Thursday, January 29, 2009

When I Speak Your Name

There's this amazing song that everyone should be singing called, "When I Speak Your Name." This song makes me want to run laps in church and never stop. Here are the words with a YouTube video of a live performance from Christ for the Nations. How's this place for church?!?!

Jesus, the most beautiful
Name of all names
Jesus, the only name
That brings healing and strength

When I speak Your name
Mountains move, chains are loosed
When I speak Your name
Darkness flees
It has no hold on me

Jesus, most beautiful name that I know
You're the exalted One
Jesus, You have the power alone
You lift the lowly one, Jesus

Jesus, the most wonderful
Name of all names
Jesus, the only Name
That brings freedom and hope

When I speak Your name
Mountains move, chains are loosed
When I speak Your name
Darkness flees
It has no hold on me

Jesus, most beautiful name that I know
You're the exalted One
Jesus, You have the power alone
You lift the lowly one, Jesus

Be exalted
Be exalted
Be exalted higher and higher


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Proud of My Bro!

My brother, Matt, and his wife, Amber, have officially and successfully launched a new church in Glendale, AZ. The City Church at Westgate had its first worship service this past Sunday with over 75 in attendance! The church is currently meeting in a movie theatre. Be in prayer for Matt and Amber as they serve in this new work. If you'd like to know more about the church (or even listen to one of Matt's sermons) you can visit the church's website.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

.01 Seconds

I'm a big sports fan. I especially follow Major League Baseball. Tangie and I also love watching the Olympics - swimming in particular. I'm amazed at how fractions of a second determine success or failure. Like everyone else, I was in awe of Michael Phelps this past summer. Think about all the repetitive, grueling work that he put in just to win one of his races by 0.1 seconds. How easy would it have been for him to take it just a little bit easier in his training? He would have assumed victory but wouldn't have attained it.

Now apply that to your ministry. What does it really matter if I take it easy every once in a while? I mean, what difference is 0.1 seconds anyway?

It matters. Paul said, "Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

So what is ahead for us? Let's not worry about that so much as focus on the task at hand. Let's keep pressing on in the strength of Christ until the prize is won.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I Am Second

My brother directed me to a cool site that you should check out. It's www.iamsecond.org. It's full of well produced testimonies from people whose lives were radically changed when they decided to put Jesus Christ first in their lives. The one that choked me up was Brian Welch, formerly of the band Korn. That one alone is worth a trip to the site.

Check it out.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Start Praying for Rick Warren

I read this article today about controversy creeping into the Obama camp. I guess President Obama's honeymoon is over before it has officially started. The whole article is an interesting read, but one section in particular interested me. It's the part that mentions Rick Warren of Saddleback Church who has been invited to give the invocation at President Obama's inauguration.

"Warren has certainly done good works in his life, including fighting global poverty and AIDS, but he also was a prominent supporter of California’s Proposition 8, which outlaws gay marriage in the state. “This is not a political issue,” Warren wrote in a church bulletin. “It is a moral issue that God has spoken clearly about.”

So why did Obama give a prominent role in his Inauguration to Warren? It is understandable in terms of raw politics. The Democrats want to reach out to evangelical voters (Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean has been meeting with groups of evangelicals for years), and Warren is considered a moderate by many. So why not toss him a speech? After all, 2012 is right around the corner."


I'm glad that Pastor Warren has been invited to pray for the ceremony, but it truly breaks my heart that prayer is seen in our nation as a political maneuver.

Then again, don't all of us sometimes view prayer as a means to an end? How often do we pray for ourselves rather than for others? Compare the number of times you've interceded for your kingdom with that of God's. Do I really ever pray "Thy will and not mine be done?" Or do I just convince myself that my will happens to look a lot like God's?

If we as Christians treat prayer in such a manner, why would we ever expect the AP to do any different?

I think we all need to pray for Rick Warren. He has an amazing opportunity to represent Christ here. I hope and pray that he shows the world that we (Christians) don't think we have all the answers. I hope that he doesn't use his time to say, "We're right; you're wrong." I hope that he calls on the name of the Lord. Something like, "We are desperate for You to intervene in our nation." How about a prayer aimed to please God and not man?

A certain parable comes to mind.

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'

"But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'

"I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

Monday, January 5, 2009

Good to Be Back

Well, we are back from vacation and ready to go at it! I'm so excited about what 2009 has in store.

In terms of family, 2009 has already featured little Isabelle's first birthday (4th). Some other upcoming events include a much needed garage sale, the "completion" of our home interior (Lord willing), our eleventh wedding anniversary, a family trip to San Antonio, Abigail's seventh birthday and emergence as a basketball phenom, Isser's first steps and first everything else, and a lot of normal stuff too.

In terms of church, 2009 is going to be amazing! Sundays are getting better and better, and we have some awesome special events to look forward to in the worship department. There's a worship center upgrade some time this year, "Hope for the Nations" in April (info forthcoming), children and student musicals in May, a mission trip to Bali in June, another mission trip (Oklahoma) in July, a senior adult revival in September featuring "An Evening of Classic Gospel with Evangelist Alan Celoria, and Best Gift 2009 in December. There's lots of other stuff in between, and who knows what else God has in store?

If you're like me, you are looking back over 2008 and thinking of a few things you'd like to have done differently. At the close of 2009, I pray that we can look back at all we said and did in this calendar year and say we did all for the glory of God!