Wednesday, April 29, 2009

41 -44"I'm not interested in crowd approval. And do you know why? Because I know you and your crowds. I know that love, especially God's love, is not on your working agenda. I came with the authority of my Father, and you either dismiss me or avoid me. If another came, acting self-important, you would welcome him with open arms. How do you expect to get anywhere with God when you spend all your time jockeying for position with each other, ranking your rivals and ignoring God?

John 5:41-44

Jesus doesn't need everyone's approval. He doesn't have to prove Himself to anyone. He sees what's on our hearts though. He knows if our plans are more about results and shallow fun than the love of God working through us and in us. In all that we do, let our primary goal be to have God's love first in our minds. To show everyone how amazing God's love really is and how much it means to us. Also, we can't get anywhere when we spend all our time criticizing each other and talking behind each other's backs. We end up ignoring God and missing the big picture. Let's let all those things go and focus on God. Let's make God's love our agenda.

Friday, April 17, 2009

22-23As soon as the meal was finished, he insisted that the disciples get in the boat and go on ahead to the other side while he dismissed the people. With the crowd dispersed, he climbed the mountain so he could be by himself and pray. He stayed there alone, late into the night.
24-26Meanwhile, the boat was far out to sea when the wind came up against them and they were battered by the waves. At about four o'clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them walking on the water. They were scared out of their wits. "A ghost!" they said, crying out in terror.
27But Jesus was quick to comfort them. "Courage, it's me. Don't be afraid."
28Peter, suddenly bold, said, "Master, if it's really you, call me to come to you on the water."
29-30He said, "Come ahead."
Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, "Master, save me!"
31Jesus didn't hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand. Then he said, "Faint-heart, what got into you?"
32-33The two of them climbed into the boat, and the wind died down. The disciples in the boat, having watched the whole thing, worshiped Jesus, saying, "This is it! You are God's Son for sure!"

Matthew 14:22-33

Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, when he heard the howling wind, when he felt the cold water below him making his garments wet, when he shivered as the air chilled his skin, when he started thinking about his next big exam, when he thought about why people just didn't get along, when he started worrying about whether or not he was going to be able to keep his job and pay his bills when on any day, he could be laid off, when he started questioning if he was ever going to find that special someone, when he wondered why people made fun of him and called him names, when he reminded himself of all his past regrets, when he burdened himself with guilt from things he did long ago, when he brought up the shame and confusion that he thought he put to rest, when he remembered that people hated him because he followed Jesus, when he recalled that his friends and family just didn't understand and even stopped talking to him because he was so in love with the Savior, when he thought about how every single day was a constant battle against depression and suicide, when he wondered why in every conversation he had with others, he had to be right, when he remembered how his parents kept fighting and screaming at each other day in and day out, when he put himself down thinking, "How could anyone possibly love me after all the things I've done?" when he questioned, "Why are all these things happening??" when he lost faith, when he took his eyes off of Jesus, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, "Master, save me!"

Jesus didn't hesitate.

He reached down and grabbed his hand. Then he said, "Faint-heart, what got into you?"

The two of them climbed into the boat, and the wind died down. The disciples in the boat, having watched the whole thing, worshiped Jesus, saying, "This is it! You are God's Son for sure!"

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ's body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence.

Ephesians 1:23

the church doesn't conform to the world. the church is the center of everything. Jesus is the center of everything. the Word is Truth. we know this to be true. in other words, the world complements the Bible and everything that it says is true, not the other way around. we shouldn't approach the Bible trying to make sense of it with a worldly point of view. we shouldn't approach it thinking because science, history, and philosophy backs this up, i believe. we believe because God is Truth and everything that He says is Truth. i don't know if that's easy to understand but i understand. =]

