PowerSource just returned from our large summer trip. We go to a missions oriented camp called MFUGE. It's a camp run by LifeWay and this particular site was in Charleston, South Carolina. We stayed on the campus of Charleston Southern in suites (2 dorm rooms strung together by a connected bathroom). But, I'm getting ahead of myself.

On Monday morning June 22nd my wife, Kristin, and I arose around 4:45am in order to get to the bus and be loaded and help with packing and such by 5:30am. The students arrived between then and 6:00am and we loaded up the bus and van and headed out onto the road. I'm not one for long car rides or trips as my stomach gives me a hard time about it so I took 2 Dramamine and knocked out pretty early into the drive. We stopped once for a bathroom break and snack and then again for lunch but other than about an hour and a half at the end of the ride I slept pretty much the entire way there which was really nice. I needed the rest for what would become a very long, hard, and enjoyable week at MFUGE.

Upon arrival at Charleston Southern we went through the ins and outs of checking our students and leaders into their rooms and familiarized ourselves with a very open and beautiful campus. With spacious lawns and a reflection pool it provides a place for great meditation times and great fun with tennis & basketball courts and a pool. These amenities are not why we have gathered in sunny, and hot, South Carolina. We, along with many other church youth groups, have gathered to serve. We paid good money and drove from hundreds of miles away to love people with the love and message of Jesus.

Our students and leaders were broken up into serve tracks, similar to our Surv Teams, based on their 1st 2nd and 3rd choices. The tracks included: Creative, Games & Rec, PCY (painting construction and yard work), Social, and Children. Each of these tracks provides the students with a rough idea of how they will be serving. The PCY track works on mowing lawns construction sites and functions much like a Habitat for Humanity team. The Games & Rec, and Children teams work mainly with young children. They go to daycare centers or drop off points and plan out a day of fun for these young ones, all the while looking for opportunities to share with them the life changing gospel of Jesus. The Creative team works with children as well as homes for the elderly and they plan a program consisting of music and drama that points toward Christ. Social is basically a grab bag of all the other teams. They could be stoking food pantries, playing with children, visiting the sick and elderly, or doing some PCY.

Almost all of our students got the track they were hoping for. I was a van driver for the Social track in which I was put in. I really enjoyed my track group. None of my students from PowerSource were in my group so I got the opportunity to meet and learn a lot of new faces and make new friends. At first I was a bit nervous at the spiritual temperature of the students in my track. (I wrote about this in an earlier post you can read here.) However our track leader, a young woman by the name of Kara Barefoot, and I have a history. We group up together as friends in the same youth group at Raleigh Road Baptist Church. It was really cool to be able to serve with her and talk with her about the paths God has taken her on over the course of the past few months. It's a great thing to see God moving in the lives of my friends.

During the week, my track group worked with children at a downtown center (more on my time there in this blog post), helped spruce up a homeless shelter (in which I had a fight with some vines hanging from a tree and the vines won), and helped to harvest some squash at a farm that donates it's food to the homeless. All in all it was a great time of ministry and fellowship with other believers.

During the night time and morning worship sessions we experienced a very passionate hearts from our camp speaker Brian Jennings and our worship leaders The Rescued (nice name). Brian's actually an alumni of PowerSource middle school ministry and used to attend Thomas Road during his youth. He was very excited to see our youth there and was able to communicate to our students very well. He understand the struggles of being in a large church connected to a Christian school and the apathy that can sometimes cause in students.

Now I will say.... the group we took to MFUGE are mostly our core students. By that I mean they are student who dig deeper that we tell them to and ask the hard questions about what it means to follow Jesus in this great big Wild Goose Chase we're on to know Him and experience Him more fully. Not only do they ask questions they dive in head over feet. They live it.

There was true evidence of that this week. Collectively our students lead about 20 children and adults to begin a relationship with Jesus Christ while we were at MFUGE. It's a really exciting thing. Even more exciting to know that the MFUGE staff will be working with those individuals all summer to help disciple them and bring them along in their walk with Christ.

