Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Mark driscoll did a great job with this post regarding the mother Mary and the myths behind. He said it better i could so click on the link!!!
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
Matthew 24:13 "but the one who endures to the end will be saved. It's going to be a hard road for Christians, but know this, for the rest of your life proclaiming Jesus Christ as Lord and savior will come with cost, and those may be as extreme as your life, or parts of life, or someones elses life the fact is we should already have lost our lives as Christ followers, therefore having nothing left to loose.
Just a thought on the cost of Christ following
Monday, November 30, 2009
When we sent out the request for help in this event not one person out of 30 said how much money do you need, they said what could i make. We had people tell us if they were staying or just dropping off their food? Out of all the people that brought food, drinks, ect only 5 didn't stay the whole night, (they had kids to watch).
The resaon those people stayed was not to be noticed, but to be used. They brought the food, cleaned up after, and stuck around for the joy of the moment.
All the blessings we enjoy are Divine deposits, committed to our trust on this condition, that they should be dispensed for the benefit of our neighbors. - John Calvin
people are yearning to be used to help bless others. By the way we had so much leftovers we went and feed the homless at the park the next day.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Matthew 16:15-18 “He said to them who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said you are the Christ the Son of the Living God.” “And Jesus said to him blessed are you, Simon Barjona, for flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
Simon Peter called Jesus the messiah and later Jesus said to Peter “I also say that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell will not overpower it”. You see Peter didn’t know himself until He knew Jesus.
He said your Jesus the messiah, well then your Peter the rock, (Peter means rock in greek).
The church is built on the statement of Jesus as Lord, that's the rock!
Jesus is begging for a name calling competition and wants to hear us call it out.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
At Generate HIGH last night we had an all worship night that was absolutely amazing. I had never seen more hands raised, more people on their knees, or more voices singing out then I did last night. I guess a good word to describe it is passion!
With that was an incredible communion time/prayer, great job Jarrid for bringing "Ahavah" to our attention. The kenya video inspired us for our next changing the world event as a Generate High family.
What really got me though was towards the end of the night everyone in the room flooded the front of the stage and when hands were raised it looked like a sea of people begging for Jesus.
This never gets old. 10 people came forward to be prayed for, give their lives to Jesus, or be baptized.
150 letters went out last night to many who Aly and I know and love so much and that's when it got so emotional for me. If you guys read this i hope you know how much giving those letters meant to me. Love you all so much! Can't wait for round two tonight.
Monday, November 16, 2009
This week I was inspired to write a letter. These letters are to the many High school students that attend Generate HIGH tuesday nights. It's a letter of love and inspiration because my heart has been touched.
I looked back from this past year and realized one of the greatest influences in my life is this group. They have moved me and inspired me in ways that I never would have realized without them. I don't even think they tried to move me, they just show up worship, and i'm blessed. I am truly grateful for their hearts and devotion to God.
One letter goes to the Girls and another to the guys as they have each poured somehting unique into my life.
I love all you guys! I'm so proud of you!
Sunday, November 15, 2009
I can say i don't know why He would choose to bless us like that, but the fact is we felt like David in Psalms 23. we walked down that mountian feeling all the things expressed in this chapter. We felt like we knew Him more, felt safer in His arms, felt rested although an intense hike, Felt like nothing could overpower us, saw beauty on a differernt level and ultimately grew closer to one another in the presence of His creation.
Tony Wood once said that "a change of place + change of pace = change of perspective. Never felt more ture.
Fact is life gets busy, but what are willing to do to recconect with Jesus?
Thursday, November 12, 2009
You know what's amazing in churches; Christians get visitations by God and angels all the time Hebrews 13:2. Remember how good those feel. You get empowered, shake a leg, cry, and go crazy in a good way. Then because it's only Visitation In hours, minutes, or even seconds it's gone.
What about the habitation? 1 Corinthians 3:16 says He dwells in you as you are a temple. The habitation of God is everlasting and available every single day you breathe. Could you imagine the difference? Is it better having God for a day, or having God every day?
The challenge is to conquer the issue that keeps habitation of God from happening. And you cannot conquer until you are ready to confront. Go get em Tiger!
For more encouragement read about Benaiah 2 Samuel 23:20
Habitation Vs Visitation!
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Think about this!
Burying the past things that have happened is a crucial part people’s lives. If there dead issues there is no need to hold onto them. There’s no reason to beat a dead horse, but what about the things that we bury alive?
You see there’s things present in my life today because of what happened back then that still influence me. Don’t get me wrong I’m a new creation in Christ 2 Corinthians 5:17, but I can’t bury them because I have not released/dealt with them fully.
Ever been in a psychologist’s appointment? They don’t drag up old things to taunt and hinder people; rather use the information from the past to determine the extent of which it’s alive in the unconscious today. Have you ever refused to look in your past because you still feel trapped in it?
For me I know exactly where certain traits come from and deal with them today. Visit your unconscious clean it out and make way for what’s next. If you don’t then all you have is old beliefs never allowing yourself to experience the new ones. This is why He said…↙
Luke 9:60 says “let the dead bury their own dead”. Jesus had no desire for people stuck in their unexamined past, they are useless to Him. Let the old things be buried, work on the ones that are still alive, and make way for the new.
“Those who don’t learn from the past live there”.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Similarly, new age psychological theories describe psychopathology as self preservation ultimately resulting in broken relationships. But know that emotional and spiritual healings come from opening yourself up with others.
Sin and psychopathology can be gruesome. The cure for both is not to fix people as seems the way for many psychologists today, rather to help lost souls find their way home. The prodigal son didn't need fixing, simply pointed in the right direction.
If I look at the parable of the prodigal son in psychologist eyes I see sin and psychopathology as the same thing. Its self preservation at all cost resulting in separation of things most important.
You see a lost soul doesn't need to be fixed, they need to be found!
This steams off all those people who have been told they need psychological treatment, when really I’ve seen Jesus heal them with His extended arm in invitation to be found.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
-Relevant means that someone else got there first and your trying to connect. We as a church need to stop being relevant and start leading the way.
2000 years of church makes me think, what is biblical and what's been created simply by opinion, supposed revelation, and conviction?
Notice how Peter had to clarify the theology of baptism.
Acts 2:38, "Peter said to them, repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins; and you will recieve the gift Holy Spirit" 61AD. (You could imagine that people thought they needed to be baptized to be saved).
1Peter 3:21, "corresponding to that, baptism now saves you-not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience- through the resurection of Jesus Christ" 63AD. (You could imagine what they thought when they found out baptism doesn't save you).
Things change, so what's right? Feel free to answer this subjectively or objectively if you have a thought!
Friday, October 23, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
In Matthew 12:22-24 Jesus was accused for casting out demons through Beelzebub instead of using the Holy Spirit, which is what He claimed. When you look at the blasphemy that’s when the Pharisees ignorantly suggest that the Holy Spirit is rather a demon in Jesus and not a pure and righteous part of God. Look at the specific words.
