My friend Carter and some friends of his out on the West Coast started an indie webzine a few years back called Enoch Magazine. These guys are totally in love with Jesus and are reaching the down and out of Skid Row, L.A. as well as all over the world. Enoch is a platform where they document and describe the things they've seen God do. They also allow little-known writers like me to have a go at publishing some articles. Carter just put up my latest article on church competition that he called Church vs. Church. Check it out here and go ahead and bookmark Enoch on your browser. They could use your prayers and support.
Friday, October 30, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Monday and Tuesday we were back in the studio at Jake Hunter's tracking three more tunes to add to the growing album. If all goes well we should have 11 tracks for the new record, and if we can raise some significant funds, we should have it early 2010. We'll see. Anybody know any millionaires wanting to give to a good cause? :) (All That Glitters is another project altogether and should be done really soon. Thanks for your patience!)
The timing of this was ridiculous! We're smack in the middle of packing boxes and getting ready to make the move to RDU on Sunday afternoon. We're getting a brand new roof and preparing for the first Journey live recording next Friday, the 30th. What in this world were we thinking? The only thing that I can think of that would have made this even better is if Tasha were having a baby this week or if I were on a mission trip!! But hey, you can't have it all!
Here are some pics of the current craziness.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Saturday, October 17, 2009
"We are like the prodigal, we love the swine-troughs and forget our Father’s house. Remember, we can make swine-troughs and husks even out of the forms of religion; they are blessed things, but we may put them in God’s place, and then they are of no value. Anything becomes an idol when it keeps us away from God: even the brazen serpent is to be despised as “Nehushtan,” if we worship it instead of God. The prodigal was never safer than when he was driven to his father’s bosom, because he could find sustenance nowhere else. Our Lord favours us with a famine in the land that it may make us seek after himself the more."
Charles Spurgeon - Morning and Evening, October 16, evening
Friday, October 16, 2009
Well, it's Friday and it's been a while since we flashed back together. Come on aboard the flashback train with me, shall we? Come on ... you know you want to.
Remember the Snorks?! Aarggghh!!! I wish I didn't. It was definitely one of the weirdest and most pointless shows ever created. Like, what exactly were they? Weren't they like Smurfs with snorkles? As if Smurfs was the model show for a spin-off? Come on! Why did I watch this garbage? Why did I watch most of the stuff that filled the airwaves in the 80s? (Transformers and Turbo Teen excluded) And those precious hours of my life watching this ridiculousness can never be retrieved. Anyone else feel this way about the Snorks? Or maybe it was something else for you. What other time-wasting garbage did you fill your vulnerable childhood days with?
Thursday, October 15, 2009
“… that you will know … what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.”
Why is it that we forget the greatness of God’s power toward us? Is it a preoccupation with other things? Distractions? Is it because our circumstances often cloud the reality that God is bigger than they are? Maybe all of the above. And I’m sure you could add to the list. Paul was writing to a group of Christians who needed reminding that God’s power working in and through and for them cannot be surpassed in its greatness. Paul’s prayer for them was that they would know, with an experiential confidence and assurance, that God’s power was always, ever-working for them on their behalf.
This morning I was reminded of this great truth, because I had somehow forgotten it in the busyness and chaos of life right now. I had forgotten to stop and meditate on His surpassing power. I forgot that He loves to prove Himself strong on my behalf. I forgot that His righteous right hand is quick to come to the aid of His believing ones—and that fact alone should completely change the way we see the world. When situations arise that are beyond our control, our perception of the greatness of His power should consequently affect the way we view our situation or circumstance.
Upon reflection of this verse I gut-checked myself with a few questions. Maybe someone else needs them as well.
- Do I really trust in the surpassing greatness of God’s power?
- Do I really believe that He is who He says He is?
- Do I really believe that He will do what He says He will do?
- Do I really believe He is all-powerful and can govern the situations of life in a way that brings Him honor and in a way that a loving Father would toward the children He loves?
