Friday, October 7, 2011

It's Not All Up to Me

If you run a business, raising a family, or part of any venture, chances are you think “it’s all up to you.” I’m not running a business or raising a family, but I am planting a church and the tendency is to think that “it’s all up to me.” Sadly that puts pressure on us that God never intended us to bear. It also robs us of our joy and God of His glory.

The truth is, it’s not all up to me, nor is it all up to you. It’s all up to God. Jesus did an amazing thing one day to teach his disciples this truth. It’s in the Gospel of John chapter 6. Here a crowd of people have gathered around Jesus when he turns to one of his disciples and asks, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” The truth is He already knew the answer but He said it to “test” Philip. Sadly Philip failed the test. He figured it was all up to him and so he said, “Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”

Andrew on the other hand, who was always bringing people to Jesus, brought a little boy to Jesus who had five barley loaves and two small fish. For sure it wasn’t much but, he knew that it wasn’t all up to him, but it was all up to Jesus. He passed “the test” and brought what he had to Jesus. Jesus then did an amazing thing. He not only multiplied the five loaves and two fish so that there was enough to feed five thousand men but he multiplied the little boys lunch so that there were enough “leftovers” for each one of the disciples.

So what’s the point? The point is IT’S NOT ALL UP TO ME, and neither is it all up to you, IT’S ALL UP TO HIM. The only thing we can do is bring what little we have to Jesus.

Monday, August 8, 2011

"No More Excuses"

Have you seen the King’s Speech? It’s actually a great movie. It won four Oscars. Best picture, best actor, best director and best original screen play. Unfortunately it’s rated R, but that is only for one extended expression of expletives. Never the less I would still recommend it.

It’s based on a the story of King George VI, who was King during one of the most critical times in all of England’s existence. Bertie, as he was affectionately known before he became King, was never supposed to become the king. His older brother Edward was supposed to become King, but after his scandalous abdication from the throne because he married a divorced Hollywood starlet, “Bertie” was tapped to succeed his father King George the V.

The problem was “Bertie” had a terrible speech impediment,. He stuttered. So much so that it threatened not only his confidence but it threatened to undermine the entire confidence of the entire nation as well. Consequently his wife, arranged for her husband to see an eccentric speech therapist, Lionel Logue. After a rough start the two form an unbreakable bond that enables him, the King, to overcome his stuttering and find his “voice”, a “voice” that inspires his people and unites them in battle.

Well, in the Bible we have a story of someone who struggles with a very similar speech impediment and inferiority complex and yet God calls him at a very critical point in his nations history to lead his people. And yet he argues with God, offering him nothing but excuses for why he can’t do what God wants him to do.

His name is Moses. He is another one of the Old Testament Super Heros we’ve been looking at this Summer at Journey. The last time we saw him he was suffering from anything but an inferiority complex. His problem in the beginning was that he was too confident. He knew that God had a purpose for his life and so he set out to fulfill it. Consequently then one day while visiting “his” people he saw one of the Egyptians beating his fellow Hebrew and so he killed him, Exodus 2:11-12.

11 One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. 12 Glancing this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.

He thought that this was God’s calling for his life and it was, but it wasn’t God’s timing. He imagined that “his” people, the children of Israel would rally around and follow him. But that’s not what happened. Instead they turned on him. Consequently then he was forced to flee for his life, Exodus 2:13-15.

13 The next day he went out and saw two Hebrews fighting. He asked the one in the wrong, “Why are you hitting your fellow Hebrew?” 14 The man said, “Who made you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid and thought, “What I did must have become known.” 15 When Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian, where he sat down by a well.

Moses then spends forty years in the wilderness, far from the comforts of the palace and the promise that one day he would become a great leader. But suddenly and almost without notice God shows up to Moses. He shows up to him in the midst of a burning bush and says, “I have seen the suffering of the children of Israel and now is the time I want you to go and rescue them,” Exodus 3:9-10.

9 And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

You would think then that Moses, when he heard this would have been thrilled. I can finally do what I was made to do, but that’s not what happens. Rather than respond to God in obedience he responds to God with an plethora of excuses. Over the next several posts we’ll look at Moses' excuses for not obeying God. I think you will be amazed because they look at lot like ours. (next time, excuse number 1)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Coming To Journey this Summer

"It's a bird, it's a plane, no it's Carlo, our Children's pastor. He's dressed up like a Super Hero in order to promote our new Summer Teaching Series at Journey. We are doing a series called Super Hero's. It's a study of Old Testament Characters, unmasking the super powers of courage, perseverance, faithfulness, courage and more. To help us we are looking at the characters of Daniel, Elijah, Abraham and Joseph.

It's not just a series for our adults and teens, our children, Kindergarten through 5th grade are studying the same thing. This weeks Super Hero is Elijah. if you want to get a head start, read 1 Kings 18:1-39 and see if you can find out what his super power is and where he got it.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Is Tressel being Thrown Under the Bus?

