday we had a new family, a mom and dad and three young boys in our service, simply because we took a walk and met our neighbors.
Wow...rocket science it isn't.
If you see the movie from the right angle, you just might see a great discussion about the gospel as it relates to living out the kingdom of God in every arena of our lives, especially as it relates to our hopes and dreams.
I saw Nacho Libre opening day...what a geek, I know but I have been waiting for this movie to come out. I have been downloading the itunes "confessionals" by Jack Black and was anxious to see the next installment from the director of Napoleon Dynamite.
I have been ruminating on Nacho for a few days and today it all gelled together. At first I thought I didn't like it as much as Napoleon but as I meditate on the themes more and more...I am seeing much more that makes me appreciate the film on different levels.
At first I approached it purely from a humor level but now I see much more or at least I think I do, which really doesn't matter, I see stuff in all kinds of places whether or not people put it there or not.
I see popular culture through thematic lenses' a lot.
“Poetry (or movies in my opinion) is ultimately mythology, the telling of stories of the soul," he wrote. "The old myths, the old gods, the old heroes have never died. They are only sleeping at the bottom of our minds, waiting for our call. We have need of them, for in their sum they epitomize the wisdom and experience of the race.” -Stanley Kunitz
One of the things that I have been dwelling on is how so often we are told in the church that God doesn’t use this or that. How often we have heard people say that certain things are “sinful” or are somehow not an arena that God would work within. Places, things and even people get marginalized by religious thinking and practice and a deep cultural chasm opens up that keeps the holy peeps and the unholy creeps a part from each other.
This movie delves into that idea. Can God use a Mexican Luchadore to feed orphans? The answer in this movie is...Yes He can!
How many people have felt like second rate citizens in the church because their interests or profession or dream doesn’t fit the accepted paradigm of religious thought or expectations?
Can God use anything or anyone to care for the least of these? Yes, He can and does. God chooses weak things to confound the strong and He can even use a man in “stretchy pants”...
When you are a man, sometimes, you wear stretchy pants. -Nacho
Sunday, June 18, 2006
You christians look after a document that contains enough dynamite to
blow all civilization to pieces, turn the world upside down and bring
peace to a battle-torn planet. But you treat it as though it is
nothing more than a piece of good literature. -Mohandas Gandhi
Oh this quote crawled up my neck and strangled my throat in
penetrating introspection. Our cities stand as witnesses to the lack
of true faith in this "document" we read but don't act on. Our cities
will stand up in judgment against us and point to our impotence of
obedience to the call of the gospel.
Even Jonah saw revival...the only pagan city I see in scripture that
came to God...and the prophet didn't even want the job.
Simply obedience to the word can shake a nation. The neglect of
it...can send it to hell.
Saturday, June 17, 2006
With all the recent conversation going on about early church writing, Jesus & mary, the bible's reliability and similarly debates because of the Da vinci code. I thought I would pass along some good biblical responses. Some will be short and some long depending on how much you are interested in the discussions or want to have some credible responses.
Friday, June 16, 2006
"It is possible to tolerate a little elevation, when a man takes a drink or two too much after working hard and when he is feeling low. This must be called a frolic. But to sit day and night, pouring it in and pouring it out again, is piggish... all food is a matter of freedom, even a modest drink for one's pleasure. If you do not wish to conduct yourself this way, if you are going to go beyond this and be a born pig and guzzle beer and wine, then, if this cannot be stopped by the rulers, you must know that you cannot be saved. For God will not admit such piggish drinkers into the kingdom of heaven [cf. Gal. 5:19-21]... If you are tired and downhearted, take a drink; but this does not mean being a pig and doing nothing but gorging and swilling... You should be moderate and sober; this means that we should not be drunken, though we may be exhilarated." -Martin Luther
Thursday, June 15, 2006
I have a leash for Kona that has some thick prongs that dig into her neck if she pulls to hard. It makes it real easy to direct her according to my will.
She is controlled and behaves...but she is not free.
She is good...but not independently good.
She is safe...but only when I control her.
She can run only as far as my leash allows.
This is not freedom.
So many Christians live the same way in their relationship with God.
They are good but only because they are leashed by the law.
It is easier to take Kona on a walk with a leash but I know that she really wants to run free and explore and smell everything and chase stuff. The limits of a leash is not her natural state of being and no matter how good she appears in it...soon as she is loosed she will bolt like a rabbit in heat.
So I am teaching her progressive freedom. I am teaching her how to live in freedom. I started by taking her to a safe and fenced park and let her loose for a while. She did ok with her freedom and I had to chase her a little when the wild became more loud than my voice...so the chain went back on. Over and over we have worked out her freedom...because I want her to be free and obey. I don't want her to just obey with a leash.
