I am unqualified

Since I have joined our current staff and watched the transition from NSD to VLC I have been overwhelmed with the feeling of inadequacy. Men and women who are all-stars in their ministry area surround me, and some how I have been placed in a leadership role at this church. I often sit back and think “Who’s idea was this to have me here… really!” I am a newly wed, very young, just figuring out life myself, and you trust me to do this…? By the worlds standard there is no reason I should have been in the running for this position.

 

As I continue to run through the reasons of why I am unqualified for the position I was reminded of a hard truth. Unqualified people are the people who God loves to use to do powerful things. I am reminded of the disciples. These uneducated fishermen were used to write God’s word. This doesn’t make sense there were brilliant scribes or even writers who in the world’s standards would be the first choice of writing any thing of importance. Yet he chose to use these uneducated fisherman to write and handle the most precious writing there has ever been. Why? Then it hit me…

 

Am I really doubting the author and sustainer of the universe? We are told in Isaiah that he holds the universe in the span of his hand! That power chose us to carry out his work. How foolish am I to doubt the work that God is doing inside me. All God does is transform people and things! He takes the spiritually dead and brings them to life (Eph. 2:1-10). Jesus even spoke and gave life to a literally dead person. (John 11). So this God who can take dead things and bring them to life and holds the span of the universe in His hand, I doubt His decisions to place me where He decided?

 

The conclusion is yes, I myself am unqualified for this task. But glory be to God that I am because He is at work in me. It is not my work but Him working inside me. He has promised “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6). God has never broken a promise before, and this is a big promise He has made to each of us. REJOICE! In Ephesians 3:20 Paul writes, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.” God is already doing work inside us far more than we can imagine. So the idea that we are unqualified to do any kind of mission work or serving is a lie from Satan. We have the Spirit doing amazing things inside us, and God by His grace uses people like us the weak, the broken, the unqualified so He will get the glory not us. I must trust in God and fully rely on Him everyday to complete the tasks ahead. I am unqualified and I am satisfied in Christ!

 

Soli Deo Gloria

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Brillent! One way to get out of shopping

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My top 5 books I read in 2011

The reason I have chosen these five books is because I find myself continuing to refer back to these books more consistently in every day conversation than the others that I have read. As well some of these books have help me through tough times, or radically change my perspectives on different topics. There are many more books out there to read, and please feel free to recommend some. I hope you enjoy. The books are not listed in any order, I would encourage you all to have these on your self especially if you are going into ministry.

1) What Is The Gospel. Greg Gilbert – This was such a joyful and refreshing read. Gilbert is able to articulate the Gospel in a simple but thought provoking way. I would feel comfortable with giving this book to a new believer, mature believer, and a non-believer. This book would also be a great tool for a biblestudy.

2) Church Planter: The Man, The Message, The Mission. Darrin Patrick – This book is a must read for anyone who is desiring to church plant, and I hope it scares you as much as it did myself. Darrin gets to the core of church planting, and presents the ugly truth that most people try to avoid. However, I gained a whole new passion and respect for church planting, and also a whole new love for the church itself. If you are desiring to go into ministry I encourage you to read this book, even if it is not church planting. Because Darrin is able to articulate the spiritual warfare that takes place deep inside you. Here is the video promo for the book. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnN2PrIQijw

3) For the City: Proclaiming and Living Out the Gospel. by Matt Cater and Darrin Patrick – At first I just assumed that this would be another cookie cutter “church planting book”, but I forgot that Darring Patrick is co-authoring this book. And with Darrin Patrick there is nothing cookie cutter. What was so great about this book is that both authors shared their accomplishments and their failures. Not only did they share those aspect of their ministries, but explained in detail why they succeeded or failed. What I love even more about this book is that neither author said “do this and your church will grow.” However, they explained the basic concepts and then gave you questions so you can create your own “something” in your own city.

4) Cultural Shift. by Dr. Albert Mohler – Dr. Mohler is a genius, arguably one of the smartest christians minds we have today. However, not only is he academically smart, but culturally intelligent. It almost seems as if he can predict the future. He address many of today’s hot topics and weeds through the media and some “christian” jargon, and gets to the root of the problem. While giving a very biblical answer to each one. A very enjoyable and convicting read.

5) The Bruised Reed. by Richard Sibbes – You always need a puritan book. This is must read for any ministry especially youth. I wish I could write out everything this book has done for me, but I do not have the time. Like any book there are things I disagree with, but over all such refreshing read. Simply I’ll quote Sibbes to give you a taste. “We Christians being the reeds must remember, that God will bruise the reed, but never break it.”

I hope these short review are helpful, and that you can delight in these books just as I did. Remember have a conversation with your book. Write in them, ask question, and seek answers.

