Monday, February 26, 2007

Thomasville Disciple Now

This past weekend I had the priviledge to help lead worship at Thomasville, Ga's Disciple Now. Our 5-person band consisted of Elliott DeJarnett leading, his college roommate Bryan Fox playing lead guitar, Anthony McPhail on the base guitar and Caroline Darnell singing with Elliott. I can speak for all of us when I say we had an incredible weekend. D-Now was put on by 2 local youth pastors, Bobby and Floyd - sorry don't think I ever got their last names. Floyd is Cory Hallett's brother-in-law by marriage (Anne Marie's sister married Floyd). Do you even call him a brother-in-law? I don't know. I've never understood the nomenclature of family bonds by marriage. Maybe somebody can help me out? Anyway, we led worship for a group of students from all over the Thomasville area. About 7-8 different youth groups were represented, from all kinds of different denominations. I think in years' past only the Baptist churches were involved with the D-Nows. It was amazing to witness the unity that's present amongst all the different churches down there...which is something we are praying for here in Marietta.

We arrived in Thomasville about 4:30p Friday afternoon and began setting up at Thomasville First Baptist Church. The production came close to what we typically use at our summer camps; full of lights, smoke machines and a kick-butt sound system. That night we led worship for around 400 or so students and about 100-150 adult volunteers. I'm not going to brag...wait, yeah I am...the worship was pretty dang good. I could tell that they weren't quite used to the intensity of worship God brought through us. Don't get me wrong, there were more than a few people that had their hands raised, but a majority stood and just sang the songs. I will say that I couldn't see everybody from all the smoke that was around me! : ) After worship, we grabbed a quick bite to eat at Barberitos (so good) and headed to our hotel. Elliott and I shared a room, as did Anthony and Bryan. Poor Caroline had a room to herself. Saturday we woke up and went and ate lunch at the First United Methodist Church with their youth. Floyd is the youth pastor at this church. He kind of reminds me of Cory, except he's funnier...sorry Cory! After lunch we all (we being the band) took a leisurely stroll down Broad St in downtown Thomasville. We stopped in a few shops, including the very sketchy Wig and Accessory store. There is a music store in downtown Thomasville that is the oldest music store in America. It's been open since 1904! (You could tell by the limited amount of inventory they had...). Also, if you've ever been to Athens you have noticed the different styles of Bulldogs (excuse me...Bulldawgs) that decorate many of the street corners. Well, here in Thomasville they have random small animal statues, including dogs and beavers...yes, beavers! Elliott thought it would be funny if I took a picture with all of the dog statues (see below).

Doing an examination... Playing peek-a-boo w/ this one
Such a good dog... I see what your pointin at there fella...

After goofing off downtown, we went back to the hotel for a little nap time. We headed back to the church that evening to get ready for the night's service. Saturday night was such a good time of worship. There were about 800 or so people there that night! We led worship for about 45 minutes. The students (and adults) were much more engaged than the night before. There was a dramatic difference in the response of the body. The students were right on top of the stage. They had never heard of Marvelous Light before and it became one of their favorites! The Lord definitely reigned on the praises of His people that night! The intensity of worship reminded me a lot of the worship that goes on at summer camp. I do have a random, but stinkin' funny story that happened while we were practicing for the Saturday night service. We were running through Jesus Paid it All and you know the part where it says, "Sin had left a crimson stain..."? Well, Elliott thought the song would sound better if it went, "Jen had left a clemson stain...!" We all stopped playing and were like, "did you just say, 'Jen had left a clemson stain?'" We were laughing... (sorry, Anchorman quote there). You may not think it is that funny, so I guess the right thing to say now would be, "I guess you had to be there." Anyway, the speaker was a college pastor from Prince Avenue Baptist Church in Athens, GA. He spoke from the passage in Matthew 16 (vs 24-26) where Jesus talks about what it means to be a disciple and truly follow Him. I was definitely challenged when it comes to the things I have in my life as a priority over God. Can I truly say that I am able to deny myself of everything in this world for His sake? It's tough...

That night after worship we went to the fabulous Waffle House then went back to the hotel for bed. The next morning we were to lead worship at the morning services of 2 different churches (8:45am service at First United Methodist and the 11am service at Dawson St - not to be confused with Dawson Creek - Baptist Church). At the first service we played with the whole band and at the second service we did a little acoustic set with a djembe. This second service was rough. The students stood and the adults (where the average age was about 60 years young) stayed seated, blank stares and all. We plowed through that service and then headed back to our respective destinations (Marietta via Macon, and Athens).

All-in-all, the weekend was great. We got to meet a lot of great youth, youth pastors, pastors and adult volunteers. God showed up in worship, as He always does, and lives were changed. What more could you ask for?

