Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What am I doing?

Blogging today seems kinda dry for me.  However, I need to get at least one post in for this week, so I'm not trying to catch up over the weekend.  I feel like the past week and half I have been spread everywhere. I don't think it's going to slow up anytime soon either.  

Staying this busy is something the plagues our culture.  We spend so much time doing things, but are we actually doing anything?  That is what I sit back and ask myself at times like this.  I really begin to wonder how this affects myself. I begin to think if all this stuff that I'm doing is really making a difference. 

I think it's hard at this point to be able to justify not doing some things though.  As a college student, if you plan on succeeding after college you have to be preparing yourself for the workforce after graduation.  So I spend my time involved with things that are targeted at doing that such thing.  These things take up time though and I have to assess how effective I am in each of these markets.

As I assess this I come to find that I may be able to be effective in these places, but am I enacting change? Moreover can I enact change?  I believe that what I do is important, but is it something that builds towards the ultimate goal?  

I believe that everything a person does can point to Christ.  Or at least it should point to Christ.  The only way it won't is if it is done in sin.  With that I ask myself if I do things out of sin.  I believe that at times I do, I mean everyone does at one point or another.  

I bring all of this back together and I say that what I'm doing has purpose, that I am leaving my mark in places, however I don't believe that sometimes I forget to point things towards Christ.  That part is the most important of all too.. 

This is where I stand right now.

Friday, September 24, 2010

What's next? Nuclear War?

I was border line on picking this article (linked to the title) however as you read through this typical pyramid style article, it kept getting more slippery slope as you read down.  The final quote was what really brought the article together and I felt made it become a full fledged fear ensuing article.

"This is a recipe for chaos and for an arms race in the Middle East"

Isreal and Pakistan are always going to be a hot topic issue.  However, they have never had any nuclear conflicts.  Nor has any other Middle Eastern countries had previous conflicts.  As far as I know.

The Gaza strip has always been a hot topic between Pakistan and Israel.  The whole story though about having Israel stop building plans so that they can have peace talks.  It is nothing to do with nuclear war.  The entire problem has nothing to do with nuclear warheads.  It has everything to do with Pakistan and Israel peace talks.

Pakistan's leader then brings nukes into the equation.  He wants the building to stop, however he throws nuclear reduction into the mix as well.  This adds another dimension to the conflict as well as the negotiations.

Not only does this up the ante so to speak with the negotiations but it brings about the thought that they might be on the brink of nuclear war.  The thought of nuclear war in any capacity strikes fear in most people, and that is why I believe this article is doing just that.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

They Admitted they were aliens


1. Of Myself ect.

2. Youth Sunday

Did you know that something around the lines of 80% of students across the world do not profess Christ or a belief in God?

However, in the time that I have been here at London we have watched the youth nearly double in size; double in size, that's pretty amazing.

In the amount of time that I have been here at London there have been youth groups at churches three times the size of ours that have stayed the same...which is consistently averaging the same numbers that our youth have.

Don't even get me started on what our college class has had happen with it...

London, in case you haven't realized, these two age groups are the future of the church. If we aren't reaching these age groups, which thankfully we are, then we are in trouble.

That doesn't excuse the rest of the church though. If in the past year and half our church had doubled in overall attendance like the youth then what would we look like now? Sure we just had back to church Sunday and for those that have returned this Sunday we would like to thank you, this is a very exciting time for us at London and we are excited to have you on board.

I believe what it will take some changes in our personality in order for us to see a larger picture of what Christ wants for us and the church and all of this starts with aliens. Hence the picture of Jar Jar Binks on the screen.

Today we will look into the two types of aliens that we can be and what the differences between these types of aliens.

The first alien comes from Ephesians 2:11-22; (Show first Oz clip)

In Ephesians it talked about how as Gentiles we were are no longer Aliens and foreigners to Christ, meaning that at one point we were aliens and strangers to Christ. When Dorthy first enters Oz she is an alien there. This is a brand new place that she has never seen before.

People who don't come to church, who aren't Christians, are the first type of Alien.

This is why people show hesitation towards church and Christ. It is a foreign idea. This is why for most people you must build a relationship with them before they will come to church. Let me ask you this, how many for back to church Sunday just invited the guy at the gas pump and brought him with you? If so I applaud you, both for asking and for bringing that person, but the reality of it is that we asked people that we had a relationship with that they had a trust built up with us.

People whose first Sunday here with us, I'm sure you relate to this model of alien in at least one way. You probably had some apprehension to coming here last Sunday. Am I wearing the right cloths, will people welcome me, and what will the service be like? All thoughts that entered your head before you came here. I know I thought all of those thoughts a year and half ago when I first came here.

