Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Billy... Joel?

(mobile blog)
So my good buddy Ermin apparently won some tickets to a concert tonight. Being the devoted choir member he is, not wanting to miss a practice, he gave us the tickets. I think I would have sold them on Ebay personally...

So anyway, here's a shot of the arena and my first concert at the Gaylord Entertainment Center. Hopefully it'll be a good one.

Thanks Ermin!

Notes from 7/28/2000-8/7/2000

"Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty."
2 Corinthians 6:17-18

This was one of the defining scriptures of my life during this time. I was letting go of drinking and lust and so many other things.

In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, "This is what the LORD says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover." Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, "Remember, O LORD, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes." And Hezekiah wept bitterly. Then the word of the LORD came to Isaiah: "Go and tell Hezekiah, 'This is what the LORD, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city.

- Isaiah 38:1-6
God changes his mind about Hezekiah's death.

I've been thinking about freewill and predestination quite a bit lately. I think it has something to do with my older brother of 34 years recently getting radically saved. I wonder why now? All those years of praying and believing, everything he went through before this... it almost seemed scripted out. Talking to him about it last night, he said he firmly believes in predestination and described it as being in an orchestra. When it comes time to play, you can either play along with everyone else and receive the reward due the band when the song is done or you can play your own song. Did God plan on saving Hezekiah so he sent Isaiah to get him praying?

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."
- Isaiah 55:8-9
This verse is key for me right now. I need this verse to guide every step I take and everything I do or understand. So many things happen in ways that I wouldn't plan or hope for... but God's ways are better than my pitiful "logic."

I had a piece of paper with this verse on it that I used as a bookmark in my Bible for years. This really is a wonderful verse that humbles us and comforts us at the same time.

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

- Isaiah 64:6
Sin blows you away from God. Even the "righteous" things you do will be considered dirty.

This is one that every Christ follower needs to be reminded of. It's so easy to slip into a performance mentality and treat God like men, if we just do x, y and z... He'll overlook a, b and c. It just doesn't work that way. He forgives us every time, but we do have to confess and give him our sin.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Notes from 7/20/2000-7/28/2000

More notes from the notebooks. Am I the only one with tons of notebooks? Why take notes on Sunday/Wednesday/Whenever if you never look at them again?

Stop trusting in man, who has but a breath in his nostrils. Of what account is he?
-Isaiah 2:22
Don't follow man

Seemed like a funny note. Simple. Straight forward. Not too many classifiers. I guess today I'd want to add to that a bit and say instead of "following" a man, walk with someone who's godly council you respect, who's life you want to imitate, who shares their triumphs and their failures and who passionately loves the Lord. Why is it so much easier to follow someone else's vision that to get one from God ourselves?

What will you do on the day of reckoning, when disaster comes from afar? To whom will you run for help? Where will you leave your riches? Nothing will remain but to cringe among the captives or fall among the slain...
-Isaiah 10:3-4a
Judgement day

The old fire and brimstone preach... For some reason this jumped out at me. Maybe because it's such a visual picture or maybe because so much of the world works so hard for those riches.

...and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.
-Isaiah 11:3-5
...fear of the Lord, speaking out in righteousness and faith. Speaking powerfully but wisely and correctly. This is the cry of my heart.

It's good to remind myself of how exciting it can be to speak what God gives you to speak. The last semester of my senior year I felt led to start a Bible study. I called it "Unplugged" and made a lot of references to the Matrix... all in all, it was a pretty awesome time. I never had more than 15 people show up and I'll never really know if God used those times to make a lasting difference in someone's life... Though a lot of hands got raised :) It's always exciting to share the fire and the passion God gives us.

Open the gates that the righteous nation may enter, the nation that keeps faith. You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.
- Isaiah 26:2-4
The rightous who stand firm in faith will have perfect peace.

I wonder about that note... was I naive to say that? Maybe I was just too young to really understand how crazy life can get? But then again... During that time in my life, I went through some crazy things. Not long after this, my mom got cancer (God took care of that). My college "pole vaulting career" ended with a broken bone in my back; this after a torn abb muscle the year before... Life threw me some curve balls but I truly did have perfect peace. It's all about the Spirit doing His thing.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Notes from 7/12/2000-7/18/2000

As stated previously, I'm going through my stack of old notebooks to remind myself of various scriptures/notes and what they meant to me at the time. I doubt anyone will find this useful other than myself, but at least I don't have to go into the attic the next time I want to find this stuff. I'm trying to widdle it down to just the things that jump out at me.

One of the greatest strengths of a leader is the ability to encourage themselves.
Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.
- Proverbs 3:7
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
Proverbs 11:2
Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
- Proverbs 12:18

All things I definitely still need to work on...

All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.
- Proverbs 14:23

That last one is a good reminder for me right now. One of my goals in life is to start a few side companies so that one day I can do ministry work without having to worry about a salary or ministry support. One of the projects I'm involved with on the weekends and at night is I've been working on it with a friend for over 6 months. In the beginning it was easy to talk about the project... but actually doing it is a pain.

He who answers before listening -- that is his folly and his shame.
- Proverbs 18:13
LISTEN, don't speak. Even if you are right or have a contradicting statement to make.

This one is still hard for me... but my wife helps me. Lord thank you for this reminder of things you want to change in me.

