I’m in way over my head

This is all way over my head.

I need to hear You.

You are the light that leads me.

Yet I wonder, “Where do I find peace?”

Jesus is the strength that keeps me walking.

Yet, I find it hard to trust.

Seeking His purpose.

The storms of life want let me rest.

The quest for peace becomes more desperate and allusive.

Yet He takes me in and takes me deeper into His Word.

Breaking through a fading concentration.

It’s in His Word that I come to a place of being able to see a place that can’t be seen without His Spirit revealing.  Psalm 139:13, “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.” As many times as I have read this my mind has stopped with the creation of the organs within my body.  The miracle of blood flowing through the body sustaining life to the entire body.

But today I thought about something else.  The creation within that can’t be seen or touched.  A place that can’t be operated on by human hands.  I’m referring to the personality, the interests, the likes and dislikes…. purpose.  He knit it all before we were ever delivered.  For me that was interesting thought today.  Made me question, “What in the world am I doing with that aspect of my life?”  There is so much more to life than just living… heart beating, blood flowing, and lungs taking in oxygen, etc. IMG_4061

Visiting a third world country in the name of Jesus can leave you speechless.  Yet, full of questions about life and your place in this world. That’s what it did for me.  The first morning back home I arose early and began to fill my pot with water (like I do every morning) so I could boil three eggs for breakfast.  Before I could get the eggs in the pot, I wept and said, “They aren’t doing this this morning… at least the way I am able to.”  Then I thought about the young Christian men I had the amazing pleasure of meeting.  I thought they have a deeper understanding of Jesus in their country than I do of Jesus in my country.  Their vantage point of seeing Jesus is so much different than mine.

The need is great in the land I had the pleasure of walking, praying, pondering life and purpose.  They probably don’t remember me but I can’t shake their faces from my mind.  I don’t want to lose sight of those I came to love in just a few short days.  I don’t know what God wants to do with all that I have experienced.  I do know He doesn’t want me to waste it.

13419113_10206513780182839_2338340058097243765_nI still can’t seem to grasp the words to convey my thoughts and my heart… I’ve been home for two weeks.  I can say there is so much more than this… this in which I live.  There is so much more.

Jesus, thank you for making sure I was there.  Craig, thank you for sharing with us worship, heart, love, discipleship, obedience, courage, faith, Jesus!  I can’t thank my church family, known as CFBC, for giving me the opportunity to have this experience.

As Matt Redman so beautifully wrote, “I’m coming back to the heart of worship.”

 

agua:yaku

agua:yaka  is a simple water well drilling project.

I was just turned on to this ministry called agua:yaku. They have found a less expensive way to help provide communities with water where clean drinking water is scarce or non-existant.  Take a few moments to checkout this ministry.  You will find great information as well as some great photography!

God is doing some amazing things through so many people that make up the body of Christ… to do whatever it takes to reach those in need of water, food, clothing, shelter, and Jesus Christ!

How’s your water?

I was introduced to Living Waters International this week.  My friend Darrell introduced me to water missions several years ago.  I hope to find myself more involved in meeting the needs of people by providing clean drinking water.  I just read Randy’s post on water too.

Read John 9.  How did Jesus reach this blind man?  Jesus met a physical need.  He didn’t try to convert this blind man.  Jesus gave him his sight.  After meeting the man’s need he came to him with the answer to life.

After the Jewish leaders kicked the blind man out of the meeting place, Jesus came to him,

35Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and went and found him. He asked him, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

 36The man said, “Point him out to me, sir, so that I can believe in him.”

 37Jesus said, “You’re looking right at him. Don’t you recognize my voice?”

 38“Master, I believe,” the man said, and worshiped him.

 39Jesus then said, “I came into the world to bring everything into the clear light of day, making all the distinctions clear, so that those who have never seen will see, and those who have made a great pretense of seeing will be exposed as blind.” (John 9, The Message).

