Thursday, March 25, 2010

God is still God

The Story of Zac Smith from NewSpring Media on Vimeo.

Can you say God is still God and he is good?

May Zac's story change you as it has changed me!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Why A Group Of Christians would....part 2

To prepare for something like this!

Fingerprinting | Bike Safety | Helmet Check | Dare | Fire Truck | Ambulance | Water Safety| Short Baseball Clinic | Egg Hunts every 30 minutes | Chick-Fil-A Cow and free Chick-Fil-A food |Hot dogs and it's all FREE!!!!!

April 3rd from 11-1 at Trinity Church.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Experiencing Lent Beyond Fasting

If you haven't ever looked at Relevant Magazine or visited their website I would encourage you to do both. It will encourage, challenge, inspire you and even make you laugh! I read this post by the author Matthew Paul Turner about his experience with Fasting and I thought it might benefit you and your fast this season of Lent. - Kyle

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Wrong Paths in Prayer

In some times of the church's history "it was considered good for the young Christian to be challenged with the marathon records of Jesus and the saints. This could be humbling, but it could also cause the young prayer-warrior to buckle under the weight of the armor he felt bound to assume. In such cases prayer was not an expression of faith in God's grace, but an monument erected to attract his attention. Trust was not centered on the God who constantly oversees our paths and knows our needs, but on prayer itself, which must be used as a magical lever to pry answers from an unwilling God." (italics added)
--Richard Lovelace in Dynamics of Spiritual Life.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Not Giving in to Fear

The Lord of the Rings is filled with unbelievable passages. If you've never read the books, buy them or check them out now. They are worth every minute. The movies are good too, but its just like they always say: the movie is never as good as the book.

There is an incredible dialogue between Aragorn (one of the heroes of the story) and Eowyn (daughter of the King of Rohan) that illustrates the power of fear. In one sense, fear never truly goes away. What matters is not that you fear, but what you fear. Scripture talks often about the Fear of the Lord. in fact, the writer of Proverbs says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdome. Does fearing God mean being afraid, even terrified of God? On one level, yes. He is a mystery and a consuming fire. If we fear God above everything, no other fear can take root in us. But what we find is that when we fear God--the word literally means "to reverence", we grow to love God. And that perfect love drives out fear.

Here's the dialogue between Aragorn and Eowyn. The Lady Eowyn is pleading to join Aragorn on a dangerous journey when she says these amazing words:

"I fear neither death nor pain."
What do you fear, my Lady?"
A cage. To stay behind bars until use and old age accept them and all
chance of valor has gone beyond recall or desire.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

So Much Noise

Several nights ago my four year old daughter came into my room and woke me up. She said, "Daddy, I can't sleep. My noise machine went off." I stumbled into her room, turned her noise machine back on and tucked her into her bed. I couldn't help to think, even at 3 am, that I have set a horrible pattern in her life.

The next day, I thought about it even more. I started thinking about my own life and how I struggle in silence. I always have noise on: the tv, music, texting or twittering, the computer, etc. Rarely ever do I find myself sitting in silence. However, it's not always a physical noise that I hear. Sometimes it's the noise of worry, or fear, or confusion, or people around me complaining or arguing. I many of us have a problem with silence.

When Jesus was teaching his followers how to pray he said this in Matthew 6:6 -

"But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your father, who is unseen."

Jesus also would go off by himself and spend time with the Father, away from the noise of other people.

Here is how I am trying to apply this to my life and would challenge you to as well:

1. Have a place to go pray. Maybe it's a spare bedroom in your basement, or a walk in closet, or your porch. When you want to spend time with your Father, go to this place. This doesn't mean it's the only time you can pray, but have an intentional place.

2. UNPLUG: This one is the hardest for me. However, I understand I need to change and I am trying to do that. I am going to attempt to not listen to the radio as I drive to my office in the mornings. I am going to unplug on my day off, which means not twittering (writing or reading them.) What technology do you need to unplug from?

3. Pray through your emotions: For me, worry has been one of the main things I have had to deal with. The noise of worry can be loud and overwhelming at times. I have learned to turn my worries into prayers. What would it look like for you to pray through your emotions? To pray when you feel tired, or stressed, or worried, or afraid of the future, or regretting the past. Physical noise can get in the way of communicating with God, but I think the noise in our head can be even a bigger barrier. Try today to turn your feeling and emotions (noise) into prayers.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

In the middle

I love The Lord of the Rings. The books are a literary treasure and the movies are cinematic genius. If you know the story, Hobbits, Elves and humans inhabit a place called Middle Earth--a somewhat dangerous and difficult place filled with treachery and beauty all at the same time.

