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Archive for January, 2009

Changed Lives

I've told you – I love seeing people take the plunge of baptism!

Larry Geller – Baptism from buckheadchurch on Vimeo.


Nicole Maxwell – Baptism from buckheadchurch on Vimeo.

Have you been baptized SINCE you believed? Let me know if you're ready to go public with your faith.

“Why Do GOOD PEOPLE Have to Die?” – Part 2

Yesterday I "teased" a discussion that was spurred by a question a life-long friend of mine asked concerning Coach Kay Yow (NC State Women's basketball coach who went to be with the Lord). I have known of her courageous and long fought battle with breast cancer. She seemed to be an amazing woman who was known for her inspiration and determination – she was also known for her faith in Jesus Christ. He asked me, via facebook, the following question:

"Why do GOOD PEOPLE like Kay Yow have to die?"

It truly is the question that many ask me – sometimes by those who are believers and struggle; othertimes by those who are looking for evidence against God so that they'll have reason to "convict" God of not being the good God that believers proclaim Him to be.

I am SO not a scholar, but it is interesting that our message this past weekend explored the scripture that we'll be pulling from today (John Chapter 11). With all of this in mind, here are a few of my own personal observations.

  • Just because you love the Lord doesn't ensure that you won't endure troubles

(sorry tv preachers who make your living promising blessing to those who generously give to your ministry :)). Everybody deals with the struggles of life – especially those who love and serve God. In the scripture we see a family who not only knew and loved JESUS but of whom the scripture says that JESUS knew and loved them (John 11:1-5). The man, Lazarus, was tight with Jesus, yet he found himself sick and on the verge of death.

Coach Yow battled cancer off and on for 2 decades (!!). Yet from what I could tell from those who knew her the thing that defined her was her faith. I suppose she had 2 choices – she could blame God and get mad at her misfortune or she could live her life to the fullest making the most of what she had. Luckily for you and I, she chose the latter.

  • God will use whatever means necessary to bring glory to Himself through us. Sometimes it's through victories – sometimes it's through the undesirable instances of life. In the scripture Jesus tells his disciples why Lazarus was sick - He said, "…it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it." (v.4). For God's glory??? I'm sick for God's glory???

    To quote Pastor Harrell from Sunday's message, "I never signed up to bring God glory through sickness!!". We want to give God glory from our victories: "we won the game, glory to God!". "I had my most profitable year ever – glory to God!". "The church is exploding – Glory to God!!". However, the scripture says that Lazarus was sick to bring Him glory.

    For a college coach I would say that the pinnacle would have to be a national championship. Coach Yow never won a national championship (she did win a gold medal in the olympics). Winning a championship would have given her an awesome platform – instead, God gave her a different platform – cancer.  

    An amazing thing about her is that I honestly don't know that I would have known of Coach Yow were it not for her illness. Not being a women's college basketball follower I heard of her because 1. her platform because of her illness and 2. her being an outspoken Christ follower. God used her illness to bring glory to Himself in an amazing way!

  • God often doesn't answer our prayers when we want Him to. In the story they told Jesus that Lazarus was really sick – I'm sure it was obvious as Lazarus' sisters wanted Jesus to know. The stricking thing is that he waited 2 days to leave. (v. 6)

    You know, I've come to believe and understand (and most importantly, TRUST) that God has a plan. I'm sure people prayed for Coach Yow's healing many times. Though this illness eventually took her life, let us also look at what God did through her:

     
    she had a 737-344 record
    four Atlantic Coast Conference titles
    20 NCAA bids and a 1998 Final Four appearance
    She coached the U.S. women to the 1988 Olympic title
    Coach Yow was a member of the Naismith and the Women's Basketball halls of fame

    More importantly though was off the court where she strongly fought cancer — raising funds for research through the Kay Yow/Women's Basketball Coaches Association Cancer Fund – she was an encourager for those battling cancer.

