Archive for the ‘jesus’ Category

some economic perspective.

We think our economy is bad but…

This morning as I was reading I came across a story about famine in Israel.

2 Kings 6:26-29
As the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried to him, “Help me, my lord the king!” The king replied, “If the LORD does not help you, where can I get help for you
From the threshing floor? From the winepress?” Then he asked her, “What’s the matter?” She answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him today, and
tomorrow we’ll eat my son.’ So we cooked my son and ate him. The next day I said to her, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him,’ but she had hidden him.”

I don’t know about you, but I don’t know anyone who has resorted to eating their son. We are just choosing to sacrifice eating out or maybe, if it’s really bad for you, you’ve lost your job and your home. But you haven’t eaten your son or your neighbor’s son.

Luke 12:22-34

Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Hopefully this helps us gain some real perspective and know the hope of God’s promises.

My Story: Koop

You should have been there. Koop told his story to the camera. A nice little story. An incomplete story. He walked away and 20 minutes later he came back into the studio and said, “Can I do that again?” Then he was raw, he was real and he retold his story without censoring himself. Watch it here:

(if the video doesn’t work, click this link)

Want to tell your story? Email us.

A Fictional, Yet Plausible Story

A man walks into a church looking for something he hasn’t had his entire life. He’s not real sure what it is exactly, but he’s been trying to find “it” for two years now. Life is crappy. His marriage died. His kids are living in Rhode Island with his ex-wife and his parents both died in a car accident 1 year ago. He’s broken. And now he’s gone against everything he was raised to believe and decided to take a chance on this guy named Jesus. Not sure what the expect, he avoids eye contact and sits in the back of the church theater. He feels he’s successfully avoided anybody who might talk to him. He just wants to observe and he’s more interested in how genuine the people are, than the service itself.

Two seats away a woman sits. She smells a hint of alcohol, which is something that she hasn’t smelled since she quit drinking 5 years ago. It’s been a long, tough road, but with the help and support of an AA group, her family and small group at church, she’s been sober for 5 years. She sends a glance his way and realizes that this man must have already been drinking this morning. “It’s only 9:45am and he’s already drinking…wow,” she thought to herself. Under the guise of going into the lobby to use the restroom she leaves the theater and goes into another door so that she doesn’t have to sit next to or smell the man’s stench.

The man sat alone. The music was enjoyable, the people seemed to believe what they sang and the sermon hit the nail right on the head. The Pastor said, “If you feel like the whole world has turned against you, then you’re in the best place to meet God.” It did feel like the whole world had turned against him, or at least his own little world had and he knew it couldn’t be a coincidence that the Pastor seemed to be speaking directly to him. In fact he was a little taken aback by the fact that the Pastor seemed to know him and his circumstances before they ever met.

Across the room, the woman sat quietly during the sermon and listened. Thinking, “I remember when it felt like my world turned against me” and “I’m so glad Jesus took the time to pursue me through my disobedience.” But she also felt her mind starting to wander and wonder. “I feel like this is the same sermon I heard 6 1/2 year’s ago when I started my journey toward sobriety. I wonder when he (the Pastor) is going to start teaching me something with depth.”

The service ended and the man had already decided he’d take another step. He would go talk to someone, anyone, the first person who looked like they could be talked to.

The two made their way down out of the theater and from across the way, the man spotted her. She didn’t see him coming, but he noticed she had been sitting next to him as the service started. At least she was a somewhat familiar face and she looked nice enough.

He tapped her on the shoulder and said, “Excuse me.”

She turned and saw the man. “Uh, yeah?” she responded. “I couldn’t help but notice that you were sitting next to me and I just wondered…” she interrupted him, “Well, not to be rude, but I moved because you smell like you came straight from a bar.” He was shocked and when she saw the look on his face, she was shocked as well. She thought, “I thought he was wondering why I moved seats.”

He turned. He walked out. He got in his car. And he vowed to never enter the building again, at least not while he still had all his problems.

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The moral of the story:

“It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.” – Acts 15:19

When someone enters the environment we’ve created for them to connect with Jesus Christ and they feel judged. They feel like they can’t begin a relationship with Jesus until they’re clean. Until they’ve removed every sin from their life. Let me ask you one question, “Is your judgement causing it to be difficult for the people walking in our doors to turn to God?”

Everyone needs compassion. A love that’s never-failing. Let mercy fall on me. Everyone needs forgiveness. The Kindness of a Savior. The hope of nations. My Savior, He can move the mountains. My God is mighty to save. He is mighty to save. Forever, author of Salvation. He rose and conquered the grave. Jesus conquered the grave.

