Posts Tagged ‘The Bible’

What’s the big deal with dropping bombs? AKA…swearing, cursing, having a potty mouth, using fowl language, etc.

I mean…they’re just words, right? One day somebody somewhere just made them up. What possible damage could they cause others or myself?

To be honest, this is kind of a tricky subject to tackle because the Bible doesn’t really give us a list of words to say and words to not say. Although the Bible doesn’t say to stay away from a specific list of words, the Bible does say a lot about what comes out of our mouths – our words.

So…what’s the big deal with our words?

1. YOUR WORDS REFLECT YOUR HEART.

Whatever is in your heart (on the inside) will come out in your speech. The question isn’t “Are you full of it?” The question is “What are you full of?” If you are full of bad things like anger, pride, perversion, and disrespect, then your words will be full of those things. If you are full of good things like love, joy, peace, purity, kindness, God’s Word, and holiness, then your words will reflect that.

Jesus puts it this way in Matthew 12:34-37…”For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.”

2. YOUR WORDS AFFECT YOUR INFLUENCE.

Influence is everything. We all have influence. The questions isn’t if we have influence; the question is what we do with our influence. Everything we say effects our influence either positively or negatively. Every word you say either adds or subtracts your influence. Every Facebook status update, every tweet can affect your influence.

As a Christian, your influence can lead to other people getting saved. Your influence can lead to more people spending eternity in heaven. And every single soul is a big deal. Our goal should be to see as many people saved and having the hope & life that can only come through a relationship with Jesus.

3. YOUR WORDS BRING EITHER LIFE OR DEATH.

The very words you speak have the power to immediately bring life or bring death into whatever situation you are in. Your words can literally change the atmosphere. Proverbs 18:21 says…”The tongue can bring death or life.”

Q: How do we make sure we are bringing life with our words and not death?

A: We T-H-I-N-K before we speak.

  • Truth of God’s Word – Is what I say going to line up with the Bible?
  • Helpful – Is what I say going to help someone or a situation?
  • Inspire – Is what I say going to inspire people?
  • Needed – Is what I say needed or necessary?
  • Kind – Is what I say kind?

If the answer to anyone of these questions is “NO”, then you have no business opening your mouth.

Ephesians 4:29-5:2 puts it this way…”Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them…Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.”

Trust me. Your words are a big deal.

_________________

***Message notes from REVOLUTION on Wednesday, July 13, 2011.

“Three things will last forever – FAITH. HOPE. LOVE. – and the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Corinthians 13:13

FAITH. HOPE. LOVE. is the theme for Sulphur Springs Workcamp 2011.

 

 

Kevin Durant walked into his postgame news conference following the Oklahoma City Thunder‘s Game 1 victory over Denver and climbed to his seat atop a podium with three things in hand.

His cellphone, a pair of headphones and a Bible.

The first two, Durant has always carried. The third item was included only recently.

For the past 44 days, Durant, the Thunder’s two-time All-Star and reigning two-time scoring champ, has become a Bible-toting ballplayer. Since March 8, Durant has read passages each day from the black leather Bible he carries with his name engraved on the front cover.

Durant has been spotted digesting passages at his locker before games, which is not uncommon inside NBA locker rooms. Teammate Serge Ibaka has done the same since he entered the league. The sight of Durant thumbing through the Good Book, though, represents just another reason why many observers have labeled Durant a special kind of superstar.

“I just want to grow spiritually with the Lord,” Durant said. “It’s something I always talked about, but I never really got into it.”

Durant finally decided to commit himself to a covenant of daily worship on March 7. The Thunder was in Memphis for a game against the Grizzlies. During a trip to pregame chapel, which more than half of the Thunder’s roster attends regularly before each game, Durant found his final source of inspiration.

The team chaplain for the Grizzlies, like Durant a Maryland native, stressed what a difference daily reading can make. The minister told the young man that even a scripture a day can change his life.

The next day, Durant began his devotion.

“I’m keeping strong at it, just trying to make my walk with faith a little better,” Durant said. “That’s making me a better person, opening my eyes to things and I’m also maturing as a person. I’m just trying to grow.”

