The Process (Message)

This morning I preached out of my pain. I can’t explain it any other way. It was God appearing strong in the midst of my weakness. And I was humbled to be used.

I was also the first among the congregation to be convicted of the core content – essentially preaching to myself. In need of renewed perspective, in need of renewed motive.

I promised to put my notes on my website after a few people asked for them. If you’d like to watch the message, our wonderful production team has made it available here.

For his fame. ch:

The Process

• Life very often seems to be composed of one pressure after another. But what if these pressure had far less to do with Satan, sin, and ourselves than we thought?

Luke 19 • The Parable of the Ten Minas

11 While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once. 12 He said: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. 13 So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas.[a] ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’
14 “But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’
15 “He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it.
16 “The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned ten more.’
17 “‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’
18 “The second came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned five more.’
19 “His master answered, ‘You take charge of five cities.’
20 “Then another servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. 21 I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.’
22 “His master replied, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow? 23 Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?’
24 “Then he said to those standing by, ‘Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.’
25 “‘Sir,’ they said, ‘he already has ten!’
26 “He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 27 But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me.’”

The Process: Pressure Points

20 “Then another servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. 21 I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.’

• The pressure of the Master’s hand was meant to qualify his servants for greater responsibility.

• Instead of rising to the challenge, we often will blame our Master as the cause of our irresponsibility.

• Don’t put off your future fortunes by failing to miss the point of your present pressures.

The Process: Getting Qualified

Genesis 37-50 • Joseph: from the pit, to the prison, to the palace.
Luke 22:41 • Jesus: embracing the will of his father

• The Father is not nearly as interested in our happiness as he is in our fulfilling of his purposes for us. Joseph could not be entrusted to bless Israel until he could be proven to serve Egypt. Jesus had to be faithful to the Father before he became faithful to the Cross.

• If the Lord is truly sovereign, then he’s intimately aware of our circumstances, and not only knows the way out, but knows why we’re in.

2 Timothy 3:1,2a,4b

1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2a People will be lovers of themselves, 4b lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.

• For Christians that love pleasure, circumstances dictate happiness.

• For Christians that love the Father, only relationship provides satisfaction.

The Process: Born to Resolve

Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson

• The very things that try to destroy us are refining us to tackle the issues we were born to resolve.

The Process: Accepting A New Perspective

• If life was about making us happy then he would have to make our wills superior to his.

• Our greatest lessons are not learned in our successes, but in the trials that lead to our success. God is far more interested in the process of developing us for future usefulness than he is getting glory for “blessing you” in the present.

• This kind of Kingdom perspective can only come through adoption and impartation: adoption by choosing to embrace the perspectives of Christians more Godly than you are; impartation by meeting with God and letting him deal with our hearts.

The Process: Meeting With God

Realign your motives:

1.) If you’ve been more focused on resolving frustrations than you have finding contentment in God within your frustrations.

Realign your perspective:

2.) If your perspective is more temporal than eternal.

• What if you only came into your inheritance on the other side of this life? Could you wait that long?

Psalms 84:10
10 Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.

Are You Being Difficult? (Message Notes)

20120329-062943.jpg[Photo courtesy of Costa Deir]

When I get enough requests for the notes of a message after I preach it, I put it online because a) it’s easier than remember all the people I’m supposed to email, and b) there are probably more people that wanted it than asked (and some who weren’t there that would probably be encouraged by it).

These are my notes from last nights message given to 33 Live at New Life Christian Church in Watertown, NY. ch:
____________________

Are You Being Difficult?

1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7 always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.

2 Timothy 3
[The New International Version]

1-5 Don’t be naive. There are difficult times ahead. As the end approaches, people are going to be self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God. They’ll make a show of religion, but behind the scenes they’re animals. Stay clear of these people.

6-7 These are the kind of people who smooth-talk themselves into the homes of unstable and needy women and take advantage of them; women who, depressed by their sinfulness, take up with every new religious fad that calls itself “truth.” They get exploited every time and never really learn.

[The Message]

• In this passage, days aren’t made difficult because of Satan, the Church, or your parents. They’re made difficult because of peoples’ conscious behavioral choices.

Three just ways, pulled from the list above, that you may be making life difficult for yourself and those around you:

1.) Disobedient to parents: utter rejection of basic authority.

RESULT: We disqualify ourselves form sitting in places of authority.

• A CiCi’s Pizza employee with a great idea but a bad work ethic doesn’t get heard. Their immoral treatment of time and property overshadows their perceived insight.

• Obedience precipitates promotion. If you want to be heard, you need to be teachable.

2.) Rash: making decisions quickly based on what we feel instead of what we know is right.

RESULT: The Lord cannot entrust us with valuable people or valuable decisions.

• It seems some teens in America are allergic to hard work, and hardships. As Christians we begin to question the “God said…” moments in our lives the moment things get tough.

