Enjoy The Ride

For me one of life’s greatest pleasures is a good roller coaster ride. I love that feeling of slowing heading up that first hill, heart racing with anticipation as to what will happen next, then rounding the top of the hill and off it goes! Whipping around corners, wind blowing through the hair, taking sudden dips twists and turns, and all at break neck speed. It’s one of those get in, sit down, and hold on experiences! There is nothing you can do to control the ride. All you can do is enjoy.

As the byline of my blog states “… enjoying the ride, I have often looked at life in such a way. Life is indeed a ride. I have often said, “Just when you think you have life figured out, God takes you in a completely different direction.” 2009 has been one of those experiences. It has been a year in which God has literally asked me to sit down, hold on, and enjoy the ride.

It was at this time last year that Robin and I knew our life was about to take some unexpected twists and turns. By February the ride had begun. Due to leadership restructuring at the church in which we had served for 11 years, we found ourselves unemployed and without a church home. God had literally asked us to step out in faith and trust Him. He was asking us to trust Him to meet our needs, and place us where He could best use us.

If at the time you were to ask us if it were our desires to be facing such an uncertain future, I am sure no would have been our answer. Not knowing where God was going to take us, we sat down, held on, and off we went.

Over the next three months it was the promises of God, found in His Word, that kept us going. There were a couple of scriptures in particular that I clung to as reminders that my job was simply to trust Him, and not worry.

The first was Proverbs 3:5-6 - Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

There were plenty of times in which I wanted to figure it all out, to in my limited understanding of what God was up to, figure out what He was doing and determine what was next for us. It never worked. Those three months were nothing less than a journey of trusting God and acknowledging that He knew exactly what He was doing with our lives.

The second scripture God used was Philippians 4:6-7 - Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

As I sought to trust God during this time, I was reminded of the value of prayer and the peace that comes along with it. Being anxious about our future only brought about panic and stress. As we spent time seeking God in prayer, He filled our hearts with peace. Indeed a peace that transcends all understanding.

As we emerged from that three month period of wandering and wondering, God began to make it clear what was next for us, and that of course was to join the community of Rock Harbor. We now feel tremendously blessed by where God has placed us.

One year earlier we would have never dreamed of being where we are today. Had we not trusted God to guide us to this place, we would have not had the privilege of joining with such a fine group of people. We as well would not have had the opportunity to be a part of so many people’s lives and spiritual journeys.

There is no better place to be than in the center of God’s will.

As we approach 2010 we approach a year of unknowns. May it collectively be our hearts desire to sit down, buckle up, hold on, and enjoy the ride!

Love All



We all know Jesus performed great miracles during His time here on earth. He healed the sick, made the bind to see, and raised the dead. Because of His love for humanity, particularly the suffering and marginalized, He brought healing and restoration to the lives of many. He did these things for one reason. It was so people would experience Him for who He is, and as a result enter into relationship with Him.


Here's the beautiful thing about Jesus. Though being rich, He became poor, so that He could show love to the poor, the needy and the outcast (2 Corinthians 8:9). This Christmas and during the season of Advent, we have been given the challenge to Spend Less. Through the simple act of spending less we are able to show love, and enter into this week's theme ... Love All.

It's easy to fall victim to the line of thinking that says, I can't possibly have the same impact that Jesus did. May we not forget, it was Jesus who said in John 13:12, I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. Jesus has left this earth, and in doing so has given us the opportunity and responsibility, to now be His presence here. We are even told we will do even greater things!

The needs of people abound. The opportunities are limitless. May we be asking ourselves this week, how might Jesus use me to Love All? Don't let the great need overwhelm you, rather let it move you. You may not be able to change the whole world, but you can change the world of at least one person.

Here are a few activities our church will be engaging in this week. Might you join us?

• Sponsor a Compassion Child or give to World Vision through their gift catalog.
• Donate time or goods to a local charity.
• Pray for people in your home, community, and around the world.
• Put a gift for God under your tree. Put into practice what you have learned through the Advent Conspiracy.


Give More

Today we enter  week three of the Advent season, and the Advent Conspiracy.  This week's theme ... Give More.

Like you, I have been given many Christmas gifts over the years.  Some deeply thoughtful and greatly appreciated.  Others, well let's just say while appreciated, they likely ended up in the white elephant gift exchange the following Christmas.

