Jul 28, 2010

Oh Happiness

I love me some David Crowder Band.  Haven't seen their new concert tour, but glad to see this they just posted on Youtube. 

In Case You Missed It...

This past Sunday was a fun message to preach.  I felt the need to divert for a week from our study of James called "According to Jim".  I don't usually like to make such a change.  However, I felt the need to bring a message of encouragement and specific challenge that the people of Sixth Street need to begin to dream bigger and risk more.  I was also my one-year anniversary here as pastor.  I wanted to remind us of where we came from and paint a picture of what was ahead.  I was led to the familiar story of Peter walking on the water and prepared a message called "Step Out or Stay Seated."  The following is an outline of my notes.

Five Truths About Stepping Out
1.  Stepping Out is Never Convenient.
  •  Jesus sent the disciples ahead of him.  On the way they encountered a difficult storm with high waves and strong winds.  In addition, it was the fourth hour of the night which was between 3 and 6 am.
  • In the midst of the storm and the fear of thinking they saw a ghost, Peter realized it was better to be in the water with Jesus than in the boat with everyone else.
  • If you wait for a good time to risk for Jesus, you will never will.
2.  Stepping Out Necessitates Recognizing God's Presence.
  • When Peter heard Jesus speak, his first response is "Lord".  This is Peter's acknowledgement of Jesus divinity and lordship.  He has seen him feed the multitudes and now defy gravity and nature by walking on the water.
  • We have to remember that it takes eyes of faith to find Jesus in the midst of the storm.
  • Many times we miss the adventure of following Jesus simply because we are not looking for him.  We are more concerned with our circumstances than his presence.
3.  Stepping Out Requires Balancing Our Fear with Faith.
  • The fear will never go away.  The fear is all around.  There is fear inside the boat and greater fear and uncertainty outside the boat.
  • John Ortberg says that "there is something inside us that tells us there is more to life than sitting in the boat...there is something inside you that wants to walk on the water - to leave the comfort of routine existence and abandon yourself to the adventure of following God."
  • The choice to follow Jesus is a daily choice to renounce fear and comfort.
4.  Stepping Out Requires Intense Focus On Jesus
  • Peter had the audacity to not only believe that he could walk on water, but the obedience to sling his foot over the side of the boat.  As long as his focus was on Jesus, Peter was doing something way beyond himself.
  • Our greatest problem is not the reality of the wind and waves that oppose us, but allowing those things to take our eyes of Jesus who calls us.
  • When Peter took his eyes off his circumstances to see Jesus, he did the impossible.  When he took his eyes off Jesus to look at his circumstance, he sank.
5.  Stepping Out Means Learning to Overcome Failures.
  • We have a twisted understanding of failure in our society.  Failure is not a person or an event, it is rather our perception of an event.
  • Thomas Edison tried unsuccessfully to find a working filament for a light bulb over 10,000 times.  However, he said he never failed once but found 10,000 ways that didn't work.
  • While Peter did sink, his was not the only failure.  There were 11 others that failed quietly, keeping the status-quo.  Their failures are not so obvious because they are the type of failure that we exhibit most often.
What's It Going to Take at Sixth Street to Step Out?
  1. A Great Commitment to Love the Gospel
  2. A Great Commitment to Love this Church
  3. A Great Commitment to Love this Community
  4. A Great Commitment to Love the Lost

    Jul 24, 2010

    Next Edition from Narnia

    Looking forward to this coming this Christmas season. My family and I love the first two Narnia movies and are excited that they did make another one.

    Jul 22, 2010

    I Dare You Not to Laugh

    My kids showed me this again tonight. I know it's been around the internet for a few years, but my kids just found it. I have watched it about 15 times and I laugh harder every time I see it. Enjoy.

    I remember when...

