Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Neat story...

Please read this story linked below. You tell me if you didn't tear up a little...I did.

Click on "Read story" below:

Read story

Grace and peace.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Real quick

I just want to give a shout out to Daniel Bashta. He led worship this morning at Riverstone and it was intense, powerful and engaging. If you don't know who Daniel Bashta is, then do yourself a favor and check out his website and read about him. He has incredible heart and even more incredible gifting. Plus my friends, his EP/CD is free to upload (plus his chord charts). Trust me when I say that you will love his cd. I've had it for almost a year now and I never grow tired of it! [which is something I cannot say about most of my other cds]

Grace and peace.

Monday, December 1, 2008

I Need Africa...Part Deux

About a week ago I posted on why I need Africa more than Africa needs me, how they live out the very nature of Christ [Philippians 2] and how just looking at their land, the country our very creative Creator created [a little alliteration for your reading pleasure], drops my jaw and brings a tear to my eye. I hope you took my challenge and wrote about how much you need Africa! Or at least I hope you clicked on the links to read more about this amazing campaign [if not, you still can click on the little square box in the upper right hand corner of my blog...see it? Yep, that one...click on it...]

Well, here are some more thoughts from the founder of Mocha Club:

When I think of Africa, the following images immediately come to mind: Starvation. AIDS. Child soldiers. Genocide. Sex slaves. Orphans. From there, my thoughts naturally turn to how I can help, how I can make a difference.

“I am needed here?” I think.

“They have so little, and I have so much.”

It’s true, there are great tragedies playing out in Africa everyday. There is often a level of suffering here that is unimaginable until you have seen it, and even then it is difficult to believe. But what is even harder is reconciling the challenges that many Africans face with the joy I see in the people. It’s a joy that comes from somewhere I cannot fathom, not within the framework that has been my life to this day. [read more]

And after you "read more", check out this video:



So there you go. Let's show the world how much we [America] need Africa!!

They also have these very sweet, nifty shirts you can purchase from the website. Check 'em out!. I'm getting one [I love me some shirts!]



Grace and peace

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I just want to say...



















HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

What are you thankful for?

Grace and peace.

Monday, November 24, 2008

I Need Africa!

I was asked by Mocha Club to write about the concept of why ‘I need Africa more than Africa needs me.’ Mocha Club (www.mochaclub.org) is a community-based website where members can start a team and invite friends to join them in giving $7 a month (the cost of 2 mochas) to support a project in Africa. Mocha Club's vision is to provide a way for people who don't have hundreds or thousands of dollars to make a difference in Africa.

So, do I need Africa?! Great question! And yes, I most certainly do!! But why? Another great question. Well for one, I have never met a more genuine, self-less people group in my entire life. Back in 2000 I spent 3 weeks in Africa. Everyday I had numerous people ask to carry something for me (guitar, baggage, etc) or do something for or help me out in any way, shape or form. It really made me think of how selfish I can be. Sometimes I get caught up in, "what can this person or that person, do FOR me?" and not think of how I could (and should) serve them. The people of Africa embody the heart of Jesus Christ...they serve!

Is there another reason why I need Africa? Oh you...yes! In my world that is full of concrete, skyscrapers and traffic, Africa is a breath of fresh air (no pun intended...wait, maybe some pun)! The land is so beautiful. Taking in all of the features of the land (the mountains, the flatlands, the rivers, the waterfalls, the coastline) and the animals cause a sensory overload! Every time I turn around there is another incredible view.

So I've shared with some of the reasons why I NEED Africa. Now it's your turn. Share your thoughts in my comments; shoot, even blog about it yourself. Join in the worthwhile cause of recasting the damaging images that force pity over partnership.

But that's not all! Come back Dec 1st to see what Mocha Club is doing about reforming that image.



Grace and peace.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Challenge

This is my challenge to you (however many of you read this little blog):

Take a gander at your calendar or planner and for each day set up an "appointment" to sit and listen to God. I heard Mike Bickle say that if you schedule it on your planner, then you will follow-through with the "appointment" 80% of the time. I don't know about you, but 80% sounds better than 3-5% (or 0%)...

I have been doing this lately (ie. the past week) and it has been really good. The Lord is faithful and He is trustworthy. He will honor your diligence and speak to your heart. But I pray that it doesn't turn into a religious thing and that it doesn't turn into an "i have to..." chore. Those thoughts are from the enemy. Rebuke them as soon as they come into your mind...

During some of these times, really try to quiet your mind and your heart and listen. When you are in the Word, ask Jesus to open the Scriptures to you and speak through the written Word. You don't need a commentary on each and every book in the Bible. Instead, before you start reading, just pray that the Lord would speak to you through the Scriptures and show you new things concerning His heart. He likes that prayer...

Try it out. Even if it is for just a week and let me know how it went and if the Lord spoke to you...

Grace and peace

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Your Very Word Spoken to Me

It seems as lately I'm always posting after a Sunday morning service. I can't help it. I mean the Lord is moving in our body at Riverstone. This morning was no different. Worship was Emmanuel, God with us! There is really no other way to describe it. The Lord showed up and fulfilled His promise that if we draw near to Him, He will most certainly draw near to us. And let me tell you, He was near! The main set started off with Sweetly Broken by Jeremy Riddle [awesome], then we went into Lord of Lords by Hillsong. The bridge of that song moves me into His throneroom like no other. It is a cry that we will be singing for eternity..."Holy Lord, You are Holy...Jesus Christ is the Lord!" Enough said. After that we did With Everything, another song by Hillsong. Even though we've done that song a lot lately, it still is a very intense and powerful song. The last song of the main set was a song off of Chris Tomlin's new cd, "Hello Love." The song is called "Exalted (Yaweh)." You know there are some songs out there where you want to keep singing it over and over again [a lot of Chris Tomlin's songs are like that...what can I say? He is an anointed song writer]. The chorus of this song goes as follows:

"Yaweh, Holy is Your Name"

That's it. Simple yet so powerful. Again, we are joining with the angels and elders gathered around the throne proclaiming the truth that our God, Yaweh, is Holy!

The congregation was as engaged as I have ever witness them being in a long time. At the end we just sang the chorus without any instrumentation. I took out my in-ear monitor and just listened to them belt this out at the top of their lungs. It gave me goose-bumps [even as I type this I'm getting goose-bumps]. The only response I could muster up was to get on my knees and adore the only One who is worthy. I felt a little closer to heaven at that moment.

Afterwards we as a worship team gathered together and prayed. The Holy Spirit came upon me in a for real way. I literally started trembling. I was holding a Coke in my hand and I had to put it down because I was afraid I was going to drop it or spill it. I felt like there should be a word in tongues, but I didn't know if I was supposed to do it because I don't believe that is one of my spiritual gifts. Granted I know that the Lord can bestow spiritual gifts on a believer for a particular time and it's not one of their spiritual gifts. Does that make sense? So needless to say, I didn't do it and in hindsight I wish I would have. Any way that's not the point [even though the Lord wants us to be bold...and I dropped the ball...then I kicked the ball...thank goodness for grace!].

The Lord then spoke to me saying, "This is the kind of worship I desire. The kind of worship I look throughout the earth for. I long for worship that is grounded in complete abandonment of WHO I AM because I am the I AM. My heart is moved by genuine and authentic worship. But, this worship should not just be on Sunday mornings. Do not neglect your secret, private life of worship for this will prepare you for the public life of worship. Do not forsake the private. Do not forsake the intimate moments between Me and you, just Me and you; for I AM there. Do not lose the abandonment of worship during the week. For I AM there."

I am fearful right now trying to add anything more to what the Lord said. But take heed people. When a community of believers come together in unity to put a big fat exclamation point on what the Lord has done in our lives during the week ["exclamation point" quote compliments of Charlie Hall], the results will be a Spirit-led, Spirit-filled, miracle happening, soul claiming, spirit lifting, heart bowing, God-speaking, God-inhabiting service!

Do not neglect the secret, private place of worship! This is going to look different for each and every person, so I am not going to give you a "how-to" or "7-step" manual for what you should do during your secret life of worship. You know what moves you. You know what best puts you into His presence. Find it. Do it. You will no doubt see the floodgates of heaven open up and pour all over you. You will ooze the water and oil and fire of His presence. Doesn't that sound good?!