Ok, I’m just sick over Coach Tressel’s resignation. Has OSU thrown him under the bus? Is their “brand” worth more than their belief in an individual? Yes, he made a mistake, a big one, but we all make mistakes. It won’t justify his behavior, but I would love to know why he lied? Was it to protect his reputation and future or was it was to protect his players? Or was it something else? I know there is no “legitimate” reason, but there are reasons and I would love to hear them from him before I throw the first stone.

I also wish that OSU would be different than every other University and organization and work to restore him rather than throw him under the bus, even if he crawled under the bus himself, Galatians 6:1

 1 Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The End of the World

So, Saturday the 21st is the day the world comes to an end?!

To be honest I cannot wait for that day. The Bible even says that we should pray for it, Revelation 22:20.


The Bible also says that not even Jesus the Son of God, doesn’t know the day nor hour that He will come. Jesus said that only the father knows the hour. Matthew 24:36.


What troubles me is that there is coming a day in which the world as we know it will come to end but not everyone is ready. And even though I doubt that it will be this Saturday, it could be soon. The best warning we have is that the world will end when things are like they were in the days of Noah, Matthew 24:37. Well what was it like in the days of Noah? In the days of Noah people were going about life consumed with their own pleasure and paying no regard to God, Matthew 24:38. How is it today? In my estimation it seems more like the days of Noah than ever before.

So. . .

Saturday the 21st could be the day the world comes to an end but I doubt it. On the other hand I think it’s a good reminder to be watching and ready. Matthew 24:44

 44Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Making a Difference

Have you ever wondered if you could make a difference? I’m sure you have. The truth is we make a difference every day, whether it’s in how we treat a customer, talk to a waiter, or address our children or spouse. Most of us forget that because we are focused so much on the “big” things. At least I know I am. Sometimes I think that if I can’t do the big things, like share the gospel, save a marriage, or build a better church that I can’t make a difference. But that’s not true. Little things do matter and they matter more than we think.

I was reminded of that this week as we were privileged to share dinner with some friends in the Arizona sunshine. They are our former neighbors. They only lived in our neighborhood for about four years before they moved to Arizona, but while they were our neighbors God saw fit, in His providence to use the little things we did as neighbors to lead them to Christ. Honestly I don’t remember inviting them to church or even sharing the Gospel with them. All I remember is trying to be a good neighbor. He came to church one Sunday after receiving a flyer in the mail. I went to visit him, not so much as a pastor, but just to thank him for coming. I also invited him to our Friday morning men’s Bible study. He was eventually saved but his wife didn’t really want to have much to do with church or even Jesus Christ, so he asked me to pray for them. I did, but again that didn’t seem like much. However in the course of time she had a physical situation that rocked her world. I remember him telling me how hard that was for them both, so I decided to go and visit and pray for them again. That really didn’t seem like much either, but eventually God used that situation in their lives to bring her to Himself and she was saved too!

Now I would like to think that it was something “big” that Carol and I said or did that caused them both to come to Christ, but the truth is we were just willing to do the “small” stuff that anyone can do. Now they are not only Christians and serving in their church, but hosting a Bible study for their neighbors so that maybe God can use them to impact their world with the “small” stuff that God asks all of us to do every day.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Journey by the NUMBERS

4982: total number of donuts consumed on Sunday

312: gallons of coffee drank on Sunday

86: number of people who volunteer to help with set-up, worship, children’s & hospitality ministry.

6: Number of states and countries in which we supported missionary or relief projects; Tennessee, Germany, Malawi, Haiti, Slovakia, Argentina

402: Number of families served this Christmas through the manger; 844 adults, 1245 children

27: percent of increase of offerings in 2010 over 2009

$49,702: Amount of money given away for ministry and missions

45: percent of people who are connected in a house church

5: number of house churches in 2010

1: number of churches planted in 2011

Those are the numbers we shared with the people of Journey Church last Sunday. It was all part of our annual “Souper Bowl” Celebration. It’s a time we set aside each year to share all that God has done through us. It’s amazing because that’s exactly what Paul and Barnabas did following their first missionary journey. They didn’t eat like we did but they “gathered the church together and declared all that God had done with them and how that he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles.” Acts 14:27

Notice they glorified God in their report, “. . .and declared all that God had done. . .” and how “he had opened up a door of faith to the Gentiles.” If I have any problem with a church’s “annual report” it’s that it more often than not glorifies the church and it's leaders. Paul’s goal was to glorify God.

But how do you do that? Well I think one way is to not talk about yourself. Paul and Barnabas experienced a great deal of opposition on their trip. They were opposed almost everywhere they went, whether it was the opposition of the false prophet, Elymas, or having their teaching rejected in Antioch of Pisidia or being stoned in Iconium. Either way it couldn’t have been easy. Yet Paul does not emphasize the hardships he endured but rather reported on all that God had done and especially the new thing of opening the door of faith to the Gentiles.