Now I can enjoy her at the park more and more as she is learning to be free and obey my voice. We both enjoy each other much more while she is free.
Freedom is more dangerous...she could run off, get hit, disobey and be a stupid dog but the joys of having a free dog out weigh the dangers of it.
It was for FREEDOM that Christ set us free!
Many people are afraid of freedom and many people think that freedom is dangerous and they are right but being right doesn't make it wrong. With freedom comes responsibility and maturity is needed. But the joys of freedom outweigh the life of the law that suffocates so many sons and daughter in the Fathers house.
You need your leash taken off...God is tired of taking you for a walk and would rather you learn to walk with Him in freedom not law.
So Christ has really set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don't get tied up again in slavery to the law. Listen! I, Paul, tell you this: If you are counting on circumcision to make you right with God, then Christ cannot help you. I'll say it again. If you are trying to find favor with God by being circumcised, you must obey all of the regulations in the whole law of Moses. For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God's grace. But we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive everything promised to us who are right with God through faith.
Go ahead...take it off and run your butt off...you will be ok and you might just realize you were made for freedom.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
This mother is holding her dead child. That little baby could have been saved...Malaria killed another child and my brother caught the tragedy on film. Don't let that death be in vain...let's do something.
I delivered the poor who cried for help, and the orphan who had no helper. The blessing of the one ready to perish came upon me, and I made the widow's heart sing for joy. -Job 29:12-13
I wept in this starbucks on the otherside of the world at the sight, but my tears mean nothing if they do not motivate me to action. Compassion without action is the height of hypocrisy...and God will judge me on the use of this moment and this picture.
The superfluities of the rich are the necessities of the poor.
Superfluities: an unnecessary thing.
I am wrestling with the economics of doing church. I have some strong convictions about the how to live out the gospel as a community and I have been reading some challenging stuff on the issue. I am purposefully seeking to get on the sharp edge of this issue even if it makes me bleed.
This paper made me bleed:
It left me with a lot more questions than answers but it also left a mark and that leads to change. I really think there are creative ways to challenge the status quo on this issue. The church desperately needs a new testimony when it comes to the use and abuse of the money it guzzles down it's own throat. I have never been satisfied with the answers I have been given concerning the collection of money without reference to the poor. I can not read through the Old Testament and the life of Jesus and the writings of the Apostles and not see a glaring disparity between them and our modern uses of money.
The poor are simply not the focus of our giving...we are.
We give to care for ourselves...buildings, salaries, nursery, programs and events to consume or enjoy. All good stuff and needed but is that the purpose of the "Tithe" if you think tithing is for today. Which I do not. It really is a fascinating discovery if you dig into history and the bible and really flesh out the biblical purpose fo the tithe. If you look at it's purpose, one of the main reasons is for the poor. In fact after the dismantling of the levitical priesthood, the temple, the sacrifices, the offerings...what is left to spend the tithe on?
HELLO!!!!! Doesn't anyone think about this stuff? Am I the only one that sees a glaring point here? Is the tithe really about us and getting blessed and having more or was it about JUSTICE!!! Care for the widows, the orphans, the stranger is a big issue to the heart of God and even boils right down to the way he will separate sheep from goats at the judgment. It really is important to get this right.
So many preachers talk about people robbing God...when in fact, it is the church that is pocketing God's cash for themselves.
This is one of the main reasons we are forming our church around a facility that will have an economic inflow...acoustic cafe, coffee shop and art gallery, all under four apartments that will Lord willing, someday soon help pay the bills for the running of the ministry and free us to move more and more of the "Tithe" back into the hands of the poor. We are called to care for our community in practical, creative and helpful ways but how can we do that if we consume 80% of our giving on ourselves?
There is a better WAY and we will discover it....the cry of the poor demands a bigger effort to find the way.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
I am struck by the scandal of grace and the beauty of it. Grace gives us what we do not deserve. The Father has woven the best robe in His house for the one who is currently out there somewhere squandering his inheritance on loose living.
There have been many things that I was sure the Father had waiting for me after a season of "loose living" but "the best robe" was never what I expected.
No one thinks those people who are squandering deserve more. No one thinks that, except Father.
Imagine the dancing and singing and feasting that could be a apart of our "houses" if the heart of the Father could truly be found and experienced.
If sinners could find a church that..."sees" them "while they are far off" and "feels compassion" and "runs" to them and "embraces" them and "kisses" them...we would see more lost sons and daughters returning on the road they left on.