Mark 3:30 explains what the Pharisees did to specifically commit this. Notice the personal word there “He”. “So because they were saying He had an unclean spirit” It’s a personal attack in the there and now. Jesus is no longer on the earth, which means it cannot apply in the context it did in the 1st century AD.
Jesus + Holy Spirit + blasphemy (Pharisees) = Unpardonable sin. You take Jesus away and Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is no more.
Jesus is at the right hand of the Father, not here with us.
Hope that’s insightful with the things of God.
Rabbinical theology suggest you forgive someone 3x if they do wrong. Peter thought he might please Jesus by stepping it up and forgiving 7x. Jesus says none of those are sufficient, but 70x7 which is 490x you should forgive. That's not the point though.
490 is merely an example. What Jesus meant was you should forgive unumerable times. Jesus points out if you could forgive that much that it might just become part of you; therefore becoming more like Him.
The man in this story was forgiven his debt of what would amount to in our day as millions of dollars. He turned around and pointed out a man in debt to him demanding he be paid back immidiately.
If Jesus made you pay back your debt you'd be dead. He has forgiven us of all our our debt, why can't we forgive others?
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
The rich young ruler had a great calling to give everything to the poor and follow Jesus. Man would suggest that this is impossible. We can't see a minute into the future. God says whats impossible with man is possible with God.
Impossible is a word presented to the limitations of man in Matthew19:26.
Notice He uses the words hard and easy when it comes to His illustrations. he never says impossible with Him, just a bit challenging. Maybe He presents the hard so we ask for His mighty power
The second you start limiting God is the second Satan starts targeting you.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
Assume again that all these conversations result in you just simply talking about jesus, or inviting them out to your church. Now you may have established long term relationships. Again we low ball and say that 10,950 (half of 21,900) come to know the Lord and find a church, that would actually be a large number. Again this is 1 person doing this. What would the church look like?
My wife and I were able to lead 2 girls to the Lord Saturday. Sometimes you get 2 in one day and 0 on the other it may eqaul out to 7 per week.
If you love your church and love people inevitably a great deal of those people talked to will end up serving with you on the front lines. It's how we can build the church.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
This happened yesterday at Capitol Hill in Washington. Over 50,000 Muslims gathered to express their desire for peace among religion.
That's nice to want that, but it's not what Jesus says is okay.
Here it is Christians: When people ask you as Christ followers why aren't you okay with religous unity what are going to say?
We are not going to be the good guys when we say that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and NO ONE goes to the Father except through Me. The moment we disagree with spiritual unity is the very moment it gets harder to be a Christ follower.
Pray hard for strength.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
A man’s word used to be important to him. In Numbers 30:2 if a man made a vow it was under no condition that he had the right to back out of it. Yes is your yes, and no is your no.
In Numbers 32:11 we see the devestation of men not keeping their word to God. It says in V10 “The Lords anger burned” for those explained in V11. All the men, (Israelites), 20 years old and up, that came out of Egypt had a problem with keeping their word, with the exception of Caleb and Joshua. There was 603,550 men of that age that did not keep their word Numbers 1:45-46.
Numbers 32:11"They did not follow me fully." "They shall not see the land," (huge consequences).
At this time 2-3 million Israelites just got off a hard pressed 400 years in Egypt.
There were 2 men set apart though. Numbers 32:12- Caleb and Joshua. Why? They simply did what they said they would do for God.
If you say yes, let it be true. There’s big consequences not just for you, but everyone connected if you don't.
Monday, September 21, 2009
You don't mess with Gods annointed!
Every now and then i think we all have this tendency. To look at someone doing great in life and assume that same success was meant for you. One thing! You are not them in the physical, mental, spiritual, or emotional so how does that work?
Think one minute about Jonathan (Sauls son). He was next to be heir to the throne following his father. David a little sheep hearding, timid, youngest brother, takes the reign after much pruning. 1 Samuel 18:4 look what happens. david's going to war and jonathan realizes Gods annointed. What he does next is honors God. Jonathans robe, sword, bow, and belt are given to David. Go and conquer.Next thing you know is Saul his 1,000s and David his 10,000s.
Look how much easier it is when you see God's time unfold and you let it.
Read the rest of the story to get context, but understand God has plans and it's better.
Friday, September 18, 2009
'Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, 'Woe to those who call evil good,' but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values. We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.. We have killed our unborn and called it choice. We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable. We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self esteem. We have abused power and called it politics.. We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition. We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression. We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment. Search us, Oh God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and Set us free. Amen!'
Monday, September 14, 2009
Saul was envious because he had slayed 1,000s and David his 10,000s. Littel did he know God arranged these things. Envy rises like the Sun. it's hot, seeking to heat everything in its path until all that is touched by it will soon look and feel the same.
We all share the Saul and david enmity everyday. Be careful, this rises like sun and can torch all things if not properly handled.
The same way david and saul had enmity is the very same way our character creeps over to the bad side.
Can He use you? That questions wrong from the start. He said He will and that you were created for His use.
Matthew 28:19 so popular we're to comfortable with it.
Mark 16:15-16 " " " " " " " " " " " "
go go go!
Friday, September 11, 2009
Tonight we had a team meeting and training for the upcoming trip to India at the end of this month. We go to India, Nepal, and London. I look forward to the change of place.
I want nothing more than to be as affective as possible and so i'm learning culture, resposibilities, do's and don'ts, as well as our team unity as it plays into our own success for us and for God.
Best thing i heard tonight was "sure we might save hundreds if not thousands, but we might save just one also" It was music to my ears simply because i realize how easy i can make it about me and that allowed me to refocuse on my God and His plan in it all.
The ever popular Proverbs 3:5-6 sounds good right now.
Prayer for us as a team is coveted.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
Aly and I walked around and were clearly on the same page with this. My attention was so focused on all the people. The way they looked, whether happy, sad, depressed, lonely, mad, frusturated, or just irretable, we saw it in their eyes.
We saw desperation, and we even talked to a young women who told us to our face that she was desperate for God, but so taken back by life. Our hearts broke as we sat there analyzing why? Our burdens were intense almost to the point of guilt for feeling okay with life. We simply thought what do we do?
(Fact is i know exactly what i'm called to do).
We were scared, sad, and disturbed by the fact that Satan was killing people from the inside out. When i got home I watched that Penn "You Tube" clip that pointed out the fact that Christians claim that non-believers go to hell where he said, "Don't you think they would talk to everyone if that were the case?" (Familiarity has breed contempt).
All I can say is that we were completly taken back by our conversations, observations, and brokeness, and what to do for them because it's not easy to drop life for the cause.