So what are you waiting for?

Grace and peace.

Side note: Check out Steve Hambrick's message from this morning. Oh my gosh, so good!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Great sermon...

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!"
Philippians 4:4

Perfect follow-up verse to my previous post. Rejoice in the Lord...ALWAYS! Rejoicing, or worshiping, when things are not going good is the key to tapping into the river of life and comfort that flows from the Lord's throne. Then...then my friends will the peace of God, which overcomes any anxious thought, GAURD your hearts and your minds. Worshiping the Lord in times of plenty and in times of drought welcomes in the Lion of Judah [the word "Judah" actually means "praise"] to the gates of your heart and he is perched there, guarding against the flaming darts of doubt, of worry, of anxiety, of stress and of fear. Pause for a second and get that picture in your mind...a roaring Lion protecting your heart. Wow!

If you were not at Riverstone this morning, please go to Riverstone's website and listen to Mark Nysewander's sermon. It was excellent and so pertinent to today's world. You will be encouraged and blessed for sure.

Also, my good friend Brad posted an incredible speech by Sarah Palin. It is the subject of the speech alone that has captured my vote for Senator McCain and Governor Palin. Check it out.

Grace and peace.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I don't understand...

...life sometimes. I totally trust in the Lord's goodness and His faithfulness to make all things good and give good gifts to His children. But life, real life, is hard sometimes. I'm trying not to get too philosophical or whatever on you guys, but there are times where I have to just sit in silence and ponder on the age-old question...Why? One of my very good friends just lost his brother in a car accident...why? Sure there is a light that is going to come out of this apparent darkness, but why? Anybody feel me? The Lord does work in mysterious ways and the Lord is grieving with and comforting my friend. But sometimes I just don't understand. My friend is so strong in his faith in the Lord and as I was praying for Him today, I had a sense that the Lord is very near to him and is going to whisper encouraging, love-inspired words into his ears and heart. There's no better comfort than the Lord's comfort...

Anyway, you can look at the world today and ask that same age-old question about any one of them...

War...why?

Crime...why?

Abortion...why?

Hate...why?

The economy...why?

Hunger...why?

AIDS...why?

I think I could go on and on and on...and that makes me sad. For real.

But...BUT...I trust in the Lord's goodness. He is such a faithful God and He is bigger than any and every one of the many horrible, tragic, awful, painful circumstances we encounter or will ever encounter. Nothing is too big for HIm and nothing ever, ever, ever surprises Him. Pray, listen, cry, laugh, read the Word and never forget to worship. The worship of God ALWAYS wins the day!

Grace and peace.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Quirky-Tag

So I was tagged to offer some quirky tid-bits about myself. Here they are in no particular order...

1) I like to have all the clocks in the house to be exactly the same. I mean I will stand next to the microwave and wait for the clock on the oven to change and sync the microwave as fast as I can with the oven clock. There is one exception though. My bedroom clock is set faster than the other clocks. Mainly this is a mental game against myself. I set it faster so I can hit the snooze a few more times and get a few extra "z"s.

2) Again with the microwave (I guess your getting the picture that I use my microwave a lot...those dinners are good!)...I like to heat my food up for odd times. For example, if the box says heat on high for 2 minutes 30 seconds, I'll do 2 minutes 33 seconds.

3) After reading about a friend of mine's quirkiness, I now realize that there are a lot of people out there who share this same characteristic. I tend to rub my feet together when I'm laying around. I like it. It soothes me. Someone picked up on this one time and asked if my mother rubbed my feet when I was little. I don't remember (read #7 from the previous post).

4) I have a shower routine and for the most part, a morning routine, that I do pretty much every morning. No need to go into details about the shower routine...just trust me that it is the same every day.

5) When I pray, I tend to hear the Lord better when I'm moving around. I don't know, maybe my mind doesn't race as much as when I'm just sitting there?

6) I can't think of a sixth one...let me know if any of you out there can think of one.

Grace and peace.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Random thoughts by Justin Boggs...

Here are some random thoughts that have been going through my mind lately...

1) I need a little "Spring" in my life (reference to Steve Hambrick's sermon this past Sunday at RS...check it out at www.riverstonewf.org. It was really good). My days are fairly monotonous and I need a little rejuvenation.

2) Is it possible to be perfect (when it comes to walking with the Lord)? It says multiple times in the Bible that we can be perfect and when I say perfect, I mean without sin. If we are called to be "imitators" of Jesus, then I would say the answer has to be yes. But, is it possible? Again, I think yes. Thoughts?

3) I'm ready for November 4th to be here so we can get this election thing over with.

4) In regards to #3, I need to really seek the Lord and hear what He has to say about this election. I'm wondering if Obama will get elected and we will start seeing things come to light in regards to the Lord's returning. Hear me now, I am not saying Obama is the anti-christ or anything like that. I'm just saying that the Lord's second coming is near and I wonder how this election fits in? That's all.

5) I'm really getting annoyed with ESPN. How far are they up USC's rear! C'mon, do we really need hours upon hours of how "great" the USC team is? Yes, they are good, but I don't want to hear it over and over again. I'm not throwing UGA a pity party or anything like that (because they looked bad on Saturday and they have the potential to lose this coming Saturday if they play the way they did), but they get no love. Kirk Herbstreet didn't even have them in his top 5! What?! No more USC please!!

6) I need to keep up with my family a little more than I do. My grandfather is really sick and I need to call him and my grandmother more. Maybe I'll do that tomorrow...if I remember (see #7). I need to call my brothers more. Family is so important and it is of the utmost importance to stay in-tuned with what's going on in their lives. My little brother needs prayer, in a for real way, and I have dropped the ball a lot when it comes to persistence in prayer. Lord help me be more persistent.

7) I have a really bad memory, especially my short-term memory. Maybe my hippocampus is damaged?

8) Matt Damon is an idiot.

9) I forgot my other thoughts...

Grace and peace.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Healer

My good friend, Annie, recently sent me an email with a link to this video. Please read my thoughts first, watch the video and then leave me some of your thoughts.

When I first heard that Mike Guglielmucci was lying about having terminal cancer, I, along with mostly everyone I'm sure, felt sick to my stomach. How could he fake something so gross as cancer?! Honestly, I was hurt because I felt a little portion of my faith stolen from me. Mike was proclaiming the truth as God as our Ultimate Healer and yet was betraying his parents, his wife, his friends and his church. Christians and non-yet Christians all over the world were rooting for him, sending money to him and backing him with their precious prayers and thoughts. What was he thinking?! Why? How?

On a selfish note, as a worship leader I was pondering never singing his song in a service [or at least putting it on a shelf for a VERY long time] out of fear of what the congregation would be thinking. In my mind, they would automatically disengage themselves during the worship because this song was born out of a lie!

However, since the news broke of his fraud I've had time to think about the situation and I've got my own thoughts on the situation. Number 1, Mike Guglielmucci is sick. No doubt. Not with cancer, but with a psychological illness that has plagued him for many years. Pray for him! Number 2, the song is loaded with truth and is such an inspiring, powerful song! So can we still sing this song? YES! You see, the Lord's power is made perfect in our weakness and He uses the weak and lowly to show His glory more fully. The Lord in His grace and mercy used Mike, despite all of the crud that is in his life, to bring us a song that captivates our hearts and proclaims the truth that God IS our Healer. This situation is just a testimony of how good our God is. He takes what the enemy is doing for evil and turns it around for our good.

Mike's story did not surprise God. He knew what was going on and still used Him. Does the word grace ring a bell? God is so much bigger than our troubles. Has anyone ever felt like God could or would not use you because of all the junk in your life? Well take this weird example and believe that He can and will use you despite the troubles and struggles in your life. Or maybe you yourself have a testimony of how God used you for His glory when all around you seemed to be falling on you.

ALL of us fall short. ALL of us have some form of Mike Guglielmucci in our own lives. You probably will never do something like he did, but I know for sure that there are skeletons hanging out in your closet [or at least used to be]. But do you believe He can still use you? He is so much bigger than us. His thoughts and ways are so much higher than our own. Do NOT sell yourselves short when it comes to the Lords grace, mercy and sovereignty! Press in and strive to keep your eyes fixed on Him and seek Him first in everything. Blessed are the weak [or poor] in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven!

