Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sunday Sunday, na na na

Sorry about the title of this blog. It was the first thing I thought of when I was thinking of a tile for my Sunday recap. And I know that it is supposed to be Monday Monday (na na, nanana), but I still hope it leaves you humming that jingle in your head for a few minutes. So, I haven't sat down and wrote down my thoughts for a week or two and as I sit down on my sofa before I call it a day and read some of the Good Book, I felt like recapping my day.

First, it was Mission Sunday at church today. Here they announced the different mission trips the church is taking in 2008. Teams are heading to India, Ghana, Guatemala, Spain, Camp Hope, Born Again Blessings (local ministry here in Marietta, and last and certainly not least, Scotland! Annie Downs, Katie Bedingfield, Tom Tanner and myself have the wonderful opportunity to lead a team back to Scotland to put on another youth camp. I've yet to sit down and compile my thoughts and emotions from last year's camp. In one word...amazing! For more day-by-day details you can check out the blog, I'm just going to touch on a few things that ministered to me the most. To start, the youth are stinkin incredible. From the first day we arrived there the kids befriended us and opened up to us. There wasn't that day or two of awkwardness. Their hearts were so soft and open to whatever we were doing, and more importantly, to whatever God was doing! Scotland is a very dark country and the younger generation is forgotten in man's eyes. But thankfully, not in God's eyes. He has amazing Kingdom plans for the youth there. Scotland has had numerous revivals, but none of them have stood the test of time because the church is dead. I'm being honest, the church is almost non-existent. There are a few there that are thriving (like the one we are working with), but a majority of them are simply cold. There have been numerous prophetic words given to missionaries and pastors over there saying God is bringing another revival to Scotland, and He is going to do it through the youth. After being there, I believe it with my whole heart. Over half of the members of the church we are working with are youth! And let me tell you, the youth of this church are going to move mountains in Scotland, bringing God's glory and the Kingdom of Heaven to Scotland and to the ends of the earth!

During the camp, I had the priviledge of leading worship. If you don't know me, my heart is broken for the younger generation and I have a longing to see youth truly grasp what it means to WORSHIP. So I had a bird's eye view of how God moved in and transformed many lives that week. The first night of worship was tough. Most of them just sat there and watched me, Andrew Taulbee and Elizabeth Smith lead songs. However, as the week progressed, their hearts opened, and God began to take a hold of their lives! This was definitely made evident in the worship services. Each night more and more youth remained standing, some even closed their eyes! Crazy I know. But then on Thursday night, heaven broke open. That night Annie had an awesome talk on Worship; that there is more to worship than just singing's how you live your life. Worship is laughing with your friends. Worship is being alone in nature, sitting in awe of God's creation. Worship is reading your Bible. Worship is honoring your parents. Worship is being a friend to the lonely. Worship is serving others. Worship is gathering together and lifting up the only Name that is worthy to be lifted up. And that is what we did. I swear, after Annie's message we worshipped for close to 2 and a half hours! Guys and girls, young and old, stood in awe of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, with arms high and their heart completely abandoned to Him. Some were on their knees. Some wept. Some had an overwhelming joy written all over their faces. I stood there and soaked it all in. I was so thankful of the opportunity God gave me to be a part of the beginning of a huge move of God sweeping across Scotland. It got to a point that night where I was literally out of songs to play. I even had to ask for requests! Well...I tried to ask, my voice was pretty much shot! Even after the service ended the kids continued to worship together in their rooms (and showers!). Tears welled up in my eyes as I walked the halls and heard boys, whose ages ranged from 8-15, sing with all of their heart Love Song, Holy, For Who You Are and Blessed be Your Name. I will say it was more of singing and crying mixed together, but it was still altogether beautiful and moving.

I can't wait to go back! We are leaving July 9th and returning July 23rd, with a youth camp stuck in the middle. Our goal this time is to not just have our team put on the camp, but to really get the adult leaders over there involved. We want to teach and train them to put on youth camps in the future on their own so if there ever comes a day when we don't make the trip to Scotland, they will be fully prepared to keep it going. Don't get me wrong, I believe Riverstone (and myself) will be involved with putting on annual youth camps for many years to come. But this is truly a partnershp; Riverstone partnering with their church, as we both partner with God and jump into His river that is flowing through Scotland.

So if reading this moves your heart, join us. Join us as we pour into the youth of Scotland to bring God's light to a dark country; to breath life into the dead and dry bones!

I'll leave you with one of the most profound statements I have ever heard (and it came from one of the youth):

"I felt the love of 5 million people, then I realized it was just God." WOW!

Grace and peace.

Monday, September 17, 2007

You Got me Dancin...

This morning was so much fun and an incredible blessing. The worship band I play in (The Fourth Man) led worship at Riverstone Church. There was such a sweet spirit during the worship, and there was an intensity in the congregation (yes, even the 9am crowd) that I haven't seen in a while! Most of the band was there, minus a few folk: Aaron Biddle on lead, Kyle Hutcheson on keys, and the ever-talented, always funny Jason Laiche on percussion. But, we had the tasty lick-laying Nate Bedingfield sitting in on lead guitar. Anyway, our set list was:

Not to Us (Tomlin)
Hungry (Falling on My Knees) - Vineyard
Free (chorus by Tate Welling)
Holy (Vineyard)
Victory in Jesus (the 9am service was dancing around! Crazy I know!)
Lord of Lords (Hillsong's new album Saviour King)
Prince of Peace (chorus)

Ministry Time:
It is You (acoustic) - Newsboys
Better is One Day
No Sweeter Name (Throneroom worship, Kari Jobe - listen to her please!!)
Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)

Anyway, I really do not know why I'm posting about this except for that I had fun and I'm proud to be a part of this worship band/team. Each person's heart for worship and the Lord is so encouraging to be around; and the leadership of Tate, Elliott and Caroline is amazing. I hope we are able to come back soon and lead again. We had numerous people come up to us afterwards and tell us how refreshing worship was to them and how they enjoyed learning new(er) songs. So, I am thankful that the Lord brought this team together and I'm humbly and boldly asking for more!

