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Archive for the ‘Faith’ Category

Remember your first love

A few years ago I heard someone say that when she accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior, she promised Him that whatever He asked of her, the answer was already “yes.” The how, when, why, etc., could be revealed in His timing. It stuck with me, because as a child of God, I have already said “yes” to whatever He asks me to do. I went to Verge last weekend with that in mind, because I knew God would use the weekend to teach me a lot, and I wanted to be completely open to whatever He had for me.


I’ll be typing up [some of] my notes from the weekend mixed with my own commentary. I’m a journalism major, so I’ve even got some direct quotes. 🙂  If you missed any of the sessions, hopefully this will help fill in any of the gaps and make a better connection with what you did get to hear.

*****THURSDAY*****



Matt Carter focused on Revelation 2:1-6, which basically says that the church in Ephesus was doing all kinds of good things, but  “nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” The church, aka the bride of Christ, had forgotten its whole reason for existence!


I should not love my mission more than I love my Savior. “Who cares if we figure out missional community if we don’t love Jesus?” If I just have Jesus and nothing else, would that be enough?


Francis Chan started with Exodus 33:14-16. Basically, if God’s presence doesn’t go with us, there’s no point. But the more God entrusts us with, the harder it is to just desire the presence of God.


When you’re thinking about starting a church, a ministry, or whatever, don’t base it off what you know of other successful ones. Search in the Bible and form it on that. What should it look like, for this particular group, in this particular place, according to the Bible? What can you come up with just from Scripture? This is so interesting to me, because if we just look in the Bible, the example of “church” is radically different from how we see it in the Western Church. It’s almost like a support group coming together to encourage, exhort, build up, grow, pray, praise, equip, keep accountable, and send each other out to do serve people together who need it. When we’re just looking at Scripture and making disciples and chasing after Jesus in a harsh world when we don’t want to, then we’ll seek out other believers. We’ll find each other because we’ll stand out!


Later that night I was reading Mark 7, and verse nine popped out at me: “He said to them, ‘All too well you reject [set aside] the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.’ ” It fits exactly! Churches these days are often so caught up in tradition that they fail to obey what God set up the church to be used for in the first place.


“If Jesus says something, you don’t have to do it, just memorize it.” It’s so sad that this is what we often do. He gave an excellent example of telling his daughter to clean her room. What if she came back and told him she memorized what he told her to do? What if she came back and said she prayed about it? What if she came back and said she met with some her friends and discussed what it would look like if she cleaned her room? Her dad would not be happy!


Acts 2: 37 says: “Now when they heard this [the gospel], they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?’ ” They knew the gospel was big, and that it would affect their lives. They knew they had a new Lord over their lives. They knew they needed to be obedient. So Peter and the others told them what they needed to do…. and they did it! And because of it, “The Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” More and more people came to know the saving power of Jesus Christ simply through the obedience of His followers (and because He works mightily in their hearts). The way we truly show that Jesus is God isn’t through our apologetics but through our unity.


For a simple and eye-opening example of what the church should look like, watch Francis Chan’s cartoon, The Big Red Tractor.

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Missional community

I went to a challenging, mind-blowing conference in Austin this weekend called Verge. I have pages and pages of notes (yes, I’m a journalism major…), and it will take me a while to process them all in my head. I hope to write blog posts on each session, so it will be easier to wrap my mind around it (and yours too, perhaps). I will also thread some common themes throughout my posts. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know what was coming. Check back often in the next couple of weeks!

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Shift to idols

Background for this post:
Romans 1:18-32

Verses 22-23 are so sad; they basically talk about when humans first started making and worshiping idols:


“Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible (perishable) man – and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.”


At this point, they didn’t have the 10 Commandments or a Bible or anything. They “only” had God’s creation to see and His interaction with them. Verse 20 says this should have been enough!


“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”


How sad. . . becoming so focused on themselves that they became blind to God and decided to create their own versions of what “god” should be. They turned from the creator to start worshiping the created (verse 25). And this caused them to just give themselves up to all kinds of consuming sin (verses 26-32).


Moral of the story: Don’t take our eyes off God!

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I read Psalm 19 the other day, and it reminded me of a post I wrote back in October. Please go read it before you continue reading this post. 🙂


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Psalm 19:1-6


“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.


Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.


There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.


Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.


In the heavens He has pitched a tent for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course.


It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat.”


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The skies declare God’s glory constantly. In verse four it says God has sent the skies (and their message of His glory) throughout all the earth. Basically, God has revealed His glory to ALL creation through the sky! And other things too, but even the sky should be enough!

Yeah. God created that!


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Fear and trembling

I’ve been reading through the book of Job in the Bible, and I’ve been focusing on learning more about what it means to fear God. I’d read Job all the way through in high school, but never with a “theme” in my head. If you’ve never read Job straight through before, I would encourage you to do it, because you start seeing patterns and themes, and it’s way more than just a back-and-forth between some disgruntled friends and a suffering pity party.


If you’ve never heard of it, the quick summary is that Job was an upright man, and Satan wanted to prove that if someone was faced with awful enough circumstances, they curse God (basically saying that no one truly trusts or fears God). God said that Satan could mess with Job, just spare his life. All throughout, his friends and his wife try and convince him to either curse God and be done with it or repent to God for some heinous sin (that Job didn’t do), rather than just worship God and fear Him because no matter what happens, He is the same.


Anyway, the other night I read Job chapter 21, which is Job’s response to an accusation one of his “friends” made, saying he just needed to quit being a hypocrite and repent, and that he would be destroyed and cut off like the rest of the wicked, haughty people in the world.


Job reminds them again that plenty of wicked people prosper. He notes that that’s the terrifying part: God works far beyond the simple cause and effect system they’re trying to pen Him into.


“Is my complain directed to man? Why should I not be impatient? Look at me and be astonished; clap your hand over your mouth. When I think about this, I am terrified; trembling seizes my body. Why do the wicked live on, growing old and increasing in power?” Job 21:4-7


The biggest thing that struck me about this chapter, though, was Job’s fear of God. Job trembled when he thought about how far beyond human reason God is. It terrified him. We can’t explain God away. Sometimes He does things that don’t make sense to us at all – that don’t fit into what we think should happen or be deserved, and when I think about it, it is frightening! I don’t like not being able to explain things. I don’t like sitting there, mouth agape, knowing that God is good but wondering what just happened.


That magnitude 7 earthquake in Haiti the other day was devastating. As one of my friends put it, “Why did tragedy come to those who had nothing? Now they have less than nothing.” It doesn’t make sense that they should be “punished.” But oh, the earthquake happened anyway. This isn’t a reminder to myself that crap happens to “good people” and “bad people” alike. This is a gripping reminder that God isn’t bound by me.


We need not live in terror, because even though God can (and does) do things that don’t make sense to us at all, we can know that He loves us. Our response to anything should be worship, though, because no matter what, He is great!

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