Saturday, August 18, 2007

Quotable Quips - Exult In Monotony

"Grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. Is it possible that God says every morning, 'Do it again' to the sun; and every evening, 'Do it again' to the moon? The repetition in nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical encore.

G.K. Chesterton,Early 20th century writer. As quoted by Mark Batterson here. (August 18, 2007)

To exult simply means to rejoice. The truth is that we often forget that God not only created this world, our lives, and our very being; but He also sustains it all moment-by-moment. That means that many things that we see as repetition and monotony are actually a grand testimony to His great grace.

How beautiful it is to exult in the repetition of life!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Cheap, Fast, and Good

I used to think this only applied to the marketing world when I worked in the business realm as a graphic designer, but I've come to see how true it is even in the world of ministry...

Cheap, Fast, and Good - you can't have all three. On any project or endeavor, you will only be able to achieve two of these. Either it will be cheap and fast, but not good - cheap and good, but not fast - fast and good, but not cheap.

Here's the deal. I saw this all the time as a graphic designer. A client or boss would come to me and want something really good and really fast (and of course, they were paying me really cheap) - but things just don't happen that way.

Now I see the same expectations in the church. Not so much with others demanding these things of me, but in others expecting the three to be possible in the preparations they are making. Most often, I see well-meaning people trying to to make an event or project really good at a low cost without planning.

Unfortunately in the church, cheap and fast often win out. Which in turn, means that everyone loses. God is not honored by a lack of excellence. Those for whom the event, ministry, or project is for are not well served and not really shown the grandness of Christ. And finally, those who are ministering are not really achieving their goals.

My encouragement next time is to consider the three - cheap, fast, and good - and decide beforehand which will suffer. My prayer is that any endeavor we do for the Lord is "good" and worthy of Him.

God Is Passionate For The Nations!

The Lord your God is passionate about all nations! Check out this collection of scripture in the form of a dramatic reading. It spans the Old and New Testament and reveals God's passion for all people of all tongues of all nations to know Him. It's always been His plan and His desire. Let us follow in the footsteps of the Lord our God by seeking to reconcile all nations to Him.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Sunday Reflections - Face to Face with God

"This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone." - Titus 3:8

This last Sunday at Hannaford, Senior Pastor Dick Crosby spoke on Titus 3:8. He asked the question, "When I come face to face with God will He be likely to say 'Well done, good and faithful servant?'" (Matthew 25). Much of the message revolved around doing good to obtain personal holiness.

MY TAKE: I agree with Buddy Owens when he says that God doesn't want holiness from us, He wants His holiness in us. God is holy because He is unique - He is unlike any other and He is worthy of worship.

Personal holiness is significant in two different ways. First, as believers we are already holy simply because we belong to God - we are set apart for His purposes - and we need to start living that reality. Second, we are to develop a purity of heart that is undefiled and separate from sin as we grow in Christ.

It is the second way that we focused on this Sunday, so here are my thoughts. We cannot become holy without the Spirit of God having control of our lives. While believers are all indwelt with the Holy Spirit, we live in varying states of surrender to God. The more we devote ourselves to the purposes of God by surrendering our wants, desires, hopes, and dreams, the more we begin to allow the Spirit to control us. It's what I believe the Gospels refer to as being "filled with the Spirit."

Galatians 5:22 tells us that the characteristics of holiness are nine-fold: "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control." But notice these are referred to as fruit. Fruit are not grown by mere determination of the tree. The tree is tended to, fed, watered, trimmed, and cared for by the gardener. In addition, the kind of fruit that are produced are determined by the kind of tree. An orange tree does not produce apples or vice-versa. The fruit are a by-product of the type - or character - of the tree.

Like any tree, we only produce one type of fruit. It is only when our character is changed, that we can produce a different kind of fruit - and our goal is to be changed by God's Holy Spirit. Only when we surrender, or allow His Spirit to transform us, will we begin to produce the Spirit's fruit (see Galatians 5:22 again).

While I agree with Titus 3:8 when it says we must "devote ourselves to doing what is good," I believe the way we devote ourselves is by allowing God to infuse and control us, changing our character - and then our natural inclination will be to do what God desires.

We must devote ourselves to "being" rather than simply "doing." As He changes who we are, the "doing" will follow as an outpouring of our character.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Summer Vacation Photos And Video

In late June, Andrea's parents came up to Helena to visit (see post here). While they were here, we toured Helena, the Gates of the Mountains, and Yellowstone National Park. Although we took a number of photos and some video, it's taken us this long to post them - but the time has come! Here is the video and the photos are our newest album in the e|Photo gallery.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Some Kind Of Milestone

I checked Andrik's Piraka Video on YouTube today and saw that it has been viewed over 10,000 times! I know that in this internet-connected world it's not such a big deal, but it's got to be some kind of milestone.

If one of the many songs I had written in High School had been heard over 10,000 times, I would have been pretty impressed. Maybe I should make a video of one of my songs!

Self-Inflicted Light Saber Wound

Kellin hit his eye with a Star Wars light saber today. It hit his eyelid. I know it hurt, but I think it's going to be just fine. I took pictures so that Kellin could see it. The swelling has gone down now and it's just kind of bruised.

Here's a close-up.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Courage To Be Nobody On MP3

I talked a little about my message on July 29 (check out my earlier post here). I now have an mp3 recording of the message available. You can listen to it here or press the "down arrow" on the player to download it (10mb - 45min - mp3).

Friday, August 03, 2007

Tearing Down The Wall

I alluded to this before, but this week we tore down the wall between our existing auditorium and our new Worship Center Expansion. I just wanted to share some of the excitement here...

PHOTO 1: Here's a photo of our auditorium a few years ago. It just gives a good idea of what the room and stage were like before we started the tear down.

PHOTO 2: On Monday during the day, we disassembled the stage. This included removing all the audio cabling from under the stage. Here you can see what was left. Later that evening, we cut through all the edges of the wall and then slowly lowered it with fork lifts.

PHOTO 3: This next photo shows the wall after it was down. See how much bigger the room is?

PHOTO 4: We also tore out all the carpet and other stuff. We dismantled the sound/video booth (all the equipment & cables) and set it all up in the fellowship room. No easy task - look at all those cables!

PHOTO 5: For the next four or five weeks we'll be meeting in our fellowship room for worship services. It's been a lot of work getting the room ready - late nights all week. Do you know how hard it is to find a 75-foot VGA cable in Helena ??!!

We've got a great video of the whole event - we're showing it Sunday. After that I'll post it online (see it here). Please also pray for us (and me, it's getting a bit overwhelming with all my responsibilities and it's taking a toll on Andrea & the kids).

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Fire In Helena!

In case you haven't heard, most of the Northwestern U.S. is on fire. We have several fires here in Montana, one of which is the Meriwether fire (after the area named after Meriwether Lewis of Lewis & Clark fame).

The Meriwether fire is just on the outskirts of Helena - we can see it from our kitchen window. It looks just like the AP photo here. Apparently, this fire is now the nation's number one fire priority. It's been burning since mid-July and they don't have any way of stopping it until snowfall (in about 2 months). Eeeek!

Andrea and I have been cautiously watching the progress of the Meriwether fire, praying it doesn't come over the hill into North Helena.

Check out the local article here.