As I think of why Christ came to be with us on that first Christmas, I think of time.  I think of presence.  Christ came to spend time with us, to love us, and through His presence lead us into a deep and meaningful relationship with Him.  In fact the depth of His desire drove Him to give the ultimate gift ... His life.  Out of gratitude for what He has done, I can think of no greater gift than to emulate His.

Time is the greatest gift we can give.  It is of much greater value than a Christmas sweater, an electronic gadget, or a subscription to the jelly of the month club.  Time is lasting.  Time changes lives.  This Christmas may we consider how we might give more through the giving of our lives.

Here are a few activities our church will be engaging in this week.  Might you join us?

• Set up coffee or a meal with a friend this week.  Call a long distance friend.
• Serve another family or individual (one that doesn't attend church).
• Write affirmation cards to friends, co-workers, or family members.
• Pray for our public servants and write them a note.

Next week ... Love All.




Living Nativity

Once again The Skit Guys or Skit Guy as it were in this video, hit it out of the park!  Very funny.  Very powerful.

Watch video and ask yourself ... could you??



For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.  John 3:16

Sure thankful we aren't "out of luck."

Spend Less

Today we begin week two of the Advent season, and the Advent Conspiracy.  This week's theme ... Spend Less.

At Christmas time, we like to spend.  The National Retail Federation reports that we spent 41.2 billion dollars over the Black Friday weekend.  That is an average of $372.57 per person!  As one who both hates spending and getting up early, I am equally blown away by their finding that nearly one-third (31.2%) of all shoppers on Black Friday were at the stores by 5 a.m.!

Each year since 1984 the PNC Wealth Management Company calculates the cost of the beloved carole, "The Twelve Days of Christmas."  One thing is certain:  It's getting quite costly to buy our true love all the items mentioned! Here's are this year's numbers.



This week's theme of Spend Less could not be more appropriate.  Just the simple act of buying one less gift this year has the potential of freeing us up to be more available to celebrate Christ during this advent season.  What if instead of buying that one gift, we used that money saved to present Jesus with a birthday gift this year?

Here are few activities our church will be engaging in this week.  Might you join us?

• Set a budget for your Christmas spending - don't forget about the next two themes (Give More & Love All).
• Pick one person you were planning to buy a present for and make one instead.
• Make some homemade Christmas cards with personal messages for friends.
• Invite friends or another family to share a meal with you.

Next week ... Give More.


World Vision Gift Catalog

I love that Christmas is a time for giving.  Giving is a wonderful expression of love and gratitude toward those that are most important to us.

Two years ago our family began a new Christmas tradition.  While we still give gifts to one another, we place more emphasis on giving gifts to Jesus.  It is after all...His birthday.

In Matthew 25:31-46 we read of Jesus honoring those that gave to the "least of these." Those that suffer and have been pushed to the margins of society.  He goes so far as to say that when we give to the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the imprisoned, the strangers, and the sick, we are actually giving to Him.  What better way to give to Jesus than to give to those that have real need!  I love that World Vision has provided a fun way for people to do that very thing.

The World Vision Gift Catalog is filled with incredible giving ideas.  Opportunities to give to the poorest of the poor in the name of a loved one that you would normally give a gift to.  It's an opportunity to let someone a world away know that they have not been forgotten.  An opportunity to be a blessing to those Jesus referred to as "the least."

As you consider the gifts you will give this Christmas, consider how you might also give to the One in which we celebrate.  It will change your whole outlook on how you celebrate Christmas!

Worship Fully

This week marks the beginning of the Advent season.  I am excited about the focus that this season brings.  A focus on the celebration of the birth of our Savior. A focus on how His birth changed the world 2009 years ago, and still does today.

For this season of advent, our church is again participating in the Advent Conspiracy.  Each week we are asking our community to do something that will lead them into the theme of the week.  This week ... Worship Fully.

Here are a a few activities we will be entering into.  Perhaps you might join us.

• Create a Christmas cd or playlist combining Christmas songs with worship songs.
• Begin thinking what gift you can give to Jesus this Christmas.
• Write a worship letter to God highlighting His character.
• Practice worshiping God through each hour of your day.  Take time for Him regularly.

 Next week ... Spend Less.


Thanksgiving Inventory

Thanksgiving is truly my favorite  holiday.  It is pure, simple, noncommercial, and focused on the very thing God calls us to be ... thankful.

May we all spend some good time this year taking inventory of all our blessings, even the chicken nuggets!



Happy Thanksgiving!