i am so encouraged at this moment in time. i am so excited for what has in store for this youth group. so many things were brought up last night that i would have never seen if people let out their opinions. i know there are some difficult things to overcome but they must be done. we have to break down and trash anything that isn't what God wants us to be. we're aiming at gossip, judging, pride, inaction, and loss of focus. we see what needs to be done and now we're taking the steps to get there. i don't know where God's taking us next but i am itching to get started. i know we can't expect anything, but just imagine what can happen when just a couple of us get together and establish that we want to get this started. it starts with us as individuals and spreads like wildfire. if there is a revolution in our hearts, there can be a revolution that expands from that. if we hold onto the revolution of love and compassion, we can do great things. and if we rely on God, we can do anything. things are in motion. we have ideas but more than that, we have a faith in God that He will provide and do great things through us. i believe that all these things have happened for a reason and we've been learning to this day. whether by trial and error or just being thrust into things that we never expected to be involved, God has shown us how to lead. i know we still have a lot to learn but right now, i feel like God's equipped all of us with what it takes to make a group of people into a church of God.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

don't hide

1-3 He said to them, "Watch yourselves carefully so you don't get contaminated with Pharisee yeast, Pharisee phoniness. You can't keep your true self hidden forever; before long you'll be exposed. You can't hide behind a religious mask forever; sooner or later the mask will slip and your true face will be known. You can't whisper one thing in private and preach the opposite in public; the day's coming when those whispers will be repeated all over town.

Luke 12:1-3

don't be fake. don't preach love and not practice it behind closed doors. don't think that you'll get away with it. God sees everything and there will be a day when all that we've done will be revealed and put up for judgment. harsh but important! we can't trick ourselves into thinking that just because we do all these good things so that everyone can see, we can do whatever we want when no one else knows. God knows. don't hide. don't say things that you wouldn't say to the public. don't say things that you wouldn't say before God and all His angels. we may think, "this is impossible!" that means we can't say anything! that's not entirely true. if your heart wasn't in a dark place, you wouldn't have to say such things. once again, it begins in our hearts. we have to change our hearts. we have to have love in us. if we can't have that, of course we won't have good things coming out of our mouths! and we have to remember that we can't change our hearts by ourselves either. we need God's strength to do this. we've been holding onto bad thinking patterns, grudges, and distrust our whole lives. we've grown numb to when people are genuine. our hearts have grown calloused and hard. be true, through and through. no more whispering and gossip. everything will be in the light. live knowing that. know that God sees. but God also helps us to change! same thing as i've said in other blog posts, let's not be hypocrites. either out in the world or behind closed doors. let's live pure, full of light lives. that's what God wants.


18 -20Jesus said, "I know. I saw Satan fall, a bolt of lightning out of the sky. See what I've given you? Safe passage as you walk on snakes and scorpions, and protection from every assault of the Enemy. No one can put a hand on you. All the same, the great triumph is not in your authority over evil, but in God's authority over you and presence with you. Not what you do for God but what God does for you—that's the agenda for rejoicing."

Luke 10:18-20

not what we do for God but what God does for us. what we do for God can ultimately fail. what we can accomplish can be either fruitful or unfruitful. we're only human. but what He does for us, that's something to rejoice in. that's something to celebrate and be jubilant about. He does it all. He pulls us up from the mud and holds us close. He shelters us from the storm. He gives us comfort and warmth. He offers everlasting, overflowing, overabundant love. He conquers over His enemies. and He raises His people. He brings justice to the unjust. let's take joy in that! let's sing songs! let's lift up shouts of praise! let's dance! let's rejoice

we also learned at rock harbor this week about putting off our old selves and putting on our new selves. Jesus wasn't the only one who died the cross, we did too. our old lives. our shame, our regrets, our sins. they were all nailed on that cross and put to death. because of Him, we're made holy. no longer sinners. no longer our old selves. we've been made new. so let's put that old self to death and be holy. let's be representatives of God in this world. through our actions, words, and most importantly, through our love! that cross. it has a new meaning to me now. it's not only where Jesus died and gave His life for me. it's where, Jesus said, "this is where your old life is put to death, thien." and when He rose, we rose and were made new. let's celebrate Easter right. with joy and happiness. with gratitude and humility. with Jesus being the center of attention, as it always should be! let's celebrate the day Jesus came back. the day He rose, victorious!