I've included some more photos from the two nights of worship. Feel free to take a gander...

Grace and peace.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Make a Joyful Noise to the Lord All the Earth

How gorgeous was today?! It was like a spring day and oh how I love spring days. My birthday is in the spring, I can hear the tinging of baseball bats as the baseball season starts up, March madness, fly-fishing is starting to peak, it's great weather for hiking and/or camping. Those are just some of the few reasons why I love the spring. But as I went through my day today (which consisted of planning for this Monday's Inside Out, going by the Daily Grind to scope out the corner where we will have live music on Monday, talking Ghana with a new friend - Ryan, and packing for my trip to Thomasville this weekend), I was challenged. I listened as the trees whistled as the wind blew, I listened to the birds chirping and singing in my backyard and the dogs barking throughout my neighborhood. The thing that came to mind was, everything is praising God; creation is praising its Creator. Scripture is riddled with examples of creation worshipping God for who He is (Psalm 104, Isaiah 55, Romans 1:20). God made everything to worship Him - the trees, animals, even the rocks! Yes the rocks sing out in praise (Luke 19:40)! Can you imagine that?! I can't...I don’t think rocks would ever sing for me or you, for that matter. But they’ll sing for God, cause He made them. I found something written by Matt Maher, a Catholic worship leader who wrote Your Grace is Enough, that says it better than I could:

So I'm sitting at the piano one February morning, staring out the window, and I notice the trees. Bare and naked before God. The leaves have fallen. It’s just these empty branches, aimed at the ground. It resonates within me a desire to do the same before God. To be bare and stripped of all I am before Him...And I look at this tree, and I think of the tree of life. The cross. Back to the tree outside my window. I’m looking at this tree, and seeing the golden leaves on the ground. An offering of gold. It’s their tithe. It’s all it has to offer, so it does. Now I live in Arizona, and we generally don’t have winter. But we have a brief Autumn. Now in my head I’m imagining the autumn I grew up in (I grew up in Canada with 4 seasons). It’s getting colder. The sun is setting and the sky is on fire. Then I imagine winter, in its stillness and bleakness. The days are shorter. It gets really cold and gray. The cold dark places within the human heart. My moments of personal despair. My dark night. My moment of needing rescue; I look back on those moments and see God’s hand there, in the midst of it. Pulling me out of it.

Pulling me to Him. And the snow melts, and the flowers are stretching to heaven; their whole bodies trying to get in on the party that’s happening in heaven; and the birds are singing for no apparent reason, other than that’s what they do. Somewhere in space, there’s a star exploding to the glory of God. Everything is coming back to life, and I am seeing that everything must die to rise again. That God ordained it that way from before time. God the Father willed that everything would point to His Son’s passion, death and resurrection. And on that third day, we are glorified in Christ Jesus. (2 Cor 5:17), and united as one body. His bride and church, made Holy by Him.

So I was challenged. Back to the passage in Luke 19 about the rocks crying out. As Jesus was walking down the road, the crowd of His disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices and the Pharisees asked Jesus to rebuke His disciples. Jesus' response was, "I tell you, if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out." If we don't praise God, the rocks will pick up our slack. Oh how I wish my life would be so full of praise for my Creator and King that when I was around, the rocks were silent! His praise should always be on our lips!! In our own personal springs, and even more so in our own personal winters, we need to praise God...loudly! I love the heart attitude of the prophet Habakkuk, who decided he would choose to respond to God’s worth, no matter how bleak a season he found himself in: Though the fig-tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior (Habakkuk 3:17,18).

In Acts 16, Paul and Silas also resolve to overcome less than favorable conditions and worship God. Sitting in their jail cell, they could be forgiven for not being in the mood for singing. They had been unjustly arrested, beaten, severely flogged and thrown into the deepest part of the prison, with their feet in stocks. Yet, somehow, Paul and Silas found it in themselves to sing out praise to God. Refusing to let their souls be dampened, they worshipped with everything they had left. Most of us don’t own fig trees and haven’t been imprisoned for being Christians, but the principle is the same for us as it was for Habakkuk, Paul and Silas: We can always find a reason to praise. Situations change for better and for worse, but God’s worth never changes. We may be hard-pressed on every side, weary and not able to sense God. But then a choice faces us—to fix our eyes on the circumstances or to cling to God and choose to worship Him, even when it hurts. The heart of God loves the offerings of a persevering worshipper. Though overwhelmed by many troubles, they are even more overwhelmed by the beauty of God.

So my brothers and sisters, don't let the rocks out-sing you!!

