… the thoughts from a life in the Son-shine State

2013 Resolution

I’ve decided to make a single resolution for 2013.

I resolve to be open to the work of the Holy Spirit in my life, that I may demonstrate more consistently the Fruit of the Spirit.

No, this is not some hyper-spiritual, Christianese, “Jesus Juke” remark.

This is genuine.

I’ve come to this conclusion:

  • All the things I have ever resolved to do in the past I have utterly failed to accomplish fairly quickly,
  • I can’t do anything in my own strength that will have an eternal impact, and
  • Any worthy resolutions can only truly be accomplished if God changes me.

Why don’t I exercise? I’m lazy.
Why do I eat too much? I lack self control.
Why do I not read as much as I should/could? Again, laziness.
Why don’t I spend more time getting to really know the people around me? I’m not as kind, good, and loving as I should be.

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
(Galatians 5:22, 23 NLT)

Most of us don’t have the impact we could on this world because we are too self-focused.

I want this to see this changed in my life, and only God can do that.

As a result, my wife and I prayed for God to plan our New Years Day.

We kicked off the New Year with a great day helping some good friends get some much needed work done. They decided to thank us with lunch at McGuire’s Irish Pub (unnecessary, but I didn’t argue).

There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
(John 15:13 NLT)

Life is found in giving your life away!

I’m glad that Brooke and I were able to start the year off right—serving.

With true surrender to the Holy Spirit, we will experience a change in our lives we never thought possible… and that’s usually because we often think too highly of ourselves.

Believing for change!

Steve

  • How about you? Have you ever failed to fulfill any resolutions?
  • How about any successes?

P.S. Please ignore any commercials that may appear below. 🙂

Book Review: Viral

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Ah. Finally finished this amazing book!

Viral: How Social Networking Is Poised to Ignite Revival was my first introduction to Dr. Leonard Sweet, and man was a I blown away!

In this book, Sweet works on breaking down two main topics and explains their impact on culture, relationships and communication; and then relates that information to how it has affected the spread of the Gospel. The first topic is that of the two generations we see in USAmerica—”Gutenberger” and “Googler”— and weaves the comparison of these generations through each main category of the second topic—the “TGIF culture.”

Sweet goes through a great effort early in the book to help the reader understand the difference between the “Gutenbergers” and “Googlers.” This greatly solidifies the significance of the message, as it enables you to put his argument into proper context, how social networking is poised to ignite revival. If you don’t grasp the generational differences from the beginning, then it would be difficult to follow the rest of the book, as it leans heavily on understanding the differences. He then builds on this foundation with a great teaching on the significance of the “TGIF culture”—Twitter, Google, iPhone, Facebook.

I have the privilege of approaching this book from a unique position—I have my degree in Youth Ministry and have been a Youth Pastor at 2 churches, am currently starting a new church, and also work full time as the Social Media Manager for an international non-profit organization. So to see the significance and importance of Sweets proposal is an understatement. I live what he is teaching here on a daily basis beyond being an early adopter of Facebook, Twitter, and the iPhone.

This book is highly recommended!

Since I began reading this book, every person I have come in contact with that works with youth in any fashion, as well as anyone involved in church ministry, has heard me rant about how important it is for them to read this book. To date, I believe it is one of the most well-written books on the subject of the cultural significance of social networking and it’s affect on the Gospel.

So, are you a Gutenburger or a Googler? Are you a catalyst for sparking revival, or have you become irrelevant to this evolving culture? Get your copy today and find out!

Moments Like This

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It’s moments like this that reveal the truth that often, instead of giving ourselves to people, we give things to people.

This was the reaction of author Will Davis, Jr when being interviewed on the news the afternoon of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting a week ago.

I’ve been waiting to post this blog.

I didn’t want my reaction to be knee-jerk, or unsympathetic, or drowned out by the over-saturated media on this tragedy.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this quote.

It’s moments like this…

Here it is, the weekend before Christmas. The first thing on most people’s minds is me, me, me… parties, presents, pageants, punch… Hoping we get what we wanted, hoping they will be impressed by what we got them, and hoping we don’t gain too much weight from all the gorging that will take place… and hoping the credit card bill isn’t more than we can handle.

There are families that have abruptly had their focus changed (and that is not reserved only for those in Newtown, CT).

It’s moments like this…

There are gifts under the tree that won’t be opened early on December 25th by excited little children.

What saddens me is the reality that we think about the unopened gifts, and there are now mom’s and dad’s that could care less about those gifts.

All they want is one more hug, one more smile, one more, “I love you.”

It’s moments like this…

The stuff doesn’t matter.
The time spent working overtime, not to pay the bills, but just to get more stuff.

The relationships do matter.
The time spent sitting in the Lazyboy while our children are starved for attention. (I’m just as guilty as anyone.)

How much of ourselves to we give to others, versus how much stuff we give to others?
Do the gifts attempt to make up for the lack of relationship?

As I ran around outside with my 3-year-old daughter today, I had this overwhelming sense of investment. One thousand Christmas gifts could not touch the investment into her little heart today. Stuff can be replaced, repurchased, and re-gifted… but a life? Never.

It’s moments like this…

The ultimate gift? Jesus Christ.
Sent from a heavenly Father that loves us, and wants to invest in us.

Does He give us things? Yes.
But His ultimate, and overwhelmingly significant gift for us? Relationship.
Eternity with Him because of what His Gift, Jesus, did while on earth.

It’s moments like this that reveal the truth that often, instead of giving ourselves to people, we give things to people.

This holiday season let’s change that.

Steve

Don’t be confused

with knowing God, and simply knowing about God.

Many people know the Bible.

Many people know about God.

Fewer people actually know God.

You may have a degree in theology, but that does not mean that you actually know the one that created you.

Knowledge does not equal relationship.

If you find that you are one of these types of people, knowing about God but not really knowing God, I would encourage you to pray divine revelation of the cross.

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A thought about community and generational gaps after some good reading last night from one of my new mentors (via books).

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Office vs. Position

Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ… He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. (Ephesians 4:11, 12, 16 NLT)

Sometime I wonder if we are doing it correctly.

What is it?
You know, the whole paid church staff thing. Pastors, teachers, worship leaders, a full office of secretaries and administrative assistants, grounds keeping crew, janitors, counselors, media team…

It just seems that we got things all mixed up.

I struggle with wanting to get paid to “pastor.”

I know the Bible says that a worker is worth his wage. Peter and the others quit fishing and worked helping to establish the New Testament Church; and their needs were met.

But have we gone too far with it?

I opened with Ephesians 4 because it talks about some specific offices. These are known as the “Five-fold Ministry”. What is interesting is Scripture says they are given as gifts.

These gifts are designed to help everyone else sothey can grow the church.

We have taken something that is a gift and made it a position.

Now, Christians around the country show up Sunday mornings and are serviced. They pay Pastor, or the evangelist to grow the church. The teacher is paid to make the disciples for us.

Was this the intention? Were these gifts given so we could elevate them into the authority?

Is it possible we have lifted up man to the place of king, and the building of our churches (lower-case ‘c’ because I’m referring to the institution and buildings), rather than the whole body working together—equally participating and contributing—in order to lift up the King and the building His Church (upper-case ‘C’ because it’s referring the body of believers)?

I’m really not so certain anymore that we’ve got things properly ordered.

Thoughts?

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