Friday, December 10, 2010

True Ambassadors For Christ

I think that this translation of 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 is amazing and truly speaks to what we should be doing with our life and truly allowing God to live through us.

"Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized - whoever.  I didn't take on their way of life.  I kept my bearings in Christ - but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view.  I've become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life.  I did all this because of the Message.  I didn't just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!"

Immediately after reading this I think of two questions:
1. Am I living my life like this?
2. How can I live more like this?

Take some time to reflect on this passage and these questions.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Obedience Is A Necessity For Spiritual Success

"Without God’s instructions, Joshua would have failed at leading the Israelites into the Promised Land. The first step was to “be strong and of good courage” (Josh. 1:6). Next, he was to continually meditate on the Book of the Law, and finally, he was to do everything it said. As long as Joshua followed the directions, God promised him “good success” (v.8).
God’s “recipe for success” can work for us too, but His idea of success has little to do with money, popularity, or even good health. In the original Hebrew, “then you will have good success” means “then you will act wisely.” Just as God called Joshua to walk in wisdom, He wants us to “walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise” (Eph. 5:15).
As we take courage in the Lord, feast on His Word, and obey Him, we have a recipe for godly success that’s better than anything we could cook up on our own.


You will surely find at the journey’s end,
Whatever the world may afford,
That things fade away, and success is seen
In the life that has served the Lord. —Anon.
Obedience to God’s Word is the recipe for spiritual success."

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

God Is Alive. Always Working.

This is an amazing story from North Central YL tonight.  It truly shows that God is constantly working in this broken world and will always provide comfort, love, and peace even in times of grave tragedy.  Jon Whitmer wrote this after Campaigners tonight.

Friends,

I assume you have heard about the NC sophomore, Leon Baisa, who tragically passed away last Wednesday night in a car accident. Leon has 8 brothers and sisters, including Roman who is a freshman at NC and Falcon who is an 8th grader at Northview. None of the leaders really knew Leon and he didn't come to YL, but we knew who he was, as Doug Barnack, Ryan Johnson and I had just gone to watch Leon play in an intramural basketball game at NC last Monday night after Campaigners, since we knew a lot of Leon's friends on the team, including Jack Cagnassola, the other boy in the car with Leon the night of the accident. Leon's girlfriend, Olivia Trusty, is a freshman and was involved in Eastwood WyldLife and came to Timber Wolf with us last summer. She's been coming to Campaigners and Club every week this year.

Tonight, there was a spaghetti dinner at Moe and Johnny's benefiting Leon's Memorial Fund. Many student's left the dinner early, including Olivia, to come to Campaigners at 7:30. Olivia had asked Caitlin Weber, her leader, if she could share something in front of everyone tonight at Campaigners. Caitlin has talked to Olivia every day since the accident, a comforting friend in the midst of Olivia's pain/brokenness.

There were so many new faces at Campaigners tonight, around 55 kids in total, all crying, emotional and looking for a safe place. Not only that, but Garrett Lee, a senior, knew that Leon's brother, Roman, needed to be at Campaigners tonight, so he went and picked him up and brought him. What an incredible example of the way God pursues us through one another. I'm so thankful and so impressed with Garrett's heart in doing that. With the brother, girlfriend and countless other grieving friends of Leon in our presence tonight, there was much pain, sadness, anger, and questioning, as kids asked "why" and "what now." As Romans 15:5 says, it was a place where, as a family, "we mourned with those mourning." 

But tonight was also a sacred moment in the midst of a tragedy. Olivia beautifully shared her feelings for Leon and then went on to share the story of Lazarus for the whole group, a perfect story, where Christ weeps over Lazarus' death, showing that when we hurt, God hurts. But it's also a story where Christ is described as "the resurrection and the life" and the one that has the power to bring us from death to life. God was working tonight, as in the beginning, everyone was so somber and full of tears. Yet, as kids were leaving, there was laughter, smiles and small steps of healing.

Please continue to pray for the Baisa family, for Roman, for Olivia, for the NC students and faculty coming around them and for the YL leaders, as we continue to walk with kids through the peaks and the valleys of life. Praise God for tonight, for a place like YL, a refuge for these lost kids.

In Him,
Jon

Sunday, November 28, 2010

This Is Love.

video


Just listen to the message and the lyrics of this song. This is love, the way God made it and the way it is intended to be.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Psalm 42:1-2

"As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?"

This verse in Psalms has always brought me back to "Do I desire God like this?" Do I thirst for Christ? Does my soul pant for Jesus? Am I asking when can I go and meet with you Lord?

If I do not desire Jesus like this, am I truly seeking and following Him? Am I truly living life to its fullest extent and living my life the way God intended me to?

