Saturday, August 30, 2008

Rock Band

So, our funnest new venture has been our new game, Rock Band, for the wii. WE LOVE IT!!! It is the coolest thing ever since sliced bread! We got the band kit that comes with a guitar, a drum set, and a microphone. The guitar is the funnest. The drums are almost as fun, but a good deal harder. The microphone you just sing into, so it isn't as fun. (Plus I don't know most of the songs, and that makes it kinda hard to sing).

What really makes it fun is that Terry and I can play together, one on the drums and the other on the guitar. And what I really enjoy is beating Terry. He knows how to play a real guitar pretty well, and he used to play the drums when he was younger, but I almost always beat him. Yes, it is very different from the real thing, but I still think it is fun!

I highly recommend the game to anyone who can keep a beat. Thanks to Patty and Terry Moore (Terry's parents) for getting us the game!

Sarah Elizabeth

What Makes A Christian So Different From Everyone Else?

Think about what your answer would be.  What exactly does make a Christian so different from others?  Or at least, what is supposed to be the difference?

Now, let's take it up a notch.  Try answering the question but instead of your answer being in terms of what a Christian has that others do not, let your answer be in terms of what Christians do.

As a follower of Christ, of course I know the fact that I have His Spirit within me is a huge difference, but what I'm concerned with is the differences others can see.

What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and be filled," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. But someone may well say, "You have faith and I have works"; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works. (James 2:14-18)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Saturday, August 23, 2008

How Do You Tell Your Story?

How do you tell your story of salvation?  Do you consider that non-Christians need to hear it without the "church" lingo/words?  Can you tell others how to make the decision to be a Christ follower?

What's your story?  If you blog, please share it on your blog and leave a comment with the link.  If you don't blog please leave it as a comment.  Pretend you're telling it to someone far from God, they didn't grow up in church, and they wouldn't know words that aren't used in everyday language.

Friday, August 22, 2008

When I Met Jesus

Growing up I was a pretty typical kid. I never got into a lot of trouble, or at least I never got caught, but after 20-plus years of living a life that wasn’t interested in God my life began to take the natural course of searching for “fun” wherever I could find it, which led to many different pursuits (some physically harmless and some far more dangerous). 

One night, while in college, a girl I was working on a project with share something with me that led to me being forever changed. She had tears in her eyes as she explained that she had just came from the hospital visiting her grandfather. He was expected to die at any moment. She began telling me about her relationship with her grandfather and how it was her grandfather who told her who Jesus was. She looked at me and said, “I’m going to really miss my grandfather, but I am comforted in knowing where he’ll be when he dies. He’s going to heaven. And I know where I’m going to be when I die.” Then she asked the question that left me speechless, “Terry, do you know where you’re going when you die?”

I had tons of responses for religious people trying to "save" me, but all I could think about was the choices I had made in life. I realized that I wasn’t a good person and there was no way God was going to let someone like me go to heaven.

But then she shared with me some very good news. She told me how God created me with a purpose but because of something called sin I couldn’t know or experience that purpose. She said sin was all the things we do that God says is wrong. And then she shared pieces of things God said in the Bible that pointed that out. She told me that God, knowing I had done all these wrong things, sent His Son for me so that the punishment for everything I’ve done wrong would be paid for. She continued to explain that it wasn’t enough to just know these things, but you have to accept them by giving up my wants and desires and replace them with the wants and desire of Jesus, and then I could begin to see and live the purpose God has for my life, what He created me for.

That night I asked God for the strength to give up my hopes, desires, and wants and I asked Him to replace them with His. That night He became the boss of my life.

Now life hasn’t been a piece of cake since then. In all honesty becoming a Christ follower is exchanging one set of complications for another. But before I was a slave to whatever I thought would make me happy, while trying to cope with all the complications that come in life. I had begun to feel like there was this incredible weight on my shoulders, a burden that was becoming more and more difficult to bare. 

When I gave control of my life over to Jesus, He became my master and things changed; some things changed quickly and some things took time. He’s still changing me today. The change that happened in my life is best explained by something Jesus said. He said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my way of life upon you. Let me teach you. For my way of life fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light.”

My Husband

Today Terry, his mom, and I all went to the movies. What did we see? Probably the biggest chick flick of the summer; Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2. Terry was the only male in the theater. He did not complain about going, he did not complain about watching, and he did not complain about the movie after watching. And from sitting beside him, it appeared that he did indeed enjoy the movie. All I have to say is, I have a good husband!

Sarah Elizabeth

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Blessed Be The Tie That. . .Divides?

Most Christians would agree that evangelism is important, worship is important, growing in faith is important, baptism is important, and missions is important.  But I'm amazed at how Christians perceive these so differently.
  1. Some believe evangelism isn't something they're supposed to do.
  2. Some believe evangelism is bringing a person to church.
  3. Some boast sharing their faith with strangers and many accepting Christ, yet you can't find those people in church today.
  4. Some believe repentance and sin have nothing to do with the Gospel.
  5. Some believe worship is what you do on Sunday morning.
  6. Some believe worship is the act of singing.
  7. Some believe worship is an opening act to the main event (the "preaching").
  8. Some don't understand what it means to be lead into worship.
  9. Some are baby Christians and they're comfortable with that.
  10. Some find challenge and/or change offensive.
  11. Some believe their intuition/instincts are more important than discovering what God has to say on the subject.
  12. Some think they've learned enough and are unwilling to reconsider their position.
  13. Some believe the congregation is supposed to have a say in everything the church does.
  14. Some (or most) don't know what Biblical leadership is supposed to look like.
  15. Some don't see the church as God's family.
  16. Some don't know they're supposed to be following (or they refuse).
  17. Some believe giving to missions is a one time love offering.
  18. Some believe missions is something you have to leave your state to do.
  19. Some want their church to reach everyone but refuse to allow anything culturally relevant in the church.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Mama's Coming. . .

. . .well, at least she's supposed to be.  

My mom had made plans to come and stay with Sarah and I for a week but the odds of that being cancelled (maybe delayed) are increasing. Tropical storm Faye started it work on Vero Beach early this morning.  It was mostly just rain but within the next hour we're supposed to begin having thunderstorms, winds around 65 mph, and the increased possibilities that comes with storms.

She is scheduled to fly in tomorrow so we'll be following airport delays and cancellations.  Hopefully this storm will go away.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Walls Must Come Down

Early this morning I met a few guys at the church with the purpose of destroying a wall that separated the youth room I taught lessons in and the room the youth played in (this makes the second church I've done that at).  We ripped into the wall and it only took us maybe 30-45 minutes to have completely down.  It would have been faster if it wasn't for some screws that didn't want to come out without taking the ceiling down with them.  But with patients, we got them removed.  Then we removed chalk boards (do people still use those?).  

All in all it was a 4 hour project, but there's more to be done.  

On Monday I plan on framing up the ceiling space of where the wall was to make it look nice, putting in a carpet bar (for where the carpet goes to tile), and then filling in all of the holes in the walls (and there are a lot of them).  

Then on Tuesday I'll (and a few who said they wanted to help) be sanding all of the holes and then priming the walls.  Not sure of when they were last painted, but from what they look like I would assume it hasn't been since the church was built.

In the very near future I'll be painting the room to make it more lively.  I asked Sarah what she thought I should paint and she said she really liked a design I did for a bible study (a 7 weeks study I put together).  I do seem to see the grunge floral look everywhere so I might end up going that way. . .any suggestions?

If you don't know what "grunge floral" is, here's a few pictures with the concept.

Friday, August 15, 2008

I Married A Serious Olympics Fan!

I've never really paid a lot of attention to the Olympics much.  It probably had a lot to do with a lack of excitement for it in the home I grew up in.  But I have learned that my wife is quite passionate about the Olympics!  She was upset that she missed the best part (the beginning) of the opening ceremony because she was at work.

We've been staying up late every night, which is getting to me a little, to watch since a lot of the live coverage doesn't start until 10pm EST.

I must admit, never having followed the Olympics before, that it's a very interesting experience, and exciting.  I found myself cheering along with Sarah for the U.S.  I'm really hoping to see May-Treanor and Walsh get gold in Beach Volleyball; and watching Michael Phelps break record after record is awesome.  I have also enjoyed the history and culture we've seen about China.

I do wish the coverage was better, but with only one station covering the Olympics I'm sure it's really limiting.

Anyway, back to gymnastics!

Wednesday Night Review, Part 2

Last night was really interesting. Earlier on Wed. we discovered something was wrong with one of the AC units, the unit that cools the area where the youth meet. I was informed about 20 minutes before Youth Group began that the AC was not fixed yet. . .so we had youth group without AC. I know it was at least 85 degrees in there and we were playing pool and ping pong. WAY TOO HOT!

The youth were good sports about the heat and some could care less. Maybe they're more used to the weather here than I am. But when 8 o'clock hit, people were ready to go (and I don't blame them).

We've now learned that this broken AC unit is going to have to be replaced and this could take a few weeks. So, the youth will be meeting in the church's social hall. This is interesting because we were planning to make that move once we grew to 15+ youth. I guess God didn't like my timing and wanted us to go ahead and move!

I'm actually looking forward to the change. We won't be playing pool or ping pong for a while (we could move the ping pong table if we wanted to) and use this as an opportunity to do some different things before the lesson.

Hopefully the AC unit will be replaced soon. There are a few things I was planning on doing and we'll need that space for it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Wednesday Night Review

We've been talking about myths people have for a while now, calling the series "Biblical Myth Busters" and tonight we talked about the myth of the "Bible being just another great book." We went on a quest to point out that Bible is in a class all on its own (1 of 4 on myths about the Bible):
  1. The Bible is a miracle of literary accomplishment.
  2. Some books take a lifetime to write. The Bible was composed over 1,600 years.
  3. Some books require the collaboration of a team of scholars. The Bible is the work of more than 40 authors from every walk of life: kings, peasants, philosophers, fishermen, poets, statesmen, and scholars.
  4. Portions of the Bible were written in the wilderness, in a dungeon, in a palace, in exile, in wartime, and in peacetime.
  5. The Bible was written on three continents, in three languages, and covers hundreds of controversial issues.
  6. It contains inspired poetry, detailed history, biographies, letters, memoirs, and prophetic writings.
  7. Yet this astoundingly diverse book speaks with astonishing continuity! There is one unfolding story from page one until “the End”: God’s redemption of man.
  8. We talked about the power of the Bible (God's Word), a power no other book has.
  9. God's Word is a fire. A fire that purifies, revealing the impurities in our life. (Jer. 23:39)
  10. God's Word is a sledge hammer that crushes rocks. Sometimes we need to be broken before we can see our need for God. (Jer. 23:29)
  11. God's Word is the power of good news that brings salvation. (Romans 1:16)
  12. Like a sword that pierces the flesh of men God's Word is a sword that pierces men. It show us our insides and has the power the pierce the heart. (Eph. 6:17 and Hebrews 4:12)
  13. It's alive and relevant and never becomes useless. (Eph. 6:17 and Hebrews 4:12)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Wii Fit

Last week we got the Wii Fit. Terry has been looking for it ever since it came out a few months ago, but it has been sold out everywhere. He got lucky and found it online. So, it came in, and we did the first test to see what our "Wii Fit age" was. Terry got on first. It takes two things into consideration calculating your wii fit age: your weight and your center of balance. Well, Terry is a bit overweight; strike one. And he has really bad balance because of his past knee injury; strike two. Terry will be 32 in October. Any guesses what the wii aged him? 42! A little more than 10 years difference. Poor Terry, he has a lot of work to do to get down to 32.