They know the way home...they just don't know what to expect anymore when they get there.
My oldest son Christian will be showing his newest film called
"TEDDIES" on Tuesday, June 20th at 7PM at Jacob's Well.
I have uploaded a short clip from the filming of a fall he took
during filming, it was a close call...look where his head and the
rock almost meld.
See it here: http://web.mac.com/fcb4/iWeb/Site/Art.html
Monday, June 12, 2006
I have been doing a series of messages at our church on the Upside Down Kingdom and this last Sunday we looked at The King On A Donkey. In the passage (matthew 21:1-16) we dug into many parts parts of the passage that speak challengingly to how we as a church "come" into a city. But one portion of the narrative really hit home yesterday afternoon to me personally. This part of the chapter had a new sting to it for me.
The disciples laid down their garments first...(vs 7)
Then the people laid down their garments next...(vs 8)
As I sat in my "Man Hole" which is my area in the garage that I have converted into an art studio, music listening area, pondering couch, pipe and cigar smoking lounge and a place to admire the beautiful yard God has given me. As I sat there in my haven of rest, I felt the tinge of regret at that thought of leaving it all to move to East Central in the next month. We are downsizing to relocate into the community we have planted a church.
That means leaving the quiet, rich, safe suburbs for the urban poor. It means leaving the trickling water fountain I built that whispers to me in the early morning hours as the sunlight glistens on the early dew in my own private garden of eden that is my reclusive back yard. It means no more quiet prayer times in the backyard under the chinese maple tree that is scented by the plethora of flowers and lilac trees that populate my refuge. It means leaving the worry free safety of kids being able to play in our fenced "kids area" which is a boys dream...dirt piles, forts and a place for unfettered destructive freedom. Go outside and play...will no longer be said so easily.
As I sat there enjoying a deep pipe of mellow Hawaiian Sunset tobacco and watching the swirling smoke dance in the evening light with the background of evergreens nestling me in my little hobbit hole...I felt the ache.
The ache of things.
But in reflection on that moment of post-suburbanite regret, I realize that sometimes we have to lay down our garments first before the Savior enters our city in new ways. Sometimes it takes leaders to lay it down first, before others will follow. I also realized that there is pain in laying down your favorite garments for the Lord to walk over them on His donkey. My riches for His pavement. My stuff laid down so that the city can see her King in the beauty that He deserves. Anyone can rejoice in the King strolling into the city on dirt roads. But can we rejoice when it requires us to lay down our "things"?
Maybe He isn't entering our cities in the way we all long for because the streets have no garments anymore? Maybe the church needs to stop clothing itself and start paving the streets again?
It won't happen until we ache...
Saturday, June 10, 2006
Friday, June 09, 2006
I truly believe that the many leaders in the modern church are guilty of the sins of the sons of Eli as described in 1 Samuel 2:12-17: the sons of Eli, who took the people’s offerings “by force” so that they could spend it on their own selfish wants. Some of the guilt lies in the unbiblcal teaching surrounding money, giving and tithing in my opinion.
I think much of the teaching is just not supported by New Testament life or teaching. And I think we desperately need new ways modeled in relationship to giving, spending and sharing our resources. Most people don't give because they simply dont trust churches and leaders today and to be honest I dont blame them. We have often lost the focus of New Testament giving in the modern era.
But more than that, we simply don't look like Jesus, when it comes to how he lived, used and shared resources. God's kingdom is upside down when compared to the world but you would never figure that out looking many churches today. We need radical new and old expressions of counterculture uses of money; if we are going to find the hearts of people and see them join us in funding the work and life of the gospel in our communities.
Letting go of the past is a part of life. You can not go forward into the future if you can not let go of what was behind. Too many people are stuck in reverse. They try so hard to go forward but no matter how hard they press on the gas...they still go backwards!
Thankfully we are not our own saviors and we have a God who knows what it will take to set us free from the chains both internally and externally that often limit us from fully walking in the LIFE of Christ.
"I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt so that you would not be their slaves, and I broke the bars of the yoke and made you walk erect." -Leviticus 26:13
Too many people are walking with bowed heads and hearts, under a heavy burden of the past, or suffocating present or anxiety filled, imagined future.
You have forgotten what it even feels like to "walk erect" anymore. You have had so many things laid on your shoulders that you can't even lift your face to the sun.
The devil is called a "father of lies" for a reason. He speaks lies through people, events, feelings and he even will uses "words" to blur the path ahead. God has called us to walk in the light not the shadows. If I have learned anything from this last season of my life is that the enemy is a liar and he will use anyone and anything to keep us bound, limited, intimidated, fearful and contained.
