Sunday, July 09, 2006

Friday, July 07, 2006

Christians that set the pace for culture

These thoughts came after listening to Louie's message at the Jump Conference held earlier this year at NPCC.

One of the things I want to stamp on kids in my youth ministry is that Christians need to be setting the pace for culture. I want the word out that if you want something done well, then you need to get a Christian to do it because they do everything like they are doing it for God. Here is a glimpse at a pair of Christians across the pond that are doing just that.

Natasha Bedingfield (born November 26, 1981 in London, UK) is a pop singer and is also the sister of fellow pop singer Daniel Bedingfield. Before going solo, she was a member of a Christian worship band named The DNA Algorithm with her sister Nikola and brother Daniel. She went onto co-write a number of Christian worship songs at the popular Hillsong London Church. Her debut album, Unwritten, landed at #1 on the UK Albums Chart in September 2004. By the second week it went platinum, and it is now triple platinum. She also had a #3 single in the UK Singles Chart titled "Single" in May 2004 as well as a #1 single titled "These Words" in August 2004.

Not only is Natasha the third solo singer in UK history to debut at #1, but she and her famous brother Daniel Bedingfield recently made it into the Guinness Book of World Records as the only brother and sister to have solo number ones in UK chart history.

May you set the pace for culture

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Kyle Lake's last sermon

I wrote this on July 4th

I just finished reading Kyle Lake’s last sermon. It is inspiring. I really like it. Some might say that it is too light on theology…heck…I might say that. But inspiration, creativity, connection to the speaker, and connection to God are what I think are the cornerstones of a good sermon. This sermon has them all. If you know me, you know that I think Rob Bell and Louie Giglio are the greatest preachers around today. Now, I want to get my hands on some Kyle Lake stuff so I can see what he was all about and have my preaching style shaped somewhat by his preaching style. This sermon was never preached because he was electrocuted on Sunday morning just before he was to deliver it. Good thing for us that he didn’t prepare his sermons like me and walk up there with an outline written in crayon during the announcements. Here is the conclusion. Maybe it will tempt you to read the whole thing.

And Live Well.
Breathe in and Breathe deeply.
Do not be past.
Do not be future.
Be now.
On a crystal clear, breezy 70 degree day, roll down the windows and FEEL the wind against your skin.
Feel the warmth of the sun.
If you run, then allow those first few breaths on a cool Autumn day to FREEZE your lungs and do not just be alarmed, be ALIVE.
Get knee-deep in a novel and LOSE track of time.
If you bike, pedal HARD… and if you crash then crash well.
Feel the SATISFACTION of a job well done—a paper well-written, a project thoroughly completed, a play well-performed.
If you must wipe the snot from your 3-year old’s nose, don’t be disgusted if the Kleenex didn’t catch it all… because soon he’ll be wiping his own.
If you’ve recently experienced loss, then GRIEVE.
And Grieve well.
At the table with friends and family, LAUGH. If you’re eating and laughing at the same time, then might as well laugh until you puke.
And if you eat, then SMELL.
The aromas are not impediments to your day.
Steak on the grill, coffee beans freshly ground, cookies in the oven.
Taste every ounce of flavor.
Taste every ounce of friendship.
Taste every ounce of Life.

If you want me to email you the entire sermon manuscript, then just say so in the comment box.

So now...may you LIVE and find inspiration from the great crowd of onlookers that watches every step you take in the race!

Underoath, church, Jesus, and forgiveness

Current reading: Can We Do That?, Relevant Magazine
Current listening: Hyperstatic Union, Practically Speaking Podcast

“It’s a big deal to us to burn all Christian stereotypes because, unfortunately, those stereotypes are often true. Ninety percent of Christians turn their back on people and make you feel uncomfortable and awkward. In my experience as a child growing up in the church, people were like, ‘If you don’t believe what I believe, then you don’t belong here.” - Spencer Chamberlain and Aaron Gillepsie from Underoath.

The stereotype - Christians are unforgiving and like to point out your wrongs while they hurry to cover up theirs.


When one of the key themes of the gospel is forgiveness, it seems like we have turned out much like the Pharisees trying to keep a list of do’s that American organized Christian religion has out there (unwritten of course). So, what is the solution. How do we get forgiveness back to the center of the cause of Christ followers? How do we break the stereotypes?

Underoath members have at least two reactions. The first one is to say forget about church and just focus on your personal relationship with Jesus. thanks to that suggestion. The reasons are too many to list here.

The second though seems like what Jesus was going after when the Pharisees caught a woman in the act of adultery and dragged her in front of Jesus for judgement. Chamberlain says that the new album is going to be more than heavy. It will be more honest as well. “Its important to the band, both personally and artistically, to be raw and transparent in their songs. My trash is all out in the open” says Chamberlain. If we are going to join the ranks of worshipers like this woman and the woman that washed Jesus’ feet, wetting them with her tears and drying them with her hair, we must be like Isaiah when he cried out that he was a man of unclean lips who came from a people of unclean lips. We must realize the greatness of the separation that is between God and every man I am a man of unclean lips, eyes, mouth, ears, hands, feet...I have wronged over and over, but I sit here forgiven! That separation was bridged by JESUS!

So...may you forgive widely and very Jesus like out of the great sense of forgiveness you have received yourself.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Dreaming For God's Glory

Current Reading: Erwin Mcmanus - Seizing Your Divine Moment
Current Listening: David Crowder* Band - B Collision

When I was in third grade my teacher wrote on my report card that it seemed that I was “out to lunch” during class. I was then and still am a daydreamer. I think of awesome things, incredible things, and things I probably will never do. Some things I think of excite me and some things scare me. Sometimes when I drive over a bridge I think of what it would be like to drive off of the bridge, my car flying through the air and landing in the water.

Would I live?

Would the Ranger XLT sink quickly?

Not that I want to hurt myself at all, but the thought of the event and the exhilaration are painted perfectly in my mind in an instant. Sometimes I have to shake myself out of my dream world because it seems so real. Dreams are exciting! They give us something to live for. We aren’t going to live above what we dream about. My buddy Jance put it like this, “If all you dream about is flipping burgers, then that’s all you are ever going to be.” I think God wants us to dream big and dream wild.

So, as I thought about our dreams I wrote down “dreams are always better than reality.” I read it out loud thinking about it and it was like the Holy Spirit spoke to me directly and said “but it doesn’t have to be.” Now first off, if that was the Holy Spirit, He doesn’t use proper grammar, but hey…they Bible is full of things that wouldn’t be considered proper grammar in English today. When I presented this idea to my youth group (Dreams are always better than reality…but they don’t have to be) one kid insisted that daydreams would always beat reality. He said that nothing could happen that could beat something he could imagine. My mind immediately went to a statement made by Paul when he was writing to the church in Ephesus. Here is Eugene Peterson’s translation of Ephesians 3:20…God can do anything, you know - far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. So here is the dichotomy…We aren’t going to live beyond what we dream about, but we can live beyond our wildest dreams!

So…may you dream big and go for it and may God take you beyond all that you could ask or imagine.