    I was thinking the other day about things I missed about growing up.  Call me reflective.  Call them the good ol' days.  Maybe it's just because I'm now in my 40's.  Here are a few of my favorite reflections:
    • I remember when a pack of Topps baseball cards cost .50 at Templeton's Grocery and the first card would have that bubble gum sugar on the face.  The gum was hard and lost it's taste after 3 minutes, but it was pure gold.
    • I remember when the most risque show on television was The Dukes of Hazzard and mama's wished that Daisy would wear longer shorts.  
    • I remember when baseball players were heroes because of their hard work and ability and not because of what substance they took.  You could see your favorite players stats without an asterisk next to them.  My heroes were Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, and the Big Red Machine.  Pete's character later caught up to him, but there was no better pure baseball player on the field during his time.
    • I remember being a kid and playing outside from 9:00 in the morning till 9:00 at night.  It was 99 degrees, but we didn't care.  When it got hot, we drank from the water hose and stripped off our shirts.  We weren't as obese as kids are today mostly because we played outside all the time.  Mama didn't want us messing up the house, so we invented games.  We were Indiana Jones and Luke Skywalker and we loved it.
    • I remember when the greatest advancement in video games was Space Invaders.  Atari has that difficult joystick that rubbed blisters on your hands, but to us, it was life-changing.  Without a doubt, the greatest video game to date is still "Super Tecmo Bowl".  The only rule was that nobody could be the Raiders because Bo Jackson was unstoppable.
    • I remember when dinner was something that your parents actually cooked and expected you to eat at a table in the dining room instead of fast food out or in front of the TV.  I remember that I was expected to eat things that I didn't think I liked and that didn't taste as good as chicken nuggets and Mac n Cheese.  However, if it was put on the table, I was expected to eat it anyway because it was the right thing to do.
    • I remember when playing baseball as a kid was about having fun, playing your best, and if you did really well, your team won the league and got a trophy.  I never played in a league where everyone got a trophy.  I also never played in a league where the best players were pulled out to create star teams that travelled around like mini-pros with extreme pressure to win.  I remember that it felt good to win and felt bad to lose, but either way, those feelings were usually gone by the time we got to McDonald's for dinner.
    • I remember my dad waking me up at 6:00 on Thursday mornings in the summer to give me a sausage biscuit and take me fishing.  We would fish in the hot sun and catch more brim and crappie than we imagined and then take them to the widow ladies on his postal route.  
    • I remember when the only time you got to watch cartoons was Saturday morning because there were no 24-hour kids channels.  My idols were the Justice League of America and Scooby-Doo, not Hanna Montana and the Jonas brothers.  I also remember the thrill of getting the fall TV Guide to see what new Saturday morning cartoons were coming.  "Captain Caveman?  What's that about?"
    These are just a few things I remember.  What about you?

    Jul 20, 2010

    In Case You Missed It...

    I have decided to start a new feature to my blog called "In Case You Missed It" for those who would like a recap of what I preached this past Sunday.  I have received some good feedback from some of you that read my blog.  I have more members of Sixth Street than I realized.  I thought it would be good to post the basics of my sermon in case you didn't make it to church or would like a recap of my notes.  It would also serve some of you who don't attend my church but would like to know what I am preaching on.  You can also listen to my sermons online at www.sixthstreetbaptistchurch.com and click on the worship and sermon series tab.  You can podcast them by doing a search on Itunes for "Sixth Street".  I am extremely thankful to Angela Mullins and her team for recording them and getting them up each week.

    With that said, we are currently in a series through the book of James called "According to Jim".  We've been looking at how to have a working faith in a broken world.  We've been looking at God's purposes in our trials, how to be a doer of the word and not just a hearer, the sin of partiality, avoiding faith without works, and the power of our tongue.  Here are some notes from this week's sermon:

    The Gospel According to James 
    James 3:13-4:6

    Everything begins with our understanding and application of the gospel.  
    If we don't have an accurate understanding of the power of the gospel and the grace of God then we revert back to a form of behavior management where we try to "do the best we can."  However, the essence of the gospel is that the best you can do is only enough to secure eternal damnation.