(From NewsOK - http://www.newsok.com/article/3560862)

The world is trying to sell us a backwards view of sex. From TV, movies, commercials, music, media, to Internet, we are constantly being bombarded with this backwards view of sex. It’s everywhere.

And we are living in a Christian community with the simple message of “don’t do it” and “just say no”. Why? Because you could get pregnant. Because you could get a disease. Because you will sin.

Growing up with this constant message of “don’t do it”, I began asking myself, “Why in the world did God create sex? It has to be more than just making babies and populating the earth.”

In this state of questioning, God began to reveal something (about the purpose of sex) that  I had never heard before. And it all starts with creation.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

Most of us are familiar with the creation story described in the first chapter of Genesis. God creates light, sky, land, oceans, trees, plants, the sun, the moon, stars, birds, fish, animals, and everything else on Earth. After everything God created, the Bible says that he looked down and declared “THIS IS GOOD!”

But God was not done creating.

God saves his best creation for last. He (along with Jesus and the Holy Spirit) decide to make something special. Something different than everything else they had already created. Something they could love and have a relationship with. Something made in the image of God. Something that has all of God’s attributes.

So they make man (Adam).

And after God makes people, the Bible says that God looked down and declared “THIS IS VERY GOOD!”

Then God looked down at Adam and said, “You know what would be even better? Ladies!” So God puts Adam into a deep sleep, amputates a rib, and forms Eve (woman).

Here’s the point…

If man was made in the image of God and encapsulates all the great attributes of God and then God creates woman out of man, suddenly the COMPLETE image of God is now two places. Suddenly man does not have all the attributes of God – woman has some. Now there are two separate things that have different attributes of God – men don’t have the women’s and women don’t have the men’s.

Like those old school, cheesy best friend necklaces that are torn in half (one half saying “Be / Fri”, the other half saying “st / ends”), now the image of God is in two places.

Then God creates this awesome thing called sex. And the 2 become 1 by this adhesive that is so strong that it can put the image of God back together.

So the purpose of sex is so much bigger than making babies and populating the earth. Sex is the super-strong adhesive that puts the complete image of God back together.

(Material used in the REVOLUTION series – XES. Major thanks to Gateway Church student pastor Ben Pirtle for hooking me up with a lot of this material.)

 

(This blog post was originally posted on February 18, 2009…)

I have subscribed to Sports Illustrated for years. As a subscriber to Sports Illustrated, the annual Swimsuit Edition (first published in 1964) gets sent to my house every February.

Here’s the cool part…

I have not seen one picture or one article from the Swimsuit Edition in years. Every year my incredible wife gets that particular issue, rolls her eyes at the super models who are not wearing their swimsuits, and immediately throws the issue in the garbage.

My 2011 issue came on Wednesday. It went in the trash on Wednesday and I never knew it came to the house.

I love that she does this for me. The raw, honest truth is that I probably do not have the strength to do it myself. Granted, I might throw it away but not without first taking a peak. (I care here you thinking “but you’re a minister!” Yeah, you are right, I am a honest and real minister.) I cherish the fact that my wife cares about my purity enough to help me succeed. She gets it. She makes me a better person. She makes me a better follower of Jesus.

Some people might think “who cares?” or “what’s the big deal?”

Here the truth…

I know I am not missing anything. My eyes have better things to look at. I have better thoughts to think about. I got a hottie that I am madly in love with and who loves me back. Who needs the Swimsuit Edition? I know I don’t.

________________________

Here’s the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Challenge…

Follow my wife’s lead. If you get the Swimsuit Edition, throw it away. If your husband/son/brother/friend gets the Swimsuit Edition, take the initiative and throw it away for him (like me, he probably doesn’t have the strength to do it himself).

You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.” – Jesus in Matthew 5:27-29 (NIV)

 

In the book Essential Church, best-selling author Tom Rainer writes that some 70% of students between the ages of 18 and 22 dropout of church.

This is a statistic that I and the entire leadership at NORTHchurch want to change. That is why we have intentionality put into place opportunities for students to not disconnect from the church. Our desire is to reverse this troubling trend within our sphere of influence.

That’s where TWOFIFTYTWO comes in.