Grace and peace.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Deep waters

I realized after a day of reading and re-reading my last blog (cause that's what I do) that I left off another point about wisdom, revelation and knowing God. If you want, you can read back over the Colossians 1:9, Wisdom and Colossians 1:10 blogs. But a brief recap is that we need to consistently pray to have wisdom and understanding. Paul thought it was important enough to include it in most if not all of his epistles. And from what I learned a month or so ago, Wisdom = Jesus, and the Wisdom we seek and ask for was present before the creation of the world (a mystery I'm still baffled by). Eternal life is knowing God/Jesus. He commands us to continue to grow in the knowledge of God because that is what pleases Him. If you look at Isaiah 11:2, it says, "The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him (Jesus)--the Spirit of wisdom and understanding...". I have to believe Paul had this passage in mind when he wrote to the churches in Colosse, Ephesus and Philippi. He continually prayed that we would be filled with wisdom and understanding because he knew that by doing so, we would be filled with Jesus. I hope this all makes sense and I'm not losing any of you who are reading this.

Paul also prayed for wisdom and understanding when it came to knowing God's will for your life. Everybody knows Jeremiah 29:11, "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.'" But, how many of you actually read the next verse? It's just as important! It says, "'Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.'" So if you think about this a minute, then you can deduct that once we realize that God has great plans for us, we need to go to Him. We need to call upon Him for Him to disclose what these plans are. Now read Proverbs 20:5, "The purposes of a man's heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out." God's plans and purposes for our lives are so good and deep. But we have a requirement that we need to fulfill as well. We have to go to Him to draw them out. If you don't know what your kingdom purpose or what kingdom passions you have, I want to encourage you to seek God, call out to Him, draw them out! He will listen to you! That's a promise!

Grace and peace.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Colossians 1:10

And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.

Man, this verse is LOADED! I mean, c' smart and good and challenging is Paul?! My mind is baffled at the Lord's revelation to Paul and my spirit groans, both in an ambitious "Yes, Lord! That's my heart; help me!" kind of way, but also in an "I'm so not there" way as well. First of all, Paul challenges us by telling us (imperatively), "live a life worthy of the Lord." I can go on for hours on how I'm not doing this, but the desire is there in my heart...that's ok, right? To answer myself, yes...the Lord looks at your heart and your motives. He knows our flesh is weak. Anyway, how do we live a life that is worthy of the Lord? Well, Paul answers that question in the fourth word of this verse, "this." What is "this"? You have to look at the previous verse: being filled with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. So, to live a life worthy of the Lord you must "know" Him! Paul thought it was important enough to include basically the same prayer in most if not all of his epistles (see also Ephesians 1:17, Philippians 3:8, 10). One can say that one of the main purposes (or the main purpose) of Christianity is to know God, to have a relationship with Him, to know Him as He really is. Paul understood this. His heart's cry was that he considered everything else on this earth in his life "rubbish compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus."

John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." Everybody knows that verse and can recite it in about 2.7 seconds. Now look at John 17:3. "This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent." So eternal life is not just living forever, but it is knowing God! What is the chief end of man? To know God and enjoy Him forever!

Now on to pleasing the Lord. Every believers' heart is to do this. We all want to please God. Again, how? By having a quiet time everyday? By reading Scripture everyday? By sharing your faith? I could go on and on. Paul thankfully gives us the answer: bear fruit and grow in the knowledge of Him. I have already touched on the importance of "knowing" God. I will add that in this part of the verse he uses the verb "growing". I wish I paid more attention in English class when they went over all the different tenses and conjugations of words. What I take from this is that growing in the knowledge of God is a constant process; it's not supposed to become stagnant. We will never know everything about God in our lifetime. I know that was pretty dumb and obvious statement, but it's so true. There is always more!!

Jesus commands us to bear fruit. John 15:8, "This is to My Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples" and John 15:16, "You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit-fruit that will last...". If we do bear fruit, not only will we please God, but we also have this wonderful promise, "the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name." Healings...done, a family member to come to know Christ...done, miracles...done, etc etc!! However, if you do not go out and bear fruit the Lord will cut you off from the one true vine! Two words...not good. Bearing fruit is not always easy. The Lord also promises that He will prune those who bear fruit. Pruning is not always a non-painful process. He will shake things that can be shaken; He will remove relationships from your life; you may become a martyr, you may leave the comforts of your home and family and live in a 3rd world country... who knows, you fill in the blank for your own life. Maybe you've been pruned already? There is one instruction though to continuing to bear fruit: remain in Him. You will not bear fruit unless you remain in Him (John 15:4). How do you remain in Him? Two words that go hand in hand: Intimacy and prayer. We must protect the place of intimacy and prayer if we are to remain in God because this is where you get to know God. Whatever your quiet times look like (ie. at night or in the morning, 2 hours or 15 minutes, etc), guard that and give yourself to it. We (and I say we because I am speaking directly to myself) must make time for it above everything else! For real write it down on your planner! Mike Bickle says we must make the time in our prayer closet/secret place and schedule for it during your day. He goes on to say that most people follow through about 80% of the time. But hey, 80% is better than not scheduling it and not getting around to it. Amen?