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“Good for Goodness Sake”

You better watch out, out better not pout….

This Christmas song is one I sang many times as a child. I have heard it over and over again, but for some reason when I recently listened to it something stuck out. The line “be good for goodness sake” continued to run through my head, and about drove me crazy. However, something recently clicked… this is the anthem of the human moralistic Christian mindset. Just as the song teaches that if we are “good” we will receive something on Christmas day from some distant being that we never see or hear from. Unfortunately, most Christians have this same mindset. If they do good things (go to church, stay away from “bad things”, and say they believe) then God will bless them and give them gifts.

However, the Christian God is so different from this. The gift of God is a free gift because the price has been paid for by Jesus. In Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved by faith. And this is not your own doing; it is a gift from God, not of works, so that no one can boast.” Since we can’t gain salvation, because it has already been given to us. And since God has “blessed us with every Spiritual gift.” (Eph 1:3) Where does that leave us with works.

James writes in chapter 2 that he will show is faith by his works. This should be our mindset all the time. God is a personal God who has already given us the most precious thing in this world, and that is Himself. So now our mindset should be transformed. God tells us our mindset should not be “do good works so you can gain me.” But, “because you have me you do good works.”

I’ll end with this, lets not do “good” works because you want to impress God like he is Santa. However, let live righteous lives and do good works because of what He has already done.

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Todd Love Suffering…I mean surfing

This is a buddy of mine, Todd Love, as you can see he is surfing. A simple act many people participate in everyday. Yet, you will notice something a little different about him. Todd is a triple amputee. He became an amputee when he stepped on an IED while serving in Afganistan as a Marine.

Todd and I have been friends for many years, and have had many conversations about life, love, and Christ. Now after the incident in Afganistan you can imagine our conversations have changed a bit in the way that we both view life. Many people soak into a depression because of the horrific things that has happened to them. However, I think this photo shows exactly the mindset and outlook Todd has on his life.

Todd will say that things are not easy and life is a struggle with out hesitation. However, there is a one thing that keeps him going. When we first hung out after the accident we discuss a verse, which is one of my favorite verse in scripture. Psalms 73:25-26 “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Todd told me that this verse resinates so close to him because his body has been taken away, and things he loves to do has been ripped away from him. Life as he knew it has completely changed. I asked him “How are you keeping your peace and joy?” He answered “My flesh and my heart may fail but God is the strength.”

I hope this encourages you as it has blessed me. Life is hard and things unexpected may come our ways. But use Todd as an example of experiencing eternal joy that can only come from Jesus Christ.

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Tim Tebow’s response to Jake Plummer & The Proclamation of Christ

In an interview earlier today Tim Tebow was responding to the impressive turn around the Broncos have had since he has taken over as QB. Throughout  the interview (as seen here) Tim Tebow is criticized not only on his playing skills, but his personal life. Jake Plummer Commented on Tim Tebow relationship with Jesus Christ by saying,

“I think he’s a winner and I respect that about him,” Plummer told 910-AM. “I think that when he accepts the fact that we know that he loves Jesus Christ, then I think I’ll like him a little better. I don’t hate him because of that, I just would rather not have to hear that every time he takes a good snap or makes a good handoff.”

Tebow’s response was one the demonstrated true humility and proclaimed the Gospel as well.  His response was,

“If you’re married and you have a wife and you really love your wife, is it good enough to only say to your wife ‘I love her’ the day you get married? Or should you tell her every single day when you wake up and every opportunity? That’s how I feel about my relationship with Jesus Christ.”

This response is so simple, but yet explains clearly to those listening in the depth of Tim’s relationship with Christ. Yes, he could of responded with sarcasm or in defense. However, at the very moment Tim took the opportunity to preach the gospel to those men sitting right there and to however many people listening in. Kudos Tim, my respect continues to grow for you brother, and I pray your platform to preach the Gospel continues to grow.

As for us Tim’s response in something we should try to mirror in our own life. How often do we try and avoid the opportunity to say how much we love Christ? Or to tell about what Christ has done for us? Are we truly excited about our relationship with Christ, or do we use it has a pass to be apart of a club. Take Tebow’s example of unashamed faith. We must realize that while preaching of the Gospel of Christ people will strongly dislike or even poke fun of. However, who do you love more? The critics or Christ? Your action will display who’s commands you are willing to submit to.

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I walked into the senior guys host home and I saw….

This past weekend Summit had its D-now (Discipleship Now), which is a weekend where students will stay in host homes all weekend, and participate in church actvities. During the weekend students participate in worship services and other service projects. Plus junk food and caffeine make for a fun tiring weekend.

