We (Lifepoint Church) receive a leadership resource each month entitled Defining Moments. It is a audio resource from Willow Creek and is usually Bill Hybels talking. The one for this month has been rocking my world for the last few days. There was three passages of scripture in his message for this talk and I have to share two of them right now.
The first is in Amos 5:21-24. This whole book is pretty brutal so I wouldn’t read it for encouragement. This book was written by Amos and was intended for the people of Israel. It’s purpose was to pronounce God’s judgment on Israel. It is an eye opening book though. The passage I have highlighted talks about how fed up God was with their showy worship services (it was all a front) and how two faced Israel had become.
Here is what the notes in my bible say: “God hates worship by people who go through the motions only for show. If we are living sinful lives and using religious rituals and traditions to make ourselves look good, God will despise our worship and not accept what we offer. He wants sincere hearts, not praise from hypocrites”.
Pretty strong stuff! Wait the next one is better.
The second is in Malachi 1:6-10 . Similar story with this book. It was written by Malachi and was for the people in Jerusalem. It’s purpose was to confront the people of their sins and to restore their relationship with God. The verses that I have highlighted deals with these beat-up sacrifices that people were offering God (it was tradition to offer sacrifices). God had given clear direction and these people were disobedient to his instructions. Read the passage and see what God has to say through Malachi.
Here are the notes from my bible: “God’s law required that only perfect animals be offered to God. But these priest were allowing the people to offer blind, crippled, and diseased animals to God. God accused them of dishonoring him by offering imperfect sacrifices, and he was greatly displeased. The New Testament says that our lives should be living sacrifices to God (Romans 12:1). If we give God only our leftover time, money, and energy, we repeat the same sin as these worshipers, who didn’t want to bring anything valuable to God. What we give God reflects our true attitude toward him”.
I don’t know if you are tracking with me on this but God hates fake people and we dishonor God when we don’t bring our best to him. If you are on the Dream Team at Lifepoint, I am going to share a little more with you later. I want to challenge everyone reading this to do two simple (the not complex “simple”, it is definately not easy “simple”):
2) offer your best to God in all that you do
This will bring Him honor.
I am thinking of the Cypress Hill song Insane In The Brain. What in the world are people thinking. People were actually lining up at Best Buy in Wilmington at 3:00pm on Thursday (they were closed for Thanksgiving). There were hundreds of people in front of Circuit City, Dicks Sporting Goods, Target, Unameitsstore and even Kmart at 5:00am this morning.
Even though I am not a shopper (I actually hate shopping), I am excited for these bargain hunters. There were actually things that were 50% off and I am all for that. I am sure people bought things that they normally would not have purchased but look at all they saved.
If you were out in it today, I know you will sleep well tonight and I hope you did good!
Why must I do this? Just like the last 30 something years of my life I have approached Thanksgiving Day with a plan to eat in moderation and not over do it. Like every year, I blew it! I gave up four touchdowns in the first quarter. I froze up. I was standing there looking at the dressing, the turkey the corn pudding, the sweet potatoes, the collards, the rolls, the beans, the corn, the chocolate pie, the pecan pie, the chocolate cake, the pineapple cake and some kind of cranberry stuff. I was like the guy in that commercial that can’t make up his mind (fishing lure’s, cash or credit, paper of plastic), so I did what any of us would have done, I grabbed a second plate (I hope that is not what you did).
I came up with a great idea just now, what if we moved Thanksgiving to February 29th, then we would only have to make these type decisions every four years.
Anyway, it was all good and I will recover by Sunday. The collards where awesome Grandma! And Kelli your pies still rock!!!
On the way back from Atlanta a few weeks ago we were able to meet with Perry Noble from New Spring Church in Anderson, SC and it was a treat. I don’t know how much you know about Perry and New Spring but God is doing some phenomenal stuff in their church. They have seen astronomical growth in their short history. Just this year they have grown by about 4000 people (not a typo).I have to be honest, we were very nervous about meeting Perry. A lot of people ( I mean a lot) read his BLOG. We did not want to become a topic of one of his blogs like: Wasted Time or Idiots.
