"I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands." - Psalm 143:5

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Shore Leave

 

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That day Jesus went out of the house and was sitting by the sea. And large crowds gathered to Him, so He got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd was standing on the beach. And He spoke many things to them... - Matthew 13:1-2

Sometime (O-dark thirty) on Monday morning my family will be leaving for a one-week sojourn to Cape Hatteras, NC. As we settle in the beach house after a twelve-hour drive, we will be at our favorite place on the planet. It will be a bittersweet adventure, as it is the first time we will be there since my father-in-law passed away last October.

Still, the unwinding will begin and the ocean breeze will start to slough off the remains of the day. The smell of salt in the air, the warmth on our skin and the seafood…all contribute to the beach bum mentality that we love. I can wait to savor hushpuppies and my first Apple Ugly (Think Apple Fritter on steroids) in over two years. Yet, I yearn for something much deeper than those Hatteras treats.

And He spoke many things to them...

The Father uses the ocean to speak to me and that is what I’m really going for. I enjoy all that other stuff but I long for a special connection to God that happens when I am by the sea.

The ocean waves have this effect on me and I feel cleansed and renewed. The wind is strong at Hatteras and some days it whips the sand up furiously, sandblasting you in the process. Even then, there is something spiritual happening and the metaphor of gunk stripping away becomes all too real.

I’m not sure of how much attention my blog will get during these next week but my heart will be getting plenty.

In and for Him,
Jay

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Crazy Man

 

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I’m a young pastor… at age 57.

Young, only because I just became a pastor for the first time in January of 2013, a mere 6 months ago.

Oh… did I mention that it’s a church plant?

Crazy isn’t it? Well, I think so… I don’t fit the norm; this is supposed to be a younger man’s gig. Church plants eat pastors alive I’ve read, so they should be young, excited, and multi-by-talented to get the job done… and avoid being eaten.

Did I mention that the church plant was started by a man older than me? Why, he must be crazier than me!

We live in college town, with 5 colleges in close proximity and we get quite a few students coming to a small church plant pastored by two guys who shouldn’t be pastoring a young church plant.

That’s crazy…

Or, just maybe, these two guys along with their wives and a few key leaders have chosen to believe God instead of what others say that they could/should be doing.

“But God doesn't call us to be comfortable. He calls us to trust Him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if He doesn't come through.”
- Francis Chan, Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God

One of these students came to me after the service last week, to talk about the sermon and to rave how she felt at home here, how her parents felt that way when they visited. Her words is something we hear repeated a lot at Bridge Builders… people come and they feel at home… loved.

If that’s crazy…call me certifiable.

“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:35

So…I’m wondering… are you a crazy for God type of person?

 

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

7 Things I Won’t Apologize For

 

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Perry Nobel, founding and senior pastor of NewSpring Church, wrote this interesting post over at Church leaders (read it here). While I read it I couldn't help but squirm a bit, and felt uneasy afterwards. Not exactly sure why, but as I pondered that thought, I made up my own list.

7 things I wont apologize for (probably, almost never, really going to try)

1. Loving God with everything I am

2. Putting my family before ministry (They are my greatest ministry)

3. Not knowing everything

4. Trying my best but failing short (a lot)

5. Not being everything for everybody

6. Loving people as they are

7. Wanting people to grow in God

Maybe I'm just tired of justifying my role as leader... or my vision... or agendas...my mind doesn't disagree with Perry's list but my heart does. When I'm less concerned about proving I'm right, I find that I'm more concern about people's hearts... that has impacted my role as husband, as a father and now as a pastor.

"Shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness." 1 Peter 5:2

So, I admit I might be a tad sensitive about brother Perry's list but I wonder did you read Perry's? How do you think it compares to mine? Would love you feedback!

 

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Monday, August 5, 2013

Betrayed


 

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I love the Communion sacrament, I love the fact that we share in something that connects us with the early church followers… something ancient and yet fresh and alive. My wife and I led Communion yesterday and I was just going to read from 1 Corinthians 11:23-29 and serve the bread and wine. Until I started to read a line I have read countless times before and my heart exploded with passion of a simple truth revealed. The line was found in verse 23…

The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed.

This night, one that Jesus earnestly desired to be with his band of brothers; would become one of deep betrayal. Jesus knew of his suffering to come, he knew the beatings and the cross were close, but the first blow, the first insult was not by a Roman guard or a Jewish religious leader… it was one of his twelve.

Yet on the night he was betrayed…he chose them, he chose love.

Jesus sat down and ate with betrayers and deserters… with men who fell asleep when he needed them to pray. Knowing all this, Jesus still wanted to be with them, such was his love for them. The courage of the twelve would leave them, their concern for their own safety outweighing their love for the Master, demonstrating how fragile the human heart is. Their actions reveal my own heart as well...how many times in my life have I deserted my Lord in the name of connivance and comfort? The short answer is…too many.

On the night he was betrayed…the Master would not leave them… or us.

Betrayals, beatings, insults, the bruising of fists or words, none of it deterred Jesus from loving humanity. Everyday the Messiah chooses us… He earnestly desires to be with us, sharing communion, the rich relationship that restores weak, sinful, human hearts… making us His own.

This is the Lord, my Messiah, my King, I proclaim!