• It’s in the trials of fire that we most grow.

3.) Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God: choosing what feels good to ourselves rather than what pleases God.

RESULT: God’s will becomes an after thought, and we base our theology and methodology on whatever is most popular.

• Refunding shipping on my XBox games sold on eBay.

• Accepting the general A-moral view of what the world says about homosexuality.

How to be the answer for difficult people:

Kingdom-minded Christ followers will be lovers of others, constantly generous, boastful of Jesus’ works, humble, deferring, obedient to their parents, grateful, holy, 3 full of love, forgiving, encouraging, full of self-control, gentle, lovers of the good, 4 transparent, patient and wise, consumed with the welfare of others, lovers of God rather than lovers of pleasure— 5 behaving with Godly actions and demonstrating His power. Have everything to do with such people.

6 They are the kind who never take advantage of people or situations, and who help ease the burdens of those who are loaded down with sins, and help those swayed by all kinds of evil desires get pointed toward Jesus. 7 They are always learning because they chose to come to a knowledge of the truth.

[CH’s Inverted Version]

• The people that are most like Jesus are the most fun to be around. So make sure you’re surrounded by them, and let them rub off on you until you’re resolute enough to rub off on others.

• Let the Holy Spirit sift you through circumstances. He loves to use them to make you more Christlike.

• What are you going through right now that is challenging you in one of these areas? Don’t run from the situation or resist God’s desire to make you more like him.

• The very things that try to destroy us are refining us to tackle the issues we were born to resolve.

• Don’t put off your future fortunes by failing to miss the point of your present pressures.

• If you’ll allow the Holy Spirit to have his way in you, you’ll start to be very difficult indeed – for the Devil.

GO BE DIFFICULT!

Notes Worth Coming Home For

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Coming home is favorite.

Ironic that in order to have such an experience, however, an actual absence must be engaged in.

To receive a note like this while you’re gone is pretty emotional; even more emotional is embracing that same note-writing little girl when she runs out to greet you as you pull up.

Don’t leave if you can help it. If you have to, you’ll experience the joy of a sweet return. Then don’t leave again unless you have to. ch:

Sex

As per my promise to the students of Believer Chapel Youth (BCY), I’ve made my notes on tonight’s message on “Sex: What They Don’t Tell You” available as a free PDF. My prayer is the information within strengthen’s your resolve to honor and guard God’s desires for your body, and fuels your passion to live as an example for a generation that needs rescuing. ch:

Download Free PDF: “Sex”

Reflection – Understanding Godly Love

Here are my notes from last night’s message on week 1 of our Translucent Series at 33 Live:

DOWNLOAD PDF: Reflection – Understanding Godly Love

I’ve gotten quite a number of responses about the message – from young and old alike – on the idea of God not manipulating or controlling the choices and outcomes of a person’s decisions as real love. Heavy stuff, but needed in an age where we acuse God of that which He’s innocent of, and withhold credit for that which He’s due. ch:


Day 1 at Creation Fest NE 2011

Whereas last year was sensory overload, returning to Creation this year was much like coming home. Familiar faces, memorized layout, and internal expectations of how things flow.

But with new messages and a fresh crowd, exactly how an audience will take to something remains a mystery.

People started gathering at 2:30pm on the hillside for my first session. In fact, they were there before I was! That made me smile. I made my way up into the crowd to get to know them, asking their names, where they’re from, and what their loves in life are. Soon, my assistant Joseph had to come grab me. “It’s starting, bro. Gotta’ get down there.” Thank God for him!

Creation Founder & President Harry Thomas was waiting down by the tiny wooden stage (that I think I used once for 30 seconds) and gathered some of the staff for prayer. If you’ve never met him, you can’t help but love him: he’s the perfect cross between Jesus and Santa Clause. Yeah. For real.

Then it was go time. For 45 minutes I spoke on the purposes and power of music as an instrument (pun!) of connection, used to conquer, and of our three responsibilities as Christians: 1.) To Create 2.) To Endorse 3.) To Intercede.

The session finished with over 2,000 teens & adults praying as one for the music artist of their choice. Both secular and sacred alike – from Bruce Hornsby to Matt Redman to Usher to Will I Am to 3rd Day – we prayed for wisdom, strength, guidance, some for salvation, and for all encouragement.

So many people came up afterward to share about how they’d never thought of themselves as having a role in praying for musicians. It was definitely an “ah-ha!” moment.

The day also included reconnecting with Chris Tomlin, and giving a CD to Jonah Sorrentino (KJ-52) as Jennifer (aka “J-Ho” a la her rapper name) adores him.

My fun moment of the day was leaving Joseph Gilchrist – my “body guard” for the trip – in the car for 5 minutes. When I returned I found him as pictured below.

Today I’ll be speaking on the role of the arts within the church. Looking forward to seeing more eyes opened to the immense creativity of God! ch: