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Preacher on the Run…

Faith, Family, Ministry, and Everything in between

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Gospel

Feature Friday (1/9/15)

imagesModesty. An issue that almost makes you cringe. However, when you speak of such a topic around Christians and in regards to church attire, the debate will rage. So this week’s collective post brings great insight into the question of modesty in answering the question: “What To Say to That Immodestly Dressed Girl at Church“.

Enjoy and be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

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Back and Forth Again!

Do you ever have so much going on in your life that you feel like a ping pong ball getting hit back and forth again and again? That has been the exact feeling I have had over the past 10 days. Just over 1 week ago we left for a wedding in central Pennsylvania, only to return home 2 days later. Upon arriving home, we went to church that Sunday, and promptly turned around Monday morning and were heading to northeast Pennsylvania. This trip was one I had been praying much about and was excited to see how God might work. Well, as always, God did some great things especial in the life of this small ping pong ball!

Here is a small glimpse of not only what God was doing at Teen Leadership Conference 2014, but a preview of the rising generation who loves and is passionate about Jesus Christ! To God be the glory, enjoy!

Monday Special: Just Too Busy

Busy“We can feel reassured by busyness and strangely comforted by it, even as it saps us of all strength and keeps us from feeling as if we are succeeding at even one of our responsibilities.” Ever feel so busy you cannot get anything done? All too often the typical response to,”how are you doing?” is “I’m busy!” This article gives a little bit of a different perspective as well as exhorts us to realize busyness may not be so much what life is, but what we allow.

Enjoy!

Feature Friday (1/31/14)

authentic-large“…this idea that to live out of conformity with how I feel is hypocrisy; but that’s a wrong definition of hypocrisy. To live out of conformity to what I believe is hypocrisy. To live in conformity with what I believe, in spite of what I feel, isn’t hypocrisy; it’s integrity.” – Erik Thoennes quoted in this great article on “Has ‘Authenticity’ Trumped Holiness

As always enjoy time with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

Overwhelming the Overwhelming Feeling

BusyWeekAheadEver have one of those crunch time type of weeks? The kind where you go to work knowing a deadline is looming and it will be a crazy week just to accomplish your goal and get the project done on time? In high school it was the week where you had four tests, a paper and project due, all on top of a rigorous sports schedule. If you are, ever have been, or ever will be, in college, you know exactly the type of week I am referring to: the one where you have two papers, three tests, and a group project all due.  As I left college I remember thinking, “Wow, I am glad I will never have that many deadlines and projects to complete in one week again.” Oh, how young and foolish I was. When we enter the workplace, it seems like every week is another set of deadlines–another set of impossibilities to accomplish.

It is during those types of weeks that panic can set in. We begin to focus on all that is looming ahead of us. The details of the paper we must write seem daunting. The answers to the questions on every test seem to just jump out of our mind as soon as we sit down to take it. The work project is requiring more time than expected. Not to mention the amount of sleep we lose in trying to accomplish our long to do lists. Every morning that we head to school, the classroom, or the office is another reminder of all that is not yet accomplished and still needs to be completed. Life seems as though it is relentless and that we have accomplished little before the cycle starts again. What are we to do?

My answer to that question is the same today as it was before this weekend, but this weekend changed my appreciation of the answer. This past Friday night, at halftime of the BCS Orange Bowl game between Ohio State and Clemson, I was leaving my Senior Pastor’s home. As he followed me out the door, on his way to the dumpster, little did I know my weekend plans would change quickly. A quarter of the way through the parking lot he slipped on ice and fell, tearing his patella tendon in his knee. This meant that my Saturday  became all about preparing a sermon, which I previously was not preparing to give. So what was I to do?The-Unexpected.001

Well, Saturday morning came and I got to work. Digging through many old sermons and lessons that I had prepared and given years prior, I tried to determine what message God would want His people at our church to hear now. Praying through the options and determining which one to do, I began to rework the message. After 8 hours of message prep and retooling, I had completed the sermon preparation. But the question remained…how was I going to do this?

