Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The First Things


Tangie and I love our DVR. We hardly ever watch a T.V. show live. We generally record a show and then watch it after the girls have gone to bed. Watching a recorded show this way (versus live) offers two distinct advantages. First, we can cut out the commercials. Unless it's the Super Bowl, commercials just aren't that important. Second, we can rewind the show and do it over if we missed something. The pause function is pretty nice too.

Unfortunately, there are no DVRs in life. Time is linear and there's no going back, fast forwarding or pausing. But wait! We can learn some important life lessons from this silly DVR analogy of mine. Though we cannot skip over the day to day mundane of life (i.e. commercials), we can choose what we fill our time with. Maybe there's some things in your life that you need to cut out to make room for higher things.

Please don't hit the mute button yet!

Unlike a DVR, life offers no do-overs. Or does it? In Revelation 2, Jesus tells the church at Ephesus, "You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first." Maybe your spiritual heart has been on life support for a long time. Maybe you've given up all hope for a renewed, meaningful relationship with Christ. Jesus is asking you to hit the rewind button. With Christ there are do-overs. Revival doesn't require something new in your life. All it takes is getting back to the basics.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Worship: A New Day

Preview for WORSHIP: A NEW DAY

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Unexplained Move of God. HALLELUJAH!!!

Worship Sunday was amazing! But worship most Sundays at HGBC is amazing. However, sooooome Sundays are not so hot. Most of the time, I distinguish between the "good" and the "bad" weeks by how I felt during the experience. Did it sound good to my ears? Was there a palpable energy that I could feel. Did I feel connected to God? Pretty sad, huh?

There is another standard indicator of worship being "good" or "bad" - other people's input. People are generally nice enough to share the positive thoughts with me and the negative thoughts over Sunday lunch. Which means that most of what I hear are compliments though I'm sure that not everyone always loves everything we sing in worship.

So I commonly get an encouraging word or two on a weekly basis. (I know, I know. I have a cushy job.) Week to week, the compliments come at an even rate. Logically, that means that the worship experience at HGBC must be consistently "good." There are weeks where that feedback doesn't come. It's never a surprise to me. Basically, if we don't do a "good" job, my inbox is going to be lonely.

Stay with me here...

Last December, we worked extremely hard on a production called Best Gift. It's a rule in life that hard work pays off. I was not at all surprised when I/we received an abundance of positive comments from our people. I wasn't left scratching my head and wondering what we did to help folks feel connected to God through worship. I was anticipating that people would enjoy the experience. We had worked hard for that purpose. (Don't judge. I'm speaking very pragmatically on purpose)

Over time, this pattern of events can harden your heart a bit. Obviously, if I plan well and we present well, I'm going to hear good things. So where's God in all this?

Now to the point...

As we worshipped Sunday morning, I was (as usual) in that joyful state of closeness with God. Let me just say that I LOVE to worship with other believers. However, it didn't seem any better to me than the usual "good" week. There was a very moving choir special sung, but last week was amazing too.

Since Sunday, I have heard from at least 20 people how amazing Sunday's worship was in both services. And I've heard it from people I never hear from. Man, I agree with them, but this time (unlike Christmas) I am taken aback by the response of our people. And these aren't just compliments. They're testimonies of how their burdens were lifted. Amazing things.

I was just scratching my head, wondering what it is I did differently to make Sunday so meaningful when it dawned on me that it wasn't me at all. God moved! God did a work in the hearts of our people. And there's no way to replicate it. I can't explain it. And it feels FANTASTIC!

I'm already praying that God will show up like that again this Sunday. Please say a prayer for HGBC that God will continue to move in such power.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day - A Day of Firsts

Valentine's Day was extremely special in the Celoria house this year. Today was the last game in Abigail's basketball season. It has been her first year to play. To be honest, when she first started playing I didn't think this was her sport. But as the season has progressed so has she. Particularly on the defensive side of the game. And in this, her last game, Abigail SCORED!!!! I couldn't resist making a fool out of myself as I did a sideline jig. Way to go, Abber!

Now for the cherry on top. Sorry for the sideways video. Tangie knows not to do that now. Behold...

video

Couldn't be prouder!!!!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Immortal, Invisible

Jesus said something once that means a lot to me. In John 20, Jesus said, "Blessed are those who have not seen [me] and yet have believed."

By saying this, Jesus was acknowledging that faith in something we cannot see is no easy thing. He also spoke a blessing that applies to all of us that believe without seeing. In context, Jesus was trying to help His disciples see that their faith wasn't as big a thing as they supposed. Just think about who He was talking to. All those important people who helped start God's church. We have nothing on these guys! And yet here He is speaking a blessing over our lives for our faith in the unseen.

So what am I trying to say? Quit beating yourself up because your faith isn't sight. It isn't supposed to be...yet.

Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
Almighty, victorious, thy great name we praise.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Father's Love Letter

My brother told me about this video that quotes a bunch of scripture about God's love for us and presents it as a father's love letter to His child. As I watched the video, I couldn't help but feel overwhelmed with what God offers me. I have to admit that it made me cry. Unfortunately, I can't embed the video here so you'll just have to follow this link. And be sure to have a box of tissue nearby.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Keyboard Got You in a Headlock?

This was in my inbox today, and I thought it was cute. Here are the five best things to say if you get caught sleeping at your desk:

#5 - They told me at the Blood Bank this might happen.

#4 - This is just the 15 minute power nap they raved about in the time-management course you sent me to.

#3 - Whew! Guess I left the top off the white-out. You probably got here just in time!

#2 - Did you ever notice sound coming out of these keyboards when you put your ear down real close?

And the #1 Best thing to say if you get caught sleeping at your desk...

(Raising your head slowly) "...in Jesus' name, Amen."

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Neat Phone Call

I was just sitting here planning worship and spending some time with the Lord when my phone rang. It was a 601 number which means Mississippi. I wondered who it could be as I answered. Turns out it was good friend, Brad Randall. Brad is a young man who attends FBC Richland where I served for 2 years. While there, Brad and I formed a cool friendship. Brad is a singer/songwriter and can play an acoustic guitar with the best of them. Once, we went to Nashville together for a songwriters conference.

So Brad called to inform me that he has surrendered to the ministry. I felt excited for him and honored that he thought enough of me to call me. He's not sure but is thinking youth ministry. He's trying to decide where he'll attend seminary.

Please be in prayer for Brad and his wife, Natalie, as they seek God's will for their lives.

God's kingdom will stand!