    Why Do We Desperately Need the Gospel Everyday?
    1. We tend to prefer the wrong path. (James 3:14-17)
    • James' teaching parallels Christ's teaching about the broad and narrow road.  
    • While James tells us of the wisdom from above, the truth is that it is impossible for us to consistently choose the right path and follow it every time.  This is due to our radical depravity.
    2.  We are plagued by our sinful passions. (James 4:1-3)
    • James says that our unbridled passions cause war both inside us and with the relationships around us.
    • Passion when properly focused can make us capable of great deeds.  However, left unchecked by the control of the Holy Spirit, it can become incredibly selfish.
    • "You do not have because you do not ask" does not mean that God gives us what we ask for.  It is rather that without the wisdom of God, we tend to rely too much in ourselves and never ask God to begin with.  When we do ask, it's not God will, but our selfishness that is the primary motivator.
    3.  We tend to pick the wrong partner. (James 4:4)
    • James is saying we need to be very careful of our allegiances and alliances.  Without the power of the gospel, we tend to slide back to friendship with the world.
    • James equates our friendship with the world with a spiritual adultery.
    • It is inconsistent for someone to give verbal assent to Jesus Christ and derive their pleasure and entertainment from the world's system and values.
    4.  We are prone to walk in pride. (James 4:6)
    • James says that God opposes the proud.  The picture of this opposition is someone who is dressed in full battle gear ready to do battle.  God hates our pride.  It's an assault to his character.
    • The essence of all sin all the way back to the garden is pride and idolatry.  Everything we fail comes down to a prideful inflation of our worth and an idolatrous choice to worship something other than God, even ourselves.

    Jul 15, 2010

    Latest Matt Chandler Update

    Because I have not been active in blogging in over a month, I have stopped posting Matt Chandler's video blog updates. I have had several people asking me how Chandler was doing. I had the privilege of hearing Matt speak at the SBC Pastor's Conference in Orlando. Our students just got back from Student Life Camp where he was the camp pastor. According to them, he absolutely rocked the gospel on everyone there. Continue to pray for strength and endurance for this servant.

    Jul 11, 2010

    Chris Tomlin...kinda like our John Wesley or Barry Manilow

    Thanks for several of you who posted comments on my blog or Facebook page letting me know that you actually do read my blog. It inspires me to be more active in writing my thoughts.

    This past week, I had the privilege of taking my three boys to a concert with Chris Tomin and TobyMac. It was their first real concert experience and a great treat. While worshiping with Tomlin, I was reminded how fortunate we are to live in the current church age. One of the biggest benefits to the current state of the church has been the evolution of our forms of worship and the godly, spirit-filled worship leaders that currently lead this movement. One such leader is Chris Tomlin.

    My first exposure to Chris Tomlin was in the mid-90's when I took my students to a Dawson McAllister Student Conference in Jackson, MS. Dawson announced we were going to hear a new kid who just graduated from Texas A&M named Chris Tomlin. This young 22-year old kid with a baby face came out and sang 3 or 4 songs that sounded like Christian Country music. Some years later, I would see him hitting the emerging scene of camp worship leaders. He also began to play at the popular Passion events being led by a guy named Louie Giglio. A couple of the songs he wrote and played with Passion like Forever and The Wonderful Cross began to circulate and be played by other worship leaders and churches. Tomlin's influence and art for writing gifted worship songs began to grow and expand.

    In the summer of 2002, my students and I were at a Student Life Camp in Ruston, LA with Tomlin and camp pastor Wade Morris. I distincly remember Wade Morris saying that Chris Tomlin was "the hymnwriter of our generation" and that he was writing the songs that the church would be singing for years to come. I began to think of Tomlin as this generation's cross between John Wesley and Barry Manilow. Like Wesley, Tomlin is writing songs of deep worship and theology that could prove to be timeless and last for generations. Stick with me on Barry Manilow. In 1975, Manilow recorded the song I Write the Songs which said "I write the songs that make the whole world sing."

