Simple Trust

 The Message

8-9“Oh, no,” said the captain. “I don’t want to put you to all that trouble. Just give the order and my servant will be fine. I’m a man who takes orders and gives orders. I tell one soldier, ‘Go,’ and he goes; to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

 10-12Taken aback, Jesus said, “I’ve yet to come across this kind of simple trust in Israel, the very people who are supposed to know all about God and how he works. This man is the vanguard of many outsiders who will soon be coming from all directions—streaming in from the east, pouring in from the west, sitting down at God’s kingdom banquet alongside Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Then those who grew up ‘in the faith’ but had no faith will find themselves out in the cold, outsiders to grace and wondering what happened.”

For several of us, we are supposed to know all about God or at least that’s the vibe we give.  Let’s not miss this lesson that Jesus’ followers witnessed that day.  Simple trust is what it takes of Jesus and the Father in our daily lives.  When we accepted God’s gift of our sins -paid in full- by Jesus Christ, we acknowleged that we were placing our faith in God the Father and Jesus Christ to take control of our lives.  For everyday that we do not simply trust God, we take a step back and that is sin. 

Jesus forgive me when I don’t just simply trust and follow you.  What do you say…we just follow Him?

Stranded on an Island with an iPOD

If you were stranded on an island with an iPOD shuffle and could only pick five songs, what would they be?  Come on humor me on this one.  I’m a music guy.

Today mine would be:

1.  Georgia on My Mind – Ray Charles

2.  Joy to the World – Three Dog Night

3.  Heard it Through the Grapevine -Marvin Gaye

4.  I’ve Got You – Chrystina Fincher

5.  Indescribable (Live in Austin) – Chris Tomlin

That’s tough.  You try it!

Let’s hear it!  What would yours be?

Whose top 40?

I am the worhsip pastor at Zion Baptist Church in Braselton, Georgia.  What this means is…I am the choir director, music selector, bad singer rejector, captain of projector, band inspector, sound protector, chaser of defectors, senior pastor respecter, excitement infector and the Jesus reflector just to mention a few responsibilities.

In my spare time, I am a Small Groups Director and Small Group Leader at Zion.  I also help with our pastoral care ministry and staff planning.  I am co-coach on my oldest son’s travel baseball team and just Dad and dear to my family when I have time to be.

All that being said, I have what I see as a very critical responsiblity.  Helping the corporate church to come to a place where they worship Almighty God and helping to teach people that worship is a lifestyle and not a song preference is my job description.  To me, this is a huge load. 

Since becoming a worship pastor, one thing that I’ve noticed never changes is that someone is always complaining.  Sorry to burst anyone’s bubble or let the truth out, but people (especially church people) like to let you know the things with which they disagree.  Here is a list of the most common things people complain about:

Not enough hymns, too many hymns, too loud, not loud enough, drums too loud and should only be played at certain times, get rid of the organ, no guitars, guitars only, get rid of the choir, we can’t hear the choir, tuck in your shirt, no jeans, lose the formal look and these are just a few.  These are not worship related really.  These are all preferences.  Think about it!  All of these complaints are about, “What I want!” 

So, whose top 40 should we play music wise?  Can you keep the senior adults, middle age adults, young couples, college/career/singles and youth all happy at the same time? That’s a BIG FAT NO!  Then the question becomes who should you keep happy?

I resolve to keep God and God alone pleased.

Here is what I try to improve everday and what I shoot for regarding worship.  I will always lean more towards the young couples and youth because they are the future of the church for Jesus Christ and typically statistics show that we can reach people with the good news of Jesus Christ by age 18 and after that it get’s harder and harder.  That doesn’t mean I hate all other folks or their preferred styles of music.  I believe you can enjoy all styles in your car, home or special event that is designed just for you.  It also doesn’t mean I will stop doing all hymns, because there are great things to be learned from some of them.  Some of them just stink, just like some of the current christian songs stink.  Believe me, some of the one’s I have written could win an award for stinking.  We have to remember that it is 2007 and not 1997, 87, 77 or 67 (which was a good year by the way).  This life is but a vapor and we can’t get stuck on pleasing folk’s preferences while we let the young ones drift away from the church.  Also, we have to stop being thick headed and learn that true worship is for HIM!  Guess what?!  God could care less about style, language or how loud our praise and worship is.  The attitude of the heart is what God is inspecting.  Here is my question…I wonder if in the future the church will become more and more segregated by worship styles and fashion styles?  I truly hope not, but I wonder…… 

Psalm 100:2

Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs.