TWOFIFTYTWO is a part-time student internship for high school and college students (16-22 year olds) at NORTHchurch. This experience will add value to their lives and help them grow in their relationship with God like never before. This 12-week internship is designed to provide students with the greatest and most significant semester of their lives.

The Bible urges us to give our all to advancing the Lord’s work here on earth. However, even Jesus journeyed through a season of preparation before His ministry began. The only verse in the Bible that describes the areas in which Jesus was trained is Luke 2:52. That verse states Jesus-growth process in four areas: wisdom, stature, favor with God, and favor with men. For that reason, we focus specifically on the same four areas.

TWOFIFTYTWO is designed to disciple and help students grow through a variety of fun and exciting adventures, city-changing outreaches, dynamic classroom teaching, worship, prayer, Bible study, and active involvement at NORTHchurch.

Today started  the second semester of TWOFIFTYTWO. Last Fall, 9 incredible students completed the inaugural semester of TWOFIFTYTWO. Here is a glimpse of their experience…

I am proud to say that 21 students have stepped up to the plate. These 21 high school and college students will make up the Spring 2011 class of TWOFIFTYTWO. It is going to be an amazing semester. I can’t wait to see them grow in their relationship with God, in their relationship with each other, and use their gifts to serve the local church.

At NORTHchurch, we refuse to let our students between the ages of 16-22 years become another stat.

“Follow the steps of good men instead, and stay on the paths of the righteous.” – Proverbs 2:20 NLT

You need to connect with the right mentor. It is extremely important. Why? You NEED a mentor in your life to help get you where you cannot get alone.

A mentor is not a babysitter. A mentor is not a best friend. A mentor is someone worth following.

I encourage you to begin to establish relationships that will help you get to the next level in your relationship with God, in your marriage, in your profession, etc.

I encourage you to look for 5 things in a mentor…

  1. A person who loves and follows God.
  2. A person who makes right choices.
  3. A person who is where you want to be in life.
  4. A person who will push you to be a better person.
  5. A person who will pray for you.

_____________________

DO YOU HAVE A MENTOR?

WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN A MENTOR?

Friends are extremely important. In fact, your friends and relationships will determine the direction and quality of your life. Connecting with the right friends and making wise choices in your relationships is crucial.

The Bible speaks a lot about the importance of connecting with the right friends.

Check out Mark 2: 1-5 (NLT)

When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.”

Let’s focus on the phrase “dug a hole through the roof”. Other translations say “made an opening”, “removed part of the roof”, and “uncovered the roof”.

It’s very easy to pass over this simple phrase. We often think the roof was some ancient, primitive, thatch roof. But that was not the case.

If you study 1st Century architecture, you will find that this specific roof was more than likely a mud clay (a lot like cement) roof with tiles. To lower the paralyzed man through the roof, they literally had to do major construction and demolition to the roof.

Can you imagine this picture? You’re in this packed house – wall to wall people – trying to listen to Jesus. All of a sudden you start to hear some banging on the roof. Then the roof begins to fall in on you. These friends literally tore the tiles off the roof, tore a hole in the roof, and lowered the paralyzed man by a rope into the house.

Imagine the people’s responses. I’d guess anger because they are there to listen to Jesus. They earned their spot. They got there early. He could have been in the middle of a life-changing sermon and they missed part of it because of the whole roof being torn open situation. What about that person who owned the house? That’s not a quick fix. That’s not a minor, cosmetic problem. That’s a huge hole in your roof.

Now look at Jesus’ response. “Seeing their faith…” Did you get that? The Bible does not say “seeing his faith”. No, the Bible says “seeing their faith”. Jesus didn’t rebuke them and say “Don’t you know how much a roof costs?” He didn’t say “Have you ever heard of a door?” No, he saw their faith and their lives were never the same.

Here’s the truth: the paralyzed man would have never gotten to Jesus or been healed without his friends.

DO YOU HAVE FRIENDS IN YOUR LIFE WHO WOULD TEAR OFF A ROOF FOR YOU?

From Week 2 of the REVOLUTION series CONNECT 4 entitled “Connecting with the Right Friends”.