So what happens when we bear fruit? Well, just take a step back and think about the fruit of a tree. One, the tree is recognized by its fruit. Others will know that we are disciples by our fruit (by serving, by loving others, by obeying your parents, etc). Two, we are nourished by the fruit. Others will be encouraged and "nourished" by the fruit we bear. As you remain in Him, continually growing in the knowledge of Him, pleasing Him and bearing fruit, other people you come in contact with will be affected and encouraged. When you see this happen, you will be inspired to be in the secret place even more, and the cycle will continue, opening the highway for more of His heavenly blessings!!

Grace and peace.

Plugging away

Just wanted to take a quick minute and put in a plug for one of the greatest up-and-coming worship bands to come out of Athens and Marietta, The Fourth Man (ref. Daniel 3). I am being a little fecicious when saying "the greatest" but I do think we are pretty good. The band consists of myself on drums, Tate Welling and Elliott DeJarnett playing acoustic guitar and leading, Caroline Darnell singing, Harrison DeJarnett playing base, Aaron Biddle playing electric guitar, guy named Kyle playing keys (sorry forgot his last name) and either Jason Laiche or Aaron Vickroy on percussion. We are playing every weekend through March and are actually going to have T-shirts to sell (see picture - the design is similar to the one below but the fourth man on the shirt will be filled in with yellow -- shirts will be in "pacific blue" and "kelly green"). We've also written about 5 songs and hopefully will have a demo CD out soon. If anybody wants a shirt, just let me know what color and size. They will probably be around $12.

Sorry for the short blog. More insightful one to follow soon. But I will take the time now to thank my 2 friends that have posted comments to my blog (LARK and Bekah)! Whereas this blogging thing (or bling) isn't about or rest on the number of people who write me comments (otherwise I would have stopped a while ago), but it's always nice to have someone say they appreciate what I write and that they enjoy reading it. This isn't an attempt to coerce people into writing me comments. I'm just saying...

Grace and peace.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Michael Harper

Hello all. For those of you who don't know about Michael Harper, please read on and I'm begging you to pray for him. He is around 21 years old and has a type of cancer that originates in both bone and soft tissue. He was diagnosed roughly a year ago (maybe longer) when he went into the doctor after finding a lump on his collar bone. Him and his family went out to Houston to have the full gamet of treatments (surgery, radiation and chemotherapy). He was doing well and the doctors thought he was cured, but it came back in multiple other parts of his body, including his skull, lungs and shoulder again. Currently he is in the hospital (I believe back here in Marietta) and he is in desperate need of intercessors. Right now there is a 36 hour prayer vigil happening in Athens, GA at the Wesley Foundation where his sister, Leigh, works as a worship intern. From what I've gathered, he had multiple blood transfusions to booster his immune system in order to be treated with chemotherapy, which he received Wednesday night (Feb. 14th). The doctors are having difficulty keeping his heart rate down, controlling his pain level and regulating his breathing. I have heard of the possibility of Michael being placed on a ventilator. However, through it all, his spirits are inspiringly good. The doctors are unsure of what more they can do medically. BUT OUR GOD IS THE GREAT PHYSICIAN, JEHOVAH RAPHA!! Please please please begin (or continue) praying for Michael and his family. Pray for God's glory and renown to be made manifest in this situation. We are asking God for healing and He promises that whatever we ask for in His name will be given to us. Lord increase our faith to believe!!

Here are some Scriptures that you can pray for Michael:

James 5:13-15
Are any among you suffering? They should keep on praying about it. And those who have reason to be thankful should continually sing praises to the Lord. Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, annointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. And their prayer offered in faith will HEAL THE SICK, AND THE LORD WILL MAKE THEM WELL.

Malachi 4:2
But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.

Psalm 103
Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits... who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

Isaiah 53
Surely He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows...He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our His wounds we are HEALED.

Grace and peace.

Athens, GA...Oh how I love that place...

