Monday, March 29, 2010

Following God Isn’t Supposed To Be Easy

Two years ago I met a man who changed my life in 25 minutes. I met Mark Batterson, the pastor of National Community Church in Washington D.C., at a pastors conference in L.A. As we spoke he challenged me in many ways and suggested that I read a book, “In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day.”

This book is about one of King David’s “Mighty Men”, Benaiah. He was a man whose credentials were literally: killing a lion, in a pit, on a snowy day. Batterson relates this man’s experience to us by posing this question: “What are you doing that is destined to fail unless God intercedes?” Meaning, how are you choosing to follow God’s lead, by finding the lions of your own life, and then choosing to jump in after them? As we all know, it is far easier and substantially less messy to simply avoid the pit all together. But if we do this, we are failing to step out in faith and follow God’s call.

By the time I finished the book I was at a place in my life where I was truly beginning to question how I was living out this principle. I questions if I was even looking for the lions in my life. And if I was, was I willing to risk it all to “jump” into that “pit” and kill them? This thought sent me reeling and asking God for two years, “where is my lion?”

For two years God remained silent. He continued to take me through many learning experiences which grew me into a more Godly man… a man who once again began to search for his “lion.” I am now convinced that I was looking for a lion, which I was actually choosing to ignore. You see, there have been three “lions” in my life that I have selfishly never wanted to fight, but God has asked me to tackle them none the less.

First, truth be told, I never had the desire to be a pastor. I wanted to pursue being a history professor. It was my dream to one day teach history at Stanford. Second, I never, in a million years wanted to start a church. I was a part of a church plant once, many years ago, and I know how truly difficult, challenging and messy they are. And third, I never wanted to be a lead pastor of a church.

In His timing, God never fails to honor our prayers. Even though He was silent for quite some time, He now has spoken. He has made it abundantly clear what my “lions” are. I know that without a doubt, He has called me to start a church and become the lead pastor. And if I choose not to obey this calling, I am not simply choosing to take the “easy” route, I am actually choosing to disobey God and live in sin. So I have chosen to obey.

This calling was confirmed when 4 people, Dave Muniz, Dayvid Sanchez, Eric Yochim, Chris Lambuth and most importantly my wife, Sara, approached me and said “we need to start a church,” all within 48 hours! Talk about something that only God could orchestrate! This was what I need to hear, God’s calling was clear!

Starting a church would mean leaving the one I currently serve in. The problem with this was simple: I love my church! I have been a part of Grace Church of Arvada for almost 9 years! I love the people I serve and the people I get to work with! They are our family.

My stomach was in knots for days. But God has continued to provide countless nuggets of confirmation. One of them was showing me Acts 20. This chapter tells about how Paul had to leave a church in order to follow Gods calling. In The New Living Translation, it says that Paul had to “tear himself away from them.” I knew that this is what I would need to do, and it gave me the confidence to step away from the church and people I love.

So now I am fighting the lion! I am battling insecurities, fears, and of course the lies and attacks of the Evil One!I hold fast to God as Sara and I are embarking upon this journey, knowing that He will fulfill His desires for my life, as long as I remain obedient to Him! I often remember the quote from “In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day.”

“What are you doing that is destined to fail unless God intercedes?”

Well, starting “Two Rivers Church” is just that! Like the title of this blog entry suggests, following God is never easy. I know that our journey to come will be full of challenges and lots of uncertainty. But I know that regardless, God is faithful and He will provide. And living my life the way God has designed it to be will be something I never regret.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Are you half empty or half full?

I understand how difficult it is to be positive all that time! Sometimes I wish that I could just say :forget you” to the world! But, then my senses kick in! Really! What do I have to complain about? Now I know life is horrible, crappy, dysfunctional, people mess with us! But, the reality is that what happens to us cannot determine our quality of life. God is the one who determines the quality of our life, he makes all things good! Really!

Romans 8:28 (NJB)
28 We are well aware that God works with those who love him, those who have been called in accordance with his purpose, and turns everything to their good.

Remember that all poo becomes manure in the hands of the master gardener, God! the one who grows us and maintains us is the one who takes us through all of life’s storms.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Treasure With Immeasurable Value!

A Treasure With Immeasurable Value!