Each night Joe, the band, and I travel around to different host homes to hang and build relationships with the students. Well when I went to the senior guys host home I saw something that I will never get out of my head.

As we walked into the area where the senior high school guys were sitting, there sitting along side them were the 6th grade middle school guys. Yes, you read that correct the 12th grade guys had the 6th grade guys sitting with them. And not only where they cohabiting the same area, but the 12th grade guys where sharing the gospel and warning younger guys of the struggles that they will encounter in the near future. It was amazing, the leaders of the groups were not doing the talking, but it was actually the students who were leading and discipling the students.

This is what it is all about. When you are in ministry you pray and hope to see this happen. Now, we must pray that this will continue on past this weekend. Discipleship is a marathon run and not a sprint. But what  joy it was it see these students running the race together.

 

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Veterans Day: “Celebrate the sacrifice not just the freedom”

I do not believe the simple words I write can express the deep appreciation I have for Veterans. With that I can only simply say, THANK YOU!

My Grandaddy was a loud, spunky, old man. Mainly because he was a Veteran who served in the army, and latter on was a drill Sargent. Every year when on Veterans day his personality would change. Seeing this over the years growing up I asked him why he would become so solem. He responded with memories of fallen friends, but he said something that I’ll never forget. He said “People love this day, and say thank you a lot. Which is greatly appreciated. However, still people only celebrate the freedom and not the sacrifice.”

We only celebrate the freedom and not the sacrifice. How often have we fallen into that mindset. This is because we will never fully understand the pain it took or the sacrifice it cost to receive this freedom. I feel we as believers do this with Christ as well. That we often and celebrate the freedom we have now, but so easily forget the sacrifice that it took. Now transform your midset love the freedom more because we understand the sacrifice.

So today lets thank the Veterans for their sacrifice and appreciate the freedom that has come from it. As well lets be reminded of the freedom we have in Christ, and worship him because of the sacrifice that was made on the cross.

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Covenants ebook

Here is a copy of Joe’s and I ebook called covenants. Enjoy seeing God work through His Covenants.

https://files.me.com/channingcarruth/q2h4rt

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“5 Who Changed The World: William Carey”

I am reading through a book by Danny Akin titled “5 Who Changed The World.” In this book he gives a biography of 5 Missionaries who revolutionized the way the world does missions today. I wanted to write a 5 part blog series that covers each chapter of this book. Writing this I hope to encourage people to pursue missions, and to remind people of the pressing need to be praying and supporting our missionaries around the world.

 

The First chapter is about the man who is given the title “The Father of Modern Missions” William Carey. William was born in 1761 and left for India in 1793. There was nothing very special about Carey in fact Timothy George (dean of Beeson Divinity school described Carey as a “lone, little man.” Everything that you would use to describe a leader would be the exact opposite of Carey. Carey had very little education, did not have any money, or any connections with anyone with power. The only thing Carey had was the passion to preach Christ to the lost.

In today’s time most pastors (I hope) would encourage people to go and proclaim the Gospel to the world. However, during this time there was a surge of anti-missions teaching was spreading, and pastors were jumping on the band wagon. There was an old anti-mission hymn which said “Go into all the world, the Lord of old did say, But now where He has planted thee, there thou shouldst stay.” Carey faced great opposition about traveling to preach to the world. In fact when Carey was rebuked by John Ryland Sr. a respected minister who said “Young man, sit down. When God pleases to convert the heathen, He will do without your aid or mine.” Yet, Matthew 28:16-20 consumed Carey’s thought’s and dreams. The desire to preach the Gospel to India burned in his bones that he had to go. He would say, “I care not where or how I lived, or what hardships I went through, so that I could but gain souls for Christ.” However, He could not expect how true this would be.

While in India Carey had to bury two wives, sickness, and many other hardship fell upon him. He would not baptize his first Indian until his 7th year on the field. Yet, he would write in his journals

“Nothing new, my Soul is in general barren and unfruitful; Yet I find a pleasure in drawing near to God; and a peculiar sweetness in His Holy Word. I find it more & more to be a very precious treasure.”

He also would write: “Was somewhat engaged more than of late in the things of God, felt some new devotedness to God, and desired to live entirely to him, and for his glry; O that I could live always as under his eye, and feel a sense of his immediate presence, this is life and all besides this is death to my soul.”

The father of modern missions is longing to draw closers to God. Doing the work of God does not mean you are able to avoid persecution or hard times. In fact we are told just the opposite. However, this does not mean we cannot have peace and joy in the situation. I hope as my days draw to a close I will have the strength and peace to say like Carey said on his death bed, “When I am gone, say nothing about Dr. Carey. Speak about Dr. Carey’s Savior.”

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