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Failure and Success: The Small and the Great - by A.W. Tozer
...Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with
humility, for "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble."
--1 Peter 5:5
Some time ago we heard a short address by a young preacher during
which he quoted the following, "If you are too big for a little
place, you are too little for a big place."
It is an odd rule of the kingdom of God that when we try to get big,
we always get smaller by the moment. God is jealous of His glory and
will not allow anyone to share it with Him. The effort to appear
great will bring the displeasure of God upon us and effectively
prevent us from achieving the greatness after which we pant.
Humility pleases God wherever it is found, and the humble person will
have God for his or her friend and helper always. Only the humble are
completely sane, for they are the only ones who see clearly their own
size and limitations. Egotists see things out of focus. To themselves
they are large and God is correspondingly small, and that is a kind
of moral insanity. This World: Playground or Battleground?, 34.
"Lord, help me never to be too big for a little place. In humility
let me serve and revel in You as my 'friend and helper always.'
Monday, October 12, 2009
10.10.09 - 10.11.09 - Journey Church - NE Campus - Raleigh, NC
1. I'm Not Ashamed (Hillsong)
2. Tear Down the Walls (Hillsong)
3. God of Our Salvation (Adam Neal - Journey original)
4. How Great is Our God w/ You Are Great vamp (Tomlin and the Via's addendum)
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
I saw this posted on J.D.'s blog today and had to repost it--something we all need to hear concerning the proper place of public, intentional controversy in ministry. Great food for thought. It's a response letter called "On Controversy" written from John Newton (author of Amazing Grace, of course) to a pastor friend who was about to write a letter to a fellow minister calling him on the carpet for his lack of orthodoxy. Newton chimed in with some impeccable wisdom about this decision. Check it out.
Monday, October 05, 2009
Last Friday night we had the rare opportunity to hang out with friends that we hardly see anymore since the Lord is leading us all in different directions lately. And since we are just a few weeks away from moving from Charlotte to Raleigh, the Lord was gracious to allow us this opportunity to say goodbye to some of our dear friends and partners in ministry that we've shared our lives with over the last three years here in Charlotte. Here's some pix and clips from the night at Jackson's Java with the Sara Scott Band, featuring the amazing violinist virtuoso, (or would it be virtuosa?), Tasha Via!!
Sunday, October 04, 2009
Friday, October 02, 2009
Thursday, October 01, 2009
Maybe it’s southern culture. Maybe it’s just human nature. But, in general, people who take pride in their work want to be recognized for it, and rightfully so I suppose. If you put time, effort, sweat and tears into something and it turns out rather remarkably, maybe you deserve a little recognition. I mean, shouldn’t farmer Jones get a ribbon for his prized pig? Shouldn’t our president get a pat on the back for his new health care reform? (crickets) … anyway.
But what about in relation to the
In 2 Corinthians 10, Paul defends his apostleship before the church at Corinth, explaining that it was the Lord alone who made something beautiful out of a life ravaged by the sin of legalistic religiosity. And in the latter part of the chapter he explains his position on and spells out a model for boasting in ministry successes, a passage we would do well to let soak in. He says,
13But we will not boast beyond our measure, but within the measure of the sphere which God apportioned to us as a measure, to reach even as far as you.
14For we are not overextending ourselves, as if we did not reach to you, for we were the first to come even as far as you in the gospel of Christ;
15not boasting beyond our measure, that is, in other men's labors, but with the hope that as your faith grows, we will be, within our sphere, enlarged even more by you,
16so as to preach the gospel even to the regions beyond you, and not to boast in what has been accomplished in the sphere of another.