Thoughts?

Grace and peace.

Friday, August 22, 2008

In Memory of Leroi Moore


I'm very sad to report that the saxophonist of the Dave Matthews Band died from sudden complications stemming from an ATV accident he incurred a few months ago. He was an amazing musician and was a crucial part of the success of the band. Please remember his family and the band in your prayers. He was 46 years old.

If you want, you can read the whole article here.

Grace and peace

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

For those of you who don't know...

...the word on the street is true. I've talked with a few of you and I'm sure most of you have heard that Louie Giglio is starting a church here in Atlanta. It will be called Passion Church and as of right now, they do not know where it will be located or when it will be starting. Also, there has been a lot of discussion about who the worship leaders, or lead worshipers will be. This has not been confirmed, but Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman and the Knockels are moving or have already moved to Atlanta [I even read on another blog that Chris Tomlin's house is for sale in Austin - I don't know how people find this information but I'm willing to pass on the little juicy nugget of knowledge!].

If you care to hear Louie talk about Passion Church, then you can go to this blog to watch an interview with him.

I'll be honest, at first I had a little mixed emotions about him starting what will be a MEGA-church here in Atlanta. I initially thought, "Man, how many people will leave their respective churches to go to his church?" That was soon followed by, "I think I'll go there when I can." Hypocritical? Yeah I think so...oh well, shoot me. But after doing some blog searching [blearching] and hearing Louie speak, I trust the Lord's leading of Louie. It's not to steal people away from churches but to reach the thousands upon thousands of people in Atlanta that are unchurched and to ignite a flame of revival that will undoubtedly transform a city! Our church has had the vision of community transformation for many years now and I think Passion Church coming to Atlanta confirms what the Lord has laid upon our own pastors' hearts. We will be partnering with Passion Church to see our community [Atlanta, not just Cobb County] transformed.

I have also heard a rumor [and it may just be a rumor] that Passion Church will be starting a worship school as well, a la Hillsong. I haven't read anything about this, but I can only hope, right?

So I have a little bit of the nervous excitement with a splash of jealousy [just being honest]. I have a wonderful church home with an amazing team of leaders and an even more amazing congregation, but on days I'm not helping lead worship I might be tempted to travel to wherever Passion Church is located.

I want to hear your thoughts and reactions to Louie starting a church in Atlanta with some of the most prominent lead worshipers. I'm truly interested!

Grace and peace.

Monday, July 28, 2008

I'm not good at this...

As my blog so clearly bestows. I haven't blogged in about 6 weeks. I'm not as good as Annie is at this. I have a hard time coming up with "interesting" things to write about every day, or every other day, or every week, etc. So this one is going to be short. The purpose of this blog is to say hey...

So...Hey!

I will post a recap of my Scotland trip soon because right now it is too hard to put what happened or what the Lord accomplished into words. I'll need a few more days and more time (it's midnight now) to make sure all of my thoughts are gathered. I'm sure you understand?

Grace and peace.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Joining the Angels...

This morning's worship at Riverstone was incredible. We finished the main set with a song written by Jennie Lee Riddle and performed by Kari Jobe called "Revelation Song." It is such a powerful song. I think the reason why it was so moving is that it is Heaven's song.

The chorus goes:

Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come
With all creation I sing
Praise to the King of Kings
You are my everything
And I will adore You


These are the words that are being sung by the angels and elders for eternity. They are gripped by the glory and majesty of God and this chorus erupts spontaneously. I get goose-bumps just thinking about that. There have been many songs that seem to have "Heaven" written all over it, but this one moved my spirit to a new deeper level. As I worshiped to it, I got a glimpse of heaven and the thousands upon thousands worshiping the Lord for who He is, which is HOLY. He is completely "other." Nothing will ever compare to His beauty and splendor. If you need a little refresher, read Revelation chapter 4 again. Here we have those "creatures" circling the throne. Every time they catch a glimpse of the glorified King they cannot help but sing this chorus. It is a beautiful picture of what heaven will be like. We will be so enamored by the Lord that this chorus will be our only appropriate response. Falling on our faces because of the beauty of His holiness, adoring Him, praising Him, loving Him, worshiping Him, soaking in Him. Man! So good!!

So for that brief 10 minute section of worship I felt as if our voices were uniting with the voices of heaven to praise and ADORE the King of Kings. It was powerful. I was in awe. I wanted to stay in that place forever. I carried the song with me to work and worshiped with the angels there [good thing we weren't that busy!].

My prayer is for heaven to come to earth [like a sloppy wet kiss!]; for His glory to fill our temple [the church and our temporary bodies]. His River flowed this morning and we jumped in and swam. I pray that it doesn't stop. I want a continual flow of His River in our worship. Glorifying, praising and adoring Him prepares an open highway for His manifest presence to come. The amazing thing is that He WANTS to do it. It's in His heart. He longs for His people to experience and encounter His manifest presence; you know the one where miracles happen, where mourning is turned to dancing, where sorrow turns to joy, where people are set free!! Agghh, it is the cry of my heart. Lord, will You do this?! WE NEED YOU!!

I am loving Daniel Bashta's CD right now. He has a song called "Heaven" on there and the chorus exemplifies where my heart is right now...

Heaven fall down on me
Heaven fall down on me
Bring Your peace, bring Your joy
Let it rain, let it pour!!


Won't You come!?!

Grace and peace.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Great Gain

For the past week or so the Lord has been focusing on one particular theme...Contentment. In 1 Timothy 6 verse 6 Paul writes, "Godliness with contentment IS great gain." How many of us want to have the "great gain" in our lives? [My hand is raised right now. Is yours?] According to John Piper, contentment is simply faith in future grace.

Faith that His promises are for you and He will fulfill every one of them in and through you. His promises are as sure as the sun, rising to bring light to your darkness, and setting to give you rest when all around you life's circumstances are swirling about stealing your peace. Faith that when you are hurt, you know He will comfort. Faith that when you are rejoicing, you know He is rejoicing even more over you. Faith that when you are lost, you know He will shine a light to guide your steps. Faith that when you think you are alone, you know that His presence is ALWAYS with you, for He PROMISES to never leave or forsake you.

That last line is huge for me now. Contentment HAS to be found in Him and in Him alone. You may be with me on this one, but we as humans tend to find contentment in the things or people around us. This isn't entirely wrong, but I have inadvertently put the latter in front of the former. As a result, the Lord [I think] is drawing me away from certain aspects of my life to help me learn this critical lesson.

And yes, it is a learned quality. And yes, it is a quality we have to seek God for. It's not a clear-cut lesson that is easy to learn or we just all of the sudden have. In Philippians 4, Paul says, "I have LEARNED the SECRET of being content in any and every situation." I have emphasized two key words to this passage: 1) As I just mentioned, it HAS to be learned, and 2) It is not an easily attainable or recognizable quality. It is a secret. What helped me understand this was thinking back on your childhood years [or now in some cases] and one of your friends would say, "Hey come over here, I want to tell you a secret." You would excitedly go over to the side with your friend and he/she would whisper a juicy nugget of information into your ear. In the same way, to learn this lesson, you have to go over to the side [alone] with God so He can whisper into your ear the secret [or juicy nugget if you will] of being content in any and every situation.

Paul knew what it meant "to be in need and what it meant to have plenty," but was still content. Why? Because he sought after solitude with God so he could hear the secret of contentment. Paul had to learn how to rest in the Lord's promises; that God alone is sufficient, that every promise of God is for him, and that all things will work out for his good. If Paul had to learn this lesson, then how much more do we need to press into God's heart to learn the secret? Can I get an Amen?

Finding contentment in something or someone else is idolatry. What is the result of our idolatry? Judgement and...H - E - Double Hockey Sticks.

God knows what is BEST for us and contentment believes that it is going to be good, even if it's not what our own human nature would seek out first.

There is a song that is resonating in my spirit lately, Closer by Charlie Hall. It's singing my heart's cry, Come in close, come in close and speak. He is beautiful. The words He speaks are beautiful. The power of His words are FILLED with grace and mercy. I pray that they would fall on my/your deaf ears and melt my/your stony heart!