 

REVOLUTION is currently in the middle of a series called “DO SOMETHING”. In this series, we are being challenged to put our faith into motion by choosing to do something for others. Becoming the very hands and feet of Jesus on this planet and ultimately changing the world.

But for many of us, we must first go to the doctor before becoming a DO SOMETHING person. Many of us are suffering from a serious, life-threatening disease called “ME-ITIS“. “ME-ITIS” people think they are the center of the universe. “ME-ITIS” people think the world actually revolves around them. When “ME-ITIS” people do not get what they want when they want it, they pout, complain, and blame others. “ME-ITIS” people rarely put other’s interests in front of their own. And the few times they do something for somebody else, it is usually for attention or so they can get something in return.

Simply put, “ME-ITIS” people are jerks.

Paul talks directly to people suffering from “ME-ITIS” in Philippians 2:3-8

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

My challenge to you today is this…do not be a “ME-ITIS” person. Be a DO SOMETHING person.

Becoming a DO SOMETHING person will require sacrifice. It will not be easy. It will not be normal. It will not be comfortable.

DO SOMETHING people sacrifice…

  1. TIME. Time is limited. Time is precious. Be a person that does something important for others with your time.
  2. COMFORT. Doing something for God is not always comfortable. Changing the world is not always comfortable. Being bold with your faith is not always comfortable. Making a difference and taking a stand is not always comfortable. Being a leader is not always comfortable. Do Something people understand this.
  3. MONEY. Do Something people are generous and put their money where their mouth is. Do Something people are not selfish with their money because they realize that money is a gift from God that can be used to Do Something.
  4. TALENT. Do Something people realize that God gave them their talents. Do you want to do something big for God? Use your talents to bring him glory. Make God more famous by using the talents he has given you.

If prayer – at its simplest form – is talking to God, then reading the Bible – at its simplest form – is letting God talk to you.

When you really break it down, reading the Bible (like prayer) is communication. And communication is a crucial element in any intimate relationship…including a relationship with God. Without communication, relationships die.

Through the Bible, God speaks to the core issues of your life. He roots out the anger behind the depression many experience. He uncovers the insecurity behind your self-destructive habits. He tells you how deeply loved and accepted you are. He draws you to Himself by explaining the price He paid to know you and to be known by you.

For you to have consistency in your relationship with God, it is crucial for you to have consistent, intimate time with God through reading the Bible.

Here are five easy steps to allow God to rock your wold through the Bible…

  • GET A BIBLE. Sounds weird, but I meet people all the time who do not own a Bible. Invest in a Bible. Download a Bible app (I highly recommend the YouVersion Holy Bible app for iPhone and iPod Touch).
  • FIND A TRANSLATION YOU CAN UNDERSTAND. There’s the NIV, NLT, Message, TNIV, ESV, NASV, King James, NKJV, CEV, Amplified, NCV, etc…Here’s the point: there are options. Don’t read a Bible you can’t understand. Find one you can understand.
  • CARVE OUT SPECIFIC TIME IN YOUR DAILY SCHEDULE TO READ THE BIBLE. Find a time that works with your schedule. I recommend either right when you wake up or right before you go to sleep. Be consistent with that time. Combine this time with your prayer time.
  • ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS WHEN YOU PRAY. When reading a specific passage, ask yourself these four questions: What does this passage say? Learn to summarize the Bible in your own words. Why is this important? Understand why you need to know this fact or principle. What should I do about it? Learn how to specifically apply Scripture to your life. How can I remember this? Learn how to not forget what you learned. Memorize a verse, write a verse on a card, share a verse with a friend, etc.
  • HAVE A PLAN. Don’t just blindly flip through the Bible. Have a plan. Know where you are going. I highly recommend 2 plans: Project345. The average time it takes a person to read a chapter of the Bible is 3 minutes and 45 seconds. Project345.com is a reading plan that gives you one New Testament chapter a day. If you stay consistent with Project345, you will read the entire New Testament in under a year. Proverb-a-Day. There are 31 chapters of Proverbs. The maximum numbers of days in a month is 31. In the Proverb-a-Day plan, match the day of the month with that chapter in Proverbs. Like my partner Michael Bergstrasser says, “A Proverb-a-day keeps the devil away.”