So I spent 2 days in Athens this week, and I realize everytime I'm there how special it is to my heart. Not just because I spent 7-8 some-odd years there, but because God is moving there. Having seen what it was like back in the early Tom Tanner days and having not lived there for the past 3 years, everytime I go back I see the mighty right hand of God resting on Athens. Take the Wesley Foundation for example: back in the day we met in a little room, with no air conditioning and about 50 people came (even less before I got there). Then God began moving in power and in a fresh annointing. He raised up one of the most annointed worship leaders I have ever had the priviledge to lead worship with, Kevin Mann. Kevin is one of my most favorite persons on this planet. I consider him my brother and my best friend. He definitely deserves a separate blog all to himself...that's how special he is. Anyway, I believe a revival started at Wesley back then and is still going today. I remember leading worship at a camp one summer and the speaker was from Omaha, Nebraska. We all introduced ourselves and said that we're from the Wesley Foundation. He immediately responded with, "Oh really?! I've heard about how God is moving mightily there, especially through the worship!" We were stunned! You mean to tell me that somebody we had never met before, in Omaha, has heard about the Wesley Foundation?! Even more, he's heard about the worship there, which I was a part of?! It was very humbling; that God was using someone as low as me to bring revelation of His Son to those who walked on the campus at UGA!

So yes, I do believe a revival began back then and is still going on to this day! Look at Wesley now. They average about 600-700 college students every Wednesday night; students that are going hard after God in worship and prayer, who are then being called to be faithful in both the mission field and workfield. It's not because of the number of students that attend Wesley that I say a revival is on-going, although it is impressive I must say. Students are coming in through Wesley, some devoted believers and some are non-believers that happened to come across there on a Wednesday night, and they are leaving there changed because God regularly shows up! They are becoming "leaders" at Wesley or other campus ministries or surrounding churches. Wesley has well over a hundred students on their leadership team and have about 40-50 interns! The room where we used to meet back in the day now is the intern office. Bible studies are being held in the different dormitories, the campus ministries are uniting together and the fire of heaven is falling! Please do not think that I'm implying God has done all He is going to do there. The beautiful thing about God is that there is always more! There are still tons of bars downtown, thousands of students who are lost! I believe God is going to blow through Athens with a fresh wind and a fresh fire (sooner rather than later) and the bars will become houses of worship and prayer! Lord do it!! He knows what a strategic battle ground college campuses are. His mighty warriors who will take the Gospel to all parts of the world are those who are in college now. There is a special calling and annointing on that age range, I truly believe this. His best wine has yet to be brought out (John 2:1-10)! So pray for Athens; pray that His mighty warriors who haven't encountered Him yet will!

I can't talk about Wesley without mentioning some very important people. First, Clay Kirkland. What can I say about him? Well one is that he is annointed! He is so in-tune with what God is saying and doing. He has a power and an authority that no one I know compares. I am truly blessed and encouraged everytime I speak to him and have the priviledge of having him pray for me! Second, his better half Deborah. Some of you ladies will have more testimonies than I do, but what I do know is that she is a PRAYER WARRIOR! She has a heart for intercession and has amazing compassion for everyone. Thirdly, Micah Eldridge. Micah is over the freshmen ministry at Wesley and he has a heart for raising up a new generation that will seek God and go hard after Him. God is using him, and will use him in a greater measure, to disciple and release other future disciple makers and world changers! And last but not least, Tate Welling. He is the worship leader there now. If I had to rank worship leaders that I have played with/led with, he's number 2 behind Kevin Mann. He has an annointing to lead others into the presence of our Almighty God!

Grace and peace.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

So Thankful

So here I am, sitting at my parents' computer and I begin to lucky I am to have my parents! They are such a huge blessing and they love me with an unconditional love. They have continued to stand behind me, through the good and bad, always willing to lend a listening ear or give the timely word of advice. My mom, she is the epitomy of strength. She has had to endure so much; anything ranging from 2 of her 3 sons being born with problems, to her dad and brother dying of cancer and one being recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Through it all though, I can truly see where God has been her strength and comfort. She is definitely a woman of noble character. My dad, he is one of my best friends. He has a great sense of humor and the man is wise. No doubt he will be my best man whenever I get married. Probably one of the best moments of my life was the day I found out I got into veterinary school. Of course it was a great accomplishment being accepted, but what I will forever remember from that day is after I called my dad to tell him the good news he said, "Son, I am so proud of you." There is nothing better than hearing those words; it just does something deep down in your spirit and soul. So I have been blessed. My parents have indeed raised me up and instructed me in the way I should go (Proverbs). They have been so loving and encouraging, and have been tremendous role models for me.

Anyway, both pictures above were taken back in 2004 at Christmas. From left to right: my dad, me, my younger brother Steven, my mom and my older brother Andy. The next picture is our annual "crazy" picture. As you can see, I felt the need to show my rear!

Man I love these guys.

Grace and peace.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007


I was going to wait until tomorrow to blog about wisdom, but I decided to go ahead and write. I know it's 2:30 in the morning, but I'm awake and in a writing groove, a wroove if you will...I know that was stupid, but hey, it's 2:30am!