Perry is the real deal. He is definitely a what you see is what you get type person, which I think is refreshing to people (that’s why they are flocking to his church). I think people are fed up with the plastic bobble head pastors that put up this front on the weekends but are very different people Monday – Saturday (they dress differently, they talk differently, act differently and they actually struggle with some if not all of the the same things as everyone else but are to fake to admit it). Perry is the opposite of all of this.
Perry and his staff were awesome host to us and their excitement was off the hook (Thanks New Spring for the tour [by the way if you are building a building, check them out, they did it well], the hospitality and for showing us that awesome baptism video).
Perry shared a lot of stuff with us and I am sure I will be referencing it for years to come but out of all of the things he told us, I think the most beneficial one to me right now was to “be who you are”. This included style and age. The style is obvious but as far as age we ask him about when to roll out different ministries like youth ministry and things like that and he told us to remember that we are 10 months old. We didn’t expect our kids when they were 1o months old to do math or balance a check book and we have to allow our church to be 10 months old as well, which means we still have a lot to learn and a lot of mistakes to make.
There was tons more and I will share as time goes by but it was a huge encouragement to see and feel what God is doing in Anderson, SC.
Pray for those guys big time!
One of the things that I said I would write about was last Sunday at Lifepoint, well that was two Sunday’s ago now so I will talk about this past month.
I can’t explain exactly what I have sensed this past month at Lifepoint other than saying there has been a fresh wind. Now that seems like it implies that there was not a fresh wind before (not sure I want to experience a wind that is not so fresh). I don’t feel that way at all, but something has definitely been different for me since Friend Day. There is a new excitement. There is fresh sets of faces and cool things that God is doing in their lives. There is new focus among the staff. There is a contagious excitement in the Starting Point groups. There is a freshness with our Worship Team. There is a sense of purpose in those who call Lifepoint home.
The one Sunday that I was referencing was phenominal. I literally got lost in the service. The worship time was great, the message was solid and the energy that came from people focusing on God was breath-taking.
Lifepoint is definitely not a perfect church, we have much to learn, we tons left to implement but what is going on right now is what I moved down here for (to see people turning there eyes to the one who has all the answers, all the hope, all the love).
Thanks for loving God Lifepoint!
I have to admit that when I first heard about this movie I was a little skeptical. I am skeptical about anything that comes out of the church. It is sad but true that most of our (the church) stuff just doesn’t match the quality of the secular community and most of our stuff is just down right cheesy.
My family and the Kapusta gang all went to see this movie last week and I enjoyed the whole movie. The acting was not that good but it was good enough and story was strong. If you plan on seeing the movie, don’t read this next part.
The movie starts out centering around a coach that is not getting it done. His team is not winning, his car is piece of junk, his house is falling apart and he can’t get his wife pregnant. He comes to a point where he is so broken that he cries out to God. From this point on he puts everything in God’s hands (the team, the pregnancy, all the broken stuff and I forgot to say that the boosters are trying to have him ousted) and comes up with a new phylosopy on football and life. Basically it was do your best and leave the results up to God. He told the football team that winning was not the goal anymore but honoring God was.
I will not spoil the whole movie for you but things start to change in a big way.
The movie is a good film to show to all those who love football and have no take on God (especially high school kids). I enjoyed it personally because it reinforced somethings that God is teaching me right now. I think even Christians (especially Christians) get off track and our goals get skewed and we have to refocus often. It is so easy to look at what the world calls success (in our families, our jobs, our finances, our everything) and shoot for those things, when actually God’s definition of success is extremely different.
If you like feel good stories, go for it
If you are wondering when I am going to post again, the answer is soon. The last ten days have been both phenomenal and a little overwhelming. I am processing my thoughts and I plan on sharing it all. Here is the elephant that I have been nibbling on for a week and what my next five post will be:
- Out of all of the awesome things shared at drive, what do I need to apply in my life and at Lifepoint.
- Sitting down with Perry Noble was awesome. What did he have to say.
- I love football and I love God, so what did I think of Facing the Giants.
- Last Sunday at Lifepoint.
- Children and Church.
They probably will not be in this order but that’s what is coming.