The greatest hope on earth…

…and beyond!             JESUS CHRIST

The day you heard the Gospel and responded by following Jesus – you didn’t respond to a moment in time or to a person presenting the message.  But rather the power of the Holy Spirit working through the surrendered life of another person.  Paul states,

I was unsure of how to go about this, and felt totally inadequate—I was scared to death, if you want the truth of it—and so nothing I said could have impressed you or anyone else. But the Message came through anyway. God’s Spirit and God’s power did it, which made it clear that your life of faith is a response to God’s power, not to some fancy mental or emotional footwork by me or anyone else. (1 Corinthians 2:3-5, The Message).

Now that you know Jesus – what steps do you take to share the hope you have been given?  Is it easy for you to share with others?  Do you fear having a conversation with someone else about your life in Jesus?  What are you relying on when you teach or lead your small group?  Do you rely on the Holy Spirit or do you rely on something you have taught in the past or some other experience you have had?

…as you give your explanation make sure that you are relying on the Holy Spirit. Rely on the certainty of God’s redemptive power, and He will create His own life in people.

Once you are rooted in reality, nothing can shake you. If your faith is in experiences, anything that happens is likely to upset that faith. But nothing can ever change God or the reality of redemption. Base your faith on that, and you are as eternally secure as God Himself. (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, December 3).

Rock and Roll Stops the Traffic…

…at Keller Williams in Cartersville.

I had the pleasure of meeting many of the fine Real Estate Agents at Keller Williams Realty NorthwestDean and Amy Cochran are agents I have had the great pleasure of working with out of this office in the past.  I don’t know another husband and wife team that works harder for their clients.

Even Adam is the band that stopped the traffic just off of Tennessee Street.

Even Adam have been playing together for a little over a year now.  Their first concert was played at the Church at Woodland opening up for Casting Pearls now known as Vota.  Even Adam has done ministry as well with Oakleaf Church, Paulding County YDC, and other local churches.  Even Adam is always excited to play for the building up of the body of Christ.  I will have a video of them up soon so check back to see and hear the sound.

More photos from today…

Joel

Joel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dean.

   

 

 

Brad.

Catalyst Day 2

There is so much to reflect on for Day 2. 

First, these are most of the people we had the pleasure of learning from today:  Tim Sanders, Jeff Foxworthy, Franklin Graham, Dave Ramsey, Matt Chandler, and Andy Stanley… There were others who spoke or shared I don’t have my workbook in front of me right now.  The icing on the cake was the experience of a lifetime in worshipping the Creator of all things and the King of kings.

I stood there on several occasions during worship and just looked around at the 12,000 people attending this conference on Leadership.  The noise that 12,000 people can make is amazing.  I leaned over to Brad at one moment while everyone was clapping and said something similar to this, “Listen to all of the clapping.  It’s kind of strange to hear how we humans have found a way to express our approval and gratitude to others.  We are no different from other animals in this regard.”  We want to express to people and to God in a manner that shows our approval of them and one way we do so is by clapping.  I paid attention a lot today to how people responded to what they were hearing. 

One of the greatest rounds of applause came for a Staff Sergent from the Army on a 15 day leave who was at Catalyst.  WOW!  He spent 2 of his 15 day leave at this conference… He left the war in Iraq and got his spiritual and leadership batteries charged.  It was an amazing moment to witness his introduction.

There is so much to say as to what I gained from this 2 day conference.  If you have never been to Catalyst I highly suggest going… Catalyst 2008 is by far the BEST conference I have ever been to!  For those of you on the West Coast, Catalyst is coming your way in April 2009!!  Catalyst will be in Orange County, CA. 

Seth Godin gave us his latest book, Tribes.  I have begun reading it tonight and haven’t been able to put it down.  I know I will finish it this weekend.  I have already gotten several ideas on how to implement his ideas in this book to my own “tribe” at work.  I look forward to being stretched this way… my title may be “Area Manager” but my function is to be a leader of those who make up my tribe.  As I apply some of the thoughts I have jotted down tonight as to steps I will begin taking I hope to write on how my team of employees respond. 

The short story about today’s sessions is this:  Missions was a large thrust of today’s topics.  I was challenged to preach the Word, reach people with the preached Word and not to be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.  The goal of proclaiming Christ is Christ.  Nothing less.  For it to be less would be to lead people to think “you” (or I) did a great job in the presentation.  Doing a great job in presenting the Gospel should never be the goal.  Preach the Word and watch God do the work!