Just reflecting on a day through Gods eyes. I love you wife for carring for people.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Benaiah was the “man” in 2 Samuel 23. He killed a Lion in pit on a snowy day. He killed two sons of Ariel of Moab. He killed an impressive Egyptian man that had a spear. Benaiah took his spear from him and killed him.
He was honored among 30 men. Why? He knew his job and He did it.
Could you imagine for one second if he wasn’t prepared? Devastating!
There’s no respect in half way jobs, but sometimes I do it anyway. I learned quickly that's not okay even in it's smallest form. Whether pastor, mom, dad, student, employee, Christian, whatever, You wake up every day with a choice to do or not to do.
I want to be the man who has earned the right to take the spear out of the hand of the enemy because i have found favor in the One I work for.
Monday, August 31, 2009
September 2009: I will hike Mt Whitney in the night to arrive on it's glorious 14,496 foot peak by sunrise. we will have coffee and a bible study on top of the highest peak in the continental US. Last year we got electrocuted and had a blizzard attack us. Intense up there.
October 2009: we go to India/Nepal. I hear the people there treat you with the respect as though your purpose in life far surpasses theirs. Meaning they bow, touch the bottom of your garment, and just want to feed you and shower you with approval and love. Our goal is to learn them and love them more.
It never gets boring with God!
1 Peter 1,2,3,4,5 explains aliens scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappodocia, Asia, & Bythinia. The book explains their future inheritance which resides in Heaven. They were not comfortable, relaxed, rich, or loved, yet with the passion for the gospel, they scattered themselves all over the mediterranian land to be expendable for His sake, His adventure, and His inheritance.
The true andventure of His calling. It has not dissapointed me yet. I don't presume it ever will.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Psalms 1:2 This calls us to meditate on the day and night
psalms 25:5 Anxious for the truth and teachings
Acts 17:10:12 In Brea those who were there recieved the word with great eagerness.
Nehemiah 8:1-8 the people literally begged and stood in awe of the Law of Moses.
Just something that stood out in my quite times. What if we recieved the things of God with such eagerness. When Christians get excited about the things of God then true change happens as others begin to covet your overwhelming joy.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
By voting Friday to allow gays and lesbians in committed relationships to serve as clergy, the 4.7-million member Evangelical Lutheran Church in America will either show how a church can stand together amid differences, or become another casualty of division over sexual morality and the Bible, observers say.
"We're going to be living in tension and ambiguity for a longer time, partly because the culture has shifted," said David Steinmetz, a Duke Divinity School professor of Christian history.
The question is whether the mainline church will shift alongside, or if it will decide that the more welcoming attitude toward homosexuality is wrong, he said.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
It wasn't unitl myspace a few years later that we would re-meet. It was on Valentines day in 2005 when it really all began though. Sure enough we were both on Myspace, so having that opportunity, I took it! I asked her to be my valentine. I picked her up, gave her a dozen red roses, and took her to Johnny Carino's Italian resteraunt in Temecula.
We have been best friends, lovers till death, and partners in taking over the world ever since. Can i tell you there is no one else in the world I could imagine spending this life with than her? Yesterday, we celebrated 3 years of marriage together. Just wanted those who read to know she's my second, right after Jesus.
I love you bug.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
Here's a surefire way to get and keep the attention of your audience: put on a soap opera.
If there's always a feud, a criminal investigation, secret photos, innuendo, allegations of drug use, partnerships foundering, acquisitions started, delayed or canceled, secret new projects, and possible runs for office, you can bet people will tune in.
I apologize for the lack of drama on this blog (not really).
Michael Jackson, Fidel Castro and Sarah Palin created drama. Paying attention, though, is the not the same as buying or respecting. It's possible to achieve both, but not easy.
-Post from Seth Godin, good enough to repost for you.
We deal with that hair trigger everyday. Exodus 17 explains how This art works very well. Moses let the hand down he loses. Keep hands up he wins the battle.
work, school, families, church, everything is on a hair trigger to some extent. Emotions butt in which in most situation makes for great action, but action often fails to reach execution. This is the begining degree to which the aforementioned falls apart.
You see execution kept Israel alive through the battle of Amelek. Execution hurts, as Moses' arm was unable to sustain hight by itself, but through the help of those called to executte with him (Aaron & Hur) it was done.
I have found the hardest yet most appropriate thing in organization is simply to aquire the right help otherwise your kingdom falls apart.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Matthew 28:19 is clear on what it wants us to do. We are given every tool possible to fulfill this including but not limited to tongue, ears, feet, arms, eyes, heart, and thousands of other internal organs to assist.
Ezra started a revolution with the same tools as we. When he stood and read just the law of moses hundreds if not thousands stood in awe becasue he had made the word of God look as it was intended.
Practical application consist of simply taking what you have gifts, possesions, yourself, ect and allowing those things to be expendible for him. Thats what it takes!
Saturday, August 15, 2009
My dearest nephew Corban,
You have never met me; I am your aunty Nata. Even though we have never met my sweet little boy I don’t think I could love you any more than I already do. I remember the day your beautiful mommy called me; I was the first one to know you were alive besides your daddy. I was in San Francisco with Nathan when your mommy called and we screamed and danced around the room for what seemed like hours, tears of joy poured out of my eyes. We had waited for you for 3 years! Even before I knew you were here I bought you little boots from Italy.
I hope that even when you were so little you could somehow hear or feel or know the love that has surrounded you since your first moment of existence. Your Daddy had been so anxious for you to be here and never stopped talking about how much he wanted you. From that phone call on every Thursday the whole family and the church that loved you too would ask what size you were. First you were just a tiny dot but soon strong boy you were a grain of rice, a blueberry, a peach, a softball, a honey dew melon, and stronger and bigger you got. We watched mommy’s stomach grow knowing that God was forming the most wonderful man inside of her.
At first, I’ll be honest; I thought you were a girl. I’m sorry! But before the doctor told us God gave me peace that you were a boy and I couldn’t have been happier about it. Who were you going to become? What gifts and quirks was God weaving into your heart? My heart dwelled on you day and night. I think Mommy’s favorite times with you were spent with Abba. Every morning she read you the bible, she prayed for you and with you. Baby boy you have been prayed for more than anyone I have ever met. So many hopes and dreams were prayed into your life. You are so special and cared for, you would have to be coming from the two best parents anyone could ask for.
It is very hard to know that I will never get to baby-sit you or throw a big first birthday for you with Mommy, it is very painful to know that your perfect little spirit is not matched by a perfect little body. But how blessed I am to have seen your beautiful face that long night at the hospital. Yes my precious one many tears of love have been cried for you. Your Mommy and Daddy love you so much and they don’t want to say goodbye. Everyone wants to hold you and play with you! Little man there is one who loves you even more than Mommy and Daddy, can you believe that? He is your Abba, your Daddy in heaven, he is your best friend, your king, your savior. Little one you get to be with him right away. Your life here on earth has already been hard, and we are so sorry that you ever had to have anything less than the best. But now you can run, play, jump, hug, learn; you get to be the man God has created you to be, fulfill an amazing purpose in heaven, and live in the unbroken and perfect relationship with your Abba that all of us down here crave. May you be blessed and loved beyond measure baby boy. We are all in a hurry to get where you are so that you and Abba can show us the ropes of perfect beauty, purpose, love, and relationship.
