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If you read me weekly you know that this is a common Sunday nite phrase for me: "Today was an amazing day at hyde park!". Why break the trend here? Today WAS an amazing day at hp. If you don't like reading that I have to wonder why you read me at all?
We had 3 slammin' services – a great message – super music… Do you love your Sunday's?!?
I was diggin' the Spirit in all 3 services today! Great crowds all day.
Brandon was our speaker this morning and did a really great job. Today was his 1st time preaching on a Sunday morning and really stepped up. Speaking is no new thing for Brandon as he usually speaks on Sunday nites for Crossover (our middle school ministry).
"Temptation". 'Nuff said.
I'm really proud of Brandon for stepping it up this week and working so hard to bring the message to us this morning.
I'm also proud of my Pastor. I was reminded today (by watching him) how the grace and mercy of Jesus manifest itself in the life of His followers. Love him.
I played drums in the hyde park band today! Can I just say how much I LOVE playing with them?!? I know that I usually stand before them and lead hyde park in song but the truth is it's different to play with them… unbelievable!
I love the way that we are able to switch people out in our band – a lot of versatility happening onstage right now both musically AND vocally.
Rhonda did a great job this morning leading worship. I also gotta give a shout out to Justin McQueen who is MAJORLY stepping up as a worship leader. His energy on the opener this morning totally set the tone for the whole day. I'm really proud of Justin and looking forward to mentoring him as a worship leader.
Our music today: "Counting on God" (Desperation Band), "Mighty to Save" (Hillsong), "Hosanna" (Hillsong – RHONDA KILLED THIS – AWESOME!!!). We closed the service with an old Vineyard classic, "Surrender" (Justin killed this!).
It was so good to see people "Surrendering" at the end of the 11.11. Why do most people think that the time at the end of the service is just for people to get saved?
I was really proud of many of our leaders tonite… really, really proud.
Beginning tomorrow morning (Monday) I will be putting all of my technology on hold for a few days as I seek the Lord. With the exception of what I may HAVE TO DO at work with a computer I will not be online or available. With that in mind, if you call, text, email, facebook or tweet me from Monday through Wednesday you won't be hearing back – I'll see you online Thursday.
This Sunday is going to be an amazing day at hyde park. Rehearsals on Wednesday nite were smokin' – I'm really excited (plus – the drummer this Sunday is PUMPED!). Three reasons that I know that Sunday is gonna be off the chain:
REASON NUMBER 1: Pastor Dennis will be hosting our New Attenders Class, FAITHTrac 101 on Sunday morning. 101 is a behind the scenes look at hyde park; it explores WHY we do WHAT we do, the WAY that we do and is definitely your NEXT STEP with us if you've not attended. A great lunch for your whole family is included. If you meant to sign up but haven't we have a couple of spots left if you sign up right now. I love getting to eat lunch and make new friends at 101 – see you there!
REASON NUMBER 2: At our 11.11 Service we will celebrate with our graduating Seniors. Every year near the end of May It's great to be a part of this day as we look with anticipation towards our "graduators" as they embark on the next part of their lives. Exciting!
REASON NUMBER 3: Our message Sunday will deal with something that every single person who puts their eyes on this blog (that would include you) encounters: Temptation. You know it's not just "one time" or "one look" – your choices affect your life and the lives of those counting on you. Temptation is one of the greatest struggles of life – the Great fight – it is truly "The Battle Within".
I close this morning with a quick video (facebook readers go to the site: http://www.wholeheartedlife.typepad.com ). See you Sunday!
If you've been around me much you may have heard me talk about my desire to raise children who aren't religious but rather truly love Jesus. I'm not trying to raise up "church kids" – my desire is to see my children integrate their own faith into the very fabric of their lives. With this in mind, Keyna and I have tried to build the following concept into our children's everyday life:
it's not about what God can do for us, rather, it's about what WE can do for God
I'm trying to teach my kids that while we do rely on the Lord as our Provider and the Giver and Creator of everything, our relationship is not to be one sided.
Think about it: most people look at God's major job in our lives to give to, provide for and protect us. "Lord, bless him…", "God, protect her", "Father, I really want…" – I would think that we're all a little guilty of looking to God as Provider in such a way that we believe that His provision for us is His main task on earth and we forget that He wants to use us in this world for His glory.
What if our main goal in seeking God was to seek what you could do to serve Him rather than to petition Him to serve you? That's a world-changing thought, huh?
I don't know about you but that makes me want to "take off my outer clothes and wrap a towel around my waist" (John 13).
I dare you – that is the seeking what you can do for God, not the taking off your clothes part.
51At that moment (italics mine) the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. 52The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
54When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, "Surely he was the Son[a]of God!"