Then I stepped on to get my wii fit age. Now, I must admit, I am not in shape. But I am doing good with my weight. I was right where I should be. The balance test went pretty good. I am 24 years old. My wii fit age? 20! I guess that I am doing pretty good then, although I definitely want to use the wii fit to get in better shape.

So far, we are both quite impressed with the wii fit. It tracks your progress every day, whether you have time to exercise or not. The exercises are really good. There are all different kinds, such as yoga and strength training. The exercises that I have tried so far are easy to do, but certainly work your body. I just hope that we will keep up with it and reach our goals!

FYI, the wii fit age changes every day, depending on how you do on the balance test. The second day getting on it Terry went up to age 48, while I went up to 26, so it does jump around quite a bit.

Sarah Elizabeth

Friday, August 8, 2008

Thursday Night Bible Study

Some of the things we pondered and discussed:
  1. People don't want the cure until they understand more about the disease and the clear signs that they have it.
  2. "God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble." James 4:6
  3. God's Law is good, but it can be used very wrongly!
  4. How do you talk to a homosexual about Christ?  The exact same that you would anyone else!  You don't "attack" their lifestyle. The same goes for people of other religions.  Don't attack their religion; just talk with them about Christ.
  5. Dust a table in the morning and it looks clean, but then pull back the curtains and let the light in and you'll see dust all in the air.  God's Law does that to us.  While we may think we're "good", we are only "good" compared to others.  But when the curtains are drawn back and the light comes in who we were are is revealed.  God's Law serves as a light. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Where's Your Focus: "To Not Do Wrong" or "To Do Right"?

I think it is human nature to think the only things that are wrong and evil are the things that are outrageously wrong; we do not understand that the act of living for Christ is not the emphasis of what is wrong, but rather the emphasis of what is right.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Teaching With Vision & Purpose

No this isn't a lesson or devotional.  This is something I've been thinking very hard on for about 2-3 months.  About a month ago I finally realized God was telling me something; of course it didn't hurt that certain people said some things from time to time that returned me to the subject of teaching with vision.

For the past two weeks Paul (the lead pastor) and I have been talking about this. A lot of interesting things have come from those discussions.

Here's some of the things God has made extremely clear to me.  A lot of pastors talk at their church but never talk to their church (youth pastors included).  A lot of pastors pick the topics they speak about very haphazardly.  A lot of pastors see people in black and white and really don't know what to do with those who are somewhere in the gray and are unable to be instantly fit into the church stereotype of "spiritually mature".

A few things I've been "shown" about the teaching ministry of the church is the following:
  1. The leaders need to know where the flock is and know how to give them right steps to go where they should be.
  2. An accurate view of Christ that combats the myths/misconceptions about Christ needs to be taught from a very culturally relevant perspective (combating today's misconceptions of Christ). This is deeply connected with the Gospel and a powerful way to create a platform for introducing people to the real Christ and inviting them to enter into a relationship with Him.
  3. An accurate view of what it means to be connected to the local church (local body of believers) to combat the unbiblical style of "church" being practiced today.  Every member should be an active partner in a ministry within the church.
  4. I think until the teaching ministry has truly "taught" #2 and #3 all other things being taught will be fruitless.  Sort of like trying to cure cancer with a bandaid.
I'm not saying these things because I've figured it all out, but this has been passing through my mind for some time now.  

I would LOVE to hear your thoughts!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Green Rug

All I have to say about this is that Terry would not let me buy a lime green rug for the guest bedroom. And it was a really sweet rug.

Sarah Elizabeth

Friday, August 1, 2008

Thursday Bible Study

Some of the things we pondered and discussed:
  1. Since when did Jesus give "peace", "joy", "fulfillment", and "lasting happiness" as reasons to follow Him? And why has modern day evangelism/churches adopted these as the reasons to have a relationship with Christ?
  2. Can someone be happy without Christ?
  3. There is a connection between the motive a person is given to follow Christ and their salvation being genuine. (accurate Gospel vs. an inaccurate gospel)
  4. People do some really stupid things in the name of "evangelism"!
  5. What are we supposed to tell the world about Jesus?