The Reminder’s God Gives Us

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I read this the other day:

So Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the Negeb. Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. And he journeyed on from the Negeb as far as Bethel to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, to the place where he had made an altar at the first. And there Abram called upon the name of the Lord. -Genesis 13:1 – 4

Abram returned to where he built his first altar.

What I often forget about Abram is that when he started walking and following God in Genesis 12, this was brand new to him. All of a sudden (it seems anyway) a voice told him to pack up and move. That’s it. And he did.

Following this God, took him to Egypt. Where Abram failed and lied.

Why?

Because he didn’t trust God.

So he leaves Egypt and returns to where he started. To where he first heard God. To where he first built an altar.

Often, after our failures and disappointments, God brings us back to where we started. He has a way when our faith is faltering to remind us of a place where our faith was strong. When struggle to trust him, he has a way of taking us to the place where we trusted him. When we find ourselves not on fire, but fizzling out, he has a way of bringing us to the place where we were on fire.

If you are in a place today, where it is hard to trust God, hard to follow God, hard to pray or listen or move forward. Return to where it began. Return to where you trusted, where you listened, prayed and followed.

Go back to where it all began.

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Top 5 Sermon Downloads at Revolution Church for 2011

Over the past week on twitter, I’ve been re-posting the top 5 sermon downloads at Revolution Church for 2011. Here they are:

  1. The Vow: A Good Man (Ephesians 5:22 – 33)
  2. The Story of God: The Image of God (Genesis 1:26 – 28)
  3. The Story of God: God’s Blueprint for Marriage (Genesis 2:15 – 3:19)
  4. The Vow: A Good Woman (1 Timothy 2:8 – 10)
  5. Give Me Faith: The Storms of Life (James 1:1 – 4)

How God Pursues Us and How We Parent

I’m reflecting on my time at Soma School and part of the training is to go through the story of God. What jumped out in the one section is that when God comes to Adam and Eve after they sin, he asks them where they are. He pursues them. He also asks them what they did. He doesn’t accuse them or throw them under the bus until they admit their wrong.

He also does something interesting. Instead of leaving them in their junk or saying, “You made this mess, you figure it out. You clean it up.” He makes them clothes. He also creates a way for them to be his people by Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Here is what I mean for parenting. I was struck by how often I get angry at my kids and when they make a mess I say, “You made this mess, you clean it up.” The reality that I am their father, they will hear about that God is father, what am I teaching them about God as father when I say that? I’m teaching them that God will leave them in their mess and make them clean it up. We call it natural consequences.

But is that being the gospel to my kids? How do I get in the mess with my kids? How do I help them get out of it instead of telling them to just get out of it?

What about in community? How often do we see people hurting and say, “That’s too bad but you got in that mess so you can get out of it.” I think we are responsible, if we know about it, to help them get out of it and walk with them.

Just a few thoughts. I’d love to hear what you think.

This Weekend @ Revolution: The Cost of Faith

Really excited about this weekend at Revolution. We are continuing our series The Story of God and we will have a good friend of Revolution as a guest speaker. Luke Simmons from Redemption Church in Phoenix will be with us and will be looking at the life of Abraham and the cost of faith.

Many of us think of faith as a benefit, a road to an easy and smooth life, something that will not be challenging and yet the life of Abraham, someone that is held up throughout Scripture as an example of faith, none of those words describe his life.

This is going to be an eye opening week as we look at how we live and how our faith is seen very clearly in how we live and follow what God calls us to.

Don’t forget, this is the first week of sign ups for our summer community dinners. Be sure to sign up right away as dinners will fill up and we want everyone involved.

So, do whatever you have to do to be at Revolution this week (and bring someone with you, you never know how a simple invite can make an eternal difference). An easy way to invite someone is to send them an e-vite.

Remember, we meet at 4:15 & 6pm at 6620 E 22nd St.

See you Saturday.

Mission over Sin

Saturday I preached on roles in marriage, headship, submission, sexuality, etc. Always a fun topic. It is also the topic that Katie and I get the most questions about. Because of that, we did a live Q&A at the end of the sermon. I always love hearing Katie talk about her journey and how the gospel has transformed her heart in this area. I really hope that couples and singles in our church hear the power of what the gospel can do in this area and that it can help you choose to live in Genesis 2 (how God designed life to be lived) instead of Genesis 3 (what we settle for).

After the sermon, I was talking with a mom who told me she was struggling with the sermon because she works, has small kids but doesn’t want to stop working because she worries who will share the gospel with her co-workers if she isn’t there.

This is the classic, I’m on mission and I think God is using me but I might be sinning by doing this. Somewhat akin to the missionary dating so many teenagers strive for: I know they aren’t a Christian, I know I shouldn’t date a Christian, but how else will they find Jesus.

As I talked with this couple, it is sad to see the choices they are making and the results. It is true, that God can and will use her to reach her co-workers, but as parents are first responsibility, our first mission field is our kids. What many parents do is trade mission fields. They strive to lead their friends and co-workers to Jesus (which is great and we are called to do that) but can run the risk of letting their kids go to hell. Who our kids spend the most time with is who they will become like. It is the faith they will emulate. Boys will become like the men they see and girls will become like the women they see.

Living as God calls us to is not easy, especially because of the power of sin. But the power of the gospel is stronger. Whenever we choose to live in the power of sin and choose to not pursue the life God intends for us and calls us to, we tell God we know better, we tell God we can do it on our own. We tell God, we are God. Just like Adam and Eve did.

