Thursday, May 28, 2009

My wife and I have been too ghetto to pay someone else to take pictures of us so we just went to Ko'olina Beach and took some ourselves. And with a little bit of Photoshop magic it kinda looks like we know what we're doing!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Lets not be so quick to celebrate...

Tonight Kris Allen won American Idol in front of millions of people. He was the underdog in the competition. His range and vocal capabilities were no where near his opponent Adam Lambert but he had obvious charisma and humility. In fact when he won he was speechless because he had absolutely nothing prepared. The only thing he said was "I don't know what to say. Adam deserves this." Even in victory he still believed that Adam should have won.

As my wife and I watched it was kind of bittersweet for us because, although We wanted Kris to win, we also feared for his heart and his marriage. From this point on their lives are changed forever. And with enough money and fame, a humble heart can quickly turn haughty and arrogant. And on top of that anything they want will be available to them which quickly leads to idolatry of things.

I fear that Kris, if he hasn't already, will ironically fall into idolatry of fame and popularity. The same idolatry that pastors can fall into when they are praised too much and made much of. God has given him a talent for music and influence. I pray that he will one day see Christ as worthy enough to divert all the praise for himself to Him.

Lets congratulate but let's also pray for his heart and his marriage. That he would remain humble and that Christ would take root as the foundation of their relationship.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Youth Ministry Musings

This past weekend we had one of the best services that we've ever had. And it wasn't because we did anything extravagant or that our program was totally legit, or that our numbers were high. I believe it was because of the sense of community that prevailed. The Holy Spirit is definitely at work in the hearts of our leaders, staff and youth. I'm stoked because I'm convinced that as community builds around the unifying Gospel, not around me, the leaders or the place, but Christ and Him crucified, we're gonna start seeing staff and students alike be on mission 24/7 and we can see this mug grow right, through gathering then scattering. Through equipping then sending. Praise Jesus who is not only the motivation and goal behind our ministry but also the one who defines success and makes sure it happens. He truly is all and above all.

Colossians 1:15-23

Christians can be like babies...

Funny but too often true.

"Christians can be like babies. When they're newborns they only take milk and are generally pleasant. But when they start to take solid food they throw up on people and their crap starts to stink."


The Good Samaritan?

I love the Bible. I love studying the Bible. I love being convicted by the Bible. I love preaching the Bible. Above all I love the God of the Bible. But in my humanity my heart can sometimes become calloused towards some of the things that the Bible has to say. Especially stories that I've heard over and over again. One of those stories is the story of The Good Samaritan which can be found in Luke 10:25-37.

Most will identify with the priest or the Levite and leave this passage feeling convicted, challenged and hopefully spurned into action to live on mission all the time, no matter the cost to their own person. But some are more arrogant and will readily identify with the Samaritan, thinking to themselves, "If that ever happened I would do the right thing."

Usually this is based on other external works of charity or kindness to others. But these acts don't normally involve any significant sacrifices on the part of the "philanthropist". Usually their level of service stops at the point of any discomfort.

In speaking of the difference between knowing of God and truly knowing Him, the great American theologian Jonathan Edwards writes:

"Thus there is a difference between having an opinion, that God is holy and gracious, and having a sense of the loveliness and beauty of that holiness and grace. There is a difference between having a rational judgment that honey is sweet, and having a sense of its sweetness. So there is a difference between believing that a person is beautiful, and having a sense of his beauty. The former may be obtained by hearsay, but the latter only by seeing the countenance."

He uses this analogy of honey:
There is a difference between knowing that honey is sweet by reading about it and knowing that it is sweet by actually tasting it yourself.

Do we ever have a true knowledge of what we would do if we were in the Samaritan's place? Not until it actually happens.

Well for many at our ministry center this past Saturday it did happen. As I pulled into the parking lot on Saturday Morning I passed by a homeless man apparently sleeping on the church premises. I hardly noticed him as I went into the building to prep for that evenings sermon. Later on more than 4 people came up to me to "alert" me that there was a man on premises and that I had to kick him off the property before our youth group service started. No doubt that countless others there that day had simply passed him by. I thought that if I waited long enough he might just go on his own and so I waited. But then it came time for service and so I begrudgingly went outside expecting to be met with resistance and attitude. But the man I encountered was the exact opposite. In fact he was absolutely compliant and understanding of the request. I talked with the man for a while about his life story and how he got to be where he was at that exact moment. I gave him some clothes and blankets that we had in the building and invited him to come back on Monday for some food, a shower and more clothes. As I began to walk away he didn't budge. So I asked if he needed any help getting up.

He did.

I could feel my Adam's Apple drop into my gut as I realized that his man had only been here all day because he could not get up. Flies encircled his entire body which was half clothed, smelled like feces and full of scabs. So I bear hugged him from behind and lifted him onto his feet and he went on his way.

As I walked back into the office I thought about how my soul is way more dirty than than that man's clothes. How could I be so selfish and let that man suffer in the heat all day because I thought someone else would take care of it. May it never be again. My prayer is that God would burn this memory into my skull that I won't ever forget.

I've tasted the honey but only after I had fooled myself into thinking that I knew what it tasted like already.