Monday, May 30, 2005
Still thinking about that watermelon? Is it because you are concentrating on not thinking about that watermelon?
That's the situation most of us are in. We are constantly surrounded by many different situations that cloud our minds with things that God doesn't want us to be thinking about. These could be things like constant worries, or maybe a lustful thought. We try to stop thinking about these things, but what happens is we end up thinking about it more.
The truth is that you can't stop thinking about something. Our mind has to have something that is always keeping it busy. We try to get rid of these thoughts, but they keep coming back.
What many don't realize is that if we try to just clear our minds and think about nothing, we soon find out that our brain doesn't work that way. The only way to get these thoughts out of your mind is to replace them with the thoughts that God wants us to have.
The devil loves clouding our minds with things that will make us stumble. He knows that if he can get into our minds, then he can take control.
I encourage every one of you to remember that God wants us to have Him on our minds, and just like God cannot be where there is evil, evil thoughts cannot be where the thoughts that God wants us to have are. Pray that God will watch over what comes into your mind, and make sure you make your effort to block those things as well.
Sunday, May 29, 2005
The “prohibition” type of reaction is the type of reaction you get from someone that you are witnessing to and they feel like they have to obey the laws that you say God wants them to follow. You put them on the spot and say things like, “You must do this…” and “Stop doing that!” This type of witnessing, the in-your-face-you-big-disgrace type of witnessing, can not only create hostility, but it can also make things worse… hence the “prohibition” type of reaction.
When a law is in place, people either obey the law, or suffer the consequences of their actions; they either change their heart and the way they think and react, or they continue to do what is wrong. By making someone feel forced into following God's law, we aren't changing anything about them or the way they think. Chances are, this type of witnessing will not create any change in the lives of those you witness to. We must help prepare their heart for their acceptance of Christ!
So, the next time you are witnessing to someone, remember that we cannot force someone into accepting Christ; we must help them have a change of heart. Do not try to use law as a way of changing their heart; help change their heart so that they may find comfort in obeying it. If you don’t change the heart, the “source”, then the laws that are put in front of them (whether they are government laws or God’s laws) will not be fully followed.
2 Corinthians 4:6, “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’
made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the
glory of God in the face of Christ."
Thursday, May 26, 2005
As Christians, we are blessed because we have a personal relationship with God, the most important person ever! There is nobody more important than God, yet many times we aren't excited about being with Him. The devil does a great job at distracting us with worldly things, but we must remember that God wants His believers to be full court followers, not full court fakers!
Another thing I would do when I’d meet someone famous or important, was go around telling everyone I knew that I had met this person. Since we know the most important person ever, we should be excited about sharing Him with others! Sadly, there are many Christians out there who have never shared Christ. You can’t experience the excitement that God has to offer if you don’t share Him!
Are you struggling to find excitement in your relationship with Christ? Are you at a point where you feel like you are faking your excitement? I encourage you to dig deep in His word, the Bible. Keep a prayer journal and then later on look back and see how God has been there for you. Pray to God and tell Him that you want to become more excited about spending time with Him. By doing these things, you'll find that your relationship with God will be filled with sincere excitement. After all, you're in a personal relationship with The One who made everything! What’s not to be excited about?
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Sunday, May 22, 2005
Nobody ever said that being a Christian was easy. Many people accept Christ because they think that God will do everything for them. The problem that they run into is the fact that living life as a Christian is about our relationship with God; it’s not a relationship where God does everything for you. We must work at our walk with Christ. The hard part is that, as humans, we fail to do our part.
I recently sat down at a Starbucks to ponder why being a Christian is so hard. I began to jot down what I felt were many of the reasons.
First, I noted that because we know that our relationship with Christ is something that we have to work at, we purposely distract ourselves with secular things so that we don’t have to work on it. Think about a couple that has been married for a while, but all of a sudden things start to go wrong. It is more than common to see one of the partners indulge themselves in secular things (like drinking and other temporary fixes) so that they don’t have to worry about working on their relationship with their spouse. Or, just as common, the person who allows themselves to be over worked so they don’t have to go home and face a situation that they have to work at in order to keep things alive. The same goes for Christians: we know that our relationship with God is important, and will ultimately decide our fate, but because it is not something that we get without work, we focus our attention on worldly things. I know there are plenty of times where I would rather watch T.V. instead of reading my Bible and getting to know God better. I don’t have to work at watching T.V., but I do have to make an effort in my relationship with Christ.