At London though we welcome visitors, that's what we do each Sunday when we go around the auditorium and welcome each other, we are trying to tear down those walls of hesitation and make visitors feel welcomed here. This is what we are doing by implementing our new greeters’ ministry. We are trying to break down those apprehensions that people have when they first visit a church.

As people are no longer aliens to church and Christ, they begin to become comfortable with the church, and they begin growing in their relationship then we are encouraged by Hebrews to become a different type of alien. Aliens to this world.

Essentially we go from being aliens to Christ living in the world, to being Aliens to the world and living in Christ.

Hebrews 11:13-16 (Show second Oz clip)

Dorothy realizes that no matter how much fun she has had in Oz, no matter how close she has grown to each of the characters, she is meant for her real home. This is how we are supposed to be as Christians.

We live in a fantasy world, Christians today live with this idea that we need to get everything we can in this world. We are meant for a better country church! We are meant for a heavenly one.

If we lived like we were aliens here then people would notice. We wouldn't need to have things like back to church Sunday. Our lives would be radiating Christ in such a way that people would ask us about Christ.

Keith Green has a song called "Because of You" and it says "People smile at me and asks me what it is that makes them want to be just like I am" Church, once we get to a point where we realize that this world has nothing for us, that we are meant for heaven country, then we will have people noticing changes in us.

This is what the American church needs more than a Back to Church Sunday. When Christians step up and realize what they are meant for, then we will see true revival within the church.

As we close out today you may feel that you are the first alien, either by being an alien to Christ or an Alien to our church, we would like to take this time to invite you to come to the front and take that first step, either by seeking to become a follower of Christ or in joining our church. You may also find that you are ready to take the step and become an alien to this world, maybe you want to come up here and offer that up to the Lord, this is your opportunity.

This is the template of the sermon that I preached last Sunday.
Upon presenting it, I realized that it lacked alot of content. However here is a template of a sermon, for others use or to just use to compare styles.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

All that is inside me Screams..

There is something about the thought of leading a congregation in what the Lord wants that is daunting.
It can leave a person feeling empty inside and wondering if they are where they need to be in order to deliver a message.

People on the outside say pray, have faith, ask for grace.  God's grace is sufficient.  Sure God's grace is sufficient.  But what about the cheap grace that Paul warns us of in Romans.  What about the passage in James that talks about knowing what to do and then not doing it is evil.  What if the person isn't doing what God wants of them and in consequence isn't near enough to God to hear what it is that He wants in Him?

People don't think about that. People think that if you are at the point where you are willing to stand up and talk about your faith, that you have everything together.  What I don't think the majority of "Christians" know, is that people in ministry struggle with sin just as much as they do.  People in ministry might even struggle more, because Satan would rather see them fail then one of the sheep.  Cause if you take out the shepherd, then you have free reign on the sheep.  Crazy thought right?

What needs to be realized is that all Christians are the same.  All sin is weighed the same.  Which is really crazy if you think about it.  However, that means if I'm dealing with a sin of lust and you are dealing with a sin of forgetfulness, they are the same.  I'm not sinning more.  Sin is sin and it needs to be dealt with.  

As Christians we are all called to the same mission.  Pastors don't have a "higher" calling.  We are all called to actively advance the gospel in every shape and form.  Some are called to do that through leading a group of Christians others through being a light in the work place.  But, if you are not holding up to your end of the bargain, well this is where that verse in James comes in, it's pure evil, cause you know what you are supposed to be doing, but you aren't doing it.

We are supposed to be growing continually closer to Christ.  We are supposed to be in the world and not of it.  Instead we worry about what car we are going to purchase next, or where we are eating after church.  If we are close enough to Christ, we will know the answer to both of those questions.  God will be so present in our lives that we will know exactly what is of Him and what isn't.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I am a Hipster?

This is a Honda ad from Australia.  It has one of the most relevant stereotypes that I could find at the moment encompassed within it.  After fitting the "hipsters" into the car, the guy goes through different hipster stereotypes which are absolutely hilarious.

I don't try to fit into the hipster model, but I do have some tendencies of leaning that way.  I believe that it's hilarious that there is a style based on not being a style.  A style that is against conforming, however they all conform to the same mold clothing style.

The hipster causes though are an interesting part of the stereotype.  The fact that they support things such as Toms and bloodwatermission is interesting for a stereotype that is known for being apathetic to support things.  However, I suppose they are supporting indie things which would fit into their hipster mold.

The thing to realize about this though, is that people can fit into the hipster stereotype however they aren't apathetic, and don't drink beer, ect.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

If I had Jesus in a little bitty box

Growing up in church, sometimes you hear the word "Hypocrite" either said by people inside or outside the church.  Most of the time you think of that person as hopefully not you, or at least hopefully people don't know that it's you.  I know I've been there.