You are loved little one. Forever and ever and I am anxious to hold your perfect little hand.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Years ago my wife worked with a woman named Taylor. She was agnostic and sure of it. My wife is a Christian and would take every oppurtunity possible to let her know she's open to talk. They engaged in conversations that went well, but nothing happened as far as change, or so we thought.
Yesterday was Corban's funeral (years from then) and she came. Worship was sang, poems were read, an invitation was given, and people cried. Taylor cried as well, but not because of Corban as much as her desire to just know who this God was we talked so deeply about.
You see God is about timing, timing, timing. Yesterdays was Taylors time to see God so real. after a lifelong debate she and many tears came to the conclusion that surrender is the only way. She didn't have all the answers, instead all the emotions.
I write this so you Know that timing is the great battlefield for people. We can't see the immediate result and it kills us, yes me too. But after months of battleing in your heart perhaps it's best to know that timing is everyhting and nothing.
We will see her at Crossroads this sunday!
-Short version nevertheless a great one
Monday, August 10, 2009
He took a few powerful breaths and hung on as long as he could, but departed soon after. Can you blame him? I wouldn't have even hung on that long, but perhaps he new how much we wanted to see him and hold him.
He was 2.5 pounds and 11.5 inches long. He was bruised to extreme measures and every bone in his body was broken. I think he was going to look like Aly, especially his hair, but he had my nose, haha. Probably good he was going to look more like his mommy as she is much more beautiful than myself.
I want to tell you about His purpose. Yesterday at the 11am service here at Crossroads, my dad from Washington state came. We have been praying for him for years, it just never quite happened, salvation i mean. We sat in the chairs after service and sure enough he saw a picture of my baby Corban and thought, "If that precious baby boy is in heaven there's no way i'm staying out." So he gave his life to Christ and got baptized. This is the short story, but know that Corban is having eternal impacts on lives, especially those in my own family.
Love you my baby boy.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Most of us have every intention of being thoughtful toward those we care about. It’s the execution that trips us up. For years I found myself wishing I would have thought to bless someone in a certain way…after the fact. I was always a day late and a dollar short when it came to celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, and accomplishments, or meeting needs.
Adopting a systematic approach to thoughtfulness translates your good intentions into meaningful expressions. Now that I have a larger support staff, I’m able to systematize thoughtfulness on a level I used to only dream about. I’m able to write personal birthday notes a month or so in advance for every staff member and some key volunteers. I also honor our staff systematically with different types of gifts and gift cards for their birthdays and certain other occasions-and it’s all done way in advance.
My office sends personalized Bibles to certain volunteers commemorating each sermon series. I always try to bless my mentors with gifts on their birthdays and special occasions. These events don’t catch us by surprise-we make our plan at the beginning of each month, keep lists of the tastes and preferences of my network of friends, colleagues, and co-workers on hand, and make it happen. I think it means a lot to the people in my life.
Monday, August 3, 2009
Posted: 21 Jul 2009 04:02 AM PDT
I began reading through the Gospel of Luke this week…and Luke 1:37 always captivates me,
“For nothing is impossible with God.”
This verse is the response of the angel Gabriel when asked by Mary, the mother of Jesus, how she was going to have a child since she was a virgin.
“For nothing is impossible with God.”
God is SO MUCH HIGHER than our problems, pain and perceived impossibilities that NOTHING is impossible with Him.
Mary’s question got her an answer that forced her to focus on the greatness of who God is…and the “impossibiities” that He can accomplish rather than depending on her own strength and wisdom.
“For nothing is impossible with God.”
SO…how about you…are you facing a seemingly impossible situation?
Maybe it’s your marriage…you’ve tried everything you know how to do and it looks like this is the week where you guys are going to hit the proverbial wall and it is all going to fall apart. You see no signs of things turning around and are tempted to give up…
“For nothing is impossible with God.”
The same God who brought Jesus back to life can bring your marriage back to life as well. Don’t give up on God–He hasn’t given up on you.
Maybe it’s your church. You are a pastor and/or a church planter and are SO ready to throw in the towel. You’ve actually caught yourself whispering to God, “I didn’t sign up for this.” If something don’t happen…if there isn’t some sort of breakthrough you are done…
“For nothing is impossible with God.”
Remember…it is HIS church (Matthew 16:18), He loves it WAY more than you do…and if He called you there then you’ve GOT to trust Him to do the unexplainable and undeniable! MAYBE the reason you are ready to give up is because THAT is exactly where He has been trying to get you so He can move and blow your mind!!!Maybe it’s your children…you’ve tried your absolute best to raise them right…and now they have gone down a path that is absolutely breaking your heart. You’ve quoted Proverbs 22:6 so many times it isn’t even funny and have asked God, “what did I do wrong.” You want to give up on them…but the unbelievable love inside of you won’t let go…
“For nothing is impossible with God.”
HE KNOWS…and it breaks His heart as well. This is the point as a parent where you have to admit your lack of control and fall on your face at the feet of the One who reigns…the one who CAN bring your child back…no matter how far he has wandered away!
Maybe it’s your family member/friend that does not know Christ. You’ve tried to talk to them, you’ve invited them to church–maybe they actually came once to shut you up–but you have seen NO change in them. No matter how hard you try they seem to grow more cold and indifferent…
“For nothing is impossible with God.”
Our call/mandate from Jesus is to spread the Gospel (Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15, Luke 24:48, John 20:21, Acts 1:8). SO…don’t give up…keep on keeping on! Personally…I am SO glad a guy named David didn’t give up on me…he invited me to church over and over and over…and I finally went! It was several months before I fully surrendered to Christ…but it took me getting there (and someone continually asking me to come) for my heart to begin to soften.
NOTHING is impossible with God–NOTHING!!! Sometimes He brings us to the end of ourselves so that we can fully rely on Him by seeing how limited we are and how unlimited He is…
“For nothing is impossible with God.”
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Posted: 17 Jul 2009 07:04 AM PDT
This past year we took ten missions trips as part of our A18 initiative. I honestly think one missions trip is worth more than fifty-two sermons. That's why we put so much emphasis on trips. We want to tithe our congregation to missions.We're going to do ten trips again in 2010. Here are the countries:
Monday, July 27, 2009
It's helpful to distinguish between two types of liberalism. One is the classical liberalism of the American founding. Call this Liberalism 1, which is reflected in such principles as the right to vote, to assemble freely, to trade with others and keep the fruits of one's labor, to practice one's religion, to tolerate different political and religious views, and so on.