Grace and peace.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Long time away

I have been gone from the blog world for a little over a month now. A lot has been going on, and I plan on sharing some thoughts in the near future...hopefully : ) . Anyway, as for my first blog back from hiatus, I will post a really funny video from a Japanese game show. I don't know where they come up with some things?!? One time I saw a video of a soccer game where the soccer ball was on fire! Craziness. This video is a little over 6 minutes but it is well worth it. Enjoy and hope to see you back here soon!

Grace and peace.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

This scares me...

...to bits! I recently came across an article by Tara Leigh Cobble on Relevant Magazine's website. You've probably heard about Tara Leigh Cobble on Annie's blog, but she recently wrote an article for Relevant Magazine about a U2 concert she went to called, How to Dismantle an Idolized Bono.

It left me disappointed and a little baffled [though it was very well written...way to go Tara...I know why Annie encourages her writings so much]. For so long now I have associated Bono with Christianity even though I don't think he has publicly stated such. His songs have so much Biblical underpinnings in them that I just assumed. You know what happens when you assume? Well, I guess I've made an A out of me!

Click on the link above, read the article and let me know what you think...

Bono saying things that the antichrist would say?!?! It's hard for me to think that but after reading that article and looking at things in the Bible, it's possible. Crazy am I? [You have to read that in your best Yoda voice] Yes, but it does make you think. I will admit [and I've asked for forgiveness] that I have in a way idolized Bono because he has had some amazing, well-written "Christian" songs and the messages in the songs are sound.

Anyway, like I said, read it and let me know your thoughts.

Grace and peace.

Friday, April 25, 2008

What I'm listening to

I get questions a lot about what's new and good on the worship music scene. So here is what I'm into lately.

Daniel Bashta - My Worship Motion : Excellent stuff. You should definitely check him out. You can actually download his CD on his website for free, which is super cool.

Leland - Opposite Way : Amazing CD. A must have! They are all super talented and he is an incredible song writer

David Crowder Band - Remedy : He continues is creativity on this CD. I love their style. Download any and all of their CDs and you will be pleased, trust me.

Jesus Culture - We Cry Out : 2 words, freagin awesome!

Jason Morant - I have 2 of his CDs, Abandon and Open, and I love them both. The styles of both CDs are different, but both equally as good.

Passion - God of this City : Most of the songs are good, but you can get them on other CDs. My favorite is the song God of this City. Powerful! I recently posted about how the song came to be. Incredible!

Phil Wickham - Cannons : Amazing voice, sweet guitar player, and come on...he stinkin sports a mustache!

Hillsong - Any of their CDs! Get them all!! Enough said...

Kari Jobe - Kari Jobe : She leads worship with Rick Pino out in Texas. I don't know of a better voice than hers!

Anyway, these are some of the worship CDs I'm listening to lately. What are you all listening to? Leave me some comments on artists out there I need to get. It doesn't have to be worship but I always enjoying finding out new worship CDs to add to my collection.

Grace and peace.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Change of Pace

As promised in a previous post [...My Job], this is an inspiring video on how dogs can help children with autism. This is a great story. I can't help it, I'm partial to dogs...


Canine Companions



Grace and peace

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Rejoice!

Philippians 4:4: Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again, Rejoice!

This sounds so simple, but often times I find it to be so difficult. There are some things going on [which I will withhold from you because I don't want to share...just being honest] and lately it has been hard to do the whole rejoicing thing.

Why do I let myself get lost in the stress, worry and anxiety of the circumstances of my life, or my job, or my relationships, etc? It's as if I'm saying that my problems are too big for God. Or that my worries out-weigh God's command to always rejoice.

So I continue reading in Philippians and only make it 2 more verses...

Verse 6 of chapter 4: ...Do not be anxious about anything. Busted! Arrogant aren't I?!

Worry implies that we "don't quite trust that God is big enough, powerful enough, or loving enough to take care of what's happening in our lives."

Stress says that "the things we are involved in are important enough to merit our impatience, our lack of grace toward others, or our tight grip of control."

Why am I so quick to doubt? How can it be that I can encounter the holiness and otherness of God and still believe that my problems and worries are bigger than Him? Why do I lose sight of the fact that life is all about God and not at all about me? I just need to get over myself!

I am reading a book right now by a fantastic writer and speaker, Francis Chan, called Crazy Love. I just started it today and I cannot put it down. He covers this topic of stressing and worrying early on in the book and I had a hard time moving forward with the reading.

Picture this, you are an extra in a movie and the camera rolls by and catches the back of your head. A whole 2/5 of a second of screen time. You call home or your friends and you talk about this movie and how it features you...that it's all about you. They called you an idiot and are stunned that you think the movie is about you.

Unfortunately a lot of Christians get disillusioned with this. We believe that the movie is about us.

But the thing is, the star of the movie is God and will always be God! Opening scene is the creation of the universe [Were you there? Did God consult you on what to create next?]. There's a flood. Then a character arises, Abraham, and he becomes the father of a nation. After awhile Joseph comes in, then Moses and David. God then appoints prophets and judges to speak against a people who have lost the art of obedience. The movie was still not about these people. They were extras...

The movie starts to become interesting. You sit up in your seat and your pupils dilate as the Son of God is born of a virgin into a world that God still loves, He performs miracles and teaches them about true love.

The climax...your heart is pounding [maybe you cover your eyes or grip the seat handles]...the Son of God dies, in 3 days is alive again, then goes back to be with God the Father! The church is born...Pentecost...

Whew! Wipe the sweat off your palms [maybe the tears], the movie's done. No wait, it's not. There's one more scene. Read about this final epic scene in Isaiah 6 and Revelation 4. There are these scary creatures with lots of heads and lots of eyes flying around a throne singing Holy is the Lamb that was slain. Elders are laying down their golden crowns ascribing worth to the Lord. Incredible!

From the opening to the final scenes, it has always been about God!

So where do we fit? You see our 2/5 of a second fall somewhere after Pentecost and the final scene described above. So are you still thinking everything should be about you? I'm glad I am reading this book to re-learn this unshakable truth...God IS the main character. It is ALL about Him!

1 Corinthians 10:31: ...whatever you do, do it for the glory of God.

That's what I want my 2/5 of a second to be about...His fame and renown and glory! If I'm struggling [which I may be right now], then I need to show the world that my God is good and He is the God of PERFECT PEACE and He will calm the storms. If things are good, then show the world that even though you are experiencing a time of blessing, it is still not about you!

God wants to be glorified. Point to Him! Have a blessed 2/5 of a second...

Grace and peace.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The story behind the song...

Story number 2 is such an amazing, jaw-dropping, hand raising, 'no way'-saying kind of story. Hopefully I didn't build it up too much.

During the last worship service Saturday night [which I must add is now in my top 5 worship experiences...yes I rank them], Louie Giglio came out onto the stage and started to talk about the inspiration of the next song, God of this City. Y'all, this story is so sweet. Here it goes:

Louie starts off by talking about a worship event Chris Tomlin and his band were at in Belfast. It was early in the afternoon and Tomlin's guitarist was the only one not doing something. So he decided to go out and "support" the local bands there. While he was listening in the back, the band started singing a song and it gripped his heart. He said he ran to get Chris out of the dressing room to come hear this song because "he HAS to hear it!" By the time Chris got to the stage, the song was over. So Chris Tomlin and the rest of his band met with this local Belfast worship band afterwards. They gave him MP3s of all of their songs and he listened to that one special song. Tomlin said that he was so moved that he just had to ask them what inspired this song.

They started saying that their band and a few other members of their church went on a mission trip to Pattaya, Thailand recently. In Pattaya, there are over 30,000 female prostitutes over the age of 18! [That is not counting the ones under 18, or even the male prostitutes there] While they were walking around the town, they walked into a local bar there called....the Climax bar, which you can imagine the folk that were up in that joint. Anyway, the owner of the bar somehow found out that they were a music group and asked (through a translator) if they would mind playing music for his "guests." They agreed and asked how long they wanted them to play and the owner answered back, "As long as your team continues to buy cokes." So they ended up buying cokes for 2-3 hours.