Do Something Miraculous!

I have a family in my small group who has struggled greatly for several years.  Job, finances, marital and other areas of life have been tough for them for a while now and they have reached lows they never thought could happen to them.

Sunday night my group began a series called, “The Best Question Ever.”  We’ve hardly begun the series, but I think God is up to something to show us how real he will be if we risk and trust Him. 

This family is living a very meager life right now and they have bills this week that needed to be covered.  The father and husband of this family has been interviewing for work for over a month now with not a great deal of leads.  At their low, this family prayed Monday morning that God would help them through this week to pay the bills and help find a job.  This friend of mine told me that he felt a peace almost even before they had finished praying together

Get this!!!!  Within an hour a family member out of state called and told him that they wanted to help him financially and sent him a few hundred dollars in the mail that day.  While they were praying, he had let his voice mail catch a call on his phone.  The message was a job lead for an interview on Tuesday!!!  He called me immediately to tell me because he knew his small group was praying as well.  That’s not all, that afternoon he received a check in the mail for $77 from the city that he had overpaid on a bill earlier.  Oh, and by the way,  the job interview…the company hired him on the spot and he starts work with them on Monday!!!

Often times we make life so unexciting by just sitting around expecting nothing from God.  You know maybe God would surprise us more if we really came to Him in a dependent state and just asked him to do something miraculous!  This family will still have hard days and God may not answer the prayers the same way or at all, but when he does what a time to celebrate!

Oh God, forgive us when we put you anywhere but supreme and thank you for even the little things that you do for us.

Look Out! It’s Contagious!!!

“Courage is Contagious.  When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.”      –  Billy Graham

What a great statement by a great follower of Christ.  How true!  Do you ever notice when someone takes a stand that everyone seems to get a little more bold?  All it takes is a leader.  It requires risk and trust in God to have this kind of courage.  I’ve found that it’s natural to be afraid of situations, but when I know I should be the one to stand up and fail to do so, I am not exhibiting courage, faith or trust in God.  God doesn’t mind us being afraid, but he wants us to have courage.

“Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your GOD will be with you wherever you go.”        Joshua 1:9

Now that’s some good news.  Let’s be bold and willing to approach our fears with the confidence and knowlege that regardless of the result God goes with us.

VT Victims

How someone could take the lives of so many innocent people is beyond me, but that person must have had some serious hurt.

I get so tired of the media instigating actions for blaming someone for this terrible massacre and others that have been similar.  A friend of mind said today, “Watch, before this thing is over they will be blamming George Bush.”  Sad, but true.

 Can we for one second stop and say a prayer for these families who can make no sense of the loss that they are suffering through right now?  This is not a time for politics or agendas.  This is a time to lift up those who have been victimized by this tragedy.

God, please comfort those who have lost family members, friends and loved ones.  Please help us to minister in any way possible to those who are hurting and Father may you take this terrible tragedy and make it into something that is positive for these families and for Your glory.  I ask in Jesus name, amen.

Starbucks in Braselton?

Maybe one day.  I sent an e-mail to see what they would say and here is the answer.

 

Hello Eric,

 

Thanks so much for your suggestion regarding a potential Starbucks store location. We’re always looking for great new places to open stores, so I’d be more than happy to pass along your comments to our store development team for their consideration. 

Thanks for taking the time to contact us.  We appreciate your interest and look forward to seeing you in our stores soon!  Warm Regards, Thomas D. Customer Relations RepresentativeStarbucks Coffee Company