As I've grown up I came to realize within myself which I assume happens with everyone else that we have different faces that we show to different people.  This way we can still feel Christian but sometimes not be "overbearing" right? At least that's what we tell ourselves, when however it's more because we are living in such sin, we feel we have to put on a front to our other fellow "Christians" to hide that we don't have everything together.

I thought that I was overcoming this, and I really feel that last year I did overcome the initial problems encountered with this issue.  I have begun to realize though that as college students specifically we compartmentalize things.  This is a good thing if done properly, but when done with our walk with Christ I feel it could be border line sin.

We learn to compartmentalize due to our courses that we are taking.  If we don't separate our social lives from school, but live in both of them then we will end up focusing on one more than the other.  So we begin to do this in every aspect of our life, even taking Christ out of parts of our life, because we don't see a "need" for him there.

In all actuality we need Christ in everything, if he is not in everything, then we are holding onto sin.  We have not truly surrendered our entire life to Him.  In order for us to see true transformation and a complete picture of what Christ wants for us, we must no longer put Christ as a section of our life, but include him in everything.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Preach It!

There is something about the mystic of preaching that never ceases to amaze me.  I embarked this past month on preparing for my first Sunday morning sermon.  I have actually known for almost 6 months that I would be speaking, but in the middle of the summer I realized that what I was originally planning on speaking on was not what the Lord wanted, so instead I went where I've always felt lead for my first sermon.

My topic however is not what I wish to blog about today.  The entire process behind preparing to speak in a church setting is wherein the topic of todays blog lies.  As a person prepares to speak on a spiritual topic, they have to prepare themselves mentally and spiritually for the heaviness of the topic.  They must remove all other distractions.  This is something that I have had a hard time with in recent times.

I feel at this point that these distractions are meant to take my focus off of the topic at hand.  For me as should be with every speaker you have to be practicing what you preach.  Or at least working towards it.  In James, (The Message) it says:

 "As it is, you are full of your grandiose selves. All such vaunting self-importance is evil. In fact, if you know the right thing to do and don't do it, that, for you, is evil." James 4:16-17 

 This takes it to an entire level.  It actually scares me somewhat.  Because I get so caught up in life, that I can forget what I'm here for.  I can even forget what things may be considered "wrong". 

I keep praying that the distractions will leave me, however I feel that as long as I am still sitting border line with where I am, then they will stay; continually tempting me to sit where I am, or fall in the opposite direction for where I need to be.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Weekend at Burnies

Below are three articles encasing the Quran burning incident.  All of these were written/filmed before the event was "cancelled."

The cnn article focuses on how General Petraeus replied to what Jones was planning.
The Aljazeera article takes the views of different religious leaders and assesses them.
The Daily Show is a satirical view of the issue.

I enjoyed looking at how the three of these articles looked at the issue at hand from different angles.  The CNN article focused on the first big name response to the issue, focusing on the affect it would have on American troops in Muslim countries.  Aljazeera focuses on getting the opinions of other religious sects as well as showing the reaction of the largest Muslim country in the world.  The Daily Show then brings in the humor of the entire ordeal, closing out the three articles.

All three of these reports focus on the main news source, the pastor in Gainesville, but they each get comments from different sectors to add their piece to the story.  Aljazeera shows an international view on the issue, CNN with a military/American view and then Daily Show with personal views on the issue at hand.

Each of these stories seeming un biased in their reporting.  These articles are probably some of the most diverse that could be found on the issue (short of finding biased articles).  That's really why I enjoyed picking these three articles to post and discuss about.


The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Weekend at Burnies
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Decisions: Application

As followers of Christ we feel an inherent need to please Christ.  After all if we did not feel this need then we would probably need to reconsider whether or not we are truly followers of Him.

At the core, pleasing Christ comes through our decision making.  If we are pleasing Christ with out decisions then we are not sinning and we are enacting life change in ourselves and others.

So how do we begin in seeking Christ in our decision making?  We must first be willing to abandon ourselves to those decisions that Christ has planned for us.  Then we must listen for those plans.  This is where the prayer and supplication comes into action.  God guides our decisions through other means of communication with Him, however if we are not grounded in prayer then we will question whether we are doing what we want or what Christ wants.

You may sit back and think, Christ making decisions for me; that's crazy.  However I can tell you from first hand experience as well as second hand stories that following Christ direction is a real thing.  Not only can his confirmation of decisions come through prayer, it can also come through scripture, worship, communication with other believers, and communication with nonbelievers as well.

I say all of this knowing full well that this is something that I myself need to work on.  Most of the time when I blog about things, they are thoughts that apply to myself, and I feel the need to share.