Male Headship is Not Defering

I was talking with someone this week about my sermon for tomorrow at Revolution from Genesis 2 – 3 on marriage, roles and what God calls men and women to be.

The topic of male headship and submission came up, as it always does. And this couple told me they live out the roles God has called them to. I asked them to give me an example of male headship in their marriage and she said, “When we have a tie, I defer to him.” This is one of the most common questions about headship, what do you do when there is a tie. Let me say this clearly:  Deferring is not male headship.

As I will lay out tomorrow, God has given men the primary responsibility to lead the marriage in a God-glorifying direction. Male headship does not mean in a tie, you just go with what the man wants, his way might be sin and it might not be in a God-glorifying direction.

One thing Katie has done in our marriage when we first got married and started reading and learning about roles, headship and submission is that when we had a “tie” she would tell me, “You make a decision that is the best for our family.” That is male headship. It is the realization of the wife that she is not held accountable to God for the family, her husband is. It is the realization of the husband that he is held accountable to God for the family and he is not always right.

Pretty excited about talking about this tomorrow night. You definitely don’t want to miss Revolution.

God’s Blueprint for Marriage & Life

This past Saturday, we kicked off our brand new series The Story of God and looked at how we are made and wired and how that impacts our life. If you missed it, you can listen to it here. You can also download the study guide for this series and this week’s devotional questions.

This week, we will be looking at Genesis 2:15 – 3:19 and looking at what God’s blueprint for marriage and life is. We are given very specific things about what men and women are supposed to be like, how they live, what roles they should play. We are told what marriage should look like, what God thinks of homosexuality, how you should prepare for marriage if you are single.

To end the night, Katie will join me for a live Q&A where you can text in questions.

It is going to be en eye opening night.

So, do whatever you have to do to be at Revolution this week (and bring someone with you, you never know how a simple invite can make an eternal difference). If you brought someone for Easter, call them and invite them back. It makes a huge difference to personally invite someone back to Revolution.

Remember, we meet at 4:15 & 6pm at 6620 E 22nd St.

See you Saturday.

The God Who Keeps His Promises

I’m reading the Bible in a year plan that goes chronologically. I will admit, I am in a tough patch to keep moving. Going through Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy in order is tough going at moments. I’ve learned to look for anything that could jump out in the midst of laws, measurements, sacrifices and what seems like endless lists of names. It is a good practice because it definitely forces your attenaes to be up in terms of what God is saying.

Today I started Deuteronomy, I am heading into the home stretch of the books of Moses and the journey to the promised land. Hidden, maybe that is the wrong word since it isn’t hidden is verse 10 of chapter 1 that says, “The Lord your God has multiplied you, and behold, you are today as numerous as the stars of heaven.” Without any context it could be seen that Moses is simply stating there are a lot of Israelites.

Except, in Genesis 15:5 God told Abraham that his offspring would number the stars in the sky.

It took more than one lifetime, in fact several. Hundreds of years passed, but God kept his promise. For many of us, at least for me, I feel God taking me in a certain direction, clearly telling me to take a step of faith, do something. I do it, and nothing. Immediately, frustration and doubt set in. Hidden in Deuteronomy is the promise that God keeps his promises.

Whatever God has called you to, be faithful because he will keep his promise. When you have a hard time following the commands of Scripture, it makes life difficult, people don’t understand or make fun of you, stick with it because he will keep his promise.

Today, rest in the reality that there is a God in heaven who keeps his promises.

Links of the Week

  1. John Piper on TULIP. Many people have an opinion about the 5 points of Calvinism, what they mean and how that affects how you live. Piper explains them really well in this series.
  2. Will Mancini on 11 trends for churches in 2011. I always read what Will has to say on church and leadership, this list is no different.
  3. A missional way for the pro-life passion.
  4. Michael Wallenmeyer on Missional (and simple) church is unattractive to cultural Christians. We see this a lot of Revolution because of our goal of being simple and missional.
  5. Tony Morgan on 11 questions every church leader needs to ask. Some good stuff here, a gold mine of questions.
  6. Justin Holcomb on What the Bible says about sexual assault. He recently wrote a great book Rid of my Disgrace: Hope & Healing for Victims of Sexual Assault.
  7. Mary Kassian on the Church in a post-Feminist Era.
  8. Scott Thomas on Parenting Sons.
  9. Dave Bruskas on Parenting daughters.
  10. Mark Driscoll put out a free ebook on Genesis. How to read it, talk about it with kids. Looks great. It looks especially helpful for our next series at Revolution.
  11. 10 characteristics of a missional church.
  12. Jeff Vanderstelt on Leading your people on mission.
  13. Tullian Tchividjian on Gospel gold.

Links of the Week

  1. 7 reasons your church plant won’t make it. This list is right on.
  2. 7 marriage lessons I learned on the dance floor.
  3. Here is a great debate that Pastor J.D. Greear had with an Imam about about whether the God of the Bible of the God of Islam is more compassionate. J.D. is the author of the great book Breaking the Islam Code.
  4. The most and least churched cities in America. Tucson is in the top 10 least churched cities in America.
  5. Perry Noble on 18 myths singles believe.
  6. What is the main point of the book of Genesis? Great interview with Bryan Chapell.
  7. The latest update on our adoption.
  8. 2 Chilean miners accept Christ while underground.
  9. Most books on being missional are written to guys or leaders, but I came across http://themissionalmom.com this week. Great stuff on what being a mom, raising a family on mission looks like.