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Showing posts from March, 2014

Lent Reading

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I usually don't give up anything or add something during Lent.  However, I have the last two years chosen a book that will help me reflect on Jesus' death on the cross.  This year, I am reading Scandalous by D. A. Carson.  Here are some quotes from my reading last week:
No, the hardest truth to get across to this generation is what the Bible says about sin. All people without distinction are both condemned and savable. . . The cross is not only the demonstration of God's love; it is the demonstration of God's justice.  Go to the cross. It is where wrath and mercy meet. Holiness and peace kiss each other. The climax of redemptive history is the cross.

1 Corinthians 13 Parenting

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You have heard me talk about 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting before.  However, I just want to encourage you to visit the site for great information about parenting and grandparenting.  Check it out, not just because I am on the team, but because of tons of great resources there.  Here is the link

Prayer Power-Day 1-repeat

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I am starting over in case you missed any.


Jesus Messiah

Who is Jesus to you?  Be reminded by this great song by Chris Tomlin.

Jesus is greater

Jesus is God.  He is all powerful.  He is greater and stronger than Satan. Be reminded of His power today.
38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. (Acts 10:38 ESV)

Who Told You That?

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I am continuing to read Crash the Chatterbox by Steven Furtick.  Below are several quotes that were helpful as I read last week:
God's favor is not just a force to make our lives more convenient. It's a supernatural reality that enables us to fulfill God's purpose.The more deeply we reinforce our identity in Christ, the more fortified we will be against the onslaught of opposing voices in our lives. The less I can depend on circumstances to define my identity, the more I must look to the Lord to reinforce His thoughts concerning me and to impress them into my heart until I respond as if it's second nature: I know who I am. Most of the decisions that send our lives in the wrong direction are the result of our wrongly answering the question "Did God really say . . .?" Since the Enemy can't take away the promises God made you--about who you are in Him and who He desires to be to you-he hangs question marks over those promises.  The first command God gave to …

MB National Convention

To all Mennonite Brethren pastors and congregations,

Are you signed up to attend Conection 2014?  I am looking forward to the convention for many reasons.  First of all, it is a great opportunity to connect with others from the MB family.  Second, it is a great opportunity for training and learning.  I have written a post about our speaker, Ed Stetzer, that will appear on the USMB website soon.  Third, it is California. 

I hope you are planning to attend.  I will be part of the social media team at the convention and will be sharing quotes and other information.  Hope to see you there!

For more information go here or register here.

Prayer Power-Day 27

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Turn Your Eyes

I have been encouraging people a lot lately to get their eyes up on Jesus.  I have written several posts recently based on quotes from Matt Chandler and many others encouraging us to look up.  Be encouraged by this song today.

Accuser or Advocate?

This past Sunday, our lesson topic was "Accuser or Advocate" from a group study by Judah Smith called Jesus Is ________.  I found our discussion after the video to be challenging and encouraging at the same time.  So, let me pose the question Smith poses to us, "Are we to be accusers or advocates in our world?" 

I know what the obvious answer is.  We should be advocates.  But how does this apply practically with our spouse, children, friends, neighbors? Can we be advocates all the time?  As the old adage says, "hate the sin, love the sinner."  Can we stand firm on convictions from God's Word in a non-accusatory way?  Or should we? 

Like I told the class, it requires a lot of prayer and leading by the Holy Spirit. 

Here are some verses that show examples of accusation?
10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothershas…

Weekend To Remember

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Next weekend, Bethany and I are headed to Weekend To Remember in Kansas City.  The kids are going to grandparents in Yates Center and we are looking forward to a weekend away.

The last two years, Hesston MB has hosted "The Art of Marriage."  I highly recommend this resource to local churches to encourage healthy marriages.  But as you may know, when you are hosting, you do not get to fully participate in all the activities.  So, I signed Bethany and I up to enjoy our first Weekend To Remember.  It is sponsored by FamilyLife, which is the same organization that produced "The Art of Marriage".

Marriage is a commitment.  I am looking forward to a weekend away and tips on how to strengthen our marriage.  Check out Weekend To Remember here

The Holy Spirit empowers us

Remember this truth today: our power is not in our strength, but through the Holy Spirit.

8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 ESV)

Prayer Power-Day 26

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It is Well

Here's another great hymn of the faith.  I love the lyrics and also enjoy the updates. Be reminded of the God who holds you through the storm.  I love the line, "God has won, Christ prevailed."

Condemnation or Conviction?

What is the difference between these two words?  Does it matter?  I have had several conversations over the last few months about how important it is to distinguish between these two words.