The important thing is this: to be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.
Destiny is dangerous...because you just might walk out of the clouds...if you follow the light.
(Thanks Scott for the two quotes)
Thursday, June 08, 2006
And most of the crowd kept spreading their garments on the road. -
Most of my reality is seen and formed first in the closet of prayer;
in the pregnant atmosphere of worship is where my vision is so often
opened. I know why the old testament called the prophets "seers",
because in His presence you begin to see; or as David said it...in
His light, we see light.
Yesterday during a time of worship, I prophesied a phrase that
included the words: "The nations will come and lay down their robes"
and then I had in my mind a picture of Jesus riding into the city on
After prayer I opened to Matt. 21 and read the story of Jesus
entering the city of Jerusalem on the colt. There in the passage it
described not only people cutting down branches and laying them
before Jesus (a part I had remembered) but a part I didn't
remember...the disciples and the people laying down their robes.
Jesus enters a city in unexpected and upside down ways. Instead of a
triumphant conquering king riding in on a impressive
stallion...instead comes a humble king on the back of a young ass.
His path was covered with the robes of those who had willingly laid
In that moment I was struck with the power of the passage. The King
rides in on that which is laid down. When his disciples choose to lay
down their possessions, agendas, reputation, dreams and their very
lives for the King; there in that sacrifice, is a highway for our God.
He comes in unassuming humility and sacrificial living. He appears in
the offering of love. What do you call me to lay down Lord, that will
pave the way for your kingdom to enter my city in a greater way?
What will it take for us to see the nations lay down their robes?
You and me laying down ours...
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Learn more here: http://refugeeswithin.blogspot.com/
Monday, June 05, 2006
EVERY DAY in Africa the death toll to AIDS is twice that of those who
the Twin Towers in America! Every day 6 to 7 thousand people die of
Africa. Almost 1/2 of these deaths are in South Africa! This will
increase rapidly unless
individuals and churches rise and confront this terror and act with
-Pastor Dallas Sphar, GMSA & Storehouse Africa Generational Church
Dallas is a friend of mine who moved his entire family to South
Africa a number of years ago and is currently building a church
community and serving the desperate needs of the beautiful people of
South Africa. This is an excerpt from his recent email, I look
forward to someday accepting his offer and bring a team to S.A. and
see what God is doing in their land.
Our church is perfect.................if you are looking for a group
of people who are not perfect but play hard.
Yes, the church fails in its mission and makes serious blunders
precisely because the church comprises human beings who will always
fall short of the glory of God. That is the risk God took. Anyone who
enters the church expecting perfection does not understand the nature
of that risk or the nature of humanity. Just as every romantic
eventually learns that marriage is the beginning, not the end, of the
struggle to make love work, every Christian must learn that church is
also only a beginning. -Philip Yancey
How can 50 people live out the dream of God and become a growing
expression of Jesus in the city?
Not without grace.
Grace puts up with the stink of the game because it knows that if you
are going to play the game than you are going to have to put up with
some nasty stench.
Players have quirks, inconstancies, sins, rough edges and sincere but
often self-centered actions.
We are a broken team, who are held together by the mercy, forgiveness
and love of God and we desperately need to allow that same stream of
grace to cushion our life with each other. if you are expecting to
find whole people that will fill your life with purpose, comfort and
beauty than you are heading for a collision with painful reality. The
church is a team that is fallen. We are sinners in need of
redemption.We are in the process of transformation, we are becoming
like Jesus...but we are not Jesus.
I think many people end up leaving a church or a new church because
they realize that it is easier to bitch about something than build
something. Being a spectator is easy, it doesn't take much to shout
out calls on a game that you watch instead of play in. When you are
playing the game, you are up close, in it, reacting to it not just
observing it from a distance. If you are in the stands or watching on
tv (or the internet) you get a great view of the overall game. You
get replays, wide views, close ups etc...but you are not in the game.
And you may feel like you have insight but in reality you don't...you
are just a spectator or a fan but not a player.
Coaches are on the field not in the stands. They are there when the
player falls with an injury, they don't just observe the fall form a
sanitized distance. They are calling plays, wrestling with strategy,
dealing with many peoples insights, frustrations and perspectives and
sorting it all out and placing players in the game where they will
best accomplish the overall goal of the team...TO WIN THE FREAKING
Luis Palau: "The church, he said, is like manure. Pile it together
and it stinks up the neighborhood; spread it out and it enriches the
If you smell something that stinks maybe you need to understand that
players stink when they have played hard.
A church should smell like a well used pair of gym shorts....that's
what winners smell like.