I loved sitting in our Church Group Devotion times every night after our worship sessions. God taught me a lot simply by listening about the stories of courage and bravery chronicling our students sharing the message and love of Christ and seeing lives changed. I got the opportunity to teach one of these sessions and I think I may have been more moved than some of the students. I was at the brink of tears thanking God for what He was doing in the lives of my students and those they connected with that week. (More on that night in this blog post. )

Overall God did some amazing things while we were in MFUGE. I'm thankful for opportunities like that. To love God by loving those He loves (all people). After the lives changed and time spent meeting other Christ-followers from around the nation we said our goodbyes and began to make our way back to good old Lynchburg, Virginia.

We made it about 15 miles.......... then our bus broke down.

We were in pretty heavy stop and go traffic and the brakes on the bus locked up and began to smoke excessively almost to the point of fire. Craziness. We assessed the damages and realized we would have to be towed in order to fix the problem. We shuttled students in the van to a Chic-Fil-A in Summerville, SC a few minutes down the road (I'm leading a worship evangelism conference there next weekend pray for me if you think about it.) It took us about an hour and a half to get all the students there. We then walked over to a shopping center with a PetsMart a Target and some other interesting stores. We passed the time waiting for the bus to arrive and arrive it did at about 9:00pm that evening. (We left camp at 10am). We loaded everyone up on the bus very tired and were ready to be on our way. Then another problem happened. The temperature gauge was reading close to a boiling point on the bus. We went back and examined it and had to call a repair man to come take a look. During this time a couple drove up next to our bus (which reads THOMAS ROAD BAPTIST CHURCH in the side in big letters) and asked us if we were from TRBC like "Liberty University TRBC) turns out they were both Alumni and let us know that if we needed a place to stay that we could sleep on the gym floor of their church, which had showers and AC. Considering how late it was and not knowing the extent of the problems we would be facing with the repair we stayed at the church.

We slept like rocks and a shower felt great after being in a sweating bus for a long time. Our students were great. Even though a few started feeling a little sick due to the heat, for the most part no one complained. It was awesome. The next morning TRBC had sent a new bus that drove through the night (THANKS SO MUCH Mr. Parra!!!!) to pick us up. We loaded up and headed home. With Rubik's Cubes in hand we made our trip home. I slept most of the way again but woke up and worked on some DLP Church History lessons that I ripped to my iPod.
I love long sweaty bus rides with break downs. I wouldn't trade them for anything because...
God moved in our hearts. God moved in the hearts of others.
Some will never be the same again because we made the trip.
I love this ministry.
I love it.
I wouldn't trade it for anything.


Stepping Into The Unknown

Tonight I spoke during our Church Group Devotion time here at MFUGE. The lesson was on God always being there for us and how He promises us that. I used the illustration of keys. I brought one of my Focus Group guys, Trey Briggs, up to do the illustration. I told him. "I Promise You These Keys Will Always Be Here."

I held the keys in front of him and asked him. "Where are the keys?" "In front of me." He answered. "How do you know?" I asked. "Because I can see them right there."

I then blindfolded Trey and asked the same set of question except this time I started to jingle the keys. "Where are the keys?" "In front of me." He answered. "How do you know?" I asked. "Because I can hear them."

I then stopped jingling the keys and became very quiet asking again "Where are the keys?" "In front of me." He answered. "How do you know?" I asked. "Because you promised me they would be."

You know our relationship with God is like that. When we're here at camp surround by other believers it seems that it's easier to see and hear God's direction. When we go home sometimes it's like we're blindfolded and we can sort of hear God's voice but, it's not as easy to see Him. Then there are moments when everything is still and quiet. It's in those moments we're tempted to step away from God's plans for us. To step away from taking the risks He's called us to and jumping into the unknown.

It's in those very moments when we need to remember the most that God is there with us.
How do we know?
He promised us He would be.

I'm really going to miss this group of 8th Graders that are moving up. They were my first set of 6th Graders in PowerSource and I've had them the entire time in small groups. It's bittersweet to see them go. I love these guys. I love what I do. I love that God has called me into this place that He sculpted out for me. It's awesome and I wouldn't trade it for anything unless God called me into another unknown....

I would take the plunge.


Celebration Station And A Stabbing Around The Corner

So today was pretty awesome. I attended my first ministry site with my track group from MFUGE. I'm in the Social track and today we went to a ministry downtown called "Celebration Station". I have an interesting group. No one from PowerSource is in the group with me but, my track leader is a girl named Kara Barefoot. She and I went to the same church when we were younger so it was nice to be able to know someone and catch up a bit. At the Celebration Station(CS) we basically planned out an afternoon of fun for the neighborhood kids. CS is located in a downtown urban area.