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.  1 Thessalonians 5:18

Advent Conspiracy

In recent years my family and I have viewed Christmas very differently. We have made the decision to make Christmas more about presence and less about presents.  This switch has resulted in a deeper appreciation for the presence of Christ in our lives, and a deeper understanding of how we can be the presence of Christ in the lives of others.

This year our church will again be participating in the Advent Conspiracy.  I look forward, as a community, to celebrating the birth of Christ and at the same time making a big difference in the lives of those that have great need.

With Christmas less than two months away, now is the time to begin considering how you will approach and celebrate this important time of year.  Begin a new tradition.  Make plans now to join the conspiracy.

Sacrifice

If there is one thing in this life that I attempt to avoid, it's pain and persecution. I don't know anyone that enjoys it.  Unlike many in this world, we as the American Church find ourselves fairly sheltered from it.  This concerns me.  I am often haunted by the words of 2 Timothy 3:12, "In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted."

Listen to John Piper's words and consider your life of sacrifice.



To live a radical life of sacrifice for Christ is both our highest calling as well as the highest honor we can ever achieve.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Matthew 5:10

HT to Adam.

Colors of Fall


I know it happens every year, yet each Fall I am blown away by the beautiful colors of the season.  Whom ever it was that planned Woodhaven, our neighborhood, they really knew what they were doing when they planted the trees!  And for the One that created the trees ... Wow, He really knew what He was doing!

Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so.  The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.  Genesis 1:11-12.   Good it is!








Like Jesus

I have been thinking a lot lately about what it really means, and what it really looks like, to be a follower of Jesus. Is it going to church? Is it having a quiet time every day? Is it praying a certain amount of time each day? Is it tithing to your church? Is it living in America? What is it?

I hear a lot about how America is a Christian nation, or at least used to be. I have to ask ... Really? What makes us such? Is it because our money says, "In God we trust?" I tire of the forwards I receive in my inbox bemoaning the fact/rumor that our government wants to remove that phrase from our money. Does it really matter? Is it that important that our money contains that phrase, or are we merely paying lip service to God with it, because we really don't fully trust Him and live as Him?

1 John 2:16 gives us that answer. "Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did." May we as the Church not just admire Jesus from afar, or like Him for who He was, or pay lip service to Him, but may we truly walk as Jesus did.

Francis Chan said it well. Check this out ...



May we not just like Jesus but rather may we walk like Jesus.

Blessed Be Your Name

God is good. How easy it is to say when life is going our way.

So many times I have heard those words come from the mouths of people as they experience the good things in life. The blessings. The stuff prayed for. While the statement surely is true, I am often left to wonder, would God still be "good" when life falls apart?

Is God only good in the good times? How it must break God's heart to be called good when life is going our way, and then in the next moment shake our fists at Him when life turns on us.

I have had my share of ups and downs in this life. Times of great rejoicing and times of great anguish. I am thankful to God for His goodness through it all. I am blessed and inspired by the words of Job who could honestly say, "The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised."



May we say the same.

Dude Perfect

I'm not that big of a sports guy, but this is simply amazing!

Six college guys having a great time making crazy basketball shots and then posting the fun to Youtube. What's even better, they turned it into a cause.

For every 100,000 views of this video produced at Christian camp, Sky Ranch, they will sponsor one child with Compassion International.

Watch the video so they get one more view, and then read more about Dude Perfect and their cause. Very cool!

Honor



Honor your father and mother—which is the first commandment with a promise — that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth. Ephesians 6:2-3

Social Media Revolution

This just amazes me. For those that think social media is but a fad ... think again.



The social media revolution is nothing less than a cultural shift. A revolution. Social media has changed the way we do life, and for the Church the implications of all this are staggering. It excites me to be a part of it all.

What do you think?

Lord Save Us From Your Followers

I shared my thoughts on this provocative movie back in April of 2008 and continue to get a fair amount of traffic to this blog as a result. You can read what I wrote here. I'm now excited to learn that it will finally be hitting the big screen! Check here to see where.

If you have not yet seen this film be looking for it in theaters this September and do all you can to make sure you see it. It is my hope that this movie will continue to spark the conversation that is so badly needed in both the Church and culture at large.


This is a great song taken from the movie that will get you thinking.

Power of Forgiveness

As I prepared my message on Forgiveness this week, I came across a great story as told by Brennan Manning. It's a story of a women who visited her priest and told him that when she prays, she sees Jesus in a vision.