Welp, that's all I got. Kind of random but I'm proud.

Grace and peace.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

You have to watch this...

I don't know if you have heard of the amazingly terrible show called America's Got Talent, but it's the one that has David Hasselhoff as a judge deciding on who has talent or not. Could they not find anybody else?! David Hasselhoff?!! What were they thinking? Yeah...talent is the first thing I think of when I think of David Hasselhoff...

Anyway, there is the exact same show over in Europe, creatively called Britain's God Talent. On the show they had a quiet, humble cell phone salesman on whose talent was singing. I'll just let you be the judge. If you are not inspired or brought to tears, then you need to place 2 fingers up to your neck and check your pulse!

Check it out.

Grace and Peace.

Piedmont Park Overtaking

I just got back from watching a concert at Piedmont Park with Emily and 55 some odd thousand other folk. The lineup was incredible. The evening got started with the Allman Brothers playing for 2 hours. It was their first time back to Piedmont Park, where they got their jump-start, since 1969! They were good; playing most of their classics. Derek Trucks played with them. That dude can tear up a guitar! The Brothers finished off their set with Whipping Post...awesome. Then the stage was set for the Dave Matthews Band. I love watching them in concert not just because every single one of them is freagin incredibly talented, but they have such a stage presence and energy to their music. If I wasn't groovin to the music, my eyes and/or mouth were wide open as I watched Carter Beauford, perhaps the best drummer around, tear it up. He has so much fun playing. Almost every time the camera showed him playing he was smiling or laughing. I only wish I could do a 1/4 of what he can do with a drum set.

If I can take one spiritual thing away from this concert, it would be this: Like I said, there were about 55,000 people there and they were all pouring their hearts, souls and their very beings into the music that was being played. I couldn't help but think that one day there will be worship gatherings at places like Piedmont Park or other big stadiums, where there will be thousands upon thousands of people pouring their very beings out to God. I can't wait. I know it will happen. Are you with me?

Anyway, I'm about to finish watching the UGA-South Carolina game and I'm a little disappointed. No, make that a lot disappointed. Well at least Auburn lost too!!

Grace and Peace.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Oh to know that I know that I know...

Ok, this post is one where I throw out some thoughts I'm trying to arrange in my little noggin about what I'm currently reading in the Good Book. So I've spent the past week reading II Peter and the first chapter has left me, well, a little, no a lot, humbled. It has also made me realize a lot about myself that I need to work on. Specifically verses 2-4:

"Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires."

I have read these verses over and over, dissecting them phrase by phrase, trying to fully understand what Peter is trying to say. So here is what I got so far: #1, it is only because of HIS glory and HIS goodness do we have access to His divine power. Then, it is this divine power through which He WILL meet all of our needs. But an important aspect to remember is that these needs are met and His power is made available through knowing Him. Next, "through these...". What are the "these" Peter's talking about? I have to assume that the "these" is the Lord's glory and goodness. So through His glory and goodness He gives us very great and precious promises. Also, we can deduce that we learn of these promises as we get to know Him better. And finally, again through the promises He gives because of His glory and goodness we can participate in His divine nature. Christians become partakers of God's very nature by faith in His promises. God's nature in us manifests the likeness of God and Christ through us. It also gives us power enabling us to overcome the temptations of lust that result in corruption of our very beings.

So, we can participate in His divine nature through His very great and precious promises via His glory and goodness, which we are made aware of by the knowledge of Him, who will provide for all of our needs as we continue to attempt to know Him. Does that make sense? Even as I write it I'm a little confused and I'm scared I'm not making much sense. I could use some help here!

At any rate, I'm left with the feeling that I do not know Him. I remember writing something similar when I was going through Colossians (which I know I didn't finish blogging about...give me a break people!). Anyway, I have this renewed feeling of inadequacy; inadequate in my knowledge of Him. A simple prayer, Lord I want to know You...I need to know You. I want Your divine nature to be united with my own human nature. Rather, I want Your divine nature to overcome and replace my human nature. But, I need to know You!

To go even further and possibly take me a little lower, in verse 2 Peter says, "Grace and peace be yours in ABUNDANCE through the KNOWLEDGE OF HIM..."! Enough said.

I will end this undoubtedly confusing post with one last scripture. We all can recite John 3:16, "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." But there is one other verse that explains what eternal life is...check this out:

John 17:3 - (this is Jesus praying) "Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent." So eternal life = knowing God and Jesus! Hey, I just realized that this is one of His very great and precious promises that we can participate in through the knowledge of Him, who called us by His glory and goodness!

Oh MY goodness yall!

Grace and Peace.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Follow the leader...

Brad, I'm following your lead with this post. I went and saw the Bourne Ultimatum tonight and I must say it was a VERY good movie. The action was intense and it brought everything together from the first 2 movies. Here is my question to my readers (however many there may be), what are some of your favorite trilogies. I've found that the 3rd movie is usually the best or close to the best of the Spiderman, Lord of the Rings, and yes, even the likes of Back to the Future and Austin Powers (but the first one was definitely the best). Your thoughts?

Grace and Peace.