The neighborhood is not in a good part of town, during our rounds promoting the party a man was stabbed after he picked a fight with another man just up the corner. CS was on top of it right away. For the first hour we walked around letting people know that we were having this huge party with face painting and balloon animals and games. It was a big hit. We had close to 30 little kids come out. It was awesome. We played 4 Square and RedLight|GreenLight and Freeze Tag. It was really cool.

During the story time a boy named Mark sat beside me. He really like my To Write Love On Her Arms shirt. He wanted to know if I got it at the mall. I told him I didn't and he seemed sad. We talked a bit more and he asked me if I was married, "Yes" I responded. "Does that make you happy?" he inquired. "Yes it does make me very happy but, the thing that makes me the happiest is Jesus. Do you know Jesus?" He shook his head no. I told him about Jesus and about how He had always been there for me no matter what. I explained what He did on the cross and why He had to die. I then asked Mark, "Would you like to know Jesus as your Savior?" Mark sat and thought for a few moments and then replied, "I think I'm ok today." I asked him if he was sure and he said he was.

I hope I get to talk to him more tomorrow.


Like Zombies Walking Sluggishly Across A Crowded Freeway

So tonight I was sitting in a room full of Christians. Kids who, the majority, said they came from churched homes in which mom and dad were both professing Christians. Who knew nothing about the faith we claim to base our lives around. It's one of the scariest things I've ever experienced I don't know that 90% of the room could share their faith. The question "What does "the wages of sin" mean?" was caught with blank cold stares like zombies walking sluggishly across a crowded high traffic freeway. I couldn't help but, pick my jaw up off the floor when I realized how many of them couldn't effectively share their faith. Isn't this the thing we claim to base our entire lives, our very existence around. It was humbling. It's one of my goals this week to get these students to fall more in love with Jesus and understand more what their faith means to them. I want to help them rediscover Jesus like it was for the first time. When do we lose our sense of wonder about Christ? When did Jesus become just a story?

My dear friend Jeremy Rader (@jeremyrader) commented tonight on our relationship with Christ saying, "What is your relationship with Christ like now.... and where do you want it to be?" I think that's a great question that gives us an excellent ability to look ahead to the things God has for us. So are you where you want to be?


Pelagius - vs - Augustine

Is man free or God sovereign? Articulate and analyze the positions of Augustine and Pelagius on man’s nature and ability to be holy.

Man is indeed free, created with the ability to choose God or not so that love can truly exist while God is still sovereign knowing every choice we will make but not holding strings like a puppeteer. It is from this choice that Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden and spread the seed of sin down through every human being born of one flesh from that point on. The question that arises from this thought process and that sparks the Pelagian Controversy is this: What if sin is not passed down from Adam. What if sin for every human being is a choice, and then in theory one could live life without sinning.

The Pelagian Controversy was the first controversy in the West. It was a controversy based in practical thought between Pelagius and Augustine on the issue of infant baptism and man’s sin nature, or lack thereof, and his ability to be holy. This is still an open question in Catholic theology even today.

The main characters in this controversy are Pelagius (c.370-c.420), Celestius (?-?), Augustine (354-430), and Jerome (c.345-419).

Pelagius gives his name to the Pelagian Controversy, though he was no a prominent participant in it. His ideas and thoughts set the stage for the rest of the controversy to take place. He was a monk and had some problems with the teachings of Augustine and Jerome. He felt that their teachings left room for moral laxity among the Church. He took a pretty heavy stand on the fact that he did not believe in original sin or an inherited sin nature but rather believed that every person on the planet could choose whether or not to sin.

Augustine, in the minds of some, is possibly the greatest theologian ever to live. He was the Bishop of Hippo and is most famous for his writing of Confessions, a personal testimony of his salvation experience. August held to the view that we were all born with a sin nature; meaning that sin was passed down from Adam and Even to every human being on planet earth. It was due to this believe that he championed so heavily infant baptism. He felt that infant baptism “washed away the taint of sin” from the babies and gave them a clean and fresh start to a life walking with Christ. It was believed that infant baptism was more likely to help a child grow up in a manner following Christ.