The answer to the question both this past weekend and in other overwhelming experiences was the same…and it was what I had the privilege of preaching yesterday. The answer was that God is sufficient while I am not. The answer is that God is sovereignly in control while I am not. The answer is the gospel. While I am a broken, overwhelmed, insufficient creature, He is the Sovereign, Sufficient, Saving Creator. God is good and I am not. That is the story of Scripture…a just, holy, righteous, and loving God extends grace, mercy, forgiveness, and salvation to unholy, broken, evil, wretched sinners like me. I could not do it on my own, but God provided a way through His Son for me to face overwhelming circumstances victoriously.

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So if you face a hectic, busy, and crazy week ahead, remember, on your own you are not sufficient for every task ahead of you. But also remember that on a hill over 2,000 years ago, a sinless Savior died by crucifixion, was buried, and rose again, so that the wrath of God would be satisfied and that you could come back into a right relationship with Him. Allow the overwhelming feelings throughout the week to remind you of your own sinfulness and insufficiency, yet God’s holiness and sufficiency.

Until Next Time…

Resolved 2014

2014-resolutionsIt’s inevitable–this time of year between December 25 and January 1 is filled with conversations, blogs, emails, tweets, posts, etc., all dealing with New Year’s Resolutions. And truth be told, most of these resolutions are not bad; rather, they are pretty good ideas and attempts at change. Actually, according to TIME’s “Top Ten Commonly Broken New Years Resolutions” the list looks pretty good. But let’s be honest, this year after year after year repetition of resolutions and failed outcomes gets old. So what should we do? We have two options: 1) quit or 2) make better resolutions. I want to give 5 simple tips to making better resolutions, and then one suggestion for a resolution every Christian should make this next year. Instead of giving up, this year why not make S.M.A.R.T. (er) resolutions.

SPECIFIC – A goal that is vague and undefined is exactly the kind of goal we not only fail at, but often don’t even know if we met or not. So in making resolutions this year, make them specific. Instead of saying, “I will workout more”, state, “I will run 2 times a week”.

MEASURABLE – Another problem with resolution making and keeping is that we have no standard or rule by which to measure our success. If we take our first example again, “I will workout more”, what is “more” compared to…more than yesterday, more than last week, more than my sister? Replace immeasurable goals, with measurable ones. State the resolution like this, “I will run 2 times a week”. It gives you a measure by which to judge yourself (2 times).

ATTAINABLE – This is the area where most of us fall short–we set goals that are not attainable for us. In our example, “I will run 2 times a week”, the number of times a week is our judge of attainability. How much did we run last year? If we did not run at all, then saying we will run 2 times a week may be a little much. So instead, you may want to bump that “workout more” to “walk/run 2 times a week”. That seems a little more realistic at least at the start of the year and when you find your stamina improve then re-tweak the resolution to the “run 2 times a week”.

stuck-on-repeat1REPEATABLE – If you have the specific, measurable, and attainable aspect of a resolution in place, yet still fail, it may be due to the repetition of the goal. Often goals are mentioned as “I will workout more this year”. But two months into the year, when the monkey seems to jump on your back, work commitments get larger, and time becomes tighter, the end of the year can feel far away. So instead make the yearly goal repeatable and able to be evaluated throughout the year. Again, state the goal as “I will run 2 times a week this year”. It gives you a weekly evaluation point and something that is repeatable throughout the year.

TIME SENSITIVE – This aspect is similar to our last one. We often do not give ourselves deadlines within the year. So instead of “I will workout more this year” write the resolution down as “I will run 2 times a week this year”. This gives us a deadline to hit, not once a year, but once every week throughout the year, making success come much more often, and a resolve to continue much more of a reality.

So what kind of S.M.A.R.T. resolution should I make? If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, let me make one suggestion. You should endeavor to make Bible reading/study a resolution for 2014. Why? Love for God’s Word and abiding in it is a sign of a true believer (John 8:31-32). Romans 8 tells us that if we are in Christ we have been set free from sin, yet in the Christian life this side of heaven, our lives feel like anything, but free from sin. But Jesus tells us, if we want to be free, know the truth (John 8:32). Working backwards, He then says if you know the truth, you are my disciples and if you are my disciples you will abide in my word (John 8:31). So make a resolution this year, as a true disciple of Jesus Christ, to abide in His word. But be sure to make it S.M.A.R.T!Jonah

Just as an added bonus: check out this article for other great resolution ideas for 2014!

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