"At that moment". What a statement. At that moment everything changed. Our price was paid…the veil was torn (v.51), the curtain between Holy God and sinful man removed…no longer did we enter by the offerings of sacrificial animals administered by your chosen priest – now, You come to us. What an amazing act…
"At that moment" the dead rose and "holy" people were resurrected (v. 52,53). I bet this was huge!! "did you see (fill in the blank)? He came back 2 life!" You have to admit, it wasn't an everyday occurance.
"At that moment" the centurion standing watch over his dying body "saw" the earthquake and everything else that happend and (terrified) exclaimed, "Surely He was the Son of God!" (v.54). These same guys who had been involved in this sham of a trial and sentence. I wonder what it was that finally showed them truth? (reminds me of: 17Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18And I tell you that you are Peter,[b] and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades[c] will not overcome it.[d] Matthew 16:17-18 (NIV)
"At that moment" – it was finished and we were forgiven by your death, but it's your resurrection that brings to us new life – it's what we "live for".
At that moment… I remember my "moment". Have you had "that moment" in your life personally?
Great lyricists are amazing. They make you think, challenge your heart, fill you with hope and have a way of pointing you to their inspiration for their song.
So over a year ago I mentioned this song "How He Loves" by John Mark McMillan, that had so captured my heart and mind. I love the fact on the surface it sounds like a highly passionate worship song but is actually the writers descriptive lyrical picture of a close friend and mentor dying and coming into the presence of God Himself. I love that he is trying to help himself (and us in the process) comprehend in a picturesque way God's holiness, His mercy and grace and how humbling it will be when we truly enter into His presence. In fact, verse 1 is describing what his friend may have encountered/experienced and felt when He saw Jesus…
He is jealous for me Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree Bending beneath the weight Of His wind and mercy All of a sudden I am unaware of These afflictions eclipsed by glory And I realized just how beautiful You are And how great Your affections are for me Oh, how He loves us so – Oh how He loves us – how He loves us so.
But you know, for me, it gets really interesting in the 2nd verse (or bridge depending on your interpretation) where the lyrics take us:
We are His portion and He is our prize Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes If His grace is an ocean we're all sinking And heaven meets earth like a sloppy, wet kiss And my heart turns violently inside of my chest I don't have time to maintain these regrets When I think about the way that He loves us Oh how He loves us, Oh how He loves us, Oh how He loves.
You know, I've wept at those lyrics… I've worshiped majorly because of those lyrics… I've also now experienced those lyrics as a lead worshiper singing them with every ounce of conviction and surrender that I could muster and I must admit…
I could see how someone who isn't looking deeply into what's being said could miss the depths of what's being sung. The writer doesn't give his interpretation so I will do my best to describe what they say to me:
"We are his portion and He is our prize" – his portion of our lives is us – ALL of us. Not the church part or the "spiritual" part but all of us. We belong to Him. (1 Cor 6:19-20). God is the prize that all who trust in Him will receive upon death. We have no way to adequately explain how much of a prize he is until the day that we are physically in His presence.
"Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes" – I've always believed that the day that I actually see His face will be a day of shame. Why shame? I don't think that, even in the love that He's given me for Himself, I don't believe enough – at least not enough to leave behind totally a life of sin. However (and praise God for the however) I believe that as dreadful as experiencing the presence of the Holy God may seem I also believe that I will also find myself in awe and love with the God who has promised redemption and forgiveness to me by NO MERIT OF MY OWN. Unbelievable…
"If His grace is an ocean we're all sinking" – imagine falling into the middle of the ocean with no lifejacket, nothing to grab onto and just water in all directions – there would be no hope of survival. That doesn't even describe the depths of God's grace towards us.
Then comes the lyric that rocked my world:
"And heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss" – to me, this is his way of describing of the reality of heaven and earth meeting, Deity and humanity becoming one in a passionate, all encompassing way. It's kind of messy – it's real – it's passion – it's all or nothing…
"and my heart turns violently inside of my chest" – when He (and us) come face to face with HIM how will we not be losing it?!? This guy is meeting the Savior – He's in the presence of the One that it says sits upon a mighty throne and is so above all that angels can't even look upon Him and constantly shout "You are Holy".
"I don't have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way that He loves us" – in spite of all that he is experiencing; in spite of the fact that he just wants to hide; in spite of the fact that it feels as if his heart will burst inside of him this man is overcome by the LOVE OF THE SAVIOR. It is realized that all the regrets and shame that is slamming him in the face are nothing (NOTHING!!!) compared to this love, this incomprehendable love.
He loves us – He loves you. So, what's your interpretation of the lyrics "and heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss and my heart turns violently inside of my chest – I don't have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way He loves us"??? Looking forward to your response.