Then there is the modern liberalism that developed in the West after World War II. Call this Liberalism 2, which is characterized by the right to blaspheme, pornography as a protected form of free expression, the exclusion of religious symbols from the public square, the right of teenagers to receive sex education and contraceptives, the right to abortion, prostitution as a worker's right, and so on.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
We enable experiences and interactions that leave our people saying:I love my church
So they’ll tell their friends:You’ve got to come check out my church
The friends come.We worship Jesus and preach the Gospel with excellence.
The friends leave saying:I really like this church
Inspiring them to come back again and again until they say:I love my church
And tell their friends:You’ve got to come check out my church…
He never stops loving the church…
He never stops pursuing the church…
He always comes home for the church…
He never cheats on the church…
He never stops thinking about the church…
He takes the church seriously…
Your prayers are coveted, and know that there's no way on earth that this situation has not been a belssing in more ways than one. God has chosen us for such God honoring times, so we will due nothing but honor Him with them.
Aly and I are showered with the spirit during this time, which is why i can write with confidence that Gods plan has been revealed to us throught scripture, the church, and our incredible family. Thank you again for prayer.
Monday, July 20, 2009
I recently went to our beloved Corona Crossings for an evangelising trip with Generate High. I wasn't so shocked because i'm not ignorant to find hundreds of the same age group gathered around and when asked the question saying yes i'm Christian. This bothered me greatly. It caused some intense and yet some peaceful conversatins throught the night.
You see i have a real problem with people using that word so losely as if it were just a word. By definition a Christian is a "Christ follower" lets pretend we know what that looks like for time sake. So back to the story we are out there with hundreds of "Christians" uterly greived by their statements. Yes we go to church when i can, i read sometimes when i need to, my favorite, i go on Sundays. Where in the world did that come from?
Are you ready for this! Where do they get the right to call themselves Christians while acting that way, cusing, crousing, fighting, ... The answer, Us. The American Church Doesn't even respect the church. Why? We pick and choose that which fits or feels good and leave the rest on the pue. In that we have denied love to the full consel of Christs bride leaving out the reallife change.
My point is this. How can I, you, or any other, go out there and expect them to love, respect, admonish, or obey Christ and His bride when we don't even love, respect, admonish, promote, serve, protect, teach, repoof, or care for the church ourselves. "If you can't say amen, you better say ouch".
If this doesn't make sense it's because i'm not a writter: Key concepts, The church needs to wake up yesterday!
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
In addition to discipline for sin, a father is to provide protection from sin for his children. This is particularly true of sexual sin, from molestation when they are little to fornication and date rape when they are older. Deuteronomy 22 tells a particularly sobering story for fathers: a young woman is married to a man who claims that she was not a virgin on their wedding night, and so he wants a divorce. Basically a judicial court hearing is held, the woman and her husband are brought in, and they need someone to testify as to the condition of her sexual history. Her father is brought in as the expert witness because he knows her best, loves her most, and has protected her to the degree that he can ensure the court that she has not been with another man. Today that kind of father would be labeled as unloving and overly protective, because the fools are winning.
One of the dumbest conversations I've ever had on this topic was with a pastor. He asked me to pray for his teenage daughter, who claimed to be a Christian but was dating and having sex with a non-Christian teenage boy. I asked him what specifically I should pray for—that God would give him a steady trigger finger? He told me that he had never told her not to have sex because she was an adult, and he did not want to pry into her personal life. I told the man that I would not pray that God would give his daughter wisdom, because God had already given that wisdom to her father, who did not lovingly dispense it to his daughter, and that he was a wicked man who apparently hated his daughter and was a coward unfit for the pastorate. Any man who allows his daughter to sin and be sinned against in the name of loving her knows little of God's love.
Deuteronomy 22 also tells the story of a girl who commits adultery with a married man, and she is sentenced to death by stoning. They put her to death on the steps of her father's home, because she is his responsibility and he has failed in his duties to lovingly instruct, correct, and protect her. Dads are supposed to know that their blossoming daughters are often the objects of lust for sinful men, and unless they stand between their daughters and men, the men will use them for sexual sin, even telling these vulnerable young women that they love them if it helps soften them up for sin. Daddies with daughters who are boy crazy and flirtatious have to labor even more diligently to oversee the purity of their daughters.
I can still recall one occasion when I was doing a wedding in the California Napa Valley. Before the wedding, I took some time to take my daughter Ashley on a shoeless walk through the vineyards as I was dressed in my suit and she was looking cute in a dress. She was nearly three years old at the time and as we held hands and walked, she looked at me and said, "Daddy, some day I will be married." I said, "Yes, you will, sweetheart." I then asked her, "How will you know who you are supposed to marry?" She said, "You and mommy will help decide," and then she giggled. As her father, I am called by God to be the biggest man in her life until her husband earns her love and my approval. Every girl needs a Christian daddy who loves her, snuggles with her, encourages her, compliments her, protects her, and enjoys "daddy dates" with her where they go out to have fun together.
Monday, July 13, 2009
I love what Mark Twain said, "I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, most of which, never happened." I think it's safe to say that I've feared far more things than have actually happened in my life. What a shame.
Fear paralyzes progress. Fear keeps you in bad jobs. Fear keeps you single. Fear keeps you in the same town your whole life. Fear keeps you from following your God-given dreams.
Every morning, I have to spend at least 30 minutes praying and banishing fear from my life. It slowly creeps up on me each day and blankets me in the mornings.
What's interesting is that whenever I imagine the scenario of my worst fears coming true... it's not actually that bad. =) Honestly, it simplifies my life.
I was talking to a pastor the other day who is on his second church plant. He said that failing was a gift from God because it taught him that he didn't have all that much to fear.
Not a sermon. Just a blog post.
Heres to you that are going through a desert. Don't mind the hard time, but remember to embrace it and grow.
The above verse is not to cause you to think okay, it's going to be okay. Instead analyze you and your life and think, while i know God will never pile on to much or over tempt me am i doing it to myself. You see He doesn't we do.
If you are in that spot, desert, ditch, or whatever, stop and think is it my pile of crap messing me up, or is it Gods test in my life, James 1:2. You'll know this by what it's producing.
The ONLY difference between a non-Christian and a Christian is JESUS…that’s IT!!! If we lose sight of that–we lose sight of what He REALLY did for us on the cross!
We should confront people because we love them…not to feel better about ourselves (that would be self righteousness!)
from what I’ve experienced…those who seem to be obsessed with the “sins” of others are often that way to keep from dealing with their own sins!
Jesus did say we are not to judge one another…but He didn’t say we were not to confront one another!