Second I think you glorify God when you let Him do new things in our life, things that you maybe never thought or even dreamed of doing. For Paul and especially the Jews it was a new thing that God would open up the door of faith to the Gentiles. Certainly Paul was an apostle to the Gentiles but almost everywhere he went, he went first to the Jews and understandably so, but God wanted to do a new thing and the new thing He wanted to do was open the door of faith to the Gentiles.

For us, or at least for me, the new thing He wanted to do was use us to “plant” a church. That wasn’t on our agenda for the year but it was on His agenda. We are still young church and smaller than most so how can you plant a church? Maybe the more important question is how can we not plant a church, especially when the Holy Spirit sets two of your leaders apart to do so, Acts 13:1-3. Pray then for us and for Tom and Vicki Chappelear as they seek to follow the Lord and plant a church in Grove City. To lean more check out this “new thing” check out the church at OneSpring.

Besides planting a church God also wanted us to expand the Manger ministry this year. It began three years ago by serving 80 some families. Last year it more than doubled by reaching over 200 families. This year it grew to serving over 402 families. It wasn’t because of anything we did or could have even dreamed of doing. It was because of what He did. God laid it on the heart of Columbus Dispatch Newspaper reporter, Holly Zachariah to write an article allowing us to reach more families and receive more donations than we could have ever imagined.

Now we have plans for 2011. There are some things we think we are going to do and some things we are not going to do, but I don’t want to put God in a box. Those are the plans we’ve made with the wisdom we have but I want to hold them loosely, loosely enough that when we meet for SOUPER BOWL V we will all be surprised and God will get the glory!

Monday, January 31, 2011

How Christians Share Their Faith

Of evangelical Christians who are the ones most likely to share their faith? Where do they live? What is their race? and how old are they? Well interestingly enough those most likely to share their faith are hispanic "busters" (25 to 40 year olds) who live in the west.

That’s right, a recent survey by the George Barna research organization found that hispanics are more likely than blacks or whites in America to share their faith. The survey found that 76% of hispanics compared with 63% of blacks and 41% of evangelical white Christians have shared their faith at least once in the last 12 months. Meanwhile, 65% of westerner’s, compared to 59% of southerner’s and 58% of northeasterner’s shared that faith while only 41 percent of midwesterner’s shared their faith. And of those who shared their faith verbally, busters (25-40 year olds) shared their faith the most, 81%, compared with 64% of boomers (40-65 year olds) and 62% of builders (65+) sharing their faith in a discussion or dialogue.

Another insightful bit of information the survey uncovered is how do people share their faith. Of the 55% who shared their faith at least once over the last 12 months the most prevelant way people shared their faith was by promising to pray for someone (81%). Second was life-style (74%), discussion/dialogue (54%), Moral confrontation (50%), invite to church (49%), invite to event (45%).

However people share their faith Scripture makes it clear that God wants us to share our faith. Jesus told his disciples on the day that he went back to heaven that he wanted them to be his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and the ends of the earth, Acts 1:8. That apostle Paul gives us a four fold pattern for being His witnesses. The pattern is speaking, opposition, perseverance and fruit-bearing. It’s repeated over and over throughout the book of Acts, but more important than Paul’s pattern is our pattern. Jesus wants us to be his witnesses and whether we are black, white or hispanic, a “buster” “boomer” or “builder” and live in the west, south, midwest or northeast God wants us to be His witnesses. Therefore if we want to carry out his purpose we need to do three things we can do.

1. Choose to speak up when given the opportunity.

2. Refuse to be disillusioned when opposed and

3. Commit to persevere.

If you want to know more feel free to check out last weeks message on the Journey Church website, The Pattern of Evangelism, and then join us this Sunday to find out Paul’s Pattern for Maturing Disciples.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pity the man who falls.

I fell this week. I fell walking across a snowy parking lot holding two pizzas in one hand and a bag with a salad and breadsticks in another. I don’t think I broke anything but I am little sore. Worse though I’m little embarrassed. I’m embarrassed because a friend of mine saw me fall. Fortunately he didn’t video tape it so there is no chance that it will be put on YouTube for the world to see, like the video of the women who walked into a fountain in while texting.

Fortunately my friend, rather than laugh at me, even though I know he wanted to, came over and gave me a hand up. It reminds me of the verse in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, “ 9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: 10 If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!

I have a friend and he’s fallen recently. He didn’t fall walking in the snow, he fell while walking through life. The question is who will pick him up? Some people are trying but others seem to not want to be bothered by him at all. They seem to think he should get up by himself or worse they don’t care if he ever gets up. They would rather just see him go away.

The sad thing is this isn’t the first time I’ve seen this. The same thing happened to another friend of mine. Truth is he probably didn’t “deserve” to be helped up, but then which one of us does? Someday we are all going to “fall” and when we do who will pick us up? Maybe no one, unless we have been willing to humble ourselves enough to help others when they’ve fallen.