Sunday, April 30, 2006

Are You Ready to Sing, Church?

My absolute favorite song is Third Day's, My Hope is in You. It is almost straight from Psalm 25. Like pitchers who enter the game to a certain song, I play this each Sunday morning to "get ready." As you can tell, my pregame routine consists primarily of placing my hope in God. Sure I shower, suit up, study, and speak to God about the people. But when it comes to speaking to the people about God, my hope is entirely in God.

In fact, when it comes to life period, my hope is in God.

Download it, play it, pray it, live it.

I love it!

To you, O Lord,
I lift my soul
In you, O God,
I place my trust
Do not let me
be put to shame
Nor let my enemies
triumph over me

My hope is you

Show me your ways
Guide me in Truth
In all my days

My hope is you

I am, O Lord,
filled with your love
You are, O God,
my salvation
Guard my life
and rescue me
My broken spirit shouts
My mended heart cries out...

Third Day

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Bring It!

Every once and a while someone will stop me in the foyer before I preach and exhort me to "bring it!" and what they are referring to of course, is the Word of God. The problem with that is two fold:

1. I must "have" it in order to "bring" it. Some Sundays I honestly don't own the text and the text doesn't own me and I'm just trying to point people to it the best I can. Other times, I've been so convicted by Holy Spirit and so filled with a God message that "bringing it" is my only option. It is, as Jeremiah so eloquently put it, "like a fire within my bones."

2. The listeners of the message must "want it" to a degree. I believe that the Holy Spirit can (and does) change a heart mid message however, usually the ones who come expecting a word from the Lord and the ones who get it. If someone is looking for a pick me up and God is bringing a knock me down, then what we often get is a classic "failure to communicate"

Mike Cope shared a great thought about preaching this morning and his first comment came from a guy named Lawrence Underwood, who shared this great quote from Alistair Begg: "Think yourself dry, read yourself full, write yourself clear, and pray yourself hot."

I was Mike's second comment (early bird gets the worm - Second rat gets the cheese!) and shared a quote about preaching that has been heavy on my heart and comes from St. Francis de Sales, a seventeenth century saint and the patron saint of authors: "The test of a preacher is that his congregation goes away saying not, "What a lovely sermon," but, "I will do something!"

I hope we all do something with the Word we receive this morning. It is time for both the speaker and the listener to "bring it" to a world that is in desperate need for "it"

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Getting Your Grub On, Throwing Bones, and Catching Some Z's

Today was a good day! It began shortly after 7:00am with a trip out to Christ Haven for a 4 church workday. This wonderful event was spearheaded by my good buddy Kyle Conway and included men from Southlake Boulevard Church, Southlake 11/7 Church, Cross Timbers Community Church and our church. Probably the coolest thing about this event was just the fact that God used Kyle to make it happen. God is transforming Kyle and I'm so excited.

Churches come together all the time to join forces for such worthy causes. To understand what made this workday so special, you would have to know that Cross Timbers, Lake Cities, and 11/7 all were "splanted" from Southlake. I use that term "splant" very kindly. To put it another way, these churches historically haven't shared a ton of fellowship. In fact, Kyle joked that he was going to print t-shirts for the workday that read, "Splitfest '06" with the tagline saying, "My church split and all I got was this lousy t-shirt" Funny guy that Conway!

So we get out there to Christ Haven and do the whole "Hi & Howdy" thing which with guys is always a tough process. Then this cowboy fella tells us that we are going to be "grubbing" Mesquite. Grubbing Mesquite? What? Turns out that grubbing means chopping down/digging out and clearing the ground of those pesky Mesquite trees. So that was fun. And tough.

We finished "getting our grub on" before noon and then we got to "get our grub on" and do some damage to a few tons of brisket. Alan Bastyr was with me and I had to take him to Lewisville to catch a bus so I had to leave a few minutes early. All in all, it was a great day of fellowship. I believe God will use it as a beginning of a greater and needed healing between these four faith families.

I followed up a morning of hard work with an afternoon of hard work in the garage and yard. John and I were able to get a few minutes of father/son time in and we went to the club and putted for a while on the practice green. Kim's famous Nachos followed and then it was off to the church for forty two night. For those of you who are like I was a few months ago and have no clue what forty-two means, I'll bring you up to speed. Forty two is a game played with game played with dominos and is really fun. The crowd is a bit older but the atmosphere is so fun.
We "threw some bones" for a couple of hours and then it was back home for my typical early Saturday night bedtime.

So that brings us to now. 9:38pm.


You are loved.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Planting and Watering

Just got in from Mission Resource Network's Benefit Dinner tonight and about to go on a walk with Kim, Emily and special guest/good friend, Alan Bastyr. But before I do I must share a few words about the recipients of the Crystal Globe award, Wendell and Betty Broom.

Wendell was a missions teacher back in the late 80's when I was young and green (as opposed to now - old and green) and his life was a class in missions of itself. The guy lived and breathed missions. In fact, if you go to the Halbert Institute for Missions part of the ACU site, you will find some incredible accolades about brother Broom. But neither Wendell or Betty believe their press and tonight was another testimony to their humble spirit and God focus.

When sharing a few thoughts about his winning of this wonderful award, Wendell had this to say:

(paraphrased) Betty and I live by two principles:

- Seek first the Kingdom of God and all the other things will be added to you.

- Never forget that Paul planted, Apollos watered, but God caused the growth!

And then he thanked God for allowing him and Betty the blessing of watching Him grow the church!


Congratulations Wendell and Betty! You deserve the front row seats to the "God Growth Show" that your lives have witnessed!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Utterly Amazed

Last night my friend, Brian Miller, quickly referenced a verse in Habakkuk in his class and this morning I felt led to read the entire book. Actually, I felt led to read the verse that Brian shared with us again and then got sucked in by the beauty of it all and read the entire book.

Here is what the New American Commentary has to say about Habakkuk:

Habakkuk stands unique among the prophetic books of the Old Testament in form and content. Formally, HabakkukÂ’s book records a dialog with God and a concluding hymn. Instead of speaking to the people for God, Habakkuk spoke to God for the people. In content, Habakkuk focused on the problem of injustice in GodÂ’s world. He saw that evil never seemed to be punished and asked what GodÂ’s response to such evil and suffering was going to be.
In his dialog with God, Habakkuk asked God directly how the wicked could go unpunished. God answered: You must wait to see the work I am about to do on the stage of world history. Next the prophet asked, How could God use an evil instrument like Babylon to punish his own poor people, who were surely more righteous than Babylon? HabakkukÂ’s message is set within a backdrop of real people facing real questions about real human suffering. The prophetÂ’s questions prompted GodÂ’s revelation. The revelation centered in words that have repeatedly transformed the world: the righteous shall live by their faithfulness to God.

Barker, K. L. (2001, c1999). Vol. 20: Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (Page 245). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

After reading the brief book I found myself reflecting on the injustices of my own life:

I want God to amaze me but the problem is that I'm always trying to amaze God.

I want God to stop tolerating the treacherous but then I continue in my own sin un-fazed most of the time.

I want God to give me figs, grapes, olives, food, sheep, and cattle so that I might have joy. God wants me to be joyful in Him alone.

I rely on my own strength and live in the lowlands of life. God wants me to make Him my strength so that I might live in the heights.

I know God is continually transforming me. I suppose if He told me what He was up to - I wouldn't believe it.