250 miles+, 15 pounds lighter, healthy and happy. Hardest thing I've
ever done, glad I did it, glad to be home. Very happy to see Thanita
and kids. Thanks for emailing Thanita and your prayer and love. I
wish I could tell you all about the trip in this email but I just got
back today and not sure what to say other than I'm happy you or I
don't live in Burma.
-Matt Blauer (Thailand)
Friday, June 02, 2006
Thursday, June 01, 2006
"People can come up with statistics to prove anything. 14% of all
people knows that."
I posted some statistics on pastors and ministry and some response to
them the other day but thought, at the prodding of my father, that I
would add a few more thoughts.
I shared in the comments section of that post about the reality of
the sacrifice and suffering that is a part of this pastoring/ministry
thing. But the truth is...that is just life. Yes, there are some
unique realities that face pastors and their families but in the end,
we all face challenges. In this world you will have tribulation as
Jesus put it. But...that is not the end of the story because Jesus
also said to be of good cheer, because He overcame the world. Which
to me means, that the world and all it's suffering doesn't get to
have the final say as to how this story goes.
Trust me if it wasn't for the sweetness of the fragrance found in the
rose of ministry, I wouldn't be to sure If I could endure the thorns
found on it's stems. I know it sounds so spiritual to talk all about
the rewards awaiting us after we die because of our faithful service
here on earth but can I be honest; serving Jesus has been far more
rewarding than any work I did for the devil!
The blessings that have followed me all the days of my born again
life are just as real as the trials. And the struggles pale in
comparison to the joys that also await us after death. But don't be
fooled into thinking that there are not sweet paths of enjoyment in
the house of our Father. His home is a house of abundance and I have
found music, dancing and a fattened cafe in His house. He has always
clothed me with the finest robe, maybe not the richest but the
finest. Maybe not the most expensive in the eyes of the world but
always priceless in eternal things. The love, the memories, the
peace, the joys of family, the personal growth and the pleasures
found in Him, the opportunities I have been given, the blessings of
service and all that comes with that. The treasure of being able to
walk with people for years and see them grow through life and be
there at various stages of their growth is amazing. Watching them
struggle through teen years, wrestle with finding their life mate,
marrying and being there to hold their babies and watch them begin to
struggle as parents and spouses too. What a privilege, what an honor,
what a joy.
Nothing I have had to endure can in any way compare to the riches
that I have been given or at least been able to hold for seasons.
Many times I have cried out in gratefulness and disbelief as David
did... "Who am I Lord, Who am I?
God is a good God and I am forever indebted to Him for His abundant
mercy, grace, favor and richest blessings.
Serving Him never seems like servitude.
I was playing guitar and worshipping at Jacob's Well this afternoon. As I was playing and looking out at the neighborhood, I heard the Spirit say to take the music out into the streets. To leave the building and walk. At first I was like...huh? Ok, ummm...well, sure. So I strapped it on my back and took a walk.
I went down a dirt alley and around a corner and there was this old man sitting on his porch watching his dog chase a ball in the overgrown weeds that masqueraded as a yard.
His name was Don and he has Alzheimer's.
We struck up a conversation after he asked me if I was going to play some music in the streets. I knew then that there was music playing already...
He invited me in the fence and onto his porch. Then out came Roger and Larry both in their late forties probably but looked older than they should be due to life on this side of the tracks. Both were mentally slow but gentle as children, ready to shake a strangers hand and smile without a reason to smile...just because.
Then out came Linda, Don's wife and the caregiver of the clan. Older but sharp but wearing a dress that was way to short for such a lady. Don called her momma and after a half hour of watching her, it was obvious that it was her mothering love that evoked such a title. Then there was Betty, sweet but wary and sporting a nightgown in the heat of the afternoon day. And back in the shadows somewhere was Ida, 90 years old and back from the hospital.
They all were there to care for Ida and each other. They take turns being care givers and often end up just hanging out on the porch together talking to strangers that pass by.
All were invited to the church just around the corner and I must of gave Don the times of the service about every minute I was there...like a broken record he was, but as sweet and refreshing as lemonade on a hot summers day.
I left them with waves, warm good byes and promises from Don that they would be there this Sunday.
He will forget me as soon as I walk around the corner but I won't forget where he lives...
She was the beginning fulfilment of a word from God for my life, that is based on the above verse. I received that word in a YWAM bible-study one night on a missions trip to Amsterdam Holland. In that meeting the Lord spoke clearly to me that not only would I go to the nations but that the nations would come to me.
Seeing Margaret sharing last night caused me to give God praise for sending the nation of Uganda to us in the form of this humble woman.