“He appears to me as real as you are standing here right now, Father,” said the woman. “And He speaks to me. He tells me that He loves me and wants to be with me. Do you think I’m crazy?”

“Not at all,” replied the priest. “But to make sure it is really Jesus who is visiting you, I want you to ask Him a question when He appears to you again. Ask Him to tell you the sins that I confess to Him in confession. Then come back and tell me what He said.”


A few days later the women returned.


“Did you have another vision of Jesus?” the priest inquired of her.

“Yes I did Father,” she replied.


“And did you ask Him to tell you the sins that I confessed to Him while I was in confession?”


“Yes I did,” the woman answered.


“And what did He tell you?” asked the priest expectantly.


“He said...’I forgot.’”


I love that about God.

The more we understand the extent of God's forgiveness of us, the more we will be able to forgive one another. There is great power in forgiveness.

I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more. Isaiah 43:25

As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12

Building A Youth Ministry Team

If I have learned one thing in my years of doing youth ministry, it's that it can't be done alone. The youth pastor who thinks they can do it all, and be all to all students is only fooling themselves. It is for very good reason that God has uniquely gifted all believers. Check out 1 Corinthians 12.

Yesterday I had the privilege of being the guest on Tim Schmoyer's LIVE YM Talk leading a discussion on the importance of building a youth ministry team. It was a great conversation with youth workers from around the country.

We covered topics like:

  • Why building a team is so important
  • Ideas for promoting unity, training, and working with their schedules
  • Good and bad reasons why someone might serve
  • Answered questions from the chat audience
If you are a leader in the Church in any capacity it's worth a listen. A lot of great thoughts and ideas came out.

You can hear it here or grab it in iTunes.

End Extreme Poverty

Ok, so it's a little cheesy, but watch this video and then ask yourself ... what if it really happened?


Have you done your part?

Be a hero in the eyes of a child in need. Sponsor a child today.

Our family has been tremendously blessed by the relationship we share with Lizbeth an 8 year old girl from Mexico. We have had the privilege of being a part of her life for a number of years. In her most recent letter to us she writes, "May God's peace be always with you! I want to tell you that I am doing well in school. I will pass to 4th grade of Primary School soon. I give thanks to God because I have earned good grades. Everyday I pray for your family and you. At Bible School I have learned that God is great and that He is everywhere. God loves us very much no matter is we are of different nationality or if we have different color of skin."

Sponsorship is definitely a relationship of mutual blessing!

Cat's In The Cradle

This morning as I was driving and listening to the radio, an old classic song came on. A song that has been around since 1974. I have known it for years; in fact it was one of the first songs I ever learned to play on the guitar. Musically it's great, lyrically it's frightening.

As a father I think often of how my son looks up to me, and in many ways tries to be like me. Read more of my thoughts here. The task of parenting is not one to be taken lightly. In my estimation there is no greater endeavor.

As a pastor one of my greatest desires is to see healthy families. Healthy families begin with parents that are completely and fully following after Christ, and modeling that life for their children. I believe the number one reason that the Church is seeing so many high school grads drop away, is that our kids have not seen a genuine faith modeled for them by their parents. There is no greater influence in the life of a child than mom an dad.

Listen to this classic Harry Chapin song, and let the message run deep.

Be With Jesus

One of the coolest things about following Christ is the fact that He uses ordinary people for His extraordinary purposes. I have engaged in numerous conversations over the years, with people who because of a lack of Biblical training or knowledge, assumed they didn't have what it took to do anything big or noteworthy for the Kingdom. Nothing could be further from the truth!

At Rock Harbor we are currently engaged in a great study of Hebrews 11. A New Testament chapter filled with amazing examples of people who because of their faith were used of God in amazing ways. I would encourage you read it.

In my reading of Acts 4 the other day I was struck anew by the lives of Peter and John. In this particular chapter we read of these two teaching and proclaiming the good news of Jesus, and seeing thousands believe and give their lives to Him.

As the religious leaders of their day stood by watching they grew increasingly annoyed with these two untrained, ordinary guys, and the results of their teaching. Their indignation finally culminated in the bringing of these two before them to ask, "By what power, or by what name did you do this?" In a bold move Peter clearly told them that it was through Jesus Christ that they spoke. What the rulers, elders, and teachers of the law said next is what it all comes down to.

In verse 13 we read, "When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus." Love it!

It's not schooling that one needs. It's not even experience that one needs. All that is needed to have a tremendous impact for the Kingdom of God is to be with Jesus.