About a month ago, the Lord took me through a period where He taught me a lot about wisdom. In James 1:5-6 it says, "If you are lacking wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt." Also, in the first 8 or 9 chapters of Proverbs, most of what it talks about is wisdom. Chapter 8 though is what entralled my heart. It says in verse 12, "I, wisdom....". As you read that chapter, you soon realize that the I is Jesus. Jesus = Wisdom. Therefore, to have wisdom means to have Jesus and when you find wisdom, you find Jesus. It goes on in that chapter saying, "I was appointed from eternity, from the beginning, before the world began...I was there when he set the heavens into place...I was the craftsman at his side...rejoicing in his whole world and delighting in mankind...". Therefore, Wisdom was present/there before the world was even created. You can go even farther by saying that the other attributes of God (love, peace, joy, understanding, self-control, etc) were present and active before we were even created! This is so hard for my mind to wrap around. Simply put, to have/understand God's attributes, we need to know Jesus! And right now, I don't know Him. I mean I know Him, but I really don't KNOW Him...if that makes sense? So where do you start? In Proverbs 1 (also in Proverbs 9:10, 15:33) it says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom...well that i guess is my answer. But then the question can be raised, what does it mean to fear the Lord? It means to stand in awe of Him, revere Him, know that He is faithful in all circumstances and trust in His unfailing love, in His promises, which He is always faithful in fulfilling! So it is more than just asking for Wisdom, it's asking and searching to know Jesus! "Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well" (Matthew 6:33).

Proverbs 8:35 "For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the Lord."

So Beloved, Jesus is all that you need. If you are searching for wisdom, seek Jesus and you WILL find wisdom. God, I want to know You, I want to know Your Son! Lord fill me with the knowledge of Your Son.

Grace and peace.

Colossians 1:9

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.

Alright for all of those who read this, I'm back on the Colossians study. I have been stuck on this verse for a while now. I just can't seem to get past it! Verse 9 has so much to it, and I'm going to do my best to unpack it.

In the first part of this verse, it says that Paul and his companions had been praying consistently for them since the day they heard of the Colossians' reception of the Word of God. Again this shows the amazing heart of Paul...he was a man of prayer. He lived out I Thessalonians 5:17, "pray continually." This convicted me because I've realized that my prayer life is fairly inept. I mean, yes I do pray, but do I consistently come to the throneroom of grace? No. Do I consistently venture into my secret place to meet and commune with God? No. I do find myself, probably others do too, rattling off a Santa Claus-like wish list prayer, then make a mental check mark in the empty box in my head...Pray...check, done and done, then go about my daily business. Persistence in prayer and taking time to listen to God are things I struggle with. However, this is something I truly long for and God is birthing in me. In Psalm 109:4, David says, "but I am a man of prayer." I want to be known by this, not necessarily by other people (although that would be nice as well...not in the prideful sense), but more of an internal confidence where I know every aspect of my life is bathed in prayer. Nothing happens except through prayer. God's will for your life cannot be fulfilled except through a prayer-filled walk with the Lord.

Then in the latter part of this verse, Paul specifically asked that God would give them full and exact
knowledge of all His desires for them. The Greek word translated "knowledge" is epignosis. This word can mean "full knowledge, a super-knowledge or a more precise knowledge." Paul refers to a full and comprehensive knowledge of God's will that rests on the knowledge of God and of Christ. Gnosis ("knowledge") was a favorite term of the gnostic philosophers (Gnostics - pretty creative name, huh?), and Paul undoubtedly had them in mind when he prayed for epignosis for his readers. The Gnostics in Colosse were evidently promoting what they called a deeper knowledge attainable only by the privileged few. The false teachers promised the Colossian believers that they would be 'in the know' if they accepted the new doctrines. Words like knowledge, wisdom, and spiritual understanding were a part of their religious vocabulary, which is possibly why Paul used these words in his prayer. The "will" (thelematos) of God is what God has revealed in His Word to be correct regarding both belief (faith) and behavior (works, morality, etc) -- See also Col. 4:12, Acts 22:14, Romans 12: 2. In the broadest sense, the will of God is the whole purpose of God revealed in Christ. One of the most desirable objectives of believers must be to know God's will. So, this knowledge included wisdom (the broadest term covering the whole range of mental faculties) and understanding (how to apply wisdom in specific cases).
'Wisdom' and 'understanding' probably should not be treated separately but should be looked on as expressing a single thought, something like practical wisdom or clear discernment.