Here is a brief explanation of the two words based on my opinion:

Condemnation is from Satan. Conviction is from the Holy Spirit. 8 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, (Romans 8:1)13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.  (John 16:13)4 For we know, brothers and sistersloved by God, that he has chosen you,5 because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. (1 Thessalonians 1:4-5) How to distinguish the two? Does it produce guilt, shame or fear?  It is condemnation. Does it produce love, joy, peace, patienc…

Power given by Jesus

I am continuing to share verses related to my word for 2014: power.  This is not our power or strength, but the power of God.  Today's verse shares how Jesus gave His disciples power.

9 When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases,2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. (Luke 9:1-2)

Books I Am Reading

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I have not shared the books I am reading on the blog in several weeks. 

Here is my current reading list:

Crash the Chatterbox by Steven Furtick
Scandalous by D. A. Carson
Authentic by James Macdonald

What's up next?

Jesus > Religion by Jefferson Bethke
Gospel by J.D. Greear
Exploring Grace Together by Jessica Thompson

What are you reading?

Quotes from The Power of Right Believing

I finished reading The Power of Right Believing  by Joseph Prince several weeks ago.  I thought I would share some quotes today:
The enemy knows that if he can control your thought life, he can manipulate your emotions and feelings. . . The devil's strategy hasn't changed-he is still using lies, accusations, guilt and condemnation to ensnare believers today and to make them doubt God's perfect love, forgiveness, and superabounding grace. Legalistic teachings always place the demand on man. Grace teachings always demonstrate how the supply comes from God. The gospel is simple. It's all about Jesus. It's not about you. Christ is our righteousness. Christ is our obedience. Christ is our sanctification. Christ is our justification. Glory and boast in Christ and Christ alone. The enemy will try to make it all about you. His grace and power work best when we stop striving and depend wholeheartedly on Him. Right believing always leads to right living. Worship is one of th…

Prayer Power-Day 25

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Elyse Fitzpatrick at Liberate Conference

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Elyse Fitzpatrick was one of my favorite speakers at Liberate 2014.  And when I went to post my notes following her talk, my iPad crashed.  Anyway, I had to listen to her message again so I could get all of the great wisdom and truth she shared.

She is author of Found In Him. I highly recommend this book to you.  I will be writing a review of the book in a few weeks on the blog.

Here are my notes from her message entitled, "The Fruit of One Way Love":

Are you thirsty for good news? This One Way Love is free to us, but it was not free for Jesus.  What did it cost Jesus?  He had to leave heaven, he had to be born, he had to learn, he was weak, he suffered like us. He paid for it on the cross. Why?  We need a perfect representative.  We need someone like us. We need someone to fulfill the Law in our place.  Jesus came to fulfill all of the Law in our place so that as God's perfect sacrifice, the lamb of God who takes away all my sin can die substitutionary death for us so…

The order matters

Today, I was reminded again of the importance of order as I read God's Word.  First, we must look up.  Then, we can get busy doing.  If you get busy first, you are working out of your own will or own strength. This results in exhaustion and/or frustration.  Instead, if you turn your eyes on Jesus first, you have the power who raised Christ from the dead empowering your actions. 

I have always read the passage below focused on doing before being.  The order jumped off the page at me this morning. We need grace and peace in abundance, Christ's power, and God's promises to add the qualities listed in verses 5-8.

2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, havin…

From the Depths of Woe

Here is another song we sang at Liberate 2014. It is based on Psalm 130. Be reminded of the God who is in this song. 

From depths of woe I raise to Thee
The voice of lamentation;
Lord, turn a gracious ear to me
And hear my supplication;
If Thou iniquities dost mark,
Our secret sins and misdeeds dark,
O who shall stand before Thee?

To wash away the crimson stain,
Grace, grace alone availeth;
Our works, alas! are all in vain;
In much the best life faileth:
No man can glory in Thy sight,
All must alike confess Thy might,
And live alone by mercy.

Therefore my trust is in the Lord,
And not in mine own merit;
On Him my soul shall rest, His Word
Upholds my fainting spirit:
His promised mercy is my fort,
My comfort, and my sweet support;
I wait for it with patience.

What though I wait the livelong night,
And till the dawn appeareth,
My heart still trusteth in His might;
It doubteth not nor feareth:
Do thus, O ye of Israel’s seed,
Ye of the Spirit born indeed;
And wait till God appeareth.

Tho…

Gaze, Remember, Rest then Act

Here is the devotion I shared with BOAM at our retreat yesterday. 