Pelagius thought Augustine’s thoughts on infant baptism were ridiculous and opposed him greatly. While these thoughts against infant baptism all began in the mind of Pelagius it was not him but his student Celestius who began to spread Pelagius thoughts and teachings. Celestius, a lawyer, was a much bolder and more outgoing individual that Pelagius and spoke very opening about his teacher’s thoughts. He very openly attacked infant baptism as well as Augustine and Jerome for their support of it.

Jerome came along side Augustine, supporting his views on infant baptism, but is probably most well know for translating the Latin Vulgate. He wrote the Dialogue Against Pelagius in which he openly opposes Pelagius views on infant baptism and original sin.

Pelagius view was condemned at the Council of Ephesus in 431


The Effects Of Constantine

Let’s talk about Constantine, the sole Roman Emperor from 324-337. What did he do for the Christian movement? What short-term impact (positively, negatively) did his actions have on the church? What long-term impact did they have?

Constantine grew up in a home where his Father was very tolerant of Christians. This probably had much to do with his later life decisions. In 312 Constantine, before the battle of Milvian Bridge near Verona, has a vision in which he believes God shows him a symbol that will bring him victory against his opponent Maxencius. Constantine puts this symbol on the shields of his men and the flags that he bears and wins the battle. After this battle Constantine adopts Christianity as his own persona faith. While there is evidence on both ends of the spectrum for whether or not he was actually a Christian the truth can only be known by God.

In 313, Constantine issues the Edict of Milan in which he granted tolerance to Christians. In the short term, this ended persecution, at least from the political perspective and Christians were treated as equals in court and other legal arenas. Social however there were most likely still some persecutions taking place. In a modern context one my think of the civil rights movement.

In 323, Constantine proclaims himself as the Sole Ruler / Roman Emperor. He makes Christianity the preferred religion of the decade and sets up a theocracy in which the church rules the state. Constantine considered himself as the bishop to the bishops, which in some cases portrayed a very negative picture of Constantine as he took his authority a bit to far. He began to give every soldier that would convert to Christianity 20 silver coins. Think about going out on a street corner and announcing that anyone who would accept Jesus Christ as their savior would be given a $50 bill on the spot. This would indeed be a stimulus package!

In the long term, Constantine brought the Church out of an era of persecution. Not everything was perfect in the beginning but it was a major start in getting the church a voice again. However this voice in later year will become over dominant and become the persecutor rather than the persecuted.

The Results Of Persecution On The Early Church

How did the church respond to persecution?
How did the Christian movement develop in theology and practice as a result of persecution?

There were four main causes of persecution for the Church: Religious, Social, Political, and Economic.

Religious persecution of the Church came mainly from the Jews because the Jewish leaders didn’t accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah. While some Jews viewed Jesus as the fulfillment of prophecy which moved the Jews into the messianic age. Those who doubted found a great deal of force and urgency with their persecution of Christ-followers. A secondary reason for religious persecution was because of the enthusiasm Christ-followers had after their conversion. Christianity was contagious and as Acts chapters 1-6 traces it grew in epidemic proportions very quickly.

Social persecution came from two areas. First the fact that Christianity put the master and the slave on equal ground and secondly blame due to the disrespect of other gods. Slavery and religious tolerance had swelled like a tumor in this time with the rise of Greek philosophy and melting pot of gods were thrown together and all worshiped for different purposes and meanings. The Christians claimed that Jesus was the only one true God and this did not sit well with religious relativist worship.

Political persecution came from a similar vein of idol worship. As Christians claimed Jesus exclusively as God they refused to say that Caesar was Lord. For this reason they also refused to serve in the army in which they had to proclaim this statement and were deemed unpatriotic.

In the economic realm, Christians hurt business of those selling idols for idol worship.

The Christian church responded in many ways persecution.

The good results of persecution were that the vast majority of Christians remained true to their faith despite the persecution; the Church was purified by any who chose to take the easy road out and flee the persecution; and the Scriptures became canonized during this time.

The bad results were that thousands of Christians denied the faith and fled persecution; many took positions that were contrary to the Christian faith in other religions; it caused divisions in the Church; some of the Scriptures were lost due to the burning of Christian letters and text; an abnormal desire for persecution arose among evil emperors and persecution became a heavy blood sport, and concerns of the relationship between the Church and the State arose.