Decisions: How To

We sit here and wonder, how do I make a decision based on what God wants.  Well scripture tells us that this comes through prayer and supplication (appeal).  We also however have to be on a journey together with Christ, growing closer to Him everyday.

The latter is tougher to swallow at times.  While we have no problems going to God in our time of need, actually taking the time to journey and align our lives with Christ is another matter in itself.  I even have issues at times, with drawing near to Christ.

As humans we see this need to do things ourselves.  We are a "me" people.  This is an issue with Christ.  He wants us to be a "others" people.  He wants us to live for Him and then to live for others.  When we begin doing these things, a life of selflessness, in devotion to Christ, then we will see the complete realm of what decisions Christ wants us to make in our lives.

However, I am not saying that Christ cannot guide us in our decisions if we are not following him with everything.  He can still guide us as He pleases (He is God after all), but we may not be able to see the big picture, or we may miss out on blessings exceedingly, abundantly, above anything we could hope or dream.


 As students we are continually bombarded with new things.  Things to do, things to buy, things to learn, ect.  Each individual option could be a great idea, however due to the amount of things presented to us we have to pick and choose what we accept and what we reject.

Making decisions can be tough things, whether it's what to eat, what to wear, what to study, each carries its own weight.  While we may not spend a lot of time on different decisions, what we choose can affect us in the long run.

As followers of Christ we hear the idea of taking everything to Him.  Instead we tend to just take things to Him that we ourselves have issues handling.  What we need to consider is that if we took everything to Christ what change we could bring upon our circles of influence.  Taking everything to Him shows a kind of devotion that is not seen in Christians today.  When we are making decisions based on what Christ wants and not what our own sinful nature wants then people will notice a difference.

Consider This (More to come throughout the week)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

I am an Alien

Trendy, Indie, Relevant, Hipster,
These are what people aspire to be called
or Popular, Athletic, Preppy, Cool,
However I aspire to be none of these.

I wear bandana's because they keep sweat out of my face
I wear Toms because another kid gets a pair of shoes (and it's an excuse to not wear socks)
I use mac products because they are durable
I wear military hats cause they look good on me (or so I think)
I wear two v-necks cause I bought them for $3
I listen to an artist because of their lyrics (not if they are "in" or not)
I wear converse because they don't look ridiculous like sneakers do
I wear a fedora and trucker hat cause they were free
I drive a sub-compact car cause it was cheap in price and on gas
I wear plaid shorts because they look classier than jersey shorts
I wear vibram five fingers cause they make me look like an alien


I am a follower of Christ, not because that's what everyone else does
not because we live in the Bible belt.
I follow Christ because He is real and has a calling in my life.

In short, I am an Alien.

Hebrews 11:13b "And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on this earth"

Thursday, September 2, 2010

General Purposes of Interpersonal Communication

I had to write a response to a group discussion I had in a class the other day, and it dealt with the 5 general purposes of interpersonal communication.  They are, Learn, Relate, Fun, Influence, and Help.  The following (my response) lays out how we used each of the purposes in our communication as a group.  This is a practical example, so that others can hopefully learn and apply to their lives as well.

Response to Group Discussion, using General Purposes of Interpersonal Communication

The outstanding general purpose of interpersonal communication that occurred during our group discussion was learning. As we went through each section, conversing on what we ranked where, we were able to learn more about each other’s individual preferences. As we began to do this, the second most important thing for us began to shine through. This was relating, as we continued through each section, we found ways to relate to each other. When we were nearing the end of our conversation, we began to just have fun. We had learned some about each other, and began to relate, which allowed us to enjoy our time with each other. As we built our relationship we moved on to a phase in which on some decisions we were able to influence each other as well. Throughout the entire process we helped each other with questions that one of us didn't quite understand. Within our entire discussion we were able to see how each of the five purposes related to us and our conversation.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I like where we are; Here

So I recently met a new lady friend.  Given my past experiences with these sorts of things, I rely a lot on God's leadership as well as past experiences to help guide me through these things.  

I really enjoy getting to know someone, that part is easy.  The hard part is then taking the step from friendship to relationship.  This is something that I have grown more comfortable with over the years.  (I don't know if this is from experiences or if this is due to the amount of communications classes I have, anyway I'd say it's a good thing).  When making this transition, it is very helpful to make sure that both people are on the same page.  This avoids awkward situations in the long run.

As you takes steps from friendship to relationship, it is a good idea to make sure that both of you are on the same page about what you expect through the relationship.  This also can help avoid situations further down the road.

I never imagined I would be writing about this subject.  However in light of my recent experiences I felt compelled to write down these things.  Attached below are a few books I might suggest as well...