The quotes I am sharing are by Paul Tripp from the Liberate 2014 conference I attended a few weeks ago.After reading, spend time reflecting on them.
We will look at four things.
Gaze
We have spent enough time meditating on our sin and brokenness and the fallenness of the world, we need to instead run to His beauty. King David knew there is One that exists that is awesome and glorious and way more beautiful than any ugly thing you will face in this life and grace connects you to this beauty.
Gaze at the beauty of God from Isaiah 40
Remember
After we have gazed at the beauty of Father, Son, and Spirit, we need to remember who we are in Christ. Remember these truths:
You Are Chosen-Ephesians 1:4
You Are Loved-1 John 4:9-10
You are Redeemed-Galatians 3:13-14
You Are Forgiven-Colossians 1:13-14
You Are New-2 Corinthians 5:17
You Are Righteous-2 Corinthians 5:21
You Are Victorious-1 Corinthians 15:57
You Are Not Condemned-Romans 8:1

Rest
Tr…

Favorte Quotes from #2014Liberate

Several of the videos are now available from speakers at Liberate 2014.  Today, I wanted to share some of my favorite quotes from each speaker.  You can read all my notes on blog posts from February 20-23. 
The King has banged the gavel and pardoned our past, present, and future sins.  If you don't get justification, you will run from God not run to Him. (Matt Chandler) Grace isn't just a doctrine. It's 24/7. It's a pool where elephants can swim and children can play. (Steve Brown) Home is not a place to settle, but a place to set out from. (Sally Lloyd-Jones) Two preliminary points in making connection with others: you have to get to the end of law (sanctions don't work with kids, spouses, or others) & the name of the game is healing. (Paul Zahl) Three things the gospel does that religion cannot do    1. Gospel reveals to us God is more glorious than our idols (2 Corin. 3:18)    2. Gospel overwhelms us with grace (1 John 4:19)    3. The gospel imparts to us a…

In your power?

Are you working really hard to accomplish something right now?  Maybe it is at home, work, church, or in a relationship?  Are you relying on your own power? 

Check out these encouraging words from Zechariah 4:6
6 So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.

Prayer Power-Day 24

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Not arrogance but glory to God

At our church, we have a time in the worship service where people can share prayer requests or praises about what God is doing in their lives.  I love this time!  However, often in the church we stay silent about what God is doing because we see it as arrogance or bragging. I shared the quote below with our church family a few weeks ago.

Listen to this quote from God Is Able by Priscilla Shirer:
So why should we be surprised that when God works, He wants an audience? When God works in you, He wants others to know about it.  When He works in them, He wants you to know about it. And so He takes us to church. Within the family and fellowship of  your local congregation, as well as the larger church in general, He has established an audience for His ability. When His miraculous, need-meeting activity occurs in our lives, He intends to use it as a faith-building evidence of His power among those who hear us tell it and see us changed by it. Among the many magnets that draw people to Christ…

Gaze at the Greatness of God from Isaiah 40

“To whom will you compare me?
Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:
Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one
and calls forth each of them by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing.
27 Why do you complain, Jacob?
Why do you say, Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord;
my cause is disregarded by my God”?
28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

(Isaiah 40:25-31)

His Be The Victor's Name

Here is another song we sang at Liberate 2014.  Think about the words. You can listen below.  I also encourage you to return here to listen to "Once For All".

His Be the Victor's Name 1. His be the Victor's Name
Who fought the fight alone;
Triumphant saints no honor claim;
Their conquest was His own.

2. By weakness and defeat
He won the glorious crown;
Trod all His foes beneath His feet
By being trodden down.

What though the vile accuser roar
Of sins that I have done;
I know them well, and thousands more;
My God, He knoweth none


3. He hell in hell laid low;
Made sin, He sin o'erthrew;
Bowed to the grave, destroyed it so,
And death, by dying, slew.

4. Bless, bless the Conqueror slain,
Slain by divine decree!
Who lived, who died, who lives again,
For thee, my soul, for thee.

My sin is cast into the sea
Of God’s forgotten memory
No more to haunt accusingly
For Christ has lived and died for me

His Be the Victor's Name by Zac Hicks & Coral Ridge Worship
Words: Samu…

Grace and the ocean

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I just returned from Liberate 2014 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.  Below is a picture I took. It was a great conference and you can read my notes from many of the speakers on earlier posts.  Today, I wanted to share some thoughts I had while sitting on the beach one morning about the similarities between grace and the ocean. Grace is like an ocean because: It is deep.  When we think we have understood its depths, there is more. It is far reaching.  No matter what you have done in your past, God's grace can reach you. It is free. Isn't it amazing that you can go the beach for free?  No admission fee. It draws you in.  Just like the undercurrent in the ocean, God draws us. It is rest. Listening to the waves is relaxing and peaceful. It is unpredictable. You cannot predict the pattern of waves. You cannot predict how grace will affect a person. It is bitter.  We avoid drinking it.  To those who want to live by law or control, it makes them make a bitter face. It is refreshing.  The cool wa…

It's all for His glory!

Here's another great reminder from Priscilla Shirer about God's glory and prayer from God Is Able.
So when we come to Him with our needs and requests, with our aches and our longings, one of the greatest reasons why we can be so confident in Him is because--let's just say it--God is gettin' Him some glory when He acts on our behalf.