There were some mixed results as well: While three million Christians dying at the hands of persecutors is by no means a good thing it does provide and effective witness to the fact that three million people were willing to die for the cause they believed in. Also while some fled the persecution and the empire, like cowards, after they got their bootstraps back underneath them the Gospel was spread into the areas in which they fled.

The Christian movement was forced to stand firm in their theology and practices. They had to know what they believed and why they believed it if they were going to be killed for holding true to it.

The Canonization Of Scripture

How did we get the Bible? What factors led to the canonization of what we now call the New Testament Scriptures?

The Canon Of Scripture or The Bible is a collection, believed by the early church, to be actual stories and events written and collaborated by men under God’s instruction by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The Old Testament is made up of the Jewish law given to the Israelites by God through Moses. It also includes some poetry, prophecy and history of the Jewish people.

The New Testament is made up of historical accounts of Jesus ministry on Earth, letters from some of Jesus closest followers to other churches of encouragement, discipline or edification, and some prophecy in the book of Revelation.

The OT came under little dispute as it’s content is has been with the Jews for a long time and taken care of by the tribe of Levi. This content was easily added. The NT however was not as easy to simply give the thumbs up to.

While most of the books that are in our modern Bible were without question added there were some disputed books that just made it into the mix. Hebrews was disputed, as were 2nd and 3rd John, due to the fact that there is not a listed author; and James, 2nd Peter, Jude, and Revelation were disputed due to some content issues.

The question however still remains as to how the process of canonization came about for the Bible, specifically the NT, as we currently know it?

From the time of the death of the last apostle to c.140 all of the books in the NT had been written and were being circulated among the Christian community.

The phrase “New Testament” is first used by Ignacious in 110 when he says, “The Old Testament is good but, the New Testament is better.” This was not saying the OT was worthless or useless simply that the NT was a better addition to the OT.

Marcion, is probably best known for being the first to compile a list of books for the NT Canon. He did this because he felt that the OT Hebrew Scriptures were inferior and that it should not be read in the church or used as a basis for Christian instruction. The early church responded to this by forming it’s own Canon which included the OT Scriptures.

Origen played a part in helping to understand which books should and should not be included in the N.T. and actually had some issues with James, 2nd Peter, and 2nd & 3rd John. However by c.340-400 Most of the 27 books had been agreed upon. Athanasius created a list which he presumed would be the canon and it is in fact the 27 books of the NT which we have now.

This list went through the approval of the Council of Laodicea in 363, the Council of Hippo in 292, and finally the Council of Carthage in 397 where the Canon we know today was made official.

The Preparation For Early Christianity

Christianity began with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit on Christ’s followers gathered in an upper room in a home in Jerusalem. It was from this moment on that the spread of Christianity took root with Peter and the other disciples speaking to the people gathered for the Jewish festival of Pentecost.

There were three major factors that helped prepare the way for the swift spreading of Christianity. The first of these factors was the large gathering of Jews in Jerusalem for the festival of Pentecost. Over time many of the Jews had spread out far and wide away from Jerusalem. These Jews were called Diaspora Jews, meaning they had dispersed. When they heard Peter’s message, of the life Jesus, many believed and became saved. Those same Jews then left Jerusalem back to their far away homes and spread the gospel to those in their area.

The second major factor is that of the Roman roads. It was a true statement that all roads really did lead to Rome. As many people, from many religious backgrounds and cultures, used these main roads it made for an efficient route for the story of what had been happening in Jerusalem. Merchants traveling these roads from town to town would have also spread the story of what happened in Jerusalem to their other import and export towns.

The third major factor was the rise of Greek philosophy and thinking. The teachings of Plato and Socrates spread wide, and left many with open minds to other religions and thoughts of the supernatural. This open mindedness toward other ways of thinking made a way for the apostle Paul to share Christ as not just another god among many, but as the one true God who became flesh.

These three factors largely contributed to the preparation for the quick spread of Christianity from the town of Jerusalem to the rest of the world.


