Monthly Archives: May 2012

It’s even bigger than I thought

I’ve never in my life been extremely blown away by anything.  I honestly can say, there has only been a few moments where I have truly been speechless.  My mind raced with emotion, thoughts, and adrenaline to the point where I had to stop whatever I was doing:

1. My last high school baseball game ever played.  Cheesy and stupid, probably.  Nonetheless, I was speechless.  I remember getting dropped off by the team bus to our home field where our cars were parked.  I sat in the dug out with my best friend since 2nd grade and many other guys that I had shared a passion with for years… and it had all ended.  In that moment, I was blown away…

2. Walking alongside a high school guy wrestling with the concept of Jesus, salvation, the cross, and if it was all actually true.  And if it was why did it matter?  Seeing the Holy Spirit woo this young man to Himself over the course of a semester and it all coming to a boiling point one night with his closest friends and myself when he finally said, “I need Jesus, and I think he’s worth giving up everything else.”  Never in my life have I tangibly seen a transformation of the heart happen like that SO intentionally.  I was stunned and for a moment, speechless.

3. The second my best friend, and now wife, locked eyes with me as she walked down the aisle on our wedding day.  People always talk about their “tears of joy”, and I’ve never really bought that… but when I saw my wife walking to me, ready to commit to loving my jacked up self, I for the first time felt and experienced tears of joy… and in that moment, I was blown away.

4.  These past two days…..

This whole writing thing has been so good for me.  Not only blogging, but simply writing more on my own time.  My thoughts, analysis of things, and opinions.  It has helped me develop a stronger sense of foundation for where I find Truth and how I will apply it.  However, this week, I have been blown away by my small view of what the Gospel is, and how BIG it is.  Let me explain….

I’m reading the book of John right now, for personal devotion and study, but also because my ministry will be unpacking it next year.  I am also currently reading, Explicit Gospel, by Matt Chandler.  And as I expected, it’s tremendous.

Seriously, just pick it up and read it.

I have always loved and fallen passionately in love what the Gospel is to me personally, and the implications it has on my life, personally.  You can ask anyone that has watched or heard me preach at anything, to college kids, youth, or even peers.  Once I start talking about the state of our lives before Christ and where we are after Christ–I’m in my sweet spot.  Chandler in his book calls this part of the gospel the “gospel on the ground” view.  To him, this is only part of it.  And for me, it was as far as I ever got.

Silly me.  This story is even bigger than I thought…

Chandler spends about 50 pages in his book discussing the “gospel in the air”.

Oh. My. Goodness.

I have never in my life even processed through the eternal implications and reality of what was, is, and is coming to be of not only my personal life, but the entirety of Creation because of the cosmic cross of Jesus Christ.  By now, the only people reading this blog are people that know me and know that this is a place where I dialogue about Christ so here we go….

This is HUGE.  The cross didn’t just effect my sins, reconciling me to the cross, but it was the turning point of Christ redeeming the entirety of both the spiritual creation (souls) but also the physical creation (the world).  He created this for His glory, and he is making a spectacle out of it for HIS glory.(Isaiah 40:3-4)  This is where the term “mission” comes from.  Because we are actually a part of the most incredible STORY of all time, that is unfolding right in front of our eyes!

Okay, and this through me over the top.

What’s nuts is this….

This world is broken.  It’s fallen.  We see that from the beginning, but it’s not just MAN that’s fallen.  It’s the world itself.  That’s why there is so much natural disaster and chaos.  Scripture calls it “birthing pains”.  Everything we see, touch, smell, feel on this earth is not in its PUREST form.  That’s God’s job to reconcile those things back to himself one day.  So case and point…. the beautiful sunsets we see, the incredible mountain ranges we witness, THOSE ARE broken creation still.  He hasn’t even scratched the surface with what he can do.

Wait, what? Creation itself isn’t perfect yet?

No.  Things die.  Rose bushes need water.  Eventually the wither and fall from the vines.  Trees grow and grow and grow to eventually die.  All creation, like man, is broken and needs to be restored.  And one day it will….

As I have been reading these chapters… I truly and honestly was blown away.  Why did I think that my God didn’t have his hand in every little detail?  He is a meticulous God.  He is so massively and incredibly perfect in his plan that everything in the midst of all the chaos is leading up to make perfect sense.