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Thursday, July 2, 2009
1 Samuel 17:33 the great story, or was God trying to show us incredible oppurtnuity. What is the point. She we see that with the power of God all things are possible as David displayed. But what about other detail.
Saul told david that he was to young and inexperienced. That's a ture thought. If David had tried to defeat Goliath by way of sword (conventioanl) there have been no chance. What about the unconventional way of war. A slingshot gave David from the distnace advantage to do the impossible. You see David wasn't a warrior, He was a shepard. Therefore methods have to be changed according to the strategy of the individual.
Inexperience can be a plus and a minus. To not know makes us take risks. To know just enough makes us say why not.
Point. SOmetimes Davids need to work harder than Goliaths. Be innovative, creative, and risky and then your overwhelming battle comes victorious.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Recently i read this article that produced an in depth look at evolution. Eugenie Sott is the head of this movement right now. She expresses the evolutionary science is the only science.
This was one of those articles i thought about for 1 second and stopped. Immediately her bias on the topic of science made me realize she was ingnorant enought to be borderline stupid. A real sciencetist looks at all aspects measures them according to the scientific method and says yea or nea. She on the other hand states in the article that creationism and intelligent design are for fools.
She has stated that only evolution should be taught as the real science in the school system and upon that should be viewed as the dominant force in creation today. In case your wondering did she start this movement NO! She is the forerunner of Madalyn Murray O'hair a true founder in modern day evolution, following of course Darwin.
What i thought was funny is when scientist from Methodist University in Dallas wanted to have a simple debate with evolutionst they kindly replied with a no. Why? The article states simply that evolution still exist as a theory and not evident as to fact. Intersting On the other hand that creationist and those who honor intelligent design promote with authority and confidence those facts and want to have them explained. There's more Just go to icr.com Good stuff!
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Luke 6 is very clear and hard to hear. I went riding with some men recently. I didn't know them, but knew they didn't know Jesus. I had two options. One I could have preached and they might have banned me from riding with them looking at me like i was stupid and even to the point of calling me out. Or two, they could have listen and said no thanks bro not for us. The point I was struggling with was These guys are fun to ride with, but there's a possibility they won't like me or want to ride with me agian. So at that point i cared more about my image then i did their salvation. Just a thought. I did end up enviting them out to Generate. It's ahrd not to be liked. But it's going to harder to stand before our King and say sorry for not standing up fo rHim.
(Christ followers) were never meant to be popular. In fact John 15:8 says there's a good possiblity that the world will hate you. But know that the love you portray as christians will be irrefutably desired by everyone. You see Jesus wasn't popular, but people can't deny that He was just, kind, & life changeing. His love isn't partial Romans 2. Just know that our job comes with a price, but the reward is the person you love in His name and their lives forever changed.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
"Here's an incredibly important principle. You cannot communicate complicated information to large groups of people. As you increase the number of people, you have to decrease the complexity of the information. Congregational rule, when you're trying to make a complicated decision, works against the principle. So consequently, the guy with the microphone and the clearest message always wins. The most persuasive person in the room is going to win. Whether right or wrong."
He was asked about criticisms that some churches seem so corporate in their leadership structure with the pastor as CEO. He says there is a sound principle behind the structure: “‘Follow me.’ Follow we never works. Ever. It's ‘follow me.’ God gives a man or a woman the gift of leadership. And any organization that has a point leader with accountability and freedom to use their gift will do well. Unfortunately in the church world, we're afraid of that. Has it been abused? Of course. But to abandon the model is silly.” I would add that we can find many that are afraid of that concept outside the church as well. It's often why we see leadership theory taking strange twists and turns in the literature today. Learning to operate without abusing the influence or power that goes with leadership at any level, requires a proper perspective as to why you are leading in the first place.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
If you personalize rejection it can become parasitic. It will destroy your confidence. It will destroy your joy. It can even undermine the vision God has given you.
There is a moment toward the end of his life when Israel rejects Samuel's sons as judges because his sons didn't follow in his footsteps. Samuel was "crushed." Ever been there? Think about it. He devoted his entire life to serving Israel. And then they reject his sons. Granted, his sons were corrupt. Which probably means it was a double blow. What a terrible ending. But there is a powerful leadership principle if you read the story closely. The Lord says: "They are not rejecting you. They're rejecting me."
I better make this clear: no leader is beyond rebuke, correction or exhortation. And if you think you are then it's the beginning of the end. But what I'm focusing on here is unwarranted criticism or unfair treatment. If the sermon you are preaching or the vision you are casting is from the Lord, then people aren't rejecting you. Don't personalize the rejection. I think this is one key to evangelism: if you personalize the rejection you'll stop sharing your faith.
Can I share a lesson learned? It doesn't matter how God-ordained your vision is. You can walk off of Mount Sinai with tablets inscribed by the finger of God. You will still have your early adopters, late adopters, and laggards. It's the adopter categories originally devised by Everett Rogers in his book The Diffusion of Innovation. You will always have your 16% laggards who will resist the vision. For what it's worth, I think they serve a valuable purpose. They force us to keep refining the vision.
Bottom line? Don't personalize rejection.
Monday, June 22, 2009
The Sabbath is an integral part of the religion and history of the Bible. The notion of the Sabbath as the focus of the Creation in the first chapters of Genesis, and the commandment to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy is part of the Ten Commandments that God gave to His people Israel at Sinai. Ancient and modern Judaism is characterized by its observance of the Sabbath. In Christian tradition, the Sabbath has been debated, dropped, reformed and misapplied at different times and by various groups within Christendom. For the most part, Christians tend to view the Sabbath in one of three ways.
The first view considers the Sabbath, as understood and practiced by Judaism, to be part of the Mosaic Law system that was, according to this view, superseded by the Gospel. This rendered the Sabbath to be merely a shadow of the present system which replaces the Sabbath with the Lord's Day (Sunday). This view holds that the early church worshiped on the first day of the week as a memorial of the resurrection. The second view also considers the Sabbath to be no longer valid for observance. This view, however, holds that Sunday or the Lord's Day has become a day of worship, but need not be a day of rest or have any other relationship to the Sabbath. A third view claims that the Sabbath is binding upon Christians today as it was and is on Jews in Judaism. These Christians are often called seventh-day observers or Sabbatarians. This view tends to be accused of legalism by those holding the other views.
A fourth possibility exists and it is the purpose of this writing to suggest such an approach for Christians. This view holds that the Sabbath is a required part of Judaism and incumbent on Jews throughout their generations and also has value for Christians that makes its observance important, though not required in a legalistic sense. What follows is an overview of the Biblical basis for Christian observance of the Sabbath.