Reflect. If you want to live life to the full (John 10:10) then your soul should pant and thirst for Jesus Christ.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Love One Another

1 John 2:9 says, "Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light."

God created all of us. Every single one of us was created by the same God. Every Christian, Muslim, drug addict, liar, homosexual, any label you can think of, some labels might even overlap. In 1 John 2:9 brother refers to everyone we are all brother's and sister created by the same God. No matter how far a brother or sister strays from the path or way of the Lord, we are called to love them unconditionally. The closer we are to the Lord the less we judge, stereotype, generalize, assume, and hold grudges instead we accept, forgive, listen, comfort, and love. The more we live into the light the more our love shines through our actions and the more we put others needs before our own.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Prayer

When you pray go somewhere quiet, alone, solitary
Pray that you will not fall into temptation
Withdraw from everything of this world
Pray that God's will be done not your own
Pray earnestly with undivided focus
Separate yourself from everything except for the Lord
Even if everyone is looking for you,
You must go away and pray
Pray privately
Pray for others
Praise your Creator and Savior
Pray for the day at hand
Pray for protection from Satan's evil plots
Pray that HIS kingdom will come
Pray for the fullness of grace
Pray to become more and more like Christ
Do this each and every day

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Love One Another

Love is an indefinite thing to most of us; we don’t know what we mean when we talk about love. Love is the loftiest preference of one person for another, and spiritually Jesus demands that this sovereign preference be for Himself (see Luke 14:26 ). Initially, when “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit” ( Romans 5:5 ), it is easy to put Jesus first. But then we must practice the things mentioned in 2 Peter 1 to see them worked out in our lives.

The first thing God does is forcibly remove any insincerity, pride, and vanity from my life. And the Holy Spirit reveals to me that God loved me not because I was lovable, but because it was His nature to do so. Now He commands me to show the same love to others by saying, “. . . love one another as I have loved you” ( John 15:12 ). He is saying, “I will bring a number of people around you whom you cannot respect, but you must exhibit My love to them, just as I have exhibited it to you.” This kind of love is not a patronizing love for the unlovable— it is His love, and it will not be evidenced in us overnight. Some of us may have tried to force it, but we were soon tired and frustrated.

“The Lord . . . is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish . . .” ( 2 Peter 3:9 ). I should look within and remember how wonderfully He has dealt with me. The knowledge that God has loved me beyond all limits will compel me to go into the world to love others in the same way. I may get irritated because I have to live with an unusually difficult person. But just think how disagreeable I have been with God! Am I prepared to be identified so closely with the Lord Jesus that His life and His sweetness will be continually poured out through Me? Neither natural love nor God’s divine love will remain and grow in me unless it is nurtured. Love is spontaneous, but it has to be maintained through discipline.

- Oswald Chambers

www.utmost.org

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Warning Against Desiring Spiritual Success

Worldliness is not the trap that most endangers us as Christian workers; nor is it sin. The trap we fall into is extravagantly desiring spiritual success; that is, success measured by, and patterned after, the form set by this religious age in which we now live. Never seek after anything other than the approval of God, and always be willing to go “outside the camp, bearing His reproach” (Hebrews 13:13 ). In Luke 10:20 , Jesus told the disciples not to rejoice in successful service, and yet this seems to be the one thing in which most of us do rejoice. We have a commercialized view— we count how many souls have been saved and sanctified, we thank God, and then we think everything is all right. Yet our work only begins where God’s grace has laid the foundation. Our work is not to save souls, but to disciple them. Salvation and sanctification are the work of God’s sovereign grace, and our work as His disciples is to disciple others’ lives until they are totally yielded to God. One life totally devoted to God is of more value to Him than one hundred lives which have been simply awakened by His Spirit. As workers for God, we must reproduce our own kind spiritually, and those lives will be God’s testimony to us as His workers. God brings us up to a standard of life through His grace, and we are responsible for reproducing that same standard in others.

Unless the worker lives a life that “is hidden with Christ in God” ( Colossians 3:3 ), he is apt to become an irritating dictator to others, instead of an active, living disciple. Many of us are dictators, dictating our desires to individuals and to groups. But Jesus never dictates to us in that way. Whenever our Lord talked about discipleship, He always prefaced His words with an “if,” never with the forceful or dogmatic statement— “You must.” Discipleship carries with it an option.


-Oswald Chambers

http://www.utmost.org/

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Choosing Your National Champion

As promised here are the facts you need to know in choosing a National Champion. Here are the common traits of the past 10 national champions:

1. All 10 champs had at least 2 future 1st-round NBA draft picks on there roster
2. 9 of 10 had a winning streak of at least 10 games or more prior to the NCAA tourney
3. 9 of 10 finished the season with a scoring margin of +14.1 ppg or better
4. 9 of 10 had an opponents field goal percentage of .410 or lower
5. 8 of 10 had a field goal percentage of .480 or better
6. 8 of 10 were ranked in the top four of the preseason AP poll
7. 8 of 10 won at-least a share of their conference's regular season title

So what team fits all of these criteria....

The Kansas Jayhawks!