"I Need A Heart Transplant Because This One Doesn't Love You Right"

"You have left the love you had in the beginning. So remember were you were before you fell. Change your hearts and do what you did at first. If you do not change, I will come to you and will take away your lampstand from its place." - Revelation 2:4b-5 (NCV)

The lyric I most often connect with this passage is from the band My Epic.
"I need a heart transplant because this one doesn't love You right."
- My Epic

In the earlier verses of this passage the church in Ephesus seems to be doing pretty well. They don't put up with false teaching, they have suffered for the name of Christ. They have quite a bit going for them. From all outside appearances they look great. However, they are doing all these things for the wrong reasons. They have forgotten their first love, Jesus. They have become infatuated with doing church rather than being the church. They have become over zealous about how to do things instead of who to do them for. It reminds me of a someone in need of a heart transplant. By all outward appearances everything seems fine but the deeper issue could kill you. It seems like this is the case with this church as well. If this problem isn't fixed and if their hearts aren't turned towards God then they will very quickly have their "lampstand" taken away from them. This lampstand is the blessing of God on their church.

How do you do in comparison to these thoughts?
Are you fine by all outward appearances but dying underneath?
Have you forgotten your first love?


"When I saw Him, I fell down at his feet like a dead man."

"When I saw Him, I fell down at his feet like a dead man." Revelation 1:17 (NCV)

When was the last time you had this type of reaction to experiencing God?
When was the last time you had to fall to the ground and hide your face because of the holiness of God?



Let me just say. I am so excited.

Jiffy Lube Morning

I'm getting my oil changed at Jiffy Lube and taking advantage of their WiFi to write a little bit here. I'm sitting next to a gentlemen who is very obviously homosexual. My suspicions were confirmed when he saw my shirt (Thomas Road Baptist Church - Love God. Love People.) and quickly turned his head up with a "hmph, yeah right". And returned to the news. He and I have been watching the news reports on the shooting at the Holocaust Museum in D.C. I say out loud to him, "It's unbelievable isn't it." Without looking at me he replies, "That's what hate will do to you people." I tried to be cordial and conversational for the rest of the time we were here together before his car was ready and he went off on his way. I wanted to be loving to him as much I could. I didn't want him to feel like I was alienating him. I've read through the passages in Scripture that express homosexuality as sin. I think it's a mistake to call it more of a sin that drinking, or gluttony. I feel it's a gross hypocrisy to see it as anything different. This next statement might get me some weird looks. If it were not for the Bible saying that homosexuality is wrong and me believing everything that the Bible says to be true, I would have no problem with a monogamous homosexual couple being married. If the Bible didn't say it was wrong then I wouldn't have a problem. If it was all based on "feelings" and "emotions" (which I don't believe true love is based on anyway but, that's another blog) then I wouldn't have a problem. The truth is though that God didn't design us as having a choice to be homosexual. He designed the family unit as male and female. What is the best way for me to love that gentlemen? I don't agree with his lifestyle but, I know God loves him and has a plan for his life. I will be the best example of Jesus I possibly can be. I will love him. God break my heart for what breaks Yours.


Sunsets And I Wish I Had Sushi

So tonight as I was leaving PowerSource (which went really well by the way) with the sounds of David Crowder Band's Sunsets & Sushi album still ringing in my ears and as I walked out of the building I looked out on what I refer to as a "Lynchburg Sunset". See Lynchburg is right by the Blue Ridge Parkway and the shadows and light that those mountains catch at the end of an evening are absolutely beautiful. They remind me of how creative and artist our God is. I love the sunsets here. Simply beautiful.

The One Who Is And Was And Is Coming

I spent some time this morning reading through the book of Revelation. It's the last book in the Bible written by the "beloved disciple" John. John has been exiled to the Isle of Patmos and there he receives this final revelation from God of what is to come for the world. In the first chapter of this letter of prophecy John writes about this God who is describing these things to him through an angel that has come to show him. John begins:

"Grace and peace to you from the One who is and was and is coming, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ. Jesus is the faithful witness, the first among those raise from the dead. He is the ruler fo the kings of the earth . He is the One who loves us, who made us free from out sins with the blood of his death. He made us to e a kingdom of priests who serve God his Father. To Jesus Christ be the glory and power forever and ever! Amen. Look, Jesus is coming with the clouds, and everyone will see him, even those who stabbed him. And all peoples of the earth will cry loudly because of him. Yes, this will happen! Amen. The Lord God says, "I am the aplpha and the Omega. I am the One who is and was and is coming. I am the Almighty."" (Revelation 1:4b-8 - NCV)

I love the way God describes himself as "the One who is and was and is coming". God has no boundaries. He is infinite and beyond anything I could type here in mere words. He is presently alive and existing as a God who is active in our lives. He didn't create us and dump us. He longs to have us know Him more deeply. He already knows us deeper than we know ourselves. He was, or always has existed. He has no time limits. Instead He is the beginning the Alpha of all things and only He can be the Omega or end of all things. And then the best part of all this is that He is coming again to start this world fresh with a new Heaven and a new Earth. He is coming. There is hope. Just as the Jews whispered of a coming Messiah we also, not needing to whisper, can shout to all that the Messiah is coming again.

