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Thursday, May 29, 2008

If I'm this angered...

God has been giving me a lot of insight into his love of all people. But not the kind of love that the world says, you know what I mean, the one that says we shouldn't disagree with things like pre-marital co-habitation, pre-marital sex, homosexuality... of course those the some of the "big ones".. but along the same line, and as God has shown me recently, his heart grieves the same for those that avoid conflict with people, the people pleasers, manipulators, deceivers, etc.

You see, I have a growing anger inside of me, one that I believe is righteous. Everwhere I look I see broken people, inside and outside the Church. I see people who have been pushed over, "in the name of love", I see people who "in the name of love" argue to the end on politics, I see my friends making choices to please people that just gets lorded over by another person. This anger in me about these things is so hard to walk out though. I want to tell people the truth, but many of them just are not ready for the truth, they see it as shame, hate, or just religion.

If God's people were to truly focus on Jesus, if they were to struggle listening for him, rather than their world desires, I believe we would see a lot more happening. We must focus our dicipleship efforts on brining people into a healthy understanding of faith, humility, and submission in Jesus.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The paradox

Sometimes it seems that I have an energy inside me that has no way of being expelled. I know life has its ups and downs, and that joy is a choice much of the time. So with this extra energy I feel inside of me I hope to go forward and direct it at people. I want to be intentional with my life, and I do not want to direct this overflow onto myself, at least not this time. There are very important times when we need to direct energy onto ourselves, but for me, right now, that's not necessary, but it's not easy either.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Polska REACH newsletter sent/uploaded.

Alexis and I just sent out an updated newsletter about our Poland missions, you can find it here... Lots of good information, and I promise it won't take more than 7 min (I timed it) to read. So goto the break room (or kitchen for those folks at home), get a cofee, or whatever your beverage of choice is, and read about what God is doing. Besides, it has some cute pictures of our daughter Emma!

Love the hell out

True love of others and of God is loving the hell out of people. Not shaming people, but giving them grace to be human, to be selfish, to be well, full of sin. We simply can not expect people who haven't given their life and heart to Jesus to understand our values, principles, and morals. We can't logically argue with a person who doesn't understand living by faith. We can try, but many times (not all) it's in vain. Someone who is avidly pro-choice abortion, or pro same-sex marriages, isn't going to understand the reason having faith nulls those issues.

Faith gives us a much bigger understanding beyond ourselves, it gives us the courage to carry a child even when circumstances are terrible. It gives us the courage to see that our sexuality is more than physical. Faith gives us the understanding that God will take it into his hands when we give it to him. My faith in Him has relieved me of my homosexual desires. Having faith gives us the courage to tithe first and give our offerings even when when our bank account is empty or negative and we still have hundreds of dollars of bills.

So, we must first love people, live in faith, and remind ourselves that Hell is real. When we love people, in and out of the Church, we bring them out of Hell and into the Kingdom of God. That is why Jesus is the savior. He desires for us to be in relationship with him, not stuck in Hell, 100% alone, but with the knowledge that Jesus simply wanted our hearts so he could bless us in our free will to choose him. Those that do end up in Hell, they won't be partying, they won't be hanging out with like minded people, they'll be utterly alone, unable to be in relationship for eternity, yet knowing, and I believe seeing the rest in relationship and living in the glory of God.

So, love the hell out of people. Bless them. Speak the truth. Live in faith. Live the truth of God's love.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The need in Poland

Take a look at my missionary friend in Poland, she's got some good stats up on the need for missionaries, church planters, and prayer in Poland.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Obligation to love

This Thursday I'm speaking at our young adults group, I'm calling it "An obligation to love".

We really don't have a choice to love. Our God doesn't have the choice, He gave us free will so that we would love genuinely. As a disciple in the teachings, divinity, and person of Jesus, I do not have a choice to do anything but love people. For who they are... human. Everyone sins, we all make mistakes, our flesh is weak. And still I must love, I must accept people's faults. None of this is a free license to be walked on, beat up, and spat on. No, that would mean I wasn't loving myself.

To love God, is to give him praise, allow him to speak into my life, and obey Him in his commandments (to love Him and people). To love people is to treat with respect, listen, have sympathy for, speak encouragement, and most of all speak a life of truth. If I notice another brother with red flags in his life (IE, spending habits, the way he talks with girls, etc) than to truly love him I must confront him out of the relationship that I have. Confront someone is not shaming them, it's not condemning them, it's speaking truth where it counts (as Jesus did w/ the woman at the well). If a friend is always seeking to be with people, and is feeling lonely when not with friends, than I may probe into the priority prayer in their life.

For our culture, these ideas usually prompt the response of "it's none of your business" or "that's personal". Yes, I know, and because I love you I want to see you grow in that area. The key to all of this is relationship though, and speaking gracefully, the more grace, and the more relationship we have, the more our love for Him and others can be shown.

We must stop being afraid to love in truth. This is what I believe worshipping in truth and spirit is.

