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Archive for March, 2010

Wicked Sons

Today I continue in my "blog-O-series" (or we could call it a "blog-eries" or even a "Slog") titled, "Learn from the Past". The full explanation of what we're doing is here but the main purpose of this is to share some thoughts I've had over the past years as I journeyed through the pages of the scriptures. I think it's a shame how it seems that we continue to repeat the mistakes of the past because we don't learn from the mistakes of those who came before us.

The note from my journal (August 23rd, 2008) about this scripture reads like this:

Wickedsons2
  

The passages my statement is referencing comes from 1Samuel 2:12-36 and 3:13. I would encourage you to read the verses so you can see what was going on. Eli was a priest of the Lord who served at the temple. He was an old man who's younger sons blatant sins (seriously, read the scriptures above) were bringing disgrace on him, on the temple, on Israel and ultimately upon the Lord. It's like I often (like daily) tell my kids that the choices they make are not just for themselves – their choices have implications for ALL of us.

In the story a man of God comes to Eli the priest and pronounces God's judgement upon him telling him that God is angry, both his sons will die and that He (God) will raise up another priest to do what Eli wouldn't.

Here's my thoughts about the passage (this is how I "Learn from the Past"): I am responsible for what happens "on my watch". Eli heard what his sons were up to – he confronted them but he didn't put a stop to it. These were grown young men; Eli might not have been able to prevent their future sin but he could have restricted their access to the temple and to the things of God, which Eli didn't. 

Personal application: If I know about something and fail to restrain those who are abusing the Holy then I am opening myself up for the judgement of God against me.

Fortunately I learned much from this scripture and because of it's warning I have dealt with things that I would have rather "swept under the rug". Godly, Christ-like correction and rebuke are some of the hardest thing a leader will ever have to deal with. But just as I teach my kids, obedience brings blessing – disobedience brings consequences; the peace that comes with being obedient is bigger than the hurt of necessary confrontation. 

Learn from the Past.

Easter 2010 iMix

(All my facebook readers – if you're interested in checking out music we're putting together for Easter go to my sitehttp://wholeheartedlife.typepad.com/ )

About once per quarter we try to put out an iMix that is primarily for musicians/singers/choir to learn upcoming music. One of the benefits of utilizing iTunes is that anyone interested can download this stuff, particularly congregation members interested in going deeper with the songs we sing Sunday by Sunday. 

As you'll see there are some new/newer songs as well as some great new arrangements of some classic hymns. Some of the songs will be used on our Good Friday service, "Final Words" and some will be part of Sunday morning's Easter Celebration, "Do You See 'IT'?"

I hope that you all enjoy and that this helps the "Word of Christ to dwell in you richly" (Colossians 3:13)

Really Bad Decision

Yet in spite of this word you did not believe the Lord your God,who went before you in the way to seek you out a place to pitch your tents, in fire by night and in the cloud by day, to show you by what way you should go. (Dueteronomy 1:32,33 ESV)

One of the saddest stories in the Bible to me is the story of Israel not going into the land that the Lord had promised them. The reason that a whole generation DIED in the desert (Numbers 14:35) was because they chose to believe the report of some who made a choice not to walk by faith. Here's a quick synopsis of the story:

Israel was in the desert and God was preparing them to go into and overtake their promised land. Moses commanded them to do so (Duet. 1:20,21) but they decided instead to send in spies so they would know what they were dealing with (v.22). The spy idea began as a good idea that proved to be their undoing (You will find the story in Numbers 13) as 10 of the 12 decided that the people were stronger than them and they would certainly be defeated.

You know, there is always a "but" – overcoming the "but" is where the act of faith actually kicks in.

Recently, in a moment of spiritual weakness, I found myself in what I believe to be a God-ordained conversation with my friend and former Hyde Park Staff member Randy Hand. In the conversation, as we discussed what God was doing in both of our lives, Randy reminded me that the fear that I was feeling in that moment was actually the act of not trusting God (DANG!) I have thought on that moment a lot in the passing weeks and decided:

When we decide against that which is obviously from the Lord in an act of distrust we are being disobedient and we 'dis' God.

In the story, the people were ready to trade in their new found freedom to go back to slavery and bondage – how quickly we forget God's blessing. Isn't it funny how a look in the past sometimes casts a different shadow than reality? Because of their lack of faith driven by fear God told them they would all die in the desert forfeiting their promised inheritance. When the people recognized that they offended God by not trusting Him they took matters into their own hands, doing what He had earlier instructed them to do (only this time not in His strength, but theirs) and they failed miserably (read it for yourself). 

Really bad decisions driven by fear instead of faith can destroy an awesome opportunity that the Lord may be putting in front of you. Often times it seems that you get one chance to act in the faith of the Lord – don't blow your chance because the next try may have a disastrous ending.