How great is our God.


Pedal Boards, Giftings, Talents, & The Body Of Christ

So I know this might sound really cheesy but, last night I felt like I was worshipping God by packing up my pedal board.... God reminded me of some beautiful truths. Let me explain.

Last night I had the privilege of leading worship for the Prayer Service Kick-Off for Living Proof our High School ministry. It was a small group that came to pray but, pray we did. It was awesome.

So I normally use my pedal board set up with my acoustic as well as my electric because I like my Boss DD-6 looping feature and some Boss Super Chorus effects etc along with my CryBaby Wah make for a really rich sound. Well last night I didn't end up using any of that. We had run everything through the system and then literally seconds before we started decided to go "unplugged" more than we already were since we were a small group. It was awesome and the best choice for the moment. After all was said and done I quietly walked up on stage and began to unplug my cables and pack up my board. I began to think of all the little intricate circuitry that is involved to make each of my pedals work they way they are supposed to. How each linking cable from one pedal bridges the gap to the next so they can work together in a family unit to create one sound.

All of this reminded me of the Church. God has created each of us with individual giftings and talents in order to worship him effectively with our lives. Each of these individual gift/talent groups when combined with the gift/talent groupings of others create the Church in unison as it's supposed to be. The Church then can create "one sound" or "one love" to give to the Father and to show to the world around.

The Apostle Paul talks about this in his letter to the church in Ephesus. In chapter 4 verse 11-13a Paul begins "And Christ gave gift to people - he made some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to go and tell the Good News, and some to have the work of caring for and teaching God's people. Christ gave those gifts to prepare God's holy people for the work of serving to make the body of Christ stronger. This work must continue until we are all joined together in the same faith and in the same knowledge of the Son of God." In my pedal board some pedals are made to create distortion and sustain. Some are created to add delay or looping effects, some for chorus and flanger, and some for funky wah sounds. The point is while each of these are amazing on their own. They can be so much better when combined with one another working to the goal of creating one sound.

I just stopped for a moment and looked down at my board and said a prayer to our God thanking Him for the gift/talent mix He has given me. I also prayed I would never misuse this mix for my own glory.

I closed the lid and locked the latches on my board and my prayer with the help of a friend and then packed up my guitar... (that's another blog.... not really) and went to spend some time at the prayer stations set up around the room. God did some working in my heart for our ministry last night. He made real in my heart some things that had been real in my head but, weren't making the connection.

The room is open from 7am-5pm all week till Friday for prayer. I'm planning on spending more time in prayer over our ministry there. God speak to me in the little things. Show me You in the margins of life. Continue to break my heart for what breaks Yours.

You can see pictures from the Prayer Service here. Living Proof Prayer Service



"As one of the two primary entities that God has positioned to have influences in the world, the church is uniquely and strategically placed on this planet to display God's glory to the world. The role of the church is simply to turn on the light." - Reggie Joiner | THINK ORANGE

If the role of the church is to turn on the light in order for those lost in darkness to find Jesus the question must be asked. Is your local body, part of the universal Church, shining it's light to the world? If your church turned out the lights would anyone know the difference?

When describing Christ-followers of the early church Peter writes to remind that the church then of who they are in Christ Jesus. "But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light." (1Peter 2:9 ESV) Being called from darkness into the marvelous light of Jesus Christ is no doubt a biblical truth. The beautiful thing about the role of the church is that since we are in the marvelous light of Christ we are able to reflect that light, brightly, to the still darkened world around us. The church is called to be a bright light. If we're not turning the lights on then we aren't being the church.

"The Church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time. God became Man for no other purpose." - C.S. Lewis | Mere Christianity

Are we doing this? If not why not?
If not can we call ourselves the church?
I don't think we can call ourselves part of God's Church or His Kingdom and not turn on the lights.
Let's be light in a dark world and stop making a mockery of our Lord and King.

