Thursday, September 19, 2013

favorite pastors

When I find a new pastor I love I listen to every sermon of theirs I can get my hands on.  But when I get excited about a new favorite, I forget about the others that I love.  That's why I've decided to keep a list of my favorite pastors and sermons, new and old.  I encourage you to give them a listen and hopefully you'll discover a new favorite of your own!

Louie Giglio - Lead teacher at Passion City Church. Amazing.
Ben Stuart - Teacher at Breakaway Ministries
Bob Coy - Head Pastor of Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale.  This guy can talk about anything.
Tim Keller - Lead teacher at Redeemer Church
Jamie Winship - Jamie is an ex-cop who is now a missionary.  He has some of the most amazing and inspiring stories you will ever hear.  I listen to ever talk of his I can get my hands on.
Tommy Nelson - Has a great series on Song of SolomonMark Gungor - I have only ever heard him teach on marriage, but he does a marriage seminar called a Tale of Two Brains
Jon Weece - Head Pastor of Southland Christian Church in Lexington, KY
Andy Stanley - Head Pastor of North Point Ministries
Jeff Henderson -Lead teacher at Gwinnett Church, a branch of North Point Ministries.  I used to not be a huge fan of Jeff, but I heard him speak at IJM's NorthStar conference and it changed my mind about him.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

exhausted for the king(dom)

Wow.  If you've never been to Passion City Church you really need to check it out.  If you've never taken Perspectives, you really need to check it out.  And if you've never read the bible, you need to check it out.  God is using these three things in a big way in my life, and I trust that he will do the same for you if you're open to it.  He is in the business of changing hearts and lives.

Our church is starting a new series and to kick it off they had a special night of prayer and worship.  This series is about living generously.  At the beginning of the evening we broke into groups to answer the question: How is God calling you to be a better steward?  I normally think of money in the context of generosity and stewardship, but what about how we use our time?

Often when someone asks me how I am, I respond by telling them I've been "busy."  The funny thing is, as busy as I feel, I probably couldn't tell you what I've been so busy doing.  So when my group was asked this question about generosity and what God was asking us to change, many of us said we wanted to be better stewards of our time.  I love the way one of the girls phrased it.  What if instead of being exhausted from work, school, social obligations, etc, we were "exhausted for the kingdom".   

What does that look like for you personally, to be "exhausted for the kingdom"?  Starting your day early to commune with the Lord may cost you some sleep.  Getting up early on Sunday to serve at church may leave you exhausted.  Making extra room in your schedule to spend time with someone who doesn't know the Lord may leave you tired.  But if there is anything in this life worth being exhausted for, it is for our heavenly King and His kingdom.  The good news is, if we ask God, He will direct our steps.  He invites us into his kingdom and He will show us how to live a life that glorifies Him.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

for one more day

I recently finished reading For One More Day by Mitch Albom.  Check out the following excerpt (the narrator speaking of his father):

"The funny thing is, he wasn't religious himself...  when it came to me, the only thing I had to worship was baseball.  He was pitching to me before I could walk.  He gave me a wooden bat before my mother let me use scissors.  He said I could make the major leagues one day if I had 'a plan', and if I 'stuck to the plan'.  Of course, when you're that young, you nest in your parents' plans, not your own.  And so, from the time I was seven years old, I scanned the newspaper for the box scores of my future employers."

Can you relate to this idea of nesting in someone else's plans?  It has been easy for me to follow in my sister's footsteps or take steps toward the life my parents have envisioned for me.  But over the last few months God has been teaching me about finding my identity in Him and seeking out His plans.  Romans 12:4-6 says, "For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us."

God has created and gifted each of us uniquely!  And we each have our own role to play in God's story.  Here's the cool thing, God promises us in Jeremiah 29:11 that he has “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

God gifted us when he created us.  He has plans for us and has already prepared works for us to do.  The good news is, all we have to do is be receptive to that.  It's easy to get caught up in someone else's plan or even our own plans.  So my prayer for you and for me is that we wouldn't get caught up in the plans of men, but that we would seek out and get caught up in the plans of God.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

jesus guys

They will know you are my disciples by your love for one another. 

Living in the middle of suburbia makes it incredibly easy to ignore the social injustice that is all around us. I recently finished reading, "Under the Overpass." It's the true story of Mike Yankoski, a college student who decided to put his faith to the test by living on the streets of America for 5 months, homeless. It's pretty amazing to consider to 2 types of people he enocuntered on his journey. 1. The majority who dehumanized him by either ignoring him or shooing him away like a street rat. 2. The few who looked beyond his stinky, stained, broken exterior and loved him in spite of it.

I am embarassed to say that before reading this book, I would have fallen into the first category. But I am so thankful for this reminder that we are called to live like Jesus and love all people in spite of their flaws the same way he loves us. Check out this excerpt from "Under the Overpass" about a guy who earned the nickname "The Jesus Guy." Not once did this guy preach out of the bible. He earned his nickname simply by living as he was called to live and loving as he was called to love. When asked why he fed and cared for people everyone else ignored, this was his response:

"I do this because my faith tells me to. The Bible clearly says, if you see someone hungry, feed them; if you see someone naked, clothe them. Those words weren't written for us to make books and sermons about. They're written so people don't go hungry and naked. And they require action from all followers of Christ."

This man's actions earned him the nickname, "The Jesus Guy". I hate to think about what kinds of nicknames my actions would earn me. Moving forward, let's love one another as we are commanded, so that through our actions the gospel will get preached, and people might recognize us as "Jesus Guys".

Monday, January 11, 2010

poor enough

As I walked along the beautiful streets of Paris a couple weeks ago, I was confronted with a harsh reality. Even this place which I had once envisioned as an upscale, flourishing city, was plagued with poverty. The travel channel will tell you about the amazing views from the top of the Eiffel Tower, the great shopping along the Champs Elysee, and the delicious cuisine. But it won't mention the bums along the river, the beggars in the metro, or the "Watch Out For PickPockets" signs that are posted at all the tourist attractions. With all of this staring me in the face and forcing me to wrestle with questions about giving to "those in need", I was reminded of an article I recently read about the ways we judge who is worthy of our charity.  Check it out.