Have you been with Jesus today?

Think On This

Was Jesus really a rebel? Yes, but Jesus didn't rage against some abstract machine, he called people to an old way, the way revealed in the prophets. The way of doing life that Jesus championed had never been done because it had always been resisted. Jesus rocked the boat, and defied the status quo, modeling courageous resistance of the prevailing winds. But in our contemporary culture, rebellion is considered good in its own right - and a thrilling one at that. We're out to transgress. But we don't really have any agenda beyond rebellion itself. Was Jesus really a rebel? Sure. But our version of rebellion is a shallow impression.
- Paul Grant, Blessed are the Uncool (InterVarsity, 2006)

Verbal Comments

You may now leave verbal comments on this blog!



Here's how it works:

1. Press the “call me” button and it will tell you what your next step is.

2. Enter your name and the phone number you'd like to be called at. If you choose "keep number private" that means it will still use that phone to connect you, I just won't be able to see that number.

3. Click "Connect."

4. A random phone number from Google Voice will call you. Answer the call.

5. You will get a personal greeting from me, saying hello and telling you what to do. Your message will not ring my phone, it will just go directly to both my voicemail and email.

6. Leave your comment or message. If it's a private message that you would rather not be published to my blog, just let me know and I will keep it that way.

7. As soon as you hang up, Google Voice alerts me that I have a new message.

8. I listen to your message, and read the message transcribed in my email.

9. If your message is relevant to this blog, I will post your comment to the post you are referencing. Again, if it's a personal message, I will keep it that way.

Go ahead and give it a try. I would love to hear from you!

Blog Change

There has been a lot of change in my life recently. Seems it has been a real season of change, so it's only fitting that after three years of this blog having the same look, it was time for a change.

One of the coolest things I have added is RefTagger. If you hover over any scripture reference a window will pop up displaying the scripture. It can be set to most any translation. You will find mine set to the NIV. Check it out, here is one of my favorite scriptures ... Philippians 4:6-7.

If you have a blog go to RefTagger and check it out. It's very easy to install.

Enjoy!

Treasure

What is it you treasure? What are the things in life that are most important to you? We live in a culture that desires to dictate to us the things in which we should treasure. Money, cars, friends, homes, status, success, all things we fall victim to.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:21

Recently I have been captivated by the words of Paul in Philippians 4:10-13.

I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

I love that Paul knew what it meant to be content. In whatever circumstances he found himself in, he was content. If he was without food, he was content. If he was in poverty, he was content. If he was experiencing wealth, he was content. He understood the secret to true contentment. Christ. It was through Christ that he was able to go through any situation and experience contentment. Christ was his treasure.

John Piper says it well in this 1031sermonjams produced video.

From Eternity to Here

I have been reading a good number of books recently. I enjoy pushing my thinking beyond the paradigms and opinions I currently hold. This has certainly been the case recently.

One of the books I have been working my way through is one in which I was sent and asked to write a review for. The book is Frank Viola's most recent, "From Eternity To Here" (David C. Cook, 2009). The tag line of the book's title is, "Rediscovering The Ageless Purpose of God." The statement holds true.

After reading the book I have a far greater appreciation for Jesus and the love He has for us, His Church. What is presented is a God that is passionately and madly in love with His bride, the Church. What I appreciate most is how Viola draws out the scriptural analogy of the Church being the bride of Christ.

I yet to meet a groom, who was not absolutely smitten and passionately in love with his bride. In like manner, that is how Christ see us! The irony is, we all too often fail to see ourselves in the same manner.

Viola says it well when he writes, "In the eyes of your beloved Lord, you are the most captivating thing that exists in His universe. How then, can you think of yourself as being unworthy in the presence of so great a truth?" I don't know about you, but that truth stirs my heart.

This same truth is found in the words of Ephesians 5:25-27. "...Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless."

It is only through accepting Christ's love, and His view of us, that we are able to serve Him from anything other than guilt or duty. It is when we accept His passionate love for us that we are able to reciprocate it through they way we live. Viola offers a great reminder when he writes, "We are His bride, not His slave or His maid"

It is my desire to love and live for my Lord not out of guilt or duty, but out of an intense love for Him. Why? Because that is how He loves me!

If you desire a new appreciation for the love relationship Christ has with you, read this book. It will open your eyes to how much He does indeed love us, and how the whole of Scripture is nothing short of a love story. A love story between Christ and His bride.