Another reason why we struggle with our relationships with Christ is that we don’t walk the walk, we talk the walk. There have been plenty of times where I have messed up, and then told myself that next time I will try better. The fact is that there is always a “next time”. I try to talk myself into doing better, instead of taking the time to address the issues in my heart. Think about it, a coach won’t get much out of a player when he tells him to try harder if the player doesn’t know how to fix what he is doing wrong. The coach must help the player understand that what they are doing needs to be fixed so that they may become better.
There are also plenty of times where we give up at working on our relationship with God because something bad happens. Maybe we prayed really hard asking God to provide us with a job that we were looking at, but instead of getting the job, we didn’t even get a call back. Should we give up or should we continue to have faith that God will provide? Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” This verse gives me hope when I feel that God has left me alone to fend for myself. I know that even though things may not be going MY way, they are going HIS way, and God’s way is always best.
Another reason why we tend to fail is because we have a bad definition of wisdom. As a Christian, it is important that we have enough wisdom to determine if something is wrong or right. Many Christian’s definition of wisdom stops there though. A good definition of wisdom is not only having knowledge, but having the discipline to carry out what that knowledge tells us. If I lived my life based on the bad definition of wisdom (that is that wisdom is only knowledge) then when I came to a fork in the road, and I have to decide which way I am going to go, my path will not be set because, even though I may know which way is better, I lack the discipline needed in order to carry out the way which is wisest.
So how do we become wise? We must learn to listen, and to ask questions. Wisdom is freely available to those who will stop talking and start paying attention—to God and His word, to parents, and to wise counselors. Don’t think you can ever become wise? Proverbs says otherwise. Check out these verses: Proverbs 2:1-6; 9:1-10; 10:1,5,8,14,19,23; 11:2; 12:18; 13:10,20; 14:8; 15:7,31; 16:23; 17:24; 18:15; 19:11,20; 20:1; 21:11,20,30; 23:4; 29:3,8,11,15; 30:5-6.
It is my hope that, by listing the things that frequently cause us to stumble, we will be able to strengthen our relationship with Christ.
Friday, May 20, 2005
Last night Pierce brought home some of his work from school in a binder that his teacher had made. Inside this folder were some pictures of Pierce at school. He's currently 6 years old and he will be in the first grade next year. Check out these pictures that I scanned:
See any resemblance? Here is a picture of myself with Pierce and Carson, my other brother who is 13.
Ahh, to be young.
Thursday, May 19, 2005
For those of you who used to read my xanga, you'll recognize this post. It got such a great cult following (kidding) that I decided to post it again!
The Poser Gangsta: This gangster tries his best to be someone that he's not. No matter how hard he tries, he'll never be who he wants to be because he's always trying to be someone other then who he really is.
The Pirate Gangsta: This gangster sees everything from only one perspective: HIS. It's all about him him him. He takes what he wants, and never thinks of others. Nobody ever wants to be his friend because he never makes them feel wanted. In fact, those that do end up his friend are usually used by him.
The Party Gangsta: This gangster always tries to have a good time. He's always either drunk or high. He's always trying to get his temporary fix. He can't seem to get things together so he parties more to forget about his troubles. All in all, the "fun" he has in the present will mess up his life completely.
The Multicolored Gangsta: This gangster loves wearing the latest fashion. He feels like he has to have all of his cool clothes in order to feel like he belongs. He thrives when his threads are colorful and new. In reality, he has a low self-esteem. He never really discovers himself. You'll find him with the poser gangsta.
The Puppet Gangsta: This gangster leads a life that isn't his own. He sees what society says life is, and he lives it that way. He's never really stopped to think about what is right and wrong, he just does what everyone says is right. Most of the time he's passed out with the party gangsta.
The Elf Gangsta: This gangsta got tired of where he was livin so he left and started his own life. The problem is that he was made to be where he began. He can't be used where he is now and the life he lives is a lie and he knows it. He doesn't want to go back home in fear of unacceptance when he gets home.
The Oldschool Gangsta: This gangster thrives on doing things the same way all the time. He never does anything new and leads a very boring life. He knows that there are plenty of opportunities out there for him, but he'd rather feel "ok" where he's at than have to try something new and feel "great".
The Jungle Gangsta: This gangster lives a very hectic life. He worries all the time about all of the scary things that his life brings. He hides from these things so he won't have to deal with them. All in all he's a very week person. You'll usually see him with the cowboy gangsta.
The Witness Protection Gangsta: This gangster does not want to be exposed. He hides everything about him and doesn't want anybody to know why or how he lives his life. You won't ever see him with another gangster.
The Gospel Gangsta: This gangsta is all about Christ. He carries his Bible with him everywhere and let's everyone know what he's all about: GOD! All of his close friends are fellow Gospel Gangstas but you'll occasionally see him with the other gangstas trying to share God's word.