Sunday Nite

WOW! In spite of the fact that we were "pastorless" we still had a really amazing day at Hyde Park! Our Guest Speaker this morning was Dr. Chris Schofield, Director of the Office of Prayer at the NC Baptist State Convention. From the time we kicked off the 1st service until the end of our second service we were challenged and it certainly appeared that God was in our midst. Here's where we are tonite:

  • As I prayed this morning I was reminded that Today isn't the beginning of a new season but rather begins a transition toward a new season at Hyde Park. When you are in the transition of the seasons sometimes it feels like the new season (like the weather did today) and sometimes it feels like the old season (like it did last week). We remember that God is in control of the seasons – "Lord, help all 2remember YOU control the seasons"
  • Service opened with "Come Thou Fount, Come Thou King" – powerful opener as we reached into the past yet steamed toward the future. We then connected together on the Hillsong arrangement of "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus".
  • Randy Hammonds, Chairman of our Pastor Search Committee addressed both services sharing the fact that we have received 120 resume's for our Pastor position. Randy will address the church on the 2nd Sunday of the month henceforth.
  • 120 Resume's!!! I'm not at all surprised as Hyde Park is one of THE BEST midsize churches in North Carolina (and I'm not kidding at all – SERIOUSLY).
  • Should I say it?? Is it time to officially…
  • I love Chris Schofield! Chris has always been an inspiration to me – God always seems to show up when we're together.
  • I could tell there was a brokenness that began to prevail over some of the congregation today – Praise God!
  • Next song: You, You are God going into "God of this City" – Greater things are certainly yet to come.
  • Just for the record, even though we had an amazing day I missed my friend. Hope to see Pastor Dennis soon.
  • We then had the opportunity to Skype with our mission team in Senegal. Pray for them this week as they will be teaching in the schools. At night some of the kidz will come back to the house to take English as a Second Language Classes where they will teach the bible. God, prepare the way for our team!
  • We talked about "Loving Lumberton Week" this morning and had bunches sign up to be part. It's gonna be a life-changing week for our church. March 22-28. You can sign up here
  • This Week we will talk about Easter at Hyde Park – looking forward to a humbling holy week.

Crazy Friday!

It's Friday and not only is "it" kickin' this morning but my day is pretty slammed (especially for a Friday, which is usually a chill day for me). A couple of things I wanted to remind you of this morning as the weekend approaches:

  • Please remember our mission team as they leave for Senegal, West Africa tomorrow. Pray not only for their safety as they travel but also for God to prepare their way in connecting flights that they might be on the ground in our village ASAP! 
  • I am VERY THANKFUL to God for the opportunity He has given to our mission team to minister in the schools this time – I truly feel as if the Lord is showing us His Favor and believe He is going to work miraculously on this trip.
  • I am PUMPED about Sunday morning as my friend, Dr. Chris Schofield comes to preach God's Word to our great church! God has used Chris in a mighty way in my life - It seems like I have been with Chris in so many places over the past few years EXCEPT at hyde park - looking forward to you benefiting from him the way I so often have.
  • How great is it that after the winter we've had that Sunday's forecast is calling for 64 and Sunny?!?!?
  • LOVING LUMBERTON WEEK!!!! March 22-28th. We will, as a church, get outside the walls of Hyde Park and serve our city. We will be making the projects available for sign up next week – We need Hyde Park (the Body, all of it) to come together in unity to live out our mission: to Love God, Love People and Serve our World. Begin to pray now – "will I be obedient to serve our city?"

Can you believe that Easter is right around the corner? I am BEYOND EXCITED about our Easter at Hyde Park! We are planning a very challenging end to Holy Week – Put these dates on your calendar: 

  • Friday Night, April 2nd at 7pm – we are having a special Good Friday Night Service titled, "Final Words"; we will be contemplating the sacrifice that Good Friday signifies by looking at the Final Words of Jesus on the cross. We will end the evening with the Lord's Supper. I pray that we will come together in unity and power that evening
  • Easter Sunday, April 4th – Our Easter Service is titled "Do You See 'IT'?" We are planning a complete Easter Sunday service that will tell the Easter story in a very compelling and eye opening way. I know that I say this often, but begin working NOW to get those people you've been praying for to church on Easter Sunday. I PROMISE that if they come and don't know Jesus that we will prayed up and point your friends/loved ones towards new life in our Savior King.

I'll close by saying that I attended the Unleash Conference at Newspring yesterday – I was challenged/encouraged/strengthened through the Holy Spirit and the ministry of Newspring Church. Maybe I'll talk about it soon (or maybe I won't), regardless, thanks to God for the way that He edifies us through the Body of Jesus.