A hot-tempered man must pay the penalty; if you rescue him, you will have to do it again.
- Proverbs 19:19
Sometimes I need to let people make their own mistakes.
Rich and poor have this in common, the Lord is the maker of them both.
- Proverbs 22:2
Don't even think for a second that one is better than the other.
If you say, "But we knew nothing about this," does not he who weights the heart perceive it? Does not he who gaurds your life know it? Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?
- Proverbs 24:12
For those who ask about people who never get a chance to hear the good news.
Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;
- 1 Peter 1:13-15
God's commands turn into promises when there is grace. "You shall not..." is a promise made true through grace.

Huge. So many people bound by lust and sin... completely enslaved. Lord help me share the promise of freedom, not the words of law.

He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in widsom is kept safe.
- Proverbs 28:26
Don't trust in yourself.
Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.
- Ecclesiastes 5:10
Money never satisfies.
The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.
- Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

Sunday, February 18, 2007

My first mobile blog!

Ok... So I'm getting into this blogging thing and need to come out of the stone age and look for the bleeding edge. I'm the IT Guy after all, I can't be anywhere else. I'm still a n00b when it comes to blogging, but at least I can now say that I've sent a blog message from my phone.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

God Notes: 6 years of sunday/wednesday/early morning notebooks

Before I started using my Treo to take notes, I used to drag a notebook to church or to Bible study or to wherever I happened to be reading my Bible that day. Over the years I've collected a lot of notebooks!

If I'm honest with myself, reading the Bible hasn't been super exciting lately... so to change things up, I went into the attic and found all my old notebooks which you see here. I'm going to start reading through them and reminding myself of the things God has spoken to me. What has He encouraged me with in the past? What has He asked me to change or to do and have I changed or done it?

I'm hoping to have an awesome journey where I remind myself of how far I've come and how much God has shown me. I'm going to post on this blog anything that I find interesting and that I don't want to have to climb into the attic sometime in the future to find again.

The first entry in the first notebook I kept:

It Begins...
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever
- Psalm 73:26

If I just thought of one verse all day, this would be enough.

If my people would but listen to me, if Israel would follow my ways, how quickly would I subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes!
- Psalm 81:13,14

Reading this now makes me think of Iraq. Does democracy even work in a culture without Christian foundations, love thy neighbor as thyself and all that? Is the United States a country that deserves to be blessed by God and have her enemies subdued?

Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
- Psalm 84:10
The worst of God's presence is better than anything the world has. Why do you doubt it over and over even though it always gets proven true?

I know this is always true... so why is it so difficult to "put time aside" to hang out with the creator of the universe?

My Problem (today)
I am quick to speak what I feel in my heart without first thinking and praying. I destroy people and cut them down in my foolish words; coming off as proud and conceited.
I hate and despise this, nailing it to the cross.
My Solutions
  • FIRST, pray listen and wait. It's all about God's timing (he sure as hell doesn't need me)

  • You may not have to say or do anything at all but pray. NOTHING but pray. (this is hard for me to live)

  • If and ONLY IF it is confirmed through prayer that I am to act, I must do so through love, not just truth.

Well... I definitely still have this problem. Though my wife has helped me a lot in that area. Maybe that's why I'm going through my old notebooks. I need to stay focused on the things God has already empowered me to change.

People should never hear God from you until they see God in you.

Good quote.

To all perfection I see a limit; but your commands are boundless.
- Psalm 119:96
Serving God is the only true perfection, everything else never satisfies past a limit.

Yes! I'm so glad I found this one. I remember this verse hitting me like a ton of bricks. Why did Michael Jordan and Kelly Slater take up golf? They were arguably the greatest athletes their sport has ever seen. They just got bored. Being the best in the world at something still leaves you wanting more. Only doing the thing your Father in heaven created you to do will ever satisfy.

ok, ok... that's enough for today.

There's so much good stuff for me in these notebooks!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Dusting off the old blog...

Wow... I haven't been here in a while. The place hasn't changed much. Could use some furniture I guess.

I just got off the phone with Lynn Nawata (wait... it wasn't the phone, it was Skype... does that now count as the same thing?) in the Philippines and my boss Mark Mingus and we were talking about Every Nation and what we can do to get more information out to the world about the awesome things God is doing all over the place. Blogs are a good way to start.

My wife and I have been working for Every Nation for over 5 years in the corporate office both in LA and now here in Nashville. We love this ministry. Granted we've had our ups and downs, we've seen church leaders who've blown it, but who hasn't? What we've also seen is lives radically changed, people fired up about God actually learning for the first time that HE cares about our lives and has a plan for each of us.

"For I know the plans that I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope."
- Jeremiah 29:11

I grew up in a wonderful church, worship was awesome and I really felt the Holy Spirit move in my life... but I never read my Bible. I didn't have a foundation to stand on. When I went of college that lack of a foundation became clear. I was a pole vaulter, so I hung out with the track team. I starting drinking and dating around and basically wasting 3 years of my life.

When I got connected with Every Nation Campus Ministries (Victory Campus Ministries at the time), I got connected with a group of people that not only loved God, but actually were serious about serving him. They taught me how to read the Bible and I got to live in Christian community. I've come a LONG way since that first day showing up at a Bible study. I have Christ-influenced character that wasn't there before. I've read the Bible too many times to remember and I now know my Lord because I've read His Word for myself. I've got a long way to go, but I like the results so far...

Any way... I say "any way" a lot when I type. When I speak my wife has just recently begun reminding me I say "basically" a lot. It's funny now that I'm noticing it. I also like typing "..." Not really sure why... it just... works.

So this is me, dusting off the old Blog. Maybe I'll post something new now and again. One thing I'm really excited about is a new staff intranet that will hopefully be ready in the next month or so. Until then...