The Bible introduces the seventh day as distinctive and significant in the second chapter of Genesis:
Thus were the heavens and the earth completed, and all their hosts, and by the seventh day God had completed his work which He had done; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. The God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which He had done. (Gen. 2: 1-3)
This seventh day is the Sabbath of the Ten Commandments. This is found in Exodus and Deuteronomy:
Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord you God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or the sojourner who stays with you. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that are in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. (Ex. 20:8-11)
The Torah (five books of Moses) also gives some details regarding the observance of the Sabbath among the ancient Hebrews. For example, Exodus 16:22-30 explains how God had commanded the people through Moses to gathering would be necessary on the Sabbath. Some of the people, however, went out to gather but found no manna to make bread. Moses tells them to stay in their places. It appears that the original notion of the Sabbath was to remain home with family and cease from subsistence work while acknowledging the day as holy.
Sabbath observance also related to the making of fire (Ex. 35: 1-3). This appears to apply to the use of fire for work. Traditional Judaism has based much of its interpretation of working on the Sabbath to this commandment regarding kindling a fire. Whether this includes a prohibition on fire use for all purposes, only the starting of a fire rather than use of a fire, or some combination of the two is problematic. Traditional Judaism uses the Mishnah (Oral Law) to address the question. Christianity generally doesn't address it at all.
The Sabbath is also part of the system of Holy days observed by Israel as commanded by God. Leviticus chapter 23 explains all of the Holy days of the Lord. The first one mentioned is the weekly Sabbath to the Lord in all your dwellings. (Lev. 23:3)
The prophets of Israel complained about the violation of the Sabbath by the people of God. Israel was exiled from the Land because of its neglect of the Sabbath and other commandments. After the exile, Nehemiah addressed the problem of violating the Sabbath during the reestablishment of Jerusalem:
In those days I saw in Judah some who were treading wine presses on the Sabbath and bringing in sacks of grain and loading them on donkeys, as well as wine, grapes, figs, and all kinds of loads, and they brought them into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. So I admonished them on the day they sold food. (Neh. 13: 15ff).
Nehemiah complained about commerce on the Sabbath and closed the gates of the city at sundown on Friday. Again the subsistence type of work is directly addressed by the Sabbath observance.
The Sabbath was not imposed on the non-Jew except in the case of one dwelling at the home or city (such as Jerusalem ) of the Jews. There is, however, an invitation to the non-Jewish believer in the God of Abraham to observe the Sabbath:
Also the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, To minister to Him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants, everyone who keeps from profaning the Sabbath, and holds fast My covenant: Even those I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar; For My house will be called a house of prayer for all peoples. The Lord God who gathers the dispersed of Israel, declares, Yet others I will gather to them, to those already gathered. (Isaiah 56:6-8)
This chapter from Isaiah is quoted by Jesus and the apostles as being fulfilled in the Salvation brought to pass by Jesus in the New Testament. It appears that the Sabbath is the sign of the covenant to the Jew, and also to the Greek (non-Jew).
In the New Testament writings, the Sabbath is a point of contention between Jesus and His critics. He is accused of breaking the Sabbath by gathering food and healing on the Sabbath (Mark 2 &3). Jesus response is that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. He also claims Lordship over the Sabbath. While He violates the traditional view of observance, He does not set aside the Sabbath from being correctly observed. The New Testament writings collectively do not remove the Sabbath but correct its abuse. Even Paul's statement that is used to claim the removal of the Sabbath, doesn't remove it but declares it is symbolic rather than substantial. This continues the thought that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath:
Therefore, let no man act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day -- things which are a shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ (Col.2:16-17).
These things are, not were a shadow of things to come. The observance of the Sabbath as a sign of identification with the God of creation is still part of being a Jew who believes, and is available, though not required, with the promise of blessing in the things to come (Isaiah 56) for the Christian (non-Jewish believer).
The result of this view of the Sabbath is that the Sabbath is not replaced by Sunday or the Lord's day. The Sabbath remains the sign of the covenant of the God of Israel. It is made for man, and Jesus is Lord, also of the Sabbath. It is symbolic and gives meaningful expression for those who join themselves to the Lord, to love him and to be His servants. As such, it may be observed by Christians who wish to identify with the God of creation and seek the blessing promised to the foreigner who keeps it.
QUESTIONS REGARDING THE SABBATH
Should the church gather to worship on the Sabbath? Probably not. The practice of Sabbath worship in Judaism originated in the Babylonian captivity and was well in place by the time of Jesus. The New Testament documents seem to indicate that the early Christians did gather on the first day of the week. This was probably Saturday evening at the close of our just following the Sabbath. By the second century this was institutionalized among gentile believers. There Sabbath was kept originally (that is, when originally given) in one's home. It is for man and for the family. Christians may worship on any or every day. The DiscipleCenter recommends that our families observe the Sabbath in their homes with family and friends and then gather together as congregation for worship on Sunday. This does not mean that the church cannot use the Sabbath for worship services.
Do Christian have to keep the Sabbath? Absolutely not. No one is to judge each other with regard to Sabbath observance among gentile Christians. The person who requires Sabbath observance and the person who prohibits Sabbath observance becomes a judge and violates the teaching of Paul in Colossians.
I like the idea of Sabbath observance with time for the family and rest, but what if Saturday can't be observed? Part of the functional benefit of the Sabbath observance is the time for family and rest. An alternative approach to this is explained in the brochure on having a Family Home Night. This functional equivalent of the Sabbath allows for some of the benefit when the actual Sabbath cannot be observed.
How does someone go about starting to observe the Sabbath? There are many books from the perspective of Judaism that can give the Christian ideas about Sabbath observance There are also some Christian books that address the “how” part of the question. First it should be pointed out that the Scriptures give two general guidelines for observance. It is to be remembered, and made holy. Remembrance is accomplished by the ceremony that the family uses at the beginning of the Sabbath. This is usually associated with the Friday family dinner. Making it holy, that is different, is most directly related to separating it from the rest of the week. As much as possible, the observers should avoid work for family subsistence. If an employer requires you to work, the Christian should work. But often the employer will make a schedule change for family and religious reasons.
What do we do to begin? Just start. Below you will find an explanation for one family's attempt to struggle with the observance of the Sabbath. Use part of all of it to begin your own family tradition. Use the Biblical passages as your basic guide. Then add the ritual and expressions that are authentic to your family and consistent with your understanding. Then as you understand more, add, change or drop the parts that apply.
A GENTILE (Judeo-Christian) FAMILY SABBATH OBSERVANCE
The Sabbath is kept at home by our household This is in keeping with the statement: Let no man go out of his place on the seventh day (Ex. 16:29). Also the Scriptures require the observance by all servants and those who dwell with you (Ex. 20:10). The Sabbath is in this sense confined to our home and property. When we enter the home on Friday night, we enter into the Sabbath. We leave the Sabbath when we leave the property, unless we are traveling to another place where the Sabbath is being observed.