Think about it! For over 2 hours this band sang Jesus over these prostitutes and they had no idea what they were singing! All of the sudden this song "came down from heaven," as one of the band members recalls. Then spontaneously they started singing:

You're the God of this city
You're the King of these people
You're the Lord of this nation
You are

You're the light in this darkness
You're the hope to the hopeless
You're the peace to the restless
You are

For there is no one like our God
There is no one like our God

Greater things have yet to come
Greater things are still to be done in this city
Greater things have yet to come
Greater things are still to be done here


I'm getting goose-bumps just writing the story behind the song. Doesn't the song mean so much more to you now that you know the inspiration behind the song?! You ARE the God of this city loaded with prostitutes! You ARE the King of these people God! You ARE the Lord of this nation! This city is dark Lord but You ARE the light in this darkness!! And...ANd...AND!!...GREATER THINGS HAVE YET TO COME AND GREATER THINGS ARE STILL TO BE DONE HERE!!

Needless to say, Chris Tomlin asked if he could play their song for the up-coming Passion tour. They agreed [Who wouldn't?] and then Chris sent the MP3s to Louie and told him to listen. He said that there is one song that ruined him but wouldn't tell him which one. Louie listened to the songs and quickly wrote him back asking in wonder about God of this City. It was unanimous, this song had the Holy Spirit and God's heart all over it!

All I can say is WOW!! Believers, soak in this truth! Bask in His light! Rest in the warmness of His embrace! Get close to Him! Your circumstances may be dark and hopeless, but He IS the hope to hopeless and He IS the peace to the restless!

Hold on Beloved! Greater things have yet to come!

Grace and peace.

Freedom we take for granted...

Ok,
The first story from Passion Atlanta I'm going to share is a short testimony shared by one of the volunteers regarding a girl from Turkey who was there this weekend...

The first night of Passion a young girl was walking into the Gwinnett Center Arena. All of the sudden she broke down and started weeping. The volunteer went up to her and asked her if everything is ok. The girl then said that she has never seen this many people gathered together to worship and her heart was overwhelmed. She comes from Turkey where people are killed for their faith and for worshiping Jesus.

They prayed together and the girl's prayer was gripping:

"Lord, if worshiping like this back in Turkey results in me becoming a martyr, then I am willing."

Whoa, heavy, isn't it?

Grace and peace.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Passion 2008



One word...amazing! I met some really cool new people. The messages...challenging and heart piercing. The worship...let's just say that 9,500 people encountered Jesus. What more could you ask for?!

I have a few stories to share but not now. It's almost 2 a.m. and I just got home. All of the volunteers had to stay after it was over and break down everything. So, I am freakishly tired and I have to work tomorrow.

But I promise to share them.

Grace and peace.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Passion Atlanta

...is tonight at the Arena at the Gwinnett Center. Roughly 10,000 people will be flocking to Gwinnett to unite with one goal...to encounter Jesus! I've read that over 550 college campuses will be represented this weekend. I'm super excited to serve [I'm a volunteer], to worship, pray and be encouraged by some amazing people. I mean, can you beat a Louie Giglio message...uh uh, no way.

Details to follow...

Grace and peace.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Coming through a T.V. set near you...

is the worship of God! I'm sure it is going to be a hot topic of a lot of Believing bloggers out there, but tonight on American Idol they sang "Shout to the Lord" by Darlene Czech from Hillsong Australia. To add to this, I heard that David Crowder's song, Stars, was nominated as one of the "inspirational" songs the contestants could choose from this past week!

The worship of God is winning the day!!

I find it quite fitting that they sang Shout to the Lord the week of "Idol Gives Back." This event American Idol is promoting revolves around going out to the world to stop injustice. Why is this so important? Because it is near and dear to God's heart. WORSHIP WITHOUT MISSION IS NOT WORSHIP! Just as faith without love is dead, worship that does not inspire you to fight for and help the poor and needy is pointless. We worship because of the faith we have and we help because of the LOVE that is inside of us.

This shouldn't be a once a year Idol event. It needs to be a daily prayer for us.

"God, give me a heart for those suffering injustice."

If you take out all of the verses of the Bible where God talks about justice and helping those in need, then you are left with a very thin book.

I heard Bono say one time, "If you want to be with God, then go and be with the poor."

What's the result?...

Everyone around the world will be singing...

Shout to the Lord all the earth let us sing
Power and majesty praise to the King
Mountains bow down and the sea will roar
At the sound of Your Name!

I sing for joy at the works of Your hand
Forever I'll love You forever I'll stand
Nothing compares to the promise I have in You!


Grace and peace.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Why I don't like my job...

So I'm sitting here at my house on my lunch hour contemplating the morning I had. One word...tough. I felt the need to unwind a little through my little blog here. I could have a chat with my dog, but all he would do is wag his tail and perk up his ears.

[He does have some awesome ears by the way...]

I will add here that dogs are quite therapeutic. Back in Athens we used to take my old dog Savannah to a nursing home. The folks there loved her! She just sat there while they petted [that a word?] her for hours. Anyway, I will post a video on how dogs are helping autistic children. It's a pretty amazing story...

Sorry for the digression...

My first appointment of the day was a 2 year old Jack Russell Terrier that the owners said was crying a lot and they noticed a "bump" on his side. They also said that he went missing yesterday for a couple of hours. My physical examination revealed scabs on his ears, a nasty bruise behind his right front leg and this "bump," well I could reduce it. This means that whatever was poking out under his skin I could push back it.

When I finished my examination I talked to the owners, which was a mom and her child, and told them that I'm suspecting he got hit by a car and that he has a tear in his abdominal wall. We took some x-rays which showed a few broken ribs, proof of this abdominal wall tear and that he may have some fluid in his abdomen, which could be either blood or urine. Urine? Yes, a common finding in some blunt-force trauma to the abdomen is a ruptured bladder...not good.

I go over the results of the x-rays with the owners and tell them that their pet needs to have emergency surgery to fix the abdominal wall tear and to find out where this "fluid" is coming from. I gave them an estimate for what it would cost to fix their dog and their eyes widened. The mom at first said go ahead with the surgery, but then quickly changed her mind and turned to the kid and asked him, "What do you want to do? It's your dog." I felt awful for this kid. He was probably 12 years old and was left with the decision to try and save his dog or put him to sleep (aka euthanize him). He started crying so I left them to discuss it for a few minutes.

I went back into the room and the mom again turned to the kid and asked the same question, "So what do you want to do?" In between the tears he said, "I guess put him to sleep." I asked him if he was sure and he nodded his head. Then I discussed with both of them what happens during a euthanization and reassured him that his dog would not feel any pain.

The end went smoothly and pain free. The kid wept...I mean all-out weeping, and I too was fighting back the tears. I gave the kid a hug and even though I knew in my head that I could fix their dog, I told him that he made a very mature and humane choice.

It hurts because I could have fixed him but I didn't get the chance. The price to pay for the procedures was too much. I hate that. I HATE THAT!

Maybe the afternoon will be better?

Grace and peace.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Back to the River - Part 2

Ezekiel 47
"...now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in—a river that no one could cross. He asked me, "Son of man, do you see this?"
Then he led me back to the bank of the river. When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river. He said to me, "This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, where it enters the Sea. When it empties into the Sea, the water there becomes fresh. Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live. Fishermen will stand along the shore; from En Gedi to En Eglaim there will be places for spreading nets. The fish will be of many kinds—like the fish of the Great Sea. But the swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they will be left for salt. Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing."

If you remember from a previous post, I discussed the River of God and how it pertains to corporate worship. I want to continue that discussion with the last part of that amazing passage. If you pay attention closely, Ezekiel did not see the "trees" until he reached these swimming depths of water. Some say that these trees represent healing. So, once we reach these depths of the river in our worship services, we will no doubt start seeing miracles and healings on a regular basis.

The "Sea" that Ezekiel mentions is the Dead Sea. This Sea is described as a Dead Sea because of its salt content. The salt percentage is so high that no living creature can live. So, this River will bring healing and life to places that have the stinch of death! This is not unlike some churches and worship services around today. But Ezekiel offers a prophetic declaration by saying there is still hope for these churches; the River of God will bring life to the dead areas of religion and traditionalism through worship. There is hope church! It's found in finding the River in worship.

This passage concludes with an abundance of fish. People, believers and non-believers, will begin to flock to churches where the River is found continually in worship. Some will refute this and say that churches will scare away people if we really get into the deep depths of the River. Ezekiel prophetically saw the contrary. He envisioned fish being drawn to places where life and miracles and fruit abound!