I was talking with my friend Peter about how sad it is the women don’t feel or know how beautiful they really are. Now I know that you have heard it said the women are supposed to be treated like a princess, or like a treasure. I think, like most things we get told, we don’t take the time to realize what a truth means to our own life! Treasure….it hit me! Treasures are nice! You want them! But a real treasure has extreme value and is often hard to find.

I think that if we choose to view each other as a treasure it would change who we date and why we date! To be honest most of us don’t want to go on the treasure hunt. It may take too long, take too much work, or worse….what if we don’t find a treasure at all! As a result we settle for something less than a treasure! We end up with Iron Pyrite (fools gold)and later wonder why our heart got broken or we made mistakes. I think the answer is easy! We settled because it was easier!

Hear me now! Guy or girl, YOU ARE A TREASURE! Do not settle! Be wise, be patient, and fight the lie that you need it now. Your life is in God’s hands! Please leave it there; he takes better care of you than you!

Philippians 4:8 (MSG)
8 Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.

Proverbs 18:22 (NLT)
22 The man who finds a wife finds a treasure and receives favor from the LORD.

Ephesians 5:33 (TLB)
33 So again I say, a man must love his wife as a part of himself; and the wife must see to it that she deeply respects her husband--obeying, praising, and honoring him.

If you are married! Your spouse is your greatest gift! Not your kids! Treat them like the most valuable thing you have ever seen or own!

Genesis 2:23-24 (NLT)
23 "At last!" Adam exclaimed. "She is part of my own flesh and bone! She will be called `woman,' because she was taken out of a man." 24 This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.

Note the excitement! Maybe your treasure hunt is reclaiming the youth of your marriage!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Recent 8:00am

1. Sleep is not overrated! I used to live by the motto “sleep when you die” well it has now changed to “sleep or you will die”! God designed us to need rest! After all he did! I think we should make rest a regular part of our worship!

Ecclesiastes 2:21-23 (NCV)
2:21 People can work hard using all their wisdom, knowledge, and skill, but they will die, and other people will get the things for which they worked. They did not do the work, but they will get everything. This is also unfair and useless. 22 What do people get for all their work and struggling here on earth? 23 All of their lives their work is full of pain and sorrow, and even at night their minds don’t rest. This is also useless.

2. The more I do the more I realize I should be doing less. It is one thing to be able to prioritize to fit everything in. But, I wonder if everything I am trying to cram in my life really makes my life better or just more active! I think better is better, “more” should never be the qualifier for what is better.

Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV)
12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

3. I wish I could process and live all the things I read! I love to learn, application is that hard part. I guess this goes back to that last point. Maybe I should read less so that I can live more! Wow I hate it when I am writing and I clarify my questions! AHHHHHH! But I love to read! But, the truth is I can get all my answers if I read one book (Bible)!

Hebrews 4:11-12 (CEV)
4:11 We should do our best to enter that place of rest, so that none of us will disobey and miss going there, as they did. 12 What God has said isn't only alive and active! It is sharper than any double-edged sword. His word can cut through our spirits and souls and through our joints and marrow, until it discovers the desires and thoughts of our hearts.

I think I’m done thinking for now! Too little sleep but at least I know how to be a success today, focus on “One” and attack each task as they come!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

What is Insignificant to God?

While praying some time back, I saw an ant crawling on the carpet. I naturally wanted to display my power and kill it. Interestingly a bizarre thought came to me! I realized God's view of us. I determined that I am kind of like that ant to God, small , weak, and completely incapable of doing anything out of his control! But though all of this is true, I am NOT insignificant to him. So I let the ant live. I realized that just because I think that something is small and insignificant does not mean that it isn’t to God. I need to let God determine the value of thingsin my life and in his creation…not me!

1 Corinthians 1:26-31 (HCSB)
26 Brothers, consider your calling: not many are wise from a human perspective, not many powerful, not many of noble birth. 27 Instead, God has chosen the world’s foolish things to shame the wise, and God has chosen the world’s weak things to shame the strong. 8 God has chosen the world’s insignificant and despised things—the things viewed as nothing—so He might bring to nothing the things that are viewed as something, 29 so that no one can boast in His presence. 30 But from Him you are in Christ Jesus, who for us became wisdom from God, as well as righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, 31 in order that, as it is written: The one who boasts must boast in the Lord.

Philippians 3:8 (MSG)
8 Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I've dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