1. Xavier Henry, Cole Aldrich
2. They had win streaks of 14 and 13 games
3. +18 scoring margin
4. Opponent field goal percentage = 43%
5. Field goal percentage =48.8%
6. Ranked #1 in the AP preseason poll
7. Won the Big-12 regular season and post season titles

Other teams close to these criteria that you should consider for your National Champion pick:

1. Kentucky
- They only need to raise their field goal percentage a tick from .479 to .480
2. Syracuse
-They were not in the top four of the preseason AP poll, but meet all other criteria
3. Duke
- They were not in the preseason top four, they had a winning streak of only 6 games, and the are shooting less than 48% from the field. So they meet 4 of the 7 criteria.
4. Ohio State
- Not in the preseason top four, only had a winning streak of 7 games, and they only have a scoring margin of +13, and debatably they do not have two future 1st round picks on their roster, Evan Turner and possibly William Buford (that is highly debatable).

So these are the smart choices for national champion. So who am I taking?? Good question here is my reasoning... The only reason I am not considering Kentucky is because they start 3 freshman and lack the experience that Kansas has. I am not taking Syracuse, because NO team has EVER won the national championship when losing their 1st game in their conference tournament. Not Duke they only meets 4 of the 7 criteria and they have only made it to the sweet 16 once in the last three years holding a record of 3-3 in the big dance. Not Ohio State they meet 3 of the 7 criteria.

JayHawks All the way BABY!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Advice For Filling Out Your Bracket

If you know me at all you know that following Christ is the most important part of my life and after that one of my biggest interests is sports. March Madness is the best and most exciting and thrilling time of the year. When filling out your bracket don't get your hopes up for filling it out perfectly. Its nearly impossible. You have a better chance of winning the lottery, getting hit by lightning and your car getting hit by a meteor in the same day than you do filling out a perfect bracket. So don't get your hopes up. First off, you need to disregard all personal biases when filling out your bracket. Now here are some FACTS you need to know when filling out your bracket.

The Opening Round:

1. Do NOT pick any 16 or 15 seeds to win. A 16 has never won and over the past 8 years 15s are 0-32.

2. Only once since 1985 have all top-4 seeds advanced past the 1st round. So pick one 13 or 14 to win in the 1st round.

3. In 19 of the past 21 years a 12 has won at least one game. Last year 3 of the 4 twelves won. So Pick at least one 12 seed to win a game.

For the Sweet-16:

1. Only in 14 regions out of 100 since the tourney expansion in 1985 have all 1,2,3,4 seeds advanced to the sweet 16. So, DONT pick all 1,2,3,4 seeds to advance to the sweet 16 in all the regions.

2. Since 1985, 88 out of 100 #1 seeds have reached the sweet sixteen. So, your best bet is to put all the 1 seeds in the sweet sixteen.

3. 9 seeds only have 3 sweet sixteen appearances since 1985. Don't pick a 9 seed to win more than one game.

4. This is just something to think about: In this year's field only Michigan St., Xavier, and Villanova have advanced to the sweet sixteen each of the past 2 years. Kansas has done this each of the past three years.

Elite Eight:

1. The only time all elite eight teams were seeded fourth or better was in 1995. So, pick a cinderella, they don't have to be a double digit seed, but at least one 5 seed or higher will make the elite eight, most likely more than one.

Final Four:
1. Only twice has there been a final four without a 1 seed. Pick at least one #1 seed.

2. Only once has the final four been all #1 seeds (2008). Three #1 seeds in the final four has only happened three times itself. Your best bet is to pick only 1 or 2 #1 seeds (I'm going with 2).

3. In the last 21 years only 8 teams outside the top-4 seeds have gotten to the final four. 3 of those 8 happen in the same year (2000). Your best bet, pick teams seeded 1-4 for your final four.

4. At least two teams from the same conference have made the final four in 18 of the past 25 years. Its okay to have 2 teams from the same conference in the final four.

For choosing your national champion. I will explain my choice in my next post. In the meantime good luck filling out your bracket.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Gratitude.

I have been given the gift of salvation, through no merit of my own, it is unearned. The gift of salvation is a gift that I will never be able to repay. Thus my life became one of humble and joyful thanksgiving. Be grateful. Not only for the good things, but be grateful for all of your life. "The good as well as the bad, the moments of joy as well as the moment of sorrow, the successes as well as the failures, the rewards as well as the rejections." (Henri Nouwen)

"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in ALL circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
- 1 5:16-18 Thessalonians

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Prudent or Simple

Proverbs 22:3

"The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty."

Prudent means acting with or showing care and thought for the future.

Is your life going to be successful if you are Prudent or Simple?

The prudent take action, take refuge, and make changes while the simple just keeps going and makes no changes. The prudent see the danger and take action to avoid the danger and the penalty. The simple see the danger, but just keep going and pay the price. How can you improve in anything or become more Christ like without taking action? You Can't.

Are you prudent or simple?