Again, the River is what we seek and ask for in our worship services. I want it. I need it. I long for it daily. Join me and ask/pray for a longing, a thirsting for this River [Psalm 42:1].

Grace and peace.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Great Scary Scott

My mom sent me this picture the other day that a TV tower took the night of the tornado in downtown Atlanta. I'll just let the picture speak for itself. Stinking scary for real! [Just click on the picture to make it larger]





Much grace and peace.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Faux sho

So today I did something pretty random and out of the ordinary for me...I decided to give myself a faux hawk. Here's some pictures for your viewing pleasure below. The pictures were taken with Photo Booth so the quality isn't as crisp. I will try it out for a little bit and if it doesn't work for me, then I'll just cut off the rest. Anyway, let me know what you think and be honest [You know where liars go!]




Thursday, March 20, 2008

"Come and you will see"

Lately I have been trying to dig deep in the Word and try to figure out the "next step" in my life. My routine consists of worship, reading some, then worship some more and listening. Unfortunately no answers yet but I know God is pleased with where my heart is. I am still praying for clarity and wisdom, but I just want to be with the Lord, where He is, in His pocket so to speak.

I'm reading John right now and something in the first chapter stuck out to me in a way that hadn't before. In verses 35-39 we read of two of John the Baptist's disciples leaving him to follow Jesus. John [the writer] mentions one of the disciples, Andrew. In case you didn't know, the other disciple was John himself [again the writer, not the Baptist]. Anyway, the two ask Jesus, "Where are you staying?" Jesus then answered them, "Come and you will see."

What connected most with my spirit as I read this story was the question the two disciples asked Jesus..."Where are YOU staying?" They wanted to be wherever Jesus was. They wanted to be with Him, stay with Him, commune with Him, dine with Him, learn from Him and soak all of Him in by simply being where He is. The disciples knew that it would be best to be where Jesus was.

Here is where I have failed [and you may be in this boat too]: I approach God with good intentions of giving my life, future, etc to Him, but I want to put Him in a box close to where I am at. "I know you are staying over there God, but it would be so much easier if you just come over here where I'm at. Everything seems to be going good right here, so if You could just come over here to my area, that would be great." We need to be ready and willing to ask Him where He is staying so we can go there to be filled and fulfilled. It's in our best interest to be where Jesus is and partner with Him in what He is doing. We can't force something into being. We just have to be able to sense where God is and where His river is flowing and go there.

So God where are you staying? Because I want to be with You...

Proverbs 21:1 "The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord; He directs it like a watercourse wherever He pleases."

Psalm 143:8 "Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul"

Grace and peace.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Ok...scary...

If you haven't seen or heard about the tornado that ripped through downtown Atlanta, then I ask you to either wave your hand in front of your face and tell me if you can see your hand or, place a finger up under your jaw and feel for a pulse. Ok? Good...

Anyway, so as a birthday gift I was given tickets to the SEC basketball tournament. My dad and I went down to the Georgia Dome Friday around lunchtime for the first 2 of 4 games. The games were exciting and we were having a good time. Then there was a dinner break and Tate Welling met us for the last 2 games. The first game was Alabama against Mississippi State [To this day I still say that little saying to help me spell Mississippi...anybody else with me?]. The game was back and forth and it eventually went into overtime. With about 2 minutes and 11 seconds left in overtime all of a sudden we saw people across the Dome scattering and frantically running. A minute or so before I had heard some rumbling but didn't think anything of it. What was going through my head initially is that somebody was sick and they were running to find help or there was a fight happening between fans from Alabama and Mississippi State. Then boom, the entire Dome started to shake and it sounded like a freight train was going through the middle of the Dome. The scoreboard, big screens and scaffolding were swaying back and forth. The lights were shaking. It felt as if an earthquake was occurring. I looked up and the entire cloth rooftop of the Dome was rattling and it looked like the "parachute" game we used to play on the playground when younger. You know the one where everyone holds a piece of tarp and starts to shake it up and down. The balls on top start bouncing around like "popcorn." Remember?

Anyway, people were scattering all over the place running for the exits. For a brief moment I was thinking that this could be it. I don't want to be over-dramatic but we had no where to go because all of the aisles were jammed. I thought, "What am I going to do if the roof comes down?" Then all of a sudden 3 panels from the side of the Dome were ripped open. You could see the rain and lightening outside from where we were sitting! Debris was falling all over the court and the people in the stands. After what seemed to be an eternity rapped in about 30 seconds, the freight train-like rumbling quieted down. We could still see the rain and lightening though outside. We found out later on that a big bolt fell from the roof in front of somebody, which set off the mad-scramble at the beginning.

After about an hour delay, they came back out and played the last 2 minutes and 11 seconds of overtime [which Mississippi State won]. The overhead announcer told everybody to stay in the Dome and there is still severe weather outside. Roughly 30 minutes later they announced that the UGA-Kentucky game was postponed until the next day [GO DAWGS!].

Even though it was very frightening, things could have been a lot worse. The roof could have fallen it or blown off. The big screens, scaffolding, lighting and scoreboard could have fallen on people. Also, if the game didn't go into overtime, there would have been a large crowd outside leaving the Dome, which could have resulted in devastating injuries or even deaths. The Lord definitely had His team of angels protecting us that night! I am thankful!!

I didn't have my camera with me but I did manage to take some pictures with my phone. Here are some of those:




These are some views of the Georgia Dome from the outside. Look at all of those panels ripped off...





Here is some of the debris outside. There were benches overturned, glass was everywhere from doors and windows blown out, trash cans blown everywhere. That sign with the C on it usually stands upright. It is a solid concrete sign that was almost toppled over by this storm!



If you look towards the top of the Dome you can see the holes ripped into the side. In case you can't see them, I utilized my pointer finger to "point" out one of the openings...



It was a crazy scary night my friends. Continue to pray for those that lost homes and other possessions.

Grace and peace.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Birthday Laugh

In honor of my birthday, I am going to show a video that I recently came across again. I laugh out loud over and over every time I see it. It's from the Wesley Men's Retreat a year or so ago. Enjoy! You can thank Clay Kirkland for the video...




Grace and peace

Thursday, March 6, 2008

White Out Wednesday























































Aren't these pictures stinkin' sweet?! And yes, we are wearing headbands!! What is White Out Wednesday, you might be asking? Well my friends, let me explain. Last month the Wesley Foundation in Athens, GA had "Fun February." For the last Wednesday of Fun February, they decided to have "White Out Wednesday" modeled after our fantastic football team's Blackout game against Auburn. The night before we covertly mounted black lights all around the sanctuary and over the stage. So Wednesday night around 500 or so students strolled into the sanctuary wearing their white shirts, jackets, vests, pants, etc. The opening song was as usual (Everything Glorious by David Crowder), then there was the announcements and video. Then the entire sanctuary went pitch black and the lead guitar player started playing the opening lick to Typical by MuteMath. As soon as the full band kicked in, the black lights turned on! It was pretty sweet. As you can see in the pictures, everyone in the band wore white headbands.

So the entire main worship set was under the black lights. You might be thinking that would be a little on the irreverent side, but I will tell you that it had the complete opposite effect. Maybe it was the fact that nobody could really see the people around them, but worship escalated to new heights that night!

The set included:

Dancing Generation (Matt Redman)
My God Reigns (David Ruis I think)
We Make a Way (another old school song)
I Desire (Elliott DeJarnett)
Diamond (Vineyard)

The worship was intense and incredible. All around the room the Holy Spirit was invading students' lives and hearts and ministering to their spirits. After Bob Beckwith's message we had another extended time of worship under the black lights. Worship was interspersed with people coming up to pray or give prophetic words, or simply give a short testimony on how God is moving in their life. The service officially ended around 12:30am! (unfortunately I had to drive back to Marietta that night/morning)

Folks, the Lord is doing new, exciting and powerful things in Athens, GA. He is taking worship to new levels and He is releasing a healing anointing. I had the priviledge of playing drums again at Wesley this past Wednesday. I will say firsthand that last week was not a unique, isolated, one-time event. About 550 students showed up with ready hearts to encounter Jesus, and we did. We did a song called "God of this City" off of the new Passion CD. This song has a special anointing on it! If you don't have the new Passion CD, go buy it now!