The Sabbath begins Biblically at sundown Friday and ends at sundown on Saturday. For our purposes, the Sabbath observance begins at our Home at Sundown Friday (or 6:00PM whichever is later) and continues until Sundown Saturday. When we began we observed until at least 12:00 noon Saturday and as time went on, we grew to a full day observance. During times when we are unable to be home to begin at sundown, one family member lights a candle before sundown. This becomes a MEMORIAL to remember the Sabbath of creation. The candle is placed on a Menorah that sits on a table located at the entrance of our home. As we enter the home and see the candle, we are reminded of the Sabbath and begin to observe it.
The Scriptures require that the Sabbath be made holy. For that reason, we eliminate the normal use of the TV and phone during the Sabbath observance. In addition, all work related to family subsistence is stopped so that we may enter into rest (Ex. 20:8-10). We also greet one another with mention of the Sabbath to make it holy.
The Scriptures states "You shall not kindle a fire in any of your dwellings on the Sabbath day." We are not yet sure of the meaning of this -- whether it prohibits all fires or the use of building a fire to work is a debatable point even in Judaism. To observe this, all candles or fires are lighted from the MEMORIAL CANDLE lighted prior to the beginning of the Sabbath. (Ex. 35:3).
To REMEMBER the Sabbath, to make it HOLY, and to testify that we acknowledge the GOD of CREATION, we observe a special Sabbath dinner with a ritual that reminds us of many Biblical elements related to the Sabbath. The ritual follows the following Liturgy:
TABLE CANDLES - The Wife lights the Table Candles from the MEMORIAL CANDLE. As she lights the candles, they say, Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, Creator of Heaven and Earth, who has given us the Light of you Word, and the Light of the World, Jesus.
BLESSING OF THE CUP - The Father takes the wine and opens the carafe and says, Blessed are you O Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who brings forth the fruit of the vine. Each person drinks of the wine as a testimony that we acknowledge the God of Creation, Who rested from all his work on the Sabbath. We have joined ourselves to THAT GOD who created all things through His Son. We rejoice in the Lord with the wine of joy. The wine also reminds us of the first miracle of Jesus who created wine from water (Gen. 1 & John 2.)
BLESSING OF THE BREAD - The Father takes the bread (Shepherd’s bread or Challah) and sprinkles salt on it. This is a reminder that all offerings were to be offered with salt. It also reminds us that we are the salt of the world, as Jesus taught. The Father then says, Blessed are you O Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who brings forth bread from the earth. Each person eats the bread to remember the manna given by God, two portions on Friday so that they would not have to work, and that God gives us each day our daily bread. We are also reminded of the shewbread eaten by the priests on each Sabbath. We are a holy priesthood to the Lord (Ex. 16:29, Luke 11:3, I Peter 2:9)
PRAYER - We then Pray for America ’s leaders that we (Jews and Christians) may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty (I Tim. 2:1,2) and for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6).
DINNER - We eat dinner and discuss the previous week in light of Biblical priorities. This is also a time to share the good things of the Lord and to show thankfulness for God's provision. The dinner usually ended by each of us going around the table and telling what we are thankful about.
GRACE - After dinner we conclude the dinner with a prayer of thanksgiving to God for His Blessings.
FAMILY TIME - The time after dinner is used to enjoy family time together by talking, playing games, having Biblical discussions or sharing with a family who is visiting. We have found this to be a special time to invite fellow believers and neighbors to our home.
GROWING IN OBSERVANCE – After establishing this basic pattern, families can adapt and introduce many other aspects of traditional Sabbath observance by studying options available from Jewish and Christian sources. Keeping the Sabbath a living and changing experience can make family members participate more fully in this home based worship experience. Blessing the wife and the children, adding songs and other parts of traditional ceremonies will assist the family in growing in the Grace and knowledge of the Lord.
The Sabbath is not a burden, but a blessing, and we have found it to be a time given to us and for us, rather than a duty to keep (Mark 2:27 ). One purpose of the Torah (Law) is to teach. As the Lord is, -- Lord also of the Sabbath (Mark 2:28), we have sought to understand its meaning, as well as receive the blessing of the Lord promised to the non-Jew who keeps the Lord's Sabbath (Isaiah 56:6-8).
SABBATH OBSERVANCE AND WORK ACTIVITIES - The Bible specifically forbids work on the Sabbath and this appears to indicate normal work related to subsistence. Jewish tradition adds many related types of activities as forbidden on the Sabbath. It was with regard to these additions that Jesus was often at odds with the pharisees. He was accused of violating the Sabbath by healing (Mark 3: 1-6) and because he and his disciples picked grain and ate it on the Sabbath (Matt. 12:1-8). Jesus said that some of the traditions voided the Word of God and that He was Lord of the Sabbath. He also indicated that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27) and that to do good on the Sabbath was lawful (Mark 3:4). It appears from these passages that visiting the sick, doing good, and activity of benefit to the family and the community of faith is acceptable activity for the Sabbath. We are attempting to include inviting others to our home for Sabbath and visiting others as part of the day for us. We have only deliberately avoided regular work which is the basis of our living. We avoid rather than refuse to work at places of employment. This means that unless required by our employer we do not go to work on the Sabbath (Ex. 20:9).
HOLY DAYS AND THE SABBATH - During Holy Days we adapt the Sabbath observance to include some of the meaning of the Holy Days of Leviticus 23. The Sabbath is included as one of the Holy Days of the Lord.
PASSOVER - During the Week of Unleavened Bread, we use matzo for the bread of blessing. We use three matzos on the plate to remind us of the two normal loaves and the third becomes the symbol of the Afikomen of the Passover Seder. If the Sabbath is the night of the Passover Seder, we replace our normal Sabbath dinner with a family Seder. Our congregation also observes a Seder each Passover.
PENTECOST - The Sabbaths from Firstfruits to Pentecost are to be counted (Lev. 23:15 ). To accomplish this we place the Memorial Candle for each Sabbath in the Menorah until we have completed the 7 Sabbath.
HIGH HOLY DAYS - If the Sabbath falls on the Day of Trumpets, we blow the shofar as part of the dinner ceremony. On Tabernacles, we eat the Sabbath dinner in our patio or in a temporary booth to remind ourselves of the Biblical command given to Israel in this regard during the Holy Days.
The Sabbath uniquely identifies the God of creation. No other god is represented with such a observance of time. When Jews or Christians observe the Sabbath, they identify with the God of Creation, and testify that He made the heavens and the earth. When Christians observe the Sabbath, they show an identification with Israel, who were given the Sabbath as an everlasting covenant. And when children grow up in a home that observes the Sabbath, they develop a sense of the presence of God who dwells with them in their home each week.
For more information on home and congregational Discipleship regarding the Sabbath or other Holy Days contact the DiscipleCenter at www.disciplecenter.com or Disciplecenter@aol.com or write us at
8018 E. Santa Ana Canyon Rd. Suite 100 PMB 186
Anaheim Hills, CA 92808.
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