There’s a difference between Accountability and Judgement.

Accountability can only happen between two parties who have agreed to a standard and agreed to help each other attempt to achieve that standard.
Judgement happens when one party has declared a standard for others and attempts to hold that person captive to that standard.

It is not our job to point out the sin in others. It’s our job to usher them into an environment where they can experience love, acceptance and the profound grace of Jesus Christ. Once that relationship begins, they will be convicted in God’s timing and moved to life-change by the power of the Holy Spirit. But that’s not our job. So, I’ll ask it again…

“Is your judgement causing it to be difficult for the people walking in our doors to turn to God?”

18 Months.

For the last 18 months my dad has been out of work. He owned his own construction company for years called Don Foster Construction. He specialized in building church buildings up and down the west coast. I don’t know the exact amount, but I think he’s built somewhere about 65 church buildings of all denominations (I’m guessing). But when the economy tanked, churches stopped building and remodeling. He closed his business and joined a larger construction firm in the Vancouver, Wa area. After a few months they downsized and he got the axe. He’s applied for hundreds, maybe thousands of jobs in the last 18 months.

In November his unemployment was going to stop. In November, my parents would be able to make their last house payment. And in December…the collectors were gearing up to come knocking. But in God’s grace and in His perfect timing I got a call saying that my dad was hired. He was hired in the industry he knows, helping a construction company grow their business AND it is for the salary that my parents need to be able to pay their bills.

Through the last 18 months I’ve seen him:

  • Ask for prayer
  • Wait on God
  • Actively seeking employment (of ANY kind)
  • Volunteer his time (like crazy) at his church
  • Consistently say, “I know God will take care of it”
  • And more.

So things are looking up for my parents. And my dad will finally get to work.

If you’re struggling. If you’re jobless. If you are running out of time…trust in Jesus. He will pull you through. Be productive. Volunteer. Give away even when it’s your last crumb. He will pull you through.

Josiah Drums.

Josiah loves this particular song by Chris Tomlin. It’s called Our God and he always has the same reaction. DRUMMING.

Student Leadership Philosophies

Last week I went to lunch with a Sonoma State University student who has been coming to New Vintage Church for a few months. He is part of the student leadership at the university and talked about a couple of leadership philosophies, that are specific to campus leadership, I hadn’t heard about. I thought I’d share them with you…

The principles of the Relational Leadership Model (RLM) are as follows

  • Purposeful – taking actions that are planned an intentional
  • Inclusive – making sure ones choices and actions are inclusive of all, regardless of race, gender, Socio-Economic Status, ability or other factors
  • Empowering – encouraging everyone in a group to participate and bring their best. Everyone has something to contribute, but this does not always come out when individuals feel that others are taking control. Individuals are more likely to enjoy or take ownership of an event or organization if they feel like they are a significant part of it.
  • Ethical – making decisions based on a positive ethical framework (of course, ethics being a larger expectation, as opposed to morals being more specific expectations, and values being what individuals personally hold to be important)
  • Process-Oriented – the journey is just as important as the end. The ideas of group process (a number of individuals coming together to discuss an issue), community (that a small group of tightly-knit individuals will stay together no matter what challenges they face), and the journey being important all fall under this umbrella.

FISH! Philosophy:

  • Be There – Be present. Don’t be on cell phones
  • Play – Remember to have fun, no matter what
  • Make Their Day – Go out of your way to make someone’s day. It will make your day.
  • Choose Your Attitude – Attitude is the thing that individuals can really control. Why go into a bad situation with bad attitude when you can go into a bad situation with a good attitude and completely change the situation?

——–

I thought these were interesting thoughts that relate very well to student ministry and small group leaders. There’s a few overlapping themes between the philosophies above and the “5 Essentials of Effective Small Group Leaders”

  • It’s a Journey – relational ministry doesn’t happen over night, it takes months and sometimes years to gain a student’s trust
  • Time on their Turf – you’ve got to meet them where they are emotionally and spiritually…and when possible, meet them where they are literally…sporting events, birthday parties, etc.
  • Partner with the Parents – it is the primary responsibility of the parent to disciple their kids, but most just don’t know how and they are happy to have another voice in their student’s lives
  • Keep it Real – be honest, be open and don’t give “knee-jerk” answers
  • Fill up First – make sure you’ve got a growing relationship with Jesus Christ

Brazil Team (AbbaTeen) 2010 – The Video

We’ve been showing that LOVE MOVES for the past few weeks and this video tells the story.

Vodpod videos no longer available.