The chorus says:
Greater things have yet to come
Greater things are still to be done
In this city


This is prophetic call to every city across the globe. We are crying out for greater things to be done! Lord will you do greater things in our city?!!

Anyway, I mentioned the word healing and you might be wondering if I was going to share some of the testimonies of how the Great Physician is healing folks over there. Two Wednesdays ago one girl stood up and asked for prayer during worship for her left knee. She had just torn her ACL and the doctor said she has to have surgery in order to have the chance of playing sports again. Well, folks prayed for her and her knee was completely restored! Last night there was a girl there who had been deaf in one of her ears for some years now. During worship people started to pray for her and then she was able to hear the people around her singing. She covered her good ear and she still was able to hear folks singing and praying! You want one more?! There was young man there who got struck in the eye with a bottle rocket last year and as a result, was blind in that eye. The doctors said he would never see again out of that eye. He was getting prayer and then all of a sudden he was able to see his hands. They kept praying and he could see his feet. They prayed more and he could see outlines of people 15-20 feet away! A 4th time they prayed and he was now able to see pictures on the opposite wall! He actually has a black dot on the affected eye and they said that as they prayed for him, the Lord shrunk this black dot down to a very small size. Glory to God!! He is truly revealing Himself in powerful ways.

These are just a few of the many testimonies of the Lord's healing power resting on students, staff and basically anybody that walks through their doors! I encourage any and all of you to make the trip to Athens on a Wednesday night [Not next week, it's their spring break. You would be there by yourself and I wouldn't want you to be mad at me!]

Again my prayer is that God will continue to move in greater ways in Athens and especially here in Marietta! In order for this community to be transformed, we need the Holy Spirit to move...for real!! Please join me as we cry out for more!

Grace and peace.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Life's ups and downs

I will be totally honest here and say that I haven't really felt like blogging in a while because a lot has been going on that I really didn't want to share publicly. I'm probably not going to give you the entire scoop but let's just say that the Lord is shaking things up in my life. On one end of the spectrum there is the possibility of losing one of my closest friends and companions. The Lord is teaching me to trust Him completely and surrender EVERYTHING to Him because He knows what is best for me. It has been real hard and frustrating and sad, but I have to daily tell myself that He is THE Good Father and His plans for me are so much better than I can muster up myself. My heart is crying out for clarity, for wisdom and for me to completely rely on Him. I need to diligently lean in and on Him for my strength, my joy and my affirmation. I've come to realize that in the past (or basically my whole life) I have relied too much on getting my affirmation from the people around me. Sometimes God does use the people around us to affirm us, but what He desires most is for us to come to Him so He can affirm us and download into us His delight and pleasure for us. This is huge beloved! It carries with it confidence, assurance and joy in walking with and serving the Lord.

We've all read this before, but before Jesus began His ministry, He first had to hear that God was pleased with Him. So it is even more crucial for us to know that we know that we know He is pleased with us. Before we set out on the journey that is our Kingdom destiny, we need to hear how near and dear we are to His heart. Song of Songs has to be rooted deep within us. Beloved, please know that His desire is for you! With just one glance of your eyes towards Him overwhelms Him! YOU are the one that "ravishes" His heart. The Lord has a jealous and zealous love for you. In order to captivate you and return you to your first love, He may shake things up in your life. I am learning this first-hand, and I will be the first to say that it is hard. But again I have to remind myself that "I am His beloved and His desire is for me."

So if this is you, I encourage you to read Song of Songs again, maybe even multiple times. He wants to tell you how much He loves you and how much He wants to be your everything. Please find the time for Him to do this; you will never be the same!

Not all things have been rough and tough for me lately. I played drums at the Wesley Foundation last Wednesday and the Kingdom Expansion Conference was this weekend at Riverstone Church. Both of these events were amazing! Out of fear of making this a super long post (and for the sake of your eyes and attention), I will discuss these later. But I will tell you that the Holy Spirit showed up in a MIGHTY way in Athens last week! More to come soon...

Grace and peace.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

My Rock

These verses have kept me emotionally sane for the past several days. If you are struggling, or feel helpless or hopeless, and you need a little encouragement, take a gander:

Isaiah 26:4
Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock Eternal



Psalm 91

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."


Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence.

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart...


If you make the Most High your dwelling— even the LORD, who is my refuge-then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.

For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.


"Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.

He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.

With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation."
"

Grace and peace.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

If I had a narrator


This is going to be a completely random, but hopefully fun post. I was watching T.V. this evening and a few of those GEICO commercials came on. You know the ones where Sally Smith isn't a "real actress" but they hired a "real actress/actor" to speak on her behalf. You have the likes of Peter Frampton, Michael Winslow, Joan Rivers, etc speaking about their accidents for them. It kind of reminds me of the Will Ferrell movie, Stranger than Fiction, where he can hear the narrator comment on his daily activities (I really like that movie by the way and I say it is a must see).

So my question to you is, if you could pick one actor or actress (or I guess anyone for that matter) to be the narrator of your life, who would it be?

For me I would pick Johnny Depp. I know that is kind of random and he has had his struggles in his past, but hey, haven't we all. I imagine he could tell one heck of a story and he would definitely provide a comedic unction to my story as he reads it. Laughing is a must. I find myself laughing at myself a lot...even when I'm alone!

Anyway, my selection was made pretty quickly. But I'm sure if I had more than a few minutes to think about it I could think of someone a little more meaningful (?) to my life. Which means, I expect a lot from you guys.

So, post a comment on who you would have as a narrator and say why.

Ok? Ready, go.

Grace and peace.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Tagged (last and probably least)

So Brad kind of tagged me today. I think he actually tagged Matt, but then said if Matt doesn't, then I'm up? I dunno...

1) I was born in Panama City, FL, which is neither full of white trash nor creepy, drunk high school kids

2) I've had a grand total of 10 surgeries in my life. One of those is when I took a ground ball right between my eyes which broke my nose (and knocked me out).

3) We moved around a lot growing up. The longest place I ever lived at was Athens, GA for undergrad and vet school.

4) Building on that, in my 4 years of being a vet I have killed (most of them purposefully) over 100 animals...but have saved at least 10 times that. Holla!! Booyah!

5) In my 3rd year of vet school our flag football team won the UGA championship (I was quarterback, no big deal)

6) I used to be able to make...umm...noises...umm...come out of a certain area on command. Me and two other guys would do this for entertainment but they were so much better than me (Kyle and Candler were the kings of "breathing")

7) I used to hate musical instruments when I was a little kid. Now I want to learn any and all of them.

8) I eat a lot of frozen dinners (insert Debbie Downer noise here). I'm eating one right now. Chicken, rice and broccoli = Yum (but definitely not as good as some fantastic shrimp and grits that I've had recently!)

9) I love the beach! The sound of waves hitting the shore is so peaceful. The ocean reminds me of God everytime I'm there.

10) I believe the worship of God will win the day where healings, miracles and true encounters with God are the norm!

Welp, is there anybody left? How about Duane or Sean Kirkland or even the Mann's?

11) I end every post with "Grace and peace" because that's what I want everyone to fully know and experience!

So as promised...

Grace and peace.

Monday, February 18, 2008

He enjoys me!

Yesterday was a good day. It started off with me leading worship at Stonebridge church, which was really good. I hate to sound like a broken record but I truly believe worship (whether leading, equipping other worship leaders, or both) is my Kingdom calling for my life here on earth. Anyway, worship was sweet yesterday morning. The band consisted of Mike Bedingfield on drums, Mark White on bass and Gary Austin singing background vocals and mixing in some harmonica. I felt as if most of the congregation was engaged with the Lord and I'm praying that they encountered Jesus (I did so I'm believing they did too!). The set list included:

Holy (Vineyard) --> We Will Embrace Your Move (Darrell Evans)
Come (own) --> All Who Are Thirsty chorus (Vineyard)
Holy God (Brian Doerkson)

Came to My Rescue

Then, Sunday evening I took on the storms and tornado warnings and drove over to Lawrenceville to the Sunday evening "Encountering God" service at the International House of Prayer. This was exactly what I needed! Most of the time I am the one either leading worship or playing on the worship team, and not "participating" with the body in worship. Anyway, one of my good friends, Caleb Andrews, was leading worship. Let me tell you, he has an incredible anointing on him to lead worship. His sensitivity to the Spirit is impeccable. Worship, as you can imagine, was awesome! There is a freedom in worship at the House of Prayer that is contagious. It is truly a place where all cares, worries and burdens fall to the side in the presence of the Almighty God! Singing, dancing, prophesying, weeping, etc are all the norm here (as it should be for any church service I might add).