A lot, strangely, like the world we inhabit.

For many of us, we look at the past and know that it contains both pain and joy--for many of us, more of the former than the latter. And we look at the future and are filled with either hope or fear and uncertainty--for many of us, more of the latter than the former. We are, as JRR Tolkien so ably described, in Middle Earth. We realize it's where we are and we often find it very difficult to navigate.

The shift from the present to the future leaves many of us caught in the middle with unending feelings about the future flourishing of our lives and overwhelmed by the changes that need to take place to see it happen in a good way. Yet, in the middle of it all, Jesus' message and presence is with us. In fact, as we walk through Lent, we look forward to the Resurrection--a sign and reality from God that all will be well.
Full Disclosure: The idea for this post is an adaptation of an article in The Communicator, a regular newsletter for pastors published by these people.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Oh, to pray like a child

What would change in your life if you could see God as a good dad instead of something "out there?" The challenge is to become like a child. - Kyle

Friday, March 05, 2010

Lenten Reflection

If you have stopped doing something for this season of Lent, you have made it through 14 of 40 days. Congratulations! Maybe you have messed up a few times or maybe you didn't realize it was going to be as hard as it is, but keep going.

The hope, however, is that you have started doing something as well. We hope that you have placed an emphasis on scripture, began reading a book, spending more time in prayer, or serving in some way. Jesus is about change, as Scott just blogged about. I found a great reflection that highlights what Jesus can do in your life and in mine.

Give up complaining——focus on gratitude.

Give up pessimism——become an optimist.

Give up harsh judgments——think kindly thoughts.

Give up worry——trust Divine Providence.

Give up discouragement——be full of hope.

Give up bitterness——turn to forgiveness.

Give up hatred——return good for evil.

Give up negativism——be positive.

Give up anger——be more patient.

Give up pettiness——become mature.

Give up gloom——enjoy the beauty that is all around you.

Give up jealousy——pray for trust.

Give up gossiping——control your tongue.

Give up sin——turn to virtue.

Give up giving up——hang in there!

- Kyle

Wednesday, March 03, 2010


We live in a world where the only constant is change. It's even a reality in our bodies.
As we age, we have a tendency to live more from memory than imagination (Brain science has confirmed that the neural pathways in your brain literally harden unless you "exercise" them). For many of us, change is difficult. Social scientists say that 70% of us prefer the past and the present to the future. It's too risky/different/unknowable/uncertain/_______.

But here's a reality. To be Christlike is to change. John, Jesus' cousin who became a prophet in the desert said it this way: "He must increase, I must decrease."

If I follow Jesus, this will always be true. Less of my influence. More of Jesus' influence. Less of my desires. More of Jesus' desires. Less of my thoughts and opinions about things. More of Jesus' thoughts and opinions about things.

So how do you do it?

Dallas Willard says change always happens in this order.

Vision - A vision of God that lets me see both how good and how immense God is and how my little life might become a part of his goodness and power.

Intention - The decision to do something about that vision and move toward it.

Means or Method - Some tangible way to bring the change into my life. For example, begin serving the poor because I see that God cares about the poor. Or begin praying to God as a good Father and let pray become a relational thing (what we are doingn together) instead of a functional thing (what I need or want). Or begin reading Scripture every day to be soaked in God's reality.
Where are you on the change cycle?

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Are You Proud?

It is extremely scary to surrender. When we think of surrendering we often think of losing, or failing, or giving up or missing out on something. However, when you surrender your life to Jesus and you allow him to be first in your life, you actually gain something!

I think one thing that keeps us from surrendering to Jesus is our pride. We tell ourselves, "I can take care of that," or "God can help me in all of these areas but I think I know how to deal with these issues better than he does," or "I know God forgives me, but I can't forgive myself." In all of these areas we are struggling with issues of Pride.

The scriptures say this in 1 Peter 5:5-6

“God opposes the proud, but favors the humble." So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.

As you are thinking about your life in this season of Lent, I would encourage you to ask yourself, "Do I have the characteristic of humility or do I struggle with pride?" Here are 8 questions to ask yourself when it comes to being prideful:

1. Are you teachable?

2. How do you respond to correction and rebuke?

3. Are you considerate of other people?

4. Do you admit when you are wrong or make mistakes?

5. Do you serve and receive service well?

6. Are you consistently aware of God's grace in your life and the people around you?

7. Do you disagree in an agreeable way?

8. How much attention and affirmation do you require?

May we all understand that we are people of pride and that we must pursue humility by the grace of God.