    God gave her 2 decades to fight this fight and do good. 2 decades to bring Him glory through her sufferings. Instead of asking "why me?" it seems that Coach Yow asked, "God, how can You use my situation to make a difference to bring You glory?". Sounds pretty scriptural to me.

  • Join us tomorrow for part 3 of "Why GOOD PEOPLE Have to die".

    “Why do GOOD PEOPLE have to die?” – Part One

    A lifelong friend sent me a message on facebook Sunday Nite – He must have just missed me before I went to bed. The message was a question about Coach Kay Yow (NC State Women's basketball coach who went to be with the Lord). I have known of her courageous and long fought battle with breast cancer. She seemed to be an amazing woman who was known for her inspiration and determination – she was also known for her faith in Jesus Christ. His question is one that many must wonder:

    "Why do GOOD PEOPLE like Kay Yow have to die?" (caps were his choice)

    It's the age-old question, isn't it? Good people. Bad circumstances.  Why would a God whom Christians proclaim as good allow bad things to happen to those who actually believe and proclaim that He is good? Is God really good after all?

    We will discuss this tomorrow here on WholeHearted, but we will do it in light of the following scripture – it's quite lengthy but necessary if you wanna seriously discuss this. If you won't read the scripture, don't come back for my words tomorrow (just kidding :)… but seriously, you won't get nearly as much out of this conversation as I will be referencing the scripture often).

    John 11

    The Death of Lazarus

     1Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair. 3So the sisters sent word to Jesus, "Lord, the one you love is sick."

     4When he heard this, Jesus said, "This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it." 5Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days.

     7Then he said to his disciples, "Let us go back to Judea."

     8"But Rabbi," they said, "a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there?"

     9Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours of daylight? A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world's light. 10It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light."

     11After he had said this, he went on to tell them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up."

     12His disciples replied, "Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better." 13Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.

     14So then he told them plainly, "Lazarus is dead, 15and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him."

     16Then Thomas (called Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, "Let us also go, that we may die with him."

    Jesus Comforts the Sisters

     17On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18Bethany was less than two miles[a] from Jerusalem, 19and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.

     21"Lord," Martha said to Jesus, "if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask."

     23Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again."

     24Martha answered, "I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day."

     25Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"

     27"Yes, Lord," she told him, "I believe that you are the Christ,[b] the Son of God, who was to come into the world."

     28And after she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. "The Teacher is here," she said, "and is asking for you." 29When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.

     32When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died."

     33When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34"Where have you laid him?" he asked.
          "Come and see, Lord," they replied.

     35Jesus wept.

     36Then the Jews said, "See how he loved him!"

     37But some of them said, "Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?"

    Jesus Raises Lazarus From the Dead

     38Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39"Take away the stone," he said.
          "But, Lord," said Martha, the sister of the dead man, "by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days."

     40Then Jesus said, "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?"

     41So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me."

     43When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" 44The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
          Jesus said to them, "Take off the grave clothes and let him go."

    Check me out here tomorrow as we discuss why GOOD PEOPLE like have to die.

    You Gotta See This!!!

    Baptism is so amazing! The picture of someone who is becoming a new creation by the supernatural power of Christ. The reminder of someone who once was lost, realized it and wants to acknowledge to the world that He/She is a now follower of JESUS. I was telling a friend just this morning that I never would have thought my life would turn out as it has… I never would've pictured me living my life for God.

    I love seeing people take the plunge!

    This Sunday, February 1st, is our next baptism celebration – have you been baptized SINCE you believed. Remember, scriptural baptism is that which takes place after conversion (Acts 2:40-42, Acts 8:12,13Acts 8:35-37, and more – if you're interested in more let me know). If you want/need to be baptized you can register here. We'll be in contact with you this week to make the necessary arrangements.

    One more thing: when you get baptized make a big deal out of it – invite your friends, your family, anybody you can think of! What better way to share with them what is happening spiritually in your life than to invite them to witness the picture of your old life being buried with Christ in the waters of baptism, resurrected out of the water as a new creation? I'm very excited for all of you!