Billy Humphrey, main guy over at IHOP-Atlanta, then came up and shared on the Foundation of Prayer. It was the 3rd part of a 3-part series on prayer (if you have Itunes you can get his sermons on podcast for free). The gist of the message was that the foundation of prayer is that God, Creator of the Universe, enjoys me! He delights in us as we come to Him in prayer. A trap that I continually find myself in is that I view prayer as a task. Checked that box, now it's time to move on to my next task of the day. Oh Believers how mis-guided was I?! You see, God designed prayer as a way to communicate with Him and tap into His heart. If you take any Communications course in school, you will learn that the key to communication is listening. Hello!! How much do I listen? Not very much, as sad as that is for me to confess. But it's true. The Lord is the Master Communicator BECAUSE He is the Master Listener. Think about it, He has the ability to listen to 6-some-odd billion people! Ponder on that one for a while.

But the beautiful thing is that He enjoys listening to us! How sweet would it be to "walk and talk with the Lord" like Adam did? Or like Noah did? Or like Enoch did? I can picture it now, the Lord comes strolling into the Garden (whistling perhaps? I don't know?) and calling for Adam. "Adam, it's time for our walk in the Garden!" The Lord has this incredible joy on His face and He walks and talks with Adam. I can hear Adam ask the question, "Lord, what are those bright things in the sky that shine when it's dark?" The Lord would then reply with a smile, "Adam, those are stars that are millions and billions of miles away and I formed each and every one of them." The Lord would then explained to Adam the mysteries of the Universe. Incredible! Now take Noah. He walked and talked with the Lord and the Lord told him to build an arc. If you remember, the earth had never experienced rain before! I'm sure Noah was like, "Lord, what's an arc?" He would then explain to Him that it is just like the boats they put go out on the lake with, but much much bigger. "But why am I building this arc?" Noah might then ask. The Lord replies, "Because I'm about to send a flood" and then He would explain to Noah what a flood is and what rain is.

So why would He do all of this? Because He enjoys communicating with us and He delights in us! As it says in Colossians 1, God took pleasure in sending His One and Only Son, God in the flesh, to earth. God took pleasure in having Jesus die on the cross, the most humiliating forms of death. Why? Because He takes pleasure in calling us His children (Ephesians 1).

Child of God, I pray that God will reveal to you His delight and enjoyment of you. I pray that He removes any shame or guilt or hidden sin or whatever it is in your life so that you can truly know this enjoyment. Believe me, it is very liberating! If you grab a hold of this truth, your prayer life will become pleasurable to you and it will not be a sense of duty anymore. The Creator of the Universe, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Alpha and Omega, the Beautiful One wants to communicate with you!!

How indescribable!!

Grace and peace.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Should we pay?

Today Ernie Wagoner and Harrison DeJarnett were over at my house and we came upon the discussion of worship in the church these days. We had an amazing talk about what God is doing around the globe in worship and how He is raising up a praying/worshiping generation [and I love it!]. But then I posed the question which I will pose to you as well: Should churches pay their musicians?

For me, I struggle with this. [Note: This is my opinion and I am totally open to other's point of views. That is the beauty of this blog-thing: Freedom to voice your opinion.] I am a firm believer that a church needs to recognize the sacrifices their worship team(s) offer to be there week-in-and-week-out. Some sacrifice time with their family, jobs, friends, relationships, etc. But should each worship team member be financially compensated? Before I go on I think I need to totally EXCLUDE places like a North Point where they have the financial backing to pay EVERYONE on their worship teams. They are their own special, unique breed. I will say that most churches are not at the same level North Point is. So, if you pay a drummer or guitar player that plays during the main worship service on Sunday morning, then I believe you have to pay the other people that lead worship for the smaller settings (ie. youth, children's ministry, cell groups, etc). How can you segregate them from the others. Each person is giving up something to be there on any given day.

Something that has burdened my heart lately and saddens me is churches paying outside "musicians" to come in on a Sunday morning to play an instrument. I may be overstating here, but probably most of these people that come in to play are not members of the church AND are not being discipled or raised up. More than likely, a quasi-background check does not even take place. I am not implying here that churches need to contact the feds and see if you have ever been put in jail or cheated the government, or anything like that. I'm concerned with the potential lack of discovering what is at the center of their heart. Are they playing to just play because they are talented? Or are they playing because they love the Lord and love worshiping Him through their giftings? If they are the former, then what you are left with is a good-sounding performance. Members of the body are left watching and not worshiping, and that hurts my heart for real! Could satan be using this avenue to infiltrate a worship team or even a church to hinder the move of God? Is he setting up levies to prevent the river of God from flowing in a church service? My answer, I wouldn't put it past him. He is crafty like that.

I heard someone say that "sin equals worship gone wrong." If you take this is the literal sense, my fear is that churches are "sinning" by worrying too much about having top-quality musicians rather than having people play who genuinely have a heart for worship. An amazing guitarist or drummer can come in and play phenomenally, but what are they doing Friday night? Yes I know, we all have our own "thorns" that weigh us down at times, but we rely on the amazing grace that was given to us by Jesus' death on the cross and press in and press on because we rest in the wondrous fact that the Lord looks at our heart!

What do y'all think? Should worship team musicians be paid? My church does not have the financial capabilities to pay each person, and some have voiced the concern that we are going to lose musicians to other churches because of this. But I have to believe that one, our God is bigger than that and two, we will not lose God-centered musicians because they will see that God is truly in our house of worship.

I'm anxious to hear what you think...

Grace and peace.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

U2 on IMAX


So I saw/heard that U2 has a 3D movie out on IMAX! Well, basically it is just one of their concerts in 3D. One of the things I want to do before I die is go see a U2 concert! From what I'm hearing and reading, it is supposed to be really good (especially sound wise). Has anyone seen it? I would love to hear how it is. Or, anybody want to go one afternoon/evening/night? I really want to see it!

Any takers? Anyone?...Beuller...Beuller?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Migraines

I hate them. I literally hate them. I have one right now and I'm not enjoying it a one bit. Head pounding, nausea, neck aches and the light sensitivity. Even now I'm closing my eyes due to the lgare of the comuter scren soi f mak any smelling misakes, please forgiv me! Migraines completely wipe me out.

But the Debbie Downer for me is that I think my brain is training future migraines to be resistant to whatever forces I come against them with. You see, if you take away the hard core prescription drugs, I have found over the years that the only thing that works for me is if I turn off every light in my house, lay down, place a pillow over my head being careful not to suffocate myself, and fall asleep [or at least try to]. Most of the time the headache is gone when I wake up. So if you really think about it, I didn't really 'beat' the migraine. I just laid aside unconscious while it did it's thing.

There are a lot of different "remedies" out there that my headaches laugh at. For example, Excedrin "Migraine". **Insert pre-emptive apology here for non-funny reference** When my headache gets "this big", it doesn't scream for Excedrin...it mocks it and taunts it, and calls it little girly names like Sally or Nancy. [Again, sorry for the obscure 1980's and 90's T.V. commercial reference...I'm so stupid!]. Sometimes I think the Excedrin Migraine actually feeds the migraine...

Caffeine. Yeah right! I've downed a few Cokes this evening and nope...the ole brain still feels like a pinata.

And the herbal wackos have their supposed miracle remedy too! Have y'all ever heard of Feverfew? This is some herbal medicine that people claim will completely stop the progression of a migraine if you take it as soon as you feel one coming on. Can someone say 'gullible.'? Cause I am. I spend the $10 or so for a bottle of Feverfew, thinking that I had found a hidden treasure, but was only left with disappointment as the lights from across the street [in somebody else's house I might add] made me want to vomit.

Am I missing anything? Does anyone have any home remedies that works for them?

I'm up for trying anything.

Anyway, blye...oops sorry...had my eyes closed again...Bye for now, my dark room and pillow await!

Grace and peace.