Today (June 9th), the following blogs are discussing Frank Viola's new bestselling book, "From Eternity to Here" (David C. Cook, 2009). The book just hit the May CBA Bestseller List. Some are posting Q & A with Frank; others are posting full reviews of the book.

Out of Ur

Shapevine

DashHouse.com

Greg Boyd

Vision Advance

David Flowers

Kingdom Grace

Captain's Blog

Christine Sine

Zoecarnate

Church Planting Novice

Staying Focused

Take Your Vitamin Z

Jeff Goins

Bunny Trails

Matt Cleaver

Jason T. Berggren

Simple Church

Emerging from Montana

Parable Life

Oikos Australia

West Coast Witness

Keith Giles

Consuming Worship

Tasha Via

Andrew Courtright

ShowMeTheMooneys!

Leaving Salem, Blog of Ronnie McBrayer

Jason Coker

From Knowledge to Wisdom

Home Brewed Christianity

Dispossessed

Dandelion Seeds

David Brodsky's Blog- "Flip the tape Deck"

Chaordic Journey

Renee Martin

Bob Kuhn

Real Worship

Fervent Worship

Julie Ferwerda Blog

What's With Christina?!

On Now to the Third Level

Irreligious Canuck

This day on the journey

Live and Move: Thoughts on Authentic Christianity

Spiritual Journey With God

Dries Conje

Journey with Others

Christine Moers

Breaking Point

Hand to the Plough

Jon Reid

Weblight

D. L. Webster

Searching for the Whole-Hearted Life

Go to Amazon now and you can get the book at a 33% discount.

Sabbatical

Tomorrow our family leaves for a week away at Black Butte Ranch. It will be a wonderful time as a family to rest, renew, and prepare for the next chapter in our lives. Three days after our return, I hit the ground running in my new position at Rock Harbor.

These last three months have been a wonderful time as we have waited on the Lord to show what was next. It has been a great time of rest and reflection; a true sabbatical. Perhaps the best part of my time off has been all the time I have had to spend with my little man, Benny. Not many dads get as much time with their children as I have had over the last three months.

We have enjoyed bike rides, gardening, preschool field trips, treks to the pond in search of frogs, time at the park, and much more. What a blessing this time has been!




While these last three months were not necessarily a part of our plan, they were certainly part of God's, and have I ever enjoyed them! I am thankful for all God has done for us as a family. He has provided and blessed in ways we could never have imagined!

I am now excited and eager to see how the next chapter unfolds. Stay tuned!


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Following His Lead

One of my favorite aspects of following Christ, is the confidence that we can have in His leadership. A favorite scripture of mine has always been Proverbs 3:5-6,

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,

and he will make your paths straight.

As we followed God's lead in stepping away from our ministry position of nine years we had no idea how God was going to lead. Where would He take us? What would He have us do? All we knew is that we wanted to be in the center of His will, to trust Him completely, knowing and believing that He would reveal to us His perfect plan. It has been quite a ride, and He has, as always, proven Himself faithful and true.

I am happy to share that this morning it was announced to the Rock Harbor community that as of June 1, I will be joining their leadership team as their Associate Pastor. Most of my time will be spent focused on student ministries with the balance of my time serving and leading in other areas of ministry.

We are so thankful for the church God has led us to. Not only is it right in our community, meaning no need to make a move, it is also a church that fits well with who we are, and is a church that values the things that we see as important in a church community.

Rock Harbor is a recent church plant of two and a half years that is committed to and focused upon four important values: Truth, Authenticity, Community, and Hope.


Truth – built on the foundation of the Word of God. Our teaching is bible-based and application oriented. We search for answers together in the bible.

Authenticity – a place where you can succeed or struggle and see others do the same. You are not expected to leave your baggage in the car but bring it with you to share with other believers and leave at the foot of the cross.

Community
– connecting people with one another in caring relationships. Building relationships is not optional but expected. We will greatly benefit by bringing out each others strengths and helping to cover one another's weaknesses.

Hope – our only hope is found in Jesus Christ. It is not “wishful thinking” but a promise from God to us. Not only do we look to Christ for our hope but openly share it within our sphere of influence and proactively build relationships so that we may share our hope with others.


We are excited to follow God into this new chapter of our lives and ministry. We are excited to connect with such a wonderful community of people, and are excited to see where God takes us as we seek to be the church God desires. We continue to enjoy the ride!

If you are in the Sherwood area and need a church home, come join us!