As I mentioned above, I have been stuck on this verse for weeks. Not only for the "Lord let me be a consistent prayer" aspect of it, but also because of the word "all;" that God would fill you with the knowlegde of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. Could the "all" here refer to the many different ways God reveals Himself and His will? Avenues such as His voice, the Word, prophetic words, dreams, visions, and other believers to name a few. So when we ask for wisdom, should we also ask for these avenues? I don't think we need to concentrate our specific prayers for them, but rather recognize the fact God can reveal His wisdom in whatever form or fashion He prefers, and also that He will reveal it in His own timing. This part can be frustrating because we as humans in our Western mind-set, need to know things now. We don't like not knowing. God longs to reveal His will to us. In Ephesians 1:9-10 it says, "And He made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ, to be put into full effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment." What we can take from this is that it is God's pleasure, it is His joy, to reveal His will for our lives. It is something He longs to do. But, He will reveal this mystery when the times have reached their fulfillment. This is where persistence in prayer comes into play. We must know that His timing is perfect! A personal example of this (and I'm not blowing smoke up my rear) is that I prayed for years and years for a reason why God allowed difficult things to happen in my life. But, 10-some odd years later, 1999 to be exact, (in Valdosta, GA while a young lady named Janet Shealy was speaking), a clear voice spoke to me, "Justin, this is why these things happened..." I was overwhelmed with joy and peace. Did I question God for His timing? No. I realized later on that summer why He waited until then to answer my prayer. His timing was perfect! Why do we doubt and get frustrated? It's hard I know. But, as Proverbs 15:23 says, "how good is a timely word!"

I've realized that I wrote a good bit here, but I have so much more to share on wisdom. It will have to wait until my next post because I know that readers tend to zone out and lose interest when they are reading something long (at least I do...which is why I didn't do very well in English class!). Anyway, until next time...

Grace and peace.

Monday, February 5, 2007


This past Sunday's message David spoke was really good. So good in fact, I decided to type up my notes as a blog entry. If you weren't there, read along and I'm sure you will be encouraged as I was.

Mark 4:35-41
That day when evening came, He said to His disciples, "Let us go over to the other side." Leaving the crowd behind, they took Him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with Him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?"

He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to His disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?" They were terrified and asked each other, "Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey Him!"

Every believer, and non-believer for that matter, will go through hard times. It's a fact of life. I will go on a tangent here and say that as I typed that last sentence, the theme music for the show The Facts of Life just ran through my head. For those of you who are old enough to remember that show, I'm sure right now as you're reading this the theme music is going through your head as well...sorry! But I digress. The "furious squall" the disciples found themselves in can be compared to a hurricane. Massive amounts of wind and rain, waves that were 30-50 feet high. I don't know if any of you have ever been through a hurricane, but they are frightening. Growing up in Florida, I went through several hurricanes and they were scary. But I was in the safe confines of my home, or in the more severe ones, we went to my dad's hospital and spent the night there in his office. You can hear the wind howl and the constant loud cracks of trees snapping in two. I can't imagine the shear dread the disciples were feeling being out in the middle of the open water in the middle of this hurricane. I'll admit, when I first became a Christian, I for-real thought that my life was going to be all peaches-n-cream from here on out. I'll go even farther to say that I'm sure most new Christians believe this too. They then realize, as I did, that this is totally not the case! In fact, life gets a little harder unfortunately, whether by divine destiny or just attacks from the enemy (read Job). Divine destiny? Yes. Take this passage for example. Jesus took them out on the boat. He's the one that said, "Let us go over to the other side." Hurricanes will come in your life, no doubt. As I've said before, seasons are difficult, but necessary. You may be going through a season right now in your life where you would describe it as being a hurricane. Or, you may describe it as being a desert. However you portray it, know that God longs to show Himself true and strong in the situation. One of the most discouraging things about being in a hurricane is that you have no control over the boat! You are at the mercy of the storm. You did nothing to cause it; you can't do anything about it, and you can't stop it! I say this is one of the most discouraging things, but you know what, it's the perfect place for you to be. We are in a society now where we find ourselves saying, "Just let me do it." Things are chaotic at work..."just let me try and fix things." Relationship struggles..."just let me try and do things to make it right." Whatever we try to do on our own power and strength will fail. The waves will continue to get higher and higher, and the wind and rain will become even more devastating.

So what are we supposed to do? Let's look back at the passage. It says first that Jesus was asleep in the back of the boat...or maybe He was pretending to sleep, I don't know? If He was truly asleep, that man Jesus was a heavy sleeper! Then the disciples went to wake him up. I wonder how long it took for them to finally realize, "hey, we need to wake up Jesus!" I wonder if they tried to "ride it out" in hopes of it getting better on its own? Sometimes we do this. "I'll deal with it just one more day," then we hope that the next day is better than the former. Or maybe we do this because we don't want to bother God with our problems? Anyway you look at it, the important thing is this: Jesus is not concerned with storms or hurricane, nor even the desert. The thing Jesus was concerned about was the disciples' hearts. He wanted the disciples to come wake Him up! The disciples asked Jesus, "don't You care if we drown?" Other translations say, "don't You care if we die?" Do you know that He DOES care if you drown? Maybe you don't know this? The key is to not pretend that you do, you are not helping're not fooling God! Just ask the question...He is waiting on you to simply come and ask Him.