    That's what I think about every time I hear a new Chris Tomlin album. This guy is writing the songs that define worship for this generation. Many of the songs he has written and recorded are timeless. They are played thousands of times each week in churches across America. Tomlin's music have given a voice of worship to an entire generation of people. His songs are timeless. Take a look at some of the songs that Tomlin has written and recorded in the past 10 years:
    The Wonderful Cross
    Famous One
    Holy is the Lord
    How Great is Our God
    Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)
    Glory in the Highest
    Jesus Messiah
    I Will Rise
    Our God

    In addition, Tomlin has recorded and made famous many songs written by others like Your Grace is Enough, Indescribable, Everlasting God, and God of this City.

    Between camps, passion events, and concerts, I have seen Tomlin leading worship more times than I can count. I have almost 100 of his songs on my Ipod. Doubtless, there are many more worship songs to come. I look forward to seeing how God will continue to use this servant in the years to come. In the meantime, I encourage you to express thanksgiving to the Lord for the influence that he has given Tomlin and the opportunity to witness a historic time in the life of the church.

    Jul 8, 2010

    Yes, I am alive...

    I know that my hoarding minions have been anxiously and daily checking my blog in order to hear a word from me lately. I must deeply apologize for my lack of posting in the last month. If you know me, you know it is not because I have had nothing to say. Rather, it is because I have been on the road and without viable internet access much of the time. From June 12 - July 1, I slept in my house a total of 3 days. Much of that time was involved in church stuff.

    First I spent a week in Orlando at the Southern Baptist Convention. Our condo was supposed to have internet access, but that was spotty at best. I found one spot where if my computer was on the coffee table and didn't move, I would have a very small, slow access for random times throughout the day. This meant that internet time was a valuable commodity. I tried to order internet at the Orlando Convention Center at $12.95/day on the first day. That was a disaster as well. I had connectivity, but loading a page took me back to the days when we had 56k access and would wait about three minutes for the page to load. (We were amazed then, but current speed makes us much more impatient today.) Orlando was also full of swimming, water park, and Universal Studios with the kids. All in all, great trip, but bad for internet and blogging.

    We returned from Orlando with enough time for me to wash some clothes and pack for a mission trip to Kentucky with Sixth Street. Not only did we not have internet access, but cell coverage was limited as well. I only had cell phone coverage (no data for internet or Twitter) and only in certain spots around town. Our lodge was cell phone purgatory. Most of us had to drive a mile up the road at night to talk to family. It was a massive step back in time in a lot of ways, but a wonderful trip and a reminder of the tyranny and burden that our connectivity with internet, social networking, and cell phones can put on us. Hard to imagine a few short years ago, we would sit on the porch and talk to each other face to face instead of SMS and Facebook chat.

    After the mission trip, I was home for two days before heading to Shocco Springs with my oldest two sons for Student Life Kids Camp. We were busy from sun-up to sun-down with no public internet access. It was a memorable time with the kids from Sixth St and my boys. They are growing so fast and I want to be actively involved with them as much as possible.

    Anyway, I am back online (kind of - I'm at my mom's house on her computer right now). I have lots to talk about regarding the SBC, the fall, rise, and fall again of my beloved Red Sox, and other stuff. I'll be posting some of them sooner.

    By the way, so that I can get a feel for who actually does read my blog, please take time to comment from time to time. I have tried to open up comments again. Please register and try to avoid anonymous comments.

    P.S. - In case you missed the news, Alison and I are expecting our fourth child in January. No, this wasn't according to any plan. Yes, we are thankful and realize children are a blessing from the Lord. Yes, we know what causes it and we don't plan to cease that activity. No, we don't know what. Yes, everyone we know is hoping for a girl. Yes, the boys are excited about it. No, we don't have any idea why the Lord would see fit to give us another child except that he has a very ironic sense of humor.