Who Do You Live For?

Do live for yourself, for others, or for Christ?

How easy it is to simply live for our own desires. Similarly, how easy it is to fall into the trap of living our lives for the desires of others. In youth ministry we often speak of the struggle students face in dealing with peer pressure, the pressure to live as others expect. If we are to be honest with ourselves, it is a struggle that more than just teenagers deal with.

Have fun with this Candid Camera video as you consider who it is you live for.



May we remember....

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20.


HT to Adam McLane for the video.

Rooted

As we move into Spring, I find myself thinking about seasons. I enjoy the change of seasons. As we leave winter behind I am especially excited about the warmth, fragrance, and color of Spring. Spring also means my favorite season, Summer, is just around the corner!

Just as the calender brings different seasons, so does life. Some are more welcomed than others. I often wish the seasons of life would be more spring and summer like, but often, they are not. As the winter months bring harsh and trying weather, there are often seasons in life which bring harsh and trying times.

Here in the Northwest it is not uncommon to see large trees topple to the ground as strong Pacific storms blow through. As the harsh winds beat relentlessly against the trees there is but one determining factor that decides whether they stand or fall, roots. The tree with the weak and dying root system rarely fairs well, where as the tree with the deep, healthy, and strong roots stand.

Much like the tree, it is our roots that make the difference. As we seek to grow in our knowledge of Christ, our roots grow healthy and deep. As we are well rooted in Christ, our faith grows, and as our faith grows, we will experience the strength needed to ride out the unwelcomed storms of life.

How are your roots?

video

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6-7

Compassion Bloggers to India

I have been actively involved in the ministry of Compassion International for many years and have seen countless children set free from the bonds of poverty as a result. In my years of sharing the ministry of Compassion I have met many a skeptic. Unfortunately there are enough "relief agencies" out there that are less than honorable with the money that has been generously entrusted to them. As a result skepticism often arises in people's minds when introduced to the ministry of Compassion International.

Aside from being very open with their financial information they do a great job of giving people a first hand look at their ministry in action. One of the many ways they effectively accomplish this are blogger tours. To date they have taken bloggers to Uganda and the Dominican Republic. On April 26 a team of five bloggers leave for Kolkata, India to experience first hand the abject poverty, and the difference Compassion is making in the lives of those living in it.

Following along with these bloggers to see what they see, and feel what they feel.

If you have not already, prayerfully consider sponsoring a child today. The relationship you will enjoy and the difference you will make will be greater than you can imagine. Click here to begin your ministry to a very special needy child.

The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' Matthew 25:40.

To Be Like Dad

I recently posted this picture of my son, mowing the lawn with me to my Twitter account. My accompanying tweet said, "Getting the lawn mowed. Nice to have a 'little help.'" Little did I know, such a simple picture would inspire my friend Greg to write the following blog post. It is so good, I share it here.

Consider My Servant

Recently, a friend of mine went out to mow his lawn. While he was mowing, his 4 year old son came out, with his toy lawn mower, to “help” him. My friend was so excited and proud and impressed that his son wanted to help, that he took a picture of it and posted it on Twitter.

It’s a very cute picture: there is the front of my friend’s lawn mower (I think it’s a John Deere). To the right of the mower is the freshly cut grass, to the left of the mower is the uncut grass, and right in front of it is his little boy pushing his toy lawn mower that looks almost like Dad’s.

Now, you know he’s not really helping…it’s a toy, it’s not really doing anything, but I wonder what was going through that little guy’s mind. I came up with five things he might be thinking:

1. I want to be with my Dad.

2. I want to be like my Dad.

3. I want to please my Dad.

4. I’m really helping him out.

5. I bet he’s proud of me.

(Knowing my friend like I do, and the fact that he posted the picture, I know number 5 is true.)

I thought of a similar story in Job 1:6-9:

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. The Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?”

(A side note: If God twittered this question it would look like this: Have U considered my servant Job, that thr is none lk him on the earth, a blameless & upright man, who fears God & turns away from evil?)

Just like my friend, God is proud of His people who do good, after all it’s what we were created for. (Ephesians 2:10)

The thing that struck me the most is the fact that, even though God is proud of me for doing good works, and even though I get all full of myself for “helping” my Heavenly Father, I sometimes wonder if I’m mowing the lawn with a toy lawn mower. And then I think, maybe that’s what Jesus meant when He said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:14)

My motivation for doing good should be 1, 2, 3, and 5 on that little boy’s list:

1. I want to be with my Dad.

2. I want to be like my Dad.

3. I want to please my Dad.

5. I bet he’s proud of me.

If I convince myself that any of my good works are worth anything I’m kidding myself. (Isaiah 64:6) But I’m going to keep doing them, because I want to make my Daddy proud.