That God created.  He sustained.  And he will reconcile the world back to its original and perfect status….

Reflecting His Glory.  Revealing His Kingdom.  And most of all….

His.

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One sentence…

It’s crazy how one sentence can completely change everything.  Has that ever happened to you?  You know someone says something, whether good or bad, and they didn’t even mean much by it, but it changes everything.  Well, I can confidently say yes, it happened a few weeks ago.  However, I would have missed this if it wasn’t for this past six months leading me up to this point… so let’s just start there shall we?

This year has been sort of a Reformation of sorts for me and my understanding of me.  I have learned more about myself this past year then all other years combined.  We can crack 60% of it to the fact that marriage truly is the most sanctifying thing someone can do.  The other 40% is a combo of a bunch of stuff.  But to tie a nice pretty bow around it, The Lord has been so faithful with showing me the importance and power of truly knowing His Word.  It can’t be stressed enough–okay moving….

Because of connections, I came in contact with a local pastor at a church here in Waco.  My wife and I were not going to his church, but he just wanted to sit down and here about my life.  We continued to meet about once a week for a month or so.  No particular reason to why we were meeting.  I think we were both just a refreshing and a nice change from our everyday networks of people.  Finally, after 2 months of hanging out he finally told me to at least come worship with him one Sunday.  I’ll be honest I figured he would ask eventually.  I knew it was a small church, and he talked a lot bout re-planting it… he keep using the word, Gospel-Centered.  My thoughts to that were… great buzz word pal.  Typical pastor.

More like typical prideful ME.

Fast-foward. I have seen what he means by this, and seen the local body actually do this well! My wife and I have now been involved in this church for the past four months and love it’s vision, it’s purpose, and it’s passion to violently pursue the Gospel.

Okay so you know where I’ve been, now to the point…

A few weeks ago, a close friend came to visit Waco for the weekend.  She and I worked together last year for the youth ministry, and this year she has gone to another city to continue her work in youth ministry.  It was after she spent the night with us at our youth club worshipping and hearing me preach…. and after she said this:

“There is something SO good about the simplicity of what we should do…..The Gospel.”

She must have caught me on a good night.

But, there it was.  What else is of greater value?  Why else do we do stupid all night video game sessions and spend hour upon hours planning for the next BIG event, when what they truly need is the FULL Gospel.  We think we need to water things down, or make Jesus pretty so kids will “get it”.

We don’t give our kids enough credit.  And we give even LESS credit to the Holy Spirit I think….

For the first time in doing ministry, I feel like I have learned something and applied it and we have seen the Lord just say, “Yup.  That’s it.”  Hopefully people don’t freak out because it has to do with numbers in ministry….

Just hear me out.

Our weekly club nights dwindled a little bit last year in numbers.  At the beginning of this year, one of our objectives in our ministry plan(fancy word for marketing strategy) to get more people in the door was to, and I quote:

“Boost club numbers through a new club environment that is appealing and FRESH”

After really learning from my good friend and now pastor about the importance of just bringing the Gospel, our staff decided that we would do just that.  We have spent all year simply bringing The Gospel in its fullness to club every single week through the preaching of the Word and through our worship.  Not shying away from the Truth of what it means and the implications it has on our lives.  And man…. were we blown away.

Five months after simply preaching the Gospel every WEEK and really focusing on the finished work of the Cross of Christ, we have seen exponential growth!  We went from 20 kids a week, to upper 40’s EVERY week.  Not only in numbers, but in fruit.  Because of that I have seen five kids come to know the Lord at club or because of the stirring of the Spirit from  the revealing of the Word.  Talk about humbling, all it took was making it more about The Lord, and less about us!  It’s funny how I always find a way to get in the way.

I too often expect too little from people, and far less from the Lord when it comes to the ability the revealing of the Gospel has to soften hearts.  I never want to belittle the power of the Gospel and keep the joys of the mysteries of Christ from my domain of influence.

So what’s your domain of influence?  And is that influence getting clouded with other stuff? Or is the Gospel what drives, fuels, and is seen from your platform?  It’s funny how one sentence can hold so much weight….

Go and make disciples of all nations.