Notice what Paul is saying in these important verses. Paul was quick to recognize the work of God going on all around him that had nothing to do with him. He called them “spheres”—little areas of influence (probably both geographical and figurative) that God had generously given to certain individuals and churches. And Paul is explaining to the Corinthian believers (and probably more as a reminder to himself) that he would not and could not boast in the work accomplished by another, (or take credit for the work of another) because in the work of God there is no place for competition. Perhaps this is why he began the chapter by explaining that the battle they fight is not against the flesh, but rather it’s a spiritual battle for the minds and hearts of individuals (vv. 3-4). That’s why Paul refused to engage in petty conflicts over bragging rights. As far as he was concerned, they were all on the same team. They were all a part of the
“I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.” (1 Cor. 3:6)
And yet, this spiritual infection known as competition is pandemic among our churches and ministries. I see it constantly in
I was having breakfast with a pastor friend a few weeks ago in another city and he was describing to me some of the things going on in churches all around him. In fact, he said that he had a pastor in his area make this exact statement to him: “Nothing in our area will be able to compete with what we do on Sunday mornings!” I almost vomited my pancake breakfast in my mouth. If I hadn’t known the context in which he was speaking, I might have thought he was describing the aggressive nature of competing businesses. But he wasn’t talking about the business world. He was talking about churches.
A few years ago, while speaking at Catalyst Conference in
If Jesus had a church in Simi-Valley, I bet mine would be bigger. If the Apostle Paul had a church in Simi-Valley, I bet mine would be bigger. In fact, I bet that people would be leaving their churches to come to mine. Because I don’t call them to the same commitment that Jesus called them to. Jesus would have a crowd of thousands of people and by the time He was done preaching there were just a few left, and He would say, “You guys want to leave also? Because I’m gonna walk out here and you’ve gotta hate your father, your mother, your wife, your kids. And there might be a bunch of crosses out there and we’re just all gonna get crucified together. You wanna come with me?” That wasn’t real popular. And I thought, “Man, I’m more popular than Jesus! I can keep a crowd. I can keep ‘em interested … I can keep ‘em coming!”
Point taken. (Watch the whole thing here)
Why does it seem that we are more content with building our little castles of sand than we are with building the
Few people know this, but it was actually George Whitefield, not John Wesley, who was the most instrumental in founding the Methodist denomination. Through Whitefield’s powerful and anointed preaching, thousands across the
Paul understood that God gives to each of us spheres of influence. And he determined not to take credit for another’s accomplishments for the kingdom, whether directly or indirectly. In fact, his hope and prayer for the church at
Pastors, are you praying for the success of the churches in your area? Do you boast in what the Lord is doing at the church down the street? Do you ask God to put a burning fire inside of the pastors in your area so as to preach with authority and conviction the timeless truths of the Word of God? Worship leaders, do you pray for your fellow worship leaders as they stand up each Sunday to sing the song of victory, that Jesus saves! Or do you secretly hope that they will stumble through their worship next week? Church planters, do you secretly wish for the failure of other church plants in your city? Are we so self-consumed and self-absorbed that we naively think that our church or ministry is the best thing that ever happened to our city, state, or sphere of influence?
If you consider your church or ministry successful, did you ever stop to think that the success you are seeing just might not be attributed to you? Could it be that the success you are seeing is because there were some godly men and women in generations past who spent hours upon hours on calloused knees to pray that revival would come to their town, to their city, to their state, to their country. Could it be that your achievements are the result of tired feet shod with the shoes of the preparation of the gospel of peace which tilled the soil and prepared the way for the richness and depth of God’s love and gospel to penetrate deep into the ground and heart of your community?
What would it look like if we boasted more in the church down the street than in our own? What would it look like if instead of planting an identical competing church in the backyard of another, we did an audacious thing … we went somewhere else where no one yet has a sphere of influence! An audacious and and novel idea, I know. For goodness' sake, we are not Walgreens and CVS! We are not Lowe's and Home Depot! Let’s loose the chains of territorialism and competition that only weaken us and threaten to quench the influence of Christ’s bride altogether. Instead, let’s begin to think like Jesus—like Paul—to be kingdom-minded and kingdom-driven. To love Christ’s bride. And above all, “to boast in the Lord.” (2 Cor. 10:17)