Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Hard Decisions

Can we go through the christian life and faith coasting through without making the "tough decisions"? Decisions that are not hard, do not cause us pain, do not break us. When we hear God's voice and realize what He wants us to do... will we obey Him? Sometimes we do not obey God's voice because it is the difficult path He wants us to take. We want life to be easy, to be comfortable, whereas Christ taught us to come and die for Him (Luke 9:24). Trust me, obeying His voice is not easy, and has caused pain in my heart, because He has shown my disobedience. But what these things mean is that He is drawing us closer to Him. He is our comfort throughout the difficult decision process. Is this a life worth pursuing? Absolutely. Is it hard to do? Yep. The seasons we go through in our walk with Christ strengthen this relationship. The hard things in the christian life are hard; but it is a life worth pursuing in Christ's name.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

50 Words

You're suppost to grab their attention in fifty words, they say.
"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. 
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, 
to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor." (Luke 4:18-19)
He grabs a scroll with Isaiah 61:1 and recites it. This captivates the Israelite crowd in the synagogue, they  know the Old Testament well. They understand the connection. And then that's it. He's got them. He sits down. Fifty words.

What comes next is the most important part to this piece:
“Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
They know that he is saying He is the Messiah. They all marvel at His teachings. This is the most important verse in the gospel of Luke. It is Jesus' revealing that He is the Messiah. It ties Old Testament foretelling to the New Testament ushered in by His life and sacrifice.

He showed them his purpose with 50 words.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

"One Day"

"One day I'll be like this..." "One day I'll become the man God wants me to be." This is what I have been telling myself for awhile now. I have been envisioning myself as one day being the whole, complete man of God that He desires me to be. I've realized that this can be a very dangerous mentality for us. If we keep looking at our actions, struggles, and habits that keep us from growing in Christ as areas for "eventual improvement," I fear that we might become complacent with where we are in our lives. A choice must be made to start being the man of God you want to be RIGHT NOW. We cannot say, "Oh, well one day I will stop this and then I can grow closer to God." Two things are wrong in that sentence:

First, we have to decide, perhaps even right now while reading this, to live a life of a Christ follower.

Second, our behavior or actions do not earn us God's love. God loves us regardless if we love Him back or if we completely reject Him.

Whatever it is we are dealing with, we have to pursue God and trust Him to help us through it. And when (not "if") we fail, we absolutely cannot think that we have to rid ourselves of our problems to regain God's love. We repent of it, learn from it, are forgiven by God, and we MOVE ON.

It is reassuring for us to start living the life of a Christ follower right now, all while knowing that God is there to love us and pick us back up when we fall.

So make that decision to take up your cross and follow Christ! It is no easy journey, but it is a journey I have found to be worthwhile and wholly fulfilling.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Money, Money, Money

Yep. We all think about it, want it, worry about it, imagine it, and at times let it dictate our lives. And if you're a college student like me, you don't have it... or maybe just enough of it. 

But isn't this true for everyone? We all imagine reaching a certain point of wealth in our lives where we will be comfortable and happy. Once we have reached this target, we soon become hungry for more and want more. It's just human nature. But what I, as well as many others, lose track of is what we can do with the money we have (or in more intelligent terms our Socio Economic Status).

Jesus teaches about this in Luke 16. Verse 13 sums up what most of us in America deal with: mastering money or letting it mastering us.

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

Verses 19 through 31 give a more radical example of this. Now, I am not saying "go to the roof of some skyline in downtown L.A. and start shoveling your money over the edge."
 I believe Jesus is simply saying these two things to His audiences:

To the Disciples- your money is not to be hoarded, but used to build relationships with others and to help them.
To the Pharisees- money is not to be loved and master over your lives.

To what degree we keep money from becoming our master is up to us, by the power of Christ. So long as we keep Christ at the center of our lives and in everything we do.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Feel Good Church

So recently I went to a church service that was almost identical to this video. But the problem was I didn't feel right after the service. Maybe that is the whole problem with some churches today. What I mean is that I had the overwhelming feeling that I have to "feel good" when I leave the church doors every Sunday. As this video shows I come to church with the mentality of wanting to be entertained rather than growing in Christ and being challenged apart from the church building. We become attracted at the lights and cool solos and funny speakers. But this is all at a shallow level. The "Feel Good Church" is individualistic and does not require you to step outside of your comfort zone that Christ all-to-often calls for us to leave. I didn't feel right because I knew that I just sat through an hour of an alluring presentation that really did not challenge me. I want to be the Church in the world, not just at some building everyone meets at on Sundays. And when I go to that meeting place each week, I want to grow and fellowship with others about our walks with Christ. If it sounds like I am searching for the perfect church I'll never find one. What I am searching for in the churches I attend is a sense of community as the body of Christ. I want to come together on Sundays with fellow believers, worship and grow in Christ as a community, and then be the Church out in the world. Christ loves the Church and so do I. This is why I am concerned about its future.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Why MTV is so stupid... but relevant

As I sit on my couch late at night and stare at the scrolling channels on my television, I come across a scene that causes me to hesitate with the remote. It was a girl describing her dream man. He was to be hot, muscular, and have lots of money to spend on her... you guessed it I had flipped to MTV.

It is so clear to see that MTV, which used to be solely for music videos back in the day, has now moved towards shows that portray secular sex, money, and a false sense of 'happiness' as goals for our lives. This is so evident to me after hearing about and seeing shows like Jersey Shore, The Challenge, and Real World. For an hour each show pushes its tragically low and misguided views upon its audience.

Yes, there are parts in these shows that are downright laughable and there are some very peculiar situations. I can see why it draws in and distracts the teenage and young adult audiences.

But what I take away from channels and shows like these is what it says about the rising generation. And as a youth ministries major I wonder how those shows will influence the youth in my community.

Will I be working with a bunch of shallow, sex-crazed kids? How will I show them how to approach environments like these as Christ followers? It is easy to relate to kids when you are in touch with the shows, music, and fads that that are popular to them. What can be done to reach the youth is relating to them through popular culture. But I do not use want to relate, I desire deeper conversation where I can show them how the Christian life really looks like at times much different than what the culture promotes.

How dumb something might look to you or me could very well be what kids connect with. (I'm specifically thinking about 'planking')

So as MTV and other similar things continue in their ways, I'll be keeping a wary eye and ear out, all while sharing Christ with the rising generation.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

In the Beginning...

Well this is the beginning, the first post. I'm excited, nervous, and anxious to see where this goes. With all the factors that makeup the hectic college life, I am surprised that I have the time to start a blog. Ask any college student and they will tell you that their life is, at times, chaotic. We have so many things to do we often become overwhelmed and consumed. It reminds me of the creation narrative. The formless and void earth being separated and filled by God's creation paints a very chaotic picture. But what happens at the end of this? What results from this chaos? Yes you and me, but what I mean is that God rests after all of this. The all-powerful creator, who had just created our universe, rests. This is so interesting. If God takes time to rest we should as well. We should take time to rest from all the chaos of the college life. We need to find peace and rest in God as we pray, study, and meditate. It keeps my sanity in this world, and makes me appreciate God for giving me that time of rest. Now go find rest in God, who brings peace to the chaos in our lives.