I'm sure many of you are wondering where I was going with this. Others may be thinking, what is wrong with this guy? And still, others might be extremely interested in finding out where they can get a cool santa hat like The Elf Gangsta.
The point was to show you that we all lead different lives, but the only true way of living our life is to live for God, just like the Gospel Gangsta. The other gangstas are all lacking in a lot of areas in their lives.
The poser gangsta needs to stop pretending to be someone else and start living the way Christ wants him to: as himself. We are all made special and unique in our own ways. We should never want to be something that we aren't.
Psalms 139:14, "I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well."
We should never be like the Pirate gangsta because we are to love others before ourselves.
Matthew 5:3, "Blessed are those who recognize they are spiritually helpless. The kingdom of heaven belongs to them."
The Party Gangsta is definitely someone you shouldn't look up to or hang with. When you hang around this type of person, like let's say you go a party with alcohol or other sinful things, then you are putting yourself in a dangerous position. You are walking right into temptation.
1 John 2:15-17, "Don't love the world and what it offers. Those who love the world don't have the Father's love in them. Not everything that the world offers--physical gratification, greed, and extravagant lifestyles--comes from the Father. It comes from the world, and the world and its evil desires are passing away. But the person who does what God wants lives forever."
The Cowboy Gangsta is also someone who you shouldn't be like or hang around. The Bible commands us that we are to remain sexually pure until marriage. Some people think sex is bad. It's not! God created sex, but He wants it only in the context of marriage.
1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 says, "It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God."
Though it is not wrong for us to have nice things, if the things that we posses take control of our lives and represent who we are then we have a problem. Ultimitely, we should be able to give up all that we have and follow the Lord. Unlike The Multicolored Gangsta, if you can commit yourself to the Lord and have a lot of great things too, then more power too ya.
Mark 10:25, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
The Puppet Gangsta must learn that he shouldn't do what the world says he needs to do. He must know that what God wants him to do is not what the world wants him to do. He needs to turn from his ways and return to the Lord.
Romans 12:2, "Don't become like the people of this world. Instead, change the way you think. Then you will always be able to determine what God really wants--what is good, pleasing, and perfect."
Just like The Elf Gangsta we too will realize that we were meant to be where we began. God made us all for a specific reason. We should not be scared to return to Him, He will not turn us away.
Ezekiel 18:32, "I don't want anyone to die," declares the Almighty LORD. "Change the way you think and act!"
God has given us this life so that we may enjoy it, but we can't truly enjoy it until we accept Him. The problem with The Old School Gangsta is that he's never accepted Christ because he doesn't mind his life being just "ok". He has no idea what life is truly about. He must act now or tomorrow may be too late!
John 9:4, "We must do what the one who sent me wants us to do while it is day. The night when no one can do anything is coming."
We should not worry about what is going to happen? The Jungle Gangsta is worrying for no reason! He is not in control, only God is. It would be best for him to pray to God and ask Him to remind him that He is in control.
Philippians 4:6-7,"Never worry about anything. But in every situation let God know what you need in prayers and requests while giving thanks. Then God's peace, which goes beyond anything we can imagine, will guard your thoughts and emotions through Christ Jesus."
The Witness Protection Gangsta needs to wake up. He thinks he can hide his sins and that will make them get better. That's not what the Bible says!
Proverbs 28:13, "Whoever covers over his sins does not prosper. Whoever confesses and abandons them receives compassion."
The Gospel Gangsta is the man to be. He's got his priorities straight because his commitments line up with God's principles. He understands that God wants us all to spread His holy word and to be a light to a dark world. We should all strive to be more Godly, just like The Gospel Gangsta!
Matthew 4:19, "Jesus said to them, 'Come, follow me! I will teach you how to catch people instead of fish.'"
I hope this illustration has helped you realize the many different ways that people live and how it effects them spiritually. You should know though, the only truly happy person in The Gangsta Family is the Gospel Gangsta!
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Web Monkey: http://www.webmonkey.com
Web Monkey is a great website with a lot of tutorials over HTML and much more.
HTML Goodies: http://www.htmlgoodies.com/
Though this website's cluttered look may be intimidating, many of the tutorials are pretty good.
HTML Code Tutorial: http://www.htmlcodetutorial.com/
This website gives you a reference to all of the HTML tags.
I hope this gives everyone a starting place on how they can use HTML in order to change up their blogs. Also, if you are interested in tutorials over Photoshop, Flash, and more, then check out Spoono.