"Into marvelous light I'm running. Out of darkness out of shame. By the cross You are the Truth, You are the Life, You are the Way." - Charlie Hall: Marvelous Light | Fly Into Daybreak


Soundtrack To The Movie Of My Life - iPod Shuffle Game

It's been a while since I've done one of these. It's a guilty pleasure. FAIL I know. Anyway here goes.
1. Open your library (iTunes, Media Player, iPod, etc)
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every question, type the song that's playing
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button
6. Don't lie and try to pretend you're cool...

Song - Band - Album

Opening Credits :
Vanity - Smashing Pumpkins - Machina II: Friends & Enemies Of Modern Music
Fitting since I feel pretty vain playing this game.

Waking Up :
Wake Up Call feat. David Banner - Maroon 5 - Call And Response: The Remix Album
I'm not kidding. Ironic.

First Day of School :
Look Where We Are - Hoobastank - Every Man For Himself
Interesting. Haven't listened to this band in a while. Good stuff. Reminds me of HIgh School.

Falling in Love :
I Got The Girl - Bon Jovi - Crush
Wow. This is creepy how accurate these are so far.

Fight Song :
The Strangest Day - Jonah 33 - The Strangest Day
This song is pretty chill. I've never been in a real fight in my life. So I guess it's fitting. If it's referring to a school fight song well... I wasn't very involved in that type of thing either.

Prom :
Myself - Fireflight - The Healing Of Harms
Fitting. I wasn't going to go to prom. One of my good friends told me she'd pay for everything but dinner if I went with her. So I did. Fireflight has a girl lead vocalist as well. Hmmmm.

Life :
I Was Once A Loyal Lover (EP Version) - Death Cab For Cutie - The Open Door
I really like Death Cab. Good song. Not sure it ties very well with my life but... rules are rules.

Mental Breakdown :
Battleship - Hot Rod Circuit - The Underground Is A Dying Breed
Feels like a mental breakdown for me. Sounds like a get away from everything and think song.

Driving :
How The Lonely Keep - Terminal - How The Lonely Keep
I first have to say... I really like Terminal... I'm sad they broke up. I like driving alone down old country roads. This song fits quite well.

Flashback :
Glass Of Water - Coldplay - Prospekt's March EP
I was kind of hoping this would be an 80's throw back or something. Good song regardless.

Getting Back Together :
What Do You Go Home To? - Explosions In The Sky - All Of A Sudden I Miss Everything
You have to hear this song to know how much it fits.

Your Worst Mistake :
Dry The River - Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster - II
Nice. This mix needed some metal.

Wedding :
Underneath It All - Pillar - Where Do We Go From Here
Sounds like it's going to be a pretty rockin' wedding....my real one was AMAZING!!!!

Birth of Child :
A Critical Proposal - Ghost Of A Fallen Age - Rumors Of The Secret War
This must be one hard labor.... wow. Intense. Haven't listened to these guys in a while.

Final Battle :
Hand On My Heart - Petra - Unseen Power
This ballet must stink. Or I die. This song feels like it belongs in a bad 80's romance.

Death Scene :
Sometimes You Have To Ask Yourself - MXPX - At The Show

Funeral Song:
Year Of The Dog - Sufjan Stevens - Enjoy Your Rabbit
Strange album. Strange song. Strange place for it to fall in all this. So strange has found it's place.

End Credits :
Set Me Up - Project 86 - Drawing Black Lines
Besides being this bands best album ever. I really like this for the ending.

Comment with links to your soundtracks. : )


A Speck In The Sun

A speck in the sun defined by crooked lines connected and filled like a vacuum black void
A space to create out of darkness a place in which hopes and dreams were once realized
A small step for man and a leap for mankind bringing all that we know into complete perspective
As we once believed we were gods we walked tall and walked proud as we conquered this blue ball of dirt
Then out into the unknown we launched from our homes and saw just how simple we are
A speck in the sun, just a speck in the one great big universe
Held by hands that created so delicate with passion the world we arrogantly think is our own
With love he breathed life into dust to make man then took a rib for his wife
To walk and commune to be one and bite true but it all fell away with a bite
Because we believed we were gods we walked tall and walked proud
As the dirt we were created from stained us.