Now let's take a look at Jesus' response: with just 3 words everything was restored; the storm was calmed! "Why are you afraid?" Jesus asked. He then ties this to their faith. He was looking at their heart! Again I'll ask, do you trust Him? When you are in a hurricane or desert, you CANNOT fix it! Will you draw back in fear? Or, will you go to him? He's here! He's in your boat (if you are a believer). The Word says that He will never leave or forsake you! If you are not a believer, then maybe you are one of the other boats that went out with them (v. 36). Know this, He wants to get in your boat!!

In v. 41 it says that the disciples were "terrified." This word here in the original text is not the same word used in v. 40. The word used in v. 40 means a "cowardly fear." The only other reference to this type of fear is in Revelation 21. The meaning of the word "terrified" used in v. 41 means a "fear of God; reverance." This word is used throughout the Bible, especially in the Old Testament. The disciples revered Jesus in how He was able to calm the storm.

So again, rest assured that hurricanes WILL come in your life, but will you trust God? Will you fear Him with a Holy reverance of His sovereignty? God will use these times to show Himself strong! Some of the most profound encounters with God, where you truly meet Him, will be during times when you are in the valley; in the depths of your very being. So hold on Beloved! Help is in your boat!! Go to Him; trust Him!

Grace and peace.

Saturday, February 3, 2007


Here's a song I wrote last night. It's a congregational worship song. If you feel led, please let me know what you think, or if you think it needs some changes. Thanks.

Grace and peace.

Be Exalted
Justin Boggs

Capo 4

Come let us exalt Him
Let us praise His name together
We exalt You God and we will sing
Because You reign
Because You reign

Be exalted
Be lifted high
Oh God You reign
Now and forever
We bow down
With hands lifted high
We say You reign
Now and forever

With a shout of praise and songs of joy
We lift Your name on high
Arise oh Lord
Let Your Kingdom come
We say You reign
We say You reign

Thursday, February 1, 2007

I know, I know...

It has been a little while since I last blogged. There has been so much going on in my life that I had to take a reprieve and deal with things before I felt comfortable sitting back down in front of a computer to spew my thoughts and feelings out. I guess I probably could have used a different word besides "spew" but that's what I first thought of, and sometimes a good thoughts/feelings spewing is needed. Well, this blog has now changed directions completely. I was going to talk about how I've been since I had to euthanize one of my dogs. But, I just got a call from my mom who told me that my uncle Wayne, her brother, has pancreatic cancer. She really didn't understand the gravity of the situation. She tried to pronounce the type of cancer he has, and as soon as she tried to say the long medical word, my heart immediately sank down into my belly. Sometime it sucks knowing what I know about medicine! To put it bluntly, pancreatic cancer lends a grave prognosis. I had to be honest and up-front with my mom...I told her that pancreatic cancer is bad news. She then started crying and I tried to tell her to not lose hope and to be strong! Miracles can happen! She had to get off the phone and I told her that I'm here for her if she needs anything. I then called my uncle Gary in Jacksonville, FL who is a doctor and talked to him a while. You see, Wayne underwent surgery today at the hospital where Gary works, and they had to perform a very difficult procedure to take out his pancreas and they had to take out his kidney as well. Gary spoke to Wayne's surgeon and he told me that Wayne actually had 2 primary cancers - the one in his pancreas and he had a separate type of cancer in his kidney. The picture being painted becomes more grim in my head. I'm back to the age-old question, "Why God?" Then I immediately thought of Job who said, "Though he slay me, still I will trust him!" Oh how I long for the day when cancer no longer kills. I believe that day is coming. But for now, please join me in asking God for His power and glory to be displayed in the healing of Wayne. God longs to heal. God longs to display His glory. I'm reminded of a passage in Mark 1 (v. 40-42) where a man with leprosy comes up to Jesus and says, "If you are willing, you can make me clean." It then says, Jesus, being FILLED with compassion, says "I am willing." Our God is a compassionate God! He is capable of the impossible and is willing to DO the impossible! So to those who read this blog, please pray for Wayne and his wife Sue. Also, lift up my mom's family during this difficult time. Only God can bring the comfort and peace they need.

I will leave you with verses that God spoke over me with to encourage me:

Zephaniah 3:17-18 -- "The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. (The Lord then says) The sorrows...I will remove from you."

Grace and peace.