Spoono is also another great tutorial website, but you won't find much on HTML. There are a lot of other tutorials for flash and Photoshop though.
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
One of the most common things that I see is the “Cussing Christian”. I cringe every time I hear a Christian use a word in a vulgar way. How can we proclaim that God is our father when we go around using our mouths to put people down or to say a vulgar word instead of using it to spread God’s word? I love how James 3:9-12 puts it:
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.What a powerful illustration! How can we praise God and curse men with the same mouth? You wouldn’t brush your teeth with a toothbrush used to clean out a toilet bowl would you (If you said yes then you truly are a potty mouth)? It's the same thing! You can't use that toothbrush for both things!
Another thing that is upsetting to me is when I see Christian girls wearing extremely revealing clothes. The only thing that wearing things like that accomplishes is attracting the wrong type of guy. What’s worse is when they wear these clothes to church! How are the guys supposed to focus on what they came to church for when you are distracting them?
As Christians, we are to spread God’s love and His word, but how can we do this when the way we act is a complete 180˚ of what God wants us to do? Are you struggling with something that may cause someone to doubt whether or not your life has been changed by God? I know there are plenty of times in my life when I’ve realized that something I have said or done may void my ability to witness to the people that were around me. When we do something that we know is not what God wants us to do, then we can no longer witness to other people because we lose our credibility. Pray and ask God to help you with what you are struggling with so that you may help further His kingdom. Remember though, don’t expect God to do all of the work. You can’t change your ways unless you work at it and allow God to change you.
Monday, May 16, 2005
My friend thought that our church was named that because we have the church's website address on one of our buildings. After I told him about the FC website, he looked at me and told me that he didn't think that churches should have websites. I politely asked him why and he told me, "Because... well... because... they just shouldn't!"
I told him that with the vastness of the web, there was no reason a church shouldn't have a website. For one, what better way to reach people? And two, it allows people that are interested about the church to find out information about it before they come.
Fellowship Church is well known for it's use of technology. There are plenty of articles about FC and how we use technology in order to spread God's word. Our newest form of spreading information is the FC Blog. Here is what FC's website says about the new blog:
For Fellowship Church, a blog is simply a new way to reach people - to tell the story of Fellowship Church and the incredible things God is doing here. As our church grows larger, we must continually find ways to connect with one another and share the amazing stories of life-change that take place each and every week.
So if you ever want to know what is going down in one of America's top fastest growing churches, check out the blog and get updated!
Many of the church's staff also have blogs in which they write about their daily heppenings. For example, my boss's wife Holly, the preschool director of the Uptown satellite campus, has a blog here: http://myuptownworld.blogspot.com/. Terry Storch (FC's COO/CTO) also has a blog here: www.terrystorch.com. Not only does he have one, but his wife and his Executive Assistant does too. That's not it! There a more! Scroll down on Terry's blog and look under Fellowship Bloggers.
Sunday, May 15, 2005
Exodus 23:2 says, "Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong." Jesus said, "Unless you are faithful in small matters, you won't be faithful in large ones" (Luke 16:10 NLT). Don't be deceived into thinking that God doesn't care about the little details of our daily lives. He cares very much, and He expects us to be faithful. Proverbs 25:26 says, "If the godly compromise with the wicked, it is like polluting a fountain or muddying a spring."
Not only can our compromise harm our fellowship with God, but it can damage our witness and cost us an opportunity to lead others to the Lord. It's been said that, "People may doubt what you say, but they will believe what you do." Instead of just telling them about Jesus, we need to show them Jesus! We're always appalled when we hear the bibilical account of Peter denying Jesus. But look what the apostle Paul says in Titus 1:16: "They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him." We're no better than Peter when we choose to live our own way, rather than God's.
The Bible says that "friendship with the world is hatred toward God" (James 4:4). God's not going to settle for a superficial commitment from us. We have a higher calling on our lives, and it's the Lord's desire to use us for His glory. But He can't use us if we won't submit to His ways and plans for our lives. In 1 Timothy 1:12, Paul says, "I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service." God has promised to reward our faithfulness by giving us opportunities to serve Him. But there are other rewards for choosing to please God rather than people. When we make it our life's goal to please the Lord, the result is joy, peace, and fulfillment.
On the other hand, whenever we try to please other people, we experience frustration, disappointment, and emptiness. The truth is that living to please God is the only decent way to live. My prayer for you is that you will have the same spirit that Peter and the other disciples did when they declared, "We must obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29).
Also, keep a look out for www.preservingfaith.com. I'm close to being done with it! Hope all is going well. Leave a comment to let me know that you know that I'm on blogger now. Adios!