    Check out the following video – you never know who God will use you to reach; maybe the toughest person, the one you can't imagine living for God is "the one" whom God will use you to reach. (facebook and those using a "reader" go to the original site to see the video: http://www.wholeheartedlife.typepad.com)

    And join me tomorrow as I humbly attempt to answer one of life's toughest questions…
    Andy from Pete Wilson on Vimeo.

    Sunday Nite

    I am SO tired tonite…

    My head hurts - my body hurts - but you know what…

    I STILL FEEL GOOD!! Today was a pretty amazing day at hyde park – I sure do hope that you were with us! Here are the things on my mind tonite:

    • Great crowds today – and I'm not just referring to the numbers. It was very obvious in the 1st and 3rd service that God is up to something. I believe He's healing hearts, drawing people and just working in our midst. I saw people responding in worship who I personally haven't seen engage in a long time. Very, very encouraging!
    • Our worship songs today: At Calvary (Standard – G3/Robert Elkins Arrangement), Believe (Hillsong), Happy Day (Tim Hughes), At the Cross (Hillsong). Special Nite of Worship: Come Thou Fount, Come thou King (Gateway Worship), Awesome is the Lord Most High (Tomlin/Passion), I'll Fly Away (Standard), The Stand (Hillsong United), Here I am To Worship (Tim Hughes – G3/Robert Elkins Arrangement)
    • Just saw an iphone commercial that was talking about all the "apps" available – cool stuff! (yeah, I guess my A.D.D. is kickin' tonite too :))

    We finished the "Rooted" series today with a powerful message from John chapter 11. When the podcast is posted (by Tuesday) you gotta check it out if you missed it! A couple of points that struck me:

    • "Why does the bible speak so much about giving? It's because God knows us – He knows that His #1 competitor to your devotion is material posessions."
    • "People intersect our lives who grow AND hinder your faith. The majority of the people that you meet in life will not encourage your faith".
    • "you know, some painful experiences are self-inflicted – anybody remember Jonah?"
    • "God can use pain and even sickness to bring Him glory. You know, I DIDN'T SIGN UP  FOR SICKNESS to bring glory to God!!! I wanna give Him glory in victory, in winning, in celebration. But you know, the truth is, Jesus shows us in this scripture (John 11:4) that there's another avenue that God uses to bring Himself glory".
    • The shortest verse in the bible (John 11:35) may also be one of the most powerful.
    • "You know, I always wanna say to people who are hurting, 'it's gonna be alright' but I can't because it doesn't always turn out 'our version' of alright. What I can say is that God knows and He wants to use this situation to teach you to trust Him."

    A couple of other thoughts before I pass out…

    • Just had to share that as pastor shared,"You choose to participate with God in faith excercising activities" I had a thought that I wrote down: God has RELIT my passion for worship leading. Isn't that exciting?!!!? I'm not going backward – I'm heading forward into the future and I'm PUMPED!!!! (don't really know why that statement caused that reaction – but it felt like revelation to me :))
    • Next weekend is going to be a very special weekend as we'll celebrate Baptism (if you need to be baptized let me know) and the Lord's Supper. We have a very special presentation of the Lord's Supper. Seriously… a can't miss Sunday – I'm already ready!!!
    • The week after (February 8th) is going to be another amazing service – we have something planned for that day that is unlike anything most of you have ever experienced and just may take your worship to a whole nutha level!
    • Really enjoyed playing drums today! I wasn't scheduled but was scheduled to play in a few weeks so we just moved the day up. Please remember James as you pray – he is struggling with gout (sp?) and could barely walk (much less play). I love playing with our band!!
    • Our new attenders class, FaithTrac 101, is on February 22nd – all new attenders need to take this class with Pastor Harrell. Register here (and make sure to tell us how many will eat lunch – we feed the whole family).

    Ok, that's it. See you on here tomorrow – don't forget to check out the facebook page for new pics!