There was so much more that was communicated today that will apply to so many areas of my life.  I look forward to sharing this in the days ahead. 

I am so very thankful for the opportunity to go to this Catalyst.  I words can’t express my thanksgiving.  Thank you!

One more thought about both days.  God orchestrated so much for me over these two days.  From conversations with new and old friends, each of the sessions, the worship, the quiet moments by myself journaling, and the many tears that were shed…  I know everything I experienced was planned by God.  I am so looking forward to unwrapping all of this…

And love is not the easy thing…

… the only baggage that you can bring. It’s all you can’t leave behind. (U2, “Walk On” Bono).

I love the opening to the song “Walk On” by U2.  I was listening to it today while burning up some of that cheap fuel I bought last Saturday!!  The words just captivate my heart… it’s a captivity that leads to freedom. 

Think about it:  Love is not easy… yet Paul says it’s the greatest of all gifts. (1 Corinthians 13).  I guess in the context of this verse love is the ONLY baggage you can bring… when a believer in Christ dies the only baggage allowed is love.  Love is the only thing you can’t leave behind.

I realize this song is dedicated to Aung San Suu Kyi.  She is a political prisoner in Myanmar.  As for her faith, she is a Buddhist.  She has been a political prisoner under house arrest because of her fight… dream… of democracy for her country. 

Because of this song I pray for her and people like her.  People who are held captive for what they believe.  It’s people like her who have a quality inside them that bars, prison, and persecution can’t hold. 

That quality is LOVE.  The truest form of this love is a gift given by Jehovah –  The Lord God Almighty.  This love was lived out and expressed in it’s deepest form in a man named Jesus Christ.  The man who came to bring freedom to all men and women who would believe in him.

For God so loved the world – how beautiful are those six words.  I sit here so late at night thinking almost imagining this love – in a way I’ve never known before.  This kind of love gives and gives and gives.  Seventy times seven this love gives… love is not the easy thing / the only baggage you can bring / It’s all you can’t leave behind.

You see – I have this thing.  If you keep up with things here at focus, you will know something of this thing.  I desire peace… not just some mamby pamby passive peace… I’m talking a strong victorious kind of peace.  Peace must be found.  I must not allow the love of God who fills me be tarnished by all of the opposing feelings, thoughts, and attitudes that try to win me over.  I know it’s not the easy thing.   And the fight must be waged on a spiritual level. 

Jesus said, “Take up your cross and follow me.”  Love is not the easy thing.

I know I have posted this song recently.  I hope you will take a moment if you haven’t already to think about the lyrics here.  They are posted below the video…. if you don’t want to watch the video and just listen and read them… think… pray… whatever God leads.  For me they are inspiring and I hope they are for you too.

And love is not the easy thing
The only baggage that you can bring…
And love is not the easy thing…
The only baggage you can bring
Is all that you can’t leave behind

And if the darkness is to keep us apart
And if the daylight feels like it’s a long way off
And if your glass heart should crack
And for a second you turn back
Oh no, be strong

Walk on, walk on
What you got they can’t steal it
No they can’t even feel it
Walk on, walk on…
Stay safe tonight

You’re packing a suitcase for a place none of us has been
A place that has to be believed to be seen
You could have flown away
A singing bird in an open cage
Who will only fly, only fly for freedom

Walk on, walk on
What you’ve got they can’t deny it
Can’t sell it, or buy it
Walk on, walk on
Stay safe tonight

And I know it aches
And your heart it breaks
And you can only take so much
Walk on, walk on

Home… hard to know what it is if you’ve never had one
Home… I can’t say where it is but I know I’m going home
That’s where the hurt is

I know it aches
How your heart it breaks
And you can only take so much
Walk on, walk on

Leave it behind
You got to leave it behind
All that you fashion
All that you make
All that you build
All that you break
All that you measure
All that you feel
All this you can leave behind
All that you reason
All that you sense
All that you speak
All you dress-up
All that you scheme…