Friday, May 09, 2008

My creed: Worship

Worship for me is not just about music, not just about emotions, and not just about verbal praise. It's all of those things but much more. Worship for me is putting myself in the throne room of God, being right in the heavenly realms. It's serving him as if I'm in heaven. It's praising him as if I am in heaven. It's loving him and others, as if I am in heaven.

I can only imagine what heaven will be like, and it is what I imagine that brings me to raise my hands, sing at the top of my lungs, and allow the emotions to fill my heart. It's what I imagine that pulls me to serve him in truth and spirit. Lastly, it's what I imagine of heaven that bids me to be as humanly close to Jesus as I can be with people, myself, and him. That is my worship.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

My creed: What is church to me?

Many people see church from a fairly subjective view, mixed in with bad history, culture, and a lot of bias. Even today's emergent churches, or urban churches, tend to be jaded by the culture's idea of "church".

As I have mentioned before I am tired of the religious people of America trying to legalize morality, it simply can not be done. Instead of using our secular political system to do God's work (which isn't happening) why don't we do what Jesus told us to do? Let's go make disciples, disciplined ministers of God's message of a loving truth.

Instead of constantly focusing our attention on what the "others", the "non-believers", the "non-Christians", are not doing, doing wrong, or on what they are corrupting... why don't we pray, and be God's hands and feet? He sent us to do the job, he's given us authority, he says we can do things bigger than Jesus did!

Instead what I see is large "evangelical" organizations seeking legal actions, posting propaganda, spending millions and millions of dollars on ad campaigns for their politicians...

Yes, I know there are good organizations out there, I just believe we focus far too much on the "other things" rather than on Jesus and individually listening to him and his will for our individual lives. Imagine if every Jesus believing person were to take the call seriously, if we were to see the vision he has for us (yes that one that is FAR beyond your capabilities and qualities), imagine what could be changed, imagine our friends and families being effected by God's people touching the every-day lives of every-day people?

That's what church is for me, it's empowering God's people to do his ministry. It's fellowship with allowing faults and allowing correction all at once because graceful, loving, communication is spoken. It's encouragement that flows out, even in correction. It's worshiping him in Spirit (our deepest emotions being met with acceptance and love), and it's worshipping in truth (our intellect being used for the advancement of His kingdom).

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The first official steps

Well this has been a long wait, but Alexis and I have taken the first official steps towards being sent from our home church to church plant, train up small groups, and fulfill the great commission in full, in Kraków, Poland. We have submitted our vision along with our projected startup and monthly budgets.

Read our Polska REACH vision, our preliminary startup budget, and our projected monthly budget. This is all in flux, subject to change, and at the same time very scary and exciting!

Please take the time to read, as we are very open to feedback, suggestions, etc.

In the Lord's name, blessings.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Encouragment needed

I'm not depressed, or even feeling down, I'm not even really that frustrated. I'm just inpatient, wanting to be somewhere else where I can't be right now. I know the grass is not greener on the other side, and that I can be doing the same thing I feel called to do, right here in Portland.

Yet I think I have a good discontentment, yes that's a oxymoron of sorts, and that's okay. I just want to be more, I want to actually receive criticism, I want to better myself, I want to grow in my speaking abilities, I want to grow in my discipleship abilities, and most of all I want to just keep on growing with my ability to reach others with God's graceful truth.

Friday, May 02, 2008

What is love?

"All you need is love", "Love is just a game"

Well, lately God has been showing me a new side to Love. Now I bet most of you think this is about Emma... well in a way it is, but not really.

Yes Fatherhood has shown me a new side of love, and quite possibly this is where these ideas are stemming from. But as I was talking with Marcus at our devo this morning...

You see, lately as I drive around from client to client, the Lord has been showing me people's faces, and giving me a glimpse of how he loves them. It's like I feel in my heart the overwhelming grief, and/or pride he has for particular people. When I think of people I know who have made choices contrary to God's values I get even more emotional and can't do anything but pray for clarity in the person's life.

And now there's even more, you see, I believe true love, is a love that holds people to God's values. A love that doesn't just let our friends, our brothers/sisters slip away into "their own choices", if the choice is made with loving confrontation and loving correction, and still does not honor God's values, well then, the choice is theirs...

But way to often than not I see the opposite. I see people too afraid of rejection, too afraid of confrontation, to talk in love and grace to people about red-flags... those red-flags turn into spiritually killing decisions. If we are going to be known for the love we have for each other, we have got to allow God to work through each other, obey your convictions and your heart when God speak to it. Only blessing and honor and glory can be given to Jesus even if a person makes a decision to walk another path, at least they know the loving truth... and believe me it can be done, and God's name is always given glory, I've been there, scared to death, but I've done it. I've had people still decide, but I've seen people make the right choice as well. The choice is yours.

House cleaning...

Since bringing Emma home our house has kept fairly organized, but it hasn't been vacuumed at all. If there is one thing that makes me feel like the house is dirty, it's non-vacuumed carpet... I can see cat hair everywhere, and when you sit on the ground to play with Emma.... well you get all kinds of hair and other interesting things on your clothes....

So, since the vacuuming is my little part of the house stuff, I guess I'll be doing that before Alexis' mom and sister come in for the weekend. Nothing like a little external motivation.