So good! May we all strive to be more and more like our Daddy.

Safety First?

How safe do you play it? Do you live life to the fullest or do you play it safe? Conventional wisdom says to play it safe. It tells us to get a good job, save lots of money, and retire comfortably. Is that really the life God invites us into?

These are questions I have wrestled with over the years. Which is more responsible, to store away so that I can eventually enjoy a comfortable retirement and hopefully leave something behind for my kids, or to live a life of faith and trust? A life that gives more than it saves. A life that is more concerned about the life to come than this present one.

In my current pursuit of what God has next for my family and me, I wrestle with these thoughts. Do I hold out for the "perfect job" that promises to provide all the things on our list of desires, or do I walk through the doors God is opening before us to serve Him right here, right now? The "perfect job" may or may not come. The one thing I am certain of, is the one who is perfect, promises to meet us where we are, and to provide for our every need. What He desires of us is faithfulness (Matthew 6:25-33).

God does not call us into a life of safety. He calls us into a radical lifestyle of trust and faith. It's not always a safe life, but it's an exciting life, and one that culminates in hearing the words, "Well done good and faithful servant." (Matthew 25:21). It is those very words that I hope to hear someday.

I hope this Francis Chan video challenges you as it does me.

Did You Know?

Are you ever dizzied by how rapidly culture is changing? Just today I had a conversation with a friend about how different the world is from when our parents were our age. We think nothing of paying a cell phone bill, internet bill, and cable bill each month. We think nothing of loading 10,000 songs onto a device the size of a pack of gum, or paying $3.50 for a cup of coffee. Our parents on the other hand, would never have even imagined such things.

The world is changing rapidly. I can't help but wonder, what will our children be doing someday, that today we can't fathom? In considering such a rapidly changing world, how do we respond? More importantly how does the Church respond?

Over the generations culture has remained much the same. The same has held true in the Church. With culture now accelerating at such a rapid rate, we as the Church must consider, how we are going to live, and minister, to effectively remain relevant, and fulfill our mission to reconcile the world back to it's creator.

Did you know...

Think On This

If your church is serious about reaching the unchurched, you must be willing to put up with the people who have a lot of problems. Fishing is often messy and smelly. Many churches want the fish they catch to be already scaled, gutted, cleaned and cooked. That is why they never reach anyone.
- Rick Warren

A New Chapter

If you have been reading my blog recently, you know that God has led me to embark on a new chapter in my life. After serving at Grace Point Community Church for the last 11 years, He is now leading me on a brand new adventure.

Change is not always easy. It often requires a measure of faith that is greater than what has previously been lived out. That is where I find myself now. A new journey of faith. A new chapter in life.

I am excited to see what it is that God has next for me and my family. As we are seeking God for His next assignment, I have put together a new web site designed for those that may also be beginning a new chapter within their church ministry. My new resume site is a site created to give churches a glimpse into my life and ministry.

If you are part of a church, or know of one, that is seeking God's will for a new pastoral position, I invite you to take a look. I would love to find myself ministering to students once again, or perhaps even in a new area of ministry. You will find my site at http://brianeberly.wordpress.com. Once there you will find various posts, videos, articles, and more all designed to give you a look into my ministry. You will also find easy downloads of my resume, philosophy of ministry, and doctrinal statement. For easy reference, I have also added a link to this new site in the sidebar of this blog. You will find it listed under Sites of Interest

If you have a need in your church, please do not hesitate to contact me. I would love to talk with you about the new chapter God is beginning in your life and ministry!

Satisfied with Christ

How satisfied with Christ are you? We live in a culture that tells us the end goal in life is the accumulation of stuff. We live in a relentless pursuit of more; more money, more things, more friends, more pleasure, and the list goes on.

I was challenged recently with a John Piper quote I came across while reading Francis Chan's book, Crazy Love. In asking, how in love with Christ are we, he shared the following quote.

The critical question for our generation - and for every generation - is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ was not there?

When we are in love, everything in life changes. It changes the way we view our stuff, our relationships, and our priorities.

May we love Christ in a way that causes everything else in life to pale in comparison to knowing and loving Him.